Sunday, June 30, 2013

We're Off!

Almost! First we had to load the car at 5 a.m. As predicted, Butch "wigged out." I got him to calm down as the kids were really trying. Stephanie combined her stuff with Nicky's. Butch struggled with the suitcase as he proclaimed that it weighed over 100 lbs! I have to agree with him, you could see how heavy it was when he tried to lift it.

 We were pretty crammed in, but we got it all.
The golf clubs and beach umbrella were last. We have a trailer tray sort of thing that they ride on outside.

Then the teens asked grandpa if we could stop at Mickey "D's" before we got on the road. After a little grumbling, he agreed. He can never say no to them!! $50 worth of breakfast later, we hit the road.

The ride went well, but it was so long. We were cruising along until we hit the traffic going to the beach, then it slowed considerably. We were making such good time that we thought we'd get there early. We didn't. It was about 5 when we got here. Sandy, Steph and Mindy headed to the grocery store to get the perishables and dinner, while Nicky and Greg went to the liquor store. The kids and I stayed behind to get the house set up and organized.

You have to have a snack station, beach paraphernalia station for sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, toys, etc. and, of course, a charging station! Everyone has iPhones---well, 11 of us, plus computers.

Everyone appreciates the organization. With this many people, you have to be/stay organized!!

So far, so good...

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Outside my window: It's 4:00 a.m. and still dark.

I am thinking: How to keep Butch from stroking out when he sees the gigantic suitcases ALL the kids brought for our trip.

I am thankful for: Family vacations.

From the kitchen: Food packed, check. Brownies made, check. Clothes packed, check. Miscellaneous for the "cook-off," check. Cooler packed, check. Now how in the heck are we going to fit all of this stuff in the car?
We still have beach chairs, cases of water and soda. I'm tired. The suitcases are piled up in the entry.

I am wearing: Dressed for the road---comfortable and casual.

I am hoping: That we can get the early start we have planned. Getting everyone up at 5 a.m. Hoping to be out by 5:30. It's unlikely.

I am reading: After Visiting Friends for book club---excellent so far. A boy loses his father at a young age. The family never talks about him. He's grown now and wants to know how his dad died. They say heart attack, but no one will discuss the circumstances. In a nutshell. It's really good.

I am busy creating: I've actually accomplished a lot this week. I woke up yesterday at 2 a.m. Having a little trouble sleeping lately because we are keeping the darn thermostat up on 78---fine for day, but not so good at night. I'm always hot at night. Anyway, I did like having those extra hours. I put August kits together ---3.5 hours; Laid out my AYM layout and printed photos and packed for our trip---all by 10:00 a.m!

I'm bummed: Because it's starting to look like our vacation may be too busy. We'll see. So much to do and see. This might be the only time we go to this area, so we feel compelled to "do it all." 

I am hearing: The humming of the aquarium.

Around the house and garden: So much wildlife---besides the turkeys and their babies and our little "miracle" turtle, the bunnies are running rampant and even a couple of deer have been through.

In other news: We have a fun family announcement to make on our trip. Stay tuned....

One of my favorite things right now: Playing "Dice with Buddies" and "Phrases with Friends" on my iPhone. I have several games going with family and friends. I'm playing "Draw Something" with Elizabeth, but I'm bad at drawing.

I appreciate: A husband that is so helpful around the house---even when I get aggravated when I don't think he's helping enough!! Believe me, he does his share!

I remember: How I had to wear masking tape with blue stripes over my mouth in the 6th grade for talking. Sister Richard Maureen had me stand in the hallway all afternoon, thereby having to undergo the humiliation of the entire school filing by at dismissal. She forgot about me. I'm writing that story for a scrapbook page I'm doing.

I forget: I hope I haven't forgotten anything important for our trip.

I regret: That I didn't get a big organizing job done before our vacation. I always like to feel like I've accomplished something "big." I did sort a lot of paper in my scrapbook room, so I guess that counts.

How the weekend is shaping up: It's going to be a lot of crazy fun. But these girls have way over packed---an outfit for every day. Huh? It's the beach! 2 swim suits, cover up, 2 around the house outfits, 2 underwear, 1 night gown, 1 sight seeing outfit, 1 good outfit. cosmetic bag, make-up, 1 good pair of sandals, book light, curling iron. That's how I roll! We have a washer/dryer in the house. Need I say more?

 Compared to this:
And this "ain't" all of it. These suitcases are HUGE!!!

Wish us luck. Only 10 1/2 hours...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

So You Think You Can Dance

Is anybody watching? This is my favorite dancing show. I just love the variety of the music and dances. Mindy says that she doesn't like the contemporary dances. I LOVE those, each one is like a mini play. I think Travis (who actually was a contestant) is a great choreographer. The routines he comes up with are so original and unusual. Also, there were some Broadway routines tonight too---love those.

If you've never watched it, you should give it a try. I guarantee you won't be bored with the likes of the pasa doble, or the cha cha cha over and over and over again!!

Here's a song they used this week that I never heard before. I thought it sounded like something Madonna would do:
silver screen. Enjoy!

PS Won at bridge today---nice after a dismal week last week.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do You Believe in Miracles? Do You Remember...

...Sidney and Sheldon? You can refresh your memory here. It's been 6 years since we had them. You may recall that one escaped in the kitchen---never to be found again---I mean NEVER. Not even when we got a new refrigerator which is where I was sure he ended up under. Anyway, we released Sidney or Sheldon (I never could tell them apart) in to our back yard pond. That fall, he was gone---I mean GONE! Never to be seen again. I mean NEVER!

But, it's a miracle!! Truly, by the definition (a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency) this fits the bill.

Could it, absolutely not!! But then how??? You be the judge:
I was eating breakfast and reading American Pickers, when Butch called me outside. I could not believe my eyes! Could it be? Dear little Sydney or Sheldon?
Here are the Facts:
1. The pond has been cleaned out completely every year.
2. Two years ago, Butch took it all apart and replaced the liner.
3. Only one of the plants is original to 6 years ago.
4. Red eared sliders are tropical and could not survive our winters.
5. Turtles breathe air, so it could not live below the freeze line (18" in TN).
6. Also, since it is tropical, it is unlikely that it was just crawling around Tennessee and found its way in to our pond.

The Possibilities:
1. It buried itself in the plant and has lived all these years without us noticing.
2. A bird dropped it while flying over-head (that bird would need to be signed up with the Baltimore Orioles if it had an eye that good).
3. It came with the floating plants we buy every year (this seems unlikely as it surely would have jumped or fallen off the plant---plus it would have been clearly visible). 
4. It came in the one potted plant bought this year---again, it would have had to have been buried in the dirt to not have been seen, or it would have jumped off.

We really have no idea and cannot think of any other scenario that would have that turtle showing up in our pond. What do you think? I'm calling the plant store to see if I can get to the bottom of this mystery.

A further dilemma---at the time, I spent $30 buying an assortment of turtle food so they could have variety in their diet. That was a lot of turtle food. Wouldn't you know it, I got rid of it just a year or so ago. Bummer.

I called the aquatic store. They are sure the turtle did not come from their plants as they do not have them in their ponds. The mystery deepens.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let's Not Forget...

RIP Michael Jackson. In memory of him, I'm posting a layout I did back in 2009 along with the journaling.

 I LOVED Michael Jackson! There, I've said it. I've loved him for a long time. I refuse to believe all the horrible stuff that's been reported about him being a perverted child molester. My opinion is and has always been that he was stunted in his growth and remained a little boy inside---naive and innocent---and at times---just plain stupid. He should have learned his lesson about having young boys over. But isn't that typical of a little boy---lack of judgement.

There's a book coming out soon that was already in the works. I'll definitely be buying it. The author has stated that he started the book project trying to get to the real dirt of the child molestation allegations. No matter how hard he "dug", he came up empty-handed. I'm glad. Now that he's gone, perhaps he'll be remembered for the genius that he was. True, he was definitely eccentric. But aren't most geniuses? Granted, he looked like a freak at the end and for a long time before. But, boy, he could still sing and dance. I can't wait for the album that was to be his return to come out. I'll be one of the first to buy it.

There's no doubt that he loved his kids. I hope that they don't get lost in the very world that Michael tried to protect them from.

I love you Michael---and I'll miss you! I just had to say it out loud!

Michael died on June 25, 2009.
The world mourns the loss of this
gentle, generous and talented man.

“…he had it all: talent, grace,
professionalism and dedication.
He was the consummate entertainer
and his contributions and legacy
will be felt upon the world forever.”

If a 10 Yr. Old Could Drive...

This would be her car. Instead, it belongs to an 18 year old graduate heading off to college. We had to take Jordan's car in for some repair work. I had to snap these shots. The girl LOVES animals and always has. We believe she needs to do some sort of animal studies program at UT. So far, she doesn't want to listen to us. But, all you have to do is take a look at her car to see that we are right!
 The sock monkey is actually a Christmas ornament that I gave the kids about 2 years ago.
 The voodoo doll came from Mindy.
 See Gumbi at the top? And the fish? We could play "eye spy" in her car for sure. Then you have a little Pokemon animal dangling. I think that's Pikatu (sp).
 What better pet to have hanging from your visor than a dog.
 Here she has a little porcupine and a frog. Where in the heck does she get all of these little things>
 Another Pokemon figure.
And lastly, a little fish. If you push the blue button, his little pink fins flap. I didn't ask her, but I'll bet that each one has a name.

You would think that she didn't have any pets, so has to have all these fake critters to fill that need. But, she has a cat, fish, a bird and assorted other rodents. I think she even has a snake. I do know that her chameleon died---because it couldn't lay its egg. She was really broken up over that. The truth of it is that she's the type that likes animals better than people! No lie!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Recipe Share

We had friends over Friday night to play cards. They asked for these recipes, so I thought I would share them here:

Tuscan Chicken
6-boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (I doubled this recipe and used the chicken tenderloins)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. water

Sprinkle chicken evenly with seasonings. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken. Cook 3 minutes on each side. Add tomatoes; cook 4 minutes or until tomato skins pop. Stir in vinegar and water. Cook until liquid reduces. Serve over pasta.

I don't have a recipe for this. I just use a half stick of butter or margarine and a huge onion, chopped. I used a Vidalia onion since they are available now. I peeled (you don't have to) the zucchini and quartered it. I added it to the onions and then just cook until it's done to your taste. I overcooked it on Friday night. I cooked so much, that it produced a lot of liquid. Usually, you can get it to brown up nicely. Also, you can combine yellow squash with it. Salt and pepper while cooking. You can eat it just like that, or sprinkle it liberally with parmesan cheese.

Peaches and Cream Cake
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
2 (3 oz.) boxes Cook n' Serve vanilla pudding (NOT INSTANT)
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk
Combine flour and pudding in a large bowl. Whisk together butter, eggs and milk. Pour in to the flour mixture and beat with mixer for 2 minutes. Pour batter in to a sprayed cake pan.
6-8 peaches, peeled and sliced.
Press peaches in to cake batter.
2 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 T. vanilla
1 T. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
Beat softened cream cheese with sugar and vanilla with mixer until smooth and creamy. Dollop cream cheese mixture all over the top of the peaches. Combine 1T. sugar and 1T. cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

This cake was pretty delicious, but I wasn't thrilled with the texture or taste of the cake part. If I make it again, I think I'm just going to use a yellow cake mix.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A New Challenge

My newest challenge for you is a photo scavenger hunt. I’ve been reading more and more about photo scavenger hunts. They sound like so much fun and I’ve been meaning to do it for a long time. But, somehow, I never quite get around to it.

Now you might be wondering what this has to do with your life---and specifically your scrapbooking. Well, I’m also thinking about photos you might have from the past. If you do---then great. Use them to make a layout. If you have a story to go along with it, then, all the better.

The “rules”:
Each month, I’ll give you five things to hunt for and photograph. Then you will create a layout---any way you want to showcase those photos. Some months you might not find everything---that’s okay. Some months, there might be something that reminds you of a memory that you want to focus on and do the layout about just one thing. It’s completely up to you. This is your book, so there really are no “rules.”

At the end of the month, I will be happy to post your layouts on the AYM blog if you send them to me.  Or, you can send me the link to your blog and I'll post that. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

I’m hoping this is just one more way to motivate you to scrapbook more. Actually, maybe this is just a way to motivate ME to scrapbook more. I’m always up for a challenge. That seems to get me moving!

Keep an eye out for your July challenge---coming soon!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Few Things

Hey All!
Just a few things:
Sorry about my gigantic font. Ever since I had my blog revamped, the font has been off---no matter what I do. If I choose something smaller, it comes out very tiny. Yet, "normal"---what I've always used is huge. Even as I'm typing up the post, the size and font are fine. But as soon as I post it, it reverts to some other font and is gigantic---with gaps that are too large. Just wanted you to know that I'm aware of the problem, but not how to fix it. I guess it's not really a big deal, but it's going to cost me a fortune next January when I have this year's blog entries printed---many more pages!
 Mindy had her 10 year class reunion where she met up with her first friend in Nashville. Leigh Anderson was about a month old when we moved here---Mindy was 2 months old. We lived in the same neighborhood and they went all through school together. They've recently reconnected over dinner.
This is our next needlepoint project---a witch on a stick.
Here's another version of a witch on a stick!

Sandy, Victoria, Mitchell and Elizabeth standing in the pancake line at Pancake Pantry. Every time we go by there, the line is around the block. Butch has always shaken his head---"I can't believe anyone would stand in line for pancakes! I just don't get it." From the man who doesn't want to stand in any line waiting for food!
My hydrangeas are spectacular---pink, purple and blue on the same plant! And just to show you what lighting can do:
 These are those same hydrangeas. The lighting is bad---I took the photos at different angles.
This one is better, but still not true to life.
 A different angle and better yet, but still not the true colors.
 This one was the best of all the shots on the kitchen table. Then I moved the vase to the artificial light under the counter.
I never thought artificial lighting would actually show the truest color of all. I just learned something about photography and lighting. I don't claim to be any great photographer and am not all that concerned about it. But this little experiment has made me realize that I need to pay a little more attention to light.

You may have noticed that "Operation Organization" has disappeared. Well, just like a lot of people, I lose steam after a couple of months. But, I am happy to report, that I have gone through ALL of my papers in my scrapbook room. and have gotten rid of about an 18" stack. Yes, you read that right---18"---and I still have about 36" left! That's 3 feet of paper. Hmmm. Maybe it's more like 4 feet.

Lastly, someone has asked me to explain the card game "fan tan." Here goes. Any number can play. Deal out all of the cards (some people may wind up with an extra card). The player to the left of the dealer must put down a 7. If they do not have a 7, then they have to put a penny in the pot. Let's assume that player #1 has played the 7 of hearts. The next player now must either play another 7 or build on the 7 of hearts by playing either the 8 or the 6. If they cannot play, they pay a penny to the pot and play moves to the next player. The table will look something like this:

Play continues with each person making a play. If you cannot, you have to put a penny in the pot. The strategy comes in if you have more than one play---figure out which card will block the most and hold it as long as you can. If you have a play, you must play---you cannot pay a penny and pass. Aces are low. The first one to go out wins all the pennies---plus a penny for each card left in the other players hand. This is a great game for kids---teaches them matching and numbers. Our grandparents used to play it with us on Sundays when we were little. They would give each of us 25 pennies. It was always fun.

That's about it for now.