Friday, January 28, 2011

These Pictures - Priceless

You know those kind of homes that they show on some decorating shows that are modern, clean lines, very uncluttered, with white walls and all silver, chrome, black and white?  The modern, clean line look.  I hate that look!  It feels so cold and not cozy and personal at all.  Well, not my house.  I love collections, warm walls, lots of stuff, pillows, quilts, and a lot of pictures.  I love to sit in my living room and be able to look at all my kids.  And with a son and DIL, Austin and Melissa, as photographers, I get a lot of great family pictures.

For Christmas I got updated pictures of the grand kids and I've been waiting for a few days with nothing going on in order to switch out my frames and update my picture wall.  This week I was finally able to tackle that project.

This is the "before" wall and table top.

I got busy.  New pictures, a couple of new frames, tape, windex, and hammer and nails.  In looking back at this picture I realize now that it could have been a very bad thing to have my cup of coffee sitting in the middle of this mess.

Then I got into the cupboard with all the photo albums to file the old pictures coming out of the frames.  I try to stay organized and on top of this, but it's not easy.  Before you know it you have five grandchildren and pictures just in piles!

After two days, I finally finished the project.  I wanted to get all the wall frames to be more consistent in color. Now they are mostly black or a very dark brown.  The one on the far bottom left is silver but it's not bothering me too much yet.

The table top frames are all silver.  The only thing different here are the pictures in the frames.

These are some of my new favorites:
 Landen (during his Mohawk stage)
 Logan (his first school picture)
Their Christmas 2010 picture
Austin and his baby girl, Leanna

 Collage of Riley, Heath, Brandon and Dee

Sorry to be one of those grandmas that pulls out pictures of her grandchildren and shows them to everyone she knows whether they want to see them or not.  I said years ago I would never be one of those grandparents.  I used to make fun of my Grandpa for doing that.  Well, now I get it!  I can't help it.  Thanks for humoring me!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Picture and a Hug are Worth a Thousand Words

Picture and Thought for the week:

This just makes me think of my Hubby with our grandchildren.  He is very well loved by them all.
This is from my new 2011 Mary Engelbreit calendar.

  I love calendars. They serve me as a journal as well as a great organizational tool. I sometimes will write notes about what happened on a particular day or the weather for that day.  Then I save my calendars to be able to look back on.
 I love to be able to look at the week and know at a glance what I have to do and where I have to be.  When I turn the page to a new week and see that it's blank it feels so good.  I am very much a homebody.  I know so many people that say they would be bored if they just stayed home all the time, but not me.  I have so many hobbies and projects and I love my home to be organized and clean and decorated.  But if I know ahead that I have to be somewhere or do something, then I can plan around that and stay organized.

I know, very OCD!  And it gets worse the older I get!

Anyway, I just love my new calendar.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Steelers, Baby Shower, and Spokane

A nice, cozy, lazy day at home.  It is freezing outside, so we're staying in.  I'm going to make a pot of homemade, well ---- semi-homemade, chicken noodle soup with some hard crust whole grain French bread.  One good thing that has at least temporarily come from our bad, ugly flu week is that we feel like we need to eat lighter and healthier.  If it feels too heavy or greasy it just is not appetizing right now.  As I said, this may be temporary, but I know my stomach feels much better eating like this.

It's also the football playoffs tonight.  I'm not much of a sport's fan at all, but since we live in Steeler country, you can't help but get caught up in the excitement around here when the Steelers get to the playoffs.  It will be crazy Steeler country if they win tonight.
(Sorry so blurry, but it was free clip art)
So I'll be watching the game tonight, even though I don't really understand football that well.  The commercials and half time are always good.  I understand they are expecting the temperature to be about 12-15 degrees in Pittsburgh tonight.  

Yesterday Mom and I went to the baby shower for my girl friend's daughter that is adopting 15 month old twin girls from Africa.  She leaves for Malawi, Africa, in about two weeks to pick them up.  She is a 29 year old single young woman that I have known since she was 6 years old.  She and my oldest son, Austin, were friends that met in Kindergarten.  Through their friendship, her mother and I became very good friends.  
The shower was very nice.  Here's the new Mommy (on the right) opening some gifts.

Look at these stuffed animals she got for the girls' new American bedroom to remind them of Africa.
I finished the twin baby hats for her, along with a gift card.  I forgot to get a picture of the hats when I had them both finished.  Here's one finished.
The other one was just like it except the flower and trim was purple using the purple yarn you see here.  They turned out cute.

I also finalized the ticket purchase for Spokane for DIL, Diana, and myself.  I'm going back with her to help with the two kids on the plane and then I'll stay about two weeks.  We'll leave on February 1 and I'll come back on the 13th.  Travelling is so difficult any more, and especially with a 20 month old and a 5 month old.  This would be almost impossible for Diana to handle on her own.  Besides, you have to have two laps for them to sit on or you would have to purchase another ticket anyway.  Of course, there is no direct flight from Pittsburgh.  It's not an easy trip, so I'm glad I can go to help.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Tried So Hard Not to be Sick

I thought I got lucky.  I thought I was safe.  I thought the bad, dreaded, stomach flu had passed me up!  I had finally got over the sore throat, then Hubby got the stomach flu, and I was feeling pretty good and doing everything I could to stay clear of him.  I slept in a separate room, washed all his sheets, blankets, towels, toilet, sink, everything he touched.  On Monday he felt better and I was feeling good, and then BAM!  Monday night an invisible truck hit me and my whole body hurt and I couldn't sleep and by Tuesday morning the ugly stuff started.  I don't want to be too graphic, but it's the kind of sick where you just can't get out of bed so you keep a bucket and towel next to you and the pains in my stomach were so bad I thought I was dying.  I think I pretty much proved that no matter what you do, or how clean and sterile you are, if you live in the same house and breath the same air, you're going to catch what the other one has.  This is where I spent my Tuesday.  From here:
 To here:
And back again.  These pictures are after the clean up.  I wouldn't dare have shown the ugly before!

If I could have even sat up a little bit I could have done a little bit of knitting.  If my eyes weren't burning so bad and if my head wasn't pounding, maybe I could have looked through my new "Creative Knitting" magazine that Hubby just brought me from the mail box.  But NO!  NO could do!

Hubby took the babies to the groomer for me.  At least they were clean and smelled good, unlike their Mommy.

I was starting to worry that I wouldn't be able to stay awake long enough or feel well enough to watch the first night of American Idol.

 I wait for that show for eight months to start back up.  I always make sure I don't schedule anything else for the night's that it's on.  I took a nice nap in the afternoon and Hubby brought me some Advil with my Ginger Ale (my one and only meal of the day) and I was able to actually sit up a little bit and knit while I watched American Idol.  It was good!  I wasn't sure what to expect with Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, but I think it's better than ever.  Can't wait for tonight.  It's going to be a good season.

Now today I'm on the mend again.  I'm weak, several pounds lighter, food looks terrible to me, but I'm on my feet.  Back to more cleaning, scrubbing and sterilizing.  I'm just so glad the timing was such that this was the week that the kids aren't here.  If it could have been worse, that would have done it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To Work or Not To Work

First off, I'm linking to a new Blog Hop that was started today by ""Capers of the Vintage Vixens" .  I'm linking up my Etsy Shop, which I really have not been very active with lately.  It's such a fun hobby and most of what I make I usually give away to family or as gifts.
For those interested in Buying or Selling, this is what it is about.

Every Tuesday  they will dedicate their blog to: Sellers and Buyers. We are so excited about it!!! This is how it works: First grab yourself a cup of tea and sit back and get ready for some fun.

For those of you who have an online boutique, etsy, or other web-based store you can advertise here FOR FREE! At the bottom of this post  you will notice the "linky". Click on "Click Here to Enter", fill in your store's web address and image. Then "Get the Code" and post it to your blog every Tuesday! It is a Blog Hop, so your site will be advertised on blogs around the world.WorldWide! 

For you who love to shop, this is where you will find the best deals and most unique things. From vintage to antique to handmade. Something for everyone and sure to be lots of fun. And if you like it... let your friends know :-)

I've also been debating the idea of starting a new business venture.  I've been retired from my own insurance business for over 7 years now and I really enjoy staying at home and doing my thing.  Then we moved into a new, big house,  my sons' got married and 5 grandchildren came along. So I've been busy and I still enjoy it all, but I'm thinking now that I'm very capable of doing something that would make me a little more of my own money.  Here's the catch and the reason for my hesitation.  I want to work when I want to work; I don't like to leave my house; I want to be able to visit my grandchildren whenever I want; I want to be free to travel whenever I want; you get the picture!  So I've been keeping my mind open for a while now to anything that might fit into my requirements and schedule.  Yes, I want my cake and eat it too!  At least I'm very lucky enough to not HAVE to work, although the extra money would be very nice and relieve Hubby from having to bear all the stress and responsibility.

I know I'm maybe looking for the impossible, but I MAY have found something that's close to measuring up.  It's ACN - It's a tele-communications service provider that was featured last year by Donald Trump on the Celebrity Apprentice and will be featured again on his show in March.  I won't go into explaining all about it, but here is a web site if anyone is curious.

If anyone has any comments on this, or personal experience with ACN, or just can relate to my inner debate, I'd be interested to hear about it.

In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy my home, family, grandkids, and Etsy hobby.  It's just that a little extra of my own spending money might be nice, too!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Good Night's Sleep is Priceless

I'm feeling much better!  What a difference a good day's rest and a good night's sleep makes.  I don't necessarily require a lot of hours of sleep, but the hours that I do sleep need to be worth it!  Uninterrupted and deep.  The bad news is that poor hubby is now sick.  His sick (and it better stay "his") was the stomach kind, not the head kind like mine was.  So I slept in the guest room last night since the kids are away for the week.  I think that's only the second time in six years that I've slept up there.  I have to say that I think that is why I slept so well.  I know he would feel terrible if I told him that, so I'll keep it a secret!

Today has been a very quiet day all to myself.  Hubby has been sleeping all day and wants absolutely nothing to eat.  He's still blaming his sickness on bad Chinese food from Friday night, but I feel sure it's a flu bug.  I bet we don't get Chinese again for quite a while, though.
So anyway, I've been putzin' around the house, cleaning and catching up on the computer. Uhhhh!! It feels so good!  I still had the lower level family room to clean up from Christmas.  That's the last room to get done.  Finally, all the Christmas decorations are down and all the boxes and bins are put away.  I just need to dust and run the vacuum down there now.  I thought I'd take a little lunch break first.  Don't want to overdue it!
I keep my girly, lacey Christmas tree up through St. Patrick's Day because I like to decorate it for Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day.  I did the Valentine's decorating last weekend right before the kids got here.  As you can see, the tree isn't that much different, except I try to take off anything that looks real Christmasy and put on some red bulbs and hearts, with heart garland.  It's all pink, white, red and lacey.

My mantel is back to normal now with a few little wooden hearts added.

The entrance foyer table is ready to welcome now with a Valentine greeting.
I still might do more with this.  A trip to JoAnn's is needed.

And last night, since I had no interruptions from about 5:00 to 11:00, I was able to almost finish two knitting projects.  This one is a scarf that I made from very good yarn that Hubby got me for Christmas.  I would have never spent this much money on yarn myself!  It's silk and mohair with silver metallic threads in it.  Then I beaded the yarn to make silver beaded fringe.  This looks really pretty with a black turtleneck.

This little white baby hat is one of two.  The second one isn't finished yet.  One will have a pink flower and trim and the other will have a purple flower and trim.  The daughter of a very good friend of mine just adopted 
two twin girls from Africa.  She will be going back to Africa to pick them up next month.  This Saturday I am going to a baby shower for her.

Well, my lunch break is over, so I'll go clean downstairs for about an hour and then I'm done for today.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Time to be Sick

I know I've said it before and I'm sorry that I have to say it again, "I'm tired and I don't feel good!"  I'm mostly tired because I don't feel good.  The kids were back here for the week.  They just left yesterday to spend this next week with Diana's family.  I love it when the kids are here, that isn't my complaint.  I hate when I don't feel good and get so tired when they're here.  But just look at these two adorables.
Riley is 20 months and Heath is 4-1/2 months.  They are about 15 months apart, but they're not that far apart in size already.  Riley is just a little peanut.  And if you look closely you can see one of her many bruises on her forehead.  She never sits still and is a very busy little girl.  Heath is just a little cuddle bug, but he's slightly colicky.  He's actually improved in the last week or so.  They both love to be held and paid attention to.  So I guess in short, they can wear a grandma out!  Again, I'm not complaining about these two precious little things at all!  I'm complaining that I have a sore throat and a headache or head cold or flu of some sort.  I also hold the babies quite a bit.  Heath likes to be held and bounced when in a colicky state and Riley just likes to be held to be able to be close to me.  So I hold her on my left hip while I'm cooking, cleaning, whatever.  Well, my left hip and back is just killing me.  I can hardly move when I get out of bed (after not sleeping well due to the sore throat).  Just let me tell you --- you can't keep up with these two all day feeling like this!  So I just better get on the mend this week while they're gone so that next week I'm rejuvenated and healthy and strong and have my energy back.

I have to show some of Riley's fashion show.  Diana is such a good mother and dresses these cuties up every day.  The outfits that Riley has and the way she looks in them should put her on a magazine or in a catalog.
I got her this outifit for Christmas.  Notice her little matching purse.
This little white fur coat is from her Aunt Melissa and I made the hat.
This little outfit is from her other Grandma Lori.  Look at the little black patent leather boots!  Isn't this just the cutest thing you ever saw?!  Riley wasn't real thrilled about posing for this one.

Riley found this strand of pink beads that I have as a decoration on one of my tea set stands and decided they would look  nice with this little number.  You'll notice that the binky is a fashion staple for her.
She then decided to add her pink hat.  It all works!  Don't you think?
Heath looks adorable every day, too.  Boys clothes just aren't as print worthy.  I'll feature him another day.

So now I have a week to catch up again and be good, strong and ready for next Monday. Being a grandma is not meant for the weak and weary!  I miss them already!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Renew With the New Year

I love the Holidays and November and December are my favorite months, BUT --- I'm glad it's over!  I enjoy the decorations, the songs, the snow, the food, all my family, the house filled with five grandchildren,

travelling to Cincinnati to visit the relatives living there, sitting by the blazing fireplace with the Christmas tree lights on in the evenings, the whole nine yards!  BUT --- I'm glad it's over!  When it's over, I'm done.  I don't want to hear one more Christmas carol or look at the big Christmas tree and stockings over the fireplace for one more minute.

I made my favorite New Year's meal of pork, sauerkraut, corn and applesauce on New Year's Eve instead of the customary New Year's Day since Brandon and Dee would be leaving on New Year's Day.

 I just love that meal.  Dee made the best desert, too.  It was an ice cream cake with layers of vanilla ice cream, crushed Oreos and Butterfingers, with caramel sauce.  Oh My! It was so good!

  Once the New Year hits, I'm ready to clean, organize and start new.  I was so tired on Saturday after all the family had left and Hubby was gone for the day to take Brandon and family to Pittsburgh.  Brandon was catching  the plane back to Spokane and Diana and the kids are staying the week with her family in Pittsburgh.  She and the kids will be back here next week.   I was tired and the house was quiet so you would think I would rest or nap all day, but I just couldn't bring myself  to do that.  I could not look at that tree any longer and if I would have tried to take a nap I wouldn't have been able to sleep knowing that tree was still standing.

Here's the before and after.

Awww!  That feels better!  I loved the "before" up until December 31.  Now I sit at night in my big comfy chair and knit.  
I spent Sunday getting out my new calendars and making sure I had all the birthdays written in.

 This last calendar was a Christmas gift from my kids.  My DIL Melissa put it together.  Each month features different pictures of my grandchildren and highlights the grandchild whose birthday it may be for that particular month.  I just love it.  I've requested that she do this each year for me with the current pictures of the kids each year.  Won't this be so fun to look back on in 20 years?

We were so fortunate this year to have all my kids home for Christmas.  I know that it's not going to happen every year, so I will treasure these memories in pictures.  2010 was a very emotional roller coaster year for us.  I lost my mother-in-law, my grandmother and my grandfather all within six months.  I gained two new beautiful grandchildren; Leanna, now 6 months old and Heath, now 4 months old.  No one can predict what 2011 will present, but I think I could go for a  little smoother ride this year.  

Happy and Good New Year to all!!


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