Friday, November 30, 2007

Don't Forget....

Did you forget about Junky Love in Freehand??? I posted today. Stop by and leave comments.

I have been working hard on handcrafting Christmas this year. I've made some pretty cool things (well, I think anyways). I am still having trouble coming up with crafts to make for men. I've come to the conclusion that males are difficult to buy for and expensive! I am usually at a loss for most of the men in my life. Remember the year I tried to make beef jerky for the guys??? Blahhhh. It was gross. So instead of making Jake something I guess I will stick to gifts like an Adidas golf bag.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Three Kids....Three Stories

Yesterday I was upstairs taking care of Avery. Jude went downstairs and turned on the T.V. It happened to be on DIY. He yelled up to me (a pet peeve of mine) and asked if I would change the channel. I told him I would be down in a minute. So, he left the T.V. on and started watching the show. It happened to be a special about holiday decorating. When I came down I sat on the couch with Elise and Avery. Jude told me they were making a Christmas tree on the show. Then he looked at me and said, "Are you thinking what I am thinking?" I laughed and asked him what he was thinking. He said, "We should make Christmas ornaments!" How cute is he????

I mentioned before that Elise will not take medicine. If I am lucky enough to get her to swallow a little within minutes she is puking all over the place. Last year she got sick and the same thing happened. I even tried those chewable pills. She threw those up before she got the second one down. The thing is....she isn't a big puker so I was starting to think that maybe it was something in the medication that makes her barf. Well...she has been sick lately. She has had a fever for 4 days and has the worst cough. It was getting to the point that when she would cough she would cry. I was thinking I would have to take her to the doctor today. I really wanted to try some cold medicine before I paid the $15 copay. So, I put a dose of medicine & a little juice in her sippy cup. She drank most of it but I think she was suspicious. She didn't throw up. Yea!!! But she wouldn't drink juice most of the day yesterday after that. She asked for water. So, I went to CVS and looked at their selection of kid meds and makeup mirrors. There are some many types of tricky medication these days. I chose this powder stuff that up put on your tongue. It was pricey ($9) but it worked!!!! She ate it and slept through the night. She sounds much better today.

Avery is four months old now. Up until now we get her to sleep by nursing her and then rocking her or bouncing her in her car seat. I told Jake we needed to start letting her cry it out. Man I hate that. So, this morning after she ate and played a little she got fussy. I decided to put her in the bassinet and just let her cry. I laid her down and walked away. Nothing. Not a whimper. Not a tear. She went right to sleep by herself. I know it won't always be that easy but now I am wondering why we were spending all that time rocking her. She probably has always wanted us to put her down and leave her alone so she could sleep. Silly parents. You'd think we'd learn after three kids!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is it the time of year???

I am in a bad mood today. I think it is this time of year. Although I try to simplify the holidays it all feels like too much. So, there...that is my complaint.

Other than that I don't have a lot to say. I am having a little bit of writers block - probably due to an excess of coffee consumption - I can't keep one thought for more than a few seconds. I should cut back. LOL.

I want to get some sewing done today - we'll see how that goes. I did get to sew about 8 bags while I was in Tennessee. I am not quite sure what I am going to do with them. I have modified the design a little for practical reasons (save time and a little wider). I will try to post some pictures on my Junky Love blog later today. I have a long to-do list. Jake will be traveling a lot during the next two weeks so I plan to do some serious crafting after the kids go to bed. I will, of course, keep up updated. I might even make some fashion jewelry! Can't wait to share!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nana's House...

I know five posts in one day is a little excessive but I am trying to catch up if you know what I mean. I wasn't on the computer that much while I was in Tennessee and I guess I am getting my computer fix all in one day. Ha ha. Maybe I am working on my IBM memory.

I have told you so much about the Miller complex in West Virginia but I haven't really told you much about my parent's place. Probably because the stories aren't really funny the way the Miller ones are....but I do want to show you some pics of their place.

As most of you know, I grew up in Vermilion. My parents grew up in Robbins, Tennessee and moved to Ohio so my dad could work at the Lorain Ford plant. Basically we stayed there until my Dad retired. My sister had gotten married and was living in Amherst. I was still single but lived in the Akron area. My grandparents were getting old and needed some help so my parents packed up their stuff and moved back to Tennessee. At the time it didn't seem like a big deal. I see them more now than I did when they lived an hour away. that Heather and I have kids it would be nice if they lived closer. That isn't going to happen anytime soon. It is really beautiful where there live BUT it is in the middle of NOWHERE. Seriously. It takes almost a half an hour to get to Walmart or any other grocery store. Don't even think about going to mall if you don't want to make a whole day of it.

This is the bottom of the driveway.
From the bottom of the driveway - this is the road to the road they live on. Does that even make sense? You turn off the main road onto a driveway that goes to my cousin's house. My parents driveway is off that....the important thing to know is they are all gravel roads. It is pretty rural out there.

I took this picture from their front porch. The building in the photo is the garage. The stairs up the back go to the apartment. They lived up there while they were building the house. Now, when people come to visit they can stay there or in the house. While we were visiting my dad's friends came and stayed in the apartment. It is their "hunting cabin".

That is the house. It isn't the greatest picture but I took while standing on the apartment "porch".

Another view from the apartment. You can see the Gazebo my dad designed and built. My Aunt Catherine got married in the Gazebo.

It is a little hard to see but in this is my dad's tractor barn.
This is some land my parents own.

Another view from the apartment.

The driveway from the apartment.

The bottom of the driveway. My parents have this big rock they decorate. you have visuals of what my parents place is like....

You knew you'd get the week in PHOTOS, right?

I love taking pictures. When my kids grow up, I swear they are going to have EVERY SINGLE activity we ever did preserved. Ha ha ha. Poor things. Well here are some great photos I took (don't mind if I say so myself). First check out these plumbing fixtures.

Jude & Nana getting the Christmas decorations ready. BTW...Jude gave Nana a lesson in frugality when she was going to throw away the excess glitter - he suggested that they pick it up and put it back in the jar for next time. My smart little boy.

This is Poppy & his grandkids. Too bad my children (notice all three of them) are more interested in watching T.V. than looking at the camera. I took 7 pictures and they all look about the same.

Indy, Jude and Elise walking to Nana's house. That is the driveway.

Jake cleaning up after Pumpkin Pancakes in the apartment. Doesn't he look thrilled??? My parents have an apartment above their garage and the kids like to take field trips there so we ate breakfast over there. It was kinda fun.
Five little cuties.

Shhhh....don't tell Nana.
Elise in the leaves.
Indy in the leaves.

We made indian hats with feathers. Jude added a real wild turkey feather & a guinea (sp?) feather.

Elise stuck to the walmart variety feathers.


Yesterday Jude informed me that he wanted to run away. I was quite concerned and asked him if he wasn't happy living with Mommy & Daddy. He said he was but he wanted to run away to the beach. I asked him if he wanted to be a beach bum and he asked me what a bum was...oh such innocence. He is sweet, even if he wants to run away. He was giving me a sneaky little giggle by the end - he must have been testing me to see what I would say about his beach idea. It reminds me of another story. We were doing the hikes for the Fall Hiking Spree (an event in our metro parks). If you hike so many trails you get a free hiking stick. Jude was so excited about the prospect of getting a hiking stick. After one of the hikes we were in the van and Jude said when I get my hiking stick I am going to take it to the beach. And if I see a swordfish I am going to hit it on the head with my stick. Weird kid.

I'm Back!!!!

I know it has been a while. We went to Tennessee and I just didn't seem to get the time to blog while I was there. Time always seems to fly by when I am away from home. We had a pretty good week. Heather and her kids were there so it made for a full (and loud - 5 kids total) house. Thanksgiving was good. A little nutty like most Thanksgiving dinners I am sure. I am still feeling full from all the food I ate. I really have NO self control when there is that much food around. We really didn't go anywhere other than Walmart (a big joke between me and Jake we always go to Walmart a ton of times while we visiting my parents). We did take Jude, Elise and Indy to the movies to see The Bee Movie. It was cute. Like most "kid" movies there was a little adult humor and a big social statement about the environment. Don't get me started..... only cost us all $10 total to get in but by time we bought drinks and popcorn we were short an arm and a leg. Seriously, I was shocked at the prices. The guy behind the counter was laughing a me because I was practically crying the price of one large pop costing the same as three 2 liters.

We were planning to go get our Christmas tree today. The last two years we have went with the Loomans and cut down our own tree and had the whole experience. Unfortunately, our kids are sick - fever, congestion, runny noses... and they went without us. we have to figure out when and where we will get our Christmas tree this year.

Well, I need to get off here and go unpack the Samsonite. I will try to post some pictures today.

Anyone Need Police Gear???

If you do I have a website for you. It is 511 tactical - a site where you can buy police type stuff. Before I went to the site I thought, "what the heck???" I was imagining you can purchase fake uniforms and badges. Wouldn't that be bad with all the homeland security stuff going on? Well, that isn't what the site is at all. There are uniforms but not like what you would think - the average person could wear them. The site also has accessories like sunglasses, gun holsters and footwear. My favorite part was (of course) the freebies section.

In case you couldn't tell....this post is sponsored.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Cat Ran Away....

I have written many times about my cat, Molly. I've had her for 12 years. She has been a very loyal and great cat....until now. She has always been an indoor cat. ALWAYS. She isn't fond of other animals and she has always been afraid of loud noises, wind, etc... Lately, she has been trying to escape. Several times she has ran outside when she gets the opportunity. She likes to go into the garage and hunt for rodents. I think that is fine. But it is only for a few minutes.

tv stands

So, one morning I was sitting right here at my computer and I hear the cat meowing. I can tell she is locked in a room by her meow (yes I understand my cat...after 12 years you learn to communicate). So I start looking for her. SHE WAS OUTSIDE!!! She had been out there all night. I imagined her crying at the door all night. That was several weeks ago and she hadn't tried to go outside since.

Well, the night before last I got home late and had to carry some stuff in the house. I left the door open so I could just go in and out. I noticed Molly was hanging out by the door. I told her to go downstairs. She did. But when I came back through she was by the door again. It was like as soon as I turned my back she started back up the stairs. GRRRRR...bad cat. The last time I was sure she went into the basement. I watched her run down the stairs. The only way she could have made it outside without me seeing would be if she RAN like mad and hid under the van. I didn't even give it a thought that she would do something like that. I finished bringing in my stuff and closed the door. The next morning I had a bunch of stuff to do and then I took Jake lunch and went to Goodwill (of course) and when I got home I put Elise to bed and fed Avery. It was probably the first time I sat down all day. I started thinking. Where is that cat? She is usually following me around meowing for my attention. Hmmmmm... I haven't seen her. So, I start looking and looking and looking. She is gone.

I went to pottery at 7 P.M. She had been gone for almost 24 hours. I imagined her squished on the road or being mauled by a neighborhood dog. After all, she doesn't know anything about the outside world. How sad. Jake cleaned out her litter box and threw out the food in her dish.

While I am at pottery my phone rings. It is Elise. She says, "Molly came back!!!" I guess Jake was taking out the trash and she was at the back door.

Stupid Cat.

The sadness is over. Now I am mad at her. And I have to go buy a collar with her information in case she pulls a stunt like this again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Apples, Apples and more Apples.

I love apples. We did get to the apple farm this year but it wasn't a farm where you could pick your own. I did buy a few but I thought they were dreadfully expensive. I still plan to acquire a bushel or so and can pie filling & apple sauce. It is getting a little late for that. Either way, Aldi has been carrying a nice variety (SIX different types!!!) of apples and they are much more reasonable so I have been cooking up a storm of apples! Here are a few apple recipes that I have tried that turned out fabulous! The Chicken & Apples recipe is TO DIE FOR! I am not kidding it was one of the best things EVER! Everyone in my family gobbled it right up!

family insurance


3 Granny Smith apples
2 lg. onions, sliced
6 halves boneless chicken breasts
Poultry seasoning
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. bread crumbs
4 tbsp. white wine
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
Saute onions and apples (peeled, cored and sliced) in butter about 10 minutes. Put in a greased casserole dish. Put chicken on top. Sprinkle with pepper and poultry seasoning. Combine cheeses and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over chicken. Drizzle wine over top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour covered. Uncover and continue baking 1/2 hour longer. Serves 6.

Caramel Apple Pie

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch
double crust deep dish pie
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups thinly sliced apples
1/2 cup caramel ice cream
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 (16 ounce) package frozen
whipped topping, thawed
1. Preheat oven and cookie sheet to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
2. Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Toss with the apples in a mixing bowl.
3. Pour the mixture into the first unbaked pie shell then drizzle the caramel topping over the top. Sprinkle with pecans. Place the second pie shell over this and flute the edges. Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape then place on preheated cookie sheet.
4. Bake 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 1 hour before slicing. Top with whipped topping, if desired.

Apple Dumplings I
1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated
flaky biscuit dough
4 apples - peeled, cored and
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Butter a 7x11 inch baking pan. Separate biscuit dough into 8 pieces. Flatten each piece of dough into a circle. Wrap one biscuit around each apple half and place, seam side down, in pan.
3. In small bowl, combine sugar, water, melted butter and vanilla. Pour mixture over dumplings in pan. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden. Serve hot.

Chunky French Applesauce
6-8 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (use Golden Delicious or McIntosh, about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water or apple juice
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1-2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  1. Melt butter in a large saucaepan over medium heat; add in apple slices, stir for 1-2 minutes until well coated with the butter.
  2. Add in water or apple juice, lemon juice and cinnamon (if using) cover and cook stirring occasionally until the apples are tender (about 20-25 minutes, if the apples become to dry then add in 1-2 tablespoons water or apple juice).

Make It From Scratch is UP!!!!

The latest and greatest edition of Make it From Scratch is up. I did not contribute anything again but there is tons of good check it out. Maybe I can get it together for next week.................................

Monday, November 12, 2007

What a Weekend.

Wow, it is Monday already? Really? The weekend flew by. Saturday morning I went to a craft show and let me tell you...I came to several conclusions. 1. I have A LOT of crafting to do before Christmas & 2. I could really make some money making stuff if I would just get it together. There was sooooo much stuff there that I could make (maybe even better???). I noticed a lot of the crafting there was done with outdated fabric colors. I could add a sense of style (ha ha like I am that stylish). We'll see what I get done. I made a tidy little (well, not that little) list of things I would like to make and sell. Most of it is sewing.

HDMI cables

After the craft show I went home and I have NO IDEA where the time went. I spent most of the day getting ready for Jude's party on Sunday. I baked two batches of cupcakes, a double recipe of cranberry orange scones and prepared enough pizza crust for 4 pizzas. I used a box mix for the cupcakes and they were just yuck. I think it was my last boxed cake mix. The pizza crust was a new recipe and it was really gooey - I thought I messed up the recipe and I added more flour which didn't go over well. When I made the second batch I was very careful and the same thing happened so I was the recipe not me. Nice to know but it didn't change the fact that the crust was a little on the tough side. Everyone still ate it so I guess it was okay.

Sunday we went to church. My sister came. It was nice to have her there. The rest of the day was spent eating and celebrating Jude. It was fun. We had bought silly string for the kids to do outside but the weather did not permit that.... SO, we did the silly string in the house. I know, most people would have a heart attack but it was fine and it cleaned up easily. The kid from across the street said he had never been to a party that was so fun. I guess that makes the clean up worth it. I will admit I was a little apprehensive about the silly string inside but Jake insisted and it was great. Glad I listened.

Here are some pictures....

More party pics....

And last but not from Jude's actual birthday. We had a rice crispy cake.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Why not use my blog to raise a little awareness....

Did you know that nearly 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's ? That is just plain scary. What an awful disease. I don't know a lot about it but I did a little volunteering at a nursing home with Alzheimer's patients a long time ago. One of my house mates was a certified Alzheimer guru of sorts (for lack of a better term). How sad it is for families to visit with a loved one that has no memory of them. It is devastating.

The good news is early detection can help. More good news is....there is a National Memory Screening on November 13. You can go to the website and check to see where the screenings are being given near you. They are free. I guess they are screening for early memory loss. Also, I encourage you to help spread the word about the "successful aging tips" found on the Alzheimer's Foundation of America website. Our memory is so important to us, isn't it? We should really take care of our brains now so we can keep those memories we have.

Another thing you can do in honor of Alzheimer's Awareness Month is give money. While seeking a cure to Alzheimer's is important, ensuring quality care for those who suffer from the disease must not be overlooked. A contribution to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a great idea. You can donate in someone else's name as a holiday gift. Wouldn't that be nice. You could also give in honor of someone you know with the disease.

Ahhhh.....Jude's Wisdom

A couple of nights ago we were watching The Biggest Loser on T.V. Jude asked if the show is real (he asks that pretty often). I told him it was. He then informed me I should go on the show. Nice.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to Heather (my sister)....Through the Years

Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Dear Heather....Happy Birthday to you. And Many more..... Can anyone tell which sister is older? Anyhoo. I am pretty sure Heather LOVES this post. I hope everyone else does too!

Wordless Wednesday Thursday Thirteen

If you want to read stories from last year's Birthday Post GO HERE!

P.S. Dear Heather....please don't kill me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Credit Scores....

Did you ever think your credit score would be so important? I hate that it is. We had a really good credit score until I was unexpectedly dropped from my job last year. We were already just barely making it because I wasn't making the money that I had been promised so loosing my job was a huge hit. So, our credit took a hit. It really stinks because with bad credit loans are tough to come by. We would like to buy a house. It is funny...well, not really funny but every realtor asks us to try this person or that person for a loan. We say that we are in the repairing stages and it is getting better but it is like they don't hear us. The last lady told us we should ask our parents for help. Then she asked me if I had ever thought about watching children in our home! We never said we couldn't afford a home - we said we couldn't get a loan right now. And no I don't think I will be watching kids in our house. I am crazy enough with my own three.

This post is sponsored.

Happy Birthday....Jude is FIVE!!!

Today is Jude's Birthday. I can't believe he is five. He was just a baby not that long ago. It really does go so fast. He is such a sweet boy. And he loves animals. I thought this was a good picture to show the essence of Jude. Happy Birthday to Mommy's Big Boy!

The Story of Your Life.....In Photos.

It has been a while since I wrote something deep and thoughtful. I am feeling somewhat reflective this morning so I am going to make you think. I mentioned to you that my sisters mother in law passed away two weeks ago (that is Ivan's Mom). I've found when someone you know well dies, it really makes you evaluate life, at least it does for me. At the calling hours they had something that I have been seeing more and more (at the last three calling hours I have been to). It was one of those digital photo frames filled with photos of Patty. It was such a nice thing to have in the room. Photos of happy moments, family bonding, goofiness and smiles. It made me start thinking about what my slide show would look like. And not just if the happy moments in life are being captured on film but I started thinking about if I have those silly, happy times where I just let go of the daily grind and enjoy life. I came to the conclusion that I don't do it enough. I'd bet most people don't. There was one particular picture of Patty and Indy pretending to fly. It was so sweet. I choked up when I saw it, I guess it made her death and the impending absence so real to me. How much her children and grandchildren were going to be affected her death. The whole life and death thing just gets me. I know people who are fighting for their lives right now, who always have a smile on their face or a laugh in their belly. And I know people who are perfectly healthy that are just going through the motions. Isn't it ironic? At the funeral home lots of people were standing around talking about Patty and her life. They were talking about the last few years and the Geocaching she did. They talked about the children she raised (two that she didn't birth herself), the fun stuff, her personality. I didn't hear anyone saying her house was clean or dirty. I didn't hear anyone saying if she stayed on top of her laundry or dishes. In fact, I have been in her home many times and although I tried to visualize it, I can't even remember if she ever had dishes stacked in the sink or if she didn't. But I do remember her staying up until the wee hours of the night talking and joking. I know keeping things in order is important for all practical purposes but spending most of your time on it is literally wasting your life. That is what I believe. I could go on and on about this. But I have one more thing to talk about before I wrap this up. Flowers. Yes, flowers. Heather (my sister) kept saying how Patty just loved flowers, any type. Lots of people sent flowers. Big and expensive arrangements. Beautiful baskets and sprays of color. Patty would have loved them....when she was alive. I never sent Patty flowers. In fact, I don't think I have EVER sent a living person $66 worth of flowers. I think it is awful. So I am going to make an effort to buy flowers for people when they are living. I don't want to buy flowers for a dead person ever again. I think a single rose or a live plant for the family is appropriate to show your love and support for the family. So, if you get a big bouquet of flowers from me, just know they are your would be funeral flowers. Oh, BTW...If I send them it doesn't mean I think you are going to die right now....just some day.

Now that I am done going on and on....get out there and live your life to the fullest. Say I love you and sent those flowers while you have a chance! Start working on your life in pictures. Have a silly moment (or two or three) today. Pretend to fly, tell a joke and smile.