29 January 2010

happiness winner...

thank you to all 10 of you that entered my happiness giveaway.

i can't wait to get started reading this book...i think i could learn lots from it.

for those did not win, i hope i turned you onto something that will make a small
difference in you life. because couldn't we all be a little happier?!

drum roll please.........




comment no. 7 was chosen by my son as the winner....
congrats to PAT H. !! (i'll send you an email to get your address and get the book sent to you).

have a good weekend everyone!

helping out the locals

every week this family brings eggs from their farm to my market. get them fast, because they disappear quickly.
i like that they always add a little note in each carton.

the eggs are beautiful and so tasty. they are a bit more expensive, but so worth it.

on our list of things to do this summer we'll visit this farm and create the full circle of where our eggs really come from. the boys will love it, and i will love getting my feet on a farm.

i also like that they package their eggs in cardboard cartons instead of styrofoam. making it so much better for the environment. can't wait to visit them this summer.
you still have until 3pm cst today to enter the happiness giveaway! (see post below) i'll draw the winner tonight and post it.
on a question not even related to eggs.....did any of you London dancin' queens attend the opening of ABBA World yesterday?! so wish i could have been there. guess i need to add london to my list of places to visit.

28 January 2010

guess what?

good morning!
there is still time to enter the happiness giveaway...see post below.
guess what i am up to?
if you guessed 'taking a trip to paris' please guess again.
this is something else.
something fun that takes a bit of planning.
the kind of planning that i love to do.
so when i found the eiffel tower ~ i was thrilled.
and when i found the little white love birds ~ i squealed.
hmm..mmm... it's coming together nicely.
stay tuned...
i would love to hear your guess! leave it here in the comments.

27 January 2010

playing around

after 2.5 hours on the phone last night with the HP tech support guy i finally was able to load the new print shop program to my computer.
had some fun this morning figuring out things that i can do with it. it is a really easy program and i will have to figure out more things with it later. if you're looking for a new program to play around with, and you have windows 7, this is a good one. it has some great photos, all of the ones above are from print shop.
don't forget to leave a comment (on the post below) to be added to my happiness giveaway! lurkers are welcome to comment too! ;)

26 January 2010

happiness : giveaway

last week gretchen rubin, author of the happiness project, blew through kansas city for a book signing. i have not read her book yet, it is on my list of things to get, but i did enjoy her (although very short) talk about her book at a local library. and what made me really happy was the conversation i had with my girlfriend at starbucks afterwards about happiness.
maybe some of you have heard of this book or have read it. it has recently been on the top sell list and she's been on the today show chatting about it.
at the chat she talked about knowing yourself first. who are you really? and what really makes you happy. this answer will be different for everyone and i think it will constantly change. because what makes you happy today, may not be what makes you happy in 20 years. because you'll be different then.
when i lived overseas i had lots of time for myself. this was pre-kids and i had the time to focus on me. i meditated, did yoga, played tennis, took pottery classes and did some major soul searching. and even though now i am a mom of two and living back in the states i still am confident in who i am. i feel that i know what direction i'm going in life and i am truly happy. oh sure there are parts of my life that could use some tweaking, there always will be. but trying to pin down what makes me happy is a little difficult sometimes.
helping others makes me happy. it can be as simple as delivering baked goods to a neighbor, fixing dinner for my family, creating a new art project for the boys, donating to a charity, volunteering at school, etc.
having a nicely decorated (with budget finds) house makes me happy. living in a smaller house makes me happy, and having a family to fill my house makes me happy.
but what about the big stuff? like dreams? i dream of living on a farm. more specifically a farm in the south of france. but would that really make me happy? i think sometimes that the idea makes me happy, but once i was packed, moved and settled, would i be?
anyway, i am anxious to read the happiness project and see what else i can learn on being happy.
and one other thing i know that makes me happy... giveaways! so i am going to give away a copy of the book the happiness project to one lucky winner.

* leave a comment and tell me what makes you happy...i mean really happy.
* non-reply comments cannot win....i need to be able to contact you by email.
* comments will close friday january 29th at 3:00pm cst.
* i will announce the winner friday night sometime.

thanks for playing!

22 January 2010

clean then play

aaahhh...friday. thank you for the comments and emails about my master bedroom work in progress. as anxious as i am to get going on that project a little voice popped into my head (it was my moms) and it said "clean first then play". a rule from my childhood that still holds true today...thanks mom! ;)
there really isn't much in the bedroom to clean, but all of our closets have been needing some attention. 3 trash bags later i had a good mix, of all sizes, to donate to our local goodwill. with the lack of garage sales this time of year making a quick pass through the GW is always on my list of things to do.
this is a win win win situation:
closets are clean and i am now ready to get going on that bedroom redo...win!
three bags of donations to the local GW...win!
i get to shop at the GW since i'm already there...win!
ok, it seems to be a double win for me...and i do feel like i win when i donate...so i guess it's a triple win for me. my blog, my game = i win! ;)
i didn't find much at all at the GW. i actually like that it is so hit or miss. because when i do find something, it makes me even more excited. i love rusty metal architectural things. and for 98 cents i picked this up.

and ooooh how i wish it was large enough to go over the head of my bed in my new bedroom redo, but it is not. it is a trivet with the tile missing. so i ended up doing this with it...

not sure what my obsession with light switches is these days....but i love it here. i purposely did not cover this light switch with the wallpaper, because i thought if this was a real stone wall you wouldn't be able to cover the switch. but you could hang a rusty old trivet on a stone wall...wala!
cheers! to a great weekend.

20 January 2010

wheels are turning

it is no secret that i do not sit well. i always have a project either in process or the wheels are turning in my little creative mind.
i am never happy with my master bedroom. i see lots of photos of master bedrooms that make me swoon, and i so wish mine did that for me.

i will change the paint color, add new curtains, new lamps, etc and think...that's it, i love it. and then it just doesn't last. is it because i spend so little time in this room? i just always feel like it is neglected. *sigh*
so i am going to be scouring favorite magazines, online stores, blogs and even that 'master bdrm' file, that i have tucked away, full of ideas. i have just a small budget for this room (read no budget really), so i want to not rush it. i'll see what i have stored in the attic that can be used (old doors, shutters, columns, etc..) i'd also like to see what i can find thrifting. i am going through withdrawal with no garage sales this time of year but soon the weather will warm up and the sales will be plentiful.

i have to keep the bed, and painting it really isn't an option. there also aren't many options as far as the arrangement of the room. too many doors and windows in the wrong places. but i hope to figure out something. i'd also like new (thrifted) side tables, preferably ones that don't match. and if i don't find what i'm looking for, i'll just paint the ones i currently have.

i will for sure post photos when i finish this project....it will probably be awhile though. stay tuned. and if you have any good bedroom sites that you could recommend please throw them my way!

19 January 2010

time for dinner

my husbands favorite three words. clangity-clang-clang-clang goes the dinner bell. but this is not about that kind of time for dinner, it is about time for dinner. i love to cook. but even more than actual cooking i love the time it takes to put everything together. please do not put me up on that pedestal as a girl who turns out beautiful meals every night for her family. and trust me, i can be just as happy throwing down a pizza on a friday night with the family gathered around the coffee table. but once or twice a week i like to have all the ingredients bought ahead of time, and really enjoy the time it takes to create a meal. last friday night was that night. but i actually got started in the afternoon.

M was at school and C was napping so i took a few minutes to set a simple table.

then i chopped all the apples, measured out all the ingredients into individual bowls, and put the rub on the pork chops. it was peaceful and quiet and i just felt like i was putting some real joy and love into this meal. i actually had a moment to stop and recognize how much i really love to cook.
so really this was just all the prep work, but once it was time to fire up the cook top and get down to the actual cooking it was easy because everything was already measured out.
so i will leave with this recipe today and hopes that you enjoy the time it takes to create this lovely meal. bon appetite!
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 (4- to 6-ounce) boneless center-cut pork loin chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large granny smith apples, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. in a small bowl, combine sage, salt, and pepper; sprinkle over both sides of pork.
2. in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. cook pork 4 to 5 minutes per side; or until done. remove pork from pan. cover and keep warm.
3. melt butter in a pan over medium heat. add apples, brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. serve with pork chops.

15 January 2010

switch plate : : an easy weekend project

good afternoon!
last month, when i repainted my dining room, i also covered my light switch. i simply printed this image (sorry, can't remember the exact site) from the internet and used it to cover my switch plate.
early last week i was flipping through the february issue of country living and right there on page 114...a covered switch plate (an adorable egg one). does that ever happen to you?! that you do something in your home, use something interesting in a tablescape, display your mantel a certain way and then see it duplicated in a magazine?! it happens to me ALL the time. the things that make you say hmmm...
i have covered switch plates for years. i used to be a professional wallpaper hanger (best job i ever had...seriously) and we would match the switch plates to the wallpaper that we put up.
i don't have photos of each step, but i will list here some tips to help make this project easy for you. you can use wallpaper, scrapbook paper, images printed from your computer, your kids artwork, any kind of paper really to personalize your switch plate.
step 1: chose your paper
step 2: remove your existing boring plastic switch plate cover; don't lose those tiny screws.
step 3: cut your paper allowing a 1/2" allowance on all four sides.
step 4: using a spray glue, spray your paper (use spray glue outside or in your garage...this stuff is a sticky mess)
step 5: carefully, because it will be sticky, place your paper on your switch plate, pressing the paper to the front carefully, making sure you get a good stick.
step 6: miter the corners, and then press the excess to the back of the switch plate.
step 7: hold the covered plate up to a light or window and with an exacto knife, cut out our slots for the switch to fit into.
step 8: with a tiny round screwdriver, skewer or something round, poke out the holes where the screws will go.
step 9: attach your plate onto your wall.
step 10: stand back and enjoy...you did it!
** you can also decoupage the front of the plate, which i would recommend if your switch is in a high traffic area. that way you can wash it down.
have a good weekend and if you have questions about this project leave me a message...but please make sure that i can reply to you...if you leave an anonymous comment, i can't back to you.

14 January 2010

what i am loving today ...

new cookbook
i picked up
at t.j. maxx
for 3 bucks...

the beautiful
photos it has


of the
new cookbook
that i love
with the pretty pages
and yummy recipes...
you have
as your
main course,
it is called

with a
this morning
to give her
special birthday


of new
bar mop
for the

also loving :
that my 3 year old marched right into preschool today without crying one tear!
that the sun is out and it is finally warming up!
that i am trying a new recipe for dinner tomorrow night!
what are you loving today???

13 January 2010

afternoon tea

i received a small box of Tea Forte from a friend as a hostess gift. i am really just a basic tea bag kind of girl. i really know nothing about tea, and don't pretend too. i like to take 15 minutes in the afternoon, when the wee one (he's 3...not really 'wee' but always will be to me) is napping and ponder over a cup of herbal tea.
i can tell you, that after trying a couple of these teas, they have become my new favorite.

i am all about packaging and i think the packaging for this tea is adorable. (they even have a really cute heart shaped box for valentines day...check out their site by clicking on the button over on the left of my blog...i know, advertising...but i do LOVE this stuff, you will not be disappointed).
each tea is wrapped in a little box, and how cute is that little green leaf?! when you remove the box it is still beautiful...

the tea is inside this beautiful silk diffuser. and that cute little green leaf stays on too. i love that it sits in your mug and when you're ready to take it out you just lift it by the green leaf.
i find myself still enjoying my morning 4 shot espresso latte, but also really looking forward to the quiet of the afternoon having this lovely tea.

11 January 2010

dream a little dream

on a frequent visit to the library i found 'celebrating home'. it is a beautiful book, published in 2005, so some of you may have seen this book. upon turning the second page, there it was. a similar home to the home i dream of having some day. it is the river house at cannon falls and it is so beautiful!
i would love love love to live on a farm and this would be my house...

here is what she would look like in the winter...

it would be on some land that isn't too rural. close enough to the city so that, until i got used to the piece and quiet, i could still venture into town. and it would have a beautiful old barn on the property too. maybe something like this...

or how about this! oh my this makes my heart beat so fast...

i would even settle for this one...

the boys have requested a barn with a zip line, lots of hay bales to climb on and a small enclosed movie theatre. i said yes! (because we are just dreamin' here...)
and i would like just a few chickens. enough to get some fresh eggs daily.
and for mr. traybella a vineyard. because he loves wine and he's good at making wine, he just doesn't have the time anymore.

some of you are probably saying...don't dream it, do it! and oh how i would love too. but for now the boys are content living on a cul-de-sac smack in the middle of a good neighborhood. good schools, walk to stores, friends all around. and mr. traybella...well he isn't really one who likes to did in the dirt, so those grapes would probably never really get planted. but for me...i'm already there...in my dreams. i can see it, i can feel the fresh country air, oh heck i can even smell the dirty old chicken coop.
i won't give up on this dream, it's just on stand by for awhile.
photos credits:

08 January 2010

positive thoughts

in the depth
of winter,
i finally learned
that within me
there lay
an invincible
- albert calmus
another no school day due to the snow and cold. warm cocoa in hand, slippers on my feet, heat flowing out of the registers, children playing happily together in bare feet (they are always barefooted) reading the morning local paper. reading an article about the homeless and how they survive these cold nights...it made me stop and think...what am i complaining about?!
agenda for today includes: cleaning out the closets looking for unused sweaters, gloves and blankets for a donation to a local shelter.
snow day activity for the boys: reading about the homeless, and dividing our piggy banks up into save, spend and give.
because reality is...life is tough for some. i want my boys to know that there are people out there that will sleep in the cold, {ugh, how this breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes}and that we are so fortunate to have the lifestyle that we do.
what small thing are you doing today, to make a difference?

07 January 2010

four letter words

since i have had children i have been really good at not using four letter words. you know...the bad ones. there was a day that i used to talk like a sailor but not anymore. but every now and then one slips out.

the snow they called for yesterday really did come...right on time in fact. it really was quite beautiful but by late afternoon cabin fever was starting to set in. i thought a party was in order so i made a few phone calls to some neighbors. the requirement for my guest list was that they had to be able to walk over...i didn't want anyone out driving. and that's when the four letter words slipped out...
it's always a joy getting together with the neighbors and i love impromptu events. a good time was had by all, and at kiddo bedtime the moms adventured out to a movie theatre to see It's Complicated....cute movie if you haven't seen it.
another snow day today from school...and perhaps tomorrow as well. most of us in the U.S. are experiencing this cold & snowy weather. i wish i could have all of YOU readers over for an impromptu party!

06 January 2010

i'm outa here

there it was on the evening news...the school closings for today. kansas city was hit by a blizzard over the christmas holidays and apparently we're in for it again. it is not snowing yet...but they say it is coming.
i have on 3 sweaters this morning, leggins and jeans, socks and slippers and am still cold. i have turned the furnace up a notch and am afraid that if i continue to bake yummy things in the oven (just to have some extra heat) that i will not fit into my jeans anymore.
"i just shot 6 holes in my freezer, i think i have cabin fever...i've gotta go where it's warm!" (jimmy buffett says it best)
i have left this note for my husband:

dear mr. traybella,

i have taken the kids and headed for the airport... destination: tortola, BVI's. i know you are working hard (to provide heat for our house..) join us when you can. we'll be spending our afternoons here...

or maybe here if C can't keep from throwing the sand...

we'll have dinner here with this breathtaking view.... honey, your dinner is in the fridge..leftover shrimp pasta and i think there was one baguette left.

we'll be lounging in shorts and bare feet here as we play games and read books...

hope to see you soon, otherwise call me when the snow has melted and we'll think about coming home. ;)

05 January 2010

four french baguettes

i have a yearning to master the art of baking bread. my great grandma, my grandma and my husbands grandma are (or were) all great bread makers. the more i make, the better i get. these french baguettes, i made last night, turned out lovely if i do say so myself. there is no better smell that bread baking in the oven to warm up your insides. the heat from the oven warmed up our cold kitchen a bit.
we ate these every morning last summer when we were in paris. simple, yummy, and oh so paris (to me anyway). i sent mr. traybella off to work this morning with a meat and cheese baguette. hopefully when he eats it, he won't only remember having them in paris, but think it was baked with love and that he won't have to leave the office in 4 degrees and buy a lunch.

04 January 2010

down under

you might think from the title of this post that it would be about australia. oh how i wish! because i would bet that it is warmer in australia today than the 1 degree we have in kansas city currently. yes, one. they say the high today will be 10. but enough of the weather, let's get on with my photos shall we? i am finally posting photos of our basement remodel.

with the cold temps we have been hunkering down in the basement a lot. we love it down there. there are areas for all of us to enjoy, but mostly we end up at the game table playing a family game.

we do not have many windows in our basement, so natural light is at a minimum. because of that i kept the color (yes, white is a color!) light and it made a huge difference. the basement also resembles the same decor as the upstairs, making the transition feel like you are not in a basement at all. i plan to add some large b&w photos of the boys on that wall shelf. and for those that have been asking: my sectional is from ikea, and yes! i love it. ;)

big huge clock = big huge statement. i debated to put this clock up...it is huge and the ceilings are all of 7 feet and a few inches. but i am so glad that i did. it is a bit unexpected and i like that it is round because everything else seems so square or rectangle.

the boys (and me too!) love the art area. we create here all the time with paper, drawing, legos, playdough, etc. i love the small table that i found years ago at a garage sale.

this view shows the messy kid area in the background. home to a million thomas the train pieces. it also has a closet that holds other toys out of sight. and the game table that we use for family game night.

the bar in its final resting place. we had this made when we lived overseas and shipped it back with us. it had been pushed to the side of the unfinished basement and topped with all kind of things. my husband is thrilled to have it usable again and just in time...for football season.

i found three of these wood signs at a garage sale. they are actually ends from a whisky crate. i bought them with the intention of hanging them on a wall in the bar area. but i really wanted to not fill every wall and one day i thought of this. three bar stools + three wood signs = three pretty cool bar stools. i still need to recover the bar stool seats....i really should finish up that 2009 project list.

the WC. love how this area turned out. an old heavy pedestal sink i found on craigs list makes a big statement in the room. even the plumber said "you didn't get this at home depot". old, heavy and re glazed it was exactly what i wanted for this room.

and still another project ... getting the shower curtain made. we also have an office space downstairs and threw a murphy bed up on the wall. this bathroom will be a guest bathroom when we have guests.
thanks for visiting today, i hope you enjoyed the tour of our last big project for awhile. that money tree in the backyard needs to grow some more! ;)

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