What's Shaking At The Ranch?

So you wanna know what's been shaking at the ranch and where the heck I've been?

I know you do because you email me. Thanks for missing my projects.  I miss my projects too!

I've got the best readers who enjoy DIY, so I've gotta tell you that today I'm departing from the normal paint and build, so feel free to depart yourself if you're not wanting to hear boring life stuff that's void of DIY photos.

Karen from the blog Somewhat Quirky posts a "20 Things" list when she has been MIA, so I'm gonna steal that idea from her, but no promises mine comes in right at 20 or that it goes in the actual order of things.....

1.  We hosted a high school graduation party where I fed a hundred people and the weather was beautiful.  My BFF flew in from Half Moon Bay for the occasion.  I love her.

Now before you think things like HOLY CRAP 100 people at a grad party????, let me tell you that my husband comes from a family of 12 siblings.  Just them and their kids is close to 50.

Photo Centerpiece,

I made simple centerpieces with card stock photos of the grad through the years, but took no photos of the finished decor till the next morning when they were all warped and floppy from the morning dew.

In fact, I don't have any photos of the party just personal ones of the graduation ceremony unless you count the ones I took the next morning of the mess when I realized I didn't take any photos.

A tin tower I previously made was filled full of ripe red strawberries with grapes cascading over the side.  It was beautiful thanks to my BFF who worked on displaying the fruit.

No pictures of that were taken either, but here it is without strawberries and grapes.

Tired Stand,

2.  After grad party invites, I made some bridal shower invitations.  Didn't take any photos of the process, you'll have to take my word they came out nice.

Are you starting to sense a trend in my summer?  You'd think I didn't own a camera.

3.  In the past couple weeks there has been a front porch make over with a wood tongue and groove ceiling, a spiffy new hanging light, and some new pillar lights.

Yeah, I didn't take any photos of that process either, bad blogger, but I could technically still take one of that finished project I guess. 

4.  Except I'm feeling lazy.

5.  Before graduation and porch ceilings there was Memorial Day of which I hosted my extended family.  My new family.  I did one of those DNA tests to see how Irish I was. test,

It's a good thing I like sauerkraut.

It's also a good thing I always wanted a brother, some nieces and more cousins.

I'd be lying if I said those discoveries weren't occupying a lot of my mental and emotional time - they are.  Cousins, aunts, names and faces for grandparents I didn't know existed till a few weeks ago.  It's crazy I tell 'ya.

6. But the biggest news from May was that we cleaned out the garage.  Amazing.

You know that saying about the clouds parting and the angels singing?  When we finished the garage that happened.  The angels were very happy.  It might be because they were worried in the end they were not gonna get to fly my butt to heaven due to the constant mumbling of swear words under my breath about the messy garage.  Thank you Jesus for healing my profanity laden tongue by filling my husband with garage cleaning abilities.

7.  You might remember the playground below.....


That was smashed by a tree in a storm last August......


In May clean up was started with child labor.  The area had to have the pea rock and landscape stones removed.  Then it had to be leveled off and sod laid, all before the graduation at the beginning of June.


I'm happy to report the deadline was made.  Now I need to make a deadline for the new playground that will be back behind where those logs are piled.

8.  The playground wasn't the only thing that broke around here..........

Two kids, two air casts.  Really.

I tell 'ya I have not wanted for excitement or things to do for the past 3 months.

9. Then there was the 10 day trip I didn't really have time for, but wanted greatly to take.  So I did.


It started in Phoenix where I melted my azz to a leather seat in the 118 degree heat, while also worried a wild Javelina was going to sneak up on me.

Don't know what a Javalina is?  I'd never heard of them before either, but apparently they are the wild animal equivalent of a street gang in Phoenix.

10. From Arizona I went to Half Moon Bay California for the graduation party of my BFF's youngest, and for a temperature drop in those couple hours of 40 degrees while I flew the friendly skies.

The grad party was held on the beautiful California coast, directly on the water with a beach theme.  I may not have taken photos of my own kids' graduation party but I snagged a few pictures of her daughters.

There was a candy bar that I think I ate breakfast from the next day, and a photo selfie station that I managed to drag people over to snap photos with me.  No you don't get to see any of those pictures.


Her daughter is lovely, her party was lovely, and I cried when I had to say goodbye to her two oldest kids who traveled from out of state to see their baby sister graduate. Who knows when I will get to see them again.

11. I've sort of been a puddle for the months of May and June.  I quit wearing eye makeup.  I hope July sees my tear ducts stabilized.

12. From San Francisco my best friend and I (we'll call her Wann because that's what one of my kids called her when he was a tot) hopped in her car and drove to Southern California where we grew up.

We drove for hours without any problem.

But come home and I can't go anywhere without a vehicle needing repair.  Two in one day, sheesh.


13. Wann and I took a tour of the Catholic high school we graduated from.

It was the same but different.  I'll bet now kids are allowed to have locker shelves.  We were such rebels.

In-N-Out Burger,

We ate burgers at In-N-Out in Panorama City - the one we originally walked to after school as teens, wearing our little plaid Catholic school skirts.

We would order a couple cokes to take with us on the rest of the walk.  Wann's coke was usually 7-Up.  You West-coasters understand that.

They were .15¢ back then.

14. Wann and I drove around the hood and I think we were both pretty happy and appreciative where life took us after high school, but there is just something amazing about having a lifelong friend, and that something constantly choked me up on our drive. #Immaasap

15. We met up for dinner with some of my family.  It was the first time I had met my nephew, in fact it's the only nephew on my side. He and his family were terrific and I'm looking forward to spending time with them again.

I was there to deliver some news to my nephew since he is the keeper of our last name - even if that name wasn't my dads real last name. The secrets that man had could fill a book.  I think I'll write one.

16. Wann and I drove back up to Half Moon Bay and the trip had me feeling like I'd been gone from home for a year.  I think that was because I was in so many different environments in the course of those 10 days.   It's always nice to go, but it's nice to come home too.

Except spending time with my best friend twice in a matter of weeks has me realizing how much I miss her day to day.  There's no friend like an old one, and she's the best.

Like I said, I've been a puddle; a thankful, grateful, happy puddle.  Here I go again, gotta get a tissue....

St. Croix River Inn,

17.  I might have been feeling a little guilty about my solo 10 day trip of running off to melt my azz in Arizona and then taking the joy ride in California, so I took the mister off for an anniversary adventure.

He did point out that was the longest I had ever gone anywhere with out him.

We did a little hiking at Taylors Falls in Minnesota and spent the night in Wisconsin at a bed and breakfast.

He's the one that could really use a 10 day trip, I think I'll plan one for him.

Giant Paper Map Flowers,

18.  Daughter #2 is in high gear with wedding preparations.  She has been making these giant man eating flowers out of old maps.

They measure over 2 feet across and are awesome!  I absolutely love them.  I think she's running out of maps though, so her flowering might be coming to an end, which is good as we are running out of space in the garden.

She is also working out details and decisions, like which suspenders to gift the groomsmen with.....


I know all too well the day will be here before she knows it, and just as soon as it arrives it will be over.  It also occurred to me this afternoon I need a dress.  I should have actually started that diet back in January instead of eating my way up and down the state of California.

19.  I had to visit the Apple store for my iphone last week.

Any of you that have ever had to do that will understand why I made the impulse buy from the Williams Sonoma store across from the Apple Store in the mall......

Williams Sonoma Margarita Mix,

If anything can drive me to drink it's having to go to the Apple Store.

20.  Most of these post photos were taken with my cell phone, which is the reason my phone had to go to the Apple Store.  The camera in some models went bad so Apple would fix it on their dime.

They couldn't fix mine.  So they gave me a whole new phone.

It took almost a whole day to get it taken care of, between driving there, waiting at the Apple Store (even with that "appointment" they require), then hanging out at the mall while waiting on the repair, an hour drive back home, and then a few more hours while all my info was loaded back onto my phone at home because nothing goes smoothly with technology.

Thankfully the margarita mix was half price at Williams Sonoma, and I only window shopped the other stores, otherwise it would have been cheaper to just buy a new phone.

21.  And #21, just because I'm still a bit of a rebel.

Thanks for reading this summer state of the union address.  I've got a couple more posts this week, and who knows I might even have projects ready to show you before Fall.  But no promises - anything can happen - and I still have 4 other kids who didn't break something or get air casts!

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  1. you and your bestie could be a real thelma and louise!! congrats to all the graduates, seeing your bff, your anniversary and making it home safely.

  2. Wowzers!! What an adventure ride you have been on at home and out and about! Fantastic!

  3. I knew you weren't really gone...but I am glad you're back! And those paper flowers are awesome! (Do I need to try an in-n-out before I keel over?)

  4. Oh I love this much life happening. I've had those years, and you just have to hang on for the ride! I'm so glad you are choosing to be present in all the moments...they pass too quickly! It was fun to hear what you've been up to! xo

  5. Sounds like you've had an awesome summer! My dad did one of those DNA tests recently and discovered he's mostly Irish! Surprising since his mother always said she was part American Indian & looked it. Nope!

  6. Busy bee you have been Bliss! I thought about doing one of those kits but then I am not sure I really want to know what it holds. Lots of secrets in my family as well. Hope your summer continues to be as adventurous! Can not wait to see your porch ceiling. We have plans on doing that to ours so give me your tips and tricks lady! I was dying about the gang in Arizona.

  7. Girl.. I knew that you were busy but seriously?! You're making "busy" look like "lazy"...SLOW THE H*LL down! Glad that you made it #straightouttaaz with your azz still intact. Not that you need my opinion but I'd say that you need more 1) visitors 2) burgers...3) a trip to IL with all of the stuff that you're bringing to me (I ALMOST have the studio cleaned out) xo

  8. Oh honey I feel like I need to drive to Minnesota and catch up. I feel so bad that I've let my post reading get so far reading backwards so I'm hoping I will come across something on this whole new family thing. No wonder you've been weeping all spring and summer.


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