29 December 2013

Epiphany House Blessing

After we remodeled our house, we wanted to have it blessed again.  The traditional time for blessing ones house is Epiphany, 5 January, during the Christmas Season.  Again this year we will bless our home, but here's a little tour from when we last had our house blessed.

Our family priest, Monsignor Purcell, came to do the blessing (although you can do it yourself too.)  Our whole family was present and I quite embarrassed them by having every room blessed, including the laundry, and the bathrooms.  One never knows.  I spend a lot of time in my laundry room!

We gathered together to give thanks for the blessing of our home.  Each room  This home where we play, pray and rest together.

Monsignor Purcell is a blessing to our family.  He is counselor, spiritual director, friend a priest of great inspiration.  We go to him for all our sacraments and, well, just about everything!

Here he is after blessing our house,  entering the date in our family Bible. We feel it is the last touch to make our home; our home sweet home.

 May we be worthy of our blessings, and not have to mop up to many messes.  I told you our priest does everything for us!

From our home to yours, this new year, may your loved ones be healthy, your life filled with true joy and your home be blessed.

If you'd like to do your own house blessing on Epiphany here's how.
Items needed:  chalk and a small bottle of holy water.  Gather with family members, friends, and perhaps some neighbors at the from door.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Tradition names the magi:
Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
With chalk, their initials sigh this doorway, along with four crosses of the seasons, and the numerals of the new year.
(20 + C + M + B + 14)

Let us pray:  Christus mansionem benedicat.
May Christ bless this house, Amen.

Each room is sprinkled with holy water.

Living room:
Bring us to live with you one day in heaven.
Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.

You prepare for us a rich feast.
Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.

Dining room:
Feed us at the heavenly banquet.
bless this room O Lord. Amen.

In your alone we rest securely.
Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.

You cleanse us from every impurity.
Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.

all return to the front door to pray together.

Our Father…

All are sprinkled with holy water.

Bless this household through all days to come, father, son, and Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

From our house to yours, It's still the Christmas Season.  Live life to the fullest!



10 December 2013

Hookin' Up In My Pajama's

Today I'm hooking up with Mama Kat's writing prompts over at "Mama's Losin It" I couldn't resist when I saw this prompt and remembered that I wrote an entire post on pajama's (cause that's just how industrious I am), a few years ago when I first started this blog.  I only included the very end stanza of the song, "I Put My Pajama's On" then.  It's by Livingston  Taylor, (younger brother of James Taylor).  But, here it is in its full glory, along with a link to the original post at the end.  Just double click and there you'll be! A great song, and then my post.  We all love our pajama's Mama Kat!  If you Google it you can hear the song too.

"I've Got My Pajama's On"  by Livingston Taylor

I've got my pajamas on
Before I go to bed I'm going to run around.
I'm standing on my head
And the world is upside down.

Me and Wilson, my teddy bear
We're going to do a lot of wiggling
Before we go upsairs
Watch out you lions you tigers you bears
I've got my pajamas on

Mommy said put 'em on
I said no
Daddy said let's go
I said all right
I'm clean, I'm warm, I'm out of sight
I've got my pajamas on

I'm in Daddy's lap, fading fast
Wilson, if you want to mess around
You'll have to do it alone
I love being little
And I'll love being grown
I've got my pajamas on.

Snuggle up tight, 'cause it's the pajama's time of year.



23 November 2013

Sittin' In A High Chair, Big Chair, My Chair

Recently,  you may remember that my eldest daughter had her seventh baby.  Rebecca Kathleen is a wee beauty who never makes a peep until she wants to eat (or can I say the word suckle here?)  And then she's a force to be reckoned with.  She is from a big family of kids, I like to call  a gaggle.  Is that a goose word?  Well, I'm always mistaking ducks for geese so…

Whilst we used to be  over- ridden with testosterone, with our four precious boys, the last three have been girls. We're catching up!  It only takes five to have a basketball team and eleven for a football team so we're there, and almost there.  My granddaughters are mighty and have lots of girly power though so they keep up with those boys just fine.   Their daddy is Athletic Director at their local high school but his favorite team is his very own, right at home!

I gave my daughter a baby shower for her seventh child because in this day and age, unfortunately, people don't get too excited about a woman about to bare her seventh child.  But I thought we should celebrate. Every child is a blessing and Rebecca needed an introduction into a family who chooses to welcome her with love!  We are a pro life family.  If you've read more than three of my posts you have already figured that out.  One of my favorite verses in The Bible is the following from Deuteronomy 30:19

This day I call heaven and earth as witness against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Issac and Jacob.

 Now, you're probably wondering how this post is going to turn into a DIY? But it's about to.  My daughter, really needed and wanted a new high chair.  So being my first born, her wish is my command.  Well, not always, but usually :)

 I bought a completely unfinished high chair with nice old fashioned lines.  I decided to use CeCe Caldwell's chalk paint because there is NO SANDING required.  No sanding is a favorite of mine!  I started out using Virginia Chestnut so that the chair would look like it was once very old and dark like they used to be when they were made from oak.

My sweet hubby got his saw-horse out for me so I wouldn't have to stand on my head to paint.  I'm waaay to old for that unless I'm doing yoga and I didn't want to get my mat all dirty on the garage floor.
Please don't try to picture that.

After getting the entire high chair all darkened up, I covered it with Vintage White.  Remember this is going to be a shabby, chippy, chair that looks like it's been around f o r e v e r.

How old does that look?  Pretty shabby so far, right?  With CeCe Caldwell's paint you
can sand (Gakkkk) or just rub off the extra paint for that shabby look.  Guess which route I took?

After I lathered up the whole chair with 1.Virginia Chestnut  2.Vintage White  3.Santa Fe Turquoise with a bit of Destin Green mixed in; I brushed good old Elmer's Glue on with a foam brush just until it felt tacky.  I only worked in small spaces at a time , such as the tray, then the seat, etc.  Over the top of the glue (you can use Mod Podge if you prefer but glue is cheaper and I already had some,) I again brushed on some Cottage White.  This made the chair crack and chip and exposed the colors underneath.   Miracle of miracles, I got just the look I wanted!  When all was said and done, I covered the entire chair with Endurance Finish.  It is also by CeCe Caldwell, an Eco Friendly,  Low VOC finish, just like the rest of her paint, you can feel good about putting it on a chair a baby will eat on.

Now, when she gains fifteen pounds of so, this wee lass will be a part of the gang.  She'll sit up at the supper table and throw food with the rest of her team mates.  

Every child deserves to be a welcome addition to life.  It just makes the world a better place.  Ya know?


16 November 2013

Cottage Inspiration - Have A Seat

Well, hello there!  I'm so glad you stopped by today.  I'm writing a post about my two most favorite pieces of furniture at Cottage By The Sea.  This is not a sponsored ad, but someone from "One King's Lane" read my blog, and asked if I would write a post to help introduce their new Home Decor Resource page.  So I said to myself,  "self, why not?"  This is as good a chance as any for me to have you over to see the "inspiration chairs" I bought for my cottage many years ago.  They're still going strong and I only wish that you really could come by and sit a spell with me here.

Please darling's, have a seat right here in my "inspiration chair."  When we moved to our cottage I allowed myself one special indulgence before we moved in.  I saw them at a little shop nearby that sells everything cottage.  By that I mean, if you have a little cottage by the sea, you can find furniture, candles, linens,  robes, jewelry, vintage inspired lighting and even beachy rugs, perfume and earrings there!

And so of course I bought two.  They are obviously period chairs (don't know which one, but please, if you do, let me know!)  I'm guessing.  I know they are called wing-back chairs.  As you can see, they are covered in a glorious, vintage, chintz pattern.  I don't know how old they are because they were just recovered when I bought them.  The chairs are not exactly the same, note the arms and legs.  One has wooden legs which show (on the right,) and on the other, the material goes all the way to the floor covering the legs. The comfort always comes first, but the material, the color, and the feelings of sunshine, beach, and shabby chic are what drew me in.  Everything I was looking for.

My inspiration chairs saw me through the first original four years of cottage living, and have kept me in good stead for the four years since we remodeled.  My pups are the two whom sit in them the most.  Our sofa's are white therefore, the poor things must suffer greatly, not allowed up on them.  Don't feel too sorry though, as they will wiggle their way onto your lap until you must move right onto those white sofas and out of "their" chairs if you dare to sit on one.

It's easy to see why these chairs were my inspiration.  They are not only comfy and cozy to lounge in, they are the color of sunshine and happiness.  I know this to be true because I look at them in my cottage every day, and can feel sunshine and happiness emanating from them.  It's amazing what an inspiration chair will do for you.  When I first saw them I just knew it.  Their home would have to be my cottage.

How about this...
 My sunshine chairs are very comfy for snuggling with a baby.

See what I mean about those pups crowding you out?  It's happening right here.  You have no choice but to scoot over, really.  They were their first; just ask them.

That's better.  We'll sit on our chair, you snuggle from the side.  In our cottage this position is known as, "the delicious side cuddle!"

Sometimes when you are want to move your warm furry body off the inspiration chair,  like this gal here, someone might just pile the clean laundry that needs folding right on top of you!  Oh, woe-is-me…

Nursing baby?  No problem as long as you share the space.  Although you can tell from this pup's face that he's not too happy about it.  He's long suffering.

And once, we even let Santa Himself sit on our lovely, chintz, cottage lounger.  I hope there isn't a puppy underneath there.  Yikes!

As a matter of fact, this guy has discovered his secret hiding place.  When too many people are in his space, or he wants a quiet get-away, he just goes under the flap and has his own hide-out.  Sometimes he lets just  his head stick out, so he doesn't miss anything.  It is pretty exciting around our cottage.  You don't want to miss a thing!

As you can see, and I hope you have, I made a great choice for myself.   If I do say so myself.  And I do. {smile} These chairs are a cottage lover's inspiration.  They inspire me every day and bring just that much more sunshine into my life.  I hope my fabric cleaning guy never retires, because I'm keeping these babies forever.  And the puppies too.

You can experience lots more chairs if you hop on over to One King's Lane.  Their new home decor resource page has treasures galore for every taste.  If you're lucky, you might even find a vintage covered chair that inspires you too.  Good luck, it's gonna be worth it even if just for the eye candy.

It was a glorious sunset tonight.  Thanks for stopping by.

11 November 2013

A Bloglift and A Great Big Thank You!

Hi Guys,

By now, you shoulda, woulda, coulda, seen that I have revamped my blog!  I've had it on the back burner for months.  I decided I needed to step up my game and get with all the new pretty gadgets, and pages, and pictures that you now have access to.  I'm darn well organized now.  It's been a huge learning curve for a girl of little brain, but I did it!  Of course, I had big, big, help.

After searching for a very long time, pursuing the blog of all you talented ladies, checking out all the new gadgets and seeing how much easier it now is to figure out everybody's back stories, I knew I too wanted to update my four year old design.  After almost 200 posts it was about time!

When I lamented publicly, and for long enough, I was offered free help by some very dear bloggers who just wanted to help.  Thank you guys.  The blogging community is the bomb!  I just felt I couldn't take advantage, so I also went to many web creators and checked out all their wares and prices.  It came down to the fact that although someone else could do the overall design, I, yes I, would have to get off my back side and dig into my 77,000 pictures and old posts and learn how to turn everything upside down to get er done.  And I was too lazy for that.

Then finally, I could take it no more.  I love writing and sharing my photos, and I love chronicling the shenanigans of my family.  Who knows, some day one of them might care to share the uplifting side of their lives with their successors.  That or they will press the -delete- button. There's not a sentimental sap among them.  (They didn't get that from their mother!)

I really, truly, wanted someone local who could come over and hold my hand while I asked ten million questions during our sessions.  I wanted someone who would remove my thumb from my mouth and uncurl me out of the fetal position I in veritably find myself, when trying to maneuver a new curve on my computer.  (Is this sounding familiar to any of you?)  But alas, I believe that God didn't want to do that to anyone.  He didn't want to put anyone through me and my shenanigans.  So, He led me to someone way inland, someone so far away that she could run and hide if I got to be too much of a pain in the $%&***.  But, she never did.  She was always there for me.

Her name is Kelsey and she's BRILLIANT!  She walked me slowly, patiently, through the whole process, answered ten million questions, re-did things that I wanted changed at the last minute, and all without either one of us shedding a tear.  Well, I didn't shed a tear and I don't think she did.  She is clear across the country of course.  You're welcome Kelsey.  God must really love you!

Her blog is called KREATED BY KELSEY.  Please go see it, she has so much to see I couldn't possibly do it justice.  Give yourself the pleasure and eye candy of seeing it yourself.  Not only is she brilliant in design, she is prompt, affordable, always available, and did I mention patient?  She did it all in a matter of days too.  She makes miracles happen.  I find things every time I log on that I didn't know were there and I didn't know were even possible.  Although I thought they should have been!  But they are, and you too can have them.  How about alphabetizing your labels so you can easily find all your past posts?  Who knew!  I didn't even ask for it, it was just a serendipitous find.  Sometimes I just sit down with a cuppa and stare at my new design.  I marvel at its beauty.  And I can brag all I want, cause I had nothing to do with it.  It was all Kelsey.

Kelsey never yelled at me once and we did it all over email.  If you've been thinking of a remodel for your blog, or just want a new button or gadget, do yourself a favor and pop on over to Kelsey's.  You'll be glad you did.  I am!  I still have a lot of my own work to do, filling in all the pages with pictures, etc.  But I'm well on my way and I feel great about it.  So - Cottage By The Sea, is like a whole new gal now.  I hope you like her and will come visit us often.  We'd love to have you and as always, I'll come visit you back.  Aren't you just in love with this blog community we have?  I feel so lucky to have such devoted and dear people to chat with, share the good and the bad with, and a few prayers back and forth never hurt either.  Now go see Kelsey's site, it's a wonder.  Thank you, gracias, danke, Kelsey.  I love you more than all the frustration this blog has given me since day one!  Now y'all GO! GO SEE KELSEY!

And just because I never write a post without a photo or two, here they are.  But then you have to promise me you'll go see

Because it's veteran's day, "Happy Veteran's Day", my son Dylan, currently serving in the military.
Thanks for your service sonny boy.

"If there is trouble, let it be in my day, that my children will live in peace."
Memorium - Oil
                     Collection of the artist  7.11

We love our blessings!

Turning Blue and Graduation


An American Soldier

My son Dylan

When I grew up, I thought I wanted to be a soldier.  I was about eighteen, throwing around the idea of college, when suddenly I saw a sign. " Join the Army", "Be All You Can Be", "See The World".  And those were just a few of the catchy slogans they were throwing around to entice a generation where the draft was no longer in place.

I actually saw a recruiter and he told me that we would be the perfect fit.  I thought, well, you're cute enough but I already have a boyfriend  yeah, the army could make me into all that I can be and I could get my education right there as well.  Besides, they already thought we'd be a perfect fit.   Good idea!

My new friend in uniform, (I've always been a succor) told me that I could choose from any occupation I wanted in the Army.  I went down the very long list and chose, Photography.  I could be a foreign corespondent, or a photographer and put my love for writing AND photography both into play.  I practically had my future tied up with a big red bow, and I was a happy camper, feeling very proud of myself, when it happened.

I revealed my exciting new plans to my boyfriend, who was in South Africa serving his time in their Army for the next two years.  (Another story entirely.)  He quickly burst my bubble by telling me that the Army and I would not be good for each other.  I was not good at taking orders. (Me?)  I was not good at sharing a bathroom, having people too close in my space, getting up early, having my food touch, being yelled at  or not getting my way.  I was too peace loving and a semi-quasi-boho-hippie to boot.  Well, you're just being rude looking at the negatives, I said.  They told me I could travel the world and study photography!  Plus I'll get to go to boot camp and that's like three months free at the gym!  "The Army will own you", said he bluntly from personal experience.  Believe me, you would die trying.  Well, needless to say, he had some good points and after throwing around the idea a few more times, I seceded that the Army was not the place for me and went on to accomplish other things in a civilian world.  To this day though,  every time I pay to work out at the gym I think fondly back on my memories of getting it for free.

Last week had us traveling from Southern California to  Columbus, Georgia, for an event that had me in tears from beginning to end. This momma literally cried for 4 days.  Why?  Because my son officially became an American Soldier, and I"m a huge sap.  Like, a Hallmark sap!  Dylan has spent the past 4 months in Boot Camp, being drilled, grilled, smoked, worked, broken and built up again.  He learned unwavering discipline, impulse control and unbending comradiere for his brothers in Arms.  He crawled through mud, learned to shoot weapons and threw grenades (on his birthday!)  He ate MRE's (meals ready to eat), not your momma's cooking.  He has accomplished CPR and First Aid; how to react to conbat, how to use a map and if I tell you anything else, I'll have to kill ya.
He is... An American Soldier.

Some of you may remember this post, Be All You Can Be, about Dylan, from back before he left for Boot Camp.  Dylan isn't just any kid.  Because of his circumstances,  he's had to work twice as hard at all he has accomplished to turn into the man he is today.  It has been an uphill battle.  All of us have braved trials in life, and the trial of this kid, of MY kid,  was the biggest trial of my life.  Our trial has literally been a Heart Cry.  And the best thing that God ever did for me.  Except maybe turn my head all those years ago when I though wanted to be in the Army.

After months of his being away, we first saw our soldier as he marched up the hill at FT Benning.  I was on the edge of my seat but knew it would not be cool appropriate to run over the parade grounds and through the woods to catch him in a huge momma bear hug.  Hey!  Maybe while he was gone I learned some impulse control too.  Not.

The Soldier's Creed
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team.  I serve the people of the United States
and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient
in my warrior tasks and drills.  I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies
of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

I was a child of the 60's.  Peace, Love and Swell Things.  My family wasn't military.  I had no ever- loving idea how important the military was in keeping me and my country safe.  Regardless of all the politics and different views on war,  I now know how important our military is.  And as proud as I feel that my son is now one of them, I am scared to death of the implications.  Not my son. Isn't that the war cry of every parent of a Soldier?   We are now, and have always been a nation whom everyone looks to, to police the world.  We are the strongest, bravest, most free country because of our military men and women.  I found out that I had, and still have, a lot to learn.  But, that free gym part was true.  They do get you in the best shape of your life!

"I want to go mom.  I want to go fight for the country that's been so good to me." And you know what?  The Army suits him.  He thrives on discipline and regiment and order.  He's good at being part of a team.  He could care less if people yell at him.  He survived his teen years with me, didn't he?

I received the honor of pinning my son's blue Infantry cord onto his new dress blues.  This is called,"The Turning Blue Ceremony".  They say that God loved the Infantry so much, he made the sky blue and that is why the infantry cord these men earn is blue.

The second day was the graduation ceremony.  It consisted of squad demonstrations, trooping of the line, speakers explaining what our sons have been doing, etc.  They had me at The Star Spangled Banner, and then went on to sing others.

From Concord Bridge to An The appenedhe Ridge,
Through swaps and mountains and sand,
They fight and die where brave men lie,
Against all tyrants they stand.

These men are strong and the land they love,
They fought hard through history.
Because of them in years to come,
All children will be free.

You can hear it in the heat of the jungle,
You can hear it across the sea.
It calls to every freedom loving man,
The cry of the U.S. INFANTRY!
Follow Me, Follow Me, Follow Me.
"The Infantry Song"

Now he's a soldier.  It could have gone any way.  One never knows when you hold your baby in your arms what will become of him.  My heart is in a whirl.   We've come such a very long way, to this very proud day.  He did what I couldn't.  He made it through boot camp and is on his way in a country that is now constantly at war.  He's an American Soldier, and I'm sure glad he's on our side.

Sadly, we hold  them for only a short time.  As my son said,  "Mom, it's time, it just feels right."  In less than 7 days he leaves us for the hard earned duty of Airborne School in yet again, another state.   For the next couple of months he will be learning to jump out of airplanes and helicopters into enemy territory.  He will then be deployed.  I know he will be brave, he will be true.  You will always know that he is out there with thousands of others, whom are ready to protect you and me.

Please pray for our troops, And


09 November 2013

Sweet Goodnight

From my cottage to yours, from me to you, sweet goodnight.

17 October 2013

Fake Fall

Well friends, we are now well into autumn here in Southern California.  I am a native of this region,  however I did live in the North West for a brief period.  So I can say with some authority that I have seen a "real" autumn thus living here in So Cal, I must now refer to our autumn as, "fake fall".  No degradation intended.  I happen to be a big fan.

Although we live in a semi-arid climate, around here, we like to artificially change our seasons.  It is easy really.  A trip to the local craft store and a bit of scavenging and voila!  Colorful dried leaves, soft candle light, pumpkins (adorned with a smidgen of raffia) go a long way to create that mid season weather we crave.  If I open all my windows, I can even light my gas fire and the ambience is enhanced.  One can almost imagine living on the East Coast with the flames licking the fire screen and (sorta) brisk air wafting in on the breeze.

 I always decorate with a new Fall wreath.  Of course the starfish and shells must stay, just so I don't look too fake, recreating fall in a Southern California beach town.

During the summer time, the hooks on the right contain a beach bag, a sun hat and a light, airy, summer scarf.  (For those cold evenings when it gets below 70 degrees.)

When I decorate for fake fall, I exchange all of those summer trinkets with what I imagine to be fall accessories.  A warm fall-toned scarf or two.  An umbrella of course.  Even though with 146 days of full sunshine, we do have 117 that are partly cloudy.  Now you see why I try to spend at least a month in Ireland per year.  A girl has to watch out for the moisture in her skin, and a little rainy good luck is always in order.  Fake fall leaves fully adorned with glue gunned acorns, adds an autumn touch to the  driftwood mirror.  I think the driftwood mirror has a bit of an earthy fall feeling anyway.  Yeah?

I change all my annual flowers to yellows and oranges.  (These are actually real.)  A few reds are tucked in so that when I decorate for fake winter they actually fade smoothly into the Christmas season.  Notice my three tiered pumpkins.  Again, the craft store - but I decorated them myself by inserting a pole through the three, wrapping burlap around the base and stringing fake fall leaves around the whole thing.  I think fall is in the air!

You may notice that the dutch door is open a tad.  It's just too dam hot inside to keep it closed.

 I welcome you to fake fall in California where the Santa Ana's (easterly winds) are the most fall we ever feel because even thought they aren't crimson and yellow, we get a lot of leaves on the ground.  We get less than 12 inches of rain here per year, but rain doesn't always mean fall, right?

 You can always tell it's fall around our house because all the soaps change to Sweet Pumpkin. "Bath and Body Works" does a booming fall business in So Cal.

Of course I light Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin candles for that just came in from a long, brisk, walk through the fields with the hunting dogs effect.  I'm telling you, I LOVE fall!

 Of course nothing says fall like Halloween!  You may notice that our stash is getting a little low already.  Why are you looking at me?

These are for the trick-or-treaters.  We don't get many, because we're about the only ones who decorate and turn on the lights in our neighborhood.  Some of our neighbors come over for chili and they bring all their candy too.  Then when all those cute little ones come a knocking in their Ninja Turtle, Justin Bieber, witch costumes, we share the loot and each kid gets a whole handful of baby packages containing their favorite (or is that my favorite) candy?  And we don't get our cottage egged for turning off the lights!

So - to sum it all up.  If you want real fall.  Don't come live in So Cal.  Especially at the beach.  Today, it's 78 degrees and sunny.  And that's h o t.  We don't usually get above 72 degrees in December more-less October.

Well, it's a nice day for a swim in the sea.  Not even wet suit weather yet.  I'll see ya all later when I come back to fake fall this afternoon, open my windows and turn my gas fireplace on.

No matter where you live, I hope you have a beautiful day!