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Friday, October 31, 2008

Show & Tell

Happy Halloween! It only makes sense that my Show & Tell this week will be in honor of today. Let's start in the front yard:
Greg and Jessi made the headstones several years ago from styrofoam insulation. A few weeks ago I asked him to get them down from the garage rafters so I could take them to the theater, but once he did, he decided to keep them here. I added some black flowers, a wreath, a bag o' bones, and that sweet black crow. Some cobweb finished it off. I think this will be an evolving display from now on. (Click on the photo to enlarge, then you can see the details.) Come on up the stairs. Greg thought this sign was funny...
When you come up the steps, I hope you feel welcomed by the pumpkins and gourds. The lantern was in the back shed at Grandma and Grandpa Adams' house - it's quite old. The 'welcome' is part of a sign made for me by an internet friend. Our last name is on the bottom, and it will be hung up when the witch leaves... Oh yes, my bowling balls are behind the mum. They'll be coming in the house soon.

Here is everything all together:
Come on inside now. This little table is next to the front door. A little black tulle, orange lights, and faux bones make a fun spooky spot. Our Halloween treats will be stationed here for giving out tonight.
One more little thing. I made this chalkboard from a Goodwill frame. I had an old markerboard in the garage, and Greg cut it to size for me to fit the frame. A little chalkboard paint, and I'm loving it.
(So some of these things were inspired by photos I've seen on other blogs, but I'm sorry that I didn't keep track so I can give credit.)
Show and Tell Head on over to Kelli's to see what everyone else is showing off. You only need to click on this button to get there!
Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Show & Tell Friday

Photos of Autumn/Halloween decorations are all over blogland and have inspired me to try a few new things this year.

The ragamuffin garland done in black and orange adds a festive touch to this vignette on top of the library table. The faux pumpkin on the pedestal, the old books, and the glittery greeting all make me smile. This little scarecrow guy is one of my favorite thrifty finds. The wicker pumpkin is on a glass pedestal candleholder.

Have you been wondering about what I've done with all those little pumpkins I grew in my garden? I took several to work to fill a basket on the check-in counter, and gave many away. There will definitely be mini-pumpkin plants in the garden again next summer! Here's a big bowl of them on the end table next to the sofa.

Here are some more in the kitchen window.

And another big bowl of them back in the sunroom. This bowl also has gourds that were shared by a co-worker. The glass container next to it has wine bottle corks.
More pumpkins on pedestals, anyone? These black candlesticks from Goodwill originally had a light fake marble finish which was fine, but they each have one or two chips around the edges that became less noticeable when they were painted black. See the "Boo" frame? I totally copied that from Joy, and I love it. The letters were cut out with my Cricut and glued to scrapbook paper.
Lastly for today is my favorite spot this year. This is the first year I've seen white pumpkins available in the stores here, and I snapped up a nice one right away. I used self-adhesive vinyl and the Cricut again for the letters. The small white pumpkin (yeah, again with the pedestal) was originally one of those $1 bright orange plastic ones from Wmart. I copied Blogland again and spray painted it. And, um, yeah, another candleholder. The crow is a fun little addition. That bird drove Tucker nuts when I first put it out. :o)
I hope you enjoyed visiting today. Head over to Kelli's and see lots more Show & Tell! Show and Tell

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting ready for Spring

We are in the throes of Autumn, the perfect time to prepare for next Spring. I love Autumn best, but the last few days have been chilly, and bleak, and rainy, too much a reminder that we are on the precipice of winter. So I prefer to skip the ice, mud, and frigid wind and head straight for Spring!
Last Friday I brought Grace home with me for several hours, but before we got on the highway, we stopped at the store for a few things. Grace talked me into some tulip bulbs and a kid-sized shovel with which to plant them. Who can tell a possible gardener-in-the-making they can't plant things? Not me. Sorry.
I knew the ground was going to be way too muddy for her to dig deep enough to plant the tulip bulbs, so I gave her the job of cleaning out this trough planter and burying those bulbs here. She told me how to plant them, "You dig a little hole, put it in, then hide it with the dirt on top." Exactly.
I hope she gets some flowers next Spring - it's a long time for a preschooler to wait, but it'll be so fun to see Grace's tulips when winter is over.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kitchen Helpers

Grace and Garett were here this morning while their brother is in Kindergarten and their mom and dad try to finish moving into their new house. It is cold and rainy outside, the perfect kind of day to play in the kitchen. I melted white chocolate bark and poured Autumn sprinkles on the counter. Each of them took turns dipping the pretzels in the chocolate, then rolling them in the sprinkles. They're so pretty!
(Photos were taken with my cell phone - the good camera was in the car.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my Window... Setting sun over the prairie, newly cut cornfields.

I am thinking... about the upcoming election.

From the learning rooms... reviewed and updated my Freezer Cooking presentation today.

I am thankful for... my kitty boys caught a mouse!

From the kitchen... leftovers tonight since I teach class.

I am wearing... t-shirt, capris, zippered hoodie.

I am reading... my 30 Day Gourmet notebook.

I am hoping... we do not get snow this week.

I am creating... decorations for a party - all that glitters is, well, glitter!

I am hearing... quiet. The house is just silent right now.

Around the house... set up exercise equipment this week.

One of my favorite things... snuggles with the cats.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... babysit a morning or two, roadtrip to Sam's Club and Hobby Lobby

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

My Assistant

I'm spending a little time today reviewing my Freezer Cooking presentation since the Community Ed class I teach is tonight. I decided to print some recipes from 30 Day Gourmet to share with the class participants. Since we no longer have a computer desk, the printer was brought to the dining room table.
This guy thought he needed to watch: Tucker goes crazy when the printer starts, sticking his paw up inside, trying to swat something - I don't know what, and I bet he doesn't, either!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Announcement

I have finally been given permission to share the happy news that we're adding a member to our family!
Alan and Angela expect their second little bundle of joy to arrive in early May.
We all look forward to a sweet new baby to snuggle and love!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm three years old!

A few days ago it occured to me that my "blogiversary" was probably nigh, but I forgot to check the date. I knew it was October - turns out I turned 3 years old on Wednesday!
I started this blog as a fun way to keep in touch with family and share photos a little easier. I know LOTS of my family reads this blog and I read theirs. It's great to keep track of cousins.
Anyway, before blogging I already had many cyber-friends through an email group I've been in for almost 10 years. Pretty soon they started blogs, too. Blogging gave us one more way to connect across the world.
I read a little over 100 blogs - not every day, but as they're updated. I go to Google Reader and see what's new. Many of them are craft/home decorating related, and are responsible for my current addiction to spray painting most of my Goodwill purchases. Some are just for fun, or are thought-provoking. And there are the food blogs that have provided yummy new recipes. To me, reading blogs is much like reading magazines - lots of gorgeous photos, tutorials, and inspiration. There are family blogs, too. I'm not the only one keeping in touch.
I have participated in giveaways - haven't won any - and had my own fun giveaway a few weeks back. I also like to participate in blog events once in awhile, like the Friday Show & Tell, or memes that are posted. Gives me an opportunity to visit new blogs, and have new friends stop by here.
So the past three years have broadened my horizons, yet brought the world closer. Who knows how long blogging will be around - but I'll enjoy it while it lasts, and I'm glad to bring you along with me!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Show & Tell Friday

I try to visit the local Goodwill store each week, and always take some time to look through the plates and glasses. Most of our wine glasses were purchased there - they sometimes get really good stuff. Such was the case last week when I found these:There are dinner plates, two sizes of smaller plates, two sizes of bowls, a stack of cup saucers, a serving bowl, a gravy boat, and a small pitcher.
I liked the neutrality of the colors, and they looked like a good fit for Autumn. Plus they have kind of a funky shape, and there were several pieces, so almost-complete place settings could be made.
Then I looked at the back:
Yep, Red Wing made dinnerware in the 50's and 60's. This particular pattern is "Random Harvest" and was produced in 1955. Each piece I have is numbered.
Red Wing crocks are highly collectible, in this area at least, so I had an inkling that they might be valuable. I did some research and figured out that my $42 box of near-perfect dinnerware is worth several hundred dollars. I was very excited that they are antique and collectible, but I bought them because I liked the style and pattern. So we use them.I feel that true value is in the memories made, so by using them, I'm adding our memories to their history. That makes them more valuable to me, and hopefully to my family.
Go see what everyone else has shared at Kelli's! Show and Tell

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Big Read

Recently I discovered a book list from The Big Read (posted about it here). Today I read an additional list of books that are on the recommended list from TBR. Have you read many from this list or the other?
The first books I ever owned were a Christmas gift to me in 1969, from my Aunt Jan. They were a boxed set of Heidi and Little Women. I still have them. They are much loved, and look it, but are very special to me. It never occured to me that I could own books. Remember, I lived at the library much of the time. :o)
I said before that Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden are two of my all-time favorites. Another would be the first book I ever bought for myself, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I cried my eyes out when Johnny died - still do when I watch the movie.
So I've bolded the ones I've read. Many of them I've seen as movies, so don't feel compelled to read them. I know. Lots of times they're different. Like Last of the Mohicans. I love, love, love that movie - the only one I've liked Daniel Day Lewis in - and the book is very different, but if I hadn't seen the movie first, I wouldn't have finished the book. And I ended up liking the book very much.
I'm adding an asterisk to the ones I've seen as movies. Just so you know. :o)

Bless Me, Ultima
Fahrenheit 451*
My √Āntonia (Can I just say that I am not a Willa Cather fan? Does that make me a bad Nebraskan??)*
The Great Gatsby*
A Lesson Before Dying
The Maltese Falcon *
A Farewell to Arms
Sun, Stone, and Shadows
Their Eyes Were Watching God
To Kill a Mockingbird*
A Wizard of Earthsea
The Call of the Wild *
The Thief and the Dogs
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
The Shawl
The Grapes of Wrath
The Joy Luck Club *
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer * (Randy played Tom Sawyer in his elementary school play - and sang a solo - it was so fun!)
The Age of Innocence *
Old School

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Living on the old Prair-ee

Greg's work harvest is finished and he finally has a weekend off. We were invited to a wine-tasting at a small, family-owned vineyard and winery near Denton, and the drive took us on several miles of gravel roads. We enjoyed the nice Fall day, seeing part of an area that was new to us.
Then we came across this sign. Well that looks like fun! But we needed to be at the winery in a few minutes, so we didn't stop to investigate. I snapped a few photos of the scenery as we drove. Just the usual pastures, cows, and hay bales.
Pasture grasses:
A hilly road:
You'll have to click on this one to get a larger photo and see the cows:
Newly mown hay bales:
On the way back, Greg stopped at the top of the hill overlooking the corn maze so I could take a few pictures. We couldn't really see the maze, but it looks like a fun place to go. The web site details what is offered there. Maybe in a few years when the kids are older...
Here's the entrance. The maze is on the right:
You can see the cars lined up at the edge of the cornfield. I would have wanted to stop, but we didn't have time to explore 42.6 acres of maze. If you click on the web site link above, you'll see an ariel view. Looks like fun!
Lots of times I've heard people say that Nebraska is pretty boring to drive through when they're on the interstate. True, it's not the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, or the Angelina National Forest in Texas, you get my drift, but it has a simple beauty all it's own. Oh, and the world's largest corn maze. Let's not forget that.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Spider Update

Okay, I realize there are few who are as fascinated by this spider and web on my front deck as I am. Admittedly, it is creepy-looking and I did make sure the kids avoided the front steps as much as possible over the weekend. I wasn't sure how aggressive it would get if one of them got too close. (It is not poisonous, btw.)
So we looked at it every day, standing a safe distance away, and on Friday evening I noticed it was not on the web. I looked around, and saw it on the side of the stairs, sort of sheltered beside a spindle, sitting on this big brown ball.

Yes, that is an egg sac. It's a very large egg sac. Sadly, it's an egg sac that must be destroyed.

I just finished a little research on the yellow garden spider and that egg sac contains anywhere from 300 to 1400 tiny arachnids. Not only that, other insects and species of spiders are known to burrow in and use these sacs to hibernate over the winter. We don't want that. Even as fascinating as I think they are, I don't want a thousand little baby spiders on the front of my house.

I don't have to be in a hurry, though. Those babies will hatch soon, but will stay in the egg sac until Spring. Mama will die sometime in the next few weeks - when we get our first hard frost if not before. As soon as that happens, that sac is history.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Here's What Happened

At my house this weekend:
Wyatt went to Kindergarten all day on Thursday and Friday. Grace and Garett had preschool on Thursday afternoon. Grace took these six wooly caterpillars for "show and share". When we got home, we all took them to the front yard to let them go so they could turn into butterflies. (You should be able to click on the photos to enlarge them.) At first Wyatt said he was going to take them for his "show and share" on Friday, but he needed something for the letter Q, and I explained that caterpillars start with the letter C, so we'd need to choose something else. We told the caterpillars goodbye and put them in the flower bed (far away from the giant garden spider). Little did I know, Wyatt had named each of the caterpillars "Q", and that's why he wanted to take them to school. So I don't get "Auntie of the Year" now. He was happy taking a couple of foam letter Q's and a quarter, though.

Friday morning was perfect for playing at the park (we went today, also), so Grace, Garett, and I walked the few blocks. Grace was amazed that we didn't take the car. :o) They had a wonderful time and played so nicely together.
This morning when we went, we were joined by a couple of older girls who eventually decided to play with us, and the kids were thrilled. Grace walked right up to them and said "Hi guys! What are you doing?"
While I got lunch ready, the twins decorated the sidewalk in the backyard. I know I don't have to explain to you all how this blue masterpiece is a puppy, right? Eventually there were letters writted all down the sidewalk and they played hopscotch on them.

Saturday was a full day with a trip to the pumpkin patch north of Grand Island. Nick came along and was a huge help with car seats and coats and generally keeping track of kids. This photo collage shows most of what we did - the slide, the animals, the train, inside the blow-up pumpkin, riding tricycles, digging in the corn box and in the sand. I didn't get a photo of it, but they picked out a 52 pound pumpkin to buy. Nick got to carry it to the car for us. We had a great time!
Afterwards, it was lunch at Carlos O'Kelly's, a little shopping, then they sacked out in the car all the way home.
It was a busy and fun weekend! I wish I had a recording of the all the funny audio/video moments over the past four days - like when we were driving through Grand Island and Nick and I were quoting lines from the Wedding Crashers to each other, and Wyatt said from the backseat, "Aunt Tammy, I think you need to lock-it-up like Nick said!" Okay then.
This auntie is going to go pick up all the stuffed animals, and put the pillows back on the sofa. Then, she just might lie down on it...