My saving grace.

The kids used to have one of those prefab wood playgrounds. It was something my inlaws had gotten them one Christmas at our suggestion. It worked out well for a while, a slide, a few swings and a little “clubhouse” feel to it. This summer though, we realized it was on it’s last leg. Mike took it down towards the end of summer and we’ve been debating about what to do ever since.

A few weeks ago, after getting a little taste of fall here in Florida, I decided we needed to finally make up our minds. After school a few days, I wanted to be able to just open up the back door and have the kids play, but I knew there really wasn’t anything out there that would keep them occupied all that long.

When I asked Mike if he was ready to build something for the kids, he was game. I’m lucky he agrees to my crazy ideas so quickly. Tucker had soccer practice on Saturday morning, and then the rest of our weekend was spent building the kids a clubhouse of their dreams. I know this, because I totally would have loved a little space like this when I was their age.





I had put on Instagram this, “So the kids just closed on a one room, with a view and a pretty fancy side door. It’s a fixer upper, needs a fresh coat of bright green paint on the inside, the front porch needs some fresh white rails and maybe a hanging basket & a potted plant. Furniture to come, too.”

We’ve got a lot left to do. Mike only did one side of the rail (you can see how the right side is just laying in place) because he ran out of the right screws. Once he’s done with what he has to do, I’m going to pain the inside of it a fun (& bright) green. I think it was called Granny Smith Green maybe. We’ll decorate the inside with a few stools from Ikea and a spool table (I’ve had these big spools in the garage for a while and haven’t done anything with them yet). The porch rails will get painted white, I’ll add a few potted plants to their porch and probably a little landscaping to hide the cinder blocks. I also need to finish the curtains, I just threw them up tonight to get an idea of what they need to look like.

Eventually it will all come together.

& to get an idea of where my idea came from (and kind of how I’d like it all to look in the end):


Is this not the most adorable “handmade hideaway” as she calls it over at The Handmade Home!? Ours will hopefully be a close second when all is said and done. & mostly. I can’t wait for it to be my saving grace come this fall when the weather is nice and the doors are open in the afternoons after school. I’m sure I’ll have to drag the kids in each night. ::fingers crossed::

RaceTrac’s #CrazyGoodCoffee and a giveaway.

Ok. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest RaceTrac.

Over the summer they hosted the ever popular SodaPalooza and they’ve got something else up their sleeve now that it’s fall. This week (October 12-18th) you can grab FREE coffee, any size, any kind, without any coupon or any purchase. Cha-ching. Money in your pocket and crazy good coffee in your hand.

RaceTrac's Crazy Good Coffee

As the new RaceTracs have been popping up in our area, I’ve kinda fallen in love. You walk in to these huge stores (I hear 6,000 square feet) with tall ceilings and themed stations all around them, including their coffee bars (to top all coffee bars). Not only do they have six different kinds of coffee to choose from (including pumpkin for the everyone-wants-everything-pumpkin-in-fall season) but you can customize your coffee with every kind of sweetener or creamer imaginable. I’m a make-my-coffee at home kind of person for the most part, and when I make my coffee at RaceTrac it’s just like if I were making it at home because they always have what I want for my coffee.

So, don’t worry about brewing up your own coffee tomorrow (or any other day this week) and head on in to your local RaceTrac.

Oh. & to make your day even brighter, RaceTrac is giving you the chance to win a $25 RaceTrac gift card just for being a loyal reader here. Double cha-ching. You could have $25 more dollars worth of free coffee or fill that gas tank up on them, you pick. Wanna win? See below.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was written by me on behalf of RaceTrac. I was compensated for the review, however all views and opinions are 100% my own.

wiww: A Trades of Hope review & giveaway.

Last month, I attended one of those home parties. You know, the kind where a bunch of ladies are invited, good food is served, small talk is had and you end up buying some sort of product at the end?

Well, this kind of home party was a little different than your normal home party. It was one that you not only walked away from with something pretty for your money spent, but you served a greater purpose in making your purchase.

Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope was started by women for women. But not just for any ordinary woman. It was started for women living in poverty, not because they lack abilities, but because they lack opportunity. Their website says,

We work with the artisans themselves and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war torn countries and others have AIDS. These women have never had the chances we’ve had, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them.

Trades of Hope partners with over 20 artisan groups from around the globe to sell handcrafted jewelry, scarves, bags and home decor. Some countries these ladies come from include India, Uganda, and Haiti. The items made are consider fair trade products, meaning the artisans are paid fair prices for their products and services. With fair trade, Trades of Hope artisans make approximately 6 times more than they would normally make in the context of their own country. I also love this information about who is being helped through Trades of Hope.

And if that’s not enough of a difference on our world, Trades of Hope also does something called, “Gifts of Hope” where they give donations to programs that promote long term business and education. For the party I went to last month, if the party reached a certain amount in sales, a goat would be donated to a family. From this goat, they would then not only have milk for themselves, but a business of their own through selling milk to others in their area. The hostess of this party made sure that we were able to give that goat, and it was really neat to hear when all was said and done that we raised enough money in sales to achieve that goal.

The item I ordered was a gorgeous metallic scarf. I had actually got it just in time for my trip to Boston and wore it on my first day (travel day) there. It was a great way to dress up a simple pair of jeans and long sleeve shirt. I cannot wait for the fall weather to arrive here in Florida (for more than just a day!) so I can wear it more!


Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope scarf

Trades of Hope artisans


Now, want to know what you could win?! In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my friend Shelby (the Trades of Hope entrepreneur who my other friend, Katie, hosted her party through) is offering up the Triumph Bracelet to one lucky reader! It is handmade in Haiti using cereal box and clay beads (say what!? cereal boxes??? so cool!) and 50% of the net proceeds will be given to three different organizations who support women battling breast cancer. triumph bracelet breast cancer awareness

This is near & dear to me because my own grandmother fought breast cancer (and triumphed!) many many years ago.

So, how can you enter (and hopefully win!?) Just follow the steps below!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

pleated poppy

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The girls’ new room, almost.

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Surviving the first week.

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