Friday Freebie: Argghh!

Whether to tell a tale of pirates or another adventure, this 12x12 template created for my Argghh! layout is free for personal use only. It features 9 layers including photo masks and the pennants.

Click here to download Argghh! template


Have you missed one of my previous digital freebies? Click HERE to find them. And, don't forget to subscribe to my feeds so you won't miss future freebies!



Dylan and his neighborhood buddy (green shirt) washing my car for me last month:

Supplies: DHD's August Blueprint template by Jen Flaherty; Beach Ball and Oceanside papers by Robyn Meierotto; Giggles & Grins kit by Karen Funk; Nursery Rhymes kit by Sara Schmutz; Splish Splash kit by Rhonna Farrer; Orange Crush kit by Audrey Neal; Favorite Things 2 by Gennifer Bursett; Meadow kit by Celeste Knight; Traffic Jam kit by Miss Mint; Stamp Act Jumbled font.



Fizzy Fun

One of those simple, fun projects I've meant to try with Dylan for some time - mixing colored vinegar and baking soda.

This was a great way to use up an old container of fridge baking soda. It was long past time to switch it out so I just dumped the entire box into a small baking pan. We added a few drops of food coloring to four small bowls with vinegar. (No blue as I forgot we used it up making the "moon dough" for his party favors last month!)

We had a good 30 minutes of play with this project. Dylan loved squirting the colored vinegar into the pan and watching it fizzle and bubble. Then he tried sucking up a bit of the baking soda with the eye dropper and squirting it into the vinegar bowls - more bubbling fun!

He poured colored vinegar between the bowls - mixing the colors. Finally he poured it all into the pan and mixed both with the eye dropper and his hands. It was a brown mess by then, but still a fun textural experiment! We'll definitely try again.


Milk Crate Refresh & Repurpose

While packing up for our move, I've come across a number of forgotten items. This red milk crate was one of those. It dated to college days and had been filled with an assortment of papers and books. Once I sorted those out, I was left with an empty crate that I debated donating before realizing I could use it to organize Dylan's puzzles in our family room.

Although we have accents of red in the room, I planned to place the crate under one of the end tables and wanted it to blend versus pop. I had seen an idea on Pinterest for sewing a cover and initially thought I would do that. Then a quicker solution came to mind - spray paint. We have several leftover cans in our shed and one with a taupe color was perfect (plus it helped me use up something else - 1 more thing we don't have to move!).

A couple of coats later I had a milk crate that looked almost brand new. It fits perfectly beneath the end table and contains most of Dylan's puzzle collection:



From our day of pirate fun at Oval Drive Park last week:

Supplies: Linen Line No 3 paper pack by Agnes Biro; Toolbox - Mist v1 by Gennifer Bursett; That Was Yesterday add on by Michelle Underwood; Little Buckaroo by Miss Mint; Antique Type font.


House Hunting Reality

In the last month, I've learned a number of things when it comes to house hunting ...

Photos Lie
I sort of knew this beforehand, but it is nice to think that a house looks as good as its photos. Sometimes they are pretty close, but some are soooo far off. Like the house that looked empty and had lots of great features. In reality, it had people living in it that were total slobs. Now, I'm not the best housekeeper myself but this showing was delayed and the place was still trashed. All the lights were off, window treatments closed. It was dark and creepy including the horrid spiderweb covered exterior. Our Realtor even joked she felt the need for a bath after walking in it. Yeah, gross. (I won't post photos - partly for the privacy of sellers and, frankly, I was so horrified I didn't think to take any!)

Staging Makes a Difference
Thankfully, Trent & I do have vision and can look past a lot. Ok, so not so much the house mentioned above. We both agreed we could never see past the filth to imagine ourselves in that house. But, aside from it, we've been able to envision possibilities in some homes. Those that have a least some staging (ie, furniture and minimal clutter) definitely make that easier. A couple empty homes we saw were a bit more challenging to picture what furniture of ours might fit and how we could arrange it.

Glimpses of a few of the homes we liked.
Location, location
This is our focus. There are plenty of houses in our budget that fit our "wants" list, but not so many in the area we want to be. Lots can be changed about a house. Location isn't one of those things.

It seems fun when watching other people search out their next house on TV, but after a few weeks, reality is it isn't that much fun. Perhaps it's the pressure of the closing date on our current home fast approaching (although we did learn this morning that we could possibly push it back. Hurray!) or the pressure of finding what's right for our family for years to come. We have no intention of doing this again until Dylan is grown and out of the house! I think I'm probably the pickier one and kudos to Trent and our Realtor for their patience with me as I comment on each new choice presented. I've truly lost count how many we've seen ... the "dark house", the one with the sinking floor, the cute 70s split level that was a tad too small, the one with the stage, the one where 2 cars really didn't fit in the "2 car" garage, the one with half the property under water due to a retention pond, the foreclosed home, the one that felt like it would slide down the hill it was perched on, etc.

We have found a few we liked and already "lost" 2 - the first we weren't quick enough to get an offer in before another buyer did. The second another buyer slipped in during our negotiations over the weekend and snatched. It wasn't until a day later that the seller's agent told ours we were no longer a contender. Very frustrating.

This morning we submitted an offer on yet another house. Still waiting word. Fingers crossed.


Rainy Day Visitor

Yesterday morning I spotted a small visitor strolling across our patio in the rain - a little box turtle!

All 3 of us crowded around the patio door for a few minutes to watch it. After I grabbed my camera to take a pictures, Dylan wanted in on the action too.

Here are his shots taken on his Little Tikes digital camera:


Week in a Nutshell

This week has been incredibly busy. Far from creatively productive (struggling there), but full in so many other ways ...

I've been packing more boxes. Still many, many more to go with only 6 weeks until closing.

We've looked at 8 more houses since Saturday and finally found 1 we are interested in. :)

The inspection of our current house took place on Tuesday. Thankful for a good friend letting Dylan & I hang out at her house while that was going on. Still waiting on the full report.

Dylan & I met friends at Oval Drive Park in Durham (our first visit - the pirate 'ship' is awesome!) and hosted our weekly playgroup get together.

I thought about blogging on Wednesday. I took a nap instead. :) The right choice.

I've worked 4 nights at my part time job since Saturday. Starting tomorrow I'll be working the closing shift for 4 nights straight.

My dad visited on Monday and watched Dylan while I attended a funeral for a friend's grandmother. She will definitely be missed and is probably having a blast in Heaven. Grateful to have known her. How many grandmothers take their granddaughter and friend to FL on spring break? Yes, there's a story there and it takes a unique individual to do that! :)


Memorial Day 2012 layout

A bit of wet fun on a hot day! Dylan & his friends had fun splashing in the pool. They weren't quite certain what to think when the giraffe sprayer was turned on. It was hilarious to watch - until Dylan & Luke discovered they could turn it and spray their moms! ;)

Supplies: 52 Thursday Templates No 20 by Tiffany Tillman; Design House Digital's NSD 2011 collaborative kit; Of the Essence add on by Fei Fei's Stuff; April 2009 {Free Pea Kit} by Crystal Wilkerson; Poornut & Marker SD fonts.


new addiction in town

That's right. Move over Pinterest (although I do still love you). I have a new addiction - Houzz. I actually stumbled across it via a pin on Pinterest while searching for kitchen ideas and then later that same night a friend mentioned it to me.

I am now hooked. You see, it's sort of a like the Pinterest of house ideas. Rather than boards, there are ideabooks. You can create one for every room and space. There are also forums where you can interact with other members whether to ask a question or get advice/suggestions.

As we search for our next house, we're finding a few possibilities in our price range that have potential but aren't quite our dream home. I'm finding great ideas on Houzz to help us find that inspiration for what the rooms in these houses could be. It has me quite excited as we head out again tomorrow for another search plus a second look at one home that we're leaning toward.


favorites at 3

Last fall, I pinned an idea to ask your child 20 questions each birthday beginning at age 3. Dylan participated for 11 of them. I'll take that as a success. Some answers were expected (favorite TV show - Tom & Jerry) and others had Trent & I laughing (favorite thing to eat for lunch? "Dinosaurs eat lunch." what???).

Inspired by the greens, blues & yellows in this month's Swatch Challenge at DHD, I paired his answers with my favorite photos from our photo shoot last month. I'm curious to see what answers I get next year!

Supplies: Convo Piece No 3 template by Paisless Press & One Little Bird; Design House Digital's NSD 2011 collaborative kit; This Week brushes by Karla Dudley; banner from DHD's August Swatch Challenge.


Mark it Sold

I hadn't intended to go nearly a week without blogging, but sometimes real life takes priority and some things fall by the wayside. Thus, I let blogging slide. And I have good reasons ...

First, I worked Friday through Sunday as it was tax free weekend. No getting out of that when you're part time retail. Honestly, I'm officially terrified of the holidays. Amazing how a 6.75% "discount" on select items causes people to go crazy shopping. Thankfully most of the shoppers were friendly and patient. Most. Regardless, I was exhausted from all the time on my feet and just wanted to spend my off hours with my family.

Second, last week we met with our Realtor and set this past Monday as the day to put our house on the market. We had been holding off as we finished clearing out more stuff and searching for options for our next home. Trent, myself and our Realtor expected our house would sell fast due to price and location so we were trying to be prepared to act quickly once we had an offer on ours. Ha! We had two showing requests on Monday (only one happened) and had an offer yesterday morning. Um, yes, that would be less than 24 hours on the market. Again, we expected it to sell fast but not THAT fast. We reached a deal last night and as of this morning the paperwork is signed with closing set at the end of September. I'm still in a bit of shock!

Now, we have even more packing to do and have to determine where we go next. We're going to look at more houses on Saturday. As we plan this to stay in the next house for 20-30 years, we aren't willing to do too much settling so if we can't find something that's pretty close to right, we'll have to find an apartment while we continue our search. It's going to be an interesting 7 weeks to say the least!


Busted T-Switch

The words "uh oh" can mean a variety of things when it comes to a toddler. I went to see what led to them one morning last month. Dylan had been alone in the living room setting up a new train track while I was cleaning up the kitchen. As I approached, he said, "sorry, Mama." Uh oh. Then I saw it - the broken piece of track:

I was stunned. I didn't even think you could break these tracks. But, sure enough, a portion of it had snapped clean off. Thus I shared the photo via Instagram and Twitter commenting  ":( D broke his @MelissaAndDoug t-switch track." 

For what it's worth, I know Melissa and Doug is very responsive via Twitter. Maybe not to every comment, but they certain man their social media well. I had a quick response to call their 800 number. I did and was shocked to find a REAL person answered the phone. Seriously, for a chatty person, I was momentarily stunned. I expected an automated system and told their customer service rep just that! She laughed and joked with me about it. Then listened to my explanation of why I was calling (broken piece, Twitter). Which all led to this:

Melissa and Doug shipped Dylan a replacement piece! Amazing. I did not expect that at all. Thank you, Melissa and Doug! You rate #1 for us with quality toys and personable, awesome customer service.


Wordless Wednesday: Horse Watching