Thursday, May 31, 2012

Les Miserables

Everyone knows that I have been excited about my all time favorite show being made in to a movie. I just can't wait. I'm really happy with the cast---although I would have loved to see Lea Michelle play Eponine. 

Anyway, Mindy shared this trailer with me and I just had to share it here. I had no idea that Anne Hathaway could sing. Maybe not quite as good as the original voice, or even Susan Boyle, but still good.

One thing is for sure. When it comes out, I plan to make it an event. After all the producer that did The King's Speech is doing it. It's bound to be great! I just can't wait!

Off to Kalamazoo on Friday. I'll update you from the Lapps House.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Holiday

This is what I did over the holiday weekend. Believe it or not, I spent about 7 hours putting pages in to books. I had about 100 layouts. As you know, I have about a dozen scrapbooks going at once. That way, I can scrapbook whatever I want whenever I want. Luckily for me, I had a good selection of title and end pages already made. That is usually the hold up when I put books together. I also label each book with either a tag or rub-ons so you can identify each one easily. And, I make a table of contents in each book. That way, if I'm looking for a particular layout for a class, I can find it easily. I am also sure to sign and date each book in the back.

I still have 2 books left to put together, but since they are ancestral books, I want to use black pages which I didn't have on hand. It's hard to believe that it takes that long to just put pages in books.

Introducing Evelyn Margaret Gilsinn---the new baby of my niece, Jackie. What a cutie! I love her old-fashioned name. They plan to call her Evie (like Stevie without the st).
Saw this sign recently and thought it was a good one!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Party

Our family swim party and barbecue has been planned for a week. This family always wants a schedule of events. Here it is:
10 a.m.---Steph and Mindy do the title page for they AYM albums.
11 a.m.---Everyone else arrives---Nicky, Morgan, Jordan and Spencer---pool time.
1 p.m.---bocce tournament (I wanted washers, but was overruled).
3 p.m.---barbecue---teriyaki chicken, salad, corn on the cob, zucchini and cherry cheese trifle (recipe below).
4-6---poker game

Friday at "Happy Hour" which started at 3 p.m. because the girls got off early---we discussed the schedule. The girls were complaining that I only scheduled 2 hours for poker. I said, "for crying out loud. It's an 8 hour party as is. We can play longer if everyone wants to."

As it turned out, there was no poker game at all. Apparently, a 6 hour party is long enough!! They all left by 4. That was okay with us. We were able to go to Mass tonight. Now Sunday is completely open!

Hope you all are having a good holiday weekend too.

Here are a few pictures from the day:
They made up some sort of crazy football game last year. They all seem to love playing it.
 Jordan and Spencer lounging and watching the game.
 Morgan and Stephanie
 Stephanie, Nicky and Morgan
 Mindy is the referee and score keeper.
 Butch is in the back. He got in the poll last weekend too. That's a record---two weeks in a row.
The bocce game. The family makes fun at the way I say it, but I'm Italian and grew up hearing it. I say it 
 These are the two winning teams playing for the money---$16.00. This family likes to have a little bet riding on just about every game we play. Makes it a little more fun. I suggested instead of money, the winners could be excused from kitchen and pool clean-up. They still wanted the money. $2.00 each doesn't break anybody. We always keep the wagers friendly.


 Stephanie and Morgan ended up being the winners.
 The losing teams.
 I was a loser too.

I finished 50 Shades of Grey. I wouldn't recommend it. I actually got bored with it. I will say the marketing for this book has been genius. The book just ends---nothing is resolved---forcing you to get the 2nd and probably the 3rd books. I'm not going to waste my time. I'll find someone who's read them all and find out how it turned out.

Our family book club is reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I think I'm going to read it closer to our vacation. If I read it too far ahead, I won't remember anything.

My regular book club meets on Tuesday. I don't know yet what we'll be reading. I'll start on one of them. We always have two books because we only meet every other month.

And now for the recipe:
Cherry Cheese Trifle*
1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1-12 oz. container of Cool Whip
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1-13 oz. prepared angel food cake
2-21 oz. cans cherry pie filling
Garnish: sliced almonds

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Stir one half of the Cool Whip and almond extract. Set aside.

Tear angel food cake in 1-inch pieces. Place half in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Spoon half the cream mixture over the cake. Top with one can of the pie filling. Repeat layers. Spread remaining Cool Whip on top to the edges. Garnish with the almonds.

*I used light or fat free everything and it was still delicious.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Mindy got a promotion at HCA. She's going to be traveling more---I'm sad about that---but it's an opportunity that she can't pass up. She'll be on the road every week---Monday to Thursday and work from home on Fridays. We're proud of her---she's definitely a hard worker.

My niece, Jackie just had her new baby. They wanted to be surprised (I love that---the old-fashioned way.) She had a little girl, Evelyn Margaret. I like the old-fashioned name too. I don't know what they plan to call her.

My other niece, Angie had her baby boy, Travis (I've already forgotten his middle name) in April. I got to see him when he was just a few days old on my last trip to St. Louis. The next generation gets to grow up together! Love that too.

I just heard the most asinine thing on our news. One of the local elementary school has a bat infestation---so bad that a teacher has been bitten and they had to close school. Here's the stupid part: it's against the law to disturb the bats while they are nesting. Putting kids at risk doesn't seem to be a problem. They say that this school has been infested with bats for many, many years. How stupid. It seems like a no brainer to me.

I finished my "Making the Most of My Memories" Workshop today. Sometimes I feel like what I do is trivial and frivolous, but then I get something like this:

"Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the photo organizing class.  I kept contemplating before the start whether to justify the expense or not...but knowing I needed to organize my STUFF, thought that I would stick to it so as not to waste the $50!  The class turned out to be so much more than i had anticipated and well worth the money!  I'm excited about scrapbooking again, not as overwhelmed with the amount of photos, and looking forward to the future AYM classes.  Thanks again for the class.  I would highly recommend it to anyone!! :)"

My little neighbor he/she that visits every morning. I've noticed a distinct reduction in our squirrel population. Butch and I were just saying we can't recall the last time we saw one. Amazing---just one cat equals zero squirrels. Hmmm, sounds like the page title for TSRCC! Actually I already have a really good idea for that. I just might have to do 2 layouts this month.

I'm not sure if I posted a picture of the latest addition to my garden----they are Endless Summer hydrangeas. They are supposed to bloom all summer. They are gorgeous---going from cream and green to pink.

50 Shades of Grey update:
I have about 125 pages left and have to say, I'm a little bored with it. The writing is amateurish, but the author is laughing all the way to the bank. On GMA this morning, they said that this book has already out-sold the Twilight series AND The Hunger Game series. Unbelievable. All I've got to say is: I was spanked plenty as a kid---I sure as heck don't want to be spanked as an adult. I don't get it, but to each his own. I don't know if I'll bother reading the other two, but Sandy said that it stops abruptly---just about forcing you to read the others to find out what happens. I'm waiting for the message, but there hasn't been one yet. Would I recommend it? Only if you consider yourself well-read and want to be "in the know" of what all the hubbub is all about. I think it's a generation of gals in their 30's that perhaps are not big readers that have caused this hype. I can think of many better books for sure.

I guess that's it for now.

Monday, May 21, 2012

In Memory...

Robin Gibbs

The Bee Gees

How can you not love the Bee Gees (Jeanne)???

I've posted the AYM layouts on the AYM blog.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Little of This and a Little of That

In this politically incorrect world, I'm so happy that our pastor has some sense. Today is our Church family picnic. Although we don't intend to go, one of our priests showed from the altar, the huge, battery operated super soakers that he and Father Dexter would be sporting. He encouraged all the kids to bring their squirt guns.

Guns of any kind are a real "no no" these days. Mindy had a friend that got expelled from his exclusive boy's school for having a squirt gun. I even made the comment recently that Butch is so happy to have the next generation enjoying our old Nintendo (that would be because we don't own any other gaming system). But I wonder if they even sell "duck hunt" now-a-days. I remember the first time I saw Elizabeth with the "gun" I worried that her parents might be upset. Then I thought, "what the heck---it's just fun." I think kids know the difference between a real gun and a plastic one---or a super soaker, for that matter.

Bought myself a new pair of running shoes although I don't intend to run. They're actually cross trainers. Besides Curves, I'm getting back to the dreaded tread mill. I'm doing that at 5 a.m. before meeting the girls at Curves at 6. It can only be good for me. Getting it out of the way in the early morning is the only way to go for me.
St. Dominic's courtyard at St. Cecilia Academy makes me happy every time I see it.
This is the view once you enter the courtyard. I designed this by myself. It was such a large project that I was nervous. So, I called the director of our botanical gardens at Cheekwood and asked him if he would meet with me and look over my plan. I wasn't a professional (and am still not), just an eager master gardener graduate at the time. When I met with Bob Brackmann, he said my plan was "really good---did I want a job?" Of course, when ever I get offered a job, my standard response is, "no thanks, I don't want to work that hard."
When Butch and I chaired the capital campaign for the new wing, I knew we would designate our dollars  for the naming rights to the garden.
When it came time to buy the plants and trees, I drug Sister Mary Elizabeth with me to Home Depot. I was told that they didn't donate to anyone. I'm not afraid to ask anyone for anything, but wanted sister there because no one can turn down a nun---especially in full habit (sorry, I couldn't find a picture of her). She was the principal at the time. I told her I would do all the talking. I asked to speak to the store manager. He didn't hesitate when I asked for a dozen trees and plants. Sister said, "oh bless you sir." I knew it was in the bag then. I drove it home with, "and can you throw in the delivery?" It was my finest moment---after the planting, of course. I enlisted the help of a few SCA alumns that were in my garden club. Everything is so big now compared to when we first started out. Satisfying indeed.
Our family juggler. Mindy taught herself to juggle in 2010---it was her New Year's resolution. Strange but true.

Mindy's fascinator we made for Steeplechase. I guess that's about the third one I've made for her. She has a whole shelf in her closet for them. I just told her that from now on, if she wants my help, it has to be in the morning. I'm just not a night person. The thought of tackling a project at 7 p.m. just makes me tired. She always waits until the last minute.

My recent antique store finds---just the little potty and the pin. The "big" potty I already had. How many potties do you need? The "big" one is going to someone else I know with a pink scrapbook room. I put the penny there so you could get an idea of the size.
Our new "made in America" Whirlpool refrigerator. Butch did the research. This one had the highest consumer rating. One thing I didn't like right off is that if you only open the left side, when you close it, the right side pops open just a little. When I told Butch about it, he said that's why there's an alarm on it. If it's open for too long, it signals you to shut the door. Actually, I'm already in the habit of making sure it's shut. I was worried about other people not shutting it. Hence the alarm. Good idea Whirlpool!
 This is about all we'll keep in the freezer since we have a big freezer in the mud room: ice cream, extra ice, coffee, frozen mugs and our ice packs. Butch put a loaf of bread in also, but that's not such a good idea. Cool Whip is okay, it's not "real" anything anyway.
 I wanted this style for more interior refrigerator space. As it turns out, I think it's about the same as our old side by side. Habitat for Humanity was happy to get the old one.
If you are an oatmeal lover, you have to try steel cut oats. They are the best. We're all hooked on them.
 They are grainier than regular oatmeal. If you like nuts and seeds in your breads, then you will like the texture of this oatmeal.

I am such an impulse buyer at the grocery store (anywhere, really). This week, on my way to check out, I chose the pet food aisle since I knew I wouldn't be tempted to get anything from there. Seems there is more on the pet food aisle than I realized. I found this cording there. I'm always on the lookout for things in bulk for my classes. 500 ft. sounds just about right!!

It may be a few days before I post again. I've said all I have to say for now....

Friday, May 18, 2012

Clean out your car day Friday

This is mainly for Mindy, but for anyone else that needs help in this area, check out the Fly Lady's recommendations here:
Clean out the car Friday

I've mentioned the wildlife in our backyard before---it's like Snow White's meadow---birds chirping and animals frolicking. We've seen, rabbits (lots of them), squirrels (we have tons), birds of every variety including owls, gold finches, chickadees, bluebirds, humming birds, assorted wood peckers and the renowned blue heron (you can read that post here: You Can't Make This Stuff Up! We think he was back this year for another snack from out pond.) We've had mice, moles, voles, chipmunks, lizards, frogs, skunks, opossums, woodchucks and raccoons (one of which strolled across the patio last December on the day of Mindy's birthday party). There have been coyotes, deer, foxes (a red-tailed one when my cousins Chrissy and Judy were visiting) and our regular family of turkeys. We haven't seen the turkeys this year, so I don't know if they are gone or not. But, a couple nights ago, Butch and I were sitting on the front porch when a fox came through the yard. The only reason I'm mentioning it is because it's been quite a few years since we've seen one. Then yesterday morning on my way to Curves, I saw another one. I'm beginning to think they may be over-populated. What eats foxes? That's what will come along next. Perhaps wolves?

There was another pretty "cool" animal in the neighborhood a couple years ago that everyone was up in arms about. They were afraid for their pets. I'll have to ask Butch to refresh my memory as to what that was.

Personally, for a person that doesn't really like animals, I have to say, I love all the wildlife activity here---until they move in that is---like the opossum family a few years ago that lived under the house. Critter Ridder took care of them by re-locating them to the "country." Hopefully, my kitty cat friend next door will help keep some of the little annoying things away. But anytime the "big" things want to stroll through, that's okay with me. It's like going to the zoo without leaving home!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garden Tour

A few days ago, I toured my friend, Karolyn's garden. I invited myself and then forgot about our date. When she called, I couldn't believe it. How embarrassing. I went over right then. Luckily she didn't mind that I was late.
 This is the main reason I invited myself. This is her climbing white hydrangea---it's only 7 years old and just about covers the entire wall of the garage.
 This is a close-up of the blooms. Very interesting. They are also deliciously fragrant.
Here's my climbing white hydrangea that is 15 years old and has never bloomed. I don't know why. I guess if it grew like Karolyn's it would be covering the windows. I just have to be satisfied with the foliage.
A variety of yellow day lilies---not Stella d'Oro---she has those out front and they are more gold. These are a real pretty lemon yellow.
Fountain surrounded by knock-out roses.

 Arbor looking on to the patio. 
These are some onions that she has growing along the driveway next to the garage. They are sort of curly and really add interest. She actually uses them in cooking.
 This is the last bloom on the honeysuckle or maybe the first.
 Tiger lilies

 Her oak-leaf hydrangeas are gorgeous too. Usually, I'm not too crazy about these because the foliage can be ugly. The foliage on these is very healthy.
 Scabiosa---pincushion flower. Karolyn said it bloomed all winter due to the mild weather.

 Stella d'Oro daylilies.
 Magnolia---I've forgotten the variety.

After the tour, we sat on the porch with a glass of wine, fruit and cheese and gabbed for awhile. I love gardens. I'm a pretty passionate person anyway, but gardens really move me. I've been known to shed a tear or two there.