Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Southern thru and thru
Note: I came back and added photos of the messprogress I've made so far.

Quick update on my Project to End All Projects, partly to let you all know how I'm doing, and partly to justify taking a B.R.E.A.K., for pete's sake!

Note: On left - wall before. On right - wall stripped and painted. Much better!

I've got three walls completely stripped, and painted a nice antique white, ready for wall decor. I've got two walls still to go - stripping, painting. A few people asked what I use for removing the wallpaper, so I wanted to pass that on. I found a product called Chomp, it's in a plastic spray bottle, and cost about $7. I'll go through five of them to get this job done, but our basement is pretty good sized. You pull off the vinyl paper, and if the wall was sized before the paper was applied, that part usually comes off without too much work. Then you spray the backing, still on the wall, with Chomp, let it sit 1-5 minutes and it comes off pretty easily with a razor blade on a handle. The trick is to remove the backing while it's still wet with the Chomp. If it dries, you'll have to reapply it. I found mine at a specialty paint store, but it's possible Lowes or Home Depot would carry it. Much better than DIF which I've used before. You might also Google it.

I got the table at a second-hand furniture store for $50. It's going to be used for chess, checkers, etc. The antique bleacher seat was $15 at a tag sale. This room is right off the garage, so we'll use it to sit in when we pull off snow boots this winter. The trunk behind the seat we picked up on the side of the road I believe. It'll be a coffee table in front of the sofa, and all the shelves are to be painted black, then they'll hold the framed family photos. Black paint makes almost anything look better! You can see this dropcloth has seen a lot of action. I bought the professional grade and size, and am still glad I paid the difference for a good one.

Tonight I plan to finish stripping and painting the last two walls, and paint the table top and antique bleacher chair before I soak in a HOT tub. My sister, Barb gave me a great tip - don't wait til I'm lying in bed tonight aching, rather take 2 ibuprofen throughout the job, and so I'm going to do that.

Tomorrow I'll paint the armoire the TV goes in, and all the shelves for the walls, and hopefully Thursday I can get a few photos printed out and framed. I paint fast. I do expect some of the decorating / finishing touches will flow into next week. I've also still got doors and baseboards to paint white. So I think it's still doable, before hubby returns.

This armoire holds a TV and DVD player, and has to be painted black. You can see the Chomp on the floor. Tip - vinyl table cloths make GREAT dropcloths for smaller painting jobs. They won't let paint seep through, and the flannel backing keeps them from slipping on the floor. Also, if you look close you can see on the left side of the armoire the paper has been stripped, on the right the paper backing is still on the wall. Just a bit more to go.

Tonight, for supper, I actually put out extreme effort and made a pan of Jiffy cornbread. Since it took 2 minutes to throw together, and I sat on the deck and made a phone call while it baked, I considered it minimal cooking. Here's what I had for dinner.

Instructions: Take one pan of Jiffy Cornbread, cut three generous pieces, place in favorite white bowl that used to hold a plant but has been well-scrubbed since then. Pour entire contents of one can of black eyed peas, including juice, actually Especially including juice, over cornbread. Add one glass of sweet tea on the side, grab favorite book, head out to patio table and enjoy dining with the music of songbirds in the background, as they also grab a snack before bedtime.

You can take the girl out of the South, but you can't necessarily take the South out of the girl.


  posted at 7:47 PM

Digging in with a Vengeance!
On the highly unlikely chance of someone bothering to steal me, I'm sharing that sweet husband is out of town for a bit. He travels now and then for one night trips, but once in awhile he goes away for much of a week, and this time I have three nights and four days to recreate the world.

Possibly in total denial of my energy level, decorating prowness, and ability to sustain enthusiasm for a project, here's what I'm attempting to accomplish in those four days:

#1 - Completely finish the basement project - including stripping wallpaper, painting the walls, painting several pieces of furniture, print, frame and hang family photos on the walls, and painting the stairs to the kitchen with cute stripes on them. Stair-painting may be aiming a bit too high. That might have to wait til next week.

Here's a shot of the oh so lovely walls, in the process. Nowhere to go but up!

#2 - Organize my quilt room and spend the evenings down there watching old movies and finishing Addison's quilt, and the giveaway baby quilt I'm working on.

#3 - Print out the photos for the next scrapbook project, and begin scrapping those pages.

#4 - Clean anything in my house that hasn't been cleaned in the past month, that really needs a weekly cleaning, and possibly is leaving yucky mold/mildew gunk around it.

Here's what I'm NOT doing, in order to accomplish these ridiculously lofty goals:

#1 - Cook. Anything. Menu will consist of cheerios, pbj sandwiches, tuna straight out of the can while standing at the kitchen sink, with a side of saltines, or if I get really crazy, zapping a Lean Cuisine.

#2 - Shave my legs. No need to. Big time saver here, on several levels. Ahem.

#3 - Makeup application, except on quilting day so I don't scare my girlfriends, and they uninvite me to go quilt-by-the-sea.

#4 - Any lawn work, beyond admiring our flowers, when I can't stand it a minute more, and need to look at something lovely. This project, in process, is NOT lovely!

#5 - Anything having to do with finances, or paperwork.

#6 - Wash my car. Not that I do that more than three or four times a year. That's why it's pewter rather than black. Way too much maintenance, owning a black car. Everytime we buy a new vehicle, I ask for black, and sweet husband reminds me that I rarely wash our car.

#7 - Answer the phone if there's any possibility someone is going to ask me to volunteer. For anything. I hate it when we Christians are asked to do something we instantly know would be awful, so we say "I'll pray about it" which means give me two days til I call back and tell you no. This time of year, with fall right around the corner, the calls are starting to come in for volunteers. I'm volunteering to minister right here at home for awhile.

#8 - Make my bed, because by the time I climb back into it at night, it won't matter at all that it's messy.

I'd like to walk in, or around, our home and sigh at the order. That's going to take some concentrated effort on my part. And of course I'll post photos, of my project, when it's done. Right now, we look like we've been hit by a hurricane, and we're too far inland for that.

P.S. Happy Birthday # 26 to sweet DIL, Janae. xoxoxo

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  posted at 6:00 AM

Sunday, July 29, 2007
Up to my armpits in obedience
When I started up my aquarium, the man at 'Wet Pets' (cute name, huh?) told me I should clean it every two weeks.

I told him I don't necessarily shave my legs every two weeks, so it was highly unlikely that would happen, and would the fish die if I didn't? And couldn't I just buy some fish that would eat the yucky stuff in the tank? He was nice enough to politely explain to me that there are fish that eat algae, but not 'waste'. Who knew? My dog does, so I just figured fish did too.

After having an aquarium running for about three years, I can tell you fish can live a long time in yucky water. Like three months. (I think I should insert here that I do shave my legs more often than that.)

I've had 'clean the fish tank' on my marker board for quite awhile. I've put it off and put it off and put it off, not that it's really a nasty job. You do have to shove your arms down into the water, almost up to your armpits, but having raised three kids, my arms have been in much worse. For some reason I just have a tendency to put it off. Yesterday afternoon, I decided no more procrastinating. After helping hubby mow the grass, and seeings as how I already had a t-shirt glued to my chest with sweat, and hair looking oh so lovely, I figured it was a good time to dive in, literally. So I did. I sucked (with a tube, not my mouth) and scoured and dumped water, and poured water, and got out the windex, then fed lovely blood worms to all the fish to calm them down after their traumatic experience of having a monster hand show up in the middle of their world. I certainly don't want them all belly-up tomorrow morning, right after I finally cleaned their home.

Much to my surprise - it was like I'd unleashed the crazy lady. For some reason, having felt like I was helpful to Don by mowing grass for an hour, then facing the dreaded fish tank task, I was on a roll - I cleaned all the bathrooms, the glass in the house, dusted several rooms, threw in a load of laundry, baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and printed out the next set of photos to be scrapbooked. All in three hours. There was something so invigorating about finally doing what I had avoided for months, it gave me enthusiasm to accomplish so much more.

All this - and not even on prednizone! Who knew? For sure it encourages me to go back and look at that 'to-do' list, see what else is on it. I'm salivating just thinking about all I can get done, just by tackling one thing I've been avoiding like the plague.

Note: When I'd finally finished all the yucky jobs, I showered, dressed and headed to church, and I swear Worship was the best it's been in months. Makes me wonder if maybe I was just in a better frame of mind to participate, after a little bit of time spent in obedience? Just wondering.

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  posted at 10:34 PM

Bigger and Better
Free coffee is fun. This is fabulous - a free flat screen TV, being given away by Susan and Janice over at 5 Minutes for Mom. Only difference - everyone can have the free coffee, where the TV will have one winner.

If you want more info, go here. Said TV, which is much larger and flatter and newer than the one we're currently staring at, here at Scratchin' the Surface, is being provided by Best Buy. You might just win. Or me - I might too!

Fall's just around the corner - that means leaves turning, chili bubbling, jeans and sweaters, and Survivor, Gray's Anatomy, and Monday Night Football, which doesn't thrill me personally so much except that it allows me to disappear for three hour increments to scrapbook, or quilt or some other such thing, and as long as I surface now and then with snacks in both hands, hubby is happy as a clam. Watching any of the previously mentioned TV programs on a new flatscreen - well, as Martha would say, (not that she and I have a lot in common since I don't plan three months ahead of time to trim back my mums or plant my peas) still she'd say - "It's a good thing." That it is.


  posted at 8:29 AM

Friday, July 27, 2007
Free Cup 'a Joe
I got an email from 'Your Friends at Folgers', with a fun photo of my personal favorite character from Gray's Anatomy, Chandra Wilson who plays Bailey, asking my opinion on coffee. As a thank you for expressing said opinion, I was invited to choose one of three flavors of coffee - for free -which they will send straight to my front door!

Then they even gave me a link, just in case I might happen to have a blog, and wanted to let all my friends know about the free coffee. Here it is:

Folgers Gourmet Selections. Get A Free Sample

Click on the above link and it'll take you right over there. You can choose from three gourmet flavors, then they'll ship it right to your house. I picked Vanilla Biscotti, but they also had Morning Cafe' and Lively Columbian. The way free giveaways work, it should arrive in about six weeks, when the leaves begin to turn and Fall Fever starts to hit. Vanilla Biscotti - doesn't that just sound fabulous? Maybe when it arrives I can post a good recipe to make your own biscotti, since it's easy as pie, and inexpensive, and makes a great Christmas gift to boot!

Run on over, the price is right!


  posted at 6:02 PM

And the Winner Is.....

I got this post ready last night, so all that was needed was to do the random number thing, which is a lot easier than cutting up little pieces of papers that have everyone's name written on them, then asking the dog to draw one, since sweet husband is away at work supporting me, and you just can't count on a cat to be of any practical use much of the time.

I love that was all one sentence :-) If I were a retired English teacher I might find it a bit depressing. Rather, I'm a retired secretary and saw the speed the letters were typed, so it's encouraging instead. Not that encouraging my grouchy typing teacher, Mrs. McKinney, would EVER be my goal, but I digress.

The winner of Giveaway #1, the Susan Branch planner, is Jennifer at Snapshot. She was #20 out of 147 comments. I'm familiar with pretty Jennifer who lives in Connecticut; I read her blog and see her comments on my posts now and then also. So it feels a bit like giving it to a friend, which is nice. If I had several more to give, I would have given one to the man who wanted it for his wife, since I wonder if he's lived through several incidents where she forgot the boss was coming for dinner til he walked through the front door and the kids were swinging from the light fixtures and tuna casserole was in the oven, or they were leaving on vacation the next day and nobody had clean underwear, or he stood waiting for a ride home from work. And waiting. And waiting. I would send another to the woman who said she was in desperate need of organization with school starting again soon because I can really relate to that, once you start having to write in sports practices, school pictures, parent's night, etc., then I'd send another to TaunaLen who spoke to my soul when she said, "planners always call to me. I don't know what it is about all those numbers and squares, but they make me feel all fluttery inside, like I'm falling in love." TaunaLen and I could be friends in real life I do believe. And one would absolutely go to this woman, can't you just hear her all breathless saying, "Oh my gosh, I could really use this! I am SO absentminded (blonde) (she said that, not me) and unorganized." I have a friend like her, and every single time we meet, 30 minutes before, she phones and asks me what time and where. Maybe I should buy another one for my friend's upcoming birthday? Jennifer strikes me as already having her act together, and so she'll be able to pull out this oh so pretty planner when she's at the doctor's office, or school, to pencil in appts. Congratulations to you Jennifer - hope you really enjoy it.

The winner of Giveaway #2, the chalks I rarely used and even managed to photograph upside down, is Fiddle D. Dee, at Seedlings to Sunflowers. She was one of the very last comments, so she barely squeezed in! I hope she wears them out, they needed to be used by someone, and I think she'll do just that. The only use they might have gotten at our house, after I unearthed them, was giving them to the grandkids to draw on the driveway. Seriously.

This was such fun, I've never given anything away on my blog. Rather, I usually drag it up the driveway and set it out by the street with a "Free to Good Home" sign, but I'll have to do this again, in the not so distant future. Stay posted.

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm whipped from all the blogging this past week. I'm off for a bit of catch-up around here. xooxox

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  posted at 12:10 PM

Thursday, July 26, 2007
Time for a Coffee Break!
If I posted separately about each thing going on around here, my head would hurt, and quite possibly yours too. Obviously, time for a coffee break, and jabbering til we're caught up! For me? White Russian with Peppermint Chocolate creamer, a new favorite of mine, so go pick your poison, then come back and pull up a chair.

First and foremost, The Giveaway - I'll close comments at noon tomorrow (eastern time), and pick a winner ASAP after that. Hopefully I can announce it right away, and notify the winner. Obviously if I can't contact you, then I'll pick again. I've had so many sweet comments - if I could just pick I might choose the man who wanted the planner for his wife :-) or the lovely woman who left a sidenote as to my 'lingering beauty in spite of 3 grown kids and 4 grandkids' - heck, who wouldn't pick her? I wish I had 100 of the planners to give away, there were so many of you who sounded like you could really use it. Susan Branch's story is much like Paula Deene's - married to a bum, he left her, she decided to make it on her own, and don't you know those two men drown their sorrows in their beers these days, after both women did so well, and found the man of their dreams to boot. I'd love Susan Branch even if she didn't do lovely watercolors and have handwriting to die for. She's one of those close to perfect people, in my book.

My photo printer is F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S.!!!! I can print out postcard style, with fun clip art or cute sayings on the photos. I did a photo of Caiden and Grayson, taken from behind them, looking through the bars of a zoo cage, heads tilted together - in sepia, with a caption that said "Best Friends" in orange. I can't wait to frame it. I was able to whip out a handful of photos to send to my MIL. I think this is going to work great for us. And I only used half a tank of ink figuring out the basics.

When we bought our car, we went with the drop-down DVD player option, more for resale than thinking we'd ever use it. We kept a copy of Winn Dixie in the seat, in case the dog ever went with us on a road trip. This past Sunday we went to the zoo with Leslie and her 10 month old, and the only DVD I had that came near entertaining him was something Sarah won from a friend, called "Dog Sitter" - a DVD to play when you leave your pets at home alone. If you know Sarah at all, you know she's not the dog-spoiling type, so she gave it to us. We popped it the player, and rode to the zoo to the noise of ducks quacking, squirrels gathering nuts, crows cackling, woodpeckers pecking (which seemed quite appropriate, considering our destination.) The baby was surprisingly entertained. Since language, and not quacking or squawking, is the goal for him, I went on Ebay the next day and bought four Baby Einsteins. When the first one came yesterday, we popped it in and what a difference! Landon went crazy talking to the babies and finger puppets. So ducks and birds and squirrels are good. Little people are much better. I also got a monitor with a camera for the upstairs nursery, and the cool tea pitcher made by Pampered Chef. I'm bidding right now on the salad spinner they make, because it's cool but not $50 cool. I love (buying from) Ebay!

I did a post on peanut butter cookies earlier this week and Sarah mentioned her grandmother's fudge recipe. It's See's Fudge - maybe you've heard of it. I'm not a fudge fan, since I'm not really a chocolate fan, but I'll post it this fall, closer to the holidays. If you like fudge it's the bomb.

My sidebar free Weight Watchers is going well. I'm down almost four lbs, and just thinking that I have to post my weight weekly keeps a lot of junk food out of my mouth. I found a great blogsite if you're battling the bulge (who isn't?), Beth at Tales From the Scales. Encouraging, uplifting, helpful on a practical level - check her out.

I read this week two alarming/funny things. First, diet coke causes heart disease, not because of what's in diet coke, but because those of us who drink it apparently have terrible eating habits overall. Even one diet coke a day puts us in that category. Second, fat friends are contagious. Seriously. If you are fat and your friends aren't, apparently enough time with you and they will be, and vice versa. I'm still not sure what I think about that, except when our group of friends gets together in Robin's hot tub, one girl wears a bikini and it's a wee bit hard to like her right then. All of us who look like we have flesh colored floaties attached to our middle get along well.

The basement project - I've reached the horrible stage. Removing wallpaper, so I can paint all the walls antique white. I tried to get around it, and just was not satisfied. (Believe me, I tried hard to be!) It'll be worth it in the long run, and the next woman to own this house will appreciate it, but right now it's sounding pretty awful. I keep trying to visualize sometime this fall or winter, curling up down there with a comfy movie, a bowl of popcorn, and enjoying it all. On an impressive note, Leslie and I moved the slate pool table across the basement - Girl power!

I've been given another sweet award, this one from Janeen at Our Story, the Blogging Princess. It's hard to think of yourself as very 'princessy' when you wear size 10 shoes, but it was awfully nice of her. Somehow my visual of a princess is about 5'2", wearing a size 6. Neither applies to me.

And - DRUM ROLL!!!!! This is the email I got yesterday:

"Now for the real excitement….Jennifer has invited all of us to join her and her mother and mother-in-law for a week of quilting-by-the-sea at their vacation home in TopSail, NC. They will be there from Saturday, September 8th until either the 14th or 15th. We are invited to come for the week or a portion of the week, whatever suits us. Ingrid, Mary Ann and I are thinking of coming up for a few days, as schedules allow. Put in on your calendar, clear it with your hubbies and think it over! It sure sounds like great fun to me!!!"

I belong to a quilting group, called the Sew & Sows. (We sew fabric, and sow the word, theoretically, and yes I know, the last part is spelled like female pigs - I didn't get a vote when the name was chosen.) We meet weekly in each other's homes, take a couple of trips together each year to quilt shows nearby, or to a fabric shop. But this is the dream of all trips - so some of us will head to Topsail Island mid-September, to quilt together, sit up at night and have a glass of wine on the deck that looks out onto the ocean, take walks on the beach, cook dinner together, laugh and cry together.
When I asked my husband what he thought about me going, he encouraged me, said it would be good for me. And yes, I'm eternally grateful God gave me this man. So I'm going - to the ocean - staying in a beach house for free - with this great group of ladies that I love dearly. I'm still pinching myself, while praying against fall hurricanes.

Okay, that about does it for the going ons around here. How 'bout you, have you been up to anything besides typing til way too late at night entering the gazillion Giveaways at Shannon's Place? Bless her heart, no wonder the girl headed to Chicago - she certainly needed a break!

And, I almost forgot. Bloglines....what on earth?! I subscribed to myself because it was easy to click on the link, then decided I didn't want to do that anymore, then changed my mind again. When I went back, I had THREE subscribers, so to my Mom, my sister, and my daughter - thanks! BTW, Bloglines is also showing each of you has written anywhere from 15-25 posts, so I think it's in melt-down mode or something. G Reader is sounding better all the time.


  posted at 8:39 PM

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Fruit of the Spirit

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Trish, at Ordinary Life Artist, let me know some sweet someone out there nominated me for this award. I'm truly honored by this. To read more about this award you can click here.

After she emailed me, as I was driving to the grocery store, I found myself reciting the list from Galatians 5:22: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." I wondered which ones I consistently fail to exhibit. On a good day I don't feel like I show a smattering of most of them, so it's encouraging to know someone else now and then sees glimpses of Him in me. Hebrews 10:24 came to mind: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." I felt "spurred"!

Blogging has many positives that come with it, but for me the bottom line is, just like the rest of my life - am I honoring Him through it? Thank you, whoever you are, for listening, and telling me somehow in my completely ordinary, albeit sometimes-out-of-control life, you saw Him, and not just a crazy lady. xoxoox

If you'd like to nominate someone for this award, here are the rules, listed on Trish's blog:

The "rules" are simple. When selected to receive this graphic, the blog owner (writer) will be notified, most likely by email. If that blogger would like to participate, they should respond to the email indicating their desire to display The Fruit of the Spirit graphic on their blog. The graphic's HTML will be sent to them ~ it should be as easy as copying the HTML from the email I send and pasting it into the blog owner's sidebar.

Once the blogger has posted the graphic in their sidebar, a link to their blog will be posted in the Fruit of the Spirit Blogs list in my sidebar. Every Friday I will post about the blogs that have been nominated and accepted the display of The Fruit of the Spirit graphic that week ("Fruitful Fridays" posts) (Hebrews 10:24; 1Thess 5:5-11).
Me? I'm thinking about who out there has Gentleness showing consistently - I can be patient as the day is long, but Gentleness? That's not likely to make it on my headstone!


  posted at 5:05 PM

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Goodness Gracious Does NOT Cover It.........
To say The Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway is in full swing would be the major understatement of the summer. I've listed two items to give away, the first is a set of Stampin' Up Pastels (CLICK HERE), (which I was clever enough to photograph upside down) and the second is a Susan Branch Planner (CLICK HERE). You can leave a comment through Friday at 5 pm, Eastern time, when I'll hopefully figure out how to do a random counter thing and pick two winners.

I'll leave this post at the top of my blog in the ever-so-unlikely chance that I post a single thing the rest of this week. After going to Shannon's place and clicking on 472 lovely items to consider, leaving a comment for a good number of them to the point that I can truly no longer type "thanks" without stopping to think how to spell it, and having to type my web address, email address, etc. one more time tonight might make me twitch too much to go to sleep, I think I'd have to be struck by lightening or find out I'm pregnant to actually write another post, (in the case of the latter I'd title it "Gloom, Despair and Misery on Me" and we'd be scheduling an angioplasty for dear husband, who'd likely have a massive heart attack, right after he realized his retirement had been delayed by about 20 years, give or take.)

I'm afraid to go back to Shannon's place in the morning, for fear 99 more bloggers will have stayed up all through the night, listing their items that are just too good to pass up. If by any chance Shannon even starts to mention doing this as an annual thing, summer of 2008, I plan to start sleeping in a bit every day for about two weeks ahead of time. Even if I can summon up enough energy to get through the day after missing sleep several nights in a row, the bags under your eyes just take way too long to retreat once you're in your 50's...

Trying to visit everyone of the sweet ladies who left comments at my giveaway - that may take just a bit, only because I still have to cook meals, do laundry, remove wallpaper, quilt with the girls, buy groceries, have lunch with a girlfriend, and a few other trivial things around this place in the next few days. Besides, I'd like to tell them I appreciate their visit, but typing "T.H.A.N.K.S." around 200 times right now isn't altogether possible.

If you, on the other hand, suffer from insomnia, experience nightsweats, or are up with a crying baby, etc. run on over to Rocks in My Dryer - there's fodder to last through the night, trust me.

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  posted at 8:01 AM

Dogdays of Summer Giveaway #2
You may remember, or not, a post regarding giving away about half the stuff in our house, then taking anything that showed signs of having monetary value to the local Click 'N Sell. (Translation: a place for people who don't know how to sell anything on Ebay themselves.) I sold all my Stampin' Up supplies, for something like $50 or $60, and was tickled to just have it out of my house.

You may also remember, or not, that my house is a bit of a piled up mess, including the table where I store all my scrapbooking supplies. Last night was the first scrapbook date with my middle daughter, Leslie. As I began to dig through the piles of stuff on the table, I came across a box of leather care for our sofa, extension legs for the dryer we use on snow boots, buttons, a pin cushion, wheels off a plastic cart, plastic leis from our cruise, refrigerator photo magnets sans photos, a cleaning rag, and various other items ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY when putting together a photo album.

I also came across this. Buried pretty deep. It's the chalk set from Stampin' Up, used only once or twice before I decided it was way too much trouble for me. If I'd found it a few weeks ago I would have added it to the Ebay box. I doubt there are a lot of you out there who might be interested in this, and it's not totally new, but pretty close. (I apologize - the photo is a bit fuzzy.)

If any of you crafty ladies are interested, I'd rather give it away than toss it. If you make cards, or whatever else you might do with this dandy thing, that I'd prefer not to think about how much I spent on it and didn't really use, please leave me a comment. I'll draw a name Friday, then send it the way of the winner. And be oh so impressed with you, that you actually do a craft that I spent too much money on, then left all the supplies sitting on a shelf in my basement for about 7 years. (Aren't we glad most husbands don't read our posts???!!!)

For about anothor gazillion giveaways, go to Shannon's place, and start clicking on all the Mr. Linkys. I plan to do that myself, because a girl can only stand so much going through piles of stuff in one week! Note: I'll be happy to ship it to anywhere the mailman can get to.

And, and, and - look! Two scrapbook pages, the first done in well over two years, or maybe five, but who's counting? I scrapbooked Barb's daughter's wedding. That's my semi-enthusiastic scrapbooking partner, daughter Leslie. She stayed up with me til way too late, but I suspect it was the chai tea and snickers that kept her there, more than a love for preserving photos.

I used this handy gadget - the Hewlett Packard Photosmart 716, referred to as a portable photo printer, to print out the photos. It was $179 at Office Depot, it's smaller than a toaster, prints 4x6" and 5x7", does color, b&W and sepia. I'm completely in love with it. Being over-the-top analytical at times, I spent several months researching photo printers, and with some guidance from the nice man at Office Depot, am convinced this is just the ticket. I bought an extra cartridge of ink and 200 photo papers, so I should be set for awhile.

I wanted something that was completely portable, for when I scrapbook away from home. I can even take this in my camper and crop, edit, then print out photos, all by itself. You can hook it to your computer, your camera, insert the memory chip, and it holds 4000 photos in storage, which I'm thinking is about right for me. The money I made off the Click 'n Sell will cover most of the cost. Not bad payment for cleaning out the basement, I think. (Please note - I'm giving away the CHALKS, not the printer...)

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  posted at 7:59 AM

Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway #1

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It's July, so next year is just around the corner, at least for anyone who's into planning. Who said being organized can't be pretty too? I'm a big fan of Susan Branch, and so I offer up her "Days from the Heart of the Home" planner. It is yearless, by which I mean you can use it no matter the year, and it has a spiral binder so it will lay flat. Each week takes up two pages. It's size is around 8"x8".

Typical Susan-style, the pages are full of lovely illustrations, quotes, and tips for squeezing just a little more goodness out of whatever time of year it might be. I picked it up as a gift to an unknown friend, so maybe that could be you?!

To see the entire list of giveaways, and the guidelines, and do the Mr. Linky thing, etc. (some of which I don't entirely understand), you can go to Shannon's place, Rocks in my Dryer, who is hosting this fun event. If you're interested in winning this fun planner, leave a comment, and I'll draw a name this Friday. I'm happy to ship it anywhere the mailman can get to.xoxo

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  posted at 7:38 AM

Sunday, July 22, 2007
Slavin' over.... PB Cookies!
Women tend to fall into one of two camps - either they love spending time at the grocery store, or they amble up and down every aisle 'in search of inspiration' as my mother-in-law would say, finding it a necessary evil. I'd say I'm in the first camp most of the time. I'm intrigued by the olive bar, since up until about three years ago I thought there were only two kinds - black pitted and green with pimentos stuck in the ends. The organic section is full of strange and wonderful things, and the ethnic section is great when I have no idea what to make for dinner. They stack all the ingredients for a meal right next to each other, making it easy to whip up a dinner worthy of placemats and fabric napkins. Add to that a fantastic deli, and a prepared food section, and what's not to love?

Still, the cereal aisle? It makes me crazy. Why on God's green earth do we need 99 different kinds of cereal, when they basically fall into only a few categories: semi-healthy, healthy with more fiber than the body knows what to do with, and junk that kids love. I think we need only a very few - cheerios, since they're a major food group for most toddlers, bran flakes, and Count Chocula or something much like it for when adolescent grandkids come to visit, so they won't think you're ancient because by then all you eat is the 'healthy with more fiber than the body knows what to do with', and they know why, because by then you talk about it much of the time.

That rule also applies to me and homemade cookies. Christmas time rolls around and all of a sudden we think we need to bake 25 different cookies, when most of us are pretty happy with a very short list: sugar cookies with frosting in fun shapes, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter. Even when a tray of Christmas cookies is set out, most men will still pick one of the four previously listed if they are offered. Sort of like when you buy a pure-bred dog, you know what you're getting. Some of those other cookies, you take one bite only to find out it has mincemeat or something else funky in it, and what do you do with the second half?

So I bake the four basic cookies. Because we really like them, year round. We have a few extras the girls in our family enjoy at Christmas (wreaths and sandies). The trick is to make really, really good cookies in the basic four. So I give you my peanut butter cookie recipe. It's actually not mine, it's my mother-in-law's and she's not the original owner. It dates back to the early 1900's, out of some ancient cookbook. Years ago, when our kids were little, we'd phone to let her know we were all about to descend upon her like locusts at harvest. She'd bake up a batch of these, and I'd know the metal tin under the counter would be waiting when we got there. Each layer separated with wax paper. And cold milk in the fridge.

Today. Bake these today, and take the whole batch outside, with your kids and a pitcher of milk. Maybe draw a hopscotch, or take some jacks, or marbles, or a book. Summer's more than half over, so we have to squeeze as much as we can out of every single day that's left. Feel free to store them in a worn metal tin, on a lower shelf where little people can get to them by themselves.

Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp water

Cream shortening, peanut butter and sugars together in mixing bowl. Add the egg, water and vanilla and beat well. Sift the flour and soda and add to creamed mixture. Shape into balls; place on greased baking sheet and flatten with a fork, pressed down twice (criss-crossed) so cookie is marked in squares. Bake at 350 degreees for about 8-9 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies. I double the recipe, bake ½ and shape the remaining ½ into a log, wrap it in saran wrap and freeze it til needed.

Then, tomorrow morning, you might want to have a bowl of semi-healthy flakes to make up for these. Health food they're not, and that's the whole point...


  posted at 10:48 PM

Friday, July 20, 2007
The Best Deal in the World...
A dear friend of mine, who sometimes comments here as "Anonymous" but certainly isn't that to me, sent me this by email. I've deleted a few, but saved the best to share. Enjoy!

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting. ~Author Unknown

What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change,and they give me a million dollars' worth of pleasure. ~Gene Perret

Grandchildren don't stay young forever, which is good because Grandfathers have only so many horsey rides in them. ~Gene Perret

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete. ~ Marcy DeMaree

Grandson Caiden, catching a whopper last summer.

If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I'd have had them first. ~Lois Wyse

My grandkids believe I'm the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too. ~Gene Perret

If becoming a grandmother was only a matter of choice, I should advise every one of you straight away to become one. There is no fun for old people like it! ~Hannah Whithall Smith

It's such a grand thing to be a mother of a mother - that's why the world calls her grandmother. ~Author Unknown

Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old. ~Mary H. Waldrip

Grandson Grayson, devouring a cup cake. Beautiful eyes!

An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly. ~ Gene Perret

The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby's grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida. ~Dave Barry

Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple. Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love. ~Author Unknown

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. ~Alex Haley

Precious Granddaughter Addison...

Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies. ~Author unknown

Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever. ~Author Unknown

Grandmother - a wonderful mother with lots of practice. ~Author Unknown

A grandparent is old on the outside but young on the inside. ~Author Unknown

One of the most powerful handclasps is that of a new grandbaby around the finger of a grandfather. ~Joy Hargrove

Grandson Landon, age 10 months. His first swim in the lake, Keystone State Park, 4th of July.

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.
~Welsh Proverb

It's amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one. ~Author Unknown

Grandparents are similar to a piece of string - handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren. ~Author Unknown

A grandmother is a babysitter who watches the kids instead of the television. ~Author Unknown

Grandchildren don't make a man feel old; it's the knowledge that he's married to a grandmother. ~G. Norman Collie

Thank you Tris, for the quotes. Thank you Sarah and Chris, and Leslie and Jeremy, for the beautiful grandchildren. Dan and Janae, waiting patiently for your additions to the gang - as you can see we're a little heavy on boys, so more little girls would be great!


  posted at 9:59 AM

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Zapped for Yappin'...
You may remember a post I did in mid-June, telling of getting rid of most of what resided in our basement, covered up in cobwebs and dust. Digging through the mess, I found a few items I thought might sell on Ebay. Buying on Ebay? I'm a pro! Selling? Not so much. It confuses me, intimidates me. You can take classes on "How to Sell on Ebay" so I think my assessment is correct. I hauled the five items that appeared to have monetary value to our local "Click and Sell". The man running the place told me he thought what I'd brought in would sell pretty easily, and for a good turn of money.

There was a Sew and Tote, to put your machine and various sewing items in, that I used once. It went $41, not bad since I paid around $60 for it. I like to tell myself I rented it, for $21. Less painful that way.

Then the Stampin' Up supplies, likely $200 worth. I made 2 - T.W.O. cards in a period of 7 - S.E.V.E.N. years. Every time I saw the box sitting in the basement, where I'd dragged it to, I'd be covered up in guilt. It sold for $63.01, not such a good return, but I'm still glad it's all gone. If I want a card, I'll go to Hallmark. I know many of you out there will assure me it's easy-peasy to make cards, but for some reason it doesn't seem so to me. All that tearing papers, rubbing ink on stamps, glueing beads and buttons, and such is just too much work for me to tell someone I'm happy they found the love of their life, or I'm sorry their dog died.

Next was an entire box of 'Precious Places' pieces, belonging to middle daughter Leslie. I assured her she could have the profits. Alas, there were none. Nobody was willing to pay even $9.95 to have their entire carpet covered with sharp little pieces of plastic, ready to be stepped on in the middle of the night, or sucked up by the vacuum cleaner, go figure? Maybe nearer to Christmas we'll try again. Right now, they look ever so charming sitting in the garage on the table saw.

Then - dog control. We had a "scat mat" - a long plastic mat with electric coils running through it. You laid it out on your bed or sofa, or wherever and set the zapper to whatever level you thought necessary. It was a bit tricky, since the cat weighs 11 lbs, and the dog weighed 90 at the time. I wanted to keep both off, but without sending the cat sailing through the living room. I don't know which one was the victim, but it worked - within a few days of setting it up, neither of the four-leggeds would even venture into the room again. Sold for $51 and my girlfriends aren't afraid to sit down in the living room anymore.

And the dog collar - for "big dogs". Which means it zaps harder. You could use it for barking, or jumping or whatever, and since we tried counting to three with the puppy and it never did seem to do much, we used the collar for a few months, then sold the puppy. (Yes, I'm serious). Sold for $60.86. The collar, not the puppy. I sold her to a crazy bachelor for $200, after she licked him all over and peed on him in the middle of my kitchen floor, which being the typical man, he couldn't resist.

So yesterday I phoned the Ebay guy to see where my check was, since I have PLANS for that money. He told me he was waiting - the dog collar had been returned because the buyer claimed it didn't work. I assured him it did. He told me he'd checked the mat before he listed it, and had zapped himself so that he was a bit afraid to try the collar and just decided to believe me. When the buyer returned the collar, it had to be checked. There is a test light, so that when you push the button, if all is working well, it lights up. He told me he'd check the light.

When I phoned back this morning to be sure the collar did in fact still work, the owner's wife told me, "Oh yes, it Definitely works! My husband tried the light, which came on, but he wanted to be sure so he put the collar around his upper leg, and It Zapped Him. Believe me, Ma'am, it works. It just needed new batteries, and we've relisted it. It'll likely sell again."

I tried not to laugh, at the visual that came into my mind, of this young man with a dog collar around his uppper thigh, pushing the button, barking commands: "Down Spot! Stop that! Bad dog! Off!" all the while jumping around the room, like something out of a Jim Carey movie. Stifling a snicker, I apologized for her husband having to inflict self-harm, and told her I would be dropping off brownies, and promised not to bring them anything else that would cause her husband pain in the listing.

Note to dog out there somewhere, who's owner is, as I type, bidding on said collar, be afraid. Be very afraid. Mr. Ebay set it on the lowest setting, and you're not likely to be so lucky, being owned by anyone who is willing to pay $60.86 to get you to stop yapping at the neighbor's cat.


  posted at 11:55 PM

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Summertime in All It's Glory...
I realize I recently shared some photos with all of you, but I'm on a mission to clear out the camera and computer, so I've got a few more! The last few days I've been out in the yard, busy watering, weeding, fertilizing, and spraying with horrible-smelling stuff that repels deer all the flowers in our yard. They are in full glory, not the fragile little things I planted only a couple of months ago, and not yet beginning to shrivel up and prepare for a hibernation, or death, that's sure to come. I wish I could just invite you over for sun tea, with lemons, and peanut butter cookies freshly baked from my mother-in-law's recipe (they're worth every calorie) and we could take a walk around the yard, but gas prices being what they are, maybe this'll do in a pinch:

The front of the house was so pitiful when we bought it. No flowerbeds, no shrubs, a beat up sidewalk. After 11 years everything is starting to really strut its stuff. Impatiens do well here since the house faces the north, with little sun on this side.

The clemantis and mums poking their heads out is something to look forward to every spring. I replaced old shrubs with two bunches of soft grasses this year. I love them!

A favorite spot to curl up in, when the phone rings and it's one of our kids on the other end. Black-eyed Susans are sneaking through the fence, threatening to take over the place, which is quite okay with me.

No idea what this little yellow plant is. I bet Diane, over at Diane's Place, can tell me. The flowers look like small yellow stars and they are a perennial. I planted the purple perennial this year, and have already forgotten it's name too!

We've had the old milk can for ages, and I found the sweet little rattan duck at a garage sale this summer. I think I paid $2.00 for him, and knew instantly I'd love having him sit here to greet anyone who came to our front door. He makes me smile every time I catch a glimpse of him. This is my favorite planted spot of the year, sweet and simple.

I found this at Pottery Barn for kids, regularly $29.00 and on sale for $5.99. A whale of a deal if you ask me! Daughter Sarah helped me make the birdbath out of upside down clay pots a few years back. I still love setting it out every spring, to remind me of the fun we had together. The birds enjoy it too. This is actually in our backyard.

On an entirely different note, we were at this church this morning for Leslie to drop off a resume. It sits right on the main street leading into downtown Pittsburgh, an old Presbyterian church built in 1804! I stood there and just soaked in the fact that it was 204 years old, was here long before me, and will be still standing there long after I'm gone. Then there sat Landon, all of ten months old. The comparison caused deep thoughts on the brevity of life. On my part, not Landon's.

We call this strip of road "church row" because of the truly enormous churches that line the road, one after another, and all of them so old and gorgeous. I think this is the most beautiful church I've ever seen, I believe it's Catholic. The tiled roof takes my breath away. I climbed into the flowerbed and smelled the hydrangeas - heavenly, which seemed quite appropriate.

And finally, since Summer is so brief, and needs to be enjoyed and not taken too seriously - I give you my last photo. What a baby looks like sucking on a lemon.


  posted at 11:48 PM

Monday, July 16, 2007
Worn Out Bookworm......
I just finished the book I've been reading for the past two weeks, Wish You Well, by David Baldacci. Thank the Lord! Way back when, Barb and I shared a bedroom growing up, and we'd take turns holding the flashlight under the covers to finish one more chapter without the light slithering out from under our door. I still struggle to choose sleep over 15 more minutes of reading late. For the past few nights, when it's 11:30 pm and I'm already 30 minutes short on sleep, I convince myself 15 MORE minutes won't make a difference.

I'm here to tell you - it makes a difference.

Still it was worth it.

I've heard a few mixed reviews on this book, which my daughter, Sarah told me to read. The author generally writes more like Grisham or Clancy or Ludlum, but he says in his forward (doesn't everyone read it?) that this book was written straight from his heart. It's a story he took from his grandmother's life, lived out in the hills of southern Virginia.

It's a story where The Company is guilty of trying to squelch the common man; forged childhood friendships that heal deep hurts; love conquering where nothing else will. A great story.

I determined to sit down today, in the daylight, for 30 minutes and finish it. It was one of those books where you just held your breath for the last several pages, and sat silent for a bit after you closed the cover. I grew to love the characters. I hated to see it end.

Check it out, or find it at the half-price bookstore, or even pay full price for it -it's that good. But catch up on your sleep before you get to the last few chapters. Me - I'm putting out the 'Do Not Disturb' sign tonight, and sleeping a bit late tomorrow morning, before I start what I've heard is another great read. This bookworm isn't as young as she used to be!

  posted at 9:47 PM

Sunday, July 15, 2007
Wedding Memories
Who doesn't love wedding photos? In light of my project list, and the fact that Leslie and I have scheduled a scrapbooking date, I'm starting with Mandy's wedding photos, a manageable number, and just plain fun to look at.

Barb, at Chelsea Morning, will no doubt have a much bigger album to share with you later, but these are what I captured that day, and some of them most definitely won't be shared by her. I was privileged to be there, with my Mom, and share the day with them. It was precious! Mandy is only 27 days older than our middle daughter, Leslie, and they remind me of each other. Tall, slim, a bit quirky, and both school teachers. Perfect way to start, with photos of this gorgeous bride, waiting for it all to begin.

Here's the beautiful bride, waiting for her call to appear.

My Mom, Judith - and my sister, Barb. Don't they both look lovely? Believe it or not, neither of them knew the other was wearing soft beige. Note the pink tulle in front of the photo. The banister was wrapped in it, as was most of the rest of the wedding decor, actually. Mandy L.O.V.E.S. pepto bismal pink.

Barb and I, before the ceremony began. I think we look alike, and she was having a better hair day than me, which was quite fair, it being her daughter's wedding and all. This is a semi-terrible photo, but I didn't take it, obviously. Barb looked beautiful, like the perfect mother of the bride.

Mothers lighting candles. Wasn't that flower girl precious? You can't see the frog that was hopping toward Mom and I, in the front left row. I literally prayed God would make it turn and hop away, and it did. One bridesmaid also saw it, and we exchanged glances the entire ceremony, concerned it would touch one of our bare feet and we'd let loose with a bloodcurdling scream. It stayed the entire ceremony, and afterwards several little boys ran right over, picked it up and checked it out. Of course they did.

Aaron and Barb, after he gave her a white rose. Notice Mandy's wedding ring on her left pinky. I love this photo! Someday Barb's going to have some beautiful red-haired grandchildren, something I've always hoped for.

Beautiful ceremony. Simply beautiful.

Lighting the Unity Candle. As they lit it, I sat and thought of all the times they'll have to choose to stay united, through the storms of life. I believe they will. I prayed they will.

Crazy groomsmen leaving the ceremony. Great way to kick off a reception, literally!

Barb, My Mom, and Barb's best friend in the whole wide world, Peggy. I love this photo, showing all three laughing over some story. Peggy is just the dearest person.

Not that the couple on the left can't dance, but you should have seen this ( engaged) couple on the right. Man, could they tear up the floor. It was such fun to just sit and watch them.

I can't tell you how much I love this photo. Barb's little tush sticking out, the grin on her face. She is blessed to have crazy Peggy as a life-long friend. They were giggling like nobody's business, and danced for several songs. We had one song where Barb, Peggy, Mom and I all shook our bootie, but of course I didn't capture that, because I was busy shakin'. Which may be a good thing that it remained unphotographed, but it sure was a fun moment.

Lovely couple, dancing their special dance, under twinkling white lights. I don't remember what the song was, but we all just sat and oohed and aahed, to see love so displayed.

The beginning of a new life together, with a list of dreams a mile long.

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  posted at 11:00 AM

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    About Me

    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

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