Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our Thanksgiving

post signatureHere's a rundown of our visit to Charlotte.

We got there Tuesday night and kicked off our holiday. On Wednesday, we did a little shopping---Hobby Lobby for wrapping paper and a stop at Pier One---they have great holiday items. That was really about all I could handle with these cumbersome boots. Plus they rub me the wrong way which aggravates my hives---story of my life these days. 

The highlight of Wednesday was "tea" at the Ballantyne Hotel. I had made reservations for us girls a month ago. This was actually a celebration of Elizabeth's birthday. I had planned something special in Nashville, but due to my situation, that didn't happen. 
She finally got her birthday present---her very first pair of UGGS! I got them a little big so she can get two years out of them---we hope!!
When you are ten, you want to sleep in your new UGGS! Her dad wouldn't let her, but when she came down the next morning in her pajamas, she had them on!! I told her I was going to take a marker and put UGGS on the back of my boots! She replied with her normal, "Grammy!" She doesn't fall for my jokes anymore---being 10 and all!

 I was so happy to have the spot in front of the fireplace. 

They had some really good varieties of tea, but , unfortunately they do not sell it. I like to get those private blends whenever I can. The food was good---I can't believe I didn't think to get a photo of all the treats! The only thing missing was Mindy. She stayed behind in Nashville to be with her fiancĂ©. 

After tea, we went home, napped, did a little food prep (not much to do as Sandy had done most of it), had corn chowder with rolls for dinner and family games after. I think I was the first to bed around midnight. 

Thanksgiving was a gorgeous day. We always get the last minute food stuff out of the way so we can enjoy the Macy's day parade. Nicky is in charge of the bloody Mary's. Butch put together the betting grid for the football games. There's always some sort of gambling/contest with our gang.

  Sandy's table was beautiful. 
 Steph did the fancy napkin fold---they'll show again up in another post.
We love setting fancy tables in this family, complete with table/party favors. Sandy always comes up with something clever. She found the basic idea on Pinterest and made it her own. 
 After dinner, it was so nice that everyone went outside.
There was a little football toss in the front. I guess, this year, we decided to become "that" family who plays a little football on Thanksgiving. You always hear about it, but that's never been us. Come to think of it---this is the very first time we've EVER played football---and I say "we" very loosely. We "big" girls did not get in on the action. Rather, we watched from the porch and snapped a few pictures.
 As kids are known to do, they were all out there barefooted or in their socks. 
 Nicky took one for his team. Steph wouldn't let him back in the house.
 And just like a little kid, he ruined his good pants. Grass stains, but thankfully, no hole!

After more football on tv, naps and snacks, we spent the evening playing many games of "Catch Phrase." Even Mitchell graced us with his presence!! He was in and out quite a bit---as college kids are when their friends are in town. But apparently---all his friends had family obligations too! That's okay, we'll take what we can get!!

We don't do the Black Friday shopping anymore---haven't done that in many years. It was fun to me---years ago---to get up before dawn and be in the stores at 5 a.m. Of course, that was always up my alley as an early bird. Now-a-days, we choose a movie and lunch for Black Friday. Turns out, many of the family stayed up until 3 a.m.---and decided to sleep in. It was just Sandy, Elizabeth and me for the movie. We saw The Big Dinosaur---the new Disney Pixar. It was sooo good---sad and tragic, but good---even if you aren't with a kid!! Always a tear-jerker happy ending. I'm always reduced to mush!

More family fun and games, much talking and just hanging out. Another perfect Thanksgiving at the Lapps' house. 

We got an early start on Friday and were home by 11:15 a.m. We gain an hour coming home which is nice. We ALWAYS like to leave early whenever we travel. When it's over, it's over. Otherwise, you sit around waiting to leave. Same is true when we fly. Just give us the earliest flight! Sometimes I'm over-ruled on that, but I like getting home and having time to unpack and get settled. The fun has to end sometime!!

The Lapps will be here for Christmas in a mere three weeks! Nothing but fun times ahead!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Twenty Five!!!

post signatureThe number of sticks of butter in our Thanksgiving dinner.

Seriously?? Unbelievable!

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

post signatureI wanted to post a few photos and tell you about our visit in Charlotte, but iCloud doesn't seem to be cooperating.

Instead, I'll just wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

What's on our menu---you ask?

Greg's stuffing
Barb's dressing
mashed potatoes
carrot casserole
spinach casserole
sweet potato casserole
corn pudding
homemade cranberry sauce
yeast rolls
pumpkin pie
apple pie

Something for everyone but more than can fit on a plate! Reminds me of our big, Italian family Thanksgivings---just add pasta!

A lot to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Let the Holidays Begin!!

post signatureWe leave today for Charlotte and Thanksgiving with the Lapps family. We're all so excited!! We have quite a few fun things planned.

Tomorrow we'll do our regular pre-Thanksgiving shopping. We don't do the "black Friday" thing anymore. I have to admit, I did enjoy that "back in the day." 5 a.m. never scared me---I was right there. But not any more. There's really not a thing that I need that badly to fight the crazy crowds. Instead, we'll head out tomorrow and go to Hobby Lobby---I need that wrapping paper---they have the best---very thick, tons on the roll and half price (I know, they mark it up so they can mark it down---that's what everyone's doing these days). We go to Pier 1 and Steinmart. After that, it's wherever anyone else wants to go. I'm not sure how I'll keep up, but I always have my book with me, so I'm good to read while waiting.

I have a special treat planned for lunch---high tea at the Ballantine Hotel. This is to make up for the fact that the special day I had planned for Elizabeth didn't happen when she was here due to my incapacitated state!! We'll make up for it---and it's HIGH tea!! I'm really excited about that.

When we get home, we'll start prepping for Thanksgiving. It goes pretty fast with so many people helping. It's all fun when we're together!!

Stephanie even cooked! Gasp!! Her treats look really good.
I'll get back to you on that!!

On Friday, we'll do a movie and lunch somewhere. Family games are always in the mix. And lots of football for the guys. All fun, all good!

Safe travels to everyone out there!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Now I Remember Why I Don't Like Pinterest

post signatureYou can get lost there for hours!!!

Basically, Pinterest is a place where you set up electronic bulletin boards for any and every topic under the sun. You get to decide what you name your boards and what you "pin" to them.

It's a conspiracy, I tell you!!! Pinterest sends things to you via email based upon the boards you have set up. Who can resist following a link to some of your favorite things? Before you know it, you've spent a few hours just browsing around.

To make matters worse, they keep you informed about who is "following" you and what they are pinning. In a way, that's sort of fun. First off, I didn't know that guys did Pinterest. Imagine my delight when I was notified that my new "son-in-law-to-be" started following my boards. I can see where he might like my recipe boards---after all, he loves to cook. And he might even enjoy iPhone ideas or travel info. But I seriously doubt he's interested in my "The Royals" board---or anything related to scrapbooking. Still, it's flattering when someone follows you. I've said it before, he's become my #1!!

And then there's Analise---the 11 year old granddaughter of my closest friend. I had to chuckle when she started following me. What in the world would an eleven year old find interesting in an old lady's boards. Surely not books, fonts or bathroom ideas!! Still, I thought it was cute. So cute, that I decided to follow her back!!! I thought she'd get a kick out of that.

What are eleven year olds pinning? Of course, her pins would be all about girly stuff---even if she's not allowed yet---fancy, crazy makeup techniques and "over-the-top" fingernail fashions. What little Analise doesn't know is that---covertly---this allows Connie and I to keep an eye on what she's up to!! Now that sounds like a good idea! Until maybe it's not. I guess if anything untowardly starts popping up, I'll just "unfollow" her! She's a little sweetheart, so I don't expect anything like that to happen. Wait, there might not even be anything untowardly on Pinterest anyway. No worries!

So, back to the hours I just lost this morning. I started checking out a few things. Then I realized that my neatly organized boards needed a little re-organizing. Of course they are all in alphabetical order. Would you expect anything less from me?

The next time I have a few hours, I'm going to re-organize and divide my recipe board. I should have done that to begin with and had specific categories. Right now, all recipes are jumbled together. I have 635 pins there---a huge mess. That will haunt me. But here's the kicker: I don't think I've ever referred to that board to get a single new recipe! I get so many new recipes from blogs that I follow--you just can't try them all. OMGosh! My mind is spinning. So much information comes at me all the time!! So much to do.

Still, I'll leave you with this---just in case you have a few hours to kill and would like to check out my boards---I'm not above aiding and abetting!!

Here I am: Barb's Pinterest Boards

And if you only have time to check out one board---do pick "The Royals." They are all so darn cute!!

Friday, November 20, 2015


post signature
 I am thinking: Where in the world did I put the Christmas wrapping paper? I'm sure I had plenty leftover and even purchased some on sale last year. For the life of me, I can't find it. Frustrating as I want to get some of these gifts wrapped. Although I'm pretty close to being done with my shopping, I won't know until I have it all laid out and inventoried!

I am thankful for: Great friends that are always willing to have a little get-a-way now and then! We had a fun and relaxing time at the farm. We had lunch outside yesterday, but it was pretty chilly to do much else. We stitched, read, talked and watched movies and tv. 

From the kitchen: I will be making my hostess gifts this year---but not until the first part of December. Of course, I'm banking on being out of these boots in another couple of weeks.

I am wearing: I'm ready to transition to pants as the weather cools. But, these boots will keep me in capris for a bit longer.

I am hoping:  I haven't bitten off more than I can chew with my December schedule. It's pretty busy---which I like---through the holidays. Still, this year, I'm acting like I have no limitations---when I just might. We'll see....

I am reading: The Secret Daughter---a book about adoption that shows all sides---adoptee, adoptive parents and the birth mother. You can really feel each person's pain. So far it's very interesting. I'll let you know if it's worth the read when I finish.

I'm watching: Bates Motel. It is my newest passion. I only have 3 episodes left to be caught up with the series---getting ready to start season 4. I'm trying to stretch it out because whenever I do this, it's a letdown to have to wait for a series in "real" time. I really like the binge watching. I also started Scandal---so that will be another good one to take Bates' place. 

I am busy creating: Still stitching away. I'm nearly finished with my "Along Came a Spider" Halloween canvas. I'll also be finishing up a couple of Connie's projects. Of course all that's left is the harder---un-fun stuff. I can see why she was stalled. Why am I doing it for her? Because, uhhhh, that's just what friends do!

I'm bummed: about that wrapping paper. Just can't stop thinking about it. Not having it is really holding me up.

I am hearing: a new Pandora station. I decided that I wanted to listen to some opera. I put "opera" in the search and up popped "opera to relax radio." It wasn't exactly what I was looking for---I really wanted those Italian tenors singing opera. But I went with it and am loving it. Basically, it's a lot of current/pop songs set to symphony music. Truly relaxing. Not really opera at all.

I appreciate:  a good life hack. I think I already shared the one about cherry or grape tomatoes this summer. It's one of my favorites and worth repeating. When slicing a bunch of small tomatoes, place them on a plate that will hold the number you need. Invert another plate on top and slice through the middle with a serrated knife. Works perfectly! 

Well, here's another I discovered and tried this week. When you need to peel a large number of hard boiled eggs---I was making egg salad---just drain the eggs and shake vigorously in the pan. The eggs will all crack against each other. The shells will literally just slide off. No more wasted egg as you try to pry the shells off! 

Around the house: Tomorrow, the Christmas decorating begins. I have a couple of ladies who have been decorating the outside of the house and doing other "un-fun" tasks for twenty years now. I used to have them the weekend after Thanksgiving, but several years ago, they requested to come the weekend before. As it turned out, I like that better. I can usually get the house decorated before going to Charlotte for Thanksgiving. That won't happen this year, but it will be nice to have some of it done before we leave on Tuesday.

I’m craving: good salads---all-the-time.

I’m feeling: like this broken ankle and toe will never heal. It's better, but still painful. I have stopped the ibuprofen, so I guess it's to be expected.

I’ve completed: several tasks for the wedding. Working on getting the invitations ready to go out. 

I’m writing: "stuff" for the wedding: directions, greetings, menus, program, a lot.

I’m organizing: Mindy's gifts are not organized yet, but hopefully tonight they will be. Right now they are just all over the sunroom---waiting to be seen by Justin. Then we'll get them consolidated and put in boxes until they can take everything to their condo.

I’m obsessing over: Mindy is obsessing for the both of us.  She's welcome to the job. I'm not really the obsessive type. Oh wait, I am---but more like in the OCD department. 

I’m looking forward to: our Thanksgiving trip to Charlotte with the Lapps. It's always so much fun. I may not be able to do quite as much as I'd like, but to be sitting around with family---well, it doesn't get any better than that!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sometimes You Just Need a Break...

post signature...from all of this sitting around. Sooooo, I'm heading out to the farm with Karolyn and Connie for a couple days of relaxation. I'll be doing pretty much exactly what I've been doing. Watching movies and stitching.

Yep, life can be tough.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Schedules and Accomplishments

post signatureMy Schedule These Days

I almost feel guilty reporting this---because I think I could really become accustomed to this lifestyle. I'm a creature of habit. I like my little schedules. It wasn't hard to fall in to this one:

4:00-5:30 a.m.---Wake up; Make tea; Put on music; Check emails; Facebook; blogs.
7:00 a.m.---turn on GMA; eat breakfast; continue with computer stuff.
8:00 a.m.---get cleaned up for the day; make-up/maybe/rarely.
9:00 a.m.---turn on Kelly and Michael; check “to do” list and do a couple things; browse catalogs/order Christmas gifts; stitch.
11:00 a.m.---watch a show I have DVR’d; stitch.
11:45 a.m.---lunch; more tv; stitch; Netflix (Monumental Mysteries, Bates Motel, Foyle’s War and Scandal). I’ve watched many movies and documentaries. I’m trying to stick with just a few series so that I can get through them systematically.
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.---put on music; read and nap.
4:00 p.m.---local news; computer stuff.
6:00 p.m.-7 p.m.—dinner; check emails; tv with Butch.
7:00 p.m.-midnight---more tv and stitching; check emails before bed; read.

As the pain recedes, I’m doing more. This week, I made dinner a couple of times. I've unloaded the dishwasher a few times and opened the dozens of boxes arriving. Mostly Christmas stuff---some wedding stuff, so that’s good.


I can still manage to be productive from my chair! I'm a "lister" and love nothing more than checking things off or---in this case---putting things---"on"!

1. Completely caught up on my stitching class.
2. Waded through a foot high stack of magazines.
3. Culled my Netflix list--- I’m down to 21 items.
4. Watched dozens of documentaries and movies from Netflix.
5. Put together my timeline for the wedding.
6. Put together a very lengthy task list for the wedding---very detailed---down to who is going to help get the gifts home after the wedding. I don’t want to let anything fall through the cracks.
7. Watched umpteen Ted Talks that have been on my list for awhile.
8. Cleaned out files on my computer.
9. Planned AYM for 2016.
10. Planned a special project for my friends.
11. Got honeymoon information together for Mindy and Justin.
12. Made many wedding arrangements over the phone.
13. Read 3 books.
14. Started my Christmas shopping---actually, I'm nearly finished.
I wanted to start wrapping---the perfect thing to do from a sitting position. But apparently I'm out of wrapping paper.

15. Played umpteen games of Trivia Crack with family and friends on my iPhone.
16. Spent hours on the phone with Sandy.
17. Re-organized all of my fibers and floss bags.

18. Stitched a couple of Connie’s projects.
19. Started bow making for my Christmas packages.
20. Wrote the handouts for the AYM November and December kits.
21. Wrote the “welcome to Nashville” letter for the gift bags for the wedding guests.
22. Started working on plans for Katie’s shower.
23. Made some surprise reservations for Thanksgiving at Sandy’s.
24. Put together the Christmas lists.
25. Culled through and re-organized the photos on my computer---deleted 1201.
26. Downloaded about 50 new fonts and put them in the proper folders.
27. With Connie’s help---put together a December schedule for us and our friends.
28. Made the necessary reservations for the December events.
29. Kept up with the bills.
30. Handled all of the beach business.

I've gone out a little, but I'm still laying low. I know that the more I stay off of my feet, the quicker the fractures will heal. I have a really fun and busy holiday season planned. And I don't want to miss a thing!! I had my first, comfortable shower this week---meaning that I didn't have to balance quite so much to keep weight off of the ankle. I'm still taking the ibuprofen for pain and inflammation, but I can tell it's finally getting better.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Another One Bites the Dust...

post signatureI just got an email yesterday that The Scrapbook Village in Glasgow, KY is closing. Actually, it had a new name when it was sold a couple years ago. They had moved locations and downsized. I taught many classes there. Each January, we started off the new year with my organizational class. It was always a fun class with "students" driving all the way from Nashville, Louisville and Lexington.

Besides the physical store, Scrapbook Village hosted a couple of retreats every year at the state park. A few of my friends and I always enjoyed going---and having that time for uninterrupted scrapbooking. Now it's gone.

It saddens me that just about all of our scrapbook stores have closed. There are none in the greater Nashville area. Sadder still is the number of scrapbookers that are no longer scrapbooking. Every one invested a lot of money in this hobby---tools, pretty papers and every possible embellishment. They allocated prime real estate in their homes for their scrapbook rooms. I know. I helped set up so many of them. Now they are lonely, empty---collecting dust.

I started AYM ("A Year of Memories") nearly 8 years ago. It was the natural progression from my "Making the Most of My Memories"---4 week workshop. I wanted to prove that my system for organizing photos, memories and memorabilia was the best system out there. And I did. By year three, I had 39 members in 3 groups. As the stores closed, so did the interest. Slowly the 39 dwindled to the 10 I have left today. I still have a lot of stories to tell. I also know that for the current members in my group---this one layout a month is ALL they do. That's okay as they do have a completed album at the end of the year. Still, it's a lot of money and space tied up for something you do seldom. Even with that, several have not been able to put aside time this year to do even the one layout a month.

Somehow, scrapbooking has fallen by the wayside. I'm continuing to do my part---our stories are important. I believe that. I'm passionate about that. I want to remember the stories---and  more importantly---have my family remember them. What I wouldn't give to know more about my grandmother and great grandmother's lives---if only I'd have asked! I didn't. Now it's far too late. My grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to know me---what I loved, what I did, how I lived. It might not seem important now, because I'm here. But 50 years from now, I truly believe they will cherish this bit of family history.

I called The Sassy Scrapper in Murfreesboro, TN---about 50 minutes from here. They are still in business. Now that I think about it, I haven't taught a class there in years. At the very least,  I want to go before another one bites the dust. Are ya' with me?

Let's make a 2016 New Year's resolution: Tell More Stories!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Not Much to Report

post signature
I'm not usually without something to say. But there's not much to report these days. I'm still just laying low and recuperating.

Broken Ankle and Toe Update
It's been three weeks now since my little fall. The pain is starting to subside. I'm still taking ibuprofen---my doctor said it would hurt for a long time. Still, this seems like it was a far less injury than my surgery---which seems completely healed. I've been given the okay to put full pressure on that foot. Probably the biggest improvement I've seen is that I can take a shower more comfortably.
The black and blue is starting to disappear too.

I was on it a little too much over the weekend. I'm laying low this week. I did go to stitching on Tuesday and will play bridge today. But other than that, I'm taking it easy. My doctor said I'll be in the boots for another 4-6 weeks. That was a week ago. However you look at it, I'll be out of them by Christmas. I'm just trying to take advantage of this rest time. I'm accomplishing quite a lot---but have so much more on my list---just as soon as I'm up and about.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Working on finishing my Halloween stitching by Thanksgiving. Then I'll pick up a couple of Connie's Christmas projects to finish---because, uhhh, that's just what friends do!
Watching Bates Motel on Netflix---and lovin' it!!
Listening to Opera to Relax Radio on Pandora. I listen to music constantly and was getting a little tired of everything. I was even listening to the Disney channel. I decided on some old fashioned opera to get me in an Italian mood. When I put that in the search, up popped "Opera to Relax." It's "hipper" than regular opera---music of today in a classical format.
Trying to figure out when I can realistically go upstairs. I want to get the Christmas wrapping paper down to start eliminating some of these boxes of gifts. Heck, I'm sitting around anyway, might as well do some wrapping.
Preparing for an upcoming trip to the farm next week. What could be more fun than sitting around stitching? Sitting around stitching with my friends!
Loving that I'm finally caught up on magazines and thumbing through catalogs. Well, until the mail delivers 32 new catalogs today.It's that time of year.
Revisiting what I really want to do in the way of Christmas decorating this year. By the time I'm out of these boots, I'll already be two weeks in to the holiday season. Is it worth going all out for just another 3 weeks?
Continuing to work on my plan to really clean out and declutter this house. I think I'm over the moving bug---just the sheer scope of the work is enough. Do we need this big of a house? Not really. But we are still using the pool. Still, I'm going to attack each room as if we were planning to move. That way I can get rid of a lot of junk now. Plus, I have a ton of boxes to make it easy! If I don't, the girls are going to hate us!
Wanting to take over the grocery shopping. Can't wait for that! And, here, I always thought I hated grocery shopping. But when you are at the mercy of other people and realize you can't get exactly what you want, you realize you'd rather do it yourself. Sometimes, you don't even know what you want until you are there!
Laughing at my ridiculous situation. Surgery on one foot, then fall and break the other. Laughing about it is all I can do. It's still unbelievable to me!
Brainstorming my ideas for A Year of Memories, 2016.
Re-organizing all of my stitching fibers and consolidating them.
Enjoying this sitting around time and making the best of it. 

Catching up on blogs, scrapbook videos and other video clips I've been meaning to watch.

Drinking my morning pot of Earl Grey Supreme.
Thinking about classes I can find to take. I love learning new stuff.
Wearing capris---still. They are the only things that fit over the boots.
Eating frozen waffles---cooked in the microwave so they get soft---such a quick breakfast.
Thrilled that Butch is on the boards of both homeowners associations where we have our Florida condos. I'm so happy that he's actively watching out for our investment!
Excited for the holidays and the family time that brings. First stop---Thanksgiving in Charlotte! Can't wait!
Reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Actually, I just finished it. She can "tear me up" like no other author. I cry so hard---there's always something so gut-wrenching---and you are in the middle of it!
Feeling like these breaks are never going to heal. But I did have a fairly painless shower yesterday. 
Dreading an upcoming colonoscopy. Has it really been 10 years? Merry Christmas to me!
And that's wassup with me!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Best Medicine.... having your daughter, granddaughters and sisters come in town to nurse you for the weekend!! 

Okay, they didn't exactly come in to town to take care of me. They came in town for Mindy's "Around the Clock"  shower on Saturday. 

It was such a great weekend. The shower was lovely. Mindy got so many nice gifts. 

As we were socializing, my sister, Jennifer made this observation:
"Young people's boots---old people's boots!" We all got a kick out of that.
This picture was taken before the girls left on Sunday. Unfortunately, we didn't get one while we all looked "cute" at the shower. That's what I get. I know better! I put Morgan and Victoria in charge of taking pictures. I got exactly 6---and none of them were really what I wanted.
We took this one before we left the house. I do not have a picture of Sandy and the girls either. Janet took quite a few, but she's technically challenged, so I will not be getting those. No pictures for a scrapbooker is a tragedy!!

This made me happy:
The flowers that Justin send me last week were still beautiful for the weekend. 

It went by in a flash. The only good thing is that in just a little over two weeks, we'll be with Sandy again for Thanksgiving. 

Yep, the holidays are upon us!! That will really be the best medicine!