Monday, May 31, 2010


"The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our dead hero[es] today
Is not of speech or roses red, 
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain."
-Edgar A. Guest
I am thankful today for the brave soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation.

May we honor their sacrifice by treasuring the freedom they fought and died for.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

::Weekend Bloggy Reading::

Happy Friday!

Thanks to each of you who linked up to my Decorating Dilemmas Party and spent some time visiting the other participants. It was a blast! The winner of the copy of Celebrate Summer is Ashley from The Buchanans.
Now, on to the good stuff....

~In LOVE with Lynette's Faux Jewelry T-shirts. My girls would flip for these!

~Do you spend more time whining about chores instead of doing them? I'd get a lot more laundry put away if I followed Meredith's lead.

~Kate makes doing laundry look like fun with her "Centsational" Laundry room Redo.

~Jen has me (maybe) hoping that Michaela Byrd gets tired of her crib soon. Check out her fab Crib to Bench Makeover.

~Stacey shared a precious Organizing/Gift Idea. Perfect for those of us who are ritual magazine rippers.

~Lindsey took her readers on a tour of her studio. I wish I had a studio. Sniff...

~Darling Ric Rac Half Apron. Love!

~This is a Summer To-Do List I'd love to copy. I guess I'll have to work on my own, though, huh?

~J'adore this New Linky Party. There's an actual theme going on! Mucho fun.

T always. works. Memorial Day weekend, so it will be same old, same old around here. The girls don't know that the pool opens on Monday...I might keep them in the dark until later on in the week. The water is still too cold! I still have some shopping to do this afternoon for that frou frou sheshe wedding in Texas. Need a statement necklace! Would love to hit a yard sale or two on Saturday and find a plant stand, some pots, and an outdoor storage box for our backyard, but I would also love to see if the girls might sleep past 8. Is that wishful thinking?

{What do you have going on this weekend?}

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Schoooool's Out for Summer!

Yesterday was the last day of preschool before summer vacation....Excuse me while I go medicate myself.

The Young 4s Class celebrated (or maybe it was just the teachers who celebrated while the moms wept quietly in the parking lot) with a picnic lunch, decorated visors, popsicles, and chasing bubbles on the school lawn.

Here's Natalie and one of her besties, B. I am certain this pair made sure their teachers were on their toes this year.

Luckily, siblings were invited, and Michaela Byrd and R (B's little brother) made themselves right at home.

My friend Christy (from I {Heart} New York}) is B and R's mama, and she thinks he may be trying to woo her.

But she only had eyes for the popsicles.

Until it fell on the ground and she got dirt stuck to her hands and feet. R seemed indifferent.
I'll let you know if it works out for them.

I am really going to miss these two ladies this summer:
Two days a week, from 9:00 am to 12:15 pm, these wonderful, patient, kind preschool teachers manage to corral a handful of four year olds and actually impart knowledge upon them. It's amazing.

It also gave me a chance to go to Target with only one kid, which is about as close to heaven as I can get these days.

So, besides going to Target, I do have a few things up my sleeve for ways to keep my girlies busy this summer. One of these days, I'll repost/edit something I did last year with thrifty summer activities for kids.

So for now, I'll ask you...what do you like to do to stay active but still have fun during the summer?

*If you linked up to my Decorating Dilemmas Party this week, please be sure you have visited some of the links and/or returned visits paid to your blog. I don't want to be a harpie, but this party doesn't work unless everyone participates. Thanks!*
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Decorating Dilemmas Party...Round 8!

Welcome to my Decorating Dilemmas party, a spot for bloggers to link up with a Decorating Dilemma (or Solution) and receive some helpful feedback from other participants.

As always, please please read my guidelines as a courtesy to me before you link up here:

1. Please include a link to this party somewhere within your post, OR use this blog button code:
Decorating Dilemmas

This helps your readers find the party to participate in the fun.

2. When you add your link to my inlinkz list, please be sure to use the permalink to your specific party post, not your blog's homepage.
Please feel free to email me if you have questions or trouble adding your link. Sometimes the inlinkz system is a little bit testy.

3. Please, pretty please, leave me a comment with your link.
This is helpful if I need to edit links or if I have problems with inlinkz. Also, I have a Dilemma I need help with too...otherwise I wouldn't be hosting. {wink}

Please try to visit at least one or two other links on the list. If you need a few days to do that, it's fine with me. I try to host parties that include participation and encourage community. Otherwise, this is just a long list of links and that's no fun for anyone. You'll be surprised at how easy (and fun!) it is to see someone else's Dilemma and come up with all sorts of creative solutions.

Bloggers who link up with a (valid!) link will be entered to win a copy of:

Okay, link up here and don't forget to scroll down and let me know what I should do with my Dilemma. The party will be open for new links until 10 pm ET on Wednesday. Short, but sweet!

Here's my Dilemma for May:
I've had this old crate for ages. I was using to keep the dog toys in, which was stupid because neither dog really plays with toys. They'd much rather nap and lay on the air conditioning vents.

I'm planning on using it to house my growing stack of "to-read" magazines, but my Dilemma is:
~Clean it up and leave it as-is OR paint it?

If I paint it, white or black? Stencil something on it? What to stencil? So many ideas.

What do you think?

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Shabby (Chic) Dog Update

So many of you left sweet comments last week when I told you about my very unconventional Mother's Day Gift that I thought you might like an update.

Penny has assimilated quite nicely into the T household.
I do have to remind the girls that the poor little thing is 12 years old and can't run and jump and play, but they really want to take care of her.
Emma has never been much of a lap dog, although she likes to sit on T's feet while he watches The History Channel. Penny would be happy to sit in my lap all day long. Since we can't have a cat (T is allergic), she fits the bill.

Her blood work from the vet came back A-okay, she's eating more, and we are watching her eye to make sure she's not uncomfortable. I'd say that's a pretty happy ending for a little old dog who was tied up to a sign in a church parking lot!
We're happy to have our little Shabby Chic dog.

*You can click here to get the details about the Decorating Dilemmas party, which goes up tonight at 10 pm.*
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Stop by later for Decorating Dilemmas!

I wanted to invite you (yes, you!) to join me for the next Decorating Dilemmas party!

This is a party for bloggers who like to MINGLE!

Do you have an empty space over your buffet that you're just not sure how to fill? Is your bedding boring? Have pictures of your empty patio from last summer and you want some ideas for how to make it a livable space? 

Take a photo or two, write up a quick post detailing what you'd like some help with, and add a link to my blog within your post. Then link up your post here at Serenity Now on Wednesday and party! Make some visits and leave a suggestion or two for a few bloggy friends, and you should receive the same in turn. 

You can go here to view the last party if you are new to this blog and want to see how it works.

Don't have a Dilemma? Then I'll bet you have a Solution to share! Have you found a way around a pesky design problem? Please feel free to link that up as well.

The party will go live after 10 pm (ET) tonight, Tuesday, May 25th; and the link system will stay open all day on Wednesday until 11 pm (ET). That's one whole day of partying! Partygoers are encouraged to visit other links. I found that people who link up earlier tend to receive more comments, and after about a day bloggers move on to the next party. This will be short and SWEET! If you can't make it this time, plan on coming to party for the next round.

Need more encouragement to join? I'll host a small Giveaway for participants:
Here's a button if you'd like to use it. If not, that's fine, but I do ask that you please link directly to the party within your post. 
Decorating Dilemmas

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Ode to Spray Paint

Spray Paint, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thy cheapness and widespread availability.
The rattling sound as I shake your can fills me with glee. 
I loathe the drying time, Spray Paint, but you saveth me money.
I love thine ability to transform objets d'crap into objets d'cuteness.

Thank you, Ms. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, for letting me borrow your opening line today.

A couple of weeks ago, I scored this ugly-with-potential wood pedastal bowl at a local church yard sale.

These are really a dime a dozen at any yard sale, thrift store, or consignment shop. Two or three years ago, I would have marched right past this.

Now I know the power of spray paint!
A couple coats of Wal-Mart white spray paint did the trick! If you really want to have fun with something like this, you could spray paint a piece a nice shade of aqua and do some polka dots.

Now that I've spray painted it, what can I do with it? I used some items around my house to give you some ideas for your own spray paint redos:

~It could be a nice twist on a gift basket for a beloved preschool teacher.

~T would have a hard time losing his stuff if I could train him to drop his wallet and keys in this when he gets home.

~I've run out of room on the girls' handmade bow holder. This is a nice substitute until I get around to make a new one.

~Filled with cheerful lemons and stationed next to a quote tile with an encouraging Bible verse, it gives me something to look at when I do dishes for the 57th time each day.
There you have it...a little bit of spray paint can go a long way with your yard sale finds. Don't be afraid to try it out.

What's your favorite Spray Paint Makeover piece?

I hope you'll join me for the next Decorating Dilemmas Party! You can click here to view the last party and see how it works.
The party will go live Tuesday night around 10 pm (ET) and will be open for new links until 11 pm (ET) on Wednesday night. Anyone who links up with a (valid!) post will be entered to win a copy of Phyllis Hoffman's Celebrate Summer.

Linking to Kimba's DIY Day and the very first exciting Challenge at The CSI Project.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

For Those Of You Who Like to Get LOST

I've mentioned before why I love the TV show, LOST. With all the cah-rap out there on television, it was so nice to have a show to watch over the past few years that really made me think.

I can't think of another recent show that manages to reference The Bible, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Brothers Karamazov, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Ulysses, Lord of the Flies, and many many more without making the audience feel as if they're looking at a syllabus for English 310. The show gives viewers a lot to chew on, but it certainly has its share of funny and entertaining moments.

And let's not forget the hunky guys running around on the island.

I'm more than a bit sad that the show airs its finale episode tonight, and we will say good-bye to hatches, and polar bears, and The Others, and smoke monsters, and flash forwards and backwards and sideways.

ABC has the finale starting at 7 pm, which is before my girls go to bed. I think T will notice if I "go upstairs to put away laundry" for an hour. So I will DVR everything and watch after Natalie and Michaela Byrd travel off to dreamland.

Until then, I thought I'd share a little funny for my fellow LOST fans.

Is Desmond your constant?

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Friday, May 21, 2010

::Weekend Bloggy Reading and an Announcement::

Before I launch into the awesome links I have to share for this week's edition of Weekend Bloggy Reading, I wanted to remind you that next Wednesday is the Decorating Dilemmas party! The party will go live on Tuesday night around 10 pm (ET)
If you're new here, this is a super-fun party where bloggers can link up any Decorating Dilemma they have in or around their homes and receive feedback from other party participants. Think organizing, landscaping, new picture frames, slipcovered couches, or new coffee tables from Salvation Army! If you don't have a Dilemma to share, then you can link up with a Solution you've found.

I do ask that you come willing to participate. A party at Serenity Now is not a party unless bloggers are willing to mingle. This party has been so much fun because the friends who link up here are willing to offer thoughtful, kind, genuine feedback to their fellow bloggers. I hope you'll join us!

If you need any more incentive, anyone who links up with a (valid!) post will receive an entry to win:

Now, on to the fabulous links I have to share with you this week!

~It's Spring Spruce Up time! Kate had a fabulous post with some Curb Appeal Tips to make your home look its best.

~Wendy made a 6 Scoop T-shirt for her daughter's birthday. Precious!

~Now I want BBQ. Thanks, Tanya.

~Sarah created a Big Boy Room for her Bub. Makes me want a boy to decorate for!

~Tausha shared some great tips and some fab Before and After shots in a Spray Painting 101 post.

~Drab to Fab Storage Crate.

~A "duh" moment for those of us who need to organize our DVDs. Thanks, Sarah!

Any special plans for this weekend?

I need to go shopping for the uber fancy frou frou wedding I'm going to next month so I don't look like a homely cousin from Iowa. I hope to at least attain the status of "stylishly adorable cousin on a budget from Virginia." Natalie has been invited to a gymnastics birthday party on Saturday afternoon...this could go one of two ways. She might fall in love with flipping around on the mat and want to take lessons, or she'll get mad because the instructor won't let her attempt a standing back tuck off of the balance beam. Either way, I hope she channels some Mary Lou Retton.

{Have a wonderful weekend, my wonderful readers!}

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Thursday, May 20, 2010


I love jewelry that makes a statement, whether it's my chunky silver beads or the tiny turquoise ring on a chain that tells a story from my childhood.

I so pleased that Kristin, whose creative hands run the one9designs Etsy shop, wanted to join up as a Sponsor here at Serenity Now. one9designs is home to custom, hand-stamped necklaces, birthstone stacking rings, and special gifts.
"Beautiful, meaningful, handcrafted," the tagline for the shop, sums up just about everything that a girl could ask for in a special piece of jewelry.

Kristin opened shop in the summer of 2009. She had recently completed a class at a local bead store, an attempt to indulge in some "mommy time," and caught the creative bug. She's been blessed with successful sales, the ability to buy some fun new tools...and her "very own fire extinguisher."

When you browse one9designs, you'll see that Kristin offers a nice variety of Mother and Family Necklaces.
Something unique that really stood out to me was the fact that the shop features an entire section devoted to animal lovers! If you've been here lately, you know I'm a dog lover. I love one9design's selection of pet tags and necklaces personalized for pet owners!
Not into necklaces or pets (seriously, what's wrong with you?!)? Kristin has you covered!

She has a lovely assortment of rings in a variety of styles and she even sells custom keychains...Father's Day is coming up, readers! If you want to forgo the traditional tie in lieu of something super-cool, check out one9design's Father's Day Hand-Stamped Key Chain.

My current personal favorite is the Hand-Stamped Necklace with Heart Charms.
It wasn't surprising to me that while her jewelry has a definite theme of family to it, Kristin does her best to keep her husband and children her true priority. There's always work to be done with one9designs, but "family is always first." As a mom who works to maintain balance, I can appreciate Kristin's honesty. You can read more about Kristin's homelife at her cute blog, Acorn Hill Studios.

I like the fact that the jewelry in the shop is simple enough to wear to everyday events, but that each customized piece has special meaning. Kristin notes that she works with sterling and fine silver, and she uses genuine gemstones. You won't be disappointed if you head over to take a peak at one9designs.

*Interested in advertising here at Serenity Now? Do you have a blog, Etsy shop, or small business you'd like to promote? I'd love to see if we'd be a good fit. Email me, or see my Advertising Page.*

See you tomorrow for some great Weekend Bloggy Reading and an announcement about next week's Decorating Dilemmas party!
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