DO YOU BELIEVE IN LUCK?

There is always a lot of talk about luck in the month of March! However, I think Thomas Jefferson gets it right in this quote. I’ve never met a person who didn’t work hard for their success.

It’s hard work, not luck, that get’s you there!

SPRING CLEANING – WHY YOU SHOULD

Spring is here in the south and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. These two words evoke many feelings, mostly procrastination. You see I love a clean home, but I don’t love cleaning!

I am very “task driven” and maintain what I would call a clean and tidy home. But spring cleaning implies a much deeper level of home maintenance. You know, getting into the spaces nobody ever sees and cleaning windows! YUCK!

A Little History

The Cambridge Dictionary defines spring cleaning as follows: to clean all of a place, especially, your house, very well, including parts you do not often clean. In addition it is a time to organize and get rid of things you no longer need.

History ties spring cleaning back to the Jewish tradition of cleaning the home in preparation of the Passover Celebration. This could include everything from the drapes to the furniture.

I can assure you no drapes will be touched in my house! LOL However, with Easter just around the corner, and windows that are anything but clear, I better get busy!

Benefits of Spring Cleaning

As if I needed more confirmation, there are proven health benefits to spring cleaning. Having a clean home boosts your mental health. It gives you a sense of control and clarity, boosts your confidence and improves your productivity and quality of life. Well, I like being in control and who doesn’t want a confidence boost. Maybe there is something to this “spring cleaning” tradition.

Not sure that tackling that dust under the couch will improve my clarity, but I’m sure my sinuses will breath easier!

Here’s a link to a great article in RealSimple.com about house cleaning and your mental health.

Tips To Make It Happen

  • First, take small steps. Don’t try to do everything in one day. Anyone would feel overwhelmed with a “whole house” size task. Choose a room, particular task or even a drawer and get to work. Small victories will encourage you and give you momentum.
  • Second, keep things simple. When organizing, find “sensible homes” for the things you use frequently. Keys, purses, glasses and remote controls should have one place where they consistently “live”.
  • Take the time to determine what things serve you well. If you haven’t seen it, wore it, or used it in months or years, then you probably don’t need it. Holding on to things that you don’t use creates clutter in your home and in your mind.
  • Finally, reward yourself when you accomplish your goal. Enjoy the clean space and celebrate a job well-done. I think a lovely glass of wine along with a piece of chocolate would do the trick!

Final Thoughts

I don’t think I will ever be someone that just LOVES spring cleaning, but I do admit that a “sparkling clean” house will make me happy. Also, I do love wine and chocolate so ….. rewarding myself for completing this task will definitely be the best part!

HAPPY SPRING CLEANING EVERYONE!

GARDEN PLANTING

As Spring is upon us so is the time to plant. I think this quote by Audrey Hepburn is so beautiful and so true. When you plant a garden, you are expecting growth over time that leads to a harvest. Indeed, you are investing in the future.

I hope that you are encouraged to not only plant seeds in the ground, but also in the hearts of others. Believing in their tomorrows as well!

SEEKING PERSPECTIVE

It’s the first day of March and I am struggling with what to write this week. Honestly, I am simply seeking perspective in a world that seems chaotic and needless suffering miles away are right before my eyes.

While I have lived in the time of the Gulf Wars and much unrest in the Middle East, I have not experienced a time when a European Nation was under attack. The live stream of news, the faces, the destruction tear at my heart strings. I make no political statement here, just words from a mother’s heart.

My parents grew up in the depression and my father served as a Marine in World War II. He was in communications and part of the pre-landing forces in the Pacific Front. He saw things, did things that were just too horrific to speak about. These things affected his perspective and world view.

I didn’t always see things the way my parents did and often wondered why. Why is because they had seen war close up and in person. They knew the heartache, devastation and sacrifice it takes to survive. Now, I understand their perspective.

My heart breaks for the mothers, children, elderly and the sons of Ukraine and Russia. The men who will never come home, the homes destroyed and the economic devastation that will inevitably take hold comes at great cost.

These days politics and morals seem to be at odds. As I seek perspective, my daily irritations/problems become small and pale in comparison to what others are suffering. I pray for peace to be restored, safety and protection for the people of Ukraine and Russia and may my heart never grow hardened to the impact of war.

Wishing you all a great weekend!

ALL MY GALS IN SAVANNAH

What do you do when school is out for the week? The answer is: a day trip to Savannah! This will be the first time to have all my gals in Savannah and I am super excited. My oldest daughter and grands have never visited this historic city so Mimi is going to make it happen!

Why Savannah

While Savannah is a fantastic city to explore, there is another reason for our visit. My youngest daughter lives and works in historic downtown Savannah. I can’t wait to stop by her apartment, visit with her very chatty cat Lina and see her at work.

It is such a different lifestyle than our suburban neighborhood and I know the grands are going to be so surprised with urban living. I am thrilled that they will get the opportunity to see and experience something different. These are the kinds of experiences that expand our world view and broaden the boundaries of our hopes and dreams.

The Plan

I do not recommend going to Savannah without a plan and of course, I have one. Getting to Victoria’s apartment is no problem, but parking in the city is a different story. I have already mapped out three parking garages and since we are going during the week, there should be spaces available.

If you detected a little “parking anxiety”, then you are correct! It’s one of my “quirks”. I totally get stressed out about finding parking and yes, I will be sure to take my “meds” with me! Also, my little people will tire out quickly, so strategic parking is key!

Once we leave the car, we walk a block to Broughton Street and then the fun begins! I have plotted out the stores we must visit and of course we’ll drop in any others that seem interesting.

Next stop is likely to grab some sandwiches and meet “Aunt Tata” in one of the town squares near her work for lunch together. Resting, visiting and soaking in the beauty of these green spaces will be a boost for our souls.

Our last two stops will be Paris Market and then ice cream. I mean you can’t come to Savannah and not go to Paris Market – that would just be wrong and it’s my favorite shop! Little girls love ice cream, so Mimi will not disappoint.

Best Laid Plans …

My plan was a good one, however, what actually took place was slightly different. We left from Florence right on time and travel to Savannah happened without a hitch!

The drive through the city to my daughter’s apartment was very exciting. Everyone was taking in the sights and the architecture. The colorful row houses were the little girls’ favorites. After parking at the apartment, we took a few pics outside to mark the moment, then went inside.

Lina (the cat) was super excited to see us and had quite the conversation while everyone got their “pats” in. After a we had a bathroom break and tiny rest, off to the downtown area we went. I had my parking garage plan in hand and the address plugged into the GPS. All was well until we hit road construction!

My GPS doesn’t pick up road construction and I couldn’t turn on the correct street. Savannah is basically a grid but there are many one way streets and some weird crossings and you have to make quick decisions. I decided to attempt to go around the block but only hit more construction and the GPS did not have enough time to reroute. My parking fears were kicking in!

As I continued to try to find a way back, suddenly, right before our eyes, like a miracle from Heaven, stood a public parking garage. The entrance was facing us from the right, however, it was on a one way street going the opposite direction so ….. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I did what any Mimi would do in this situation. Looking in all directions for safety, I whipped my car (going the wrong direction) right into the entrance! It was only a few feet of driving and thankfully, I didn’t get caught. My granddaughters now call me a lawbreaker! I would prefer “Make it Happen Mimi” instead!

Since this was not our planned stop, I had no idea where we were. My daughter suggested we take pictures of where we parked and the name of the garage. She’s brilliant. Upon exiting on foot, I looked left and saw Broughton Street. Panic subsided and we were back on track just at the opposite end of the street.

The Shopping

Shopping immediately ensued and the energy of the city put smiles and excitement on our faces. We made sensible purchases so we could travel light and walked on the shady side of the street. The girls loved the boutique shops, the gorgeous architecture and of course all the dogs walking with their owners in this “dog friendly” city.

We stopped in the store where my youngest daughter works and after hugs and a tour, headed out to get the “littles” some kid food. Hamburgers, nuggets and fries refueled the gang. After a brief rest, we headed to another shop to get “big girl” sandwiches for the adults and have lunch with Aunt Tata.

Benches were secured in Telfair Square where everyone enjoyed the beautiful landscaping, cool walking paths and just being together. If only I could make this moment last longer! All my gals in Savannah, enjoying life, made my heart explode with joy!

Well, Aunt Tata’s lunch break had to end and we had two more stops, so onward we went. Paris Market was in our sights. I think my daughter held her breath with anticipation as we entered. Next sounds heard were “oh my goodness … I think I’m never leaving!”

You see, before the grands came along, we all went to France and Paris was one of our stops. Both of my daughters took French in high school and we have a love of all things French. This store is nothing short of spectacular. With coffees, wines, pastries and two floors of hand crafted jewelry, textiles, soaps, perfumes, candles, crystal, china and silver home goods it’s almost overwhelming but in a good way!

Our group walked every inch of the store, touched everything in the store and settled on purchasing a few items. The favorite of the day was hand made soaps from France. They are almost too pretty to use. Saying goodbye to all things French was hard, but ice cream was next!

This is where things went bad! As we approached the ice cream shop, which happened to be near the parking garage, there was a line wrapping around the street. It was way too long to wait, so disappointedly, we headed back to the car. This was the one thing I couldn’t make happen. But…..there’s always a next time!!

Final Thoughts

My first day-trip with all my gals in Savannah was a success. It was such a joy to see the look of wonder in my granddaughters’ eyes. Watching them experience this amazing city for the first time is now a treasured memory.

Of course, there is way too much to experience in just one day, so, I am already thinking about trip number two. Who knows, maybe the next one will be an overnight trip. Anyway, this Mimi’s heart is full having all my gals in Savannah; even if it was only for a few hours!

DIY MASTER BATH RENOVATION

Just before Thanksgiving 2021, Robby and I decided it was time for a DIY master bath renovation. Our sink cabinets were worn out and a giant corner (jetted) soaking tub took up way too much space. It was time for a do-over and Robby was “all in”!

A Little History

Believe it or not, this is not the first renovation that we have done on this bathroom! The house was built in 1999, we purchased it in 2009, and it was already in need of a remodel.

Robby replaced the awful vinyl flooring with ceramic tile and we dropped in two new sink/vanity combos, new lighting and mirrors. Fresh neutral paint finished the project. I was happy with the new look as it suited my style. However, there were two problems that remained. Below is a peek at the before and after!

The previous owners who built the house made some changes to the architectural plans and a strange angled wall was created in the bathroom. In addition, there was a jetted soaking tub placed in the corner. In the 13 years that we’ve lived in the house, I think we’ve used the tub maybe five times. Obviously, we are shower people! LOL

Anyway, the tub was a waste of space and just something else that I had to clean even though we didn’t use it. I literally loathed it’s existence. Every time I saw it, thoughts of removal were all I could think of!

The Project

Fast forward 13 years and the once nicely renovated master bath was looking a little sad. Robby and I had literally worn out the vanity cabinets and we both agreed that the tub had to go and new flooring should be installed.

I had some ideas but I was struggling with visualizing the space without the tub. Robby agreed to remove the tub and give me time to get a renovation revelation! This would also give him time to begin removal of the tile flooring but still be able to have use of this bathroom.

Once that hideous beast (the tub) came out, the renovation juices began to flow. I had a revelation for the space. In fact, this was going to be my best reno design to date! Robby couldn’t quite see my vision, but he trusted me and he did all the measuring! Lol Below are some pics of the progress.

Getting It Done

Because of the 2021-2022 supply chain disaster, we decided to pick out and purchase the flooring and new vanities before completing full demo of the bathroom. Fortunately, the flooring was in stock and we took it home the same day. The vanities and one piece of furniture had to be ordered but they arrived within 3 weeks. (All items were purchased from Lowes.)

I decided to reuse the old mirrors and chose new lighting and faucets to complete the look. The angled wall would now hold a large full length mirror and Kirkland’s had just what I needed.

With all the “parts” in our possession, Robby began full demo. We moved all of our bathroom stuff into what was our daughters’ bathroom on the other side of our house. It took a little while to adjust to getting ready, but I kept my eye on how amazing this project would be when finished.

Let me add a disclaimer here for anyone considering this kind of project. Robby grew up in a trade family and was also in an Army Combat Engineering unit. The point is that he has some skills in building, plumbing and electrical. We did not move any walls and the plumbing and electrical needs were minor, so no permits were needed. While I highly encourage anyone to try DIY, you must know your skillset and your limitations.

Finishing

First Robby had a little drywall work to do where the tub and vanities were removed. Once that was done, he painted all the walls with a lovely color named “Polar Ice”. He then installed the new light fixtures so he could see what he was doing! Laying the new flooring was next. I chose luxury vinyl planks that look like wood but are waterproof and very durable. This flooring is easy to install yourself and Robby had experience with this kind of installation. I absolutely love it! In fact, we plan to use it in our next project as well.

Our son-in-law and one of his friends helped us get the new, much larger and heavier vanity cabinets into the space. Robby put on his plumbing hat and installed the faucets. I was delighted to discover that when you turn on the hot water, an LED light shines out of the faucet through the water. I call that “fancy”!

Lastly, Robby hung the full length mirror on the “angled” wall and the result was better than what I had visualized. He could see my vision now. A matching linen cabinet that would serve as our “medicine cabinet” was moved in where the tub had previously been. A velvet tufted bench and white floor length ruffled curtains finished the space.

I picked up two small area rugs from Target and ordered towel hooks from Amazon to mark this DIY master bath renovation “COMPLETE”.

Final Thoughts

You may have noticed that I did none of the work. Robby gets all the credit for a job well done. He took my design and made it happen. As I’ve posted before, “he speaks my love language”. And, he even said he enjoyed this project.

So far we are both LOVING our new bathroom. The space serves us well now and we even have unused storage space. To be fully transparent, the budget came in around $7000. This project done by a professional would likely be in the range of $20,000. The shower was untouched because that will be a separate project. I hope you enjoyed seeing how we did it and are encouraged to give your own DIY projects a try!

This DIY master bath renovation is officially DONE!

BEYOND OUR SENSES

This quote by Helen Keller drills down to what’s really important in life. In a world consumed with consumption, what we see, touch and possess often influences how we feel.

How we make people feel is far more important than what we possess. It is always my desire to leave people and things better than how I found them. Sow seeds of love in someone’s heart today! You won’t regret it!

HE’S STILL MY VALENTINE

He’s still my valentine! Who you may ask? My husband, Robby, of course. As our anniversary and Valentine’s Day are only a few days away, I decided to write a post all about the man, the myth and the legend!

That last phrase is an inside joke in our family because even at our age (well over 50), he still amazes and surprises us with his wit and unique problem solving skills. He’s the man who always makes it happen!

The Early Years

Many years ago, in the days before cell phones and WIFI, a girl and boy met, became friends and fell deeply in love. That girl was me and I had no idea how much this boy would change my life.

To be clear, I was 28 and he was 36. Many thought the 8 year age difference would be our demise but we showed “them”! We both worked full-time and he was the smartest and hardest working man I had ever known. The best part was that he thought I was smart too! He was right …. I knew a good man when I found one!

We married about six months after we began dating and started out in a small two bedroom one bath house with a laundry room off the back porch. As I look back, those were good times and life was simple. Our dreams were to payoff all our debt and hopefully have a two bathroom house one day! Robby was the numbers guy and I was the budget overseer. Within 3 years that dream came true.

In addition, he finished his college degree. How he did it and how we paid for it is still a miracle. With no student loans, we paid our bills, paid his tuition and managed to have a little left over for the occasional pizza and movie rental.

This was also when I discovered his greatest quality. Anything I want, he will make it happen! That’s the benefit of his Army training – never say “I can’t”. And so began our first renovation project – to close in the porch and bring the laundry room inside. He did it all by himself just so I wouldn’t have to do laundry in the cold. He speaks my love language!

The Middle Years

Once the degree was in hand, things began to change quickly. We had two children and Robby’s problem solving skills set him on a profitable path as a “fixer” in the Distribution/Supply Chain industry. We made our first out of state move and landed in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. A new season had begun.

It was in Dillsburg that our relationship truly deepened. Without a family support system, we depended heavily on each other. These years taught us unity of vision, how to work together, how to communicate and respect each other.

This is also where our love of DIY projects grew. Our first home in PA was a 1970’s split level with plumbing problems. It wasn’t our dream home, but simply what we could afford and it had potential. Robby gutted two bathrooms, created a “to die for” laundry room with a shower, and completely renovated the entire lower level from floor to ceiling. He speaks my love language!

His skills paid off and five years later, we sold that house in less than 24 hours and moved into a brand new house with no renovations needed. At least that’s what I thought. You see this man loves to work with his hands and doesn’t like to sit still. So, creating a finished basement became his project. This was the only project he would never complete.

The Next Move

Five years later, one door closed and another one opened and we found ourselves in South Carolina. We gave up having a basement, but gained a backyard pool! We were living the dream. The girls and I love swimming and the house interior needed a lot of updating. It was a win for everyone!

Robby and I have touched every room in this house. We hired out a custom kitchen remodel, but everything else has been done DIY. This man has gutted our master bath and half bath twice. Whatever I could dream up, he made it happen. He speaks my love language!

Our Happy Place

Robby’s hard work, success and financial discipline positioned us to purchase our cabin in the woods. This is our “happy place”. We both love the mountains and this little piece of heaven speaks to our soul.

Pic of Robby he's still my valentine

It is a place of rest and refreshment. And yes, we have done some small cosmetic renovations, but mostly we just enjoy our time in the woods. I never dreamed this would be possible, but again “he made it happen.” He speaks my love language!

Final Thoughts

Life with Robby has been my greatest adventure. He’s taught me what it means to be truly loved and cared for. His greatest desire is to make me happy and he speaks my love language!

This man has unclogged endless sink and shower drains #livingwithallgirls. He has installed more toilets than anyone should ever have to do. Gallons of paint have been applied to countless walls and doors without one complaint. Even if he can’t see my vision, he still makes it happen.

After all these years, he’s still my biggest fan, my best friend, my “ride or die” and my dearest love. That is why he’s still my Valentine!