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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

House Renovation

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Cute Crafts Are Not As Easy As They Appear

Have you ever seen some great craft project, whether in a magazine, on TV or the internet. Looks easy-peasy, like child’s play. Not so fast. Recently, I saw something about painting ugly, old wooden furniture. The steps were straightforward enough: Sand with a high-grit and then low-grit sandpaper, not to totally remove any earlier paint…

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In Need of a Handyman

We live in two locales for half of each week. At the dacha, we are in need of a handyman. The problem is, with rising interest rates and an economy that is moving out of the sluggish realm, building contractors, plumbers, electricians, HVAC workers and even general handymen who can install new windows or doors,…

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Educated or Skilled

To my way of thinking, everyone should be both educated and skilled. In other words, should you choose to study Early Beekeeping in college and there suddenly becomes no need for ancient apiarist historians, you have something to fall back on. Just sayin’. Fact of the matter is, most people can’t span both worlds and…

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The Beach Cottage Must-Haves

Spring break is upon us and the summer is quickly approaching. Thoughts turn to beach getaway destinations. As a family who has owned or rented properties by various seaside locales, I thought we might share our specs when choosing a special property by the ocean. First of all, the house needs to be near the…

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My New Love: Mason Jars

Okay, I get it, I’m coming late to the party. Mason jars have been around for a number of years. Practically every country music star, Duck Dynasty and Farmer Jones type of blog uses Mason jars in their lush photos of iced tea on the back porch. I understand that it’s redneck culture, if that’s…

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Millenial Minds—Midterms or Mortgages?

Yet another mom has checked in with me, informing me that her 20-something child has just dropped out of the college. I don’t know if I’m hanging with the wrong crowd, but this is becoming an epidemic. I’m personally acquainted with four young people who kicked college to the curb. Then I realized: college-aged kids…

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Monday Mottoes – #175

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in stuff? Maybe your office desk, or bedroom dresser drawers, or kitchen cabinets, or clothes closets overflow with an abundance that can barely be tamed. I know. I joke that we will be featured on the “Hoarders” TV show one day. But it’s not funny. Too much stuff…

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The Girlfriend Cometh

Petya, age 20, has a girlfriend. She lives far away, but is coming to visit next week during her university break. Our son, in his own inimitable style, is preparing. We need to work on the guest room. Lots of cleaning has taken place in the room that became a catch-all, as well as an…

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Back to the Happy, Happy, Happy Kitchen

Due to our great kids who have somehow been coerced into active service, our urban-kitchen-turned-Italian-country has returned to its rightful roots. The sleek, gray-and-silver room over which I slaved for some time, turned out to be too blah and bleak for our tastes. We decided to go back to a brighter color scheme, landing squarely…

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Lost & Found in the Junk Room

When you travel a lot, just about any room in the house can easily turn into a junk room. Our second oldest son, Pasha, and I, decided to tackle it together. Double the fun and double the help. And, as often happens when tackling such a room, many old things turn up. “There you are!”…