Restful Moments

The artist, Vladimir Volegov, has a beautiful idea of the meaning of rest, as you can see in these paintings. When I look at them, I immediately feel at ease as I admire the peaceful scenes he has created!

"Restful Afternoon"
"Sun Drenched Garden"
unable to find painting title
"In Poppies"
"Sailing Vessels"
"Sunny Breakfast"

Born in Chabarovsk, Russia, Vladimir began painting at the age of three and his talent would be noted repeatedly throughout his adolescence. After having attended the art school, “Krivoj Rog” and having served in the army, Vladimir was admitted to the Lvov Polygraphic Institute in the former Soviet Union. Beginning in 1984 Vladimir began participating in, and winning, International Competitions for poster art. Vladimir moved to Moscow in 1988 and before long, Vladimir’s career in commercial art was in full swing. Notable Russian publishing houses sought his talents to design posters and CD and cassette covers for musical groups. While working with the publishing houses he continued to work on his paintings and participate in exhibitions.
In 1990 Vladimir began traveling to Europe where he earned money by painting portraits on the streets of Barcelona, Berlin, Vienna and other European cities. It is with this experience he further honed his skills in depicting the human form. Over the past fourteen years, his art has evolved into the striking figurative work he creates today. Vladimir’s vibrant color palette and bold strokes coalesce to create evocative images that possess a timeless sensibility.

Persistent Prayer

Refrigerator Cleaning Duty

I honestly dislike leftovers. They rarely get eaten as intended, and they clutter up the fridge. Especially when several people are rifling through them every day and I hear something similar to, "What do we have in here that's good to eat?" I end up with a refrigerator that looks like this:

 I've gotten to the point of putting leftovers into ziplock baggies (except things with liquid, of course!) so that if they start hanging around too long, I can throw out the whole kit and kaboodle. Mostly I try to be very conscientious of just how much I make of something to avoid leftovers, but sometimes dealing with them just can't be helped. I figure if they're at least in baggies, I don't have to deal with washing out plastic containers, which is one of the other things that I really dislike! (After all, what's the point of wasting water to wash out the containers from food that was saved, but didn't get eaten, and that got wasted, too??!) So I go back to my original thought - MAKING ONLY WHAT I THINK MY FAMILY WILL EAT!

Here's my clean, now practically empty fridge:

Ahhhh.....much better!

Now it's time for me to do some sensible shopping!

~ ♥ ~

What's your trick in dealing with leftovers?

Sweet And Simple Things

Decluttering 101

What to know before you start

  1. Like most big projects, your decluttering project will look worse before it gets better. You’re going to have to pull out everything to do this job right, including things you’ve got stored in dusty corners and crammed into boxes out of sight of visitors – the stuff that secretly bothers you because it’s a mess, but that you’ve pushed aside to one corner of your mind and try to forget about.
  2. You’re going to have to relinquish your hold on material things – if you knew a fire was going to burn down your house, you had better be able to fit anything you would be devastated to lose in one cardboard box (photographs, collectibles, anything else that is unique and irreplaceable).
  3. Similarly, realize that your memories, of good times and bad, aren’t stored in objects, they’re stored in your heart and your soul. Stop forming connections with inanimate objects, and get ready to give away things you haven’t used in over a year to charity. There is someone out there who needs your stuff more than you do.


What you need to start decluttering

1. You need boxes or bags to hold everything  
     you’re going to get rid of.
  • One set for items to donate.
  • One set for things to put away
  • One for items to sell (optional).

 2. You also need lots of trash bags. You’d be surprised at how many useless papers and true junk   
     you'll find when you’re cleaning.

3. Not everyone will want to do it this way, but we like to clean out areas at the same time as we 
    declutter them, so we usually have plastic, wood, and glass cleaner and paper towels with us when 
    we’re on the purging rampage, so we can return the items we decide to keep back into a neat, 
    dust-free area.

Decluttering, step-by-step

  1. Pick a room to work on first (we suggest the worst one first, to get it over with).
  2. Open every drawer, cabinet and other containers one by one, moving in a circle from one area to the next, not skipping any places.
  3. For every item, ask yourself these questions:
    • Have I used this item within the past year?
    • If someone took this out of my home, would I pay to replace it?
    • Does this make me happy or serve a useful purpose?
  4. Make a quick decision! Don’t linger, you’ve got a lot of stuff to get through – and remember that the more useless stuff you get rid of, the happier and freer you will feel when you wake up tomorrow morning.
  5. Place each item in the appropriate box/garbage bag.
  6. Once the contents of the entire section have been emptied, vacuum and wipe down the area where they were being stored.
  7. When you are finished with one room, take out all the trash, and put your donate boxes in the car to give to charity and return all items in the “put away” box to their proper places in your home.
  8. When you are ready, begin the next room.

General decluttering tips

  • Work on one room at a time, and don’t start on the next area until you have completely decluttered the current one. This will keep messes under control.
  • Make the purging a fun experience. Do it with your significant other, as long as they are supportive of your mission, or listen to music or an audio book while you’re cleaning and purging.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed; give yourself permission to take breaks. Only pull out as much as you can handle during the time you have to work on this project. You didn’t get a cluttered house in just a few days, and it’s okay not to have it completely decluttered in a few days, either.

If You're Looking For Me

Oh my goodness, you'll find me HERE! What a fabulous outdoor seating area that shouts "relaxation!"

"Pick A Stick" Fun Activities

One mom has a great idea with these colored activity popsicle sticks. She puts them in a jar, and when the kids are bored, they reach into the jar and pull out an activity stick for everyone to do together. You could easily modify the activities according to the ages of your own children, and places to go that are in your own area. I love seeing creativity like this that promotes family time!

Pool Noodles And Balloons

I've never met a child that doesn't like pool noodles or balloons. What a great summer fun idea if you ever find yourself with a group of children needing something to do!

A Goldfinch And Its Young

Although I've had many Goldfinches to my feeder over the years, I have never had the opportunity to see one that I could recognize as a youngster. I think that would be so neat to catch a glimpse of one someday!
 And a young Cardinal, too!

Children's Reading Nook

Nothing could be more inviting than this adorable reading nook to encourage your young ones to read a book or two!

No Matter What Your Age

 You can always find something fun or interesting to do!

Something Fun To Plan

Not only is it FUN, but very cost effective considering just how expensive movie theater tickets are these days!!
 The local library is a great place to start for movies!

  ~ ♥ ~

What fun family events have you had success with?

Homemade Fruit Snack

Homemade Fruit Snack


2/3 cup fresh lemon juice or fresh orange juice (if you don’t like sour go with orange!)
2/3 cup frozen or fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries are all great.)
1 – 2 Tbs honey
5 Tbs gelatin

1. Pour juice and berries into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until berries become tender and begin to soften.
2. Add honey and stir until completely incorporated. You will want the fruit to dissolve quite a bit until you have a compote.
3. Puree mixture using a immersion blender or small blender (my magic bullet works great for this!)
4. Let sit, off heat, for 5 – 10 minutes.
5. Whisk in gelatin, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk vigorously until completely incorporated, mixing the gelatin in very gradually to avoid lumps. (If you do get lumps, just run the mixture through your blender again or you can put it back on the heat to help dissolve the gelatin.)
6. Pour into a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 glass dish. Refrigerate until set (30 minutes to an hour). Cut in small squares. 

Recipe Credit

Simple Relaxation

 Not much is needed to kick back and relax!

Three Words About Life


Stop, Smile, Breathe

Sometimes it's important to make ourselves stop and recognize all the good around us that makes our lives so special and beautiful......

Life's Story


An Afternoon At The Beach

 Where is there a better place to kick back and relax, and take in plenty of fresh air and sunshine but at the beach? My family and I had such a lovely time here!

There was lots of room on the HOT white sand for everyone!

Can you imagine owning this cottage right on the beachfront?

And what better to do than build a sand castle?

The waves coming up onto the shore were so peaceful to hear!

My Daughter, The Graduate

Congratulations on a job well done, Miss Rebecca. We're SO PROUD of you!

Graduation Dress

Here is the dress my daughter, Becca, and I chose for her graduation day. It looked so classy on her with an A-line skirt on the bottom half. At the middle it had a black band that made a nice, slimmed in look at the waist. We got it, and the pearls, for just $12 at the thrift shop!!

Well, I guess this is the only view of the dress you're going to see on her because apparently not one full length shot from the front was taken. Sigh....there was just so much going on!

A Backward View

The view behind Dean as he was driving home from a job. He's just been sharing some of his cellphone photos with me of when he's out traveling. ☺

A Day Of Picture Texting

Well, with so much going on, I haven't had much computer time at all. But here's some pictures that I've taken and received on the cellphone that gives you a little glimpse of what's been going on today!

While at Walmart, I spotted these great popsicle makers. I remember my mother making these frequently when I was a child. For my own kids, I loved to add fruit in with juice, bananas in with vanilla yogurt, or even just chocolate pudding to make my own version of a fudgesicle.

Dean sent me this picture while out with Becca doing driving lessons in a nearby town. I love how he always lets me know cares and that he's thinking about me!

 Becca sent me this one while on her driving excursion with Dean. They pulled off along the road to enjoy this little carnival for just a bit. She loves to go on the rides and try to win some prizes!

Wearing Aprons

My husband remembers his mother wearing a dress and an apron nearly every day of his childhood. While many women might find that aprons leave them feeling "suppressed" and dowdy, I think they add a little extra beauty and flair to an already nicely dressed woman.

Recent news and press coverage suggest that there may even be a comeback in aprons as a "new" fashion statement, and for re-awakening the memories connecting us to the women who nurtured and nourished us.

If you care to take a walk down memory lane, enter "vintage apron patterns" in a Google search and take a look at all that's there!

Cleaning And Keeping House 50's Style

We've come so far from this.....
.....but has our progress been one of success? Many cannot deny that these days were happier, 
less stressful days where homes and families were at their best.

Vacation Packing List For Kids

For this and other great kids printables, go to

Swedish Summer House

This sounds like a lovely tradition. I suppose it's very similar to those in the U.S. who have summer cottages and beach houses....I think many people would be much less stressed and so much more content if they spent time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life once in a while!
By: Rob Hincks, freelance journalist
Midsummer in Sweden signals the start of an annual migration as tens of thousands of Swedes abandon towns and cities and head to their summer houses for rest, relaxation and, in some cases, work. 
Swedes have long been big on leisure time and small on the rigors of city life. Moving to the summer house is a ritual deeply engrained in the Swedish psyche. Before there was cheap and accessible international travel, many Swedes took advantage of something else cheap and plentiful: land.
All across this spacious nation, people built simple dwellings, often by the water, to retire to in the warm summer months; an idyll that for many still shapes their image of Sweden: red-painted cottages in an endless pastoral landscape broken only by a liberal scattering of beautiful blondes with flowers in their hair.

Traditions die hard in Sweden, and there are plenty of Swedes who still harbor that image. Despite the increasing number of foreign holidays sold in Sweden, 20 percent of the population still own a summer house. Many more have access to one through family or friends.

So what is it about the Swedish summer house that generation after generation still finds difficult to resist? 

The simple life Swedish-style.

Anna and PG Wiklund, a teacher and doctor living in Umeå in the north of Sweden, have their own reasons for coming back, year after year, to their summer house in the Hälsingland region of Sweden.
“It helps you to escape the daily obligations you have back home,” says Anna, whose grandfather bought the lakeside plot of land in 1942 and built the house that she and PG still use today. “And because you spend such a long time here, you feel that you live here. If you travel abroad for two weeks, there are so many things to experience and do; it’s not necessarily that relaxing. Most people have some sort of relationship to their summer house environment, through grandparents or through their childhood, so they can completely relax there.”

Summer Cottage

Often they're small and simple like this one, but, oh, the wonderful memories and fun times they give us!

Window And Picture Frames In One

This is a great idea using an old window as a frame for some of your favorite laminated pictures.

Sunflowers By A Barn


A "Country" Hutch

Love everything about this.....the colors, decorations and style of the hutch.

Sense And Sensibility

I really enjoy the 1995 version of this movie, and those who were chosen to fulfill the character's roles.

Barton Cottage

Barton Cottage Living Room

Marianne, Elinor and Brandon inside cottage

Elinor and Edward

Marianne and Brandon

It was so good, in fact, that I may just watch it again before I have to return it to the library. It's so nice to watch a movie that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy at the end. Lol! (Yes, it's exclusively what many would call a "chick flick"!)