Thursday, June 30, 2016

I just love this stuff!

Anything organizational that is! Earlier this week, I went over to Connie's to help her sort out all of her needlework supplies. Now, mind you, I thought I had already done her fibers last fall. Well, apparently she was holding out on me!

The first thing I had her do was gather everything in one place. I didn't think to take pictures until we were already in to the job, so this is not quite what it looked like to begin, but you'll get the idea.
All of those bags you see are lined up in front of the fireplace and contain various projects and supplies. I had Connie measure and mark all of her stretcher bars. It's amazing to me that we both have so many, but yet when we need them, we never have exactly what we need!! Luckily, those are pretty cheap.
 These are already the bags I've emptied and sorted.

These are all the floss bags with assorted fibers. I didn't think to take any of the "after" photos. The bags are all sorted by color and put on to large book rings. They all fit in to a large Vera Bradley bag and can be tucked away. Then when you have a project you want to work on, you can easily see what you have. Of course, you never have everything you need. Believe it or not, those little fibers are pricey, so it's important to be able to use what we already have.

The other thing Connie wanted to accomplish was to prioritize all of her upcoming projects. We did that, but ran out of time. There were two things I still wanted to do. 1. Go through the fiber rings and consolidate them---I'm sure she has 2 or 3 bags of the exact same fiber---I know I did when I organized mine a couple years ago. 2. I wanted to go over the supply lists for her upcoming projects to see if she had everything she needed to get started. I guess she'll be on her own for that. But it makes me feel like I didn't complete the job. Afterwards, I thought that I should have just taken her fibers home and gone through them myself. I hate leaving a project half finished!

This took us 2 hours to do. Connie thought it would take longer while I thought it would only take an hour. I always tend to underestimate how long something will take. I work fast and always think a job won't take long! Of course, it doesn't help that in the middle of the job, I noticed something was missing. I asked Connie where it was. She said, "oh, it's still in the closet." I "made" her get it and then asked if there was anything else she was holding out on. She assured me that was it. Okay, just like I thought I had already organized the fibers!

Now I know how Butch feels when he's packing the car and thinks he has everything. When he's about half loaded, the girls would come out with tons more stuff!  Yeah, it's like that!

Speaking of packing, we head off to our family vacation to the beach on Saturday. There's a "no swim" order as there is bad bacteria in the ocean---I don't really want to say what they are calling it. Let's just say that maybe a thousand babies have been playing in the ocean without a swim diaper! No big deal to me as I don't swim in the ocean anyway. I can't stand the taste of the water---and it always splashes in your mouth!l On top of that, the weather is supposed to be crappy. We'll make the best of it. Beach vacations are always hit or miss!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I Think I'm in Trouble!

Recently, someone asked me what will keep the moles from coming back. I said that I didn't know. Well, I got the bill from the molenator. I think I'm in trouble!
He made mailing labels for me! Not a good sign.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sometimes There's Just Nothing to Blog About

Sometimes, life is just regular---nothing exciting or report worthy. That's pretty much how it's been lately. My weeks are the same---which is totally okay. They are predictable. I'm still busy all the time and there's not much room in the schedule.

My week looks like this:
Monday---get the house ready for Margarita to come clean---this means putting things in order, starting the laundry and unloading the dishwasher. Sometimes I run to the grocery store. I pay bills or work a little in my scrapbook room. Then it's off to meet my friends for lunch and a movie. When I get home, I read a little and nap. Dinner is "on your own" which means I don't usually cook on Mondays.

Tuesdays is my stitching day. Connie, Nancy and I meet at Nashville Needleworks. Cinco de Mayo is our regular lunch spot. Then we come back here to get in the pool.

Wednesday is usually a free day for me, but in the summer, Connie might come over with her grands to swim. Or, like last week, we visit our friend who's stuck at home for awhile. We're doing that next Wednesday too.

Thursday is my bridge day. I do errands on the way which includes my weekly nail appointment.

Fridays are swim days with my friends. We have happy hour and the weekend begins. Even though we're retired, there's still something special about weekends. We don't do much on weekends. If the girls come over, we'll hang with them some. I usually do a lot of reading over the weekend. I cut flowers from the garden. I watch a lot of tv and stitch.

So, you see, there's not much all that exciting that goes on around here. My life is pretty ordinary and I'm okay with that. I don't have much to blog about. At least not much that's all that interesting.

I am enthralled with the wildlife---despite my complaints. And I love my flowers. So with that, here's the latest:
 We've had turkeys every year, but for some reason, this year, it's just one lonely guy.
He stopped by for a drink from the little birdbath in my knot garden. When the family was here, the family got to see him fly up in the trees in the shade garden. Last year (or maybe the year before) we discovered that the whole flock was nesting in our trees at night. Justin was especially surprised that they could fly. After all they are birds!

We also are over-run with huge, black crows (are they any other color?). They are so LOUD with their squawking. The other day when I was reading and trying to nap, they were so loud that I couldn't concentrate. I finally went outside to try to figure out what all the hullaballoo was about. Of course about a dozen flew off. Since they were in the knot garden, I think they were eating the birdseed that had dropped from the bird feeders.

Then, there was a gigantic frog---dead on the driveway. We had that happen on the patio a few years ago. What happens is they somehow jump from a high place and splat on the hot, sharp aggregate and that's all she wrote. It's not like we have a bunch of frogs. In fact I never see them unless they have done this which has been exactly twice in 21 years. We must not have to many frogs or surely we'd see them once in awhile.

The moleinator finally sent me a bill. He got 6 moles. Someone asked me what will keep others from coming. I don't know the answer to that. But, I'll keep enlisting the help of the moleinator until the entire mole community gets the word that it's not worth coming here!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

He Does This...

 7 1/2 hours of power we can do this...
 PS Rust doesn't come off!

And we appreciate it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mindy and Justin's New Condo

Mindy bought her condo in the Rhythm downtown 4 1/2 years ago. Once she got married, it was just too small---827 sq ft. She and Justin love their location, so they decided that they wanted to stay in the same building. The condo market is HOT in Nashville! They don't last long. Luckily, they were able to get a two-bedroom unit with 1100 sq. ft. Only 2 of those had come on the market in the last 2 years! Anyway, the move is done!

My pictures are not all that good due to the bright light coming in the windows.
 The biggest problem in the old place was the tiny closet. Now they have a nice size master closet.
Justin was finally able to get his clothes off the floor!

They bought a Futon for the extra bedroom so now they can have guests.
There's another nice closet. They also have a wine cooler in there.
 Justin's dad made something for the tv to sit on so they can still use their vintage stereo without having to move the tv. You can still slide open the doors as the tv sits above them.
There are still a few things to be done. Mindy is having a sliding "barn door" made to cover the closet. Who makes a closet without a door?
I guess that would be the same person who designed a kitchen without any drawers! Butch has come up with a solution for that. Love the Lionel Richie cutting board---"is it me you're cooking for?"

 Lowering the shades didn't help much. We put the pictures over the couch in the photos below.
 I guess I need to go down there at night and get some pictures.
Justin's uncle was a well-known, local photographer in New England. His aunt sent him many photos for a wedding gift. We had them framed in black, barn wood frames.
This wall is not complete yet. This is going to be their "wedding" wall. We still are waiting on the wedding portraits. I just ordered them in May.
This is their "his and hers" wall in the guest room. His side is on the left with his autographed Goonies print and the photos I gave him at Christmas time from when he was little. Her side has her autographed Will and Grace photo, Dumbo picture (from Stephanie---made out of a Dumbo record) and a print of Times Square with all of the theater marquees.

That's about it. Mindy and Justin are really enjoying more room.

Oh, and the old place is SOLD!---in a little over a week!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's HIS day!

Father's day that is! The girls gave him his gifts on Friday at Happy Hour. But there's a whole lot more to it than gifts. He loves his girls. There's no doubt about that. Even though they are grown---and most of the grands are grown too, they still rely on him.

Currently, Mindy is waiting for her "daddy" to come up with a solution for the fact that there are NO drawers in her and Justin's new kitchen (yeah, I know, who designs a kitchen without drawers---but that's another story). It doesn't help that I keep offering suggestions---although I think that's help. He has his own ideas. He just takes longer to work through them than I do. Anyway, we'll see how long it takes to actually get those drawers installed! He can be a procrastinator.

Just a little over a week ago, he spent 7 1/2 hours power washing the pool deck in preparation for our family weekend. He wanted everything to be nice for his girls! He made sure all the floats were blown up and ready to go. And he stocked the bar.

And of course, there was the situation earlier this week when Morgan came by to swap cars. She had borrowed mine for Bonaroo. She went out to start up her car and the battery was dead. She called from the driveway for grandpa to come help. He wasn't happy that it was almost 10 p.m. and he had to jumpstart a car. That didn't work anyway. So, he's had her car all week to deal with the battery.

They bring him broken cars, broken glasses and broken jewelry. They think he can repair anything---and mostly he can. When they were little they expected him to fix all kinds of toys---even a Barbie high heel! But that's what he does. He fixes things for his girls.

He reads contracts for his girls. They count on him to make sure everything is on the "up and up!" He helps them make sense of business decisions. They rely on his advice for their personal careers. He's never steered them wrong. He's the voice of reason. He can calm them down. He clips coupons for them. And you can be sure that he always saves them MONEY!!

So for this one day a year, he's honored. But the truth is, the girls appreciate him every day of the year. And so do I!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Don't You Just Love a Good Surprise?

I know I do. There's nothing like the unexpected---the good type of course---to make me happy!

As I was sitting and reading on the porch swing, I noticed this.

 It's a little snapdragon growing in the bricks. Now that's what I call a happy surprise!
At first I couldn't imagine how it got here. Then I remembered that there are snapdragons in the flowerpots by the front door. Since it's a bit of a distance away, either a seedling blew, or was carried by one of the many critters we have around here. I't will be interesting to see how long it lasts as summer has really hit! We're already to that point where you step outside and the humidity takes your breath away.
 And then there's this. Our little pond on the patio. It's not very big, but it's just big enough for our fish to last from year to year. Well, unless the herons stop by for lunch. Here's that story.
In all the years we've had fish, we've never had so many babies! We have nearly a dozen that made it from last year. They are so cute. Just another little happy surprise. We let any visiting kids feed them. My little buddy, Merrit (Connie's grandson) knows right where the fish food is. Technically, you do not have to feed them. They have plenty of food from mosquito larvae and insects to plant material. We like to feed them because then they come to the surface and you can watch them.

Update on the moleinator. I talked to him yesterday. He's caught 5 so far. He will continue to put out the traps until there are no longer any caught. That makes me happy too. I don't like critters destroying my lawn and gardens.

To tell you the truth, I'm just basically a happy person!

Monday, June 13, 2016

New Recipes

Hey All,
It's been a whirlwind weekend! When the Lapps are in town, the family moves in! It's one big party and so much fun. I tried a couple new recipes. They were big hits, so I thought I would share them.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip--Now there are many recipes out there. I picked this one because we have a family member who will not eat anything with mayonnaise. This recipe is mayo-less! Plus, it's a crock pot recipe and so easy.

1 cup mozzarella
6 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced (I just used a bit of powder)
1 can artichoke hearts drained and chopped
8 oz. fresh spinach (I used a 10 oz. package of frozen, chopped)
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir well and serve with tortilla chips.

And now, I've saved the best for last. This recipe is incredible!!! I even messed it up in so many ways (I can't cook with everybody in the kitchen as I get distracted easily with the conversations). I'll mention the mess ups. It might be even better prepared correctly!!

Blueberry Cheesecake Poke Cake

1 white cake mix
ingredients listed on the box
1 pkg. vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)
1 1/2 cup milk

Blueberry Sauce
12 oz. blueberries, rinsed
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp water

Whipped Cream
1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
2 cup powdered sugar

Bake cake according to package directions in a 9x13 pan. (I used the whole egg even though it called for just the egg whites. I hate to waste and didn't really care if it was completely a white cake). Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine blueberries, sugar, flour and water in a medium saucepan. (I wasn't quite sure if the 12 oz. meant weight or a cup and a half. I'd say I actually had about 2 cups of blueberries). Cook and stir until thickened---about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool or 20 minutes.

Prepare pudding by adding 1 1/2 cup of milk to mix. (I used the large size pudding and 3 cups of milk). Poke holes in top of cake and spread pudding over. (I did the blueberry first). Chill for 10 minutes. Pour blueberries over the top. Cool completely.

Prepare whipped cream by mixing all ingredients until smooth. Spread on top of blueberries (I had to spread it on top of the pudding---which was a little tricky!).

Refrigerate until serving. DELICIOUS!!!

Let me know how you like these dishes if you try them.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Family Weekend

Here's what our family weekends look like (it's rare that we're all together---just a couple times a year).  We're so happy that Justin is off work and will be with us the whole weekend! That almost never happens!

As posted on the refrigerator:

Weekend Agenda:

Lapps arrive late

Breakfast—homemade cinnamon rolls delivered by Bruce
Girls (including Stephanie—maybe Mindy?) to lunch (Green Hills Grill) and movie (The Jungle Book)
Happy Hour—cheese from Italy, salami, olives
Dinner at the club 

Breakfast—French toast
Pool day
Lunch—pizza at the pool, homemade chocolate chip cookies
Dinner— shrimp fettuccine (plain for Mindy), salad, cheesy garlic bread, blueberry cheese poke cake
Poker game

Guys playing golf
Breakfast—breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls, fruit salad
Pool day
Lunch—snacks at pool—ranch dip, guacamole (no mayo), salsa, cheese spinach artichoke dip (no mayo), brownies
Karaoke at the pool

Dinner—BBQ chicken, zucchini, deviled eggs, roasted potatoes

So what do your family weekends look like?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Couple Layouts

I'm planning a simple Christmas album for my friends. All they have to do is assemble and add pictures.
 Simple cut-out banners with eyelets added.
I cut the trees on the Cricut with assorted scraps and then sewed them down.

More to come...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Moleinator!

Have you ever heard of such a thing? Neither had I. The moles are tearing up the lawn and gardens. I called the "moleinator" to take care of the problem. He told me that it would cost $40.00 to come out and place the equipment. This is a "one-time" fee. Any time in the future, if I need to call him back, I won't have to pay for this.
Here are some of the traps.
 You can see here, how the moles are ruining the lawn.
 It's a little hard to see here, but the moles have raised up the ground under my rows of flowers.
Plus, they eat the roots of my flowers which prevents them from flourishing.

After the traps are in place, the moleinator charges $40 per mole caught. That's how he's able to guarantee his work. If he doesn't catch any, you don't pay. Butch thinks that he's gotten 4 already and that this could get expensive. Of course, the most natural way to get rid of them would be to get rid of their food source. It's a vicious cycle. Enriching the soil---which I'm big on---causes more worms which the moles like. I'll have to settle on the moleinator to take care of the problem.

Then, on Sunday, I pulled in to the driveway and saw a HUGE snake---I'm not exaggerating---at least 4 feet long---outside the garage. I tried to run over it, but couldn't see it. I gingerly stepped out of the care, now fearing I'd chased it in to the garage. I quickly ran in the house and made Butch get the groceries.

I was freaked out, but went out front anyway to cut some of my beautiful Endless Summer hydrangeas. We were going to Jack and Connie's for a barbecue, so I wanted to give her a vase full.
 They are just starting to bloom.
 Blue, pink and purple all on the same bush. They are just gorgeous!

 I kind of hate cutting them as they look so pretty in the yard.
Okay, back to the snake. I was afraid the snake might have escaped to the front, here. I whistled and made a lot of noise to make sure that snake knew I was there.

When I came back in the house, Butch said that the snake was still under my car! Oh my gosh! It could have gotten me when I stepped out of the car! That double-freaked me! He said that it did indeed escape to the front beds. He said that he thought it was the same snake he saw around back a week ago. I'm certain we have tons of snakes now. Later he admitted that it wasn't the same snake after all.

We were talking about the fact that for all the years we had outside cats, we never had critter problems. We didn't have squirrels and chipmunks eating all the birdseed and destroying the feeders. We didn't have moles or gophers (I really don't know the difference) destroying our yard and flower beds. We didn't have snakes---or at least we never saw them. Okay, we did have a few opossums and skunks living under the house (did you know that they cohabitant?). I guess they weren't afraid of a single cat. And of course, there was the time where the heron ate all of our fish. A cat would have prevented that. We might occasionally have a snake or mole, but they were the dead trophies the cats brought home. We mostly had one cat at a time, but had two for a few years. I'm all about natural pest control. But Butch is adamant that we are not going to have any more cats. He said he was tired of cleaning up their messes. Plus, with our travel schedule it would be a hassle for Stephanie or Mindy to have to take care of it for us. Another point that Butch made--the vet bills would be way more expensive than just hiring the moleinator!

Now if I could just find a "snakeinator!" I'm not afraid of bugs or spiders, but I hate snakes! And don't try to give me that crap about how they are good for the garden. Obviously, they are not taking care of the mole problem! If you want to live here, you have to work!