Monday, July 29, 2013


Since it bugs me a little when I find a blog that I like the content but they haven't posted in months... years... etc. and offer no explanation about whether or not they're coming back, allow me to make this a "for your information" post!

I'm still here. My family is still doing great. Super busy, but great. My new job is going great. Oh, I never wrote in here about that did I?? The first part of April I started as the youth services parapro at my local library. I'm loving it.

I'm going to park In the sweet sunshine for awhile. Maybe forever. Maybe I'll be back. I'm not sure. But I'm officially saying there won't be any new posts here for awhile. I'm going to allow the "" domain to expire (the end of August), so this blog will just be found on the plain ol' blogger domain of "" domain. It might mess with a few links... but I really can't justify spending $15 on something I have no current plans of continuing.

To those of you who read and comment consistently -- thank you. It means the world to me to know that people actually read my stuff. :) It's been fun, and I'm still going to follow and comment on many of your blogs.

And since I can't get completely away from writing, I've started a new blog solely for recording the things I do at my new library job -- it's a way for me to list the crafts and displays and storytimes I do, and maybe it'll help some other children's librarians have ideas for their groups. So if you're interested in that kind of stuff, you can come follow me at The Lion is a Bookworm.

Thanks again to my faithful readers for being a sweet, sunshine-y spot in my day. :)

**2018 update: I've launched yet another blog, writing once again about the types of things you may have found and enjoyed here! Visit me at**

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dreaming Big: The garden I would love to grow

This writing prompt from You Grow Girl happened two weeks ago (which I think means another one is coming up really soon...), but I've been semi-computerless for the last 2.5 weeks. Our hard drive seems to have crashed, and we're waiting on news if it's recoverable. In the meantime, we were able to borrow another laptop for basic uses...

"There have been times when I have walked into a space and felt like I could move in and be happy there forever. But when it comes to the realities of gardening there are always so many limitations and practicalities to consider… the climate, the size of the space, the environment, the food that I need to grow, the amount of work that I can reasonably take on, other uses for what is already limited space, and of course, always, always, always at the foreground: the impairment of a very limited budget... This is the garden that you would make if you could do ANYTHING."

I wrote in this post about my love for my distant relatives' garden in the Netherlands. If I could dream big and have my garden look like anything, it would be something very similar to that. I can remember driving through the neighborhood and being glued to the window (practically salivating) at the beauty of no-grass lawns.

I love the idea of a front-yard garden (especially since our lawn is horrible). We also have a fairly large backyard (for city living -- about a 1/3 acre). I could imagine that space being used for some raised beds for vegetable growing, some trees and shrubs, winding pathways, a children's grassy play area, benches and birdbaths and a water feature. But mostly in the front yard I just want a variety of flowers. Tall ones, groundcover, all blooming at different times during the year so something is always alive with color. I want to be one of those houses where cars slow down as they drive by because of the garden beauty.

Front yard gardening in the U.S. is pretty uncommon (although a quick Google or Pinterest search will show the trend is gaining popularity). But with the amount of water and fertilizer and mowing it takes to keep up with a perfectly manicured lawn, it's a wonder that more Americans don't take the plunge.

While I don't expect to ever have a complete no-grass lawn, last year I did take the time to pull my landscaping border out farther from the house, and circled off another small area for a flower display. My irises and tulips and some other perennials are slowly popping up, and I'm excited and ready to work with what I do have.

I still envy those European "lawns" though...

Grow Write Guild
This post is linked to the Grow Write Guild by You Grow Girl

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Talk Thursday: What On Earth Am I Here For?

I read Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life in college -- about 10 years ago -- when the church I was going to at the time did a series on it. We had weekly sermons and small group studies all discussing it.

And I don't remember a single bit of it.

So when the book was re-released, I thought it would be a good chance to read it again.

I like non-fiction books that break their overall idea down into a handful of smaller points, and in the case of this book there are five purposes -- worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission. Each point is broken down further as the short, devotional-like chapters get you thinking about how those purposes fit in your personal life as well as in the world around you.

This is one of those books that is good to re-read every few years. Different parts will stick out to you at different times of your life, depending on your current circumstances. And we all need reminders about how God created us FOR HIM and His glory, not for anything we might think important about ourselves. It's humbling, yet encouraging at the same time.

"Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, 
because of your love and faithfulness." Psalm 115:1

I review for BookSneeze®

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

That messy kitchen utensil drawer...

One of the best things I ever did for my kitchen utensil drawer, I didn't even do on purpose.

You know when you make your wedding registry, and you add all of those kitchen utensils that match, and they all match? Like these black ones by Oxo that we got tons of?

In an effort to keep things off the kitchen counters, I used a deep drawer to hold utensils. Most of the time it's fairly easy for me to find what I need -- I have a very photographic memory, and know exactly what I'm looking for when I need it.

But there always seems to be that one utensil that even though it gets used really frequently, it still ends up on the bottom of the drawer, or just blends in with all the other black utensils.

For me, it was my rubber spatula. And it got used so frequently that eventually it got chipped and ripped, and I knew I needed a new one. So off to the local grocery store I went, and I think I had two choices. I chose the more expensive, better quality one. And it was red.

I got it home, washed it, and stuck it in the infamous utensil drawer. And have never had an issue finding it ever since.

That red spatula just POPS out at me whenever I need it! No more digging through layers of blackness!!

Maybe I should invest in green spoons and purple peelers and blue cheese slicers too...

Do you have a kitchen utensil you use more than the others? Do you keep your utensils in a crock on the counter or in a drawer too?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Musical Mondays: My Next Thirty Years

It's been really long since I've done a Musical Monday post! And it will probably be another long time before I think to do another... My birthday just happens to fall on a Monday this year... So here you have it, my theme song for today! :)

I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

Hey my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next thirty years

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years

Oh my next thirty years, I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years

My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
Raise a little family and hang out with my [husband :) ]
Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years
In my next thirty years

P.S. Here is a photo of me, 30 years ago today. Doesn't it look like Ellie??

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" birthday party! {finally...}

I wasn't sure I wanted to do a 3rd birthday party for Abby. Then I got an idea for a theme. Then I searched Pinterest for that theme. Now I'm wishing her birthday wasn't still three months away...

But I got to thinking, did I ever make a post about Abby's 2nd birthday party??

Nope. Oops.

It happened about the same time as my big blog overhaul, plus I was 8 months pregnant, so the big party post never happened.

So here you have it! Nine months later... :-P

Feel free to pin away!

I decided to theme the party around one of Abby's current favorite books -- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. When searching Pinterest, I was surprised by the lack of ideas specific to the book series (see what I did find here). Luckily I figured the kids were too young to really enjoy any structured activities, so I just used some decorating and food ideas.

I've been taking pictures of Abby, in the same corner of the same couch, every month (I stopped at 2 years -- I'll probably just do yearly now). So those had to go up to show how she's grown!

Color-wise, I chose to go with the green, white, and brown of the book as well as pink to make it a little more girly.

The print-out of the book cover I found via Google images. The 5 books were a box set that Abby got for Christmas. I found the mouse for a dollar at a yard sale (that's actually what convinced me to go with this theme!). Add some homemade chocolate chip cookies and a milk station -- and the cake of course, more on that in a minute -- and voila.

We ended up putting ice-filled balloons in the tub to keep the milk cold (from this pin).

"Accent Cookie Dough" font -- printed with dark brown ink, lightly colored in with colored pencil.

Life is Good "Smart Cookie" t-shirt. My one real splurge. :) Although it was big on her then, and fits her well now, so we've gotten lots of use out of it!

Abby had 4 guests at her party -- 3 girls about her age, and a little boy who was 2 months old at the time, the son of my best friend, so they had to come too. :) 

Our only activities were free-play with Playdough, and blowing bubbles outside.

We were SO disappointed in the weather -- for the first weekend in June we were hoping for sunshine and the chance to splash around in the lake. But it was cold and rainy -- in fact I remember it being the last measurable rain for the majority of the summer (2012 was a really bad drought).

Oh and Daddy had to show Abby how to fly the kite she got for her birthday. (shortly after this picture was taken, Abby couldn't hold on any longer and the kite took off. Rocky jumped in the lake up to his knees to save it. What a good Daddy. :)

And finally we had CAKE. This was THE most amazing cake EVER. 

The secret?

Cookie dough (egg-less) in the middle.

(yes I made those photos extra-large so you could drool over them)

Oh my goodness. Everyone raved about it, and for good reason. I found the recipe here, and just used a box mix for the yellow cake. Served it with ice cream. The perfect end to our cookie party!

Now I'm so excited for this year's party -- the kids will actually be old enough for some games and crafts! I can't wait!! (and I promise I'll try to get that recap post up sooner than 9 months later ;-)

Monday, February 18, 2013

1000 Gifts: #51-60

51. Successfully weaning my 6-month-old from the swaddle.
52. Daily routines (especially naptimes!)
53. A 2.5-year-old telling me she needs to go potty (even when nothing ever happens on the toilet... it's a start :)
54. Finding plane tickets for $300 less than the others we'd been looking at the day before.
55. Tax refunds.
56. The opportunity for a week-long vacation with my husband this summer.
57. Pinterest activities that occupy my toddler.
58. Fundraisers at church that allow Rocky and I to enjoy a kid-less, candlelit dinner, and great conversation.
59. Hot showers.
60. Sunshine in Michigan in February.

Click here for more of my gratitude...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I [less than three] my husband

(I know that <3 is supposed to be a heart in the tech-y world, but every time I see it I read it as "less than three"... I must be married to a math teacher or something.)

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to bring you a post dedicated to a link party.

[Rocky's probably gonna kill me... he doesn't know about this...]

Kelly at View Along the Way and others are hosting this crazy Valentines-ish "hey girl" meme. I must not follow the right people on Pinterest, because this was the first time I read about the Ryan Gosling "hey girl" photos. 

I love my husband. He works hard all day teaching high school students, coaches tennis in the fall, leads the music team at church, serves on our church council, and still finds opportunities to serve me and the girls. He'll occupy them while I cook dinner. He'll pick up groceries on his way home from school. He'll put Abby to bed while I rock Ellie. He even enjoys doing dishes...

What a guy. Our 8th anniversary is in May. Happy almost-Valentines-Day, Rock. I don't know what I'd ever do without you...

And if any of you (or your spouses) enjoy math, physics, and astronomy -- he blogs too.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My "flowers"

Aren't they cute?!

Ellie is six months old today! So crazy! She's got 2 teeth, long hair, and every day is stretching her muscles more and more for rolling and trying to crawl. You can read her birth story here (if you like that kind of thing. :) )

What's in a name?

We knew right away what we wanted to name Abby -- even before we found out she was a girl. It was just something we liked the sound of, and when we learned what it meant it was even more special. "Abigail" means father's joy, or delight of the father (think of the Hebrew word for daddy, which is Abba).

Ellie was a little more difficult. We liked the name Ellie, but had a hard time choosing a full name to shorten to it. We tossed around three different names for months -- Rocky and I each liking a different one of the three at different times -- before we settled on Eleanor a couple weeks before she was born. "Eleanor" means light, or bright one.

Did you know that flowers have meanings too? The floral industry really capitalizes on the meanings of flowers, asking what message you're trying to send to whomever you're buying the roses/daisies/lilies for.

I did a little digging, and found a couple of flowers that I think match my "flowers" well. From

Calendula -- Joy

Buttercup -- Cheerfulness

And of course they're both yellow flowers -- my favorite. :)

Does your name/your kids name(s) have special meanings? Are there any flowers you really like that have a cool meaning?

Happy half-birthday Ellie!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My 2013 [Veggie] Garden Plans!

My garden, June 2012 (it's on a slight hill, so those rocks separate the flat levels)
Alrighty! After learning from last year, and giving y'all some history of my gardening experience, plus a look into where I get my seeds from, it's time to look ahead to this year's garden!

I've come to realize there are certain things I will always plant in my veggie garden.
  1. Green beans
  2. Zucchini
  3. Peas
These are things I know will always grow (although I've had trouble with squash bugs getting my zucchini plants the last couple years), and things that I will always have use for. I love cooking and baking with fresh zucchini. Beans and peas are great to blanch and freeze, and eat throughout the winter as well as fresh during summer.

(I'm still undecided on carrots... lately I've grown them each year and been able to harvest some, but unless we eat them fresh, the only reason I'd chop and freeze them would be to use in soup... which might be once a month throughout the winter??)

I try to limit myself to one (maybe two) "new" things each year. I've tried (and failed) with broccoli, peppers, lettuce, watermelon, and sweet corn. While I might go back and revisit them someday, for now I'm content to buy them from a farmers market instead.

So what will my new item be this year?? I've considered:
  1. Cucumbers -- Rocky doesn't like them (can't even stand the smell!), but I really do and I might be able to convince Abby to eat them with me. :) 
  2. Potatoes -- There are so many ways to eat potatoes, and they store well.
  3. Pumpkins -- For decoration more than for eating. Abby is at the age where carving or painting pumpkins next fall would be super fun.
As you can see from the photo above, my garden isn't very big, so I want to make sure I keep enough space for a good crop of the veggies I know will grow...

What do you think my "new" veggie should be?? Anything else not listed that I should try?

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