Thursday, March 19, 2015

Big Time Savings!

Today I am using another one of Mama Kat's writing prompts. 

Describe a time when you saved BIG. 

In reality, there are so many options, because I tend to do a lot of research before I make a purchase, which can net me some really great deals. There is one deal which was both recent and exciting, though. 

A couple of weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and buy some Philosophy brand face wash called Purity. I have a small 2 ounce bottle of it  which has been fantastic. I was headed towards a mall so I stopped and bought the 8 ounce bottle.  It was $24. When I think about the price per gallon it makes me cringe. It's a lot of money. Then again, it's my face, you know? I bought it, feeling moderately guilty. 

The very next day I got an email from Philosophy for $25 off $50. Woo hoo! Jackpot!  A 32 ounce bottle is $52, so I don't have to add anything else to the cart, I get four times as much for  $3 more - SCORE! 

It's such an unimportant thing in the grand scheme of things, but it felt like an amazing victory to me. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

Lands' End Promo Code $25 off $100

Lands' End sent me this promo code to share with you because I am an Influenster. It can be used by 25 people, then it goes dead.

Use your Unique Code + Pin & receive $25 OFF when you purchase $100 or more at Lands' End!

Promo Name: VOXLOVE

Unique Pin: 172791

Codes are valid through March 25, 2015 

It would be great if you would leave a comment letting me know you used it.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Who Was At The Front Door?

I was over at Mama Kat's writers workshop because, let's face it, I'm as much of a slacker blogger as I am a housekeeper, DIYer, etc. Which is to say I am a bad, bad slacker blogger. We all have stories to share, though. It's just that when you sit down to blog you are not face to face with someone in a conversation. So sometimes you just don't think about certain stories. Mama Kat's prompts help you think of your stories.

The one I chose today is:

Who was at your front door? 

I'll start the day before the door. I was sitting outside with a friend. She was one of those friends who wasn't really a friend - she didn't like me, I could tell. But she sort of tolerated me because our husbands were good friends. But on this day she was really my friend. Sometimes that happens, you know? Someone just has a true change of heart. I think when people get to know you, they love you. 

Anyway this day we were sitting out together and I was at the lowest point. My heart was shattered and I was truly lost. I didn't know what I would do. I always felt like I was broken, but on this day? I was at a whole new depth of despair. I wasn't ready for it. I was young - 21 years old. I had two little daughters. And I did not know what tomorrow was going to be for me. My life was suddenly a swamp and I was in quicksand up to my neck. The particulars of why I was at such a low no longer really matter. What is relevant is the pain, confusion, and fear I was feeling. They were all I was feeling. As we sat talking I said to her "I just wish someone I don't know who doesn't know me would walk up to me and say 'This is what you need to do'. Because I really do not know what to do."

I cried, I washed my face, I fed my kids, I bathed them and played with them and changed diapers and did all the mom stuff you have to do in any given day. Finally the relief of darkness came and I put them to bed. I put myself to bed. I woke up in the morning to a knock at the door. 

Two young women, standing in my door in the bright sunshine. Two young women from a church, standing there early on a weekday morning. Two young women who did not know anything about me. Two young women I did not know. They were there to help me find my way because I was lost. They were there to tell me what to do.

I told them about the conversation I had with my friend the day before. The three of us stood in the door and wept. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

*One of them, whose name I still remember, was Leah Stratton. The other name I can  not remember right now but I can still see her face. Should out to Leah if you ever google yourself! Hi! I miss you! Her husband was named Willis Stratton. She had three lovely children. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How Highly Imaginative People Use Their Ingenuity!

Pull up your chair, I want to show you what happens when you really use what is on hand. 

Contractor in Question, Uncle P. 
When my uncle was visiting from Texas last year he realized his sister and her husband needed stairs from the garage to the house. Maybe there was just one big step here before? I can't recall. Anyway, he built them some nice little stairs.

He was here this week and noticed they still did not have a handrail. He fixed this for them.

Are you impressed? This isn't your average DIY blog! 
Uncle S., clearly thrilled by his new handrail
Admit it, you wish you had this in your family - and in your garage! 

Total cost for this DIY:  Zero dollars. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What To Watch Now That Downton Abbey Is Done For The Season

Now that Downton Abbey has gone away again, we have to entertain ourselves some other way. If you enjoyed it, you might enjoy a few of these shows:

We have seen everything on this list plus others!

Larkrise to Candleford (Amazon Prime, I think. 3 or 4 seasons of it!)

Daniel Deronda (Basically anything George Eliot, but this is a gorgeous show)

Bleak House 

Mr Selfridge

Little Dorrit

Doc Martin

Upstairs Downstairs (I think the old version is way better)

Hemingway and Gelhorn (doesn't exactly fit, but I loved it!)

House of Eliott ***** we really loved this one!

Forsyte Saga

The Grand

Great Expectations

Monarch of the Glen

The Tudors


Death Comes to Pemberly

The Duchess of Duke Street

Wives and Daughters

David Copperfield

He Knew He Was Right

The Way We Live Now

The Chamomile Lawn

I know I omitted some of the most obvious ones. I do not think you need me to bring 'Pride and Prejudice' to your attention. This should keep you busy for a while. If you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear them. I need new stuff to watch, too! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

We Really Did Ring In The New Year!

     There are so many great things happening my mind can't get calm. Christmas was lovely. Four generations of happy, healthy people getting to share so much together is a gift better than any other. 

     Just a couple of days ago I celebrated the 89th birthday of my grandfather with him. 

     New Years Day was exciting, too. 

These two kids got engaged! 

     My daughter is getting married. How odd it feels to say it, and to hear myself say it. I might have said it a hundred times by now and it still feels weird. I am so happy because she has really met a wonderful man and I know they will have a happy life together. I have watched her become happier as the days go by, even just since New Years Day! 

     A few days after the proposal we went  dress shopping.

     We found her an amazing dress. (No, this isn't the one) We spent hours and she tried a lot of dresses. Then she tried on the last three many more times. Then she tried on the last two many more times. There were many which were gorgeous on her. (Face it, everything was gorgeous on her!)  I think she chose one which is very much 'her'.  A few days after finding the dress we went to a bridal show and she kept going back to one booth - it was a venue. She loved it already. We came home that night and she called to make an appointment for us to go see it the next day. She doesn't usually act so quickly, so I knew she really wanted to get this place reserved. We went to see it and the next day when she got home from work and school she told me her groom had secured the place for them! I guess he really wanted to make sure they got it, too!

     Now we are working on everything else. Boy is there a lot of stuff to do! If you have hints and tips I'm accepting them all because I really do not have a clue what I am doing.  I think the real important things are already in place. The right two people, the dress, and the place. Anything else is a bonus. 

     So tell me, what's going on with you? 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Christmas


We had a lovely Christmas. I hope you had lovely holidays, too.
 Shenanigans and tomfoolery ruled the day.
Of course!

 But so did Love.
Of course!

And little girls.
In feather boas.
Of course!

Friday, December 5, 2014

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Who wants to win a KitchenAid mixer? You do, that's who!  Here is your chance.

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Culinary Depot is giving away a free Kitchenaid Professional mixer to one lucky winner this month. With a retail value of $559, we’re giving away the Alfa KP600 Kitchenaid 6 qt Professional Mixer with Stainless Steel Bowl. Simply use the giveaway widget below to enter. Entry options include linking on Facebook, following on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, blogging about the giveaway, and more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas! Please Remember Your Local Food Pantry. {Giveaway}

      I just shared about going to the Fabulous Food Show last weekend and it was great fun! We stuffed ourselves full of food truck goodness and partook of the generous samples from the booths. We will be spending the holidays with our extended family and enjoying lots and lots of good food. We are all so blessed.

     I know not everybody is as fortunate as we are. When people are going through a difficult time, one thing which can really help is knowing there is enough to eat. Last year I shared this article about ten things foodbanks won't ask for  on this blog post: Can you spare a square? What food pantries really need.

     Again, I'll tell you I think the items are better off donated straight to the local food pantry, since the local food pantry has to pay the food bank for items. I know it's less costly than buying at the store, but your donation straight to a food pantry avoids the middleman. We support the  Sharing Center  at St. Paul's in Sharon Center, which offers help to people in Medina County. Once a month, people can come in and shop the Sharing Center. 

     The Sharing Center is helped along by so many different sources. School food drives sometimes go straight to the sharing center. Every other Thursday night is their night for Panera Bread donations. Volunteers go pick up everything left at the end of the night from Panera. As a matter of fact, Panera Bread does a lot to help hungry people. You can even sell Panera Bread gift cards as a fundraiser for your non-profit organization! Now there's a fundraiser I can appreciate. Gift wrap and questionable candy? Not so much. You can learn more about all the ways Panera Bread helps at Panera Cares.

*this was not done as an advertisement. It's just me appreciating a company who gives so much where others opt to throw good food in the trash. 

    Sometimes the clients speak up about what they never see at this (or any other) place where they get free food. They don't see spices, not even salt and pepper. There is never sugar or flour. These are pantry staples for everyone, so there must be some reason for it. I just do not know what it is. Personal care items are sometimes unavailable or in low supply. Cream of anything soups are in high demand, but not often on the shelves. Rarely have I seen chocolate, crackers, or baby items, People appreciate toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, dish soap(!) and shampoo/conditioner. There are also no condiments. 

     I bet there's a place close to your house just like our Sharing Center. I bet they would be thrilled if you and some of your friends dropped off a few bags of stuff. Why not go out to lunch with your friends and then swing by with a donation? Calling ahead is good, of course, since these volunteer run places do not have paid staff - make sure someone will be there to take your donation. If you do not have time  you can always donate cash.

     Last weekend at The Fabulous Food Show we met these great students from John Carrol University who are doing their group project to help end hunger and homelessness. They started something called Coins For Cleveland.  They are partnered up with the Cleveland Food Bank. If you click this link right here you can make a donation. All of the money goes straight to the food bank, but the kids get the acknowledgement for the fundraising.  The page shows what your donation will do. For example, a $30 donation will buy 450 oranges or 150 pounds of pasta! That's your donation really going far! If you want to donate easy peasy on the internet, this is a great way to do it.

     Really, if you can do it, you will feel so great to know you have helped other people have a great holiday season. Now that I have implored you to do something for people, how about something for you? Because I was yapping about Panera Bread and everything they do to help, how about a $50 Panera Bread gift card for one of you?

     In addition to the Panera Bread gift card, my friend Ilene from Hippie Chick Granola has generously donated a $25 gift card for you for the best granola in the world. I have tried other granolas and they shouldn't even be called the same thing. Win it now, order and enjoy - you can thank me later, when you are addicted to this delicious stuff! I am a huge fan of the Kimberly blend because I love ginger. She has fantastic flavor combinations. You just can not go wrong.

     Who wants to win!?

     First, I'm going to ask you a little favor. But it's fun, and I think you will enjoy it. Please watch this video:

     Thanks. Now, go ahead and enter this giveaway in the form below.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Fabulous Food Show, Cleveland Ohio


Thanks to Justin over at In A Cents I won tickets to the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland last weekend. Thanks, Justin! We were not sure exactly what to expect, but we did know it would be a fun day full of one of our very favorite things - food! As we first walked in we saw this: 

One of the things that is so great about Micheal Symon, besides his fantastic food, is that he is a local boy who goes all out with his love of Cleveland. Everybody loves him. Good job, Michael, not getting too big for your britches.  I heard they rejected him being at the Fabulous Food Show last year because he was local and they were trying to prove they were not just a Cleveland show. I'm glad they got smart and brought him in. It would be like telling Lebron not to come to your basketball show.  

These kids were hanging out close to the beer. Ahem. 

On the left we have a Marine Corp chef and on the right we have a Navy Chef who worked in the White House. They were nice and more than willing to pose for a photo. 

One thing I noticed Saturday is that all the chefs walked around with a sense of pride. It was fun to see so many of them all in one place. 

There were booths selling products, like Vitamix.  The Vitamix crew definitely had one of the more energetic demonstrations. They seemed happy to be showing us how to use their mixers. 

I know this isn't the best photo, but I had to add it because the lobster ball was AMAZING! 
(From the Orange Truk)

Wholly Frijoles did not disappoint with their delicious chicken tacos. The Tequila lime chicken tacos with the mild sauce (it was still spicy enough) were delicious.

Yes, another taco truck. But let me explain:
'nuff said.

Also, I had it on good authority that this guy makes the best tacos:
Hello, Damon, you are a taco genius!

 And he was even working both of the windows. Whatta guy! 
You can find Barrio Tacos in two locations; Tremont and Lakewood. 

I give their pork taco two thumbs up. I give their cilantro lime chicken taco an engagement ring.
Will you marry me, cilantro lime chicken taco from Barrio?

There were chefs doing demonstrations. Say hello to Brian Doyle of Sow Food.
He is a local chef down with the farm to table food. Yum! 

These kids stole the show for me. 
They are students from a local university using their project to help the homeless and the hungry.
 It was very touching to meet them.

There were copious amounts of samples. We were given the opportunity to taste everything from apples and pears to sausages and cakes. 

I would like to personally invite all the food trucks to come and park in my driveway and the driveways of my neighbors. No, I don't need to ask the neighbors. We've all got to eat, right?

Yet another reason we are lucky to live in Northeast Ohio. Thank you, Fabulous Food Show.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Good Luck With That!

Hey kids! Daddy and I will be at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland today.

Be good! 

 Some of the inmates will be running the asylum.

It should be okay, we're taking the bus with us.

I hope your Saturday is filled with promise. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Waste Time Like a Pro

     I just spent 25 minutes cleaning out the lint that got past the lint trap in my dryer. This event included taking all the paper towels off the roll so I could use it to extend the vacuum just an inch short of what was necessary for it to be useful. This also involved accordion-folding the now orphaned paper towels.

     I'm not sure which level of crazy this qualifies me for, but I am sure it probably increased my level of crazy. 

     If I was a better blogger there would be pictures. To be honest, I thought of it, but I'm lazy. 

     I have been preparing for the super-cold winter The Old Farmer's Almanac says we will have. But not by weatherproofing my house. I've been doing preparing by making sure I have enough supplies for baking. I've also watched 82 (and counting) episodes of Gilmore Girls in the past two weeks. I'm feeling super prepared for pretty much anything. As long as it doesn't involve weatherproofing or actual work. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Is What Happens

This is what happens when you tell the manager at our local Melting Pot restaurant that you want a puppy:

Three cheers to our sever, Dame, and the manager, Justin!

$100 Target Gift Card Giveaway


I am very excited to be teaming up with Holyjeans N' My Favorite Things, Thrifty Momma's Tips, and several other amazing bloggers to bring you this fun giveaway.  One lucky winner will receive a $100 Target Gift Card to help with #Back2School purchases. 

$100 will buy a lot of pencils and paper! Or 100 things from the dollar spot. Or anything else your heart desires.

*Giveaway ends July 24th at 11:59pm CT.  Open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Chances of winning depends solely on amount of total entries. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!
Disclosure: All thoughts and opinions are at the discretion of this writer and may not be the same as your own. This contest is in no way associated with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media network. This disclosure is done in accordance with the FTC 10 FCR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions, comments, or to have your product featured on Holyjeans N’ My Favorite Things, email Amy at

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Few More Favorite Things

     Sometimes I run across things I really enjoy and it's always heartbreaking to not be able to find them again. In this day of the internet, sometimes you can find things again. I find this awesome - and heart mending. 

     One of the heart-mending things I have discovered is Blue Bell ice cream. In Ohio. Oh yes! Outback Steakhouse uses Blue Bell ice cream. And one time when the manager visited our table I told him how wonderful it was to have a taste of it in Ohio. He offered to let me order it from them. You have to order the big three? three and a half? gallon size. But who cares!? It's Blue Bell Ice Cream! And the cost is quite reasonable for the amount of ice cream you are getting. I think it's $25.

     Alternatively, you can get Blue Bell to ship straight to your house at the price of $129 for four half gallons. If Homemade Vanilla is what you want, your local Outback Steakhouse manager is your new BFF, saving you literally hundreds of dollars on ice cream! 

     Another heart-mending thing is Dunroven House Direct. Our little town had this amazing Ace Hardware which carried great quality stuff. One of the things it carried was really nice tea towels. I require a certain kind of towel in the kitchen, and most towels you can buy just don't cut it. Even Williams-Sonoma towels, when you buy an assorted package, are only half okay. One kind is great, but the other kind gets wonky when you wash it. No bueno. These are lovely and stay nice forever. Their prices are fantastic and there is never a shipping charge. 

     Speaking of frozen treats, have you ever tried Talenti? They make these ahhh-mazing gelatos and sorbettos. They even have pops now. Oh my gosh, I already knew I was in love with the rich tastes of their many flavors. Then this happened: 

          Unassuming, no? 

     But wait until you taste it! There are not sufficient words to describe the experience. You will just have to try it for yourself. I've always been a fan of the Roman Raspberry, Lisbon Lemon, Caramel Cookie Crunch,  and their Caramel Apple Pie is so good I'm tempted to use words like 'Amaze-balls', but I really don't talk like that. You're welcome. I see they are selling some of their flavors in quarts now, too! (Yes, this is exciting for me.) I hope they make their way to places I shop, soon. They have a lot more delicious flavors. I'm sure you will find one/s you love. 

*Their containers are great for saving, too. We have used them for everything from storing a pint of paint to carrying individual cupcakes to very special people. 

     You know what would probably go great with some of this Talenti? I think the Tahitian Vanilla would be complemented greatly by Ilene's "Granola so Great I would share it with God - if I could." Hippie Chick Granola is what all granola should taste like, but no other granola does taste like. You're welcome.

     Reminder: Don't forget the seven places you should be shopping online.

     One more heart-mending thing: About a year and a half ago I lost my wedding rings. They fell right off my hand during the course of a day and we never did find them. My husband replaced them recently with something just as amazing! A part of me will always be looking out of the corner of my eye for those rings, but I think I wont cry over them again. (Unless I do, because who can understand why we are overcome with tears sometimes?) 

Friday, May 30, 2014

I Wish

   I wish to blink and fast forward to this evening. I want to sleep for a nanosecond and wake to be sitting with my husband, children, and little dogs. I want to bypass the work and wait, and just get to the good stuff. 

   Do you ever feel like this?  The past few weeks have been so full of life and events and people coming and going that I feel like I've been in one of those revolving doors which have, thankfully, fallen out of esteem. They still have them in big government buildings in Downtown Cleveland. Immigrants and their citizen sponsors beware. For me it has been 
  • Kids graduating; Out of school. 
  • Kids orientating: Into College. 
  • Kids moving: Out of apartments. 
  • Kids moving: Out of the state. 
  • Taking people to airports: Out of the house. 
  • Picking up people from airports: Into the house. 
  • Someone died: Out of this world, Into another. 
  • Dogs wanting walks: In/Out. 
  • Furniture: In/Out.
  •  Major purchases: In/Old stuff: Out.   
  • etc
     My mind? I might be out of it.

     There have been causes for celebration and concern. There have been unexpected guests and long-awaited arrivals and planned departures, along with "I-never-saw-it-coming" ins and outs. 

     I have fallen in love with, of all things, granola, for heaven's sake. (Nobody who knows me could have seen this coming!)  

     We had high school graduate number five this year. Five!  FIVE! 

     I planted a raised bed garden. Sort of. Well, I did. In a kiddie swimming pool. So if I fail miserably it was not $200 worth of  lumber and materials. If I succeed, which I think I will, we will have a LOT of tomatoes this summer, and our own peppers.  I forgot that I was going to try to plant cucumbers, too. We'll see how it all goes. Maybe I still will. 

     We actually have grass! It's been a long, long road to this, let me tell you. One place where our builder was just terrible was the 'upgraded lawn' we got. It's all rocks, mostly from construction. On top of that they took all the topsoil away and then gave back a fraction of it. A very, very, VERY small fraction. I've seeded and feeded (poetic license, okay?) and fertilized some more. Finally we have actual grass instead of just soybeans and clover. Yes, soybeans. This must have been a soybean field. If you  had seen my yard yesterday morning?  You would be as certain as I am about it. 

     Tonight we will all sit under our roof and talk and laugh. Maybe we'll even play a game or two. Mostly, though, I will look around the room and be so happy for everyone in it. For what we share together, for who we are together.  For everything. 

     Now I'm off to do the working and waiting/driving part. I'm going to claim my husband at the airport after going to the butcher and the farm market. I'm going to enjoy the sunshine as it sparkles off my ring while I drive. (I was a distracted driver way before everyone else got that way because of phones.) I am going to sing along to whatever Sirius radio decides to play me on their First Wave channel. I am going to herd my people home and then sit around enjoying them. I hope your weekend is filled with your wishes come true. 


Saturday, April 26, 2014


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The people in heaven, do they long for us the way we long for them?

With broken hearts and everything?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Thought Wrong!

What I thought I was buying: Potato bread.

What I actually bought: Oatmeal bread. 

Not the same. Mama's not happy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How do you feel about that nap someone just suggested?

Suck: When you are four.

Rock: When you are over 24.

What In The World Is She Doing?

I decided to change the name of my blog. Honestly, I have been considering it for years. That isn't even really accurate. I have known for years I wanted to change it but kept putting it off because doing stuff is hard. You know what I mean.

Then, recently, a lot of people have asked opinions about changing stuff (blog names, and other stuff) and my advice is always "If you are going to change it do it now, so you can start to recover whatever losses occur because of it as soon as possible." Makes sense, right?

After giving this wonderful advice half a dozen times lately I realized I should possibly take my own advice. 

My husband has called me Velezita for as long as I can remember and I really like it. I also like a simple, one word name instead of the very long "If You Could See What I See". I started my blog to write about travels: Cities, museums, restaurants, hotels, operas, plays, ballets, shops, castles, train rides, movies, etc. Since then it has become a place where I write about whatever catches my fancy. 

Now my blog is more about me and my perspective. Also, when I first started writing I was writing more for myself than anyone else. Maybe I still am?  I never planned on having a comment from anyone.   Now I love them! I never thought I would write about building a house, but I have. 

When I named my blog so long ago, in November of 2006(!) I didn't think about the name all that much. It was more of an item which had to be filled in before I could get started. I plan to bring all of my blogs officially in to this one blog. 

I have officially bought the domain and thought I would have it fixed to work seamlessly by now, but it has not happened yet.  I followed the directions precisely and it's still not working. I do not know if it's an issue of waiting the possible 48 hours my hosting site says it could take, or if I have made a mistake somewhere along the line. I'm not sure how I will ever know, since I can not imagine actually waiting the 48 hours. 

There you have it. Sometime in the near future you should be able to come to my blog via this link! Yes, this is silly since if you are reading this you are already here, but I never claimed I was not silly. 

Pray for me, I'm going to need it. I can already tell since the start of this has gone so horribly wrong. I will get it conquered and I will get it the way I want it to be. It will take longer than I ever imagined. I've started already, so there is no turning back now. 

p.s. It's Monday. What more appropriate day to wake up and find something not working as planned?