Grand Haven

When you can’t get to the ocean a trip to the lake is the next best thing.

I love the sounds of the ocean, toes in the sand with not a care in the world.  (I really do!)

Sometimes it’s just not in the cards.  When that happens, the lake is a pretty close second.

We took a few days to unwind, relax and enjoy the scenery.

We’ve been to several towns around Lake Michigan but this was our first trip to Grand Haven.

It’s a pretty little place with a quaint downtown and plenty of great places to eat.

On Sunday night we happened upon a free concert downtown by the water

and then on Monday night a free musical water light show.

For a small town there’s a lot to do.

On Tuesday, I didn’t quite have my fill of water so we stopped in South Haven on our way home

for a bite to eat and another lighthouse to explore.

South Haven Lighthouse.

I could sit and watch the sailboats for hours.  Not a bad way to recharge the old batteries.  (I almost got my recommended dose of vitamin sea.)

*Disclosure:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

Nick’s New Swim Team Jacket

Nick joined the swim team this summer and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

I got to watch him at a few of the swim meets and was so impressed on his abilities.

He’s always loved being in water and has really become quite the swimmer.

I’m not sure I’d make it across the width of the pool let alone the length.

He even swims the 100 meter race.  (4 lengths of the pool for us non-swimmers)

Not bad for an 8 year old.

He’s so proud of his swim gear.  (Isn’t he handsome?)

But…his new Super Cool Design Team Jacket didn’t come with the option for personalization.

Joy® Embroidered Iron-On Monogram letters to the rescue.

For his Swim Team Jacket we used:

  • One Super Cool New Swim Team Jacket

  • Joy® Baby Monogram Iron On Embroidered Letters

  • Iron and pressing cloth

Directions:

  1. Check Garment care label before choosing which setting to set your iron.

  2. Remove letters from sheet.  Position letters with shiny side down on jacket.

  3. Cover letters with fine cloth.  With firm pressure iron cloth over the letters for 25 seconds.

  4. Turn jacket inside out and iron the back of the letters for 25 seconds.

  5. Allow to cool for 1 minute before handling.

Joy® iron-on embroidered letters and appliqués can be found at your local craft stores!

“This is a sponsored post.  As a member of the Joy® Design Team I have been provided product and compensation in exchange for my creative ideas.  The views and opinions are my own.

Shop Your Fav Brands at Scrapbook.com

*Disclosure:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

Quick and Easy Summer Mini Album

Quick and Easy Summer Vacation Mini Album

You don’t have to take an expensive Summer Vacation to have fun when your a kid.

Between Baseball games, Swim Lessons, Swim Team, Carnivals, Pie Eating Contests,

Fireworks, Drive In Movies, Swimming, Summer Reading Program, Mini Gardens,

Tie-Dyeing and just playing outside….there’s always something to do.

Because we have so many great pictures, I decided to make my grandsons a

Summer Vacation Mini Album to remember all the good times they’ve had this summer.

To Create my Summer Vacation Mini Album I used:                            (*affiliate links)

*Disclosure:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

With the help of my Xyron Creative Station* putting the album together was super easy.

  • Cut two 6″ x 8-1/2″pieces of decorative scrapbook paper for the front and inside of the cover.
  • Lay decorative scrapbook paper (design side up) on the  Xyron Creative Station* crank the handle to run the paper through the machine.  As it moves through the Xyron Creative Station it adds adhesive to the back side of the paper.
  • Easy to use and it doesn’t need any electricity.
  • I like using the Xyron Creative Station* when making mini books because you get complete coverage, no wrinkling, no bubbles!

  • Cut a piece of mat board 6″ x 8-1/2″.
  • Adhere the decorative paper on each side of the mat board.

  • The notebook die creases the center of mat board as it goes through the Big Shot Die Cutting Machine making it easy to fold the cover for your mini album.

  • Cut a 2 1/4″ x 5″ strip of decorative paper to use for the spine and run it through the Xyron Creative Station*.
  • The small “hello summer” graphic is from an old Bo Bunny collection that I hoarded and never used.  It was perfect for this album.  (sorry I don’t think you can find it anymore)

  • Cut 5 white cardstock pages using the notebook die.
  • Crease the cardstock on the center score lines.
  • Using blue and white twine, wrap the twine around the inside creases and around the outside of the book cover to secure the pages.
  • I did one page at a time tying the twine in a knot on the outside after each page.

  • After I had all my pages together, I tied all the piece of twine together in one knot on the spine and let the ends of the twine hang loose.

I wanted this Summer Mini Album to be all about the pictures. 

There are no fancy embellishments or special pages inside this album.

(just lots of fun pictures of my boys)

The hardest part about making this album was choosing which pictures I wanted to use.

I printed my pictures 4″ x 5.3″ instead of the usual 4″ x 6″.

I cut each picture 3 1/4″ x 4 3/4″ which left a nice white border around my picture when added

to the album.  I used my Xyron Mega Runner* to add adhesive on the back of the pictures.

I had all 21 pictures added to my album in no time.  (one on the inside back cover)

These are three busy little boys. 

They’ve had a great summer so far and they still have another month to go before school starts. 

Who says summer is about lazy days.  

The Summer Vacation Mini Album measures 3 3/4″ x 5″.

“This is a sponsored post.  As a member of the Xyron Makers Program I have been provided product and compensation in exchange for my creative ideas.  The views and opinions are my own.

Dear New Family…

Last week we closed on the sale of our childhood home.

It was bittersweet.

There are so many memories and stories behind this house I felt like I wanted the new

homeowner to know a little more about the house and how special it was to a lot of people.

So, I penned this note.

I may even send a version of the letter to them.  (I just happen to know their address.)

Dear New Family,

As you start this new chapter in your life and move into your new home,

there are a few things I would like you to know.

Your house was built by my parents 60 years ago when dad was only in his twenties.

My parents happily raised their family of 5 kids in this home.

This small abode has held a lot of love and was the last home for each of my parents.

Dad lived here in this house until 3 weeks before his death at age 86

and for 5 quiet years by himself without my Mom.

So…as you settle into your cramped little kitchen,

I want you to imagine my mom cooking dinner each night for a family of seven.

(Although I won’t say she never complained.)

And as our family expanded and grew she would host weekly Sunday

dinners for up to 20 people and then some.

Because when it came to my family there was always room for one more.

When you sit in your living room and decide the best way to arrange furniture.

I want to tell you there once sat a piano that taught all 5 kids how to play.

The one and only small bathroom with the odd blue bathtub,

there used to be a blue toilet and a sink to match.

And…usually someone standing outside waiting their turn.

Those small little bedrooms, I’ve slept in them all.

The bigger one in the basement,  you didn’t get that room until the one ahead of you

got married and moved out.

The large basement laundry room with the turquoise checkered floor, those are vintage 60’s

original and used to be mom’s first kitchen while the upstairs was being built.

Dad took his time building this house trying to pay for materials it as he needed them.

(They lived the first couple years in the basement.)

The giant old maple tree out back with the swing isn’t as old as you might think.

It’s only around 45 years old.

I thought until just a few years ago that I had planted that tree.

Only to find out that mine had died and Dad had replaced it with that one.

When we were kids we played all summer and fall in the woods behind the house.

Back then there was no homes and we thought they belonged to everyone.

In your small little yard, it wasn’t unusual for it to hold half the neighborhood kids.

Mom would pass out Kool-Aid and Dad was the one who would fix things that broke.

I heard through my niece that you have a little girl.

It makes us happy to know there will be kids living here again.

Dad always said some little family will need this small house.

We also want you to know it was really hard for us to give up this place,

because while all five us kids all have homes much larger than this one,

we will always consider this our very special home.

It will always hold a special place in our hearts.

So as you learn all the nuances and get used to its smells,

we hope this home will bring you as much love, faith and laughter

as it has brought each one of us.

Sincerely,

the middle kid who loved it a lot

P.S.  I signed my name in the attic.

Jillibean Soup and Xyron-Siblings Layout

Growing up with you is one of my favorite memories.

This is me with my crazy, wonderful siblings.    (I’m right smack dab in the middle.)

The five of us have been through a lot together.  Especially the last year.

I’m  so glad we have each other to count on.

Even though we drive each other crazy from time to time, there’s a real closeness and love.

This picture was taken last August when the whole family got together for one last

picnic at our family home.

Home… A story of who we are.  A collection of things we love.

That caption from the collection about brought a tear to my eye.

I’m a little nostalgic when it comes to home right now.

Down the hall in my family home was a very large collection of photos.

The pictures covered both sides of the hall walls.  It was like a very big scrapbook.

No one was left out.   (even if you didn’t like the picture)

A collection of everyone they loved.

For my Siblings Layout…here’s what I used:               (*affiliate links)

When you have a lot of little pieces to stick onto a layout I like to use a combination

of my Xyron 3″ Sticker Maker* and my Xyron Mega Runner*.

The Xyron Sticker Maker is real easy to use.  Just place the paper, design side up, into the end of the sticker maker and pull the paper through.  Rub the protective covering and peel back to expose sticker.

This week the Xyron and Jillibean Soup Design Teams have joined forces for one amazing blog hop.  Make sure to join us each day on Facebook for awesome inspiration and a chance to win some cool prizes on both pages.  (make sure to visit both!)

“This is a sponsored post.  As a member of the Xyron Design Team I have been provided product and compensation in exchange for my creative ideas.  The views and opinions are my own.

Shop Your Fav Brands at Scrapbook.com

*Disclosure:  This blog uses affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

The Old Back Porch Make Over

Thanks to my brother’s awesome talents and my father’s save everything mentality…

We took what could of been an eyesore and made it into an asset.

My  siblings and I have spent the better part of this year sorting, cleaning, pitching, restoring,

repairing and saving memories (aka lots and lots of stuff) from our childhood home.

The end goal was getting the house ready to be put on the market and sold.  (big sigh!)

We’ve been through every inch of the house, from the attic to the basement.

It’s been quite a job.

To fully appreciate the after, you really need to see the before.

My Dad grew up in the days of screened-in back porches.

He loved being outside and close to nature.  (He also was a saver.)

As I came home one hot summer day, I noticed when entering the

back porch the familiar smell of Grandma’s old porch.

A little surprised, he told me that he’d just replaced a board using one he’s saved

from her old porch.  Funny how smells can trigger memories.

Over the years, as my parents aged, the old porch had become utilitarian.

It was a great place to hold stuff, like all the extra folding chairs for when everyone was over.

As we’ve moved from top to bottom and out the back door…

I wasn’t sure we’d ever get to the back porch.  I wasn’t sure I had the energy.

But my brother saw potential.

When my brother decided to paint the outside of the porch, I didn’t see the point.

After a little discussion, I finally saw the vision and agreed to help him.

We emptied out the porch and removed all the windows so they could be thoroughly cleaned.

What a difference that made.

The old silver screen door was taken down and replaced by the newly repainted storm door

that had previously been on the door between the house and the porch.

We also removed the extra blocks under the porch placed to keep the critters out.

Next, we added lattice and mums around the porch.

Shop Your Fav Brands at Scrapbook.com

*Disclosure:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

The inside of the porch was unfinished.

My brother reused and installed old paneling that he’d removed from his house 19 years ago.

My Dad had kept the old paneling in his garage all that time intending to use it on his porch.

Born during the depression, dad grew up saving things that still had use in them.

It’s sometimes a blessing and a curse.

We also repurposed old trim we found in the garage.

(And by “we”…I mean mainly my brother.)

The trim was painted a clean crisp white and the walls a creamy off white.

Learn More

The floor was painted a nice medium gray.     (not sponsored by Valspar)

Valspar Porch and Floor Latex Satin Enamel*

I talked my brother into adding a ledge under the kitchen window that looks onto the porch.

After adding a rug and a couple chairs for reading, I realized just how cozy it was.

I’ve sat out here several times already just enjoying the fall foliage.

We’ve all commented on how much my parents would have enjoyed it.

Shop Janie and Jack

Thanks to Dad’s thriftiness, the whole project including mums cost us around $100.

And yes, Steve, you were right.

We put the house on the market last week.                               (picture borrowed from listing)

The new listing calls the old back porch “a charming three season room”.

It turned out pretty good if I say so myself.

This current season in our lives as we let go of the house has been challenging.

But as my youngest sister said, “I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else but you.”

If you liked this post you might like to read “making a place for Dad’s coffee”.

  

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Gnome Gardening with Boys

Gnome Gardening with boys can be kind of tricky.

You need to be extremely prepared and very patient.

It’s messy and everything moves real quickly.

Earlier this summer the boys and I created Gnome Gardens.

It’s our annual tradition.  (Nicholas and I’ve been doing this for 5 years)

Thanks to some wonderful supplies donated by Leisure Arts, Inc.

and a few left over items from previous gardens we had a wonderful time and a lot of fun.

Leisure Arts Mini Garden Supplies…        (*affiliate link)

LeisureArts.com has a fun selection to choose from.

For our Gnome Gardens I like to use succulents, plants specific for mini gardens

and plants that won’t get too big.  And of course good potting soil!

Spray bottles are also a must.  (beware you might WILL get wet!)

Making the Gnome Gardens are a fun way to spend time with the boys.

The boys get to plant, water, watch the plants grow and play with the gnomes.

It’s very educational.

Nick’s Gnome Garden

For Nick’s Gnome Garden we used an old broken down wagon. 

It’s fun to use unconventional items when Gnome Gardening.

Warren’s Gnome Garden

For Warren’s Gnome Garden we used a simple round planter bowl. 

I think it turned out real cute. 

I’m still on the look-out for something a little bit different for his garden next year.

All and all it’s fun, rewarding and hopefully something they’ll remember in the future.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m installing a love of gardening.

Emerson the Littlest Brother  (maybe next year)

Nick and Grandma’s very first mini garden (Read about it HERE!)

Crafts for Kids

A Special Thanks to Leisure Arts for providing the Mini Garden Supplies. 

We think you’re awesome!

Shop Your Fav Brands at Scrapbook.com

*Disclosure:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!