Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tis the Season

Braxton’s name was drawn as the winner of the $500 Wal-Mart gift card from the Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraising raffle.  As the president of their advisory board – I was a little stressed/nervous about what to do…

So, I talked to a friend – and she gave some pretty good advice about letting this be an opportunity to teach Braxton about giving. Then I talked to James – and he said that if ANY of his relatives with the last name “Kindel” would have won – SOME people would still think the same way….no matter how “fair” the drawing was….so Braxton shouldn’t be punished for being lucky, or for having a Mom on the board – because we wouldn’t expect any of the other “Kindel’s” to donate the card back. And finally, I had been feeling guilty that I hadn’t taken the time to do more for others this year. I did a lot of crafting to sell to others, which paid for my family’s Christmas….but I wanted to GIVE more to others – and I feel like this is a really good opportunity to do that.

Last night, I told Braxton about the raffle – and that I had bought a ticket for him and Keely to help out the BBBS program. I told him that his name was drawn, and what the prize was. I then assured him that our family had enough food, and that I had enough money to buy all of our Christmas presents. After telling him all of that – I asked him what HE thought we should do with the card. He said “we should buy some food for the poor – my school is collecting it, so we could bring it there.” I asked if he had some more ideas, and he said “we could buy them some Christmas presents too!” I was SO proud of him. And of course he is still a little boy….so after talking about all the things he was going to buy for others – he asked “what if there is some money left?” So I said he could probably pick out toy for being so generous to others. Then he said – “what if there is still a little bit left?” – and I told him maybe he could buy something for his little sister. He wanted to buy something for James and I too – but I told him that we didn’t need anything (and I am taking my kids shopping for their Dad separately).

He thought of ideas for different programs ALL evening, and even had trouble going to sleep because he said he couldn’t turn his brain off! This morning, he came into the kitchen when I was getting him breakfast and said “thanks for buying that ticket Mom.”  

I talked to one of the Sisters at Neighbor-to-Neighbor this morning. She gave me some ideas of what he could buy for their program, and asked me to call before having him bring them over so that their Director could be there for a photo-Op, and they’re planning to do a write-up about it. I think this could actually turn into a good opportunity for BBBS publicity, and for “Paying it Forward.” I think it will look good for our program to have the winner from a BBBS fundraiser turn around and help MANY different organizations – just another way to show how BBBS positively affects the community!! (And should be SUPPORTED so that it can stick around for a LONG time!!!!!).

Some of the other programs/people he would like to buy for are his school, the food bank, the family in Jamestown who’s house caught on fire….and I will be helping him to identify other needs in the community (CASA, etc….).
This little “project” will be called “Braxton’s Gift.”  We are starting TONIGHT with one family and two oganizations, and will purchase supplies, food, gifts, etc…  I will be keeping track of the list, the purchases, and the giving with Braxton’s notebook, receipts, and photos, and will be posting the project on this family blog.  We will do a few programs/families each week, and document our progress as we go. 
We are truly humbled by this experience, and proud to be helping turn a BBBS fundraiser into an opportunity to do even more than it was initially intended for. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Re-Commitment

Is that a word?  "Re-commitment" - if so, did I even spell it right?  Oh, where do I even begin.  It's been a while.  I don't even remember the date of my last blog - that's how long it's been.  I remember there being some drama, and then I made a cute necklace holder!  :) 

Ok, back to "Re-commitment."  What I mean by that is.....we've been so stinking busy that I feel like I've let what is most important fall through the cracks.  That makes me sad....and angry (mostly at myself).  The majority of our busy-ness lately has been (in no particular order):  School starting, Soccer practice/games, Gymnastics, Religion Class, New Real Estate Career, Managing an automotive repair center, Training a new staff member, volunteering with BBBS, volunteering with CCCC.....oh, and then there's the whole wife/mom/cook/clean stuff...

I've noticed that the spelling test grades haven't been as good this year....and there have been several math and reading worksheets that seem to always have "-2, please finish."  What is with this trend?  Last year I enforced additional spelling quizes, reading folders, and flash-cards almost every night of the week.  This year - we haven't even been home most nights of the week.  The after-school program still does the spelling/reading/math.....  It's not enough.  My kids need their parents.  They need us to make them practice at home - not just for the practice - but so they know we CARE.  I "tell" them all the time.  I express my disappointment when the homework isn't done well.  I express my excitement when I see the papers with all the "stars."  Actions speak louder than words. 

Soccer is over.  I helped coach this year.  I know nothing about soccer, but I love working with kids.  I was glad I helped - but I'm also glad it's over.  Other activities and commitments are winding down as well.  We're down to only a couple nights a week away from home...and usually for only an hour or two.  I'm also glad it's getting darker earlier.  I feel like things are slowing down (sort of), and we can work more on being a family. 

I envision better morning and evening routines (look, I even made charts!)

 

The only activity we have planned for this weekend is a family birthday party....so the rest of the time we plan to spend together, with friends, crafting, painting pumpkins, decorating for halloween, stuffing leaves into giant pumpkin trash bags.....I love Fall.
Pumpkin Patch near El Dorado, KS:
 Mummy T-light Holders:
 2x4 Pumpkins:

So - here's to shorter days out and about, and longer evenings at home with family.  They are my one true commitment.
God's Gift to me:
 Soccer Stud:
 Little Miss Sassypants:


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pretty as a Picture - Necklace Storage

I've seen lots of ideas in the Blog-World for jewelry storage, and have been really wanting to try the picture frame necklace holder.  I started with this large picture frame from the thrift store:

"Peacock" is the new hot color right now, and I'm loving it.... 
It took one coat of primer and two coats of spray paint.

I added small cup-hooks that I found at Menard's, and a strip of burlap to hang it from.

I'm LOVING the color...

And here it is on the wall in my craft room!  :)
I've hung necklaces I've made, two necklaces from my friend at Jen Creates,
one my hubby & kids gave me, one from my friend Jill, and one from Premier Designs.  :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Have a LICENSE!

YAY!  It's Official....my "new venture" is ready to begin!  My family and close friends know what I've been working on since June 15th - but now I'm ready to share my news with the rest of the WORLD.....haha....or at least whoever reads this post, and hopefully most of Cloud County....

I am now a Licensed Kansas REAL ESTATE AGENT!

I don't know what the exact "trigger" was that made me finally decide to take this leap....but here's how I "got there."  I've been interested in pursuing a real estate career since I was in my early twenties.  I admired from afar, the well respected agents in our community.  As a young person with a young family - I was always afraid to take that leap into this field.  It is, after all, not exactly "secure" income at times.  I also thought there seemed to be more than enough agents in our small community to fill the need.  So, I plugged away at my "real job" as my love of property grew.  The start of shows like "Property Virgins," "Designed to Sell," "Sell This House," and "Income Property" has really fueled my love of real estate these past several years. 

We had only used a Realtor once before in any of our previous property sales/purchases.  We purchased our first home at a real estate auction a couple of months after we got married.  It was tiny, but it worked well for a young couple just starting out in life.  A couple years later, we came upon a home that had gone into foreclosure (we did actually have a Realtor show us that home).  It needed a lot of work, but it was mostly cosmetic and we were up for the challenge.  We were SO excited to make this larger house a "home" were we could raise a family.  We kept our first home as a rental for about a year, and then someone offered to buy it from us - so we went ahead and sold it. 

Fast forward and trying to make a long story short.....we found another house we wanted to purchase, but had an unfortunate experience with a Realtor (again, trying to spare the details).  We sold our second home ourselves, and were left with no home to purchase.  We considered building at that time, but with our son's first birthday coming soon, we decided to buy the home we are currently in from the owners who had it "For Sale by Owner."  So, again, we hadn't had much experience using a Realtor other than for the purchase of our second home, and the unfortunate experience we did have.....was frustrating.

So, that brings us to last fall.  We looked at a few houses, thought about building again, thought about putting our home on the market....and then chickened out for the winter.  When Spring came, we came across a couple more houses that we really liked.  We're really just looking for an extra bedroom for guests/my crafts, and MORE garage space for James' wrecker for when he gets called out during the cold winter nights.  We were afraid that with our home being a little more expensive this time...it would be harder to find a buyer ourselves.  So, after having met with a few different realtors that showed us some different homes....we decided to put our home on the market with the realtor that we felt was the most ambitious. 

God has a plan for us all, and after watching two homes that we both really liked sell to other families while our home has yet to receive an offer....as well as now not being able to find a home that we feel best suites our needs....AND, not being quite ready to build....it feels like this might not be the right time to sell our home.  And that's okay.  James and I are honest, trust-worthy people.  We keep our word, and we are finishing out our current real estate contract.  After all, you never know....there may still be someone who is ready to make our house their home. 

So, where does this leave us now?  Well, we still live in a beautiful home for which we are very thankful and feel very blessed.  I feel that I have learned a lot of "life lessons" through our personal experiences with Real Estate Companies and Agents, and I have gained a lot of knowledge about the laws and ethics of real estate through my education these last couple of months.  I have joined an agency that I feel I will fit in comfortably with, and I am SO excited to get started! 

As far as the shop goes.....James and I purchased Budreau Muffler, Automotive & Tow from Ben & Julia Budreau in October 2007.  From the months of planning in advance, and ever since that big day - this business has become a huge part of our lives.  We overcame adversity in those first few months as we were surrounded by rumors of "how we did it," and nearly four years later are still working very hard and doing quite well with our amazing customers and awesome staff.  In fact, part of the reason I am able to pursue this dream of becoming a real estate agent is because my husband and also our service advisor have been SO supportive.  They do a wonderful job at the shop so that I don't have to be worried when I'm away.

I talked in my last blog post about being hurt by others and things that they said.  It happened when we bought our shop, and it has already happened before I even got my license in the mail as I venture into this new industry.  I don't know why some people say the things that they do.  I don't know why some people believe the things those people say about others.  I do know who I am, and how I got to this point.  I've spared several unpleasant details because I don't think it's appropriate to air others' mistakes....so I've simply tried to discuss myself.  I wouldn't be where I am today, with the family I have, the business that we have, and the friends and community relationships that I value - if I wasn't an honest, trust-worthy, hard-working person.  So, again I'll thank God, my family, my close friends, and those in the community who have helped me become the person I am today, who have stood beside me along the way, and who have defended my family.

That being said, I will actually still be working at the shop during the day.  I am able to leave the office to show property or meet with clients, and am certainly available in the evenings and on weekends.  The agency that I am licensed with is Thummel Real Estate and Auction, LLC.  They are located on 6th street right next to Kristy's Restaurant.  The office is open in the afternoons, and Kelly is super friendly and helpful.  My cell number is 785-243-5221 for anyone that would like to go "House Hunting" with me, or would like to list their property for sale.

And, as always.....if you have any questions about me.....just ask!  Please & Thank You!!  :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Where Did July Go?

I've been having trouble sleeping lately.  I haven't been able to shut my mind off.  I lie in bed and my head just thinks and thinks and thinks....about our shop, about our children, about my projects, about my new venture (details of said venture to come soon)....I can't turn the thoughts OFF.  There have been some wonderful things happening this last 4-6 weeks, and also a couple things that have been bothering me.  It really does help me to "write them down" to help get them off my mind.  That's when I realized I hadn't done a blog post in over a month.....so I'm hoping this will help!  :)

I turned 30 last month!  I've never really been concerned about it.  I'm very blessed with my family, husband, children, friends, home, business, etc...  In fact, I'm probably happier and feel more accomplished now than I ever have been.  So 30 is pretty darn good.  While I'm not so much concerned with numbers....I don't necessarily love those little lines that seem to be showing up around my eyes.  Thankfully, Mary Kay makes some stuff to help with that.  Did I mention I started selling Mary Kay back in April?  I met an amazing consultant at the Spring Fling Craft Bazaar that I hosted.  I had a party because I'd been wanting to take better care of my skin instead of using a mis-matched variety of "stuff."  There was a lot of stuff I wanted, and it was a lot cheaper for me to just become a consultant than buy it all outright.  So, now I order whenever I need to and keep a little bit on hand of the products I know my friends and family use.

Braxton turned 7 last month!  :)  That kid is growing so fast.  He's so fun, energetic, athletic, creative, and full of personality.  He loves skateboarding, playing with friends, singing/dancing to rap music, and playing golf.  His favorite food is steak - and he can eat more of it than me.  His favorite color is red, followed closely by orange (Tony Stewart's current and former race car colors).  He played baseball this summer, and plans to play Soccer instead of flag football this fall, and wrestling this winter.

Keely has had a great summer.  She did great with swimming lessons, and also LOVED gymnastics.  She'll be starting at a new preschool a week from tomorrow, and she's SO excited.  She's also planning to do gymnastics throughout the school year.  She's such the little "mini me" sometimes....and I love it.  She has also become more of a daddy's girl lately - which is great.  She wants to ride with Daddy on the mower, and go with him if he's just running some errands here in town.  He has a hard time telling her no when she wants to go ...which is so cute. 

So, on to more stuff with me.  We've been busy at the shop - which is great.  But with all businesses there are some struggles.  I think communication is sometimes one of our struggles.  James and I have been talking a lot about that lately, and trying to work towards some solutions.  We're grateful for the team we have at our shop, and look forward to making some improvements to better serve our growing customer base.

And....here's the thing that's been bothering me the most.  James found out a couple days ago that someone had made the comment that James and I were liers and couldn't be trusted.  This person made the comment to someone that is actually a good friend of James'.  I don't know if that person didn't realize that - but nonetheless, it was said.  Thankfully, our friend corrected the person about the accusation - and even the example that the person had given.  It still hurt though, really bad.  It has weighed heavily on my heart the last few days. 

I can not recall a time in my life when I've ever been called a lier (except maybe by my brother when we were little??).  James and I are both very honest people.  We've actually been complimented on that trait multiple times in our automotive business.  For example, if someone comes in to have their car aligned, and we discover that an alignment will not fix their problem - we tell them, and don't align their car - or charge them for it.  I'm not going to go so far to say that a little white lie has never left my lips.  I don't like hurting people's feelings - so I'll smile and tell you I like your haircut or your shirt - even if I don't particularly care for it - I confess (except with my Mom, we're pretty blunt with each other...lol).

As a business owner, it's not exactly a good thing to have someone in your community making accusations against you - however false they may be.  I've been worried about it, but I've prayed for peace and forgiveness not only for those who may be upset with us in some way - but also for strength so that we may forgive those who have hurt us. 

I often times go out of my way to be nice, caring, thoughtful, and appreciative towards others.  That's actually one of the reasons I love facebook.  I'm not always good at initiating face-to-face contact - but I LOVE being able to slip someone a quick message.  Whether it be a "Happy Birthday" or "I hope you feel better soon" - it's a great way to show someone you're thinking about them, and that you care.  I'll keep doing that - even to those who have hurt me.  I'm not good at confrontations....but I also will only take so much.  So, I'll pray some more that this too shall pass - and if not, I'll take that next step and have those conversations that no one really likes to have.

James and I aren't perfect.  We've made mistakes, and as humans we will continue to make them.  I believe you are not defined by the mistakes you make, but by how you correct them.  We treat people with the utmost respect.  We are honest, hard-working, and caring people.....and I'm thankful that our family and close friends know that about us, and are willing to help correct any misunderstandings that others may have about that.

As a final note - and I've said this to MANY people - if you have a question or concern about me, my husband, or our life....Just ASK!  I'm very open and honest about pretty much everything.  Living in a small town - I know there will always be rumors (do you remember some of them from when we bought our business??!!).  It's okay.  I know my family and close friends know the truth.  For anyone who doesn't - again, just ask and I'll tell you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Groovy to Safari

I found the neatest little bookcase while thrifting at the Catholic Thrift Shop downtown.  I could tell someone had definitely put some time and creativity into its paint job....
  Groovy Baby!!!  LOL
 I had a feeling it was going to take more than a quick paint job to cover up the 'shrooms....so I borrowed my mom's sander.  That's right.....me......with a power tool.  Be afraid, be VERY afraid.
 See - can't you tell I was VERY afraid!  Bahahahaa.....
 And let me tell you.....it took a LOT of sanding to erase those groovy mushrooms...

It then took several coats of primer, a little more sanding and cleaning, and a few coats of my trusy heirloom white spray paint.  I also planned to cover the backs of the shelves with fabric because that back piece is just an old piece of particle board and is pretty rough.  I didn't have enough of the fabric left over from the cushion of bench that I redid.....so I decided to go a little more wild in the spirit of the shrooms....and ended up with this:
Ggrrr BABY!  LOL, actually just a peaceful giraffe, my Fav. 

 Here is a close up of the distressing that I like to do....to go along nicely with the imperfections that are already in the piece.  (It's SO much less stressful to not have to be perfect)

Isn't she purrrrrdy??!!  I don't know where I'm going to put it.....might even end up selling it - but I'm pretty proud of how it turned out - and glad to have it done!  :)

I got a REALLY good start on several more projects today....which makes me HAPPY.  Probably won't have another chance to work on them again until next Sunday - but that's okay.  Busy week ahead!  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lamp ReFAB

Several months ago.....I bought these two lamps at the thrift store.  They were maroon with brass accents....(sorry, no before pic)....just picture the ugly out-datedness....  I painted them this dark chocolate brown right away....and then they sat in my garage....for months.

I finally got them back out this evening to do the jute wrap treatment that I've been wanting to do.  It went pretty well....only a couple sore fingers from hot glue! 

Then, it was time for the lamp shades.  I had bough these two cute ones on sale:
Unfortunely, they do not fit on this large lamp.  I'm not very experienced with lamps.....and didn't realize there are different kind of shades for different kinds of lamps??  Anyway, I had this other one that I had picked up at a thrift store, and it fit perfectly!  So....on to making it pretty instead of ugly!

TaDa! 

I knew I wanted to do some sort of muslin fabric treatment, and you know how I don't love to sew....so this is what I came up with!  I gathered it around the top first, and glued every couple inches with hot glue.  Then I did the same to the bottom, and it ended up "laying" very nicely! 

I've also made these little rosettes, but I'm not sure what to do with them yet.  I could attach some to the base, or to the shade....?

Oh, and here is my model who always loves to takes pics with finished products!  :)

I still have that other lamp to do - but might do it a little differently.  Oh, and sorry for the crappy lighting on these indoor pictures....it was pouring down rain outside last night when I was doing this project!  :)

I've got LOTS more new projects that I'm either in the process of working on....or chomping at the bit to get started on....finding the time has definitely been the challenge.  We've been SUPER busy at the shop, and for that we are very grateful.  Of course our kids' schedules haven't let up a whole lot.  And I also have a new and exciting venture in the works that I can't WAIT to tell you all about....hopefully in a couple more weeks!!!  :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I sewed something!?!

Can you believe it??!!  I actually sewed an article of clothing.  I still can't believe it.  NO pattern, NO help, completely from scratch.  I had saved one red and one blue bandana from a charity event because I knew I wanted to make something out of them.  A few days ago - I pictured it.  I cute little skirt for Keely with pointy edges at the bottom.  But how??  How do I take these two bandanas and turn it into the picture that's in my head???

I decided I needed to cut the bandanas into fourths.  I didn't know what I was doing - I was just going to have to piece this thing together and hope for the best.  So, Keely and I laid it out on the floor to see if we could make it work.

I know a few tiny basics about sewing (thanks to my mom) - so I knew that I needed to sew "right sides" together, etc...  I went along and sewed the alternating colors together, and then folded over the top points and ironed them so that I could sew an opening to thread the elastic through (I did this part backwards - but it turned out cute with pointy details on the waistband).  Keely documented my progress...

I cut a piece of elastic to fit around Keely's waist, and then threaded it through my openings and sewed it together.  I had to make a few stitches here and there to make it all work out.....and had to re-thread my sewing machine SEVERAL times (WTH....that can't be normal).  ANYWAY....it's NOT perfect.....but someone very special to me LOVED it, and I was SO excited that it turned out just as I had pictured.

This is what she'll be wearing for the 4th of July party we're attending.  T-shirt from Wal-Mart, hairbows from Baby Mine.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Lazy Day

I just realized this post "posted" before I ever actually wrote anything on it.....
just downloaded pics....Silly me.

In case you can't tell, we had a VERY Lazy Sunday a few weeks ago.
We stayed in our jammies all day and didn't leave the house.
The kids' rooms were not cleaned.

Laundry and unpacking was not done.

I did cook though.

And I made this gorgeous necklace for Rachel. 
It can be worn long, or in layers. 
I love it.
Might just have to make one for myself too....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer: It's Official

I feel like it has been a crazy throw-it-in-my-face Summer Is HERE week.  I did not REALIZE that ALL of the youth activities in our community are jam-packed into the month of June!  Throw that in with everything being in the morning, at the same time, and across town from each other.....and you've got one wired Momma trying to keep the schedule straight while not getting a speeding ticket.

I have two children, an almost 7-year old boy, and a 4 year old girl.  I LOVE having two kids, and I LOVE having one boy and one girl.  Kids are expensive, and I've always wanted to be able to afford to let them try new activities/sports/etc... to see what they like, what they are good at, and watch them succeed. 

Braxton is starting his second summer in Jr. Golf.  He LOVES golf.   This may be because his Dad loves golf...but it's a joy to watch him play and to see how much he enjoys it.  Golf is two mornings a week.  He has also started swimming lessons for the first time this year.  I would have liked to have had him start a couple years ago - but I've never been able to leave the shop to take him to/from until this year (it's SO nice to have an awesome co-worker!).  He seems to really like swimming lessons, and they are EVERY morning for the first two weeks in June.  Braxton goes to CAP in the summer, which is great because he gets to hang out with kids his own age, go swimming a few days a week, and do lots of fun activities.  Three evenings a week, we head out to the ball fields for his first year of coach-pitch baseball.  He plays for the American Legion team.  He's doing pretty well with batting, and is reallly good at throwing.  Catching still needs some work.....and he has a really hard time paying attention when he's in the outfield.  Oh well, all in good time.  :)

Keely is trying gymnastics again this summer.  She went for one month last year, but had a really hard time not wanting her Momma....  This year, after going to the Spring Gymnastics Show with her eyes GLUED to the gymnasts, she RAN onto the mat the first day and has been doing GREAT ever since!  It might help that she has her very own leotard!  :)  She seems to really enjoy it, has been working really hard on the skills, and I'm SO Proud of her!  She has also started swimming lessons two days per week this summer, and is doing great!

On one hand, I feel like I'm counting down until the end of June so our schedule will slow down a little....but on the other hand - I LOVE being a Taxi-Mom, and I LOVE watching my kids grow in all they do.  I can't even imagine when my kids will be grown and no longer need their Taxi-Mom - but I know that day will come sooner than I would like.....so I'm going to love every minute I have of it!  :)

How is YOUR summer going so far??!!  :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

10 Years!!??!!

This coming Thursday, June 9, 2011.....will be my 10 year Anniversary with my husband James Kindel!  Holy Cow!  Can you believe it's been 10 years?  Am I really that old??!!  NOPE, we got married pretty young. ;)  I know there are people out there who didn't think we would make it this far.  It's okay.  I know that we're in the minority....not all that many marriages make it this far.  But I'm sure glad we have!  :)  And I don't think there are very many people out there that questions whether we'll make it MANY more years together...

We WERE going to take a big fancy trip - but we're also in the middle of possibly selling our home and then buying/building something bigger.....SOOOOOO....we decided to pinch our pennies a bit and have a wonderful 3-day vaca in downtown Kansas City.  I was super cheap and booked a super cheap hotel because we wanted to spend money on doing stuff, and shopping, and eating REALLY good food.  The hotel (Ramada Inn) smelled bad, and wasn't very nice....thankfully the room was at least clean - but I'll never stay there again.

We took off Thursday evening, which meant we took A DAY OFF FROM THE SHOP - OMG!!!  We are SO incredibly Thankful and Grateful that we have AMAZING staff at our shop who are AWESOME and run things just as smoothly (probably smoother) when we're not there!  THANK YOU Jill, Judd & Randy!

We started our little trip with supper at a tiny little restaurant in Topeka with a friend from high school, his super-nice wife, and their adorable baby girl!  I don't remember what the restaurant was called....it was tiny, tucked back in the woods....but the food was pretty good, and the conversation was even better.  We went to their house afterwards to chat.  The guys chatted about business, etc....while us girls chatted about blogs, and making stuff, and our Cricut machines, and being Mommy's!  It was GREAT!  Can you believe we stayed there until 12:30am??  Which means we didn't get to our hotel in downtown KC until 2am!  YAWN......

Friday morning we slept in, and then headed out to Legends for some shopping.  Yes, James and I actually shopped TOGETHER.  He lasted for over 2 hours.  I was quite impressed....LOL.  His back has been bothering him a LOT lately, so we headed off to find him somewhere to get a massage, and for me to get a mani/pedi.  We found the perfect little shopping plaza where we could get our services just a few doors down from each other - but we couldn't get in until 4pm.....so we had an hour and a half to kill.  Can you even GUESS where James suggested we go???  NO - you can't, b/c I still can't believe it myself.  I don't think we've EVER been to one together.  It was a JEWELRY store!

Yep, we went to JARED!  And I got a new wedding ring for our 10-year Anniversary!!!!! 
OMG!!!!!  I still can't hardly believe it!  We're always so strict with our money and really only put it towards our home or our business, etc.....  When we got married, we used the ring that my Dad and Mom had used when they were married (the ones that got divorced - but don't worry, we weren't jinxed! LOL).  Then for our 1-year Anniversary, I got a new wedding set.  It was nice, fairly modest, and very inexpensive (again, we spend money on houses people....not jewelry).  I had mentioned to James a year ago that maybe we could look into getting a new ring for our 10th....because mine had been through a LOT.  I had popped the diamond off while pushing Braxton in the swing when he was little.  I somehow got it smashed on my finger, and then tried to get it off with vice-grips - which of course smashed it on WORSE.  I thought I had ruined the thing several times, but the jeweler was always able to pry it back into shape....but it was looking a little rough. 

When we went into the store, I really wasn't actually expecting to get a new ring.  We looked....I was super intimidated and nervous because of how nice and fancy and expensive everything was.  We hadn't even talked about a budget for if we DID happen to want to buy something.  I found a ring I liked, but it was probably at the very top of what I would have felt comfortable spending....and it didn't even include the diamond!!!  Yikes!  BUT....then we were able to find almost the same ring with lots of small diamonds instead of one big honker in the middle - and it was so ME!  It was the style I had been drooling over for a year, and it was 1/2 the price of the other one, and it included all the diamonds, and I wouldn't be too afraid to wear it!  SO....anyway.....here it is!


I was being really "tough" in the store, and wasn't getting emotional.  Then we paid for it and had it resized while James had his massage and I got my mani-pedi.  We went back to pick it up, and when we got back to the car I gave James a big kiss and hug....and couldn't stop a few little tears.  Geesh, I'm even welling up a bit just typing this.  We work SO hard, and we definitely get pretty stressed fairly often...with each other, with our business, with our children...etc.....  It was just really, really nice.  And I really, really love him.  :)

Okay...back to the rest of the trip:  Then we headed to the restaurant that he was most looking forward to eating at on our trip....LONGHORNS.  We got there early b/c we were planning to go to the 7pm Royals game that evening.  There was no wait (awesome), and the food was A-MA-ZING!  Seriously!!!!  We had the cheese-stuff mushrooms for the appetizer - they were to die for!  James had the ribeye (b/c James ALWAYS has the ribeye).  I had the shrimp and lobster topped filet.  I'm not usually much of a steak eater - but this was INCREDIBLE!  It was SO GOOD.  I got the sweet potato with cinnamon and butter for my side, which was also REALLY good.  Then we went to the Royals game because James had never been.  They lost, but we still had fun!  (That's were the above pic was taken)  :)  Since we had been up so late the night before, we went home after the game b/c we're OLD and we were TIRED, and we still had 2 days left of stuff to do!  :)

James made a tee time for Saturday morning to play golf, so we got up and I dropped him off at the course, and then took off to do a little more shopping.  The golf course was in a cute little Missouri town, and it was Saturday morning.  You know what that means, right??  Garage Sales!  I couldn't help it....they were right off the road I was driving on....and there were 2, back to back.  I HAD to stop!  I ended up getting a cute butterfly rhinestone iron-on that I think I'll put on a little bag for Keely, a package of black feathers that I might possibly make some jewelry out of, and a cute little "thing" that I'll be featuring as a project in a future post!  The total was supposed to be $2, which was awesome.  I brought it all up to the lady and she says, "I'll take $1 for everything."  I said oh no, it's fine, I'll pay $2, and she was like "no, $1 is fine."  Well, I've never heard of the seller negotiating a lower price for the buyer, but I wasn't gonna stand there and argue anymore - so SCORE for me!  :)

Then I headed a little farther away to try to find the bead stores that I'd looked up online to see if I could find any fabulous stuff for new jewelry.  Well, I drove through a CRAP LOAD of construction, only to find that the first store I'd plugged into my GPS was CLOSED, Out of Business.  :(  The second store was open, and had beatiful things.  It was a little pricey, so I only chose a few things that were just too gorgeous to pass up, and I can already envision what I'll make with them.  Then I went to Michaels for a few more crafty items.  As I was leaving, I realized I'd missed about 4 calls from James trying to let me know that I needed to head his way b/c he was almost done golfing.  OOpppss!  How exactly does ones phone turn to vibrate mode all on it's own?  Well, I figured out how to get it set back to ring while I drove BACK thru that Crap Load of construction. 

We ate a quick lunch at Arby's (their Turkey Bacon Wrap is really good!), and then it was back to the hotel for a NAP!  After that we hit the casino.  I'm not a big fan of gambling, but James likes it and he's usually pretty good/lucky/whatever.  He taught me how to play Black-Jack with a 3 something???  idk....I didn't much care for it.  He didn't fair so well either this time around.  I played a slot machine.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I put $5 in, got up to $15...couldn't decide if I should quit since I'd won or keep playing, got down to $12 and then cashed out.  That's right....high roller.  LOL 

After not having much luck at Harrah's, we went to the Cheesecake Factory!!!  YUMMY!  We had the calamari (James and I LOVE calamari), and we also had a shrimp tempura-type appetizer that was on special.  I had a peach bellini drink.  It was AWESOME....SO peachy and delicious!  Then I had a shrimp and angel hair pasta dinner, and James had a chop-steak of some sort.  It was all REALLY good.  We got  cheesecake, of course...but had to get it to-go....we were SO full.  James got a chocolate cake toasted coconut type of thing, and I had the classic with strawberry topping.  And then we could hardly lay down to go to sleep because we were SO full.  LOL

Sunday morning we were headed to the STP 400 Nascar races (thanks for the tickets O'Reilly's!).  IT.WAS.HOT.  Holy Cow, it was SO friggin Hot, and LOUD.  I've been to one Nascar race before, in North Carolina.  I seem to recall that I wasn't really thinking I would care to go again.....I should have remembered that.  I tried to be a trooper for my husband's sake (he loves it and goes every October).  I had to wear an ear plug to protect the ear I had surgery on, AND the head phones b/c it was still too loud.  I sprayed sunscreen on every 45 minutes (which worked really well, I was barely even pink!), and I drank lots of water....but was still MISERABLE.  I'm allergic to smoke, and there were smokers EVERYWHERE.  I was SO HOT.  The head phones were heavy on my head/neck....and then it started.....the migraine :(.  I took several breaks up above in the shade where it was cooler, and took my Advil Migraine medicine...but it wasn't cutting it.  James decided to leave early (thank you GOD) so we could beat the traffic.  I felt like I barely made it back to the car.  I took my other "rescue" migraine medicine and layed back in the seat.  I woke up when we got to Topeka and my migraine was gone (thank you GOD, again....and also thank you migraine "rescue" medicine...whatever it's called...?). 

We picked up our kiddos from my Mom in Junction City.  Thank you SOOOOO MUCH Grandma Mary for taking such WONDERFUL care of our kiddos so we could have such an awesome three-day anniversary trip!!!  :) We missed those kiddos....a lot.  :)  And now we're SO glad to be home.  We had lots of fun, AMAZING food, and an incredible time.  But we both decided that we couldn't live like that every day.  Between the food and activities....we'd be 300 pounds and broke!  :)  Here's to the next 10 years!  :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knock-Offs

I've seen (and drooled over) a LOT of other brave bloggers out there that have been inspired by designer jewelry and fashions....and instead of paying those pricey prices....have gritted their teeth and made their own!  Ok, I don't know if there was actual teeth gritting on their part - but I do sometimes find myself CLENCHING my teeth as I work hard to get a design just right (you know, how I've pictured it in my HEAD).

So, that's what I've been up to lately (in between filling orders...THANK YOU SO MUCH to all those who have ordered items from me....I LOVE making them for you....LOVE IT!).....Anyway....I've been making "Knock-offs"!!!  Or at least, I guess that's what you call it.  I've been seeing other awesome stuff out there, and making similarly designed items for a super small FRACTION of the price. 

I'm not an overly fashionable person....but I've recently come to believe that it's not because I don't WANT to be fashionable....oh no, it has MUCH more to do with the fact that I don't want to SPEND so much of my hard earned money on such high priced "fashion!"  I mean, I have kids to feed, clothe, spoil, etc....

Instead of going crazy with online shopping - I go crazy with MAKING.  Here are some of the latest:
My very first "knock off" - inspired by a Kate Spade necklace.  It took me almost two hours to make b/c I kept having to re-do the stems until I figured out the best way to make them straight!  :)


Another Kate Spade "knock-off"  The concept and supplies I wanted to use were floating around in my head for a while...finally figured out how to make it work this evening!  :)

Close-Up of the Flowery Fun!  :)


I think I first saw these birds nest necklaces on one of the blogs I follow (I REALLY need to get better about keeping track and then providing a link back to those blogs....
uhmmm.....as soon as I figure out how to "do a link.").

I just love them....they're the cutest little things.  I feel the need to make one in every possible color of glass pearl.  I'll try to control myself....


This is a J-Crew "knock-off".  Another blogger did it, and had a tutorial, and I made my own from that. 
I REALLY like this one too.  :)

Close up of the Sparkle....These can be done in any color assortment. 
What should I do next??!!


This is actually one of MY designs.  I like things pretty simple, and balanced, but also a little different.

And, here's one of the latest little interchangeable jewelry projects I've been working on:
I've made them in a variety of beaded designs...with LOTS of ribbon colors to choose from to swap out with!  For more pics of the designs available...check out this facebook album:

Sooooo.....you wanna know what ELSE I've been up to? 

I'm starting an ETSY shop!!!  SQUEALLLL!  I'm SO excited!!! BUT.....I didn't realize how LONG it would take me to upload all my pics of all my products!  It's been a little overwhelming.  I'm trying to organize how I can make it a little less daunting.  Maybe I'll do one product per week and have it be like a "feature album"....that way I could let everyone know on facebook and through my blog which items would be coming up for sale each week??  idk....I'll get it figured out. 

WHAT?  You don't know what ETSY is?  That's okay, I didn't either until I started dabbling in this wonderfully fun world of crafting and blogging.  The website is http://www.etsy.com/ and they sell ONLY hand-made items, vintage items, and supplies for making things.  It's like the crafters EBAY!  :)  There are SO many neat things on that site.  Check it out!  :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Coupon Experience

Do you "coupon?"  I guess it's a verb now...?  Or are you a "couponer?"  It's not like I've NEVER used a coupon before....sure I have.  Hellloooo....Kohl's discounts, Bath & Body Works, etc...  But I'm talking about browsing magazines and newspapers to clip out coupons and haul them to the store and actually REMEMBER to get the stuff you have coupons for and hand them over to the cashier.

Well, I tried that this evening.  Actually....I clipped the coupons last week out of some magazines...and finally got around to using them this evening.  I tried really hard to only clip out the ones that me and my family would ACTUALLY use...and not a bunch of coupons for new things to TRY...JUST because I had a coupon.  I think it would be easy to end up spending MORE money from buying extra unnecessary things - JUST because I had a coupon.

So....I'm not gonna lie.  It was a little awkward.  Do you hand them the coupons as you go along and they scan your items?  Or do you hand them all over at the end?  One of the coupons wasn't scanning...so I wasn't sure if they were going to honor it.  After fooling around with it for several minutes - they finally just entered it manually.  It was hard not to feel a little embarrassed on my first time out.  What if a long line had formed behind me and people started looking at me funny like "Geez....crazy coupon lady holding up the line!"?

Overall, it was worth the weirdness - because I ended up saving about $6.50....and with my total bill only being $19ish...that's a pretty good percentage for my first go of it!  :)  That's right people - you haven't seen the last of the new coupon lady!  I need to do better about searching out the coupons for the specific items that I KNOW we will need, or use weekly...that way I can be more prepared for my weekly grocery shopping trips and save even more $$$$!! 

Disclaimer - this coupon shopping trip was done WITHOUT children.  I assure you that if I would have had my children with me, there would have been about a 92% chance of me FORGETTING to HAND the Cashier the COUPONS!  I will probably have to work hard to improve this average - because my children are in fact usually WITH me when I have to get groceries.  I'll keep you posted on how THAT goes. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Bench - REVEALED!

Remember a while back when I showed you this?

It was my original "score."  My first exciting "Make It NEW - Decor" project that I couldn't WAIT to make fit perfectly into my space.  After some cleaning, priming, painting, distressing, and Mom making the cushion for me out of some fabric I had picked out and some foam....we have:

I used the same heirloom white spray paint as I did in the small foot stool project, and distressed the edges.

I love the look of the distressed edges.  It also makes me WAY less picky about if it gets "bumped" or if a there is a small paint chip, etc...  I also love the fabric I found for the cushion.  My mom did a great job sewing it for me!!!

Cute, functional organization....LOVE. 

Here is where it lives now:


Just need to find some baskets in the right size....and we'll be good to go for attempting to keep all the kids' stuff organized for summer, and then school....and so on!  :)

It's been a GREAT weekend.  I probably have enough fun stuff to talk about for a post for each night of the week this week....but we'll see if that actually happens. 

For now - here's a sneak peak of my next project....
BAhahahaha....ME, with a Power Tool, and an ugly bookshelf.  Be afraid...be very afraid (you know, like I AM.....can you SEE the FEAR in my eyes??!!!)  LOL