My grandmother loved art, specifically the Impressionists.  When I’d go to her house, we’d get dressed up and have tea parties on her fine China and look through her books on Impressionists.  She no doubt had some influence on my own interest in the arts.  I am not at all a great artist, myself.  But, I do love art and have an appreciation for it, as well as the artists themselves.  And, having been just 3 hours shy of a minor in Art History, I’ve had my share of art classes.  So, when the kids expressed an interest in an after-school art program, I got to thinking: I love art.  I love projects that include all of the kids. What if I spend less than half of the registration fee, and instead purchase a few good quality art supplies and teach them what I do know?  I found this book at the local library and used it as a guide.  I figured this way, the kids get a good quality introduction to art (at a fraction of the price), and we’d be having quality time together doing something we all enjoy.  We’re all excited about it.  Now, we’ll see how it all pans out in reality.

Here’s how I’m planning to break down the lessons.  I figure we’ll do one day a week for 30 minutes.  We’ll stay on each one for 2-3 sessions each, or until they get bored with it.  It’s not so much about mastery here as it is to expose them to some basic methods and new mediums.  I plan for them to start by a few minutes of sketching every time.

1.  Creating form using shadows and highlights.  Medium: chalk pastels, charcoal.  We will be looking for simple forms to model…vases, boxes, etc.  This will also reinforce how they look at things in their environment.

2. Foregrounds and backgrounds.  Medium: watercolor pencils. We will be working on basic landscapes, perhaps using photography as inspiration.

3. Faces.  Medium: TBD.  This is definitely the hardest for me, and probably for most.  We will work on faces with regards to proportion, shadows and highlights.


Spring is Springing

It’s been so darn beautiful around here for quite some time now.  Mother Nature has been doing a beautiful job.  Things are getting greener, and flowers are starting to bloom everywhere.

This rose is from my neighbor’s garden.  And, no, I didn’t steal it.  My son brought it to me…he said Mr. H gave it to him to give to me.  Come to think of it, I didn’t really follow up on that, but I’m gonna give the kid the benefit of the doubt.  Anyways, isn’t it pretty?  And unlike most roses these days, it smells so good…not that fake rose smell.  It is so nice to look over and see this pretty  flower in the middle of my breakfast room table.  Fresh flowers really are worth having around.  I think Oprah would agree.

Out and About

Once again, my favorite Salvation Army Store proved to be a place for excellent deals.  I think it might be fun to challenge myself to create two different moodboards inspired by what I found yesterday.  We’ll see about that, but for now let me share my finds…

These were a pair of lamps (no shades).  My phone shot them as a little creamy, but they were actually white.  $25 each.  I can see these as bedside lamps, or on a buffet.  Great looking, modern and classic, in my opinion–which is my favorite combo.  The bases need some paint (maybe a pop of color) but other than that, they were in excellent condition.

OK, don’t think I’ve gone all granny on you, but I think this lamp is so cute, and it’s what’s going to be the jumping off point for my moodboard challenge.  It’s all about context.  The flowers were more grey than lavender.  $28.

Hello, pair of chairs for $50!  Look past the ugly, these have great lines, strong bones, and a fun upholstery opportunity, to boot.

Check out these sleek nesting tables…chrome with glass tops.  $59 for the set.  Granted, I can’t see them in every room, but if you’re into that sort of thing, they are in good condition, and it’s a fair price.  I could see these left as-is for a pop of modern in a living room, or painted a bright color for a cool teen’s room or covered patio.

Happy Shopping!



What We Can Learn From Dog Poop


I went to the local library today with Finn, and this book caught my eye.  I knew that my kids would listen to any story that had the word “poop” in the title.  As it turns out, it was a fun  read, but it also relayed an important message to our kids.  There are a lot of “pointers” in this world, but the true heroes are the ones that take the initiative and solve the problem.  In other words, you can be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.

After school today, I think I’ll have the kids put this to practice in our backyard.  3 dogs=plenty of opportunities.

Life’s a Trip

Life is all about choices.  Sometimes the choice is clear:  there’s a right answer and a wrong answer.  We make our choices based on the expected outcome, and the consequences of those outcomes.  But, the hardest decisions to make are the ones where there is no wrong or wright answer.

Brian and I have found ourselves at a point in our lives where we are ready to make some changes.  We are fortunate that the choices are our own, but it’s hard to make big decisions when the “right” path isn’t clear.  But, I don’t subscribe to the idea that there is some ultimate plan.  I think that whatever choices we make are our own.  We get to choose our own way sometimes.  It won’t be wrong and it won’t be right, it will just be.

Whatever we decide for our family will be the right choice, because it’s the one we will make together.  As long as we keep in mind our goals, we will get there, even if we don’t have a road map.  Sure, sometimes it’s nice to have it all laid out before you, but just like the best road trips–you can plan for some things, and make up the rest as you go along.



Do Some Good

I’ve been feeling awful lately.  Both my body and my mind have been trying to tell me something.  I mean, seriously, last week I actually had a full-blown panic attack:  chest pain, shortness of breath, racing heart, and the feeling that I was going to die a young death.  OK, so EKG and multiple doctors later, I realize that not only to do I have anxiety, but also acid reflux, which is what spawned the stupid panic attack.  The pain in my chest coupled with the severe anxiety that I’d been feeling earlier in the day caused me to feel and think I was having a heart attack.  It’s pretty much been a wake up call.  I have been feeling like crap both mentally and physically, because I’ve been eating like crap and not exercising at all.  So, I just decided that instead of popping some pills, I’m going to try to do what my body just shouted out to me…

It’s amazing the difference some yoga and a salad will do.  All I did were 10 sun salutations twice over the weekend and I’m already feeling calmer and more like myself.  Plus, I’ve eaten more veggies in the last two days than I have in months, and what do you know? My tummy is improving! (I have to be honest, Prevacid has helped, too).  I’m still not 100%, but I know I will be.  And, isn’t that what makes life easier? Just knowing we will be OK.

In the words of Honest Abe, “When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad, I feel bad.  That is my religion”.  So, in my plans to do good, I’m making positive changes.  I’m not committing to some kind of blog series, or anything like that.  But for now, I’ve got goals and I figure this is my blog, so I can just use this as my diary.  I’m starting small because a little at a time is best for me.  It’s all about baby steps.  Slow cooker versus microwave.

My goals for this week:


yoga/medidation: 3 days

cardio: 3 days

salad for lunch, fruit for snacks: as many days as possible

Out and About: Downtown McKinney

Downtown McKinney, TX is such a cool place.  Amazing stores, restaurants, architecture.  And the weather today (73 and sunny) was perfect for strolling around looking for inspiration.  These things caught my eye…

This cute chandelier needs rewiring, but the scuffed blue finish and $55 price tag make it worth the effort.  Breakfast room maybe?  Avery’s room?

This marbelized lamp is cool, but I don’t really have a place for it.  But, how many lamps do you come across for $45 with a shade?  I’d probably work on the shade to give it a little more personality, but the lamp base was really pretty in person.

I’m pretty sure I need this G.  I’ve got some plans for either side of the buffet in the breakfast room and think this may be a part of it.  It was a little pricey, at $80 but it’s big and cool and it spoke to me.  I’m pretty sure I spoke to it, too.  That horse was beautiful, too, but I didn’t see a price.

This antique brass chandelier caught my eye.  I don’t love the shades, but I think if I could find some kind of mercury glass ones to tie in with the stainless and chrome going on in the kitchen, it could be awesome over my sink.  $55 and it needs to be rewired.  I think I could talk her down, though.

Tonight’s Dinner: Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

I bought some drumsticks because they were on sale this week, and they are one of the few guaranteed things that all three of my kids will eat.  Since the hubby returns tonight, and it is the only day this week that I’ve had time too cook, I decided they’d be perfect.  I needed something I could prep before swim practice, and cook immediately when we got home.  My plan was to grill them, but then I realized we were out of propane.  So, I decided last minute to bake them, and they turned out great.  And since I made so many, we’ve got leftovers.  Not everyone loves leftovers, but this family does.   I served them with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli (the bagged kind).


(these measurements are not precise, I just dump and go)

12-14 drumstics (I used the big ones, not drummettes)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Italian dressing

1 tsp ginger (the tube stuff is great to have on hand)

1 tsp garlic (tube stuff)

3T chopped fresh parsley (I added some cilantro too)

salt and pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together, then pour over the chicken.  Toss to coat.  Then, cover with foil and marinate an hour or more.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake, covered for 15 minutes, uncover and continue baking for 45 more minutes, turning halfway.  Remove from oven and cover with foil to rest for 10 minutes.  Devour.

**even better grilled!