Monday, June 14, 2010

Birthday Weekend With Family

Last Thursday was my husband's 56th birthday.  He wanted to spend the weekend with our grandsons, so we picked the boys up on Friday afternoon, took them to our local Community Days festival, and we took them back home on Saturday.  The busy weekend ended with a cookout prepared by our son, Austin, and DIL Melissa.  They then had a small carrot cake for "Grandpa Bobby" and a small chocolate cake for Logan and Landen.  Landen, also known as Grandpa Bobby's shadow, and I helped Bobby blow out his candle.
Austin took the picture.  He was a photographer for the Air Force for four years before his current position as a recruiter.  I wish he could take all my pictures.  He's a very talented artist and photographer.  We came back home happy and tired. 
The birthday weekend started out on Thursday morning  It was a beautiful sunny morning and I served my hubby breakfast out on the deck.
We had a nice, quiet, calm day ending with my parents taking us out to dinner. 

The calm and quiet ended Friday afternoon and the fun began.  We met the kids halfway and exchanged Logan and Landen.  They were so excited because we were going straight to the local Community Days fair.  It was a very warm evening and the fair was very crowded.  They rode the little train,
and then we stood in line for an hour for Logan's turn in the bouncy maze.
His total time inside the maze - 3 minutes.  The excitement on his face afterwards was worth it (I think).

Sorry these pictures are so blurry and small.  I was so mad I forgot my camera and these came off the internet.

It was really a lot of fun to experience the local fair with two young boys again.  It was fun years ago with our  sons, but it's exciting with grandsons. I think with your own children you just took the time spent with them for granted.  With grandchildren, you feel lucky and blessed to be with them.

After a good night's sleep by all, we had a morning of pancakes and watching the boys play in the lake.  We cleaned up, I gathered up the completed four curtain panels for Leanna's nursery, gave Landen his Dramamine, and we headed back to Logan and Landen's house. 

As dinner was being prepared, Bob helped me put up the curtain rod and hang the curtains in Leanna's room.  I have been working on these flannel lined curtains for a few weeks now.  Melissa and I weren't able to find the right color and size as store bought, so we bought fabric that was perfect for the nursery theme and I got the sewing machine a hummin'.  Thank goodness, they fit perfect and ended up looking better than we could have bought.  Now this way they'll also be warm and insulated when winter comes.

Here's the crib set that we were matching.

We're still not quite done with the room.  A matching lamp, mobile and hamper have been ordered.  I have pictures for the walls and a canopy that I'm going to make.  We also have a small chandelier picked out that we want to get.  It's coming along and looking cute.  I just hope baby Leanna can hold off coming into this world until we get back from Spokane a week from Wednesday.  I don't know, though.  At her appointment today, the doctor gives her about a week.  So I guess it's all up to Leanna. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Baby Boy, the Survival Trainer

We are so proud and excited!  Our youngest son, Brandon, just found out he passed his final exam for SERE.  Brandon has been in this 6 month training program with the U.S. Air Force and now he will graduate next week.  SERE is a Special Ops course that stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape.  They are a very specialized  part of the Air Force that very few men qualify for and even fewer make it all the way through the very intense physical and mental training.
Brandon graduated from Penn State with a BS in Hotel/Restaurant Management.  He worked in this field for a couple of years and decided this wasn't really what he wanted to do.  Well, that was a very expensive search in "finding yourself"!  I now believe it was worth it.  Brandon got married a year and a half ago to the beautiful Diana
and then decided he wanted to apply for the Air Force SERE program.  He qualified and passed all the entrance exams.  Brandon was a very good wrestler in high school and in very good physical condition still, so the physical qualifications were no problem.  
So then a little over a year ago, with a baby on the way, his new wife moved in with us and Brandon went off to Basic Training.  He graduated 2nd in his class of over 700 men and women and we couldn't have been more proud.  
Then off he, Diana, and now precious little Riley,
 moved to Spokane, Washington (clear across the country from us) to Fairchild Air Force Base.  The first of January  of this year he was one of 60 men that began their long, hard and vigorous SERE training program. 
This is the SERE Creed:

"I am a SERE Specialist...
I am an expert in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. I can survive anywhere in the world and prepare others to do the same. I prove myself by deed and action. I respect every warfighter and consider their needs before my own. I will remember that the lives of those I influence rest in my hands and if they fail the failure is mine alone. I will keep myself in top physical and mental condition, I will never tarnish the honor of fellow SERE Specialists, and I will accept no less from my peers. I do these things so they may:
'Return With Honor'"

If anyone is interested, following is video showing the training that these men go through.  I didn't see this video until about a month ago and I'm glad I didn't or I would have been that much more worried and stressed than my normal nature was anyway.
See video here

Now he's done.  26 of the 60 men that started out actually made it all the way through.  They not only have to be able to physically and mentally survive any situation, including torture, these men now also have to be able to train others to do the same.
Graduation ceremonies are next Friday at Fairchild Air Force Base and Bob and I will leave from Pittsburgh on Wednesday to be there.  We can't wait and are so excited.  Brandon will received his special gray beret worn only by SERE  Specialists. 
We're also very excited to see one year old walking now Riley, and the beautiful 6-1/2 month pregnant again Diana.  They have also moved into a bigger 3 bedroom house that we haven't seen yet.
And once again, we couldn't be more proud!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Health and Fitness for Real Housewives - Part 1 Introduction

My alternate titles were  "Health and Fitness for Dummies" or "Health and Fitness Made Simple". There seem to be so many bloggers lately mentioning their struggle to lose weight.  It's the time of year when people start thinking about this when they dig out their shorts, sleeveless tops and EEEEK!! - bathing suits.  And for those of us over 50, that reflection in the mirror just isn't always the young and slim image that we still may see in our mind's reflection. 
I thought I would start a little series of posts that I'll put up now and then with my own two cents worth of ideas, tips, and recipes that I try to follow. 
Now here is where I want to make a very strong DISCLAIMER.  I AM NOT an expert.  I AM NOT a nutrionist.  Nor am I a professional fitness coach, personal trainer or doctor.  So anything I write on this subject is solely my own educated and practiced opinion.  I am just an ordinary stay at home wife, mother and grandma that doesn't want to spend hours a day working out, or going to a gym, or starving myself to lose weight.  I just want to look the best I can for being 52 years old and not deprive myself of foods that I like. 
I married a man 31 years ago that was very much into fitness and diet and to this day I don't think he has ever missed a week of his regular workout routine.  He's studied a lot about nutrition and fitness and strength training and he just loves to live this way.  This isn't his job, it's just his way of living.  So for 31 years I've tried to live this same healthy life style.  I certainly didn't want to get old and fat all by myself standing along side my healthy and fit husband.  I'm not as intense as he is about it and over the years I have found my own way of doing what works best for me. 
This is me 1-1/2 years ago at my son's wedding. 

 Again, this is just what works for me.  Maybe some of you may find that some of these things may work for you too.  I know this is what you hear said over and over on this subject, it has to be part of your lifestyle.  Strict diets that you go on and off again will not work.  You can't starve yourself to lose the weight and then expect to keep it off when you go back to eating your old way again.  And you have to be active.  You can't expect to burn calories by doing nothing.  These are two basic rules.  It's simple and we all know it, but doing it isn't always that easy.  That's why it has to be habit.  You don't have to "find" the time.  You don't have to buy new equipment.  You don't have to learn a whole new way to shop for groceries or how to cook.  If it is just your lifestyle, your every day way of living, then it's easy.  DISCLAIMER:  if you have health issues or a lot of weight to take off initially, consulting a doctor would be the thing to do. 

So what next?  Keep it simple.  I don't have extra time, so I incorporate my exercise into my every day routines.  I get very bored by just plain exercising for a half hour to an hour.  Here are a few simple tips:
Clean and take care of your own house.  That uses up a lot of calories.  Don't hire a cleaning person and then pay for a gym memership that you'll maybe use for 6 months and probably not burn near as many calories as the cleaning person you are paying.  I know lots of people that do this and it just doesn't make sense to me.  I carry my own vacuum up and down two flights of stairs.  I get on my hands and knees to scrub floors.  I reach and bend to clean windows.  Bend and squat and stretch and lift while you clean.  This really can be a workout.  I do enjoy yoga and pilates and every once in a while I'll get into a 1/2 hour morning routine of doing that.  I get bored, though.  So I switch it up.  Just do something. 
I'm sure a professional trainer would disagree with me.  Even my husband would disagree with me.  They would say you need to isolate your musclels and work them to exhaustion, yadayadayada!.  I know.  But remember, this is my "Health and Fitness for Real Housewives".  I know I'm not looking to be a professional body builder, model, actress, etc.  If someone wants to pay me to look good and very buff and fit, then OK, I can step it up.  That's not happening.  And who do I need to impress at the grocery store or WalMart?  This is real life, people.  I just want to look good for me.  So I can get dressed, look in the mirror and feel OK.
Another tip for working exercise into your daily life is to multi task while you're at the computer.  I keep two 5 lb. weights next to my desk.  I'll take a few minutes and lift both weights with one hand and curl them for 15 to 20 times with one arm and then the other.  I've been doing this for many years.  My arms aren't big and bulky with muscle, but they are slim and fairly toned for 52.  Yes, I could do more or heavier, but I don't feel like it and I don't want to take the time.  This works for me.
I have many more tips and recipes and menu and food ideas that work for me, too.  I hesitated to start this series of posts because I know there will be many people that will criticize and say that what I do maybe isn't enough or correct and to be honest, I'm not open to criticism.  This is just what works for me over the last 31 years.  If someone can get a good idea or thought that there might be something in what I do that would work for them - good. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Flea Market Finds

Yesterday was the first day of the first weekend of the month, and for me that means Hazen Flea Market Day.  There is a huge flea market about 1/2 hour beautiful drive away from us.  It's only held the first weekend of every month from May through October.  And around here you can't always depend on the weather for May and October (or the other months for that matter).  But last month the weather was very nice and warm and Bob went with me.  He's just not real patient with me and then tries to talk me out of anything I want.  He finds the beef jerky and fudge stand and then he's ready to go home.  Yesterday Mom was able to go, which is always the preferred company as we both love the same junk. 
It ended up being a very nice day.  It started out cloudy and we thought we may get stuck in rain, but it held off.  Parking is always the first decision to make.  It's a very rural area so there are fields and farms and large lots near by that many of the owners set up on these weekends as parking lots for the flea market and they must make out pretty well.  The $2.00 parking lots are sometimes quite a stroll away and as you get closer the lot prices go up to $5.00.  We pulled into a $3.00 lot and we were actually very close. 

We arrived around 11:15 and it was crowded.  By the time we left about 2:00 this is what the parking lot looked like.  By 2:00 the booths and stands are starting to shut down for the day and then open back up bright and early on Sunday morning.  By Sunday at noon you can get better deals but the good stuff is picked over.
We came prepared with our cash, comfortable shoes, kleenex in case the stinky out house toilet had no toilet paper, and a bottle of water.  A lot of people come with wheeled carts to haul their newly purchsed goodies.  We don't go quite that far, but I did have a Market Bag that I had knit last year and I slung it on my shoulder to see how that would work out. 
It worked out great.  I have a little fabric pocket sewn inside for money, keys and cell phone and then I could carry my other little finds without the bother of a purse and my hands were free.  This was the first time I  found a use for this bag and it was perfect.  Now we did have to take a short little break about halfway into our shopping spree to take a load of larger, heavier items back to the car.  Then we sat for a small lunch break.
We were tempted by the funnel cakes and fried dough but tried to be slightly healthier than that so we settled for a hot dog with sauerkraut and lemonade.  That was the best we could do at a flea market.
After almost 3 hours of up and down the dirty, muddy aisles,
here's what I came away with.

Five pretty, old fashioned hankies at $1 each.  I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with them but I'll make something out of them or incorporate them into one of my crafts.

This Rada pareing knife on top for $4.50.   These knives are great.  I already had the bigger knife on the bottom with the silver handle, but Bob doesn't like the sandpaper feel of the handle.  I guess they had other complaints on this, so they started making them with the smooth black handle.  I used it last night to cut up chicken and walnuts for a salad.  Perfect.  We also already have the Rada ice cream scoop.  I highly recommend this product. (Un-paid advertisement).

Here's my exciting find for the day.  This 13 piece hot cocoa set including candle stick holders for $12.00 (I already had the candles) It's Royal Court fine china from Japan and the design is "carnation".  The only flaw is the sugar bowl is missing a lid.  But I figure since it's a cocoa set, I would put marshmallows in the sugar bowl and I don't need a lid.  And being pink, I couldn't pass it up.  I have no idea where I'm going to set it yet, but I'll find a place.  We actually do drink cocoa in the winter so I'll really use it.  Won't guests be impressed?

One booth I never miss is the garden booth.  I find something there every visit. This month I found a new flag for beside my driveway going into my under deck sitting area.

All my furniture is white and all the flowers are pink, except for my purple cat mint and some lavender.  So this little flag with the big pink flower that says "Smile" was just what I was looking for.

I still need two more pink flower baskets and the pink flox are just starting to come up in the garden in front.

Last month I got this garden stake with a little blue gazing ball and a metal butterfly on top.
This is in my garden beside my shed.  Mom got one very similar yesterday.
I'll show better pictures of my gardens in a few weeks once the flowers are more in bloom.  We have a very late and short growing season here.  By the 4th of July everything should be looking pretty good.  By the end of August it will start to fade again and the mums go in.

We won't be going to the July flea market.  It falls on the 3rd of July and we'll either be welcoming a brand new granddaughter then or having our annual Fourth of July party here.  Or both.  Either way, we won't have time to fit in a flea market jaunt.  It's too soon to plan on August yet.  Summers go way to fast, don't they?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Creating Enough Time

As those of you that follow me know, I try to stay on a self designed schedule so that I can do everything I need to do in a day.  I get very frustrated and a little stressed when I fall off my own wagon.  One piece of the organized schedule that I'm still playing with is the computer time.  I need to find myself a better time and limit for this.  I get on this computer to do one thing and as I'm sure you all know, before you know it you're carried off into cyber la-la land and you become sucked into a virtual place that you really didn't intend on visiting at that particular time and when you negotiate your way back out of it several hours have passed. 
Anyway, I've gotten a little bit off of what I intended for today.  I'll get back to this computer scheduling thought another time. 
One area that I do stay on schedule with is my evening time for knitting, sewing, and creating.  I wish I could get a lot more done in that regard, too, but there just aren't enough hours in the day.  I'm also finding that I can't stay awake as late as I used to.  My Etsy shop isn't filling up as much as I would like it to, either, because my creations have consisted of personal items for family, new babies and myself. 
Since Baby Granddaughter, Leanna (due around July 6), has a nursery color theme of pink and chocolate, DIL Melissa has asked if I would make lined curtains for her.  We started off looking to buy curtains and we just couldn't find the right colors in the right size.  Here's the fabric we found at Wal-Mart and it is the perfect color and pattern.
The pink with brown polka dots is the main fabric and the fabric on the right is a pink flannel for the lining.  She wants them lined because their house can get cold in the winter and she wants to be able to keep the cold from coming in too much from the windows.  We need four panels that are 50" long x 42" wide.  So far I have two panels complete.  I was cutting the flannel on the third panel and measured wrong.  I was so mad at myself.  Now I need more pink flannel.  I'm considering writing a tutorial for lined curtains.  If I have time! Leanna should be here in about five weeks, so I need to stay focused on getting these finished and hung.

The other project I'm working on is a summer cardigan for myself.  I'm using a pattern from the book "Flowers" by Noro yarn.
Every pattern in here is so nice.  This is a picture of the one I'm making.
I'm using a hand dyed silk/cotton yarn.
I also am making it a little longer than the pattern calls for.  At my age I don't want my midriff showing.  So far I have the back and fronts finished and I'm almost done with one sleeve. 
This is the back.

With a little bit of luck I'll have it finished before the snow starts falling again!
I never could understand people that say they are bored.  I just can't imagine that feeling.  I need more time to do everything I want and need to do.  Or maybe I need to give up an activity or two. (Thought about what this would be - for a nano second) and--- Nope, not an option.  I'll just keep tweeking my schedule.


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