Saturday, August 29, 2009

Berry Picking





Happy weekend everyone!



Halena, Braden, my sister, and I headed over to Honey Hill Orchard for some raspberry picking today. We braved the bees and the unseasonably cool weather, as it felt more like we should be heading to the pumpkin patch than the berry patch. We were determined to pick enough raspberries to make our own jam. You heard me right...homemade jam! Impressed? So was I. Quite honestly, the whole canning thing makes me a little nervous, and I'm still shocked it turned out so well! It was a lot of work, but we had a ton of fun. And, the best part was the amazing homemade apple cider donuts that they sell at Honey Hill...after gulping one down, my sister said, "that was the best donut I've ever had!" Oooo, and it was...





Oh, and the SHOP will finally open up for pre-orders on September 1st! Yeah!!! I will have an official grand opening later in September, when all of my beautiful Jeanne d' Arc Living products arrive...but you may begin placing pre-orders on Tuesday if you would like to be sure to reserve an item.



Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)



Tracey

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Outdoor Office...
















Well I got Halena out the door this morning and on her way to 2nd grade! Next, it was time to pack up the other 2 munchkins and drop them off with grandma and grandpa for a few hours. Then, I headed over to Kasey's for her "Mimosas for Mom's" party! It was a great morning!!!



Afterwards, as I was eating lunch, I started reading this article about outdoor spaces/sanctuaries. In it, they suggested you convert an old commercial shipping container into an outdoor room. Well, that got my attention...until my husband reminded me that the smallest commercial container is 20 feet long, and he didn't exactly think the neighbors would appreciate us having a 20 ft. container in our backyard. Oh phooey! But, it got me thinking (this usually means trouble). I know I can't have a barn back there, as much as I'd like to, because...well...this is a residential subdivision. But, why not a garden shed? And, I mean that in the glammed up kind of way. I've wanted one for a very long time...but I always thought if I had one, it'd be for gardening...



As I walked the 5 steps from the kitchen table over to my teeny, tiny "office,"* I kept thinking...I would LOVE to have a little garden shed, a studio of sorts, in the backyard...a place to go to that was all my own...where it was quiet and peaceful...and I could be creative and get my work done!



As I jumped on the computer, these are some of the garden sheds that I found that I think would make fabulous outdoor offices...










I could get some serious blogging, I mean, work done in here...
















And, of course, this office could also be used to sit in and sip some wine with my husband or girlfriends...it's always good to have a dual purpose for things, don't you think?












*I have recently started turning a small, mostly unused, closet off of my kitchen into an office space. When I'm done, I'll show you what I've come up with. My running joke is...my business is small therefore my office is small :)

I'll have to start chipping away at the hubs, to get him on board with the idea...unfortunately, this could take awhile...



{photos 1-5: better homes and gardens, last photo: country living}



Tracey

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ten Things...





Happy Monday everyone! I'm a little late in getting this out, but it's just been one of those days. I saw this on Tammy's blog and I thought it might be fun to do...since I'm new to blogging and most of you don't know me yet...






10 Things...

Feel free to copy and paste and do your own.



1. How come I can never find: the time to put all of my pictures in a photo album. I have every picture ever taken, since my wedding, stuffed into envelopes and not a one has ever been placed in an album. At this point, the task is so daunting I don't know how I'll ever get it done.


2. I wish I'd never started: being a neat freak...life was blissful back when my neurosis were in check and I didn't constantly feel like I should be cleaning something.


3. I wonder why: people have to live in excess...why do people always want the biggest and the best, sometimes that just equals ugly in my book.


4. Mama always told me: don't use the word hate, just say you don't like it.


5. There's this one thing in my closet that I just can't seem to get rid of: the smell, just kidding...my tall, black boots, you know the kind that are skin tight around your calves, with a chunky heel. I don't know, I guess I think they might come back in style or something. The other day my 4 yr. old put them on, as he has taken to playing with my shoes lately. At any rate, he put these boots on and then asked my husband, "does mommy wear these to do cowboy things?" I think it's time to get rid of them.


6. My favorite guilty pleasure is: Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch...the whole pint in one sitting!


7. I always forget to: put the toilet seat down, oh wait...that's not me, that's my husband.


8. I have never: been on a roller coaster because I am terrified of heights.


9. I'm obsessed with: all things French and Scandinavian, duh!


10. One of my favorite memories is: meeting my husband on New Year's Eve night. I had gone into the city to be with my friends, and had recently started a new job. As we "pre-partied," I went on about this guy I had my eye on at my new job. We walked into this bar later that night, you know doing the walk around and check things out routine, and a guy grabbed my arm and said, "do you work at Walgreens?" My jaw hit the floor as I realized it was "the man of my dreams"...and the rest, as they say, my friends is history!




I will leave you with a few more of the lovely Jeanne d' Arc Living pictures...because...it's Monday...and who couldn't use a few pretty pictures?! Hope your week is a great one!



















Tracey



Friday, August 21, 2009

Shop Talk

Yeah it's Friday! I am in the mood for some much needed happiness...so I thought I would bring you up to speed on what the heck is going on with my shop...because my little shop brings bubbles of excitement up in me. I have received many emails wondering when I will be opening up my little French Larkspur...now that's a good question. Let me start with a little background...


Before I had my 3 darling angels, I was a working girl. More specifically, I was a buyer for a very large drugstore chain. I was in charge of about $150 million in cosmetic sales for the company and I got to travel to New York and L.A. and go to trade shows, etc...sounds glamorous doesn't it?...well it wasn't. It was a lot of stress, hard work, and long hours. So when I had my first baby, I decided to become a stay at home mama, as I couldn't imagine being able to handle that job and raise a family. While it hasn't been easy, it has been a joy and a privilege to be with my children every day and I thank God every night for the opportunity to do so.


However, I have longed for a little something more. Something I could call my own...a hobby if you will. But, at this point in my life, if I'm not passionate about it, I simply don't want to do it. Time is tight with 3 kiddos, and I am selective about what I take on...


Which brings me to a few months ago...


I decided to order my first Jeanne d' Arc Living magazine online. I knew that it looked appealing based on the pictures and description, but I had no idea it would launch me in a whole new direction. I was hooked from the get go. Just look at these gorgeous photos...















*sigh*

I was beside myself with the beauty of Jeanne d' Arc's style...French Country in the Nordic way...What really spoke to me the most was the religious influence felt throughout their style of decorating. I LOVED IT!!! I immediately ordered another magazine and 2 of the books. All the while, my former "buyer's brain" was thinking...you could do this, you could order this product, and bring it into the country, and start your own shop... Well there were a lot of snafus to work out, but the wheels were turning. The biggest obstacle being the hubs! Shockingly, as my plan started to unfold, Mr. Logistics seemed to be on board with everything. You see, my husband works for a Danish shipping conglomerate, and he also has his Customs broker's license. It just seemed too perfect for us to work together and maybe, just maybe, make this happen. Now don't tell my husband this part, but the real reason I wanted to do all of this...you guessed it...was so I could get the goods for myself!

Phew, that was a long one! So here we are. I have been working diligently to get myself to this point and I am bursting with excitement!!! My goods are just about to ship from Denmark and should be here, hopefully, in about 3 weeks (nothing has gone exactly "as planned" so far, so I'm just going with the flow). As soon as I get the shipping confirmation, I will open things up for pre-orders. In the meantime, the shop is not officially open, but you can peruse the categories of product. I will have prices loaded on everything by next week. And I will be adding a few more things as well, but most products are already loaded.

Thanks for listening to my longest post to date, you are the sweetest of friends! I hope you are as excited about this beautiful, inspirational line as I am.

Have a fabulous weekend... and I will leave you with a few pictures of the gorgeous Jeanne d' Arc Living products I will be carrying...





























Tracey



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to School


This is my sweet Halena. She is my oldest child, and we were in need of a little one on one time. So, with school only one week away, we decided that we would head out for some lunch and a little back to school shopping at the nearby outlet mall...just the two of us. The above picture is Halena sitting outside the store we had just come from. You see, apparently when you are almost 8, it is a bit embarrassing for your mother to be whipping out her camera and asking for you to flash your best smile while you are shopping. Really...it starts that early? Oh well, I cherish our time together, because with three kiddos to take care of, one on one time with any of them is pretty scarce. My sweet girl has had a rough go of it lately, and today was good for both of us.

These next two pictures are when we were all done shopping. Here again...outside the stores. She is sporting her new hat, which I just adore. All in all it was some great mother/daughter time. And, if you promise not to tell any of Halena's friends, I'll let you in on a little secret...she even held my hand while were walking back to the car...ahhh...it does a mother's heart good...







And, I can not end this post without sending out an enormous thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and my family! Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you...the kind and caring comments you left on my last post really do make the healing process a little bit easier...




Tracey




Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sadness





I know I've been out of touch lately, but my little family has been going through a really difficult time...sadly, on Thursday evening, my father-in-law lost his battle with cancer. He was the very best father-in-law a girl could ask for...always warm, loving, and generous. He was the kind of person who always had a smile on his face and a joke in his repertoire. I will miss him for the rest of my life...

My heart is broken watching my husband sobbing for the first time in the 13 years I have known him. He had a wonderful friendship with his father, and I credit dad for making my husband the incredible father that he is today. The loss of this amazing man is not just a personal one for my husband and I, but one we feel for our 3 children as well...they have lost a grandpa they were very close with.

My sweet Halena, as our oldest child, knew him the longest, and there for has been hit the hardest by this loss. She has been crying for days, and I can't quite find the words to comfort her. My 4 yr old son didn't quite get it when my husband told him that his grandpa had passed away...I had to tell him that he wouldn't be able to see his grandpa anymore, at least not for a very long time...and then he got it. Poor little thing. And, I guess the thing that makes me the saddest, the thing that hurts the most, is that my 2 year old baby girl will have no memories of the grandpa that loved her so. I just wish there could have been more time for all of them to be with their grandpa. I told Halena and Braden that they will have to work hard at keeping their memories of grandpa, so that they can pass them on to little Caighton...so that she too can know him in some way.

I'm glad that his tremendous suffering is over. There is peace in knowing that he is in a place where there is no more pain and no more sadness. There is an emptiness in my heart, but I do know that this is not goodbye, just goodbye for now. Some day we will see him again...in the glory of God's kingdom...and there will be only happiness...

Thank you for letting me unburden my heart just a little. It does feel better to let some of it out. I do love you all, my old and my new friends...



Tracey

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dreaming...






It's been a long summer. We're all getting a little crabbier as the days go by, waiting for school to start up again (well I know I am at any rate).

There have been many tough, painful days lately, watching my father-in-law struggle with cancer.

I never seem to have enough time to get everything done anymore, so what do I do...add more to my plate.

It's all left me a little tired. And I find myself dreaming again...dreaming of that trip to France...you know, the ultimate escape from reality!



I haven't been on a "real" vacation since before I was pregnant with my third child...and she just turned 2. I know that my husband and I have talked about some day making it to Paris, but the truth be told...shhh...this part is a secret...I'd actually rather go with my girl friends...



I'd like to start here for a few days, in the wine making region of Cote du Rhone. In this 200 year old Provencal chateau...










Sleeping in this...








I want to sit in a little cafe, chatting with my friends...



Sipping one of these...





And maybe enjoying a few of these (calories don't count in Paris, do they?)...





Then head to Paris for a few days to wander the streets and take in the sights...











And, of course, walk the fabulous flea markets! Oh how I dream of those French flea markets...



























I'd like to finish my days in a place like this...









Having some of this...








And, definitely, a lot of this...








{goFrance, gettyimages, yourholidaymatters, elegantresorts, annrickard, berrybrothers figaro, reallifedecorating}


Anyone want to turn this dream into reality...just let me know, and we'll start planning...


Tracey

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Flea Market Sunday

Happy Tuesday my friends!!! I have been a little out of touch the last few days due to my ongoing computer problems. You'll be happy to know that I am over the screaming and have moved on to acceptance. After losing hours of my life to phone conversations with the tech people yesterday, it was determined that there is no fixing my computer, and I will have to send it in for repairs...you know what that means...yep...the dreaded relying on the hub's computer for blog time. Yikes! Does it get anymore painful? I mean, I'm actually going to have time to do the laundry! What fun is that?!

So, I do apologize in advance if I don't get to visit your wonderful blog's as often as I'd like to for awhile.





At any rate, Sunday was a much needed break from reality for me. My partner in crime, (actually that's what she calls me..I'm basically the "enabler," because she does most of the buying), Kasey and I headed up to Elkhorn, WI for a fun-filled day of flea marketing!











I"m the one on the left. Not the best picture, I know, but that's what you get when I get up at 4:30 am to go shopping...and boy did we...










I wish I had more pictures to share with you, but time on the hubby's computer is limited, so I'm going to have to cut this short. I didn't really buy anything major anyway, just a bunch of little things. But I had a wonderful time with a great friend! Below is a picture of the old scale I bought...I find myself drawn to these old scales lately . I like the juxtaposition they add to my mercury glass collection (this collection is displayed on top of a large cabinet that holds my vintage dishes in the dining room)...












Ciao for now...I hope everyone is off to a good start this week! Oh, and I wanted to clarify about the poem from my last post...that was me being funny, not me being creative. I do, of course, appreciate all of your kind words about my "lovely" poem, but it was all just a joke (I'm not nearly nutty enough to write a real poem about a bed)...just wanted to clarify:)





P.S. Thank you Judy over at Tapestries of Nature for letting me take the picture of that adorable "shop" suitcase in the 2nd photo!


Tracey


Friday, August 7, 2009

Oh how I adore thee...




Oh how I adore thee new bed...
a place, someday, for Caighton to lay her head
with your beautiful patina all chippy and white
...and just enough rust to make you alright

your curvy loveliness makes my heart sing...
you were found at a garage sale amongst all the bling...
but your long ago loveliness was not wasted on me
and that's why I say... oh how I adore thee...



He he that was fun! And oh how I adore you my sweet friends...wishing you all a wonderful weekend!!


And don't forget to race over to Wren's Nest for her fabulous 300th post giveaway! Her blog is amazing and the giveaway is awesome!! Happy 300th post my friend!!!!!!!!



Tracey

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Salad

I thought I'd start this post out with a picture of my 2 little chefs/helpers. Chef #3 was at a friend's house. Since we were making a family recipe, it was a good opportunity to take a few pictures and share it with you...









This recipe is one of my favorite summer salads (which we like so much we eat year round). I had intended to do this post yesterday, but I've been too busy screaming at my computer! It seems that, although my laptop is only 2 weeks old, all of the USB ports have decided not to work anymore...ugh!! That means no downloading pictures from my camera, amongst other things...ugh. Finally, I just downloaded the pictures to my husband's computer and emailed them to mine. The problem still isn't fixed, but there simply isn't enough patience left in me to spend hours on the phone with the computer company today...it'll have to wait until tomorrow...one more ugh for good measure...ugh!





Alright I feel a little better. So here is a favorite family recipe from my husband's side. It was given to me with no name, but my kids refer to it as "that yummy salad," when they want me to make it...





Dressing


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil ( I use the "light tasting" version)


6T cider vinegar


3/4 cup sugar


1 small onion diced


1/2 t ground mustard


1/4 t salt


1 t poppy seeds





Combine in a large canning jar and shake vigorously.





Salad


10 cups torn salad greens (at least 2 bags)


6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled


4T slivered almonds


1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained (optional)





Toss salad with dressing and garnish with the bacon, almonds, and oranges.





That's it!



















I love the Frenchhouse line of wines, and the Sauvignon Blanc makes a nice pairing with this salad (and hit the spot nicely after all of my screaming at the computer). Croissants were compliments of good ole Trader Joes.









Enjoy!!!




Tracey