Saturday, June 28, 2014

"I'm going on a trip and in my suitcase I'm packing...."

everything but the kitchen sink! Remember that old childhood game? Each person has to say everything that is in the suitcase and add one more thing. Well, I don't believe I can add one more thing! We're taking two huge SUV's and are concerned that we can't get it all in. Here's why:

1. I grocery shopped 3 times---in order to get all the food we need for 12 people for a week. Plus we will be eating out some. There's nothing I hate more than going on vacation and having to go grocery shopping right away---not to mention the added expense of high prices in vacation areas. Then this morning I realized I forgot the 4 lbs. of ground chuck for the tacos. Bummer.

2. We need to take 4 coolers for all the freezer and refrigerator stuff. I think we might get by without chilling all of the produce. We'll see.

3. We have two sets of golf clubs. Considering it's supposed to rain most of the week, we could probably leave those behind.

4.The girls do not know how to pack "light." They always show up with huge suitcases. As for packing, that would be 4 big ones and 2 little  ones---Nicky had a big one last year, but he took so much teasing, that I think he may have learned his lesson. Add one more small suitcase.

5. I made cookies yesterday so that's another big container.

6. I've taking an assortment of baking pans, extra paper towels, foils and wraps, plastic containers, a gigantic amount of paper plates and napkins.

7. We've packed a variety of games and cards to make sure we'll be amused if it does rain all week. Steph asked last night at happy hour if I was bringing the poker money. Uhhh, NO---12 containers of each family member's poker money is not only heavy, it's bulky too.
8. Due to the possible weather situation, we girls are bringing our stitching. Add 4 more stitching bags---and maybe a 5th for Elizabeth.

9. As far as electronics go, I figure there will be 6 computers, 1 iPad, 1 mini iPad, 8 Kindles, 11 phones and an iPod speaker.

10. I cannot even begin to count the number of magazines.

11. Add a dozen swimsuits and towels.

12. We have a bag full of "cooler cups."
13. We have to bring bug spray and insect repellant---just in case we get to go out.

14. Birthday presents for Victoria---and they are big.

15. And last, but certainly not least---this big 'ol honkin' drink machine that Butch got for Father's Day---and the 200 bottles of alcohol and drink stuff to go with it.
Butch is the MASTER PACKER! I have no doubt he'll get it all in. I'll have to post those pictures later.

All in all, it looks like the making of a fun vacation!

I'm ready. It's 6:45 a.m. and I'm sitting here writing this post. Butch says, "okay, we need to start getting this stuff together"---meaning he wants to start loading the car. We're not leaving until 9 a.m. What's the rush! Maybe it's going to take that long to figure out how to make it all fit!

I'll see you in the "smokies." If it's raining, I'll be posting more!

Friday, June 27, 2014

What's Happenin'?

Outside my window: Summer is full on here---humidity and all. Butch's new mosquito repellent is working like a charm. He bought a fan that we just leave on the front porch. 

I am thinking: That I have a few more things I'd like to accomplish before we leave for vacation on Saturday.

I am thankful for: Air conditioning---even if I keep our thermostat on 78 degrees. It's pretty warm in the house, but no where near as hot as outside---90+ and muggy. My goal is to keep our electric bill under $1000! Yep, you read that right. It's a big house and we have 3 air conditioning units. 

From the kitchen: I'm going to make some chocolate chip cookies to take on our vacation. 

I am wearing: My jammies.

I am hoping: To finish a project I have planned for July 11th before I leave town.

I am reading: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry for book club. It's pretty good. He's meeting a lot of interesting people on his 500 mile walk. Plus, he has plenty of time to reflect on his life. Even his wife is reflecting on their life together and whether he's going to come home or not.

I'm watching: There's not much on right now, so it's a good time to catch up on a few shows. I got caught up with Boardwalk Empire. All I can say is you better not fall in love with any of the characters because they don't last long. I don't like shows that have you liking the people that do really bad things. With this show, just about the time you think you are starting to like the "bad guys"---they do something so horrendous, that you are reminded they are, indeed, "bad guys" and not worthy of your devotion!

In my scrapbook room, I've watched a couple mini series over the last month from the Elizabeth Haskell collection---Wives and Daughters and Cranfield. There's one more in the collection that I haven't seen yet called North and South. Once I finish that, I'll be ready to pass it on. I've really enjoyed the first two, so I'm pretty sure I'll like the last one. I always enjoy period pieces.

I am busy creating: I haven't created anything this week, but I have gotten quite a bit of organizational tasks completed. I've sorted and purged. I spent 6 hours putting layouts in albums and used nearly 5 tape runners. That's what it takes when you have more than 100 layouts to deal with. Note to self---don't wait so long the next time.

I'm bummed: That my friend and hairdresser---Joanie is retiring. I don't think I'll find anyone that would be willing to take me at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. Plus, she was so reasonable---$100 including tip for cut, color and perm. I have friends that pay $185 just for cut and color. I'm on the hunt for someone new. Any recommendations? Locally, please!

I am hearing: A recording of So You Think You Can Dance. It's my favorite summer show.

One of my favorite things right now: I've discovered a new app for my iPhone. It's called "Receipt Hog." You enter your grocery and drug store receipts to earn cash back. 

I appreciate: French manicures. My nails are finally just long enough.

I regret: That we haven't gotten as much pool time yet. The weather has been a little "iffy."

How the weekend is shaping up: We'll have happy hour tonight where we'll discuss final plans for our family vacation to the Smoky Mountains. We'll be doing all the touristy stuff---Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, Cades Cove, shopping in Pigeon Forge, hiking, and browsing through Gatlinburg. The weather is not going to be very nice but that won't stop us. We have fun no matter what we do.

I hope y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Everything I know about organizing---I learned from my mom!! She embroidered little x's in to our clothes to tell them apart. I was red! That definitely served us well when we were in high school and fighting over blouses or socks!! 
You can see from the picture above how the twins were able to tell their shoes apart. Of course Ronnie was the sheriff that kept the peace! Me? I just bought them off with money from my "Barbie" wallet!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

An Accomplished Weekend

The weekend went by way too fast as most of them often do. Still, I accomplished quite a lot!

I got a couple of scrapbook layouts finished for AYM. I did a ton of organizing in my scrapbook room---which leads me to a give-away. Guess how many layouts are in this pile.
I'll give you a hint---there are more than 100! My goal this week is to get them in their respective albums. Winner gets a scrapbook kit. If you don't scrapbook, I'll send you something else. Just leave a comment below with your guess.

Stephanie, Nicky, Jordan and Morgan came over to swim. They tried out Butch's new drink machine that the family gave him for Father's Day. It's pretty amazing. We all got in the pool. After about an hour, a thunderstorm popped up. That was a surprise as no rain was predicted. That put an end to our swim party.

Stephanie and Nicky took us to dinner as a thank you for their wedding.
We had never been here---they kept it a surprise. The food was fabulous. I brought home half of my steak. We had carrot cake for dessert---just a single piece to share. Honestly, I wish I'd taken a picture---it was a full quarter of a cake. We brought that home too.

I finished my book club book---The Island. It was really good---about a leper colony in the Greek Isles. I've just started the second one---The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. So far, so good. It's about an elderly man that takes off to mail a letter to a former work friend who is dying of cancer. After he mails the letter, he just keeps walking to go and visit her. He doesn't know how far it is, but someone mentioned 500 miles. The reader is sharing in his adventures.

I watched a few more episodes of Boardwalk Empire. I love the show, but was saddened by the shocking finale of season 2. Just like that---a couple of my favorite characters---killed off. I hate it when that happens. Or how about when you don't even know a show has been cancelled and one of your favorite characters shows up on another show---and that's how you find out? I hate that too.

Today, for "Movie Monday" we saw Jersey Boys. Totally loved it! Mindy and Steph saw it over the weekend. Steph loved it---Mindy, not so much. She was expecting it to focus on the music---just like the Broadway musical. Instead, it focused a little more on the life story. Still so good.

Speaking of Mindy---there was some excitement in her condo building on Music Row. A drunk guy followed a tenant in and up to the 11th floor. When he attacked her, her screams brought a couple fellow tenants who were able to tackle the guy and hold him for the cops. Mindy lives on the 10th floor.

More Mindy news---I think family and friends are going to be coming out of the woodwork soon. You know how that happens when people win the lottery? Well, she won the lottery! Last week in St. Louis, she bought 4 scratch off tickets. 3 of them were winners!! Unbelievable that she would have 3 out of 4 winners. She won $106. I probably shouldn't have advertised that. We may discover relatives we didn't know we had!
 I can never remember the name of these hydrangeas. They are either "never-ending summer" or "everlasting summer." They are a pale shade of blue.
 They are beautiful, these pictures do not do them justice. The color doesn't show up well.
This pretty little guy was on the tile in the kitchen. I must have brought him in with some flowers. Don't let his size fool you.
Can you see him? He's really pretty small and, no, I didn't kill him. I didn't even shoo him. I just left him alone. Since I have exterminators come every 3 months, he'll be dead on his own by tomorrow. That might seem harsh, but I look at it this way. If not, there could be babies. The next thing you know, they are eating something and causing damage. I really do like most things in the animal kingdom---just not in my house.

I had a call today about a 99 year old woman that needs a bridge partner for tomorrow. So, I agreed to play with her. I usually only play on Thursdays---and have for the last 25 years. I don't know this woman and who knows how we'll do together. But I thought it would be nice. I like old people. I don't mind having them in the house.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Animal Sightings

I always complain that no matter how many different types of animal sightings tours we take---no matter what part of the country---we never see any. We didn't see whales or bears or much of anything in Alaska. We didn't see moose or whales in the northeast. We didn't even see the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland. We've decided we're not paying for those types of tours any more. Only kidding about Loch Ness---we didn't even go there. On second thought, maybe we should have.

Little did I know that all we needed to do was take a boat ride right here at home! I took my friends on a River Cruise on Friday. We saw so many interesting birds, huge fish and deer. The weather was perfect---not too hot.
 Connie and Linda.
 Nancy and Susan.
 Myself and Karolyn.
 We saw tons of turtles---many lined up on logs and swimming around.
 Cormorans---the white tree is actually covered in their poop. It is so acidic that it kills the vegetation.  We saw dozens of blue herons. I was unable to identify the one who ate our goldfish. You can read about that HERE!
 We also got up close and personal with so many beautiful---HUGE homes along the shoreline.
 Karolyn insisted on driving.
This is Reba McEntyre's house---14,000 sq. ft. She doesn't live here full time any more. She mostly lives in Malibu. She also has a home in New York---and probably Oklahoma. You can barely see it from the water and not at all from the road side.

Speaking of animals, Jordan wanted to know if I had a frame that would fit this picture.
It's a painting that was done by a penguin. Only Jordan could appreciate it. That girl loves animals more than anyone I know.

After our cruise, we stopped for lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately, it's been bought out by another local chain. Bummer. The food was still good, but I'm going to miss the chicken nachos the other place used to have.

What animal sightings have you had lately?

Friday, June 20, 2014

We had a date.

On Wednesday, Butch and I had a "date" to go geo-caching, visit a tea shop and have lunch in East Nashville. I say "date" because we actually had to put it on the calendar 3 weeks ago.

We left at 9:30 a.m. We did a little geo-caching. This is one of the tiniest that we've found---although we've found this type before.

 It actually contains a tiny log. This one also contained a clue to the next cache.
They can be found anywhere. There was one in this little church garden.
We did not find the one hidden here, but I thought it was interesting that someone thought this was the best way to attach these steps to the deck. It was sort of a grungy place called the Lipstick Lounge. Geo-caching takes you to some interesting places.

We stopped by High Garden tea shop. They also sell a lot of herbs. I bought some loose tea---we don't have many places to buy tea in Nashville. This was my first visit to this one.
We had lunch at The Pharmacy---the best burgers.

After lunch, we were doing a little more geo-caching when Morgan texted to find out what we were doing. When I told her that we were geo-caching, she said, "precious!" I guess because we were doing something together---and we're old---that everything we do is "cute." Anyway, she and Jordan wanted us to pick them up from the car wash. They planned to spend the afternoon in the pool. The pool is still refreshing, but by next week, it will just be wet.

It was a nice day that ended with a fun float with the girls. We love it when they come over.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five Things Thursday

Here are five things I've learned over the past week:

1. It’s not fat that makes you fat after all. I just read an article in Time magazine about the flaw in the fat study. 

2. I’ve found out why I have so much trouble taking “selfies.” And it’s not because my arms are too short. I’m trying to push the wrong button. I realized while I was photographing flowers that you can press the + button on the side of my iPhone to take a picture. Much easier than trying to hold the phone steady and take the picture with the photo button.

3. It’s much better to walk on carpet with your shoes than barefooted. I’ve been a fanatic about the white carpet in my bedroom---and make everyone take their shoes off---including Butch---who has been none too happy about it. But today, when I had the carpet cleaning guys here, he told me that your feet leave oil behind that dust and dirt clings to. So, I’m determined to ease up on my fanaticism. Or, just maybe, the carpet cleaning guy wants to come back more often.

4. I also learned that the decline of the neighborhood we grew up in was completely caused by government involvement and their relocation of a certain segment of society. I never knew it was a planned thing. I wonder if they would have done it if they’d known how things would turn out. Probably---they needed a quick solution to a problem that was caused by another failure on the government’s part. Sounds like too much government involvement.

5. Certain window washers don’t really care about the job they do. I specifically asked them if they wipe out the window sills. They assured me that they did. They did not. When I called them on it, the guy said, “well, we wiped them out a little.” What?? They were not wiped AT ALL!! There’s no way they even attempted to wipe them out. They weren’t happy to have to go back. I couldn’t even make them do the ones upstairs because I had the carpet cleaners right behind them. The carpets have to dry. On top of that, they couldn’t get five of the windows open, so those weren’t done at all. And lest you think I’m too picky (which I am), you would be shocked to know what it costs to wash the windows in this house. And they left the hugest mess. I just want what I was paying for. If I hadn’t specifically asked, I probably wouldn’t have said anything. I won't be using these guys again, that's for sure.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Stroll Through the Garden

I don't remember what these are, but they sure are pretty. They are so vibrant that they show well from a distance.
 Lamb's ear in the lower left corner, daisies (my mom's favorite), and lavender.

 The annabelle hydrangeas are in full bloom. They are huge. The dry especially well---just put them in a vase of water and let the vase run dry.
 More daisies with purple coneflowers, French lavender, and jackmani clematis on the fence. There's a golden rain tree in the background.
 The magnolias are in bloom now too. Our particular variety are called Southern magnolias.
 I'd say they are 25-30 feet tall. The blooms are the size of dinner plates.
My English knot garden. You can see the design much better from the upstairs bedroom window. I need to take a picture from up there.
One of the water plants is in bloom, but I don't know the name of it. The little on on the bottom right is called a chameleon plant. It's really bright and colorful.
 I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have tomatoes before the 4th of July.
I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this stand for clay pots. I guess I forgot that I HATE clay pots. They dry out so fast.
We were gone just two days and came home to all of these plants looking completely dead. I watered them right away and they did perk back up, but it's not good for them. The purple basil has lost its vibrancy.
Our plants need to be watered every day. This year, it's a little easier, since Butch has kept all the pots on the patio. This is the first year we do not have pots all around the pool. I have to say, I don't really miss them. Still, it's going to be a problem when we're on vacation. I'll have to start lining up friends to come swim and water.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Whirlwind Weekend...

...but it was so much fun---and we certainly crammed a lot in to it! The purpose of this trip was a family reunion/party to celebrate Steph and Nicky's marriage. Just about the whole family was there.

Butch and I came in late on Thursday---drove straight through with no stops---5 1/2 hours. We ordered toasted ravioli and Italian salads from Imo's and had it delivered to our hotel room
This photograph is courtesy of Mindy. She took it on their way in on Friday. Not bad for a moving car, leaning over Jordan and taking it through the window.

First thing Friday morning, Butch and I shopped for the food and beverages for Saturday's picnic party. We went to Jeanne's to drop of the groceries and for me to meet up with my sisters. Butch went on to meet up with Sandy and family for an afternoon at the zoo.

All four of my sisters and our sister-in-law---who after this long is definitely a sister---went down to the Delmar Loop for lunch and a movie. 
We first encountered this. I have never seen parking meters in a parking garage. Given today's technology, they are really old-fashioned. Jeanne ended up having to come back and feed the meter after lunch.
We ate at Blueberry Hill---known for their burgers. It was delicious. We were surrounded by classic memorabilia from the 1950's and 1960's. There was so much to see and reminded us of the toys we had as kids.
Fitz's root beer is also located in the loop. My lunch wouldn't have been complete without one.
Jeanne and Joyce stand in front of one of the 250 birthday cakes that are scattered all around St. Louis to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis. 
A block down, Jennifer and Janice pose in front of another. If I still lived there, I would have to hunt for them all. That would be so much fun.
The Tivoli theater is really old. I love that it is still in business. Even when I grew up in St. Louis, I don't think I was ever at this theater. 
This documentary is the reason we came. We grew up in Spanish Lake (North St. Louis). Today, it's a very dangerous part of town. This documentary was created to explain what happened there that caused the decline. We all really enjoyed it, but if you didn't grow up there, you probably wouldn't. We knew everything they talked about, houses, schools, church---very nostalgic for us. It's just a shame that it's such a high crime area now. Our house still stands, but it doesn't look very good.
 I love the elaborate decor of these old theaters.
A little too dark to get a good picture of the decorative ceiling and alcoves.

Once the movie was over, we all went back to Jeanne's to just hang out together. Butch and Sandy came late afternoon. Of course we ordered pizza for dinner. There are just enough of us that live out-of-town now that we have to have it when we're home. 

The rest of the Lapps family decided to go to a Cardinals baseball game. They had nosebleed seats...
...but did not mind due to this view. They were right behind home plate. They had a really good time even though it was a 1-0 game. There wasn't a lot of action, but at least the Cardinals won! Go CARDS!

Sandy, Butch and I went back to the hotel around 10---exactly at the same time Steph, Nicky, Mindy and Jordan arrived. Perfect timing. The girls HAD to have Imo's pizza delivered. We went to bed!

The party was on Saturday. Once my phone became the means for music via Pandora, I never even gave it a thought to take pictures. I'm at the mercy of the family to send me some. We have a very large family and not everyone could make it. Still we had about 50 there.
Mindy sent me this one. She cannot resist sidewalk chalk!

We had a washers tournament. Joyce and Greg G. (nephew-in-law) were the big winners of $64.00. We had hamburgers and hotdogs, assorted salads, Laffy Taffy and cotton candy. I had arranged for an ice cream truck to come---that was a big hit. I even let the kids have two! And by kids, I mean the adults that are still kids along with the kids that are still kids!
We went back to Jeanne's when another large family asked us if they could have the picnic shelter and bbq. Technically, we had it until dark, but it was 5 p.m. and we'd been there since 9-ish. We were happy to pack up and let that family have it.

We always seem to end up at Jeanne's because she has a big house and it is more centrally located to everybody. We had so much fun just sitting around laughing and telling stories.

This little guy decided to join the party.
When we got back to the hotel, there had to be another order of St. Louis pizza. This time it was Stefaninas. We got a large and an extra large. This is the size of the extra large. HUGE! Surprisingly, it was all eaten. There's nothing like St. Louis pizza---really thin crust and provel cheese (St. Louis Italians invented it---you can't get it anywhere else---instead of mozzarella. It's much creamier and oh, so, good!)! As Mindy posted on Facebook---in St. Louis for 36 hours and managed to have pizza 3 times!

We got back to Nashville by 1 p.m. on Sunday. I took a little tour of my gardens. I'll share those later.
Back to reality after such a fun weekend. I love my family! All of them! We are a huge bunch.