My 5 favorite thrifted items.

It’s only as an adult that I have found a love of flea markets, occasional sales, and junk shows. When I was a kid I hated used things.  Honestly, it was a little gross to me.  Now, I know that I can remodel things, paint them and reuse them. Here are photos of my five favorite items that I have found at various locations.  Check out my Instagram for more photos from junk markets.


Here is a drawer I painted and hung on my son’s wall.


I love old cameras.


I love these Chinese Foo Dog book ends.


I got this great old typewriter really cheap!


I know you see globes everywhere, but I love them.  I also have one of the moon.

What thrifted items do you love?



10 Cooking Terms to Know


Al Carbon- In Mexican/Spanish cooking meaning to cook over charcoal or wood coal.

Baking Soda- A chemically based ingredient that generates carbon dioxide and is used with acidic ingredients such as sour cream, or fruit juices to create bubble to make the food rise.

Baking Powder- This is a combination of chemicals that can make carbon dioxide in two different stages.  One stage is when it is a liquid. The other stage is heat.

Butterfly- To cut or split food through the center without cutting it in half.  So it resembles butterfly wings.

Capers- A bud of a bush or shrub that grows in several countries that adds flavor to a dish.

Cafe de Olla- Mexican Style coffee made in a clay pot.

Calamar- In Mexican/Spanish Cooking means squid.

Carne- In Mexican/Spanish cooking meaning meat.

Emulsify- When you combine two liquids that don’t dissolve together.

Maiz- In Mexican/Spanish cooking means corn in a dry state.




My photo wrap up of junk bonanza this past weekend.

Hi friends.  If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen all my latest posts from the Junk Bonanza junk show in Shakopee, MN this past weekend.  Here are a few of my favorites from my account.  Want to see more?  Then check out my Instagram by using the button on the side or searching @thenorthernstar_ck.  Enjoy!


Pick a name any name.  I love these large bins of multiple items like keys, letters and in this case nametags.


There was one both who had these velvet pumpkins.  I love the cool hue colors.  They are my favorites.


A new take on an old kitchen item.


Everyone needs a bit of sparkle.

I can’t wait for the fall so I can go to the next junk bonanza and see what all the vendors are selling!



ADHD and my son.


When our son was born we thought he might get ADHD.  It runs rampant in my husbands family. It turns out he did, but it was not as easy to identify as we thought.  What we found out is that ADHD is very hard to diagnose in the early stages of childhood.  Many of the characteristics our son displayed could have been considered normal behavior.  It wasn’t until he started third grade that we could really tell the difference. His teacher also made a difference. One that he had was very helpful, the other was not.  This would also come into play later in his schooling.

We finally decided to have our son tested by his pediatrician for ADHD. He met the criteria for it.  I also found that my husband and I had very different ideas about what was wrong with our son.  For instance, I would  say he following directions was terrible, my husband would say it was okay. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you are trying to diagnose ADHD it makes a huge difference.  Since my husband’s family has ADHD so strong it is their normal.  For me, who has never been around it before, I can spot it a mile off.

To give you an idea of what ADHD is here is the best definition I could find. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a chronic condition based in genetics that effects parts of the brain that regulate executive functioning skills.  The condition includes attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Executive functioning skills include: attention, concentration, memory, motivation, effort, learning from mistakes, impulsive, hyperactivity, organization and social skills.

We noticed my son had difficulty following multi-step directions.  Say you asked him to (1) Get out his notebook and pencil (2) get paper from the bin (3) Open your notebook and copy the questions from the board. He may get the notebook and pen, and copy a question, but not all of them.   He would need to be routinely reminded to focus on work.  His attention wandered constantly.  Think of the talking dog in the Disney film “UP” when it says “squirrel.” He could not finish work on time, would lose papers, was socially shy, and couldn’t follow along.

Those with ADHD have differences with activity levels and the way certain areas are structured. ADHD can run in families.  Today, it is estimated that of the adults who have ADHD, 40-60% of their children will also have ADHD. ADHD has several types or subcategories. There is ADHD-Hyperactive, ADHD-Combined, and ADHD-Inattentive.  ADHD-Hyperactive is characterized by being overactive, interrupting conversations, a quick temper, having a difficulty connecting with others, and learning issues.  ADHD-Inattentive is hallmarked by disorganized and careless mistakes, difficulty with transitioning,  problems staying on time, difficulty expressing feelings, anxiety, no motivation, process information slowly, depression, cannot pay attention, cannot follow directions, shy and easily distracted. Of course, ADHD-Combined is both.  You may have heard the term ADD (attention deficit disorder) before.  As more and more is learned about brain related disorders and illnesses, the definitions and names of the disorders/disease will change. ADD is now called ADHD-Inattentive.

We decided early on to have our son on medication.  We knew that if he could keep on task without medicine he would have.  So we started to try a few. His first medicine didn’t work very well.  He was still having difficulty paying attention.  We would often get emails from his teacher asking if we remembered his medication today.  We then put him on a new one.  It worked wonders.  It did have side effects though. He had great difficulty sleeping and had no appetite.  The lack to sleep was treated with a nighttime medication.  We had to take medication breaks on the weekend to make sure he ate.

In addition, we instituted several other common pieces of advice for those suffering from ADHD.  We instituted routines and schedules. We also tried organizing things in bins, giving clear and concise directions, and being careful not to overload him. Somethings worked better than others. What we found was as he got older certain behaviors fell by the wayside, others stopped and a few evolved.

In all, my son has finally learned to manage (for the most part) his ADHD. It was a rough road.  We still have to stay on top of him to make sure he doesn’t forget things and meets deadlines. It’s not as bad as it used to be. We still have some struggles, but compared to a few years ago, it is so much better.  So keep the faith with your child.  It will take awhile to learn to adjust, but once you find your child’s niche it will get much easier.

What has been your experiences with ADHD?



3 Ways to Stay Productive

january stock photo

What are three things that I use to stay productive?  Well, they might sound easy, but I have found the following ideas keep me on track best.  What are some of the ways you stay productive?  I ‘d love to hear from you in the comments.

The first way I stay productive is to write it down. Easy right?  Well, yes it seems simple but you would not believe how many people fail to do this.  I know that sometimes I say, oh I’ll remember this, or I’ll write this down later, then forget to. I have discovered that keeping multiple lists is what is best.  This means that I have paper and pen in my purse, one in the living room, one by the bed, my phone, a journal in my office, you get the point. When inspiration strikes, I’m ready. Each Sunday I put them all on a master list that is located in my office. This helps me plan my week out and make sure I cover everything.

The second way I stay productive is to declutter and toss things out.  The main two areas I do this in for productivity is the car and my purse. In both my car and purse I have everything I need to function for the day. Cleaning these two things out once a week keeps me on track.  Plus, seeing things organized for me is calming.  What are your areas that help you get started for each week?  Is it the hall table?  Your desk?  Let me know in the comments.

Finally, the third thing to keep me productive is a little step I call “bring it with you.”  I am constantly going to appointments, waiting for people, or going somewhere.  So while I am stuck places I use this unused time to my advantage.  I read a book, go through bills, write a letter, make appointments in my calendar, listen to a podcast etc. It keeps things interesting, helps pass the time, enriches me and of course keeps me productive!  If you don’t like to carry things around try keeping a small box or bag in your car with magazines you want to read. Then when you are waiting in the school pick up line give reading a try!

What are some more ways you stay productive?  Let me know in the comments below.



10 Quick things to declutter.


One thing I like to do on my blog, make lists. I like my lists short and sweet.  Not a lot of words to describe a single action.  Just tell me what needs to be done and list it.  So here it is. My short list of things to declutter.

1. Outdoor Winter Clothing.  Get rid of what didn’t work.  Repair and clean anything that needs it for the next winter.  Make a list of what you need to replace.

2. Reusable bags.  It could be plastic, paper or cloth.

3. Carry-on and Totes.

4. Suitcases and duffle bags.  Sometimes you just need a new one.

5. Keys.  You have 10 keys on your key ring.  Do you know what they go to?

6. Shoes.  What do your flip flops and slippers look like?

7. Beach items and Swim stuff.  Do the water guns work?  Are the beach towels clean? Can you find your 12 year old’s goggles?

8. Holiday Paper and tape.  Is it time to recycle the candy cane paper you’ve used for the last 5 Christmases?

9. Address Book. Clean out your contacts.  It can be on paper or online.

10. Pantry. Really?  Those date bar cookies have been in there long enough.

Happy Cleaning!