August Recap

September 5, 2011 07:05 by ehouston

For all of you that have been wondering…I know, there’s only about 3 people out there that actually read what I have to say…I have not given up on the blog/blogs.  In fact, I have thought of lots of great things to talk to you about over the last few weeks.  Unfortunately other circumstances have gotten in the way of me letting you know what is going on in my little world.  I was doing pretty good there the beginning of August.  Letting you know about the laundry room project I was still tweaking and the garden that became overrun by squash plants and a mole.  Then, “POOF”, nothing!

Mid-August I took my son up to visit my family in Michigan.  Earlier in the year I discovered that my seldom used credit card had an accumulation of points that were in danger of expiring.  After looking through the catalog of available items for purchase I decided just to check on airline tickets.  Sure enough, I had points for a ticket and some to spare!  Lucky for us the Little Guy was still under two at the time of our flights so he got to go for free.  Yeah!  The plan was to spend just over a week visiting mainly with my aging Nonna and then make the rounds to see my other family in the area as their schedules permitted.  I had blog posts all ready to go and figured at some point during this time I could hop onto a computer and make those posts live.  Just days before leaving I got word that we would be heading out of town the morning after arrival in Detroit, to spend a couple of nights at the family cottage up on the northwest coast of the state.  This meant spotty cell reception and no computer access.  Prior to leaving I attempted logging on to the blogs, but was not granted access on my (supposedly) smart phone.  Later I realized I just needed to change a setting- duh!

So, as you can imagine, once we were on the road to our little slice of heaven and it appeared I was not going to be able to continue my blog work, I decided to let it ride.  I mean, what was I gonna do?  Ruin my whole trip  with worry?  Nope, not me.  I laid back and let it all sink in. 

The Little Guy just loved the beach at Lake Michigan.


Noticing the sand.


Creating marks in the sand.


Hands in the sand.


What are the big boys doing?  (Rock Throwing 101)


Looking for the perfect specimen.


Look Mom, Rock…Rock…Rock…Rock…


The first pitch.


Admiring his work.


Once he understood the fun of rock throwing, the plan for a beachside family photo was over.  No matter how crazy (and I think they were doing quite a good job!) everyone acted about looking at the camera, the Little Guy was only interested in rocks!


Lucky for him, there were plenty to scope out along the beach out front and in the rock garden next to the back deck.   


Little Cousin Gloria loved not being the baby of the group for a change.  After a couple of relaxing days and nights in northern Michigan we headed back down toward Detroit for the rest of the week. 

We enjoyed a trip to the zoo, where the Little Guy got to see lots of exotic animals in the flesh.  He was both excited and confused by the whole situation.  We decided he must have been experiencing some confusion about what he was seeing since some of the habitats allowed the animals to stay pretty far back from the crowds walking by.  We think he may have thought what he was seeing was not even real.  He did seem to really enjoy the giraffes, the polar bear exhibit, the butterfly house…


…and of course the train ride around the zoo.  Later that weekend my Aunt treated us to a very tasty Mediterranean BBQ and we got to visit again with extended family.


The Little Guy and Cousin Kaitlynn in my Aunt’s lovely backyard garden.  He was beside himself with all the attention!


Greeting the little boy from next door with fists full of marigolds.

Before leaving town we did glimpse a bit of the 2011 Dream Cruise that just happened to be going on the weekend after we arrived and we did our annual stroll through downtown Royal Oak.  There are so many cute shops there, but we just hit a few…Gayle’s Chocolates and Scout were top on the list.  While we were just walking around we saw two $100K Porsches just parked on the street like they were old station wagons, along with lots of really cool oldies that were in for the cruise. 


I can never get enough of that place.

This time my Aunt and Uncle decided to take us on a stroll through downtown Ferndale, which is going through a revitalization and we saw some really neat shops.  Our favorite was the Rust Belt Market, a kind of booth style open market that caters to more of an “Etsy” type handmade crowd than your typical “granny arts and crafts” followers.  I found a ton of things I wanted to take home, but had to be realistic with our already 46 pound bag.  I did manage to smuggle some really nicely scented handmade soap home from one vendor, but had to forgo many, many other items for the sake of bag space and weight.  Just down the block we stepped into a little shop called NAKA and I found a neat pair of very simple Petoskey stone sphere earrings that I could not resist.  All in all, the shopping was good, not overwhelming (as in I wanted everything and was sad that I could not buy it all), I managed to get a couple of nice items to bring home and had some eye candy inspiration while we were at it.

We also hit up the local park a couple of times in an attempt to get out some energy.  It’s nice to be able to walk three blocks, on sidewalks, to a public play area. 


Over the bridge (and the Moon!) with Great Uncle Kurt.


The first time in a tube slide and he was completely hooked.


Grande Nonna helped ease the transition, smacked him on the butt and sent him up the ladder again.  She raised five kids- this woman knows how to wear them out!

I just wish we had that sort of set up in our neighborhood here at home.  Soooo nice!

Lucky for us our flight home was on Monday evening.  I say lucky not because that day was special, or that the Little Guy was exceptionally good (he was okay- fidgety, but not too bad to ride with), but because the next day everything on the East Coast shut down due to an EARTHQUAKE of all things!  Yep, that’s right, I experienced my first earthquake.  The funny part was that it happened while I was chatting on the phone with a friend.  At the same time we both mentioned something about our washing machines running off balance as we realized what we were experiencing was NOT laundry related.  It was weird, scary, exhilarating and surreal….I could go on and on.  But, I didn’t have much time to think about what had happened because I was on a mission starting that day.  I had a mountain of dirty clothes to get through, a house to clean and a birthday party to plan.  But wait!  It gets better!

Then we had a HURRICANE!!!!

I don’t know what is going on around here, but we had been assured numerous times that the weather in Richmond, VA was very similar to Nashville, TN in that it is very mild.  Well, between the record breaking blizzards in the winter of ‘09 to ‘10, to the record breaking drought in the summer of 2010, we are NOT buying it any more!  Now we are experiencing earthquakes and hurricanes- what the what? 

This place is nuts!  But, at least we had a good visit out of state.  ;o)

Kitsch Krafts

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Traveling : And Away We Go!

August 14, 2011 11:50 by ehouston

I always love to find out I have points from…well, whatever!  And, what I love is to find out that I actually have enough to get something goooooooood.  Like, plane tickets!  This year marks the second in a row where I was able to score a free flight and I am using it to visit family up in Michigan.  Yeah!!  It also marks the last time I will be able to fly my son for free.  :o(   This is sad to me on so many levels, but I won’t take you down that road with me today.

Instead I will just make you jealous that I get to see this…


Sorry, I could not help myself.

Have a great rest of the week!

Kitsch Krafts

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Travels–Petersburg, VA

June 28, 2011 06:36 by ehouston

During our first trips to the Richmond, VA area we kept hearing so much about the little town of Petersburg just south of here.  Apparently it is undergoing a revitalization of the inner city, with the addition of shops, eateries and music venues.  With weekend company in tow I decided to make the nearly 45 minute drive from our place to investigate all that Petersburg  has to offer.  Let’s just say that this is about it:


The Oak Antiques Mall, in downtown Petersburg, VA.


Granny D and the Little Guy humoring me while I peruse the fabric stash upstairs.


These cute cat planters caught my eye.  How funny to put those long, tall cactus plants in for their tails.

Actually, there were quite a few little antique shops and mini antique malls spread throughout the downtown area.  None of us are big antique collectors, so the lure to walk through each and every one of those stores was just not there.  I did find a great desk with hutch at The Oak, but decided not to try to lug it home in my space-challenged SUV.  (I am still dreaming about it, though, so I may need to just make the trek!)

We did step into a cute little boutique full of new items, called Divine Diva.

(Image borrowed from the Divine Diva’s website)

If you are looking for a Brighton, Pandora and Vera Bradley fix, this is the place for you.  We also stopped in at the old Farmer’s Bank building turned Visitor’s Center, to try and get an idea if we were missing some big part of the “cute downtown”.  Unfortunately, we had already seen everything there was to see.  So, we asked for some assistance in finding the best spot for lunch.  While there were numerous suggestions that all sounded wonderful, we ended up choosing the Dixie Diner.

(Image from Richmond Magazine)

I could not find a link to any websites for this establishment, but it was really cute and quaint.  The food was simple and filling, like something your grandmother would whip up for you if you just stopped by.  I would definitely eat there again should I ever venture back to Petersburg.  I took this pic just before we wrapped things up and headed on for the day.


All in all, I would say the hype did not match what we found.  But, there appears to be a ton of work going on all over the downtown.  We know, because we drove through the entire area.  I think in a few years this place will be rockin’ the super-cute, cool downtown and I can’t wait.  It’s the perfect distance for a Saturday afternoon shopping getaway.  One thing they had plenty of were hair salons.  So, if you need a large choice of places to get your hair did, then Petersburg is definitely for you.

Have you guys been on any mini-getaways lately?  Do tell.

Kitsch Krafts

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Traveling : Family Vacation - 2010

September 1, 2010 12:37 by ehouston

As you may or may not remember I was desperately trying to search out a good location for our extended family to gather this summer for a week of relaxation (see here).  After researching many, many…ooh, to many to name, beaches along the coast between North Carolina and Georgia we finally settled on an area right on the border between North and South, Carolina.  It turned out that Ocean Isle Beach, NC was just what we needed.  It is a sleepy little spot right next to Sunset Beach, NC that offered up nice wide beaches, lots of shell hunting and many great local restaurants.  Plus, in just a short drive we could be in the heart of touristy Myrtle Beach, SC in order to get our airbrushed T-shirt fix.


Our quaint little pad.  It was just the right size for all fourteen (yes, 14!) of us.

The drive was a little further for our family, but not so far that we lost our sanity after strapping an almost one year old in a car seat for half a day.  Everyone seemed to have a good time and although we love being back in our home and our beds, we sincerely miss waking up to the sound of ocean waves.


The view from the deck, down the boardwalk.


A cool weathered birdhouse that sat right out front on the sand dunes.


I guess we have always vacationed on beaches that get combed early because I have never seen so many shells along the Atlantic coast.


The Little Guy really loved stepping in the wet sand and…


trying to run away from the approaching waves with his dad in tow.


He also helped me find one of the best shells of the whole trip.

I would say we definitely ended the summer of 2010 on a high note.  Now we are ready to hunker down for fall and hopefully a mild winter.  How have you guys ended your summers?  Any great new vacation finds?  Or, just lots of tears as the kids go back to school…or, maybe quiet little dances of joy…;o)

Kitsch Krafts

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IKEA – My New Found Love

August 11, 2010 02:58 by ehouston

Last week I took a bow to the IKEA gods and all that amazingly cheap inspiration lining the shelves of the Woodbridge, VA store.  I was lucky to have an old pro to me guide through the maze of home products and help talk me through some design dilemmas.  Without her input and adept stroller work (while 8.5 months preggers and with 3 little ones in tow to boot!), I definitely would have been bogged down trying to maneuver through areas I am not currently focused on transforming in my home rather than getting to what I really need.  I also would have missed out on the deliciousness known as Swedish meatballs!  Not only did I get some ideas for future projects, but I found some cool and cute additions to our home.

This rug is exactly the size I have been looking for to help keep dirt down in the foyer and present a nice landing from the steps. 



It’s not exactly the style I had in mind, but the simple pattern and light gray color seem to fit in well with the neutrals of this area.  Although, this pattern does work toward my overall scheme to slightly modernize our traditional home.  We’re happy with the size, color, softness and of course the $19.99 price tag.  Go budget!

I was also thrilled to finally put an end to the lack of a trash receptacle in the powder room.  It took me a year, but I finally found exactly what I was looking for.


As you can see from this picture the wallpaper in this room is a bit over the top, although quite subtle compared with some of the other paper found in our abode.  I actually like the portion above the border and hope to add wainscoting to the lower portion of the walls in the future.  I also need to change out the shiny brass faucet, drain and toilet flush knob to brushed nickel, but I digress.  In the meantime I am happy to have scored this trashcan with a lid.  I know many of you are thinking, “what’s the big deal?  You can find simple brushed nickel cans every where and they are fairly cheap.”.  Well I have this thing about open trash cans.  I know they are common and there is nothing wrong with them, but I prefer a lid on my garbage.  Not only because I don’t want to look at it, but I feel compelled to empty the can when I see just a small bit of stuff in there.  It’s crazy, I know.


Anyway, I was super excited to find this footed, lidded version with a sweet scallop around the top edge.  And, for only $14.99 I was surprised to find that it had a hard plastic liner for the bottom, plus a plastic ring for the top edge.  You know, the kind that allow you to wrap a small bag around the ring, and insert it back into the can so that you don’t have to see the bag on the outside folded over the top of the can.  This one small purchase may just have been the highlight of the whole trip!  Love it!

The Little Guy also enjoyed a quick romp in the children’s toy area, gravitating to the kitchen set.  Of course my guide pointed out that the price was right and that he would be wanting one soon enough.  With his interest in all that I do in the kitchen I believe she is absolutely correct, but I was hoping to make a small kitchen for him instead.  We will see how that project fits in with all the others I have on the list, but I may be heading back for that, along with some of the fabulous home decor fabrics that were only $6.99 a yard.  WHAT????!!!!  Woo to the Hoo! 

I was happy to find some sweet bibs with the front “catchall” pocket, which have been great with the introduction of finger foods and a some super cute sippy cups that look like little weener dogs. 

FABLER Bib multicolor Length: 15

SMASKA Training cup  Package quantity: 2 pack  Package quantity: 2 pack

The Little Guy has been thrilled to spill milk like a pro with these new cups, plus they are helping him learn to work a cup without handles.  The kids/baby section of IKEA was pretty great and I wished I had made the trip while decorating the nursery.  I definitely got some cute “conversion to little boy’s room” ideas during this trip.

One thing I was not prepared for when arriving at IKEA was the food.  As I mentioned above, my friend let me in on the joy of Swedish Meatballs and I am a total convert.  The Little Guy was also excited to explore some new food textures with a free kid’s meal of meatballs, although he’s still not so sure about the mac and cheese.  A fact that his father (a self-proclaimed M & C fanatic) was greatly saddened by.  Now, for the bad side of the food at IKEA…my so-called friend also introduced us to the evil known as DAIM.


And, of course The Mister and I were able to make something so incredibly delicious even more sinful. 


I don’t know how we think of these things.  It it just comes naturally.  ;o)  yuuummmmm…

So, I will end my novel on my new found love.  I spent $89.00 total and ended up with the following list of items:

4’ X 6’ foyer rug

Small trash receptacle for the powder room

Set of 18 dishes in white

Set of 6 itty bitty spoons for the Little Guy

2 sweet little bibs

2 cute doggy sippy cups

1 grass mat for back door

1 bag evil chocolate covered toffee

Actually, there may have been a couple of other things too.  I just can’t remember it all.  I was pretty happy with this budget friendly shopping trip and plan to get some measurements together from our master bedroom so I can go back and take advantage of those great textile prices.  Again, I cannot thank my friend enough for guiding me through the maze of fun Swedish finds and for her expert advice on a couple of design questions I am working to answer.

Don’t worry Whit!  I will be sure to drag you along again next time we shop IKEA and maybe we will hook you up with a cheap meal (or 5) too.  hee!

Kitsch Krafts

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Travels – Planning The Family Vacay

March 7, 2010 09:02 by ehouston

Last year was so hectic that we forgot to even plan a vacation.  Then we got so far into the year and so close to the birth of our Little Guy that we realized a vacation was just out of the question.  The year before we managed to get up to our family cottage on a lake in northern MI, otherwise known as “heaven on earth”, to enjoy a very low key and relaxing  time away from work. 


(Shot from the end of the dock out front.)

In 2007 it was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico


(Shot from the party boat.  WOOT!)

and in 2006 we headed down to Sint Maarten/Saint-Marten and Anguilla


(Shot from a hilltop while cruising around the island in our rented Jeep)

and then later that year to Orlando, FL.  In past years there was Hilton Head, SC, St. Augustine,  FL,


(Cathedral on the square in St. Augustine)

West Palm Beach, FL, Jupiter, FL, Jacksonville, FL….yes, there was a bit of a theme going on here.  That theme was all about CHEAP!!!

This year I have been tasked with planning our vacation.  So, what’s the big deal you might ask?  Well, it’s not just for our little threesome.  This time the Mister’s family wants to do a big shindig together some where.  The problem I am having is where?  We will have five couples and two singles, so that means 7 bedrooms minimum- tough issue numero uno.  Issue number two is that we are all spread out and I am trying to find a good spot in between that does not have any of us feeling like we just drove across the country.  Although, with issue number two I am a little less concerned about those family members that will not be traveling with a young baby.  Sorry folks!  I love you all, but I have little patience for lots of crying.  ;o)

I am thinking we are going to end up some where along the East Coast of North or South Carolina.  I have looked at Cape Hatteras, NC, Sunset Beach, NC, Charleston, SC and Hilton Head, SC.  I am leaning toward Sunset Beach since it appears to be a bit sleepy, but nice with the touristy Myrtle Beach a short drive away for fun activities.  Plus, it’s about in the middle, travel-wise, for most of us.  Although, I did just recently discover we might have a family hook-up for accommodations in Charleston, SC.  All of these places look great to me….now is the time for making choices.   UGH!

Before I finish the search I wanted to find out if any of you have any suggestions of places along that strip of coast?  I am all ears if you have any suggestions.

Kitsch Krafts

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And The Traveling Continues....

April 14, 2009 12:44 by ehouston

Yep, I am off again starting tomorrow and through the weekend.  I will be home for a day, then I pack it up to head right back out again.  I just wish I could pack my bed to go with me on these trips.  In the mean time I would like to wish everyone a Happy Spring!  I would say Happy Easter too, but I am still working through the chocolate hangover and just did not want to bring all of you suffering through the same thing right back to that bad place.  ;o)


I promise not to shirk my blogging responsibilities much longer!

Kitsch Krafts

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