Sunday, November 30, 2014


And I'm not talking about the turkey!!

We had a great day. Sandy made it so festive.
We had just about all the food prepared on Wednesday, so on Thursday we just had to do the turkey and set the table.
That left us plenty of time for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and bloody mary's! During the commercial breaks, we worked in a little Thanksgiving themed "seek and find" game---with prizes---of course. Sandy had a little craft activity during another commercial. Results:

In the meantime, Mindy stayed in Nashville to be with Justin. At the last minute, they invited some friends to have dinner with them.
Luckily for Mindy, Justin is a chef! He did the cooking while she ran over to my house and picked up some more Thanksgiving "goodies" to decorate with.
When they were discussing Thanksgiving, Justin said that he missed his mother's cheese ball. Mindy contacted his mom and got the recipe to surprise him. While making it, she texted me that she was gagging so hard while making it she thought she might throw up!! She hates everything about blue cheese, the looks, smell and texture. The funny part is that she's probably never tasted it. And the recipe only called for 1 oz.!! I asked her if she tried it---she said, "no."
They had a 20 lb. turkey---which was originally going to be just for the two of them. Luckily Bonnie and Dave came. They are also chefs, so Mindy was feeling intimidated. She said Justin did everything and it all turned out great!

 This was Justin's first time making dressing.
Looks like they figured out the biggest challenge on Thanksgiving---how to stuff the oven to match the bird!

We missed having Mindy and Justin with us, but were glad they had a festive day themselves. 

Our holiday continued with many fun games and laughter. We did a little shopping on Wednesday---no way do we do Black Friday any more. 

Butch drove Morgan back to Nashville on Friday since she had to work the weekend. The rest of us went to the movies. The guys saw Interstellar, the kids saw that Disney movie, Sandy and I saw Gone Girl and Steph went by herself to see Mockingjay. All the movies were great. We met at Red Robin for an early dinner, then home to more games, fun and laughter.

We hit the road Saturday morning and were home by 2 p.m. This was the fastest 7 hour drive ever. We gabbed the whole way about our visit. We planned all of our holiday festivities. Before we knew it, we were home. Such a great time.

Let the holidays begin!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I had planned to blog while in Charlotte, but I've forgotten my computer charger. I'll have to see if anyone else's will fit. If not, here's wishing you the most blessed Thanksgiving.

Enjoy your families!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More Layouts

We're heading off for the Thanksgiving holidays today. I'm sure I'll have plenty of blog fodder along the way. In the meantime, here are the rest of the layouts I did at the farm a few weeks ago.

 Whenever I finish all the layouts I've brought, I resort to making some title and end pages. I can always get by with the scraps. I just use a quote from my quote folder on my computer and I'm all set! I can never have too many title and/or end pages. There's nothing more frustrating than putting your albums together and having to stop to create the title or end page. I prefer to have a stack to choose from.
 "Memory is the scribe of the soul" by Aristotle. I can't remember now, but this was a quote in a movie that I jotted down on the spot---in the dark!!

 This is my AYM layout for the month. The "back to school topic" this month was GYM.

That's it for now.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Few Things

I always like to do this type of post for all those random bits I want to share. Here goes.

I just finished a book by reality villain, Courtney from The Bachelor  (Ben's season) called I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends. We always give Mindy a hard time about her reading material. But this time I borrowed this book from her. I love all of these reality shows and I realize that they aren't really reality---in the truest sense. This book was so thoroughly enjoyable. Whether you like Courtney (the author and villain) or not, it's eye-opening to see how the show made her the villain---mostly by editing. Of course, she was not innocent in all of it. She had a very lucrative modeling career prior to going on the show. It ruined her career. Even though she was "the chosen" at the Final Rose ceremony, it didn't last. Few of the relationships do. The whole thing is totally contrived. But that won't keep me from watching it. If you want an interesting and light read that you can breeze through, this is the book for you. Thanks, Mindy.

I bragged about having made 4 batches of spinach balls for the freezer. I thought I'd go ahead and share the recipe. It's an oldie from the 1970's from my SIL Chris. Even if you hate spinach, you might like these. They are easy to make---just a little time consuming. It's nice to have something you can keep in the freezer and whip up in 30 minutes for guests. No thawing required!!

Spinach Balls
2-10 oz. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and very squeezed to remove water
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing (NOT the cube type)
1 med. onion, chopped
4 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 t. thyme
Salt and Pepper

Mix all ingredients and chill two or more hours. Shape in to 1" balls. Freeze or refrigerate. Bake at 300 degrees in a jelly roll pan (to catch the drippings) and bake for 30 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them---you don't want them too brown or they'll be crunchy. You just want them cooked through to hold together.

We've worked our b***s off this weekend cleaning out and moving stuff. We're exhausted. But then something comes up that makes us smile:
This little table has had an old black and white tv on it for 20 years. It stands to reason it would be dusty as we don't usually move our tvs to dust---unless it is situated in a way that you actually see the dust. So this means that the tv had to be moved in order for Jordan to do this---8/4/09---she would have been 15. Not really a bad build up considering. Butch and I laughed---that's so Jordan. One of the scrapbook layouts I've done for her is about how she leaves little notes all over. This photo will definitely make my "Things They Leave Behind" layout! Love it! I hardly have the heart to dust this table!

Speaking of cleaning out and moving stuff---I had a huge number of Norman Rockwell boxes from my porcelain figurines collection that I started in the 1980's. Everyone knows they are more valuable if you keep the boxes. Well, about 8 or 10 years ago, when we got new carpet, the carpet layers knocked my shelf off the wall and broke just about all of them. I was sick. Then I reminded myself that it's just stuff---and moved on (I did get the carpet people to discount our carpet even though the contract had small print about taking stuff off the walls). Anyway, I had never thrown away the boxes since they were "out of sight, out of mind." I put them in a pile to throw away. Butch, being the obsessive guy he is (I know, that's the pot calling the kettle black), opened all the boxes and look what he found:

The few that survived! Thank God for him! I can't tell you how many things over the years we would have thrown away if it wasn't for him checking boxes. At Christmas, he checks everything---paper, bags and boxes---and has saved many a gift card or instruction booklet. He's like that about hotel rooms too. We've come to rely on the fact that he will check the room at least 3 times before we leave and find everything we've forgotten!

I drove through McDonald's the other day. I can't remember the last time I went to McDonalds. I was craving a fish sandwich. I pulled up to the window to pick up my food and encountered this:
Basically it's a black out window designed as an add. It was sort of freaky to not be able to see the employee behind there. There are little holes all over that I think means they can see us, but we just can't see them. I'm sure it's probably a security feature. But it's weird. And anti-social.

For your enjoyment:
This is just about the cutest thing I've seen lately---based on Meghan Trainor's popular song:
It's all about the bass:

And Finally...Christmas is in the house!!
As you can tell by the bare mantel, I'm not completely done, but well on the way.

We're off tomorrow for Thanksgiving in Charlotte. We're really looking forward to getting off of these tired "dogs."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book of Mormon

Butch and I went to the theater on Thursday night. Of course, I'd heard all about the controversy surrounding this "no holds barred" play by the creators of South Park (which I've never seen). Book of Mormon has won many Tony Awards. Still, being a theater lover and avid theater goer I had to see it for myself. I was already familiar with some of the music due to my satellite radio---and liked it---A---LOT. Of course, those were the "clean" songs.

Anyway, as we looked around the theater, there were mostly "young people" and by that I mean 20's---30's. The play started with one of the songs I heard many times and loved. For me, it went downhill from there.

I know everyone will be shocked by this as I'm a pretty open-minded gal---not a prude by any stretch. But to me, there are just some things that are so serious, that you should not make jokes about. Some topics are just not funny. Vulgarity is not my "thing." I'm used to hearing the "f" word hear and there and generally am not offended by that. But in the play, it was just too much. Way too much.

We left at intermission. I was completely wrong about Book of Mormon too. I thought it was a bad idea to bring this play to Nashville in the middle of the bible belt. I did not think it would go over well. Apparently it has. But I don't get it. Who decides what is art? To me this play was designed to push the limits just because they could. I think they produced it for the shock value. I think it's because the "young people" today are immune to audacity!!

My own girls are seeing it today. It will be interesting to hear their take. I suspect they will like the play as do their peers. That won't upset me. They have a right to their own opinions. But I do think they will agree with me that they totally understand where I'm coming from. After all, they know me and what things offend me. They won't be surprised at my reaction.

I've been thinking that maybe we're getting old. But then, I remind myself of the pedal tavern last weekend. Heck no, we're not THAT old!!!

Just my opinion.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Will We Ever Get it All Done?

The answer is most definitely "YES"! We always do. But it's probably not the best time---for the remodeling. Our start was delayed which at the time seemed good because of all the stuff that had to be done. Well, the wallpaper removal guy is coming on Tuesday. The demolition guys are coming Monday, December 1st. In the meantime, we've had Stephanie's birthday this week. We're Christmas decorating this weekend and leaving for Thanksgiving in Charlotte with Sandy and family on Tuesday morning. When we get home, I have book club right away. And I've promised to get Steph's house re-decorated after her remodel---which includes the two of us doing some serious cleaning. That means I really have to plan it all out to get it all done.  I'm giving her the week after Thanksgiving. By then, I'll be decorated and ready for the holidays myself. I won't feel pressured and can enjoy helping her.

I think I mentioned this before---I live my life on a timeline. Every Sunday, I look at my calendar and figure out what all I have to do for the week. Then I make a list of each day of the week and plug in all of my "to dos" for the week. For example, knowing I had so much to accomplish in the next two weeks, I purchased my non-perishable groceries for book club. I also made some food for that I put in the freezer---not only for book club, but for freezer club and the holiday parties. I'm in good shape there.

As for the remodeling, Butch's office had to be completely emptied---3 huge bookshelves all full of stuff. He's boxed a lot up and we're using one of the guest rooms as storage. We still have a lot of furniture to move out. I've already emptied all the cabinets in the rec room. We worked our tails off yesterday. I had to move a lot of stuff out of my closet in my scrapbook room to clear a path to the Christmas stuff stored in the attic beyond. That's always a job every year, but it is by far easier to do that than to haul up and down a pull down ladder. We had that at our old house. When you don't have a basement, you have to use the attic. I have 3 attics in this house, but we only use the one. We cleaned it out completely last year, so now the only things in it are Christmas decorations (just the tree, outside garlands and the huge garlands for the staircase) and a child's rocking chair---Mindy's---can't part with it.

I have a really nice, big Christmas closet that stores everything else. In fact, it was that closet that nearly sold me the house. But, I've learned, closet or not, don't underestimate the work of all that hauling up and down the stairs. It's a workout for sure. Plus, I always do it in one day. I'm exhausted, but that's how I roll!!

Anyway, back to this week. We went to the club for Stephanie's birthday dinner. Morgan stopped by to change and left these:
I left them here all week on the kitchen floor just as she left them. It made me happy to see them every time I walked in the kitchen. Almost like there were kids back in the house again. I plan to do a  scrapbook page titled "The Things They Leave Behind"---and this photo is perfect for that.
I moved happy hour in to the dining room this week so the girls could do their fall project. Morgan was off work, so she came too. It tickles me that these teens now want to do craft projects.

Everything in this family is a competition whether prizes are involved or not. Now understand, these were all pretty much exactly alike---duplicates of my examples. Still, Stephanie, Mindy and Morgan wanted a vote on who's was "best." They each submitted one of the four autumn votives. Butch, Nicky and I had to judge. We all picked #1 just because the bow was a little fluffier. That was Mindy's and she was ecstatic!! I guess we're glad that it takes so little make them happy!!

More work for the weekend. Monday, I have AYM and packing for our trip. Then it's 4 days of laid back fun, food and family activities!!

Let the holidays begin!!! I'm ready!!! Or I will be!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five Things Thursday

If you think----"wait, she's already scrapbooked that"---know this:  I have 5 albums going for my grandchildren. Not all get the same layouts. Even if the subject matter is the same, I make them completely different to keep it more fun for me. I do duplicate the stories---adding a more personal  one for each grandchild. 

I'll be giving them their next batch of pages on Thanksgiving. It delights me that we all sit around the dining room table while the kids show their pages and read the stories. It always leads to more stories and much laughter.

And there are  five things for today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Brief Update

Christmas Village was a lot of fun. This was my favorite purchase:
Gigantic Scrabble letters. I started playing Scrabble with my parents as soon as I was old enough to spell the most simple words. I played with my grandma Z. too. I play with my girls and grandkids too. It makes me happy that the tradition continues!
 Our night on the pedal tavern was a lot of fun. We made two stops in 2 1/2 hours. We only got off once so the guys could check the ball games. We had 7 "older" people and 6 "youngs."
 The guys. The pedaling was harder than it looked, but these guys didn't seem to have a problem. It wasn't as hard as I thought. Oh yeah, that's right, I wasn't feeling all that great, so I had a seat that didn't have to pedal. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
 Merrill and Stephanie. It was cold, but when they were pedaling, they got plenty warm.
 Mindy, Nicky and Butch. Not shown are Stephen and his girlfriend, Sarah.
 Mindy being a monkey on a barrel!
I met my friends for lunch at Panera Bread at the mall. I'm used to the Christmas decorations going up before Thanksgiving, but I've never seen Santa on duty so early. Surely he has plenty to do at the North Pole?

After lunch we went to see Interstellar  with Matthew McConnoughey, Anne Hathaway and Matt Damon. It was very good but very confusing. I need to see it again to see if I can understand it better. They used words that don't even compute in my little brain---like---quantum physics---black holes---relativity---actually, I have to admit, I don't think I understood any of it. Still is was good. Movie Monday is still the best way to start the week!

Now you can hate me for this. I've already started my holiday cooking. I have a double batch of spinach balls in the freezer!! Let the season begin!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Tip for Tuesday

This really works!
Put a wooden spoon before you begin to boil something and it will not boil over! It's scary, but it won't.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Mystery

This actually qualifies as "Throwback Thursday" too!

How is it that Mitchell is carrying this?
More importantly, how is it that an 18 year old boy is not EMBARRASSED to be carrying his mother's Vanilla Ice high school notebook? Where in the world did he find it?

And the mysteries continue...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This and That

It's looking like Christmas in Nashville. We kicked it off on Thursday night with Christmas Village. I've been going for nearly 30 years---I think I've only missed one. Actually, I'm kind of over it, but now Stephanie and Mindy want to go. What I used to think was so exciting---now is just crowded and expensive. Funny how your perspective changes as you get older! I've decided to look at it differently---something to do with the girls. So, as long as they want to go, I'll do it. I think they just like the wine and dinner after!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Apple Store? Well, I do! I knew better, but somehow, I downloaded some malware on to my computer. It took over my homepage and gave me a million pop-ups. I did everything I could think of and couldn't fix it. I booked an appointment at the Genius Bar. Those guys are truly geniuses. I guess that's where they got the name. He fixed it in less than 5 minutes.
I'm not the only one who loves the Apple store. It is always so crowded that now they line up outside. The Apple employees---make that iEmployees---try to assist you while you wait in line. Apple definitely knows how to do things quickly and efficiently.

I love Butch almost as much as I love the Apple Store. Okay, a little bit more----because he does stuff like this.
He noticed that the box I carry my printer in needed some repair. He took care of it for me. He does stuff like that. Hmmm. That's exactly what the Apple Store does---takes care of stuff for me. No wonder I love them both!!

So, I gave Butch a quiz titled: "How Anti Social Are You?" His test results were that he was a "Super Social Person." Just goes to show, you CANNOT rely on these tests!! You can say Butch is a lot of things---but social is NOT one of them! Don't get me wrong, he can hold his own when he needs to, but he doesn't like it. Let's just leave it at anti-social.

Today, it is frrreeezzzziiinnnggg! You might know that this would be the day that I picked for family and friends to rent the pedal tavern! It holds 16 people. You pedal around town. You can bring your own beverages or stop along the way. We're bringing. I'm thinking hot chocolate! The place cancels if it's below 40 degrees. I think it will be right at 40 when we are to begin, but will drop lower as the night progresses. We cannot cancel them without losing our money. We'll just have to go for it.

Sometimes I wonder how I get myself in to these things. Oh yeah, now I remember. That's because I'm a planner and I want to do EVERYTHING!! Mostly, my friends like that about me. I'll let you know how they feel after tonight!

That's about enough of this and that!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Cautionary Tale

Morgan's new iPhone was stolen at work this week. They had insurance, so she got a new one. But, remember those tips about taking a picture of all the credit cards you carry in your wallet? Well, it sounds like a good idea but maybe isn't.

Morgan had the photo of one credit card on her phone to use in case of emergency. Well, the thief that stole her phone must have had an emergency too!! Steph has cancelled the card after some "unauthorized usage."

Apparently the thief must not understand the cloud! He/she has taken pictures that are coming through on Morgan's new phone due to her iCloud account. Seems like with the "find my phone" app and GPS capabilities, the thief could be tracked pretty easily. I'm sure it's a low priority for law enforcement.

I don't really understand phone thieves. Once you report the phone lost or stolen, it's shut down or locked down---or something like that. Maybe it's easy to get around that. Otherwise, why bother?

If you do take photos of what's in your wallet---use your regular camera. What's that you say? That other clickable hand held device we used to use before we all had iPhones!