Saturday, September 29, 2012

Do You Like Muffins?

I do! I love muffins and have one almost every day, I take one to work for my mid-morning snack. I like a heavy, hearty muffin, not a cake like one. MANY years ago I use to buy huge, heavy bran muffins...but I don't think anyone makes anything like that anymore. Thursday I made these Carrot Oatmeal Muffins. Not surprisingly, I had to improvise: I didn't have any cream cheese or coconut. I pulled out my remaining carrots from my 'garden' and grated them. This is a very moist  (I think next time I will cut down on the oil - I used oil and applesauce) and sweet muffin.

I also love rhubarb muffins, peanut butter and chocolate chip, bran, sweet potato, caramel apple......and on and on. Which reminds me- where, oh where, is my cute, little muffin recipe book????

Do you have any good muffin recipes you'd like to share?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thoughts on Thursday

Maybe if I wouldn't sit around thinking so much I'd get something accomplished, eh? I needed to visit my mother and had Monday off so that's the day I chose for a drive.....a circular drive.

The 2 larger cities that I like to shop in are not both on the way to my mom's, but I wanted to stop at Archiver's in Appleton, so I took the long way to my mom's. My granddaughter is getting scrapbooking stuff for Christmas so I picked up a few things there (coupons, ya know). Of course I ended up getting more things than I anticipated and had enough to get a free bag! Yeah! But, NO, that promotion ended on Saturday. DRAT! I checked out the Goodwill store too and found a pair of jeans for my 'getting chubby' grandson. (that is a whole 'nother post) I don't normally drive that route to my home town and there have been considerable changes on the outskirts of town. I didn't take any photos because the colors (trees) are just starting to turn.

It's so much fun to give my mom gifts..........she loves everything. I gave her an embellished zipper sweatshirt and a t-shirt to wear under it.  She put the sweatshirt on and left it on. I had the price tags on yet (in case I needed to return them) and she commented on the $58 sweatshirt. I assured her that I did NOT pay that much, it was on sale and I had a coupon from the 'Goodwill sale'. Sorry mom, but I won't pay that much, even for you. Even though she has been disabled for a l-o-n-g time it's still hard for her to receive from others. I keep telling her that she helped me when I needed it and now it's my turn.

After that I made my biennial, sometimes annual, visit to the cemetery where my father and baby sister are buried. It takes me longer to find the gravestones than the time I spend there. And here's where my Thoughts on Thursday come in.........why, oh why, do people erect such beautiful, expensive head stones? The one that (I hope) I'll remember and will point me to my family's is 4' tall, black granite, polished to a gorgeous shine, with an etching of lovely scenes. I guess they might be so grief stricken by their loss and this is one final way they can express their love? Or are they like me and won't be able to find the gravestone unless it is large? Or am I just jealous because the ones I visit are nondescript and un-decorated? Which reminds me that I should take a steel brush along next time to clean the moss off of my dad's marker.....the bottom of my shoes didn't quite cut it.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Little Advertising

I have some friends.....(believe it or not, but I DO have friends) who are trying to get some interest going on their endeavors so I thought I'd do a small commercial for them:

  • Debbie, HERE, is my good friend and we sometimes write about the same things, but our views differ. But most of the time we are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  We've talked about and over a lot of things, talked each other into or out of some things, we've discussed our perfect parenting techniques, and have solved many of our friends problems (in our minds).  So hop on over and visit her for a while.

  • Kathy is another good friend. She took me to my first Christian Women's retreat and I'll always thank her for that. At that same retreat is where I got hooked on stamping cards and scrapbooking. She's a stay at home mom of a 12 year old. She's also a grandma of almost 2. She just opened an etsy shop, HERE. She's an artist and entrepreneur and has made jewelry from buttons, gems, and stones (that I know of). She has a sunflower tote on her site that I saw in person and it is gorgeous and well made! Stop over and give her some encouragement when you can.
Say HI to my friends and tell 'em I sent ya! Thanks!

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Amazing!

Isn't it amazing what kids are learning in school these days? When they start 4 year old kindergarten a child is expected to know and write his/her name, know the alphabet, know their colors, and count at past ten. And they can!!! Are kids these days just smarter? Probably not, I think it's the parents that are smarter....they realized how smart their children are and teach them. Those little 'sponges' soak up sooooooooo much! I was truly amazed at some of the things that came out of my grandson's mouth when he was younger.

one of my 4K granddaughters

'Back in the day' we had 5 year old kindergarten but mom didn't send me. I'm not sure if it was because I was shy or she was.......but I was told when I entered 1st grade I told her I could do it myself. Fortunately I like to read and learn. Even though I haven't taken any classes recently I do enjoy it.

I talked to a couple of my grand kids yesterday......the 3rd grader is learning keyboarding (we use to call it typing, and I didn't take it until high school, right?). He knows the home row and a few other keys (naming them) and told me which websites they use. My 4th grade granddaughter has her own Nookcolor and Netbook/notebook computer to use at school. Her teacher (50's) bought enough devices for each student in her class. She believes that strongly in the technology! Ava attends a school in a very small town. I will have to ask her to give me some tips for my Nookcolor....she probably knows more than I do already.

I think it is just fabulous that they are being taught how to use these things........ although I don't think home ec and industrial arts should not fall by the wayside either. (probably already have)

Happy Monday to all!!!! Remember it's my favorite day and I'm off to visit my mother this afternoon.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sweater Flower Pins

After a morning of fun, an a afternoon of cleaning I 'allowed' myself some 'play-time' and made these pins out of old sweaters. I told you I was obsessed with these pins I saw here and knew I wanted to make some. I found some cheap, colorful sweaters at the thrift shop and cut some circles. The ones I saw at the craft fair were not perfect circles, much more ragged, but I like them both. The one on the left is for Red Hats and I had to use green in one because I wear a lot of green. They are so easy to make....... Start with some old sweaters, scarfs, or hats....I washed them in hot water and dried mine....then cut, stitch together, add a button and pin back and you're set!

Yesterday morning I was at my computer and thinking "what day is it?". I do that often, especially when I have Friday off. Aha! It was Friday and I was off!!! *grin* I was in the mood for breakfast out so called my friend, got dressed, and we were off! After a seafood omelet (not as good as we remembered them) we stopped at a garage sale and a couple of thrift stores. (some day I will have to post some of my favorite thrift store finds) Hmmmmm, my original plan had been to stay home all day and do some cleaning...... In the afternoon I cleaned out my SMALL extra closet (where I keep my out of season clothes) and found 3 grocery bags of purses and totes to donate. ....feels good! It's another cloudy, gloomy day today...........more cleaning? probably....... You see, I have a self imposed rule that I have to get something cleaned up before I can work on a scrapbook project or such. ....just the way I am.

Happy Fall y'all!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Friday 56/The Secret

It's Friday and time for:
Welcome to Week 92 with me!   Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56. *Find any sentence, *post it

P. 56 "Breathing in her courage, Grace looked up for a moment, starting at the day clock high on the shelf. I hear ya walking round sometimes in the hallway," she said softly."

As you can see from the cover this book is about the timely.....Seems like programs about the Amish are all over the TV. I watched part of one on the National  Geographic  channel last night and Breaking Amish is a new program too. 

Anyway.....this is book one of a series and I really enjoyed it. The mother of 4 has a husband who is very quiet and non expressive, she's very troubled about something and one night she leaves a letter by her daughter's bedside and walks away with a suitcase and $5000.00. I am not going to tell you what she is up to in case you want to read this. I borrowed the book from Overdrive and am waiting for the next book in the series. 

I finally prefer reading on my Nookcolor! It's skinny and fits in my purse so I can take it anywhere with me (and I do), it's so much easier to hold when I'm reading in bed (where I so most of my reading), and if there's free WiFi I can check email and facebook (I need to get away from that!).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Have You Ever.......

Purchased something from a door to door salesman just to get rid of him? And I'm not talking about the encyclopedia salesmen who used to come around shortly after your baby was born. Geez, how many of us fell for that? Even tho our child could barely crawl we had the deluxe edition of World book Encyclopedias....with all of those children's books (that we'd never read to our little ones because there weren't any pictures, and kids like big, bright pictures to look at.) Back to my question.....yes, just the other day someone came to my door selling a concentrated, talk, talk.....and I bought a bottle of it. Partly to shut him up and get rid of him and partly because it did get the stain out of the carpet. Previously nothing I tried got rid of that stain. Good decision or not? Who knows. I did check  the internet and the cleaner does have high ratings.

Put an item in your shopping cart because you saw it in another shoppers and it 'looked good'? Yup, I do that.

Have you ever met someone, while on vacation in another country, and then go (alone) to visit that person, who lives in yet another country? I did. MANY years ago I was vacationing in Cancun with a girlfriend and we met another young woman who was vacationing alone (to get over a broken heart). I made plans to visit France (her name) in Montreal. So, several months later, trusting & naive me, went all by myself to Montreal to spend time with someone I barely knew. It turned out well and I visited her several times.

Talked back to a ringing phone and then answered it in your sweet, phone voice? I do it all the time at work. Why do customers have to call me when I'm busy? Oh yea, that's part of my job. Oh well.

These are just some of the dumb things I have done. Do you have any to share?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Holy Hill

Saturday I went on another bus trip (I am beginning to like bus trips) to Holy Hill in southeastern WI. Holy Hill contains a Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, and covers 435 acres of quiet and peaceful wooded lands.  It is the highest point in the Kettle Moraine district of southern WI . No matter what Christian denomination you are it's a beautiful place to rest, meditate, pray, or just relax. One can walk the grounds, go on a picnic, attend services, or whatever your body and soul needs. 

Historians are not sure who first mapped out the area, but the first known resident was a hermit.

Francois Soubrio, a native of France, was known as the hermit of Holy Hill. A local farmer discovered his presence sometime between 1862 and 1864.' After a time of mutual suspicion between Soubrio and the area farmers, a friendship developed as the result of growing openness between them. The farmers then began to assist Soubrio by giving him food and other necessities. Eventually they banded together to build a small cabin for him.
There are two accounts about Soubrio's mysterious presence at Holy Hill. In the older account (1889), a narrative written about Holy Hill by W. A. Armstrong, the hermit is said to have come in penance for the murder of someone he loved. o" Armstrong's narrative also says that the hermit was miraculously healed of a partial paralysis after spending the night in prayer on the hill's summit. In J. M. LeCount's history of Holy Hill he is described as a religious eccentric. Although the accounts differ in their opinion of Soubrio's personality, both accounts agree that he was a man of great inner pain who sought comfort in God.
Before coming to Holy Hill, Soubrio traveled extensively. His travels eventually brought him to Quebec, Canada, where he worked as an assistant to a retired professor. While working in the professor's library, Soubrio found an old French diary and a parchment map (dated 1676). The map showed the Wisconsin - Lake Michigan area and the route used to reach a very high cone-shaped hill in southeastern Wisconsin. Soubrio's attention was drawn to the entry in which the author described his journey to the hill's summit where he erected a stone altar, raised a cross (margin notes on the map indicated a cross) and dedicated the place in the name of Mary as holy ground forever. Studying these documents created a deep longing within Soubrio to come to the holy site. Many assumed the documents belonged to Fr. Jacques Marquette.

We had a beautiful autumn day for our trip to the area. The leaves are just starting to turn. I imagine the view is breathtaking when the leaves are in full color. 

There were many interesting vendors to peruse. 

My one regret was that I didn't get to see the basilica. 

Two of the outdoor shrines.

I climbed all 178 steps to the top of the tower. I was afraid I'd be 'half dead' after my feat, but I was just fine. Although several rest stops were taken along the way. Some stairways were narrow....

The spiral stairway is the last one to the top, I don't care for spiral stairways. 

The view from one of the windows at the top.

Peaceful, eh?

Milwaukee can be seen in the distance...but not in my photos. 

View of the parking lot and craft fair below. 

See me? waving from right below the peak? OK, I didn't get that photo, but that's where I was....192' from ground level.

We didn't buy the t-shirts but posed with them.

Pressed real flowers make lovely pictures. 

12" x 12" magnet cute!

Decorated Styrofoam heads.......Who thinks of this stuff? I love 'em.

A friend of mine made pins from antique buttons once, but wasn't able to sell them. This display made me think of her. 

I'm obsessed with these 'sweater' flower pins and want to try to make one.

One of the hot times were home made ladies hats......they were adorable, unfortunately I did not get a photo. Scarves were very hot. One woman made some very interesting scarves from old clothing....dresses, blouses, sweaters, etc. They were sooooooo cool, and had a draw string so you could shirr up the ends....very hard to explain.

I purchased a fiber art pin and a 'scarf' - made from yarn, just many long pieces of yarn and fabric, sort of a cross between a scarf and necklace (my description).   On the end was a covered drapery ring (my guess) that you just looped the scarf through.

Told ya I was going to get to as many festivals as I could!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Darn Cute Cards

A few cards that I made recently.

This one is made with CTMH stamps. On the inside are photo corners so you can put a gift card in it.

This card is just one I made up all by myself. I like the color combination of the layers....I like to layer!

This autumny card was made with Stampin' Up stamps and papers.

I have come cute Halloween ones to post soon! And then it's on to Christmas......(she says hesitantly).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thoughts on Thursday

I was reading an email about scrapbooking tips the other day.....You have one photo, you love it, but what do you say about it?  It's just a child on a swing in your backyard. Other than just writing down the place and date, go deeper:

  • write a little about what kind of a child he/she is
  • what makes him/her what they are
  • the little things that you love about him/her
  • their likes & dislikes
  • something he/she is good at 
I really like that idea and hope I can keep it in my brain for a while. I sort of lean in that direction anyway. That got me thinking about the middle did I get that idea from the above? The middle child, the 'forgotten' child....

  • the firstborn is soooooo special and gets everything new and all the attention and more the time the 2nd child is born it's 'old hat'....and then the baby comes along....the last baby in the so cute! and no one (in a way) wants him/her to grow up.
  • my middle son always hugged me the hardest when I was in the hospital after an auto accident I was involved in.
  • my 9 year old granddaughter doesn't like being the middle child. It's partly b/c she has an active (aka messy) 4 year old sister whom she has to share a room with...and guess who has to clean it up? She's no slacker and will leave her mark though! Even though she has an older brother she does get some hand me downs from him.
  • my 7 year old grandson is the middle son and his creativity and individuality seem to be forgotten at times. The older boy is more likable and responsible, the younger one is very active and at a lovable/cute age. 

As a first born I have a totally different point of view and can not speak from experience. Are you a middle child? Do you have a middle child? What are your thoughts?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sputnikfest Photos

Contestants in the aluminum foil contest. These guys are from the BBC TV station, they filmed the event. I will have to find out when it will be aired so I can watch it. 
 Some the strange folks you see walking around. I want this $10 'hat'.

 My grandson's space ship creation. I had to tell him to put some of the large paper rolls back so some one else could use them. 
 My other grandson goofing around with a school friend. 
 As we approached the festivities a local new station was interviewing people. They asked if I had something to say........before I could get "..uh, no thanks..." out of my mouth 8 year old S said that he did. And he made it on the 6 o'clock news. He was sooooooo excited. The other grandparents taped it for him. He must have sounded good b/c they didn't show any of the other interviews on TV.
Told ya it was a 'wacky tacky' event. 
 Something fun and can you say DIFFERENT?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sputnikfest- Celebrating 50 Years

Do you know much about the Russian Sputnik IV satellite that was launched on May 15, 1960? I didn't until this week. After it launched the Russians lost contact with it because a bug in the guidance system had pointed the capsule in the wrong direction, so instead of dropping into the atmosphere the satellite moved into a higher orbit. It re-entered the atmosphere on September 5, 1962 and a piece landed in the middle of North 8th Street in Manitowoc WI, a small town in east central Wisconsin. There were several reports from local people seeing a red line/bright light falling through the sky in the early morning hours. The police officers who first came across the object thought it fell off a truck from a local foundry, they described the debris as similar to a large, flattened hubcap. They kicked it to the side of the road and only realized what they had found after they returned to the precinct and heard NASA and the Smithsonian were looking for a spaceship.

Purchase the poster that was done by a (former) local artist.

Families that lived in the neighborhood wanted to check their backyards to see if they could find anything, but they were NOT allowed in their yards until the FBI and CIA were finished with their investigation and cleared it.

The location of the debris' landing is right in front of an art museum....what a coincidence! They have a replica of the piece on display and this is the 5th year they will host Sputnikfest.

life size replica on display at the Rahr West art museum

It's billed  as a 'wacky tacky' celebration. One of the contests this year will be an Aluminum Foil Costume Contest. Entrants will be given an aluminum coat hanger and some aluminum foil and have to make a costume with those items only. There is also an Alien Pet Costume contest and a Miss Space Debris contest. ....and much, much more..... Wacky, eh?
Reader's Digest named it one of the 'Five Funkiest Festivals' in the country.
The TV game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" had a question about the Sputnik landing.

Last year was the first time I attended with my grandsons............and I'm gonna be there today too! I'll post photos later in the week.....just a warning.

More festivals lie ahead and I plan to get to as many as I can! I like autumn, but will drag summer on as long as I can.

Friday, September 7, 2012

the Friday 56/ The Litigators book review

It's Friday and time for Freda's Friday 56 
Link up with her blog
find a book
turn to page 56
post a sentence or 2, it's easy, peasy
p. 56  "Oh come on. I went to Harvard Law School. I'll work part time - 50 hours a week, half of what I've been doing. Get it? Part-time?"

When I saw this ebook available on Overdrive I knew I had to have it. I love John Grishman's books. It took me only a couple of days to read.

One morning, on the way to work at a very prestigious law firm, David looses it. After he gets off the elevator, he turns and bolts back inside and rides back down to the ground floor. He can't go home to his wife and just say he quit his high paying job. Dressed in an expensive suit he finds himself at Abner's bar that morning and drinks himself silly. Hours later he literally stumbles into the boutique law firm of Finley & Figg. It's an unlikely partnership between 3 men  that are very different. How the law firm manages to get any clients and stay in the black is amazing. It's a funny story and probably not very plausible, but a good read. I don't think it's as 'on the edge' as some of this other books, but I do recommend it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thinkin' 'bout Shoes

Do you buy used shoes?  I do. The past 2 weeks have been pretty good (bargain wise) for me. I like to have an extra pair of shoes and/or boots here for my grandson. The shoes he's wearing I might consider inappropriate for the day's activity, or it's time for a new pair, or he may get dirty. So I keep my eyes open at garage sales and thrift stores. Shoes have to be in very good condition and in the case of kids shoes, they must be washable. I'm a nut about washing things and once in a while I do ruin something.

The pair on top are Birkenstocks, yes, I know Stacey and Clinton (from TLC's What Not to Wear) think they are ugly, but with my wide feet I know they are comfortable. They were $3 and in much better shape than my present pair of brown sandals. You can't tell from this photo but these are in really good condition and not a sign of wear on the bottoms (some of mine have smooth spots).

The boys tan pair on the lower step are from Land's End, not new but there is plenty of life left in them for my grandson. They're a little big, but he's only going to grow, right? One of my grandsons obtained his sandals for the summer from me and were a garage sale find.  I don't like to pay a lot for water shoes b/c they are only worn occasionally....these may come in handy next summer for the beach. When I found the black/lime AVIA shoes at the thrift store I had to ask a teen age girl if they were boys or girls shoes. JACKPOT! She said boys! If need be they are good enough for school. The most expensive boys pair above was $2.00.

I also picked up a nice Packer (football) pullover sweatshirt, denim shorts, and (like new) sweater for grandson J. I am always looking for jeans for the grands too, but they are not easy to find. Sometimes it's hard to do, but when thrifting I am open to buying winter clothes in early June, Halloween costumes or snow pants in the middle of summer, and summer clothes in autumn. I only buy things that look a bit big b/c I know they'll grow into it. 

I see more and more people doing their school shopping at Goodwill and local thrift stores. Happy shopping!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It Doesn't Hurt to Ask/More Great Customer Service

I've been toying with the idea of stopping at Younkers (a subsidiary of BonTon) on my way home from from work and checking out the Clinique counter. If you purchase $23 (I think) of product you get some free small size items. I like to do it once in a while..........but should I spend the $ or not?......Tuesday after work I stopped and decided I didn't like or need what they were giving away so I decided to pass on it.

But There was a problem with a GAL purse I purchased there earlier this summer so I thought 'it doesn't hurt to ask'. The zipper pull on the main zipper on top of the bag pulled off. I've had this happen before on clothing and usually there is a small piece left that you can grab a hold of or attach something to....but not this time. I was left with a flat zipper...very hard to use. The sales associate brought the manager over and after some major digging on her part we solved the problem. You see, I didn't have the receipt, they did not have one like it in the store (only this red one), and it was on yellow dot clearance. I (kind of jokingly) said I'd just take an even trade for my defective gold purse and take the red instead. Come to find out they were both summer colors and even though the red was severely discounted she made an even trade. I came home with a new purse just like the one I had purchased. I like the red better than the gold.

When I got home I promptly filled out the online survey, that manager deserved a great report and got it from me. It pays to be nice when complaining. I wasn't really expecting anything but when she tried to get me a refund I ran with the idea and came out ahead of the game. Thank you Younkers!!!

Happy First Day of School

The view from my living room window.............lining up in front of the school sign for cute.    Love it!

Last year my daughter wrote "Happy 1st Day of School" in chalk on their driveway and used that for her photo!

I love those photos and think they are sooooooooo important!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer's Final Fling

This has been a very busy summer for me, I have done a lot with my grandsons. They were living in the same city as we are so it was easy. I got a pleasant surprise this afternoon when their other grandpa told me that he appreciated all the time I've spent with the boys this summer. Since I don't hear it from their mom it gave me a good feeling to hear it from her dad. 

Thursday afternoon we went to Barnes and Noble so they could each get the free book they earned for reading. While I was looking at a magazine I let them play games on the Nook color. B&N has tables set up just for children 12 and under so they can get acquainted with the technology. They've both used mine so knew what to do. The person at the help desk complimented me on their good behavior.........see mom & dad they can behave!

Friday night I watched all 3 of the boys (2, 7, 8) for several hours. Not exactly what I had in mind for a Friday after work................

Saturday morning I picked up the 2 older ones for Kites Over Lake Michigan, we go every year. This is the 7th year and I think I have gone every year. It just gets bigger and better every year. It's one of the largest kite festivals in the Midwest and attracts kitefliers from all over. I really look forward to it.

The weather was perfect, we arrived at the starting time, and the beach was PACKED!!! My SIL and her son met us there. Previously we've gone with husbands and my SS and other friends. Hubby and SS were working and SIL is estranged from her it was just the 2 of us and 3 boys. 

 ....and did they keep us busy................."help me get my kite up", "my string is tangled", "I'm hungry"....We really didn't get to see any of the festival kite events. Half jokingly I said that next year I am gong ALONE. But I'd miss the boys.......
grandson S is very serious about kite flying and even after 6 hours of being at the beach he was not ready to leave

the 3 cousins

Grandson J spent the night and S came over after lunch to fly kites at our place (actually at the school grounds across the street from us). It wasn't quite windy enough but he did manage to get the kite up for a little while. 

in spite of my warnings he did get it caught in the tree, but we got it free

We also took a break to relax under the tree.

MUCH to my surprise when hubby got home from work he wanted to go for a drive in the convertible and get something to to Culver's we went. It was a short, but nice date!
Tomorrow is mine!!! clean, do some reading, maybe can a few tomatoes............

Hope your last day of this final summer holiday is safe and just what you want it to be!!!!