Monday, October 31, 2011


Pumpkin Picking

I love the colors at the farmer's market this time of year!

After a delicious breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, we headed out to the State Farmer's Market on Sunday to pick out pumpkins for carving.

Lots of gorgeous pumpkins!

Colorful cobs of Indian corn

The search for just the right pumpkin begins

Reed found just the right one for him!

Back home, the kids get busy scraping the insides of their pumpkins

Kiss-Kiss wanted to help as well

Jack-o-lanterns are complete (with a little help from Daddy & Momma!)
Reed's pumpkin is Mario, Ashleigh's is a cat and Clayton's is an Angry Bird

Later we dug into some warm, hearty bowls of Hamburger Vegetable soup.  Perfect for a fall dinner!

Mary Ellen

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Garden Art Using Recycled Lamps

Recycled garden art by Mary Jo Stephenson

During our morning at the NC State Fair, we took in the beautiful garden exhibits.  One colorful display that caught my eye was by local artist Mary Jo Stephenson.  She used recycled lamps to create garden art.  I thought it was not only beautiful but wonderfully creative!  Old lamps and chandeliers are easily found at thrift stores and yard sales.  This would be a great way to give them new life! 

Colorful tree with hanging lamps

Teapots & lamps

This garden display had an outdoor shower.  But my eye was immediately drawn to the green vanity in the corner.  The top portion had both mirror panes and plants.  This would be a great way to incorporate a  trash to treasure dresser into an outside space! 

Mary Ellen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I Wore to Work - My $1 Dress

Dress - Kohl's
Shoes - Target

It's not everyday I can find a new dress for LESS than the price of a Goodwill dress!  How did I manage that you ask?  Kohl's!  Occasionally, I receive gift cards in the mail from Kohl's for $10 off any regular, sale or clearance item.  With gift card in hand, I headed over to Kohl's to browse their clearance racks.  I found this olive green dress in the junior's department (I've totally forgotten the brand) on clearance for $11.70.  After gift card, $1.70!        

Mary Ellen

Linked at:  The Pleated Poppy
pleated poppy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vocalpoint - $4 OFF Vicks Nature Fusion

Time to stock up for cold and flu season! 
Head over to Vocalpoint and reserve your coupon for $4 off Vicks Nature Fusion. 

Mary Ellen

Homemade Air Freshener & Carpet Deodorizer

Homemade Lavender Carpet Deodorizer

Though the furry population of our household has grown, I want to make sure our home still smells pleasing and inviting.  To create wonderful scents for your home, you have to look no further than your pantry.  To keep our carpets smelling fresh, I turn to the tried and true deodorizing power of baking soda.  Pour a cup of  baking soda into a bowl.  Add 30 - 40 drops of essential oil (I used lavender).  Mix to incorporate the scent and transfer into a container.  I store my homemade carper deodorizer in a parmesan shaker from the Dollar Tree.  Makes it easier to spread over the carpet!       

Homemade Air Freshener

To add a pleasing scent to the air, make a homemade air freshener by mixing water and rubbing alcohol with drops of essential oil.  You can find the quantities of each listed here.  I tripled the recipe.   

A note regarding the use of essential oils and cats - From reading various articles on-line, it appears using essential oils around cats is okay as long as its not being ingested or placed directly on their skin.  But if you have any concerns, please consult your veterinarian!

Mary Ellen   

Monday, October 24, 2011

NC State Fair 2011

For our family, October means Fall, my birthday and the NC State Fair! 

We played hooky from school and work (teacher and boss approved of course!) one day last week and spent a beautiful, crisp fall morning at the fair.  The grist mill near the entrance of the fair.  We were too early for the hot hushpuppies.

But we were able to grab cups of warm apple cider!

Along with rides and food, the fair also highlights our state's rich agricultural traditions


#88 National Guard show car

The Great Clips show car hauler - no Kasey Kahne though!

#38 Great Clips NASCAR Nationwide show car

The rides!

The carousel - always my favorite!

"Reedy, look at Mommy!"  Or not!

Riding with Daddy

Mary Ellen

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meet the New Girls!

The Duchess

The furry population of our household has grown!  Recently we made a visit to our county animal shelter and came away with two new additions.  It was my first time visiting an animal shelter, so I didn't quite know what to expect.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find the shelter staffed with friendly and caring volunteers, who were very much interested in finding safe and fitting homes for their animals.

Dave fell in love with the bundle of long-hair pictured above.  That's Duchess Purrtricia Meowington or "Duchy" for short :)  She's a 2 year old tortoiseshell Persian or some mix.  She's a very quiet girl.  I've only heard her meow twice since we've bought her home.  She loves to lie around in sunny or out of the way spots.  She's also very low weight.  We're not sure of the circumstances which brought her to the shelter.  But we're working to get her up to a healthy weight again.     


And this is Ashleigh's kitten, Kiss-Kiss.  Ashleigh saved up her allowance and paid for the $45 adoption and spay/neuter fee for Kiss-Kiss all by herself.  Kiss-Kiss is a grey tabby with somewhat cross-eyes.  In fact, the shelter staff named her "Googly Eyed Gloria"!  The shelter also listed her age as 8 months, but I'm thinking she's much younger.  She's a bundle of energy and enjoys jumping onto things like the older cats.  And she loves to hide.  So much so, we bought her a collar with bells so we could keep up with her whereabouts.  

This was our first experience with adopting from our local animal shelter.  And I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new furry addition to their family.  As part of the adoption, we received a complementary vet visit, cat toys, Hill Science cat food and information on helping our cats transition to their new home.  The only sad part of the experience for me, was that I couldn't take all the kitties at the shelter home!  My eyes teared up a number of times while we were walking through the shelter.  All those sweet little faces looking at you.  But I'm confident, the staff will find good homes for all the animals!

 Mary Ellen 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I Wore to Work - Ruby Rox Retro Inspired Polka Dot & Rose Dress

Dress - Ruby Rox (Goodwill)
Shoes - Delicious (Goodwill)

Yet another retro inspired Ruby Rox dress from Goodwill to add to my collection!  This dress is black and sleeveless with a full skirt.  The skirt has large polka dots leading down to roses around the bottom.  There's also a bit of the tulle slip peeking out beneath the hem.  As with most of my sleeveless dresses, I wore a black sweater (not shown) to make the dress more office-friendly.  But since it was a rather pleasant day, I was able to wear my 4-inch open toe heels.     

Close up of skirt design

When I did a google search for this dress, I found the exact same dress on eBay, but in red and white.  Maybe the Goodwill fates will smile upon me and I'll find the red and white version hanging on a rack one day!

Mary Ellen

Linked at:  The Pleated Poppy

pleated poppy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Decorating - Metallic Craft Pumpkins

Last week, I shared our dining room's black and white fall decorative touches.  For our entryway and foyer, I went with metallic.  The bronze polka dot pumpkin, large gray pumpkin and small bronze pumpkins were painted by me.  The silver and gold metallic pumpkins were bought half off at Michael's.  Tis the season to stock up on discounted craft pumpkins!

Mary Ellen

Friday, October 14, 2011

Clayton's Habitat Project

Clayton with his frog habitat project
(Reed stuck his hand and froggy into the picture LOL!)

We've got our first project of the new school year out of the way!  Clayton had to prepare a habitat project and present it to his class.  He chose frogs after observing a small toad swimming in the backyard sandbox after a heavy rain.  And ever the thrifty spender, Clayton found the frogs we used in the project while out with Daddy at yard sales!

Have a good weekend!

Mary Ellen  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Decorating - Black & White Craft Pumpkins

It's Fall and the black and white craft pumpkins have returned to the dining room.  I'm thinking about adding black and white check ribbon to the tops of the white craft pumpkins.  But I probably should finish up the rest of the fall decorating before I jump to another project!  After all Dave was kind enough to fetch my pumpkins from the attic.  I should at least put them out instead of letting them sit in the storage bin :)

Mary Ellen