“No rest for the wicked”

I’ve been in church for many years now, and never heard this cliche’…but while growing up in an “unchurched” household I heard my step-dad quote this often. I never really knew what it referred to or what it meant until I looked it up today. It has biblical roots!! My step-dad always quoted it when we were BUSY or when LIFE seemed HECTIC. But, I never knew until today that it was in reference to HELL and the torment that we would suffer there! Hmmmmmm….the reason I found this so interesting was because my step-dad was not a church going man or what I would consider to be religious or spiritual in ANY WAY! So what does this have to do with my post today, you might ask?

Well, I guess the only thing it has to do with it – is that I’ve been extremely busy and have not been able to meet my weekly goal of posting to my blog like I promised. Therefore, I was going to say (as my step-dad often said, when busy)…there’s been “no rest for the wicked”…but I don’t like confessing that over myself or claiming to be wicked…since I really consider myself “too blessed to be stressed”…Yeah, I like that one better!

It’s been crazy! I’m having a good month. There’s something to be said for having a little downtime (as I did in December) to plan your goals for the New Year and to figure out how you want to do things differently from the past.

1) First, of course (as with most) it began with some healthy lifestyle goals: Gym 2014 me

I don’t take “selfies” so all you get is a shot of my knees working out! But, it’s been challenging to say the least! I posted about my first week of success on Jan. 10th. You can read about it here: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/10/weight-loss-myths-other-misc-mumbo-jumbo/

My second week didn’t go as well. I maintained, but didn’t lose anything. After some reflection and introspection I realized that although my morning workout routine was consistent and improving, my eating, food planning, low fat cooking, etc needed some tweaking! Probably my biggest challenge is that I enjoy eating out and often don’t make wise choices when I do. I also have a hubby that doesn’t eat healthy and rarely wants to eat chicken or fish, so if I’m going to eat healthy it means I fix two meals (one for him and one for me). So, my third week was better with a loss of 2.8 lbs. I have to stay on top of things or I just gain and lose the same 5 or 10 lbs. over and over again. Ugh!

So in week three I made a big pot of 5 ingredient soup: Simple, fast, and high in protein & fiber….5 ingredeient soup

If you are watching your intake of sodium, it might not be the best recipe (all canned stuff), but could easily be adapted using fresh or frozen ingredients: 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, (drained & rinsed), 1 can of corn, 1 can fat free chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you plan to eat on it all week, like I sometimes do. You can also use fat free refried beans, if you want it to be thicker, or creamed corn if you want it to be a bit sweeter. Regardless, it is about 4 WW points per 1 cup serving and it is very tasty!

2) Then, my daytime activity of taking care of Grandson, Jackson returned January 5th. He’s such a little stinker! Love my little “ginger”!! Jackson standing When he leaves at 5:00 as much as I would love to get in my chair and relax …my evening activities begin.

3) After fixing a bite of something to eat for hubby and I, I retire to my sewing room to fill any orders that may have come in through Etsy or Ebay..

http://my.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?MyEbay&gbh=1&CurrentPage=MyeBayAllSelling&ssPageName=STRK:ME:LNLK:MESX

I don’t know if these links will work. Just in case they don’t, you can find my shop on Etsy as LindasLikes or on eBay as bittygirl51. I got a surge of cord cover orders over the last two weeks. I am running a special: Purchase four cord covers: the fifth is FREE. I already offer FREE SHIPPING, so I’m still the most inexpensive place to get your cord covers. I was about to go bonkers making cord covers (about 35-40) dark brown cc closeup when I got my first two baby pillow quilt orders: They were shipped just yesterday and are still two of my best sellers: Baby Owl PQ w yellow closeup

Hot pink, zebra, eyelet PQ close up

4) In addition to all the household activities, I’ve been busy with church festivities. We have an awesome church family and love our brothers and sisters in Christ so much! What’s been extra special for me is that for 17 years I’ve sat alone in church (hubby was the sound technician), but since the 1st of the year I’ve been able to sit with my hubby. After 32 years of running the sound he has finally retired and passed the baton to a younger man. We still go to church early for choir practice each Sunday morning and afternoon, so Sundays are extremely full and busy, but it’s been nice to be a “couple” for the first time since we got married! In fact, one of our older saints in the church said, “I’m glad to see yall’ finally got married”…the other day! Ha! Ornament exchange 6 We had a Christmas ornament exchange in December that was a lot of fun.

In closing, I’m all caught up on my “paid sewing”…just have a pillow quilt to finish today for a friend at church who is expecting a grandchild in 11 days. Hubby is fishing this morning with the baby son (Jackson’s daddy) but later is taking me out for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. I will also be having a piece (just one piece) of birthday cake. Yum! Can’t wait! Cake is my cocaine and I’ve been waiting all month for my birthday to arrive just so I could have cake! LOL. Hubby decided we would celebrate early (my birthday is Wednesday) – no complaints from this girl…that just means I get cake four days earlier then expected! LOL

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Our lil’ ginger punkin’s naps are getting shorter!!

In an effort to give poor little Jackson a longer nap, I spent a lot of time singing to him and rocking him this week!  Rock a Bye Baby, Jesus Loves Me, & You are My Sunshine are his favorites.

A sleeping Jackson

A sleeping Jackson

The poor little tyke does not like taking naps in the daytime!  He is an excellent sleeper at nighttime.  In fact mommy and daddy have a hard time keeping him up until 8 pm most nights…cause he’s ready for bed!  He usually sleeps until 5:30 or 6 am…sometimes longer!  But he is sure breaking Maw Maw & Paw Paw in during the day!  I think he’s afraid he’s gonna miss something!

Curious JacksonHe’s very CURIOUS….

An exploring Jackson 2

and he loves exploring the house and seeing what he can get into.  He’s learned to pull on the knobs of the entertainment center and open the doors and drawers.  He’s also discovered that if he closes it on those same little fingers that it hurts!!  🙂  When he gets a hold of the bottom drawer and pulls it open (it’s heavy because it’s full of CD’s) he starts pulling himself up so he can peer in it to see what’s inside!  Paw Paw and I spend a lot of time throughout the day grabbing him by the ankles and pulling him back away from the entertainment center to try and divert his attention to all the toys.  LOL

Jackson exploring 2He’s learned that loud sounds comes from that big black box, and that if no one sees him right away, he can crawl back in that corner next to the sofa and make that pretty lamp that sits on a pedestal end table WIGGLE and almost fall down!! “I’m not doing nothing, Maw Maw…I’m just looking around.”

014062695115327He’s such a happy, smiley boy and loves to go for rides in the stroller.  Maw Maw definately gets  her exercise when Jackson’s around.  I go for an early morning 3.5 mile walk with friends before he arrives, and then we usually go for another 2 mile walk with the stroller at some point during the day.  I’m thankful for the cooler temperatures.  (Now it’s only 80 during the day instead of 100).

2014072295135712Jackson loves his puppy…

IMG_20140724_133655388

Loves going to the park and swinging (if those darn mosquitos would leave him alone!)

Jackson floor play 3

Loves playing on the floor and reaching up at things.  He’s not trying to pull himself up yet, but he is trying to crawl.

Jackson learning to crawl

He gets around real good by scooting, but when he tries to crawl he gets up on all four and rocks back and forth.  He’s also discovered that if he crawls into the entry way where there is NO CARPET, that if he rolls over he will bonk his little head! OUCH!

Jackson sippy cup 2

At 8 months old he’s eating three meals a day now, in addition to his bottles, but he also loves his little sippy cup!  He’s a good eater and Maw Maw loves feeding her little man!  Now, if he would just take a nap!  He is the exact opposite of his cousin, Kash.  3 yr. old Kash takes a good 2-3 hr. nap in the afternoon.  It used to be a nice break for me, when I wasn’t taking care of Jackson.  I’m afraid the days of Maw Maw getting a nap are long gone!  When Jackson first returned to us in late August he would take 30 min nap twice a day.  Now he’s down to about 10 min. 2-3 times a day.  By the time mommy arrives to pick him up at 4:30 he’s exhausted!

Needless to say we are looking forward to our little trip we will be taking to Wichita Falls, TX this next week.  We leave on Wed for some Grandkitty sitting and will return the following Tuesday.  Instead of tending to two grandsons we will be tending to one female feline named Samantha while her mommy and daddy get a little downtime in the New Mexico mountains.

Samantha 2014 2

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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.

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!

I SURVIVED!!

Well, after taking care of FOUR grandsons this week, I’ve decided that my entire existence is for everyone else’s amusement and entertainment!!   ImageJackson didn’t quite know what to think of it all.  He is an only child and so having three other boys (cousins) to watch was very stimulating!!

He would get so excited, his little legs & arms would shake and his eyes would get big as saucers!  I had to keep shushing Ethan (6) and Kash (almost 3) cause Jackson gets scared if voices get too loud.  He doesn’t like screaming or hollering at all and you know how rowdy boys can be!!

 ImageImageEverything from watching them do puzzles, to building with blocks to wrestling – Jackson was all eyes and ears as he sat in his little Bumbo and checked it all out.

Maw Maw & Paw Paw are exhausted!! I’m thankful for all of Paw Paw’s help this past week with the boys.  Preston, (13) was also very helpful this week not only with the little ones, but also by helping Paw Paw mow the front and back lawns. Aside from trying to cook a hot meal every day, I made sure the swimming pool in the backyard was full of clean water every day…

ImageMonday, Tuesday and Wednesday the 3 older boys and I went to the park playground to play each morning while Paw Paw stayed home with Jackson. ImageI’ve been promising Kash that he would learn how to ride Ethan’s “hand me down” bike this summer…so we loaded up the trunk of the car with scooters and the bike and while at the park, Kash got to practice.  He did great!  He had trouble with steering while pedaling because he wants to look around at everybody and see what’s going on rather than paying attention to the road ahead!  LOL!!  I was amazed at how quickly he grasped pedaling forward though.  Once in awhile he would pedal backwards and stomp the brake on.  I tried to explain the concept of making the bike go forward and that the bike would not go backwards, but just stop ..if he pedaled backward.  I’m not sure he’s got that down yet – but he only tipped it over once – when he went off the sidewalk onto the grass.  I was really proud of him since he has a four wheeler at home that all he has to do is press the gas pedal!  He steers it pretty crooked too, and runs into a lot of things!

ImageSo, while Kash was practicing on his bike (my back hurts!), Preston & Ethan were in the racquet ball cage; Preston riding his “rip stick” and Ethan riding his scooter. It’s a very nice park and close to home so when I don’t have a bike to haul we will walk rather than drive to the park.

The boys always tire out if we go to the park and play in the morning prior to lunch.  Paw Paw enjoys an early lunch so by 11 am while he watches Jeopardy and the boys watch the Cartoon channel I am preparing lunch.  Image Since Thursday is a busy day at the park (all the home-school kids are there) we went for a long walk in the neighborhood instead. I had promised the boys that if they were good all week, I would take them to Kid’s Station on Friday to play on the indoor slides, ball pit, arcade etc   Unfortunately, some things are out of our control and just fall through!  Suffice it to say, Maw Maw was not a happy camper!!  The boys and I were meeting friends at Kid’s Station.  We had planned to go at Noon, just after lunch, knowing that Kid’s Station’s summer hours were from 11 – 7. When we arrived at Noon – we discovered that they weren’t open.  Even though summer hours were written on the window (11-7) the sign said they would be open from 1 – 7 instead.  Needless to say, we had to think of something to do to kill some time because Maw Maw was not going to sit in an air conditioned car in the Texas heat for an hour with 3 disappointed and anxious grandsons.  So, we decided to go to the Pet Store to check out the animals.  We got back to Kid’s Station at 1:02 pm to find the friends we were meeting standing outside their car waiting for them to open.  As we watched other cars pull in and out of the parking lot we noticed that there was one lone truck parked at the back of the building, but still no lights on inside.  Myself and the other parents, grandparents waiting were getting very frustrated.  A call to Kid’s Station only resulted in a voice mail message that said their hours for the day were 1-7 pm.  Our friends had not had lunch, so they left to go grab a bite while we agreed to wait until 1:30 pm.  At 1:20 a man in that lone truck came from the back of the building, rolled down his window and proceeded to inform us that they would NOT BE OPEN AT ALL! Grrrrrrr!!  Upon conversing with the man (that’s a nice way of putting it), I found out that he was in fact, the owner – and his reason for not opening was “I have four girls graduating and so I have no one to run the place”.  OMG!!

Are you serious???  And you didn’t know this before NOW????  You didn’t see this problem with staffing before today???  You mean I planned this all week, got my grandsons all fired up about going, had them do chores to earn money for it, blah, blah, blah and NOW at 20 minutes after the time you are supposed to open – you decide NADA??!!  You couldn’t put a message on your voice mail stating such?  When I called yesterday to find out the price for Friday and no one bothered to tell me you weren’t going to be open at all?? What kind of management is that??  Okay, I’ve ranted enough – you get my gist – I just wasn’t happy at all!!  The boys were calmer than I was…SHAME ON ME!  Long story short- we did get 3 free passes for another day (doesn’t solve the problem for today tho).  So, refusing to have 3 disappointed boys on my hands Preston suggested that we check out the Arcade at the Mall.  He said they also had a bounce house for all ages.  Since I go to the mall rarely, I had to take it on faith and go check it out.  ImageOn the way to the Arcade we found several other cute little rides for the boys to check out.  We had a fun afternoon blowing $50 in quarters in the Arcade and got home around 4 pm.  Kash is accustomed to taking a nap in the afternoon, but when we go to Kid’s Station he gets to skip it.  He stays wired up having fun until we get home and then this is what you will find:

ImagePoor little tyke!  He just collapsed as soon as we got home!!  Preston was on the computer, Ethan was watching Netflix (while I rested in my recliner) and Paw Paw had already handed off Jackson to his mommy who was glad to be done with another teaching year.

Today, I got out of my pajamas long enough to go to a brief bible study and homemade Mexican lunch and then came promptly home to climb back into them!  Full day of two choir practices and two church services tomorrow – Monday, just 3 boys. Phew!

 

Milestones of a “Ginger”

Do young mothers still keep baby books?  The three baby books I kept for my three children went to year 7 and then quit.  I was devoted to keeping them up to date, complete with pictures…noting every milestone from when they cut their first tooth to when they had their first haircut.  Is it my imagination or is this an almost entirely lost endeavor?  Once I became a scrapbooker, I transferred the information and destroyed the old yellowed pages of those baby books to make scrapbooks for each of my grown children all the way into adulthood, including jobs, spouses, their children etc;

Now, I am enjoying the milestones of grandchildren – up close and personal.  Our youngest and 15th grandchild (I have 10, my husband has 5)..is Jackson, our little “ginger”.

ImageHe is just over 3 months old and has begun to hold his head up in bed and check us out! How about that for a cute shot!!  So, low and behold I wasn’t at all surprised when I came into the bedroom to get him from his crib the other day to discover he had rolled over from his tummy to his back!!  I didn’t see it, but we always put him on his tummy for sleep (I know all the controversy and debate), but when he awoke he was on his back!!  LOL 

Jackson’s parents are first time parents, needless to say he is spoiled!  I think mommy and daddy think that if he lets out a peep he must be picked up!  It’s made it a bit more challenging for Maw Maw and Paw Paw because we get very little “down time” when he’s awake!!  He’s not real good at entertaining himself yet.  ImageHere he is being talked to.  He loves it when you talk to him.  His sweet personality is really beginning to show.  Just as equally his red-headed temperament is also often present!  LOL  Oh, how we love this little toot!!  He is such a joy to have around.

 

He has such a cute, high pitched wail…and when he decides he’s mad – there’s nothing a person can do but let him wail. He just decides – “I’m done being entertained!” Usually that means he’s either very tired, needs to be fed or needs to be changed. Sometimes tho, it just means “change my position”!! In other words…”walk around the house with me, so I can look around, or go outside and sit on the patio with me for awhile, or take me for a stroll in my stroller.”

Our big boy

Our big boy

Needless to say, we are enjoying taking care of “little” Jackson and will miss him when mommy is done teaching school in 2 weeks. He will return to us in the fall half grown I’m sure. It’s not that we won’t see him this summer…(of course, we will), but it won’t be the same as enjoying and appreciating all those milestones on a daily basis like we have.Jackson 4 This last shot is Jackson flirting with our Pastor’s wife at church. Love it!

Aside

Honest, but also exhausting & stressful week!!

I always enter every new endeavor I take on with a great deal of optimism, knowing I can tackle pretty much anything I set my mind to. That being said…entering into an agreement with my step-son, Josh that I would take care of his new little one full-time has proven to be a bigger challenge than I expected!  (That’s the HONEST part LOL!!)

Phew! I can’t say when the last time was that I was so happy to see Friday come!  Once again I have a greater appreciation for young mommies and all that they do when they have small children.  Although there is much controversy surrounding the debate for “stay at home” mommies versus those that work outside the home – I will leave that discussion for another blog.

What about stay at home GRAND mommies?  Since I began taking care of grandsons two years ago (first Ethan, who’s now in Kindergarten & baby brother, Kash who was 7 months old when I began)..the only “interruption” was having to tend to my bedfast MIL’s needs every 3 hours.  We had a pretty good system and the boys were very understanding.  Since last September though Kash has had me all to himself!  (Granny passed away, Ethan started kindergarten).  Kash and I are very close and have had lots of fun times!!

Now, after this first week of taking care of newest grandson, Jackson…Image Kash is asking, “who is this new little boy that has kidnapped my Maw Maw?”  They are cousins (is that right?) purely by marriage …Kash being my grandson by my oldest daughter, and Jackson being my grandson by my youngest step-son and they are both so precious!  But, OMG! what a week it has been!!

It’s all about them, but this blog is all about ME! I had no idea how exhausted or stressed I would be!  I was quite shocked at my stress level.  I don’t “do” stress anymore.  I handle stress in most cases quite well.  I was thankful this week for a semi-retired Paw Paw!!

ImageIsn’t that the cutest shot you have ever seen?  Paw Paw was a redhead (he says “Strawberry Blonde”) growing up.  Jackson is carrying that gene forward!  I would also add that Paw Paw didn’t want me to take this picture, but I couldn’t resist.  

Demands on my time cause me stress!  I had two little ones wanting all my time this week.  Kash just didn’t understand why Jackson couldn’t go play in the backyard with us!!  He was introduced to “Baby Jackson” (as he calls him) just this week!!  I know we as a “little family” will get acclimated and things will be come less stressful and more routine.  It is just going to take some time.  But, I am struggling with a lot of guilt when I can’t take Kash to the playground at the park, because Paw Paw isn’t home to help me with Jackson.  (We might (weather permitting) get the double stroller out next week.)  Ever true to form, Kash still wants to be my helper, by holding Jackson, feeding him, loving on him etc;

ImageSo yesterday I began to engage my brain.  I had to put the numbers to it! I was trying to figure out why I was so stressed!!?? Then, I remembered feeling very overwhelmed and stressed when I brought my youngest daughter home from the hospital (my third child).  She and her sister were almost exactly the same age apart as Kash and Jackson.  Their older brother (my first born) was 10.  I was feeling the same way.  I was feeling like I was neglecting one for the needs of the other.  And I was feeling like I just didn’t have enough energy to give 100% to both!  I was 28 yrs. old back then – and now I’m 63!! Well, no wonder!!  Now I know why we have our children when we are young!

Kash and I still managed to make it to the park one day this week…ImageHe’s such a big boy! But, we drove rather than walk to the playground while Paw Paw stayed home with Jackson to try and beat the rain that was threatening us.  We’ve also noticed maybe a little bit of regression in Kash since Jackson’s arrival.  He had a few “accidents” this week and he preferred a diaper over “big boy” panties.  That was a bit frustrating to say the least.  

Long story – short, some of you may remember that last June I began a “Saturday social” once a month where some of my sisters and I get together here at my home to quilt etc;  Well, today was supposed to be that day.  Unfortunately, I had to cancel for the very first time.  I was just too wore out!  We also had a death in the family and therefore in addition to Easter Choir practice today, we have a viewing of a cousin to go to.  

If you read my last blog –  you will recall me telling you a little about little “business”.  Well, I also put the numbers to what I told you previously – I’ve sold 6 baby quilts since the first of the year and 82 cord covers.ImageIf you need some, just let me know.  12 ft cotton cord covers sell for just $6.50 plus $3.00 shipping.  You choose color.

Have a great weekend, friends!

A Dirty Diaper, 4 Pens, and 2 Christmas Ornaments

A Dirty Diaper, 4 Pens, and 2 Christmas Ornaments.

If all else fails, call Betty Crocker!

I know I’ve been AWOL for quite awhile, but I haven’t been idle. Anyone who knows me, knows I struggle to be “still”. (My laid back hubby thinks anyone who struggles to be still has ADHD. I don’t buy it.) Blogging just hasn’t been high on my priority list. I’m more “addicted” to quilting right now then I am to blogging, I guess. I’ve been a real busy beaver with my sewing this past month…

1st Sat. Fellowship

1st Sat. Fellowship

Although Granny has passed and I no longer have the responsibility of her care, I am still taking care of my 2 yr. old grandson, Kash.

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

This week it’s been kinda quiet, because Kash has been with his daddy all week. He returns to my house tomorrow. So, I’ve tried to take advantage of the time he’s away by working on the quilts I’m making for Christmas presents…

Country Lace

Country Lace


and catching up on the “domestic arts”.

That’s what got me to thinking about Betty Crocker and how the world has changed in the past 30 years. OMG!! How life has changed!! I can say, without a doubt that one way blogging has benefited me is by “restoring my faith in mankind” or more specifically in our “young women”. Prior to blogging, my experience with the young women around me was one of disappointment. Most (not all) of them were not good housekeepers, didn’t know how to cook or sew and if they didn’t work outside the home, were generally pretty lazy!! I know how that sounds and I’m not judging just making an observation. I have always been very “domestic” and loved cooking, cleaning, taking care of a home and would go as far as to say, I’m still very old fashioned. My daughters are domestic and love the same, but I can’t or won’t take any credit because I’ve seen the reverse to be true. Some were raised by very domestic mothers, but still have no desire to cook, clean, sew etc; Since I’ve been blogging though, I’ve discovered many young women (mother’s too) that are very domestic! In fact, I often wonder how they do it all with small children. I can still keep my house picked up, dishes done etc with Kash here – but I don’t even attempt to sew, read a book, blog etc; unless he’s napping. He has my full and undivided attention when he’s awake. In fact, he’s quite to little housekeeper!

Washing dishes

Washing dishes

As I pondered the “domestic arts” this week, I remembered the first wedding gift my mother gave me back in 1969. It was a Betty Crocker cookbook. I have owned a newer, updated version of that original one for several years now, but where would my life be without Betty Crocker? She, not my mother, taught me how to cook. In fact, just today, Betty Crocker and I made a chocolate cake together, (one I promised my sister-in-law for her 70th birthday). She requested chocolate cake with white icing. Is it true that nowadays most women would go buy a box mix and some canned frosting or is that just my bias and narrow minded thinking? I love to cook and bake from scratch!!

Which reminds me of a delicious soup my youngest daughter made once recently when we were visiting. It was made with pre-made, store bought frozen meatballs and pre-made, store bought tortelloni, a modern convenience we once couldn’t take advantage of “back in the day”. We are having chillier weather than usual and I was in the mood for some soup when I awoke this morning. Well, although my daughter gave me the inspiration, Betty Crocker gave me an idea of where to begin. As I type this I am enjoying the scent of Meatball/Tortelloni Soup simmering on the stove top. mmmmmmmmm…

So, what’s your take on how our world has changed? Back in 1995, I didn’t even have a cell phone yet!! It was the early 90’s before I ever used a computer!! Now there are few handwritten letters or thank you notes, few home phones, (remember the old “party line”?) way too much Reality TV, Facebook and Twitter – what’s up with all this busy, hectic, craziness? I was on FB, but no longer am. Have actually pondered getting back on to increase my blog readership and possibly to market a new business I’m pondering – but, still very hesitant – cause it steals all my time. I know we control that – but it gets to where you feel like you are missing something if you aren’t on Facebook!!

Nowadays we can look up any recipe we need online. (Not always as reliable as our cookbooks are). We can Google any question we may have. I read recently on one of the blogs I subscribe to that a young person being home-schooled did not know how to use a dictionary thanks to Google!! That is very sad to me. If ya wanna get technical about things…even my quilting (I’m a novice) is machine sewn – not hand sewn as in the old days…

Jackson Dane

Jackson Dane

And to get even more technical, I’ve learned all the quilting basics online!! Quilting tutorials, where have you been all my life?? We no longer have to leave our homes for most things. We can buy postage & groceries from our easy chair, if we prefer. What’s up with that? Are we becoming MORE SOCIAL with all these electronic conveniences, or LESS SOCIAL? It seems LESS social, to me? Texting, communicating thru social media seems so impersonal to me. It requires LESS commitment to having a true & meaningful RELATIONSHIP. I don’t know…I’m sure there are two sides to every dilemma – I’d love to hear yours. Thanks to social media, my son’s and my relationship is more strained then it’s ever been. I’m not sure why he’s mad at me because he’s not speaking to me. (Thus he hasn’t told me directly). I just know he’s mad at me for something I’ve obviously said through the written word. I can be SO MISUNDERSTOOD and have been on many occasions, but most of the time it has been through something I said thru e-mail, social media or blogging. I just don’t know if it’s all worth it! My son lives far away. I love him and miss him. But, he just doesn’t seem to what a relationship with me right now. But, I digress.

Fortunately, at this state in life, I get to enjoy the fruit of my lifetime labor by collecting Social Security (by no means enough to live on) and partake of all the domestic arts that I’ve enjoyed my entire life, but often had to put on the back burner while bringing home a paycheck. I’m still seeking God’s direction as we enter into the holiday season and a new year because as I said, social security income isn’t adequate. With the passing of his mother, my hubby is also seeking new direction. We love being home with each other and are best friends. We are content, but not complacent. The scripture says, “to be content in whatever state you are in”. That doesn’t mean I don’t want more or want to do more. It just means I won’t gripe or complain or dwell on what I don’t have. That being said, if all else fails, I can call Betty Crocker and if she doesn’t answer, I can call on God. 🙂

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