Kash turns three…

My grandson, Kash turned three years old today. Daddy’s two week visitation began Wed. night, so before he left Wed. I decided to throw him a little surprise birthday party.  Tuesday evening I did my shopping and then it began Wed. by Paw Paw taking Kash for a drive after lunch while Jackson and I stayed home to set things up!! Kash's 3rd birthdayI think I had almost as much fun as Kash did planning, setting it up and then just seeing the look on his face when he walked into the house after his drive with Paw Paw.  He had been saying for several weeks that he had “a birthday coming up”.  I’m sure daddy threw him a party today.  Mommy has her party planned for October when Kash comes back from his dad’s.  Unfortunately, we will be out of town thus the reason we decided to throw our own little bash!

Have I told you how this precious grandson has stolen my heart? Kash's 3rd birthday 5We love little Jackson too…don’t get me wrong – but there are special circumstances that surround Kash’s short life – thus the reason for my favoritism…sorry, can’t help it!  You see, Kash is the son of my oldest daughter, Theresa.  Kash’s daddy left Theresa while she was pregnant with Kash.  He showed back up on the day Kash was born and my daughter decided to take him back.  I decided right then and there – to be a loving support for my daughter knowing that the chances of the marriage lasting were slim.  Her family encouraged her to go to work outside the home just in case daddy left again.  As a show of solidarity and support I agreed to keep Kash if she were to find a job.  Long story short – Mommy and Daddy are no longer together and I’ve been keeping Kash since he was 7 months old.  OMG! For all he’s been through in his short life – he is such a sweet boy!

Uncle Josh, got Kash a huge trash truck!! Did I tell you how much he loves trash trucks?Kash's 3rd birthday 16Kash has to run to the front door and look out every time he hears the trash truck! He has to run out in the front yard and wave at the trash man.  The trash man is always looking for him and waves and toots his horn for Kash.  There’s been a bit of an adjustment period for Kash, since we just began taking care of Jackson (youngest step-son’s only child) last spring (and didn’t have him in the summer). But, it’s fun to watch how he’s adjusted to having to share Maw Maw and Paw Paw with another little one.

Since the party was taking place at nap-time, I decided to let Kash take his nap later in the day.Kash's 3rd birthday 17That way he could have some time to play with his new toys and enjoy his afternoon.  He’s a good boy about napping and usually takes a 2-3 hr. nap, but doesn’t get cranky at all if he misses it.  We had bought him one of those three wheeled scooters because his big brother had a scooter that he wanted to ride, but was too little for.  Mommy came to the party over her lunch hour and brought gifts as well – so Kash was pretty surprised to see her too! After the party I took Kash to the park to try out his new scooter…

It was a beautiful day and not real hot, so we had a fun afternoon at the park!Kash scooter 6We then went home to take a short nap before mommy came to pick Kash up and take him to his dad’s. I had finally finished Kash’s quilt..so he was excited to snuggle under his new flannel quilt in air conditioned comfort!  Kash's quilt BD giftI don’t know why I have to be such a “wet blanket”…but with all the fun and celebration and the realization of how much I love this little boy (grandchild #14), I was momentarily “blue” when I realized that I have a 10 yr. old grandson up North that I’ve never had the opportunity to celebrate a birthday with and who I hardly know.

I wish it weren’t so, Cole.  Maw Maw loves you even if we haven’t had much time to get to know each other.294400_10150466819408146_545003145_11770761_1814948716_n - Copy

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Come and sit with me a while…

Come and sit with me a while….

I loved this and my fellow blogger, Diane inspired me to answer some of the questions she posed:

Here is my reply:

I envision us, Diane sitting in those Adirondack chairs sipping a cup of tea on a chilly morning covered up with two of my favorite lap size quilts, as we chat and become better acquainted. I find happiness in the world around me as well as the calm from within. I am a people lover, so people make me smile…especially people of like mind and faith. But, then there are those moments when I desire to be alone and allow my mind to wander or my creative juices to flow without any noise or interruption. I crave silence often!!

When I am low I call on a loving Savior who’s quick to comfort me and remind me that I’m chosen. You might find me on my knees in my little prayer closet or you mind find me reading His word. Once in awhile when I am down in the dumps I recognize the need to talk to someone “with skin on”…and will call on a best friend, someone I can trust (a person who will not mock, a person who will not gossip, a person who feels my pain and understands what I am going through.)

I recently told my husband on our 16th wedding anniversary that he was the one (besides the Lord) that gave me a feeling of safety, that helped me to know that no matter what – he was on my side and would always go to bat for me!!

I cherish the good childhood memories and can now laugh at most of the bad ones. I find myself embracing the title “Victor” rather than “Survivor” over my past and my dysfunctional family. They have helped me to become who I am today – and for that I am grateful.

I can tell you about a time when I performed the Heimlich maneuver on a young daughter when she was choking on a plastic Easter Egg – and how scared I was at the time, but how relieved I was when it worked!!

I would share my hurt & frustration with you of the many times I’ve witnessed someone being shunned or mistreated for whatever reason. I would share personal experiences of my own mistreatment and share with you how much I could relate to what they were going through. It truly is illogical!!

I would talk with you about the constant war I’m in regarding trying to eat right and exercise. I would share my embarrassment with you – knowing what to do, but not always doing it! I would tell you that cake is my cocaine LOL!! and that I just can’t have it in the house or I will eat it!! There would be times when I would be very quiet about my battle, and not say anything – but you would know as would so many of my other loved ones.

Diane, I’m not so sure I strike a very good balance between giving and taking – I’m much more a giver than a taker. I rarely ask for what I need – and you would know me to have a very “self-deprecating” personality…one that beats herself up way too much!! My friends would confirm that for you.

I work hard to stay on a schedule (same bedtime, same wake time each day) so that my body gets into a rhythm and I’m able to sleep. Sometimes it works, other times not – but I would share the good news of recently being prescribed Compounded hormones that have helped my insomnia tremendously. I love to have fun and you will often find me planning or organizing some type of get together or fellowship for that sole purpose!

At my age, I’m not planning a whole lot into the future. I take each day as it comes. That’s not to say I’m not a planner – just the opposite! List maker, organizer, lover of routine – that’s me! But, I’ve mellowed in my later years – thus I’m much more flexible than I was when I was younger.

In the seasons of life I find my faith grows stronger. He’s walked with me through many storms, but I’ve always discovered that there is sunshine on the other side of the mountain. I try to hold on and stay close to the ONE who can calm the wind and keep my chin up, because He sticks closer than a brother!!

That I had a brother who was in prison for 32 years – is no longer a secret! It was life changing for he and I when I began to share his story. That I had another brother that was adopted by my aunt and raised as my cousin, another once closely held secret that became an awesome love story between a brother and a sister who found each other later in life! My “secrets” are plentiful – many have suggested I write a book. And yes, there are some misdeeds I’m not proud of and some younger years that I lived void of a Savior. If only, I could have yielded to Him sooner!! So many mistakes could have been avoided!

But, no regrets – only joy that comes on that chilly morning, when you sit and chat with a friend over a cup of tea! 🙂

I’m thankful to be a “young”, active 63!!

No, it’s not my birthday.  My birthday was back in January.  But, I am 63.  And, I am a “young” 63.  I have always thought of myself as being very young at heart.  My friends are usually younger than me.  Most of my close friends are quite a bit younger then me!  My mindset is not that of someone who is 63!  As a matter of fact, in my mind I think I’m about 43.

I have known people that are my age or a little bit younger than I am, that act like they have one foot in the grave!!  I don’t understand that!  When I think about all that I do in a day, and the things that I think about doing – it makes me realize just how “young” I really am.  I’m not ready to give up – or throw in the towel on life, just because I am officially a Senior Citizen!  Nope, not this girl!  I’m also very thankful for an “attitude of gratitude”.  Although I may have my “downer days”…they are rare.  In most cases I am the girl that the glass is half full, not half empty – if you know what I mean.

From taking care of two little grandsons (currently)…

Jackson, 7 months old

Jackson, 7 months old

My buddy!

Kash, 3 yrs. old

to sewing like a madwoman – especially lately!  The popularity of my little pillow quilts that I make for babies has grown tremendously (especially on eBay), not so much on Etsy.  So this past week (prior to leaving town on Thursday) that is what I was busy with…

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

 

Owl Print paired with sage green

Owl Print paired with sage green (I made two of these for a set of twins, but the other one is paired with solid yellow)

 

U of Florida "Gator" quilt

U of Florida “Gator” quilt   (This was a special order)

 

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

 

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

 

I’m working on two with Nursery Rhyme flannel currently and love the “girly girl” ones I’ve come up with…

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

But, still my best sellers are the ones with embroidered butterflies….

For girl

For girl

For boy

For boy

or gender neutral

or gender neutral

When I’m not sewing…I’m still walking 3.5 miles on Mon. Wed. and Fri. mornings with friends and going to the gym to do some treadmill and strength training on Tues. and Thurs. morning. Hubby is supportive enough to tend to the grandsons for an hour so I can make myself a priority.

I treat taking care of grandsons like a “real job”…by focusing entirely on them when they are here.  I rarely read e-mail, talk on phone, text, sew or anything while they are here.  We go for walks, play in back yard, go to the park/playground…

Jackson's first swinging adventure!

Jackson’s first swinging adventure!

Sometimes, when it’s too hot to play outside in the Texas heat, we take a trip to the dollar store to see if we can find any cheap toys, or great treats!  It was so funny one day last week…Paw Paw stayed home with a napping Jackson while Kash and I went to the $$ store.  On the way, Kash informed me that he wanted some gummy worms.  I said, “okay, we will look and see if we can find some when we get there.”  Well, we looked high and low, walking up and down the candy isle, but couldn’t find any.  Kash said, “That’s okay, Maw Maw…I’ll go ask”..and off he marched, walking confidently up to the checkout counter where a checker was standing.  He boldly asked her, “Got any worms?”  We both laughed so hard at his confident almost cocky attitude – and it got him some worms, too!

It was the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death this past week also.  Hubby and I were her primary caregivers for 2+ years and so we were both in a little bit of a “funk”.  Last Sunday I made a spur of the moment decision to try and arrange a “surprise” trip for hubby to the Austin area (Round Rock, to be exact) to watch his oldest grandson play football. Our daughter-in-law had been texting and sending pictures and I knew it would lift hubby’s spirits if I could arrange for us to go.  So, I texted his baby son, Josh (Jackson’s daddy) to see if he could make other arrangements for childcare on Thursday and Friday so we could make a quick overnight trip to watch a football game.  (It’s approx. a 5 hour drive and we would benefit by not only getting to see his oldest son & wife, but the famous football player, Dillon and his two younger brothers, James & Chris.  Well, I managed to pull it off!

Father, Son & Grandson

Father, Son & Grandson

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, James at the game

Grandson, James at the game

OMG! How the boys have grown since we last saw them!! We were blown away and a bit saddened by how much they had changed!  We just don’t make it to that area enough to see them!  We are so tied down with taking care of first, Granny for 2+ years, and now two other grandsons!!  But, I have to say that whenever we do go, we always feel so welcome and so loved!  These three grandsons are so sweet and so loving.  Mommy and Daddy are doing an awesome job of raising three awesome young men!

At the game

At the game, Dillon is # 57

So, that kinda capped off our week!  We left Thursday morning and returned home Friday afternoon.  I still had some sewing to finish up for the week, so I got right back to it when we got back.  Then, this morning one of our “new” sisters that has joined our church expressed an interest in some “girl time”.  So, while hubby stayed home and finished the laundry, my friend, Teressa and I went garage saling and out for a Chinese lunch.  When I returned home at 1:00 hubby wanted to go to Sam’s for a free health screening.  Yep!! Shocked me that hubby suggested it – since he’s not the walking picture of health!  LOL  But, we went and had our “numbers” checked.

Everything checked out pretty good.  So, as I end this post..once again I say, “I’m thankful to be a young 63″…in mind, body and spirit.  I’m ready to take on the next 30 years, God willing.

IMG_20140806_082749963

 

 

 

Some things my kids probably don’t know about me…

I was just contemplating the other day how much I don’t know about my folks and how much I’ve had to find out second hand or from other sources about them and their past, and it made me kinda sad.  When we are younger oftentimes we don’t really take an interest in where older people “come from” or want to listen to the “story of their life”.  Unless we had folks that talked openly and freely about their past life (before, we, their children, came along) we don’t know much unless we ask.  I am the “family historian” in my family and therefore have done quite a lot of genealogical research on my family and have been amazed at the info I’ve discovered.  That being said, I cried when reminiscing the other day about some things my kids probably don’t know about me…

I’m named after my father:  His and my middle name are both Leslie. (My granddaughter, Hannah also shares the same middle name).

That same father hung himself when I was just five years old.  He was an alcoholic.  That I know to be factual.  The rest (that he was a tormented soul and suffered with depression as Robin Williams did) is only my assumption.

I’ve always loved brussel sprouts!! Even when I was a small child the only vegetables I would eat were corn, cabbage and brussel sprouts!  Oh, I liked butter beans, too!

I’ve never weighed more than 115 lbs. until I was pregnant with my first child at the age of 18.  It’s been a battle ever since!

I won my first and only beauty pageant when I was just 11 years old at Girl Scout camp!  Nuff said.

I quit believing in the Easter bunny when my mom was too busy working, thus sent me to the store with $20 to buy my own Easter basket!  Sad day for me!  LOL

I quit believing in Santa Claus when my step-dad fell down the stairs in the middle of the night with the new record player Santa was bringing! LOL

Even though I wasn’t raised going to church, I have had a strong, profound faith in a God since I was as young as 7 or 8 years old.

We began a move from Pennsylvania to North Dakota in the middle of the night when I was just 6 yrs. old because my step-dad was running from a wife he was separated from at the time.  (My mom and I were his “new family” even though he left 3 small children behind.)  I think they call them “deadbeat dads” now.

I called my step-dad by his first name, “Bob” until I was in my 20’s.  (I wrote him a letter on his birthday one year, asking him permission to begin calling him “dad” – feeling unusually close to him at the time.)

I had a lot of teeth pain, cavities etc; when I was small.  (Mom was afraid of dentists, and therefore would not take me to the dentist.)  I, on the other hand, when old enough and financially responsible enough (age 24) began to have my teeth fixed.

I had one dental emergency in which the school insisted I go to the dentist.  I chipped my front tooth when I was 16 in gym class.  Mom was more scared than I was.

Footnote:  I have fond memories of mom packing my cavities with a cinnamon flavored “wax” – I think it was called Red Cross toothache medicine – and holding me on her lap/rocking me to sleep if I awoke in the middle of the night with a toothache.

I once owned a ton of “original” Barbie clothes.  I had the very first Barbie wedding gown!!.  I gave them all away to a playmate (before my mom knew) when I felt I had “outgrown” playing with dolls!

I also had the very first Barbie doll ever created!  OMG!  How I wish I had some of the great toys I once had – I wouldn’t have a $$ worry in the world!

Remember, Betsy Wetsy? How about Little Miss Echo?  The one baby doll I did hang onto, my mom gave to my little sister when she came along.  I was 16 and no longer interested in that baby doll with the plaster head, but she was still my doll!  I was her “Mommy Dearest”!! She had strapping tape on her head where it had cracked open when she fell down those same stairs my step-dad fell down with my record player!  LOL

I was a very picky eater as a child (with exception of those brussel sprouts!)  I was constantly complaining about what was being served.  My step-dad would tell me to “go out in the yard and eat worms”.

I can’t recall ever having a homemade birthday cake.  My cakes always came from the bakery and were beautiful, flower adorned, heavily frosted white cakes!!  I still love heavily frosted white cake to this day!! The real deal with the Crisco icing!!  I still want the end cut and the extra flower too!!  Oh, and I’ve got to have ice cream with it, too!!

I can’t recall my mom ever baking cookies!!  She was a pretty good cook, but not much of a baker!  On the other hand, I love to bake cookies and often did with my children when they were growing up, and now with my grandchildren too!

My step-dad was the one who woke me up in the morning, fixed my breakfast and took me to school when I was in Jr. High while my mom worked the early breakfast shift at a local restaurant.  My step-dad had been a cook in the Army and had owned his own restaurant in Pennsylvania prior to us moving to North Dakota – so I could request whatever my heart desired for breakfast.  The menu often included, french toast, eggs over easy, poached eggs, pancakes, always bacon (never sausage) and never HOT OR COLD CEREAL!  I still don’t like cereal!!

In high school (when I was 16) my little sister was born.  I was overjoyed to have a little sister, but not overjoyed to have lost my parent’s undivided attention!!  My mom began to work evening shift so daycare would not be necessary.  My step-dad and I took care of my little sister until I graduated from high school and was by then, pregnant with my own child.

I was once (when I was about 10 yrs. old) hit by a city bus.  I was riding my bike at the time and fortunately it was minor and I wasn’t seriously hurt.  I was only 1 block from my home at the time.

I have lived in six different cities in my lifetime.  1) Wilmington, DE 2) Thorndale, PA 3) Minot, ND 4) Minneapolis, MN 5) Fargo, ND 6) Longview, TX

My Uncle Paul Flynn (now deceased and Aunt Polly’s first husband) used to sit me on his lap and sing this song to me:  I loved it and him and can still hum the tune..

LINDA
Ray Noble with Buddy Clark

When I go to sleep
I never count sheep,
I count all the charms about Linda.

And lately it seems
in all of my dreams,
I walk with my arms about Linda.

But what good does it do me for Linda
doesn’t know that I exist?
Can’t help feeling gloomy,
think of all the lovin’ I’ve missed.

We pass on the street,
my heart skips a beat,
I say to myself, “Hello, Linda.”

If only she’d smile,
I’d stop for a while
and then I would get to know Linda.

But miracles still happen
and when my lucky star begins to shine,
with one lucky break,
I’ll make Linda mine.

I know there are more memories I could share but for now – I’ll close with that very fond one!  Be blessed, my cyber friends!

Do you really think I’m that stupid?

It’s no secret that I try to earn additional income to supplement my SSI by sewing. I sew mostly home decor and quilts. I’m not much on sewing clothing. I market my custom creations on e-Bay, Etsy, and to my friends and acquaintances here locally as well.

Well, recently my hubby sold his other vehicle on Craig’s List. It was sold within 6 hours of listing it! We had also helped his sister list a vehicle and a boat this past year on there and she sold it quickly and got what she wanted for it! In the past, I had failed miserably at trying to sell stuff on there. I offered quilting classes, handmade cord covers, collectables and memorabilia, just to name a few with absolutely no luck whatsoever!

After the success my husband experienced with selling his vehicle, I thought I’d give it one more college try!! I listed more than a dozen pictures of my adorable pillow quilts:
Pink + zebra stripe pillow quilt front 2

and said that I took “Custom orders” in whatever fabric or designed requested. The price was $30 and that payment had to be made thru Pay Pal prior to quilt being made. Pick up or Delivery, but delivery charge was $7.00 anywhere in the US. I also listed my mobile phone number and stated that they could call or text me their requests.

So, long story – short, that was 4 days ago. I have gotten two texts from the same person (out of state area code)…

Aug. 12: “Custom, ONE OF A KIND-Baby Quilts!! – $30, Still up for sale?”

(I was immediately suspicious)…but, I replied, “Yes, These are custom orders. What would you like?”

August 13th: “I’ll pay with Money Order & U’ll receive in 4days. So text me your name and address. I’m out of town for a job so my Assistant will mail your payment & Pickup will be after U receive & cash the MO. Ted”

Yeah, right!! Do you really think I’m that stupid? Scammer, ya think? Or if you are a rapist or ax murderer, do you really think I’m gonna give you my name and address??

So, I text back one more time…”Call me to place your order ie; color, fabric etc;”

I’ve heard nothing more out of them…hmmmm…what’s up with that? And what’s up with Craig’s List? I can’t sell anything on there!! All I get is this type of inquiry.

There’s more I could say on the subject, but I’d really like to hear your take on this.
Let me know what you think.

No matter where I roam, there’s no place like home!!

And that is as it should be!  Your home should be a sanctuary, a place where you can feel relaxed, calm, loved, safe etc;  There was a time in my life when I didn’t feel that way when I went home.  In fact, whether I was at work, or somewhere else I often dreaded going home.  That has not been the case for a very long time and I’m thankful for that!! But, I digress…

I just thought that was such an appropriate title for my post, since I love going on vacation but also love returning home.  What is it about vacations?  You always get so excited about going and look so forward to it, but by the time it’s over, you look so forward to getting home!??

Compliments of my youngest daughter and her husband, Rob, hubby and I journeyed to Ruidoso, NM for a few days of relaxation for our 16th wedding anniversary.  The view NM 073014It’s a long trip from our house, so we broke it up into two days.  We stopped the first night just 70 miles away from our destination in Roswell, NM.  Remember, the UFO sighting in 1947? http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/daily_record.html  I wanted to be sure I got a little exercise while on this trip, so I walked around the parking lot of the motel a few times (since the walking trail/park was already closed for the day) and then hubby and I drove over to Whataburger for a quick supper.  We were tired from all the driving.

We slept late and arrived in Ruidoso about 11 am, but not before going past a serious car/truck accident with survivors sitting on the edge of the road.  It was awful and if everyone survived what we saw, it was an absolute miracle!  We said a prayer as we were directed around the crash site and counted our blessings for sleeping late.  Our goal our first day was to pick up some groceries to take to the cabin with us and get settled in.  We did just that!  Thank God for Walmart! LOL  While hubby was unpacking the car, I made us each a sandwich for our anniversary lunch!  Ahhh…the simple pleasures of life.  I had been to the cabin once before with my daughter, but this was Jerry’s first trip.  I overdid it on my first day the last time I went and got pretty sick from the higher altitude, so we were determined to take it easy and not do too much our first day – especially, since my hubby isn’t the walking picture of health and fitness! Ha!

Here’s Jerry eating his sandwich and gazing out the kitchen window of my daughter & son-in-law’s modest mountain cabin.  The view was amazing, and Jerry loved seeing all the wildlife.Jerry - Cabin 072914We spent some down time just enjoying the relaxing environment, the peace and quiet and communing with our Creator.  It was awesome!  Our life at home can get quite hectic with taking care of grandbabies so we also seized the opportunity to “re-connect” as a couple.  No cable, no high speed internet etc; It was great!

That evening after we felt refreshed and rejuvinated we went to Cattle Baron Steakhouse in town at the bottom of the mountain to enjoy an Anniversary dinner.  They have a phenomenal salad bar.  I had been there before with my daughter (but because of overdoing it) had to get a doggie bag and leave early.  This time was much more positive and I even enjoyed what I wouldn’t normally eat (Rib Eye steak!).  I had the waitress take a picture of us, but if I showed you, you wouldn’t believe we were having a good time and that this post was all a lie!!  I look like I had been sucking on lemons all day!  OMG!  Terrible picture!!  In fact, if you saw it – you would ask, “16 years huh? Are you sure you are gonna make it to 17?”

Anyway, we capped off the night with watching a movie in the cabin.  What we found most humorous was most mornings we were up early (5:30 or 6:00 am), but that was OUR TIME! New Mexico time was an hour earlier…so that meant it was only 4:30 am!!  None of the stores, shops etc; open until 10 am!!  Our lifestyle at home starts early too, and so by 11 am we are ready for lunch & a nap and the stores were just getting started!  LOL.  Our goal the second day was to start looking for some antique stores to peruse.  We had looked them up ahead of time and we found a list of five of them.  Well, we found TWO!  The first one wasn’t anything to write home about, but this is the second one we found…NM Antique store 2014My husband “collects” Gillette double edged safety razors.  He really doesn’t collect them, but if he can find a great buy on one, he will re-sell it on e-Bay.  I on the other hand, just love looking at junk!  LOL  It is such a trip down memory lane for me when I go thru Antique stores and see old radio flyer wagons, or an old toy box that looks just like one I used to have!  I love looking at all the “vintage” stuff.  I have acquired a few possessions when we’ve gone but mostly it is just for the “sport”.  Antiquing 2014 quiltI wish I could have opened this up so you could really see it. It is a KING SIZE Texas star quilt that is completely hand quilted!!  It was amazing and in excellent condition!  

I loved the “vintage” fabrics used in this “log cabin” pattern.Antiquing 2014 log cabin quiltAlthough I had spend lots of time going through all the shops and boutiques with my daughter on the last trip to Ruidoso, my hubby was a good sport and went with me this time while I looked at all the cute (overly priced) clothing.  I had encouraged him to consider getting a massage while we were away and low and behold we discovered a place where an hour long massage was only $69.  Well worth it if they were any good.  And they were!! While hubby was enjoying his massage I continued shopping.  :-{ Sad face….all I found was a t-shirt! I was looking for a church skirt and even tried a few on – but no luck!

We had lunch that day at Schlotzky’s and it was delicious!  They have a Schlotzky’s, TCBY and Cinnabon all under one roof….OMG!! The smell of Cinnabon was amazing!  I resisted because I am still trying to watch my diet.  Oh, before going to town – I almost forgot, I did go for a 1 mile walk on the trail nearby…Hiking trail NM 073014At the cabin we were at 7000 feet altitude, and in our home town we are only at 371 ft altitude, so to say it was an adjustment for us would be an understatement.  You can get used to it, but having 20% less oxygen can make a big difference when you are overweight and out of shape!

That night we sat on the front porch of the cabin…Cabin - front yard 072914This was our view from the front porch.  We popped some popcorn and watched a movie.  Once again, relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.

While sitting on the porch that evening we discussed leaving a day early.  Not because we weren’t having fun but because there wasn’t a lot for us to do or see.  We had planned to go to Ruidoso Downs and watch the horse races but found out they were only open on the weekend. We had planned to do more antiquing but when we discovered only two local shops of five open we knew that would involve some driving.  We discussed driving home and making an overnight stop in Abilene on the way back for some Antiquing.  When we told my daughter and son-in-law (via text) that we were considering leaving early they suggested we come their way to Wichita Falls, Tx thus avoiding another night in a motel and checking out the Antique stores in Lubbock on the way.  We decided on Lubbock and Wichita Falls instead of Abilene.

So, the next day we got up, packed, cleaned up the cabin  Porch sweep cabin 073014and headed to my daughter and son-in-law’s home in Wichita Falls, TX.

It was probably the best part of the trip! They have a beautiful, relaxing home Tanya's living room 073114
We didn’t arrive until 7 pm and were in bed by 10 pm after enjoying some beef brisket sandwiches and a brief visit. We hung around and enjoyed Tanya and Rob’s company until after lunch the next day and then drove the 5 1/2 hours home.

We had all day Saturday to unpack, take care of any business that came in while we were away and rest up for a full Sunday of Apostolic praise, worship and word.

Then bright and early Monday morning the four grandsons arrived and it was back to work for Maw Maw and Paw Paw with only weekends to do as we please. Since we returned home, hubby has been battling some health issues, I’ve been trying to get walks and workouts in each morning before the boys arrive (threw my back out in the process), and been sewing feverishly on a T-shirt quilt that has to be delivered by Labor Day.

Been crazy busy (this post has been a “draft” for two weeks!!)..

Scrapbooking, recipes & more!

Well, when the month of July began I really thought I would be blogging a whole lot more than I have.  I’ve not had the job of taking care of grandsons this month (except for four days with Jackson, and one more coming up this Thursday).  But, because I needed to replace lost childcare income with sewing income I have been extremely busy sewing and selling baby quilts on e-Bay, Etsy and here locally.  I have also been busy making and selling cord covers and still monogramming kitchen towels for the two Realtors that I have as customers (one being my baby daughter).  Needless to say, I haven’t been online near as much as I thought I would be and in fact have been scanning my e-mails and deleting most of them on a daily basis.

If you have been following my blog you know that several months ago I expressed a concern over the fact that my baby quilts really weren’t selling very well.  That has definately changed recently and in June I believe I sold 6 of my unique, one of a kind Pillow Quilts….Pink & Green PQ closeupand in July so far, I’ve sold 7!!  I was very excited the other day when I discovered that I had sold my first quilt on Etsy!  That’s been my work/”duty” related stuff that I’ve been staying busy with.  But, because I had the entire month off from taking care of grandsons I had a few fun activities planned also.

A week ago this last Saturday, I got together with my older daughter, Theresa and we spent the entire day scrapbooking.  She and I were way behind on keeping up our scrapbooks and it had been three years for her and almost as long for me since we had done any.  We had been planning it for weeks and had gotten all our pics prepared.  I had even made a list of some of the pages that I wanted to get done.  I think I did 12 two page layouts and she did even more – and we still barely put a dent in it!  Theresa scrapbookingI have a large dining room table that seats 6 comfortably, so we spread out with a big old mess and had a ball!

I made white chicken chili in the crock pot so we wouldn’t have to take a break to cook and Theresa brought cornbread salad.  Yum!  Linda Scrapbooking 2I love the creative endeavors!!  I was so far behind!! I started at 8 am, and didn’t stop until 6 pm.  I left the mess out for 24 hrs. thinking I might try to do some more, but once household and church responsibilities got a hold of me – no more scrapbooking inspiration occurred!  Here’s a sample of my work:  Christian's graduationAnother:

 

Ethan & Kashand another…..

Hannah's scrapbook pageIf you haven’t figured it out yet, the focus was on grandchildren.  Although there were other photos, events, persons to scrapbook I always have more fun scrapbooking pages about my grandchildren.  Jackson's scrapbook page 2I like to journal on my pages and have somewhat of a “title”.  If I go too long without putting my photos into scrapbooks, I forget the details!!  Jackson scrapbook pageTheresa and I scrapbook the old fashioned way.  We do our pages with glue sticks, die cuts, stickers etc;  My youngest daughter, Tanya prefers digital scrapbooking to the old fashioned way.  She turns out beautiful pages just like the old fashioned ones, the only difference is that she creates her pages on a computer and then prints them out to put into albums.  It just personal preference.  The digital technique seems a bit quicker, less labor intensive and is especially great for someone who’s extremely busy as she is.

So, now you know one of my other hobbies that I enjoy a whole lot.   But, enough about scrapbooking!  

So, this past Saturday I had planned to have some of my sisters from church over for another “quilting social”.  Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of sickness going around lately and so my turnout was poor.  There were only three of us and so there was more “social” then “quilting”. One gal forgot her electrical cord for her sewing machine and the other didn’t bring her machine, so instead of actually sewing, I showed them how to begin a t-shirt quilt (a project I am currently working on) and also showed them how to make their own “Crazy Quilt” Christmas stocking.  We still enjoyed great food and fellowship and afterwards went to Hancock’s for their “Super Saturday” sale.  I had a request for the soup I made in the crock pot.  It was my own concoction (I love creating soups from the ingredients I have in the house.)  I will put this in my recipe tab as well…but for now here it is:

MEATBALL MINESTRONE

Start with 6-8 cups of beef broth (in 6 qt. crock pot).  Brown in a skillet about 18 small meatballs.  (Melon ball size)  I’ve made these meatballs with 93% lean ground beef before, but this time I used ground venison.  (lean and delicious!)  Season how you prefer.  I used Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Don’t overcook because they will cook more in the crock pot.  Just get a good sear on them in the skillet.  If they are still rare, that’s okay as long as they are browned on the outside. (Let them sit in skillet while you do the following):

Add to your beef broth, 1 – 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 – 15 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 – 15 oz can of green beans, 1 – 15 oz. can of kidney beans (I used white cannelini beans).

I diced up 1/2 a white onion and minced a couple cloves of garlic and added it to the pot.

I had about two cups of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, lima beans & green beans) in the freezer that I also added. Now add your meatballs and season your soup.  I seasoned my soup with basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, Italian Seasoning etc;   This again is about personal preference.  Just keep tasting until you get it the way you like it.  Don’t overdo it, because it will become more flavorful the longer it simmers.  This soup is also very good with some fresh spinach added, but I didn’t have any this time.  The last ingredient you want to put in the pot (the last hour or so) is pasta!  I prefer whole wheat elbows or rotini but I didn’t have any, so I added about two cups of no yolk egg noodles.  If you put your pasta in the pot too soon it becomes very soft and soggy and falls apart.  Don’t like overcooked pasta!!

About four hours total time on low should do it! Since your veggies are mostly canned and frozen veggies the only thing that would be crunchy would be the onion if it hasn’t cooked long enough.  So, this is a pretty healthy soup (other than sodium content) and one I originally created when I was working for Weight Watchers.  At that time it was about 7 POINTS for a 1 1/2 cup serving.  I can’t attest to that POINTS VALUE anymore but still feel that soup is a good choice when you are watching your weight unless it’s cream based.  

And that brings me to my next subject….Yes, I’m back on the bandwagon!!  My youngest daughter, Tanya (who tries to live a very healthy lifestyle and like myself is a lifetime member of WW) inspired me to get back to eating healthy and exercising this month while the boys are away.  She went back to WW to get 4 or 5 extra pounds off her petite frame (I can see your eyes rolling)  LOL and she suggested we be accountability partners.  I thought this would be a good month to tackle the extra 20 lbs I’m carrying around.  My other daughter, Theresa decided to work on her fitness a little too, so we meet at the gym twice a week to workout together.  The other three days (Mon, Wed. & Fri) I walk 3 – 3.5 miles with sisters from church at 7:30 in the morning.  It’s been fun and I’m seeing the difference in how I’m feeling.  Still extremely tired but I blame that on age and my insomnia problem but the scale so far has been kind to me.  I use my WW online tracking tool and I weigh in here at home very Friday morning.  First week: 3 lbs gone! Second week: 1 lb gone! This last Friday: I only lost 1/2 a lb.…but I’m not discouraged.  I had Chinese one day and I know the sodium didn’t  help matters.  4 1/2 lbs in 3 weeks is not too shabby!  I know for sure that it has been easier to stay away from sugary snacks without the boys here!  When they return – they too will be eating more fruit and less candy!!

In closing, I will leave you with the most requested recipe at the WW meetings I used to lead:  

WW Cake

For most cake mixes: 12 servings of cake = 4 points

24 cupcakes = 2 points each

Mix together the following and bake according to the instructions on the cake mix:

Cake mix (your choice)

I can of diet soda (your choice)

2 egg whites (the egg whites make the cake a little lighter in texture and does not change the points value.

POPULAR COMBOS:

Spice cake mix with diet Sunkist

Banana cake mix with diet root beer

Lemon cake mix with diet 7-up

Chocolate cake mix with diet coke

Lemon cake mix with diet ginger ale

Orange cake mix with diet mountain dew

Cherry Chip cake mix with A&W diet cream soda

Lemon cake mix with Sprite Zero

Yellow cake mix with diet Sunkist

White cake mix with diet peach

Strawberry cake mix with diet Big Red

Spice cake mix with diet ginger ale or diet root beer

Chocolate cake mix with diet cherry coke

Devil’s food cake mix with diet vanilla coke

Marble cake mix with diet cream soda

White cake mix with diet sprite or Sprite Zero

Red Velvet cake mix with diet cherry vanilla or diet Dr. Pepper

Pineapple cake mix with diet squirt

Since they are now on the POINTS PLUS system I cannot attest to the PP value of this, but back in the old days the POINTS VALUE was as stated above.  I guess, just to be safe I would count a cupcake as 4 PP (double it’s original value).  Still great bang for your buck if you are craving cake.

I would ice my cupcake with 1 or 2 T. of Cool Whip FREE.  (No more points added.)

Signing off for today – i hope you enjoyed my long post. I will try to get back to post at least once more before leaving for our anniversary trip next Monday.

The cycle continues…

I had a brief chat with a 30 something yr old young man not too long ago and he said, “When I marry it will be for life.  I will only marry once.”

Having lived a few more years than he had…and having experienced a whole lot more than he had – I was blown away by his naivety!  This young man “presented” himself as a bible believing Christian (that’s a topic for another post)…

Naturally, having experienced the heartache of divorce more than once I was also quite offended by his comment.  Politely, I replied “well, do you think it was ever my intention to marry more than once?”  “Don’t you think that everyone who marries only intends to do it once?”  “Do  you really think that anyone goes into a marriage thinking it will end in divorce?”  OMG!  

No, ladies and gentlemen – I never intended for any of my children to come from a broken home – even if I did!  And yet, 2 of my 3 children have experienced more than one divorce just like I have! As hard as I try to live right, do right and be a Godly example they still have to live their life and make their own choices, right or wrong.  I hate that!  I want them to learn from my mistakes, not to make their own.  But, I truly don’t believe we learn much from watching others make mistakes and bad choices.

I learned my lessons much later in life.  It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I began to see that I was the “common denominator” in a lot of my choices and that I was the one that needed to change – not them.  That’s also when my prayers changed.  Instead of praying “God make him the kind of husband I want him to be” it was “God, show me how to be the kind of wife you need me to be.”  I know it seems simplistic and my prayers often involved more words than seen here, but you get my drift.

So, why do I post on this topic, you ask?  Well, because I am witnessing the cycle continue.  My grandchildren now come from broken homes!!  My grandson, Kash is just one example.  He will be 3 in Sept.  He goes to Daddy’s for one week, then he’s at mommy’s for one week.  He’s at daddy’s the entire month of July – not to see his mommy, his four other siblings or his Maw Maw. I miss him.  But, more importantly, I’m sad for him.

No one really thinks twice about being from a broken home anymore.  Do they even use that terminology anymore?  It’s more the norm nowadays.  So many couples just live together now without the marital contract and bring children into that world as well.  If Hollywood says it’s okay then I guess it’s okay, right?  NADA!    I’m so sad about the direction our world is going.  

I know some will call me old fashioned.  Some will say what I desire is unrealistic.  Some will even say that I’m living in the dark ages.  I just hate that the cycle continues.

Cuddly, soft pillow quilts for baby…

Happy Independence Day to all!  I hope you are doing just want you want to do on this 4th of July. Unlike when we were younger & in years past, hubby and I have very little planned for the weekend. We have decided to enjoy the solitude of home and each other and just relax.

He and the baby son went fishing last night and this morning and caught 9 catfish – so he promised to fix me some tomorrow.  Not exactly “diet food” but I love me some fried catfish, french fries and hush puppies.  (Weighed in this morning and lost 3 lbs. my first week back to doing WW).  So, I will take at easy, but I will enjoy a little “treat” tomorrow – and then get right back to what I’ve been doing.

We had the 5 month old grandson, Jackson on Wed. and Thurs so this has been my first day to really have an opportunity to sit at the sewing machine & sew.  I have three orders for pillow quilts to make and deliver next week.  All three are for little boys…

I personalize them with the baby’s name and machine embroider butterflies on many of them.  

Baby Genius fabric, Disney fabric, Gingham, Dotted Swiss, –you name it!! I’ve been having so much fun making these and really come in handy for shower/baby gifts.  They are quick and easy to make and wash up really nicely!

These are pretty much all that I worked on in June, were pillow quilts, because they have been pretty popular locally and I’ve sold a few on E-bay as well.  (Etsy…not so much, not sure what’s up with that.)

I will be sewing like a mad woman in July while the grandsons are off visiting family. My daughter brought Kash by to see me today, because when he woke up he said he wanted to go to Maw Maw’s house.  Sweet boy, only been a week since I’ve seen him, but I got some hugs and kisses before he went off to the 4th of July festivities at the convention center.  

No DIY in July…

For the past three years I’ve gotten a break from taking care of grandsons in the month of July.  It’s nice to have a month off to catch up on some very much needed housework etc;.  It is also our anniversary month (the 29th) and so we usually plan a small celebration to recognize and appreciate each other.

This time last year I decided that while the boys were away I would “renovate” (I use the term loosely) our home office.  It had been an “eyesore” for far too long.  ImageReally all I had planned to do was give it a fresh coat of paint (you can see the two options I was trying to choose from) and paint all the baseboard and moldings a glossy white. Since I was “retired” (this is our insurance office), I was also going to eliminate one of three desks giving hubby a great deal more room.

It only took me about 3-4 days to complete – hubby helped a little, primarily with painting the trim and around the ceiling fan on the ceiling.Image

 

I had to tape and put plastic down everywhere because we had a good carpet on the floor that we wouldn’t be removing.  Anyway, I digress…as I sit here typing this – I sit in the final result that is still looking good after one year – 

 

 

I love DIY projects, especially home improvement.  ImageThen, two years ago (while still caring for Granny in our home & two boys)  I decided to tackle my kitchen cabinets!  I had a long Memorial Day weekend (5 days off) and thought it would be a great time to begin refinishing my kitchen cabinets.

They were hideous! What was I thinking when I painted them this horrible deep burgandy color?  You will notice from the picture that they were a “country blue” color prior to the burgandy. That was the color they were when we bought the house – I can’t take the blame for that one!!ImageI began the sanding process after I received an electric sander and Home Depot gift card as a gift.  

I tackled this task outside on my back patio in the Texas summer heat!  What a mess!! And I was truly thinking I could get this all doneImagein five days!  Boy, was I wrong!! When the 5 days had expired and the boys had returned to my mess – hubby kicked in and began to help.  We had to block the kitchen off with barricades so little fingers & feet etc; wouldn’t get hurt and when we got our break again in July our project was ongoing!  Surely believing that by Aug. 1st when boys returned we would be finished we plodded onward!!ImageOMG! Were we having fun yet?  It was a long summer of DIY that ended up being finished over Labor Day weekend.  But, being one that always completes a task she begins (no matter what it is) – the final result was well worth the wait! ImageI changed out all the hinges and knobs and added a little embellishment to the front.  I still want to change out the flooring and counter tops, but two years later I can still say we chose a good neutral color and a good quality paint that wipes clean easily.  It’s kinda like labor pains – it was rough going through it, but no regrets and an awesome present at the end! LOL

So, I said all that to say this —there will be no DIY in July – this year, at least!!  Although I’ve thought about for a year now re-doing a guest bedroom (mostly just paint again)…While the grandsons are away, I will be busy finishing one quilt a client ordered for her grandaughter’s birthday in Aug. and beginning work on a t-shirt quilt that a friend from church ordered to hopefully be completed by Labor Day. Stay tuned for my next post which will be all about the evening projects I worked on in June to produce some income for me in July.  I will also be filling you in on our plans for our anniversary celebration soon – so I hope you will keep reading.  Posts will be more frequent with the boys away – busy, busy, busy…but it’s what truly  makes me happy.  Love being busy but will enjoy some rest this month too!

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