Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Old Time Photo

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The Dells

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Vacations ...

Who said it was cheap to travel these days?? I guess its 'cheaper' but not cheap.

We took Friday and went up to Northern Wisconsin to see Mike's family - didn't stay long, long story but it just wasn't 'fun' to be there.

Saturday we headed to Greenbay to hit a hotel with slides for Amber, our halfway point of up north and the Wisconsin Dells. Stayed the night and swam ourselves silly. We even took a dive before leaving that day. I wish I had gotten pictures of Mike going down the huge slides!

Then Sunday we headed for the Dells - we got there with no reservations (silly I know with it being 4th of July week) but we called the Hilton with our honors card and got a king suite for less than the double rooms at the cheap places. It ended it up being only $127 - we were right in the thick of the Dells and had an indoor heated pool which was great - it got cold while we were there.

We were able to hit Ripley's Believe it or Not - not bad, could have been a little bigger but we loved the tombs exhibit and the shrunken head. The one basket on display has the lid lift up and air kicks out hitting your legs - scared the dickens out of Amber. There was this cool Toast display - sounds odd I know but it was a fantastic picture made out of toast that someone toasted to instead of painted to get the shadows to display this picture. NEAT!

Next door is the Wizards Quest - what a joke!! We were given a bunch of questions to ask, the kids were supposed to scan lights and find wizards - well you can't find the items to scan they are hidden so well that the adults had problems finding them, the wizards are even hidden worse yet!! Some are behind walls that you think are for employees only but they are really for the kids to squeeze through and find the wizards. *Shaking head - Mike couldn't fit through one of the openings, he was too tall. If you let the kids go through, you have no idea where they will come out. Scary thought!! So after 1 hr of climbing through tubes, pushing open small entry doors, sliding down ramps - we called it quits. So not worth the money!

After a little disappointing day we ended up going to the hotel to swim and relax. Ordered pizza and just swam!

The next day we went to the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory - this was neat! Tons of hands on things - we actually were allowed to take the camera into this one so tons of pictures!!

We saw the Mior Spacestation replica - they got to do some ride that shook them all over, there was no way I was going into it - at $3 bucks a pop it was worth it. Tons of robots through out - Amber loves the blue one with the flashing red heart.

High Wire SkyCycle - I couldn't get Amber to do the bike on the rope - you are strapped onto a bike with weights on the bottom and with NO NET underneath shoved out onto a 1 inch rope 12 ft up in the air, you have to peddle back and the kid before us could barely do it. there's no way to pull them back in either LMAO.

There is a special magic shadow wall where you can stand and the camera flashes - then you step away and you can see your shadow - like Peter Pan! I couldn't get a picture of this :(

The hair raising 100,000 volts of static electricity was cool - my hair just stood right up!

Then there was the electric chair - you sat down, put your hands on the bars and held on!! It shook you with vibrations that got worse and worse - by the end your hands are numb and sweating lol - Amber held on the entire time!!

It was neat and worth the money!!

We were going to do the Ducks but the weather wasn' the greatest so we kept our tickets for next week. It's only 1.5 hrs away and Mike has til the 12th off!! Our only vacation time of the year but its soo nice to have all that time - TONS of projects to do :)

We did one more thing besides buying a couple novel items (Amber got a tshirt, snowglobe and a bag of rocks) - we got an old time western picture done... not loving it lol but its cute!

Monday, June 22, 2009


 some sillyness after a recent hair cut

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tis the season for milestone events like babies and weddings, but who says you have to spend a fortune on run-of-the-mill shower decorations, party favors, and gifts? With a little bit of creativity, you can create personalized, inexpensive gifts and decor that your friend or loved one will cherish for years.

Here's an example of a Baby Shower for a Boy!

As with any good design, we started our display with the very basics: color scheme, graphics, and text. We chose two coordinating colors (Sky Blue and Green Tea) and a neutral color (Bright White), then picked out our embellishments—Elephant (size 5” and 12”; item #4482105 and 4482112) and Face Card Heart (size 2”; item #4485002).

MyDesign was the next step—and a huge help in creating an expression that was meaningful for our shower recipient. We created a 2” custom expression—Welcome Baby Boy Olsen—in a playful, perfect-for-a-baby-shower font called Jot.

At our wall, we created the ideal focal point—a mommy/ baby pair—using two differently sized Elephants (one mirrored, so they face each other), three hearts (grouping items into threes, or any odd number, is a popular technique), and our custom expression. Repetition is essential in design, so we also placed our 2” Elephant embellishment on our favor boxes.

To round out this darling display, we purchased a metal tin (you can find similar gift items for a steal at Walmart or Target!) and decked it out with a series of alphabet letters in a boyish font called Princetown (2” Sky Blue ACEGIK; 2” Green Tea custom BDFHJL; 5” Sky Blue B). We embellished the tin lid with a 9” Hollow Circle embellishment—once again, Sky Blue—and repeated our primary font, Jot, in a custom “is for baby” expression.

The last item on the list was the memory-keeping keepsake for mom. We found a white photo album and turned it into a pretty baby book with two embellishments: a Sky Blue B (2.5” B in Jot) overlaying a Green Tea Round Medallion (size 3”; item #4476803). A touch of ribbon, a plush teddy bear, some chocolate candies (of course!), and a few balloons were the perfect final accents needed to finish off the design with style.

That’s it! Custom d├ęcor for any shower. Now that you’ve got your next party idea in the bag, let the oohs and ahs begin!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Country Design But Modern...

Ok So I have to say my style is odd... I LOVE the rustic primitive style but I'm also modern with the chrome/brushed nickel look and the darker furniture. I hate oak right now and would love to get rid of every price of it that's in the house lol. But I need someone to help me design the house. You know when you walk into a store and it looks perfect. The owner just put stuff places and somehow it just fits in that spot. THAT'S what I want someone to help me with, with my stuff and help me find pieces to finish rooms off. I need one of those personal shoppers lol.

I love shopping at places like the Empty Attic in Rock City, IL or HomeElements in Pecatonica, IL. I go up to Broadhead and shop at Harvest Moon and Pinnow Pharmacy (surprisingly they have some cute stuff too!).

I will say that I'm not a lover of the sheep, cows, crows or the dolls (they kinda scare me). I am addicted to the plates, sayings, bowls, basic decor and the furniture! Ohhhhhh the furniture has my head turning lol - recently I bought a black cabinet for the liquor and glasses in the dinning room. It has tin sheets in the front of the doors and a little rustic appeal. Then I found an awesome rug cabinet that is just gorgeous - its got deep shelves and its all open. BUT it has to be 'new' (handmade) nothing old and vintage - I'm spooked by the old stuff. Stop laughing!! Just to prove to my husband I wasn't being a snob and it was really just the old stuff I brought him with me to the shops. I even took our current kitchen table and sanded it down and repainted it to save money. I couldn't live in one of those old houses even thought I would love the architecture and details of the wood.

You've seen the kitchen redo here

and the living room and entry way here

My dining room is burgundy with a little country flair (here's a picture of the whole burgundy - just bought paint to redo it with the burgundy on the bottom and the tan on top to brighten the room) - I've been wanting to get a black table/chairs and hutch set. (our last piece of oak is the dining set) As we can afford things I will find a way to replace it cheaply but nicely.

I just got a cool cieling fan off ebay from Hunter and bought some neat lights at lowes today with TONS of paint. 10 cans lol - stop laughing - HEY they had $5 off each can today so I get $50 back :) I'm doing the hallway, bathroom, laundry room, dinning room and a second coat on the kitchen - it needs it! I'm tired of doing touch ups.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Before Pictures of the house - I'll be trying to do updates today with pictures :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Somehow I got a bug under my butt to paint our bedroom this week. I had purchased the paint in '07 lol when we moved in and haven't done it yet. I got the room ready (which was easy since we sold the dressers and there wasn't much in there anymore). I used old sheets for dropclothes and made sure I had all supplies before starting. I opened the first can - painted 3/4 of the wall and noticed the bottom of the can was all lumpy. I opened the second can and couldn't even stir it!! It was like a rock. So I strained the rest of the first can and finished the two walls I had started. Doesn't look bad at all - just have to get used to color on the walls lol.

We slept in the living room last night - I don't know how anyone does that! My neck hurt, my back hurt... the kid kept waking up. Yes Amber slept in there too since Mommy was camping out in the living room she had to too. Mike's gone for a couple days for training again so no worries with him. I was almost passing out due to the fumes and had to run over and borrow a fan from the neighbors. We slept with the windows open and the air off - it got a little hot but not unbearable.

Today I took off after dropping Amber for summer school and picked up the rest of the paint. Sherwin Williams was cool and replaced the old paint can for me for free!! So I only ended up paying for 2 gallons. I now have 3 more gallons to do the rest of the room - I didn't realize how thick it would go on and how much I needed for this tiny room lol. I think its only 13x11. Not a huge master bedroom but its big enough. Not like I sit in my bedroom to read or anything so I don't need the extra space.

Sigh... now to go get Amber from school and then return home and drag myself to the 'dungeon' and paint. lol I need that second wind to kick in so I can finish!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garage Sales...

I'm wiped out! We started on Wednesday to put together the garage sale items, putting tables, together sorting items and carrying endless boxes up from basements. Then on Thursday we tagged everything and opened up on Friday at 7am. We closed at 5pm but stood outside with the neighbors till 11pm. Then Sat we left the guys in charge (yes they did really well!) and did a little garage saling ourselves and some country store shopping. When we got back they had sold almost everything...

Now I know your eyes are going to bug on this but Mike sold Ambers used gap/limited too clothes in a huge lot (20 outfits or so) for $41!! I know its a garage sale but dang it all - they should have been going for more than that.

I was able to get rid of a few things and threw in our dressers/crib from Amber (she's 12 lol) and the dressers matched the crib - when she got a new bedroom set, I got rid of the bachelor items and took her dressers from the nursery. NOW I get to purchase a new bedroom set!! *I'll show you later*

My gf Laura did really good! She got rid of a lot of country/crafty items and her new dishwasher from when she moved into the house. (Our houses had kinda cheapy appliances, the obvious one was the stove with no clock on it lol)

Now the fun part is going tomorrow to order my bedroom set. I went to American, Slumberland, Ashley Furniture and one more place today with Mike but Furniture Row was the best quality for the best price. With the garage sale I made enough to make a large dent into our new set and Furniture Row has a 30 month no interest plan - too cool!!

I Love this bed - Basic but still has charm and the color is rich in person. The wood has nicks and gauges in it to make it look worn. I really love that character in the wood. Makes it feel homey.

They came out with a cool revision of the armoire - its a tv chest. Has room for the DVD player and the cable box. It's not as deep but I like it alot! And it's half the price as the armoire in the collection!

Here is the whole set - I am debating about the tall dresser or the long dresser for myself. I'm just not sure which yet. I don't need a mirror and I'm not sure if I have long enough space for the dresser. The chest can go on the one wall perfectly. I got a deal on the nightstands - one free if I got both with a set.

I'll take before and after pictures :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bella Sara Contest!

Bella Sara

Welcome to the World of BellaSara (BellaSara.com)

The coolness of ponies and trading cards has finally arrived. Who hasn’t heard a little girl ask for a pony! My twelve year old still asks for one lol. Amber has played everything from the stuffed My Little Ponies to the electronic Nintendo DS Ponies games over the years. BellaSara takes the cake!

BellaSara is an interactive virtual world full of horses and learning to care for them. It’s FREE and continues for hours of fun! (I have to admit I didn’t want to give it up once I began, Amber had to ‘patiently’ wait to try it out.)

It’s rated for ages 5 and up, pre-teens included! It’s easy to navigate, learn the rules of the games, find your way back to a previous screen…a plus for parents is that the music is soft to the ears!

After I register and log in, I am given a cute little box of extras for joining. Next I picked my horse and named her (Clever Cookie), then I was brought to her stable – I was able to brush her, feed her a bottle and refresh the hay… She cooed and moved the entire time. The cutest thing was when you rubbed her she cooed and hearts flew all over. I’m a sucker for the adorable stuff!

After a little nap (for my horse not me :)… I choose to play some games… their neat! I got caught up in the Magic Bubble Wand game, chasing butterflies and more, catching them in bubbles. When you run out of bubble solution the game stops, but you can always catch a special object (snail, horseshoe) and gain more solution. I like how the games retain the little ones attention – this one does it by constantly switching scenes as the game progresses! The little ones earn horseshoes as they play – the more horseshoes they collect the more they can purchase later at the Bazar…

The site is free but you have the option to purchase trading cards to find magic tickets with points on them. I have two packets – one had a 500 points card and the other 250 points card.

Plus you receive tattoos, stickers and the magic horse trading cards. A plus for parents is that there is one code per pack – the entire pack is uploaded automatically when you enter the code! So nice to have it all wrapped up in one code.

I ended up going to the Bazar and purchasing a few things with my Trading Card codes. I thought the selection was great and it teaches them how to earn and spend points.

Now BellaSara has a journal – it helps the little ones keep on task if they wanted to. It checks off easy activities and then moves on to the next entry. But they can also jump to different games and places in the BellaSara World. There’s an entire map to show them the special places to go.

Through out the entire site are tons of sayings (Be the Hero in your own story!) that are positive motivators and encouraging words that appear while playing games, in your horses stable and your own cottage. I really love that feature being built in! It encourages self esteem and reinforces what parents are saying to their girls.

In its entirety I would recommend this site in an instant to anyone with a little girl. Now here’s Your chance to win a BellaSara Prize Pack featuring Royalty, Miniatures and Treasures collections.

To enter into the drawing – Drawing held June 30th...

Just enter your name, email address and what you like about the site in the comment section.

Register and then come back and add your horses name for another entry!

A Cute Joke

When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin,
we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from
attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in.
Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, 'It's no use Grandpa.
Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights.'

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Amy's Uppercase Living News!
Decorative Vinyl for your Home, Office or Wedding

Amy Serpe ~ Uppercase Living Director
my phone: 815-248-2534
my cell phone: 815-218-3708

Welcoming the warm weather and spreading the summer fun - I have
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At the end of June I become eligible to earn a Caribbean Cruise or
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I'd love to have you help me reach this awesome goal and by doing so
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  • Essentials Kit ($99): Now $50 in Living Rewards Product Credits
  • --was $25
  • Essentials Plus Kit ($199): Now $150 in Living Rewards Product Credits
  • --was $100
  • Uppercase Living Ideas:
    Visit Walmart Photos and take a peek by theme on what
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    Room Code: photothemes
    Thank you for being such a great customer and for your interest in
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    need help ordering!!

    Amy Serpe
    Uppercase Living Director
    my phone: 815-248-2534
    my cell phone: 815-218-3708

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Ambers Dance Pictures!

    Her hair pictures and getting annoyed with mom for pictures lol

    I LOVED how they did the back of her hair - we bought little swirls from Claires that just twists in.

    Finally have some great pictures from the dance :) She had a ball - got her hair done and danced with three boys. They had a part of the dance where the girls put their shoes in a pile and the boys pick the shoes. Then they have to dance with the girl who owns the shoe lol

    (Amber's in the green neon sparkle dress, her friend Skylar is in the ivory dress and her friend Maddie is in the polka dotted one)

    Blog Credit:
    Graphics used on page are from digital scrapbooking kit Sugar Rush by Flergs and Ziska. Blog arranged by Designs by Sarah using her Blog Design Service.