Monday, May 30, 2011

My Long Weekend Wrap Up

We returned late Thursday from the Pacific Northwest … and for the first couple of days after we got back, it was as it we never left … well, except for the fact that there’s no fresh salmon or beaches here in Illlinois.  ha!  It had been rainy and chilly … but on Sunday, the warm hot, sunny weather returned.

Friday afternoon I got an offer from DD to watch the Ts while she ran errands/did some shopping.  Of course I said yes!  We stayed for dinner and took a walk around their new neighborhood.  It just does this mama’s heart good that they’ve got a home that fits their needs so well. 

Saturday I finally finished all the unpacking and resulting laundry.  I got quite a bit of work done on a new jigsaw puzzle … my mother’s day gift from DD.

Sunday morning we attended church … they were short-handed in the toddler Sunday School room, so I volunteered to help (and got to get a little time with T#3 and T#4; bless his heart, T#3 cannot quite grasp the concept that Nana is in there to work and play with ALL the kids, not just him Red heart).

We spent Sunday afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather … even though the thermometer read 90o, the humidity was low and there was a very nice breeze so it felt marvelous!  DH and I took a walk around the neighborhood, sat out on the deck, worked on the jigsaw puzzle and just had a nice, relaxing day.

Today, I finished up a sun dress that I started last summer for T#2 … I put it and the doll quilt into the box with the rest of her birthday gifts.  My dad came down this afternoon and, we all went to DD’s for T#2’s family birthday party/Memorial Day get-together.  We had a wonderful time … burgers, brats and hot dogs cooked on the grill, watching T#2 open her gifts, singing happy birthday to her, and watching the Ts ride bikes.  We also played some Just Dance for Kids on the Wii … you know you’re uncoordinated and out of shape when you consistently end up in 4th place.   

I did have to turn on the air conditioner this afternoon.  I hated to have to do it … after having the house all shut up all winter long, I would really much rather be able to open up the windows and let in the fresh air.  But it’s just too warm inside if I’m working up a sweat just standing at the counter, stemming strawberries.  It looks like summer’s here … did we even have a spring?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Getting to know you … getting to know all about you

Every time I see that when over at Kimberly's, that song is the first thing that comes to my mind. 

I’ve been reading Kimberly’s Getting to Know You posts and have thought that it would be fun to join in … so I am!  If you’d like to join in, just go over to Keely's for the questions and to link up.

1. would you rather go on a picnic or to a bbq?
To a BBQ.  I love, love, love good BBQ … and I hate ants.

2. would you rather go bra-less or panty-less?
Neither one, but since I have to choose, I’ll go with bra-less
3. would you rather go on a $5000 shopping spree at your favorite store or go on a $5000 vacation?.
Vacation!!!!  And what a vacation I could plan if I had a $5k budget!!

4. would you rather eat escargot or sauteed crickets?
Escargot.  I only had them once and I don’t remember anything much about the experience, so they must have been pretty tame.  Crickets on the other hand … ewwww.  I don’t like them dead or alive.

5. would you rather go on survivor or the amazing race?
I have never seen either show, so I don’t know enough to come up with an answer.  I’m quite possibly the only person in the US who’s never seen a single episode of either show. 
6. would you rather be hot or cold?
Hot.  I’m always cold, and I hate, hate, hate it.  But I hate sweating.  Could I just choose very warm?
7. would you rather go to the beach or lake?
Here’s one that’s an easy one to answer:  THE BEACH!!!!  I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the beach.  I’ve said it before … DH and I would have retired at the beach but I couldn’t stand to be that far from DD and the Ts.

8. would you rather not shave your legs for a month in the summer or your armpits?
My armpits.  The hair on my legs is blond and very, very sparse … so I could never shave my legs and no one would notice. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again (because I am the Queen of Redundant) … I love, love, love to travel, but I’m always glad to be back home! 

We had a good trip along the Oregon coast.  It was a very busy trip … my youngest sister L was our “tour guide” aka “itinerary director”.  Her idea of how to travel differs from ours … she likes to go, go, go whereas we prefer a more relaxing trip with a few sightseeing trips.  Don’t get me wrong … we had a great time … but still, had it just been DH and me, the trip would have been different (more time on the beach, less time in the city, and a much less hectic pace). 

We drove down to Florence to see the dunes.  We took a dune buggy tour of the dunes; it was fascinating to learn about the plants and animals who make these dunes their homes.

We also drove up to Tillamook to tour the cheese factory.  We’d visited it when we were on the Oregon coast in 2009, but we were there on a Sunday and didn’t get to see the lines in action.  Of course, we sampled the cheese (fresh Tillamook cheese could make a cheese lover out of me!) … and the ice cream.  YUMMY!

We spent a little time on the beach one morning and saw a baby sea lion who was swimming along the shore line.  We were worried that he had been separated from his mama, but the locals who were crabbing nearby assured us that his mama wasn’t far away.  Since there were close to fifty sea lions on the opposite shore of the cove and another dozen swimming near that shore, we took their word that the baby sea lion wasn’t in any danger.  Of course, that was the one time I didn’t have my camera with me. 

After a couple of days on the beach, we took off for Portland.  We spent an afternoon driving through the Columbia River Gorge.  We’d driven through the Gorge when we were there in 2009, but the beauty of the river and the waterfalls were just as impressive as they were the first time I saw them. 

We spent a day visiting downtown Portland before heading home early yesterday morning.  We flight home included a layover in Las Vegas, so we flew further south than the flight to Oregon … and the terrain along our flight path was absolutely breathtaking!  How anyone could see that and not believe is beyond me.

2011 Trip to Oregon

I’m just so glad to be back home.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
-- Author Unknown

I’m thankful today for:

  • the opportunity to travel with my family


  • the beauty of God’s creation


  • safe travels while on our trip


  • being back to the comfort of our own home


  • not having to go back to work for another 4 days … plenty of time to get back into my own routine and to do some hand quilting … and of course, plenty of time to unpack and do laundry from our trip


  • sleeping in my own bed again tonight

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It’s Thursday again … and that means that it’s time for Thankful Thursday!

Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you. -- Eileen Caddy


I’m thankful for:

  • a couple of days off … to spend with DD & the Ts, to get ready for our trip (packing & cleaning), to sleep in a little, and to hopefully get in a little hand quilting
  • a respite from the rain in the forecast … it was supposed to rain today and every day for the next 6 days … the forecast calls for the rain to hold off until tomorrow (although it will continue until late next week)
  • good books (and friends who will loan me those good books)
  • a good, dependable dog sitter … not sure we could travel as much if we didn’t have J to watch the dogs
  • getting more new neighbors in our subdivision … when we moved in, there were only 4 houses (2 completed, 2 under construction) … and we were the only people living here … in the last 33 months, 24 more families have moved in (it’s a small subdivision … currently there are only about 8 buildable lots remaining)
  • God’s grace Red heart

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I always look forward to Wednesdays … because that means it’s time for Wednesday Hodgepodge!  Wednesday Hodgepodge is a fun meme … 7 totally unrelated questions … and a random thought of our own.  If you’d like to join in, please do … just click the button above.
1. What reveals more about a woman-her refrigerator or her purse?
Her purse – other family members may add or remove things from the refrigerator, but nobody messes with her purse. 

2. When was the last time you went to the zoo? Where? What's your favorite zoo animal?
I’m trying to remember if I made it to the zoo last summer … I usually get invited to go along with DD & the Ts, but I don’t know that we were able to get there last summer.  Definitely going to need to make sure that it happens this summer!  I have always enjoyed the penguins, and all the more so now since T#4’s favorite animal is the penguin.

3. What social issue fires you up?
Fiscal irresponsibility by our governments.   
4. Are you a coupon clipper? If so, are you extreme?
No.  DH does the shopping, and I used to be faithful in clipping coupons … but he’d always forget to take them along and we’d end up with a drawer full of expired coupons. 

5. What is one of your favorite souvenirs brought back from your travels?
That’s a toughie.  I always bring some kind of souvenir from our travels … pieces of granite from the Low Country beaches, a lot of Tshirts, a jigsaw puzzle, seashells … I’m not sure that I could identify one as a favorite. 
6. Lemon meringue or key lime?
Key lime, of course.  We were in the heart of key lime country when we visited southern Florida a couple of months ago (and of course, had some key lime pie!).

Interesting factoid:  key lime pie is normally not green, but yellow.  So many people expect it to be green because regular limes are green … but key limes have a yellowish rind and yellow juice.  Because so many expect key lime pie to be green, some bakers have taken to adding green food coloring to the filling. 
7. What is the most beautiful word you know in any language?
Nana … and it’s at its most beautiful when spoken by the Ts. 
8. Insert your own random thought here.
It looks like spring is returning.  We’ve had some winter weather the last several days (got down into the 30’s at night), but we’re heading back to more normal temperatures today. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

Once again, my weekend didn’t go exactly according to my Saturday morning plans … but you know something, that’s ok … because those changed plans usually involve the Ts … and they did this weekend! 

As you know, DD moved a couple of weeks ago … from a house in the middle of the country to a subdivision in town … from a house on a 3-acre lot where the next door neighbor was a good ways away to a house on a small subdivision lot with the next door neighbor right there.  They’re thrilled with their new house, but they really were feeling the fishbowl effect with no drapes yet (the living room and dining area have bays that bump up, with less than 84” clearance from floor to bulkhead, so all the drapes have to be shortened 4-1/2” to 4-3/4”).  I was quilting when DD called and asked if I could come over and shorten her drapes for her.  Of course, I said yes … an added benefit of helping her out meant the end of the DTs.  An extra bonus was the bouquet of flowers that the Ts cut from their garden.  How sweet was that?    

While I was there, T#2 was fascinated by my sewing on the machine … she and I talked about my teaching her to sew … I can’t wait. 

We had a bell choir perform at church this morning … it was pretty amazing at the beautiful sounds that can be made by bells.  We had lunch with DD’s family and her dad and stepmom afterwards.  It was a good thing that it was a family-friendly restaurant as T#3 was especially fidgety and T#4 was fussy (I think I know what a couple of little ones did as soon as they got home from lunch!).  I spent the afternoon doing some preplanning for our upcoming trip; we’ll be flying so I had to check to see what I had in travel-sized containers so I’ll know what to add to my shopping list.  I had my weekly “conference call” with my dad and my 2 sisters … we discussed the upcoming trip (where we’d like to eat, sights we’d like to see, etc.).  And I wrapped up the weekend with a little hand quilting. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

We’re baaack…

It’s so nice to have blogger back up and running again. 

It’s rainy and chilly today, so since I’m “forced” to stay inside today, I may as well take advantage of that.  While I really ought to get caught up on my much overdue housecleaning, I’d really rather do some hand quilting instead.  After all, I did spend last night tidying up the house, so at least it looks clean (until you check closer and see the dust on the furniture).  And I can justify not cleaning this weekend because I’ll be doing a super-heavy-duty cleaning later this next week … I’m anal about leaving the house clean when we go on our trips (#1 I don’t want the dog sitter seeing our house looking like a wreck and #2 I hate, hate, hate coming back to a messy house) … so I’ve just about talked myself into postponing the cleaning and quilting instead! 

After spending nearly every single day with DD & the Ts for about a 10-day period of time around their move, I haven’t seen them since Sunday.  I’m suffering from DT’s (Doing without Ts).  Tomorrow is Sunday, so I’ll see them at church.  But I did talk to DD on Thursday.  She’d been out with the Ts and as she was unloading the van, she let T#4 “talk” to me on her cell phone.  I said “hello” to her and she responded with gibberish that ended with a very clear, a very distinct “Nana”.  DD wasn’t sure if she responded to my voice … or to the little picture of me that shows up on DD’s smartphone when she’s talking to me.  Either way, she recognized her Nana and said “Nana”!!!  I’m here to tell you that made this Nana’s heart smile so much that it almost hurt!      

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thankful Thursday


A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.  -- Cicero


It’s Thursday … and you know what that means!  Yep, it’s Thankful Thursday … a time when I stop to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for.  No, this is not the only time I take to be thankful … but I do want to develop a habit of deliberate, intentional thankfulness, and this helps.


I’m thankful for:

  • being able to get my plants into the ground
  • sunshine
  • air conditioning (according to our outdoor thermometer, it got up to 95 yesterday)
  • being able to get some quilting done yesterday
  • my knockout roses blooming
  • good books … and good friends who lend me their good books
  • baseball/softball season starting up … I love cheering on T#1 & T#2

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Once again, Joyce has come up with some challenging but interesting questions for us this week.  And even if you’ve never participated, please join in the fun by clicking on the button above.
1. How many times in your life have you moved house?
I’ve never moved a house. 
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  I’ve moved 12 times all told, 3 of which when I was a child.
I swore after the 9th move that I would NEVER move again.  I even said something to DH while we were dating.  After we were married, he told me that he almost didn’t ask me to marry him because I had sworn that I would NEVER move again (and the house that DD & I were living in at the time would have been way too small for 3 of us).  Whew!  Good thing he didn’t take me seriously (and I’m not sure he takes me any more seriously now – which is not necessarily a bad thing, as I’m still prone to overexageration! ha!).

2. What subject would you study if you had a year to devote to it?
I would like to take an in-depth Bible study … to really get into the meat of the Word, to better understand the cultural and social setting.

3. What in this world breaks your heart?
Any kind of mistreatment of young children.  It just literally makes me sick to see/hear about how those entrusted to the care of those little ones who cannot care for themselves, cannot defend themselves have abused their authority/responsibility.

4. What is one item that symbolizes the times in which we live? Why?
I believe that the cell phone (especially the smart phone) symbolizes these times.  We are an impatient people … no longer willing to wait until we’re home to get messages or phone calls … and the feeling that we always need to stay connected mechanically robs us of the joy of the moment with face-to-face experiences.

5. Share a favorite bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan.
A few that I thought were funny/cute:
  • The trouble with retirement is that there are no paid holidays.
  • Ever stop to think and forget to start again?
  • Happiness is being a grandparent.

6. How do you like your spaghetti?
Cooked a little past al dente, with a good meat sauce (with loose Italian sausage) and some mushrooms … plenty of seasoning (basil, garlic, oregano and parmesan).

7. What is one piece of advice you would give a recent, or soon to be recent, graduate?
A couple of pieces of advice (that I had to learn the hard way ) are:
  • Learn to live within your means right out of the gate – and understand that means your life likely won’t look like mom & dad’s right away.
  • Save more – retirement seems like it is so far away, but trust me, it will be here before you realize … and before you’re ready if you don’t start planning now. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I didn’t get to work in the yard yesterday because of the rain (and I’m not sure that the ground will dry out enough for me to work in it today before the next band of rain comes through), so I finished up T#2’s doll quilt. 
The matching twin-sized quilt I made for T#2 is my least favorite quilt that I’ve made.  I don’t care for some of the fabrics I selected.  I miscut the strips to make the 9 patch blocks.  I’d never done sashing before, and I think I would have been happier with the sashing had I made it narrower.  But even though it may not be my most favorite, it was still made with lots of love by her Nana. Red heart  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Best laid plans

I should know better than make plans and get my hopes up because something almost always seems to come up to thwart my plans.  Sometimes my plans are changed for the better … sometimes not so very much.

Today is one of those days where it’s kind of right between “for the better” and “not so very much”.  I worked my tail off last night getting the ground ready to plant in my landscaping expansion.  Last night, today’s forecast was for sunny but hot weather.  When I got up this morning, it was cloudy with a slight chance of rain in the forecast, so I waited until the skies started to lighten a little to the west and headed off to the nursery, confident that I could find just the plants I wanted (I did - Yay!).  I did get caught in a very brief, very light shower while at the nursery, but I wasn’t discouraged because the rain hadn’t been heavy enough or lasted long enough to delay my planting.  As soon as I got home, I carried my plants to where I planned to put them in the ground while DH carried a couple of bags of mulch for me.  And just as we set down the plants and mulch, here came the rain.  While it wasn’t a huge, severe storm, it was definitely a very steady and fairly heavy rain … and while it didn’t last a really long time, it was too much rain to be able to plant today.  (And rain is in the forecast for the next 5 days! So it’ll be a while before I can finish.) 

While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to do what I had planned today, I am going to be able to get some work done on the doll quilt; I finished the hand quilting a couple of weeks ago or so, but I still need to bind it.  I found some leftover strips of the fabric I used for that quilt … I just need to see if I have enough to make binding for the quilt … or if I’ll need to come up with a Plan B.  I need to get it done this week because this quilt is what I submitted to the UFO challenge at my quilt guild … and our meeting next Tuesday is the deadline for completion to meet the challenge.  And I want to give this quilt to T#2 for her birthday which is the 29th of this month.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up … better late than never

I have been so busy that I haven’t even had time to sit down and blog about all that I’ve been doing.  I did manage to share my busy Friday here … I really thought that the rest of the weekend was going to be a quiet one, but as so often happens, my plans were altered. 

Saturday morning, I got a call from DD … she forgot that T#1 had baseball practice that morning … they were already late by the time she called.  DH & I had plans for a slow start to our day, so I was sitting on the computer, in my pj’s, straight from bed without make-up or anything done to my hair.  I grabbed some clothes and headed up to her house to watch the 3 littles while she & T#1 went to practice.  When practice was over, she needed to do some shopping, but since it was naptime for the 2 littlest Ts, she asked if I could stay until she got back from shopping.  Of course, I said yes!  I got home just in time for DH to fix dinner (I told you he was a keeper!).  After dinner, I did get some hand quilting done that evening while DH & I watched a movie.

Sunday we went to church and then to DD’s afterwards for Mother’s Day.  The menfolk served us lunch (pulled pork, au gratin potatoes, baked beans, Pasta House Co. salad and fruit pizza), with some assistance from the Ts.  We had a wonderful visit and wrapped up our time together with “dinner” at Twist.

Today was a work day, but as soon as I got home,  I got right to work in the yard.  I’ve been wanting to expand the landscaping area along the east side of the house, and I decided to just get started on it - tonight.  I’ve got it ready to go, so tomorrow I’ll be able to go buy plants and mulch.  I’m definitely feeling the effects of the work I did in the yard … hopefully a good night’s sleep will soothe those aching muscles.  I have more plans for increasing the landscaping, but it may be a multiple-year project … the spirit is willing but the body is weak.     I do love working out in the yard.  It’s therapeutic to get out in the sun, to work the soil, to enjoy the beautiful flowers/plants … I enjoy it so.

Hope y’all had a marvelous Monday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spring has sprung

Warm, sunny weather has finally arrived.  It was gorgeous yesterday … high in the low 70’s with the sun shining.  More of the same (with a slight chance for some late afternoon rain) is forecast for the rest of the weekend.  

Because yesterday was so beautiful, I decided to make hay while the sun shone … or at least work in the yard.  I replenished the mulch in the landscaping … which brings to mind the question: where does the mulch go?  I replenished and put down plenty of mulch on the new landscaping last spring … and yet, I needed 11 bags of mulch to fill back in this spring. 

I also ran to Lowe’s to get some flowers to put in my pots.  I like to have flowers out on the deck and some in the front.  I also looked for some landscaping/garden accents. 

After we were done working in the yard, we went for a walk around the neighborhood.  It’d been so long since we’d been able to do that … the weather has not been conducive to much time outside lately (which made yesterday’s lovely day even more special).  We chatted for a bit with some of our neighbors … including the couple at the end of the cul-de-sac with the pool in their backyard.  I have to admit that I did drool a little at all the landscaping and decorating they did in their backyard (and the pool, too!). 

We followed that up with a trip to the Gun Club for some Captain Hog’s BBQ.  Yummy!

We wrapped up our day by watching the Cardinals game (our pitcher got to within 2 innings of a perfect game – it was pretty exciting!).  I did some hand quilting on T#4’s big girl quilt while we watched the game.  A wonderful ending to a wonderful day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It’s Thursday again, and it’s time for Thankful Thursday. 


It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.
-- Author Unknown


I’m especially thankful for:

  • being able to help DD get moved
  • sunshine … after so many consecutive days of rain, it’s been wonderful to have a couple of sunny days
  • Facebook … I’ve been able to reconnect with several friends from high school
  • my crockpot … it’s so nice to come home from work and have dinner ready (I need to use it more often!)
  • being a grandma … so many people told me how wonderful it is to be a grandparent, but I was still unprepared for how absolutely wonderful grandparenthood is (of course, when you have the world’s most wonderful grandkids like I do, what’s not to love about being a grandma? ha!)
  • my 31 thermal tote … it holds enough cans of soda for a day at work and is cute!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Didn’t we just do the Hodgepodge a couple of days ago?  Time really does fly when we’re having fun … because it’s Wednesday again, and time for Wednesday Hodgepodge! 

1. Have you ever been served breakfast in bed? Do you enjoy that? If someone were serving you breakfast in bed this coming weekend what would you hope to see on the tray?
Hmmmm, you know, I don’t recall ever being served breakfast in bed.  Now it could very likely be that DD would have done something that sweet for her mama, but if so, the memory has leaked out of my sieve my brain.  While being served breakfast in bed would certainly be a sweet gesture, I’m not sure that it’s high on my wish list (if only because I know who’d be cleaning up the resulting crumbs ).  But if I were to be served breakfast in bed, I suppose I’d like some fresh fruit, a Panera Bread bagel with cream cheese and some freshly-squeezed orange juice.

2. What is one piece of advice you would give a new mother?
Enjoy the moment.  One of my biggest regrets as a mom was wishing my daughter’s life away … I was always so eager for the next milestone … that first smile, that first word, that first tooth, that first step … I didn’t stop, at the time, to realize that each of those milestones took me closer and closer to the day when she would leave my nest. 
3. When was the last time you wanted to scream? Explain.
Last week when I just couldn’t seem to keep my mouth shut. 
4. Can you hula hoop?
I could as a child, so I assume that I can now as an adult.  All I know for sure is that I’m not going to go try to see if I still can.  ha!

5. What is something people do in traffic that really bothers you?
I get frustrated when drivers take forever to get through a turn light.  Instead of staying a close but safe distance behind the car in front as they go through the turn, they dawdle so that there’s several car lengths between them and the car in front.  As a result, only about half as many of us can get through the turn on the arrow.  <grrr> 
6. What do you do when people don't admit they're wrong?
I have to admit that it does bug me a little when people are clearly wrong but refuse to admit it.  But it’s not a major deal to me.       
7. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word 'fun'?
Riding my bike along the beach at Hilton Head and going to the zoo with DD & the Ts.  Yes, I know … that’s two things.  This may be Joyce’s Hodgepodge, but this is my blog … so I’m going with two things.   

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I woke up this morning to a pretty significant frost.  It’s almost 7:00 and the temperature is still a frigid 35 degrees.  Who kidnapped Spring???