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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

So we made it through Memorial Day and the gods must have been with us as everyone got to travel in fair weather and the skies were clear for all of the swimming and grilling we wanted to do. Have to say that I am beginning to like these impromptu things more and more. Everyone just pitches in and no real angst on anyone's part. Special thanks to our grillmaster (son-in-law Todd) of the day-not easy to feed a house full of vegetarians, pescatarians, meat eaters and just plain "picky-atarians" but he pulled it off and my fish with sun dried tomatoes was delicious!

About the time that everyone was safely home in their own beds, Beryl came through. We were lucky. All that we got was some good soaking rain which was greatly needed in our area. Everything looks so nice and green again.

When the holiday was over, I was ready to tackle a project or two when I remembered that yesterday was the undergraduate award ceremony at my grand daughter's high school. Since the award she was receiving was a secret from her, we didn't talk much about it and I am glad my "getting older" brain remembered.

Hubby and I headed to Gainesville to visit with my mom during lunch and then on to the ceremony. Hannah ended up receiving an award for straight As in the IB program, top AP award for English Composition and then the top female IB student award presented by Smith College and chosen by the faculty for not just her academics but her participation in athletics, student government and leadership and volunteerism. It truly was quite an honor.

When we left there, we were famished so we headed off to try out a new restaurant and by the time we arrived home, another day was gone.

So today, I awoke to the thought of doing great things! And then I got caught between this.....

and this........

What to do? Make new valances for the sunroom or start putting up the 4th of July decorations? Of course I had a list of small "to-dos" as well so that is where I started and the above pictures are just where I am at the moment! Oh well, tomorrow is another day. Stay tuned!

Here are the pictures of the anniversary gifts that were made for Becky and Todd. The picture above is of the coasters that Hannah made using pictures of her parents from the past and color collages to match their house. She was going to make them out of leftover kitchen tiles and decoupage on the pictures and glue cork on the bottom. But, when we walked into JoAnns and Aunt Jennie found the already made coasters on a discount shelf, we knew we had a winner. Hannah decoupaged on the pictures, distressed the edges, inked them a bit and then gave them a good number of coats of clear sealer. I think they turned out great and would love it if someone were to make us a set-hint, hint!

These were Morgan's gifts to her folks. She found the frame all by herself and I helped her find the pictures. The poem was written from her heart and turned into the plaque. She asked that no one read the poem as she was working on it until her mom and dad could read it and so we abided by her wishes. Knew it would be a tear jerker as Becky's eyes brimmed over-and it was! This family has had a rough year but they are on the other side of it now and all is looking up. Have to believe that the intense amount of love they share has helped them all get through the rough spots.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

ZZZZZZZZZZZ...Best Laid Plans

So I started this blog several days ago when all the plans I had for this holiday weekend was to have 2 of my grand daughters and their dogs here with us while their parents headed to the beach for an 18th (!!!) anniversary weekend. I was planning on just showing you a few shots of what is blooming in the garden currently and then show you my new deck color. Hence, the downloading of these pictures. Then, with the speed of a text message, my life became so much more fun.

The first request was whether I could get my oldest grand daughter out to a ziplining facility here in Ocala-who knew?! She had been invited to "zip" with a friend. No problem. I was even anxious to see this set-up. More about this later!

Then, could everyone come a day early? Again, no problem, I love having everyone here.

Then, since they were coming back on Memorial Day afternoon, could they plan a cook-out and invite the rest of the gang? Again, no problem. If I had known daughter #3 wasn't heading back to the beach again with her crew, I would have thought of that one myself.

Once Mom and Dad were safely on their way, anniversary plans began. Both girls had an idea of something to make and since we would need some additional food for Monday, we decided to head out and shop. But, before going, we stopped by #3's new house-still under major renovations- and she decided we were going to have too much fun without her, so she joined the group.

And we did have fun. We gathered up everything we needed-and a bit more that we just wanted- and headed back to my house. The girls started crafting and while I helped where I could, my daughter made us some delicious caprese crustini. We all sat and gabbed, munched and crafted the entire afternoon away. It was lovely! No preconceived ideas of what we were to do yet it all came together. Sorry I forgot to take pictures of the girls while they were crafting but I will try to remember to take pictures of the finished products once mom and dad open them.

While Hannah is still off zipping, Morgs and I are preparing the house for an afternoon of company. Hannah, her friend and her friend's mom will be coming over soon. Thought they might enjoy a swim after their busy morning. Seems that they will do a 3 mile hike and then zipline down 9 different courses until they are back to the starting point. I didn't think this could be too daunting as I have lived in Central Florida for almost 47 years and I didn't recall seeing too many mountain ranges. And I was right...but there is an old stone quarry and most of it is pretty well dug out so it leaves TALL stones walls with a long way down-and there is even water running under many of them. I could see the last line from the starting point and even thought I might some day give it a try until I saw the very long and narrow-and might I add HIGH swaying foot bridge one must traverse to get to the start of the last line and get back. And, this is only the one I could see. Guess I will be thinking about that one for awhile!

Then, in a bit, everyone else will find their way to my house and we will have our cook-out. Although, after MONTHS of no rain, it looks as if tropical storm Beryl may bring us a few drops. It was supposed to hit yesterday, but nothing here at our house. It is just beginning to cloud up so who knows. In any case, we have lots of food so we will have fun. And, as long as there is no lightning, I'm O.K. with the kids swimming so they will be happy!

In any case, since these pictures are downloaded, enjoy. It is what is blooming now. And, you can get a peek at the new deck color-mocha- in a few of the pictures. I wanted to go a bit darker then we have had in the past and if the truth be told, next time this has to be done, I will go even darker still. But, I do like it better than what we had and it goes with everything we have around the pool.

Chomping at the bit to get 4th of July out, so stay tuned. That might be next.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lazy, Hazy Days........

O.K. It isn't June yet. And, if you are a faithful reader of this blog, you know that summer is my LEAST favorite of all seasons. But LAZY sort of appeals to me at times, so if the shoe fits, etc., etc.

Now that daughter #3 and family live in the same town, I get to see a lot more of them. And occasionally I can help out with watching the kids. I have had that opportunity a number of times of late and that gives me the perfect opportunity to "be lazy". We just kind of do what we want. And how much fun is that!

One visit was right before Mother's Day and we used that day to make something for Mom. Harrison was in school and then at a play date so I knew I wouldn't get my hands on him until later in the day when Jen got back into town and came by with dinner. I also knew that he would want to be a part of whatever gift idea I came up with, so I reached back in time and decided on one I did years ago with Hannah & Morgan.

The 2 little ones and I set out to find the perfect spot for a picture. After trying EVERYWHERE outdoors with no success due to the bright sun that day, we decided on an indoor shot. We took the pictures, downloaded them, adjusted the size, etc. The kids loved seeing their faces on the computer monitor and then again as they spewed from the printer.

I had already purchased a distressed black frame with 3 openings, so we were good to go. We filled in 2 of the spots and as soon as Harrison arrived, I whisked him away and repeated the process with him. Thank goodness for the digital age-never thought I'd hear myself say that!

As you may be able to tell from the above pictures-which we used in the frame-I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Jennie loved it and I am sure it will hold a special spot in her home for years to come.

Their next visit provided the above opportunity. Thank you Pinterest. I simply filled glass pie plates with baking soda and then mixed white vinegar with the 3 primary colors of food coloring. I gave each of the kids an eye dropper and the fun began! I don't know why I was so excited because the reaction of the baking soda and vinegar was what it always is-bubbles. But what fun it was to see it happen right before my eyes-or better yet, the eyes of the kids!

They caught on very quickly and I thought the fun might be over as soon as the plate was full of color, but not so. The bubbling continued on and on. We even got in a quick lesson on colors and how we get secondary colors-did I tell you these 2 are pretty smart!?

This was one of our finished plates. We had to stop just because we used up all of the vinegar. This was really a no-brainer and kept the kids occupied forever!

This week's visit saw us raiding one of the game drawers that hadn't been hit for a long time. You see, these 2 have a pretty set routine when they get to my house. Presley heads to the dollhouse and Hudson heads to the Legos. Then, a snack is very quickly in order followed by "Cars" or "Barbie Princess" DVDs. I was determined to break the cycle this visit and get out some of the sadly neglected toys since the 4 oldest have grown up on me. We pulled out some of my Discovery toys (have I ever told you the story of how I became a Discovery toy dealer when we were expecting my first grand daughter just so I could purchase the dealer's package? I'll save that for another day. And yes, it was O.K. to do. At least that is what the lady who so gladly accepted my rather large check told me...but I digress) and I was quickly told "I know how to do this. We have this at my school.". But, I persevered and we had a good bit of fun until it was back to the Legos and dollhouse. And, of yes, by then we were ready for food again so I pulled out the big guns and made mac & cheese. A fun day was had by all!

And today, after a doctor's appt., we are on our way out of town again. Then, several more things on the calendar over the next week and I pick this time to finally get decorating MOTIVATED!!!! Don't know where my mojo has been the last many months, but it is coming back and ideas are flowing. Too bad there isn't a spare second in my life right now, but I am confident there will be soon. After all, June and summer are almost here and what better thing to do but hibernate inside and re-do some rooms? So far, all of my ideas involve the expenditure of some big bucks, so I will have to revamp or do some quick talking! We will see where this leads. Stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

You're HOW Old?

So this is how we spent Saturday afternoon. This place is truly remarkable-or maybe I just haven't been in a new bowling alley in awhile. We have done lots of bowling parties in scouts or for birthdays and quite honestly, most places are dark and dingy. This bowling alley is the newest addition to a "fun" complex that has been around for awhile. They just keep adding on. They have roller skating, rock climbing, a go-cart track, arcades and now bowling.

They have a separate area for parties so you don't get stuck in the middle of league bowling with a bunch of kids. There is comfortable seating, beautiful new lanes, tvs, music, lots of neon, flashing lights and FOOD! All of the things you need to keep fidgety kids busy even when it isn't their turn to bowl. You can also tell the machine who needs bumpers and they will miraculously pop up when it is that person's turn. Even the youngest among us had a great turn-and even bowled a strike albeit the slowest ball ever. Imagine our surprise when all 10 pins fell over! Let's just say she could give a few lessons to some of the adults among us-ha-ha!

The occasion was a surprise party for Morgan Paige who turned 13 this week! Don't know where the time went but suffice it to say that she has turned into such a sweet young woman and we love her. This party was kind of hard to put together because May is the craziest of all months and everyone is super busy. Morgan was even out of town on her own birthday as her school was on an end of the year trip to Universal. This made her extremely happy as she has been chomping at the bit to get to the Harry Potter area at this theme park and she was so excited! Couldn't have made for a better birthday!

Anyhow, this is a great place to throw a party. Young and old had a wonderful time and we pulled off a surprise-at least that was her story and she's sticking to it.

Here everyone is getting the score screens ready-don't need score keepers any more. I was hoping you could see the colored lighting running up and down the alleys in this picture but I missed that shot. It was really pretty to look at and didn't seem to distract anyone bowling at all.

After the bowling, dinner, cake and presents were over, the kids were given tokens and off they went to the arcade. Not sure where they had the most fun-non-kids included!

Yes, I used this idea again, but Morgan hadn't seen it so it worked.

The highlight of the day was when Morgan received one more gift from Mom, Dad and Hannah. They had given her what she thought were all of her presents the day before on her real birthday. She had desperately wanted a new parakeet. She was a bit disappointed when she didn't get one but since they already have 2 dogs and a cat, she kind of understood.

She was beside herself when she got all of the trappings with the promise of going to pick out the newest family member when the party was over.

One more day put to rest in our memories forever. The years are going much too quickly and our grand children are growing up before our eyes. It is beautiful to watch them turn into wonderful young adults. I love talking with them and hearing their opinions on life. Sometimes I agree, sometimes not but that is O.K. Still, my heart and thoughts can't help but occasionally go back to when they were little and all of the fun we had then. Thank goodness we still have "little miss sassy pants" and her 2 brothers to keep us on our toes.

Going to catch up on a few things and then give myself the rest of the day before we start a new week that looks to be pretty full if my calendar is accurate. More to share soon. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mothers' Day

I'm never sure what my Mothers' Day will bring. Each year it is different and we have to see what everyones' calendars will allow. And so it was this year when I started to make some plans. I knew my husband and I would get up to celebrate with my mother and I hoped we could include my brother and sister-in-law as well. I also planned a Saturday luncheon with a good friend. And, that was all I thought would be happening.

Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised when daughter #2 and her family came by on Friday and again on Sunday evening. They had a huge volleyball tournament in Orlando and I didn't think I would get to see them at all.

Then, daughter #3 (whom I thought would be at the beach with her family) called to ask if she could come along to visit her grandmother. The icing on the cake was when she showed up with my youngest grand daughter as well. What a fun day we had and my mom always loves to see the little ones. After sitting with my mom as she ate her lunch and then sharing her favorite dessert-apple pie-we did her gifts and visited with her a bit.

As we were heading home, we decided to make a stop in Micanopy. They have the friendliest little cafe and we always like to stop there for a bite if our timing is right. This town is the picture of "old Florida"-very quiet and laid back. We ordered our food and then decided to eat out on the porch. There are 2 restaurant cats that will come visit and on this day the owner was there so his beautiful dog paid us a visit as well. Our other friendly visitors were the love bugs. I don't know what parts of the country are privy to love bugs other than Central Florida but we would gladly send them on their way to anyone else who would like to share. These bugs do not bite or sting. They just fly in droves and smear up your windshield and front of your car so thickly that sometimes you truly need to stop mid-trip just to scrap them off. And, if you don"t wash them off of your car quickly, their remains will actually eat off the paint. This year they were particularly heavy in our area and sitting outside might not have been the smartest move of the day but we survived and enjoyed the ambiance and people watching.

When we returned, I got to have a nice long phone conversation with daughter #1, so everyone was present and accounted for. It turned out to be a wonderful weekend full of people and things that I love-what could be better?!

One of my gifts consisted of 5 new miniature gardenia bushes. I love gardenias but the miniature variety is new to me. It seems as if they bloom sooner and longer than the traditional variety but have the same fragrance. I just got them in the ground today. Will be posting some garden pictures soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Love/Hate Relationship

I love spring because there is so much going on in our family. But, I also hate spring because there is so much going on in our family. I love my seasons, holidays and celebrations. I like to plan and prepare for them all. Yet, somehow, when April and May arrive every year I find myself being pushed through the days and weeks like I used to feel when I got caught up in a wave at the beach when I was a little girl. I feel as if I really have no control. I know there is no sense trying to battle my way out. In the end I have learned to let go, not fight and just see where it deposits me.

I have really had so many good intentions but life has been hectic as usual in our family this time of year. So, I am posting a quick look at some of the rest of my spring decor so I can soon get on to all of the other happenings in our lives and get a bit more up to date. Let's just say that the things I am showing you today have been up long enough to collect a fair amount of dust-but that is another story!

The above photo of a table in my livingroom has a simple "nest" download and then a nest I put together from coconut fiber and twigs nestled into a pretty piece of wood rescued from the log pile. I am also still in love with the metal pitcher my daughter found for me.

The couch table this year-kind of plain and simple but I like it. The round slate is something I found in a garden shop in Savannah many years ago and has a simple quote about families and nests-fits right in with my theme.

The coffee table holds so many favorites; rust, lantern, cloche and hand carved candle holder.

I balanced one of my French pots on a short candle holder and nestled in another nest and bird.

I'm really liking the bluish green popping up a lot in this room this season. I am thinking of using that color for a quick re-do in the sunroom. Haven't really started to think just yet, but I may surprise you soon by finally starting a new project and getting it done instead of just thinking about it!

Here is my treasure from my antiquing trip with daughter #3. One of our stops was at a huge furniture consignment store. It brought back so many memories as this store is in the building of what was once our favorite independent department store here in town. They carried beautiful womens' clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags, sleepwear and intimate apparel and cosmetics and fragrances. They also had a specialty baby area and gorgeous gift boutique. I could always find a gift for someone no matter how hard that person was to shop for. And, they did the most beautiful gift wrapping with the biggest bows you have ever seen. And, my girls all worked there at one point or another. But, I digress!

The consignment store hasn't really changed any of the old store lay out. It was so weird to walk into an old dressing room and see antiques still surrounded by the old mirrors. Even the beautiful tearoom upstairs is now full of stuff! And I do mean stuff! There is so much here that you really need to go through several times and you still may not catch it all. My daughter was looking for a piece she could use as a vanity so she had been in a few times earlier. When we entered a certain room she said there was something in there that she thought looked just like me. And when I turned my head and my eyes fell down, I knew just what she was talking about. Sitting right there on the floor surrounded by other "stuff". It was love at first sight!

Why old bottles and broken wood speak to me I will never know but this thing was "screaming"! It is an old water bottle and its holder. If weight is any indicator, I got my money's worth! And oh boy, cleaning it was sort of an "I Love Lucy" episode except I didn't have Ethel here to help. Since my husband was forbidden from lifting more than 5 lbs. after his surgery, I waited until he had left the house and lifted the bottle into my deep, double sink. I truly didn't think ahead as I FILLED the bottle with hot soap water. Then came the time to empty it. My sink is so deep, I couldn't tip it at all without lifting it entirely out and putting it on the counter. I can't even guess how much that thing weighed and it was wet and slippery. I kept trying to dry it but the point WAS to get the water out and it kept splashing down the sides. I had all sorts of visions of this thing getting away from me and an antique bottle that was who knows how old losing its life in my hands but in the end we both survived and I love it. This will not be its final resting place but it is where I put it after my hair raising experience and here it still sits!

I have had many more adventures recently and more to share but that will wait for another post. Stay tuned.