My Mudroom Is Finished!

There is always a project in progress up in here. For instance, we are in the planning stages of a new back deck. Not because we want a larger one, or a better one, rather, because the boards are rotting and I am fearful that one of us will end up in the back yard when we fall through a board.

The project that we (and by we, I mostly mean McDaddy because he does 90% of the work) most recently completed is my new mudroom. I actually contribute by researching and pinning ideas to my Pinterest board and my challenging McDaddy when he says something like, “that would be tough to do” because I am a firm believer that while it might be tough, tough does not equal impossible.

Thankfully, I am married to a guy who can do just about anything.

Back in October, I wrote a post called “Designing My Mudroom” and shared pictures of the wall unit that my dad built for the new room. When I wrote my 2013 Year in Review, it dawned on me that I never showcased the FINISHED PRODUCT.

Every time I enter the new mudroom, I squeal, because y’all, it is just beautiful. This is the wall unit that my dad built for the room.

Isn’t it fabulous?

[Note: This is the wall unit before the new foam flooring was installed.]

We ordered foam flooring almost two years ago and it has sat – in boxes – in the hallway until weeks ago when we were ready to install it.  The foam flooring comes in puzzle pieces, and as always, the boys were eager to help their dad install it.

It took McDaddy and his assistants approximately six hours to install the foam flooring and this is a pretty big room.

This is the before:

And, THIS is the after:

It looks like wood flooring, but it is actually foam. (Oh, and I have no idea why the striped wallpaper looks psychedelic.) It feels like you are walking on a sponge.

This picture was taken just before the floor was finished in front of the closet door.

To install a foam floor, you just measure and put the pieces together like a puzzle.

Just look at this laundry area.

Y’all, I swear I hear The Hallelujah Chorus every time I step into this room. I really wish I would’ve taken a picture of this room before we started any of the work. (I probably have a picture somewhere but I can’t find it. You should trust me when I tell you that it was a hot, cluttered mess.)

Another plus of this nice, big room with a foam floor is that our boys use it as a basketball court.

Thanks to Pinterest (I’m sure McDaddy just rolled his eyes!) I discovered a great tip for metal / wire shelving. I went to Lowe’s and purchased eight of these adhesive tiles. I removed the backing and attached them to the bottom shelf. Six of the tiles fit perfectly on this bottom shelf.

Cue the violins.

I love, love, love this new room and I appreciate all the work that McDaddy and MyDaddy did to make it beautiful!

For more great mudroom ideas, visit my Pinterest Board “Designing My Mudroom.”

Tip Junkie Handmade Projects

Rebel With A Cause

I have been wanting a DSLR (digital, single lens reflex) camera for quite sometime. And then my boys signed up for baseball, and the best picture I could get from the stands with my point and shoot was one like this,

Which is fine if you have no desire to see your kid’s face.

Or even know if it’s really your kid you’re taking a picture of.

So, I did what I do when I am in the market for a big-ticket item.

I whined hinted to McDaddy.

For months.

I also called my professional photographer brother-in-law for his opinion on the Nikon/Canon war. In his humble opinion, the Canon Rebel is considered the “soccer mom camera”, while the Nikon is apparently considered the “professional photographers of America unite” camera.

Or something like that.

He strongly suggested I get the Nikon. First, because it’s his personal favorite. Secondly, he could show me all the bells and whistles it has to offer. And thirdly, because I could borrow his lenses. He also suggested I purchase a used body from eBay and use my money for a really good lens.

I wasn’t too hyped up on the used body thing, but I was willing to take a chance.

That is, until I went on a pricing mission one day. I ultimately ended up at SAMS and couldn’t believe the “deal” they had on the Soccer mom Canon Rebel T3. Even though neither of my boys play soccer, I couldn’t pass up the deal.

Just look at this beauty.

And yes, the telephoto lens IS the bomb diggity.

Because now, I can sit way up in the stands, and watch the dust fly through my lens.

And see the surprised expression on MY kid’s face!

And if that’s not enough…

Remember the beautiful beach pictures from this past summer?

You can blame them all on the Canon Rebel because seriously all I did was push the shutter.

Except in the case of this picture,

because my sister-in-law, Stephanie  pushed the shutter.

But still, a beautiful picture.

The Canon Rebel works for me!

***In the interest of full disclosure, I have not been compensated in ANY way for the personal opinion expressed in this post. I happen to be a satisfied customer who can now take beautiful pictures, and I know there are others out there in the market for an easy-to-use, wonderful camera.***

The Street and The Sky

While visiting Florida over the summer, we drove down this street. I don’t know the name of the street, but for obvious reasons, I call it ‘Easy Street’ in my head.

‘Easy Street’ is without doubt the most beautiful street I have ever seen. The houses are simply breathtaking and if by some chance they allow crazy people to live here, I’d love to call it home someday.

Last night I had a dream.

It involved me driving down ‘Easy Street’ in this:

The top was down. The sky was bright. The sun was shining. And I was hollerin’ like a crazy person.

There was a Dr. Pepper in the cup-holder (with a lid of course), the radio was blaring Me Against The World by 2Pac (because apparently that’s how I roll in my dreams) and I was hollerin’ like a crazy person.

Shemar Moore waved as I drove past. And so did Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

My sunglasses were on. My hair was a hot-mess (as it is most days), and heads were turning to see what the commotion was, coming from that bright yellow car. It was me, hollerin’ like a crazy person.

I was hollerin’ like a crazy person because after four v-e-r-y-l-o-n-g years, I was finally driving my dream car.

My smile was wide and I had not a care in the world.

It was a day I had dreamt of (ha!) for years and now, after all this time, here I was.

Just me. My dream car. And this beautiful day.

I might have heard a choir of angels.

And then, as it does every morning at 6:40 AM, this obnoxious monster had to rear its ugly head reminding me that it was time to wake up.

And I realized I had been dreaming.

It was all just a beautiful, perfect dream.

Which I should have known, because in real life, I would have been driving a (chili pepper) red one.

Whether I’m fast asleep or wide awake, you can pretty much count on me hollerin’ like a crazy person because I am one.

Someday Saturn Sky.


Roaring Waves

For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is His name.

Isaiah 51:15

You Capture – Summer Sunsets

Hello Internets!

I’m joining in the You Capture fun because this week’s challenge is one of my favorite things to photograph.

Summer sunsets.

When we were in Florida (AT THE BEACH!) I looked forward to 8:00 PM every evening because I got to marvel in God’s handiwork.

I was in awe every. single. time.




It makes me sad to know that I have to miss out on this glorious sight. I think I was meant to live at the beach.

And drive a Saturn Sky on beautiful, sunny days.

The Joy Of My Life

I spent most of the day sitting at my dining room table with three other PTA mothers processing cookie dough orders. It was the second fund-raiser of the year for Stevie’s school and was necessary because the budget for this school year has not been met. After processing 168 orders ($23,000) I am pleased to say our fund-raising efforts for the year are now complete.

[Sidenote: If you happen to be in the market for a great fund-raiser, cookie dough worked for us!]

Years before Stevie ever started school McDaddy and I used to joke about me being PTA President because there’s nothing I love more than being in charge involved. Little did I know that a mere three years later, I would find myself right square in the middle of the madness. After spending six years in jail and counseling stir crazy inmates, a PTA Presidency is a welcomed change.

My shoulder-blades are hurting and my [wrinkly] hands are sore

from all the writing but I love being able to help out at Stevie’s school. It makes me happy to spend my time doing something worthwhile and rewarding, especially since I am no longer employed. [Notice, I didn’t say, “no longer work”.]

And speaking of worthwhile and rewarding, that’s exactly what I think about motherhood.

When I was pregnant with our boys I prayed over my bulging tummy for their limbs, their little fingers and toes, and their little eyes. I prayed that God would always guide their footsteps, bless everything their hands touched and protect their eyes from things they shouldn’t see. I also prayed that God would guide me as I mothered them.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to mother these two sweet babies.

They are funny, sweet, charming, and perfectly different.

When Stevie was very young I attempted to count his eyelashes. As you can see it was close to impossible because SWEET HALLELUJAH just look at those suckers.

They love to smile and though you can’t really see it here in these pictures, they both have an extra tooth in the exact same place. (Which you can clearly see in both of these pictures.)

And one of my favorite things in the whole wide world is to hold these little hands

and watch these little feet run and jump and play and climb.

Tonight, I am simply thankful for two sweet little boys who are the joy of my life.


This post is linked to You Capture – this week’s challenge is body parts.

Have You Seen My Bags?

They appeared out of nowhere.

Totally uninvited.

They are dark. They are overbearing. And they would not under any circumstances, go away no matter how big a fit I threw and believe me if there’s one thing I know, it’s how to throw a fit.

Throw it. Pitch it. Toss it. To really do a fit justice, there must be a verb involved.

Fit or not, the dark circles stayed.

I’ve powdered. Plastered. Lotioned. Wiped. Brushed. Waxed. And rubbed.

Nothing helped until I showed up for battle armed with,

the bomb-diggity.

I’ve been fighting dark circles under my eyes for a number of years. I’m telling you folks, the mid late thirties mean business. Things are happening to my body at an alarming rate and some days it is hard to keep up. My hair is turning gray. I have unexplained pains.

My eyes, among other things, sag. Ahem.

May I introduce you to Arbonne’s RE9 Corrective Eye Cream.

The Arbonne catalog says: Visible firming, moisturizing and corrective benefits that are so immediate, you won’t believe your eyes! Reduces the appearance of dark circles and puffiness, while beneficial RE9 elements are transported to protect and repair the delicate tissue around the eye. ( .60 oz./17 g ) Price: $55.00.

While $55.00 may seem a little steep, I have to say that I have used this bottle for months and the bottle is still over half full. I actually unscrew the lid and dab 4 or 5 dots (actual dots – very small dots) on my ring finger to dab on my eyes. The squirter sends the stuff spewing out and at $55.00 a pop, I can’t afford to waste any of it. Humph, maybe I should dab the excess on my thighs.

The dark circle under my right eye is gone and the circle under my left eye, is almost gone. If I were waging a bet, I’d say it’s because I always do the right eye first. Perhaps I need to shake things up and do lefty first next week. In addition to that, the skin under my eyes is so soft. I actually looked in the mirror yesterday and said, “My bags are gone!”

In just three easy steps, your bags can be gone, too.

1. Dab a few dots on your ring finger.

2. Gently dab the cream under each eye.

3. Watch your bags disappear.

Arbonne’s costly RE9 Corrective Eye Cream works like a charm.

And if you try it, you won’t believe your eyes!

What’s For Lunch, St. Pete?

When we first began planning our family vacation to Florida, (yes, I’m mentioning it one more time!) one of the first issues we tackled after agreeing on a date, was how / when / what / where we would eat dinner each evening as a family.

We threw around a couple of ideas, none of which seemed very appealing unless of course you enjoy eating in a restaurant with fifteen kids under the age of eight, or cooking for several hours each evening while everyone else enjoys the pool and the surf.

Then we discovered that Martha Stewart was not available.

Neither was Paula Deen.

So. We were forced to look into some other option. During an impromptu family discussion, it was mentioned that maybe we should look for a caterer. A caterer that would prepare dinner, allow us to borrow tables and chairs, deliver the meals, and do all of that for a reasonable price.

Sound impossible?

Yes, I thought so too.

My sister-in-law, (with the help of  John T. Google) found a lady in St. Petersburg, Florida who runs a lunch catering delivery business. She forwarded the number to me, and I got in contact with the catering lady, Kathi Maiden.

People, hear me when I say this, “Finding Kathi Maiden was like hitting the lottery.”

Only we didn’t win money.

And we didn’t have third cousins crawling out of the woodwork aggravating us to death.

She runs a business called ‘What’s For Lunch, St. Pete’ and when I contacted her she agreed to all of our hair-brained ideas. We decided upon a menu and she agreed to deliver dinner to our hotel every evening at 5:00 PM at a cost of $6.00 per person in disposable serving dishes.

It all sounded too good to be true so good and easy.

We had a bit of commotion from the manager of the hotel when we called to inquire about the  possibility of using the breezeway to eat, but after a few conversations with her she agreed we could use the tables and chairs in the breezeway area during dinner time. (And after arriving there, it was evident that of the 17 rooms available, nine rooms were empty, seven rooms were occupied by our family, and one other room was a family we didn’t know. So, it’s not like we wreaked a lot of havoc at the hotel.

As a family, we decided on a menu and I forwarded the menu on to Kathi. We e-mailed back and forth several times before arriving in Florida and the first evening she was due to bring our dinner I was nervous about the whole set-up. 

You know, because I have the utmost trust in people.

On Monday, Kathi showed up a bit before 5:00 PM with two banquet tables, some folding chairs and enough food to feed the country of Belize.

Or McDaddy’s family.

Monday was Mexican night so our menu consisted of enchiladas, build your own taco, burrito lasagna, taco fixin’s, refried beans, Spanish rice, summer salad, and two strawberry cakes. It was spectacularly delicious (try saying that three times fast!) and we were all so relieved that not only did the whole plan work out, it worked out perfectly. PERFECTLY! We also enjoyed Italian night (complete with tiramisu), hamburger/hotdog night, beef strogonoff night and country ham night. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get any pictures of the spreads food. You should totally believe me when I tell you that her meals were impressive.

In fact, every. single. evening. she. outdid. herself.

Our family is so grateful to Kathi and thankful that she made dinnertime such a wonderful experience for us. None of us had to spend time preparing or planning dinners. And really, there was very little cleanup because every single meal was served in disposable containters.

Well, except for the spaghetti sauce.

But I’m not even mentioning that, because spaghetti sauce? Not a big deal at all.

And on top of that, there was generally enough food of some kind left over for lunch the next day. If you are visiting the St. Petersburg/Tampa area and have a need for food catering services or lunch, you should visit Kathi’s site What’s For Lunch St. Pete. It worked for us!

Works For Me Wednesday is hosted by We Are THAT Family.

A Movie Starring Me

A month of so ago, my URL friend Darcie over at Such The Spot did a post about moments in her life that would make up the movie of her life.

She called it Movie Moments and at the end of the post, she asked us to share the moments that would make our movie.

Then, I started thinking about the moments in my life that would certainly be a part of my movie.

IF there was one.

The grammar around here cracks me up sometimes.

So, I present to you my Movie Moments. Those moments that would most definitely make the cut.

In no particular order, of course.

  • that first day of  high-school summer band.
  • my first day “in” jail
  • cruising with “the crew” in high school every single weekend.
  • my first plane ride.
  • feeling him kick for the first time.
  • and him, too.
  • peeing on a stick in the bathroom stall IN JAIL.
  • realizing it was him I was in love with, not his best friend.
  • stepping off the plane in Cuba seeing McDaddy and his beautiful smile
  • that day back in 1992.
  • signing 14 letters on a document which committed me and McDaddy to a 30-year mortgage.
  • watching From Inmates To Playdates load on my laptop for the very first time.
  • reading the letters R.I.P. above his name
  • the stupid Dodge Avenger I couldn’t live without.
  • waiting like a nervous school girl as his plane touched down after six very L-O-N-G months.
  • admiring the beauty of Lucerne, Switzerland and remarking that I might name a baby girl Kaylie Lucerne someday.
  • realizing I would never have a daughter. (sans some huge jaw dropper plan from The Big Man upstairs!)
  • those frustrating back road ‘driving a stick lessons’ with McDaddy (bless his patient soul).
  • our wedding day
  • broken jaws and subsequent wiring shut of jaws for eight L-O-N-G weeks.
  • hearing #7 called at Majorette tryouts.
  • meeting my boys for the first time.
  • hearing the words six month deployment for the first time.
  • all the days in high school I wish I could do over because heaven help me I should have made better use of my time!
  • posing for a picture with Don Diamont even though my goofy aunt forgot to turn the camera on
  • sending my boy to Kindergarten (oh sweet mercy I was a mess)
  • watching the C130 disappear into the clouds as I fought back tears
  • five cent ante poker with my papa and cousins. (almost always 5-card draw, occasionally Dr. Pepper)
  • walking out of the hospital two times without a baby even though I knew it could be worse.
  • walking the streets of London hand-in-hand with McDaddy.

Of course there are pages and pages of movie moments I could write but these are the first ones that popped into my head.

What about you? Which moments would make your movie?