Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Live Long and Be Healthy!

Yesterday, I went to the funeral of the mother of one of my friends (Nancy Anderson). She was 95, pretty healthy, and still had a sharp mind. She had a fall on Friday and broke her femur. On Saturday, Nancy and her sister spent the day with her. She was in pretty good spirits and ate too. They were there all day and left around 4 p.m. They even watched the Vanderbilt game together. Around 6, Nancy got a call that her mother's heart had stopped once and was "acting up" (my words---I don't remember exactly what she said). By the time she, her sister and brother got back to the hospital, she had already passed away. She died so peacefully. What a way to go.

Anyway, I was so impressed by how many people turned out for the funeral. All of her friends were already gone, so the people there were supporting their friends. That got me to thinking. I wonder how many people would come to my funeral. I've decided that maybe it's not too late to start lobbying for a big attendance. Why not? I've already selected the songs I want at my Mass. I have a folder in our file about what I want the family to do. I want them to have a big party about ME. Everyone needs to sit around and tell fun stories about me. Since I'm all about the story, wouldn't that be the best thing?

And for anyone that comes to my funeral, I plan to be watching from above and taking names. Plus, as added enticement, I'll see that you get extra blessings bestowed on you!!!

It's always sad when someone passes, but wouldn't it be great to live long and be healthy at the same time? That's what I'm aiming for!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Few Layouts

Here are a few layouts from my different groups.
 "Three Memories of St. Aloysius"
 "Photo Hunt"
 "Wearever" and "we need Xtra space"
 "Unbridled Enthusiasm" and "Vintage"
"Fall Findings"
"Goin' Green"

I have posted the AYM layouts on the AYM Blog.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Few Things

I got an email with this picture and thought it was so good. Now, I'm not sure which Dominican Sisters these are, but I love it anyway.
Connie and I went to see Into the Woods last week. The set was pretty neat. The story is about a bunch of fairy tale characters and how their stories intertwine. The music was just okay. I knew a couple of them because of the Broadway station on my satellite radio. We ended up leaving at intermission---which we rarely do. But, since we were leaving for the beach the next day, we were tired and ready to go.
I'm always talking about how my girls love jewelry---and especially the pieces I find for them. I couldn't resist this picture of Steph wearing the necklace I gave her for Christmas last year. She looks so cute---and this is after a long day at the office!
 I found these few things at a flea market in St. Louis a few weeks ago. Jeanne found the pink diaper pins and surprised me with them.
These darling little blue shoes are going to a special friend. Isn't it cute that they belonged to a little guy named Louis---and I bought them in St. Louis? 

Speaking of St. Louis, I'm watching the World Series. I don't follow baseball at all unless the Cardinals are in the series. Then I love it. But I have to admit, it's nerve wracking. I think that's how Butch and all my friends feel about football. 
Here's the thing. I played softball for 11 years when I was a kid---and loved it---third base was my position. It seemed so simple then. Watching the baseball game today makes me realize how much things have changed. Now they can measure the speed of the pitched ball. I had no idea how many different types of pitchers there were. On Friday night, I witnessed a pitcher that is called a "ground ball enducing specialist." Tonight, there's a pitcher called a "double play specialist." I guess in today's terms, I was a "third base specialist." Somehow, that does sound more important than just, "I played third base."
While watching the ball game on Friday night, we had our first fire of the season. And yes, those horrible bugs are still in the wood. Plus, the wood smelled funny---and even clogged me up. That's unusual for me. Maybe some animal peed on it. We had another fire on Saturday night, but that one didn't smell.
 Mindy went to Charlotte for the weekend to surprise her nieces and nephew. She got there on Friday night. They went to a Renassaince (sp---it's times like this when you have to know how to spell the word to look it up!) festival on Saturday.
 Saturday night was Mitchell's homecoming. This is his friend and date, Veronica. Don't they kind of look like Archie and Veronica?
 Looking quite snappy in his bow tie! I love pink on men!
Eight couples met before the dance for photos. They all went to dinner together and a party after the dance. Sandy says that having a boy getting ready for a dance is so much different than a girl. A girl will have primped all day---getting her hair and nails done. She'll have all new clothes, shoes and purse. For a boy, Sandy said that she and her friends have compared notes. They don't think they need anything new. They lay around on the couch watching football all afternoon. Then about a half hour before they have to leave they say, well, I guess I'll get ready now. We are having so much fun with this "boy" in our family that's always been full of girls! 
Mindy's trip culminates tonight with the biggest surprise of all. She got Victoria and Elizabeth (and herself and Sandy) 3rd row seats for Selena Gomez. Big Time Rush is opening. She knew they would love it. Mindy constantly competes for "best aunt of the year." What she doesn't realize is that nobody is competing against her! 

That about wraps it up for now. I'm going to get back to my game now. 1 - 1 at the top of the 6th. Go Cards!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beach Wrap-Up

We got home yesterday. I was so exhausted from doing nothing that I went to bed at 9:30 and slept until 6:30!!

Here are the photos that I wanted to share with you.
 Connie's place is beautiful. I should have taken the pictures before we "junked" it up.
We spent a lot of time stitching and watching tv in the living room.

 I took this picture of the girls from the balcony right before I went down to join them. The ocean is so calm.
 After lunch, Connie got out the raft and floated. I was going to do it, but you have to keep paddling yourself back. I decided that was too much work!
Connie (on the left) took us to dinner at Coastal Seafood. It was delicious. I don't remember what everyone else got, but Nancy (on the right) and I got the pecan crusted grouper. I love fresh grouper.
Karolyn and Pam got cosmos.
On our last day, we saw dozens of dolphins. I tried so hard to get a picture of them jumping, but they are just too fast for me. Really, the 3 you see here are just a few of the many that were there. It was so much fun to watch. Connie said it best---we saw more wild life at the beach than we did all through Alaska!!
When we got home, my plan was to watch the first World Series game between the Cardinals and the Red Sox. My sister sent me this t-shirt from the Cardinals win last week. It helped to ease the pain of that ugly game last night!!

Butch is in Santa Rosa and sent me these pictures.
 We saw a similar sunset at Connie's. It almost looks like ice! I think the reason sunrises and sunsets are so gorgeous at the beach is because there is nothing to interfere with the view.
This morning, while Butch was strolling on the beach, he got a shot of this sting-ray.

Tonight, I'll be watching game 2 of the World Series. Go Cards!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wassup? And a Recipe Share

Outside my window: It's a grey and rainy day at the beach. Still, the dolphins have flipped by.

I am thinking: That I hate days like this. It's the last day of our trip---which is depressing.

I am thankful for: Good friends who are such fun to be with. Everyone pitches in---making for such an easy vacation.

From the kitchen: I pre-planned my food for the beach. I made chocolate chip cookies and an oatmeal cake before I left. For my lunch, I made a nicoise salad. I love big salads. I made an appetizer down here. They are always a hit.

Blue Cheese Crisps
1 loaf of French bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 oz. blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Slice French bread in to 1/4" pieces and place on baking sheet. Toast at 350 for 5 minutes (my bread was really soft, so I baked it for 10 minutes). Remove from oven and flip over. Combine remaining ingredients and spread on toasts. Bake 5-10 minutes until melted. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. They'll be soft, but still good.

I am wearing: Lounge around clothes: Titans t-shirt, capris, slippers, hoodie---and a big smile!

I am hoping: That our trip home is uneventful and as quick as it can be---probably not much shorter than 9 hours.

I am reading: The Chaperone. I just finished For the King's Favor---very good. I love historical fiction. I haven't actually started The Chaperone but plan to this afternoon. I have plenty of time since our book club doesn't meet until November.

I am busy creating: Not really creating anything. I am stitching---I brought the "gusset" to the needlepoint star tree topper that I'm making.

 I'm bummed: That my photos won't transfer from my phone to iPhoto via the cloud while I'm out-of-town. That one of my favorite things about my phone. I should have brought my regular camera.

I am hearing: "You Don't Own Me" on Pandora. Everyone is reading.

Around the house and garden: I don't know what's going on at home.

In other news: We've been playing cards. Last night, we played "99" until it was time for dinner. I won a dollar. Nancy was the "big" winner at $5.00.

One of my favorite things right now: I planned a "favorite things" swap for our trip. It has been so much fun to see what $5.00 items each person came up with. Nancy, assorted notepads and her favorite pen---Pilot precise B-5 rolling ball; Pam, a tube of Gold Bond body lotion; Karolyn, candles in beautiful lotus candle holders---we really "scored" with hers. They messed up on her order and were willing to do anything to make her happy. So, that's why we got something worth way more than $5.00; Connie gave us the specialty issue of Entertainment Weekly that has the "100 All-Time Greatest Movies, TV Shows and Novels." She went through quite a lot to get enough since it came out in July. Finding it months later was a trick! As for me, I gave everyone an envelope of pumpkin spice potpourri. You can put it in a bowl, simmer it on the stove or put it in your vacuum bag. I gave them the little raven Halloween decorations that I made, to go with it.

 I appreciate: Connie's beautiful beach condo and the fact that we get to enjoy it!

I regret: that it's almost time to go home. We could definitely stay a few more days---which, Connie offered. But she has to go back to work and it wouldn't be as much fun without her.

How the weekend is shaping up: I have to do my layouts for AYM. Plus, we're having a family brunch on Sunday. Looking forward to that!

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Hate the Beach!

Really! I like going to it---but not "on" it. I love looking at the ocean, but I'm good from the balcony. Seriously, I cannot deal with the sand!

We are having the most fabulous time. Jack and Connie's place is really nice. Plenty of room and a great balcony with comfortable chairs from which to observe the ocean and beach. We've seen lots of dolphins, flying fish, crabs, assorted birds---including some geese flying in formation. I do love wildlife.

We've relaxed, watched a movie---The Bad Seed---old black and white (it goes along with our book club book this month---Defending Jacob). We've had great sea food and enjoyed the hot tub. We've stitched while others worked a jigsaw puzzle and we've done a lot of "READING" (double entendre intended). We played "fan tan" last night and I won $5.50. Instead of playing for pennies, we "upped" it to nickels. Connie had prizes, so I got the first one. I took pictures of the place and my prize, but my photos are not syncing with the cloud here. That happens when I travel. I have to wait until I get home for them to sync with my iPhoto.

Anyway, I took a couple of shots of the girls on the beach before I went down for my obligatory hour---just to prove I'm a good sport. The flies were biting terribly, so I waded a bit in the ocean. That was very nice and refreshing---not cold. Plus, the ocean is so calm here. I thought about floating on a raft, but Connie said that I really wouldn't stay in one place. If I have to keep "swimming" my way back, then that's not really relaxing.

Considering the weather was supposed to be horrible the whole time, it's been pretty nice. Weather conditions don't really bother me anyway. I have fun wherever I go. It is gorgeous today, but when we came in for lunch, I knew I would not be going back. I've already gotten cleaned up and ridded myself of that sand that gets in every nook and cranny!! I'm preparing to settle in with my book. I really want to finish it today.

Having such a good time---wish you were here....

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thank God for OnStar!!

My friends and I headed off for the beach yesterday. All was going smoothly---rush hour through Birmingham moved pretty quickly. We should have known that when our food stop wasn't all that great, we were "in" for it. We stopped at Taco Bell. Pam and I got the taco salad. It wasn't all that good. The shells seemed "off." I hadn't been there in ages, so was disappointed.

We stopped for gas about 5 hours in to our trip. As I was handling the pump, Pam went in to use the restroom. I decided to take advantage of the bathroom too. When I went to get the keys out of the ignition, I discovered that the door was locked. OMG! Pam had accidentally hit the lock button. When she came out and I told her what happened, she said she heard a little sound, but didn't know what it was. My car alerts you to the fact that you've locked the door with the keys in the ignition before you close the door. It's saved me a few times. Luckily, I have OnStar. They saved the day!! It's magical to me that you can just make a phone call and they can unlock your doors. Of course, I had to listen to a very long commercial about how I'd won a trip the Bahamas before getting to an agent. Really, we were back on the road within 15 minutes. Not much of a delay.

After that, I should have known better than to let Pam take over the wheel. The deer were plentiful and very close to the road. None darted out, so we were okay. But she did hit a big hunk of wood. She said she thought it was an animal. I said that it wouldn't have been such a loud and hard thump if it had been a creature.

With about an hour left of our trip, OnStar came through again. Following their directions, we came to a rather old, small country road. Even though it looked "iffy"---we continued down it. It dead-ended into a pretty nice road, but the guidance said to continue straight ahead. We had to make a guess, so we went left. Our guidance never changed or gave us any indication that we were going the wrong way. Soooo, I called OnStar again to see if we were going the right way. We were. OnStar to the rescue again.

But then, when we were finally only 10 minutes away, OnStar let me down. We saw the sign for Mexico Beach which said we needed to turn right. Our navigation said to go left. We went with that. It was wrong. It told us we had arrived at our destination in the middle of no where. Kind of reminded me of that big story on 20/20 or 60 Minutes about the people who wound up in life threatening situations because their gps had lead them astray. Since it was midnight, I wondered...

We went a little further and saw a hotel. I went in and asked for directions. We, indeed, should have turned right towards Mexico beach. Our other friends who don't understand the meaning of traveling together, had already arrived. They kept calling us. We finally made it.

I love OnStar. I've always had complete faith in it. But now I'm not so sure. Still, I don't think I want to travel without it. It's so nice to have a friendly voice answer any question. Even if they lead you in the wrong direction once in awhile!! I'm still going to thank God for OnStar---otherwise, we'd still be somewhere in Georgia trying to figure out what to do with a locked car.

Gone Again

By the time you read this, I will be at the beach with my friends. I know, I know, I have a tough life.

For our trip, I planned a little activity---a favorite thing swap. I got the idea from Amanda (Connie's daughter). They do it a little differently, but I'm going to tell you what we did.

There are five of us going to the beach. I had each person purchase 5 of their favorite things that cost $5.00 each. It's been fun hunting for just the right thing. We're going to have happy hour on Saturday night and reveal our favorite things. I'll be sure to share them here.

 I made these little treats to go along with my favorite thing.
It's just a little Halloween decoration. I covered some small (empty) boxes with scrapbook paper. I glued the little black crows on top of some old wooden spools. It fits nicely on the windowsill.

Our plans for the next 5 days?---Stitch, read, play games, watch movies and eat. Is there anything better than doing all of that with friends? We're just sorry that Susan had to cancel at the last minute.

My next post will be from the beach.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Few More Layouts and a Recipe Share

 "the Dish" is about my  private tour and the different china and dishes on the ship during our Mediterranean cruise.
 "Motorboatin'" is about our pontoon boat rental last year and the fun we had.
When I use stickers for titles, I like to outline them to give them some depth.
 "smitten with britain" is the layout about Morgan's trip to theUK. It will go in to her album.
I printed this picture out in an 8x10. There was so much grass in the photo, that I used the space to add another picture and the journaling.
 "Steeplechase" commemorates our family day at the races this year.
 On this layout, I journaled all around the picture block.
For a decorative element, I punched squares of patterned papers and rounded the corners. I used washi tape to lay them down.
 "You...won't believe this" is about mine and Connie's escapades. "Zachar...Hebrew for remember" is about a girl's trip in 1990.
 "Making Aprons" is about the aprons we made prior to our family vacation.
 "Grandparent's Day" was a fun layout to make. I love the color combination of aqua and red. I journaled with a red pen.
I hand-stitched the title. I had an alphabet template that I used to make a template for this page. An easy way to do it is to print a title out on your computer. Lay it down and punch holes for the stitching. I used the sewing machine to stitch on top of the quilt star punches.
 "Television 1950 to 2012" shows a few pictures that have televisions in them. I journaled about what television was like in the early years.
 "The Graduate" pretty much covers her graduation and party.
I used that same quilt punch and added buttons this time to make a couple of embellishment areas.

And that covers all the layouts I made last week. It was so much fun.

I made this new recipe---so easy and quick. I love dishes like that.

Spicy Chicken Mac
1-10 oz. can of tomatoes and green chilies, diced (Rotel)---I used the original
1 1/3 cup water
2-6 oz. packages of cooked southwest chicken strips
1-12 oz. package of Velveeta macaroni shells and cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Chop chicken in to a bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet, add macaroni, chicken, tomatoes and water. Mix well. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 9 to 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Remove from heat and stir in cheese sauce from mac and cheese package and sour cream until well blended. Top with shredded cheese.

I served this with refried beans and Jiffy cornbread. Really good.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Golf Weekend

We've managed to figure out how to have the guys for only one night on our golf weekend! We planned it on their poker weekend. So, they stayed in town and played golf on Friday, played poker Friday night, played golf on Saturday and didn't come out to the farm until Saturday afternoon. Works for us!! Only kidding.
Bruce, Hugh, Butch. We had a taste test as soon as they arrived. I wanted to know if you could really tell the difference between the expensive Grey Goose vodka and the cheap stuff. We pretty much proved that you can't. Of course, there was some debate about whether the test was done properly. Karolyn had made mini vodka tonics. The guys said the lime over-powered the taste. Bruce and I guessed correctly, but honestly, I thought they both tasted about the same.

We like having them around, but it does throw a serious kink in to our scrapbook time. I had decided that I was going to stay up late. After everyone went to bed, it was just Bruce, Karolyn and I. He went out to see if he could "hunt" one of the pesky armadillos that have been tearing up their landscaping. We were surprised when he knocked on the back door with this.
Armadillos are nasty. They have migrated here from Texas. We want them to go back.

Speaking of nature, Butch texted this picture to me on Friday morning. We've had the turkey coming around for several years now. I always thought it was just a mix of male and females. But, boy was I wrong. Apparently, they have ALL been females. I'm not sure how that can be as we've had so many. But when he sent me this, I knew it was true.
For the first time, we had a big ol' tom---fully fanned out with the big red thing hanging down (is that the gobble part?) I know that gobble is the sound they make, but I have no idea what you call that red thing.

Back to our scrapbooking. We accomplished a lot. I got 16 layouts done and will share them over the next few days. We girls left on Tuesday. Getting away to scrapbook is when we all get the most done. I've been planning to do some of these pages for quite awhile.
 I've actually put these pages together backwards. The right side is supposed to be on the left, but it works this way too.
Here is a close up of the technique I taught the St. Louis girls. I taught it to Pam and Karolyn too. Karolyn came up with the idea to stitch between the pattern strips.
 "Christmas Cooking" is about all the food prep that's done for the holidays----from cookie making to our Christmas meal. A lot of food, time and effort goes in to the preparations.
 I don't use stickers on my layouts very much. But when I do, I love to stack them up like this to make a journaling block.
I stitched around the outside of the page and stacked up some embellishments.
When I first had the photos printed, they didn't turn out as I'd hoped. Half the doors were cut off. I re-sized them and printed them at home. But what to do with the "boo boo" pictures? Cut the title out of them, of course.
I love the look of a title cut from photos. I traced around them with a blue pen to help them stand out against the white.
 Since there was no patterned paper on this page, I made a couple of squares the same size as the photos. I layered them with washi tape and added a flower.
 "Is She Ten" is the layout I made from a previous blog post.
 I stitched the title and added a little to the butterfly.
I didn't want to over-do the stitching. I added just a little here and there next to the buttons.
"holiday Happy Hour" is about our Christmas happy hour that the Lapps family were able to attend. Catching up from the week is a great way to re-connect with each other. Whoever can come, comes. At Christmas, the whole family was here. We celebrated Jordan's birthday after with cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries and fudge pie with peppermint ice cream for dessert. After, we had an activity as seen below.
 "Another Competition" tells the story of our little craft project that turned into a contest.
 I made two layouts very similar since they are going in to the girls albums.
I did some hand stitching for added interest.

I'll share the rest of the layouts tomorrow.