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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Midsummer Update.

Halfway through July and not a single post. Sorry guys.

It isn't that things haven't been going on -- they have, albeit in incredibly small, not really photograph-worthy increments -- and sometimes you kind of just have to take a break and do other stuff, like spend a beautiful day at the pool instead of building a fence.

That's just the way this cookie is crumbling this summer.

Anyway, on Thursday I should have something for you, even if it's just proof that I accidentally turned the backyard into a pumpkin patch. (Autumn will be SO FUN you guys!)

I hope you all are having a great summer and I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chasing Pavements.

So last week sometime, I posted this little photo to the Facebook Page because I was so excited I could hardly stand it and I am my own worst spoiler alert:

Chasing Pavements.

I don't actually remember why we started this, other than it was a gorgeous day outside and we were at a stopping place with a couple of other things we're working on, but sure enough, this little section of the concrete jungle that once existed in the front yard was being chipped into smithereens.

Now, I know you're probably like, what, but why? And here's your answer. It was cracked to shit, there was that weird little dirt patch where nothing but weeds grow because it doesn't get enough sun, and then the surface of it was actually deceptively uneven, which means I tripped and rolled my ankle over nothing far more frequently than is necessary in a life. To start.

Also, it was just ugly and poorly executed. I can do better. And I will.

So while Kyle went at it with the tamping iron and our baby sledgehammer, I distracted the kids to my best ability with mulching the flower beds -- but pretty quickly Kiedis got his little work gloves and the kids' sized shovel we bought them a couple of weeks back and he was trying to help Daddy, grunting and lifting the smaller rocks and putting them in a pile.

This kid, let me tell you.

And in a matter of just a couple of hours, we had this:

Chasing Pavements.

You can see Kiedis' gloves there on the step. They're Lightning McQueen. And you can actually see him on the porch there, too, but I thought that was kind of obvious. Anyway.

We're not sure what we're going to do with these giant pieces of concrete that are pretty flat on one side -- they broke at most of the uneven spots, so that was kind of nice -- but once we move it/find a use for it we'll maybe be able to start beautifying the front porch a bit more.

Chasing Pavements.

In the meantime, if anyone needs some broken up concrete, I'm your girl.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Neighborhood Service Announcement.

Yesterday, I had to distract my children into playing in the kitchen for a while.

I didn't want them to see what was happening next door. And in all honesty, I could barely bear to watch myself.

One of my new neighbors died from an apparent overdose. A woman I actually knew as a girl when I was not much older than my son. It's not clear if it was accidental or intentional, but it was surely unexpected.

She leaves behind two sons, ages 13 and 9.

I am struck by how quickly a single choice can completely alter the lives of everyone around you, how it can utterly change the trajectory of an entire life in mere instants.

So hug your kids and tell them you love them. Reach out to your family and friends and neighbors who you know maybe struggling or you just haven't spoken to in a while.

And, for the love of everything, if you find yourself struggling, please reach out to someone. I know from first hand experience how incredibly hard that can be, but trust me, it can be done. No one needs to suffer alone. There are people who love you and who will help you.

Nothing is permanent, nothing is certain -- so please don't take this life for granted.

I'll be back next week with more projects. Have a safe and fun solstice weekend.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our First Build & Grow Workshop with Lowe's

Now, you all know that I'm a pretty hardcore Home Depot girl, through and through. I mean, it's to the point that Kiedis quotes the Home Depot commercial that runs before This Old House every time we start working on a house project. He also conflates TOH and THD as if they are one and the same.

This could be due to the amount of PBS we watch, but semantics.

However, when I caught wind that Lowe's would be doing one of their FREE Build & Grow Kids' Workshops where you could build your own Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon 2, only Kiedis' favorite movie (and TV show) in the span of ever and forever, well, it was time to go ahead and cross that line.

So, the Saturday before Father's Day, we rose early and trekked out to our local Lowe's, registrations in hand, to help our kids build something for a change.

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

Each kid received a little kit and a miniature hammer -- for reference, these instructions are folded up to about the size of an index card -- and were sent on our way to a couple of tables that'd been set up in the flooring department. I could tell there were some veteran parents there with their kids as they snatched their kits and walked off to farther reaches than the quickly crowded tables.

Upon opening the kit, the instructions seemed pretty straightforward to me ... but as I listened to other parents struggle a little (more than a little) with the whole ordeal, I realized that maybe my keen experience with IKEA instructions may have paved the way for a higher understanding of pictoral directions.

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

So we got to work building our Toothlesses.

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

They were excited. You can tell because they have their serious faces on.

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

Look at Tova wielding that hammer! Making her mama proud, that's my girl. Kiedis did excellent with his hammering, too.

It took us a matter of maybe ten minutes to build each Toothless (with each child helping a great deal) and then we one ecstatic little boy...

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

...who was smarter than his parents and figured out how to make Toothless' wings flap.

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

And a little girl who was pretty proud of herself as well.

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

All in all, it was a fun experience that the kids seemed to enjoy quite a bit -- and they both actually weren't feeling so hot that morning, so it feels like an extra victory.

Toothless Build & Grow Workshop at Lowe's via turnrightatlakemichigan.com

After we finished our projects and collected our completion certificates (complete with little badges with Toothless' face on them that are meant to be sewn on to little aprons that they usually give away, but the associate moderating the activity informed me they were out of them at the moment but would probably have more next time) we wandered Lowe's a bit and did some light comparison shopping and left with a lot of ideas ... and two fence post caps.

There's another HTTYD2 workshop on the 28th (sheep drop game!) ... and I think we'll definitely be going to that one as well. And hopefully snag these guys some work aprons because as a former Girl Scout, I need to sew these badges on to SOMETHING.

I think this is a great way to help introduce kids to building projects that can teach them some valuable lessons about following instructions and tool safety, but also that if you put your mind and your hands to it, you can make yourself something cool and learn a new skill. I love that my kids appear to love DIY projects as much as I do, and I want to encourage that love of learning and doing in them as much as possible.

And for what it's worth, this post wasn't sponsored or anything, though over on Tabulous I have been working with DreamWorks & Fox Home Entertainment on the HTTYD series of shows and movies mostly because Kiedis loves them so much and they're truly a great story that I don't mind watching several times over. You know, just for the sake of full disclosure.

Hope your week has been going well, and I'll see you on Thursday!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Family Photos, 2014 Edition!

You guys are totally getting the scoop over here. Usually I'd post this kind of thing over on Tabulous, but as it's pertinent to our discussion from Tuesday I thought, what the heck.

So part of busting butt on the backyard sitting area was because the stars aligned in such a way that I had an AMAZING dress at my disposal for a weekend, a forecast for beautiful weather, and a photographer friend happily available to help me realize an idea with about 72 hours notice.

And these are a sneak peek of the results of all that.
Backyard Family Photoshoot 2014 c/o Keely Weis Photography on turnrightatlakemichigan.com
Backyard Family Photoshoot 2014 c/o Keely Weis Photography on turnrightatlakemichigan.com
Backyard Family Photoshoot 2014 c/o Keely Weis Photography on turnrightatlakemichigan.com
Backyard Family Photoshoot 2014 c/o Keely Weis Photography on turnrightatlakemichigan.com
Backyard Family Photoshoot 2014 c/o Keely Weis Photography on turnrightatlakemichigan.com
Backyard Family Photoshoot 2014 c/o Keely Weis Photography on turnrightatlakemichigan.com
These are also some of the last photos of Kiedis with long hair. *sob*

Super big huge thanks to Keely Weis Photography for just being awesome. :)

Anywho. That's really it. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Backyard Gypsy Corner Progress.

A ways back, I posted about my little backyard salvage/repurposing project, teasing just a few pictures, then talking about the plans I had to complete the little nook.

Then, a couple of weeks later, I teased this little nugget over on the Facebook page:

But then Roscoe came back and things kind of got derailed.

However, what I didn't share last time is that we kind of had a deadline to reach. And maybe we bust complete butt one weekend to get that shabby little arrangement to look a little more ... complete.

Like this.
The Backyard Gypsy Corner Progress.
Oh, little red couch, how missed you were.

Obviously, the couch could not stay out there beyond a sunny day or two (it's now in my living room and the kids freaking love it, as do the cats) but for a couple of spring mornings, this was a little decadent slice of heaven.

Now let's talk about this chandy!
The Backyard Gypsy Corner Progress.

When I envisioned this space, based on a couple of Pinterest pins that for the life of me, I cannot find though I KNOW I pinned them, I knew a chandelier was paramount to the whole thing. I mean, I only have one in practically every room of my house, why not start to put them outside too?

Anyway, this formerly-brass beauty was $15 at the Habitat ReStore. There were a couple that were even prettier, but I couldn't quite validate purchasing something extra nice to then dismantle, spray paint, and leave outside when there might be someone who actually needed the light fixtures to be, you know, functional interior sources of light. So this one it was.

For my first trick, I took the whole thing apart and snipped wires where applicable. I learned some things about chandelier wiring in the process, so that was an unexpected bonus. Then, as I do, I spray painted the thing beyond oblivion. I sparkled the whole rig up with some acrylic crystals I found in the wedding section of a local craft closeout store (because they won't break and actually aren't that heavy) and using some small gauged wire, attached the crystals as I saw fit.
The Backyard Gypsy Corner Progress.

I also gently re-attached the faux candlesticks to each arm because I liked how they looked, honestly. It felt a little bare without them, plus I still have a couple of tricks up my sleeve with this thing and those are pertinent to those interests, if you will.

Of course, there are still some tweaks to the whole thing to be made -- painting the wooden cross-planks, for instance -- but those will come in due time (and when I can decide a color scheme and have a few free minutes when it's not either blisteringly hot & humid or pouring down rain.

Anyway, on Thursday I think I'll give you guys the scoop over the main blog on why this area needed to be near functional in a certain amount of time, because you all have been so patient with me as I fumble through all of the chaos that life keeps throwing at me.