Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Melody Chatelle, a friend of mine, has a new blog. Melody has written a book called , “Journeys of Heartache and Grace: Conversations and Life Lessons From Young People With Serious Illnesses.” She describes her book as "a book on communicating with loved ones during tough times when people become seriously ill." She says that she based the book on "poignant, practical and heartfelt interviews with young people ages six to 20 facing life-threatening or serious chronic illnesses."

Melody's book describes how the families of the children communicated and tells about the life lessons she learned from those seriously ill young people. Although Melody has written these stories from the perspective of young people, the strategies and lessons from the book might easily be applied to people of all ages. To view Melody's blog, go to

Melody states that the purpose of her blog is to connect people who are interested in the common topic of dealing with serious illnesses and to help people find the resources that will help them in their journey. She suggests that if you have thoughts/ideas/comments about life-threatening or altering illnesses, she would welcome your questions and comments on her blog.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


In the past I have written about the deer that come through our yard on a regular basis, about the baby owls that were born in our neighbor's backyard and now we have begun watching our squirrels play with a new "toy" that my husband found in his Easter basket a couple of weeks ago. It came from Wild Birds Unlimited and is called a Squngee Deluxe Squirrel Feeder.
It is a bungee-type cord that hangs from a tree and has a bell and two screws for ears of corn hanging down from the cord. The squirrel jumps up from the ground and grabs the ears of corn in an effort to pull off kernels while the whole contraption bounces up and down in the air and the bell rings to catch our attention.We started out with the corn about a foot above the ground and our squirrel mastered the jump right away. According to directions, we moved the corn about a foot higher. The squirrel jumped and grabbed the corn again so we put the corn four feet from the ground. It is amazing to watch that fat squirrel sit under the corn, jump without any effort to grab the corn, and hang on long enough to grab a kernel or two. We have had a wonderful time watching this amazing feat! We decided we need to enter our squirrel in the Olympics because of his amazing jump from a standing position, but also because of the beautiful back flip he does when he is ready to "dismount" the bouncing corn feeder.
This talented squirrel is very camera shy though. It has taken me more than a week to take these pictures. He works on those ears of corn around noontime each day and I have been grabbing my camera and sitting on the patio waiting for him to start jumping. He first jumps up on a bench near the patio and looks all around before leaping off the bench and heading for the area under the corn. If he sees me on the patio, he runs off and doesn't come back until I go inside. Today I hid behind a bush so he could not see me from the bench and got these pictures! Ha! Success!

And here is one final picture for Little One who does not have squirrels where she lives. When she came for Easter she was fascinated by our squirrels which she called "monkeys" because she had been to the zoo and watched the spider monkeys climb in the trees.

Friday, April 24, 2009


We are beginning to plan a 25th anniversary celebration at our church. Last night I went to a planning session for a reception for the founding families and, before we began, one of our members reminded us that we need to be good stewards of the gifts that we have in our church. With that in mind, we moved through the planning session very easily. We determined that we could use name tags and small votive candles that the church already had and someone offered to create the table decorations. Another family volunteered to provide the drinks and someone offered to make simple computer-generated favors commemorating the event. Dessert will be donated by a member of the church and the largest outlay of money will be for the hors d'oeuvres that will be purchased.

After the meeting I was amazed that our group was able to improvise in such a way that we planned a quite nice event without spending lots and lots of money, thanks to the generosity of the members of our group. We were also challenged to use the resources that we had before we just went out and spent money. I can apply that same principle to my own life by using the resources I have before I just go out and spend money. Guess I had better check my resources before I go shopping this afternoon!! !

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Connie over at Smockity Frocks is having a giveaway. Digital Room has offered to give away another 16x20 poster print to one of their readers! (Shipping is free in U.S. and Canada only.)

I can see one of my flower photos framed and up on my wall! Or I could use it for a study for a painting. I might use the one I posted on Charley's Plant back at the end of March. It is a closeup of a beautiful orange flower from the plant on our back fence. It was in full bloom all during February, March and into April. Alas, it has gone to seed now, but it was so beautiful that we had people stopping to ask the name of the plant. We don't know the name of the plant, but call it Charley's Plant because it came from cuttings I got from Charley's plant in Corpus Christi.

Here is the picture I was thinking about for the poster!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This past weekend Son #3 and his pal, Nero, came for a visit. I bought Nero a new toy and he is investigating it just after they arrived.
Nero also liked to stand at our back door watching for squirrels to chase. He really put the fear into them when he was here, getting lots of exercise in our back yard. However, the squirrels quickly recovered as soon as Nero left. Sigh!
We had yet another birthday celebration for Mother while Son #3 was here. She was delighted with the unusual present he brought her that contained a bit of her family history. A hint? It was from a distillery in Kentucky that contains her maiden name. I think they were distant cousins of my mother's family. I do believe that was the most unusual present she received this year!

But, alas, Son #3 and his pal, Nero, had to return home and to work. We really enjoyed having him here, though! Hurry back--and I have to admit that my husband kept offering to adopt Nero, all to no avail!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Last week I missed my Frugal Friday post due to company, but today I would like to share a comment from a friend, Kathy, who has some great money-saving ideas:

She says, "I love reading your blog and I have some solutions for your gift buying. Right now there is a fantastic sale on girls' clothes at J.C. Penney. Not much for boys, alas. I buy a lot of presents there. My other favorites are TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls. They have kids' toys and books for a fraction of full price. You have to check that they work and all pieces are present but they are usually good deals.

I never go to the toy stores. That would be way out of my league, especially when I buy for my grandchildren and the CASA kids I work with. If you plan a year ahead, you can get $40 little girl dresses for less than $10 at both Dillard's (best), Macys (OK) and Penneys (depends). So do your shopping a year ahead at the end of the seasons. In about 2 weeks, I predict the Easter dresses will be reasonable. For me, less than 75% off is not a sale, but a trap."

I agree with Kathy and went Easter shopping yesterday. At CVS I found two grocery baskets of Easter things marked 75% off. I bought several Easter egg-shaped note pads for next year's Easter baskets along with Easter grass, a couple of little stuffed bunnies and my bill was $1.63. The Easter grass was 20 cents a bag! That was quite a savings considering what it would have cost the day before Easter. I packed those things up in my Easter box to have next year when I begin preparing for Easter baskets here or gifts that I send to my grandchildren for Easter.

I also stopped in at Michael's (same shopping center as CVS) but their Easter sale was only 50% off and that was not quite low enough yet. By next week it will be 90% off and that will be more appealing to me.

Happy after-Easter shopping!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Yesterday I saw an interesting magazine article about de-cluttering our homes, our lives, our garages, our computers, and our calendars. Since that was one of my New Year's resolutions, I read the article with interest. The woman's name is Lori and she has a blog that seems to be very interesting and right up my alley with suggestions for de-cluttering almost everything. You might be interested in visiting her at

One of my unplanned efforts at de-cluttering happened last week when our living room flooded. We had to move two large bookcases and I decided it was time to eliminate a bunch of things so that the bookcases would not look so cluttered. My biggest problem is letting go of some family heirlooms that I have inherited from my grandmothers, my mother and an aunt who died several years ago. I hate to turn loose of those things, but I can see that they definitely add to my cluttered look. My sister is a master at arranging things artfully, but mine just looks like CLUTTER! Sis, can you come over and give me a hand at rearranging my clutter--or just eliminating it??

Anyway, I hope to learn some good things on Lori's blog about de-cluttering my house.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Whew! The past two weeks have been very busy! First, we had about 20 family members here to celebrate five family birthdays. We had so much fun and were sad to see them leave last Monday. Miss Ella Bella was also sad to leave us!
On Tuesday a water pipe broke in our bathroom and the gush of water went undiscovered for a short time and flooded our whole living room, soaking the carpet. My husband was able to fix the broken pipe but also had to replace the faucet in the bathroom sink. We had to suction up the water in the living room, move all the furniture, remove the pad under the carpet and get fans going to dry out the carpet. I finally got the living room back together just about 3 hours before Son #2 and his family arrived for Easter weekend.
We had a wonderful Easter weekend with Son #2 and his family. Below are some of our pictures and activities.

Granddaddy giving a wagon ride.

The girls at the Japanese Tea Garden.

One of our Easter art projects.

Little One with the Easter eggs she found on the Easter egg hunt.

Great-Gram and Little One relaxing on our beautiful Easter afternoon.

We had a wonderful time with Son #2 and his family. I was so glad that they chose to spend Easter with us and I was sad to see them leave. Now I will begin to prepare for a visit later this week from Son #3 and his pal, Nero.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This past weekend we had a family gathering and celebrated 5 birthdays that were happening within this first week of April. My brother, sister and I were all together with our Mother who turns 94 today.
My brother and his wife had all of their children and their granddaughter at this family gathering. My sister had her daughter-in-law with two grandchildren and I had Son #4 with his two children here. We had five little ones between the ages of 8 months and four years old. Our two-year-old (almost three) granddaughter came over to our house before the other children appeared on Sunday morning and was disappointed that they were not here. She said she wanted her cousins here because "my cousins are crazy about me!" My husband and I had to quietly stifle our laughs.
Here are a few pictures of our many activities over the several days that we were together:

Cousins getting to know each other

My family with my mother at the Birthday Party

My sister-in-law with the youngest of the cousins.

The cousins on an Easter Egg Hunt.

My hubby entertaining Miss Ella Bella like he did our boys a "few" years back.

Our lovely neighbor (on the right) provided a pedicab ride

My brother helped entertain the cousins in our backyard

And we ate every time we turned around. Yum! Mexican food!

We had a wonderful time and the weekend was over before we knew it. I am so grateful for the times that we celebrate together.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Talking to another grandmother and her daughter-in-law yesterday about the high cost of children's toys nowadays. Whew! I have three or four children's birthday presents to buy this month and the cost of toys is staggering.

In the interest of saving money, I was thinking about making some of the stuffed animals I used to make for my children as they were growing up. We still have a few of them around here. However, my time is limited right now due to lots of company this weekend (blog report soon--taking LOTS of pictures).

A young mother visiting us also suggested that I go to a couple of second-hand stores in our area that specialize in young children's clothes and toys. She said that she has found several toy sets in excellent condition with all the pieces intact and the price was very reasonable compared to the local toy stores.

Well, I am off to buy a birthday cake to cover the 5 birthdays that we are celebrating this weekend with close to 30 people visiting for the occasion(s). Then I plan to visit at least one of the second-hand children's stores! More on the family gathering next week when the dust settles and I can hook up my camera to the computer for a pictoral view of the weekend.