Saturday, June 28, 2014

Whoever coined the phrase Man's best friend...

was NOT a liar.

If you love a dog with all your heart and treat him well, he will be your forever companion and unconditional best friend.

Rudy was that, and we all LOVED him with our whole hearts.

Exactly 9 years ago this summer he came to us as a stray, and we took him in when no one claimed him.    He unfortunately left this earth a couple days ago.  He would've been 11. 

Sure, over the years, Rudy and I had our battles.

He would make a giant hole in my flower bed (s)...

I would scold him, he would look sheepish, I would fill the hole back in, only to discover a couple days later he had made another one quite close to the first one and he would look at me without any remorse.  Oh Rudy...

He would greet us in the driveway, EVERYTIME we came home.

It didn't matter if it was Brent or myself, or the kids coming home on the bus.

He did it EVERYDAY, and I miss that so much.  More than I thought I would.

He gave us so much love, and I can only hope he knew how much we loved him.

Every morning, any season, as I left for work, I would roll my window down and tell him I loved him, and I would see him later.  He would be sitting in the wicker chair on the porch, just keeping watch over the place till an amish buggy went by, or a red car drove by (he HATED the color red for some reason.)

He came to us when we needed him the most, when the kids needed to learn at ages 4 and 5, how to care for someone else and take responsibility.

He was the best dog we've ever had, and we will forever compare all others to him.

Grace found him in my garden, just like he had fallen asleep.  I think he was trying to get the last one over on me by laying in my garden. 

Goodbye dear friend.  We miss you so.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Shout Out #10

It's that time of the week again folks.

Tuesday Etsy Shop Shout Out!

I came across these ladies today, and I immediately added them to my favorites list.

I can't wait to share them with you.

#1  Wild & Free Designs
Laura sells inspiring prints and designs.  She didn't have a ton of items in her shop, but they were all unique and beautiful.

I mean, just check these out...

Of course they are maps/globes, and of COURSE that is my favorite, but I love the uniqueness of both of these items.    I could see both in my own home.

#2  Sassy Stiches by Lori

Hello.  Lori.  My name as well.  Who would'nt LOVE this shop, am I right?

This shop sells vintage, charming, and unique handmade goodies.  And goodies they are.

Stripes, anchors, and numbers...three very "hot" things to search for lately, and she has them all in her shop.

Smells like summer to me!

#3 Back Bay Pottery
Christine has the cutest pottery ever.  She claims it as unique, and I say unique and definitely one of a kind.

The owl necklaces, absolutely my favorite!

#4 Kylie Bryn Designs
I LOVE me a good piece of statement jewelry, and Amber at Kylie Bryn doesn't disappoint!

I could see myself wearing any and all of these items.

Very summery, very unique, very stylish!

Once again I've come up with some GREAT Etsy shops.  Check them out, check THEIR favorites out, make a new favorites list of your own, then come back each Tuesday to see who else I'm shouting out!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mini Getaway

For the last 9 years, we haven't taken any major vacations.  It's mostly by choice, but money plays a big factor into that too.

But that's ok.  With animals at home, and lining up people to take care of them, we try not to be away from home for too long.  It makes us feel a little guilty.  (Well, it makes ME feel a little guilty.)

We've been going to Chicago each summer for all of these last 9 years.  It's not too far away (3 hours by train, about the same by car), and it has plenty to do.

Since we started going when Grace was 5, and Evan was 4, they know the city pretty well too.  The only thing that has evolved is we no longer have to haul them around in strollers (THANK GOODNESS), and the cost of eating out has gotten dramatically HIGHER!

We tend to do the same kinda things each summer in Chicago that we've always done, but some have changed slightly too.

I still LOVE all the architecture, and now Evan feels the same.

We sight see at Navy Pier because they are too old for the children's museum there that we used to take them too.

We go to see a White Sox game because we always get good seats, it's very inexpensive ($10/ticket on Father's Day), and it's Evan's favorite team!

We eat at great restaurants like P.F. Changs, Giordanos, and Su Casa Mexican Restaurant (a hole in the wall we found on our last trip, but it is DELICIOUS!).

We go shopping...and when I say WE, I use the term loosely.  Brent and Evan like Sports Authority, and Evan likes the Lego store still.  Grace and I this year, dropped the boys off at the hotel after going to their stores, and we power shopped for a couple hours.  It was a lot of fun!

Since we FINALLY figured out where the "bean" was in Chicago, we now go to Millennium park to pose in front of it, visit the crown fountain, and people watch.

We also used to stay outside of town, and drive into the city or take the train in every day because after being downtown for a couple of days, we would then go visit Brent's family outside of town.   The last couple of years, we've taken the train from home to downtown and stayed at a hotel right in the middle of town, and walked everywhere we wanted to go, and then take their train right to the game.

It took us a good 7 years to get everything in order, but we finally know our way around pretty well now. 

Grace even spotted a sign for a design college downtown that she might be interested in pursuing in a couple of years.  It sure would be fun to go visit her there!

We had a great time.  The kids swam, we shopped, ate a lot, and relaxed sometimes too.  It was great weather, and we couldn't have asked for more. 

Now, back to the appointments, the animals, and the fair...bring it on!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday Shout Out #9

I'm squeaking by again, claiming this as my TUESDAY shout out...when it's already 11pm.

But, in my defense, this was my day...mowing the yard by 8:15 ish (it takes about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours), back inside around 10, laundry, lunch, books that need to be taken to the library, strawberries (2 flats) that need to be bought to put away, and a short trip to Walmart.  Back home, only to get ready for a 4-H picnic/meeting, back around 9pm, and then time to cut up the two flats of strawberries to get in the fridge to be dealt with tomorrow.


At least this morning I planned out WHO I was going to be shouting out today.

So, lets get right to it. 

First, I have a disclaimer...I'm a HUGE fan of re purposing things.  I mean, I've made pillows out of my favorite coats before because the coat got too big, and I LOVED the fabric.   The shops I'm showcasing today, are GREAT examples of re purposing things into something different and letting them have a new life.

I LOVE that.

#1  Upcycled Whimsies.
This is Ashley's shop, and I am totally smitten with it.    She makes fabric banners, and upcycled decor.
She has the BEST things.  Painted frames, quirky owls, and a little bit of everything.

Pop on over and check out all her goodies.

#2  Haven Vintage.
Colleen sells urban industrial wares...and rustic modern country.  She finds things that were once great, and puts a spin on it to make them greater yet.

Paint by number, in a great frame...

and old bottles turned picture holders.
Post this shop to your favorites, then tell someone else.

#3 A Creative Lifestyle
In Jane's shop, she totes the fact that she sells recycled, re purposed, reusable, and renewed items.  They are fantastic, and unique, and you need to jump on over to her site.

Bottles for weddings, 

bobby pins made with old buttons, 
 and my favorite, vintage suitcases.


#4 Timeless 'N Chic
Lastly, this is Courtney's shop.  Re purposed and shabby chic is her game.  And just so you know, I have dips on the very cool lazy susan she has in her shop...

and the wire picture holder...

and the very cool, very industrial light.

Help out a fellow Etsy seller, and check her out.

All these ladies shops are great.  No, fantastic.  I'm proud to have them in my favorites.  In fact, here is the link to with all my etsy favorites in it.