Wednesday, January 30, 2013


i think i might start calling him my house boy.
he showed up the end of last week and voila!
my yard was cleaned, grass was cut, dishes done, floors cleaned.
(insert wee bit of a whiney voice)  other cultures have houseboys.

let me see.
in the past week:
blayde lodged himself another piece of chicken in his esophagus and had the opportunity
to experience the care of yet another endoscopy team.
he's been doing really well. the last time was neary 5 years ago and this time was an oops.
one of those caught by surprise and don't chew and swallow properly topped off with the
end of the flu and an irritated espogaphus to begin with.
i'm voting for the 10 year ... no, make that the 20 year plan for the next occurrence.
his gal pal, charlene, did a bang up job of text updates from the er
until i could make it there.
tia started school this week.
it has been a challenge to get this to happen.
she was doing online school, but that really hasn't worked out the best for her.
in reality, it hasn't worked out well for anyone in this house excepting the mamma.
she loves the new school.
i know. i've heard plenty of the "we never had a choice" business.
in today's world there is a choice. in my world there are many options.
finding the best one just takes some extra work sometimes.
and in my world ... it is worth it.
she also picked up a food handler's card on monday which means .....
drum rooooolllllllllllll ... she starts work on friday!
i'm very excited for her.
if i look for the silver lining in the driving kid to work and home cloud,
it's in the shape of audio books that i might have a few more minutes to absorb.
i'm nearly done with week 7 of my first online BSN program class.
next week i have one more paper to write and i can move that class over to the done side.
9 more to go.
another positive in the options category.
anna cooked up a whopping dinner for a bunch of guys monday evening.
she done good!
more on her world later.
she tends to be my rather expressive one.
i haven't seen alyx for nearly a week!
she moved out and that's what happens when everyone gets busy.
good grief.
hubby has been busy.
that is a very good thing.
i'm usually home wednesday mornings and now tia doesn't start school until 9:20.
this morning my alarm was set to ring between 6:30 and 7:00.
4:30 a.m. my eyeballs decided they should pop open.
i convinced them to close until 5:30.
at that point i just gave up and moved on.
moved on to things like laundry and income taxes.
there is probably a name for my condition.
not sure i want to know what it is.
off to work for a bit!
be back to see you friday.

Monday, January 28, 2013

coupon season is in swing

I have tried using coupons numerous times and get so frustrated I quit not long into the process.
I'm trying it again.
Lately, I'm managing to stick with a few things.
Like I'm still drinking green tea and eating my oatmeal mixed with an egg and fruit.
On a wee bit of a detour here, I tried so hard to sell my breakfast to big kids today and they weren't buying. Brock was always my oatmeal eater and he wouldn't touch it.
They really don't know what they're missing.
I eat it on my way to work in the car if I'm running out of time before I leave the house at 5:30 a.m.
And they won't even try it!
Back to coupons.
If you're like me, you make a whole hearted effort to clip those buggers. They end up sitting in some kind of organization tool and then you're digging through them and trying to match them up with the weekly ads to get the most bang for the buck. Pretty soon they're all expiring or floating loose in a crumpled heap in the bottom of your purse.
Not long after that you sigh and say, "what's the point?"
A while back I somehow managed to sign up for emails from coupon mom. They kept showing up in my email box and my fingers would wander straight to the delete button. I even thought of unsubscribing to the email. I'm so glad I didn't.
I've also friended Dave Ramsey, the money guy, on FB and even if I still haven't made it to his site to really start something concrete like a plan .... his little things that show up on my wall are starting to nag me.
So, 2013 is the season of saving ... or something like that.
Coupon Mom has made this little leg of the journey so simple. Mind you, there are probably people out there who are the extreme couponers and pretty much have the grocery store paying them for shopping. That's not me. I think this is Week 2. Itty bitty baby steps. I'm so excited, though, that I just have to share with you what I have found!!
First start at her front page. You can probably nose around and see what it's all about without a username. I don't really know what you can't access without it. Probably printable coupons.

I've started purchasing several newspapers on Sunday ... just for the coupons. I didn't even read the funnies which is quite unbelievable!
If you're brand new to this, like I was, start with the How to Coupon tab.

On that page she has several instructional videos that are well worth watching. I'm not doing drugstores yet. I'm just so thrilled with the whole grocery store deal that I'm only talking about that part with you. The method she uses for seeing which stores have what deals and which coupons from which day are applicable to the sale item is so simple!!
I did notice today that there will be an oops occasionally. Just keep your eyes open. For example, this week Fry's (and other stores as well) have Colgate toothpaste on sale. Coupon Mom says that the coupon in the paper will make that item free. Not so. The coupon is for a more expensive brand of toothpaste. The toothbrush was free ... not the toothpaste. For the most part ... it works.

This is the best part ever as far as I'm concerned. In her video she shows you how to leave the coupons they way they come in the paper or the mail. Date the front cover of them and tuck them into a shoe box or somewhere. Her site (unless I haven't found it yet) only has Fry's and Safeway for Arizona stores. I'm a shopper of the regular grocer and haven't made it to the Whole Foods type of market quite yet. I just looked and am highly disappointed that she has no Alaska grocery stores. I don't know if Fred Meyer and Carrs have the same ads every week as the rest of us. Might be worth a check. As for Arizona, Albertson's and Bashas are missing off her list, but it doesn't take long to see if two stores have any deals.
She also has links to printable coupons. I did need to load a coupon printing something or another on my computer, but it only took a few seconds. In fact, when I ran to Fry's today I as rather peeved to add something to the cart for which I didn't have a coupon when I knew I could have found one somewhere.
Oh, yeah! I also tuck my grocery store ads into the box until next Wednesday's ads come out. I did stop at the store on Monday with coupons that I harvested from Sunday's paper. The same item will probably show up in another store or ad at some later date, but I really wanted the 49 cent deoderant on Monday.

I know. I know. To some of you who are really good at this type of thing, this should have all been free today. I'm thrilled that I walked out paying $35.82 instead of $99.29! Granted, I did buy a few things that I otherwise would not have purchased just because I had a coupon and the item was on sale. It might just be the way my kids get a few treats they otherwise wouldn't get around here!
Because I was a bookkeeper for a number of years, the number cruncher in me is going to keep track of how much money I save this year on my grocery receipts.
Unfortunately, sometimes life gets incredibly crazy busy and there isn't even time to get to the store for a gallon of milk let alone make a list. I know that. I'm hoping that time will be my friend and I can keep it up. The deal finding itself is fast and easy using the tools she has on the site. It's the stick to it glue that sort of loses it's tackiness sometimes.

If you decide to give it a go, let me know how it goes.
If you are already doing a bang up job of saving money at the grocery store and have some hints or tips to share .... I would love to hear them!

Happy clipping!

Friday, January 25, 2013

4:52 Self Portrait

This week's photo challenge of Self Portrait was certainly a challenge.
I have teen girls which means that I am accustomed to seeing
self portraits on my camera, on my phone and on my computer.
They're not of me!
There is something about looking in the mirror every day that is normal.
I'm to that place in life where I need to check
that I didn't leave a salad green in my teeth.
My eyes produce endless goobers and always have.
Kind of handy once in a while to know if they're hanging around.
There is that wonderful space of sink and counter that sit
between myself and that shiny piece of reflection.
A space that lends a comfortable distance and perhaps even distortion.
Depends on which angle I'm looking at with the new specs.
Up close I can see every laugh I've ever laughed
in the lines that grow more with every year.
To sit with a camera in hand or on a tripod
and aimed in my direction just is not normal for me.
I prefer the buffer of the sink.

A video of the whole experience would have been priceless.
I sort of felt like one of my girls ....
just for about an hour a minute or so.
Follow the Project 52 Circle to see the next version of a self portrait
 and thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

wisdom for wednesday


A society grows great when
old men plant trees whose shade
they know they shall never sit in.
--- Greek Proverb

Monday, January 21, 2013

mom's mail station

I tend to be a "put it" person. Put it on that counter or in that pile.
I've gotten better. I have the sweetest basket for gathering my mail.
It is all that other stuff that I don't know what to do with.
We have grown children that don't live at home,
and grown ones that do.
Still other grown ones that move in and out with frequency.
They all use our home address as their mailing address.
They come in and might see their mail or they might not.
They might look at it and then leave it sitting there.
They're not nearly as neurotic as I am in the paper department.
It has been driving me absolutely crazy.
Especially this one small counter next to the refrigerator.
And the fact that I just don't know what to do with all that stuff!
Okay. You see the camera lens and the hammer.
The camera lens certainly isn't the kids' mail.
The hammer ... well, that would be mine as well.
I spent some time on Pinterest looking for ideas for storing mail.
First on the list was cheap, cheap, cheap.
I know I could have gone out and bought some cute organizing thing but
I really didn't want to spend any money.
I probably spent about a week off and on working with fabric to make something.
I didn't like it and pitched it.
I had an errand to run on Friday and as luck would have it, it was right down
the street from Hobby Lobby so I swung in.
I wandered around the store looking at all kinds of ideas and
finally settled on these brown Kraft bags for 50 cents a piece.
Folding the bag flat, I used a circle to draw a cutout on the front side of the bag
and cut the rounded piece off, leaving the handle intact.
I cut each bag in half along the fold line on the sides and across the
bottom so I had two equal size sides of the bag.

Taking my trusty little glue gun that is probably still hanging around from the
last century, I glued the parts together putting one bag inside the other.
I put the front of the bag on the outer side so that the seam ends up in the back.

Taking that reserved circle with the handle, I cut the handle out along with the
"hem" of the bag.

Then glued that extra piece to the back of the bag so that handles and
upper edges line up. I figured it would give extra strength to the hanging weight
of the bag. I'm guessing that the bag will probably accumulate lots.

Off to the computer to print some name labels.
I like to download free fonts from dafont[dot]com, found one that
I liked and printed names onto one sheet of cream colored card stock.

I raided my meager scrapping supplies and started inking, cutting and gluing.

The hammer and some small nails combined with a wall that is out of the
eyes of visitors for the most part yet easily accessible to the kiddos ...
and the bags went up!

And the bags started getting filled!

My counter top is clean again.
At least for the moment.
I'll probably add hammers and camera lenses real soon, but the
mail won't accumulate there anymore.
The day after the bags went up, one of the girls went out to get the mail.
She came in, sorted it and plopped it the appropriate bag!

I still would like some kind of wood sign over the bags.
Maybe even a sign with pegs on it to hang the bags from.
Maybe I'll even have the sign read
Mom's Mail Station.
Organization .... one corner at a time!

Friday, January 18, 2013

3:52 Something Old

Good morning Friday! Time for Project 52 and another photo for the week.
We actually have our list of projects in advance which helps jog the brain cells and
inspire us weeks in advance. I tend to notice things I otherwise wouldn't have when
project ideas are niggling in the back of my brain.
This week is Something Old.
In the past week or so I received an invitation to my 30th High School Class Reunion.
Big gulp ... and I don't mean the kind you get from a soda dispenser.
I mean gulp ... we're getting up there gulp!
Thankfully, we don't qualify for antiques yet.
We don't even qualify for vintage according to some folks.
But we are definately getting close to the Getting Older.

If you graduated high school and can dig your year book out of a tote somewhere, do it.
Take a gander through the photos. These were taken long before digital photography
existed and were probably all developed in the same dark room.
Quite a hoot!

I am sort of a collector of the Something Old category. 
My goal was to post only one picture a week and I'm going to really try and stick to that.
I did take my camera outside, set on the manual setting, and worked at photographing a few other Somethings Olds around here. I have more than enough to keep me busy for awhile.
I hooked up the camera and loaded about 80 photos to my computer.
I'm sticking to sharing only one .... and it's killing me!
The next stop in our circle is Keilah.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

throwing washers

I'm not southern born or raised. I'd never heard of throwing washers. Apparently, there are other names for this game as well. I kind of like Poor Man's Horseshoes myself. I learned about this before Christmas and really wanted to make Jari one for Christmas, but he just wouldn't leave the house. It is one thing to make crafty projects in the spare bedroom or at the kitchen table. It is another thing entirely to start hauling out the hubby's power tools. He really starts to wonder what's up with that.
The weekend before his birthday he left and went hunting. Sweet!! I ran to Home Depot with the plan of having them cut everything for me. I was actually going to cave and not do it all myself. Their cutting saw was not working. I had so much help it wasn't even funny! I tucked my two pieces of ridiculously long 2x4 into my car with the ends hanging out and hauled them home.
The guy at Home Depot told me that my chop saw would cut the pvc pipe but couldn't guarantee that my blade would be the same after I was done. Worked just fine ... haven't a clue if it does anymore.
Pieces needed for this project:
4 pieces of 17" long 2x4
4 pieces of 14" long 2x4
4" pvc pipe cut into 3 1/2" pieces

Next up was the plywood. I bought small squares that would fit into the car. I didn't need much.
Out came the next saw and I cut 2 - 17" squares of plywood.
Don't you just love my cutting support surface? I didn't even nick the trunk! Must be getting better at this business.

At this point Brock stopped by and I proudly showed him my pile of cut pieces. The saws were all tucked back where they belonged and not in evidence. The ensuing conversation went something like this.
Brock said "what did you cut those with?"
"A saw."
"What saw?"
"The Skil saw." At this point I'm totally befuddled. Like did he think I was cutting it with a handsaw or what?
"Dad's Skil saw? I don't like you using that. Why didn't you call me?"
I'm feeling totally protected at this point, but I don't think he gets it. I've been pushing a saw longer than he's been living. Admittedly, I've even pushed it through the top of a metal tool box unintentionally (my cutting table sort of got in the way), but he probably doesn't need to know that!

Standing the pieces on end, I used yet another electric device and screwed two sets of boxes together that ended up being 17" square.

Doesn't matter that it is now dark outside, I was on a mission to get this thing done!
Use whatever device you have that draws a straight line and find the middle your plywood square.

With the center marking on the inside, attach your plywood to the bottom of the box you made. If you're cutting is better than mine, it will line up absolutely perfectly. If not ... it will still work. If you're really lucky, you might have a drill bit in the house to pre drill your holes. I couldn't find not one drill bit and was not about to run out to buy one. I made the decision to hang my own Christmas stocking next year and ask Santa to fill it with drill bits. Maybe pink or purple ones if such things exist. Just for me.

The next step is photoless. After the box was put together ... out came the sander. Smoothed the corners and edges that needed it and then I applied stain to everything but the bottom of the inside of the box. It can be painted, stained or just left plain if you like. I stained it and let it dry overnite.
The following day I sprayed it with polyurethane. That was the easy part. The hard part was what came next. First me tell you that if I still lived in any of the other houses I've lived in, I probably would have had some salvagable 2x4's laying around ... as well as plywood. I would have used that instead. This postage stamp HOA lot doesn't allow much room for accumulation.
Because I was doing the budget route here, I went Goodwill and actually found 2 identical yellow rubber backed bath mats. They were each cut into 14" squares to fit the inside of the box. On the back  side of the mat, I drew the same kind of lines to find the center of the mat. I drew a circle around the pvc pipe onto paper and then folded the paper to find the middle. I aligned it with the lines drawn on the cut piece of bath mat and cut out a circle. Next I drew a circle in the center of the box and using liquid nail (that stuff is nasty!) I put a bead of glue on both the inside and outside of the pipe, adhering it to the plywood bottom. It really wasn't a bead. It was a sloppy mess that I thought would never come off my hands before I had to start iv's on Monday morning at work.
The circle cut out of the bath mat needed to be trimmed a bit more to fit inside the pvc pipe that was attached to the box. More liquid nail mess all over the bottom of the box and a bit inside the pipe, then the yellow stuff was glued to the bottom of the box. And I had to pull each piece up at least once to trim it and get it to fit right. Then it was time to let it set and dry.
While it was drying, I started painting the washers. I'm not sure how long the spray paint is going to stay on these washers with all the throwing and banging, but the spray paint cans will last for a long time. I'll just keep painting them as needed. The instructions I was following called for 2 1/2" washers, but Home Depot doesn't sell anything larger than 2" washers and the helpful person assured me that they would work. Even he knew what I was talking about!
Tucked the whole project away, buried my evidence where I thought it couldn't be found and waited for a birthday to show up!
Being as we live in the land of sunshine where the lawn usually isn't wet unless the sprinkler is going off, this is a perfect activity. Takes little space to store unlike other lawn games we've had. Our back yard isn't very big so this size game fits well.
It kept the guys busy on Sunday afternoon!
As for me .... I need some serious practice!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A weekend chalk full of activity

Maybe it was an entire week of busy!
A few snippets of a busy few days.
Last week Wednesday my sister Becky, niece Debbie and great niece Chloe, came to town to do a Photo Workshop over the weekend and enjoy some sunshine.
So .... Thursday evening some of the adults went out to eat while the littles hung out over at our house. Back over here for dessert afterward. Someday I'll share the dessert recipe with you. Pure yummy and divine simplicity. My floors have seen a few blocks over the past few days!
Friday I headed into the office (so nice to have my own little space) to work on a paper for school. Kind of stinks when you need references for something you can only access online at work.
Home for several hours and then we headed up to Prescott. Anna & Wylon were up there before we were and had to leave early to attend an event in Phoenix that evening. Jari, Tia and I stayed there for a fun filled evening of visiting and good laughs.
 (Wonder if she will link this blog post on her FB site!)
Congratulations to Tiana on completing high school!!
Saturday had me headed to a Photography Workshop for the day. So glad I went. I've been very fortunate to have many photographers who understand things like F stops in my world. The only problem is that I have issues with absorbing that stuff. They all know it. Frans starts explaining white balance to me and I'm glazing over before the second sentence is completed. It is just bad. I take solace in the fact that there are some things I can do. Manual settings on the camera just seem to befuddle me completely. The workshop was awesome and now I need to practice, practice, practice.
Please excuse my indoor flashless manual photography. I'm learning.
The photo below is not of any good quality, but one of the things I learned (and retained) is that it is more important to capture the event than that your photo be perfect.
The photo on the big "screen" happens to be my most charming and handsome youngest son,
shot by his aunt who was teaching in this segment of the day.

My picture is from the wrong angle with way too many shadows that aren't Rembrandt ....
but this beautiful neice and godchild of mine was such a willing subject!
(I almost called them Michaelangelo shadows! This memory thing is something else.)

Home for a few hours ... time enough to get some good ol' Minnesota ring noodles cooked for a meal on Sunday and get the cake layers baked for taytekakku. Then off to the church to make more of that scrumpdelicious dessert for coffee following a discussion.
Sunday we had the houseful for lunch. If you need a pulled pork recipe, I've got a good and easy one. Becky whipped up the salad. We sang a rousing Happy Birthday to the Birthday Boy who celebrated the last of the 40's birthdays he's going to have. We ate piece after piece of taytekakku. We visited. We played a game or two. We just enjoyed each other's company ....
the geting older ....

the young and the much younger ....
and the siblings.
I think this is at least the 3rd time this year that we have shared the same close space!
Happy. Days.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2:52 Getting Real Close

I thought about hiking up a mountain that is just down the street.
I might get real close to the top if I tried.
I didn't even lace my sneakers, that's how brief that thought was.

I thought about dead end roads.
I thought about quilts that aren't completed.
I really thought about all kinds of things.
There was something much more pressing going on at this house.
My family really doesn't like store purchased jelly or jam,
they like home made strawberry freezer jam and the
bottom of the container was

Getting Real Close

Warm up that coffee you're sipping on and head on over to see Keilah in Flagstaff!
Thanks for stopping and hope to see you next week!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

book binding 101

Now that the Christmas gifts are received, I want to share with you just how crazy I can be sometimes.
It might be more frequently than that.
My family had a blog going for about 5 years. In the beginning it was very active with photos galore and banter back and forth. I'm not sure what happened. I know that I started blogging at some point myself and contributed less to that family blog. Then Facebook came along and perhaps it signalled the final demise of the blog.
I have wanted to print the blog book for a while, but if you've ever priced the cost of printing out a blog .... my budget had a fit. I'm sure I could have coerced a few siblings to join in on the cost of it, but there was an even bigger problem. When I looked at printing blogs, it printed only the blog entries, not the comments. We are a family of 10 children, inlaws, outlaws (as my hubby likes to call himself) and parents. You can only imagine some of the banter that went back and forth in the comment section of the blog.
I wanted all of it. I wanted it all preserved. I wanted it all in print.
One day I decided that maybe I should just print the book myself. We have a nearly commercial grade printer that spits out massive amounts of paper with minimal ink. Minimal might be stretching it, but it seriously stretches far.
Good thing I started this project a year ago ... it took that long.

First I copied and pasted everything to a Word document. It was great for audio book time ... I probably went through a good number of books while I worked on Word. Some pieces had to be cut and pasted separately. Like the date of the initial posting. Then the title of the posting and the contents could be done together. Then came the line that said how many comments. Then came each individual comment ... each copied and pasted individually. I know that there were a total of 949 blog entries. I have no clue how many individual comments followed those. I don't even want to know. When I copied and pasted, the format never copied the way I wanted it to which meant resizing and moving things around the pages. In those 949 blog entries were oodles and oodles of pictures. There are a few members of this tribe that love to take photos. I copied and pasted them all.

The fun part was moving them all to a form where you could read them as a book. I was printing them onto 8.5x14 size paper stacked 6 sheets to each pile. Imagine folding that stack in half and then being able to read it in order. I messed up more than once. Once I got a system going it went pretty good. I've only printed one of these ... someday I want to print one for myself as well.

After everything was printed, it was time for binding. People at Hobby Lobby looked at me like I was nuts. They had no clue what I was looking for. I needed thread and thought (while I was still following instructions) that it had to be waxed. Couldn't find that, so figured I would just wax it myself. I didn't. It didn't need it. Each stack of 6 sheets was folded in half, I then used a nail (because I don't think I own an awl) to punch 6 holes in each set down the center fold. There is a nifty tutorial (many of them actually) online that I used to follow for sewing them together. When they were sewn they looked like this.

By now, Christmas is fast approaching and I've long since passed my December 15th shipping date. I'm getting a bit frantic. I had tried to divide them evenly, but hadn't had the forethought to think about that when I was busy shoving paper through the printer. Like a blank page at the front of the book would be handy. I had to add it in. Anyway, with weights applied on top of the pile, the binding was glued. Then the books were flipped on their backs to attach a piece of heavy weight cloth to the binding with glue. Dry once again.

Another trip to Hobby Lobby (the new one is nice and close) to try find fabric for the book cover. I couldn't find anything I liked or was in the mood to make a book cover. I don't have a whole lot of extra around here, but I do have a few bits and pieces. This special piece of fabric is Marimekko and was brought from Finland as a gift. I haven't been able to figure out what to use it for .... and figured this was absolutely perfect.
The instructions on the internet said to use something called chipboard. Couldn't find that either. I did find an inexpensive piece of thin foam board that I figured would work. I think they also have what looks like it might be chipboard in large sheets at Hobby Lobby. This worked perfect. A bit thicker for the outside of the book ... but perfect.
Pieces were cut for the front, back and binding of the book.
Make that books. I used some miracle spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the cut pieces of board.
The fabric was cut and then glued down over the edges of the book and ready for inserting my pages.
Apparently I was a little stressed because my photos are pretty much nonexistent. After the book pages were glued to the books outer cover, my plan was to use this paper for the inside covers of the book. Didn't work. I used pieces of cardstock and attached them with spray adhesive. The paper was much sturdier and it worked out perfectly.
It was done!
The first book ended up being 2 1/2 inches thick.
The second one I made 2 inches ... and the outside cover should have been 1/4 inch bigger to really close like the first one does.

They needed labels but my brain was done. I grabbed some scrapbooking lettering and plunked them on. After the books were wrapped and in the box ready to mail, I knew what I should have done instead. So .... because I can get away with it, I asked that the books be delivered back to my house in February so I can add titles and volumes to the bindings.

As it turned out, the books being delivered by the postal service after Christmas worked out perfect. Mom was in the hospital and it gave her something to page through while she rested. I figure it will be good for nights when the sandman is late in arriving, when they need a trip down memory lane or a good rip roaring belly laugh.
As for book binding at this house .... I have even more ideas. I was really misnamed. My middle name should have been Ihaveanidea. My trunk is full of old family photographs. I love journals and fill lines with nonessential information all the time. I have some reindeer hide that has been traveling with me for about 20 years. Oh my, but the ideas are endless.