A brilliant ornament

Recently, I received a Christmas tree ornament at a holiday party ornament exchange.  The one I ended up with looked like this.


Not much to look at, right? Well, when has that ever stopped me?  I decided that all it needed was a little crafting. My husband’s grandfather was a professor and writer.

My beautiful picture

We have an original copy of the book he wrote about metalwork and plumbing back in the 40s.image

It’s one of Dean’s most treasured books, and it gave me a brilliant idea! I copied a few of the pages from the bookimage


gave them a tea bath,

and when they dried, crumpled them to make them look old.

I tore the paper into pieces and decoupaged them to the ornament.image

I added a bow when it was dry and voila!image

A rustic-looking ornament with sentimental value.

Merry Christmas, dear readers. I hope your holidays are as brilliant as ours.


Brilliantly organized?

Today, dear reader, I’m going to tell you a secret…I LOVE to organize! Ok. Now I’m going to show you just how crazy-organized I can get. This is my linen closet. I don’t have a lot of sheets because I tend toward minimalism. (My husband is a very patient man).


I try to keep just enough sheets and blankets for nighttime accidents or illnesses, and everything’s labeled because I really like to be able to find a twin sheet easily, in the middle of the night. Makes sense, right? Here’s my other closet. Don’t quite know what to call it. The only linens are tablecloths at the bottom, but it’s not really a utility closet, like for cleaners and things.


I need to get some pretty labels, but, again, because I lean toward the minimalistic side, I don’t have a lot of unneeded lotions and lightbulbs. I have what I need, and it all fits nicely into clear, labeled boxes so anyone can find the fingernail clippers, an extra toothbrush or the dog’s flea shampoo. Again, makes sense, right? Nothing too crazy? Oh, how great it would be if everything in my house could STAY organized! Unfortunately, I live with five other people. My teenager has banned me from posting pics of his room. Trust me, he’s doing you all a favor. 🙂
Organization is not something you do once, then forget about, as I’m sure you know. I am constantly decluttering and reorganizing. I find, though, that keeping a small house (1400 sq ft) with 6 people clean and tidy, is easiest when there’s not much to work with. How many pairs of jeans does one kid need? How many towels? How many baby dolls? I can be a bit brutal when it comes to answering these questions. There is one area, though, where I’m actually trying to get better stocked. The craft cupboard. I love doing crafts with the kids, and crafts include small google eyes, stickers, paints and tiny plastic beads that roll across the floor forever. I think I may have found a solution to the messiness of craft time, but I’m sure I’ll keep changing it up. I found an armoire on the side of the road for free. (It wouldn’t fit into someone’s truck on moving day), so my son and I rolled it on a dolly all the way down the street to our house. Unfortunately the tv was too big, so I turned it into a craft cupboard!


Sorry about the pictures, I used my iPhone. But you get the idea. Staying organized helps life run more smoothly and with 4 kids underfoot, that’s something I can’t do without! How do you stay organized?

This entry was posted on July 23, 2014. 2 Comments

A Brilliant Idea for a Table

Ok. So, we’ve moved since my last post over a year ago. Obviously, there have been many things I could have posted about, but…I didn’t. I’m picking up, not where I left off, but where I am now. And where I am now, dear friends, is in the middle of the desert!

It’s been a looong year, but we are settling into our place in Phoenix and I am starting new projects. My most recent was a table I found for $1 at the local Goodwill. Yes, I did say one dollar! It was pretty rough, and I’m sorry to say I did not take any “before” pictures of the plain, water damaged table, but I do have nice pictures of the painted mosaic (or faux mo) that I decided to do on top.



First, I scoured Pinterest for ideas, and originally, wanted to do a glass or tile mosaic, but I soon found out how pricey that can be. So I then, I thought, maybe I could paint it! i started by painting the table white for the “grout”, I hand drew a design (first on paper, then onto the tabletop.
When I was satisfied, I started painting. I used a gloss acrylic paint in the shades I wanted.

And painted with one of the kids’ water color brushes. It took four days from start to finish, and yes, my husband did have to pick up some of the slack (laundry, cooking, etc). Isn’t he awesome? But it is finally done and I have to say, I really like it!





A Brilliant Wife

Ok. I admit that title is pretty self-serving, but it’s how I feel today. Lately, I feel like I’m playing catch-up from the night before. The kids are running wild, laundry is piling up and dinner…well, if my gourmet cook hubby, Dean, isn’t home to make it, I have just been ending up getting a pizza or making pancakes. 🙂

It wasn’t always like this. I used to make freezer meals and have a stockpile of groceries in the pantry (that I bought with coupons, of course! :-)) Last year was pretty difficult and I found myself trying to take the easy route as much as possible. Buying Lunchables instead of packing healthy lunches for the kiddos, letting the noisy chaos get really out of control before disciplining and redirecting. But yesterday, I decided to tighten up some the loose ends around here. I started on laundry (not a pretty picture). But I decided to just plow through. I gathered up all of the dirty clothes throughout the house. Every time the dryer buzzed, I folded the clothes and threw in another load. Isn’t it amazing how getting caught up in one area can make life suddenly seem better? Then,when the kids started to get restless, I got out the UNO cards and sat down at the table where we started a game which lasted until bedtime. When I left a round to fold clothes, the boys continued playing. How amazing to hear giggling kids playing nicely together. They love it when I play with them. Why don’t I do that more often?

So, this morning I got up and decided to have another go at being brilliant. I did some homeschool with Joshua and Emily, put together a crock pot meal, got some bread dough rising for dinner rolls tonight and cinnamon rolls in the morning. Since the laundry is done, I have had time to keep the kitchen tidy and snuggle with Emily and Adam, who are fighting little colds. As I was singing along to music while peeling sweet potatoes for the crock pot meal, I realized, I feel good. I’m organized and excited for tonight when I can win play cards with my kiddos again.

Next week is Dean’s birthday. I am really excited to plan some extra special things to celebrate the day my favorite guy was born. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted. Now, go out and have a brilliant day of your own!


Already Decorating For Valentine’s Day

I admit it. I am addicted to the holidays. Christmas, of course, being the Holiday Supreme, but, really, there’s no occasion I won’t decorate for. I tell myself, and everyone else, that it’s for the kiddos, but let’s face it, I love the anticipation of a special day. Almost immediately after taking down the Christmas decorations, I started scouring Pinterest for Valentine’s Day ideas. I started a Valentine’s Day Board http://pinterest.com/krueger1971/valentine-s-day/  and decided what I’d choose to decorate/make for our home.

I love this idea from Better Homes and Gardens


and made my own version for Emily’s roomIMG_2792I also made one for the fireplace

IMG_2784I was thinking that some easy ideas are to take scrapbooking paper and frame sweet sayings or designs.

IMG_2786I made this for our bathroom. Just a little touch of love throughout the house. IMG_2793The very first movie Dean and I saw on the first day we met in 1990 was “Always”

AlwaysSince then, we’ve gotten the movie poster framed and hangs in our living room, and a few years ago, I found those metal letters that say “always”, shown in the picture above. What can I say. I’ll love him always. 🙂

It’s easy to decorate for Valentine’s Day. The idea is to say “I love you” throughout your house with little “kisses” here and there. Besides the garland and signs, I’ve added little pink candles and flowers. IMG_2787A few months ago, I found a round table and 4 chairs on Craigslist for $25. I bought it with the intention of painting it white, but I never got around to it until I started decorating for Valentine’s Day. Here it is the way I bought it.

IMG_2717After some sanding and a few coats of paint…

IMG_2739I have the look I am going for. I still have a couple more ideas to try.

valentinesgumdrop Valentine's Day wreath

Valentine's Day Heart Wreath 1

I’m not sure how to post the links to these ideas on this blog, but to go to the source, you can visit my pinterest board  http://pinterest.com/krueger1971/valentine-s-day/

Passport to Love Date Night

I’ve been following a blog for a few months now, and I have to say, it’s actually changing my marriage. The Dating Divas.  It’s eleven married women who post brilliant date night ideas. Dean and I have enjoyed planning several of their dates, but the one that has recently caught my eye is the passport to love.


The idea is that once a month for the entire year, you and your hubs take a “staycation” to a different country. For example: you might choose to “go” to  Hawaii (yes, I am aware that Hawaii is a State, just go with it). So your date would go like this, when he gets home from work, greet him at the door with a lei (you can get them at party city or another party store). You should have some fun Hawaiian music playing in the background and greet him with a kiss on each cheek. Then for dinner, you could make teriyaki chicken with rice or, better yet, go out to a Hawaiian BBQ Restaurant. For dessert, Trader Joes sometimes carries coconut sorbet in a half of a coconut shell. Don’t forget the Pina Coladas! 🙂 Get creative! After dinner. put the kiddos to bed, snuggle on the couch and watch a movie set in Hawaii, like, “50 First Dates”. The idea is to have fun with your guy.

I LOVE this idea, so I planned a Passport to Love for Dean. I printed up the invitation and passports from the dating divas website. Then I chose one day a month (not that we are only going to go out once a month, but just once a month for this involved date) and filled out an itinerary. And presented the idea to Dean. He was as excited as I was! For the month of January, I chose London. We are fortunate that we have teenagers who are happy to babysit the younglings (for a nominal fee ;-)) So we got all dolled up (I even wore my fake eyelashes!) and went to a pub for Fish and Chips and some Guinness beer. Ok. slight change of travel plans, we decided to go to Killarney’s, which is actually an Irish Pub, but the result was the same.images-1

Fish and chips and Guinness! And fun! We talked and talked (uninterrupted by little sweeties). IMG_2722 IMG_2728

Later, we went home and watched Notting Hill. Of Course!

images-2In November 2000, for our 10th Anniversary, Dean and I went to the Real London in England! 😉 and I kept a journal of all the fun (and not so fun, cold and rainy) things we did there. As the perfect ending to our date, we looked at pictures from that vacation as I read Dean the journal.

Next month, INDIA! I’m thinking a visit to our favorite Indian restaurant and maybe “Slumdog Millionaire” or perhaps a popular movie made in Bollywood! We are already looking forward to it!

A Brilliant Son

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today. I found an old journal I kept when our first son was a baby. He made me a mom, a job which I have proudly held for the past 18 1/2 years. When he was little, he was a super talker. Like, full sentences when he was 18 months old! But the cutest thing was the way he used to say his words. Like, the word “shoes” was said with his sweet little lips stuck out trying to form the word.   “Shooooos”.  So adorable! He was a thumb-sucker from the womb. Some of my favorite photos are ones with his thumb in his mouth. (By the way, he never needed braces) 🙂

joey snuggling with daddy 1994 joey-about 3 months old

He and I spent lots of time at the library. Often, I’d arrange to meet my other Mommy friends at the library and we’d sit and visit while the kids read books and played with puzzles. I remember once, going into Joey’s room late at night when he was about 2 years old. I thought he was asleep, but he looked up at me with big blue eyes, took his thumb out of his mouth with a smack and said, “Book?” That’s my boy!

joey 1996

We do the best we can when there’s discipline or guidance required, but Joey is our first-born, remember. Sometimes we have to kinda make it up as we go along. After all, I’ve never been the Mom of an 18 year-old before. He sets the standard for the rest of the kids. (Sorry, guys, but it’s true) By the time Adam gets to be 18. I should be an old pro, right? well, maybe just old. 🙂m_71c75583afe6badd60dfba0d2204906b

After the other kids came along, I expected there to be a little jealousy, but Joey stepped up to the plate and helped out. Truly, I don’t know what we would have done without him.DSC00327

Now Joey is out of school and working. He still lives at home for now, but he talks about when he moves out. 😦 It makes me sad and proud at the same time. It’s true that time flies. I make him promise to take me to breakfast on a regular basis, so we can stay connected. He says he will. I’ll hold him to it. IMG_1362