Less really is more…

I feel like you go through your whole young life in the pursuit of things. You have to have the newest this or that. The latest fashions, half of which you never wear. Oodles of toys: for you and your kids. You feel like your life isn’t complete without being surrounded by stuff. The older I get, the more I learn about who I am, the more I realize how lame this really is.

Commence the purging. Giving away wardrobe pieces that were impulse buys. Never worn. Going through numerous clothing patterns purchased on sale because someday I was going to make this amazing something for someone. (Let’s be real, I do make a ton of good stuff, but my best work is pattern free. Usually upcycled. I don’t even really enjoy sewing with a pattern. I do things with the fewest pieces possible. Less is more.) Purging the fabric that I bought because it was on sale.

Through all of this, I found out what “things” I can’t live without. The list is pretty short.

  1. Books: you can never have too many books. Book books, ebooks, digital audio books. Books are good. 
  2. Yarn: it’s my therapy. If I don’t have some yarn to whip into something, someone might die. Well, maybe not die… let’s be real, I really couldn’t physically maim someone, but someone is going to get their feelings hurt for sure. Or I might have a nervous breakdown. Yarn is a necessary part of my life.  
  3. Technology: This one kind of goes with books. Great technology helps me learn everything I need to know. Need a new crochet pattern? Get it online. Need professional work clothes but don’t want to fill your closet with clothes you will never wear again? Online clothing rental company. With a good piece of technology, the world is at your fingertips. How else will I see all the cute things my grand cuties are doing?  

Other than these three things, the basics are all I need. A car that runs. It doesn’t need to be the latest and greatest. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be pretty. A roof over my head. Nothing fancy. A comfy pair of yoga pants and a hoodie. A comfy chair to sit in while I crochet. A bed to sleep in at night. My family and my dog to keep me company. Because really, that’s what life is really all about. People and relationships. That’s where your true wealth lies. But that is another post altogether.

What are the things you can’t live without?

Life is simple. Life is good. Less really is more.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

French gray walls and other painted stuff…

Hi Friends!

Here is a really quick update about what has been finished at my house.

1. After Ansje helped me demolish the kitchen walls, it was such a long time before we put the molding back up that it was a little puzzle. In hind sight, when you think a project is going to be lickety split, mark the molding anyway, because it looks really daunting in a pile like this after the project took longer than you thought and your brain can’t remember where everything went.


2. We figured out the puzzle and got all the painted molding back up with only one tiny casualty… here are the befores and afters of what we have done so far. More work to go of course, but it is looking better every day!


DSC_0783 (1)


DSC_0356 DSC_03573. I worked hard over a couple of days and painted the craft room Sherwin Williams French gray in eggshell from their historic collection. The bead board is Sherwin Williams extra white in semi gloss it matches the window trim.

Here is the before of the dining room (that is my craft room):

DSC_0596Here is the after:

(Sorry the lighting of the whole room is a little back lit because of that wonderful window ;) )

DSC_0371 DSC_0373On to the next section of the great room… the living area. Now that my craft room is more organized and isn’t the throw-all section of the house anymore, maybe I can get that seat cushion sewn for the window seat. Here’s hoping!

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

Blue doors and other painted stuff…

Hi Friends,

So it’s been a long time since I have shared something that I have been up to at home. It has been a whirlwind these last few months. We moved into a really swell (keen, nobby, smooth, or some other 1930s slang for great) 1930s farmhouse back in April and we have been working hard getting it togged to the bricks. So in between doctor appointments for hubs and teaching school and landing my new gig as a learning coach and being a wife and mama I have been working like a dog. Needless to say I am joed! But today, I feel like I can say I am finally seeing a difference in the kitchen.

After five layers of wallpaper have been scraped, unsolved mysteries have been found (Why is that pink and turquoise paint there? A piece of plywood right in the middle of the wall? Huh?) and multiple coats of paint have been applied, I can finally say it’s getting there. I would have taken more pictures along the way, but I am a messy painter for sure! I don’t trust my paint covered hands to get anywhere near my camera during the process. (Anyone else choke up on their paintbrush like they are playing ball? I feel like that’s how I have the best control.) But… I do have a really smooth before and after picture to show you today at least.

Here is the kitchen front door when I met it for the first time:

DSC_0793 (1)

Here is the door now… and the surrounding walls after scraping and scraping and painting and painting:


I’m really starting to get sweet on this place! Now the molding, and we need to do something about that floor… don’t ya think? And one day… the cabinets.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

When your life just keeps throwing curveballs…

Hi friends!

You know, I made this realization recently with all of the excitement in my life, that there is no normal… You can never say, “I wish my life would just get back to normal,” because there is no normal. Normal is an illusion. You can get to a point where your life will feel normal, because you have gotten used to the trials and curveballs in your life to the point where nothing is pushing you out of your comfort zone enough to feel “not normal”.

Lately, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone so much that “not normal” is starting to feel like normal. My husband’s illness just continues to stump everyone, and I am left picking up the pieces he normally would pick up while we try to figure out what is going on and why his body is not responding to treatment. I started a new position in my school district (learning coach) that has pushed me right out of my comfort zone. I moved into a wonderful old house and am enjoying renodeling (a mash up of renovating and remodeling) which I don’t really have time for but is amazing all the same. My family just keeps growing, even though my family at home is shrinking… grandbaby number four is on her way! I find myself thrown into new roles daily. Asked to do new things that I haven’t really done before. One day, this is all going to feel “normal”.

When I look back on my life (husband gone overseas for long periods of time, going back to school with two children and having number three and four while going to school, virtually living as a single mom for years on end) I think to myself, how did you do it? I think it was simply because I accepted it as the new normal. I didn’t look around and compare my lot in life with others around me. I accepted it for what it was, I did the best I could do with what I had, and I kept moving forward.

Maybe that’s the message for today. Accept your situation for what it is, don’t compare your life with others around you, do the best with what you have (that’s creativity at it’s basic level) and keep moving forward!

I’m gonna take my own advice today… thanks for being my sounding board everyone.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

I am that hero!

All this year we have been working as a class on coming to an understanding that we all are heroes. That our actions each and every day can make an impact on others, which in turn can cause those others to have an impact on even more people than we would ever imagine. For our schools auction, we decided to put together a quilt (like Cupcake’s) that could represent our superpower (some talent or skill that we excell at and can share with the world). Here is the beginnings of that quilt that I just finished last night. I’m lovin’ it!

I can’t wait to see what a difference this quilt will make for our PTA as they auction it off!!

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

Cupcake’s home!

Hi friends,

I’m writing this post in the wee hours of the morning after putting Cupcake back to bed. I find it an honor that I got to hold her this morning. That she wanted me to. Even if it was for just a few short hours while she slept in my arms. It’s hard to get comfortable when you’re hurting.

I’m going to try to articulate what I have been experiencing the last few days, but I am not sure that I can really put into words what I am trying to share. I’ll give it my best go! For those of you who want the short version… Cupcake’s surgery went well. The healing process has begun. She has to be in her casts for six to eight weeks. It’s going to be a process, but it’s a miracle all the same. For those of you who want the rambling long version, keep reading.

Day before yesterday when Cupcake’s daddy came in to get her up because she was leaving for the hospital, (She sleeps in Grammy’s… a.k.a my… room right now because we are a pretty crowded bunch in this house.) Grampy heard her sweet little voice, “Good morning daddy.” So matter of fact and grown up. When Daddy told her it was time to go she simply said, “Okay.” When Grampy relayed what had happened in the early hours of that morning, it brought tears to my eyes. How can someone so little (not even three yet) be so grown up? Her experiences have made her into such a sweet little thing.

Monkey and I played hookey from school day before yesterday so that we could stay right by the phone. That way, Mommy could send text messages and updates, and we wouldn’t have to be worried in our classes, wondering if Cupcake was okay. We played with Raggy and I finished Monkey’s blanket that has been begging to be finished for months now while we waited to hear from Mommy about Cupcake. (Maybe another blog on the blanket later… who knows?)

mia after surgery

It was all good news from the hospital end of things. The surgery went well, toes back in their rightful places. It sounds all positive and rainbows and gumdrops. But the thing that you don’t know is that positive and gumdrops still means severe pain and discomfort. It means cries and pain medicine and being held down to get the medicine in. It means bleeding thighs where they took the skin grafts that bleed on Mommy and Daddy and Grammy and brand new quilts and pillowcases. It means legs in casts that get bumped by big brother and uncle on accident. It means not being able to get really comfortable no matter what position you’re in. It means not being able to eat or drink without pain because of being intubated during surgery.

And the only reason why I tell all of this is because through it all… we hear, “Thank you.” After holding a screaming Cupcake so that we can get the pain reliever down her throat so that her pain will be lessened. After we wipe the sticky, syrupy mess off her mouth, she gives us the sweetest, “thank you”. After repositioning her legs which let out cries of pain, we get a “thank you”. Always “thank you”, “good morning”, “how are you?”.

While I was holding her this morning in the recliner, I started coughing from a little tickle I had in my throat. I was worried that I was going to wake her with my coughing, and that my jerking body would make her legs uncomfortable. She opened her eyes, and I was sure something like ouch was going to come out. Instead I hear, “You okay Grammy?” “Oh, yes honey,” I reply. “I just have a tickle in my throat.”

You see? The selflessness and the kindness that this little darling has overwhelm me to tears. Worried about me because of a little tickle in my throat when she just underwent major surgery. Her ability to look past herself and see others instead is beyond her years. She is a miracle. All around. And I am so grateful to be a part of her existence. Grateful isn’t even a strong enough word. God bless you Cupcake.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your dance.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

Cupcake’s journey continues…

Hi friends,

It’s been a while since I last blogged. Something about a girl rescuing a rat out of the road. I hope everyone doesn’t think that by that blog I mean we all run out and rescue rats from utter demise. I hope that everyone knows that the rat is metaphorical and represents helping someone in need.

So what got me to open up my chromebook and get writing this morning? Cupcake. As those who have been following my blog know, a couple of summers ago, Cupcake had a tragic accident that burned over 20% of her body. Her little hands and feet, as miraculous as they have healed, still need some help. Today, Cupcake is scheduled to go in to have her toes repositioned (through cutting ligaments, pinning her toes into place, and then reattaching the ligaments) so that her toes will hopefully grow as normal little toes should. She also may or may not have work done on her left hand at the same time. That hasn’t quite been decided as of yet this morning.

Cupcake is one of the strongest people I know, and yet being so tiny, you can’t help but worry. My students and I created a special quilt that we sent with Mia this morning. It is a gift to her, but it is a token of our love and hope that all things will go smoothly. I hope that this blanket carries with it the love and hope of the 29 students that helped make it possible, and I hope that it can be something she can cling to as she braves out this next step in her life. I can’t tell you how much I love this little gem of mine.


So if you are out there in the blogosphere and you see this post today, I hope you take the time to send some healing thoughts/prayers our way. We could sure use them during this part of the dance we call life.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree


I just witnessed a young woman run into a busy intersection. At first I wondered what is she doing, but then I noticed a small brown furry ball in the middle of the road. After a couple of attempts, she picked the furry ball up and cradled it in the crook of her arm and carried it to safety. As she crossed the road to my side of the intersection, I could see that she was cradling a rat. Tears came to my eyes as I thought if everyone in the world had an ounce of the compassion this young woman had, what a wonderful world we would live in.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

An old tradition gets new life…

A long time ago on an island semi-far away, our family started a Christmas tamale tradition. My hubby had begged me for years to learn to make them, and we stumbled upon the perfect book while shopping, so… a new tradition was born.


Three years later, our family moved away from that magical island, and life got busy. Work, school, shopping… life just seemed more complicated and tamales got put on the back burner. But this year, I’m not sure why, tamales seemed super important. Maybe they brought back a feeling of normalcy during such a complicated time. It seemed to be just what we needed.

So I cooked the pork…



Made the sauce…


And after throwing together the masa, we assembled those tamales assembly line fashion and an hour later had a steamer full of delicious tamales. And there is nothing better in this world than a tamale straight from the steamer.


A tamale straight out of the steamer is proof that sometimes the best things in life taste better because they took a little planning and a little bit of hard work. A fresh tamale is also proof that great things come from good team work.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca Ree

P.S. Did I mention how good tamales are for breakfast? Ya. Mmmmmm…