Parade Of Homes

August 16, 2017 at 8:15 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

One of my favorite shows are fixer uppers; I love watching an outdated home being transformed into a buyers dream home. Watching an episode of behind the scenes, we find the potential buyer narrowing down three contending homes for the makeover. I think the final reveal would leave me anxious as much as the home owner. Leaving the finishing touches to a stranger,even though the Host may know a few of my style choices, you have to act like you love the end result-granted most of the homes are gorgeous. I have seen after shows where most of the home left alone,with a few of the home owners touches mixed in.

My friend and I attended the annual Parade of Homes this year. I must say the growing trend is going combining styles of homes. We are used to seeing Cottages  and ranch style homes surrounding trees and hiking trails. over the last few years, new businesses and  builders were mixing in Modern designs.I can say I don’t necessarily like Modern home designs, but I think potential buyers were looking to broaden their choice in design.  I really think the Builders are watching the same TV shows as the rest of us to get an idea what buyers are looking for. So many fight over a style of house, makes the house hunting stressful.  My small town isn’t so small in feel anymore. Everywhere you drive, a new housing development is being built.

When my family moved here thirty three years ago, I was struck not only with the beauty surrounding me, but how friendly folks were. Everyone knew everyone, and always leaned a helping hand. My dad was disabled, neighbors really took good care of my parents.Wine time was at three o’clock in the afternoon. Some of the neighbors made wine with my dad. (You have to sample your product everyday I would hear). It was nice to have family and close friends around. My family lived out-of-town on a ranch. I did not have close friends to speak of. I cannot believe how much this town has grown over the last thirty plus years. We may have grown,but we have not lost our values. we still make new folks feel welcome-until the first snow, most move away.

I look forward to retiring here some day soon. I love my little ranch style home my husband and I bought together. Both my husband and son are passed away now,but I still have so many memories I cherish of when we were a young couple with backyard BBQ’s, our very own dirt road for bikes, the bay down the street for swimming, fishing,have a late summer dinner, oh and did I say the most important part of any neighborhood? Well, it is good neighbors you know you can count on for help, friendships, comfort, and a meal together. This is what makes my small town living special.

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The Uncooperative Yard

August 3, 2017 at 12:05 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Life beyond parenting, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

A friend of mine and I were talking the other evening about what we still want to accomplish before the ed of summer. first on my list would be to get a friend to help me put some finishing touches on my back yard. I would like to have company,but my yard looks like a bomb went off in it. No matter how much I water, weed and feed (the weeds, not the lawn) it is still bone dry. My next door neighbor owns a lawn care service; We look at each other in passing and just hope the heat will decrease to 85 degrees instead of 95 degrees plus. So, I keep my hydrangea well watered and water the brown lawn three times per week.

While in my back yard this afternoon, I was sitting on my rocking chair thinking about my could be a beautiful yard. I had vision and hope: In the corner of the yard are two pine trees that have seen better days. I have my bird bath sitting there with no birds bathing. I was thinking about cutting down the pine trees and putting down a layer of rock. The bird bath would look better placed in the middle with pots all around it. in the other empty corner, I was thinking about putting a bench in the rock and put a shepherds hook beside it for a humming-bird feeder. On the fence, I want to put up planters for colorful flowers. At least when I go sit on my patio, I can look at something pretty and invite friends over for a party.

I can truly say, I am not a fan of summer sizzle. When my family first moved to my small town, the summer temperature was ony 85 degrees in august, now we get into the triple digits. The older I get, I melt. I  could go to the beach and fight the crowds, hope to get a shady spot, I am too old to run through my sprinkler except for when I forget to look where the lawn is being watered and get soaked. (usually right when you are running out the door to an appointment, and  you look like a drowned rat). I do enjoy when the sun is setting,the air cools down and you can hear the crickets chirping, the last of the kids have gone inside, and you are left with your cold coffee to enjoy in peace.

I took my first ride on a Harley Davidson motorcycle a few weeks ago. My son Levi had a best friend who has really been there for me after my son died ten years ago. We had breakfast at the Snake Pit, then Mike showed me where his family goes camping and floats down the lazy river. It is a beautiful area, in the middle of the national forest. My best friend and I took  a drive to one of our favorite small towns. It is nestled along side the lake with small unique shops and old car shows every weekend. I still need to make time to see a couple of plays or a concert in the park. I still enjoy what is happening at my local Library and visiting my friend the cat lady. She lives in a beautiful Victorian home on a tree- lined street. My yard would be incredible like hers, except I do not share her green thumb. I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardner with help from my friends.

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A Tourist In My Town

July 26, 2017 at 2:32 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

 

I started my stay cation Sunday.  My sons best friend (Mike) picked me up after work and took me on my first ride on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. It was an interesting adventure. You feel like the wind is either going to snap your head off or crazy glue in place forever. I survived the first leg of the trip.  What  a beautiful ride through the national forest, seeing the Lake beside you,watching the water skiers, and the paddle boats enjoying the beautiful summer morning. We had breakfast the world-famous Snake Pit restaurant famous because it’s humble beginnings were as a bordello. Tours are given if you dare. After breakfast, Mike and I continued out tour of the area. The mountains are breath-taking, as you follow the river along the road. It was fun to see the people floating down the river enjoying the warm sunny day. I was afraid the camp ground would be so crowded, but a few campers had a spot on the lake. It is the best kept secrete of North Idaho.

Yesterday a good friend and I decided to be a tourist in Sandpoint. What a quaint small town surrounded by a huge lake. In the 1940’s the Military used to test submarines. No one really knows how deep the lake is. It was fun to be a tourist; We had a nice lunch,followed by shopping in the beautiful down town. Every restaurant has outside dining looking out over the picturesque Lake. I always thought of moving to sandpoint on I retired, I love the charm of the small town.  I thought it over and decided I like livingin my hometown,in my house friends and family helped me to refresh with a good coat of paint, new roof, nice landscapping. and the lake one block away. Everyone knows each other and looks out for one another. I have great neighbors I can count on,  I am near concerts in the park, farmer’s markets, every small town has to have a great Library, boat cruises, or just enjoying a cup of cold coffee in my own backyard.

It is nice to have a few days off where you can just relax, stay in your night gown a little longer, can move at a slower pace, meet a friend at Starbuck’s for a coffee and a good conversation. Soon the Summer will make way for cooler mornings, shorter nights, layers, changing leaves, apple cider. I have a few more weeks of heat(I wilt if the temerature reaches over 75 degrees.) I can always swim in the neighbors pool or go down to the local beach and cool off. I look forward to the local Garden Tour. I am amazed at some of the unique gardens with truckbeds filled with flowers rusting sitting beside the tree. one Actor showed his home overlooking the lake and his secret garden. A cuple years ago, my friend and I toured a older  home where the Alpacas were part of the tour. I kook forward to visiting the mnay wonderful Historic homes as well as the small quaint ones in the middle of town. I get some great ideas I can try in my own yard( I would not call my yard a garden, I need a serious yard doctor to help). Even though I do not have a green thumb, I enjoy hearing the crickets at night, the bids setting in the trees chirping, and the quiet neighborhood after he kids have gone to bed.

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Remebering Levi

July 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , , )

 

I will never forget the day my son bought his truck; He took his grandma for a ride, then came back to take his mom for a ride( Grandma was chauffeured around for a couple of months).  Levi was tickled pink that he could afford such a nice vehicle. My son laid carpet and installed granite counter tops so his boss was just as thrilled now there were two trucks to haul daily materials. Levi tired of his truck and bought him his dream car-a Mitsubishi Eclipse. He was proud of his nice new car. He laughed that the color was dark green, his favorite color. His boss frowned because he lost his second truck for materials.

One sunny Sunday morning, Levi and his friends set out to float the river. I remember this particular day was the hottest day of the summer. At eight p.m. I received the call no parent wants-my son was involved in a tragic car accident. I went numb, I could not think of my life without the most important part of my life. My son was placed on life support. After five days and countless prayers later,our lives were forever changed. I often end my posts with the “hug your kids extra tight, tell them how much you love them, and how proud you are of them.” We are not promised tomorrow, only today. Make the most of your day, take the time to have your back yard cook-out,plan your day trip with family and friends.enjoy the beauty of each new day.

Each new day I am given, I am blessed by the love and support of family and friends. I have the best neighbors, live in a great small town where everyone knows each other, when my house needed refreshed, a good friend came over and painted,  another friend helped me turn my house into a beautiful home with Victorian charm. I had to realize even though my life was forever changed with loosing my husband and son, I need to keep moving forward. I turned my sons old bedroom into my dressing room. I love getting dressed in the morning and put on my pajamas at night. I have so many fond memories of the fine young man Levi had become.

Every year, I write a story about my son’s life for hope for other parents going through a similar circumstance. Our lives changed in a way we could not see coming. Every morning you wake up,listen to the birds singing a new song, enjoy the sunshine on your face and  keep moving forward. i am healing more everyday, and I writing helps keep my sons memory alive. thank you all for your support and kind comments. This really helps keep me motivated to keep writing.

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Black Bay

July 12, 2017 at 9:46 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

 

Last night, after the heat cooled off, I set out for my  walk.  I love the fact Black bay is down the hill from my house with walking trails, kids go fishing and swinging from the rope swing into the Bay, canoes paddling slowly along the shore taking in the scenery,  a few boats went by with kids being pulled in inner tubes or skiers. I saw a group having a late dinner with family just over the quaint small bride. As I continued on my walk, I spotted a duck family. They were quacking near a couple of ladies lounging in chairs enjoying the evening talking, watching the boaters go by. I have never seen ducks be so friendly coming up for food, usually they stay in the water  near the side of the cove. The small ducklings were so cute quacking, looking for mosquitos . Walking around the corner, I heard birds singing in the trees,butterflies fluttering around, squirrels were chasing each other. The Bay is surrounded by hills and trails. You have a small taste of nature one block away. 

I have lived in my neighborhood for thirty years now. I love my neighborhood with young families sprinkled in with some empty nesters. It is nice to hear kids playing outside again. It was not that long ago that my son was making jump ramps for his bike at the end of the street or pitch a tent in the backyard and camp with a few friends. We made BBQ hot dogs and cold drinks for roughing it. It was fun laying in bed listening to the boys and hearing the cricket’s chirp louder than the laughing campers. Rainy day fun was a fort in the living room for watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Summer fun was also fishing with Grandma and Grandpa. Everyone would rise early, make coffee and sandwiches and be out of Fernand Lake by five a.m. The catch of the day was cleaned and put on the grill for dinner. We have so many lakes around to choose from. My parents and their friends would get together for a morning boating,then go to the resort for lunch. It was fun to watch expressions on visitors faces when we walked in with our wind-blown hair and casual attire. (locals you know). 

I am glad my son grew up before technology really took over. My son bought and paid for his first phone. I did not want him to have on until he was old enough to be responsible with it. My son was busy building forts.bike jumps, playing one on one basketball,  paintballing, (there is an expensive hobby). Levi had a game Boy but he was not obessed with the game like kids and adults are today. A family friend spent one summer helping my son build a fort in his Grand Parents back yard. My dad even installed electricity so he could have a tv and radio in his fort. He had many fun nights camping in style. When Levi moved out, I was surprised he did not turn the fort into a studio apartment. He was a sweet kid; He moved in with his grandma after his grandpa passed away to help her. I remember when Levi bought his first truck, he took his grandma on all her errands because he said “this little city of ours is getting crazy to drive in grandma”. I am proud of the fine young man Levi had become.

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Summer Days

June 28, 2017 at 4:24 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

 

Growing up, my brother and I had the best babysitter, my Aunt. My Aunt and Uncle lived down the street from my family; my Aunt turned her ordinary ranch style home into the beauty on the block I had never seen wrought iron used to separate the living room and dining room. My uncle built her a beautiful gazebo, a huge green house for her orchid business, and a dance floor. My Aunt also loved the beach. She would sometimes take my brother and I with her for a couple of days. Not many people have made such an impression on me growing up as my Aunt; I remember how much she loved crafts, especially flower arranging. Every season, she was busy making a center piece fora party. I often  wished I could create beautiful flowers and crafts after watching her.

While surfing the internet, I came across a list of activities for kids to beat the summer boredom. I had to chuckle to myself because growing up, my generation found things to keep occupied. If I ever said I was bored growing up, my mom could think of a million things for me to do. I think sometimes the best summer days are spent biking riding with a friend, going to the Library for story time or checking out your favorite book, going to the park, having a water balloon fight with your friends.  Help dad build a fort with blankets, then invite your friends over for a sleep over. I think technology has taken over so much that kids don’t know how to keep occupied unless they are playing the latest game. I understand parents working longer hours and wanting to check on the kids, getting permission to go to the park with friends, or asking if friends can sleep over, but phones has just taken over as a form of activity. 

I guess I remember growing up with respect: when someone is talking to you, you look them in the eyes, not answer while texting , dinner time was spent at the dinner table eating a good meal and talking about your day, game night, swimming parties, flying a kite in the park(it was a family event). Times have changed in the last 20 years: You can hear the kids screaming outside using colorful language, youngsters sassing parents in the grocery store, kids screaming bloody murder because they could not have a candy bar, does anybody know what a side-walk is used for? Kids do not watch where they are going,  they are too busy to look both ways before darting in front of a moving car,they are too busy on their phones. Summer camp costs too much if you have more than one child, Day Care centers will not take a child after a certain age, it is humorous for me to think  a child can only go to the beach so many times in the summer. I am glad I grew up before technology took over. 

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The Camping Trip

June 22, 2017 at 2:14 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking) (, , , )

 

I remember taking my son over to his grandpa and grandmas house to spend the night and rise early the next morning to go camping. My dad would wait until his grandson came over to help put the wood in for the nightly campfire, make sure they had plenty of  sleeping bags for the beds, and  the fishing poles and let’s not forget the worms. Dad had a favorite spot reserved right on the lake. Family and friends would also reserve a spot in our campground bringing their boat,or inner tubes for a day of fun. A roaring campfire finished off the great evening after dinner.

One of my best memories was when my parents took my son with them for the weekend to The hot springs in Montana for the a few days. A quick stop at the ten thousand-dollar bar was a must on the way.  After setting up camp and after a meal made over an open fire, my dad was getting ready to chop some fire wood and called my son over to help him. My son thought he was going to help stack wood beside the fire pit and surprised to learn his Grandpa was letting him help chop some wood for his Grandmas fire, he was grinning from ear to ear. He was a lucky kid to go camping often and fishing early in the morning. 

 My dad took ill before my son reached his teens. I remember a time when my dad was not feeling good and felt bad because he promised my son he would take him camping. My son told his grandpa’s is okay grandpa.we will took dinner over the BBQ grill, make our beds out in the motor-home and listen to crickets chirping outside our window. We don’t have to go anywhere, we are still camping”. I thought my dad was going to cry. Levi told me the next day he had just as much fun camping in the driveway as much as if they went to the lake. I am glad my son had the opportunity to go camping, fishing,hiking, and chopping wood as a boy. It was fun to get together with other families and roast marshmallows over an open camp fire, play in the lake, playing cards , stay up half the night enjoying the good conversations. 

I always enjoyed vacations when I was growing up. My family took a week off to travel to Colorado or Utah to visit family. My family had a truck/camper, it was exciting to leave what felt like the middle of the night and watch to cars whiz by until you fell asleep. Of course my favorite memory was when my dad stopped for gas, I thought it was a good time to go to the bathroom, so I got out of the camper and headed over. I neglected to tell my dad and he took off without me. A motorist was trying get my dad’s attention for a few miles until they hit a stop light in the next town. The guy told my dad” you might want to go back and get your daughter”. I remember my dad telling me”we have a bathroom in the camper you know.”  The next time we took a trip in our car, I was in the back of our station wagon. Mom and dad didn’t hear me for a while so dad yelled my name to make sure I was still with them. I told them I was. Camp on my friends.

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Summer Memories

May 31, 2017 at 8:52 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , , )

Summer is almost here once again. I have so many precious memories of spending the summers with my Aunt in California. My Aunt and Uncle lived just down the street from my family.We lived in a modest neighborhood,but my Aunt and Uncle transformed the house into a show place. My Aunt as I remember loved growing roses on the fence line in the front yard. I decided to try to ride a skateboard from the driveway to the street. I missed the end of the street and hit head first into the roses cracking my front tooth. I was told by my Aunt after she cleaned me up that I wanted to try it again. In the backyard my Uncle built a gazebo, sh above ground swimming pool, and a green house and a dance floor. One thing I remember was my Aunt was very artistic. She raised and sold Orchids for corsage. She had converted the garage into her workshop for flower arranging she had a gift for arranging silk flowers into incredible works of art. I had a good summer vacation spent with my Aunt and grandma. I felt blessed they lived so close to my family. One Mother’s Day, the family all went to the park to fly our new kites. We have pictures of the day in a photo album. The one thing that sticks in my mind the most was how pretty my grandma looked in a dress and she just complained about her chicken legs. (she had nice legs and I only five.).

I raised my young son as a single mother after my husband died from complications of diabetes. I had the love and support of family and friends to help me through some tough times. My dad was my son Levis buddy. I have a special photograph of when grandma, grandpa and grandson all went camping. My dad was standing behind Levi helping him chop wood for the camp fire. My parents would often let Levi spend the night. they would rise before dawn, pack a lunch of sandwiches and hot coffee and be on the dock for fishing before sun up. Whatever was caught, was put on the grill for dinner that night. (they never ate hot dogs for dinner).Our family and friends had a favorite camping spot for weekend getaways. Campers, trailers and motor homes found a spot around one of the many lakes. As many as ten families all met and found their favorite spot to camp. My dad brought the boat for fishing and pulling the inner tubes, while others brought jet skis. I still remember Levi running to me to show me the fish he caught with the net of course. (smile). He didn’t mind gutting the fish,and getting ready BBQ and share his prized catch at dinner. Good thing everyone pitched in for dinner that night or we would go to bed hungry. 

I am so glad my family decided to move to North Idaho. I met so many wonderful people here. I live in a charming small town,in a neighborhood by the river; There is access to a park with hiking trails, benches to sit and watch the ducks or watch the boats pulling the inner tubes and skis. I live in a walking neighborhood. I love to see families go for bike rides or walking the dogs down to the river for a swim.  One of my favorite drives is on the Highland Golf Course. to see the beautiful mansions, and immaculate yards.I often visit some dear friends who live there and sometimes I am treated to a gold tournament for the evening. Just like my friends who built their forever home on the Highlands, I live in my forever home by the river. I re-painted my home two years ago, and now I have freshened up the landscaping. I joke that the gardening gene must have skipped a generation,but it did not skip my secrete weapon Nigel. he is a garden genius. We removed my over grown shrubs and replaced them with Hydrangea bushes. It will be beautiful for years to come. Have a nice summer.

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Garden MakeOver

May 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

I tease often that I am becoming a reformed black thumb gardener. By mid summer, my grass and plants are threatening to move to a new house, one with some garden savvy to live out the plant days in comfort and colorful bliss. I cannot help it, I water, dead head, prune, fertilize and yes, water. I would love to have a Home and Garden backyard worthy of an Annual Garden Tour, if I had the time to invest in a beautiful backyard. It is sad when I, yes I, can actually kill a harmless geranium. 

This year, I have a secret weapon. His name is Nigel. I am trusting we can get my yard looking nice again. I don’t want a secret garden, just one I can enjoy after a hard days work. Give the birds their own space to come and eat and drink under my pine tree. I see hummingbirds fluttering looking for a spot to drink, butterflies flutter around my yard looking for a perfect spot to land. I have such potential for a critter friendly place to visit often.  I can just hear some awesome gardeners thinking’ I would love to get my hands on her yards. I can work my magic.” Or you can give my some helpful hints to make my yard more inviting. 

When my husband and I bought our home thirty years ago, we lived on a pot holed dirt road, with five homes on the block. This was a fairly new development, with three floor plans. My house was pretty much turn-key. Jerry and I did  not have too much on a wish list, a place for our soon to come son, a bedroom for us and maybe an office. We have a spacious backyard(too spacious) but we never figured out how to fill the yard in with trees. You also know helpful relatives. They couldn’t figure out why we did not plant at least one tree in our backyard why it would be a twenty footer by now. Non of these advice giving folks ever offered to help beautify the sanctuary. I laugh now because my yard is nice,but I know it could look more pulled together.

I have a good friend that lives by the river I tease her about how her  house could be on a Garden Tour. She gets compliments everyday. She laughs because most of the beautiful plants everyone is raving about are weeds that reseed every year.  A funny story about her. She is a Flight Attendant: She left on a trip one morning, four days later when she returned home, her mother(they built the house together and resides together) her mom had the Junipers pulled in front of the grand wrap around porch. She told her daughter” they were too big and this way we have more room to plant nice flowers.” My friend laughs when she tells me the story because what could she do about it. As most of the gardeners know a nice yard takes a lot of work to keep up. I was amazed to find out she works nine hours pulling weeds, clipping, plating new flowers and mowing the yard just to keep it looking nice. It is easy to be envious of someone when they have the energy and the green thumb to have a nice place.

I had to realize I was a single parent who provided a loving home; I did not have the time or  the finances to keep updating my yard. A few plants here and there were fine, but I know people who spends hundreds of dollars every summer. I love the term a work in progress- The home looks like Better Homes just visited and their yard is being featured in next Months issue. But for now, I will take out a crowed shrub,put in a container garden in front(word to those thinking about a metal roof. Good investment, make sure your plans are in containers because the snow will bury them. I found this out this last winter. I think with all the commercials coming out now about making your own retreat is intimidating. You one need to have the cash flow, and two, someone willing to come help you build your grilling area, don’t forget the fire pit, and your relaxing oasis area. Stay cations are getting more  popular now. If you spend this much on a yard, why go to a five-star hotel when you have just created one. Sounds like a plan to me.

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A Sweet Note

May 10, 2017 at 3:38 am (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent, Survivor) (, , )

 

I am sitting here thinking about a poem my son had written several years ago. My son moved out to help care for his Grandma after his Grandpa passed away. He left all his worldly possessions in his(my) bedroom thinking I was supposed to just store all his stuff(and he had stuff) for free. They trust us with all this valuable treasures to hold  for them scattered in the basement, the garage, still in limbo in the bedroom. I have to give Levi credit though, at least half of the bedroom was packed up in big boxes(left in the middle of the room). I guess he never thought I would actually want to have a guest bedroom; I love that he thought he could still just walk in the front door scaring me half to death because I was not expecting company, go to (my) room now, pick something up and leave after just three minutes. One day I mentioned to him I wanted to make his room my guest room and either he can move out completely or pay rent on his stuff  he left. The look he gave was priceless. He promised to have all his prized possessions out of the house by the weekend. Levi died in a tragic car accident the next afternoon. He was only 20. 

A couple of Months later, I was going through his desk,  I found a small piece of paper with something scribbled on it. When I opened up the note, I found some sound advice. I would like to share with you the mot important words I will ever read except for God’s word. ” Life can change in a moment, live everyday like you mean it, and don’t look back with any regrets.” My son left a lasting legacy of  the fine young man he had become. I miss he mischievous smile, his infectious laugh, his generous heart, and most of all, his appetite for life. A few years ago, Levi and his boss laid new carpeting in my house. It was a treat to get new carpet, and an honor to have my son help lay it. 

Take the time everyday to tell your loved ones how much you love them, you are proud of them, they can live their dreams, make time to get together often. Our lives have become too busy,slow down. The kids really are only young once. So many families cannot get away for vacations,  the new trend is outdoor living spaces. After a hard days work, come home put on the grill, go for a swim, and end the evening in front of the outdoor fire-place( I am jealous). Life is about slowing down and making lasting memories. A lot of private homes are looking nicer than a luxury Hotel. Who needs to go to the movies when you have a home theater? You don’t have to be wealthy to make a few changes the whole family can enjoy for years to come. Watching some of the Home Renovation Shows give you some good ideas on how to improve the home without adding square footage. 

 

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