Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 "Ugly Sweater" Christmas Photo

We are a blended family, a very lucky and loving blended family.  It's rare that we are fortunate enough to have all the kids home on the same day so this year was a, grandchildren, parents and grandparents.  Someone came up with the idea of an Ugly Sweater photo and we decided to go with it.   In my opinion, all of the sweaters weren't ugly....but the kids just shook their heads.  Oh well, each to their own.  

Also held was our "First Annual Grinch Christmas Exchange" which provided tons of fun and laughter.  Extended family members were invited to participate as well.  Might I mention that I came down with a serious sinus infection as did two of the five kids.   We survived the weekend in a bit of a fog at time. I'm so thankful my kids jumped in and helped with the cooking and hosting activities for the weekend.

It's always my favorite time of the year when they are home and I miss them so much......I know, it's a "Mom" thing. 

New Year Resolutions

Rarely do I compile a "list" each year, however, this year I felt it was necessary to commit to living my life to the fullest and enjoying each day.  We all have life events that occupy our time and I have become so focused on those events that I've forgotten to "breath" and "enjoy the moment!"

2011 Resolutions
  1. Live each day as if it were my last.
  2. Acknowledge things I am thankful for daily.
  3. Take time to savor the moments.
  4. Give and receive extra long hugs from family and friends.
  5. TELL people how important they are/have been in my life while they can understand.
  6. Appreciate all that I have and all that I have become.
  7. Reach out more to friends and relatives for conversations - it only takes a minute.
  8. Write more short notes.
  9. Start using my collection of cookbooks.
  10. Limit myself on the computer.
  11. Redo blog and post regularly.
  12. Scan those pictures and start on those Power Points!
  13. Read one book per week.
  14. Tackle the family room redecorating project.
  15. Find and put all those random photos in order and in photo books.
  16. Clear off the treadmill and actually use it!  Losing weight would be a bonus, but more importantly strengthening those back muscles will make life so much easier.
  17. Develop an exercise program and watch the diet.
  18. Plan that new garden design while the snow is on the ground.
  19. Start sorting and simplifying my collections of "things."
  20. Purge closets and dispose of items I haven't worn in 6 months.  Someone else can use them!
  21. Refinish that chest.
Do you make annual New Year Resolutions?
How successful are you at keeping them? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

One Amazing Thing

I just finished this book written by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and found it very interesting.  If you had to write your life "story", what would be the highlights, low points, lessons you have learned...about others and about yourself.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Quick and Easy Dip Recipe for the Holidays

The first of many holiday gatherings was held today and the recipe given below was a tremendous hit.  I doubled the recipe and it turned out great.

Jalapeno Popper Dip
  Two 8-oz. pkgs cream cheese
One Cup Mayo
One cup Mexican Blend Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
One 4-oz. Can Chopped Green Chilies
One 4-oz. Can Sliced Jalapenos

One Cup Panko Crumbs
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Stick Melted Butter

Blend the first six ingredients until smooth.  Put into greased 2 qt. casserole.  (I used two Longaberger Pottery Pie Plates).  Mix the last three ingredients together and put over the top.  
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Quick, easy and very tasty.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lady Ga Ga has upcoming competition???

Do you remember playing "dress-up" as a child? 

I did and spent hours with my mom's heels, purses, jewelry, etc.  If I were really lucky, she would help me with lipstick.   Apparently this is the new version (a 2 1/2 - year old's version anyhow) of dress-up! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This smile makes everything worthwhile!

Our youngest grandchild had his first birthday party this past Saturday.  He absolutely cracks me up - this is the face we see most all of the time.   He is just adorable (of course, we are not at all prejudiced!) and is learning to pull himself up and walk around furniture.   He has the bluest eyes and they twinkle.  Christmas should be a source of real entertainment.  It doesn't matter what is happening on a daily basis, just a quick glance at this picture always brings a smile to my face.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ah...Silence is Golden!

It's post-election day - and blissfully quiet!   I am all about voting and consider it my civic responsibility to participate.   Having recently moved to a new state, the selection process this time around was quite challenging.  There was no history of  the incumbants' records and found it extremely difficult to find "accurate" information on those running.   And it, for now, appears to be a new ballgame - at least until the next election! 

Ah, I shall NOT miss the endless recorded phone messages that interrupted my daily life for so long!  Best wishes, however, to those who have elected and have been elected to face the challenge of making our country stronger and better.

The day was spent cleaning windows, inside and out, and taking down screens.  Everything looks so much brighter and cleaner and clearer right now.  There is nothing like a "project" to clear the mind, or is that occupy? 

Happy Wednesday to All!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What a difference a day makes!

This is just a few days ago - before the Michigan winds came charging through.  The spectacular views of autumn splendor are, for the most part, a pleasant memory.  

This is the "tween" period - between those rich golden colors and the beauty of the fallen snow.  That being said, I'm in no hurry for the snow part - just the beauty of it!
It's now time to finish cleaning out the flower beds, store the deck furniture, bring in pots from the deck ...and start stacking the firewood.   

Speaking of bringing in pots, has anyone had any luck in storing spikes/geraniums through the winter months?   I have four pots that are just beautiful and someone told me if I take them inside for the winter they will come back bigger and stronger next year.  I have a basement area, but no windows - 
will that work?  I'd appreciate your suggestions.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Mushroom Houses"

Charlevoix, Michigan's Hidden Charms -
A number of "Mushroom Houses" built and designed by Earl Young.  Very interesting to see.  All different shapes and sizes.  If you look closely you can see that the roofs are not uniform and from what I have read, the walls are somewhat askew also.   Since I am one who likes "balance" I'm not sure this would be for me, but I WOULD love to be able to go through one or more of them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Paper Mache Giraffes

Another ArtPrize Entry

My experience with Paper Mache was many years ago in Boy Scouts and our troop thought we had accomplished the impossible winning the "President's Award" for Paper Mache Masks!   The detail on these animals were amazing.   Can you tell I envy those with artistic talent?  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An Interesting Windchime..

Do you like/love windchimes?

Grand Rapids, Michigan is conducting it's 2nd Annual ArtPrize and this "old man" was one of the artist's entries....he just blew me away.   I would love, love, love to have him residing in my yard!  Such talent and creativity!   This year there are over 1,700 artists in town.  It is, for me at least, impossible to see all of the exhibits.  But the ones I have seen take one's breath away.   I'm thinking about doing a couple of mosaics to show some of the entries.   If you ever need a destination place this time of year - I highly recommend a few days and wear your most comfortable shoes!

Sunday, September 26, 2010



This scene is from the window of the art museum in town and I always find it to be so peaceful and calming.  There is a outdoor patio where you can sit and relax, watch people, the scenery, or the reflections of the pool.   One of my favorite places to solve the problems of the world!

Happy Weekend to all!

Check out other Weekend Reflections at

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We will always remember!

Nine years ago we endured and witnessed such horror at the lives of innocent people being forever changed.  Today, like every day, gives pause to reflect for all that we are and all that we have.   And today, especially, I say a quiet prayer for strength and peace to all of the families touched by the events of  September 11th.  A prayer for peace, a prayer for forgiveness, and a daily prayer for our soldiers who continue to fight the fight for our freedoms and our country!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Have you ever thought of what it would be like to live in a lighthouse?

I have ...until the last couple of days when we have had tremendous wind gusts causing power outages.  It must be a solitary life.  As much as I love to read, I would be concerned about being that "alone".
I will always enjoy visiting them (as you no doubt have figure out - I have a fascination with them) and enjoying the beautiful scenery surrounding them; however, I will be able to come home and enjoy the comforts of my own little heaven on earth....and people, and grandkids, and yes, even 
too much noise and activity at times!

Happy Wednesday to everyone!! 


Thursday, July 22, 2010

How does my garden grow?

With a lot of love - and even more water!!!  

We have a 3 day weekend coming up an my plan is to prepare another perennial garden.  Despite my better judgment I made another trip to the nursery.  And like puppies,  more plants just keep following me home.  Sooner or later, I'll have enough...right? 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Give Me a Call

Who remembers these?

This particular booth is before my time, however it does have a certain charm about it.   My hubby actually jumped in the booth and acted like Clark Kent turning into Superman.  AND cautioned me NOT to post his picture!  He is my Superman so this is as close as I dare get.

Another hot, humid and sticky day.  Perfect for danging the toes in the water and sitting under an umbrella with a lemonade and good book.

Hope everyone is staying cool!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Old Mission Peninsula


One of my favorite trips is to the hill county and wineries.  The countryside is always so unique and the scenery breathtaking.  I enjoy the personalities of the hosts in the tasting rooms.  I sometimes wonder whether the wine totally sells itself (of course it does!) and just how much the personality of the host and ambiance of the venue adds to the experience!  

  As much as I'd like to pretend I am knowledgeable about the perfect "marriage" of wines with specific meals, that is just not the case.  I usually gravitate towards Rieslings and semi-sweet wines, with an occasional Merlot that tickles my fancy.   And I'm drawn to the silly names of some of the wines.  One of our favorites has a pooch for a mascot and a bottle named in his honor.  (Yes, I like OPI nail polish for the same silly reasons - someone has a great job thinking up those names!)

And dare I say, shhhh - it's our secret - sometimes I throw an ice cube in the wine glass regardless of whether it is suppose to be served chilled or not!

What wines do you gravitate to?  Do you have a favorite?  With ice or without?

It's been a while since I've participated in Mosaic Mondays and I miss them.   Please join Mary at Little Red House to enjoy many beautiful mosaics.

Friday, July 16, 2010


So simple and so beautiful!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Traverse City

Walking on the sandy beach, listening to the sounds of the water against the rocks, hearing the sounds of the animals, basking the the glory of nature at its finest....such a calming way to unwind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quirky but Cute!

A friend and I spent the afternoon browsing an artsy section of a neighboring town and found these interesting chairs.  I've never seen a wingback with this upholstery but nontheless, it was cute.  And the little black number on the right - quirky and adorable!  And the sign - well, we've all been there!!

Hope all of you are staying cool in this hot, humid and sticky weather!   I'm so thankful we live in a wooded area - at least I can keep moving to the "shady" spot to work!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Their Memory Remains

We are forever in debt to the courageous servicemen and women who paid the supreme sacrifice to secure our freedom and make it possible for us to live in peace.  As they bravely died, so we must now bravely live and continue to protect our liberty.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sunshine makes the world much brighter!!

Isn't is amazing how sunshine makes such a difference in our lives, outlook and attitude!  We've been knee deep in outside projects yet something as simple, and beautiful, as this flower makes one pause and smile; there is nothing like taking time to enjoy and appreciate all that is before us.

Wishing everyone a day full of sunshine!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Now this is a barn!

The opportunity presented itself for a few days away thanks to my wonderful daughter, who stayed with her Grandma.  We headed to Frankenmuth, Michigan to take in the sites.  And lovely sites they were!  We ate the traditional food, took in the touristy shops and took lot of pictures. 

For those of you who are "caregivers" you will understand how wonderful it is to get away just to relax, do things when and if you want to, walk, talk and spend some quality time with one another.  And that is NOT to say I begrudge my role as "caretaker".   I am just saying that everyone needs a respite break.

Hubby and I are so fortunate in that we both share so many common likes and interests...and following that "yellow brick road" is one of them.   In the past, we have been known to take off on vacation for weeks without one reservation in place.  And so we did on this little "getaway".  

I was amazed at the cleanliness of this town, the homes were well kept, the lawn well manicured, there appeared to be no areas that were neglected or needed attention.  Parks were lovely (my age is showing, but frisbee golf was a new term to me!).  There is so much history here, lovely old homes, a number of  churches were open for tours, people were extremely friendly and helpful.   We intended on hitting a winery or two, but spent more time than we had anticipated at Bronners Christmas Wonderland.  We did find some wonderful Chocolate Mint Cheese (really, who would have ever thought of that!)  
(Ladies, can you tell I'm very comfortable under my rock!!)

But my favorite was this little "gem" tucked on the outskirts of town.  The home, as you can imagine, was VERY lovely!  Can you imagine what you could do with something like this tucked into your back yard?  It would make a great little antique shop, don't you think?  Or a great "man barn" with pool table, manly stuff everywhere.  The possibilities are endless.   What would you do with this little "gem"?


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dale Chihuly Exhibit at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

The colors are simply amazing!   Sculptures such as the one shown above are gently placed thought the butterfly exhibit and in various placed on the grounds. This one happens to be in a pond in the butterfly garden.  This year marks the 15th Anniversary of Meijer Gardens.  If you are in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, you will thoroughly enjoy stopping here. 

Leonardo da Vinci's Horse

 Flowers Blooming Everywhere


More Chihuly Exhibits

A beautiful way to spend a bright, sunny day!!!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sunshine and Sweet Tea - Life is Good!!!

Finally - the dust has settled and the project is complete!

And somewhere I have neat pictures - can you believe this is all I can find at the moment?  Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this!

And the before is shown below:

Now this is an embarrassing picture - my house is not always this messy.  Guess the wine was needed to get up the courage to start taking those messy tiles out??

The hardwood floor was extended into the kitchen area and sanded and stained a much lighter color. Those lovely "purple" counter tops are a thing of the past!  Yeah!   And the curtains will be replaced at some point in the near future!    The new counter tops are coved and much lighter in color with an undermounted sink.

My zany decorations above the cabinet remain - doesn't everyone have a collection ranging from Dad's old tin cars (about 75 years old) - to antique refrigerator jars - to butter molds - to my grandmother's old Brownie camera?  Actually I have a closet of Longaberger baskets that someday I plan on putting up there unless I can sell them first!

On to the next project - planting flowers and getting the yard in shape.  Sunshine and sweet tea these days - just can't get much better than that!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yep, I'm Color Challenged!!

It's the day before the new counter tops arrive - and I've spent the day priming, painting and RE-painting the kitchen walls.

As much as I love color, after I had carefully selected a caramel color to contrast the counter tops, and painstakingly applied, when it dried - it just didn't work!   Has anyone else done this?   It just dried darker, much darker in fact, that the sample.  And what I envisioned as being cozy warm turned out to be NOT SO COZY WARM! 

So perhaps after the counter tops are installed, I'll give it another whirl.  For now, it's just simple, clean and calm.

But the bright side is that a fresh coat of paint always makes things brighter.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dreaming of Spring...

The sun has been shining the last several days, the snow is melting and I find myself searching for signs of spring.   You know, a bud on the tree, a flower peeking through the snow, etc.  
A few weeks early, but the sunshine has really been a welcome sight for most of us. 

Life continues to happen around here - just remembering to breath and enjoy the good days!  Thanks to those who have checked is appreciated more than you will ever realize.

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend for all of you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Big Red - Grand Haven, Michigan

I'm joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. 

It has been warmer the last three days - snow is melting, ice melting and sun shining upon us.  The weather forecast for tonight is typical of winter - 8 to 10 inches predicted.  Guess it's to be expected (we are not that far from spring!).  These photos were taken a week or so ago at one of my favorite winter spots.  There is such beauty in nature!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things that Make Me Happy

Gentle kisses
The sound of laughter
My hubby coming home from work
Spending time with my grown children
My grandchildren
Board games with family and friends
Hand-written notes
Good books
Hot cider/hot chocolate
Long walks
Old Photographs
A roaring fire
A clean house
Sounds of the ocean
Browsing through antique shops
Fresh clean sheets
Visiting historic neighborhoods
Good hair days
Down-filled comforters
Scented candles
A good game of Scrabble

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

Isn't this awesome!   

So many of us have been deluged with excessive and unexpected amounts of snow.  Being one of the fortunate  few, we ventured outside for a bit this past weekend.  And burrr, it was a long walk on a short pier!!   The sight of my walking down the ice-coated pier would have been great fodder for American's Greatest Videos. 
I just don't bounce up like I use to!   
It did give me a new respect for those olympic ice skaters!

Here's wishing us all a warm cup of hot chocolate, a good book, warm boots and the strength to hold on until spring!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We're getting there...

Here's a peek at the almost finished project, or this part of the kitchen redo, and I'm very happy with the results.   I simply cannot wait to get in there and start dusting, cleaning and getting my home back together. I've decided I'm a much nicer person when things are in their right place!  

Thank you for your input - lighter flooring has made such a difference!!   And when we get the new countertops, the transformation will be complete!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Your opinion ...please.

I need some suggestions!

The old tile in the kitchen floor is gone (thankfully!) and the hardwood floor has been extended from the dining room.  I like the look of the natural wood, or the lighter color of  the natural wood. The guy was here today and sanded the dining room and kitchen floors - what a difference.  So light and airy.  We checked they stains they brought and yuck - didn't match, so more are coming tomorrow.  The kicker is the kitchen cabinets are darker with a reddish tone to them. 

My question is - dare I go with a natural or lighter stain on the floor?  Have any of you seen/done this in your kitchens?   This isn't something a can of paint and a little time will correct if I do it wrong!  

Grrrrrr. decisions, decisions, decisions! 


Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Forgot About the Dust...

We are definitely in the middle of projects......and it does feel good.  That being said, I forgot about the dust involved in taking up tile floors (perhaps because I've never done before!)  Rooms are rearranged, knick-knacks have been packed and moved to a safe location.  Furniture is shoved in the funniest places.

I was setting up a little table last night for computer access and found that I REALLY LIKED this little corner in the living room....feels comfortable and cozy.  More thought needs to be given to the rearranging of the living room (more like a great room).  Then...this morning the dust became a bit to much (and the noise!) so I moved my little table into the bedroom.............and this feels good too. 

So what started out as a simple project (if you can call that simple) feels like more rearranging in other rooms.  Am I the only one who has these moments??

I'll be back - as soon as the dust settles a little more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Timing is Everything...

For months we have pondered replacing the kitchen flooring, putting in new countertops and sink in the kitchen and redoing the fireplace in our lower level family room.   We've looked at books, leisurely browsed through stores and have taken our time in deciding what we wanted.  I'm not sure what happened, or for that matter, how it happened, but in the last four days everything has come together!

The workers were here this morning chipping away the stone on the fireplace.  The fireplace guys have arrived and are doing their thing.  I received a call yesterday from the flooring company and they will be here Thursday morning.  No problem, we'll just move the stove, refrigerator, etc into room??? 
(Ah, my favorite thing to make - reservations!!!)

(On a nice spring day we could  move everything into the garage - but winter and Michigan weather just doesn't bode well for parking vehicles outside!)  It will only be 3 or 4 days! 

The wonderful  news about all of this is that I'll need to temporarily rearrange my living room out of necessity ...and as long as we are moving things around, it's time for a new look.   Our furniture is big and heavy and I am unable to move it by myself.  Although I am married to the man of my dreams, he just doesn't see the need to move things around -you know, just find a spot and nail it down.  This is going to be fun. (And to give "the sweetie" a fair shake, he will do just about anything I ask!)

Wish me luck. Pictures will be coming and I'll be asking for input and suggestions.

Have a great day ladies!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


If your parents are still with you, please take a moment to hug them, hold them, and tell them how much you love them and how important they have been to you.   Don't wait - there may come a day when they just don't comprehend.  And please say a quiet prayer for those who are facing the loss of life as it was once known.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Best wishes to each of you for a splendid, wonderful, happy, healthy and beautiful New Year. May all of your dreams come true!

Do you make a list of resolutions for the New Year? For me, it's time to get busy exercising, start that "Monday" diet and get back to my regular posts!!

Holidays were filled making memories with the family - it is truly the most wonderful time of year! How I miss miss them when they all leave.

And maybe start thinking about taking down those Christmas decorations...........soon.

Happy New Year!