Monday, September 29, 2014

A Few Things...

before I head out-of-town again. Going on a scrapbook retreat. My sister and sister-in-law are coming from St. Louis. I'm really looking forward to it as I haven't done any significant scrapbooking since May. We'll be in the country without internet access, so this quick post will have to do.
 Jordan amidst a nature hike. The girl is very "outdoorsy!"
 My little brother, Matt is "outdoorsy" too. He's a master fisherman---these are salmon he caught last week in Michigan.
 I have no idea how big this one is, but it looks like it's about a hundred dollars worth of salmon steaks at least.
 Mindy's new hairdo. 
 Target does me in every time. I went for one thing and came out with 4 bags. But, I will say, I've got a jump on Christmas!
 What are the odds that Stephanie and Nicky would have the exact same number of steps in a week---as recorded by their Fitbits.
 If you're from the south, you know what this is. If not, it's the Piggly Wiggly---a grocery store.
 I saw these miniature skeins of yarn at Michaels and could not resist. I'm going to use them in my scrapbooking.
 Yay for Mindy and her second place win for her needlepoint at the state fair! She won $6.00 too!
 Mindy and Justin---logging this many steps in a single day. Unbelievable!! Butch gets 20,000 regularly as he walks 18 holes on the golf course and then rides his bike 20 miles! Me? I strive for 10,000 steps a day. I usually only make it 3 or 4 times a week.
 I saw this really cool bike at Sam's. I've only been on mine once since the first time. I fell twice, both times in the ivy groundcover----so at least I didn't get hurt. But I must admit, I'm a little skittish.
 Maybe this is the bike I need. Someone said they are actually harder than a regular bike. At least I wouldn't fall!
 This is an incredible deal on the iPhone 5. You do have to sign up for a 2yr. contract with Verizon.
But, if you want the latest and greatest iPhone 6, then this is a great way to get one.
 Mindy was at the beach this week and sent this photo. I just love the turquoise water of the Florida panhandle!
 I played bridge last week at the Centennial Club. It's a woman's social club---purely for the fun and entertainment of women---these days. They don't raise money or work for any causes. I was thrilled to see the original "goals" from when the club was established in 1906. Some of them are pretty hilarious. They seem like such simple things that we take for granted today.
 I love the "anti-expectoration law" they wanted to get passed.
And lastly, notice the line about "it is your province to awaken the civic conscience, and even if the men of today are hard to arouse..."---you certainly cannot get away with saying things like that today!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prime Real Estate

I want you to think about something. Do you have a scrapbook room or hobby room in your house? Do you use it regularly? If not, then do you realize that you are wasting prime real estate in your home? Use it!! Make something so that your room remains a good use of that space.

Send me pictures of your room, closet or cubby and I'll share them here. Point out your favorite ideas or storage solutions. I'll give you two weeks. Then, I'll do a random draw for some scrapbook "goodies!"

Ready, set, go!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What's Happenin'!

Outside my window: I think I covered that yesterday with my garden post. However, I will say, I'm pretty sure that my goldfish are persnickety. This mooring after working out, I stepped outside to get "cool." The goldfish clambered to the top of the pond---obviously wanting food. I sprinkled some goldfish flakes and they turned up their noses---errrr, fins. I guess they've been feasting on mosquito larvae all summer, so the flakes are no longer acceptable. 

I am thinking: That I have a pretty fun few days ahead---starting with a meeting tomorrow with my travel agent friend, Mary about our upcoming Costa Rica trip in February. I'm determined to see some animals.

I am thankful for: My friend and hairdresser, Joanie who---event though she's technically retired---has agreed to continue doing my hair. She's easily one third the cost of regular hair dressers.

From the kitchen: Stephanie and Nicky are staying for dinner tomorrow after happy hour. I have a couple of casseroles from freezer club ready to heat. I'll be doing a bit of cooking this weekend to get ready for my scrapbook retreat next week. I prefer to cook ahead rather than take the time away from my scrapbooking when we get there. 

I am wearing: My jammies---and my fitbit. Had to work a little extra to log my 10,000 steps for the day.

I am hoping: That our moth situation is finally under control. It's been 5 days since we've seen one. Still, I'm waiting a solid month before I move anything back in to the pantry. A month is the lifecycle from egg to moth. This has been an ongoing nightmare. I hope it's over---finally.

I am reading: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. She wrote The Husband's Secret which was excellent. I've decided that I'm going to read everything she's written. I love her style.

Also, I just finished reading the 4th installment of the Maggie Hope Mysteries. The first was Mr. Churchill's Secretary. I just whipped through the other 3 in the last two weeks---Princess Elizabeth's Spy, The Prime Minister's Secret Agent, and His Majesty's Hope. The series is by Susan Macneal. The 5th one---Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante is due out this fall. They were entertaining books and quick reads. 

I'm watching: I'm so happy that all the tv series are starting up again. I'm still watching the Roosevelt mini series on PBS---about 12 hours worth. Very interesting.

I am busy creating: I haven't created anything in quite awhile. I have a lot of ideas, but little time. I've really got to get busy as I have several "crafty" things planned for this fall.

I'm bummed: That I have to spend a full hour and a half of doing something active to get my 10,000 steps. That's also what's eating in to my time.

I am hearing: The gurgling of the aquarium. It's pretty late and the house is quiet.

Around the house: Butch has some ideas to update the rec room. I'm all over it! Since it's his idea, I'm going with it!

In other news: I was at Sam's yesterday and saw the new iPhone 6. It looks pretty awesome. My iPhone 5 is two years old. I'm good with it for another year or two. I'm not the type to have to get the newest phone. Now my Mac computers are another thing. I always want the latest and greatest. Still, for anyone that was wanting an iPhone---be it the 5 or 6, Sam's has a great deal.
This is a great price for the iPhone 6. I didn't think I would like the size, but it's not that much bigger. You do have to sign a two year contract with Verizon. I don't know if the other phone companies have the same deal.

 If you've always wanted an iPhone, then the 5 might just be for you. At $77.00, it's a real bargain. I'll bet you can even get the 4's for free!! 

I really love my phone. Texting---not so much!

One of my favorite things right now: I'm still loving Groovebook---the phone app that prints your pictures in to a book for $2.99 a month. It's awesome. You can find out more about it here:
Groovebook. You can still get your first book free. Instructions are in that post.

 I appreciate: A husband that does this when I'm out-of-town:
He detailed my car! The mats had red clay dirt from geo-caching in Kentucky about a month ago. He said it was really hard to scrub off. I'm sure it wasn't fun getting in all those grooves. Since the Broussards were with us that day, we had that dirt on all 4 mats!
 He cleaned every inch of my car---and believe me, there are a lot of nooks and crannies!

I regret: That pool time is over. It was a heck of a lot easier to exercise in the pool---and way more fun too. I might still try to get in this weekend for one last time.

How the weekend is shaping up: We have quite a busy weekend. Saturday, I'll be running errands in the morning, going to a baby shower in the afternoon and then out to dinner with friends. Butch leaves for the beach on Sunday. I hope he has a better time since he cut his last trip short to come home and rescue me from the moths! I'll be packing for my scrapbook retreat. Soooo looking forward to that. Besides AYM, I have not done any serious scrapbooking since May. That's the thing about my club---it gives all of us "permission" to take the time to do at least one layout a month. 

I hope y'all have a great weekend too!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Not Your Ordinary Garden Post

Every day, when I look out my kitchen window, I get to see this:
 Pretty flowers all around. You can sort of see my knot garden. There is an identical one on the other side of the steps. Traditionally, most English knot gardens are made with herbs. Mine is comprised of boxwoods around the outside and---now I forget the name---red and chartreuse---intertwined on the inside. The best view is from the bedrooms upstairs where you get a full view of the design.
 The purple to the right of the hydrangea is called Russian sage. It's a little to wild and free-flowing for my taste, but I have such a large space, it'll do.
 The hydrangea are either Tardiva or Peegee. I studied which hydrangeas do the best here in Middle Tennessee. I planted one of each on either side of the back bed. Only one lived, but I didn't which it was. A quick internet search tells me they are the peegees.
 This is the view of the patio looking back from the pool.
The English ivy just about takes over the house every year. We have it cut back severely just so it stays off the windows and doesn't ruin the gutters. I like the looks of greenery softening all that brick, but I don't like the spider webs all through it. I used to take the broom and literally sweep them away, but it's much too big of a job these days. I do like  that nearly every spring, the birds build nests in it.
 White and hot pink crape myrtles border the pool.

 This is called creeping Jenny. I love the looks of it---and it's been the perfect thing for these hot/dry concrete planters. But, the foliage completely covers the ornate detail of the pots.
And then, of course, we get to see the turkeys every day. They are pretty messy, but still it's fun to have them around. I do enjoy picking up the variety of feathers they leave behind. In fact, I stick them in to the ground and call it my feather garden. I saw Nicky and Greg looking at it. Shortly thereafter, the feather garden was all smushed and destroyed. I accused "the boys" of vandalizing it. Turns out the turkeys did it! I don't know if they thought it was some rival turkeys or what. Luckily for us, they have not done a lot of damage, but they have nearly destroyed the neighbors backyard. Still, I might just have to put up with that to have them around. They are just so much fun to see. We didn't see any toms this year.
Last year, they nested in the trees in my shade garden. The trees there are 40-50 feet tall. We had no idea they could fly up that high. Once they were up there, you could NOT see them. It was amazing--that birds this huge could hide so easily in the tops of the trees.

I'm enjoying the last of the days in the garden because it soon will be over. It's about that time to put stuff away and prepare for winter. One of the things that I love about the south is our very long growing season. We really only have about 3 months of cold weather. That's why my fish are safe too.

How does your garden grow?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sandy's House

I took a few pictures at Sandy's house last week. Not only is it beautiful, it is comfortable and inviting.
View from the street.
 I love the mailbox.
 The living room.
 The family room---I spent most of my time here.
 Some things never change---a teenager's room!
 The other side of the teenager's room!
 I thought this picture was perfect over the bed.
 Doesn't every family have a drawer just for water bottles?
And you know when you have too many drawers when you can devote a whole one to your bottle cap collection! Actually, Elizabeth's school collects them...but, still....

I had such a great time with the kids. It was a bit of a vacation for me too, but the time went by way too fast. I didn't get half the stuff done I had planned to.

It's good to be home.

Next week, I'll be scrapbooking at the farm. I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't done any significant scrapbooking since our trip to the beach in May. Sure, I've done a layout or two a month, but not days on end. Jeanne and Janet are coming from St. Louis to scrapbook with us. Can't wait!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Mail

There's nothing like it!!! You get such a good feeling when you receive it. Now-a-days, with emails and texting, I don't get much "fun" mail. Mostly I get junk or bills. Occasionally I get an invitation or two--but even those are sent electronically.

That's why, when I saw a handwritten envelope in today's mail, I thought, "hmmm, I wonder what this is." I opened it up and to my surprise, received this:
It's a gift certificate to our favorite restaurant at the beach---Cafe Tango! My cousin and her book club---the "Fab Five" were staying at our place last week. They decided to surprise us with this gift certificate.

All I can say is "Awesome!" We will definitely be thinking of them when we use it!! Thanks girls!!

And that's what "happy mail" looks like!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Grandmother in Charge"

I'm in Charlotte, NC babysitting the grands while Sandy and Greg celebrate their 20th anniversary with a little trip to Myrtle Beach.

I'm back in "mommy-mode" and lovin' it. It's been a long time since I ran kids all around---but I have to admit, I'm having a lot of fun. I'm good at this---all the juggling. I thrive on it. I love the organization it all takes to work it all out. I just love it. From breakfast to dinner---on the go. I love to tease the kids, meet their friends, teachers, signing their papers: "Barbara---grandmother in charge"---embarrass them. It's all good!

Except----Sandy owes me BIG time. I sat through an hour and a half of a "senior parent's meeting" last night. Not "seniors" like me---but rather, "seniors" like Mitchell who will be graduating in the spring. I took copious notes:
I'm in the process of transcribing them now. I'm pretty sure I got it all. All I can say is "Wow!" There is a whole lot more to do these days in the application process than when my kids were at this point. 

Even though I won't ultimately be responsible for all of this, nothing will fall through the cracks on my watch!

Learn carpool line protocol---check.
Walk in and sign Elizabeth out---check.
Stop at Starbucks---check.
Meet Victoria's bus---check.
Go to mall for Apple store appointment---check.
Solve Lapps family computer problems---check.
Meet Mitchell for dinner---check.
Off to Charlotte Catholic for senior meeting---check.
Home to tuck girls in bed---check.

Pancakes for breakfast---check.
Out the door by 6:30 a.m.---check.
Meet Victoria's bus---check.
Drop Elizabeth---check.
Transcribe notes---check.
Pick up girls---check.
Meet Mitchell---check.
Pick up Mitchell's car---check.
Order Chinese for dinner---check. (Come on, this is supposed to be vacation for me too!)

Just one more day in the life of a "grandmother in charge!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Recipe Share

By request:

Warm Cheese Dip
8 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg Ranch dressing mix
1-3 oz. bag bacon bits
2 cups shredded cheddar
16 oz. sour cream

Preheat oven to 400. Combine all ingredients. Bake in covered dish for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

I served it with Frito dips, but you can use any type of crackers.

Lemon Sheet Cake
1 lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1-16 oz. lemon pie filling (this was sort of hard to find)

Cream cheese frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mix and eggs until mixed. Fold in pie filling. Spread in to a prepared 15x10 in. baking pan. Bake 18-20 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

There's nothing better than....

touring Franklin, TN on a segway! Riding a segway ranks up there in my top ten list of favorite life experiences. I've ridden segways in San Antonio, Chicago and then twice in New Orleans.
Butch had never ridden before and wasn't sure he really wanted to do it. Afterwards, he said it was a lot more fun than he expected.
We went with Bruce and Karolyn. Now that Bruce is "retired," we've been having a few adventures. We're going to try to do something fun and touristy once a month.
This is the old square in Franklin. We've been to Franklin dozens of times. After all, it's only 15 minutes from our house. I love all of the civil war history here. We've toured most all of the civil war sights.
 Karolyn, Bruce, me and Butch.
It was so much fun riding through the historic neighborhood. This area had the most beautiful, 3-story town homes built on what once was a black slum after the civil war. Each home is worth over a million dollars. I couldn't resist peeking in to this garden.
 Overlooking the Harpeth River.
After our tour, we had dinner at Kimbro's Cafe. The food was fabulous---I had the meatloaf, mashed potatoes and greens. Butch had chicken with white barbecue sauce and "slap yo momma'" mac and cheese. We stayed awhile to enjoy the music.

Considering it was a Thursday night, it was a lot of fun. We don't usually do things like this in the middle of the week. But, it was so much fun that I'm glad we did!