Finally Sharing All Those Photos, Ideas and Tips That I’ve Been Saving

Welcome to the 663rd Metamorphosis Monday!

Throughout the year, I’m always taking photos of things that I want to share with you that I think you’ll enjoy. I’ve been going through photos this morning, and I thought it would be fun to share an assortment of random pictures and ideas for this week’s Met Monday, especially since one of two of these are Before/After ideas. Hope you enjoy!

During one of my visits to Ohio a year or two ago, I was driving through one of the neighborhoods, ooohing and ahhing over the beautiful old homes. During one of my drives, I came across this house and it literally made me stop the car! I was sooo excited to see how this home was being readied for paint! Why did this excite me and make me so happy?


So often when I go on the historic home tours at Christmastime, I will see old homes that look great from the road, but once you are up close and standing on the porch waiting to go in, the homes sometimes look very different. Often the paint is a mess from years and years of being painted over. I’ve been told that it’s very expensive to have paint removed from an old home and to take it all the way back down to the bare wood because old paint sometimes contains lead. Removing that type of paint apparently requires specialists who know what they are doing and can be very time-consuming and costly. So when it comes time to paint an old home, homeowners often just keep painting over the old paint, even when the paint is chipping and peeling off. The end result is a big, delayed mess down the road. Sooner or later, you have to pay the piper, as the expression goes.

So I was thrilled when I saw this. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever come across an old home when it was in the midst of being painted the right way and I applaud the homeowners who did this! I need to take a photo of the finished home the next time I’m in Dayton because I bet it looks beautiful!


Quick Meal Idea

My daughter-in-law is a great cook and a favorite meal she makes is one that can be pulled together pretty quickly. She buys Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice, adds a scrambled egg to it along with some grilled chicken and it’s is delicious! I think she may add a bit of soy sauce, as well.


Here’s the rice she buys. You can also make this with Trader Joe’s Mandarin Chicken, as well. Great meal when you’re in a hurry and want something tasty!


This past spring, I had Bluebirds nesting in both of my dovecotes. You can see Mama Bluebird catching some sun just outside her nesting spot on the right side toward the bottom.


Later that summer, Mom brought two of the babies to the feeders on my deck. That’s her sitting on the edge of the birdbath.


I put fresh mealworms out all throughout the spring and summer for the birds (sometimes in the winter, too) and once the baby birds are big enough, their moms/dads will sometimes bring them right to the bowls holding the worms. This is my favorite time of year–I love seeing the babies! They crack me up because they literally get right into the bowl with the worms! lol  (Sorry about the quality of the photo–I had to take this photo with my cell phone since there wasn’t time to run up to get my real camera.) I hope all these babies come back to nest here next year.


Here’s a cute idea to file away for next spring. I saw this sign a long time ago when I was out shopping and I thought this would be relatively easy to make. I may just try to make one for next spring. I love the addition of the hand trowel–gives it that 3-D effect!


I told you these were going to be random photos! lol One of the Chic-fil-a restaurants near my home decorates their drive-thru every Christmas and I always make a point to go through it at least once. They hadn’t added the garland to the supports at this point, but it’s a treat to drive under even without the garland. I hope they do this again this year!


This is a random Christmas gift-giving idea that I thought of a month or so ago. If you are having trouble coming up with a gift idea for someone on your Christmas list, find out what their favorite childhood books were, then find/buy them on eBay or Amazon, and put them together in a cute stack with a big red ribbon. I love how these vintage Nancy Drew books from my childhood look displayed this way in the guest room! It makes me smile every time I see this nostalgic display!


One last random photo and this seems appropriate since we’re in the month of October and fast approaching Halloween. During one of my previous visits to see my grandchildren, my son shared a new thing that the boys love for him to do. They love it when he reads the book A Dark, Dark Tale in a spooky voice while shining a flashlight across his face. 🙂  If you’re looking for a book for your little ones this time of year, this book is adorable and just the right amount of spooky for the little ones. You’ll find it available here: A Dark, Dark Tale.


Hope you enjoyed this random group of photos and ideas! I’m going to keep cleaning out all my photo files so I may share another post like this sometime soon.

Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters linked for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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Metamorphosis Monday

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  1. Great post…love the idea about the vintage books. I was a huge Nancy Drew fan! The fried rice looks SO good….wish we had a TJ near us. Lucky to have a Wegmans, and hoping for a TJ in the future. Have a great week!

    • Hope you get a TJ, too! I should go to the one near me more often, I always love what I find there. Thanks, Ann! I was, too! Couldn’t wait to buy a Nancy Drew when I got my allowance every two weeks. 🙂

  2. thanks for sharing all the fun topics and pics, Susan. Love that flower sign! Thanks for hosting, have a great week!

  3. My grandson loves “spooky and creepy” but he’s only 3. Thanks for the book recommendation, I look forward to reading it to him. And doesn’t your heart fill with joy seeing your little boy become a great dad?

    • I think he’ll love this one…it’s really cute and a little suspenseful. It does! The time just goes by sooo fast. There are times I wish I could rewind time and play with my little boy again. Thank goodness for pictures and videos.

  4. That was great fun. Love all the things you mentioned. I’d love to see a picture of that house too, painted beautifully I’m sure. Love the bluebirds. The dovecotes are really nice. That looks really fun- Chic-fil-a,decked out for Christmas, what a nice idea. Thanks for the post- it made me smile. Have a good day!

    • I’ll have to look for it again next time I’m there. Can’t remember now what street it was on but I sorta remember what area it was in so I’m sure I can find it again. Thanks, Julie! So glad! 🙂

  5. Patricia Lapp says

    Frequently the cost of doing beautification of an old home is prohibitive for the current homeowner. Local codes as well as the cost of the work itself impacts the decision making process. I am sure many homes would be ‘beautified’ differently, if financially feasible. Doesn’t mean the old home isn’t loved, just that finances need to taken into account. My 80 year old home poses many unique (and frequently costly) challenges. However, I love it and appreciate its age and beauty.

    • That’s wonderful, Patricia. I used to think I wanted a historical home but I’ve talked myself out of it over the years because I know they can be a challenge to restore/preserve. I do love them, though. They always have so much more personality than most of the new homes of today.

  6. franki Parde says


  7. Those old houses remind me of *some* old ladies. Too many layers slapped on to cover issues. My last trip to London was a revelation. I got my makeup done at Trinny London. Haven’t used foundation since. I’m 77 and now get compliments on how great my skin is and trust me, nobody has EVER said that to me as a former acne sufferer. (This is not a commercial.)

    That house will be stunning after its makeover.

  8. Love the Chick FilA drive thru lights how fun~ and how cute of your son to make the reading spooky! Thanks Susan

  9. I LOVE Ruth Brown. Her books are all beautiful. I vaguely remember this one………does it have a surprise ending?? I’ll find out as soon as Amazon comes through for me.

  10. Excellent, excellent post!!! Always look forward to your favs! Can’t wait to see the after on the historic home repaint. I’m a huge fan of home tours but haven’t found any in my area in many years. They were dying out here even pre-Covid. Many months ago here in NE PA we were asked by Game Commission to take our feeders down due to an Unidentified song bird illness. they felt it could be passed from bird to bird via the feeders. Well we obeyed & a few months back got the go ahead to put them back up as they never did figure out what it was. Well here we are months later & our birds have not returned….we are heartbroken – as we live in our small sunroom year round with a perfect view of our with many bird feeders. We have a metal tree similar to your bottle tree with feeders & suet cages hanging on it. Prior to taking down the feeders, we had at least 12 different birds here. Now just a handful of nuthatches & tufted titmice.
    Re your Chick-fil-a, wow!!!! Amazing drive through! We’ll be thrilled just to have our’s open for business. It’s being built but Covid supply chain issues have held it up for months now.
    What a nice touch for the vintage Nancy Drew books!

    • I bet they will return as soon as the cooler weather arrives. My local bird store said that they just have more to eat during the summer, but once it gets colder, I bet you’ll see more and more returning for the seed and suet you put out. So don’t give up, Gina!

  11. SharonFromMichigan says

    I did the book idea at my church’s Christmas sale and people loved it! I used wired ribbon and attached a cute Christmas ornament to each one. I did themed books like Christmas cookbooks, Romance novels, etc. My church usually has a rummage sale twice a year & there are a TON of books donated for the sale (a lot of them were never cracked open) and it was fun to choose holiday themed books to use for the Christmas sale. I even found a couple books that were signed by the authors. Vintage books are my favorite 🙂
    Does your daughter-in-law have any other great cooking tips? I’m always looking for the yummy but not labor intensive meal ideas!

    • I love the idea of attaching an ornament–that sounds sooo nice! I’ll have to ask her for more recipes! She’s a natural cook who can come up with amazing meals on the fly where I need a recipe to even function! lol

  12. Those are great random pics. Terrific idea to tie favorite old books in a nice ribbon to display on a side table.
    Chip with the flashlight telling spooky story makes me chuckle. So glad they are both smiling at least his son won’t be asking him to check the closet and look under the bed before sleeping.

    • Thanks, Teresa! lol They are so funny–when I was watching them once, at bedtime they asked me to spray the “Monster Spray” and that mom kept it in the closet. I think it was a water bottle and she would spray some out into the room to keep the monsters away. 🙂

  13. Love this post with a little bit of this and a little bit of that! Great suggestions with food, books, paint (house and picture) and light display.

  14. I like the idea about giving children’s books. I have several of my own and plan to tie with a ribbon to display. I have one or two out with a childhood toy. I wish we had a Trader Joe’s near us. The fried rice with chicken sounds delicious.

  15. I enjoyed your post of random ideas & I had been thinking about asking if Nancy could share some more of her recipes and you did that today. I still make her soup with the chicken broth option. It’s so good!

  16. Thanks, Debbie! Have an awesome week!

  17. Susan, I really enjoyed all the different subjects in your post today! Since you always have a good variety of subjects, I’m always interested in what you share. It is always good information that I may use now, or in the future. For example, I’ve been wanting a planting table similar to the one you built. My son is willing to build it for me, and he wanted to know what I had in mind. I was able to search on your blog and find your post with the pictures and instructions, which was so helpful! Thank you!

  18. I loved Nancy Drew books too! Imagine how things like cell/car phones and GPS maps etc would make a difference. Or even more so if a modern girl detective went back in time and had only Nancy’s options. We really like your DiL’s Ranch Chicken and made it several times. Yum.

  19. Cyndi Raines says

    Thank you for a fun and varied post. Our Trader Joe’s is about an hour away, but I like the suggestion and will keep that in mind. Also, I have some Nancy Drew books and really like your idea. I may even put them under the tree along with some other gifts I have from my childhood which I have guarded carefully all these years. I have the Christmas ornaments ” shiny brights” that we used way back then and can decorate the tree in a vintage way as well. My birthday is Christmas Eve and this year I get Medicare so I guess it will be fun to be nostalgic with my decorating! Lol.

  20. You have one of the best blogs, Susan, and I enjoy reading it so much. All the best, Marge:)

  21. Carolyn Price says

    Susan, another great Halloween book your grandsons may enjoy is “The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything.”
    Not scary … just cute!

  22. What a fun post and I would welcome more posts like this one! I love your photos, your DIL’s meal looks so yummy. I wish I had a Trader Joe’s near me. But need to look for maybe another brand of fried rice. I always love seeing the birds, especially the babies. That sign is so cute and easily replicated. Love the lights your Chic-Fil-A does, that is so cool! The book idea is such a great idea, loved Nancy Drew books when I was a kid too, so a gift like this would be right up my alley. The picture of your son reading to your grandson’s is adorable. That is such a great book too. Hugs, Brenda

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