Friday, June 29, 2012

More Stuff

Last Saturday, when we went shopping, this happened to Steph as soon as we got out of the car:

She and Sandy both seem to have a problem with knocking a big chunk out of their "papa" toenails. Mindy and I think it is hysterically funny. Steph said that now she needs to get a fake "papa" toenail for our vacation. Last summer, it happened to Sandy during our vacation. One of the kids knocked a chunk out of one and the very next day, Jordan got her other one! I shouldn't laugh---it might happen to me.

 This NEVER happens! This is my gas bill. I've never had one this low. Actually, I do the level payment plan for $139 a month year round. We must have saved some gas this year to basically have a "free" month. It's like a nice little surprise. The smallest things make me happy!

 I came home on Wednesday afternoon to find these on my desk. Are you kidding? 2 days before our vacation! If it had been Stephanie or Mindy, I would have gone off---telling them "no" since they didn't give me any time.

 Anything for those grandkids. Plus, I do remember that my grandmother did all of our clothing repairs too. I guess it's just the grandmotherly thing to do. And it could be that my "big" girls do not know how to sew. No such thing as "home ec" in schools these days.
Just when I thought I had my multiples habit under control, I found these on sale. There are actually 4 of them here. I did hold back from buying more. I'm sure we'll go through all 4 on our vacation with 11 people. Then I'll have to pay full price.

Remember I wondered if this would be pushing my luck---to get Butch to help me clean out this cabinet? Well, he did. And this time, it really only did take about 10 minutes. 

Here is the final result---room again and no chaos! I did keep the French onion soup bowls even thought I've only made that twice in 41 years! I'm thinking I might make it again soon!

In honor of my "sisters" weekend, I decided to surprise them with the best flip flops EVER! And they are "green." They're called "yoga mat flip flops." They are the most comfortable things I've ever had. I'll be wearing mine as we head off on our trip. The best part---I just ordered them late Wednesday night and they arrived today!

I'll be posting some pictures while we're away. Stay tuned...try to stay cool here while we're enjoying low 80's in the Dominican Republic!! I probably just jinxed myself.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Glad to be getting out-of-town on Saturday.

Weather for Nashville, TN

95°F | °CWedThuFriSat
Wind: NE at 6 mph
Humidity: 18%97°63°100°66°111°70°106°72°
And it continuers---Sunday 106, Monday 101 and then it goes back to the upper 90's for the rest of the week.

Our sister's weekend could be a hot one!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pantry Pandemonium

Last week, Butch and I made a "date" to clean out the pantry. The grandkids thought that was pretty funny. But we're both busy and I wanted to get it done before our vacation so it just made sense to schedule. It reminds me of the time when the girls were little and I planned a "family clean out the pantry day." I tried to make everything an event. They didn't always buy it. I remember Stephanie complaining, "mom, we're the only family that has a "family clean out the pantry day, or family clean out the garage day." I always prefaced any work day with "" to make it sound like fun. It never was. Neither was our "couple clean out the pantry day."

We started at 8 a.m. I have a problem that Butch has been putting up with for years. I ALWAYS underestimate how long something will take. I planned 2 hours for this. It took 4. We ended up having several interruptions to the day. I finished at 8 p.m.

We straighten out the pantry right after the holidays every year. But about the only time we ever take everything completely out is when we move or paint. It's been about 5 years since we last painted. It was time. Here's how it looked before:

A whole lot of chaos. No judging please!! Through the course of my organizing business, I always told clients that it doesn't matter how much space you have---you always fill it up. If you have a lot of space, you keep things you wouldn't have kept if you didn't have room for it. That's exactly what we faced.
Then we had a few surprises. I "lost" this pro boost a few months ago. I thought I had somehow thrown it out. It's a natural product that my doc recommended to help me deal with my hives. Turns out, I just forgot I put it in the pantry---really, in plain sight---just not my sight as I put it on a high shelf. I'm short, never saw it again.
I bought this for the pickles I was going to make a couple of years ago---along with the jars and pickling salt which has expired.

We were ruthless in sorting out and getting rid of stuff. We tossed a lot of expired things, The oldest was a pasta mix from 2003. Butch tried really hard to not be critical, but he just couldn't help himself. He'd say things like, "okay, give me the 3000 packs of stuffing mix that we only eat once a year." To which I replied, "you have no idea what I use that for."

Remember my stockpile issues? Then he said very calmly, "I'm not trying to be critical, but can we just buy the food we need for the week instead of stocking up?" I said, also very calmly, "yes, I've been trying to do that." In fact, I'm very proud of myself----I really am trying to stop buying "extras" just because it's on sale.

Case in point. Two weeks ago, I stopped by the liquor store to pick up some cherry vodka for our fruity pool drinks. They had some on clearance for $4.99 a bottle. I wanted to snatch up every bottle they had left which would have been about six, but I stopped myself. I only bought three. Since the recipe only calls for a cup and a half of vodka, I figure I have enough for three years!

Anyway, he made that statement, I agreed, but he didn't stop there. "We really don't need to stock up anymore. Let's just buy what we need for the week." I could feel myself starting to get a little snappy. I said, calmly, "okay, you can stop now---you're starting to get critical." Then I released him. I really only needed him to help me with the "high up" shelves. I didn't want to climb up and down the step stool a zillion times. It's just easier with two working together.

Of course the kitchen was a complete disaster as we worked:

I was so happy to "find" this casserole from Louisville Stoneware (my last remnant of our life in Louisville 35 years ago). I thought I must have gotten rid of it since it's been "lost" for at least 10 years.

And now for the results:

 The best part---NOTHING on the floor! We'll see how long that lasts.
Finally, we've gone from pantry pandemonium to pantry peace!

Do you think I would be pushing it to ask for help with this:
Really, I'm pretty lucky.  I don't know too many husbands that would agree to help with such an "unfun" task. Wait, maybe he fell for the "couple clean out the pantry day" after all!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Movie Review

Today, Pam and I saw Rock of Ages. It hasn't gotten very good reviews, but we LOVED it. Pretty much anything with music I'm going to like---plus it's taken from a Broadway Show. I haven't seen it on stage, but Sandy and Greg have. They said it was great. It's in my theater line-up for this season, so I'll get to see the stage version too.

Anyway, I haven't liked Tom Cruise since his couch episode on Oprah. I have to admit, he played a burned out druggie very well. I also liked Russell Brand. I've never seen him in anything and just thought he was goofy. Julianne Hough---what can I say----she's got it all---beauty, dances and has a great voice. Catherine Zeta Jones was good too.

I'm going to ask Mindy to find out if they all did their own singing. If so, Tom, Alec Baldwin, Russell sounded good. I already knew CKJ was a singer from Chicago.

The only part I didn't like was when they made fun of boy bands. They were obviously referring to New Kids on the Block, who I still love.

Go see it, they did a lot of "mash-ups" of 80"s songs. Loved it.

Tomorrow my pantry report.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I'm working on my AYM layout and I've chosen "Placeback" for my "P." I know it's a little ahead of the game, but I just had to share this story:

Isn’t calling “placeback” a universal rule? Growing up in such a large family, it was not only a rule, but a necessity. If you didn’t remember to call “placeback,” you lost your spot on the couch or in the bathroom line. We only had one couch and one bathroom for 9 people. If you forgot to call “placeback,” the only spot left was the floor.

Whether you actually called “placeback” or not, always caused a fight. You had to get some of the other kids to back you up when someone stole your spot. And, it didn’t really matter where you were---you needed to call “placeback” everywhere---in the car at the drive-in, in the tree house, at the ball field---just any where that you wanted to be sure to get your same spot back. I think we kids stole each other’s spots for pure meanness!

When I was a teenager, I called “placeback” when I got up to go to the bathroom. When I got back, Janice had taken my spot on the couch. I said, “get up, I called placeback.” She said, “you didn’t call placeback.” Jennifer backed her up---the twins lied for each other all the time. That’s when the fighting started. I yanked Janice off the couch. We started punching and wrestling around. Mom walked in the front door. She still had her purse on one arm and sunglasses in the other hand. About that time, Janice shoved me onto the living room chair---which broke! Mom started hitting Janice and broke her sunglasses. Mom was livid! Aha! For once, Janice got in more trouble than me. And, by the way, I distinctly remember calling “placeback.”

This is what I was up against. Janice played professional softball in the '70's. Growing up, I never really liked her much.

Here we are today and I love her to death! I guess age and distance did that---or maybe it's the alcohol!

I'm so looking forward to our sister's weekend in a couple of weeks. I got the best news yesterday---Jennifer is coming too! That means all 7 of us will be together at the same time! Yahoo!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bits and Pieces

No photos to share in this post. Just a little of this and that. We're gearing up for our family vacation. We leave next Saturday for Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I do hope it's not like our Mexico trip a few years ago---you remember---the price was too good to be true. Then we got there and realized the reason----it was soooo HOT and HUMID---even worse than Nashville. What were we thinking. No wonder it was cheap, no one goes there in summer!!

But, alas, summer is the only time we can go as a family---kids out of school and always over the week of the 4th of July. That way all the working family members only have to take off 4 days. And they always know when our vacation is going to be. We alternate our trips---somewhere a bit pricey (Disney is our most expensive trip we take---we go about every 4 or 5 years), then the in-between year is a beach trip---always Santa Rosa, our favorite place. Our biggest expense is airfare for 11 people. Early on, we were able to use "frequent flyer miles" for about half of the tickets. But those dried up years ago---especially since Butch retired.

Anyway, we're looking forward to next week. Butch makes all the "kids" (which includes our adult daughters) spend the night here. Steph is notorious for being late, so he takes no chances. So what if we leave at 5 a.m.---they can sleep on the plane. Personally, I love going early. It's your best chance of no cancelled flights or delays. And you can sleep on the plane. We'll meet up with Sandy and family in Charlotte, NC.

In planning for our upcoming trip, I always like to pick a big job around here that I've been putting off. I make myself do it before we leave, so vacation seems like a reward. This year it's going to be the pantry. I usually clean it out after the holidays when everyone leaves. But it needs a really good tearing apart and cleaning. I'll definitely do some before and after shots of that.

I've been busy this past week planning ahead for my classes as there won't be much time when I get home. Plus, the following weekend from our vacation is my "sisters weekend." All of my sisters and sister-in-laws come here for a long weekend. We've been doing it for several years, but this year might be the first that all of them come. We're still not sure about Jennifer---she only likes us in small doses!! Janice will come from Texas, Joyce from Indiana, Jeanne, Janet, Sharon and (maybe) Jennifer from St. Louis. I just love it. We have such a good time together.

Morgan has been over with her friends to swim quite a bit this week. Besides laying out in the afternoon, they like to come night swim. I'm running 2 loads of towels about every day. We don't care. We love having the kids here. And they love to come. In fact, Carson, Morgan's boyfriends feels so much at home, he's added his poker money to the cabinet with the rest of the family's!!

Last Friday, Morgan was here for "happy hour." The older girls had other plans, so we took Morgan to dinner with us. She was going to a friend's house after, so drove separately. I decided to ride with her. She had all the windows down. Besides being "beat to death," it was hot. Finally she said, "hey grammy, I'll turn on the air for you." Gee, thanks. Teens try anything to save gas. But what I loved is that she had on country music. What?? She said that she was the only one who liked it and that her friends razzed her about it. I'm glad she likes a variety of music. I love country music too. How can you live in "Music City" and not??

For her birthday, Sandy got a new iPhone. She was telling us that when she was at the store buying it, all the workers were amazed at her original one. They all kept checking it out---some had never seen the original. Talk about making her feel old---she did turn 40. But I love that about Sandy, she doesn't have to always have the latest and greatest. She keeps what she has until it wears out. She loves the new phone and realizes now that she probably should have traded in the dinosaur a couple of years ago.

Today I plan to finish Connie's layout for AYM. Then it's off to the mall with ALL of the girls---new sun dresses for our vacation, then lunch at Red Lobster. I'm planning on getting a new swim suit. And you know my philosophy about that: find the ones in your size, go up one size, buy it and NEVER look at yourself in it! Now that's the way to swim suit shop. Works for me!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Garden Update

I'm probably making you sick with all of my flower pictures, but remember, this blog is just another way I scrapbook. The gardens look magnificent right now. Here are just a few views:
I love cutting hydrangeas for inside. These will last until next year when I cut some fresh ones. The trick is to just let the vase run dry. They will dry beautifully. By next year, they will start to brown due to the intensity of the sun coming in these windows in the sunroom. Anywhere else, they will last for years. They just need to be kept out of direct sunlight.

If you look close, you can see some of the hydrangeas under the magnolia tree out in the yard.
I cut these for the old milk bottles I have on the front porch. I have no idea how they will do outside---whether they will dry or not. They get a lot of really hot sun here.

A view from the front porch on to the "never ending summer" hydrangeas. They go from cream to pale pink as seen below.

I have the "annabelles" all around the yard. I just love them---they give such a nice show and you can see them from a distance. I specifically put them around the pool because white flowers "glow" at night. White flowers of any type are my favorites.
I've planted them under all of our magnolia trees. The blooms here are fresh---the white ones. They fade to green when they die. They will stay green until we have a hard freeze---around late December. Then they will be brown. Still, they add interest and texture to the winter garden when the only thing blooming are pansies.
 All of the flowers I cut came from here. I cut just about all that were hanging out of the fence.
The kitchen table has "annabelle" hydrangeas along with the purple/pink one that I had in the shade garden. It's gorgeous---as you can see below. I left it in the garden for a couple of weeks as it was the only bloom. I have no idea if it will dry. 

You might think I have them all over the house, but I don't. I just have them in the kitchen and sunroom---don't want to over do it.
The purple is Russian sage. 

I didn't even take any photos of my "tree hydrangeas"---they've only had a couple of blooms so far. For this post I just focused on hydrangeas. I have a lot of other pretties out there. Next time....
Oh and the crape myrtles haven't started blooming yet. That will be my next garden post---mid to late July.

Show me what's in your garden! You know I'm a flower geek.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Layouts from Last Week

Here are the layouts I did at the farm last week. I've posted the layouts from TSRCC on the AYM blog. I'll be posting the AYM layouts tomorrow.
 ", you smell good---just like home!" and "neighborhood kids."
 "All of Us" about Joyce's family.
 "mitchell's stache" and "mindy is a notary."
 "keepsakes" and "leader of the pack." Another mistake for you to find---and don't say the "e's." I'm waiting to get those from Stephanie. This one is really obvious! Also, remember last month I reversed the pages? Well I did it again this month---only with Connie's pages (thank goodness)! 
 "kids say the darnedest things!" and "license to drive."
This is the layout I did for TSRCC: "these 2 sleep together."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Recipes Continued...

I wanted to share another really good new recipe. This one came from Karolyn's sister, Nell. But Karolyn gets credit for it now---in my book!

Southwest Breakfast Strata
1 lb. mild pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cans Rotel (I used one mild and one original)
8-10" flour tortillas, torn in to bite size pieces (I took the whole stack and used kitchen shears)
3 cups shredded colby Jack cheese
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cook sausage in large skillet; drain and return to skillet.
Add chopped onion and green pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender
Stir in tomatoes. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Layer half of tortilla pieces, sausage mixture and cheese in a sprayed 9x13 baking dish. Repeat layers.
Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over layers. Chill 8 hours or overnight.
Bake lightly covered with foil at 350 for 30 minutes* or until golden and bubbly.

*It was runny after 30 minutes, so I added another 10 minutes.


I also tried a new dessert that couldn't have been easier.

Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake

1 small box instant chocolate pudding (I used fat and sugar free).
1 3/4 cup milk (can use skim)
1 chocolate cake mix (plain, cheap)
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix pudding with milk. When thickened, add cake mix (dry). Mix together. It will be very thick. Spread in to a sprayed 9x13 pan. It's sort of hard to spread---I ended up using my fingers. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until edges start pulling away from pan. The chocolate chips will not melt (although they will be somewhat gooey when you touch them). I cooled it completely. It has a pudding-ish texture to the cake. It's very good and so easy.

After our dinner, we ended up playing games. We started with "Pass the Trash" so the little girls could play. There were 11 people, so it took a really long time---that's approximately 33 rounds. Then we played 2 rounds of Taboo and a tie breaker. By 8, the little girls were done, so we switched to "Texas Hold 'Em." That lasted until 11:30. Long day---we were all tired. They weren't too keen to go to 8:30 Mass, but we made it!

Sunday was more pool time and tacos for dinner. After we went to Stephanie, Nicky, Mindy and Drew's kickball game. That was so much fun. When I first heard about this league, I thought it would be fun for our age bracket too. But when I saw them in action---20 something and 30 somethings---there were too many injuries for my taste!

 Morgan, Butch and Jordan.
 Morgan and Carson---he's such a sweetheart. After everyone had left Saturday night, he asked if I wanted him to put the folding chairs away. He's really helpful for a teenager. And so polite. His momma sure raised him right!

The whole gang. We cheered them to a 5-0 victory in their first playoff game. Now we have to go back next week. It was really fun to watch, so I don't mind.

Today, I took the kids to "The Dog"---a gourmet hot dog place. They are all so unusual. On Morgan's recommendation, I got the cream cheese wrapped turkey dog. It was excellent! Mitchell got the "Rise and Shine" dog. It had bacon and a fried egg on top. He said it was delicious. Ditto for Carson who got the "I'll Start my Diet Tomorrow" dog---deep fried with bacon and covered with melted cheese. Elizabeth just got a corn dog and Victoria had a coney dog. They rounded out the dogs with some fried pickles. It's a fun place to go with kids. I've been meaning to take Butch.