Friday, March 30, 2012

What is your Guilty Viewing Pleasure?

I think most of us have a guilty viewing pleasure on TV or in movies.  No, I am not talking anything X-rated here. ;)  I think I am typical of most women in that I like the funny love stories, the cooking shows, home improvement shows, certain sitcoms, etc..  However, I also have a secret guilty viewing pleasure that only my family knows about. ;)


Yes folks, natural disaster movies are my guilty viewing pleasure!  I have always been fascinated by weather and natural events.  I blame growing up in Hawaii with an active volcano and the movies Wizard of Oz and Shangra La for the start of my deep rooted addiction.  Lately I have been staying up late into the night watching these disaster movies before I go to bed.  I get all comfy cozy on the couch, cuddled under a blanket, cat in my lap and I escape into the natural disaster Hollywood style world.  The cats love this but I think the dog is a bit disturbed by my viewing habits and frequently goes into the bedroom to go to sleep without me.  She will come out to check on me periodically and gives me that "seriously mom?" look.  I also think my husband is secretly relieved that I choose to watch most of these movies while he is at work. ;)

So folks, what is your "not have to be censored";) Guilty Viewing Pleasure?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Importance of a Good Support Network

This morning I was pondering how blessed my family is to have such a great support network of friends and family.  I know that the "experts" stress that this is so important in times of crisis, but I also find it important in the every day life also.  Let's face it, we all feel better knowing that there are people out there that love us and are willing to help us when needed and that we also can do the same for them.

Over the years, our family has built a wonderful network of friends in addition to our family that share their time, talents, love and resources with one another.  In Hawaii, we would call this group a "hui".  Many of these people have become "hanai" (adopted by love) "ohana" (family) to us.  Not only does this help emotionally but it also helps financially.  With the economy being what it is and with so many of our "hui" trying to get out of debt, starting new families, reaching retirement years with little income and some also facing job losses or cuts in pay, it is important that we all stick together and help each other out.

Some of the ways we have done this over the years (and continue to) is by sharing our talents.  My husband used to be a carpenter and although he is no longer in that profession, he has the skills needed to be able to do home repair, remodeling, roofing, etc..  He can also build furniture.  He has been able to help friends fix their roofs, replace windows, add a new bedroom within an existing home, build furniture lifts to make getting in and out of chairs easier for people that need that help, patch drywall, build stairs, etc.  He also did extensive remodeling in our home.  My talents run along the line of saving money by couponing, being able to budget well, making the most of what you have, cooking from scratch, tutoring children and hooking people up with resources that they may need.  I'm also really good at seeking out great deals at thrift stores and yard sales so friends will give me a list of what they need and I regularly find it for them for pennies on the dollar.  We have friends (some of them have passed away now) who are/were master gardeners.  They taught us how to prune trees, the secrets of a good garden and shared their knowledge, plants and produce with us.  We now regularly share the produce from our garden with our "hui" and they share theirs (if they have a garden) with us also.  It's a win/win for everyone.  We have done other things like apple cider pressing where everyone contributes apples and container and we work the day away to press cider for all the families.  We also pass down clothing that our children have outgrown and also share tools with each other.  We help at the weddings of each of our children and grandchildren.  We help one another with appliance and computer repair.  We watch each others children, homes and pets when needed.  If we have an item we are not using, we see if someone else needs it in our "hui" before donating it to a thrift store or selling it at our yard sale (we also do some of those together).  Our group is also there to pray for one another and support each other through the daily things of life. :)

Honestly, I feel so blessed to have this wonderful group of talented and loving people in my life.  Together, we have all been able to help each other not only save money and time, but the support and friendships mean the world to me.  I know that I have learned so much from these amazing people and my life is all the more "richer" for it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow!

Yesterday Josh and Jessica celebrated their 1 week of marriage anniversary.  They are happily settling into Josh's apartment in Germany and Jessica is getting stuff put in order and making it a nice and cozy home for the two of them.

Today Grammie spent the morning with her cute little Bradley and his sweet mommy Heather.

Oh Grammie, I feel so much better after my bath.

Uh Grammie, I think I need a diaper change.

Ahhhh....thank you...I feel so much better now! comes that cat again!

Yay, Grammie saved me from the cat!  Does the cat look fat to you?  What?  She is going to have babies?  I don't have to share my crib do I?

Tomorrow Bradley is 3 weeks old! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pleading Poverty While Living High on the Hog

I know that this post could be highly controversial but these are my own thoughts and views on the subject and I hope that even if people don't agree with me that they can be kind and respectful. ;)

I have been a volunteer for years and years now with a food distribution program to help people in need.  I also work in the school system, am a former librarian, and also hear and read things in the news as well as interact with people daily.  One of the things that irks me to no end is when people plead poverty and get others to help them financially while they themselves are unwilling to make sacrifices to cut back on their expenses and continue to go on vacations, have their kids in private lessons, go out to eat on a regular basis and continue to live the life of someone who is financially able to do those things.

I do understand that almost everyone is going to hit hard times at some point in their lives (present company included) and need help.  The people that find themselves in this situation and do everything that they can to cut back on their expenses and still can't make the ends meet are the people that we should all be helping.  It is the other people who go and file bankruptcy and then go right back to their former spending habits again and again and then file bankruptcy a second time or more that anger me. It is the parents who are in pool or bowling leagues but can't afford to buy new shoes for their children due to lack of finances that make my blood boil. It is people who claim they can't afford Christmas presents for their children but just bought a new purebred puppy that I just want to shake.  It is people who go out to eat all the time but claim they can't afford groceries that just make me ill.  It is the people who expect everyone to bail them out without giving any thought to how much those sacrifices of others who are bailing them out may be hurting those doing the bailing out that just disgust me.

Want some real life examples?
~the woman in the news recently who won the lottery, bought 2 house and a new car and was still collecting food stamps and felt she was entitled to those food stamps because "she still had expenses"
~a family that gets food stamps, free medical, heating assistant, etc. and just bought a snowmobile to go play with
~a single mom who felt it was "God's will" that she stay home with her children and that the state, church, her family and friends should financially support and take care of her
~families on welfare that buy expensive new electronics like computers, ipads, top of the line new cell phones, 3D television sets for themselves and their children for Christmas
~people on food stamps buying expensive cuts of meat, frozen pancakes, soda, chips, expensive coffee, imported cheeses, etc. and then still show up at the food distributions complaining about how they can't make their $500 in food stamps cover their grocery bill for the month for a family of 4 ( I did it for $350 for a family of 5 plus extra teens eating at our home almost every day and that included all cleaning products, toiletries, etc.)
~people who sign their kids up for the Marines Toys for Tots program along with other programs to provide gifts for their kids and then the parents take a trip to Vegas or somewhere else

Meanwhile, we have families and the elderly struggling to make ends meet and doing everything they can to cut back.  They are having to make the choice between food or medications or taking their child to the doctor.  We have the working poor who work long hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, and still don't make enough money to cover just the basic necessities in life.  We have people who became ill or disabled and can't work through no fault of their own.  We also have people who have lost their jobs and are trying to find new ones but there are too many applicants for just the one job so many walk away again with nothing, even the fast food places get more applicants than they have jobs available in some areas.  These are the people that we should be helping.

I believe that if you apply for government assistance that you should also be required to take classes in budgeting, how to buy and prepare healthy food, basic home and car repair.  These are skills that would greatly help people save more money and be able to stretch that assistance further and get off it sooner. I also believe that some sort of volunteer work should be required for those that are physically able to do it in order to get some of these services. Helping others has been shown to increase a person's self esteem and helps them make connections they may need to get a good job. Things I personally have done... I have helped get a booklet of healthy recipes together for commonly used low cost and healthy food products that were distributed though the food programs that I volunteer with.  I have taught classes on how to save money though the county extension service.  I have taught students at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center how to make a budget and find the best deals.  I want to help people acquire the skills they need to help themselves.  I believe in trying to help those who really want the help and are willing to do the work needed.  I believe in giving people a helping hand to raise them up, not to keep them dependant on a failing system.  I want a better future for everyone that is currently struggling or will find themselves in that situation at some point.  Is that so wrong?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Life with an Elderly Dog

Our Sasha is an old girl who came to us via our son Chris who got her from a lady who could not keep her who got her from someone else and the list goes on.  As far as we know, we are either her 5th or 6th owner.  From what we understand and can see by her behavior, she was abused pretty badly at some point in her life and has the emotional and physical scars to prove it.  Sasha has been with us for about 4 years now and according to her previous owner, this would make her about 10 or 11 years old.  That is old for a purebred White German Shepard. 

Sasha is showing her age and has come to a point in her life where she is having major digestive issues.  We have taken her to the vet and were told that she most likely has a digestive disorder that even to test for runs in the hundreds of dollars and then she would have to be on a special diet and possibly meds.  Most people just put their dogs down when they hear this because it is so expensive to do all of this.  Our vet told us to just treat her as if she does have the disease and we changed her diet to one of those expensive grain free high quality dog foods.  That worked for a bit but then she got bad again and her body would not tolerate it.  We thought we were going to lose her and I switched her to a diet of cooked chicken, homemade chicken broth, brown and white rice and pumpkin along with multivitamins for senior dogs, digestive enzymes and glucoensure to help balance out her blood sugar levels.  She has 3 meals a day, just like we do, to keep food in her system so that she gets her nutritional needs met.  She has started to gain some weight back.  A few days ago she ate a pencil, a pen and some crayons...this is a new bad behavior for her.  It really threw her system into a tizzy and we are now dealing with that.  Poor girl is not feeling well.  Any little thing that she eats can throw her system off, let alone the above.  Her eyesight is also not the best anymore and I find her bumping into me more often.

We know her time with us is limited and each day is a blessing.  She has been the most loving dog and companion to us and brings us such great joy.  She has more personality than most of our previous dogs and is smart too.  Most days she is still energetic for at least part of the day and loves to play, go for walks and cuddle with us, but she is slowing down.  My husband and I have discussed it and as long as she is happy, not in pain and has many more good days than bad, we will keep her with us but we know the day is approaching where we will have to make the decision to say goodbye to our beloved old girl...I dread that day.  I have had to say goodbye to other fur babies and it breaks my heart but I know she will be the hardest one to let go.  I love this old girl and when she is gone it will leave a huge whole in our lives and hearts.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bradley and G-pa!

 When Bradley first met G-pa, G-pa had a cold and was wearing a mask when he held him. "Hey everybody, G-pa has a nose!" "Mommy, what is that thing under his nose that keeps tickling me when he gives me a kiss?".
 G-pa is thrilled to have some time with his grandson since everyone else was "hogging" him, especially Tutu who could not get enough of her great grandson. ;)
 G-pa is toast...this kid could have asked for anything at that moment and G-pa would have made sure he got it. :D  Good thing he can't talk yet or we would all be in trouble. ;)
I'm convinced that G-pa is telling Bradley all about the cool things they are going to build together including a tree house!  I'm sure G-pa is already on the look out for little child sized tools for him.

Storms in our Lives

Sometimes our lives feel like those violent storms that hit at night.  We are enjoying the soothing and quiet darkness and slowly drifting off and relaxing when lightening rips through the sky quickly followed by deafening thunder and howling winds.
Things finally start to settle down a bit and you think the storm is moving off and away....
And then suddenly, the next round hits and you are momentarily blinded the lightening and feel the roar of the thunder rattle you to your core. You wonder why the storms keep coming, one on top of another.
It can throw you  into a panic and tire you out as you try to get some rest while the flashing of the lightening and the booming of the thunder keep interrupting your sleep and you fear the damage is being done.
The constant storms can wear you down and make everything appear hazy, so much so that you question your own judgement at times.
It is then you remember to Praise HIM in the Storm, bringing some peace into your life and into your soul once more.
And although the storm may rage on, you can feel secure in knowing that He is with you, every step of the way.
No matter how bad the storm gets, He is there, surrounding you with His peace and His comfort.

And we can safely rest in knowing that everything seems the darkest right before the dawn.  Thank you Lord for always being there for us and being our shelter and strong tower in the storms of life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Big Crash

I have a history of migraines going way back to when I was a child.  Over the years they have gotten to be less often and not last as long but they still happen.  I can almost always count on having one after a period of high stress.  As soon as my body begins to relax, IT hits.  Today was they day.  It started out with the optical problems that make my vision go wonky and then progressed to that horrible pain that makes you want to lock yourself in a cool dark room and you seriously consider hurting anyone who disturbs you.  

Today it took 2 cups of coffee, 2 extra strength Bayer aspirin, hot tubbing and 3 hours to get it to the point where I only have a slight headache and can finally see straight again.  I am thankful that it has lessened and I expect I have more of these to look forward to since we still have some more stressful times ahead of us.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Introducing the newest Mr. and Mrs.! Joshua and Jessica!

Jessica and Josh saying their vows with Judge Judge (yes, Judge is his last name :) )

Exchanging of the rings

First kiss as a married couple :)

Mr. and Mrs. !

Nana (witness) Jessica, Judge Judge, Josh and Jaysn (witness)

Our happily growing family, Grandpa (Fred), Heather, Chris, Jessica, Josh, Jeff, myself, Tutu (Lynn) in front: Bradley and Jaysn

Bradly slept through it all, the ceremony and the dinner afterwards :)
We are so happy to have another wonderful daughter in our family and want to wish the happy couple all the very best that life has to offer.  We love you Josh and Jess!

Friday, March 16, 2012

They had Me at Hello!

Years ago, I fell in love with a wallet.  It was a beautiful leather wallet that I saw in a boutique in Bigfork, Montana but the price tag was way out of my reach (we are talking in the low $130 range)I looked really closely at the wallet and made a mental note of the brand Brighton and hoped that one day I would be able to get one at a great price.  

I had also dreamed one day of being able to have a big hand woven basket with leather handles to take to the Farmer's Market during the Summer and load it up with great fresh produce.  Upon pricing those, again, sad to say, out of my price range.

Today, on a whim, I stopped in at the Goodwill.  I thought I would look for a special swaddling blanket that Chris and Heather had asked me to keep an eye out for.  I looked through the baby stuff but could not find one.  I thought I'd skim through the sweaters and see if I could find a certain gray sweater that I was looking for and there, on the top of the rack, was a pile of wallets.  Most of them were cheaply made and there was even a fake Prada there but buried under them was a jewel!  Could it be?  A Brighton leather wallet that was just the size that I was looking for to replace my wallet?

My heart skipped a beat as I examined her and determined that she was the real deal!  She is amazingly well made with quality leather that holds up over time.  Dare I look at the price?  $2.99 !!!  SOLD!!!!  Oh happy day! :)

As I was tightly clutching my treasured find I thought I would check out another area of the store and ran across some huge bins they had just brought out with merchandise to shelve.  Peaking out of one of the big bins were some leather handles.  That got my curiosity just stirring like mad and I had to investigate.  Oh my...before anyone else could get near that item, I snatched it up!  A big hand woven market type basket with leather handles, exactly what I had been wanting for at least 10 years now.  She is a beauty with lots and lots of room to load with great fruit, veggies and flowers  from the Farmer's Market or take to the beach and put all my "stuff" in. :)  This beauty cost me a whopping $3.99!  Woohoo!!!

Patience and prayer paid off in big way for me.  I am so thankful I waited and did not pay full price for either of these items.  Yep, they had me at Hello!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Humblest of Ingredients = Deliciousness!

I am always amazed that the humblest of ingredients: plain yogurt, lemon juice, water, butter, sugar, salt, yeast and flour, when mixed together, left to rise and then baked produce-------------->

a perfectly delicious loaf of sourdough bread to be enjoyed with butter or made into mouthwatering sandwiches.

1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 T. butter
3/4 c. water
1T. lemon juice
1T. yeast
1T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 c. flour

Set your breadmaker setting for French bread. You may have to add a bit more flour or water during the kneading process depending on how "dry" your flour is.

Easy recipe and so good! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Circling the Wagons

 Things have been stressful for the last 4-5 days and by yesterday morning I was at my breaking point.  I got a phone call that just tipped the scales to overflowing and I was done.  My dear hubby, who is the kindest, most patient and caring man in the world (in my opinion) knew that I was upset and wanted to be able to be home with me but had other obligations that he needed to take care of.  Since things happened that made it impossible for us to really celebrate our Anniversary last Friday, he surprised me upon his return with flowers and I promptly burst into tears and fell into his arms.  I had been in the kitchen before he got home making homemade macaroni and cheese for us and for Bradley's mommy and daddy.  I finished that up while he took a shower and then we had a nice lunch before I headed out the door and he laid down to get some sleep before he had to head into work for the night.  I found out later that he never did get to poor hubby was too stressed to sleep and when he gets like that, I know things are really bad. :(

   I headed out to go over to my son Chris's house and deliver an early dinner to them.  They had called earlier in the morning requesting the mac and cheese that I had promised to make for them once they were home with Bradley. :)  I was more than happy to have an excuse to go over and cuddle with my little guy and just let the stress all melt away.  There is something about holding a baby and just watching them that makes the world just seem brighter.  It is even better when it is your very own, much prayed for and loved grandchild. :D

   I am in awe watching my son Chris and my sweet Heather with Bradley.  They are such calm parents, even after being up all night with a newborn.  Chris just picks up his son, puts him next to his chest and Bradley instantly cuddles in and calms down.  Here he is after getting a bath and not being happy about that at all.  See how his daddy just got him calmed right down?  Daddy and his little sweet.  I take such joy in seeing my son be such a confident, caring and gentle daddy with his son.

   Heather is one of the best moms around.  She is so amazing and calm with Bradley and loves him with all her heart.  Despite getting very little sleep, she remains very upbeat and enjoys every minute with her son.  Here she is with Bradley right after feeding him...just look at the glow on her face and how contented Bradley is with a full tummy and cuddled in with his beautiful mommy.  Spending time with these three of my loves was just what this Grammie needed to put things into perspective and make some decisions to hopefully make life less stressful.

   Our family and spending time with them is what is most important to Jeff and I.   Storms may continue to blow in life all around us but we are going to circle the wagons and try to keep our family as protected and safe as possible through them.  That is what good parents and grandparents do. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Walking On EggShells

Do you ever feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells in certain situations?  Why is it that just when you think that things are starting to get better something happens that causes you to question a person's motives yet again...sigh...

I am the type of person that loves wholeheartedly and believes in the importance of family and of being honest with those you love.  No family is perfect and we all have our faults but I believe that love and mutual respect goes a long ways in getting along.  I don't believe that we should hold that actions of one person against someone else.  

I'm tired of innocent people being hurt because of the selfishness of others.  I'm tired of families being torn apart.  I'm tired of hidden agendas.  I'm just tired...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Was Honored with an Award

Thank you to Sandy at for nominating me for this award.  I was really touched by her nomination.  Sandy and I "met" online in a frugal forum years ago and have become friends over the years.  Though we have never met in person, I have come to really love Sandy.  She is an amazing lady with a heart of Gold. :)  Please check her blog out...:)

I'm sharing the information that Sandy gave me regarding this award:

Liebster Blog Award is given by bloggers who have been Leibstered themselves to other to talented and loved bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word, meaning dearest or beloved, but it can also mean favorite. The idea behind the Liebster Blog Award is that it is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers in order to create new connections and bring attention to these wonderful blogs!
There are a few rules that go along with accepting the award:

- Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
- Link back to the presenter who presented the award to you.
- Copy and paste the award on to your blog.
- Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs with 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
- Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.

Rebecca from is an amazing momma and wife who takes the most incredible pictures of nature, her family.  She is a very talented lady trying to live a simpler life with her family while renovating an older home that needs lots of TLC and has been in her husband's family for years.

Annie from is a wonderful young mother whom I have had the pleasure of knowing and watching grow up ever since we moved to our tiny little farming town 19 1/2 years ago.  Annie and her husband Matt have the most adorable little girl named Lily who is a miracle and blessing.  They are currently living in Japan and Annie has been sharing their adventures there.

Carol at is a dear friend who I also met online.  Carol and her husband live in Canada and have adopted and are advocates for children with special needs.  Carol is also a talented quilter who makes quilts to give away to children who need them.  I have been blessed and encouraged by her friendship for many years now.  This is a woman who shows Christ's love in a very tangible way...I want to be like Carol when I grow up! :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Celebrating Life on our 27th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday our grandson Bradley was born and we were on an emotional high!  At about 7 p.m. we got a phone call that shook our dear father in law had collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital...the same hospital that Bradley had just been born at that morning.  They suspected a heart attack.  Jeff and I quickly made some calls, got our hanai son Ben to come up and take care of the animals for us and called our employers to tell them Jeff would not be in that night or me the next morning.  Many tests and hours later, while sitting in the emergency room waiting room we learned that Papa had a cluster of blood clots in his lung and several other floating around also.  They admitted him and moved him upstairs and got him on blood thinners and oxygen.
Jeff and I came home and looked at each other, it was shortly after midnight so we wished each other a Happy Anniversary and went to sleep.

Today we spent our Anniversary celebrating LIFE!!!  We went into the hospital to spend time with some of the people that are most precious to us...our family.  Jeff and I both got to hold and cuddle with our grandson Bradley and learned that Nana, Aunt Gayle, Uncle Matt and Ella had also been in earlier to meet and cuddle with our little guy.  I think we all needed that after the scare we had last night.  We were then off to go upstairs and spend time with Papa and remind him that he needed to get well so he could meet his great grandson who was downstairs waiting for him. ;)  Papa seemed anxious to do just that and Nana was so happy that she got to have time with her great grandson a bit earlier.  What a blessing that Bradley and Papa are in the same hospital so that we can all visit them both and be reminded of just how precious life is...

I know this may sound strange but in some ways this is the best Anniversary ever for Jeff and I.  Yes, it was spent at the hospital but we were there with the people that we love.  We have so much to be thankful for...a precious new life with our grandson Bradley and the continuation of a precious life with my dear father in law.  Life is a gift and we have so much to be thankful for! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bradley James Is Finally Here And His Mommy Is My Hero!

Bradley James, born at 7:11 a.m. today.

Mommy, Daddy and Baby are all doing well despite a 20 hour labor followed by a c-section.

Mommy Heather is my hero!  Just look at how beautiful she is after all that hard work and surgery. I tell you, she has more strength than 10 men put together. :)

Grammie can finally cuddle her precious little man, give him kisses and promise him that she will always love him and yes, do some spoiling too. ;)  G-pa can't wait to get over his cold so he can cuddle his grandson too. :)

It is wonderful seeing my son Chris become a Daddy!  He is so tender with his son and I know that he will be a fantastic father and teach Bradley all kinds of cool and useful things.

This is Grandma Tammy and Grandpa Bruce (Heather's parents).  Look how happy they are!  Jeff and I are thrilled that we get to share being grandparents to Bradley with them. :)

Rest up my precious little one and let your mommy and daddy get some much needed sleep.  They worked really hard to help bring you into this world and have a huge job ahead of them raising you to love the Lord and to help you grow into the fine man that Grammie knows that you already are.  I love you Bradley...more than you can even imagine and can't wait to see you again tomorrow!  Welcome to the world!