Monday, January 30, 2012

Books made into Movies

Have you ever read a good book and then watched a movie that was based on that book and then been disappointed?  I sure have.  I recently read the book "The Help" and absolutely loved it!  It was such a rich book due to the details and I could literally picture the entire story, town, houses, people, etc. in my mind.  Now, to be fair, I knew when I requested the dvd through the library that my visualization of the people and places were not going to perfectly match what the movie contained.  I knew that they were going to have to cut some of the scenes out due to time constraints.  However, I was not prepared for them changing some of the richness of the story and the important details in the storyline to "Hollywoodize" it.  My husband and I were watching it and even he questioned why certain things were happening and I had to explain the back story because they did not include it in the movie.  My personal opinion is that if they had included more of those rich details and the back story, it would have been an even better movie.  I also wish they would not have changed the story line with the reason that Skeeter's family maid was fired.  I thought that was such an important part of the book and something that most of us had never even thought about before.  I really wish they had stayed true to the book on that.  And, yes, I realize that I am being vague with the details because I don't want to spoil the book or the movie for anyone who has not either read or watched it yet.  The whole point of this rambling post though is that this kind of thing seems to happen quite a bit when a beautiful story is made into a movie (Memoirs of a Geisha comes to mind also) and I'm starting to wonder if I should just skip the movies so that I will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Handy Hubby

This man, this gentle, kind and loving man is also a very handy guy when it comes to building things and doing it on a shoestring budget.

Our dog Sasha was in need of a dog house in her kennel to keep her out of the weather when we were gone.  Hubby started with some cast off wood pallets, scrap lumber that he got for free and an old area rug and built this.

He then added a roof  built with more scrap wood and added a doorway for the dog to me able to get in and out of the weather.  He made sure to position the door to protect her from the wind, rain and snow.

Here is the grateful dog, Sasha, sitting with her Daddy waiting for the winter storms to hit and watching the squirrels in the yard make their last mad dash to get more food before the storm came and covered everything with a thick blanket of snow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Antique Table Thrift Score

 I have been on the hunt for a side table to sit next to my antique Windsor rocking chair that has been passed down through my family.  While perusing my favorite thrift store I was surprised to find this beauty.  As soon as I saw the carved flower medallion on the leg from across the room I high tailed it over there to get a closer look.
 Just look at the dental detailing on this piece and the beautiful wood grain showing through.  Yes, she has has some flaws and shows some wear and tear, but don't we all? ;)
 I simply fell in love!  She is so pretty and needed a home where she would be cherished.  She is the perfect companion for my rocking chair. 
I tried to get a picture of her label but it came out blurry, sorry about that.  She was made by the Imperial Furniture Company of Grand Rapids Michigan.  The owner of that company claims to have come up with the idea for the coffee table. :)  The company was founded in the early 1900's.  My research shows that this piece is most likely from the 1920's or 30's.  Further research shows that similar pieces start their value at $100 and go up from there.  

So how much did I pay?  $14.98  Yes, you read that right!  Right after I put it aside and had them hold it for me at the store while I continued to shop another lady who runs a resale store wanted to buy it and kept trying to get the saleslady to sell it to her.  She was shameless and kept offering to double and even triple the price they were asking.  My wonderful friendly saleslady just kept saying no, it was already set aside for another customer.  I just love that store and the friendly staff there and I love my new treasure!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sinus Infection and Injured Neck

I hate feeling light headed and I hate feeling pressure in my head and having a sore neck.  I'm fighting a sinus infection and a neck injury at the moment.  I am thankful that our wonderful clinic here in town was able to get me in on Friday so that I could start on antibiotics over the weekend.  Just praying I could be done with this already. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day #2...the Tale of Snow, Ice, Snow and More to Come

I received the phone call last night, school was being cancelled for the second day in a row.  I am so thankful that the school district is so mindful of the safety of the students and staff.  In an unprecidented move, the two universities near us also cancelled classes for today and one of the county courthouses is also closed.  The roads are terrible!

 Earlier in that day we had received a call from Jeff's work, they were cancelling all their delivery runs due to the weather and bad roads.  This is the first time I can remember them doing this since Jeff went to work for them.  I was very thankful to get that call so that I would not be up all night worrying and praying.  They are planning on running tonight and I am praying that the roads are in better shape than they were last night.  I suspect I will spend tonight praying and not sleeping much.

 We had an icy mist last night that covered the previous snowfall with a hard crust and then more heavy wet snow fell on top of that.  Our poor tree is not looking so good.  Jeff dug the car out and moved it in case branches started coming down.

 The bush beside our neighbor's front door is almost completely covered in a thick blanket of snow.

Roof tops are covered on houses and garages.  I have been carefully watching one of the garages down the alley that seems to be straining under the weight of the heavy wet snow and ice.  It would not surprise me if it collapsed.

 The power lines are all above ground in our small town and branches of old and twisted trees are struggling.  Some of those branches are over the power lines and we have had some power surges but have not totally lost power yet.  I baked a pan of yeast rolls this morning and got the laundry done just in case we lose power later today.  I think it is just a matter of time before that happens and I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

My amazing husband was out shoveling the driveway this morning and you could hear the cracking of the ice layer in the snow and the thud of the heavy snow hitting the ground.  It was so heavy that it broke the snow shovel but Jeff was able to repair it.  Sasha needed to check out what daddy was doing and stood guard for about 2 minutes and decided that was enough...she wanted back in the house where it was warm.  She is getting old and like her mommy, is a creature of comfort. ;)   

It will be interesting to see when this storm is over just how much snow we will have gotten.  I am also praying it does not warm up quickly or we may have some major flooding to deal with in our little town and in the next town over.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Club Sandwich Generation?

I'm sure you have all heard of the sandwich generation where people are caring for their own children and for their aging parents as well.  That got me to wondering if there was an official name for the generation and position I find myself in at this time in my life.  My inlaws are getting on in age and are going to needing more help soon.  My wonderful sis-in-love, best brother-in-love in the world and my niece now live with them and that has been a wonderful blessing for all of them.  However, we are getting to a point where they are may need help with them also in the near future.  My husband and I will be doing what we can to help.  We also have our first grandchild on the way and will be helping out with his care.  So is there a name for us?  Are we the Club Sandwich generation since there is another layer of bread (our own adult children which we are also trying to help with any needs they may have) in the mix?  Please don't get me wrong, I have great grown children whom I love dearly and they are doing fine, but as a parent, we are still there for them and want to help them in any way we can.  My son has asked me if I will help with care for my grandson and I am thrilled to be able to help with him and have that special Grammie time.  I'm not complaining at all. :)  I'm just wondering about the official name (if there is one) for others like me who are also doing this.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snowy Days and Soup

Last night we soaked away our aches and pains in here and this morning it was covered with about 2 1/2 inches of snow.

This is our back yard first thing this morning.

View out our front window.

A cold snowy day calls for soup!  I made a nice corn/potato/ham and veggie chowder.

It's the perfect thing to warm you from the inside out and I had 2 bowl fulls!

After all that soup we decided we needed to take the dog for a walk so Jeff and I dug out our snow bibs, got on the snow boots and took a walk down town and dropped off some things in the library drop box.  View up the hill past the Post Office towards the school.

The view down town towards the railroad and pea elevator.

One of the old churches in our town.

A closer view of the church.  If you have seen the movie "Talent for the Game" you have seen this church in it.

Town Hall and the grain elevator in the background.

Old Catholic Church that sat vacant for years.

It is now being renovated by some very talented young men, one of which I taught in Summer School years ago.  They are turning it into their home.


 On our way home we saw children out sledding and having a grand time! :)  Since we are expecting yet another storm to come in later tonight I'm sure that there will be kids watching their TV in the morning to see if school is delayed or cancelled so they can have another fun day of playing in the snow. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dreaming About Spring and Gardening

 Here it is January and I am already dreaming of Spring!  I took the above picture two Springs ago in my front yard and it remains one of my favorites.
This is a view of the same garden about 3 weeks after that.  We had a late snowstorm that dumped snow on my precious flowers.  It soon melted off and luckily it did not do too much damage to those precious blossoms.

I recently received a Gurney's Seed and Nursery Catalog in the mail and have been going through it and dreaming about my garden for this year.  I have picked out so many things that I would love to have but then reality hits as I look out to the veggie garden plot and see the weeds that took over and now lay dead out there.  I need to either come up with a better way to keep the weeds down or I need to scale back the garden a bit.  This past year was a horrible one for growing tomatoes while the year before was fantastic.  I managed to grow cucumbers for the first time this past year but sunflowers were stunted.  Every year is different...I still had raspberries putting on fruit into November and that has never happened before.  So I will sit here, sip my tea and dream of my Spring flowers and plan out my dream veggie garden and then will scale it back by half. ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sick Day, Sleep, Coupon Matching and Mr.Bean

   You know it is not going to be a good day when you wake up early to get ready to go to work, take a sip of coffee and then have to make a mad dash for the bathroom.    Nope, not a good day at all.  I called in to the wonderful woman who books me in for subbing and let her know that I would not be making it in today and she told me not to worry about it...she is a saint!  I then called and left a message on my hubby's phone to let him know that I was sick so that he would not try to rush home from work to make sure I could have the already deiced car to drive.  By this time it was 6:15 a.m. and I crashed in bed until 10:15 a.m..  One of the sure fire signs that I am really ill is if I sleep that late into the day.

   Once I was up and able to have a cup of tea and a banana I got online and started to try and do more coupon and sale match-ups.  I really want to stretch our budget and some items that I buy with coupons will actually create overage at Walmart.  I can then apply that overage (extra money that the coupon deducts over the price of the item) to use on other items that we need.  This next trip will let me stock up on games (will go in our gift closet for future gifts), some OTC meds, seasoning mixes, and a few other items with the coupons.  The overage will be used to pick up a few other needed items that I do not have coupons for.  Luckily I started doing some of this last night because my head is not "right" today and my thinking is a bit muddled.

   Being that my thinking is muddled and having already called in sick for tomorrow also (I hated having to do that but I want them to be able to book a sub for the sub today and not at the last minute) I decided to watch something mindless and funny.  HULU to the rescue!  I am so thankful for HULU because it allows me to watch some of my favorite old shows online for free.  Today I was watching old episodes of Mr. Bean. :)    I love his childlike innocence and wonder at the world along with his awkwardness.  His facial expressions are hilarious and it is just what I needed to zone out for awhile. :)  I think I may watch a few more episodes tonight in bed before I drift off to sleep.  Praying that I will wake up much better tomorrow and so will everyone else that also is dealing with illness right now.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Family Of Women

Myself, my mother Lynn (Tutu), Heather's mother Tammy, Heather (with baby Bradley safe in her womb), my sweet sister-in-love Gayle, my dear mother-in-love Arlyne (Nana) and in the front, my "special girl" and niece Ella
The quilt that Tutu made for her first great grandson Bradley

I cherish this picture above from Heather's baby includes some of the women that I love most in my life.  Each of them is unique with their own strengths (and weaknesses) and each of them is are so special to me.

I am blessed to have a mother, Lynn, who is still so active, energetic, speaks her mind, loves her family fiercely and is so talented with her wonderful quilt and wall hanging creations.  She has made a special quilt for everyone in our family and when a grandchild is married, she makes the new couple a quilt also.  She has made quilts for each of her grandchildren and has now made one for Bradley, her first great grandchild.  She also taught my sons how to kayak, melt plastic spoons in the fire, make the best s'mores and I have no doubt she will be doing the same for her great grandson.

Arlyne (Nana) aka the best mother-in-law in the world, is one of the most loving Christian women I have ever been blessed to know.  Right from the start, she welcomed me into the family with open arms and lots of love.  She has helped me to grow in my Christian walk and as a mother myself.  She also has set a great example for me of what a mother-in-law should be like.  Nana loves her children and grandchildren with a passion and her eyes light up when she is with family and is quick to share a hug, laughter and lots of love.

Tammy is Heather's mom and has become a good friend to me and is a fantastic mother-in-love to my son Chris.  She is an amazing woman who teaches Zoomba classes, hunts, fishes, and also homeschooled her own children.  Tammy and I share a lot in common and really enjoy spending time together.  From day one she has welcomed and loved my son Chris and made him part of their family.  They share a special bond like my mother and my husband also do and that is a huge blessing.  I am so excited to share this journey of "Grandparenthood" with her and have come to love her dearly! :)

Heather, my sweet daughter-in-love, wonderful wife to my son Chris and mommy to Bradley.  Heather came into our lives and just made our family so much more complete. She brings lots of love, laughter and Lemon Merangue Pies! ;)  Heather is a fantastic cook and my son is really enjoying that as are we.  She has become our daughter in every sense of the word and is the best sister to our sons Jaysn and Josh.  We love her so much and she makes our son Chris very happy.  We can't wait to see her and Chris be the great parents that we know they are going to be.

Gayle, my sweet sister-in-love, is spunky and a survivor.  She has gone through so much in her life and I am so proud of the woman that she is and that I can call her my sister.  Througout the years, Gayle and I have grown closer and with the birth of her daughter, our bond became even stronger. She is an amazing aunt to my sons and shares a special relationship with each of them.  She is also an amazing mom and my dear niece is blessed to have her. I love Gayle and she really has become my sister.

Ella is my special girl.  Ella is a miracle, a blessing and will always hold a very special place in my heart (and her Uncle Jeff's also).  She is my much loved and prayed for niece.  Ella brought sunshine into our lives and continues to do so.  My boys adore their cousin and were so happy when they found out that Gayle and her husband Matt, aka the best brother-in-law in the world, were having a girl.  Even though my boys are so much older than Ella, they still have a close relationship with her and I pity any boy that may try to break her heart because her older cousins are very protective of her. ;)

All of these women enrich my life in so many ways.  Do we always agree on everything? No. But what we do have is a deep love and respect for one another.  I know that I could count on any of these women to help me through any crisis.  We are a family of strong willed, loving women who are there for one another and will make sure that none of us ever has to face things alone. I am so blessed to be a part of this special group of amazing women.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Caught in the Middle

My life is filled with wonderful friends and family, some with very strong personalities.  I work hard trying to keep things peaceful between these strong personalities.  I love them all and most of the time, things go smoothly.  However, when they don't....well then I just want to head for the hills and hide out until it all blows over.  It is usually a minor misunderstanding that causes feeling to be hurt and then I get stuck in the middle.  How???  They call me or email me instead of talking directly to each other.  I understand that they are frustrated and maybe hurt also but can we please have some ground rules here? 

1.  Try to work it out between yourselves before calling me. 
2.  If you are going to call me, please don't be on the attack.  I love both parties and you are putting me in a horrible position.
3.  Don't expect me to "pick sides", you may not think you are asking me to do so but that it exactly how it feels.
4.  Please realize when you are complaining about that person to me that you are causing stress between you and I and may also cause stress between the person you are complaining about and myself. 
5.  Please also realize that there may be times when there is absolutely nothing that I can do about the situation.
6.  Please see #1 again and try that first.
7.  Please think about what you hope to accomplish...are you trying to resolve the issue or just vent?
8.  Realize I love you, I truly do and I don't want this situation to cause stress between us either.
9.  Honestly, I don't need the stress in my life of my friends and/or family fighting.  I just don't want or need it.
10.Please book and pay for a hotel room for me far away with no phones or way to contact me if you are going to stress me out.  I am going to need it to recover.

Thank you...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


 In our home we try to remain thrifty and frugal so that we can afford for me to work as a substitute teacher and still be able to be home part of the time to keep things going here.  It was critical for us to be frugal during our homeschooling years since I had to be here full time to teach our 3 sons and we needed to make it on my husband's income alone.  Now that they are grown, there are other factors which make it necessary for me to just work part time.  My husband and I agree that this is what is best for our family.  To that end, I need to make sure to be a good steward of all that we are blessed with and use my skills to stretch our budget.

We had some leftover sale priced ham from Christmas.  It was .99 a pound and I bought a fairly large one.  We had some for Christmas dinner, then had leftovers for a couple of days.  There was still quite a bit left so today I cut it up, cubed up most of it and froze 3 bags full of those ham cubes to use for future meals. The bone, and the meat still attached to it, went in the Crockpot along with some dry split peas, veggies and spices.  Six hours later, I removed the bone, cut the meat off it and then chopped it up.  I then pureed the veggies and peas and added the chopped up ham back into the pot.  This will make enough for several meals for my husband and I along with some to freeze for future meals.  I love being able to pull a Ziplock bag of frozen soup out of the freezer and let it thaw for dinner on a busy or cold night.  It is also great for having on hand when you don't feel well.  I try to keep a variety of homemade frozen soup in our freezer for us and for our grown kids. 
Now, if you will excuse me, this delicious bowl of piping hot split pea soup is calling my name!