making moments that matter


without a doubt

I have noticed lately as I am out and about running errands, that I am talking to myself while trying to make selections. It’s the time of year where decision making is commonly at its highest and I need to run my choices by someone. Since it’s just me running errands, I get to talk to myself.

“Is this the 1000 sheet one ply toilet paper? Yes. Good, that’s the right one. Okay, are these the paper towels that can rip off at different sizes? Sweet. In the cart they go.”

“Hmmm…would they like this? How much is it? Am I going to be able to go searching somewhere else? What’s that smell? Mmmmm….fried chicken. Should we get some for lunch? Yes, of course. Why would you even ask me that question. That was a statement, not a question. Go find that chicken.”

I’m no stranger to these personalized discussions. They go on all the time, often in my head. I also think my jokes are quite witty, and can crack myself up. There’s no wit like your own wit.

This time of year brings on a lot of, “Oh shoot, I forgot to do that – better add it to the list” kinds of conversations with myself.

I do talk to the horse across the street and tell him things about my day or run something by him. So, I don’t always talk to myself.

It’s not a clear picture but he’s adorable. He loves to chill out.

My cat and I thought we’d be frolicking this month working on puzzles, catching up on Fixer Upper and Pioneer Woman, reading some seasonal fiction and maybe painting and sewing up some dish towels. She’s been holding her own and wondering where I am. Me? I’m always headed out the door. But I’ll get an afternoon of frolicking in before the next week is over if I have to force it and then stay up late to be caught up from frolicking. It’s the point. The holiday season must have some frolicking in it.

(I’m wearing an old maternity top that I could not part with because it is so dang comfy. I can only wear it in the confines of my own home.) My cat doesn’t look like she wants me alongside her frolicking but she does.

I also thought I’d be meandering the countryside doing my shopping at local small businesses with a seasonal beverage in hand now that all of my kids are in school. Who has time for that? (I ask myself.) Not me. A budding relationship with my mail and package carriers has begun since we live in a new place now. I was dubbed the “catalog lady” early on by my mail carriers and I had been so looking forward to fleeing the catalogs once we moved. Apparently, they can smell your trail when you leave.

I guess there are worse things to be dubbed.

It’s also the time of year where I often wish for peaceful quiet moments to fill your days but I’m changing my tune this year. A quiet peaceful moment tucked into our days here and there are certainly little nuggets of joy, but when chaos is often the prevailing daily encounter, I’ve tried to make sure that I am pausing here and there to appreciate the hustle and bustle. After all, it’s a part of the holiday season and one that I enjoy, more when I look back on it than while I am going through it, but it’s enjoyable at some point. So, as this holiday season swells around you, I wish you humor to enjoy the chaos around you and the grit to join in.

Our chaos found us with flour all over the bellies of clean jammies from cookie baking. (Yes, I do wonder why I did baths first.) My little helpers were frustrated by the cheap paper that I bought which was plagued by tears and tape that always ended up not where they wanted it to be so I ended up helping my helpers and not doing my own wrapping. We painted ornaments for our Christmas tree that never ended up on the tree, but are still in a bag waiting for mom to have the time to hot glue the twine on them for hanging. I also never finished painting my project because I was helping my little painters. It was a wooden wreath for our front door. It’s just green. Plain green.

Barbie and a gal pal came to the cookie party too, I see.

I never did get to read “Winter According to Humphrey” but since it is just the beginning of winter, I still have time. And hope.

I never made another batch of my favorite spice cookies or cooked up the apples we received from our local Christmas tree farm for homemade applesauce. The kids did not get to try piping and flooding on their cookies. I’m not a royal icing fan, preferring homemade frosting, but it was more about the “trying” and not the “eating” and it’s just my own preference, not meant to become a tradition that my little peeps have to follow. Although I could not refrain from sharing the “why” to my own preference…

I’m sure Santa became very tired from waiting on me to finish my wrapping that caught me by surprise so that he could come in. I thought I had been much further ahead. What was I doing all season? An electrical circuit blew in our house just days before Christmas that included the outlets for the fridge and washer. Of course. Who needs a cold fridge for holiday food? And who needs to catch up on laundry? Dirty counter tops and a muddy floor a few days later found me with my electrical circuits working again after the electrician had to pull out about a hundred outlets to test for the bad one. It’s one way to get your floors and counter tops sparkling again for the holidays.

Christmas Eve found us hosting a cable technician because the electrical issue days prior left us without internet. For someone who complains about technology you’d think I would have been okay with that, but how else would I get my bills paid? No time left to mail them or call in my payments at that point. Some things left to the last minute don’t go away. Procrastinating to pay your bills? Don’t try this at home kids.

The fixer upper farmhouse that I have loved and stalked for years became available as an option for us to purchase…right in the holiday season. Of course. Many days were spent looking at various aspects of the house to see if it would be a good decision financially for our family. The verdict is still out. It’s an old house. I need more information. The sellers are very patient with me. There are other people interested in this property. They are very patient with me too.

While hanging out in the toy aisle at Target the other day waiting on my wee ones as they searched for the perfect toy to buy with the gift cards that were burning holes in their pockets, right after a holiday that spawns new toys, I spied an Eight Ball on the shelf. Do you remember those? If you do, you know that they know the answers to any question about everything and will give you the honest answers you’ve been searching for. (It’s not the eight ball for a game of pool. Don’t talk to that ball or people will think your’re nuts.)

I reached out and grabbed the box and asked this all-knowing Eight Ball if we would be the ones in this fixer upper farmhouse dream of mine and it clearly and quickly replied, “Without a doubt.”

I also talk to Eight Balls.

Then I promptly showed my husband our future. After all, what the Eight Ball says is real. Everyone knows that.

Soon into this holiday season, I decided to stop and smell the chaos as it unfolded, for it was my holiday season. It’s what would make great stories when I recalled my month. It would make me chuckle. I’ve never laughed over perfectly cute ornaments that I was proud of nor a holiday that went off without a hitch. (I’m not sure there ever has been one.) I don’t have pictures of the beautiful cookie making moment I did with my kids. (Has there ever been one?) I have pictures of floured bellies, dough on my floor and cookies on baking sheets that have been man-handled so many times only a dad would eat them.

So…chaotic holiday and winter moments are wished upon you from me, myself and I. And my cat. And my horse neighbor. And probably the Eight Ball. I left it in the store so I cannot ask it.

Can you believe we will be settling in to another year in a few short days? Last year at this time I was preparing for a giant leap of a cliff as we packed up to move without any sort of direction and here I am a year later. What could possibly happen this year?

I need to buy that Eight Ball.

Tune in, my BFF’s, and buckle up…it’s about to be a bumpy ride as we fly around my bubble map of dreams.

My cat is waiting for me. So is my to-do list.

“Which one will I choose?”

I ask myself…not the Eight Ball.

P.S. It’s getting close to a New Year – have you thought about a word that will become your theme word for the year? Mine is looking like it might be “hospitality” and I’ll tell ya about it in the next post. Sometimes when you’re striving, you’re not thriving.

Happy Chaotic New Year BFF’s!


By |2019-04-05T07:46:48-04:00December 30th, 2018|Archives|Comments Off on without a doubt

time for an update on the awkward bird

Hello my favorite BFF’s!

Welcome to my new BFF’s and it’s good to see my old BFF’s. I figured it would be a good time to update you on what is happening with “The Awkward Bird”, especially if you know that we’ve moved, which was supposed to bring me closer to my bubble map of dreams.

While we were preparing to move, I read something that compared big scary moments in life to diving off a cliff. That is exactly what it felt like to me. We had been brought to the edge of the cliff and were about ready to jump, not knowing what the landing would be like. It’s not my first cliff diving experience, but each one is different and big and scary. Shortly after I read that comparison, a friend sent me a card that mentioned jumping off a cliff and our net would be waiting for us. I love those connections in life!

We jumped and moved over the summer months, but we didn’t exactly land.

Not yet.

We can see a net below us but we’re not close enough to reach it.

Not yet.

Our shirts got stuck on a branch that was hanging out about three quarters of the way down and we’re flopping around a bit. Luckily, we’re close to the ground, we just can’t quite figure out how to land.

If you are new around these parts, “The Awkward Bird” is me. It’s also my website. And it’s also my future country shoppe and any other wild dream I can think up. I began this adventure a few years ago as my husband and I faced some future “forks in the road” and I have slowly grown. The time has come where our youngest wee one is now in kindergarten and we jumped off the cliff to make a move. Those were the two major prerequisites for the next steps of “The Awkward Bird” country shoppe.

But…the best laid plans usually change and we find ourselves in transition and not yet settled from our recent move. We’re currently renting, which has us in a stalemate, and our major important priority is to find a family home to purchase or build, but alas – nothing has come up yet. Being patient has never been one of my strengths.

So, we wait.

Well…what’s up with “the bird”, you wonder?

Back story: About a year ago, my website was hacked and all of the brilliantly witty and in-my-mind award-winning content that I had created was gone. Not a crumb of it was left, not even from my previous website (“Just Like Perfect!”). After a few weeks of working with my giant world-wide hosting site I realized that my content wasn’t coming back. So, now what? Was it a sign that I stink as a blogger and the world needed to be rid of my content forever? Was it a sign that my often overwhelming world was in need of an overhaul and I was supposed to give up this piece because it is time consuming and I am needed elsewhere?

After some deliberation, I knew that the world needed me and my blog and I really needed you and it.

I decided to build my website again and keep moving forward, but at a slower pace, and just hang out in limbo with it until the time would come where I could begin to give it the direction I had been waiting for. It was the last year my youngest would be by my side on a daily basis since the school day would gobble him up soon enough and I knew that we had a big move in the works. I wanted to savor the “last” moments in my world at that time because changes were a comin’.

A year later, which is now, I am able to start looking for local website design and hosting companies. I never want to spend three weeks on a phone wondering why no one can find my website content when I pay for backups, but they would surely be able to dredge up the sordid events and indiscretions of my youth – if I had any, that is…which would have happened even before the internet ever existed. (I’m 47. Let’s just get that out there.) I have slightly researched local marketing and branding companies. I am looking locally for a physical place to maybe set up a studio and warehouse of sorts, to house the inventory for the online portion of my country shoppe. And to be a local “pick-up” place for shoppers in my area so they could avoid shipping fees if they so desired. My house would be too messy. You can’t go there. I don’t want to clean my bathroom every day.

I’m still surrounded by a few moving boxes and I have no idea where we’ll hang our soon-to-be-needed snow pants and winter coats. Our rental has very few closets and storage so I’ve had to put on my design hat to come up with some solutions. Look out summer gear, winter gear is taking over. My horizontal spaces are still covered, but I’m beginning to think that has more to do with me than it does that all of the places I have lived lack enough horizontal space and storage.

My eyes have been looking longingly at a place in town for a future site for my “real” country shoppe. It’s just land at the moment because the diner that was there is now gone. That means I’d be starting from scratch. Scary. Expensive. It’ll have to wait because we need a house first. Well, and the land is not for sale.

In the meantime, I’m slowly researching other ideas to get me up and running and moving. My husband cleverly surmised that whatever we start with, needs to include some kind of food offering. He’s right. But that opens up a giant can of worms as requirements for offering food are much different than the requirements for offering retail items. Another world I need to research and flounder around in. Scary. Expensive.

So, my BFF’s, that’s where “the bird” stands at the moment. Closer. But not yet there.

And…not to be the one to add stress to your moments, did you realize that the “holidays” are almost upon us? The time is NOW to get some balance in that there to-do list of ours or we’ll be swallowed up whole only to be spit out in January wondering what happened and if we missed anything.

Go forth, my favorite BFF’s, and make moments that matter. Life is busy, ya know.


By |2019-04-05T07:46:48-04:00October 30th, 2018|Archives|Comments Off on time for an update on the awkward bird

more bon-bons please


Is it me you’re looking for?

I’ve been thinking about you all summer and wondering what kind of summer fun you were up to. My hot summer weather started late but it has lasted a long time. It has been a super hot and rainy season and the trees and grass are still very green, not fall-like at all. Although a couple of the trees in our new digs are sticklers for routine so they have dropped some leaves despite what their peers are doing.

This was the summer that we made a move toward a new home and a new adventure. One that would bring me closer to my bubble map of dreams, including starting my Awkward Bird Country Shoppe.

Panic. Excitement. Fear. Giddy. Panic. Disbelief. Thankfulness. Wow. Pinch me. Panic. Right on track. A lot of work.

Just a few of the feelings that crop up at any given moment during the day.

You may have noticed that the menu up top looks like you might have the option to shop. “Perhaps, just maybe, did she open her online shoppe finally after all that yakking about it?”

No, not yet. But…I was playing around with a feature that is available to me and my old website here wondering if that might be the answer.

I need more research and at this point, I am thinking of leaving it to the pros so that I can be sure I am offering a secure and wonderful shopping experience. Baby steps but they’re steps.

Yes, there are still packing boxes in my world. I was planning to be done with them by now but our adventures went in directions we had not planned on so I do not see untangling myself from that relationship any time soon, and some days, I feel like we may never part ways. We decided to rent for many reasons, so that puts us in a temporary state of living for an undetermined length of time until our “forever home” surfaces. Until then, I’m sorting through boxes to find the things we need to exist and we will store the rest. That just means the boxes are hanging out in their own rental waiting for me. Forgotten but not gone.


Created with Microsoft Fresh Paint

Our move was full of blog-worthy content but I’ll save that story for another moment. I can’t relive it right now, it’s just too fresh. Various issues with movers, crazy hot humid weather, multiple road trips and a week long visit from the food poisoning fairy are just a few of the moments that joined us on our move adventure. Being that I am still trying to settle in and make a home, even a temporary one, I find myself craving a bit of a reprieve from “the move”. What I really want is to eat more bon-bons.

All of my children are now in school full-time and I had planned on taking the first few moments of that change of season to do everything else but work.  Instead, I cried, and then began unpacking, shuffling things around and created the giant to-do list that comes with a move. It’s been ten years that I have had a wee one by my side most of the day so this is a bittersweet change and a big change for many reasons. Once my country shoppe dream begins, I will be a super busy gal again navigating a completely foreign world.

It’s time for a bon-bon.

I know that whatever season of life you are in, the back to September routine changes for most people and it includes structure and expectations that we were able to let go of over the summer months. You will have your own to-do list that is much larger than you care to think about.

Let’s escape and eat bon-bons together. There’s nothing like the pleasure of “putting your feet up” and doing whatever pleases you to avoid your to-do list for a while. It’s a way to ensure that you make moments that matter every day, which will add years to your life and a smile to your face every day. Really.

I have been able to add an almost daily walk to my routine because one of the promises to myself with my kid-less time was to get back to a regular exercise routine that often went by the wayside when I needed to fit it in at night while my kids slept. I’m pooped at night! On my walks, I daydream about the kinds of bon-bons I want to eat instead of working on my to-do list.

When I open my box of bon-bons, the biggest one that is covered  with all sorts of goodness, is a whole day of nothing work-related. I’ll need to work up to that one because there is just too much to do right now. But, I’ve discovered that there is a sweet pleasure in the teeny bon-bons that we can sneak in, maybe even more pleasure than having a whole day to goof off.

Ooooo, look at that one! I want the vanilla bon-bon with some delicious nuts just waiting for me to take a bite. That’s me and my books sitting outside on these end of summer and early fall days just taking in whatever nature sends my way while I get lost in the words on the pages in front of me. That’s a staple bon-bon and one I need more often than I allow.

Created with Microsoft Fresh Paint

The smooth and creamy hazelnut bon-bon in the corner of my bon-bon box is me doing one of my favorite art hobbies like drawing or painting. Creating a picture for a new note card or fabric design is delicious!

See that deep dark chocolate bon-bon over there? It’s coffee-flavored with an espresso bean tucked inside. That bon-bon is a moment spent savoring some chicken wings and other “bad for you” snacks while watching the TV shows that make me happy – Fixer Upper and The Pioneer Woman.

Tucked right in the middle of my bon-bon box is a pretty treat rolled in sprinkles. A few hours spent meandering around a cute little village to look in all of the cozy mom and pop shoppes can send me to the moon. It’s also a wonderful way to spy some great presents for my gifting list because these shoppes often have gifts that you don’t see in every store. Fabulous! There’s probably a little cafe or diner right around the corner too when I find myself famished from all of my shopping adventures and ready to nosh.

One of my most favorite bon-bons (have I said that already?) is to go to the movies solo and tuck myself up in a seat with a respectably-sized bucket of extra buttery popcorn and a Diet Pepsi. Maybe some pizza or a hot dog too if I feel so inclined. Napkins are optional. My favorite movies are usually kid-related, probably because of my youthful age and demeanor…ahem, and the one on my radar right now is The House With A Clock In It’s Walls.

Okay, now I really need a bon-bon. There are just a few more things to complete on my to-do list in order to free up a moment for me to hang around eating bon-bons. You need to make room for some bon-bons in your days as well. You know what they say…”All work and no play makes an awkward bird dull.”

What’s in your box of bon-bons?



By |2019-04-05T07:46:48-04:00September 26th, 2018|Archives|Comments Off on more bon-bons please

summer traditions

So, I know you’ve been wondering what is happening in my world. You probably find yourself thinking, “What is going on with Aaryne, The Awkward Bird? Is she still packing boxes?”.

I found this pic on my phone. My kiddos will ask to use my phone and take pics once in a while. I’m not surprised that boxes showed up!

Yes, I am still packing boxes but that activity is dwindling. When I started purchasing boxes, I cleverly decided to try to use sizes that I might also use as shipping boxes when I start my online Awkward Bird Country Shoppe over this next year. Then I would be able to reuse them and reduce waste. But I soon realized that my boxes are labeled with the box contents, and I label on three sides of the box because it never fails that the one side you label is covered and inaccessible by other boxes when you need to read what is in the box. Now, someone will get their delightful shipment of goodies from The Awkward Bird online shoppe in a box labeled with my unmentionables.


We have some good ideas though to jazz up the boxes and hide our packing inventory lists.

Summer is here in some fashion, whether it’s triggered by the sunny warm weather you have at your place, the end of school, or the picnics and BBQ’s filling up your calendar. You may also have a special road trip or vacation coming up that signals summer is here.

Or it may be triggered solely by the calendar saying it’s so.

Being a seasonal girl, I’ve been waiting for summer weather to prove to me that it really is summertime.

I’ve been thinking of our summer traditions and there is something so comforting in those moments that we look forward to every year when summer hits. Our weather has been very gray and chilly and wet up to this point, and it made me realize that although there are other signs of summer, despite the weather, my bones can’t catch up to the seasonal change until the weather is warm.

“Shorts and flip flop” warm EVERY day.

Right now, we flip flop between warm and cold days, hanging out more on the blue end of the thermometer. But, we are enjoying a heat wave now and I’ll take it. It feels like summer.

We’ve been to the beach.

We strolled along for a beach walk and came back to find our towels and beach bag tossed about, wet and sandy. I immediately suspected that bullies came along and kicked sand on our stuff but soon realized that we had plopped everything too close to the water and a wave came and sullied our belongings. My magazine and book were completely water logged and my beach bag was filled with sand. Our towels were a wet sandy mess. Sigh.

We have enjoyed watching thunderstorms roll in.

I love to go outside and watch it all happen.

And I hang out as long as I can, then I retreat inside.

I just love storms. But not every day.

I also messed with my hair again.

I decided that I wanted to use more of my natural plain brown hair, and just brighten it up around my face instead of using highlights over most of my hair as I have done in the past. I bet you’ve been wondering about that too. There is a very slight sprinkling of gray hairs showing up, but I’ve been assured that they look like blond highlights. You need to surround yourself with people who will tell you those things.

Well, I highlighted too many bangs and the color stopped lightening at bright orange, so I needed to repair that fiasco with a brown semi-permanent hair color all over my head. I was patient enough to wait a few weeks for it to wash out and blend in, then I highlighted just a few teensy weensy hairs around my face and it worked. I feel like “me” again. But, this time with more brown hair, my natural color, and I am enjoying it. In about a month or two I will become restless with it again, but I’ll take the current contentedness.

This was pre-messing around with my hair. I found this on my phone too. Kids.

I think I was babysitting my son’s doll. Either that or getting into my stance for Sumo Wrestling.

We began our annual smoke-out-the-neighbors campfires and had s’mores already.

And, yes, I have been able to snap a few of my favorite sky pics.

Love my wide open sky.

We have our annual road trip to NY this summer. Yay!

Who doesn’t love a road trip? Our local McDonald’s has this on the bathroom door and I had to put in in my file of fun and clever ideas for my own shoppe someday.

I also spend most of my road trip time in the bathrooms so it is a fun nod to my road trip moments.

Yay road trip!

Yay summer!

Yay traditions!








By |2019-04-05T07:46:48-04:00July 2nd, 2018|Archives|1 Comment

so what’s fun for me?

My youngest has been saying this a lot since he graduated from preschool a few weeks before his siblings will finish up school for the year. The problem for him, is that they have lots of fun end-of-year school activities going on that they are excited about and he is just stuck home with mom and her mile long to-do list.

So, every day he wants to know what will be fun for him. I had to break it to him that not every day can be full of fun wild activities and that his siblings would prefer to be stuck home with mom.

But, yesterday, I asked him what would be fun for him. He suggested that we go to the beach.

So, we made a deal that mom needed to get some things accomplished in the morning and then we would have a picnic at the beach for lunch.

We are blessed to live close to a few beaches, the closest being a lighthouse beach on Lake Michigan. It’s the kind of place that always feels like we’re on vacation when we go there and we rarely ever go. It’s less than five minutes away. Why is it that the most wonderful gems right in your own neighborhood get forgotten?

Oh ya.

Because there’s more to some adventures than meets the eye.

If you have ever gone to the beach with kids, you know there is nothing relaxing about it. And just try to tell them it is time to go home. I dare ya.

But, my littlest muffin and I ventured to the beach and we both had fun.

Even though he had to use the restroom right after we got out all of our picnic foods. “My bad” for not taking him there first.

He calls it the ocean and that is exactly what it looks like.

And the wonderful scent of lilacs was fun for me.

He enjoyed his day and so far today, I have not heard him ask, “So, what is fun for me?”.

By |2019-04-05T07:46:48-04:00May 30th, 2018|Archives|2 Comments