Thursday, December 31, 2020

Oh the things I get him to do!

So, right before Christmas--in fact, the day Sandy and family were coming in town--don't know what I was thinking--I wanted to clean between the glass of my oven. I can be fanatical like that sometimes.
I enlisted Butch's help, telling him that I pulled the information off the internet and that it looked pretty easy, but would take two people. Famous last words!

Basically, you were supposed to just unscrew two screws. It started to go downhill from there! When Butch did that, it's a good thing I was standing there. That bottom part just fell! If we were smart, we would have stopped right there and put it back together. But little did I know that we had to keep going to get to the glass I wanted to clean.
That aluminum foil you see is really just regular foil--not even heavy duty. As I started to clean this glass, my cleaning rag caught and tore it! What?? Yee gads! (Wow, I don't think I've ever actually said "yee gads" in my life.) So I slowed down and was much more careful. Now here's the thing. This wasn't even the part of the glass I was trying to get to.
It's kind of hard to tell, but I was trying to get to that brown stuff. I don't know how it even got inside there. So now it was on to the next level. More unscrewing.

This is what came next. We carefully removed the inner part of the door.
Butch carefully moved it to the counter. That is just plain, loose cotton. 
Next, this gasket came off. There looked to have been some tape that was holding it in place. There was no sticky left to it. Now he was in a quandary as to how we were going to get that back in--while trying to hold it in the proper place. Impossible for sure. 

About that time, Mindy stopped by to pick up her car. Butch stopped for a minute to go out and show her something. In the meantime, I removed that piece of glass, carefully and took it over to the sink to wash it. 
When I turned around, I stumbled over Mindy's purse! Who the heck leaves it on the floor right where we're working! Luckily, I didn't fall or worse yet, break that glass! On a side note, this piece of glass wasn't the part I was trying to get to either. There were two more below it. Of course it was the very last one that was the cruddiest. I got it! It's probably not as perfect as I would have liked it, but now we were just worried about getting the whole thing put back together. It took both of us. At one point, Butch said, "What did you do with that little plastic thing?" I said, "I never had that, you did!" We started looking all over and finally found it on the floor. Same with one of the screws. It was really tricky to get it back together. 

Lining it all back up was really hard. Plus, the gasket kept falling. Butch managed to find some aluminum tape that looked very much like what was on there. I guess I better quite complaining about all the crap he has kept all these years. Finally something has come in handy!

Trying to find the holes was tricky as the cotton moved and covered a couple of them. All in all, it' took about an hour and a half. Butch kept his cool. We were both surprised that considering it's a Bosch the insides seemed pretty cheap. Plus, who knew there were actually 4 pieces of glass in an oven door? We definitely learned a lot. We learned that we're never doing this again!
Now that it's all back together, I'm so happy at how clean it looks! I couldn't get a very good picture because of the reflection! But trust me, it's clean! At least for awhile. And we're definitely never doing it again! 

I love that this guy is always willing to go along with my hair-brained schemes! (Another term I don't think I've ever used in my life---what does it even mean? It seems perfectly appropriate). 

Have you done anything crazy this holiday season? It's certainly been a crazy enough year for it!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

What I Make Wednesday

So, leading up to Christmas, I was in the mood for soup. I had a new recipe that I wanted to try. At first, it smelled bad--just not that good aroma that certain dishes make when they cook. I was a little worried. The smell ended up dissipating. The soup ended up being delicious!! And so, so easy! That's a win for me! Anything easy.

Crock Pot Ham and Potato Soup*
6 cups chicken broth (I just used 2 of the 32 oz. containers, so that was 8 cups)
2-8 oz. packages of cream cheese
1-32 oz. frozen hash browns (I used the shredded type, but cubed would be good too)
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1/2 t. minced onion flakes
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. pepper (I added a lot more--maybe 2 t.)

Combine all ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
*Since I loaned Mitchell my crockpot almost a year ago, I just cooked it on top of the stove, slowly for about an hour and a half. Basically the cream cheese needs to melt and flavors blend.

That's it! Couldn't be easier. In fact, it took longer to make the cornbread that I served with it!

Did you try anything new over the holidays?

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Travel Tuesday

By the time you are reading this, we are already at the beach. We came down yesterday to put our condo back together after the remodel. I'll have lots of pictures to share, but in the meantime, here are a few teasers:
Wainscoting on both sides of the long hallway. We wanted to lighten it up since this can tend to be dark. You can't tell very well, but the door is seafoam green. If you look close, you can see the bunk area reflected in the mirror on the left. We completely "shiplapped" that.
This is the glass arabesque tile that's in the hall bath. The side walls have a wavy glass--reminds me of the ocean.
I'm very excited about the kitchen. If you remember, I found the countertop and then tile at two different places. Yet, when I saw it, I knew it would be perfect together. The cabinet fronts are being re-done. And yes, I have my work cut out for me as I will be washing everything in every cabinet! I supposed I should have boxed it all up. What was I thinking. 

In the meantime, to make this more about traveling, 
Anyway, I thought I would post this "blast from the past." Our longest drive was from where I grew up in Spanish Lake (north St. Louis), MO. to Barnhart, MO--about an hour and a half from our house down Route 66! That was before highways. The cars were big. Our family was big. There were no seatbelts. 5 of us were in the backseat (we never had a station wagon). Dad drove with mom in the front seat, one kid in the middle (that was me since I was the oldest--it was a privilege that I got) and a baby on mom's lap. 

We managed to make it work. Well, we really had no choice. Dad would tell the kids in the back to lean to the right--meaning put your head on the shoulder of the kid on your right--and go to sleep. After they got restless, he'd tell them to lean to the left. 

Aside from going to "the country" we only went one other place with the whole family. That would be the Self's house. They were a large family too---8 of them---there were 9 of us. We alternated houses on Friday nights. Other than that, we never went anywhere with the whole family. When you have 7 kids, people don't invite you over. And that's the truth!!

That's it for now. I'll share the condo pictures once we're done.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Monday Mystery

So, every year, Spotify sends out a notice about your most listened to artists and how many minutes you listened. Well, I'm not quite sure I agree with this. Some of it is a mystery to me.
Let's start with the top artists. Okay, I'm pretty sure that I DID listen to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band most of all this year. I've always liked them, but it wasn't until I watched their 50th anniversary show on PBS that I started listening to them constantly. I also listened to Hank Williams a lot, but he's not listed. I like country music and have put together quite a playlist.

As for #2 Taylor Swift--I do like her. A lot. But, I didn't necessarily pick her to listen to--although I did listen to the "Taylor Swift Radio" quite a bit when we were puzzle making. It's not all Taylor Swift, but a mix of pop. If I were picking artists, she wouldn't be in my top 5.

I'll accept #3 John Barry--but it seems pretty hard to believe that I listened to the soundtrack of Out of Africa so much that it ranked #3 on my playlist. That's always been one of my favorite calming and beautiful soundtracks. Another that I love is the soundtrack from Pearl Harbor, but Spotify doesn't seem to have that one. 

As for #4 the Beatles, that has to be from my personal playlist that I put together of the 60's. That must also account for #5 The Beach Boys. There's a ton of Motown on that list too. In fact, way more Motown that anything else. I guess it just depends on what pops up when you use the shuffle feature. Still I would have said Motown outweighed it all.

Okay, so I'm good with all that side. Now, on to the top songs. As for my #1 song, I'm not sure I even know what that song is! #2, 3 & 4 are definitely on my personal playlist, so I'm sure they popped up plenty. And #5, I do love that Taylor Swift song, but honestly, maybe I heard it 10 times this whole year. Whatever.

Now for the 23,959 minutes. That breaks down to 399 hours! Holy Smokes! That's a lot of music! I love music and have it on quite a lot. I do not listen to music when I walk--just podcasts. So that doesn't account for any of it. Of course, there is some pool time, but it's not always from my account. When the family is here they usually use their own accounts. I've given them access to our sound system. That's mostly weekends. 

All in all, I do love that Spotify sends this report each year. It's interesting to me as to how it breaks down---even if I don't always agree with it. It's a mystery as to how they figure it all out!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Something for Sunday

Earlier in the week, my cousin, Chrissy shared her redecorating with me. This girl has always had a knack. She was alway re-arranging her furniture. You just never knew how it was going to be when you went to visit. She doesn't rearrange the furniture much anymore, but redecorating is a great way to get a new look.

I love the black and white. The rug is perfect. Chrissy told me that she sort of went crazy on Amazon--even extending to black and while clothing! That's nothing new to me. I've worn black and white for years! For me it was because black is supposed to be slimming. Chrissy doesn't need slimming!
She said that she was enamored with the gnomes.
She was even able to find a few Christmas pillows that work perfectly. I've never decorated the bedrooms for Christmas. You have to draw the line somewhere. Although, I don't think a couple Christmas pillows is to much of an effort. They look so cheerful!

Thanks for sharing, Chrissy! I love you (we've been besties since we were kids)!

Do you decorate your bedrooms for the holiday?

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Scrapbook Saturday

I spent a lot of time organizing my scrapbook room over the past couple weeks--about 12 hours to be exact! I had a mess after making a little 12 days of Christmas surprise for my AYM group. I also used some scraps to make some gift card bags. And, I made a title page for an album I'm doing.

I've made a lot of scrapbooks. A. LOT! There are just two that I think are really important. Or at least I think they could be worth something in terms of they shouldn't wind up in a dump someday. The first one was after 9/11. I thought the story needed to be told. 
And then there's this one. This story needs to be told too. The Caronavirus has affected the entire world! I've decided to tell our own personal story and how it affected Butch and me as well as our family. Here is just a sampling of a few of the pages I've already made.
This layout was to be in our "AYM Favorites" album for this year. I've decided to put it in my pandemic album instead.
"Sip & Script" was just one of the things that was postponed a couple times. We finally got to do it in June while sitting outside.
I couldn't resist doing a layout on toilet paper--"2020-the year toilet paper was worth more than gold." I used toilet paper on the layout---even printing the title on t.p. As for the papers--during the summer, I purchased this kit of papers. I've gotten many layouts out of it already. 

I have just a couple more layouts and that album will be finished. When it's done, I'll share it.

Finally, I'll end with our final AYM "favorite" of the year. Susan chose this topic. "My favorite Airport." I'm not gonna' lie, this was a tough one.
Jeanne was having trouble coming up with something good. I sent her some journaling as an idea of what she could do with it. She decided to use it. I journal for my friends a lot! As you already know, I don't have any trouble writing a story!!

I had a few choices but decided that my favorite airport HAD to be in my favorite city in the world!
I had my expired passport that shows 3 trips to London. Those little tabs are so you can go straight to those entries. 

Okay, that's it for today. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

A Couple Things for Christmas

Merry Christmas everybody!!! Our day is going to be very calm and quiet as we are alone this year!! I'm still going to make it festive--maybe with a special dinner (I'm actually writing this on Monday). Definitely not the big turkey meal we usually have. I'm thinking we'll either do a steak or crab legs or maybe both. We'll see. 

Anyway, I had just a couple little things to share.

Isn't this just the sweetest? My little niece, Harper in her cute mask. She can be a rambunctious little gal, so I'm really impressed that she's wearing it! Good for you Harper!
Here's Harper's mama, my niece, Jessica and her big brother, Max. I can't believe he's caught up with her already. I think he's just in the 5th grade!
This is so sweet. Looks like family craft for next Thanksgiving!
Now we don't have any tires laying around our yard, but we've all seen them. I think this is a clever idea to make them festive. Definitely better than a plain ol' tire!!

I hope you all have a great Christmas--however you are celebrating!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas with Sandy and family!

We all struggled with the decision as to whether we'd get together with Sandy, Greg, Mitchell, Victoria and Elizabeth to celebrate Christmas. We decided we'd mask and social distance. It also meant that we would not have the rest of the family over. That part was sad, because it's just not the same when we're all not together. 

They came in town last weekend. Prior to their arrival, Butch bought an air purifier and got that set up. 
Then we pulled the furniture out to give more distance between us.
We added an extra chair by the sunroom door. Unfortunately, the sunroom is too cold this time of year or that would have been perfect as there's a lot of room to spread out in there. It's actually a heated room, but with all windows, there's no way to escape the cold drafts. We pretty much keep those doors closed from December to March.

When it came right down to it, this worked out perfectly. Even though we were definitely 6 ft. apart, we still wore our masks. 

On Saturday, the festivities started with the Notre Dame/Clemson football game. Considering Greg went to ND and Mitchell went to Clemson, they all behaved pretty well. Unfortunately for Greg, ND was the loser--by a lot!! He took it well and did not allow the loss to dampen his mood. On the other hand, the "win" for Mitchell made him real happy!

After the game, we had dinner of hot tamales with chili and toppings. It was an easy meal to make and an easy meal to handle without being around a table. 

Once dinner was over and cleaned up, we started opening gifts. Butch opened his gift from Mitchell first. Now let me preface this by saying that the day before, Mitchell texted me after work. "Hey, can I swing by on my way home from work and "borrow" some wrapping paper?" I readily agreed as I always have plenty. Then I texted him again and said, "do you need tape and tags?" He promptly responded "yes, please!" I figured. I wonder what he was going to do without tape?

Fast forward back to gift opening and Butch choosing Mitchell's first. That's when the "ribbing" began.
It looked like a 2 year old had wrapped it. Mitchell said he was out of practice.
Sandy said that at least he had graduated from nothing but gift bags.
I think our enjoyment of the wrapping outweighed the gift!! Then, when it was my turn, the package was a little better (didn't take a picture). We all laughed again when he said he got better as he went along!! Really, how hard is it? I think he did it on purpose just for the laughs!

Then, at some point during the opening, Sandy accidentally scooted her chair and it hit these ornaments. They rolled to the floor. I told her not to worry about it because they were plastic. 
Instead, she was fiddling around with them for quite a long time. Everybody started asking what was taking so long. That's when Victoria said something about the elf. It then became clear why she was acting so "sketchy". 
That's where Butch had hidden him! I probably would never have found him! Victoria didn't realize what she'd done! I definitely could not see him from my chair.

Anyway, we ended up having a really good time. One thing is for sure, these "kids" and Sandy know me so well!

The cute snowman wine glass and Ahava creams (my most favorite of all lotions) were from Victoria. Mitchell gave me the little photo printer for your phone (looking forward to playing with that). Elizabeth gave me the Kate Spade throw. It's so soft! Sandy was trying to convince her to find something else for me and give it to her. Luckily for me, Elizabeth said "no!"As Sandy said, her kids "nailed it" when it came to my gifts. All the rest of the gifts are from Sandy and Greg. She really "nailed it" too! The little Lenox retro cars are ornaments. The mug has a tea diffuser inside and there's a deck of Christmas trivia cards. We tried a couple, but they were pretty hard. At least we'll learn something!
I had never seen the "A Christmas Story" Alex and Ani bracelets. That was quite a surprise! They are the cutest darn things! I put them on right away. I love jewelry--especially fun kind!

It was a brief visit, but so much fun. Also, we all felt safe and comfortable. That made Butch and me happy, as we'll feel more relaxed on Christmas Even when the other half of the family comes. Which as you read this is today!

As I keep saying, it's just one year! We've all made concessions and compromises. For me, not setting the dining room table and then us sitting at it was probably the hardest thing for me to take. That's about my favorite thing to do! The decorating and then lingering while  conversing after meals. 
There will be none of this---this year. Next year for sure!

Merry Christmas everybody!!! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

What I'm Cooking

I narrowed down the cookies I made this year to just two family favorites. Then I decided to add one new one. 

They were very good. But, they are a soft cookie. Personally, I prefer a crisp cookie. Still the flavor is very good. I will probably make them again, but I think I'll just bake them a bit longer to see if they won't crisp up some.

Also, there were several steps in the making. Have you ever tried to chop fresh cranberries? Those little suckers roll all over the place. I had a mess going on, so gave up. They are not really chopped, but more like halved. Then I also had to chop the pecans since I buy them in bulk at Sam's. That's not too hard. I put them in a ziplock and whack them with my meat tenderizer. Just another step. Anyway, here they are:
Oh, I forgot to mention that they also have white chocolate chips. In the picture that came with the recipe, they were flatter and looked crisper. So that's why I'm going to try cooking them a little longer next time. Still so good.

Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies 

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1  1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
3 cups uncooked oats
1 cup fresh cranberries (chopped in to small pieces--or halved like I did)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until creamy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add flour  to butter mixture and blend well. Stir in oatmeal then gently stir in cranberries, pecans and white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Place on rack to cool.

Did you make any new recipes this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tuesday Thoughts About...

...electronic books. Before I get in to the books, I have to post a picture of the Bethlehem Star.
Butch found us the perfect place for viewing. We drove over to this huge church on Concord Rd. As it turned out, we weren't the only ones with that idea. This was the gorgeous sunset before the big event.
I cannot take credit for this photo, but we did see it. There's no way I could get a good picture with my iPhone, so I stopped trying. We had binoculars, so we had a really nice view of a once in a lifetime event. Stephanie and Jordan ended up meeting us because they didn't have binoculars. After about an hour, we started for home. Butch surprised me by stopping in a couple neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. That was a fun thing to do. We haven't done much else!

Now on to my thoughts about electronic books.

Remember about---oh, I don't know---10 years ago when Kindles came out? Electronic books were so cheap. That was the whole point of it. You didn't have to spend a fortune on hardback books and then store them. I actually have a dedicated library in my house. Most people don't, so books can soon overtake you---well, if you are a reader like me, that is.

When I got my first Kindle---probably about 7 or 8 years ago, the books were around $10.00. I purchased my electronic books from Amazon for 3 or 4 years before making the switch to the library. Once I did that, I kept track of the money I was saving. Still do. That report will come sometime in January. 

Honestly, the only books I actually purchase anymore are the ones I need for book club. There's usually not enough time for me to wait to get them from the library. The library is getting busier and busier. I usually have to wait at least 6 months to get a particular book--especially if it's new or very popular. That's okay, I don't mind waiting. Luckily, there are thousands of books available at any time, so you never are without reading material. 

Last week, Sandy recommended a book that she wants me to read. It's one of those that you want to discuss with someone. I immediately went to the library and found I could get it pretty quickly. I went to Amazon to see how much the Kindle book cost so I could add that to my list. Here's what I found:

OMGosh! You can actually buy the hardback book cheaper than the electronic version! When did that happen? I thought the whole point of electronic books was because they were cheaper and more convenient. I had no idea that they had grown more expensive than real books!  

Somehow, now I feel like I'm being ripped off if I have to buy an electronic book. I might just have to go back to a hardback book! Actually, I'm not sure I can do it. I love, love, love my Kindle. Still, I might just give it a try---just to rebel against this travesty! I just might!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Monday Mystery

I had a hard time trying to decide what category this post should fall under. It could have been Tuesday Thoughts or and most appropriately, Friday Frustrations. I decided to go with Monday Mystery because I would like someone to really solve it for me. In fact, I might just email this post to Jeep. 

We are a Jeep family. I'm on my 4th Jeep. Mindy is on her 3rd. It's Mindy's Jeep that this post is about. 

One of her tail lights went out. Cars are constructed in such a way now that the average person cannot simply change the lightbulb. That's ludicrous. Or so I thought, until I saw the bill!

A couple weeks ago, we took Mindy's car in to the dealer--because the average person cannot change a lightbulb--and believe me, Butch is not average. So that means even the above average person cannot change the light bulb. We always handle car care because, well, we're retired and can take the time. And, we have a spare car (or three) to loan.

The charge for that simple lightbulb change? OMGosh!
This is highway robbery, I tell you! HIGHWAY ROBBERY! Truly, how is it possible to charge this much money? 

She would have been better off getting a ticket and paying the fine! I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cost this much!

Are you with me???

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Elf Escapades

So last week, my two little nieces, Evie and Josie, Facetimed me. When I showed them our tiny little elf, they quickly told me that since I touched it, he had lost his magical powers. I didn't really know the story of that guy, so I just said, "oh, he doesn't have any powers, he just gets in to trouble." I guess that satisfied them because they didn't say another thing about it.

Anyway, we've all been having fun with him. Sandy's little guy is having a good time.
You have to look really close.
You just never know where that little guy is going to show up.
Hiding amongst the ornaments.
Barely visible in this beautiful centerpiece!
I wonder how long it took Elizabeth to spot him.
He's tiny, but you can definitely see him amidst all that white!

And now for Mindy and Justin's little guy:
So, I'm not surprised that "he" likes Sour Patch kids, but the bigger question is, how is it that Mindy and Justin have them lying around their house?
Uh oh, he knotted up Justin's running shoes!
Swingin' from the mistletoe!
Having a little drink--tipsy?
Life is so bright, he needs shades!
"Whew, all this running around has made me a bit smelly!"
Time for a little shopping!