Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just used a whole lot of black ink

A while back, I saw a post on Be Different Act Normal, about Subway Signs. I followed the link to Room to Inspire and thought, hmmm, that's neat, but where would I get one and more importantly, where would I put one?

I have been regretting not having more of our decor items here in Korea with us. Wall art being one of the things I'm missing. Not that I have the greatest things for the wall in storage back in the states, but I find myself immersed in these blogs about decorating. I just tuck the ideas away in the back of my mind in the "Someday" file.

Then, tonight, on my exciting New Year's Eve, I started thinking about those subway signs and that led me into Photoshop where I created this:
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I searched my scrap supplies for a thick heavy cardstock. Most of my cardstock seemed like it would be too flimsy with all that black ink on it, so I settled for a piece of watercolor paper. I inserted it into the printer, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best! It printed beautifully! It might have been nicer on photo paper, but I'm all out of photo paper and the PX is disappointing me there... :(

Now, I just need to find a decent sized frame. I printed it at 8x10. I may go a size up for the frame and have some white space in the margins. I'll have to see what I can find. When I get my project officially done and hung, I'll be sure to share another pic.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peanut Butter/Saltine Smores

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When we were growing up, one of our favorite treats was Smores. But our version of Smores didn't involve graham crackers or chocolate. It was only when I reached my teen years that I realized our Smores weren't really Smores by other standards. They are just as delicious though. And easier too since you don't need a campfire or prongs to melt your marshmallow!

Mom would spread a layer of Saltines (soda crackers) onto a pan, then spread peanut butter on each cracker. From there, she'd top the cracker with a fat marshmallow and another Saltine, then put the whole pan in the oven.
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There's no recipe or exact oven temp or cook time, just get the oven hot and watch them. When you see the marshmallow start to droop and the peanut butter start to spread, you'll know it's time to remove them from the oven. OR, if you notice the top Saltine toppling over from the marshmallow's weakness, it's time.
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Flatten the tops and smash them down a bit. Work fast because most of the time, little Smore bandits are nearby waiting to steal the goods.
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They are yummy. They are delish! They are easy. They are inexpensive. They are the perfect blend of salty, savory and sweet and gooey!
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A few of my favorite {Christmas} things

No raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens here, but I did take some time before de-Christmas-ing the house to take some photos of a few of this year's and previous year's favorite ornaments. I'm a sucker for ornaments. That's why I need more trees. Someday, I'll have more than one tree and have themed trees. For now, ours is hodge podge as I mentioned a few posts back.

These angels have been on my tree (and my parents' tree before my marriage) for a long time. They are from my girls' Sunday school class from my teen years. I love them still today!
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And then, there are my Santa ornaments that I started collecting before I got married. Some of these are old too!
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That reindeer in the middle is from last year. I saw him and had to have him!

More: The VWBug ornament is technically G-Dub's to signify his infatuation from a few years ago with V-Dubs. :) Reindeer is again a new infatuation of mine. :D And among these is my Tennessee Santa that I bought when we lived in TN. Firetruck commemorated R's love of firetrucks when he was a tot. :)
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There are snowmen and snowflakes, too. Maybe I need a snowflake and snowman tree... lol
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And then, there's my Mississippi State ornament. Man am I glad I snapped this photo. I bought this after I graduated from MSU in '92. It's been on my tree since then. Unfortunately, it won't be on my tree ever again.
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As I was un-Christmas-ing, I was juggling this ornament and its box at the same time, trying unsuccessfully to get the box open. In the midst of that chaos, I dropped the ornament. :( It smashed into a gazillion pieces on the floor. And I was mad. And moody after that. Grrr.... Thankfully, a photo is a memory. But still, I would like to have my ornament in the ornament box rather than the trash. :\

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

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What a year we've had! Thankfully, we are able to end it together during the holidays! Christmas is almost over here in Korea. We've had a good day of just sitting back, playing with toys, putting Lego sets together, trying out new Wii games and DSi games, eating and just hanging out together on a low profile day.

I hope much happiness finds you this holiday and throughout the new year.

Many blessings and much love!
~Gwen

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some days, I could do blonde justice

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Do you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right? Where you spend so much time smacking yourself on the forehead that your palm may as well stay in that position? Well, I thought about that today. I made a batch of Oatmeal Crispies (Marlboro Man's favorite cookie) a few days ago. They are quite the favorite among the male members of my family as well. I made them Tuesday. All but one was gone Wednesday night. I almost ate that last lonely cookie, but I had guilt, so I let someone else do it. (Plus, I didn't want to get blamed for eating the last cookie. I saved it for G-Dub so we could blame him for eating the last one. ;) )

Today, I had cookies on my mind again. But this time, it was my Ginger Snap cookie recipe. My recipe that is in my Bell's Best Cookbook in storage somewhere in Kansas. Hmmmph was my thought. Then I thought, well, I posted it somewhere online on a board once. Ok, went and searched and found it. Good. I should have printed it off right then and there. Should have. Did I? Nope... So, tonight when I get ready to make the cookies after dinner, I come back to the computer to print off the recipe. Site won't load, my recipe post is irretrievable. Geesh... but my butter is at room temperature! So, I looked on Carole's blog because I remembered her mentioning something about them on a blog post. Read her archives, did not find the recipe. :( Hmmmph again. At that point, I decided to check my recipe box and see if by chance I'd actually copied it onto a card and tucked it away in my recipe box. I'd tucked my recipe box away into my suitcase and brought that with me. I found it, the gingersnap recipe on a card inside. And it wasn't until I was actually rolling my first batch of cookies out and placing them onto the cookie sheet that I realized it was on MY blog that I'd posted the recipe last year and Carole had commented here. DUH! Palm to the forehead! Major blonde moment of the day!

Oh well, the cookies are made and are delish thanks for various resources. And, thanks to Miss Clairol, my hair isn't blonde or even gray for that matter. Though I really do feel some days I could do blonde justice.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekend trip

We went along with a group to a family retreat this past weekend. We left early Thursday morning and arrived back on post Saturday afternoon.

It was the boys' first time on the slopes. My second, G-Dub's umpteenth. The boys did great. Devon snowboarded while the rest of us skied. Reed did so great with the skis. Devon did great with the board. G-Dub performed on those skis like he had just done it last week instead of fifteen years ago. Me? Ha, I performed like usual - not so fearless and not so graceful. BUT, we had fun and weren't too sore yesterday after it all.

I posted pics on FB, but also a slideshow on photobucket. Let's see if that works.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lil Man!

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Can't believe my "baby" is eight years old.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Do you know Nienie?



Sometime last year, I stumbled across Stephanie's blog. It was right after her accident and her sister had taken over her blog updating the blogworld about Stephanie's and Christian's conditions as they recovered in the hospital. Prayers were being said all over the world for this couple and for their small children. My heart went out to the family and all that they were going through and would go through after the accident.

Then, my own life got busy. G-Dub returned home from Iraq and unfortunately, I lost track of Stephanie's progress when my blog reading time got cut. Then the events of the summer, the travels, the moves... When the first wave of movers came and took the computer, I lost the addresses to all my frequent blogs. And I lost track of Stephanie and Christian.

Recently though, I happened upon a link on Tara Whitney's blog about Stephanie. I followed the link and was amazed even more by her story. Yesterday morning, I found a link that Stephanie had posted by a writer for the Arizona Republic. It is the story of Stephanie's last year since the accident. The trials. The joys. The heartaches. I sat here for quite some time reading the story and wiping tears from my eyes. Stephanie Nielson: Plane crash survivor regains hope It's such an amazing story. Stephanie is such an amazing person. If you have some time, take it and read her story. Check out her blog. She's an inspiration to us all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The view

Ok, not the tv show though I did watch it once upon a time when it was a new show.

I'm talking about the view out of our window, off the balcony. This was taken one morning around 10am.
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We're living in family housing on post and are on the fifth floor of a "high rise" apartment building. I'm thankful that we are on the side of the building that overlooks the Korean countryside and not the posts buildings and such. At least we have a view. Or at least we'd have a view if the fog would lift. G-Dub (that's what I'm going to call DH from now on because everyone else does. :) ) said that there are mountains over in the distance beyond the rice fields and Korean houses. I couldn't believe it because since we've been here, it has been overcast and/or foggy.

A little later in the afternoon, the clouds lifted a bit, but still, I couldn't see mountains in the distance. G-Dub promised they are there though.
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(If you can see the weird pixels in the photo, they are just pixels, not mountains. ;) )

Across the common area from us is another high rise. Our building's twin.
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There are a few playground areas in between the family housing for kids to play and hang out. There are basketball goals and tennis courts just across the street. It's nice and convenient.

Then, this morning, it was snowing! Another, different view from the balcony!
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When the mountains show themselves, I'll be sure and share a photo of those with you. When they show... ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Transformation

It always amazes me that with a little bit of effort and sometimes a whole lot of time, a pile of cluttered hodge podge ornaments
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can go to this
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I'll admit to being one of those people who ALWAYS gets frustrated with Christmas lights. This particular tree has been around for ages. My mom and I bought it before I ever got married. It's needed to be replaced for a few years now. I say every time that I get it out that this will be the last year. But then, I get all the lights working and get all the ornaments on it and step back with thoughts of "what a pretty tree" circulating in my mind. :) When we bought the tree, I spent hours wrapping lights around every single branch. Over the years, I've replaced certain strands here and there. Yesterday was another one of those days. We're in a fifth floor apartment. When I couldn't get all the lights working, I had thoughts of tossing the *&^$% thing over the balcony and claiming innocence if anyone came knocking on the door. But, I walked away and forgot it for a few hours. I came back refreshed and determined. (and loaded with an armful of different lights. ;) - lights I knew worked because I'd done the plug in test on them.

One thing I like about this old tree is how there are open spaces between the branches allowing more room for a ton of ornaments. Last year, when we used a live tree, we couldn't use but half our ornaments because they just wouldn't fit. So, when I do replace this tree, I may have to replace it with more than one. ;) Maybe the boys can have their own at that point in time?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy December!

It's December 1st and time to pull out the Christmas countdown.
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A few years ago, I got on the magnetic calender from a cookie sheet kick and made an Advent calendar for us. The boys were excited about it, so they helped with some of the markers for the days of December. I need to find another piece of ribbon to loop through the top two holes. I'm not sure what happened to what was there.
PhotobucketPhotobucketHonestly, I love this calendar and look forward to displaying it every year. Thankfully, it made the cut for things to ship to Korea, so we hung it on the fridge today.
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Only twenty four more days! I'd better get busy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

28 days and several thousand miles later...

We're in South Korea with DH! :D

The boys and I enjoyed our month long visit with family in Mississippi. We boarded the planes from Memphis to Atlanta on Tuesday and were on our way! We arrived in Seoul Wednesday evening excited and exhausted all at the same time!
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It was a long flight. (just under the fifteen hours and five minutes proposed on our itinerary) Thankfully, there have been improvements in those jets since the last trip we took across the ocean. Individual headrests with remotes were lifesavers! We could watch movies, play games, listen to music and check our location and flight progress with the SkyMap.
While we were over Canada, I thought of my Canadian internet friends (and waved! :D )
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The boys were certainly entertained. They barely touched their Nintendo DSi the entire trip! I caught up on several of the movies I'd wanted to see and a few that I hadn't. lol
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We also had thoughts of waving to Santa as it looked like we were near the North Pole! Not sure about the exact location, but I do know that's as far north as this southern girl has ever "traveled" ;)
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We need a geography lesson on northern Russia and the barren lands and lakes that we saw out the window of the plane. (no photo out the plane, sorry...)
Here's one proving we had been there though!
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And finally, nearing our destination - Seoul!
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Immigration and Customs were no big deal. But, most of you know, there's always a story with me. :) Devon's large suitcase came off the luggage carousel with a large red lock on it. When I asked why, the man at Customs said most likely something suspicious showed up on the xray of the bag. Instantly, I chuckled thinking of all the Nerf guns stowed away in between Devon's clothes in that suitcase. We had to open the suitcase and reveal the contents. Unfortunately, that's the suitcase I tucked my underwear (bra) in the night before - so that was the first thing the Customs man saw when I unzipped it. LOL Then, onto the Nerf guns. :) When they decided that we weren't smuggling weapons in country, they removed the lock and we were on our way out the gate where we were greeted by Gary. :) Yay! We're here at last!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A four letter word I love and....

have been waiting on for quite some time.
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We closed on our house last week, finally! It seemed like forever that we were waiting for it to sell, but in reality in this day and time with this economy, I don't suppose six months was so bad.

The movers came last week and packed our remaining things into those lovely crates. Don't they look weird? That's military moves for you though. What went into those boxes and crates was stuff I won't see again for at least two years. I hope I got everything I needed! It'll all sit in storage until we get back to the states. :) Can you imagine what it will be like opening those boxes? It'll be like wedding showers, house warmings, birthday parties and Christmas morning all combined into one!

So, now, we're homeless. LOL I've joked that we're homeless, but we aren't really. We have families that LOVE us and are thankful we have come down south to visit with them before we travel across the pond to reunite with DH.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mouse Motel

This is my version of Martha's idea. Mine isn't as clean and neat as hers. But, you have to remember she has an empire with workers doing things for her. AND, she probably wasn't up at 11:30 doing it the night before her son's birthday party. :) Besides, I don't think mice eat perfectly round holes in things anyway, Martha. :-P
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I used this on the table yesterday during Reed's birthday party. The boys thought it was cool. They even asked for a mouse to take home in their treat bag. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Treasure

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We're planning an early birthday party for Reed. His birthday isn't until December, but since we're moving, we're having it early so that he can have friends there. When his birthday actually comes, we won't know anyone in our new place, so it'll be a boring birthday.

I found some ideas on some different blogs for an Indiana Jones birthday party. So, we set out to plan for a Indiana Jones party. It's a perfect time of year for fun stuff to buy for decorations and favors because it's October. There are skeletons and mummies galore in stores. Target Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree have been our favorite spots to find stuff.

I'll show you more later, after the party. But I have to show you the treasure chest now. I'm loving how it came together. The chocolate coins and gold wrapped Rolos really did the trick!

I added all the goods plus a few "Property of" signs to an old wooden box we have. Filling the entire box would have hurt my wallet too much, so I padded the bottom with some foam and towels.

What do you think? Isn't it a cool and creepy treasure chest?
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October and the Creepy Crawlies

I apologize for not being around and posting. We've been busy. I always say that, don't I? I'll fill you in on those details in another post (hopefully later this week!)

For now, I will just share some creepy photos that caught my eye as I was uploading them onto the computer from my flash card.

The first is a happy little spider that the boys found in the backyard.
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They insisted on capturing him and observing him as a science project. Ugh, ok. The teacher in me had to say, "Ok." The girl in me said, "Ewww, gross!"
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Lessons learned: 1) Spiders can't move around in glass jars very well; 2) Spiders will not eat bugs that humans catch and place in confinement containers for spiders. Apparently, they are big hunters and don't like food provided for them.

Now, for the good stuff. The real creepy guys! I apologize in advance if these guys spook you. If you're reading just before bed and have bad dreams, I'm sorry! We were at the nature center recently and saw these guys on display. I have this fear of snakes in general, but especially since we plan to move to the country someday. The country that is most likely inhabited with rattlesnakes and copperheads. My fear is that I won't recognize the kind of snake if I find one. Not that it'll matter because I'm not a snake lover. The best kind of snake is a dead snake (or one that is tucked away behind glass and can't reach me). I decided to take pictures of these two guys so I would have my own reference and not have to entrust Wikipedia someday. LOL

Curious Copperhead - I don't think he liked us checking him out. Photobucket

Resting Rattlesnake - If I ever came face to face with him or his relatives in the country/woods, I'd be doing anything other than resting! Photobucket

And that's it for this addition of the Creepy Crawlies! Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seventy-five cents

If all works out as planned, we'll be moving soon. Soon being within the next two months. With that in mind, I've really tried to avoid going to yard sales or buying "stuff" to bring home that will just be put into storage for the time that we're overseas. BUT, who can resist a "bargain"? Plus, around here in this little historic town, there are often some neat treasures to be found.

A few weeks ago, the boys woke one Saturday morning and asked to go yard sale-ing. They are always on the lookout for cool old toys or just cool junk. LOL I swore to myself I wasn't buying anything unless it cost next to nothing or I really could have a purpose for it at some point in time.

We stopped at this sale which basically had nothing. We normally see clothes out front and keep on going. But, I saw a small chest of drawers/stand out there that I thought might have potential. I stopped just to see how much they were asking for it. When I saw a 75cent sticker on it, I had to ask the lady if that was right. She said, "Yes." I said, "I'll take it!" I brought the ugly duckling home because it reminded me so much of a chest I have had in DS#1's room forever storing his underwear and socks. I got it from mil years ago. She's always said that it was handmade by a relative of DH's grandmother's. The two pieces are the same height and built in the exact same manner.

Here are photos to compare them. The only difference is the 75cent piece (left photo - snapped after I'd begun to sand it) has three drawers while our own heritage piece (right photo) has four.

When I got the piece from mil, I was into my wood and no paint phase. So, I stripped numerous coats of hunter green paint off of it and stained it. Then added the regular white porcelian drawer pulls to it. That was probably ten years ago. It's been a great little piece for the bedside in DS#1's room for the purpose mentioned earlier.

You can imagine what I did next to the ugly duckling based on the last few blog entries I've posted. Yep, Krylon's black satin spray paint with some distressing. :)

I chose not to do anything to the drawer pulls for now because it's just going to go into storage in the next month or so. I'll decide at some point in the future what kind of drawer pulls I want. For now, I've got this.
Not too shabby for seventy-five cents and the cost of spray paint. ;)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I should step away from the spray paint

The fumes are doing something to me. Or maybe it's just that "doing" something is good for me. I've been having too much fun with black spray paint and sand paper as of late. I'll blame it all on Blogland. It's always good to blame someone else, right? Right. ;)

A few weeks ago, I was in Goodwill and spotted this.
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Now, did I particularly NEED a blue magazine rack? No, not really. But Blogland had me in Goodwill looking at things in a different light. And when you know that Target has magazine racks for no less than twenty bucks, this little beaut was tempting.
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So, I snagged it along with a headboard. Yeah, I said a headboard... not sure about that one, but that's another story for another time I suppose. (That other time may be two or three years from now when I pull it out of storage after our quest overseas. LOL)

A little elbow grease combined with sandpaper, then a couple of sprays with black spray paint, followed by more sandpaper for distressing the edges and this is what I've got.

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The price? $2.49 for the rack + $2.97 for the spray paint = just under $6 with taxes added. No bad and just as good at the Target racks. ;) And, it turns out I did need a rack after all. I had these stacked between my nightstand and bed. They looked like a mess, but now not so much. ;)

Just for good measure, I thought I'd show you the headboard. It was $6.49! Why couldn't I have found a deal like that last month when I actually NEEDED a headboard for the boys' room? Instead, I found headboards for between $25 and $100! Sigh... I went with the cheapie $25 one for their room while we're in transition. But seriously, I wished I'd found this last month instead.
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Transformation on it coming ----- someday. I have sanded it down to bare wood and puttyed (is that a word?) a few spots on it. It's ready for something!