Halloween Decor

October is just around the corner and that is when I get out all of my fall decorations.

I decorate more for fall because I can keep everything up longer, but I do like to add in a few Halloween things just to make it fun.

There are several cute signs that I might end up making for my daughters, but this morning I worked on a few for me.

This first one I made in a photo card program that I have and I love how it turned out, but my printer is low on ink so it didn’t print as bright as it should have.

I just printed it out on plain paper and stuck it in a frame.

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This is my favorite. I made this with my photo card program as well and I printed it onto clear decal paper and stuck it on a white platter.

I am loving it!

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Look who else loves the fall season!

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Starting next week, all of my October posts will be about costumes that I have made.

Have a blessed weekend!

Choosing Shore Excursions

Final payment for our family cruise is fast approaching and it is time to start deciding what shore excursions we want to book.

Since the whole group will be together on the ship, we are leaving it up to each family to decide what they want to do when we get into port.

We are taking the 5 day cruise out of Tampa with stops in the Cayman Islands and Cozumel.

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My oldest daughter has been assigned to plan this family trip but she asked me to help with the booking of the cruise and getting excursion info together.

I have found that it is much better to book your shore excursions through local businesses rather than going through the cruise lines because:
1: you can usually get a much lower price
2: it will be less crowded.
3: I like to support the locals, the cruise line gets enough money from me.

I always check reviews on Cruise Critics message boards to see what other cruisers suggest and they haven’t let me down yet.

I must caution you though, if you are wanting to do any excursions that take you far from the port, such as seeing the ruins in Mexico, I do suggest you book through the cruise line. The reason being, if, for some reason you get delayed and don’t make it back by the time the ship is set to sail, you are “SOL baby” , unless you are on a ship sponsored excursion, then the ship will wait for you.

So, with that being said:

Here are my suggestions for things to do at our first stop at Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands:

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This is the tour that I am most excited about and got good reviews on Cruise Critics,
Duncan’s Stingray City Adventures

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You can take a taxi to the Turtle Farm
for a fun day of activities.

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Or for those just wanting to relax at the beach, there are seven miles
of beach to choose from and easy to get to by taxi.

And here are my suggestions for our stop in Cozumel, Mexico:

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My sister and I did a fabulous dune buggy tour years ago and even though I can not find that tour operator, I found this one that got good reviews

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We have some in our group that expressed an interest in seeing some ruins, so I suggest this excursion through the cruise line

For the beach lovers,

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I have taken a taxi to Paradise Beach before and even though it has changed a lot, I think this is the one I will be doing for this trip.

I have also read good things about Chankanaab National Park.
This park has a lot to offer for the whole family and again, you can get there by just a short taxi ride.

So, I was wondering, have you been to either one of the destinations and if so, what fun things did you do?

iPhone 5 Review

I was one of the lucky ones to have the new iPhone 5 on Friday, September 21.

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My love affair with Apple products goes back several years now.

Even though I try to stay somewhat current with the latest iPhones and iPads, I have not gotten caught up in the need to be one of the first to get my hands on the newest version.

Until now!

I did not get up at midnight to preorder online or camp out for days in front of the store.

But, since I always get up at 5:30am to make the Capt.’s coffee and lunch for the day, I did decide to preorder my new iPhone 5 on AT&T’s website and it was to be delivered on Friday, September 21 (the day they go on sale in stores).

I must admit, I was soooo excited when Friday finally got here.
I did not want to go anywhere that day for fear of missing the FedEx man.

When I was walking Marley that morning, I saw a FedEx truck leaving our subdivision and I thought for sure it had delivered my package. I practically ran all the way home, but no iPhone yet.

Poor Marley, he was so hot and tired after that unexpected workout!

Finally, 2:00pm and the doorbell rings. My package has arrived!

Here it is, the new iPhone 5, white.

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I just love the look and feel of this phone.

It is much lighter than my iPhone 4 and also slimmer and fits in my hand much better.

The connector port is smaller on the new phone, and the cable inserts either way you put it in.

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It does seem to be much faster with the 4g and I do like that.

I haven’t noticed much improvement in the battery life or the camera quality, it seems to be about the same as my old phone.

The camera does have a new feature that I like, the panoramic view.

The screen is longer, which is supposed to be better for streaming video or watching a movie but I haven’t done either of those yet.

The thing I love the most about this new phone is the ability to FaceTime from anywhere.

The Capt. and I went to breakfast Sunday, after church, when he remembered that we were supposed to FaceTime with our granddaughters. I said “no problem, I have my phone with me and now we can FaceTime over 4g”.
As we stood in the parking lot of the restaurant video chatting with the girls, the hostess was calling our name and looking everywhere for us because we were next to be seated. I can see we will have to plan better in the future, but the point is, it works everywhere now and that is my favorite new feature!

There is a problem though, and from what I have been reading online, it is a software issue that I am sure will be worked out.

The glitch is that the phone will not stay connected to my wifi at home.

This is a problem because when it is not using wifi, it is running on 4g and using up my data.

I have to make sure, every time I turn it on to check email, Facebook, or Pinterest, that I reconnect to my wifi first. This is such a nuisance because my wifi is passcode protected and I have to enter a password every time I reconnect.

When all is said and done, though, I love my new iPhone 5.

Now, I need to find the perfect case for my new phone.

Any suggestions?

Slow Down The Ripening Process Of Bananas

I have seen sooo many different ideas on the Internet about how to preserve bananas but when I have tried them, they haven’t worked.

Some say to separate them, that didn’t work for me.

Some say refrigerate them, that didn’t work for me.

Some say to put them on a hook or hanger, that didn’t work for me.

Well, I bought some bananas for the Capt.’s lunch this week but I wasn’t sure if he would eat them all so I decided to try one more tip.

I did not take a picture of the bananas when I first got them because at that time I didn’t think that I would be posting about them.

I bought the bananas on Monday and I wrapped a piece of aluminum foil around the stem to slow down the ripening process.

By Wednesday, the Capt. had not eaten any of them.

They still look really good.

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Here it is Friday and they still sit untouched, still in good condition.

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I think this method really works!

If I had not wrapped the stems with aluminum foil, I would either be throwing these bananas out today or making banana bread.

I think these will hold up long enough for him to take for lunch on Monday and maybe even Tuesday.

For the remaining bananas, I think I am going to try baking them.

I found this recipe on Pinterest that I want to try.

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Have a blessed weekend!

September Pins

We are already into the middle of September. My goodness, where has the time gone?

My theme this month is centered around fall decor, specifically PUMPKINS!

I would love to have this at my front door to greet guests.

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And this would be perfect anywhere you placed it.

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I would love to build a tablescape around these.

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Love this pumpkin party cooler idea.

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I love the idea of using pumpkins to hold dishes on a buffet table.

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Do you have old worn out pumpkins? Why not give them a facelift with paint and embellishments.

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Or glitter!

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And last but not least are these beautiful monogrammed pumpkins.

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So, how will you be decorating for fall?

Painted Soles

Have you seen these shoes yet?

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I just love them, but I am not liking the price tag!

So I searched the thrift stores for a pair of shoes that I could transform.

I found this nice pair of Aerosoles for $4.00.

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I taped off the upper part of the shoe, just leaving the sides of the sole exposed. I also taped off the bottom because I am obsessed that way!

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I put on 3 coats of acrylic paint that I bought at Walmart for .97 cents.

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After the third coat was dry, it looked too chalky for me so I applied a coat of water based glossy polyurethane since I had some in my paint supply cabinet.

I love how it sealed the craft paint and added a nice sheen.

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Not bad for under $5.00 !

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I think these will look awesome with this outfit for fall.

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Have you painted any shoes?

If you have, I would love to see pictures.

In Honor Of The September 11 Heroes

While I was going through all of my Halloween pictures through the years, I came across this very special one.

Since this is the week of remembrance, I post this in honor of the September 11 heroes.

It has been a tradition in our family to make costumes instead of buying one.

However, we could not resist buying this cute fireman costumes to honor those brave men that had just lost their lives rushing into the burning towers.

This picture was 11 years ago and Jake was only 3.

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Here he is with his younger brother as the fire dog.

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I will never forget that night.

My daughter and I had taken Jake to the rag shag parade in town. We love this event because you trick or treat at the local businesses lined up on main street, then you march in a parade to the Armory, led by a fire truck.

Jake was so scared of all the kids dressed up that he didn’t want to trick or treat and we had fallen behind in the parade.

Actually, we were the very last ones in the parade.

As we were getting ready to cross the last intersection, to enter the Armory, the fire truck was already heading back to the firehouse when they spotted us.

They stopped their truck, opened the door and personally greeted our little fire fighter.

That was such a touching moment for us, and them, that is still brings tears to my eyes writing this.

May we never forget our fallen heroes and may God bless their families!

Halloween Is Coming

I start to get giddy around this time every year just thinking about Halloween.

I love making costumes and going to places to show them off and to see what other clever people have come up with.

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Starting the first of October, I will be showcasing some of the costumes that I have made over the years for the Capt. and I, my kids, the grandkids, and for the pets.

I had made some over the top costumes about 4 years ago for the grandkids, and what I mean by over the top is, the most elaborate, time consuming and expensive! Afterwards, I had announced that I would not be making any more costumes. I felt I may as well go out with a bang because there was no way that I could top that!

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But, the following year I was having withdrawals from not making any costumes, so I turned my attention to my dog and my sister’s dog. I made 2 fabulous costumes for Marley and Sweetie ( a cute black pekingese). After all, with those adorable smashed in faces, I knew I had to exploit them. The costumes were fabulous and they took 1st and 2nd place at Petco and may have even won the grand prize at the big pet costume contest at the mall. We will never know for sure because we had to leave abruptly since Marley was not playing nice with the other dogs!
As much as he loves to dress up ( and he rocked his costume I might add), I vowed to never put him in that situation again. Sweetie, on the other hand, behaved very well, and even though she doesn’t like to dress up like Marley does, she handled herself like a lady!

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So, as of last year, I came out of retirement and made some costumes for a few of the grandkids, but I warned them that they would not be on the grand scale as before.

Now, that brings us to this year. The Capt. has been wanting to get back up to New England for a long weekend to see our newest grandson again and we even picked a date in September to go. But, then we found out that our youngest daughter, and the one with the baby, was in a wedding that weekend and would not be available, so we had to look at other dates.
To my delight ( and the Capt.’s horror,) we chose Halloween. Yeah!

I had been planning on making some tutu costumes for 2 of my granddaughters, but now the wheels are spinning in my head. I am making 5 costumes and we will be going to the local rag shag parade and costume contest.

I am also working with my sister on a costume for Sweetie because we plan on taking her to the costume contest at the mall since it is the weekend before Halloween and I will still be in town at that time.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I will be posting my Halloween creations all month long starting in October.

Halloween, or shall I say, making Halloween costumes, is an obsession for me.

I was just wondering, does anyone else share this obsession?

Redefined Laundry Space

Finally, the big reveal! I am sooo excited to show you my redefined laundry space.

It all started when I began to pin these fabulous laundry room makeovers on Pinterest. I wanted to have a lovely space to do my laundry in too!

Just because my washer and dryer are in the garage didn’t mean that I couldn’t do something amazing to make it feel more like a space just for me.

You can read how it all started here.

Remember what my area looked like before?

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Well, here it is now!

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To set my space apart from the rest of the garage, we painted my corner gray.

I saw that a lot of ladies were painting their washers and dryers, so I knew that I wanted to paint mine, I just wasn’t sure of the color I wanted.

But when the Capt. got his new work space, with the red and black, I carried the same color scheme over to my space.

For those of you who didn’t see the garage redo, you can check it out here

So I taped off the face of my machines and painted it with an oil base paint. I didn’t do any prep work other than cleaning them really well. Then I just used a small foam roller and rolled on the Rustoleum Safety Red Gloss paint. It took 2 coats and a lot of dry time but they look fabulous!

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I wanted the face of the machines to blend in so I taped off the contour lines and added the red pinstripes and I love how it turned out.

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I also wanted lots of storage space in my new area to free up some space in my closets. I have my Goodwill dishes and treasures taking up space in all of my closets, so I thought it would be nice to store them in my knew area that is ” just for me”!

We bought some inexpensive floor cabinets at Lowes, turned them upside down, painted the kick board with leftover red paint and hung them on the wall. Now we have custom cabinets. I also wanted the big floor cabinet raised a little higher so the Capt. built a box to set it on and I also painted that red.

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I have seen where ladies have put a shelf above their washers and dryers and I loved that look so I had the Capt. make one for me.

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I had to make this sign to fit in the empty space above the cabinets.

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Here is another look at the before and after.

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Here is a view of our spaces together.

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Ahhh, aren’t they a perfect match!

I am linking up to:
Monday

Market yourself Monday at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
A marvelous mess at Marvelously Messy
Creative Corner Blog Hop at Cherished Handmade Treasures
Monday LinkUp Party at Making The World Cuter
I Gotta Try That
It’s so very creative at It’s So Very Cheri

Tuesday

Get your craft on at Today’s Creative Blog
Show me what ya got at Not Just A Housewife
A Bowl Full Of Lemons
home decorating and organizing link party at Organize Your Stuff Now
Uncommonly yours at Uncommon Creating the
Tuesdays Tutorials at Kurtz Corner

Wednesday

Look what I made at Creations by Kara
Lil Luna link party at Lil Luna
Wildly Original Roundup at I Gotta Create
whimsical Wednesday blog hop at Random
Whimsy Wednesday at The NY Melrose Family

Thursday

Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage (Wed night)
Hookin up party at House of Hepworths (Wed night)
Dog gone dirty craftin at Rhinestone Beagle
Made you look at Made in a Day

Friday

Frugal Friday at Shabby Nest (Thur night)
Friday flair at Whipperberry
Friday fun party at Craftionary
Fancy this Fridays at Truly Lovely
Freedom Fridays at My Turn (For Us)

Homemade Window Cleaner

I had been noticing that there are a lot of gals that make their own cleaners.

Pinterest is full of recipes for laundry soap, household cleaners, and even shampoo.

They all say the same thing, which is, not only is it more cost effective, but it works better than anything they have bought in the store.

I know that I can be cheap thrifty, but I had decided that making my own cleaning products wasn’t for me. I thought that was taking the whole “Susie Homemaker” thing too far.

Well, I had been wanting to clean all of the windows in the house, especially the french doors leading out to the pool, for a while now. After all of the grandkids visits, there are finger prints and smudges everywhere. I was putting this job off because not only was it too hot to do the outside, but I kept forgetting to buy more window cleaner.

But, when I got a call from the Capt. yesterday afternoon telling me that he had invited some co- workers over for a boil on Saturday, I knew that I had to get those windows cleaned ASAP.

I quickly searched Pinterest and found this simple recipe for window cleaner. I already had everything needed to make the cleaner so I thought, what the heck, it will save me a trip to the store.

I am a changed woman! My windows never looked so good!
It didn’t leave any streaks and I swear my windows sparkle now.

I found the original recipe here, but I tweaked it just a bit.
Because I had sudsy ammonia, I did not add the drop of soap.
I used an empty Windex bottle so I had to make sure to measure everything since the recipe is for 24oz and my bottle was 32oz.

I love this stuff so much that I made a label for my new cleaner with the recipe right on it.

1 oz sudsy ammonia
4 ozrubbing alcohol
19 oz water

( that’s right, I was paying for mostly water at the store).

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I will never use store bought window cleaner again.

Hmmm, I might have to rethink my options for laundry detergent!