Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Some days I am in awe of God's creation. This caterpillar stopped me in my tracks today. I had to get down close and admire his colorful decoration. Isn't he beautiful?

I did a little research, and found out this caterpillar will soon become a Cecropia Moth which is North America's largest native moth.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Real Food

I just have to share this great website called 100 Days of Real Food. I found it by searching for healthy food using Google.

I dream of only eating real food...that is no processed food. Imagine how good that would make you feel.

This website has an incredible amount of great information on eating in a healthy way. I could spend hours and hours reading it. If I get up the nerve I might take the 100 day pledge.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ruffled Curtains

Before my shoulder surgery in February, I made ruffled curtains for Katherine's bedroom. I sent them with Don, and Katherine hung them, but I didn't get to see them on the windows until today.

I was so excited to see how nice they made her room look! They are pretty much ceiling to floor on two windows. The picture only shows one of the windows.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vacuum Cleaner Surgery

Do you have a hairy dog?

If so, you'd better check the bottom of your vacuum cleaner. 

It's supposed to look like this.

Not like this.

After a little surgery, this is what came off the left side. Mostly dog hair mixed in with some carpet fibers. Now on to the right side. The vacuum cleaner should work a little better when I'm through.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We Won Something!!

What are the chances that we would win a grand prize in the Snapple Win Nothing Instantly contest? How about 1 in 143,971.

Peter likes Diet Raspberry Snapple, and I pick up a six pack once in awhile for him at the grocery store. He always reads the interesting facts under the lid, so when he saw the words "You Won No Bills" he was surprised.

He immediately went to the Snapple website and found out he had won one of the Grand Prizes: $500 toward bills. What this really means is $500 in gift cards of some sort. I don't think they give out cash.

We were pretty excited! Peter felt like it was his lucky day. He wanted to go out and buy a Lottery ticket. In fact, he might have. I don't know because he left the house and hasn't come back home yet.

Check out the Snapple website. Maybe you can be a winner too!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


These are Peter's shoes. At home he wears them for work and at school he wears them in the shower. As you can see, they have not been in the shower for quite some time. They got all dusty yesterday when he was shoveling gravel.

Yes, these are size 11 shoes that belong to a 19 year old, and they are decorated with Spongebob, Smurf and Mario Jibbitz. Why not? That's Peter.

A little history on Jibbitz for those who don't know much about them, including me until about five minutes ago.

Jibbitz were created in 2005 by Rich and Sheri Schmelzer of Boulder, Colorado. They designed the cute little buttons to adorn their family's Crocs. Jibbitz became so popular, Crocs bought the company from the Schmelzers a year later for $20 million. I'd say they had a great idea. To see all the Jibbitz available, go to the Crocs website.

Monday, July 22, 2013

7 Tips for Painting a Bathroom

I don't have much experience with paint, but in fixing up old houses, it doesn't matter if one has skill. You just do it and hope for the best. Last week, I started painting the upstairs bathroom. I figure since the floor is on a slant, no one will notice if the paint job isn't perfect.

Tiny bathrooms are a challenge to paint. Here are some tips I share from spending a day in the Loo.

1. Paint the bathroom before the toilet is installed. If that is impossible, be prepared to get on your back in the corners behind the commode. It's the only way to reach behind the tank.

2. Put the paint can on top of the toilet seat so you don't accidentally back up and knock it over or step inside.

3. Put a drop cloth over the toilet seat so when you tap paint off your brush the splatters don't end up all over the lid.

4. Don't paint on a day when it is 94 degrees outside and you don't have air conditioning. Opening the window doesn't help.

5. Take the painter's tape off the wall before the paint dries. Otherwise you will rip the paint right off the wall.

6. Have a 1 1/2" paintbrush handy for those tiny crevices between the wall and the cabinets.

7. Take frequent breaks so the paint fumes don't kill too many of your brain cells.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Greek Salad

Katherine and Josh planted a garden in the yard behind the Indiana house. They are growing lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

They had a bumper crop of cucumbers, so a pile of them landed on my kitchen counter this weekend. I needed to use them up, so I made a "Greek Salad" similar to the one I ate for lunch in Columbus the other day. The only thing I left out were the olives because I really don't like olives.

Here's how I made it, and it was very tasty.

Greek Salad

2 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large cucumber
2 small tomatoes (or cut grape tomatoes in half)
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 c. Feta Cheese, crumbled (I used the cheese flavored with garlic and herbs)

Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together in a medium sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients except cheese, and mix together with a large spoon. Toss in cheese at the end.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hot! Hot! Hot!

It was pretty hot today...about 94 degrees on my thermometer. I think it was the hottest day so far this summer.

So it was a good day for Don and Peter to work in the attic of the hundred year old house. The work had to be done. It was the last thing to do. They had to run some wiring for the bathroom light below.

Peter sent me this picture of Don hard at work. That's my man.

Aside from the crumbling insulation and the dead squirrel they found, it was about 110 degrees up there.

Talk about dripping sweat.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

German Village

Crystal and I spent a couple of days in Columbus this week. We had lunch with our friend Linda on Tuesday then we spent the day walking around German Village on Wednesday.

We stopped in the Golden Hobby Shop (inside an old school building) where senior citizens sell their hand crafted items.

And The Book Loft, which contains 32 rooms of books. I was in heaven.

We had lunch at Katzinger's Deli.
Then dessert at Pistacia Vera.

We stopped in Franklin Art Glass Studios to see beautiful stained glass.
Then Caterina Ltd.  to look at some fine European housewares.

I bought some maple fudge for Don at Schmidt's Fudge Haus.
Then we stopped in Helen Winnemore Craft and were amazed by the handmade jewelry and artwork made by artists all over the United States.

Finally, we drove around Schiller Park on our way out and admired the lovely mansions lining the streets. All were made of brick and many had doors made of leaded glass.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Diamond Ring Stand?

Yesterday afternoon I was heading home after a long, tiring day. When I turned the corner on my street, I saw what I thought was a Lemonade Stand being run by two neighborhood boys. I never pass up a Lemonade Stand in the neighborhood because I think it is good to support young entrepreneurs.

I stopped my car and got out. I had to take a picture of the cute Mystery Machine Lemonade Stand and the two boys. When I asked them how much they were charging for a cup of the yellow stuff, they told me they were selling diamond rings. Imagine my surprise.

They pulled out a case of rings with diamonds larger than the largest one on my wedding band. I asked how much. $5.00 was the starting price, but they were willing to negotiate. I offered $2.00.

They said they would take it because it was better to have an even number so they could split the cash.

The boys had an adding machine and they printed out a receipt for me on the tape. I was delighted with my prize, and I chuckled all the way home.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Peter!

This is a photo of Peter's birthday cake when he turned six. Today he is 19. Happy birthday sweetie pie.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Project Get Healthy: Month One

Months go by very fast around here. Time to report back on how my healthy living project is going. In a nutshell, not as well as I would have liked.

I lost two pounds. That's better than staying the same and way better than gaining two pounds. However, I should have lost five.

I'm admitting right now that I didn't try very hard. I've got lots of excuses, but the bottom line is I didn't focus on the goal.

I'm not giving up. No never.

My goal for the next month is: Lose 5 pounds by August 15.

What's my motivation? It's five pounds less I'll have to move uphill on my bike, among other more life threatening reasons.

How will I do it? Plan ahead. Keep track of what I eat. Eat healthy snacks. Exercise every day. Drink lots of water.

Time to restart my engine. Varoom, Varoom.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Texas Two Step

I finished Peter's T-Shirt quilt top a few weeks ago, and I was stuck as to how to proceed. I have never done the sandwich part of a quilt where you take the top, the batting and the backing and sew them together, making a sandwich.

So I contacted my friend Diana who has been trying to get me addicted to quilting for some time. She advised me to have a quilt shop do the quilting on this one. So we met this morning at The Little Red Quilt House in Medina to hand off my quilt.

While we were there, I looked around and got very inspired to make another quilt. I found this pattern for the Texas Two Step. Doesn't it look easy? I bought some brightly colored fabrics so I could get going on it right away. Diana promised to help me when it came to the quilting and the binding.

Here we go!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Empty Closet

Daniel moved out yesterday. For good. I could boo hoo about this, but I really don't want him living in my basement when he is 35, so I've told myself this is a good thing.

It wasn't the empty closet that made me sad. It was the lone Lego I found tucked into the corner on the floor.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Other People's Blogs

It's time to share some of the blogs I've ended up reading by accident. Usually it is from something I saw on Pinterest or a link from a different website. I love other people's blogs because I get great ideas from them.

Keeper of the Home - I found this blog when searching Google to see if I could freeze mason jars. It turns out she has many uses for these simple jars. I plan to implement a few.

The Picky Eater - I found this blog in my quest to eat healthier foods.

Living Well, Spending Less - I was intrigued by the idea of only 40 hangers in my closet. Wouldn't that be nice.

Thrifty Crafty Girl - Before I made Peter's T-Shirt quilt, I found this blog and made a large ironing mat just like hers. I love it because I can put it on a table and have lots of space to iron.

It's Just Laine - I thought it would be nice to make a large chalkboard for one of the bedrooms I will be redecorating. Looks easy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mama Mia's Meat Sauce

Mama Mia! What was I thinking when I bought the ingredients for this recipe? Didn't I realize that five 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes and five 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes and three 12 ounce cans of tomato paste along with 1 1/4 quarts of water would not fit in my largest saucepan? I didn't think I was that bad at math.

When I saw the cans all stacked up on my counter I was wishing I had an electric can opener, but I didn't. My wrist was pretty sore when I was through opening these babies.

Like I said, I didn't have a sauce pan large enough to hold the sauce. It's a good thing I had two that were on the large side. What kind of pan were they talking about when they said "in a large pot?" We're talking  institutional size.

So I made the recipe. Good thing no one was home but me. I got a gasp from Don when he saw how much sauce was in one of the pans. When I showed him the other pan, he about fainted.

All the while I was thinking to myself...this better be good sauce. Thankfully it was.

Mama Mia's Meat Sauce

2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
5 yellow onions, chopped
Three 12-ounce cans tomato paste
Five 28-ounce cans plain crushed tomatoes in puree
Five 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in puree
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/4 quarts water
1/4 cup minced garlic
10 bay leaves
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. chopped fresh basil or 2 heaping T. dried
3 T. chopped fresh oregano or 2 large T. dried
1/2 bunch parsley leaves (flat leaf) chopped
2 T. kosher salt

In a large pot, cook and stir sausage and beef with onion until meat is brown. Drain fat and add remaining ingredients. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and partly cover. Simmer 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. After sauce has cooled, freeze leftovers.

And you will have lots of leftovers!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Top of the World

Riley rarely gets to be on our bed. He's not able to jump up there by himself, so in order to get there, we have to lift him. And the only time we lift him up there is in the middle of a really bad thunderstorm.

Jake, on the other hand, can leap tall buildings. He thinks he owns the bed, so whenever I go into the bedroom, he jumps up there as casually as if it were his own.

Since Jake was up there and Riley was down on the ground, I felt sorry for him. I picked the poor puppy up and put him right beside his buddy just long enough for Daniel to take this photo with his iPhone.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating 90 Years

Today was the 4th of July, so we had a cookout with my extended family. But we also had a surprise 90th birthday party for my Great Aunt Mary. She was really surprised, and she had a very nice afternoon with the family. Thank you to my sister Carolyn for picking her up and taking her back home.

Me, Aunt Mary and Carolyn

Gail (my brother Mike's wife) and my Uncle Danny (my mom's brother) and Riley

Daniel, Peter, cousin Chris and his friend Sarah

Daniel's friends Brian and Lily and nephew Patrick. They were playing a fast-paced game with billiard balls. 

A bird in the tree enjoying our party (photo by my niece Elizabeth)

Chris and Sarah were part of the swing dance club at Otterbein University. They weren't shy about showing us how they swing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Movie Night

Every once in awhile Peter and I go on a movie date. We see movies that no one else we know would want see. Movies like: Scooby Doo, Horton Hears a Who, Wall-E, Monsters, Inc., Up, Despicable Me and tonight, Despicable Me 2.

Don offered to go with us tonight, but he was going to the movie next door (Star Trek) which started 20 minutes later and ended 45 minutes after ours. I said, "what's the point?"

Peter and I got a bag of popcorn and enjoyed laughing together. What could be better than all those Minions on a Wednesday night?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Master of Disguise

When Daniel was young, he loved to dress up. Almost every day, he would concoct a new costume. There were so many photos I could choose from, but here is a good sampling:

I think he was trying to be Tarzan in this outfit.

I distinctly remember this one. Peter had Pink Eye, and Daniel did not want to get it. He went into the basement and came back with this "Pink Eye Protection Suit" on.

Cowboy or Batman, I'm not sure about the shoes. Could have been Wicked Witch of the West.

Clown hat, black cape, tie, lion suit, belt to hold the sword. He was creative.

An Egyptian using kitchen towels.