Google+
Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memories. Show all posts

Creating a Happy Place in Your Home

 

Disclosure: Artsy Couture sent me this metal print in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

With so many of the schools starting back up remotely this year, it is important for you to have your own happy place at home. Whether you are working from home or are a stay-at-home mom like me, you need a space that is yours for when you need some quiet time, alone time or just a place to bring you up a bit when you are down. I created one for myself over the summer. I have shared bits and pieces of it with you but want to share some of the things I find important in it. My space is a corner of our family room. Our family room is a room with lots of windows that looks out upon our backyard and thus my bird feeders. I find watching my outdoor critters so relaxing so this is why I chose this space. Steve helped me move the furniture around so I have two comfortable chairs facing the windows. We actually switched one of the chairs to the glider we had in Hazel's nursery. It is so comfortable and has become my chair now. One of the chairs has an ottoman so that is there. I also put a small folding tv tray table to put drinks and things on. Now it has our collection of gel pens in case I want to color. 

Besides the furniture I have decorated my happy place corner. I had a pillow made that literally says "This is My Happy Place." I have family photos as well as picture to remind me "Prayers & Love over worry & fear." I have sayings about love and life. My latest addition however is a beautiful metal print of my other happy place--my family vacation home on Cape Cod. This is the house my grandparents built and I spent most of my school vacations visiting when I was young. I took a photo of Hazel looking out over the marsh from the deck of the house. This is truly a happy place of mine. I love sitting on the deck and watching the animals and enjoying the breeze.


Since it is a metal print, it has a bit of glare and reflection issue when photographing it. However, I LOVE it!! The print is absolutely beautiful in person. I love sitting in my glider and looking at it. I can almost smell the marsh and feel the breeze. I definitely begin to breathe a bit slower and feel my body relax. It is a peaceful place and a wonderful reminder of it. Plus usually I am at it with my family: Steve and Hazel as well as my parents and my sisters and nephew. It is a place where there is love and where I know I am loved. This print has all of that in it as well as just being beautiful for others to see. 

I have had other metal prints made. I had a sunset print for my parents since they moved out of this house with the beautiful sunsets. I had scenic prints made to decorate the house we now rent out. I also have canvases and prints of family photos and memories from vacations. This is the first time I made one for me to remind me of a peaceful place that makes me relax and be calm. I love what it does for me. 

As we proceed through these strange times of social distance think about what makes you happy. Grab a photo of that place or memory and get a print made. Create your own happy space in your home. We all need one these days!

The Unofficial Start of Summer -- Let's Look at the Ocean

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe it is already Memorial Day Weekend? This year is going to be very different for many of us. Are you heading to the beach? I know here in Massachusetts the beaches are opening however there are very strict rules when there. Many are also only for residents. Masks are required at some and no groups over 10. Social distancing is a must. I took a walk with my father this week on the beach. I was at Cape Cod helping my parents out for a few days. It wasn't really beach weather so it wasn't very crowded. I'm glad not to be there this weekend. Instead I am going to share a book about the ocean! It is Ocean! Waves for All by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by David Litchfield. 

Savoring Memories with Photowall

Disclosure: I was sent this canvas for no charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

COVID-19 is scary. This week someone I knew died and his wife doesn't know because she is in the hospital fighting the disease as well. There is so much information and misinformation floating around and it can be hard to know what to believe and what not to. I keep turning to my faith to reassure me. But I also keep my family close. I also have been trying to focus on happier times. Hazel had a week off in February from school and the only thing she wanted for Christmas and her birthday was a family trip to Disney World. We went and had a wonderful family vacation. We spent two days going to the parks--Magic Kingdom and Epcot and two days by the pool and shopping. We stay at a wonderful time share down there that has a full kitchen and laundry facilities right in the unit. It is in Kissimmee so it is away from the park craze. Within a couple weeks of our return we were changing Hazel's school and going into social distancing. Plus I had to buy a new car in the mix. Talk about crazy!! Well now I want to hold on to our happy memories of our family trip and I was offered a product from Photowall.  After talking it over with Steve and Hazel we decided to let Hazel pick a photo to make into a canvas. I liked the idea of a wall mural but didn't think Steve would go for it and Hazel thought it would be too much. We decided to upload our own photo for a canvas. After going back and forth between photos she decided on this one of her with Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). We uploaded it and chose a Photowall Canvas

Memory Making Mom Review

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What are your childhood memories? Do they ever sneak in when you think about your own parenting? Or perhaps even your own identity? I remember back in my teacher days taking a class where we were asked to write about our own identities. I was single at the time and only had five or so years of teaching under my belt. I wrote about some of my childhood memories. It was really interesting when we shared our stories. It was a class on diversity training. Unfortunately I lost the paper (and digital) copy of my paper. As a young teacher my childhood memories really helped define me. They are important and will affect our kids throughout their lives. This is the basis of the book I am sharing with you today. It is Memory Making Mom by Jessica Smartt. 

Artsy Couture Metal Print

Disclosure: Artsy Couture made this metal print for me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I have hinted for a few weeks that life here has been a bit crazy. Two out of the past three weeks I have spent at Cape Cod with my parents. My parents have decided the time has come for them to move into a 62+ condo. This has meant helping them move and helping clean out the old house. The move itself is only 0.7 of a mile, but the smaller condo is very different than the house my grandparents built and the view is nowhere near as nice. They are going to miss the view of the marsh, bay and especially the beautiful sunsets (plus seeing the fireworks from their deck). We are all going to miss the house, but know it is time and for the best for my parents to sell it and move. So after two weeks of unpacking, packing and going through things plus moving lots of boxes and bags (mostly of fabric and books) up and down the stairs and more, I have been absolutely exhausted. I literally slept most of the first weekend home after the first week. I finally now am feeling like summer is just beginning. 

Photo Canvas from Canvas Factory Review & #Giveaway

Disclosure: Canvas Factory sent me this canvas of my photograph free of charge and is providing the giveaway prize in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Some links in this post are affiliate links where I will receive a small payment for your purchase at no cost to you. 

I know summer is over. Hazel is back to school, and she loves it. However I am still trying to capture the summer memories. We went on a family vacation in July to North Conway, New Hampshire. This year we went up to the summit of Mount Washington. It was our first time going. We took the guided van tour offered by the Mt. Washington Auto Road.  It had been suggested to us as the best way to get up by an employee at the Mount Washington Weather Discovery Center and Gift Shop. We loved it and would definitely recommend it. So I wanted to use one of our photos from our trip for our canvas print. My first idea was to use a family photograph from the summit. However we needed to crop it and the quality was not good enough. When it was cropped it was perfect for a portrait canvas. 

Real Friends -- Book Review

Disclosure: Macmillan Publishers gave me copies of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

It always amazes me when I get a book at the perfect time for something in our lives. Today's book is one of those perfectly timed occurrences. Hazel has had a really tough school year and has had several issues with her classmates (as well as her teacher). A few weeks ago we pulled her from her school and I am homeschooling her for the rest of the year. She was in a very bad emotional state and we knew we had to get her out of it. She is mostly back to her normal happy self and will be once we have chosen a school for next year and that anxiety can be put to rest. The most important thing for us in choosing this school will be the classmates and the potential friends. Today's book helps her see that she is not the only one who has struggled with friends in school. The book is Real Friends by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Now just seeing the author and illustrator was enough for me to know Hazel would love this book. They are also one of the authors and the illustrator of the Princess in Black series, which we love!!

Vacation Week Crafts - a Crafty Weekends Review & Link Party

Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing gave me copies of these books free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

This past week was Hazel's spring break. We have had quite the week and a half. The last week of school included Hazel's class's Easter play and my parents came to see her and celebrate Easter with us early. Then my sister came to go to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday with us. Then we celebrated with my mother-in-law on Easter Sunday. On Monday we headed to the American Girl Doll Store Boston (which is not in Boston). Hazel had saved almost enough to buy herself a doll. We loaned her the last $30 since we were going. My plan had been to take her so she could really decide which doll she wanted. Seeing the dolls in person helped her really decide which were her top picks. Some that had been top picks fell off the list in person. After a bit of thought she decided on Kit Kitteredge. She LOVES the books about Kit, so I thought this was a wonderful choice.

My Mother's Quilts -- First Look Review

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review free of charge from Worthy Ideals. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

Quilting has taken on its own art form, but originally started out of necessity. They have been used as gifts, as signs and communications, to record stories and as maps. They have held a very special place in my heart. My mother started quilting when I was in elementary school. Her first quilt was a sampler--where the blocks are all different. There was a square with three sun bonnet sues in different sizes to represent me and my older sisters. There was a square with a man using a transit to represent my father. This quilt was on my parents bed for years. My sisters and I all want to inherit it though my mother says it is threadbare. 

Sad Day, Sad Memories

Ten years ago was one of the saddest days in my life. It is hard to forget as an American the terror that we all felt. I remember where I was the first time I heard about the plane going into the first of the twin towers. I was teaching then and had a prep period. I went down to the photocopier and was told by one of the teachers I didn't know well that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. It didn't sink in what he was telling me. I guess I was focused on my preparations for my first class of the day. I thought he was trying to tell me some joke or something. Then when my students started arriving they told me they had been in history and saw it on television. Apparently once the history department found out about it they all turned on the televisions so the kids could see history being made. Then the stories began and our lives changed. There was no going back to our more innocent time.

We all heard the stories. Being so close to Boston I heard many. I think the scariest part of the day for me was in the afternoon when I was sitting in another teacher's classroom working together and we heard a plane overhead. By this time we knew all planes were grounded so to hear one was a bit scary.  Our school was in the flight pattern for the military planes flying to Boston since that was where the flights orginated from.

Then there were the stories of students' parents one whose father worked in New York or at the Pentagon, but for some reason that day decided to work from home. Or the poor kids whose father was booked on both flights and the mother got word to her son through the school that he was not on the first flight and at the time we did not know the flight number of the second plane. She came to school to pick up her sons since the father's flight was missing and when she walked into the front office she saw the television that the office was watching announce the second flight number being the one her husband was on.  I know I have gotten chills all days remembering these stories. The sadness, hurt, and scared comes back.

As a mother of a toddler, I am not watching the news and all the remembrances. We try not to let her watch much television at all and certainly not the news or adult topics. Occasionally we will let her watch Sesame Street (she loves Elmo), Caillou, or Curious George, but that is it. And I have to say, Steve and his mother are usually the ones that have her watch it. I only do it if she is sick and needs to rest or I'm sick and need to rest. So I am not being overexposed to it all again like I was in 2001. 

This morning we went to church. The service was really dedicated to remembering. I feel that was my way of remembering. I know our minister is helping with a townwide remembrance service later today, but we will not attend it. I do not want to expose Hazel to the ugly part of our world. The sermon today was on hope in the middle of disaster and terror. I want to focus on the hope in her life. There will be plenty of time for the bad and ugly when she is older. Don't you agree?

A few months ago, we heard the news of Bin Laden's death. People were celebrating. I know I was happy that he was no longer a threat, but I immediately felt guilty to be happy that someone was dead. Doesn't celebrating a death in that way make us as bad as them? Though I guess for many it was more the relief that the threat he posed was gone, but the truth is there are others to take his place. How does this end? I only know that I can pray for a happy ending and for peace and treat others with respect and kindness.

So I'm ending this post with prayers and thoughts of love and support for all the people who lost a loved one on September 11, 2001, all the people affected by the acts of terrorism and for my country. Please God bless all of us, all who are still grieving, America, and everyone who is reading this today.

Some other sites to check out in remembrance:

1) My Computer is My Canvas Free Printable of 1 Nation Under God
2) Less Cake More Frosting Free Printable

3) Ellie Inspired We Remember Inspiring pictures and bible quote
4) A Creative Princess Thought provoking picture
5) Lynnfield Remember 9/11 Photos of the 9/11 Remembrance in Lynnfield, MA (this is the town my church is in and they started last week with flags on the Common for each live lost) It is powerful to see in person

Hard to Say Goodbye and Some Other Links I've Been Trying

Simba playing in his younger years
Yesterday, we buried the ashes of our beloved Simba. I first got Simba as a kitten in 1994. He is the first cat I can say was truly just mine. Steve of course adopted him and they loved each other right away, but I had from 1994-2006 alone with him. Yesterday we finally got around to buying a plant in his memory and burying his ashes underneath it. We are also making a stepping stone to honor him to place next to it. It is still curing and then I'll paint it and seal it, so pictures will come at another time. We had to put Simba down at the end of July. He was in too much discomfort to keep him alive anymore.

Simba "helping" sew a quilt
Simba was the best cat I had ever known. He loved to be with people and loved to play. He would greet me when I came home and follow me around and sleep with me every night. When Steve and I decided to start a family we adopted a kitten, so Simba would learn to share our attention before a baby arrived. He accepted Pumpkin pretty quickly. At first he followed her around and would meow at her whenever she did something against my rules. It was rather cute.
Simba and Pumpkin (as a kitten)
Simba and Pumpkin getting some fresh air
Simba at Dawn
Simba was at first afraid of Hazel and kept his distance, but in the end he would let her pet him and would come to cuddle even if she was with us. I think some of it may have been he was too slow to get away anymore and just wanted some love.

When I was beginning to quilt I took a class on watercolor quilts and made this wallhanging depicting my favorite cat doing one of his favorite activities, looking out the window. It hangs over our bed now, so we know Simba is always with us.

Okay, enough of the sad stuff. On a positive note I won a blog contest. Sew Happy Geek had a wonderful contest for her third blog-iversary, and amazingly I won. I am getting one of her patterns and all the fabric to make the quilt top. Now to figure out who to make it for. I can't wait to get the package.

Here are some other blogs/ideas I have been playing with:
1)  From The Enchanted Tree -- Bendy Dolls
2) From Living, Loving, Learning Naturally -- Ice Cream for Breakfast! I tried this recipe this morning using frozen mixed berries instead of the banana. I really liked it. Hazel didn't seem to eat it and Steve did not give me his opinion. We had it over waffles. I personally thought it was a fun way to jazz up the waffles instead of syrup. I used skim milk and couldn't tell.
3) From Poet in the Pantry -- Brownies to Heal the Soul. Haven't tried these yet, but trust Carrie's (and her family's) opinions. She also has a PB Fudge recipe that looks delicious.


How about you--any good ideas to share?