Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Honey!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketToday is my husband's 35th birthday! Happy Birthday Kenny! Poor thing. Up at 4:30 only to work in the heat of the day plus the heat of his job (he's a burner at "the shredder.") But, in his lunch today he'll find all the components of his favorite sandwich: a large crusty roll, shredded steak, grilled peppers and onions and provolone cheese. Each in a separate container so nothing gets soggy. And don't forget his crackers, his chips and his snack cake. I'm so stinking good to him! Plus he should be going off with a smile on his face!

All of my homework has been completed. Whew! My kids won't lose points because their mom didn't fill out the mounds of paperwork.

Funny thing is now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I work harder than I ever did at my job. I'm up earlier. My day starts at the same time as Kenny's. I have a husband to get ready for work. Kids to get ready for school. A house to clean. Laundry to do. Grocery shopping to get done. Lunches to pack. After school treats to make (because the kids think I have ALL the time in the world now), dinners to plan and execute. Throw in homework and birthday-gift-shopping and what do you have? A tired momma! But, thankfully, my sons are going to my mom and dad's tonight. They're cleaning out their garage tomorrow to earn money to pay for a ridiculously high phone bill they wracked up not knowing we don't have free long-distance. Nice! So, maybe this evening I'll be able to enjoy a nice relaxing night with my hubby. Celebrate his birthday. Take a nice long ride on the bike. Or maybe I'll just sleep?

Don't forget that tomorrow starts the Deck The Halls sale at Nunnie's Attic. Everything is marked down an additional 10%. Thanks!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Same As Last Year (and every year before that!)

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Why must parents be given homework on the child's first day of school? Every single, flipping year my kids come home with a million papers for me to fill out. Nothing has changed. Fill out this form with your address and phone number. Fill out this form with your child's allergy list. Fill out this form with your emergency contacts. Nothing has changed! We live at the same house with the same phone number. My children have not developed any new allergies and if you can't reach me or my husband at any one of the 90 phone numbers I have listed then you can still call my father. He's still my emergency contact.

Now if something changes, I'll let you know. Why can't they send the forms home with a disclaimer: Does not need returned if previously received information has remained the same. If I were to change doctors, my medical records would be sent to my new physician. Every year during open enrollment to receive benefits we only have to fill out an addendum form.

This year my younger son brought home a worksheet that I had to fill out for one one of his teachers. I remember having to do the same homework for Austin. I had to list Jesse's strengths and weaknesses. I had to list his interests. I had to list what he is not interested in. Now that may sound like a great idea in theory. But in reality, these teachers have 25+ students per class. They teach probably 6 classes a day. That's 150 lists of likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses that they have to review. Please don't even begin to tell me that you're going to take them all into consideration. You're going to remember what applies to each child and take steps to incorporate them into your lessons plans?? I don't think so. And the best part, if I didn't fill out these forms, my child will lose points. We're not only grading you on your own merit, we're going to grade you on how well your parents can fill out the same form every year!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Deck the Halls

Back to School

Bienvenuto Amici,

So the boys started back to school this morning; looking more mature than I'd prefer. This year my oldest son has to ride a bus to school since he begins his high school career today (sniff!) He's up at 5:30 to catch a bus at 7:00? He got his shower last night. He doesn't have to curl his hair, put on make-up, check out his butt a few hundred times in the new jeans he's wearing. So I have no idea why he was up that early. But even more confusing was my younger son's decision to get up with him. He walks to school. He's the king of the middle school this year. He doesn't leave the house until 7:45. Might be the excitement of the first day back. Might be jitters. Or more accurately, they thought they could loiter about the school for an hour or so before having to go inside. WRONG! Mama's home now. And that ain't gonna happen. That's when trouble starts. I'm sure that tomorrow when given the choice of sleeping a little longer or pouting about the house because they're not allowed to leave yet they'll make a more informed decision.

Speaking of getting ready for things....As of last Saturday there are only 4 months until Christmas. Scary thought I know. But, I could start playing my music today and be in the mood in about 3 seconds. Nunnie's Attic is pleased to announce our "Deck the Halls" sale. Everything in the attic is already marked down 20% everyday. But from Sept 1 - Sept 30 you can save an additional 10% off simply by including this coupon code: santa. So take a peak inside the attic and see what treasures you can find.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Now that I've been educated...

Ok - my mom figured it out. I am so not up to speed on these things. Anyhoo - I posted yesterday about getting organized. And I wanted to share a blog I stumbled across that epitomizes what I consider to be an organized "country" home that I long to have. Please see Kim's picture perfect home at Home is Where the Heart is.

And please check out my niece's blog-in-process. She's just getting it started so bear with her during construction. But, she's my niece and I love her and the fact that she's a fine cook at such a young age.

What am I doing??

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I am so confused. I have this "blog in a box" package that is supposed to make understanding the whole blog world a little easier. Yeah, right! I can't make heads or tails of it. I have been looking and reading and enjoying other blogs and I wanted to include in mine, links to them. Some people have a great sense of humor. And there's something to be said for laughing every day! But, I can't figure out how to do it.

In my post yesterday I wanted to pay homage to someone's blog. Since my post was about wanting a neat and orderly home I thought I would show what I thought that looked like. Too bad I couldn't. My niece just started a blog. She is an aspiring cook at a young age and wanted a blog to share recipes. I could get one up and running for her (I mean really, blogspot does it for you.) But, changing the font - adding a few pictures (and in the right place) - linking to her blog - adding different sections like a quote of the day, etc - all way beyond my realm of understanding. Maybe it's time to call in reinforcements. Anyone know an 8 year old??

Monday, August 27, 2007

Getting Organized

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Anyone who knows me knows that I'm no June Cleaver. I am a pack rat. And I hate that! I have a million things laying around because I don't know what do with them. Piles of paper, trinkets, pictures waiting for an album, projects waiting to be finished, decorations waiting to be hung... the list goes on. My husband says our house looks "lived in." I don't want that house. I want a neat and orderly home full of precious momentos and beauty. Check out Home is Where the Heart Is if you want to see perfection. I don't know how to properly link like other bloggers so this the best that I can do...sorry

Now I always told myself that it's because I work outside of the home that I'm not as organized as I'd like. Now I know others can manage but I just need time to focus. So now that I'm a stay-at-home mom I guess I better get started. I found this article on a website called, appropriately enough, Get Organized. So the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Hi, My Name is Julie and I'm a pack rat! That said, I think I'll read this article, enjoy another cup of coffee and contemplate when this life-changing event should take place....

Organizing on a Shoe String

You don't have to have the latest organizing containers or gadgets on the market to get and stay organized. Here are 7 simple ways you can get organized on a shoe string.

1. Get in the box. While I usually recommend plastic containers for storage, there's certainly nothing wrong with using plain, cardboard boxes you have sitting around the house. As long as they're in good condition, they have not been in contact with food, and you carefully label each side of the box, these are great tools for helping you store things. You can even cover them with craft paper or contact paper or have your kids decorate them to jazz them up a bit.

2. Baby, oh baby. If you have a baby, or know someone that has a baby, you may have a plethora of creative storage possibilities on your hands. Empty baby wipe containers are perfect for storing things like first aid, crayons or spools of thread. Clean, empty baby food jars are excellent for holding small items such as thumb tacks, paper clips or buttons. Changing tables can later be converted to shelves for toys or books.

3. Days gone by. Do a simple search on the Internet, and you'll be able to find many variations of complimentary calendars available to print out yourself. If you don't want you, you don't have to ever buy another calendar again.

4. Hook, line and sinker. One of the most inexpensive ways to get organized is to make use of hooks. You can pick up dozens at your local hardware store and use them to hang a variety of items such as pots, mugs, tools, jewelry and keys. Some hooks are suction-cup hooks that can be attached to mirrors or refrigerators. There are lots of self- adhesive hooks on the market too.

5. Shop your local rummage sale. Don't discount the possibilities of finding some great storage tools at local rummage sales. A friend of mine picked up a mug holder for a quarter that she uses to organize silk scarves. Another person I know found an old storage chest that she refinished. It looks like new and she only paid $20 for it. She uses it to store quilts and throws in her family room.

6. Add some French flair. French memo boards are perfect for holding event tickets, photos, coupons, grocery lists and more. Buy an inexpensive one at your local superstore or make one yourself with corkboard, fabric and ribbon.

7. Shop in your fridge. Once you're done with food containers like margarine tubs and jelly jars, clean them out thoroughly and use them to store anything from hair accessories, to small kitchen items like corn cob holders and spreaders, to extra batteries.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Poker Run

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Bienvenuto Amici,

Yesterday's poker run was a success! The rain held out until the last 5 minutes of our ride home. But the sun shone during the entire run and MAN, was it hot. A total of 46 bikes came out for the event. There were people who knew Donnie and people who didn't, just riding for a good cause. The generosity of bikers truly amazes me sometimes. One couple went on the run whose son was hurt in accident himself. There's a run for him on Sept. 15. Watching them ride to raise money for someone they don't know because their son is counting on the generosity of fellow bikers truly makes you think. We'll be going on that run!

We put over 95 miles on the bike yesterday. It's always fun to watch the reaction of passersby as almost 50 bikes travel down the road. If you have never been on a poker run - people take turns as "blockers." They'll block the intersections of stop lights and stop signs so that the group can stay together. Only once did someone attempt to pull out in the middle of the bikes. She was quickly told to stay where she was. Now one time a few bikes pulled out of the parking lot of one stop before a block could be put into place. A guy driving a minivan was then in the middle. Graciously he pulled over and let the group stay together. One biker who stayed in front mainly, sports a huge American flag flying in the wind. It was definitely a sight.

There is a certain stigma attached to bikers. But I watched grown men with long hair and tattoos ride to help raise money for a boy they don't know. I watched these same men give their winnings of the 50/50 raffle back so that it all could go to Donnie. And I watched them pray for his recovery. So don't judge a book by it's cover. You have to open it up and really read it before you know how great it can be.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Bienvento Amici,

My mother is a HUGE fan of dollhouses. She has made one for my niece and is working on another right now. During construction of the house her cats thought she had just made a really nice house for them to play in. Needless to say they were a little perturbed when the doors and windows were in place and they could no longer roam freely throughout the house.

She has written an article that I thought I would share. It's for anyone who has ever made a dollhouse, thought about it or just simply likes to look at them. Please take a minute and read her article. I'm sure that you will find it interesting. And until next time, amici: Live well, laugh often and love much.

The dollhouse is a small-scale wonder. Dollhouses go back as far as the 16 th Century. There is a big trend today in building, repairing and restoring dollhouses. Some think of dollhouses as just a little girl’s play toy. This is so far from the truth. Dollhouses today are a hobby as big as train set ups. A dollhouse can get very expensive but it can also be very practical and inexpensive. The biggest problem is deciding what kind of a dollhouse you want.

The nice thing about dollhouses is it can be anything you want. It can be a one, two or three story house. It can be modern or traditional. It can be a log cabin or southern mansion. It can even be historical such as Lincoln’s Springfield home. Or it can be that home you always dreamed of having.

Once you have decided on the house you want, that is when the real fun starts. There are so many places and resources to go to for help. One place I’ve found was Hobby Builders Supply. This place has furniture, accessories, anything and everything you would be looking for. One of the reasons I love going there is to look at are all the little things that put the finishing touches to your home like dishes, food or potted plants. They also have a wish list; this I like because your friends and family can find out things you want and need and can get them for you. Another place is the magazine Nutshell News. This place has so many great ideas. One of the features I especially like is “Crafting tips from readers"; here you can find neat things that you can make from things you have in your home. For example save your coffee grounds to use for dirt in your yard or garden. Spray Grapenuts cereal the color of your favorite rose, glue to stems and make a rose bush. There are lots of thing you can do to make your house personal. I am most passionate about framed pictures and prints of all kind. Nothing finishes off a room like that perfect picture you find to hang on the wall. Try putting a picture of your family or your children on the wall.

When your house is finished, put it out for display. Just like your real home you want to fix it up for all the different holidays and for the different seasons. Do to your dollhouse whatever you would do for your own house. Sometimes you can decorate your dollhouse the way you would like to for your home but cannot afford to.

A dollhouse built by you is something that will bring you great joy everyday of your life.

Everyone who comes into your home, before they go, will want to see your dollhouse to see what new items you have added or how it looks for that time of the season.

If you are thinking of building a dollhouse I hope this article has been of some help to you.

Visit for a large assortment of dollhouse prints and pictures.

Visit for Hobby Builders Supply

Visit for discounted home decor

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thank you Lord for my blessings

Benvento Amici,

It's almost 5:30 in the morning and my husband just left for work. Coffee in one hand and his lunch (in a Coleman cooler because there's just not enough room in a brown paper bag) in the other. The same thing happens every day. At the front door he turns to me, gives me a few quick kisses and tells me that he loves me. I return the affirmation and I tell him to be careful. He says that he will and tells me to have a nice day. I say the same and once more we exchange "I love yous." Some routines are nice to have. As I watch him leave I can't help but be thankful for the blessings in our life. Here are just a few. I'm thankful for...

My husband's job which he enjoys (I hated mine) and pays him well.

Our new windows which will help on our gas bill this year.

Our new-to-us vehicles in the driveway.

The health of my family.

My recent trip to South Carolina to see my sister whom I miss desperately.

My brother's kids popping in a few days a week because they live so close.

The friendship that my husband and I share.

My ever-growing faith in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Food in the fridge and coffee in the pot.

My childhood.

My heritage (Even if you aren't Italian, don't you secretly long to be??)

This opportunity to stay home with my children.

And I could go on and on. But you get the idea. Take each day as a blessing from the Lord and it's easier to get by. When life throws you lemons, ask for salt and tequila and call me over!!

Until next time: Live well, laugh often, love much!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

BenVenuto Amici (Welcome Friends)

As of last Wednesday, I no longer go to work outside of the home. A dream that my husband and I have long hoped for has materialized. I am the proud mother of two sons, ages 13 and 14. And while they're no longer babies, I don't think it's ever too late to stay home with your children. In this past week I quit my job, had 15 windows installed, went to Geagua Lake for my husband's company picnic, went to a co-ed "welcome to the world" baby shower, baked up bread with all this zucchini I have laying around and caught up on laundry. Whew! And rather than sleep in, I'm up at 5:00 getting my husband ready for work.

My sons are dreading next Wednesday...the first day back to school. They are enjoying their summer and quite frankly feel no need for the fun to end. My oldest goes to the high school this year. His schedule arrived and he's none too pleased that he only has one study hall this year. Not that he ever did much studying in them before. But, I digress. And because of my crazy schedule I haven't taken them school shopping yet. That'll have to happen on Sunday. Saturday my husband and I are going on a Texas-Hold 'Em style poker run (a bike rally) to raise money for the nephew of our best friends who was severely injured in an auto accident while at work. So much for taking it easy. One of my favorite sayings is "A mother works from Son up to Son down."

Well would ya look at the time. Time to start marinating my chicken for tonight's dining pleasure of fried chicken, fried potatoes and salad. Gotta get those leafy greens in them somehow.

Until next time, amici - Live well, laugh often, love much!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fall Wreath

Benvenuti Amici (Welcome Friends)

School is starting soon. The leaves are just beginning to change. Fall will be here before you know it. Decorating for autumn has always been a favorite of ours. The colors are so vibrant - orange, yellow, red. Decorating for the entire "season" rather than just for Halloween or Thanksgiving lets you enjoys those harvest colors from September through December. Below is a quick decorating tip from Kathleen Wilson that won't be hard on the wallet.

Until next time; live well, laugh often, love much
Nunnie's Attic

Project: Fall Wreath

Here's an easy way to make an inexpensive wreath for your door! You can also use a wreath flat on a table,(fill with candles, don't allow anything to touch flame!) over a fireplace, or over your bed!

Materials needed:

Grapevine wreath


Silk garland

Dried flowers

Glue Gun

Floral Wire or wire bag closures

Use pieces of wire to secure the leaf garland to the wreath all the way around. If you have excess garland, cut it to fit. It is easier to insert the wire through the wreath near the edges. I use the wire twisties from garbage bags as a low cost alternative to floral wire. Secure it with wire about every 6 inches.

Use a single piece of raffia to tie a bunch in a little twist shape. Then wire the twists to the wreath. I like using three to five bunches and wiring them equal distances apart. You can just use one large bunch if you wish, or many smaller ones, it's your wreath!

I took dried flowers from my garden and simply poked them into the wreath. It doesn't take much, and if you can't get them from your garden, you can get them from the craft store quite cheaply.

Added a small birdhouse with a glue gun, and voila! Beautiful wreath for your door for very little money, very little time, and a lot of creativity!

I always encourage you to try your own materials, and discover within yourself a personal style. Trying a simple and quick project can give you the confidence to show yourself and everyone around you that you really can do it with Creativity, Not Cash!

Kathleen Wilson

Budget Decorator