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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mother's Day Treasures

We were sort of helter-skelter for Mother's Day this year.  One of the grands was sick, another crew was going to a church homecoming out west...  So, they came by and spent time with me and I went to spend time with Mike and my mothers when we could and we celebrated as best we could over a stretch of several days.

I was honored with some treasures.  The most favorite treasures were the time I got to spend with the grands but I also liked those that were hand made - literally!

The youngest grandchild is showing lots of artistic promise.  There is geniusness there!

Jessica says that it isn't as easy as Pinterest and other places make it look!  I just think it is adorable, though!

Lillie and Lydia were quite crafty and creative and artistic as well...
Cute, Cute!

Lillie couldn't understand why her mother was turning their footprints into bees.  Until Bridgette said very slowly, "Grand...B."  Then, it dawned and made sense to her.

The girls also made a personalized stepping stone for my mother-in-law that I got to deliver since she wasn't home when they dropped by.
Hand and Foot Prints to spell LOVE
They are too, too smart, don't you think?!  Why is it we always appreciate something personalized and hand-crafted the most?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Finding the Sparkle

Spring Fever has hit around here!  The hubs is outside on the mower as we speak.  He's also been planting and nurturing the Spring Planting.  Then, he has been doing some cleaning and restructuring on his barn to get ready for some baby calves.  Yes, that is correct.  He is going to bottle-feed some baby calves.  I guess he and I can never get away from our dairy farm roots, huh?

Knowing that the nieces, daughter, and daughter-in-law are going to be hosting a baby shower for another daughter-in-law of ours here at our home-place, I have begun making mental lists of things I need to do to be cleaned up and spiffed up a bit.  Why do we wait till we are having company to do some really deep cleaning?  I guess it is a good thing to have company giving us that excuse at times.

After cleaning the breakfast dishes Sunday morning, I had a half-empty dishwasher.  So, I thought I would try to put a little sparkle back in the room by washing up the crystal and china that is in the china cabinet.  I frequently dust and wipe down the outside of the china cabinet.  Knowing that I don't use those dishes stored behind glass on a frequent basis, I usually will give them e quick rinse before using.  I didn't realize just how neglected this little niche was until I began emptying it out.
Even this cell-phone shot shows how the area has lost its sparkle.

So, I picked up some of the glassware, cups, and saucers and placed them in the top rack of the dishwasher.  Then, I went back to get the plates.

Oh.  My.  Goodness!

The. Dust!

I thought I was a pretty decent housekeeper but truly the dust do tell!
I'm almost embarrassed to show such filth!

Needless to say, during the next three weeks or so, everything in this house is going to be topsy-turvy as I do some deep cleaning!

Right now there is china and pressed glassware in the dishwasher.  There are crystal glasses drying on the counter.  I've washed down half of the china cabinet, the stove, the backsplash behind the stove, the toaster oven, the crocks beside the stove, the pictures on the wall between the sink and stove, and the cabinets between the sink and the stove.  I was wringing wet with sweat and had to sit down to catch my breath.  That is how this post came to be shared...

I just saw that I never posted this edition back at the beginning of the month and here it is almost the last day!  That tells you how our lives have been this month and maybe that was a Freudian thing trying to tell me not to show my dirt to the rest of the world.  As Mike well knows, I'm not that kind of girl, though!  So, here it is...

I will go ahead and update to show the finished sprucing and sparkling up:
Isn't it sparkly and beautiful?

Everything in there is so beautiful that I almost don't want to use it - I just want to sit and admire it!  However, I am of the mind that beautiful things are to be used and enjoyed.  So, Mike and I have eaten bacon and eggs on the plates and drunk V-8 and Cranberry juice out of the champagne flutes.  I drank coffee using one of the cups and saucers earlier this week as well.  I tell myself that maybe if I use these dishes more frequently I will keep it cleaner.  (Stop laughing Mama, you know I'm a better housekeeper than you or Brenda ever dreamt I'd be when I was growing up and my bedroom was a "disaster area!")
Here is a close-up for you non-believers.

It may have taken me a bit longer than even I anticipated to find the sparkle here on our plantation, but, as you see, it can be done!  I hope you find your sparkle this spring, too!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guest Quarters

Doesn't that title sound elegant?

Doesn't it sound ritzy?

Who wouldn't want to be worldly enough to have Guest Quarters?

(Well, yes, there have been times in the past when we were sorry we had them but mostly we have enjoyed having the extra space)

I have been working to reclaim our Guest Quarters.  (Actually, it is just the basement but it is a really nice basement.  Can you tell I think I'm lucky to live here?)

We had the carpet cleaned and I have been working to clean everything else.  (Not an easy job - and I am feeling far more decrepit than my actual 54 years.)

Since my budget won't allow for professional painters right now, I am simply wiping down the walls with a good cleaner and living with the marks and dings on the wall as if it were simply character winking back at me.

We started with the floors.  The carpets were cleaned and the tile was mopped...and mopped again...and will be mopped again later today.  Then, the upholstery was cleaned on the sofa and oversized chair in the den.  We did a little furniture shuffling with my daughter because anticipated little Luci needed some storage pieces.

Then, my friend Angela came over and spent the day as my slave manual-labor house-stager favorite child.  She helped me dig the bed out of the storage area under the front porch.  The headboard, the footboard, and the mattress and box springs.  Whew!  We dug a dresser, mirror, bedside tables, and chair out and drug scooted carefully moved a bookcase into the blue bedroom as well.  Then, Angela dug around and found some dust-collectors set-abouts decorative items and books to make the room look welcoming and homey.  I'll do a full reveal on it in the coming days as it is falling into shape and looking more like Guest Quarters.

Next, she and my son, Bryan, moved a table into the green room and we began setting it up as the creativity room.  I have my sewing machine and serger on the table, some tubs of fabrics on a bookcase, paints and tools on another small bookcase, and scavenged a table and a couple more chairs for a crafting area.  Angela has promised me a cast-off desk of hers to use as a gift-wrapping station and that room will be practical and useful.  I've spent some time scrounging around Goodwill and Hobby Lobby and painting frames again to get some artwork hung on the walls.  I'll do a full reveal on it later, too.

Mike and I replaced burned out light bulbs yesterday.  So, that put a whole new light on the subject in the kitchen.  It still needs some attention but the fridges are clean and the sink and counters are as well.  Soon it will truly be Guest Quarters and not just the basement!  I haven't had much time to be blogging lately because we have had lots of projects going on...I am looking forward to sharing the progress in a few days!

Then, we hope to have some guests who will enjoy our Guest Quarters!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lucky to be a mother

I really feel lucky to be a mother!  I am grateful for the reasons I've had to experience that sheer joy and incomparable love of my children.

Bridgette, Corey, Lillie, Lydia

Bryan, Jessica, Harris

Stephen and Bonnie

Cassie and Evie

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Support sometimes rises unbidden and barely recognized

This has been a week when I've really needed the support of my mother.

Some days this week I just needed to fall back on the teachings she gave me all along the years.

Little things.  Things like...

Make your bed and your bedroom is already about half cleaned.

Wash dishes while you are preparing the meal and clean-up after you eat is a whole lot easier.

Wipe that up as soon as you spill it and you won't have a sticky spot later.

A good book is always a good friend.

Hard work seems easier when you sprinkle it with a little laughter.

Don't hide your excitement but do hide your disappointment.

Help others even when they don't deserve your help.

Don't be afraid to be a kid no matter how old you happen to be.

Share your talents, your blessings, your compassion, and your patience - everybody needs a little more of that.

Don't go out the door without clean clothes, a clean face, and a positive attitude.

There are multitudes more of these that I carry with me daily and they arise to my consciousness unbidden and barely recognized.

I also needed the support of my Mama this week when I had some work done on the house and really needed to be at work.  My sweet, retired little Mama came over and served as my house-sitter to let the workman in and keep me informed of the progress - even when things got a little sticky.  I'm grateful for her calmness, patience, and presence in such situations.

We are making some changes here around the house and I have fallen back on Mama's housekeeping and homemaking advice.

When you find an item you love, ask yourself will it work in more than one room.

Select something classic and it never goes out of style.

Quality lasts a lot longer than trendy.

Put things away when you have finished using them and you will always know where they are when you need them again.

Nice things don't have to be fancy or expensive.

Choose things in colors that could be moved from one room to another and you will enjoy those things a whole lot more no matter where they are at the time.

Buy the best you can afford and treat it like it is the very best ever made.

Everything needs some cleaning and freshening up at times.

There are multitudes more of these that I carry with me daily and they arise to my consciousness unbidden and barely recognized.

I've called Mama more than once lately seeking advice about furniture, painting, fabric, recipes, flowers, cooking, and more.  Always that wisdom has been given with patience, thoughtfulness, and savvy that can only come with age, experience, practice, and confidence.

Maybe I've sought the support of my Mama this week because I have been stressed and tired from the hustle and bustle of home, work, and life.  Maybe I've sought the support of my Mama this week because the tasks at hand seemed like something that was more in her expertise than in my own.  Maybe I've sought the support of my Mama this week because it is spring of the year - her favorite season.  Maybe I've sought the support of my Mama this week because I am weary and a little bit babyish.  Maybe I've subconsciously sought the support of my Mama this week because today is Mother's Day.  Maybe I've sought the support of my Mama this week because we always need the support of our mothers.

I don't think that ever goes away.  From birth onward we probably tend to need that support from our Mama.  Today, for the first time my Mama will be celebrating Mother's Day without her own Mama's presence in this world.  So, I'm going to log off this computer and go over to see if I can support her.

Hope your Mother's Day is full of memories, love, and support from those who do it best!

Some links to past Mother's Day posts are:
Mother's Day Leftovers

Happy Mother's Day!

Want to wish some great gals a Happy Mother's Day!

Mama and Mike's Mom




Hope your day is the most fabulous so far!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Walking the Walk

My favorite sister-in-law's husband has been sickly of late.  First he had a pinched nerve and severe lower back pain.  He nursed that along and seemed to recover fairly well after some time, some exercises, and some flat-on-his-back.

Then, he got pneumonia.  He was hospitalized for several days.  Then, was sent home to finish recuperating. I'm not sure that part of the recuperation was for him to get in his truck and drive down to the barn as soon as he arrived home from his hospital stay.  I'm also not sure part of his recuperation was to be in a tractor spreading fertilizer after a week at home.

Suddenly, a couple of weeks ago, he began feeling rather bad and my favorite sister-in-law took him back to the emergency room.  The doctor diagnosed an infection and began antibiotic treatment.  Jim was complaining with some back and shoulder pain.  When his fever subsided and he seemed to improve for a couple of days in a row, the doctor considered sending him home.

Wisely, Jim spoke up and let the doctor know that he really wasn't feeling all that much better.  In fact, in addition to his upper back and shoulder pain, he was feeling some numbness in his legs.  An MRI was scheduled and it was determined that he had an infection around some of his vertebrae.  So, emergency back surgery was scheduled.  This involved a transfer to a different hospital in a rushed ambulance and surgery performed during the wee hours last Friday morning.

Thankfully, he is now recovering and has been moved to yet another hospital for rehabilitation.  The almost complete paralysis in the lower half of his body has improved to where there is only some numbness.  He is working hard to improve and is almost re-learning to walk again to get those muscles and nerves back to firing and working properly.

I made a hospital visit yesterday afternoon and was greeted at the elevator by Jim, a hospital technician, and his therapists.  The therapist is a tiny little woman who is almost dwarfed behind my brother-in-law and cannot be seen as she is helping to steady him in case of a fall.  The technician can be seen peeking over his shoulder.  He almost raced around the loop of hallway encircling the elevators while I was there!

He spends his days exercising, taking four IV treatments of antibiotic, and walking.  His distance has doubled almost everyday with his strolls around the hallways there at the rehab center.  Yesterday while I was there, he made a little over 150 feet.

As I crawl out of bed each morning this week and shuffle around to get my stiff muscles and joints going, I think about how he is walking the walk to get where he is steady and completely independent again and I do a lot less grumbling during my mornings.  How thankful we are to see this guy trucking around those halls!
He even has a bit of a smile on his face!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Local Shopping - Teamwork Style

I've always been one who thinks you need to live, work, and shop in the same area.  Support of the locals is what keeps things afloat.

I have never shopped locally so much as I do now.  The community I live in has so many options and features right here in my back yard.  I am only about 5-7 miles from two grocery stores.  We have a GoodWill store.  The post office, bank and Sonic are all less than 5 miles from my house!

Recently, I joined a local FaceBook Group that is a Want Ads group.  It is a place for folks to upload pictures and offer items for sale (and sometimes for free) or a place for folks to post in-search-of (ISO) items.  I have seen loads of bargains and treasures change hands.  I have been a bit envious of folks who have been able to acquire such bargains and treasures but it seems I am consistently one person behind or even further down the line at 'snatching up' the bargain or treasure.

Of course, that could be because I do not have a FaceBook app on my phone and really only check in once every day or even every other day at times.  I rarely have needs and have to be careful fulfilling my wants because I want WAY too much!

The other day, though...

I noticed where my nephew's mother-in-law, Janice, had made an offer on a nice looking washer and dryer.  Now, here is something I NEED, I thought.  So, I checked with Janice to see if she was shopping for both appliances or was, by chance, only shopping for the washer and might have the dryer available.  Her reply was that she wound up not getting either because the friend she was shopping for had already bought what was needed.  Sadness.

A couple of days later, I got a message from Janice and a picture of another washer/dryer set.  She let me know that my nephew, Jay, wanted the washer for his washing needs down at their milk barn.  My heart soared!

No more would Mike and I have to listen to the squeaking, squawking, and thumping of the 14-year-old dryer that was operating on its last leg.  No more would the sleeves or collars of our shirts come out with black, greasy tips.  No more would wash cloths or socks get hung between the drum and the wall of the dryer and risk being ripped and greasy after I tugged them out of there with all my might.  Plus, the pair were offered for about half what my washer had cost me over six years ago!

Can you say deal?  DEAL!!!

Jay instructed me that I should go look at the appliances and decide if they were worthy of joining our fold.  He also instructed me to offer $50 less than the asking price.  WHAT?  Didn't he know this is already a bargain?  Didn't he know I'm not good at negotiating and dickering over purchases?  He hadn't heard the squeaking and squawking and thumping of my dryer.  His favorite white sweater didn't get a grease stain on it.  His favorite polo shirt didn't have a greasy tipped collar.  His socks or kitchen towels and dishcloths hadn't been ripped after the mighty tug-of-war pull.

So, my personal shopper, Janice, lined up a time for me to go inspect the appliances.  I was met at the door by a fellow who looked to be about 12-years-old.  He was the home-owner and his wife, who looked to be about 16-years-old was about to explode with their second child.  (I did ask.  This couple is a young one.  He is in his late-20s and she is in her mid-20s.  So, I am officially older than dirt.)  We went into their pristine clean-enough-to-eat-off-the-floor laundry room and I opened the doors and asked if I could turn them on and asked about any problems or issues.  (What does one do when inspecting appliances?  My washer I just called and asked for a price range, told them I wanted it to be white, and asked them when they could deliver it!)  I'm sure I looked almost as savvy as my professional shopper would have looked!

It seems they were awaiting the delivery of a new washer/dryer set which is high-capacity and super fast speed since they are going to have "so much more laundry" and "so much less time" to do laundry tasks after the birth of their second child.  So, confidently, I asked if the young fellow would accept $50 less and he never batted an eye but agreed.  SCORE!  Extra deep bargain!

I scurried out to the truck and snatched a crisp bill out of my wallet (the last of our Christmas money - thanks Mom and Daddy!) and scurried back up to the front door!  I called the nephew and arranged a pick-up time.

A couple of days later, I pulled in our driveway with my load of groceries and there was my favorite nephew, Jay, my bonus son, Stephen, and his friend, Mark.  Stephen and Jay were installing the new dryer!

Stephen was so impressed because now I have a matching set.  "The knobs on the dryer exactly match the ones on my washer.  You know, most people do have a matching set," I was told by my grinning bonus son.
 My favorite nephew asked me - more than once - if I was pleased with our purchase.  Of course I am!  Finally, I asked him if he was pleased with our purchase.  To which he responded (with a big old grin on his face), "Tickled to death!"

This personal shopper, pick-up-and-delivery, and installation team is better than D.T. McCall or something!

I do love my new quiet-running dryer.  No squeaking.  No squawking.  No thumping.  No greasy marks.  No tug-of-war resulting in tears.  Plus, there is a light in the drum!  What a deal!

There was also an added bonus in this deal...

While we were OOOOing and AHing over our new purchases, Mark, the bonus son's friend, toted all my groceries into the house!

I am one lucky woman!