Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Little Bit Of Christmas So Far

We had eight of our close family members
staying with us this past Thanksgiving.
Half of them were 5 and under,
which made things quite lively!

Livvie Lula liked reading the paper with
Grampy every morning...
Little Henry tried out some sweet potatoes...
Ben and Lily bonded quickly as usual. Only
10 months apart in age, these two look more
like brother and sister than cousins.
When they all left,
it seems to have left a hole in my heart
right where Christmas should be.

I'm trying to get interested,
but so far the ladder is still imprisoned
in the far corner of the garage.

I put some lights in a kitchen cabinet...
and added a string of lights to the mixer corner...
but I need the ladder to get up higher.

Sometimes small things can be
I will need to rally soon...'s December 21st and I can't take
the Jack-O-Lanterns grinning at me
 much longer!

Happy Halloween
Merry Christmas!

Join me here:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Favorite Christmas Ornament

Tidbits & Twine is having a give away
of this wonderful Balsam Hill ornament set!

And you have a chance to win too!

Tidbits & Twine is a blog that's always
full of easy-to-do decorating advice.

In addition she often shares pictures of
 her lovely guest room (pictured above) and one
of the prettiest dining rooms I've seen.

To enter the give away, she only asks that
you describe your favorite Christmas ornament.

That's an easy one for me...
My favorite ornament is a little eccentric,
but that makes me cherish it all the more!

Who wouldn't want a sparkly ice cream cone,
with a small bite out of it, hanging on their tree?

Oldest daughter Jennifer, who has just turned 41,
was a kindergartner when she presented me with
her wonderful "handmade" creation.

The next year, youngest daughter Jaimee
was only 20 months old when she took a bite
out of the dazzling ice cream cone...glue,
sparkles and all. You can see the bottom of
the cone is missing.

Every time I look at my ornament, I see the
proud eyes of that long-ago kindergartner
 and the toddler with sparkles stuck all
over her chin and mouth.

Here's the link to the give away post.

Good luck and 
thanks for dropping in!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

In my last post, I was talking about how
houses turn into money pits. Here's just a
few of our issues.
We wanted to change our walkway to our
house because the one the builder put in
was a hazard. Big cement blocks with strips
of space between where nothing would live,
but on which anyone could trip.
We paid to have the blocks jack-hammered
up and carted away. It wasn't cheap.

A new curvy walkway replaced the blocks.

And looking at this picture makes me realize
the solar screens we added to block the sun's
rays match the shutters too much, so we
will need to paint the shutters a different
color at some point.
The walkway made the planting beds around
the house look shabby. We pulled out the worst
plants and added new ones with drip irrigation
to conserve water.
Then we added small river rock instead
of mulch.

The new plants, rock and walkway made
the door look shabby, so Wild Bill
refinished the door.

The new walkway and refinished door
make the cement inside the entryway look
a little sad, so now we're looking at a
non-slippery tile to cover it.

Doesn't it always seem to take much more
product than you expect a project to take?

I thought this was overkill when they delivered
two tons of river rock for our little beds.

But we had to go back and get almost
another ton before we finished the project.

There's a chandelier hanging way up top
the entry that shines through the window
in front of it -- real pretty...EXCEPT...

The birds fly into the entry and sit on the
chandelier up there and poop all night.

Which ends up in a pile on the cement right
in front of our door each morning. Lovely.

We're looking for a replacement light that
offers no place for a bird to sit, unless you
have a better idea.

Anyone out there ever have this problem?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Motivating Action

I'm convinced that houses become money pits
for the simple fact that one thing leads to another.
For example, we would love to replace our
wooden front door with a beautiful metal one.
We even spent hours picking one out...

But, if we added the metal door, we would also
need to upgrade our wall lanterns to bigger ones
that will match the new door. There are five
lanterns around the house.

So while we debated, our wooden door got
dried out and yucky.

This door looks so bad, all I can say is 
it was a loooong debate! 
 Well...we both wanted a metal one, but the price
was just too much.  Finally, Wild Bill taped
up the front door and sanded and stained it.
It's almost like a new door. We had the
tape, sandpaper and stain so the cost was
actually nothing except a few hours time.
What finally pushed him to get it done
you might ask? 

One day I causally mentioned that I
was thinking of painting the front door white.

That put him over the edge!

He's one of those dreaded "wood lovers" who
can't stand the idea of painting a good piece
of wood. Especially painting it white!

So, for all of you out there who also live
with procrastinators, you're welcome
for this tip because it really works!

Thanks for dropping by.

Join me here:

Monday, December 1, 2014

That's A Crock

There's nothing I like better than a crock.
I use them to store my cooking utensils

and for decorating.

Three crocks sit on the rolling center cabinet
surrounding the pig.

I still have some Fall and Halloween d├ęcor up.
I plan to remove all of it tomorrow and start
decorating for Christmas.'s a secret. One of my crocks is
actually an ugly cookie jar.

I got rid of the lid and just keep it turned around
so no one can see its ugly 1980's-style side.

And if cows and hearts come back into
style, I'm ready!

Thanks for dropping by.

Join me at:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life Lessons

A fellow blogger lost her husband on Sunday.
He suffered a heart attack, and he was gone...
Just like that!

We have become blogging friends over the
course of several years. I sent her my favorite
book when she was dealing with a challenge. She
made me this sign below for my blog when she
was back up again.

She writes about life and always ends her post with
"Stay on the sunnyside of life."
Her husband was her everything.
My heart breaks for her.

Sears is due to deliver a new mattress and box
springs today. At 7:30 a.m. they called to say they
only had the mattress on the truck, no boxsprings.
"Deliver the mattress anyway" I said, without
my usual moaning and groaning...

We have lots of company coming, they need a
place to sleep. As long as we're all here and healthy,
a mattress on the floor suits me just fine.

Wild Bill went to the podiatrist this morning.
His foot has bothered him for a couple of weeks.
The doctor said a couple of small bones are broken.
He needs to wear a stiff boot and stay off his feet
as much as possible. Even with company coming,
as long as we are all here and healthy,
that suits me just fine.

A friend lost her husband Sunday.

It makes you realize that as long as we are here
and healthy, nothing else really matters does it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lazy Girl's Pumpkin Cream Cake

Hey there! I'm back with another easy cake
idea based on the "one cake mix and one can of
pure pumpkin" mixture I've told you about before.

I had a hard time getting a good photo due
to lighting issues so you'll have to pretend
it looks good!

I made this cake in a 8 x 8 pan, but found
using a loaf pan really works much better
with this type of cake, so I'll stick with a loaf
pan in the future.

For this cake, use a white cake mix, stir a 15 oz can
of pure pumpkin into it. eggs, water,
or any other of the normal ingredients.

Next, pour half the cake/pumpkin mixture into a
greased loaf pan (or an 8 x 8 pan as I did here.)

Mix a stick of cream cheese with about 1/3 cup
of powered sugar and glop it on the cake mixture
in different areas of the cake. The goal is to
make little puddles of sweetened cream cheese
around the cake mixture.

The final step is to gently cover the cream cheese
with the last half of the cake mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 to 40 mins.
To ensure it's done enough, stick a butter knife
into the center of the cake to see if the knife
comes out clean.

My husband really loved this version of the
pumpkin/dry cake mix recipes I've been writing
about. As I said before, I thought using a loaf pan
made a much better cake and I'll stick to making
these in loaf pans in the future.

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day 2014

When I added it up, I realized it's been
45 years since I joined the Air Force in 1969.
Wow, that makes me feel old.
Of course I was just a baby then...
I joined because my family was extremely
patriotic and there was a war going on.
Both of my older brothers had already enlisted.

I had no clue what an Air Traffic Controller
did, but 8 months later I was one.

As the first female controller stationed overseas,
(18 months at Clark AFB in the Phillipines)
I was in an article in the overseas military
newspaper called The Stars And Stripes.
Today Air Traffic Control is full of women,
but being one of the first meant always being the
only woman at work or in meetings.

My father-in-law is one of the real hero's in our
family. He was at the frontline, in the trenches,
at the Battle of the Bulge during WWII. 

My own father lied about his age and joined
the Navy when he learned his older brother Sperry
(U.S. Navy) was captured and was being held in a
prisoner-of-war camp in Japan.

My dad died over 20 years ago, but here's a picture of
him as I remember him best, taken in the early 1960's.
He loved cigars and I think of him whenever I'm
lucky enough to catch a whiff of cigar smoke.
Yes, I love the smell of cigars...

I recently discovered the Government's
website for archived records and was able
to read about my uncle's prisoner of war
camp, Fukuoka POW Camp #1
(Kashii-Pine Tree Camp), which was
on the Japanese island of Kyushu.

If  you're interested in researching about
a family member's military records,
here's the website.

Happy Veterans Day!

Many restaurants offer free meals for
veterans in honor of their service. In our
area the following are a few of those

International House of Pancakes
Texas Roadhouse
The Rib Crib
Starbucks Coffee
Golden Corral

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Did You Know: Starbucks

Yesterday we went to our local Starbucks.

I was craving what I call a Crap-a-chino,
(a double chocolate chip concoction) and
Wild Bill loves a good mocha.

The line was long, but I was willing to wait.
After about 15 minutes, we were handed our drinks.

I had my money out waiting to pay, but the
drive-thru window person said:

"This is on us because you waited too long"

Never has this happened to us no matter how
long the wait... I didn't know they did this.

So thank you Starbucks!

We're giving them a shout out for good
customer service.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Places To Thrive When You're Elderly

Wild Bill's parents live in an assisted living
retirement community in our local area.

A lot of movies paint a deary picture of assisted
living for the elderly. I thought I'd share some
pictures and information to show the real concept.

 The retirement community is made up of 
apartments all inside a large building.

Each apartment has a full kitchen, washer and
dryer, walk-in closets, and its own patio or
balcony outside. 

The residents pay an "all inclusive" monthly fee,
which includes three, 3-course meals per day,
 served in this lovely dining room.

Residents can choose to sit with a larger group
or intimate tables for two or four people.

Here's our Pop with his favorite person, the
Activities Director. He describes her as sparkly!

 Each month, a special birthday celebration
is held for all the people who have a birthday
that month. Pop enjoyed celebrating his
91st birthday in October.

Meals are started with a first course served from
carts that carry several selections of fresh
vegetable and fruit salads, and many choices
of beverages.

Here's the entrance hallway.
At Christmas it's lovely with twelve very tall
Christmas trees decorated in different
colors and themes. 
On Halloween, chairs are set up to line the
walkway and residents hand out trick or treat
candy to local trick or treaters. An ad placed
in the town newspaper invites all children
in the local community to an afternoon party.

Local talent is often hired to play this piano
and other musical instruments, but anyone
willing to sit down and play is sure to get an
appreciative audience.

 The mail room doubles as a community
bulletin board to ensure everyone gets a
notification of current activities and trips.

The in-house beauty shop is popular.

The exercise room gets a morning
work out and is quiet in the afternoon.

Pop jumped on to demonstrate and
give me an "action shot" for my post.

Apartments are cleaned by the staff once
a week and everything (such as paper towels,
toilet paper, light bulbs, laundered bed linens, bus
trips to shopping and appointments, security,
emergency call buttons, coffee and snacks)
is provided.
 The glass elevator is one of many elevators
and stairways to the second floor.
The hallways are nice and wide to 
accommodate scooters and such. 

Here's my mother-in-law riding her "vehicle."

 Residents tend to personalize outside
their door for the seasons. Last Valentine's
Day our little grand-girl Lily, was featured in
her great-grandma's display.

Here's one of the outdoor court yards
just off the back patio. Residents with dogs
love to walk them under the tree-lined walks.

 This is the only picture I have of their apartment
inside.  That's Pop's recliner which often gets
as much of a workout as the exercise room does.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Thanks for dropping by.