Monthly Archives: February 2012

Money and the Single Mom – The Budget


As a Single Mom, I am the CEO of  a little sole proprietorship known as, Mi Familia.  A multifaceted, non-profit,  organization with only one revenue stream…… ME!!

Scary thought!

When I was married, I paid all of the bills and drove most of the financial decisions.  So handling money, bills and reconciliations is not new to me.    However, Money Management was a whole new challenge with a reduced income,  no spending accountability and no fall back plan.  Where is the collaboration on how the money is to be spent?  Who is gonna stop me from buying another pair of shoes?  Who do I blame when the money runs out before the month does?

Since that time, I have studied many aspects of Money Management.  There are great tools out there that teach everything from the basics of Money Management through the intricacies of Wealth Building.  It became the difference between Surviving and Thriving for me.

And it all begins with the most old-fashioned of notions; Living within your means and sticking to a budget.

The Budget

This Single Mom’s best friend is my budget.  This tool, when used daily ( I do mean daily), allows me to own my world.  I think of my budget as an allotment of money, much like an allotment of calories.  If you overspend the allotment of calories for the day, then you will gain weight.  If you overspend your allotment of money for the month, you will go into debt.  And having debt is a lot like carrying around extra unwanted pounds.  Uuugh!

The concept of Zero-Based budgeting, as taught by Dave Ramsey , is how I plan my spending.  My budget for the month shows how every dollar will be spent before the month begins.   I know that all my needs will be taken care of each month and in sticking to my budget, a few of my wants will be satisfied, as well.

Zero-Based Budgeting

This is based on the idea that each and every dollar is spent, on paper, before the month begins.  Beginning with the basics, I write down the monthly amount for each of these:  Rent/Mortgage, Water, Gas, Electric, Food.  If I can pay these bills, then the kids have food and shelter and life is good.

Got money left over?  Good.  Then I write down the monthly amount for each of these:  Clothing, Auto, Insurance, Gas, Daycare.  If I can pay these bills, I have everything I need to get to work everyday.

Still have money left over?  I address my debt.   If you have debt, then get on a schedule to pay these bills off and add these to your monthly budget.  Remember:  Paying the minimum on your debt will keep them around FOREVER.  Pay as much as you can on the smallest bill each month until it is gone and then move that money over to the next debt.

Finally, I make sure I put some money for savings (10% is recommended) and some for giving, maybe some blow money (money to spend however I want)  and there should be $0 left to spend at the end.

A simple spreadsheet can help you set up your budget.

The Why’s of Budgeting

Debt is dangerous.  Especially for a Single Mom.  I have one income and controlling where that precious money goes is imperative to my survivability.   If you are living beyond your income, then you are incurring debt.  Stop that now!

Budget is a “NO” wins situation.  When my budget says “NO”, then I can win every argument with your kids.  You can always blame the budget, like it’s a third person at the dinner table.

I have found that planning my money ahead of time and spending accordingly makes it feel like my money does more.  Once you stop letting money slip through your fingers, you will be surprised how abundant your money feels.

A budget is empowering.  Making decisions over who will and won’t get MY money puts me in control and that can be very satisfying.

A Final Note

If the word Budget feels too constricting, please feel free to refer to it as a “Spending Plan” or a “Cash-Flow Plan”.  Whatever you call it, if you don’t have a plan, your money will just slip through your hands.

I recommend the following websites for online tools:

http://www.daveramsey.comFREE Zero Based Budgeting Tool

http://www.kiplinger.comOnline Budgeting Worksheet

I recommend the following books for more insight into budgeting and other money matters:

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey

Debt-Proof Living – Mary Hunt

Next Wednesday:  Ways to Avoid (additional) Debt

Roses and Chains Revealed ….


I’m back with more Home Office decor-improvements.   Remember this picture from my Lateral File Repair?

Above the file is one of those sweet criss cross ribbon boards.  It’s covered with a taupe canvas cloth and criss crossed with satin ribbons.  So Pretty!

Now let’s punch it up with some color.

I know that I could make this board from scratch with a board, some ribbon, fabric and tacks, but since I already own one, I decided to decor-remodel it.

I’m adding some fresh fabric….

Roses and Chains

I carefully disassemble the board, removing the hanging hardware, the backing and finally the staples.

When removing the ribbon, I made sure I laid it out in the same design to ease in the reassembly process.

I ruined my staple remover on this project, so I ended up using a flat-head screw driver to finish the job.

After the removing all the hardware, fabric, ribbons and tacks, I was left with a foam covered board.

I use the original fabric as a template to cut a new cover for the board.

Then I wrapped the fabric around the board and before securing it to the board with tape, I marked the hardware holes to make it easier to reinstall the sawtooth hanging hardware.

Followed by taping the fabric down to the board.

I flipped the board over and laid the ribbon back into place and secured with the tacks.  Then flipped it back over and stapled the ribbon and fabric to the back edge of the board.

Next, gently hammer down the tacks.  Gently, because I have a tendency to hammer my fingers.  It’s a gift.

Finally, I glued the backing back on with a hot glue gun and it’s ready for service again.

Just as functional, but much more beautiful.

Pin It

Here is a side by side so you can see the impact of adding color here.

Total Cost

1/2 yard fabric – $3

Soon, there will be shelves on this wall and the criss cross board will be sitting just a bit lower down the wall.

If you can’t tell, I am focusing on improvements, one corner at a time.  Stay tuned for the next project to bring about this Home Office Makeover.

Do you like using fabric to bring a punch of color to a room?  Do you have a tendency to hammer your fingers?  Does the idea of Spring make you want to cover all your furniture in florals?  Leave me a comment below.


Reframing the past….


I managed to squeeze off a few projects this past week/weekend.

The big project is to do a Home Office Makeover.  I shared with you the fix for my lateral file here, my desire to build some shelves for my Home Office  here, and that is coming soon.  For now, I am focusing doing more on deco-remodel (remodeling decorative items I already own) and creating some new decorative items.  All in good time.

So let’s step back almost 20 years to this set of photographs.

The Girls

Back in 1993, all the women of my family went for a portrait session.  These prints include me, my sister, my mom, my grandma, my aunt and my beautiful nieces.   My mom bought this gold frame, had a mat custom-made and it hung in her home for many, many years.  The picture of me and my sister chocking each other is one of my faves.

My Big Sis and Me

A couple of years ago, my mom gave me these precious pictures.  Sadly, I did not love the frame so I put the whole thing away (that whole “I can’t deal” response).  Now, armed with some DIY confidence, and a can of spray paint, I brought this frame out of its purgatory and gave it a new chance at home-decor life.

Love the detail, not the color

I started with Primer and put on a few light coats to cover up the (cheesy) gold and the damage.

The plan was to brush paint it with a can of Oil-Rubbed Bronze, left over from painting my front door last year.  I gave it a light coat of  paint with a brush, but I wasn’t happy with the results.  The paint was pooling into the crevices of the scroll work and flattening the look.   So I ran out and bought a can of spray Oil-Rubbed Bronze.

After a few light coats of paint, my little frame was quickly becoming a decor heavy-weight.

and the scroll work detail has been maintained.

Looking good….. but wait…. I am not done yet.  There’s the custom matting which also has that brassy gold look and it had to go.

The matting is made up of two layers.  The top ivory layer, which was still in great shape, and the bottom layer, which gave the pictures a gold frame.  So, I separated the two carefully.

and I was left with two options.  One, leave off the bottom layer and just use the top mat with my pictures, which would flatten the effect.  Or, Option 2, paint the second layer.

So, I took a chance (never painted a mat before) and decided to paint the gold layer the same color as my frame.  First, I needed to protect the beveled edges, as I wanted to maintain their ivory color and keep the multidimensional look.

I carefully applied painters tape to the beveled edges  and a piece of paper behind the open cut.

Then applied 3 very light coats of paint.  While it doesn’t look all that pretty where it had been glued to the top layer, the important parts around the cut openings are what matters here.  When the paint dried, I removed the backing paper from the back of the mat and the tape pulled through and left a nice clean line.

This is a close up shot of the finished look of the oil-rubbed bronze frame and mat.

Now this piece is ready to be part of my decor.  And while history has been preserved, the frame AND mat have been updated for the cost of a can of spray paint.

Here is a side by side view:

Total Cost:

Rust-ole-um Metallic Paint  $6.

I used less than half the can.

I am happy to have these pictures on display in my home, finally.  I know my mom and my sister will be glad too.  By the way, one of the little blonde nieces in the bottom picture has a blog of her own  She is now the mom of two beautiful little girls and has lots to share with other moms.  Check out her site.

What projects did you get completed recently that gives you such pleasure to have on display?  Anything of historical value to your family.

I will be back tomorrow with another low cost decor-improvement.


From Repairing to Routering



Every DIY’er likes to spend their time making something new or up-cycling something old, creating something fresh and beautiful.  But sometimes, we have to spend our weekend keeping the house from falling down around our ears.

I had big plans to build the base of my bedroom desk this past weekend.  Hours of alone time with power tools, the smell of saw dust and my old 70’s radio station…. cuz that’s how I roll.

But first, my home office was calling my attention.  I spend a great deal of time here during the week and thought it needed a deep cleaning to keep it fresh and clutter free!

While trying to arrange some files in my lateral drawers, I lost one my file clips down the back of the cabinet and had to remove the drawer to get to it and found this:

Damaged Drawer Slider

The drawer slide was damaged, which explained why the drawer was so difficult to open and close.  Well, duh!

No worries, I just needed to run to the hardware store and pick up a new set of slides, and while I’m at it, I will replace the slides on both drawers.

Even better, I decided that the new slides should be rated at 100 lbs or more, since I keep a ton of paperwork in these drawers.  Plus, they extend further so that I can easily reach those older files in the back of the drawer.

New Slides

It was simple enough.  The new slides where the same length and one of the screw holes from the previous install matched up to the new slide so it was pretty easy to put them in the all the right places without a ton of measuring.

Checking for level

Of course, it is very important to be sure your slide is level when you install them or your drawers may not close properly.

Easy enough, right?!?!  Except, I found out when reinstalling the drawer that the two new slides were 1/8″ wider than the original slides and now the drawer will not fit.  FAIL!

Now, this problem would have defeated a lesser person, but it only kicked in my serious problem solving skills.  After all, I cannot leave my office looking like this:

Office Disaster

So I consider my options:

1) Reinstall the original slides

2) Buy skinner slides

3) Make the drawer smaller

Option 1 was not really an option, since the slides were destroyed and ball bearings were all over the place.

Beyond Repair

As for option 2, skinner slides were not available where I purchased the slides.  I did think this might be a problem when I made the purchase so I did check for a skinner variety.

Looks like option 3 was the way to go.  The plan was to cut down the front and back of the drawer by 1/4″ and then reassemble.  I began to disassemble the drawer and remove the fascia board.  Even with all the screws removed, the drawer was strangely intact.   For some reason, I thought I had bought it as an “assembly required” product, but this thing was assembled with glue and finishing nails, which was not my style 10 years ago.

Foiled again!  But not deterred….

At this point, I would like to thank my Daddy who bought me a router when he came to visit me last fall.  Thanks, Dad.

I figured the only way to get those slides on the drawer to meet up with the slides in the cabinet was to make a 1/8″ deep groove on each side of the drawer.   So, after carefully removing the fascia board (with it’s 20+ brads holding it tight), I was able to router a 2.25″ wide groove to accommodate the width and depth of the slide.

Getting my Groove On!

Caution:  Be sure your router guide is completely locked down after each pass and adjustment or you will see something like this:


Yep, that router can sure have a mind of it’s own.

So, with the slider reattached to the drawer, I was able successfully fit it back into the file cabinet.

Perfect Fit!

This is how the drawer looks without the fascia board…..

Another shot of that Perfect Fit!

And here is how it looks with it all put back together and working perfectly.  I could spend all day pulling and pushing these drawers in and out.  It feels good to have them working smoothly again.

All is well again!

And here is another shot of the defective hardware along with an “awww” inducing shot of my nosy little helper, Roxy.


And let’s not forget an up close picture of the clip that started it all with it’s duck and dive into the depth of the cabinet.

So, 4 hours and most of my Sunday later, I had a perfectly functioning lateral file cabinet.

Project Cost:

New Slides:  $28

I feel just as much satisfaction in coming up with a workable creative solution than had I built the file cabinet myself.   I hope this gives you some ideas for fixing those “unfixable” problems.

How are you planning to spend your weekend?  Have any new projects or is there a home repair that needs your loving attention this weekend?

I need to repair the exhaust hood over my stove.  Right now, it is hanging by a screw and needs some TLC.  I will blog about it next week.  Have a great weekend.


A work of Art


In a previous post,  I mentioned building a desk in my room here

Desk Mock Up

Above that desk hangs the wall art that inspired my need for a piece of furniture to anchor that wall (remember, that is only a mock up of the desk and not the final product).  The wall art is, in fact, a large piece of beautiful fabric that I have stretched across a wooden frame.  How easy is that!

For those of us who have been faced with a large blank wall, you know how difficult  it is to find something affordable and appropriately scaled.  This wall in my bedroom was designed for a long low dresser (probably with a mirror) but I prefer to keep all my clothes in the walk- in closet.  It just makes more sense.

My Screaming Blank Wall

Like silence, a blank wall can be screaming loud!!

I have searched high and low for a painting or wall decoration that would suit my color scheme and the mood of my room.  I wanted soft taupe-y colors with a calming feel to it.  This room is my oasis, though my kids rarely respect it as such.  Note Star Wars action figures on my bed in the top photo.

Over a year ago,  I was doing my laundry room renovation when I stumbled across a pillow sham, of all things, that had all the colors I was using in my laundry room decor.  I was thinking….. ” too bad this wasn’t frame for art”.  And then I was inspired.

The answer for my bedroom wall was staring me in the face every time I passed through the laundry room, which I did about 20x a day!!!  And so…

A Project is Born

Step 1.  Find a 50% off sale at your local fabric distributor. I only considered decorator-sized fabrics to be sure I could get the height and width that I wanted

Step 2.  Visit said distributor to find the perfect fabric print.  These were my contenders:

I like to take pictures of fabrics with my camera phone, if I cannot get a sample swatch, and then take them home to review with the intended setting.  In this case, the last one is my favorite; it had great texture and symmetry.  (The first one would have been a very appropriate choice, as well.)

I also purchased some batting to go behind the fabric.  If your fabric is light colored and/or slightly sheer, the batting will hide the frame color.  Otherwise, you may consider painting the frame a concealing color.  The batting will also help give the piece a fuller look.

Step 3.  Decide your project size and build your frame.  I used 1×2’s and built a 57 in x 42 in frame (I know it sounds random, but it was limited by the size of the batting that I chose).  I used pocket hole screws to join the corners, but  wood screws into the sides works just as well.    (I highly recommend a pocket hole jig for stronger joints.)


I did not miter the corners.  Since the frame corners will not be seen in the finished project, there is no need to do anything fancier than just making sure your project is square.  (I always cut both ends of my wood to ensure that each end is cut straight and square.  Don’t assume that your raw ends are square.)

Step 4.  With your staple gun, apply the batting around the edges.  Start by stapling 1 or 2 staples in the center of one side and then pull the batting tight and staple in the center on the opposite side.  Do the same on each end, working your way around to the corners, but stopping at the corners.

Step 5 – With your staple gun, apply the fabric around the frame using the same process as above with the batting, keeping it tight and even.  Be careful that you don’t over tighten and distort your pattern.

Step 6 – Trim the excess fabric and batting along the edge of the frame.  Be sure to leave extra at the corners for the next step.

Step 7 – Keeping the fabric tight against the frame and working in small sections, work the excess fabric into flat folds and staple.

Step 7 – Hang on the wall.  You can apply two or more sawtooth hangers along the top of the frame or you can string wire across from triangle picture hangers on each side, or you can just pop two or three nails into the wall and hang the frame directly on them (which isn’t as secure as the other two options).   I do recommend that you use a level to be sure that your new art work hangs elegantly in its new home.

Final Project Cost:

2 yards of Decorator Fabric @ 50% off:   $35

1 – 46 x 60 Crib Sized Batting:  $7

2 – 2x2x10:  $12

Total – $54

Your cost will vary depending on the cost and amount of fabric needed.

What projects have you been working on?  Any blank walls screaming out to you? Tell me what you did to quiet it down.

New Year – New Goals


English: Picture I made for my goals article

In a previous post, I mentioned that I would be posting my 2012 Goals.  Not just my list of planned projects, but how I plan to improve/sustain my life in the various aspects of career, financial, family, physical, social, intellectual and most importantly, spiritual.  These are not New Year’s Resolutions, but rather a list of Pending Dreams.

I believe that setting goals is as important as making a grocery list.  If you don’t have a plan, you are just wandering aimlessly through (the aisles of) life. I also subscribe to the school of thought that by clearly defining and framing a goal and putting it “out there” into the universe you are a giant step closer to achieving that goal.

Setting goals requires some unfettered daydreaming.  If I was living the ideal life, what would it look like?  Oh, yea, sure, sipping fruity cocktails on the beach sounds like an ideal life, but difficult to finance.  Instead, I look at each of the categories I listed above (career, financial….) and think how my life should look through that filter.

For example, my career dreams look something like this:  I am self-employed with a flexible schedule, a passion for my work, and unlimited potential for growth.   (Notice my positive affirmation like I am already living this life.) My goal for this year is to:  Start my own blog with the intention of developing a following and finding advertisers.    With a blog, I will be self-employed, I will blog about things that excite me and there is unlimited potential for growth.

Next, I run this goal through yet another filter call SMART, which is explained very well in this link.  Setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely Goals….. SMART.  This step confirms that my dream statement has successfully converted to a goal with a specific outcome.   Again, let’s take this example to the next level.

Start a Blog

Specific:  Yes, this very specific goal

Measurable:  Yes, I can confirm this has been completed

Attainable:  Yes, this can be done with little funds or programming knowledge

Realistic:  Yes, I have a lot to offer in a blog environment

Timely: Yes, this can be completed in the 1st quarter of 2012

My Goal has passed the SMART criteria!


Now it’s time to identify specific steps needed to complete this goal.

1.  Identify a brand for your blog.

2. Identify and Secure a domain name.

3. Find a host for your blog

4. Plan a strategy for developing content

5. Write your first 10 blogs

6. Plan ways to draw an audience

7. Look for advertisers for your blog

And then I assign due dates to each of these steps.  Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

As you can see, I did start my blog and I am on step 5.  I plan to have Step 5 completed within the next 2 weeks.  At this point, I am not worried about audience.  That is another step entirely.

Okay, there is a beach somewhere in my plan…..

So, lets get back to my Goals for 2012.


1. Start a blog

2. Obtain 22 PDU’s to maintain my Project Management Professional certification which expires in 9/2012

3. Improve my Production Company services and pricing structure.  Target a new project each month.

4. Complete additional Photography Training to improve my skill

Save Money


1.  Pay off all debt by June 1st

2. Save 10% of income to savings

3. Increase Savings to a Target $$$  by August 1st.  This is my Emergency Fund

4.  Start Savings for New-to-me car with a target this year of $$$

5.  Increase Retirement Savings to 15% by end of the year

A Date with Your Family


1.  Plan and implement a family vacation to Virginia

2.  Write and Document a Family Mission

3.  Plan and implement a family adventure each month

4.  Have a ticklefest every 2 weeks


1.  Train for and Complete a 10K

2.  Remove artificial sweeteners from our diet

3.  Take a walk with my kids 1x a week and laugh with them daily


1. Schedule time to socialize with my friends one weekend night a month.


1. Additional Training in Project Management

2. Read 1 Non-Fiction book a month in areas that support my goals

3.  Write a personal Mission Statement

4. Play strategy games that stimulate logical thinking at least 1x a month


1.  Increase Church Attendance by at least 2x a month

2. Read Scripture Daily

3. Supplement our Spiritual Training by attending a study group offered by our church.

4.  Thank God Daily for all my blessing

That’s it.  Lots to get done this year!  Look for this list in a reference page on the right side-bar and you can track with me or even hold me accountable through out the year.  After all, even Single Gals need to be accountable to someone.

Have you set some goals for you and your family this year?  Did you choose some fun goals or are they all so so so serious?  I went back and rewrote mine to add some lighthearted goals that are pretty easy to meet.  Write down your goals, have fun and Thrive in 2012!

Recommended Links:

We have a winner!!!

We have a winner!!!

This weekend was the Pine Car Derby race for my son’s Cub Scout Pack.

I must stop here and give kudos for all the work that our Cub Scout parents put into this event.  Specifically, we have an electronic track with corresponding software that sets up the heats, tracks the time and speed of each car and then presents the standings.  Setting up and running this is a lot of work, but having everything all official makes it a lot of fun for the kids and the spectator parents.

To begin this narrative journey, I must explain that I am Cub Scout Mom.  As such, it fell to me to get my son, Mikey, on track with his car build.  He is 10 years old and I try to give him more and more responsibility for it’s completion each year …. and this year was no exception.  Except we were given little time (about  2 weeks with a Science Project deadline thrown into the middle) and we were facing the “week of”  without a car design.  This Mom had to take a leap and start the project while Mikey was off on a weekend with his Dad.  So…..  I picked out a really cute design I found on this website

Remember this picture I posted last week?

Well, not really cute, as novel.  A shark car!!  I could picture this unusual shaped car racing down the track and everyone looking with approving nods at my son……….  So, I started cutting and shaping.  I found out quickly that this wasn’t what Mikey had in mind at all, but due to our time constraints, he reluctantly took over…..

Mikey shapes the Shark Car

We made quick progress until a scheduling conflict caused the Derby to be pushed out until mid-February.  Suddenly, we had 4 more weeks to complete the car.  Wow!  We can do amazing things in 4 weeks.  In fact, Lowe’s was giving a workshop on Pine Derby Cars and Mikey and I eagerly signed up.  We were hoping for some insight on making our little shark car a bonafide winner!

Kudos (again) to Lowe’s for having these workshops.  Not many parents have the tools needed to simply shape a car for this event and Lowe’s pulled out the big guns for this workshop.  A band saw and a Dremel tool was on hand to help my son make the car the REALLY wanted….. some low-riding gangsta thing he saw in a magazine.

Workshop at Lowe's

The awesome guys at Lowe’s even showed us how to polish the axles and the tires – key items for a winning car.

Now we had two car shapes for Mikey to choose and we had polished axles for two cars ….. and before we knew it …. other life events began inserting themselves in between our project and our February deadline.

Fast forward about 3 weeks and we are on a serious deadline.  Mikey makes the decision to work with the gangsta car.  I am looking at the unpainted Shark Car, visions of it swooping down the track fading, when I decide to finish it and race it myself.  (They have Rabble Round of the Derby, which allows parents and siblings to enter the race, as well. )

Mikey puts coats of paint on his Car, soon to be named “Noisy Boy”, from the robot-fighting movie, Real Steel.

Time to Paint

He painted his car glossy black and I added some Japanese markings that we think means “Noisy Boy”.  Here is his final product… without wheels, of course.

Noisy Boy Revealed

Since he was comfortable handling the painting and wheel placement on his car all by himself, I was free to finish my Shark Car.  And here is the big reveal.

Shark Car

Pretty cool, eh?  Mind you, I’ve been making these derby cars for years, under the direct supervision of a small male child.  We have had a Batman Car, a Silver Bullet Car, and a Yellow “M” Car and they have all looked just like, well,  a car.  However, this dorsal-fined, Italian Red, yellow flamed wave of undulating wood was right up my creative alley! I had so much fun making and painting her and even let Mikey name her…….. “Apocalypse”.  I think this is also from the movie, Real Steel.

The Friday night before the race was spent making finishing touches to the paint details, adding weights to meet the 5oz maximum weight and aligning the wheels for maximum speed.  We used a leveled 1×4 board on incline to ensure the car rolled straight instead of careening from side to side, which will slow it down.  We were more ready for this race than we have ever been.  I think both of us making a car, rather than being worker (and nag) and supervisor, changed our dynamics.  This time we both had skin in the game.

Race Day!  It was a working event for me, as well.  My production company was doing Winner Circle Photos and after we registered and weighed our cars, I had to set up my photo shoot.  I explain this because the next two pics will be from that part of my business.

Mikey is a Webelo I (that is 4th grade cub scouts for those not “in-the-know”) and raced with his Den mates.  He won all 4 heats and took the First Place trophy for his Den.

Portrait of a WINNER!

He also raced in the Final Derby race against all the Den winners and of 12 contenders, his “Noisy Boy” came in 6th, clocking 184 mph. (The winner clocked an impressive 190 mph)

I’m so happy that he did so well this year.  He usually places in the top 3 for his den, but this was his first “FIRST”.  Last year he made 3rd place and he was so upset about it because, in actuality, there were only 3 racers for his den, so he came in dead last.  This year, he is a bonafide Winner.  That was our plan, after all.

So, are you wondering how I did in the Rabble Round?   I came in 4th place, just missing the trophy levels.  My sexy shark car, Apocalypse, turned heads in every heat and performed a respectable 183 mph. That’s my girl!

Me and Apocalypse

My sweet boy insisted on taking this picture of me and my car and we happily went home with his very important trophy (cue walking away into the  sunset).  So ends the saga of how I ended up being a racer in the Cub Scout Pine Car Derby.

Have you ever found yourself totally immersed in something that was meant for one of your kids?  Like being their soccer coach or helping assemble a complicated toy and found yourself totally enjoying the experience?   Did it change how you related to each other?

Welcome to my World


My Dear SMT Blog Fans,

I have so many projects whirling around in my mind and I thought “here is the place to dream out loud”.  So, without further ado, much forethought, and only a smidge of planning….. these are the projects I want to get done these next few months.

My first project was to start a blog.  Check!  (ahhhhh….. it feels good to check something off the list)

My second project, which is due this week, is to complete my first Pine Car to race with the Cub Scouts this weekend.  Race?…With Cub Scouts? … Why, YES, don’t mind if I do!  I will save the fun details for how I ended up making my own car for this race in my “post race” blog.  But here is a sneak preview…..

My next project is to build a desk for my room, which I have ‘Mocked Up” here…

Desk Mock Up

Note:  The desk isn’t really going to be 8 ft wide, as indicated with these cedar planks that I had on-hand, but I do love the warm color.   Looks like my sweet she-dog, Ellie Mae, is keeping guard.

Then I want to add some shelves to my office which will go right here …..

A Shelf Is Needed Here

The design will be inspired by here and here.

My next big project will be to add a window seat/book cubbies  to my bedroom.   I have a large double window that would inspire hours of book reading, yard gazing, tea drinking, cat napping moments.  Below is one of my Pinterest inspirational pins.  I even love the color scheme.

Window Seat/Book Cubbie Idea

This is the SCARY project.  It’s kinda BIG and I haven’t thought it all the way through yet… so the unknown bits are what makes it just a bit intimidating at this stage.  I won’t start a project until I can visualize it from start to finish.   So, let the researching and “napkin” engineering begin!

So, to summarize:

Start Blog – Check

Pine Car – In progress

Bedroom Desk – Next

Window Seat/Book Cubbies – Dreamiing/Planning Stage

This should get me through till April/May, with all kinds of little projects and Mom/Kid adventures sprinkled in just to keep things interesting.

Thanks for letting me dream aloud.  What have you been dreaming about?


We have BLOG!


Work in Progress

I am addicted to the DIY Channel.

Which is what has motivated me to amass power tools and begin an endeavor in furniture building that will make my home more beautiful, functional and organized.  I would say those are my power words.  Beautiful!  Functional! Organized!

I have found that creating beautiful things from raw materials makes my home unique and is friendly to my budget.  On the plus side, I know exactly the quality of the materials and the workmanship.

I like to make beautiful things.  A provoking photograph.  A well-made desk.  A flower garden.  A welcoming place setting.  Two beautiful kids.

Functional and Organized are the key words to my Thrivability.  I need an organized life and functional space to feel on top of the world.   Am I good at both all the time…. not really.  But I strive to find the ultimate solution for each aspect of my life

So, as I develop this blog, I will share with you my hobbies,  my projects, my adventures in parenting, my “Thrive”.

I hope you enjoy the ride!