Jacob’s 6 Foot Hot Wheel

Here are the pictures of Jacob’s finished room! Finally! This project took more ‘engineering’ than creativity for me. It could have been the size factor or that I’m not used to drawing cars on walls. Probably both. But I think it turned out ok.

To get the proportions right on the wall, I literally drew a grid on the picture I was using as reference and on the wall.

For the wall I measured out the squares & drew +‘s to plot the corners of each square. This gave me reference points without having a big grid to erase at the end of the project.

Next came the outlined sketch and the first layer of paint.

Then I filled in the small details and outlined it all in black to highlight the detail of the car.

(Psst! I have been known to use a black sharpie pen to do this part. It is easier to manage and quicker. But it gives a matte effect, not a glossy one.)

To give the windshield a sheen I used a pearlescent white paint. The glow adds depth to the car and catches the light regardless of where you stand in the room.

I intended to work on the shadowing of the windshield and the engine. But quite honestly, I ran out of time and he’s 4.

The real mistake I made on this project was not thinking of the position of his bed. I had it all laid out, then one visit from my sister and she suggests moving it to make more room for him to play. Agggg!

She was right, the bed needed moved. But because I painted the car in the middle of the largest wall, there wasn’t a lot of flexibility in rearranging the furniture.

You can see by the last picture here that his headboard covers up part of the engine and the track. But quite honestly, he’s 4. 🙂

If you have a project you’d like painted or just some help on getting started, leave me a comment and we’ll touch base.


Following My Bliss

Yes, this is a last minute post to try to win a ticket to Blissdom 2010. It is graciously sponsored by Mom In The City. Thank you.

In 2009, I followed my bliss by following my heart. It was a grand gesture on my heart’s part to live and love again. God melted and molded me in many ways in 2009. I was very blessed.

In 2010, I want to follow my bliss in to new ventures: 1) homeschooling and 2) creating. John, my 2009 bliss, has supported my desires and efforts to take on what is sure to be a massive undertaking – homeschooling Emma & Jacob. In addition, he has encouraged me to reconnect with a passion I’ve let slide – painting.

So that is it. Nothing too extremely fancy, but important to me, nonetheless.

Semi-All-Natural-Homeopathic-Hot-Toddy-Sans Booze!

My semi-all-natural-homeopathic-hot-toddy-sans booze: Teavana Silver Needle white tea, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice & Ideal sweetener.

I looked up several home made remedies for a sore throat when John was sick with his Man Cold. Most of them involved water, apple cider vinegar and honey. I decided to alter the brew a bit to suit my own tastes and needs.

8oz. Teavana Silver Needle White Tea – hot
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 packet Ideal sweetener
  1. I chose white tea versus water for its antioxident properties. Here are some of the health benefits:
    1. Extremely high amount of antioxidants
    2. May inhibit the growth of certain forms of cancer
    3. May reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
    4. Excellent for skin and complexion
    5. Least processed (steamed and dried)
    6. Approximately 1% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee.
  2. I added lemon juice for taste. Just because.
  3. I used Ideal sweetener versus honey because I really don’t need the extra calories and I’m out of honey! Ideal is more than 99% natural. It’s made from xylitol, a natural sweetener found in fruits & veggies.

I gotta say, I’m not a tea drinker. But the white tea is mild and very high in antioxidents, more so than green tea from what I understand, plus it doesn’t taste funny. So I figured it’s just better than water.

All together, it’s tasty, makes my throat feel better and clears up my sniffles a bit too! Good for ya, good in ya, drink up!

Tea Tree Oil-Must Have Medical Fix All

Melaleuca Tea Tree Oil

I don’t usually talk about products on my blog, but this I can’t help but share with you. And actually everyone I see!

It’s Melaleuca Tea Tree Oil!

I started using Melaleuca products 4 months ago after learning a bit about them and their company. I was very skeptical, but hoping for the best.

Now I can say for sure that I have been more than impressed with several products and this is one of them.

It is a cure all for so many things, I can’t even list them all. But from personal experience I can attest to 2 major discoveries about using Tea Tree Oil.

1) John’s been suffering from eczema in his ears since high school. He’s tried everything from specialty creams to prescription ointments with no luck. Until now! Within 3 days he had significant improvement and within 5 days it was gone! 20 years of suffering from this irritating skin condition and now it is gone. All it took was a little swab of this on a qtip.

2) I burned my thumb on a 450 degree oven rack. Ouch! It covered the major of the top of my thumb including the knuckle. Yes, I got it good for sure. It was blistering up within minutes. I ran cold water over it and then went for the Melaleuca Tea Tree Oil. I had read that it worked on burns. So I applied it once after I did it that evening and once before I went to bed that night. The next morning I woke to find the blistering gone, redness faded, pain eliminated! It was not even tender to the touch. I showed John and he could not believe it. I only applied it TWICE and it was gone. All the aloe in the world couldn’t do make a burn disappear.

Like I said before I’m the skeptic. I’m not in to holistic medicine. I’ve been raised and more often than not doctor myself and my family with the typical pharmaceutical remedies from Walgreen’s shelves. But this has opened my eyes to more options.

I think my family and I will be healthier because of it. 🙂

Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Goodbye 2009

Goodbye 2009! I am walking away from you and not looking back. You have brought me through this year of  trials, tribulations and triumphs.

In January… you made me doubt myself, friendships, and whether I made any progress at all from 2008. (Sigh)

In February… you made me realize that I can overcome  – a lesson I keep learning. You opened the door for my new business and introduced me to new friends.

In March… you made me appreciate Facebook and reintroduced me to an old friend. It turned in to a life changing experience. Thanks

In April… you made me realize that being a single mom sometimes feels like a like of deprivation and isolation that is suffocating and debilitating. You showed me that I was not the only single mom feeling this way and it was ok.

In May… you made me realize that I could open my heart again and feel as scary as it was. You taught me to follow my gut in business – if it doesn’t feel right, there’s a reason.

In June… you made me realize that I was in love with someone who loved my kids. You gave me hope.

In July… you made it possible for me to travel Europe with my new love and learn about dedication, loyalty and honor.

In August… you made me take a chance on a new life and find a place in a new church.

In September… you made me believe in my choices as life fell in place, some doors opened, and some doors closed.

In October… you made me learn to communicate and compromise.

In November… you made me learn to communicate and compromise – again.

In December… you made me learn to appreciate the bigger picture that God has in store for me and my family and that I need to trust in that more.

Overall, you have given me a better sense of myself than I have ever known.

Thank you and farewell!

Painting Paris – A Mini How To Guide

I’ve decided it was time for Emma & Jacob to have separate bedrooms. I tried this once when they were 2. I fought the screaming and crying for over a month and then put them back together. But this time we discussed it before hand and they both bought in. So as a gift to them I told them I would paint their room while they were gone visiting their dad over Christmas.

It started with a large search online for wall murals or wall stickers. Most of these are easily applied and removed. I didn’t have the money to get what I really wanted to I decided to paint instead. I haven’t painted in a long time but I love to be creative, so I knew it would be a lot of fun (work)!

Since I’ve had a few folks following my updates on Twitter & Facebook several questions have popped up. How did you do that?, Was it hard?, etc. Easy & No are the respective answers.  If you have 2 days and paint, you can do it too! Here’s how:

  1. The first thing I do on a project like this is develop a dimensional layout.
    • Print off a copy of the mural.
    • Measure the largest item with a ruler.
    • Determine the space you have to work with on the wall.
    • Come up with an easy ratio to apply (i.e. 1 in on paper = 1 ft on the wall)
    • This becomes your dimensional layout so the picture is proportionate.
  2. Draw a pencil sketch of the largest item on the wall using your layout.
    • If you need to you can plot a few points that are measured out with a yardstick or
    • If you need to you can draw a proportionate grid on the paper and on the wall, then sketch your largest item using the grid as your guide.
  3. Pencil sketch in the rest of the items on the wall using your layout.
    • All of the details do not need to be included, just the outline and major lines. (i.e. I didn’t include the white circles on the mirror frame on my original sketch. Ref pics below)
  4. Paint all large areas first, going from left to right if you are right handed (this is a tip to help you avoid smearing paint as you move across the wall). Let it dry overnight.
  5. Paint all the small areas and add details to your heart’s desire!

That’s it! It’s easy! You can do it!  Trust me. I’m not an artist. I’m more of the engineer type that breaks it down visually to connect the dots.  Below are the pics of Emma’s room start to finish. I’ll be posting Jacob’s room when it’s done.

When Missing Daddy, Call On Your Father

“I miss my daddy,” Emma cried.

I’ve heard this more and more over the last month. I guess it is a matter of timing. They haven’t seen him since our trip to Hungary in July. Well, except for about 10 minutes mid-October when he Skyped with them.

The last time he spoke to them was the 3rd week in November. He called mid-December, but the kids were with my dad. He said he would call there, but I’m not sure he did.

That has to weigh heavy on a little one’s heart. Most of the time, I’m sure they just go about their business of life – going to school, church, play dates, family movies, etc. But it’s in the quiet times or times when they get hurt that his absence seems to be more than apparent. This is when they cry out to a father that does not listen.

It’s especially rough during the holiday season. We get photo Christmas cards depicting bright, smiling families – complete with a daddy. They also know they are going to spend time with their daddy at Christmas. And I remind them so it will relieve some of the tension of ‘when’. Then you get questions like this:

“Is daddy coming back to marry us mommy?” Emma asks with such innocent hope in her eyes.

It burns me up! I flood with emotion: anger, frustration, resentment, sadness. I hurt for them. Still. You would think this gets easier over time. But it doesn’t. When your child is hurting it really doesn’t matter if they are 4 or 40, you hurt with them.

For a long time, I didn’t know what to say to the “missing daddy” statement. My standard answer was “I know”. What else is there to say?

“He was a crappy husband and is even a crappier father.”
“What else is to be expected from such a self-centered, ego maniac.”
“It sucks to be you!”
“You’ll be missing him the rest of your life, get used to it.”

There are no words.
At least I thought not.

Then I remember the wonderful book of Isaiah and some of the lessons I have learned this past year and a half. Painful but reassuring lessons that have given me a peace like I have never known. So now, I have a new reply.

“I know. I know you miss your daddy. And I know that sometimes you feel sad and confused. Sometimes the people we love make choices that we don’t understand. It is confusing and sometimes it hurts us. But I know your daddy loves you very much. And you know what else? God loves you even more. God is our Father in heaven. He is my Father and your Father. He is our Father because He created us and loves us more than anyone else ever, ever will. He will always take care of you and be there for you to talk to or ask for help anytime you need it. He is with you always in your heart.”

I often go on to talk about how Mommy loves her and is always here. We talk about Mr. John and Papa, my dad, being there for her too. But I guess that thing that I want her to get, that I never did as a child, is that she is not alone. God is our Father in heaven and He is with us always. She doesn’t have to long for the love of a father because she has it already. Maybe it’s not in the way other kids have it or that she expects it, but it is there.

Always Emmanuel

Google Gave Me A Writing Award!

Yes, it’s true! And I just found out today! My Google Knol – Running 101: Running In Heat & Humidity, written & published in July 2008 received 3 awards from Google.

  • Top Viewed Knol Award – Given to knols with the most pageviews
  • Top Viewed Author Award – Given to authors with the most pageviews
  • Top Pick Knol Award – Given to knols with the “highest quality of work”

Wow! That last one is the clincher. Not that having high pageviews isn’t exciting stuff in general. But when there is someone you have no affiliation with that recognizes your work… it’s just, well, amazing!

This article actually generated a job offer for me last fall for a running website. I ended up passing on it because my life was a bit unmanageable at the time, but it was nice to get an offer just the same.

OK, so it’s not a Pulitzer nor is it the New York Times Best Seller List. It’s not even in Oprah’s Book Club. But it is my work and I have to say I’m pretty proud of it.

Take a look-see and tell me what you think.