Thursday, December 31, 2009

Changing of the Calendar

I love anything Susan Branch! Especially her calendars.
Today, I switch out the old 2009 calendar and hang up my new 2010 calendar. I don't just hang up the calendar, it more of a ritual for me. I hunt around for the perfect colored pens.
I pour myself a cup of tea.
Sit down at the dining room table and add ALL the important dates from years past .
Birthdays are usually in BLUE.
Anniversaries are in RED.
Other dates to remember, like "Bought the House", dates in in GREEN.

As I go through the past year, I remember the things that were "put the calendar". Everything is put on the calendar! If it isn't there, it doesn't happen. And the calendar in hung in the most prominent place in our home, The Kitchen Wall.
So when the new calendar goes up, it is all set up for the coming year, with reminders of the special events. New events are added on as they come up.
So when January comes, it gets added it on.
This year I added the birth of our Grandson!

The calendar is an important part of my household. Because I use it everyday and it hangs in busiest part of our home (kitchen). I'm very particular about the style. For the past several years I have hung up the Susan Branch calendar. Yes, I keep them! They are so cute!!



Susan Branch hand writes all her publishing's because when she first started in 1984, she didn't have a computer and didn't know anyone who did.
"Love it when things are real and aren't perfect" ~Susan Branch~

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue Moon

This New Year's Eve there will be a Full Moon.
Not only a Full Moon but a Blue Moon.
The moon will turn full on Dec. 31 at 2:14 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and out here in the Pacific Northwest at 11:14 a.m.
This week's full moon will also be a partial eclipse. The moon will dip slightly into the Earth's umbra (the dark, hard-edged shadow ), which will show black on the moon's southern limb for just over an hour. This will be a pre-midnight New Year's Eve show for Europe, Africa and western Asia. While for central, Eastern Asia, Indonesia, western and central Australia, this will happen in the post-midnight hours of the first day of 2010.
Unfortunately, most of North America (except for northern Alaska and northernmost Canada) is out of the zone of visibility for this eclipse.
So when looking up at the fireworks, you might see the Blue Moon, if it is a clear night.
A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. On average, an extra full moon in a month — a blue moon — occurs every 2.5 years.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Traditions

A few years ago we had some very special friends who used to live in Dalhart, Texas. As we celebrated the New Year with them, we were introduced to the Blackeyed Pea tradition. Being from the Pacific Northwest, we had never heard of this or even eaten Blackeyed Peas!
Sadly, our friends moved back to Texas, but we continue the tradition by making a huge pot of Blackeyed Peas and serve them on January 1st! Not only are they healthy but they are very delicious!

The Blackeyed Pea tradition first started back in the Civil War days. During the battle of Vicksburg, the town was under siege for over 40 days. No supplies went in and none came out. The entire town was on the brink of starvation. So they ate those humble "cowpeas," thus starting the southern tradition. These days, Blackeyed Peas are eaten every New Year's Day to bring good luck for the coming year. Blackeyed Peas are neither a pea nor a bean. They are a lentil.

Have you heard of the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight? This one is new to me this year. Eating grapes for New Year is a Spanish tradition that seems like a lot of fun. It began in the early part of the twentieth century in Spain because of a grape surplus. The idea is to eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve.

Each grape represents a month of the coming year. The sweeter the grape, the better the month will be that it represents. If you get a sour grape, it may be that the month it represents could be difficult for you.

But the thought of twelve grapes in your mouth at midnight sounds pretty funny. It seems impossible to finish eating all the grapes by the time the clock finishes chiming.

I don’t think I will try this one this year.

Well, Happy New Year and how ever you bring it in, be safe and have fun.


There's no special talent needed to open a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine without injuring your guests. The secret is chilling the champagne and turning the bottle instead of pulling the cork.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

All I Ever Learned From A Dog:

Never pretend to be something you're not.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When it's in your best interest, always practice obedience.

Take naps and always stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Be loyal.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you are criticized, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

When bathing your pet, you can use apple cider vinegar to rinse his or her fur. Fleas don't like the smell or taste.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Tale of Two Stories

Today, Tom and I spent all morning with our daughter and our two grandchildren. It is so nice having the time to spend with them. Kimmy picked us up and we all piled into her van. Off we went to visited our local flower nursery. Everywhere we looked there were Poinsettias... red, pink, coral, white, and everything in between!

There was color everywhere.

This was great for taking pictures.

These are stuffed animals.

Lulu couldn't believe they weren't real!

Real or not this picture is pretty scary!

"Mommy the kitty cat has my finger!"

It was a great morning.
I am so happy to have the time off to spend with our family!

And this is just day three of my two weeks off!

Kimmy is blogging about our visit to the nusery today, also.

Visit her HERE and get her view point and more pictures.



Poinsettia Care -

DO place your plant in indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day. If direct sun can't be avoided, diffuse the light with a shade or sheer curtain.

DON'T overwater your plant, or allow it to sit in standing water. Always remove a plant from any decorative container before watering, and allow the water to drain completely.

A Christmas Story

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending...the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them."
Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.
On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.

His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal it's contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember each other, and the Real reason for the season, and His true spirit this year and always. God bless---pass this along to your friends and loved ones.

--- Copyright © 1982 Nancy W. Gavin--- Submitted by Edwin G. Whiting

The story first appeared in Woman's Day magazine in 1982. My mom had sent the story in as a contest entry in which she subsequently won first place. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer two years after the story was published. Our family still keeps the tradition started by her and my father and we have passed it on to our children. Feel free to use the story. It gives me and my sisters great joy to know that it lives on and has hopefully inspired others to reach out in a way that truly honors the spirit of Christmas. --- Kevin Gavin



Upside down candy canes make great cocoa stirrers!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A week before Christmas and all throught the House

Christmas has started to appear at our home.

Our tree is small by in a prominent part of the room.

The decorations are simple but important to the season.

This year it's about Love, family, sharing and what we can give back and to others.
Bevy over at Treasured Up and Pondered says it so well.
You want to donate, but you just cannot afford to give anything this year. You still have something that you can donate!
You can go to the local Red Cross and donate blood. There is always a need, especially in hard times. You can also feel good that you did something that will make a difference in someones life.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If it's Banana Bread, it must a visit to Tacoma!

I drove down to spend the night with our son, (Todd) and daughter-in-law, (Stephanie) who live in Tacoma. I try to bring them homemade banana bread (with walnuts) every time I visit. This time I also brought a fresh pineapple.
They invited me to join them for dinner and a girls basketball game, followed by a movie at home, on the couch.
How blessed am I!

Stephanie is an assistant coach for a high school girls basketball team. She also has two jobs and just finished her Masters! Stephanie is the perfect wife and partner for our son! She is fun, active, loving, helpful and a red head! And she loves me!

Todd & Stephanie met at college, in the training room. Todd played football and Stephanie played basketball. Today they have a home, two dogs and a cat. Both are interested in Biology and our environment. And I couldn't be more proud of them!

Go Team!

(Boy do I feel short)

We lost but we had fun!

Thank you Todd & Stephanie!

(Tinsel & Santa)

How To Remove Sap From Skin
Oil-based Agents:
Baby oil
Tea tree oil
Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Celebrating a Birthday

Eight candles on the cake
But who is turning eight?

Just add fifty more
and add up the score.

That's right, it's me!
Hee Hee, Hee Hee

Kimmy cooked us a great dinner and baked a birthday cake. Oh ya... I got a tri-pod for my camera. Mark was the camera man and tested my new tri-pod.

Lulu was very interested in "her" new toy.


Need candles holders for that birthday cake? Use life saver!


A Short Story

Last December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.
So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snow caps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W". Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"
And, I believe, He still is.
Author unknown
Snow for your Christmas tree can be made from a thick solution of ivory soap flakes and hot water. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until the mixture is stiff. Spoon on the tree branches and limbs. This makes an unbelievably beautiful tree. You can also try instant potatoes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Night Gown for Lulu

My granddaughter and I like to read books. One of her favorite books, when she visits, is Grandma and Me by Karen Katz. We have read this book at least 50 times this year. It's an interactive book with flaps that lift up, and answer the questions on each page.
It talks about baking cookies, the picking flowers from the garden. All the things that Lulu and I do together. But on one page it asks , "What did you hide under my pillow, Grandma?" When you pull down the flap, there is a red nightgown.

Well, I just had to make Lulu the very same nightgown! So, I dusted off my sewing machine, bought the material, pattern, and studied the directions.

I finished it!


How could I not try my best to please this precious little girl?
Playing at Grandma & Papa's

Camp Lulu

I'm happy that I'm a grandmother.

I'm happy that Lulu loves to visit.

I'm happy that we play together.

I'm happy that I remembered how to sew!



Organize buttons on safety pins, pipe cleaners, or twist ties.

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