a good excuse.

No kitchen? I know just the place!


After daring to cancel on a meeting and being brave enough to ask for what I need, I get the reward of sitting in beaming sunlight and listening to the quiet of no banging and heav-hoeing.


Fresh white subway tile walls surround me and all I have to do is sit and bite.

Sip my mocha.

And take another bite.

Chocolate with marscopone cream filling. Yes to that bite. And then a little sample of the other.

Chocolate with buttercream. So simple and satisfying that yes; one bite does the trick.

I take the rest home to share with the fam.

And I feel like I have something else to offer the  fam as I head to my makeshift kitchen to cook up a meal on the skillet pan and do some dishes in the laundry tub.

I am so num for Yum.

Just what I needed.

I am amazed by how much grace is around me if I just stop and notice it, ask for it and embrace it.

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With the back of the van empty we head to IKEA for a nice Sunday’s drive.

I have done this so many a time, tooling around all the loveliness * sighing * and * groaning * (in the most innocent sense of the word) at all the tidy kitchens.

This time is different.

First of all, we are in and out since Mr. C is in tow.

Secondly, we are actually kitchen-remodel people. You know when you see that couple—those empty nesters—with those cutey-little rimmed glasses giving labels half a glance as the husband leans in saying, “what do you like best honey?”

Or worse, that young couple. Too young adorable couple. She, sporting a slight resemblance of a baby bump, rocking a pair of hot mama maternity jeans. And he. I don’t recall he exactly but she is definitely with him.

Picking out her dream kitchen to feed her baby pureed peas in. Oh; but I ask, has she earned it?? Has she suffered, has she longed for this long enough??

That was us!

Well, somewhere between the two.

Which type of wood?

Dark and earthy oak, light and fresh beech, or a bit of a yellow pop with the BIRCH….?

We stand in that isle side-by-side with every bit of our 16 years and 3 quarters of marriage underfoot and agree.

We simply agree on the BIRCH. That’s it.

I skip to the kind worker and pronounce the good news. In a congratulatory tone she confirms our wise choice and starts our BIRCH order.

There is a pause and her tone takes a turn—something terrible comes out of her mouth.

“We do not have any birch in stock…. [click, click, enter, space ] Nor in the warehouse.”

But… but…

“…let me check Chicago….”

“Oh, they ship from Chicago??? How much would—”

“No, you’d have to drive there. But hey, it’s Superbowl Sunday, you’d have no traffic.”

My brain: “I am going to ask Ken to drive to Chicago!!!!????? I am going to drive to Chicago???”

I murmur; beech is fine….I guess.

The man who stood for us walks by, “wait for what you want…. or you’ll regret it.”
[He is trying to uphold us to the vows we had just made—a very touching moment actually.]

My brain: Don’t you think I know that?? Who asked you??? Mind your own business!!! Man!!!

I say, “thanks friend (I never did catch our witnesses name), I hear you. I know that would be most ideal…”

Sinking into my shoulders I reach for the closest sturdy butcher block surface and grab on while I take this all in for a bit.

This is really happening.

How naive I was to just think I could walk down that isle all nilly-willy and get what I want today.

“Oh, when I said we didn’t have that in stock, I meant the 4 foot section, you could pay $20.00 more and get a 6 foot piece for that section.”

Rapid brain wave: WHAT THE -*-%-???

Yes, we would like very much so to do that as in right now.
We will take it.

All of it.
Do whatever you have to do to get us the BIRCH right now.

It is ours. I see others looking at it. Please mam, hurry.
I like the BIRCH.

That little BIRCHzilla moment ends up being a blessing.

I guess I don’t just like the BIRCH.

I love.


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caught on tape.

My homespun video clip tour.

Roll it.


Posted in happy, kitchen, me | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

another kitchen perspective.

Here it is in black and white.

The kitchen is just taking a little jaunt to the right of the house—here’s the layout of the back wall.

The sink finds it’s new home under my previous dining room window.

The kind of sink? Oh, just a basic white cast iron apron farmhouse style.

Ok. Yea…it will be undermount. Totally no big deal. I shopped online for it obsessively now and then when I was super bored. After the order was in I swear Starbucks gave me 3 shots of espresso in my mocha that afternoon because I couldn’t fall asleep from the time that my Amazon order was confirmed until it was safely shipped to our home.

I memorized the confirmation number and repeated it during the night but I just think of that as a wise practice more than anything strange.

I have not climbed into it nor have I imagined it as a place to take warm afternoon baths while Mr. C is at school. That would be so odd. Totally.

Turn the corner from the lazy susan, and here is the side wall where I will doing my sizzling and pot and panning.

The plan is to jam my $13.00 microwave into the pantry on the right, hidden and accessible to reheat my mocha for 22 seconds at a time.

(Did you know if you have that random (and creative I might add) thought of hiding a microwave in a cabinet you have to let the electrician know, it will be part of the bid, and it affects the shelving? I know. Seriously! And there is code this and that involved as well?)

Sketches? Design? Direction? By none other than my Kitchen Designer extraordinaire. LOVE her. I call her Kitchen Kari. Kari Burnham has put up with a lot dealing with me. I tell you that in case you assumed otherwise. Detail and vision, that girl has it. She hooked me up with DreamMaker Kitchen and Bath. They are amazing!



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hello! the plan

Still a happy girl!!

Yes, I am in the basement a whole lot.

And the fridge is up some stairs and around a corner, and the box filled with essentials required to survive this transition somehow got sealed up and went off with the POD.

But lets keep in mind that I am so on the front end of this adventure. And being still a youngin’, I get to be under that blissful cloud of naivety believing this excitement will keep me going for weeks on end.

Love it.

First here’s a glance at the design specs of what was so last week ago—pay close attention to the number of grey lines. Those drywall, stud filled grey lines.

So how could I hit the wall?

Because seriously. It’s gone.

Gone baby.


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Sink in dumpster

Oh. The sweetest of good-byes I tell you!!!! I woke up to that little girl on Christmas morning kind of feeling. I was greeted—as in startled awake from a comatose sleep—by a deep voice saying, “hello!!!??” Guess I overslept, which hear me doesn’t take away from the excitement I am trying to get across here.

With all these ba-byes, what am I “soon” to say hello to??

Tune in for the kitchen plans. As for what’s coming tomorrow, another wall is coming down.


I’m excited!!! Can you tell?

If you are wondering why this girl is so excited, just take a peek here.



Posted in happy, kitchen | Tagged | 4 Comments

very charming.

Upon checking out at the register at my local Anthropologie, the cutest-of-cuties worker is setting up a display with a great big brown box of fresh shiny merchandise: lovely chains and shiny charms.

I said something like “Oh! Oh!”



Thankfully, she speaks my language and understood me as saying, “I wanna see! I wanna see!”

Kind enough to not only let me take a peek, she also permits me to dig in, open some baggies and even play around for a bit.

(Someone walking by could of even mistaken me being an official member of the Anthro staff…..not kidding!)

The conversation in my head and out loud was: “Yes, I will purchase—if I feel the love.”


I am drawn in like a woman under hypnosis. There are many to look at, but these 3 sweet little pearls… hmmm… my kids… and the hand…

The Dazzling Teen, The Good Nature of a Quality Pearl….

And the—Oh, Boy do I love you Aqua;

all together, fully represented. All 3 held.


I search for the numeral 3—no need for a box, bag or receipt, I proudly wear out of the store.

So far what I’ve noticed is this is something I can tangibly grab onto during the day, and it’s a comfort. Even mid conversation—or just coming or going. It’s something to see and feel and I love hearing it clang-clang together. How it draws my attention. How it catches me.

Makes me think of Tevye’s tassels getting caught on the raw wood from Fiddler on the Roof. Being caught in day-to-day life to recall, remember, pray…or just notice.

I see today that Carolyn the Chief Imagineer of Catalog & Packaging also hand-picked the same charm with this super secret personal email I received today:

Love that it will take on it’s own meaning for each, or just be a darn cute piece of random fashion to any and all who feel inspired by this design.

Thanks Anthro!


The Proud Mother of The Pearls

To look at what charms you most click here. The pencil! Come on—it even works! And I am also loving that burnt orange feather. Nummy. What about you?


Posted in CREATIVE, fashion, happy, kid story, me, parenting, Product, thoughtful | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

what a trip.

A year ago we had the pleasure of housing Nana and Papa for bit. They are so great and the good news? Yes, they’re back! Our short-term live-ins are paying us a little visit—Papa with his gumption and Nana with her grace.

Right off the bat dad asks if there’s an IKEA in my local suburb (cutie!) and if they carry entertainment centers. No dad, no IKEA within my city limits; but yes there is one down by the MOA and they do have entertainment centers. He says “could we find a time to run down there while we’re staying? It will be quick—we can be in and out.”

Like you, I know better than to think this will be just a short-term mission trip, there is no such thing when it comes to IKEA with all it entails. So I do some key short-list planning to make this a success—a) find care for Mr. C.

That about covers it—we head out the next morning.

After a drive-through Starbucks run I see Papa is already doing his thing with the customer service personal. See Papa is funny, and knows it. The service providers don’t always know it, but for the most part they do. It might look like him saying “so any fresh coffee today?”

“Your in luck, we sure do!”

Then he might push it, “how much for a half cup?” I tell him under my breath, “I will continue to see these people in my day-to-day life dad.” Chuckling he settles on a half-caf mocha and then behaves himself; even treating me on behalf of this big-trip I am chaperoning him on.

Barista Jane asks where the toddler is today. I say, “no toddler today, just Papa.” She gives me a wink as she hands me my piping-hot 2 pump mocha that I will be slowly sipping and savoring.

Papa asks for a straw for his piping-hot mocha and sucks it right down.

Heading south on the freeway Papa is checking his watch; as surely we must have passed it by now. Nana from the back ensures him, “Emily knows the way…” I tell him it’s almost all the way down to the airport. “Wow, I’ll give you 20 dollars for gas em,” followed by, “and we won’t be long—just in and out.”

I remind him—”this is a pretty big store, there is lots to look at dad. And you might want to consider a wheelchair so your more comfortable.”

He says he has no problem using one if he feels the need.

The cutie.

As we stroll along I hear Papa say “mush, mush” then a giggle. I giggle right along.

Bumping along occasionally too close to others, another good line he pipes up with, “handicapped driver, out of the way!” I roll my eyes appropriately.

I give him the tour of entertainment centers, responding to his left, right, stop, go, back, forward commands.

We track down a worker and he gets some questions answered about different furniture pieces.

Then he starts in. “Any discount for VA vets? Or, how about the handicapped?”

She is all-too-seriously answering these questions stating she is far from the price-point side of the business.

He gets up out of the wheelchair saying, “I’m faking it anyways.”

Oh boy. I smirk at this dear customer service worker.

I see him looking at his watch wondering how much longer this will take. I push him to the closest exit for a smoke break and Nana and I head off with the aisle and bin numbers to find the pieces.

We did it.

He went with the BESTA entertainment center, good choice dad.

Coming home a bit tired I feel satisfied to the fullest. He got what he needs and more than that; I just love spending time with my dad. He is something…there is no one else like him. And I see where I get some of that tendency toward public-displays of humor from—that nature to push things a bit too far. Now when I see that in me, I can see a reflection of my dad.

Oh, do I love him.

He is, he is a trip. And after a good trip there is nothing like a good nap, just what I did.

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pulling over for awhile.

Our family just got a big taste of summer. We visited my Finn-land*, my goodness, my take-my-breath away summertime of sweetness.

After (what should be 7) 9.5 hours in the van trekking all the way to Northern Michigan, these blond heads were one of the highlights that made the trip oh-so worthwhile.

Meet Mr. C’s cousins.

Little guys always coming, going, chasing and occasionally pausing long enough to eat. Ohhh…are they nummy.

And then there’s the view…

Yea. Lake Superior at its finest. Up north and warm and toasty?? An utter treat.

Not only summertime, but a bit of Christmas too. The perfect day.

Boys, bats, beach…could it get any better?

As cousins go, there is always the older crew. The guys on the left fit the part; yea, they know all about it.

All sorts of moments to bask in. To savor.

This is Mr. C’s safest of play-times. He is the master of truck noises. He loves to take in the sensory experience of the warm sand, sun and breeze. Just sits and turns, digs and plows—again and again.

Trying to keep my eyes on my book I give up—this view is just too good. I am overusing the word good, this I know. Like pretty much all of you, I’m a fan of good—and even more so since my friend, the wise soul Becky Patton passed along to me the Hebrew word for good: tov, which means life giving.

Ahhh. That’s something that I can use lots of.

I see it, and feel it. A break from the mess and clutter of my head, heart and—yes, my home—I can feel this escape from head to toe. The breeze and light and airiness fills me with something very necessary—and giving.

So I sit and stare and now post it. Call it a record of some truly life-giving moments.

Or just call it good.


*yes, we are all—cousins, uncles, aunts, grandmas, and grandpas – a Finnish bunch throughout!


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it can really suck.

Oh happy day!

The big boys are out of town deep in the woods and I’ve got Oreck on my mind. I have wanted an Oreck vacuum for 15 years. Maybe even longer….like since forever. Not sure when or how but the charms of this vacuum had me sold from what must have been a foundational developmental age. Maybe around the time when I ran around the house in wonder-woman wares. For some reason those two things are related in my head—maybe it’s the sense of power held within each, and the lightweight function of both. Children are so impressionable.

And it is time for some good ole-fashioned, high-design cleaning.

Ya think???

After we—as in me—get through the maddening process of picking up thing after thing I see the end in sight, and can’t wait to give this carpet a good once-over with my new glorious piece of machinery.

Being the kind mommy that I am I let Mr. C give it a whirl first. So he happily goes rerererererer, scurrying along with the slight pull of this horse-powered, self-propelled baby. (Exciting isn’t it!!)

I hear the satisfying sound of little things getting sucked up and away.


And then the event had a downward bend to it.

Oh my.

An annoying, yes dare I say—sucky incident.

Mr. C’s fault? No. So I contain these sucky sounds of “AHHHH” and “GRRRRR” within my melon-sized head.

Seriously, the stripe on my debit card is still warm. I have yet to give it a test drive. Dang it bleep bleepin’ dang it!!!

I take a deep breath. (Always wise.) Putting my shoulders back basically I suck it up. I pick up the phone to check in with my new friends down at the local Oreck shop.

“Hi there, remember me? I just left 20 minutes ago… Emily the housewife* who just had to have the gold colored vacuum?? Since you didn’t have aqua??? Yeah. Well, errr…. not sure what the warranty covers. Likely this doesn’t fall under that. You see, the cord ate itself after getting shoved under an innocent, green, retro chair. It was left to nibble for a good 30 seconds by a  toddler who was using it at the time. Yes. The one who was accompanying me at the shop, you remember? Yea…I know, it is suprising. Yes, that sweet, innocent, blond boy. Yes, he does like to help out with chores. It is really, really sweet. Super sweet. So…what are we looking at here???”

Whew. The good news for any and all concerned here is that the tear isn’t down to the copper so I can just slab on some electrical tape. And even this “full cord replacement” the worker brought up a few times is only $30.00 if ever needed.

Let it go down in the record book of the housewive’s drama for sure. A doozie, a close one….

Or let me just say it did sort of suck. At least it did for a little bit anyways.

A housewives confession of how much she paid for her vacuum. Beyond the standard version,  she paid $100 extra for the Oreck Professional Series Gold Vacuum. It has some fancy things going for it—some magical belt system that never needs replacement and it tips back and rolls from room to room, has 2 speeds, an award winning comfort fit handle….but really, it’s an adorable shade of gold.

* that H word—it’s an inside joke with the worker. Or could be just with me. Anyways—in our getting acquainted over the vacuum sale, I give him the lowdown that I had actually asked my husband for permission to purchase a new vacuum. Exactly like a 1950s housewife would. I straight out asked. It came out that way and I just went with it—especially after hearing my husband reply with, “K.” I’m comfortable enough with my womanhood to just go with things like that.



Posted in cleaning, frustrating, funny, homespun, HOUSEHOLD ISSUES, INS, kid story, marriage, mr. k, Product, the ordinary | Tagged | Leave a comment