If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Major Cleanout!

My mother-in-law has come to the decision that she cannot take care of her 5 bedroom house which sets on several acres and listed it with a realtor and sold it.  She is moving into our basement.  So, our fully furnished two bedroom, 1 bath, kitchen, den, and storage area with lots of items stored in it basement has been getting lots of attention lately.  

It was being used as a canning space in the summer and a sausage making space in the  winter.  Did I mention that it is fully furnished?  Did I mention that we have stored lots in it?

So, during the last week of March - my spring break - I spent the days cleaning out and tagging items for a yard sale.  Bridgette and Luci came and helped me out on Wednesday for a while.  Then, on Thursday evening they returned to spend the night and had Lillie along as well.  We did a wee bit of gathering and organizing before trouping off to bed.  

Then, we rose bright and early on Good Friday and hauled all our wares out onto the concrete pad outside the basement door.  We had linens, infant swings, pillows, baskets, pots and pans, chairs, stools, lamps, and LOADS more!  Did I mention that our basement is fully furnished?  Did I mention that we have stored lots in it?

It was a cold, misty, messy morning but by about noon we had sunshine and several shoppers.  I posted ads on the local Facebook info and want ads page.  Some of the treasures left with our shoppers.  Generally, if a shopper bought something, they took a load.  The armoire, the exercise bicycle, both recliners, the stroller, a few sheet sets, some kitchen wares, a baby swing, and more found new homes.

At the end of the day, there was still a trailer load.  I know because Mike, Bridgette, Lillie, and I loaded it all onto the trailer.  Did I mention that our basement is fully furnished?  Did I mention that we have stored lots in it?  Bridgette, Lillie, and I pulled the trailer down to the local Goodwill donation center and helped them to unload it before they loaded their duds and headed back home.

I was glad to go back to work on Monday so that I could get a break from so much hard manual labor that I've grown unaccustomed to doing!  I am still weary but am working through the rest of the stuff down there bit by bit.  Today I tackled a corner of my sewing room.  Tomorrow will find me tackling another one - if I am able!  

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Getting Ready for a Family Gathering

Mike and I have spent the day getting ready for a family gathering.  He went out to cut grass.  After a couple of trips around the perimeter of the drive, I got a phone call.  He was stuck.  So, out to the barn I went to get the ATV and a chain to pull him out of the mud.  Yes, it is wet and muddy from all the rain we've been getting. 

While I was out, I stopped under the oak trees in our front yard and picked up the dead limbs that had fallen into the yard.  So, after cutting the yard, Mike took the limbs and dumped them into a gully at the back side of the farm.  Then, he came into the house and scattered some grass and mud around the freshly vacuumed kitchen and ate a little lunch.  Next, he went out and cut the grass along the roadway and fence in front of our front field before doing a little work in his new greenhouse.

In the meantime, I ran the vacuum in the den and started the indoor prep process.  First, I set the table.  I kept it simple since I've done some shifting and am recovering from the beginning of the basement cleanout and recent yard sale.  I dug out a monogrammed burlap table runner, topped it with a Longaberger napkin basket filled with green shreds, a Longaberger bunny, and some ceramic eggs I painted when the children were tots flanked by a couple of blue and white eggs.  I added white plates, blue glasses, blue print napkins monogrammed with a spring-green O, and silver napkin rings.  It seems especially cheerful with the afternoon sunlight streaming through the windows.  I'll try to take a bit better photos later.

Then, I did a bit of shifting and shuffling.  With the changes coming to our household, I thought it would be a good time to see how some moving round would work.  So, I turned our island around where the drawers are facing the oven instead of the sink.  I like facing the person I'm dining with and this allows the small drop-leaf table to provide that opportunity.  So, Mike and I will be giving this a trial period. 

After a bit of fun shuffling, I decided I'd better get to work on prepping for our Easter feast.  I saw a cute recipe for Bunny Bark and decided to give it a try, thinking that the grands would really enjoy it. 

This turned out to be a Pinterest success!  It was super easy to assemble and turned out really cute. 

I should have bought more of the candy melt because I probably had enough supplies to make a couple more batches.  Instead, I guess it will be Bunny Trail Mix!

I prepared the hash brown casserole, the squash casserole, the fruit salad, the deviled eggs, the pimento cheese-stuffed celery, and the rolls.  I also stirred up some Tennessee Caviar and another dip for snacks later in the afternoon.  So, tomorrow's prep should be fairly simple.  Ham, green beans, mac and cheese, and maybe a tossed salad is all I'll have to make tomorrow as well as heat everything to be ready for lunch.  Yay for simplicity!

Hope your Easter Sunday is blessed and memorable!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring Break and I need a break!

This was spring break for me.  I had the entire week off from school.  I'm looking forward to going back to work! 

I spent the week working on cleaning out our basement.  My mother-in-law is coming to live in the apartment we have in our basement soon.  So, we have to clean all our stuff out of there to make room for her and hers.  Mike is giving up his sausage-making area.  I am giving up my sewing/craft room.  We are giving up the space where our recumbent bicycle and treadmill sit silently - the area called the downstairs den.  We are also giving up the guest bedroom down there.  Yes, we had it fully furnished and functional.  So, a cleaning out was required.

Bridgette talked me into hosting a yard sale just prior to hauling whatever was left over to the local donation center.  So, that is what we did.  All.  Week.  Long.

How does one accumulate so much stuff?

I posted a few things to online social media and they sold.

There were a couple of surprises that sold online.  One was this milk can canister set.  I had no idea that McCoy Pottery was a thing.  But, obviously, somebody did.

The biggest surprise was the Disney cookie jar that sat on my counter and my children banged around while they were growing up.  Who knew it was a rare treasure?!

I can honestly say that I have never been more tired in my entire life.  I would not have made it if I had not had my daughter, Bridgette come up and give me some help.  Mike and I did some bundling, pricing, and cleaning on Monday after calling the doctor to get another prescription for my sinus and ear infection.  Then, I did a bit on Tuesday after going with Mike to the doctor to get an antibiotic for his cellulitis.  Yes, we are falling apart!  Bridgette and Luci came and helped out on Wednesday.  Then, on Friday, Bridgette and Lillie helped me put things out while Mike and Luci cooked breakfast and cleaned up after we ate.  Then, Luci played nurse while Mike propped his leg up a bit before they went to work in the greenhouse.

I am tired, tired, tired! I didn't get this worn out when we were cleaning out Daddy's estate for the auction.  I am zapped!  Wonder if I could get a break from my spring break?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Small-Town Culture

I had a big night out on a small town one night this past week!

I trekked about an hour and twenty minutes to where my daughter and her family live and we attended the fourth and fifth grade school play entitled, "Go West!"  What showing of art and culture it turned out to be!  Mr. Sutter and westward expansion with covered wagons, cattle drives, and the trans-continental railroad were featured aspects of the musical.  I must say, the performance was stupendous!

Our Lillie had a speaking part as a cowpoke.

Bridgette said she was never more surprised than when Lillie came home a few weeks before and informed her mother that she was auditioning for a speaking part.  You see, it hasn't been more than a couple of years that Lillie was grumbling and complaining about having to sing at the school PTO meeting and such.  Lillie has never been one that sought the spotlight.  She's didn't want to stand in front of people, much less sing.  So, it is no wonder that her mother was a bit surprised at the proclamation of an audition.

Yet, audition she did and won the coveted role as Cowgirl #1.

As an educator, I've been to lots of school performances.  As a mother of two dance students, I've been to a lot of musical performances.  Yet, I have never been to a performance quite so entertaining.  Even not knowing most of the children involved, I watched with merriment because at times I was watching the children as an educator and tried to envision them in the classroom.  Then, at times, I was purely Grand B and watching my eldest granddaughter with pride and indulgence.

As a purely impartial spectator, I thought Lillie was truly a star.

Each of the actors with speaking parts spoke into one of the two microphones positioned prominently on stage.  A handful of folks broadcast their lines before our Lillie stepped up to the mic to speak.  She immediately adjusted it from where it was pointing toward her blingy belt buckle and brought it to a comfortable height just below her chin.  Then, she calmly declared her first lines as a cowpoke.  (Notice the height of the little fellow to her left and that she is leaning over just a wee bit!)

That was the first time I almost lost my laughter-control, beaming with grandparent-of-Lillie pride.

The microphone adjusting continued throughout Lillie's starring ahem, speaking portion.  Then, it was time for the singing and dancing performance of our long, tall, lanky cowpoke and her compadres.  She and the other cowpokes lined up in a couple of rows.  Of course, with her height, Lillie was positioned on the back row.  Yet, to this audience, it was painfully apparent that she definitely should have been front and center with her graceful dance moves.  I mean, she swayed back and forth like she was riding her horse on the trail and step-touched with fingers looped on her pockets, her elbows rocking with far more style and rhythm than any of the other cowpokes, for goodness sake!

And that smile she wore while performing was one of pure joy and showmanship!

The country-and-western-type song proclaimed, "Yippee-Tie-Yi-Yay! My pony and me!" and it told the story of western expansion and long cattle drives.  Lillie sang and danced with all the passion of any singing cowpoke and did so with a smile on her face the entire time.  I'm telling you, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans would have been proud of Cowgirl #1 and I think the small-town audience realized that they were being exposed to an experience of high culture.

That was the next time I almost lost my laughter-control, beaming with grandparent-of-Lillie pride.

At the end of the song-and-dance portion where our super-star stole the show, Lillie did what all the famous singing cowpokes who came before her did and I hate we didn't get a photo of it.  She paused, plastered on a huge smile, and tipped her hat to the masses.  We, of course, did our part as all enthralled audiences always do, and we clapped till the  palms of our hands were tinged with a brilliant hue of hot-pink to show our heartfelt appreciation of such talented performers.

That was the third time I almost lost my laughter-control, beaming with grandparent-of-Lillie pride.

Like her mother, I have never been more surprised to see Lillie in such a role.  Her usual, quiet, matter-of-fact, stand-on-the-sidelines sort of behavior was nowhere in sight.  She seemed to realize her job was to entertain and tell the story of the wild, wild American western expansion and she did so with confidence, showmanship, and style.

This Grand B has never been more proud that we have let this baby grow up to be a cowpoke!

*Special thanks goes out to Bridgette for these cell-phone photos to illustrate this post.