23 August 2016

Farewell to Summer?!?

It hardly seems possible, but school in our part of Michigan starts in just two short weeks. Then I have a super-confusing week, because my daughter's first week of school is just the first week of pre-school orientations for my son. His 'official' start is a week later.

Regardless, we've packed this week and next (and heck, last week too!) full of fun stuff we really wanted to do before summer is done!

One week ago today, we wrapped up a week-long vacation at my best friend's house in New Jersey and drove back home. The drive was uneventful, but being in the truck that long really throws off your schedule, you know? I had two days before the next adventure, and we kept busy then too! My daughter bought a camera so she can document all the fun, we celebrated family day at Greenfield Village (which my son calls Redfield Village - I don't know why) with the company my husband works for, and my son got his annual physical to get ready for his pre-school journey. I also had to sneak in doing the laundry for EVERYONE. Hubby had two weeks worth of clothes from his last business trip (he got home while we were gone), and the kids and I had our weeks' worth of vacation clothes. It wouldn't have been a rush, but the kids were ready to go again on Friday!

We hit I-75 going north Friday afternoon (a brave feat in itself!) so the kids could spend a few days camping with Mimi and Papa. It's an annual thing for them. The park is only an hour or so away from home, and has a pond with paddleboats, kayaks, fishing, and swimming, as well as an indoor and an outdoor pool, a lazy river, and lots of activities planned. My mom (Mimi) promised to take lots of pictures and help the kids make scrapbooks of their weekend again this year. I can't wait to see them!

Tonight I'll go join them for a bit of swimming, followed by some dinner and of course roasting marshmallows before I bring the kids back home again late tonight. Tomorrow I'm sure I'll be back on the laundry circuit. LOL

Still this week, we have two ice skating lessons (my daughter's regular lesson, plus a make-up for the one we missed while in New Jersey), dentist appointments for all three of us, and shopping for school supplies.

One of the highlights of my son's summer is scheduled for this Saturday. He insisted we all attend with him this year, so we've got four tickets for Day Out with Thomas
at the Huckleberry Railroad. He has loved Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends since before he was even two years old. Two years ago, I took the kids to Day Out while hubby was in Korea. Last year, we decided it would be more economical to divide and conquer - he took our son to Day Out while my daughter and I just headed to the local movie theater. But this year, our son was adamant that we all attend Day Out. He's gone so far as to say that his sister will sit with him on the train, and tickle him, and I could sit with his dad. Hahaha...

Hopefully we'll get plenty of rest on Sunday and Monday, because then it's back to as much fun as we can handle! We're loading up the SUV and road-tripping to Cedar Point. While I think I sort of outgrew America's Roller Coast about the same time I had back surgery, hubby and his family still love the roller coasters, and the kids always have a blast at the park's Snoopy-Land (Peanuts-themed kids' rides and attractions.

The rest of the week will round out with the elementary school meet & greet, another visit Mimi and Papa before they hit the road again, and my daughter's last beginner 3 ice skating lesson. Labor Day weekend will surely be spent trying to get some semblance of order to the chaos, and getting the kids back on a reasonable sleeping (and more importantly, waking) schedule.

Whew! What do you have to do to know you've fulfilled your summer bucket list?

18 August 2016

Reading Challenge - Book Eight

Well, I really wandered off this time, didn't I? :P

But I'm back from a trip to Chicago for Perfectly Posh, a primary election (loonngg day of work), and a trip to New Jersey for a wonderful visit with my best friend.

And before I even left on all this, I finished my eighth book this year. It satisfied the 11th category on the PopSugar Reading Challenge - it's a book that's becoming a movie this year. While I hadn't even heard of it before, I'm excited to see it now.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a fabulous fantasy about real magic, although most of the characters prefer other words, like enchantment.

The premise is indeed fascinating, where two old illusionists pit their protege against each other, in a battle that potentially lasts forever. They create not only their skill-sets, but also the arena for the competition, with little concern of innocent bystanders involved.

I'd definitely recommend this book, if you're all right with things not being easily proven and believable in your 'real' life. I can't wait to see the fabulousness on the big screen.

27 July 2016

CONGRATS - Proven Winners WINNER!

Congratulations to AMANDA for being the random winner of the DIY Hanging Basket from Proven Winners Direct by Four Star Greenhouse Inc. You're going to LOVE it!!

Remember there's still a few days left with our generous discount code as well: Use this code: SWEETLYPWDIY at their site: www.provenwinnersdirect.com before August 1, 2016.

#ProvenWinners #gardening #ProvenWinnersDIY  

I received this fabulous basket in exchange for my unbiased review.

22 July 2016

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. Another hot day. After a vacation that ended up a bit chilly from time to time, I'm okay with it!
  2. And vacation - today does not feel like Friday at all! Having a weekend so soon after getting home (Tuesday night) feels like a real bonus!
  3. I feel like I have the potential to be really productive today. We'll see what happens. LOL
  4. Watch for my next book review coming soon. I'm still turning the book over in my mind. I reall liked it, but I'm not sure what I want to write just yet.
  5. So excited to go to the Perfectly Posh leadership conference next weekend!! And to really sweeten the pot, I get to go with my best friend <3
  6. I think I still have rice krispies treats packed in a big box in the garage from vacation. They're sounding like a really good breakfast right about now...
  7. Dang. I'm in the mood to go chill (literally) at the theater and see a movie with the kids, but I think our fundage is starting to run a little low for such an elaborate expedition. Hahaha... Why are the movies so expensive??
  8. The next project on my to-do list (besides that book review) is to do all the business reviews I can think of from our vacation, and post them up on Yelp.
  9. I can hardly believe summer is half over!!
  10. What else do I NEED to do this summer?? Please tell me what your 'summer isn't real until I ______' activity is!

21 July 2016

Proven Winners DIY Hanging Basket Kit Review

I am so excited to have collaborated with Proven Winners Direct by Four Star Greenhouse Inc again (we did this cute little plant back in May).
Four Star Greenhouse Inc is the #1 supplier of Proven Winners plants in the world. I am so happy and proud of the lovely plants I've gotten from them this year. This time, I've got a giveaway sponsored by Proven Winners Direct AND a discount code for ya'll!

Isn't this a happy sight?!? This was the inside of my much-anticipated box with my DIY Hanging Basket kit that I received shortly after my birthday in June. While I'm usually more in favor of being pampered and having someone else do anything resembling manual labor, clean dirt smells good, and planting stuff feels like magic.

I quickly unpacked the box all over my front porch to see what it all was. In addition to the 15" basket, I had plenty of potting soil, two each of three different flowers, and even a packet of plant food/fertilizer to get everything started!

At this point, I should have done my usual crafting step and read the directions, but I was too excited and just dove in! I tried to sort of alternate the colors, but now I think there may have been some that were more made for the edges. I still love it ;)

To avoid wondering if you're doing it right, check out this video when you order your own beautiful basket.

My eight-year-old and four-year-old helped me fill the basket halfway with soil, then we carefully placed the plants in a pattern (patterns are very important to my kids! LOL). I took over the rest and put in the fertilizer and some more soil between the plants after I loosened their roots a bit. I didn't account for how HUGE this thing is! I had to do some re-planning and moved a couple smaller baskets to a shepherds hook in the yard before hanging our new basket - that WE made! - in a place of honor on the porch.

Okay. So I have to admit that initially, it looked sort of like a basket of dirt. But it was OUR dirt, and the kids and I had really planted it with lots of love and hope! We watered it most days, and fed it (yes, plant food, not table scraps) a few times each week, and it started looking much, much better. Honestly, you could tell it was a basket of beautiful pink flowers by the next day. And part of our 'basket of dirt' issue was probably my ineptitude in pouring the dirt in around the plants instead of all over them. But I digress.

It is LOVE that has brought this gorgeous DIY hanging basket to love and a place of pride on our porch. All three of us stand a little taller every time someone comments on how nice our flowers look.

Want to make sure you get your own basket, and take advantage of a discount? Use this code: SWEETLYPWDIY at their site: www.provenwinnersdirect.com before August 1, 2016.


Would you like a chance to win your own DIY Hanging Basket from Proven Winners Direct? They can make that happen!

All you need to do is comment on this post with your favorite kind of flower.
Want another entry? Share this post and leave another comment telling me where you shared it!

I need to be able to reach you and get your address so they know where to send the basket, so please leave your email as well.
I'll draw a winner via random.org on Tuesday, July 26 at 9pm ET.


#ProvenWinners #gardening #ProvenWinnersDIY  

I received this fabulous basket in exchange for my unbiased review.

14 July 2016

Stitch Fix - Fix #3

I finally got another Fix. I have to admit, while I do need clothes for a conference at the end of the month, the real reason I finally scheduled a Fix is because they were waiving my $20 styling fee. So, win-win!

So the strongest 'requirement' for my conference is to have a black dress for our 'Breakfast at Tiffany's.' And I actually get a silver Tiffany's bracelet onstage during this one. My stylist noted that most of the rockabilly or vintage black dresses I had pinned on my Pinterest board weren't a style she had available, so she picked this classic Adrianna Papell Tallulah Dress (retail $98) for me.
Meh. I felt sort of like a stuffed shirt. The lacy detail was nice, but really hard to see. Hubby says the look on my face says it all. LOL

The dress went right to the return bag. Not really sure what I'll wear to the event, but luckily black is sort of a wardrobe staple for me.

I really wanted to like this outfit. I'd also mentioned to the stylist that pink, black, and white are sort of basic colors of the company for which I'm attending the conference. A wrap shirt like this Skies are Blue Capaldi Surplice Cross Front Fitted Knit Top (retail $54) is usually flattering on me, and I do like pencil skirts - the colors in the 41Hawthorn Blanche Sweater Knit Skirt (retail $58) were perfect!

I'll admit I've put on a little weight, but I look like a stuffed sausage to me in this outfit. The shirt just isn't flattering at all, and the straight skirt (seems simple enough) kind of buckled in the front when I moved. My regular brand of straight skirt doesn't do this in any of their fabrics. Quite disappointing.

Both of these items went to the return bag as well.

And here's that shirt again. Boy, I really wanted to like that. This time it's paired with the Dear John Finnegan Cuffed Shorts (retail $58) and the Pixley Kiata Embroidered Lace Collarless Jacket (retail $88).

I have to reiterate again that the stylist (Frances, by the way) was really paying attention to my note! I mentioned that the conference rooms were typically cold at these events, and I'd love a new, less bulky cardigan to stay comfortable.

On paper, this sweater should have been great! But on, it was a very textured lace, and I was worried about snagging it on things. After paying that much for something, I want to be able to wear it, relax, and enjoy, not watch for chairs or corners coming too close. I put it into the return bag.

The shorts were another item that just scared me about my body. I liked the way they looked on (mostly), but I felt like I was stretching that waist to the limit. Back they go!

Overall, I kept nothing, and the Fix really has me questioning my own assessments of my size and style. I've since gone back to my profile to update how I like things to fit. I probably sabotaged myself with my item requests - they may not have been things that really fit my changing body.

As an average though, out of 15 total Fix items, I've kept six. That's almost half. I'm sure I'll try again another time. ;) Want to try your own Fix? I'd love it if you'd use my referral link and get us both a bonus! https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/6629118

08 July 2016

10 Random Things for a Friday

  1. Hi Blogger-land! I'm here, posting twice in one week (kind of miraculous lately, eh?) because Facebook is breaking my heart. I'm scared for everyone. Black people, being pre-judged by law enforcement and onlookers - the children of friends, growing up black and not even knowing what that could mean yet - law enforcement friends, fighting a losing battle and being hated for their badge and the color of their skin too - all of the infighting friends, losing and giving up on relationships they've had for years as they divide on the issues.
  2. Ha! And here I drag it to my peaceful little corner anyway. I can speak up, but I, personally, cannot dwell on it much longer before being frozen in sadness over it all.
  3. It looks like the rainstorms forcasted here came over night, so we have another beautiful day!
  4. Am I the only one who feels like summer is FLYING by? I finally set dates for the trip I've wanted all summer to my besties house with my kids, to visit her and her kids. Now I need to get on the phone and schedule my last few needed summer appointments around that too.
  5. I think I'll go shopping. Maybe shopping will make me feel better. We need milk anyway...
  6. I'm on level 976 on Candy Crush. I have FIVE moves to get two stripies, and two dotties. I don't think it can be done. I tell my daughter this on every level. And then I pass it anyway :D
  7. One of my aquatic frogs in my aquarium died a few days ago too. I'll admit I shed a few tears. There's still one left, so I think I'll go get that one some more company if everyone makes it another week (deaths in an aquarium seem to come all at once...).
  8. Sharing with kids means that your morning glass of water starts tasting like pancake syrup (which you don't like) because the four-year-old is thirsty. LOL
  9. I got a new swimsuit from Lands End and I LOVE it. SO comfy. Well worth the investment.
  10. I'm hoping for a calm, fun, relaxing and uneventful weekend for us all <3