Saturday, July 30, 2016

Changes in the Blogosphere

I have been blogging for about ten years now. I had an old blog I deleted and now I wish I had not tossed it into the void.  My blog brings so much to my life. Not only does it allow me to indulge in writing, it has allowed me to meet so many wonderful ladies all across the United States, a few across the pond and one down under.  My blog roll changes periodically as some bloggers take a break or they decide to leave blogging behind. I try to fill my blog roll with ladies who blog regularly as I know I enjoy sitting down to read my blogs each morning with my coffee.  One of my friends at church shared with me that her mother reads my blog each day and she is not happy when I am on a blogging break. That touched my heart in a big way. I do try to blog each day except Sunday because I know consistency in posting is  important.

The first big change I noted in blogging began when people realized they could make money from their blogs. Some blogs I really enjoyed went from being  helpful posts to commercials for products. I could live with that but I found that I was removing many of these blogs from my blog roll.

I am seeing another change in the blog world with younger bloggers. Many are adding Vlogs to their post or  they are doing only videos on You Tube.  I can see that might be a trend with the younger bloggers because they are well, YOUNG!! As I have said before, I have a face for blogging and not Vlogging. I am going to be honest here and say that some bloggers need to stick to blogging. I think you really have to have a good deal of talent to do Vlogs that people want to watch.  It takes a lot of technical skill to put the video together with all the editing that is needed. We are so used to watching television that we expect excellence if you want us to watch your Vlog. I am hoping some of us will keep old time blogging alive.

I have really enjoyed Mrs Erica as she blogs online and at You Tube. She does a lot of fashion and homemaking posts that I have enjoyed. Because I had watched so many of her Vlogs, You Tube recommended SamatHome518.  Well it turns out I LOVED Sam's videos as well. Sam also has a blog called We Bought A Farm. I added her to my blog roll so go and visit. Sam and her husband are young marrieds who live in upstate New York. They bought a 20 acre farm with a farm house that had good bones but needed lots of work. I love watching their home updates on You Tube. She and Josh also like to travel to the Cape Cod area for vacations and I have been able to travel via arm chair with them. That area of the country is on my Bucket List for future travel.

I will share a walking tip with you. I try to get 10,000 steps a day on my vivofit. Well it has been as hot as Hades here in NoAla the last month so I have been doing a lot of walking here in my house. I walk a bee line from my front door to my back door. Well I  have found that if I watch a VLOG on my iPad while walking, I get in lots of steps without boredom!! So far I have only walked into something one time!! So you might want to try that if you do not like to feel like a hamster on a wheel while you are walking. Another tip a friend shared with me, is to get up and walk during the commercials while watching tv. You would be amazed at how many steps you can get during a commercial. It seems the commercials are longer than the tv shows.

Today is a nice leisurely Saturday. I have plans to get creative and I am hoping for no mistakes, or happy accidents.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Happy Accident

How many of you remember Bob Ross? The guy with the wild hair who painted landscapes on PBS many years ago? I think some re runs are still being broadcast because one of my nieces stated that her young children LOVE to watch Bob Ross on tv and it gives her 30 minutes of free time. To get back to the subject....he had a quote that I liked, There are no mistakes in painting, just happy accidents. He felt that errors just gave you the opportunity to be creative.

Well I had an opportunity to be creative this week. I am a seasoned cross stitcher but every now and then I mess up big time. Wednesday was one of those days. I have been working on a sampler for about two months and I was nearing the end of my stitching when I realized I was off ONE COUNT. One count in a sampler no less aud the mistake would be obvious if I did not do something.  Here is how the sampler is supposed to look according to the pattern.

My one count off mistake would mean that the top portion of the left side would not fit in the sampler. I was tempted to toss the whole thing I was so aggravated with myself. Then Bob Ross whispered in my ear and I set out to solve my problem....

Here is how I solved my problem. I am not 100% happy with it but it will do. In cross stitch you stitch from the middle of the project accidents can happen, especially if you use linen and you did not count the right number of squares.  I think this was a reminder for me that no matter how long you have been stitching, you can still make a mistake.

Now I am working on this project...

I have wanted to do the Prairie Schooler four seasons for many years and just never got around to it. Now is the time. I love stitching with autumnal colors...they are so beautiful!

And I am also working on a baby bib for another great niece who is to arrive in August. Her name will be ELLA and she is the first grandchild for my brother in law, William and his wife, Barbara. To say they are excited is an understatement.

I am doing her name in the Fairy pattern fact her name is Ella because her mama loves the Disney princesses! If the baby had been a boy, he would have been Luke, for Luke Skywalker.  I have plenty of stitching to keep me busy. I am also working on a Georgia Tech Football Door Hanger for this fall. It will be displayed on our front door on GA Tech game days.  I am going to enjoy the first weekend we have had nothing to do since June! July was a very busy travel month for us so I am looking forward to a leisurely weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Things I Am Loving This Week

The last two days I have had time to get some things done here at home and it reminded me of how many things I really enjoy using in my home. This is a short list, believe me.

My Yeti cup has been one of my best purchases. I put my coffee in it early in the morning then switch over to water for the rest of the day. No more wasted coffee due to the fact it has become luke warm. And I have increased my water intake because this YETI keeps it cold for HOURS.

I received a three dollar coupon for this new laundry detergent so I gave it a try. Ladies, I really like how it cleans my clothes and it does make the whites brighter without using bleach.

My friend, Deborah, gave me this big Wet It Sponge for my birthday. How many times have I used it to wipe up big spills, I cannot count! The other day, I had a MAJOR spill and this thin sponge got it ALL up. I am out of my small kitchen Wet Its so I need to order more. I really like the Wet It products.

Can I say how much I love my massage therapist. I only go once a month but it is truly life changing. As you get older, with all the aches and pains, a good massage does wonders for your over well being. I had my monthly massage on Monday and it was wonderful. If I were rich, I would have a standing weekly appointment.

I have been doing a lot of cross stitch this week and I love my Matilda Jane tote bag as it holds all my supplies and looks good too.

One of my chores this week was to catch up on my grands photo albums. I print photos at the end of each month and I put them in albums for my grands. Not many people bother printing photos any more but I love to sit down with my own albums and look back in time. I hope my grands will enjoy theirs. I plan to give them to each grand when they graduate from High School.

I try to purchase albums with the spaces for descriptions of the photographs. When my dear mother in law passed away, we tossed so many pictures because we had no way of knowing who the people in the pictures were. Most of her photos were just in a big box.  Marvin and I took on the job of sorting, organizing and scanning to a CD.

School starts back here on the 10th of August so it is beginning to seem like fall even though it is still SUMMER. My "beachy" cross stitch that I had displayed on the kitchen breakfast bar seemed a bit too summery so I swapped it for this pretty Sunflower tin that I had in my Decor Stash. It will ease us into Fall. Speaking of Fall Decor, I plan to just put out a few things this year. I am trying to be a bit more minimalist. I heard from my blog friend, Tif at Bright on a Budget that Bath and Body Works has their fall hand soaps etc in the store. I may have to go by and purchase a few to have on hand come September.

And last of all...a book that is holding my attention. It is not a "happy" book but it is an interesting look at life on an Ojibwa Indian Reservation in the late 1990s and the years preceding. I have resorted to re reading some of my old favorites. Last week I got down one of my CAT WHO books by Lillian Jackson Braun. I have always enjoyed this series of mysteries featuring Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats KoKo and Yum Yum.

So that is what is happening here in Nagaland. Off to have lunch with the girls while Amelia takes Kendall and Landon to do some back to school shopping.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Born This Way

I turned the tv on yesterday as I was doing some stitching and I came across this program on the A&E network.

It is a television show documenting the lives of young adults with Down Syndrome.  I could not stop watching this show. I was captivated by this group of young people. Apparently they were re running the first season as the second season debut was last night.  I had a young cousin who had Downs and he died in his 30s but he made a big impression on me. In addition to Downs, Chris suffered with Autism but a happier fellow would be hard to find.

This tv show focuses on the challenges that Downs Syndrome people face as they age. No longer children, they long for the same thing we all hope for in life, a job, a home and a family.  Most of the DS adults featured on Born This Way are high functioning.  They are articulate and most hold down jobs or they do volunteer work.  One of the young ladies, Megan, has her own business called Megology. She sells tie dye clothing and tote bags on her own web site. Megan's mother was just 23 when she was born, dispelling the idea that Downs babies are only born to older mothers. She raised Megan alone after Megan's dad left, unable to face the reality of Megan's diagnosis.   Megan's mom helps Megan run her website and has a true desire to see Megan reach her goals in life. Megan's tag line is "Do not limit me." And while Megan has a desire to be independent, we see that she is not capable of living on her own due to a lack of life skills.  But Megan is working on those skills this season on the show. Her first challenge is learning to do her own laundry. And that is the surprising aspect of this show...while talented in some areas, they struggle in learning the basic life skills.

One of the guys on the show works at the Angels Ball Field. His desire in life is to get his Drivers License and to live apart from his parents.  He is very high functioning and cute as can be. He also wants a girl friend and he would like to date a "typical" girl. Last season he did learn how to ride a bike on his own, allowing him some independence.

Only one of the young adults lives in a group home and she is very happy there. In fact, her mother was chiding her for not coming to visit the parents.:)

The fact that these young people are experiencing the normal hormonal development is hard for their parents as they worry about the potential for heartbreak and worse, that they might be taken advantage of by someone.  I enjoy hearing the parents talk about what it is like to guide their child through the rough waters of Downs.  One young couple is engaged. Both sets of parents are approving of the relationship and help them by driving them to dates etc. Last night they shared they hope to be married in 2018.   Their engagement is a source of envy for many of their peers. They all talk about their hope for marriage.   Megan has told her mom that one of her dreams is that she would have a baby. Megan's mom had a serious discussion with her about why that dream is probably one that she will have to put aside. I am not sure how well Megan understood what her mom was talking about but Megan realizes that her Mom always has given her good advice and after a few tears she seemed ready to accept this reality.

I will be watching the second season of this show. My husband cannot watch it, it upsets him to see the struggles these young people face. But I find it very encouraging and uplifting. Born this Way airs on A&E on Tuesdays at 10 pm Eastern time if you want to check it out next week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Keep Calm and Think of Fall

Even though it is just the end of July, three "fall" magazines have arrived at my house making me feel optimistic that Autumn in the South is around the corner. This has been one of the hottest, driest summers we have had in many a year. I think we are all ready for some cooler temps. We would take high 80s instead of high 90s!  On to my autumnal magazines...

I picked up Cottage Journal at Walmart the other day as I could not resist the picture on the front of the magazine. And I love their decorating ideas.  Autumn in the South has a pretty porch scene with pumpkins and mums galore. I always get ideas of things to make in the kitchen as well as tips for trips, often within driving distance, from this periodical. Yesterday Country Living showed up in my mailbox. And it says September!! I did find this month's articles featured living in small spaces which may come in handy when our little house is complete.

I mailed our payment for our September getaway to Gulf Shores yesterday so that made me happy as well.  Our anniversary trip to Gulf Shores is the favorite week of the year for me and Marvin! It is truly a time of recharging our batteries.

I mentioned last week that my FitBit died. Well I purchased a Garmin Vivofit as a replacement and I really like it. It is a bit bulkier than the FitBit but the best feature of the Vivofit is looking down and seeing your steps displayed and easily read. With the FitBit you have to use your phone to check your steps. The Vivofit was on sale at Target yesterday and I used my Target red card for another little discount. The total cost of half that of a Fit Bit.  I am one of those people who just wants to know my daily step count. I do not want to challenge my friends or earn badges so the vivofit will meet my needs. Another nice feature of the Vivofit is that it takes two watch batteries that last for about a year then you just change the batteries to recharge it. My blog friend, Terri, at Your Friend from Florida, has one and she encouraged me to give it a try. Thanks for your advice Terri!!

It sure is quiet here in Nanaland this morning. Kendall and Landon will be here tomorrow and Thursday this week and I look forward to seeing Landon as it has been over a week since I have had some of my boy's hugs.  Today I will clean and think cool thoughts....Fall is coming, Fall is coming.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

An Afternoon with Belle

I have an early morning coffee date tomorrow so I am posting tonight And be forewarned, Nana is just out and out bragging in this post.:)

Saturday we got busy early getting ready for our trip to Montgomery. Don't you love Margaret's head band? Well she loved it for about 20 minutes and decided it was too tight. Cute while it lasted.

Modeling her new dress and shoes...

Sweet Kendall...she was such a help all week. She kept Margaret entertained.

Who says Matilda Jane is just for children? Nana loved her new Matilda Jane dress too.

Grandpa wore a coordinating shirt. Unfortunately Matilda Jane does not make Grandpa clothes.

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is located in a beautiful park.

Our Beauties.

Kendall and Margaret enjoyed the craft area prepared for all the younger theater patrons.

There was a dress up area too.


Mirror Mirror

Margaret wanted to get her picture made with Belle...

And the Beast..

And Gaston....I have to say that this actor Stole the show...he was very entertaining.

Katy took this photo of our matching outfits when we dropped Margaret off on the way home. We had such a nice day with our girlies.

The play was very good and our seats were perfect. As I said, the actor who played Gaston along with his side kick, Le Fou, were scene stealers for sure.  Belle was beautiful and Margaret was entranced with Belle's beautiful yellow dress she wore for the final scene.  When we were having dinner, I asked Margaret who was her favorite character and she responded "the wolves". The wolves menaced Belle and her father and finally the Beast in the forest. They were on stage for maybe all of ten minutes.:)  Kendall said it was all good and she could not pick just one character. I enjoyed the scenes with dancing....the Stein clicking dance as well as Be Our Guest were enchanting.

I am so glad we are blessed with such a wonderful theater in our state.  Now that the girls have had a taste of theater, I am sure we will be making more trips to Montgomery.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Happy and Sad

Little things make me happy...

Like finding out a paper straw will fit the sipping hole of my YETI. It is life changing y'all!:) I am amazed at how well this cup keeps water COLD. And coffee stays hot too as I learned when I burned my tongue the other morning. Now I leave the lid off when I am sipping my early morning coffee.

My Matilda Jane dress arrived this week.

I found this pretty scarf at Cracker Barrel of all places. It will dress up my dress a bit. All three of us girls are wearing Matilda Jane to the play tomorrow. Grandpa said he was sad he did not have an MJ outfit to wear! He likes to tease Kendall and Margaret.

We are all excited about seeing Beauty and the Beast tomorrow. It has gotten wonderful reviews. I am having a little talk with Margaret about theater etiquette today. Kendall attended A Christmas Carol at the Alabama Shakespeare Theater and she was good as gold so I am not worried about her. I am going to remind both girls to be sure and thank Grandpa for this nice treat.

I also found out that Hoffman Distributing will be reprinting some of the Prairie Schooler Patterns!! I was happy to hear this as there are some patterns I missed along the way! I checked out some of them on EBAY but they were too pricy for me. Thanks Hoffman ..all of us Prairie Schooler stitchers applaud you!

The sad in my title refers to the fact that my FitBit died yesterday. I took it to the store where I purchased it so see if it could be "fixed". And apparently they only last about a year. Mine lasted 16 months. I have to say I was disappointed that it did not last longer than that. So now I am going to try the Garmin Vivofit. It is not as expensive as the Fit Bit but I do not need all the bells and whistles the FitBit offers. I just want to know how many steps I walk each day. And before anyone comments that my phone will track my steps, I know that but I do not carry my phone with me all the time so that will not work. A pedometer is too easily lost so I am sold on one I can wear on my arm.  I really have come to rely on my FitBit  to keep me on track with my exercise and I am afraid that without it, I will turn into a slacker.

Margaret and I are on our own today. We will go to the grocery store, do some crafts and pack her bag to go home tomorrow. We will drop her off  on our way home from the play.  It has been a fun week and Elliott is planning that he gets to come NEXT TIME!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Girls

Well one thing I have learned this week....I do not have the energy of a 10 year old and a six year old. These girls make me wish I was young again!! I am hoping they will sleep in a bit this morning so I can get a few things done. And Aunt Mimi( Amelia) has invited Margaret over to swim and to spend the afternoon today so I can go to lunch with my friends and do a few errands. Kendall will go to her Dad's today but he will bring her to spend tomorrow night so we can get on the road for Montgomery on Saturday morning.

Margaret brought some friends with her!!

She chose Chic Fil A for dinner on Tuesday night.

I think the ice cream in exchange for the book in the kids meal made Chic Fil A first choice.

Bedtime  book choices were Goodnight Darth Vader and Goodnight Gorilla.

Wednesday was a shopping day. We went to Madison and Decatur in search of back to school things. And we had to find a pair of shoes for Margaret.

We found these cute sandals to match Margaret's Matilda Jane outfit for the play on Saturday.

Kendall got two dresses, a pair of sandals and some locker supplies for school. This will be her first year to have a locker for storage. Being her Nana's granddaughter, she is all about decorating it just so.

Margaret found a Shimmer and Shine back pack and a Power Puff Girls lunch box for the new school year. We also found a Shimmer and Shine book that had STICKERS!!

Last night Kendall read Goodnight Darth Vader to Margaret. Kendall loves Star Wars and is planning to be Ray for Halloween.

Well I hear someone stirring so I better go and get some breakfast for the girlies. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another Happy

As you know I love to give Happies to my friends. It need not be something big or expensive. I keep my eye out for things that I might use as a Happy and put it away until needed.

Last week my friend, Sharon, prepared a meal for our Titus Ladies group. I wanted to take her a Happy to show her how much I appreciated her effort.  While I was at the Mennonite grocery store, I saw a pretty cotton towel that said, Bless the Cook Who Serves Love and Laughter.  I promptly put it in my cart!

As you can see I had some ribbon on hand so I rolled the towel up and tied a pretty bow. When you get to be our age there is not much that you really need but everyone can use a nice fresh dishtowel.  And speaking of ribbon....I save all the pretty pieces of ribbon that come on packages etc Often they can be reused. My mother knows I use lots of ribbon and she had received a gift that had some gros grain ribbon around it. She saved it for me. I will press it a bit and put it in my stash. And if you do not want to get out the iron you can easily straighten the ribbon with a flat iron for hair. Be sure and test a small piece do not want melted ribbon on your flat iron. And delicate ribbon still requires an iron on low heat. Gros Grain ribbon is pretty hardy so the flat iron works well on it.

Margaret is here and Kendall is spending two nights also. I will post some pictures tomorrow. I got tickled at them last night as they were hungry before bedtime and I fixed them a bowl of cereal. Margaret said, "I've never had breakfast at bedtime!" We ended up calling it a Brack...Bedtime snack. It must have helped them sleep because they are both still sawing logs this morning.  Today we are off in search of back packs and lunch bags.  It is good to have two sweet girls visiting. As neither has a sister, they enjoy being together.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dollar Tree Pantry Organization

Last week I took one look at my pantry and decided it needed some attention.  For $10 I purchased some perky pink and green containers at my local Dollar Tree and I set to work. I wish I had remembered to take a before picture but I would have been too embarrassed to post it so you will just be seeing the AFTER.

One think I like about my townhouse is the storage. I am very fortunate to have a nice pantry just off my laundry room. It is near the kitchen so it is not inconvenient to fetch whatever I need for meals. I have a SNACK cabinet in the kitchen that the grands use for all their snack items. We have a rule that if it is in the Snack Cabinet you may help yourself. This rule was made after Grandpa allowed a grand to eat something that was NOT in the snack cabinet and I was planning to use it for lunch. Grandfather he knows the rule too.

I  need to purchase a few more labels for the front of the boxes so that I can stay organized.  I  like the preppy colors that greet me when I open the pantry door.

What would we do without plastic bags?

My favorite apron hangs on a hook for easy access. I try to wear an apron when cooking as I have splattered oil on several clothing items. I learned my lesson.

Hooks on the opposite wall hold some insulated bags, reusable grocery bags and more aprons

Some things are stored on the floor but I tried to corral them. The green basket holds all my cleaning rags while the pink basket holds cleaning products.

More big items that will not fit on the shelves.

So now my pantry is organized and I hope I can keep on top of it.  Cleaning out the pantry led me to clean out my kitchen cabinets as well. And that is a good thing as The Martha would say!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Weekend

Marvin took Friday off so we could drive to north Georgia( noGa). We had a 9 am meeting with our contractor  on Saturday morning so we knew we did not want to get up at o dark thirty and drive three hours. When we arrived on Friday evening, my mother and my sisters had prepared a lovely meal with all the good things Marvin enjoys. Truly my mother and my sisters put Cracker Barrel or any other country cooking restaurant to shame. We had country fried steak, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, fried okra and sautéed zucchini.  For dessert we had a brown sugar cake with cream cheese frosting. Oh my it was delicious.

We were all a little anxious Friday evening as Bruce was on duty at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dalton. Bruce is a deputy sheriff in Whitfield County.  Bruce reported that it was a very orderly protest and the Dalton Police Department had prepared hotdogs and cold drinks for the marchers.  One of the best things about living in a smaller town is that for the most part, the people really care about each other.

Early Saturday morning Marvin and Bruce met with our contractor, Mont and his "dozer man" Mike. The first order of business is to complete the road to the property and then it will be time to get a foundation started.

Here is a picture of our recent addition....a connector to the main road. As soon as Mont gets a building permit we will have an address! That will make it seem very real! Our address will be on the OLD CCC Camp Road. This road was built by the Civil Conservation Corp back in the old days.

We left soon after our meeting as we had to be back in Decatur for Sunday. On the way home we stopped at Big Daddy's in Stevenson, Alabama to gas up and get a snack. I noticed that they had some YETI cups for sale. I have been wanting one since I purchased one for Marvin for Christmas. He loves his! They keep coffee hot for hours as well as keeping a cold drink cold. Marvin drinks coffee until lunch time then switches to ice water.   So I was using mine this morning and forgot that  they keep coffee really hot...oops...burned tongue.  Hopefully I have learned my lesson.

We had to be back in Decatur for Sunday because we had to prepare communion at church and I was signed up  for the nursery.  So it was a busy day. Preparing communion for two big Sunday morning services with just a short break between services is quite a challenge. So the next time you have a communion service at your church, say a prayer for those who prepare it. It is a labor of love for Marvin and myself.  Then after helping prepare communion, I had to work with the three and four year olds. Let's just say by the time I got to lunch I was pretty tired. The Sunday Afternoon nap was looking better and better.

We always have lunch with our friends, Barry and Sharon. We were discussing a Christmas event to be held in Nashville and we decided to get tickets to see Home Free's Christmas Concert. You may have seen the music video of them singing God Bless the USA over the July 4th weekend. Lots of people on my Facebook Feed were sharing their rendition of the Lee Greenwood hit.  So now I have a Christmas event to look forward to in December.  And can you believe we re already making plans for DECEMBER? This year is flying by!!

And while we were having a busy weekend, the Roberts family was on a camping trip to Kentucky and Indiana.

Here they are in Mammoth Cave. Looks rather spooky doesn't it?  Todd and Amelia are sharing their love of camping with the kiddos.

And now it is Monday and I am looking forward to picking up my favorite six year old tomorrow. Miss Margaret is coming to spend the week with us. I am off to the market this morning to get all the food stuffs she requested.:) As any good Nana would do!!