Oil Painting

A couple months ago, I wrote here about hobbies and how much they enrich my life. One hobby I get a great deal of pleasure from is painting. I've always liked creating art. There's something about getting lost in the process that's very relaxing and satisfying to me. A realtor friend recently asked me to paint a house he had sold so he could give it as a gift to the former homeowner.

The original picture.

The painting was 5x7 and took me between five and six hours to completely finish. That sounds like a long time and others may be able to do it faster, but that's pretty typical for me. I thought it might be fun to show you the progression of something like this. I can't paint an oil painting in one day because some layers need to dry before I can paint more detail over them. Here is the painting in stages:

The initial sketch.

At the end of the first session.

End of the second session.

End of third session.

Framed and ready to go!

I really enjoy painting houses. Each one is unique and has its own story. This week we're traveling in New England and one of the things I'm looking forward to is looking at the houses. They have a different style and architecture than I'm used to seeing in Tennessee. I'm sure I'll be taking lots of pictures and will paint at least one as a memory of our trip!

How about you? Do you have hobbies that you enjoy? I'd love to hear about them!

Motivational Monday #101

Welcome to another Motivational Monday Link Party! I can't wait to see what you've been up to this week.

In case you're new here, each Monday we focus on inspirational posts, healthy recipes, crafts, and home decorating/organizing tips. Each category has its own link to make it easier for readers to find fabulous posts. Motivational Monday links with five other co-hosts, too. That way each post gets more exposure.

Here are the featured posts from last week's party:


Barb - A Life in Balance

1. Dealing with Delay | Mom's Morning Coffee 2. The Beginnings of Community | Uncommon Grace

Mitzi - Written Reality

3. 20 Back to School Lunch Ideas | Woman of Many Role 4. Triple Treat Berry Dessert | Wheel and Deal Mama

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

5. How to Cook Dried Beans in the Slow Cooker | Slow Cooking Gal 6. Strawberry Picking Math | The Giles Frontier

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs

7. 10 Bad Habits that Waste Money | Letters from Sunnybrook 8. Me Over Weight At 41 | Simply Experienced Life

Katie - Mom Favorites

9. Super Orange Smoothie | Calm Sexy Healthy 10. Tomato Basil Cheese Pie | Intoxicated on Life

Marie - Normal Everyday Life

11. Mom Code: Social Media | Wirl Mamas 12. Finishing a Dream–20 years later | Living in Green Grass

The Sunshine Award

Chelsea of The Contented Wife Blog nominated me for the Sunshine Award. I enjoy her blog so much because it takes me back to early married life staying at home with my oldest. Sappy, I know, but those are really good memories! The Sunshine Award is basically a pat on the back to bloggers you've been inspired by in the blogosphere. It's also a fun way to learn more about the authors!

My first task in accepting this award is to list 11 random facts about me:

I grew up in the North and live in the South. People continue to notice my accent and comment on it, even though it's not as strong as it once was.

I love to read. I think reading is the most wonderful form of entertainment there is.

If left to my own devices, I'm hardly ever bored.

I feel emotions intensely. No one has ever described me as easy going!

I rarely watch TV on my own, but I do enjoy watching certain shows with my family.

I have a terrible sense of direction and cannot find my way anywhere new without very specific directions. Even then, I'll probably get lost at least once!

I like to have a project. Right now, I don't have one and I keep thinking of things I'd like to change about my house.

I have something chocolate almost daily. 

I don't like clutter and my kids know that if they're missing a "treasure", Mom probably tossed it!

I actually like cleaning, if it will stay that way for awhile!

I don't like board games. They always feel like they last forever!

For more random facts about me, click here.

Now I need to answer Chelsea's questions for me and nominate 11 others for the Sunshine Award:

Why did I start my blog and how did I decide in the name? I started my blog because I LOVE to read blogs and it seemed like it would be a fun hobby. I didn't want to put any pressure on myself to come up with fascinating material though, so decided this title would fit best..Normal Everyday Life. 

What is the thing you love most about where you live? I have to say the Middle Tennessee weather. I grew up in Western New York where it's a very long winter! Now I'm annoyed when we get snow for a few days!

What is a typical day like for you? Right now it's summer, so every day is different. The things that never change though are cleaning, cooking, and driving kids around!

What is your favorite summertime activity? Definitely going to the pool with friends. I love sitting in a chair visiting with a friend while the kids are happy playing together in the water! 

What is your favorite music genre? I live in Nashville, so definitely country music. :)

Do you have any pets? No pets yet. I've always felt like adding a pet would tip me over the edge. 

What is your favorite meal? My favorite meal is leftovers or one that I don't have to cook. I have no fascination with cooking and prepare the simplest healthy meals I can get away with!

Where do I love to travel? I like to go to historical places. However, those aren't the types of places my kids like to go, so as a family we usually go to the beach. 

What is my favorite blogging resource? I'd have to say Google and other blogs. If I don't understand something, I start searching there first and can usually find the answer on other blogs!

My nominees for the Sunshine Award are:

Izzie Anderton from The World According to Izzie
Sara Murray from Mum Turned Mom
Jenny Rippatti-Taylor from Let's Talk Mommy
Jennifer from The Deliberate Mom
Kate Parlin from Shakespeare's Mom
Lana at Two Teens and Their Mama
Leilani and Emily at Just A Touch of Crazy

Here are their questions:

Why did you start blogging?
Are you an early bird or night owl?
Who is your favorite author?
What is your guilty pleasure?
What is your all time favorite TV show?
Name three things on your bucket list.
What's your favorite way to relax?
Do you collect anything?
What's your favorite post on your blog and why?
Do you enjoy appetizers or dessert more?
What is your favorite season and why?

I appreciate Chelsea nominating me for this award and hope you'll check her answers out here!

Catching Some Waves

It's a good thing this blog is called Normal Everyday Life because that's all I can think of to write about tonight. No humorous stories or mothering insights to share, just a fun day that I'll want to remember when summer has passed and school routines are underway. Today we went to a local wave pool/water park. Seven kids, three moms, a picnic lunch, and water slides make for a great summer afternoon.

At this pool, the water is calm for awhile and then every so often they start the waves. My girls were right there as close to the deep end as possible waiting for the waves to build and toss them about in their tubes!

These huge slides were another hit. The kids didn't hesitate to get started on those as soon as they got there!

Of course, all that swimming and running around wore them out. Lounging in their tubes eating snacks was the best way to regain energy for the next round!

It was fun to discover a new place so close to home. Water is always a hit in the heat and cooling off with friends is the best way to experience it! This was just the type of day we'll be longing for when routine and order enter our world again in a few weeks.

*This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Mom's Top Ten Quotes

The other day, I had to think of something I say often, a quote I live by if you will. Of course my mind drew a total blank and I couldn't think of one thing I ever say that's noteworthy. So I asked the people closest to me, the ones that listen to me on a daily basis. Well, it didn't take my kids all of two seconds to start yelling out what they consider my favorite quotes. Here are some of them that sprang immediately off their lips. (Keep in mind that the 10 to 18 year old crowd is going for humor, not flattery!)

Mom's Top Ten Quotes According to the Kids

Your father's home. I say this when they come to me for the zillionth time ignoring the man related to them in the same room. Dad can do things, too, you know!

I need some peace and quiet. Many, many times a day.

You'll feel better in the morning. Sleep is apparently my cure for everything.

Is it 8 o'clock yet? Code for "isn't this day over yet, and will people never be in bed????"

You'll live, and/or You're fine. Unless it's a matter of survival, you're pretty much going to have to stick it out.

Back away from the food. Why are they like vultures circling their prey when I'm trying to prepare dinner?

Come on people. Will you never finish getting ready and get in the van????

I can't wait until Dad's home. Said by every mother since the beginning of time.

Tell me in three sentences or less. This applies to tattling and descriptions of movie plots. I don't need more than a quick summary of either one!

You just take care of that. Mom's had enough and you're going to have to handle that the best you can.

I really had to laugh as they shouted these out. It's true, I do say all of them...occasionally! :)

What would your kids say are your most famous quotes?

*This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Blueberry Picking

Have you ever done an activity with your kids where you wonder, is this even worth it? Is this worth the time, money, or effort I'm putting into it?

I had one of those experiences the other night. My dad had asked me if I wanted to meet him with the kids and pick blueberries after he got out of work. About 10 minutes before I left, he called and told me he was hitting traffic and wondered if I should reconsider. But I had three kids already prepared for what they considered the highlight of their day, so I said we'd come anyway. 

Well, the traffic added about 45 minutes to our trip. It was frustratingly slow to take that long to move four miles. Plus the kids were playing some game in the backseat that involved cheers, protests and arguing two feet from my ears. Not what you want to hear caught in traffic for 45 minutes...after your husband has been out of town for four days...in the summer...when all the kids are home 24/7. Wow! Dark mood alert!

I must have wondered a million times if this was even worth the hassle for some blueberries. I was totally ready to stop by Sam's Club, buy a big bag of frozen blueberries and be done with it!

When we finally pulled into the field, one of my daughters yelled with pure delight, "There's Papa! I'm going to go kiss him to death! I just love him so much!" and raced out of the van. Right then and there, I knew it had been worth it.

My kids had a blast picking berries and they must have thanked me a dozen times for taking them. Even my 11 year old son declared he LOVED picking blueberries. Who would have thought?

Sure, I could have skipped blueberry picking that night. I was very close to throwing in the towel a few times, but I'm glad I didn't miss out on these smiles!

I ended up coming home with a big pail of fresh blueberries and three very happy kids. We won't choose rush hour to go picking next time, but we'll definitely make another trip to the blueberry patch with Papa again this summer!