Monday, September 20, 2010

Mommy’s Piggy Tales – Post-High School

For the last 15 weeks, I’ve been participating in a project called Mommy’s Piggy Tales where I wrote stories about my childhood each week, starting with birth and ending with graduation in the hopes that my children, and possibly my children’s children, will one day appreciate it.

This is the last installment.  I made it (late, of course)!



I got my first job the summer after High School.  I never had one before for several reasons: 1) we lived relatively far outside of town and it would have been a lot of driving to and fro, 2) I was not so confident and the thought of interviewing for any job freaked me out, and 3) I didn’t need one because I had a boyfriend with a job.  :-) 

When I graduated, though, I knew I needed to figure out how to earn my own money, so a friend of my mom’s helped me get set up with a job at the airport gift shop.  Not a bad job really.  It was full time during the summer and I got free lunch at the (one and only) airport restaurant every day.  At least, it wasn’t so bad when I actually worked in the gift shop.  Unfortunately, many days I was the one who “got” to push a car up to the concourse and sell sundries there.  It was boring, since there were long stretches where no planes were coming or going and we weren’t allowed to do anything but wait (or tidy the cart).  We weren’t even allowed to sit down.  So, I’d stand there for 8 hours – alternating between standing and waiting for a customer and listening to customers complain about the price of cigarettes.  Still, I got paid and I learned how to fold a t-shirt – a skill that has come in handy in my career as a domestic goddess.

In the Fall, I moved across the state for college.  My mom and my ex-(soon-to-be-on-again-)boyfriend drove me over and helped me move into the dorm.  I met the roommate who would become my best friend for the next two years.  I learned so much from her about allowing yourself to be goofy and to let other’s see the real you. 

She and I both loved musicals, so we never walked anywhere without singing an appropriate song.  We would stand on the side of the street singing about the Wells Fargo Wagon coming, sing to each other about the rain in Spain, and there was even one memorable night where we sang in the rain – complete with puddle stomping and light pole swinging.  She and I lived together our Freshman and Sophomore year, so we also learned important life skills (like how to find an apartment, how to get to and from the grocery store by bus, and how to hide your cat in the no-pets apartment) together.  Although we ended up losing touch, I think of her often and I will be forever grateful for her presence in my life.  In fact, without her, I probably would never have met my husband, so thank heavens for little roommates!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Favorite Summer Memory - Linky Party

One of the things I look forward to the most in summer is tomatoes and basil.  To me, those two tastes together are the epitome of summer.  If you add a little mozzarella and vinegar, then you’re really cooking!

For the past two summers, I’ve had even more to look forward to because I found the most amazing recipe in my Healthy Cooking magazine: Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn!

I tried this recipe because I thought it looked pretty good, but (to me), it is beyond "pretty” good and well into “oh my WORD” good.  I think I made a batch of this nearly every week this summer.  Then I have something easy and yummy for lunch.  This summer, I’ve made it several times for friends and they’ve all raved about it.  (Unfortunately, they’ve also eaten it and left me with nothing to eat for lunch…)

I’m always sorry to see the end of summer because it means I’ll have to wait 9 more months to really enjoy this dish again.  It is definitely one of my favorite summer things, so I wanted to share it with everyone.  Here it is:

Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn

Cheese Tortellini

[Photo Credit: Taste of Home]

4 Servings


  • 1 package cheese tortellini (I use frozen and it’s fine)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed or 3-1/3 cups fresh corn
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (I’ve always omitted these, just because I never have them on hand)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil (YUM!)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  • Cook the tortellini according to the directions, adding the corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine tortellini mixture and remaining ingredients; toss to coat. 


Oh, it makes my mouth water just reading about it!  I must make sure to make this a few more times in the next month!

Now it’s your turn.  What was your favorite summer memory?  Did you take a great vacation?  Finish a project you’re really proud of?  Make something really yummy?  Or just enjoy being really lazy?  Share with us here and give summer one last hurrah before Fall blows in.

I’m sure you know how it goes:

  • Use the linky button below to link up to your specific summer-memory post (not your blog’s home page)
  • Visit other partiers’ sites.  Maybe you’ll find a new favorite!
  • I’d love it if you’d become a follower, but it’s not required
  • Please link back to this blog so we can share the joy.  You can even use my fancy-dancy new button:

The Perfectly Imperfect Life

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chores Board


There’ve been a ton of home-made chalkboards around the blogosphere.  Seems everyone’s doing it, so I thought I’d add my own project to the mix.  (I think it may be the only other project, besides my stairs, that I’ve done this summer!)

I actually started this project around Father’s Day when we made the photographer’s chalkboard thought bubble for my husband.  While we were cutting that out of the shower board, I cut a large rectangle out too, thinking I could use a bigger chalkboard for something.  We painted it with the chalkboard paint and then it sat in the garage for a couple of months.  


At some point during the summer, I found a large frame at Goodwill.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I painted it white.  Just because.

It wasn’t until just before school started, and there were so many things to keep track of, that I thought of putting the two together!  Of course, the chalkboard wasn’t the correct size for the frame, so I had to wait until we pulled out the table saw for the stair project to cut it down.

Finally, everything came together and we have a great little place to track daily chores (for the girls that is – my daily chores would be a much longer list!).


We used the chalk pens to write the “permanent” parts (that chalk ink/paint really does NOT come off easily once it’s had time to set, so it is perfect for when you want something to be semi-permanent).  Each day, the girls clean the board, then keep track of which chores they’ve done during the day.


I hung it low in the kitchen, so they can reach it easily.  So far, they think it’s fun and are happy to get things done just so they can mark them off (just like their mother).  Hopefully their eagerness will last past September!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blog Makeover

Some of you have noticed that the blog has a new look!  Pepper at UniqueHorn Designs created a new header and logo for me and I’m thrilled!  I even have a button!

The Perfectly Imperfect Life

I’m very excited because I’ve been wanting a new look for the blog for some time now!

Something else I’ve wanted to do for a long time is to have a Linky Party.  I never did because I couldn’t come up with a theme that hadn’t been done before.  I still haven’t, but I still really REALLY want to do a party, so I’m going to do it!

You may have noticed that bloggers all over blog-land have started turning away from Summer and looking towards Fall.  To that I say: “Noooooooo!”  Even if the weather is confused, the calendar tells me it’s still officially Summer and I’m not ready to let it go.  So, how about one last hurrah?

On Friday, I’m going to host a “My Favorite Summer Memory” blog party.  You can link up a post about anything you loved during the summer.  Whether it was an activity, a vacation, or a decorating project.

So, get your posts ready (or pick one that you wrote this summer) and meet me here on Friday (pretty please with sugar on top?) and let’s give Summer the send off it deserves!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stairway – They’re Done! They’re Done!


We had our annual End-of-Summer BBQ on Saturday and I had promised myself that the stairs would be done for the party.  I had to put in a few late nights, but I kept my promise!  (Well, actually, I’m about 90% done.  There’s still a bit of finish work to do, but I’m celebrating being done for now.)

Just as a reminder, here’s how they looked a month ago:

DSC_2431 These pictures really don’t show how grody the carpet was, so you’ll have to take my word for it: yuck!


And here’s how they look now:

DSC_3127  DSC_3142


So. Much. Better!

At some point, I plan to paint the handrail black too.  THEN, I’d like to paint the walls the same blue as the stairs in one of the houses in Modern Family (I drool over them every time I watch that show!)  I would love to figure out what color it is, but this is the best picture I can find of it:

Modern Family Stairway


While I’m at it, I’d love to add some moulding to the wall.  I love Sandra’s at Sawdust and Paper Scraps:

Staircase Sawdust and Paper Scraps 

But for now, I’m just gonna sit back and enjoy the view:



I’m linking this post up to:

The DIY Show Off toolsareforwomentoo

All Thingz Related Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden The Girl Creative A Little Knick Knack
Get Your Craft On Tuesday

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mommy’s Piggy Tales – 12 Grade

I’m participating in a project called Mommy’s Piggy Tales where I’ll be writing stories about my childhood once a week for 15 weeks, starting with birth and ending with graduation in the hopes that my children, and possibly my children’s children, will one day appreciate it.


Senior Year!  Yay!  We made it!  Senior year was the year I cut all my hair off and became a short-haired girl.  When I look back at the pictures now, I think I look sort of goofy, but I know it looked good at the time.  (I think that’s actually true for many things in the ‘80s.)

Senior year was also the time when I got my first slight taste of adult-hood and freedom: my friends and I drove across the state to see our high school compete in the State Basketball Championship!  Sometimes I’m still surprised our parents let us do it, but we were almost 18, I guess they had to let us practice some before we all left for college.

Several of us caravanned for the 5 hour drive across State (me and a friend in my cute little red RX-7!).  I believe the drive was fairly uneventful, though I’m sure my friend and I did a lot of rocking out to Erasure and Technotronic.  When we arrived, we headed straight to one friend’s brother’s downtown apartment where we slept on the floor and the next morning we explored the City.  How fun is that?  5 friends on our own for the first time in a big city.  We were pretty giddy and had a blast.

I can’t remember if our team won the championship, though I think we might have.  I guess that wasn’t really the point of the trip.  After the game, I was going to spend the night with one of the friends at my mom’s best friend’s house in a suburb outside the city. 

I had been given directions to the house from downtown, but what I didn’t know at the time was that my mom’s friend was navigationally challenged: she had told me to get on the freeway going the wrong way!  Our host from the night before tried and tried to tell me that the directions didn’t make sense, but I figured it was more likely that my mom’s friend knew where she lived than he did.  Whoops.

When we left the stadium that night, we first had to find our way to the freeway in question, which meant getting on a different freeway.  Of course, we didn’t know how to get to that one either.  After asking for directions and many wrong turns and a correct decision made for the wrong reasons, we eventually got on the correct freeway.  At one point, I got concerned that we really were going the wrong direction, so we turned around and drove back a ways.  Then I decided that no, it was the right direction, so we turned back around again.

We finally got to the suburbs around midnight and when I looked down at my gas gauge, it was nearly empty.  THAT freaked me out a bit, which is probably why I remember this experience.  I just kept thinking about how awful it would have been had we run out of gas on a freeway in the middle of the night.  I’m sure we would have figured something out (even withOUT cell phones) and we would have had an even more exciting story to tell, but at the time I was very thankful for that last little bit of gas.

Now I live in this city (well in the ‘burbs) and I know the freeways that caused us some much confusion that night and I have to laugh.  They’re really not that confusing and my mom’s friend really could have used a GPS!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stairway Progress (or Will This EVER Be Done?!)

We’ve added several more hours of labor to the stairs this weekend and they’re really starting to come together.  I’m starting to get excited, but there are so many little niggling things to finish, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever actually be done.

On Saturday, the stairs looked like this:


Clearly on the right track, but lots and lots of filled nail holes to sand down and then paint and the landing still creaked!

I started the morning by sanding down the wood filler and then got to work painting the stairs!  I hate to tape and I didn’t want tape marring the beauty that would be revealed as I painted, so I decided to paint the edges by hand with a small paint brush.  Possibly not the wisest or most efficient choice, but definitely one that is all me.

Important safety tip: if you’re painting your stairs, make sure you paint every other stair, so that you and your family can still go up and down the stairs while they dry.  Also, lock up your animals!  Luckily, this time around, I followed both of those tips.

Sunday, I painted the alternating stairs and then we left to spend the day at the fair!

While I was painting, my husband was busy hammering.  He put just about a million nails into the boards on the landing  and now it doesn’t creak!  Of course, it looks like this now:



Do you see all those little specs of paint or dirt?  No, those are all nails.  I’m going to have so much work to do to make those all mostly invisible, but it is so worth it to have a quiet floor!

And here’s what my stairs look like now:

DSC_3093(Look, you don’t even need to cross your eyes!)


Getting so close!  I still need to:

[  ]  Fill in nail holes on landing

[  ]  Re-paint landing

[  ]  One last coat of black on all stairs

[  ]  Touch up white paint and caulk

[  ]  Finish trim on front of landing

[  ]  Add floor molding to landing

And then I’ll be done!  Probably.  Well, then I want to paint the walls in the entry way with the dizzy-ingly high ceilings, add a great molding treatment to the walls going up the stairs, and figure out how to decorate these things (any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated):


THEN I’ll be done.  But for now, I’ll just enjoy my progress so far:


Monday, September 6, 2010

Stairway Progress - Paneling the Landing

Earlier last week, my kids had their friends over for a few days and were well entertained without me, so I took the opportunity to start working on the landing.

I don’t know if I ever detailed my plan for the landing (which was plain, yicky composite board of some kind) and I’m too lazy to look that up right now, so I’ll just recap:

I took a page from Thrifty Decor Chick’s book and decided to try tongue and groove wood paneling on the floor.  It’s thin and inexpensive – which made it perfect in my book.  I primed and painted several coats of black before I actually put it down.  Painting several coats of paint in all those grooves after it’s all put down on the floor did NOT appeal to me at all.


I also primed the landing floor in gray before a laid the paneling so that white primer would not show through, just in case there were gaps in the wood.  (I didn’t actually think this would happen, but I wanted to be better safe than sorry since there was no way I’d be pulling up paneling to fix that.)


Then I grabbed my miter saw and got to work.


This was actually a pretty easy process.  I basically cut the pieces to fit the full length of the landing and then randomly cut them in two pieces so that the seams would not always be in the same place (Note: I actually added an extra smidge for the width to account for the bit that the blade would take out when I cut it in two.)

DSC_3080 (My front porch workshop)

I laid them all out before I glued them down, then came back through with Liquid Nails.  I couldn’t figure out what to use to weigh down the wood while the glue took hold.  The biggest, heaviest thing I could think of was myself.  So, I grabbed a pillow, a book, and a drink and I laid out on the landing for about an hour.  Periodically, I would change positions so that my weight was distributed all over the floor.

I didn’t get a picture of me doing this, but here’s my daughter helping out:


Here’s what it looked like when I was “done”:



At this point, I was feeling a bit nervous because the paneling creaked EVERY TIME you took a step on it.  It got a bit better by morning time, but clearly something more needs to be done.  I’m thinking lots and lots of nails!

BTW, I just have to mention how incredibly nice it was to spend most of a day on that landing and not have my nose crinkle up once!  You may remember that the carpet here had seen some kitty accidents.  Every time I walked by, I’d smell something – sometimes just a little and sometimes a lot).  Now, it smells of nothing!  I guess that makes treating it with a commercial odor remover a few times, spraying it several times with bleach, painting three coats of Kilz, and then sealing it with Polyurethane all worth while!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mommy’s Piggy Tales – 11th Grade

I’m participating in a project called Mommy’s Piggy Tales where I’ll be writing stories about my childhood once a week for 15 weeks, starting with birth and ending with graduation in the hopes that my children, and possibly my children’s children, will one day appreciate it.


It’s really difficult to remember what happened which year, high school sort of seems like one big blur.  I’m pretty sure, though, that 11th grade was the year that our school drama department put on Oklahoma! and I got to play in the orchestra.

I’d never seen Oklahoma!, so after we learned we were going to be playing the flute parts in the orchestra, my best friend and I rented it and I fell in love with musicals (and Curly)!  After that, I watched musical after musical – especially those by Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe.

Musicals aren’t the only thing I loved that year.  As we practiced for Oklahoma! and sat in on rehearsals I decided that the boy who played Curly was really quite cute and my little heart trilled whenever he sang “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” or “Surrey with the Fringe on Top”.  Sure, I already had a boy friend, but hey, a girl can dream right?  There’s just something about the idea of a boy singing love songs to you that makes me smile.

We played several shows and I loved every one of them.  It was so exciting being a part of something like that and it was an experience I’ll never forget (and I’ll always have a soft place in my heart for Curly).

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