24 November 2010

What I Have Been Doing at Home

I hate to start out with, "I cannot believe how long it has been since I posted", mostly because I do not want to point out that it has been a very long time. So not only has it been a long time, I am pointing it out.
This is what I have been doing:
It is called trigonometry. I have a vague idea of what it's purpose is. For me it is mostly pages and pages of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing not only numbers and letters, but words, too. I like the math where you add words. I would like to add a word to the numbers in my bank account. Like million. That is a good word. If I add a million to each side of the equation, it should work out. That is a rule, right?
Notice the page at the top of this picture. It says "MEMORIZE". It is craziness.
I did memorize it. I may have forgotten it though. Along with everything else I learned in trig.
Please forget that I can be a slacker blogger.

29 September 2010


Some days are just filled with task after task. I use a planner and write myself notes, and I tend to keep a running list in my head of what I need to be doing next and after that and during and later. I can stay focused on what I need to make happen so much, that I may not consider the other people in my house and what they might need from me.
Not my best moments.
I get a lot accomplished, but I miss out on other things. I may check things off my list, but I might not always check on my kids. I can be efficient with my time, but I may not be slowing down enough to hug Hero.
Hmmmm. New plan inspired by this new friend.

She does not have a name, but she has a history.
Lauren made this little pin cushion for me years ago for a Christmas gift. Our friend Terry helped her out. She was so pleased to give me something that she had made that would be useful and loved by me. And she has been well used. She lives in my little sewing dish (used to be a sewing basket, but she moved up), ready to work when I am. She never complains about being poked, either, which is good, since that is her specialty. She always has just the pin or needle that I need.
Recently she got a little makeover.
By Liam.
One of the ones that I sometimes am too busy to talk to. (Ouch. That does not feel good to admit that.)
Liam has always been great at keeping himself occupied, playing for hours by himself, and happy to just be in the same room with someone.
The other day, he came across this little gal, and rearranged her features. Now she has lovely dark eyes with long eyelashes, a pert little nose and a big, colorful smile. And if you look closely, you can see her long ponytail (sticking out underneath her). She looks fabulous!
One small problem though.
I love the way she looks. I do not want to disturb her.
Now that she is not working like she used to, she has time to smile at everyone. She has little tiny pin ears to listen. She is taking the time to be aware of what is going on around her.
What a good example.
And a good friend.
Just like my family.
I will try to follow all their good examples.

31 August 2010


Our family went on a whirlwind trip to upstate New York this summer. Right off the bat, things were exciting, because it was an opportunity for Brenden, our new driver, to get some serious expressway experience. Too bad the GPS (Nava-girl) was set on "scenic" - But we did see some lovely small towns along the old highway routes.
The big reason for our trip was to see our church's annual Hill Cumorrah Pageant in Palmyra, a very small town where the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took place. The pageant portrays many of the significant events in The Book of Mormon. There were a few things that surprised us about this event (in no particular order):
First, the number of people. There were so many, (And we actually found our good friends in the huge crowd!) all coming to feel the spirit and share this amazing experience with family and friends.
Second, the special effects of the performance - WOW!
Third, the people who were trying very hard to tell us that Latter-day Saints are wrong.
Fourth, the number of very friendly volunteers in the parking lot.
Fifth, the size of the parking lots (and the organized way we were able to get in and out of them).
Sixth, the spirit we could feel as soon as we stepped on to the church property.

We had a great experience. So glad we finally made it.

Before the pageant, we took the opportunity to go to the Sacred Grove, the place where Joseph Smith first kneeled to pray about which church to join. It is a beautiful forest that has been preserved and is filled with the Spirit of God. Feels good in there.

We talked about the similarities that Joseph Smith faced and what we were going to face when we left the grove. There were in Joseph's time, as in ours, those who do not believe what we know to be true, and try so hard to make us forget the witness we have had. The difference is that Joseph was alone for a time, while we have each other, and almost 14 million other members of the church. We felt secure in the knowledge of the restored gospel, just as Joseph felt strengthened and secure after his experience there.

We camped at a KOA that we stayed at a few years back. There were lots of church members - We camped next door to a cute little family from Pennsylvania who knew the Murrays. Small world. We had our traditional dutch over Monkey Bread with breakfast, and everyone was so helpful in getting packed up.
On to Niagra Falls!
We stayed on the American side as not all of us have proper id to go to Canada. But that is my favorite side anyway.
As soon as we walked out of the parking structure, we ran into our friends, the Zimmermans. Love that we found them twice in New York!

We had a great time! It was very windy and wet, which made for good hair, but also cooled us off. I wonder how many pictures there are in the world of families taken in this same spot?

We went up to the islands at the top of the falls and explored, and tried not to think about what would happen if one of us fell in to the rushing water.

A great trip with some great memories made.
The drive home gave Brenden that much needed experience on the freeway - two hours worth. I was ready to take over driving just before Cincinnati when we stopped for ice cream, and even though B felt confident, I insisted. So grateful I did! We ended up driving through terrible rain. It would have been difficult for us to change drivers safely, and terrifying for everyone if Brenden were driving.
That prompting from the Holy Ghost saved us a lot of grief. That is the Spirit that confirms to us that Heavenly Father is aware of us, watches out for us and gives us the opportunity to listen, or not.
I love that I know that.

28 July 2010

On Board

Everyone should have a hero.
I have the best kind of hero. One that goes garage saling with me on chilly Saturday mornings in Old Village Plymouth. One that actually likes to go garage saling with me (some of our best dates are garage saling!)
He also is on board with many of my schemes - sometimes right away, sometimes after he "sees" the wisdom in going along for the ride.
So this is how this particular Saturday morning went: We were walking up and down Mill St in a very light drizzle, finding all kinds of treasures (and for great prices, too!) when I spotted this beauty. Alas, Hero was not feeling this one. I inspected it inside and out (a very sound piece) and the price was just ten dollars. But, we walked on without it. On a side trip to Starbucks for hot chocolate and hot cider, I did my best sales talk and convinced Hero of the serious potential of the trunk in question. I could not drive back fast enough (25 mph limit) to see that our new treasure was right where we left it. A few minutes later, it was in the back of our truck!
Good solid piece, with no water damage, and bandana handles!

Part of the deal in purchasing the future side table was selling our perfectly good, matching tables that we have had for about four years. As soon as we got home, I had those babies cleaned up and ready for their photo shoot for Craig's List.
A lovely woman who is setting up her new home after a divorce fell in love and picked them up a few days later. We now had the budget for the new tables!
My children were not quite sure why I was selling these tables. A few of them really resist change. They got it eventually.

I found a fabulous blog called knock-offwood that has some amazing furniture plans that are even better than name brands (like Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, etc), because they are better quality and MUCH cheaper. Hero and I choose two plans, purchased the supplies and got to work.
Starting to look like a sofa table to me!

Isn't it awesome? I mixed some leftover paints together, filled the gaps and nail holes, even waited a few days after painting it to fill it up and here it is! Just what I had in mind.

New home for our scriptures and magazines. I want to get little metal label holders for the front of each cubbie.

The new coffee table is a much better size for our great room, with room for baskets (of games) on the lower shelf, and a lift up lid for other goodies. This one got a distressed paint job, so a foot on the top or a watermark will not be a big deal. We love it!

With the new tables, I got creative with the pillow covers, too. The whole room looks much fresher!

Oh, and that trunk? It got a facelift, too. Painted the whole thing white, antiqued it and sanded it, moved some drop cloth slip covered chairs in, and it is gorgeous! Lots of storage inside, too. Thinking about putting some emergency supplies inside - handy, but out of view.
That is a project for another day.

No bandanas anymore! Might get a belt from the thrift store to make new handles.

This is what happens when Hero gets on board. Together we make great stuff, and an even greater home.

10 July 2010

I love when I do not miss something.
I am sure I miss lots of things, things that would make me wiser, kinder or stronger. Things like instructions on how to choose the correct paint brush from the friendly paint helper at Lowe's. Or, seeing someone step up to help another in need. Or, even an opportunity to bear my testimony. I know that I get a little unfocused when I am out in the world and may not be paying attention to small things all around me. But today I did not miss one of those things.
Have you ever heard of crowder beans? Me either. But I saw them at Randazzo's today. I was not really interested in the beans, but I have to look at all the signs because they have some unusual produce at Randazzo's, and I am curious as to what they are. Produce like Santa Claus melons, cactus pears and daikon. I see people inspecting these interesting things and stocking up on them. I have tried one or two myself - casaba melon is pretty good.
I walked right by the crowder beans though. I knew what they were by the sign. And they kind of look like green beans, but are brown and speckly, like the green beans went wrong somehow. But as I walked on by, I saw two women stopped to inspect them. One, who clearly was as knowledgeable about them as I was, stood there trying to figure them out. The second one is the one I am glad I saw. She knew what those babies were. And I knew she loved them. She saw the perplexed look on the other woman's face and instantly smiled. It was a, "I can see you are unsure, but I can help you. And I am going to help you. You can count on me" smile. She popped one of those beans open to reveal the treasure inside, how to get them out and what to do with them. And the smile stayed the whole time. I found myself wishing I had not walked by the crowder beans.
But at least I did not miss something. I was a witness to this sweet little act of charity.

10 June 2010

Down to the Wire

(What a funny expression that is.)
For the last several months, we have been in the wedding preparations mode. Since David asked Lauren to marry him last summer, we have been thinking, planning, brainstorming, budgeting, cutting coupons, watching for deals and sales, stocking up on supplies, making invitations, corsages and boutineers, flowers, favors, centerpieces and other decorations, finding the perfect gown and getting it fitted, reminding the groom of his duties, coordinating with the groom's family, purchasing all kinds of things, finding (finally) a dress for me and a suit for Darren, and all around getting things under control for this event, that is now less than two weeks away.
I have loved planning and working on this and I would not trade one moment of the joy I have felt doing this for Lauren and David. Now it is the winding down time. Whenever I have had free time lately, I double checked the 'to do' list, and do something productive for the wedding. I love seeing those items crossed off my list that are complete, and the ever growing pile of things to take for the reception. And I have tried (pretty successfully) not to get to crazy obsessed about things. It has been great fun and I really love this kind of stuff.
What am I going to do with myself after June 20th?
Actually, lots.
I have ideas in my head, to put down on a list, and then all the thinking, planning, brainstorming, budgeting, cutting coupons, watching for deals and sales, stocking up on supplies, painting, sorting, organizing, cleaning, reworking and all around getting things done that is going to happen. So exciting!

18 May 2010

Bread, and Other Food

When I was a child, I was a little bit picky about the things I ate. It is not like I did not eat anything - I loved peanut butter and scrambled eggs and dill pickles. And what child could not subsist on those things?
Something else that I loved was homemade bread. My one source of this was my Grandad Snelling. He was so talented in bread making. One of his specialties was egg bread. I do not know if this is really what it was called, but that is how we knew it. It had a yellow tint to it (I am guessing from the egg yolk) and was super delicious with butter. I could eat several slices of it, although one time I think it gave me a tummy ache. I seem to remember eating almost 10 slices - Unheard of for me to eat that much of anything.
I fear my mom blames herself that I did not eat. When I was growing up, it was common practice to make your child eat everything on their plate. It was a battle of wills most evenings for me to eat dinner, with many nights ending with me going straight to bed from the table. I would sit at the table for hours until my mom gave up and sent me to "go get washed and brushed". I would put a bite of food in my mouth, immediately shove it over to my cheek, put my fork down and sit. I could hold it in my mouth not tasting it for 10 or 20 minutes.
I had several tricks to get rid of my meals. We had a dog, but she was soon banned from the table when I ended up sitting alone. I used the "I need to use the bathroom" occasionally, but not too often (it was obvious). My best trick was spitting my food into my napkin and stuffing it in my chair cushion (which had a tear), then the dog would come by later and have a snack!
I have grown to love many foods as an adult. There are a few leftovers from my early days, like corned beef and liver, that I have not had to eat since I was a teenager, but I eat a pretty good variety of foods now. I do eat peanut butter every single day still - it is my number one comfort food.
Another thing that I still love to eat is homemade bread. I have learned to make and bake many good foods, but the most rewarding thing for me to make is bread. I cannot make it without thinking about Grandad. I use a mixer to get the dough started, but I knead it myself, and I love the way the dough feels. I have a pretty good rhythm, and having to take the time to knead it well gives me a chance every time to reminisce about spending time at my grandparents home in Algonac. (Sometimes Grandad would spend a weekend with us, too - Good times.) Always loved spending time with them.
The first best way to eat homemade bread is fresh out of the oven with butter. The second best way to eat homemade bread is toasted with butter.
But the very best way to eat homemade bread is toasted with peanut butter, open-faced, so the peanut butter is all melty and gets stuck on all your teeth. Oh, yum.

20 April 2010

My Work Here Is Done

Does she look lonely or forlorn?
To me, she looks proud.
I have to say, this was a hard thing to do. I have loved this gal since I first laid eyes on her. She came to our house feeling unloved and unwanted, but she soon grew to trust us and feel at home. Over time, with a little help, her true beauty came through. See her story here and here.
Alas, there is her little issue. (We all have our issues, don't we?) I think her odor is part of her who she is. But the more time we spent together, the more obvious it came to be that our time united was limited. We both knew that it would not work for us. And preparations were made for finding a new home for this old girl.
Hence, the curb.
But unlike when I found her on another curb, this was a dresser that was proud to display her qualities. The makeover gave her the confidence she needed to be on the lookout for the next adventure. She was ready for this move.
Lo and behold, she caught the attention of a thrifty, friend to the earth. He was just as happy to see her as she was to see him. He even called a friend to share the good news! I am sure he was in a quandry as how to get her home, since he was loaded up already with other treasure.
But he knew he must get her home. And so the next leg of her journey begins on the hood of the truck!
I am so happy for her to have found a new home. I am sure she will be loved and used to her full capacity, as she should be.
It is not easy being a foster family for furniture. We all got pretty attatched to her, and a few in my family questioned if we were doing the right thing (especially Colin, who helped me load and unload her a few times). But to see her new owner so excited makes it all worth it.

Wet Memories

We forgot the camera again.
Not sure how that seems to happen to us so often. The camera seems like such an obvious thing to pack - maybe that is why it gets left behind - so obvious that we do not need to worry about it.
This time the camera missed our mini vacation to Kalahari Water Park in Sandusky. A few years ago we went to Great Wolf Lodge, had a blast, and wanted to try Kalahari this time as it is geared to a little older kid crowd. Too bad our older kids could not make it at the last minute. Lauren and David had to stay at home with the camera.
Neat thing at Kalahari - You can use the water park starting at noon, even though you cannot check into your room until after three. So we pulled our swim suits out of our carefully packed (yeah, right) bags, checked in at the desk to get our blue wristbands, and found our way to the water park.
The place is huge! We passed a candy counter (all candy $20 a pound!), gift shop, little activity shops (stuffed animal making, pottery, hair wrapping, etc), and a cafe. To get to the water park, you must walk through the gi-normus arcade, which I thought our boys would really like. (As it turns out, it cost a dollar just to get the game card you swipe on the machines, and only Colin wanted to go to the arcade, and he only spent $5 - $1 for the card, $4 on a few games.)
Finally made it to the water - the place we had seen fabulous photos of and heard amazing stories about! It was pretty cool in there, in fact it was even a little chilly (after all, we only had our swim suits on and we were wet). Brenden and Colin went off on their own, to try out some swirl slide (think giant toilet and you end up going down the drain) and Liam, Hero and I started at a "warming"pool. Felt great, until you get out - then you freeze. We chose a slide at random and ended up in the line that took almost an hour to get through. On the bright side, while we were waiting, we saw where everything was and where to head next. Hit a few more slides, hopped in the wave pool (a huge Murphy favorite), found Brenden and Colin and relaxed in the hot tub (another favorite).
An early dinner was everyone's vote and we headed to Max and Erma's. While we were enjoying a tropic-like environment (minus the heat), the real weather took a nosedive. It was like 40 - Ugh!
After the yum dinner, everyone got dropped off at the door with all our luggage and we moved in to our home away from home, room 1429. The boys each had their own comfy bed, which they were happy to know they would be allowed to eat in. It was almost hard to leave, but we did get our suits back on to tackle the water park again (except Colin, who headed to the arcade. Later he lamented that he should have gone with us.) And we all ended up in the wave pool and hot tub again.
At home we do not watch much tv. We do not have dish or anything to get extra channels - we just have a few of the basics. Because of this, whenever tv is an option, the boys love to see what they have been missing. We spent the rest of the evening watching something (not sure what - I dozed a lot) and eating treats in bed. (Liam and I did pick up a late night game of Uno).
Breakfast in our room - not room service - $3.99 for a bowl of cereal from the Kalahari chefs! And then back to the pool. We are feeling like pros now. We know right where we want to go. And that attraction was temporarily closed. Rats. So much for the plan. Ok, moving on.
Hero did do the boogie board in the surf pool. Liam and I saw him from the top of a slide. He had to launch himself out on his belly, keep himself somewhat centered (on the board and in the pool) and follow the instructions of the coach to try different tricks. I think he stayed on for about a minute. I think he was pretty pleased with himself.
After playing for a while longer, it was time to think about leaving. We had a great time together as a family, but we all agreed that we could have had just as much fun spending less money. Good bye Kalahari!
As we had not ever been to Sonic, it was voted that was the place for lunch. Have to say, not that impressed. Good to know we have not been missing much. (Sorry to Sonic fans - just not feeling it here.)
And it was on to the next leg of our journey. We headed to Akron to see our good friends, Darryl and Shauna and their family. Had lots of fun visiting and catching up, and Lauren and David surprised us by showing up for dinner.
A great way to end Spring Break. Too bad the camera missed out on all the fun.

27 March 2010

We Really Did Slumber...

Every now and then, our clan has a family slumber party. When the kids were younger, it was pretty basic - pizza for dinner, movie, fun treat, sleep downstairs. After a few years, Hero and I gave up actually sleeping in the basement, and went to bed after the kids fell asleep. Last year's party was especially lame - We fell asleep during the movie, and then went to bed.
This was the year to redeem ourselves. We put the event on the calendar and nothing bumped it - and we all looked forward to the blowout!
Everyone had a part in the planning:
Hero - Dinner - Chinese - Yum
Liam - Games - Cute and Fun
Brenden - Movie Selection - Wallace and Grommett
Colin - Bowling - Tried for Midnight, went at 11:30pm
Lauren - Karaoke - The Next American Idol May Be a Murphy
David - Ping Pong - Around the World
Mom - Treats, DDR, General Making it Happen - Just Doing My Job

Dinner was fabulous - Our favorite Chinese place is Ten Yen - They have the best Almond Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice. Accompanied by chocolate milk (in the jug, not mixed) and Faygo Rock & Rye and Cream Soda, it was the perfect meal - can fill up on it, and be hungry in a little while for treats!

Brenden and Mom actually on the mats, Colin practicing in the background. We got a new Dance Dance Revolution Game from the library. Great having new songs. What a workout! Brenden is a natural at this, and pretty much had the high score for the evening.
With all the practicing, Colin really had the advantage over Hero. Ok, so maybe it was not the practicing. Hero does so many things so well, but DDR is not one of them. Notice that Colin is actually focusing and moving. Hero, not so much. He is busy laughing and waiting to jump in, jumping being the operative word as he did a lot of that, hoping to get something correct on the screen!
Liam was in charge of games. First we had a treasure hunt, which had us going up and down stairs and searching high and low for clues. In the end, we found the treasure (Twizzlers) out of order of the clues as we stumbled onto them. Delish and fun hunt.
The next game was a paper maze that Liam learned at school. Had to start at one end and get to the other in order that we learned by trial and error. Um, tricky. But fun. Good game!
Ping Pong Around the World. Everyone plays by running around the table and taking turns hitting the ball. If you miss, you are out (after one freebie). The last two play regular, except when they hit the ball, they spin. Colin and David were usually the last two, although most of us got there at least once.
Singing in a Box. Liam started us off with "Don't You Forget About Me", a classic 80's song. We all took a turn, some a little more dramatic than others. Not everyone sat in the box.
After the performances, we made Pioneer Scones, deep fried  bread dough, with butter, honey and cinnamon & sugar. Oh, yeah. They were yum.
Bowling next. (Forgot to bring the camera). There are no natural bowlers in our family. I think the high score hovered around 100ish, and that was David. Colin and I tied for last at 65. Did I mention we went in our pajamas? Interesting going to a bowling alley that late at night - almost like a bar scene. And people really get into their bowling. Us, not so much. We get into fun.
Back home, it was time to take things down a bit. Mattresses came out, tons of blankets piled on and everyone got comfy. Not sure if anyone made it through the movie, maybe Colin. Everyone else passed out within 30 minutes. And actually slept all night together.
We kept the magic going the next day with Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, but reality soon set in. There were jobs to go to, chores to do, commitments to keep. The 2010 Murphy Slumber Party had to come to an end. Too bad.
I hate when time is gone and I did not make the most of it. Sometimes that is just the way it is, but lots of time, it is because I did not try. I am so grateful that with this opportunity, we made it great. We all looked forward to it, we all loved it and we were all sad to have it end. I love that my family likes to do be  together. I completely understand - I love being with them, too.

10 March 2010

Awesome Day

Today is International Day of Awesomeness. Wow - That is awesome!
I checked the official website (dayofawesomeness.com), and discovered this day was founded in 2007 as kind of a joke. Their tag line is, "No one's perfect, but everyone can be awesome." They sound like good guys, ran with an idea and made it happen. Awesome!
Inspiring awe, showing or characterizing awe, very impressive. These are the definitions on dictionary.com. I like to say awesome, but I guess I do not always mean it. Here's the thing - I always want to look for good and then when I find it, I am glad about it. Maybe I am just impressed by all the goodness around me!

27 February 2010

Trash to Treasure

I really should stop bringing this stuff home.
But how can I resist? We wanted another chair for downstairs and here was this little beauty on someone's curb, hoping and praying we would stop by for it. By the way, Hero found this one. Just another reason he is my hero - he supports my habits.
I do not think this is a color found in nature, but it was quite popular in the 70's. Good bones, clean, not stinky (a bonus!). I can make it work.

I love using canvas drop clothes! Great color, fun texture and inexpensive! Love that!
This is the third slipcover I have made. I have learned a few things along the way:
1. Buy more fabric than you think you need. Man, it goes quick. Oh, and have lots of upholstery thread, too. It is thicker than regular, so get a bunch.
2. Wash the fabric before you cut it up. Then when you wash the slipcover in the future, it will still fit.
3. If you go for a little slouchy look, it is much less stressful than a tight fit.
4. Use the hemmed edge on the drop cloth for the finished hem on the bottom.
5. Spots that do not quite fit right just need a pillow.
Things I still have a tendency to plow right through and wing it:
1. Corners with more than two pieces of fabric coming together. I am sure there must be a good way to do them, I just have not mastered it yet. Ugh.
Whenever I sew, I hear my grandma's voice telling me, "The back is just as important as the front". Rats. That means I do go back and fix things I do not want to fix, clean up the underside and do a good job on the part that faces the wall. But I am not a perfectionist at all. I think a few lumps and crooked seams give it character and looks lived in and loved. Yeah.

It fits! I love the ruffle on the bottom. Totally makes the chair. And although this one took way longer than I thought it should, it was not too hard. I just plowed through those icky spots.
And hopefully, I will not find any of it's friends on the curb.

20 February 2010

A Beauty, But She Stinks

How cute is this color?
Home Depot discontinued their Ralph Lauren line of paints. When I got there, the paint mixer told me only dark colors were available. No problem - This one is perfect!

Beauty to the eye is not this girl's problem. It is the nose she does offend.
At least she does not stink up the whole room anymore. She keeps it to herself.
After 2 coats of paint on the outside, and 2 coats of polycrylic on the inside (which sucked into the wood like none other), she still has an odor. I am afraid I cannot put anything in her that might absorb the scent. I have tried baking soda (nope) and dryer sheets (ever hear the expression, "it is like putting perfume on a pig"?) I did get a tip for odor absorbers that are to be found at Walmart, so that is my next step.

She is a beauty, is she not?
I can admire her all day, but if I cannot put anything in her drawers, is she worth saving? Should I put her out of her misery?
She does a dandy job of holding stuff on her top.

30 January 2010

There Is Treasure Everywhere

Have I told you about this little beauty? I found her on the lawn, relaxing, waiting for me to take her home. Her drawers were stacked neatly on the curb, and everything fit so nicely in the back of the Explorer (Thanks to Colin and Brenden helping me load her up)

Look at these legs! She must have been working out all her life to keep those curves.

I think is a natural wood stain, but someone spruced her up with this great soft green color. It may have been a while back, though, as she definitely needed a little loving here.

And you cannot tell by just looking at her, but she has a bit of an odor problem. Ok, a big odor problem. I gave her a good bath last fall, had her sunbathing and airing out in the garage since then and just recently moved her in. And she still had that pesky odor problem.

Here is her birth certificate. She was born sometime between 1898 and 1925 in Grand Rapids Michigan. Her parents sound lovely. Too bad they are deceased now. From what I've seen, they had lots and lots of posterity.

You know how when one of your own children makes you crazy enough to say something like,"It's a good thing you are so cute!"?
That was me with this old gal.
I'll show you next time.

23 January 2010

Crazy Braid

Look at this face!
Wonder what would create such a smile as this? I will tell you - it is his own fault.

Colin makes dinner for our family on Thursdays. This week he wanted to make homemade pizza in my new enamal coated cast iron dutch oven (aka "the magic pot" as everything we make in it is so delcious!) The pizza turned out great, a little doughy, but yum. He also put together a regular flat pizza, as the recipe for the dough makes lots. He even had more dough leftover. What to do with it? He braided it! Not sure if he realized he could bake it like that, but that is just what he did.

Look at that beauty! Perfectly golden (I reminded him to check it just in time!)

With a little direction, he brushed on garlic butter and sprinkled (generously!) with Parmesan Cheese. You know this is looking so good!

Can you slice that a little bit faster Colin? I can hardly wait!

Yeah, it tastes just as good as it looks. He shared with us.

Love this kid way more than the bread, by the way.

20 January 2010

Back to School

I love back to school time. I love stocking up on all the school supplies. Brand new pencils, clean white paper and the smell of markers really make me smile. I feel our family is prepared for anything when our stash of folders and spiral notebooks is replenished. And although I am not a fan of summer ending, I have to say that I am usually ready for my kids to go back. I miss the routine and structure that comes with the school schedule. Then starting around April, I am counting down the days till summer again and all the comes with the warm weather.
So I am thrown off my schedule a little. Back to school starts in September, not January. It kind of goes against the natural order. Then again, it is good to shake things up. And that is just what I did.
Last fall I made my way back to my alma mater, Wayne State University, to meet with a counselor to chart the course for finishing my degree in Fine Arts (emphasis on Interior Design). It felt great to be back on campus - some changes, but still the same feel. I left there feeling accomplished and motivated to get this thing done. From there I went to Schoolcraft to reactivate my status and register for one class - World History (online).
It is fun to be a student again! I know I am just getting started and one online class is not "school" school, but I think I can do this. And I really want to do it, too. I am excited to learn and grow, and to study something that I love. I just hope that I can keep up. I'm planning to go slow until my schedule opens up a little. And while I am working on my BFA, I can earn another degree from Schoolcraft - Liberal Arts. So that is pretty cool, too.
The thing with the online class is that I do not need too many school supplies. Hmmm.

08 January 2010


So, here is a post that was suppossed to go out a little sooner than January 20th!

This Christmas was one that I will always remember. Of course I could have been more prepared, and not have as many last minute things going on, but all in all, really great.
One thing that helped, was that I did not send out Christmas cards. Tami and I made cute “Let it Snow” cards this year, and I am thinking they will make great New Year cards. I wanted to wait until we had family pictures, including Alex and Lawson. I hired Haley Davis to take them and she did a super terrific job! We went to Old Village Plymouth and had a great time, although we pretty much froze to death. Next time we should have everyone here in warmer weather. (This week it has been a high of like 19 degrees, so it could have been worse.)
The pajamas were a great success. I even made them for Darren, Lawson and David. I was a little worried on sizing, and as usual the elastic was too loose for most everyone, except Alex, which was too small (weird). But they all turned out, and I even made some for me - I pieced a bunch of leftover fabric from all the other ones and have collage pants. I had forgotten how warm flannel is! It is wonderful. I started these early in the season, but finished them up on Christmas eve.
Shopping was a little easier this year. We had already gotten gifts for Lauren (Phantom of the Opera ticket), Brenden (laptop) and Liam (DS game), and Darren and I got Michael Buble tickets. Darren got a ping pong table for the family and we have been loving it. Interesting to see who gets it, who is competitive, or who is not such a good loser. One of Colin's new year resolutions is to beat David. We shall see.
Having friends and family around us makes for a great Christmas. My dad and stepmom, and my brother and his family came over on the 22nd for dinner. Good visit, but as usual with them, a little quiet. Jeff, Tami and Cassie came the next day. What better way to celebrate the season than with Chinese food? Yum! Makes me think of "A Christmas Story". Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner with the Coltrins was as yummy as usual. There is nothing like steaks on the grill in December. We had additional guests this year as Lauren wanted to invite her future in-laws.
We had another Great Tree Disaster this year. The tree skirt was wicking all the water that we were giving the tree, and completely soaking the floor underneath. Lawson and Darren laid underneath the fully loaded tree and pushed it up (very carefully) while Alex and I pulled the completely saturated carpet remnant out. Luckily the tree stayed upright, thanks in part from the lesson learned during the Great Tree Disaster of 2007, when the tree fell over - we had tied the tree with strong thread to the wall. Another lesson learned.
Alex really wanted to open gifts while it was still dark outside. Christmas Day saw us up early (6:30ish), loving gifts given and received. Lawson made us his traditional Christmas breakfast - Biscuits and Gravy. What better way to follow that up than with cinnamon rolls? (After all the cookies and treats we had been eating, we could handle it!) Playing, napping and watching new movies filled up the rest of the day until we went to Grandma's for turkey dinner. (Yum again!) What a great day.
I loved that the radio stations have been playing Christmas music all month, and especially loved that they kept playing them for a few days after. It made the season last a little longer. Love that. I think I am just as excited anticipating Christmas Day as enjoying the actual day.
There are so many memories of Christmas's past, and loving the traditions that we have. I love how we feel so connected to each other when we have these times to share. The spirit of the season brings lots of extra joy into our home and into our hearts. Remembering the birth of Jesus Christ and the great gifts that He and Heavenly Father give to us is the greatest tradition.