Just a Minute... In March

J
ust a simple reflection on March, I'm joining in with Just A Minute over at August Street.


Reading... the Twilight series, borrowed from a friend. I just finished book 2, no spoilers please.

Making... handmade pay it forward packages

Watching... My Boys, season premiere was March 31! Monsters vs. Aliens was cute!

Anticipating... Where the Wild Things Are



Listening... to "Raisin Girl Mix" a mix CD from my sister.

Loving... tumblr, yeah I'm cheating, I mentioned that last time too, but I'm REALLY, REALLY, REALLY loving it. The Inspiration Board icon over in my left side bar takes you there as well. I'm saving all my favorite bits that I come across there, so of course I'm loving it.
I'm also loving Caribou Coffee's white hot chocolate thanks to Kim. Anyone have a recipe to replicate it? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Oh, and the peek Blaze gave us of her new work soon to be available in her etsy shop.


Dreaming... of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings. Well, obviously not, just in a very "Alice" mood.

Illustration courtesy Victorian Web

Planning... my move to a hosted WordPress

Baking... a peanut butter/banana muffin version of Becca's Banana Bread, bran muffins, and a french silk pie.

Want to join in? Visit Jenaveve over at August Street

A day late posting this, sorry about that.

Monday Musings {47} - Wesley

Monday Musings Image with Lady

"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."
-John Wesley

A Birthday of Sorts and Giveaway

C
andy Hearts and Paper Flowers was born a year ago today when I started sharing entertaining, organizing, cleaning, cooking, quotes and other things I love. I've always considered this more of a Homemaking blog, trying to share all the tips, advice and things that I love that relate to taking care of yourself, your family and your home.

I have been blogging for a very long time on various platforms, mostly as a way to keep up with friends and sharing random personal bits, but updating very infrequently. About a year ago I was talking with my mom and mentioned that I'd like to write more, but it's hard when there is no focus to my blogs at all. Most things I wouldn't share to protect other people's privacy anyway.

So, Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers was born. In the past year I've had just shy of 10,000 unique visitors and many of you visit everyday or fairly often. I just want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I've made some amazing friends through this blog and hope to continue to meet new people and get to know everyone who visits.

Most popular posts to date:
Recipe Organization
September ShapeUp Guide
Spring Cleaning Checklist
Widman's Candy Store
Routines With Kids: Chore Charts

The Giveaway!


Since I love you all so much, I'm going to giveaway a little gift package which will include a copy of my favorite reference book for making your house a home, some easter goodies and a few other little things. It was a bit of the inspiration for this blog's topic and the first quote I shared was taken from it, so I feel it's apropos.

"I am a working woman with a secret life: I keep house."
- Cheryl Mendelson

Photo from Amazon

So, to enter, I'd like to know 3 things:

1) What would you like to see more of on Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers?
2) What's your favorite previous post on Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers?
3) What's your favorite post on your blog? (With link so I can go read please!, if you don't have a blog, share a favorite something, song, homemaking tip, whatever!)

Also, if you don't have a blog, please make sure you leave me a way to get a hold of you! The winner will be picked by my hubby randomly, might see if we can get Zaya to pick. I will announce the winner at 6pm on April 3rd and announce it here on the blog and try to contact you via your blog or email, if I don't hear back within a week, I'll pick a new winner. Someone is getting this book, it's on it's way from Amazon and I already have a copy!

Want an extra entry? Subscribe to my RSS feed in a feed reader or via email and add an extra comment letting me know you do so, make sure you tell me if you are already a subscriber! Want another entry? Tweet or post on your blog about this giveaway and I'll give you another entry, just add another comment here letting me know you spread the word and a link to where you posted it. Easy Peasy, right?

Once again, thank you!!!


Preparing for a Flood

N
ot the typical post you'd expect to see here, but as a lot of what I'm going through right now would apply to any predictable natural disaster, it never hurts to be prepared.

A Little Back Story

I moved to Grand Forks, ND in the spring of 1996 to be with my hubby right after we became engaged. We spent many weekends blissfully planning our wedding and house shopping for our first home. We found a 100 year old house which had been added on to and remodeled several times and we going to need a lot of TLC, but the price was right. Because of the crazy amount of snow we got that first winter and the ice storms and quick thaw that spring, I started to hear talk around town about flooding and needing flood insurance. I was new to Grand Forks, I had no idea that the river "flooded" every year. Most years it's no big deal, the river always leaves it's banks. That year people were talking about a record flood though, so I started pestering my soon to be hubby about flooding and flood insurance. We bought flood insurance on March 15th, it takes 30 days before it kicks in, and the river broke through the sandbags and all the city's efforts on April 17th. Since then, flood walls have been put in place which protect us to 63' and the levees to 60'.

Ill-prepared

In 1997, our preparations consisted of hauling everything out of the basement and main floor up to the second floor the night before we flooded. No one really thought it was going to flood, until it was happening. The assumption was that it could be stopped with sandbagging. We left our house at 3am when the sirens went off in our neighborhood and we headed west. We had a small suitcase with a few days worth of clothes, and our puppy. We thought we'd be coming home in couple of days, and had no expectations of water getting to our house. We stopped at a friend's house about 30 miles west, in Larimore, for the remainder of that night and then continued on to Devil's Lake to my brother-in-law's in-law's at the time.

We were ill-prepared for the reality of the situation, we were gone for a little over 2 weeks from Grand Forks and our house was uninhabitable for 3+ years. Yes, you read that correctly, years. Our basement completely collapsed and we had flood insurance, but it was 3 years before we finally got a check to cover the repairs. In the meantime, we moved to Illinois to get a bit of a fresh start and continued to make mortgage payments on two houses. In retrospect, maybe we should have just walked away, we had been in the house just under a year, but we didn't. We moved back to Grand Forks in 2002, back into the same house with it's new basement. We have since sold that house and now live on the south side of town in a single story home. We no longer have a second story for our belongings and the water levels have been rising yet again.

Fargo is currently scrambling with sandbag central, and we are expected to get an awful lot of water. Thankfully, as the month winds down we are no longer expected to flood here in town in Grand Forks, if the flood walls do their job. We still have a lot of water and it's supposed to snow 8 out of the next 10 days. My backyard is starting to look like a swimming pool. The ground is so saturated that there is nowhere for the water to go. As of 2 weeks ago, I was beginning to prepare for a flood and figured this information may be helpful to some. My biggest concern at this point is sewer backup and ground water. I'm assuming the flood walls will hold.


Natural Disaster Preparation

Determine the safest route to leave town from where you are in the event of a natural disaster requiring evacuation.

Have a family meeting and form your family emergency/evacuation plan. Depending on the circumstances family members may not be together when the time comes to evacuate. You need to designate a safe place to meet up. Make sure everyone has phone numbers and addresses of determined meeting places.

Determine a point of contact outside of the affected area that people can call to get updates. You don't want everyone calling your cell, when you might be needing it for emergencies. This way you can keep one person completely informed and they can relay messages to other family and friends.

Put together copies of all important documents including proof of immunizations, proof of insurance and phone numbers to call to file claims. Include a home inventory and a video of your possessions. Yes, you can document them as you are cleaning up the wreckage, but pieces may break, be gone or be otherwise unrecognizable after a disaster.

Put together a large plastic tote containing battery-powered flashlights and radio, first aid and medications, rain gear and warm clothing, sleeping bags or bedding, several days worth of canned foods and bottled water (at least 3 gallons per person), a can opener and any other personal items you must have for health and safety.

Check with your insurance agent to determine if you are covered and what steps need to be taken in the event of a natural disaster. For instance, flood insurance has a 30 day waiting period before it is active. Depending on the natural disasters common to your area you may be required to always carry coverage, or just carry coverage during times when the possibility of a disaster is increased.

Learn how to shut off your water, electricity, gas, etc. in case you are instructed to.


Flood Preparations

If you live in a flood prone area:
Install backflow plugs or valves to help prevent sewer backup.
Install sump pumps with backup power, test your sump pump twice a year. (Sump pumps should not pump into the sewer system, they should pump out to the berm!)

A flood watch/warning has been issued for your area, now what?

Notify the local authorities if you have someone living with you that may require a medically assisted evacuation should flooding become imminent.

Keep your gas tank full and your vehicle ready to go at all times.

Keep the emergency tote in the vehicle and your important paper copies easily accessible at all times.

Pack a suitcase with 4-5 days worth of clothing. Be sure to include at least one pair of workboots/sneakers, jeans and work gloves per adult, if you come back to devastation, you don't want to be walking through it in sandals and shorts!

Review with your family your evacuation plan.

Keep your cell phone charged and charger handy.

Let family and friends know who the point of contact will be outside of the flood area.

Move all furniture and valuables to the highest point in your home. In a single-story home this may mean piling everything on top of tables, beds and counters. Bookcases may topple, keep that in mind for valuables.

Pack up whatever irreplaceable items you can to take with you.

If you have a lot of irreplacable items, and disaster is imminent (not if, but when) then consider renting storage on higher ground for your items.

Keep yourself informed and stayed tuned in for updates on the weather forecast.

Take evacuations seriously! Nothing is worth your life. Leave as soon as you are told to. Don't drive into standing water, abandon your vehicle if it stalls in water. Get to higher ground as quickly as possible.

If there is a danger of flash flooding, be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. You may not have much, if any, time to get to safety.

For further information, I recommend reviewing the CDC's Preparedness for All Hazards and the Specific Hazards information for the disaster most likely to affect you. In the meantime, I feel for those currently being evacuated in neighboring cities, and hope we are kept safe.

I don't know who took these, I would guess a reporter. The last image is of the fire-damaged buildings downtown, and made the cover of many national newspapers in 1997.

Edited to provide credit: my friend Becca said these were taken by Eric Hylden of the Grand Forks Herald and he received a Pulitzer Prize for the photos he took during the flood.

Monday Musings {46} - Lennon

Monday Musings Image with Lady

"The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility."
-John Lennon

Kindred - New Site

I
always love finding new gems among the many blogs I visit. So, you can imagine my delight when visiting Creature Comforts today and find that she and Holly of Decor8 have teamed up to provide us with gorgeous artist designed wallpapers.  They have created Kindred, a dedicated site for these and other future goodies for free download. Plus, they've started a forum where you can interact with them, the artists and other like minded designers. Of course I've already signed up, you can find me in the forums as Barbara when I start posting.  Let me know if you join as well.




Friday I'm In Love {17}

F
or the first day of spring I thought it was apropos to share one of my favorite photographers, Alicia Bock. Her photographs are gorgeous and I love the ethereal quality they have.  She's the type of photographer I aspire to be.  She also has a beautiful blog called Bloom, Grow, Love, swing by and say hi to her and look around a bit.  I love the photograph featured on this post, I have a fondness for Road Less Traveled themes.

from her Botanicals Viewfinder collection
I hope you all have a lovely first day of spring, and live somewhere warmer where you can appreciate some flowers and greenery!

Likaholix - 10 invites available

I
have 10 invites to give away to a new site called Likaholix. Not like I need another addiction! It's in the alpha stages of development and open to invites only. It's being launched by two former Google employees and is currently in it's infancy stages. So far though, I'm absolutely loving it. It's a way to share your likes with people you know, anything goes from sites, movies, books to other random stuff.

likaholix logo

What do you like? Your KitchenAid mixer? Your Le Creuset dutch oven? Monet's Waterlilies? Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven? A furniture resource? A paint color? Share it all here...

Let me know if you are interested, if I have a lot of interest I'll use a random number generator to decide who gets an invite. Please, only request an invite if you plan on using it. I will announce the winners Friday at 6pm central time. If I have less than 10 interested, well then everyone's a winner!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I
'll be celebrating more tomorrow than today since hubby is racing RC cars tonight and I'll be at a Homemaker's meeting here in town. Susan has some lovely recipes for Irish Soda Bread and Irish Tea Brack that you can try if you are tempted. She shared her Tea Brack recipe when she was the featured blogger here last year. I loved her answers and knew we were kindred spirits as soon as I read her childhood book favorites.

I do hope you all have a lovely St. Patrick's Day!

Vintage St. Patrick's Day Postcard

Spring Cleaning Checklist

I
've been busy with so many little things that I haven't gotten a chance to get started on my spring cleaning. I'm getting started this week, definitely won't be done by the first day of spring! However, I'm hoping by the end of March.

Here's my quick list if anyone wants to join me:

Spring Cleaning Supplies
Image by James Steidl text added by me

Spring Cleaning Checklist


Wipe down surfaces, walls, trim, fixtures, electrical covers, and windows
Polish silver, brass, copper, and other metals
Wipe down chandeliers and lighting fixtures
Empty and clean out refrigerators, freezers, ovens and vent filters
Replace furnace filters and vacuum and clean all household vents
Dust and vacuum all fabric surfaces
Vacuum or clean lampshades
Clean all window treatments
Wash all windows and mirrors
Swap out storm windows with screens
Swap winter for summer clothes
Swap winter for spring d├ęcor
Replace lightbulbs, batteries in safety detectors and check fire extinguishers
Vacuum and clean all carpets and rugs as needed
Flip/rotate mattress and freshen pillows and couch cushions
Wipe or vacuum out drawer interiors
Clean out closets and cabinets
Repot plants as needed
Start garden seedlings
Hold a garage sale and donate items

Download a PDF version

I also put the list in my left sidebar, I'll mark off as I complete items there. I only have a few hours after work during the week and I need some me and blogging time as well, so don't expect too much to get done on weekdays!

Monday Musings {45} - Cook

Monday Musings Image with Lady

"St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time - a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic."
-Adrienne Cook

Monday Musings {44} - Jefferson

Monday Musings Image with Lady

"The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family."
-Thomas Jefferson

A Short Love Story - Stop Motion

S
mashing Magazine, one of my favorite sites for graphic design articles, put together a series of stop motion animation shorts. I absolutely adore this one by Carlos Lascano.


Enjoy!

Friday I'm In Love {16}

I
'm looking for wedding shower inspiration for a wedding shower I'll be hosting in August. A theme hasn't been decided on with the bride yet, but I'm still looking. You know how I love to host a party! I'm hoping to narrow a few things down soon, like number being invited and a theme, so I can start looking for goodies that will work during the upcoming wedding season.

Pale Pink Waterlily Favor Boxes, Penny candy displayed in glass jars, cupcakes with white and pale yellow frosting tiered like a wedding cake with a small cake top tier decorated with fresh flowers and white lacy paper lanterns over table with wrapped packages

A few ideas I'm loving:
These cute favor boxes by Martha Stewart
Having a candy bar
Serving a cupcake cake, or I may go with mini cheesecakes since I know the bride is partial to them.
I think these would be pretty over the gift table or the candy bar

Have you seen anything especially unique or exceptionally pretty done lately at bridal showers?

Spring Cleaning

I
'll be spring cleaning inside the house this month with hopes to have everything done inside by the first day of Spring. The outdoors will get a thorough cleaning out once all my snow melts. Twice a year I go through the house cleaning up, airing out and changing decor. Every September I go through a nesting phase, get everything cozy for the fall and winter. Each March I'm eager to air out the house, shed the heavier fabrics and lighten the decor and palette.

In the meantime, I have a few questions for you.

1) Do you spring clean?
2) Do you dedicate a certain amount of time? If so, how long?
3) When do you usually start? finish?
4) Do you give the house a thorough going through, or do you just do things as you think they need it throughout the year?
5) Do you stick to cleaning, or do you also organize and/or change out decor?

And because spring cleaning makes me feel all housewifey, and I'm in a silly mood...

Image found at housewifeabc123

20 Little Things in Spring

T
he full title should be "20 Little Things To Look Forward to in Spring", but well, I just know that will run over in my title space. Do you remember last year when I shared 20 Little Things to Treasure in Autumn? Well once again Melissa of The Inspired Room is asking us to share our 20 things to look forward to in spring. Here's my list and I do hope you'll all join in too! I'm making mine before reading Melissa's, otherwise I know hers might influence my thoughts... Ah, to dream of spring.

Image by danske

  1. Opening all the windows and letting the fresh air in
  2. Hearing the soft tapping of spring showers
  3. The bright yellows and purples of the first irises
  4. The green of the grass and new buds on the trees
  5. Herb seedlings filling my kitchen with their heavenly aroma
  6. Swapping out heavy winter clothes for lighter fabrics
  7. Stashing the candles, throws and heavy decor for simplicity
  8. Washing all the windows to let all the light stream in
  9. Hearing the children's laughter as they ride their bikes in the street
  10. Greeting neighbors as we tend to our winter yard cleanup
  11. Filling window boxes to overflowing with impatiens
  12. Sweeping away the dirt and detritus from the front entrance
  13. Hanging a spring wreath on the front door to welcome visitors
  14. Saying bye to heavier comfort foods as fresh veggies come into season
  15. Image by Lisa at TSS
  16. Walking around the yard barefoot, letting the grass tickle my feet
  17. Giving the house a thorough spring cleaning
  18. Hearing the birds in the morning when I wake
  19. Seeing the cute baby bunnies playing in the yard
  20. Giving Zaya, our cocker spaniel, a haircut after her shaggy winter
  21. Hosting a spring garage sale to clean out the clutter

What are you looking forward to?

Monday Musings {43} - Thoreau

Monday Musings Image with Lady

"Simplify, simplify."
-Henry David Thoreau

As spring draws near I have the urge to declutter and simplify my life and my home.