Archive for April, 2014

5 Homemade Gifts for the Creatively Challenged


Well here we are; April is coming to a close. You know what that means… Mother’s Day is looming on the horizon. Does this strike fear into you? A sense of overwhelming panic at the thought of gift-giving so soon after the holiday frenzy? Relax. I’ve combed pages and pages of websites and listed my top five ideas to make your own gift for Mom. These are especially basic, no crafty experience required, and quite inexpensive.



River Rock Mat

  1. A wooden plaque that you paint and attach a photo, story, or poem on top. If you can hold a paint brush, this is a no-brainer. Probably the best part is that if the painting is a little less-than-perfect, it’ll look “distressed” so no need to fret about perfection.
  2. Does mom knit or crochet? How about some special one-of-a-kind, personally hand-dyed yarn? This is a gift I would love to get! Just make sure you give her enough for a project, a couple of skeins worth at least. You could use her favorite colors or something to match her décor. Zero crafting ability required for this. Seriously, zero.
  3. Is mom a gardener? You could make her a stepping stone or mat out of shelf-liner and river rocks that she can place in her garden. This one may use a slight bit of patience, but definitely unique and worth it!
  4. Something we never seem to have enough of is coasters. This idea for personalizing tiles into coasters is awesome! You could use pictures of family members, pets, special memories, or even just cool scrapbook paper. If you can cut and glue, you can do this one.
  5. And last, but not least, you could make mom a nice, soft rug. I am going to try this one of these days, just because it looks so cool. It weaves strips of T-shirts around a hula hoop. This is a project aimed at kids, so there’s no excuse not to try it!

And there you have it; my top five homemade Mother’s Day gifts for the less-than-crafty. Oh sure, you could give her flowers or chocolate, but why not make her something she can brag about to her friends. You’re never too old to create!

Hula Hoop Rug


Well Played, Mother Nature

Lily of the Valley

This week started out good; the weather was mild, all of our snow had melted, and spring was in the air. Then came Wednesday, and a foot and a half of snow. Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel beast. We no longer could see the tulips stretching above ground seeking sun. Instead we saw piles and piles of snow. Sigh.

tulip bulbs

It came down so fast and so furious, but in a very bizarre fashion. The northern parts of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and up where we are got buried. The south metro only got rain. What the…?! Yes, a cruel spring prank indeed. Well played, Mother Nature, well played.


Thankfully I planted my grape tomatoes in small, movable pots where they can get plenty of sun inside. And thankfully we’ll see normal weather this week. Whatever that means in Minnesota.

Tomato Plants

7 Bits of Wisdom for the Next Generation


Generational Wisdom

Now that I am preparing for my fourth grandchild this summer, I was thinking about a list of things that I wish someone would’ve told me. Or maybe someone did and I didn’t listen. Either way, here are seven tidbits of wisdom I’d like to pass on to the next generation.

  1. Use sunscreen every day and don’t go in tanning beds…EVER. 2013 was the year of melanoma for my family. Please, take care when you’re enjoying the great outdoors. Having tan skin now is not worth the price you’ll pay later.
  2. Save money. Whether you’re working at your first part-time job or well on your way in your career, always set aside a portion of every check. Be responsible with credit and balance your bank accounts monthly.
  3. Wash your face and brush your teeth EVERY NIGHT. And ladies, put on eye cream. I don’t care how tired you are, just do it. And while you’re at it, floss, for Pete’s sake.
  4. Learn to be happy alone. This doesn’t mean you’re setting yourself up for a solitary lifestyle, it just means you should be able to enjoy yourself by yourself. Discover solo hobbies that you like. If you have to constantly be with someone, you’ll never be good company.
  5. Be happy with yourself. Don’t base your perception of yourself on what others think, say, or do. Judge yourself only on your previous self, not in comparison to other people. You have no idea what battles they are fighting behind closed doors.
  6. Treat yourself. If you want dessert, eat it! What good is being at your “goal weight” if you are miserable all the time? Personally I’d rather carry an extra ten (or fifteen) pounds and be happy! I know people say things like, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” But I really like pie. And if you ask me, constantly depriving yourself is just setting you up for a bad binge…or worse. Everything in moderation.
  7. Learn to enjoy silence. It is only in the last few years that I have mastered this. After years of terribly negative self-talk and bad memories, silence only meant I was bombarded with horrible thoughts about myself. Facing those memories and turning around my attitude about myself was truly liberating! I now spend the majority of my day with no television or radio. I find it has greatly improved my productivity and creativity. Letting your mind wander does wonders for your outlook…and your muse.

So there you have it. It took a few decades to figure this all out, and I’m sure there’s a ton more. I just hope someone takes my advice. Especially about the eye cream; seriously, ladies, you’re never too young for wrinkle prevention!

Rooting Phones with Sheldon Cooper

Windows Quote

Over the last month or so my husband, Mike, has been researching rooting our phones. We have some of the first 4G phones that came out and they’ve been subject to “automatic upgrades” from our provider. If you’re like me and have no idea what he’s talking about, that means stuff is getting put on our phones that makes it slower, restricting the speed at which we can surf and message.

Last night, while innocently watching one of my favorite shows, The Big Bang Theory, my husband finally arrived at a conclusion I had made long ago. If you’re familiar with the show, the character of Sheldon is extremely methodical, quirky, and anal about researching anything that requires change. In this episode Sheldon was trying to decide between two gaming systems. And that was when it happened. It was almost as if I could see the light over Mike’s head as the bulb switched on and he uttered, “Oh my God, I am Sheldon.”

I laughed so hard I couldn’t speak. You know, it was one of those deals where your shoulders shake violently as you gasp for air. I looked at Mike from behind teary eyes. It’s true, he is Sheldon. While researching rooting phones, he found himself in all kinds of chat rooms, tech conversations, and inquiry sites. He spent days (I am not exaggerating, DAYS) holed-up in the office researching the process. But he did it. He stripped out everything and rebuilt a phone that he wanted. And it is lightning fast. Seriously.

But now comes the problem; he is dying to get his hands on my phone. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing; after all, he has completed a mountain of research and constructed his own ‘how to’ manual. But I see him switching and changing things on his phone, constantly tweaking and improving it. How would I ever go without my phone if something goes wrong?! I guess I’ll just have to trust him. It’s like Sheldon says; if he was wrong, surely he would know it.