Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Few Things

Okay, more than a few things---a lot of things! I've just been remiss in posting the "odds n' ends!"

So, I'm a member of this social media site called "Nextdoor." Basically, it's like Facebook for your neighborhood and surrounding areas. People post things like "help wanted", lost dogs, alerts and things for sale. Often, the things for sale are pretty stupid. Like this:
Can you guess what it is? The person selling it wanted $350 for it. I don't know if it sold, but seriously, I doubt it. It's some sort of gigantic paper shredder. Who would want this? Maybe if you were involved in some kind of illegal activity and need to shred sensitive material quickly and hundreds of sheets at a time--but $350? Seriously?
This is a school report that Morgan did for one of her nursing classes. She said that "Walter" was a huge hit. I thought he had something to do with the project, but she just brought him for eye candy.
 Balcony gardening in the middle of downtown Nashville.
 My latest needlepoint---finished and hanging in the "new" kitchen. It didn't photograph well because the frame is chrome---looks like a mirror and reflects everything.
Just a close-up of some of my stitches. I did my own stitch guide this time and am perfectly happy with the results. They wanted $75.00 for a stitch guide. I have a problem with that. I get that it takes a lot of time to design a stitch guide (believe me, I know---I spent plenty of time myself). But, here's the thing that bugs me. Once it's been designed, it's just a matter of making copies. Any other type of needlework has patterns for sale. They are never over about $20.00. I'd totally spend that every time for a stitch guide. Just seems to me that the designer would sell more copies if the price was more reasonable. That's why it's worth it to take classes. The stitch guide is part of the class. Okay, basically, then you are paying the teacher. You pay for it one way or another!

On one of our B&B days, we went to the Rolling Stones exhibit at the Musicians Hall of Fame downtown.
It was very interesting, but we're not sure it was worth the $35.00 per person senior ticket price. I was excited to go to the new Woolworths for lunch. Basically, they renovated the old Woolworths and turned it in to a restaurant. The cool thing about it is that they have the original lunch counter where young blacks staged a "sit in" that became national news in the 1960's. We ended up not going because I wasn't feeling very good.
From left: Jordan, Stephanie and Morgan at Morgan's birthday celebration. Jordan has since move to California---outside of LA where she will begin her life while continuing her graduate studies. We were laughing that she kept saying, "mom says I need to get a career!" The plan is that she'll "get a career" first and then do an online masters program for the next two years while working. If anybody can do that, this girl can! She's hardworking and dedicated!
If you are local in St. Louis, Chrissy is making florals for your door. She'll be happy to take your order!
I am so excited for the "littles" visit this summer. We're continuing Camp Aunt Barb in Nashville for 2018!
Mindy is always making awesome dinners. This one is meatball stroganoff. She says it was delicious. I guess I'll have to take her word for it because all she does is send me pictures!
I sent home a piece of cheesecake for Justin. He works most weekends when we have pool parties or dinners. I told Mindy that this was for his birthday. He put the candles to really make it seem like his birthday cake!
 My Mother's Day gift from Mindy was a trip to "The Candle Bar" where we made our own candles.

 You choose your container and scent. Then you mix it up.

Afterwards, she took me to Butcher and Bee. It's one of those eclectic places where you just have to take a leap of faith with the food.
 Even thought the food combinations are weird---including things you've never heard of, it was all good. This was the cauliflower steak on a bed of hummus. It was delicious, but didn't take like a steak at all!
 We all went to Richland for dinner on Friday night. Afterwards, we were looking around at the newly decorated club. The ballroom was set up for a Bat Mitzvah. I thought this was a really clever idea for the centerpieces....
...and table favors.
So, we had to take our laptops in to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. We had appointments, but arrived early and hoped they could take us early. Nope. The place is always so busy! This store is huge. I tried to count the workers, but couldn't. There had to be at least 30 working. It's amazing. On the way home, I asked Butch if he found being there as exciting as I did. Makes me feel like I'm part of an exclusive club! For Butch---not so much! He just looked at me when I asked that!

By the time you are reading this, we will be heading to San Francisco for a trip to Yosemite with Water and Chris. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What I Buy Wednesdays

I didn't buy much this week. It's more about what I didn't buy! Still I'm starting with the "buys!"
 This was my favorite purchase. Thanks to my friend from England, Diane, I was able to find this. It came in a ool box.
I was telling her that I wanted to get the commemorative plate commissioned by Buckingham Palace for Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding. It was going to be my souvenir when I visited in September. It was immediately sold out! She didn't know whether it would be reproduced or not. She offered to find one and buy it for me. Instead, I just had her send me the link. Here it is---straight from the UK! 
I'll be displaying it next to William and Kate's.
I bought a few make-up items for older women. It's hard to believe that I qualify for that! I have noticed that I do need different types of things than I was able to wear in my younger years. As for the mascara, I keep trying new ones. Some are definitely better than others.

In preparation for the holiday weekend, I needed to make a trip to Sam's.
 These were the things I had on my list to buy.
 These were the things I didn't know I needed until I got there! The family goes through a lot of food!

And now, for the things I didn't buy---oh, but I wanted to....
This huge stack of rings was so tempting. They are huge! And so darn cute.
OMGosh! These bowls were so cute. Still I resisted. But I was really tempted. Sorry the picture is not great. In that hole, you can see they even had some solid ones. I have enough bowls---for sure. tempting.
This was the biggest beach ball I've ever seen. I thought it would be so much fun for the pool. I texted Butch a picture. He didn't respond. Granted, he was on the golf course. But sometimes I think he just ignores me! Finally, I talked myself out of it for a couple reasons. Where in the heck would we keep this? At this time of year with all the pop up storms, it would blow away! Plus, the kids would most likely jump on it and put a hole in it. I'm sure it wouldn't last long. But still...

See what I mean? I'm a major impulse buyer. Sometimes I can resist. Yay Barb!

So those were my buys this week. What did you buy that's fun?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts about...

...being a picky eater.

I do not consider myself a picky eater. Actually, we were not "allowed" to be. When growing up, you ate what was put in front of you. You had no choice. If you didn't eat it then, it was pulled out again at the next meal until you ate it.

That doesn't mean that I don't have things I don't like. There are a few things I don't like. I don't like raisins, but I can eat them. Usually, I will just pick them out. But there is one thing that I actually HATE and will not eat for anything (okay, maybe a million bucks---but no less)!
Liver---it can actually make me barf! Ewww! You cannot get rid of that taste! On the other hand, I do like the smell of it cooking.

Coffee---I don't like it, but it doesn't make me sick. I don't like anything coffee flavored either. I do love the smell of that too.

Fruit flavored things---I like fruit---but I want the real thing. I don't want fruit flavored drinks or candy (and you know how much I LOVE candy). Well, unless it's green apple Jolly Ranchers---love those!

Mint---I'm not crazy about mint flavored drinks---unless it's hot chocolate---add Bailey's and it's even better. I like mint flavored desserts---Connie makes the creamiest mint brownies that are to die for. I like mint candies---especially Russell Stover French mints---divine! I don't want mojitos or mint in my tea either.

That's my short list of things I don't like. I'm sure there are a few others. I don't think that makes me a picky eater.

Still, I'm finding that I am a picky eater after all. It's not so much about the food itself---but how it's prepared. I'm definitely picky about that.

I want my bacon extra, extra, extra crispy---almost burnt---and that's exactly how I order it. 95% of the time, I have to send it back. Butch tells me to quit ordering it. But, I love bacon!

I want my steaks medium well---just barely pink in the middle. There better not be blood pooling on the plate---disgusting. And, I have to have some sort of steak sauce. A creamy horseradish is my favorite.

Eggs---Oh My Gosh! I really have picky eater tendencies when it comes to eggs. I do not like omelets because I do not want my eggs hard. Fried eggs are over easy with salt and pepper. Soft boiled eggs are with salt and pepper with a piece of toast on the side. Scrambled eggs are soft---still glisteny--with salt only (okay, you can add cheese, mushrooms, green peppers--my version of an omelet---all scrambled up---but still only salt). Hard boiled eggs are best at room temperature with only salt. I have no idea where these requirements came from. They just are.

Sandwiches---here, it's all about the condiments. I like mayo on ham, bologna and turkey. It's mustard on hot dogs and hamburgers (ketchup can be added to the burger too). I also like mayo on a burger IF it has lettuce and tomato---then you can skip the mustard and ketchup altogether. Peanut butter must have jelly. Grilled cheese must have real butter---plus pickles and chips on the side.

Oysters---I actually like oysters, but only if they are cooked. It doesn't matter how---Rockefeller, fried, Bienville---they just can't be raw. Raw is just plain disgusting. Probably my favorite way I've ever had oysters was the Fried Oysters Benedict at Stanley's on Jackson Square in New Orleans.

I'm sure this list could go on and on, but these few things came to mind quickly. I'm definitely open to trying new things, so I'm definitely not picky in that way. Just picky when it comes to food prep.

Oh, and I've already told you how I'm picky about plates and utensils! If you've forgotten, you can check it out here!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday Mystery

For the holiday weekend, Sandy and family were in town. We've been looking forward to it and had a jam packed itinerary. Morgan was supposed to be in Nicaragua to do some volunteer work for her nursing class. Since the state department had Nicaragua on the list of places NOT to visit, the trip was cancelled. We were glad of that as we had already decided that even if we lost the money, we didn't want her to go. The trip has been rescheduled for January---location TBD. That meant that she was going to be with us for the weekend. That definitely made Victoria happy!

So here's the mystery. Whenever Elizabeth is coming in town, she spends most of her time with Analise. This time, Analise moved in for the weekend. It's a mystery that "their" room could look like this in just a single day!
 You could hardly walk in the room!
Or the bathroom for that matter! I shouldn't be surprised. It's really no mystery. I lived exactly the same way when I was a teenager! Still, it really was a mystery to me at the time as to how it could get so messy so quick!

Analise graduated from the 8th grade. We decided to throw her a little party---any reason for a party in this family!

 We went to Stephanie's for happy hour and to open presents. A Kate Spade bag from the whole gang.
 A cute pair of hoop earrings from Elizabeth.
Of course, we had to have a cookie cake!
On Saturday, Analise left for a couple hours to go to a graduation party. When she got back, Merritt was with her. That little guy has been longing to hang out with the family and play a few games for a long time now. When Amanda was getting ready to leave, Merritt made the comment that he knew how to play 5 Card Draw. I looked at him---skeptically---grabbed ahold of him and said, "Okay Amanda, I'll bring him home later!" Anytime we have the change to relieve a kid of their money (in this case, his grandmother's money), we'll take it! Actually, the kid knows his stuff. Although he didn't win (he lost $3.50), he totally bid appropriately. We also taught them a new game---Liar's Poker. He did pretty well at that too. He was the last one with all of his quarters left. Then he got a little too cocky and said that he was going to win! Ultimately, he lost. Still, he had a good time. On the way home he kept saying how much fun it was. He kept saying his family was "boring." I know that's not true---we can't get enough of his family!

All the kids seem to think we have such a fun family. The truth is we do have fun. The main reason is that when we have the opportunity to be together---which isn't often enough---it's like one big party! There's no mystery to that!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts on Thursday

This is a continuation of Tuesday's Thoughts about organization. I totally forgot to add this little tip for organizing those pesky containers and lids.
 I have tried every method---putting the lids on the containers and nesting them, but that still takes up too much room. I've tried putting the lids under the containers, but that didn't work either. I decided on this about 10 years ago and it works perfectly! I just nest the containers and stack the lids on the side. It's pretty easy to rifle through them.
 About once a year, I go through and match everything up to make sure there is a lid for every container. What doesn't match up, I get rid of.
I never really had a good idea for pan lids. When we re-did the kitchen, I decided on this container from the Container Store. It works perfect to hold all the lids.

And that wraps up my Tuesday thoughts on Thursday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What I Buy Wednesday

I didn't buy much this week. I don't really shop every week anyway. This week, I bought a new "blow" brush to replace the one that the "odd" electrical in Ireland ruined. Not that exciting. But this is!!

I haven't owned a belt in probably 10 (or more) years. Well, lately, my pants have been about to fall off of me. I've always had the problem of a "smaller" (I know that's a bit of an oxymoron right now, but it is what it is) waist compared to my posterior. Anyway, rather than keep hiking my pants up, I decided I needed to get a belt.

Butch and I were running errands together. We were stopping at Walmart to get salt for the pool so I decided to check out their belts. Here's the exciting part!
I got both of these best for 8 bucks! It's a little hard to tell, but the woven one is silver. It doesn't really matter because these belts are meant to be functional. They are never going to show!!

So that's it for me this week. Did you buy anything exciting?

My cousin, Chrissy did. She found this unusual fern.
 I have no idea what type it is. I tried looking it up, but couldn't find it. I love the texture of it.
 Chrissy has lots of shade---perfect for ferns.
 She has quite a variety along with an assortment of hostas.

And while we're talking about plants, let's move right on to trees.
This is the tree my siblings and I bought as a memorial to my brother, Ronnie. I can't wait to see it in person. We wanted this so that his little grands, Evie and Josie would have a point of reference---grandpa's tree. Being 5 and 3, they will have few memories of him. Jackie's friends gave her this memorial stone bench. I'm told it's pretty nice looking and  decent size. Kind of hard to tell! When I bought it, I told the "people" that I wanted soil amendments added. They said they always do that when they plant trees. I hope so!

Well that's it for What I Buy Wednesdays this week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts About...

...organizing! I prefer a well organized home. A little over a year ago, I was pretty jealous of Stephanie and Nicky's move. Not only a new house, but the fact that everything was completely organized---all except her scrapbook stuff. It was a further 9 months before we got to that, but luckily, the boxes were stowed away in an empty closet.

In January (when I usually try to organize my own house) we set a date to get the scrapbook stuff organized. We did the entire thing in just a couple hours---which included going through the stuff we didn't have time for before the move. The results:

This closet goes all the way through to the other side. So with this, everything in her new home is perfectly organized. I'm double jealous this year because I still haven't gotten to all the closets and drawers in my own house! There's a lot to do!!

Still, little things do add up. Last week, I tackled my jewelry. I went through everything. I put aside what I plan to get rid of. The whole family will be here this weekend, so I let them know they would have the opportunity to go through what I'm getting rid of. I suggested they might want to do the same. We'll have a jewelry swap! Sounds like a plan.

So, here's what I have set up for myself. I decided that I wanted to sort everything by color---just like many of my scrapbook supplies.
I have this cute little jewelry armoir.
I decided that each drawer would hold a different color of jewels! The way it was before---it looked like a treasure chest full of jewels all mixed up! I couldn't find anything easily.
One drawer hold watches. Many of these need batteries. A couple are really old---and hard to get rid of even though I don't EVER wear them. There's my Gucci that I wore constantly in the 90's---maybe the entire decade. I just don't really wear watches much, but still, I'm reluctant to let them go.
 The top drawer of my chest contains assorted earrings, seasonal jewelry and "fancy" jewelry.
 Coral and orange mixed with aqua and green.
 Charm bracelets and my junk bracelets.
 All of my necklaces.
 Gold, silver, black and white.
Blues--all shades. The little pile in the lower left is exactly one pair of green fake emerald and diamond earrings and a real pearl ring with little emeralds--the only green I own!

Finally, I can see what I have. It's much more accessible. And yes, I do wear most of it. I've gotten rid of what I don't. A lot of it is cheap, costume jewelry. Some of it is "designer" like Kate Spade, Alex and Ani, Juicy, Brighton and Pandora. Some of it is vintage. Some of it is semi precious and a small amount is fine.

I'm all about being able to find things easily. Of all the things I almost don't wear, it would have to be the necklaces. I have a simple diamond that I never take off. As for the other necklaces, I feel like I never have the right blouses or shirts to wear with them. If I haven't worn them within the next year, I'll get rid of them too. I really am trying to simplify. I just want to be able to remember what I have and wear it!

And that's exactly why I want everything organized! Works for me!