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Category Archives: Jotting

My thoughts, confessions, announcements, and other random writings that don’t fit in any of the other categories.

Favorite things at Trader Joes

I love Trader Joes. The following is a list of my love love loves there: (in no particular order…just as they come to me)
Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
Banana yogurt
Bacon end and pieces
Baby broccolini
Cranberry walnut gorgonzola dressing
Teeny tiny potatoes
Guacamole kit
Corn and wheat tortillas
Par baked bread
Roasted red pepper tapenade
Soyaki sauce
Yellow curry sauce
Salsa style refried beans
Canned peach and pear halves
Low sugar apricot preserves
Fleur de Sel caramel sauce
Vanilla bean cake mix
Truffle brownie mix
Cinnamon pear cider
Mango black tea
Gnocchi alla sorentina
Frozen gyoza (pork or chicken)
Frozen crushed garlic cubes
Frozen vegetable melange
Tarte de alsace
Caramelized onion and feta pastry bites
Frozen cooked shrimp
Balsamic glazed onions
Sweet potato fries
Cheese and garlic croutons
Social snacker crackers
Petite cocoa batons
Dutch caramel wafer cookies
Mini peanut butter cups
High brow chocolate chip cookies
Ice cream sandwiches
Chocolate croissants
Caramel chocolate swirl ice cream
Well…chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and all other varieties of Joe Joe ice cream
Kettle corn
Salsa verde
Everything bagel chips
Cheese puffs
Kettle style potato chips
Joseph Handler Sweet Red Wine

I’m sure I’m missing things here….but here’s a pretty comprehensive list of the best things at TJ’s.


August: A Month in Review

August was an incredibly busy month in my world.  I’ve been unable to really post here this month because it was trouble right out the gate!

We started the remodel job in our living room.   We tore out an existing wall that held the fireplace, framed the new fireplace, did drywall work, added board and batten treatment, changed the electrical, painted, put up crown moulding, built some cabinetry, and laid some flooring in the bare spots.  We still have to finish the electrical, the trim, the partially built cabinets, touch-up the paint, get the new furniture, and style the room.

On the day DIY construction began, my dad had emergency surgery.  He’s fine now…but it was scary for a few days.  My brother and I became responsible for the special work projects that my dad was doing for our company.  My workload nearly doubled.  Did I mention school was out of session and I have three kids under 4 with one of my crucial babysitters (mom) taking care of my dad?  It was pretty hairy.

Thankfully, VBS started a few days later for two of the kids and I was able to hit the books hard for several mornings in a row and get on top of the work I was afraid I wouldn’t complete.  The kids loved VBS and really learned a lot that week about Jesus’ childhood.  I’m so thankful that there is a church very near our house that offers a program for young children in the summertime.

Once VBS ended, I was looking at 2 weeks of full-time childcare, a very messy construction project, a double workload, and some really hot days.  We made it work, though!  My dad came home from the hospital and is making a very good recovery, the kids adapted to the chaos, the house project has an end in sight, and I’ve adjusted to the increased workload.

I also started the lobby remodel job at one of the residential hotels we manage.  I designed and delegated the work thus far: new ceiling fans (with new electricity), stained the wood work, started painting the ceiling, and met with a furniture builder for the new front desk.  I’m really excited about how it’s going to turn out and I’ve received some really positive feedback from the residents, as well.

My big girl turned 5 this month.  Yes I cried.  She has grown so fast and is not slowing down no matter how many times a hope for a pause button.  We went to an indoor playground with a few friends and had a spaghetti dinner at my brother’s house with our whole family to celebrate.  She asked to have ears pierced, but we decided that it would be better to wait a few more years.  Instead, she picked out a beautiful blue fish that is named “Bluebell”.  It’s really sweet how well she takes care of and marvels at this little fish.  He’s a welcome new member of the family!

The most exciting thing on her birthday was the shout-out, birthday mission, and song request on the Absolutely Mindy Show on Kid’s Place Live (sattelite radio).  They said her name on the radio and told her she must complete the following birthday missions before she turns another year older: 1) get in a fight with a balloon and lose, 2) teach a baby to “fist bump”, 3) mail someone a piece of toast.  Weird.  Funny.  🙂  They also played her requested song, “Sweet Pea”.  It was a great day.

Well, we have packed the backpack and prepared all the school supplies for next Tuesday’s first day of Kindergarten and my sweet boy has already attended his first week of preschool.  I’m ready to get into a stable routine….something more predictable.  My friend and I have started a dinner swap and that has already been a huge help in planning for the week, time management, and money-saving.  We are hoping to add a few more people to our group (wouldn’t it be great to only have to cook once per week?!).  I’m looking forward to cooler weather, a finished living room, quiet time in the mornings to finish my work, one-on-one time with baby girl while other two are at school, and fun afternoons with them when they get home.

In the end, August gave me an ulcer (literally).  But I’m confident that September will bring calm and routine (and antacids).  Bring on the apples and homework, I’m ready!

Anthropologie Knock-Off!

I love a good knock-off.  I’m pretty good at finding them, too.  There is a blog, Copy Cat Chic, that has all kinds of great designer knock-offs for home decorating.  Today, I ran into Michaels to find some spray paint and (of course) I looked through $1 bins and I found this:

I remembered that I almost bought one of these at Anthropologie in April, but felt like $12 was a bit too much for a pad of paper that triples as a calendar and note pad:

Pretty good for $11 savings, right?  I thought so.  Here a few others I picked up to give away:



It’s the little things in life….

I am blessed in ennumerable ways.  The house, the husband, the kids, the job.  Both parents alive and still married.  Money in the bank, health insurance, retirement savings, vacations.  Living in America (!) in a city where the weather is mostly perfect and I can grow my own food year-round.  I am thankful for all of these conditions…and I, regrettably, am not on my knees and thanking God for blessing me more than I deserve.  Maybe I should be writing more on this:  What if I woke up tomorrow and I was left only with the things I’d thanked God for the night before?

Aside from those big, important things, I have an ongoing list of  things that I’m thankful for…the little things that make my life a little more sweet.  Yes, they’re silly and maybe even indulgent, but I’m sure my list of happy things is not uncommon.  Here are a few:

The clothesline we just put up makes doing laundry a little more pleasant and contemplative.

Vision Needle pens by Uniroller. A good pen that fits your handwriting is such nice thing to find.

Ray Lamontagne. I could listen to him sing all day.  ❤

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri has almost eliminated my smudge meltdowns.

Stroopwafel. Dutch caramel wafer cookies. And they have them at Trader Joe’s.

The first night with fresh sheets. The sheets are smooth and perfectly tucked. I sleep so well that first night….

Benadryl: Takes away allergies, puts me to sleep, cures nausea.

Bath and Body Works Secret Wonderland. My new favorite fragrance.

Pho from V-House Pho & Grill. A Vietnamese restaurant is practically across the street from my house. Puts Chinese take-out to shame….we pick this stuff up at least once per month!

So there you have it….my list for tonight.  I do have about 100 other things I could add.  But I’m tired.  I want to sink into bed.

Life expectancy


I’m home!

I have been on an eleven-day whirlwind tour of Texas and Oklahoma and just arrived home late last night.

I slept like a baby in my own bed and woke up to a shower in my own house with full-size bottles of shampoo and moisturizer….not struggling to squeeze out the last tiny bit from those travel-size toiletry bottles.

I made pancakes for my frantically hungry little people.

I had coffee: lovely, freshly ground, vanilla nut flavored, brewed in the french press, with half-n-half and sugar in the giant Crate and Barrel coffee cups I adore.

I’ve cut the sugar snap peas, corn, and lone strawberry that were ready in the garden…along with the necessary weeding, pruning, and re-planting.

AND I did all of it before 9:30 (that’s the time change adjustment, I guess).

 I’ve still got to restock the fridge and do some laundry, but I’m looking forward to a date tonight (no kids!!!!!  :D) and a calm evening before heading into the work week.

I’ll be working on catching up on my work over the next few days, but stay tuned because I am very excited about an upcoming post the will be titled “Cottage Envy”….and you’ll all see why very soon.

Off to the launderette!

Here I am.

It’s nap time at our house.  Dinner is made, my accounting work is done, the laundry is not…neither are the dishes.

However, I do have a new blog:  “Where life happens”

This will be my creative space/online journal/digital scrapbook (since I never get the pictures printed) to document our home improvement projects, children, and my thoughts.  I like to write.  I like to make my house pretty.  I like to cook.  I like to have fun with my little kids (I have three).  I do accounting and some property management work from my home…but I probably won’t write much about it, unless there is space I’m showing (art studios for rent, anyone?).

My most recent projects include the following:

Bunny Birthday Party: baby girl party for 30 people with food, decorations, and gift (<$125)

Office Makeover: new furniture, paint, organizing, and beautifying (<$50)

Master Bedroom Update: new paint, new window treatments, new molding, moved furnishings from other rooms (~$200)

Little Girl’s Room Makeover: new shelves and table, painted mural, rearranged furniture, craft project (~$200)

Kitchen Update: new storage, chalkboard, backsplash (~$150)

Stampin’ Up: my ongoing creative outlet turn stationery project that includes Stampin’ Up products and dollar bin items from Michael’s ($accumulating!)

I will link to these projects when I take pictures/clean up/ figure out how to link.

My two year-old is rolling on the floor saying he wants water (over and over), so my first blog post will be a short one.  See you next time.