Monday, July 25, 2011

Here we go again!

Put me in coach...we're ready to win..again!

In the midst of the heat wave...Shawn was playing baseball.  His all-star team played in a local tournament this past week.  They came out looking strong...they were undefeated going into the championship game.  They lost a tough battle in that game, but because it was a double elimination tournament, and both teams now had one loss, we had to play one more game.  It was our turn, and the boys played hard.  The other kids were fighters.  They wanted it just as bad as our boys.  It was a good game, and it was our turn to win.  We came home with the first place trophy.  It was very exciting...but I'm gonna tell ya the thing that I was most proud of was the sportsmanship.  Between the two championship games and after the final game, the boys from both teams congratulated each other, talked to each other and were genuinely friendly.  These were two local teams that should be rivals, but instead of bragging, complaining and giving dirty looks,  they shook hands and patted each others backs.  That, my friends, is a lesson the rest of the world needs to learn.

Now, for a few pictures from the tournament...

Here's Shawn doing what he does best.  He has been an amazing hitter this year.

My "line-driver" hit one over the fence.  Everyone was so excited for him. Just look at his teammates as they came to the plate to congratulate him:

And here's the first place team after the final championship game.  Super happy on this super hot day!

Luckily for the boys, Shawn's Aunt Kerry and Uncle Jeff live just a mile from this ball field and their pool  was calling the boys' names!

Congratulations boys!  I am proud of you all.
Click here to read about our last championship.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Second Chances

We all need second chances.  Me, I'm on my 1000th second chance right now!  The key is not to get discouraged. 

Last week, I stumbled upon a yard sale full of opportunity.  I hopped out of my car and began wandering around.  All of a sudden I found myself in an argument.  The conversation went like this:
Stranger:  Come over here!
Me: (strange look on my face) What?
Stranger:  Come on, give me a second chance.
Me:  I don't even know you.
Stranger: We could get to know each other.
Me:  I don't need you.
Stranger:  I could make you happy.
Me:  I don't even know what I would do with you.
Stranger:  Give me a second chance and you'll figure it out.

I know what you're thinking...believe me, I was thinking it too.  But that stranger would NOT take no for an answer and somehow that stranger ended up in my car.  I rushed home and asked Rodney to help me get the stranger out.

Here he is all scruffy and dull;  just waiting for some love:

This old oak table was calling my name from the time I saw him.  Now I should insert here that we don't need another table, I wasn't looking for another table and I don't typically buy furniture for no reason.  But I just couldn't leave him there.  Look at those legs: it's ONE leg, but isn't it handsome?  You can see in this picture that the little metal screwy-thing was screwed out too much.  That was an easy fix - just screw it back in!
The top was a little less handsome.  But look at all the memories left behind.

And guess how much it cost me to bring him home?
That's right...One big smackeroo!  I didn't even offer less like I normally do at yard sales.  In fact, I felt like I should offer more!
So...I took this stranger and gave him some love.  I sanded him down, stained the top and painted the bottom.  He is still awaiting a final coat (or two) of top coat. 

Not bad for my first ever furniture redo, huh?  I still don't know what I'll do with him, but I think I'm  in love!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chase's Birthday

This past weekend we celebrated another birthday in our family.  My nephew Chase turned 7.  I have 15 nieces and nephews (all on my side of the family, as Rodney is an only child) and Chase is the youngest.  For his birthday he wanted to go to Aunt Kerry's to swim.  I t was a gorgeous day! 

The kids all enjoyed the pool.  Jennifer and Chase were happy to watch Shawn and Cory. I am not sure what it is about teenage boys and their need to play rough...

Chase wanted strawberry cake...YUM-O!
And then he FINALLY got to open his presents.  He was so excited about opening his presents.  He asked several times if he could open them only to be told, "Not yet."  
He got some Monster Trucks and a race track for them.
And he got tickets to go see the Monster Trucks at the local speedway.  He was so excited.  He also got some money to spend at the Monster Truck races.  Chase has never been to see the Monster Trucks before, but I know he will have a blast.  When Shawn was just two we took him to see his first Monster Truck races.  He fell in love.  We watched them on TV.  We bought him all the little trucks.  He could name every truck and driver.  We went to the races every year for 9 years.  For the past two years he hasn't been interested in them.  It's a little sad to see him grow up and "remember when..."  But I guess that's life.  I hope Chase will make memories so that one day he too can "remember when.."  Happy Birthday little buddy.  Go have some fun!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Do you ever get carried away snapping pictures?  Forget to check your settings?  Then you get home only to realize that your pictures are over exposed or under exposed.  Fear not...there are ways to salvage those pictures that you must have.

Exhibit A:
Darling girl in beautiful blue water... UNDER EXPOSED
However, with a few clicks in Photoshop we can brighten her up.
If you have under exposed pictures try this:
1.  Open picture in Photoshop
2.  Duplicate Layer
3.  Change the Blend Mode of the New Layer to "Screen"
4.  If the photo is still too dark - Duplicate the New Layer (you can repeat this step as many times as needed).
5.  Lower the Opacity of the Top Layer to fine-tune the exposure.
6. Flatten the image and save

Exhibit B:
Little Princess playing in pool...way OVER EXPOSED
However, with a few clicks in Photoshop we can tone her down and warm her up!
I will say that getting colors right is harder to do with over exposed photos.  But if you have over exposed photos try this:

1.  Open picture in Photoshop
2.  Duplicate Layer
3.  Change the Blend Mode of the New Layer to "Multiply"
4.  If the photo is still too light - Duplicate the New Layer (you can repeat this step as many times as needed).
5.  Lower the Opacity of the Top Layer to fine-tune the exposure.
6. Flatten the image and save
***Here is where you can play with colors if you need to.  For this particular photo I changed the color percentages for cyan, magenta and yellow.  It's not perfect, but much better than the original.

So here's your challenge:  take a picture that is under exposed or over exposed and play with it.  I have photoshop CS3, but I am sure this works in other photo editing programs.  You'll be amazed at what you can do.  No more lost memories!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just another day on the lake

There was a little boy who lived by a lake (2 hours away actually).  The thing he loved best was to take his boat to the lake.  One day he put his boat in the lake, and watched it bob up and down on the water.  He was very proud of his boat.  But suddenly his wife and her friends showed up.

The wife came bearing her new pole, chanting "What should I do?  What should I do?"

The wee small children wanted to see fish, feed fish, catch fish, touch fish and finally let them go.

The big boys on the boat wanted more adventure.  They wanted to go fast and jump off cliffs.

The only thing the boy wanted was to make his boat go fast, so he told everyone on the boat to "Sit down and be quiet!" The boy drove his boat around the lake as fast as he could.  Everyone held on with all their might and didn't dare ask him to slow down.  When the day was over, everyone climbed off the boat and went home and lived happily ever after.

True of it anyway!  It was actually a wonderful day on the lake.  Very relaxing!
 If you missed our first boating trip check out this post.

Holly and Steve, thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of your adventures!  We love your boat and will go any time!

So happy together....

My sister, Tammy, lives about 4 1/2 hours away.  If you ask me (which I know you would if you were here) that's way too far away!  It's close enough that we do get to see each other several times a year, but still too far away for the every day sister kind of things;  like shopping, picnics, going out for lunch and watching each others kids' sporting events.  But because we don't get to see each other that often, I cherish the time that we do share.

Yes, she's a little crazy, but she makes me look normal!  That's why I love her. 
And look...I must make her happy too!  Love you Sis and thanks for a great time!

Birthday Bash

While Tammy was here visiting, Adam entered into a very dangerous adolescent highway.  YIKES...he turned 13!  Can you believe that her baby is a teenager? Crazy, I tell ya.  Just look at this handsome fella...

So we had a little celebration at Kerry's house.  There was lots of splashing...

some not-so-much splashing...
Chase really wanted to go down the slide, but just wasn't quite sure.
He finally inched himself down.  I guess he can check that off his bucket list!

There was lounging and hanging out...

And of course there was eating...

 Whoopie Pies for the girls!

 Pssst...Grandma stole the cookies from the cookie jar!  Caught ya!

As you can see, we had the three main food groups:  cake, pies, and cookies.  Tammy did bring some junk along as dogs, fruit and deviled eggs (with relish).

Happy birthday not-so-little buddy!  I'm glad that you came to celebrate with us!

Families are like fudge...

mostly sweet, with a few nuts....

Notice who the nuts are?  Well...this was supposed to be a "funny" I guess the nuts are the two that DIDN'T act funny!  Who do they think they are anyway?

Yup...these are the culprits of this crazy family.   We're not sure what they carry in those big mugs, but they never leave home without them????

I love it when my family gets together.  We laugh till we cry (or pee), we eat, we play.  It's just a great time and I am blessed to have these crazy nuts!

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:  whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one!

Kerry & Tammy - did you notice "the hand" in the first picture?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Frugal Finds

Later this month Rodney and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.  I can't believe that it has been that long.  And while I consider my husband to be quite frugal, this post is not about him.  When we got married (15 years ago)  we bought a cheap kitchen table set with 4 chairs.  After we moved into our current home, I wanted a bigger kitchen table.  I fell in love with a farmhouse style table.  We found it in the back room of a furniture store on clearance.  I couldn't leave it there.  So we lugged that bad boy home where it landed smack-dab in the middle of our kitchen.  Perfect!  Almost.  The table didn't come with chairs and there were no matching chairs in the back room.  But I didn't care...we would find the perfect chairs eventually.  Meanwhile, we kept the chairs from our old table.  Our new table was meant for 6 chairs, so to fill in the space we added beautiful, brown metal folding chairs (do you hear my sarcasm?).  Afterall, it would only be a little while until we bought new chairs, so we could handle the mismatched chairs until then.  Right?  Well, that was 9 years ago. We grew attached to our metal chairs - OK, not really.  It was never really a priority and we just never found a great deal on kitchen chairs.  Until yesterday, that is.  I was at an auction looking at four beautiful oak chairs.  One of the ladies that works there asked me if I was going to buy those chairs.  I told her I would love to, but I needed 6.  She told me that her granddaughter works at restaurant nearby.  That restaurant just bought brand new chairs and they were selling the old ones for $5 each.  What??? $5 for solid wood chairs?  I called Rodney (because he works right across from the restaurant) and had him go check.  Guess what?  They still had some.  YAY ME!!! Can you see me doing the happy dance? Six chairs for $30 is amazing.  Sidenote:  the oak chairs at the auction sold for $40 each.

Here is my great find.  They are darker than I would like, but they are in great shape.  You can see that they do not quite match my table.

I have some ideas for them, I just haven't made up my mind yet.  I'm still smiling about the fact that I finally have matching chairs.  But here are some of my thoughts:

Maybe I'll paint them white like this,

or this,

or maybe I'll make chair covers,

or perhaps I'll paint them black.

What do you think?  What would you do?  Time will tell. Let's just pray that it's not another 9 years.  As for our 15 year old kitchen chairs, I have plans for them too...I think a car wash is in store!  More on that later!

Wanna see more frugal finds?  Check out the Shabby Nest  every Friday to see some super-sized frugal finds!