Friday, August 31, 2018

My Mister and His Llama

My husband has been away this week on an adventure.  He went backpacking in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.  He hiked with a group and even had his very own llama to carry some of his gear.

If I had known the llamas were that cute, I would have gone!  Well, maybe not to hike but I would have liked to pet the llamas. ♥

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Bully For You But Not For Me! & More Sneak Peeks

I will be the first to admit that Lilah Rose is spoiled.  She sleeps in bed with us.  She eats special diet kibble.  And she has a lot of toys.  She does go through them pretty fast.  I think she's an above average chewer.

We have tried the Bark Box and really liked it except that Lilah would chew through the toys faster than I'd like.  Thus I'd have to take the toy away and toss it.  So sad.

I read about the newest monthly subscription box for dogs ~ Bullymake Box.  I found a promotional code for $10 off the regular box price and decided to give it a go.  It arrived today.  Well, I do not like it at all.  Let me count the ways...

1.  The website (in the FAQ section) states that inside the Bullymake box are 5-6 toys.  There were only 4 toys in her box.

2.  I can't remember where I read that the toys were all made in the USA - I may have read that incorrectly.  Well, at least half of them are made in China.  One was made in the USA and there is one with doesn't say where it was made.  In general, I try to steer clear of dog toys made in China. China just doesn't have the same safety regulations as the US does.

3.  One of the toys was this HUGE big blue tooth that is as hard as a rock. Seriously, there is no kind of give or anything to it.  I am afraid Lilah will break her teeth on it.

4.  I wrote to customer service all the above (very politely) and received an email stating that "Please know that our toys only box comes with 4-5 toys".  CS also told me that they would be happy to send me replacement toys.

This is after I had specifically said I don't want any more toys and asked for a refund.  I also asked  to unsubscribe me from any further Bullymake boxes.  In my second email, I copy/pasted the quote from their own FAQ section and again told them no more toys and I would like a refund.

I have a feeling their guarantee that their customers would be happy matches their FAQ answers.  Oh bother.

I can't decided whether or not to throw the toys out or to donate them.  I really don't want any dog to break its teeth.


The good news is that the Gentlework with Gina is coming along.  Here are a few more items that I will be selling.  As autumn is quickly approaching, I thought I'd make some sweet cards in lovely autumn colors. As of today, there are several of two different types of cards that will be available.

My Mister (and photographer) has been very busy with work and hasn't been able to take "good" pictures for me but he be free shortly.  I don't know why the two pictures above have different lighting to them. Photography is not my gift!

Anyway, the sunflower cards will be available with the plum border and also in a dark green border.  The envelopes will have a beautiful plum sunflower on the back.  The envelopes are the same color brown as the card.

The autumn leaves cards "with Gratitude" showcase the season's colors. Each of the envelopes have a sweet golden leaf stamped in the front left corner.  The envelopes themselves are lined with a beautiful rust color.


Bullymake customer service is still emailing me:  they can give me a $5 credit toward the box or I can ship the box back for a complete refund.  I asked for a postage paid label because I am not going to pay for shipping it back.  Nothing but crickets now.  The box is heavy and certainly will cost a good $10 to return.  I'd rather donate the toys...

Received another email where they have instructed me to take the box to the Post Office with Return to Sender on it. I didn't know I could do that since I've opened it but I can tape it closed I guess. Supposedly they will refund me fully when they receive it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Sneak Peek ~ Gentlework by Gina

With the help of the Craftopus and other toys, I was able to finish up some pretty projects.  Lilah Rose does love to play and play we do but not 24/7 as she'd like.

Some of the Gentlework journals have a pocket on the inside cover.  Some of the journals have crochet lace or paper lace.  Each have 100 lined pages to fill to your heart's content.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Day the Craftopus Came to Play

Once upon a time there was a sweet little puppy named Lilah Rose. She lived with her Mama and Papa in a little cottage in the woods. Lilah Rose was a sweet little puppy until she wasn't. Sometimes she was naughty.

Lilah Rose liked to chew anything and everything.  Often when the Mama wanted to work on her crafts, Lilah Rose would be especially naughty.

As you can imagine, the Mama didn't craft as much as she'd like. Rather than become aggravated, she decided to invite a craftopus over to play with Lilah Rose. A craftopus is a rough tough and stuffed cephalopod.

At first, they played nicely until they didn't.  Lilah Rose grabbed the craftopus by the head and took a big bite.  OUCH!!  The craftopus did what all craftopuses do (especially when bitten in the head) it squired ink. It squirted so much ink that it turned purple!  Blech.  Lilah Rose did not want to take another bite or even play with the craftopus after that.

This little story did have a happy ending (well not so much for the craftopus). The Mama did get some lovely crafts done while Lilah Rose and her new frenemy played.  Until she didn't.

The End

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Sweet Lullaby

These past two days have shown me that indeed autumn is on its way.  The temperatures have been in the low 80's with less humidity.  We have spent as much time outside or on the back porch as we can.  I even fell asleep on the porch sofa with Lilah Rose at my feet.  The tree frogs and the birds sing such a sweet lullaby.

I confess that my cottage is still a bit of a mess.  I have put some more things away but I'd much rather be outside.  The mess can wait.

I am working on something special for my blog and hope to show it to you next week. ♥

Are you enjoying this fine late summer weather?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Bookcases Have Arrived!

Happy Days!

The bookcases have arrived safe and sound and they are the right ones!!!!

It took a little while for the delivery men to put them together. There are three separate pieces and they had to remove the top molding and end wall on one end to put on other end of middle piece. I'm not explaining that very well but all was done correctly.  The bookcase set is perfectly big (114 W x 95 H x 17 D).

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Homeschooling Concerns

Elizabeth mentioned a few concerns about homeschooling that are shared by many people. I've been asked about these more times than I can remember and I am always happy to answer them.  I can only speak from my experience.

Lack of healthy competition

We never experienced this maybe because my first children are twins. They are identical twins and have very different personalities.  One is a bit of a dreamer and one is very analytical.  Both were competitive with each other in all aspects of education.  The dreamer had to work a little harder to, for lack of a better word, beat her twin on tests etc.  And she did sometimes which made the analytical one know not to slack off even a little bit.  My third daughter was competitive wanting to keep up with her sisters (though she is 3 years younger).  My son was probably the least competitive in most subjects but excelled in math and piano.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Will the Homeschooling Movement Survive?

I recently watched the Western Conservatory's Vimeo documentary titled Homeschool Dropouts and found it very thought provoking. The documentary talks about the differences between the early Homeschooling movement and the current Homeschooling movement. It also talks about the First Generation as compared to the Second Generation.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Knick-knack Paddywhack, Please Give ME All the Bones...

I am a collector of bones - beef bones, pork bones, and chicken bones. Now that might sound a little odd if you didn't know that I made broth with them - bone broth.

As some of you know, I had serious gut issues at the beginning of this year. I went through CT scans, MRI scans, multiple rounds of heavy antibiotics, and basically eating almost nothing.  I followed the doctor's orders and like a good patient did what I was suppose to and I still felt awfully sick.

I decided to take matters into my own hands.  After doing much research, I decided to try making my own bone broth and drinking it everyday. In the beginning, I drank it two to three times a day often substituting bone broth for my meals.  And I can tell you that I am feeling much better. Very rarely do I have gut pain. And I haven't felt this healthy in years.

You can buy bone broth in the store or online but it tastes terrible! Homemade bone broth is the best.

Bone broth is full of minerals (especially calcium) and has anti-inflammatory properties to it.  It is excellent for anyone with gut issues. The minerals also will help strengthen your own bones.

How to make bone broth - it really is relatively simple but it is time consuming.  I am sure there are other methods to make it but this is what I do.

Collect bones.  You can save the bones from meat that you have cooked.  Freeze them until you have enough for the broth or you can buy bones (even organic ones) fresh or frozen.  I usually have to buy the beef ones. The beef we buy doesn't have enough bone to it.  I do save my chicken carcasses and chicken leg bones and freeze them until I need them.  You can even use bones that people have gnawed the meat off of (some of you may be thinking - yikes! - but they get boiled for a long time)(the bones not the people!).

Once I have enough bones, I put them in my big crockpot.  Add water until bones are covered.  I add 2 bay leaves, a few whole cloves, and about a tablespoon of peppercorns.  Sometimes I add an onion or celery or other vegetables.  You will strain these all out when you are ready to "can" them.

The bones and such will cook on a low temperature for usually 48 hours. Sometimes longer. Yes, you read that right.  48 hours.

Two days later...

Carefully remove the bones. Straining the broth, ladle it into a large pot. Be careful because it will be very hot still. I like to keep my broth in quart size canning jars. I place a dinner knife in the jar before filling it with broth. The metal helps regulate the heat and the glass won't easily break. You can fill the jars almost up to the top. If you are using beef bones, there will be quite a bit of fat that rises to the top of the broth. Using a turkey baster, I remove as much of the fat as I can. A thin layer will remain and will be easier to remove once the broth is cold.

Time to wash the crockpot, pans, and utensils while the broth cools. The cooling time is usually about an hour. After the dishes are done, it is time to start a new batch of bone broth. I usually get 4 quarts of bone broth from about 4 pounds of bones (one crockpot batch). This only lasts us about 3 days. As you can imagine, my crockpot is almost always simmering bones.

And let's not forget these beauties...

The bones!! If they are beef bones (as these are), I can reuse them again a second time. I make the broth the same way but will simmer them a little longer. Chicken bones are really only good for one batch of bone broth.

It is all quite fascinating really. I like to look at the bones. After simmering for so long, they become soft and eventually begin to deteriorate.

I forgot to tell you that the bone broth also makes your skin softer and firmer. The collagen from the bones does amazing stuff. I have noticed my skin softer. Bone broth is a WIN WIN in my book!

Share Your Cup

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The First Sign

It is at this time of year that I start to look for the first sign of autumn.  This week, I found what I was looking for ~ a single red leaf.  It was laying on the ground waiting for me to discover it.  The leaf was not dry or crunchy. It was, for lack of a better word, fresh.

I set it aside to show my mister.  He wasn't quite as excited as I was.  He does the lion's share of the leaf raking/blowing.

In honor of this first sign of autumn, I have begun to "wave" away the beach summer decor and welcome autumn's decor a little bit at a time.

Have you seen any signs of autumn?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Tale of New Furniture that Was and Wasn't

Today our new living room furniture arrived.  Some of it stayed and some of it went away.  It was sad.

I wish I'd taken a before photo.  We had a sage green loveseat and a different console/cabinet.  Now we have a sectional sofa, coffee table, end table, and new console/cabinet.  And a new TV.  We didn't have a TV in this room before today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Little Peek of Me and More Seaside Decor

A little peek of me!  I decided to photobomb my seaside decor picture.  I'm au natural and a little bit of a mess but hello there nonetheless.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Bare Feet Welcome

Today I am sharing with you a little bit of my August seaside decor. I no longer live by the sea but I did at one time. I have fond memories of visiting the shore. August is a good time to reminisce on days gone by.

This country shelf is in my dining room. I change it up during the seasons and holidays. (Please ignore the crooked candle!) The rose teapot doesn't really match unless you imagine taking tea by the sea.

I have never really had any luck fishing until I caught these sweet fish at Joann's one day. They are made of wood and the two tied together with rough twine.

I absolutely love this ocean garland. Another find from Joann's. The sea stars (starfish) are ceramic and interTWINEd with the big twine knots.

The sweet wharf birdhouse and barefoot sign complete my shelf-scape.

Tomorrow, I will share more seaside decor.

Do you enjoy visiting the ocean?


❁Word Verification/Recaptcha Images❁

I am having a terrible time trying to get comments verified on many of the blogs that I usually comment/visit. Am I the only one having this problem? It took me over twenty minutes of clicking road signs, cars, buses, or store fronts to get one comment to take on one particular blog. I ended up very frustrated and with a headache trying to get it to work.

❁If you don't see a comment from me, it may be because of the word verification option on your blog. ❁

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Watermelon Hooray for a Touches of August Winner

Today's drawing reveals that the winner of Touches of August Giveaway is...

Barb, I will have your goodies mailed asap! I hope that you enjoy them this August and always.

Thank you ladies for joining in on the drawing. I plan on hosting one at the beginning of each month so stay tuned! ♥

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Slowly but Surely...

Slowly but surely, I am on the mend. 

Last Thursday, I had my yearly Reclast infusion. Reclast is an IV medication that promotes healthy bone growth and helps curb osteoporosis.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Celebrating National Watermelon Day

Down where the watermelon grows
How I wonder nobody knows
I always go to meet her
In my Sunday meeting clothes
Down where the watermelon grows


Does anyone remember this folk song?  I do!  I tried searching for it online but can't come up with anything.  Oh well...

Today is a day of celebration that I could really sink my teeth into ~ National Watermelon Day!

I will confess that I absolutely love watermelon!  I have since I was a child. Sadly, it is hit or miss when I choose one at the market.  I've tried knocking on them to listen if they are hollow or not.  I've tried looking for ones that are "uniform" in color.  I tend to go for the ones that have lots of light brown crackly parts to outside of the melon (my mother used to say that was the sugar trying to get out).

The above picture is of a little watermelon bag that I made with a Stampin' Up! kit.  Isn't it adorable!  I love the red tissue paper that is red with black "seeds".  I'm also working on some watermelon greeting cards but they are't done yet.

Today's lunch included a big slice of watermelon! It was delicious and didn't even need salt. Sometimes I sprinkle a little salt on my watermelon especially if it isn't very red. The salt makes it sweeter somehow. (Probably is some scientific reason involving taste buds etc) Do you add salt to your melon?

Do you have a tried and true method for choosing a ripe watermelon?
Please let me in on your melon secret?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Celebrating National Coloring Book Day

Purple is the soul-lifter
Red, the flame of passion
Yellow, the light of warmth
Green, the vibrant stem of life
Pink, a whisper of beauty
Orange beckons, take a chance
Blue is the sea tide in us all
~Terri Guillemets

According to Wikipedia,the McLoughlin Brothers are credited as the inventors of the coloring book, when, in the 1880s, they produced The Little Folks' Painting Book, in collaboration with Kate Greenaway. They continued to publish coloring books until the 1920s, when the McLoughlin Brothers became part of the Milton Bradley Company.

Milton Bradley is a name that we all know and love.  I know games are their game but I didn't know coloring books were too.

Let's celebrate!

I have had this sweet coloring book for a little while and had yet to indulge in coloring in it ~ until today!

I love everything about A Simple Life.  I knew this coloring book is for me!

August = Lazy Days! What better way to relax than with cool refreshments in the shade or on a back porch!

I am using Azteca brush tip paint markers to color with.  So many colors to chose from.  Decisions, decisions!

Do you enjoy coloring?  What is the last picture that you colored? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Touches of August Giveaway

Summer has never been my favorite season.  In fact, it has been my least favorite season.  This year has been different though.  I seem to tolerate the heat and humidity better and I am spending more time outside than in summers past.

Summer will be ending before we know it. Rather than bid summer an early farewell, I am embracing each remaining day.

Welcome August

My Mister kindly put up this summery pennant banner for me this morning. Blues and yellows are my August colors.  My floral dishes are put away and my simple blue and yellow ones are ready to be set.

What better way
to welcome August
than hosting a

Touches of August includes four lovely April Cornell yellow/blue cloth napkins, a 12 oz porcelain garden herbs mug, and a sweet notebook to write your summer's end thoughts in.

To enter this Touches of August Giveaway, simply:

1.  Be a Gentle Follower.  (the Follow widget is in the left sidebar)  AND

2.  Leave a comment on this post describing your favorite summer pastime.

I will announce the winner on Wednesday, August 8th.  This giveaway is open to all countries.

Blessings to your day!