How I score ridiculously awesome vintage items

On a Saturday when my husband is traveling, you will almost always find me with my 3 kids, my Mom or a friend, a chocolate glazed/chocolate cake/chocolate sprinkle donut from the donut shop by my parents house, and a Starbucks Non-fat Venti iced caramel Machiatto.  This system works pretty well for kiddo happiness as we usually end up stopping at an undetermined amount of places.  I pack oranges, raisins, water, books for kids (we voluntarily choose to not have a TV in the car but I’m sure that makes it easier for some), and an eagerness for garage sale awesomeness.  My Mom and I take turns running in and checking stuff out with one of the kids (although my Mom will kindly let me go in by myself. wahoo!). The kids hope to come away with random hot wheel cars, old books, games, and occasionally something like a hot water bottle with a red knit cover and white heart (my sweet baby girl’s choice that was quite adorable).

Doesn’t that sound like a great Saturday morning?

I love hunting for those special things!!  I have searched years for things and finally found them which is am awesome feeling :)

What I look for:

  • Things that are understated but could easily be modified into something beautiful or even valuable.
  • Items that appear to have been made with much love and attention (e.g. someones old embroidery or art work).
  • Low cost but high value to me (old frames and books which I already have a ton of)
  • globes, crates, maps, and Pyrex
  • Any game we might not already have.
  • Brooches and jewelry (mostly 40s and 50s)
  • vintage fabric for sewing or wearing :)
  • large pieces of vintage furniture, even if it needs to be stained or painted into 2012.  I scored a set of Art Deco “waterfall” style furniture for our bedroom which I got an amazing price on.  I didn’t have to do thing to them :)

Currently, at the top of my list is:

  • a record player so I can play all of my amazing records I’ve had for 15 years.  In the past I had used the player at my parents house.
  • a wok…I was telling my mom this was on my list  and she said she gave hers away…bummer!
  • school-house desks. I have just missed 2 on Craigslist.  Arg!
  • Marquis letters
Where I look:
  • Estate sales/garage sales
  • large rummage sales
  • Craigslist
  • second-hand shops
  • thrift stores
Sometimes I find nothing or only one thing.  I enjoy the process and the adventure of it all.  I think I got that from my Mom.  Our Thrift stores in San Diego are HORRIBLE.  If you’ve ever been thrifting in other cities and then ours you will know what I mean.  If I ever find something I want in a thrift store, it is often broken-ish, over-priced (marked collectible or antique), or not exactly what I want.  I love to hunt for items but I try not to stretch my desire for something because it’s in front of my face.  I have no problem turning to Etsy for an often lower price for EXACTLY what I want.
I haven’t had friends who enjoy estate/ garage/ rummage shopping until very recently.  This has always been a part of my life that I didn’t share, but I’m excited to do it now :)  My friend Erin and I have a similar eye for these kinds of vintage items, so it’s fun to finally share it with someone.  This isn’t a trend for these 2 girls :)  That being said, it is never too late to start.  I’ve seen vintage items popping up in many of my friend’s homes and it’s so exciting to see so many wonderful things being loved and given new life.

Every week I want to share some of my favorite things I have found and I’d like to see yours too.  So, just put your link to your blog post or a Flickr photo in the comment section below.

A few of my recent treasures:


Vintage shoes from Paris: $20 (splurge for the day)

Ridiculously awesome gnome book which I’ve been wanting: $3

Vintage Grey Shoes: $4

Original oil painting, framed: $8

Original oil painting, framed:$12

What did you score lately?  Share below…

I’m linking with Mandy over at Harper’s Happenings:

Little Man of the house: five

Happy Birthday, Jack!

God is teaching us so much about His character through your innumerable questions, hilarious comments, and make-believe stories.

Please stay only 5 for as long as you possibly can.

Thank you so much.

Love, M & D

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …

This week I enjoyed seeing God through my kid’s eyes.  This guy is an amazing little man who noticed the very smallest of creatures and finds them interesting and important.  If only we could go through life with the peace and carefree attitude that our kiddos have.

If only.

Helmets: not a fashion statement!


 I just let myself write freely and completely uninhibited.  I wanted to write the story down for Faith to have in the future before too many years pass and it gets exaggerated :)  There are a few of my health care frustrations mentioned, although…I was pretty gentle :)  I wrote this right after it happened and I already feel better. Mostly, I’m thankful for God’s protection over our sweet girl.  I’m also thankful for helmets!


I’m sure ER visits are perfectly normal for some people, but not for us.  We took only our second trip this week (first was for an asthma issue a few years ago) and it really stunk.  All kinds of things go through your head when an emergency happens and they are not usually happy.  I am very much a calm person when it comes to emergencies.  I can usually always think clearly and act quickly.  When our car was burning up on the side of the road, I called my husband and said something like, “Yeah.  So our car is burning up on the side of the road.  Yup.  Just burning to the ground with our stuff in it”.  No big deal.  When my then 2 1/2-year-old decided it would be fun to swallow a rock.  I was kind-of freaking out inside when he was turning purple and not breathing, but I did the Heimlich.  Rock out.  The End.  So, when our full-size basketball hoop fell on Miss F on Sunday afternoon, I think I was as ready as I could be or was I?

I was inside but heard my husband saying, “Oh, man. Oh, man. Oh, man.”  This usually means either something really gross, stinky, or just out of his comfort zone.  I was definitely not prepared to see flesh hanging down the side of my daughter’s chin.  It was pretty gnarly.  My first thought is to stop the bleeding.  When I told her I had to stop the bleeding, she wiped her hand on both sides of her face like she didn’t know what I was talking about.  She didn’t know she was bleeding.  This is bad.  She’s in shock. She kept telling me her nose and forehead hurt.  I put a rag on her face and decide to go immediately to the ER.  I knew she’d need stitches no matter what, so I figured we’d settle the whole head injury side of things there.  As soon as I took her upstairs, she went as pale as I’ve ever seen one of my children go and she shut her eyes and started going limp.  It was all so fast.  It felt like one of those moments in a movie when you know the person will have to make a decision on what to do next.  Thankfully, it was made for me.  She responded to my rousing her gently and I called for my husband and we headed to the ER.   He doesn’t respond quite as well to emergencies, but we make a good team in the end.

She tried to fall asleep the whole way.  When we got there, if she wasn’t falling asleep, she was staring into nothingness.  She was as unresponsive as I’ve ever seen her.  So scary.  We got called back pretty quick thanks to a friend who works there who made a call to the charge nurse.  I don’t feel badly about this considering the fact that SO many of the people who use our local ER s have no insurance whatsoever and I am in fact paying for their medical care with my tax dollars.  It’s not a matter of being better, it’s simply the fact that this was 1 of 2 trips to use this facility in 7 years of being parents and I paid for the right to use it in an emergency.  Just my personal opinion.  Anyway, she started to perk up a bit and answered some questions.  It would seem that no matter what she’s gone through, she loves to tell a good story.   Everyone was pretty nice, although busy with others, including the guy a few beds over from the local prison who was apparently dying.  What a contrast to a little girl with a medium level scooter-ing injury, huh?

They ordered a CT scan since she had a nose bleed and injuries to her face and forehead.  I immediately thought about the 15 airport scanners I had managed to avoid the last few months and how all of that same radiation would go into her poor little body.  SO, I did what I’m not very good at and I trusted a medical professional.   I had to go in the room with her, lead vest and all (again thinking about those airport scanners) but who could leave a little 6-year-old alone to stare at scary red beams of light and listen to random beeping.  Not this Mom.  A long time later, the results came back and they found fluid in her inner ear, nasal passages.  They apparently can’t tell whether it’s blood or spinal fluid so they simply opt to wait to see if she shows any more symptoms (i.e seizures :/) and they consulted a child specialist to read the scan.  In the meantime, since this ER is not able to treat children, we got transferred to our local Children’s Hospital.  Policy doesn’t allow for me to drive her there so they thought it would be best for me to pay someone to drive us…by ambulance.  Very thoughtful.  They make you feel like a bad parent for even suggesting that you could drive your child…like you had just done to get her there in the first place.  Silly Mom.  My negative feelings towards our healthcare system did resurface on this trip…oh yes.  Also, that ambulance ride was the single thing on this little adventure that freaked my baby girl out the most.  Deep breath, Mom.

Let me just say, if you have a children’s ER…go right there if you can.  It will save time, money, and the patience of your child for the hospital process.  Just something I just learned this week.  They were SOOO nice at our Rady Children’s Hospital.  I can’t believe those amazing people can witness sick and injured children every day and still be so friendly.  I guess that’s one good reason to have an ER just for kids.  Once there, we had to wait for the results of her CT scan to be read by a children’s specialist.  This took hours.  She threw up…not good.  In the meantime, I pulled up a movie on Netflix to keep her distracted, my husband (who had been able to come right as we transferred hospitals) read her some books, and we tried to get her to stay awake until they could do her many many stitches.  I know they have reasons for doing these things in a certain order, but I didn’t quite understand why they couldn’t do her stitches earlier.  They said something about maybe needing to sedate her and that the gas can’t be used if they don’t know the status of her head injury.  Maybe I’m too simplistic, but it seems to me you one could cross the sedation bridge when you come to it and give the old-fashioned stitches a shot before the patient is even more exhausted, upset, and MORE likely to need sedation?  Crazy Mom.

Most Dr’s, in my experience, seem to think less information to the patient is best.  The Dr. thought it best to not tell Faith the process of stitches.  I’m sure that’s a good plan for most kids, but to a girl like Faith, it’s the worst thing you can do.  She likes to know what to expect and what “the plan” is.  Faith started crying before she began and then sat straight up (as fast as I’d seen her move since the fall) and shouted, “I just want to know what you’re gonna do to me!!”.  Fair question.  After that, we were able to calm her down and the Dr. started on the sewing.  Kinda funny that when we first got to the ER, I asked the nurse if she was going to need any stitches (seeking confirmation of what I knew to be true).  He said, “I’m not really sure.  We’ll have to wait and see.”  I love the kind of policy where you get as little info a possible.  It’s enough to make a person feel comfortable and trusting.

20+ stitches.

I lost count.


We have no conclusion on what kind of fluid was in her scan, but they said as long as her symptoms remained the same and she didn’t get worse, she could go home.

Discharged at 1AM

At home, she was more chipper.  Probably the apple juice she drank, but it made my heart glad.  That meant she was going to be ok.

We are so thankful God protected our sweet girl that day.  We are so thankful she was wearing her helmet.


I’m so glad I am THAT mean mom who makes my kids wear helmets under all circumstances…even in our driveway.  Please try to be a mean mom too sometimes.  It’s important…even if it’s an unpopular concept with your friends.

A week later she seems perfectly normal with a few scrapes on her chin.  I keep telling her how unbelievably fast God is healing her and she keeps saying she doesn’t want to talk about what happened.  I get that.  Kids are so resilient and my sweet girl is the proof.  They heal ridiculously fast!  I would never have thought she would be running around like a normal kid today.


p.s. I let her have a few bowls of much-deserved ice cream :)

Linking with:


Shepherd’s Pie with Guinness

I love Holidays.  They are an awesome way to get people together, eat good food, share a bit of happiness, and maybe even relax a little (if you’re not the hostess, of course!)  St. Patrick’s day is no Christmas, but there’s a little piece of history there for everyone to celebrate in.

St. Patrick (or Maewyn Succat, as he was known) is a really incredible person.  He was actually an accidental slave brought to Ireland, who seemed to know, even then, that God had a reason for sending him to such a crazy far-away place.  Years later, when returned to his home country, he felt the need to go back to Ireland and share Jesus with as many people as he could.  Now, how many times have we complained about something horrible or even just inconvenient happening to us and we wonder what God could possibly be thinking?  I do it all the time.  I probably did it today.  I’m sure Maewyn wondered, but he still went.  He trusted God’s plan even though it meant a complete 180.  Sometimes we are meant to have u-turns, like Joye said the other day, even though they are confusing and sometimes painful.  God was with Maewyn and He is with US through every decision, giving us the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and FAITH.

Anyone out there Irish?  I may have red hair but I am not the teeniest bit Irish (that I am aware of).  99% of the people who ask me about my hair color, assume I’m Irish.  My kids have some Irish in them from their Daddy’s side but Scotland is where it’s at for this girl!

I wish you could all come over for a big party on St. Patrick’s day, so instead I’d like to share my shepherd’s pie recipe.

 Shepherd’s Pie with Guinness

potato top:

1 1/2 pounds of russet potatoes, pealed and cut into large chunks

1 cup milk

4 T. butter

salt and pepper

meat filling:

a few T. canola oil for pan

6-8 medium carrots, chopped

1 c. red onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, miced

1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb, turkey, or beef

(Lamb is the traditional meat, but I’ve made it with all 3 meats successfully)

salt and pepper for seasoning

3 T. flour

1 T. tomato paste

12 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. rosemary, chopped

1 T. thyme, chopped

1 1/2 c. Guinness beer (you can sub a broth for this if you prefer)

1 c. peas, fresh or frozen

1 tsp. parsley, for garnish

Start by boiling the cut potatoes until tender.  They usually take at least 30 minutes, which is why it’s best to start with them.  Then, saute the carrots, onions, and garlic with a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.  You can find some lovely carrots this time of year if you have a local farmer’s market.  Add some salt and pepper (to taste) and cook until the onions are browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the meat to the veg mixture and cook through.  While this is cooking you can measure and prepare the seasonings above.

After the meat is cooked, add the flour.  Stir.  Then, add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, and beer.  Add more salt and pepper as needed.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until the liquid thickens a bit.

Put the meat filling in an oval baker or 11×7 in. pan.  Mash the potatoes or put them through a ricer.  Add the milk, butter, and salt and pepper and stir until combined.  Spread the potatoes over the filling.  Place on a baking sheet (in case it bubbles over a bit) and cook at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

I found these adorable St. Patty’s printables from Ellinee.  Enjoy the food and invite a few people over for some good Irish beer and some laughs :)

Stick around and find us on:

F a c e b o o k  //  T w i t t e r  //  P i n t e r e s t  //  I n s t a g r a m  //  E m a i l


Orangecello + Bon’s Sidecar

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Forgive me, I am about to go off about Downton Abbey again so hang with me if this bores you because either way, there is a drink recipe at the end.


We all know I am obsessed with Downton Abbey, like the rest of the world, it seems.  I find inspiration from that time period everywhere and this time I found it in my cocktail.  A month before Christmas, I threw some vodka in a few jars of oranges.  It was supposed to be a Christmas present for my sister but I clearly didn’t make it in time if I thought a miracle would turn it to liqueur in time.  So, I kinda forgot about it until I was suddenly craving a “Sidecar”.  This lovely drink was brought about in France during/after WWI because of the 2 available liquors, Cointreau and  Cognac.  It apparently floated over to the U.S. during a not so convenient time, Prohibition.  Today it is ever so popular because of the increasingly fascinating speakeasy establishments  of today which I am kinda obsessed with right now.  Obviously, purchasing alcohol is not illegal anymore and we are not threatened with imprisonment, but it’s still super-fun to be in a place that is secret or exclusive in some way, don’t you think?


I enjoy a good handcrafted cocktail, especially on the weekends when I have a chance to wind down from teaching school, managing a household, and just the running around that comes with the average week.  The cleaning and the cooking always stay but that’s just the way it is.  We have to eat and I prefer to have it clean around here anyway.  All that to say, it’s nice to have something to relax you for the weekend or during the weekend.


For the Sidecar:


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For the classic sidecar cocktail, there are supposed to be equal parts orange liqueur, cognac, and lemon juice.  I made it three different ways and picked my favorite.  Equal parts left too much sour lemon flavor for my taste.  Cognac is often swapped for Brandy or even Bourbon.   Even though I love Bourbon,  I actually prefer Brandy or Cognac in mine because I think it balances better with the lemon.

In the end, I chose this combo:

Bon’s Sidecar:

1 part orange liqueur (as made below or Cointreau)

1 part Cognac

1/2 part lemon juice

Shake on ice and pour over ice.

(note:  If you are planning on making this as a gift, start it about 12 weeks before you want to give it away)


orange vodka-

4 c. vodka

4 oranges, cleaned and the sweeter the better

Simply slice all of the oranges and put them in a lidded jar with 4 c. of vodka.  Place it in a cool place for at least 2 weeks (mine was a month).  Then strain the pieces out and store for another few weeks.  Now it’s ready to be sweetened…

orangecello/orange liqueur-

1 Part water

1 part sugar

4 parts orange flavored vodka

Dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat.  Cool.  Now, add the simple syrup (sugar+water) to the orange vodka until it tastes the way you want it too (I use all of it:)).    Put the resulting liquid in a jar and leave in a dark place for at least 6 weeks. You can find jars like mine for gifting at The Container Store.

Be sure to share with a friend…it’s always better that way.

Has anyone made it before?

What’s your favorite drink to mix it in?

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