Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Travel Tuesday

Let me start with this:
This is a total lie. There was no comfort involved here much less "plus" of anything! We were on Delta. They have 4 levels of seats. This was the one right above coach. We're used to premium economy and this was supposed to be equivalent. Well, it wasn't. By my calculations we had exactly ONE inch of extra seat space. There may have been a little more leg room, but in both directions, the person in front of me put their seat all the way back--totally crowding me. I felt like the tv was right in my face. Plus there were no foot rests. I NEED a foot rest. With my short legs, they dangle to a certain extent which then makes them fall asleep. Very uncomfortable. I told Butch that if we have to fly Delta again, we better go up to the next level. Flight prices are ridiculous! But I'm on the verge of being done with these long flights. Well, except I'm not done with England. 

Okay, on to the more positive aspects of our trip. 

We saw many windmills and even climbed up to the top of one. We had a canal boat ride in Amsterdam and then again along the windmills. We toured Amsterdam, Antwerp and Brugges. It was all fun, but this is what we went for:

Keukenhof Gardens--7 million tulips---only open for 2 1/2 months---26,000 visitors a day! OMGosh!
The entire garden was so incredibly beautiful. Heaven on earth!

Steph and Nicky walk on water!! No way was I trying that. I can barely walk on cobblestones, much less slippery rocks!

Butch asked me if I was going to get any of these framed. There are so many I would love to have framed---it's really hard to narrow it down. Plus, I need to figure out where I can put them. I've been having beautiful photos that we've taken blown up really big and framed. We have them in the bedrooms and bathrooms. I need to see if I can find a little more space for some of these. I love them so much!

Everyone has to step in to the giant wooden shoes! 

I've already told you about the French Fries---invented in Amsterdam. There are shops that only sell fries. They really are the best in the world. Well after we finished at the gardens, we saw this near the parking lot:
Now this is a food truck I can get on board with. I didn't notice it when we went in. It looks sort of permanent. I had too many fries on this trip and cookies (delicious ones available around the clock on the ship) and hot chocolate and bread slathered with butter and too many cocktails---all my weaknesses when traveling. Butch's weakness when traveling---you won't believe it---apple juice! I discovered this a few years ago. I noticed that he was having it every morning for breakfast. I said that if he'd told me he liked it so much, I would buy it for him.I haven't bought it since the girls were little. It's not like it's expensive--we can afford it! But, he said that he just liked it when he travels and the meats and cheeses for breakfast and lots of cocktails. He can take or leave the sweets and breads. Not me. Those are my treats when traveling. Now it's back home, back to normal, and back on track with my eating, back to walking--at least until the next trip!!

We had such a good time. Everyone should go at least once. 

Monday, April 29, 2024

Me on Monday

We got home Friday around 4:30. We stayed up until about 8 p.m. I woke up at 3 a.m.--7 hours of sleep is about right for me. We got up around 4 and started working. It was crazy. By 7 a.m. we had just about everything done:
cleaned my suitcase wheels--again, disgusting filth (I told Butch that I cleaned his wheels too.         He said that ever since I posted about the crud from the wheels, he's been doing his                 wheels! That's why I love that guy. He wants things to be as clean as I do!)
cleaned out my purse
cleaned out my carry on bag
sorted charger cords 
got the laundry going
paid bills
watered plants
food planned--got meat out to thaw
made the grocery list 
snapped picture for "What I Buy Wednesday" post
put the kitchen back together (the new sink was installed while we were gone. We had to             move everything off the countertops and under the sink).
I cleaned everything before putting it back. I didn't get rid of anything. I could easily have let many of the vases on the right--go, but I always have these views of me giving them away with flowers from my garden. I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually remembered to do that. But I'm going to!

By 8 a.m. I was up in my scrapbook room. No, I didn't try to address my sewing machine problems. I did text Karolyn to see when she could help me. She came over yesterday. 

I was working away when around 8:45 Butch asked if I wanted to go to At Home to get our new patio cushions. So, I got ready and off we went. We got the cushions, stopped at Home Depot and Loewes to get plants and did the grocery shopping. We were back by 11. 

Wow! We were accomplishing a lot! I put the groceries away while Butch started cleaning the patio furniture. By 12:30 he was finished. I was already in front of the tv catching up on shows and cropping my pictures for AYM. 

The day continued. I went out and spent about an hour doing my garden chores. I read, but didn't nap at all. I was hyped up. There's nothing that gets me going more than working. Now don't get me wrong, I love my leisure life. But there's something about traveling that gets us energized. I guess we feel like we've lazed around for a week, so it's time to get working!

So now, I'm going to let you in on a little of my crazy. Butch put a lot of the stuff back on the kitchen counters. He did this:
Look at it like this--kind of like that page in the Highlights magazine when you were a kid sitting in the doctor's or dentist's office. See if you can find the differences. 
He has reversed the tea
tins and put the teabag holder on the counter. This is how it's supposed to be. So there it is. I know it's crazy. but I can't help it. It's like something gets stuck in my brain and interferes with any other thoughts. I HAVE to fix it. Sometimes, I don't know how Butch puts up with it. I mean, it kind of drives me crazy too. Case in point. Right before we were getting ready to leave on our trip--I mean that very morning, I asked Butch to take the plants out. We have 8 that we over-winter in the sunroom. He did them all---but one. I asked him why he didn't take that one out. He said he just overlooked it. I said, "Well it would only take a minute," He said, "but I've already showered." He thought that was the end of it. A little later, I said, "You could just put it outside the door." He's like, "Barb, what difference does it make? I'll do it when I get home!" I replied, "But I can see it in the sunroom and it needs to be outside. The plants all need to start adjusting before the heat kicks in." He relented and just moved it outside. 

See what I mean? It's so ridiculous--and I know it. But you can look at it another way. If these are the worse "spats" we have, then I'm not going to worry about it!

So far, it's all still manageable. It's not like I have to check the stove 100 times--most likely not a problem--I don't cook that much!  Or check to make sure the door is locked. I don't care if the door is locked unless I'm home alone at night! I'll just carry on. 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Something for Sunday

Back when we were first starting out, there was no such thing as Goodwill stores. Actually, I guess I don't really know if that's true. I do think Goodwill picked up stuff, but I don't know what happened to it after that. It seemed like we mostly gave away clothes. Anyway, we didn't have much at the beginning--borrowed bed, random furniture from people's basements, two snack tables from Target put together as a coffee table, bricks and shelves for a book case and a card table and chairs for our kitchen set. 

We eventually bought some used furniture at a furniture rental place. They sold what they could no longer rent out. Sort of the original "scratch and dent" sale. We bought some living room tables. There were a couple of gouges and lots of scratches on them. Butch used some wood caulk and stain and fixed them right up. Those tables served us well for many years.

We bought furniture at garage sales and re-finished it. Over the years, we have given away or sold lots of furniture. My favorite story is about our bedroom set. We bought the entire set for $300 and sold it ten years later for $400. No matter how cheap our stuff was, we took good care of it. 

Funny, once we had more expensive furniture, we gave it away--family, friends, Refugee Resettlement or Re-New (setting up houses for abused women through the YWCA). We didn't need the money, so I felt like giving it to a good cause was more important. Now, I wouldn't mind having another crack at that furniture. I cannot believe how creative people are with old furniture. I have collected many pictures to share with you. Today, I'm focusing on china cabinets.

Amazing what a little paint can do. How perfect is this in the kitchen?

To make a kitchen sink out of this one is brilliant! This looks like it took a lot of work to cut the center piece and drawers to allow for the plumbing works. But I love the result. Not loving that tile though.

And this--two pieces of new/old furniture from one cabinet. I remember long ago--reading that to give new life to furniture you just had to paint it either black or white. I think the key is to just paint it--any color and it looks new and fresh. It took me a second to read the word on the upper piece. I thought it was "behind" and couldn't figure out what that meant. I'm telling you, if I was "behind" I don't think I'd be broadcasting it. Then I realized it's "be kind!" Okay, that's nice. 

Turning this one in to a bathroom vanity was a great idea. Some of these definitely seem more involved. Had this been mine, I would have decorated it before posting the after picture.

Although I wouldn't have a place for this in my kitchen, it's a great idea. I have seen many new homes that have a coffee station near the master bedroom---ooops---sorry---main bedroom. They are all the rage now--or at least--were. I'm not really up on the current trends.

And then this one. Oh wait, that's ours! I can't believe it's already been 6 years since our kitchen remodel. We turned this 1980's style kitchen desk area INTO a china cabinet!!
Christy---you know her---my miracle worker---came up with the idea of raising the desk turned cabinets off the floor so it wasn't low like a desk, but rather the level of a cabinet. I didn't even know you could do that. It was my idea to add the shiplap, all glass doors and paint it blue. Side note: we added the two glass doors to the original years ago. This is one of our favorite projects. Of course, we didn't do it. We had Christy's peeps for that.

I do love re-cycling and re-purposing. I just don't want to be the one to do it. 

I'd love for you to send me some before and after pictures. I would happily share them for all to enjoy!

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Scrapbook Saturday

The pictures are not in the proper order, so pay attention to the numbers:

3. This is the backside of the insert.

1. Another travel layout. This is without the insert.

2. Here you can see the insert with the journaling in the pocket.

Have I mentioned that I'm changing up the way I scrapbook? 
Well, I'm doing a layout a month to include everything. I might still do separate pages for specific things, but no longer feel the need to do a page about everything!! This covers all of our activities for the month represented by a single good picture. That's enough, I think.

My plan is to just add an insert for any trips taken.

Since I am no longer making individual albums for everyone, I do have some to finish.

I'll continue to do layouts for Butch's travels when I'm not with him. He goes places I am not interested in. He wound up going by himself to Argentina and Brazil. I felt kinda' bad, but not bad enough to go along!

I divided Mindy's life by little girl and bigger girl on this spread. I have all kinds of fun things in the envelope that are about her along with things she wrote.

This page is big girl and married Mindy with more "stuff"--documents, letters, notes, etc. that I think are worth keeping.

About a month ago, we hosted "An Evening in Paris" for Mindy and Justin as a "date night!"
It was a lot of fun. They even spent the night for a little get-a-way in town. This was the result of our family exchange at Christmas. The theme was "date night." We got Mindy and Justin, so decided to really do it up. They played along!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Things to Think About on Thursday

Family TREE 


For each of us to be born we need:

2 Parents

4 Grandparents

8 Great-grandparents

16 Great-Great grandparents

32 Great-great great-grandparents

Okay, you can stop here as you get the idea. But if you want to continue, it's mind-boggling and too much for my brain to comprehend. I don't even know these words.

64 Pentagrandparents

128 Hex-grandparents

256 Heptagrandparents

512 Octagrandparents

1024 Grandparents

2048 Decabuelos

Just the total of the last 11 generations, it took 4,094 ANCESTRALS, all of this in approximately 300 years before we were born!

Stop for a moment and think...

Where did they come from?

How many fights have they fought?

How much hunger have they gone through?

How many wars have they experienced?

How many things did our ancestors survive?

On the other hand, how much love, strength, joy and encouragement did they bequeath us?

How much of their strength to survive, each one of them had and left within us so that we are alive today.

Pretty crazy to think of it like this. So much to comprehend---and we just go about our lives living and not really thinking--ever--what it took to get here. 

I'm very grateful to all of my ancestors for producing this pretty lucky gal! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What I Buy Wednesday

This week is about food. Prior to our trip, we were trying to think about what the cuisine of Holland and Belgium was. The only thing we came up with was waffles and chocolates. Well, yes they have those things, but so much more! I didn't know about the beer. Apparently beer is really big here too. But, not for me.

Okay, once again, my pictures are not cooperating. So in no particular order:
We had happy hour on the boat every day. I tried a cosmo--not great, a Pina colada--terrible, an extra dirty martini--passable. But, I was mostly happy to be able to order iced tea at lunch and dinner. Of course, they didn't have Equal, but that's okay, because I bring my own. Well, most of the time. I'll settle for Splenda if I have to, but don't like the after taste.

I'm going to try a lemon drop martini. Steph had a couple of those and liked them.

When we were in Bruges, Belgium, Nicky found the BEST restaurant--Gastro. We got the local fare: mussels in a garlic cream sauce, French fries and the Flemish stew. OMGosh! The best meal so far.
Look at the size of those mussel pots! They were brimming! Did you know that French fries were invented in the Netherlands? They are called "French" fries because of the French influence at the time. They are fried partially, removed, cooled and then refried just before serving to have a crunchy outside while having a soft center. They really were "out of this world." They come with every dish. Butch and Nicky got the mussels while Stephanie and I had the stew. That was so good too. It reminded me of beef burginoine (and I have no idea how to spell that). It was tender with a thick, flavorful gravy--and, of course, served with fries. We couldn't make a dent in these big bowls. Oh and they serve the fries with mayonnaise rather than ketchup. You can ask for ketchup, but we just went with the local way. Personally, they were great just plain. I don't need to be adding the extra calories of mayonnaise---that's for sure!

Local beer.
Our tour guide treated us to some Belgian chocolates. So so good! We bought a few to have later. 

And then we had to have the Belgian waffles. That's what Stephanie and Nicky got--pretty much exactly what we're used to. 

Instead, Butch and I opted for the traditional Brussels waffles.
They were thin and crispy--we chose chocolate and bananas as our topping. They were delicious, but I'm still a pancake girl. These were fun and great for a dessert, but I'll stick with pancakes for breakfast--with pecans please!

Then, yesterday, we tasted and bought some incredible gouda cheese. I didn't realize that that cheese was from here too. I bought several types, smoked, chili and truffle--some for gifts. Really good and great prices. You know how expensive cheese is!! 

Well, there you have it. So far, I've only bought food. I'll probably get some chocolates because, well it's chocolate. I cannot resist chocolate!!

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention one thing. Yesterday, our tour guide shared some licorice (black) with us. I can't remember what she called it. I tried it because I always want to try local stuff. I still didn't like it! But it did make me think of my mother who loved black licorice. I won't be buying any of that!