#makesmesmile (5)

Time again for another Friday Instagram photo dump of the lil’ things that put a smile on my face this week.  Obviously, I am a little late writing this post because some bigger life events occupied my time.

Buying baby gifts for a friend’s handsome lil’ guy #makesmesmile

Grilled cheese on rye with avocado…grilled on The Green Egg #makesmesmile

Flowers that survived the snow #makesmesmile

Making my house feel a little more like home by adding Instagram photos to the wall #makesmesmile

Watching it snow #makesmesmile

Hosting my first dinner party in my new home #makesmesmile

I hope you all had a great weekend.  What is something little that made you smile?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Stairs/Steps

After walking N and his friend’s to school this morning in the snow, I decided to warm up and share my cup of coffee with my WordPress Reader.  Several entries down, I discovered a photo challenge that seems like fun over on Cee’s Photography.  The feature this week is stairs or steps. While perusing my archive of memories, I found a few photos to share.

Stairs can lead us to some thing unknown and amazing like the blue stairs in the observatory that, at the top, rewarded us with beautiful mountains as far as the eye could see.  N especially loved the rock stairs on our hike on the Alum Cave Trail in the Smoky Mountains.  And wouldn’t you LoVe to have the “artistic” stairs some where in your home, preferably with a slide right next to them.  FUN!!

IphoneOgraphy Challenge: B&W

I enjoy photography.  I enjoy taking photos and admiring and being inspired by other photographers’ work.  I enjoy flexing my creative muscle.  When I discovered the IphoneOgraphy Challenge on Lens and Pens by Sally, I decided to give it a try.  This week’s theme is black and white, so…

You are a REFLECTION OF the company you keep,

Using my iphone 5, I took the photo with the Afterlight App.  Within this app, I changed the photo to B&W using the Ceal filter and added a border.  I then used the Snapseed App to add drama and to change the center focus.

Do you often use your iphone to take photos?  What are your favorite iphone photography apps?  Please share.

#makesmesmile (4)

Hello BeAuTiFuL day!  Time again for another Friday Instagram photo dump of the lil’ things that put a smile on my face this week.  If you ever want to participate, feel free to post a photo of something little that made you smile this week and leave your link in the comments section.

A hand painted bday card from a neighbor #makesmesmile

A hand painted bday card from a neighbor #makesmesmile

My new BiRdHoUsE #makesmesmile

Chai Tea Latte and the West Elm catalog #makesmesmile

Polish cookies made and delivered by a new friend #makesmesmile

Watching N trying to figure out a toy I played with as a kid #makesmesmile

I hope you have many things over the weekend that just make you smile.  Get out your camera and document the every day things that bring you joy.  Sometimes, it is the little things…

Ms. Eva

When I saw the word for this week’s photo challenge over on A Word in Your Ear, I immediately thought of one photo.  I should say, I thought of one person.  I know her as Ms. Eva.  My mother was placed in a boarding home when she was a child, along with her older sister.  The head of the boarding home, Ms. Eva, was often seen by my mother in her younger years as being unnecessarily strict .  However, as my mother grew older and had children of her own, she respected Ms. Eva more and more and realized her mentor’s main mission in life was to teach children to be able to cope with whatever life might offer and to become happy, fulfilled adults.

Because my mom grew to love Ms. Eva like her own mother, they remained in close contact with each other throughout the years, up until Ms. Eva passed away last year at the age of 99.  I feel fortunate to have had Ms. Eva in my mother’s life so that my mother could pass on her many valuable lessons that I can now pass on to my own son.  The lessons of perseverance, hard work, commitment, responsibility, respect have now been passed down from this wise lady who always had a smile on her face.  I am so thankful that Ms. Eva was an integral part of my mother’s life.  I grew to love Ms. Eva, and my son grew to know and love our visits, as well.

These photos were the last ones taken before she passed away.  Ms. Eva will always be remembered by the many who love her and her lessons will continue to be passed down from generation to generation.  I enjoyed this week’s photo challenge because it allowed me to spend just a few moments celebrating Ms. Eva and her life.

Ms. Eva-mentor to many

Ms. Eva-mentor to many

Do you have a special someone in your life who has taught you many valuable lessons?  Someone who has altered who you are today, whether directly or indirectly?

St. Augustine, FL

One of my photos is featured on the Toemail blog today.  It is a photo of my hubs and N walking along the beach in St. Augustine early one evening.  Grandma and Grandpa live in FL.  When we lived in NC, we would hook up our camper and make a leisurely drive taking a couple of days.  St. Augustine was always one of our favorite places to stop and camp.  I thought I would post that featured photo here today, along with other St. Augustine memories.

2008-12-29 01-37-24 - 0160 2008-12-29 01-37-38 - 0163 2008-12-29 05-02-25 - 0254 2008-12-29 07-47-54 - 0304 2008-12-29 07-57-26 - 0306I hope you get a chance to visit one day.  Do you have a little place that you return to time and time again?  Where is it?  Please share.

Breaking Up with Routine

RoUtInE…I always tell myself that I thrive when my life revolves around routine.  My son was on Spring Break last week, and we enjoyed everything BUT routine.  We broke up with routine and loved it!  I think that you have to be submersed in routine from time to time to appreciate the moments when it doesn’t hold you hostage.  One way we broke with routine was to go to Winter Park skiing for 2 days!

Winter Park, CO

Winter Park, CO

Thursday’s skiing was definitely “spring skiing” with the sun beaming down and the warmth coursing through our bodies.

Loving skiing in CO

Loving skiing in CO

I am fairly new to skiing.  I am sure seeing my skis flailing through the air as I head towards the snow covered ground does not remind anyone of gracefulness.  On one of my falls, this was my view.  So to take it all in, I sat there, took off my gloves, reached for my phone, and clicked the button.  All the while, my hubs and N were waiting on me at the bottom.

Falling in Beauty

Falling in Beauty

Maybe next time, I will invest in one of these.

When the lifts closed on that first day, we rode the cabriolet back to our home for the night, changed out of our winter gear, revisited the cabriolet and landed in a Belgium restaurant in Winter Park Village called Cheeky Monk.

Cheeky Monk

Cheeky Monk

I enjoyed what seemed like a cauldron of mussels and a Blonde Beer.  It was such a nice way to end such a nice day!

Mussels and a Cold Beer

Mussels and a Cold Beer

The next day brought a few snow showers and a few more clouds, but a lot more great memories.  What a treat that my little guy gets to learn to ski at a young age.  Never has my age been so prevalent in my head as when I see him “fearless” flying down the mountain, making quick S turns, skiing through the trees, and making small jumps.  Oh, to be fearless again.  Oh, and the hubs…fearless and an amazing skier. _MG_1718

Contemplating the JUMP

Going for the JUMP

I walked around a portion of that day just taking in the scenery that is not the slopes.

IMG_1768 _MG_1738 _MG_1735 _MG_1733_2

I welcomed the break up with routine.  I look forward to summer break even more!

Do you thrive in routine?  Do you occasionally like to tell routine to take a hike?  What do you like to do when routine is not holding you hostage?  Please share the little things that you enjoy and that make you smile.

#makesmesmile (2)

It is that time when I do an Instagram dump of the little things that made me smile during the week.  If you want to follow me from day to day, my username is simplylifestuff.

My new mint green cart from Ikea that I have been lusting over for quite some time.

Spending an afternoon sketching with my little guy.

Visiting my local Target

Flowers breaking ground

An unexpected rose hand delivered by a new friend with the promise of great conversations to come

Spending 2 days here skiing

Spending 2 days here skiing

I hope you had an amazing week.  Share one thing that made you smile this week.  Happy Easter!

Shavano Mountain

Just wanted to make a quick post today because I have some skiing in my near future.  I plan to throw in a glass of wine while sitting in a hot tub and enjoying some good food morning, noon, and night.  These pictures are from a camping trip I did with two of my favorite guys, the hubs and my N.  We decided to check out Salida and Shavano Mountain in Colorado.  I hope you enjoy.

My sweet N _MG_9944 IMG_9952 _MG_9955 _MG_9956 IMG_9974 _MG_9981_2 _MG_0001Make today beautiful!

Spring Snow for Spring Break

Friday was the official start to N’s Spring Break.  On that day and throughout the weekend, CO was blanketed with the white stuff.  Our unofficial snow gauge sitting on my back deck registered about 10 inches.  N loves to play in the snow – sledding, making snowballs, skiing, snowboarding, and of course, eating it.

While we were enjoying the outdoors over the weekend, the birds were dancing in the trees tweeting their “Welcome Spring” song.

Our chocolate lab, Bailey, loves to join us for outdoor activities, even if he is not always actively involved.

On Sunday, we decided to recharge our brains by taking a scenic drive to a small town in CO called Nederland.  The drive was absolutely breathtaking.  When we arrived, we decided to stop in at the local Whistler’s Cafe and have a bite to eat.  I enjoyed two cups of their locally roasted coffee and consumed an entire grilled cheese and avocado sandwich on rye.  Well, minus the two bites I shared with N.  Delicious!  I will definitely be whipping up one of these in my own kitchen.

Whistler Cafe in Nederland, CO

Whistler Cafe in Nederland, CO

Of course, the locals were standing around chatting like best friends, and we overheard the waiter tell another patron about the bakery next door.  I love to visit local merchants in small mountain towns.  So, we walked next door and began to slowly make our choices.

New Moon Bakery in Nederland, CO

New Moon Bakery in Nederland, CO

A large cookie with cranberries and walnuts and lemon ended up being my choice.  N, of course, selected the huge chocolate chip cookie which he consumed in about 5 minutes flat leaving a pile of crumbs in his lap.

Here are a couple more photos just for fun

IMG_0772We may have snow on the ground for the start of Spring Break, but we are smiling.  What an amazing weekend.  To top it all off, Grandpa visited us from Florida!  What did you do over the weekend?  Do you always have special plans for Spring Break or just use it as a time to reflect and recharge?