Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Bit of Time for Stitching and Sewing

I have finally succumbed to the sinus infection and decided to take my antibiotics. I didn't want to give in, because that means you can't take your RA meds, but I finally realized I was dragging out this process. I have just been a bit puny. 

I took Saturday to lay around and not visit the farm with Hubby. I decided to tackle straightening up my sewing room and get some things I have piled up completed, so I could do a "real" project.

Here is what I accomplished in the sewing room.

I added some blue trim to the plain curtains that I bought for the farmhouse.

And yes, those took a good little bit of time. I have one more set to do that I hung at the farmhouse. These go in the room with the blue gingham sofa.

Then it was onto this pillow. This cross stitch piece was something I did while in college. I didn't have a pattern per say, but used an alphabet and the cardinal from something. It was at my mom's house in just a regular 8 X 10 frame. She didn't want it anymore, so I decided to see what crafty thing I could come up with. The backing was the red that is on the sides.

Have no clue where I will put it, but it is cute.

You may remember the shirt with the chickens on it. Well, I got motivated and turned it into some pillows. I am thinking maybe I will put them in a basket and display every now and then or maybe the farmhouse.

Nothing fancy, but kept me from throwing my stitching away.

I finished the March cottage early this month, so I have spent the remainder of the month working on a sampler for the farmhouse. I have one that will have a blue bird and one with a redbird that I want to do for the farmhouse. I will be putting it aside this evening to work on my April cottage. When it is finished, I will start back to work on the sampler.

I want to block some time to actually sew a piece of clothing next. I have not decided just what yet, but I have several things I am considering, so we will see.

Happily stitching this weekend and hoping to feel better soon. I took a very long nap this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Is Spring Here? This Tree Says Yes!

My PaPa on my mother's side had a saying for everything, so my mom carries on this tradition.
We were discussing the spring like weather the other day when Mama asked if there were any of a particular tree around here anywhere. She calls them Japanese Magnolias. I said, "Yes, I had seen those in a neighborhood right near me each year." She reminded me that when those bloom, you can say spring is here. We had one in our yard back when I was a girl. 

Mama was out of town yesterday, so I drove over to her home to check on things and remembered to look for these trees. This is actually a large one for this area. The ones I have seen are much smaller. They were all in bloom in this neighborhood.

I hope Mama is right...that spring is here.

However, it doesn't feel like it this morning. It is not real cold, but the wind is blowing like March is blowing in. We were lucky with the storms last night, but not Pensacola. I am headed that way this morning for a doctor's appointment, but I think I will be on the south end of it. They got quite a few tornadoes last night.

While Mama was gone, I took a few photos of her very small back yard. She is after me to get it pretty with her. 

It is actually a nice space with the right amounts of shade and sun. A very rusty fan is up there. I know that is coming to change that!

This is one side of her little deck.

The other side.

This is considered her yard. She is wanting grass like NOW!. There were several trees cut down. You will see what it must have looked like in the next picture. I think I like the sun she gets without the trees, but it left her side bare. We will get it looking good.

This other side is probably what hers looked like at one point. The trees were cut before we bought it. 

She as definitely got everything looking great and seems to be much more content. She had to go and stay with my aunt (her sister) because my uncle has been real sick and Mama thought she needed a break and some help. 

One last thing today.

I bought some tulips way back in November and stuck them in the bottom of my extra refrigerator. I have never grown tulips and know absolutely nothing about them other than I think they are pretty. Good intentions never got off the ground. Those things could have rotted in the refrigerator. I finally pulled them out and figured I had thrown money away. I decided that I would just throw them in three pots that I had on the side yard that we use for vegetables each year. 

This morning I went out and I have ground broken. I am so excited. I have no clue if they will actually bloom, but we will see.

Stay tuned for tulips and spring,

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cross Stitch Finish and Weekend Wrap Up

Dropping in this morning with a few things.

We had very little time for the farm this weekend. We did go and quickly check on the garden and drop off a few things, but other than that there were things to do in town this weekend.

Nothing was really happening in the garden. It hasn't been long enough. Jeff did end up planting an extra row of potatoes, so if all goes well, I will have lots to share with friends.

I dropped off two things for the farmhouse.

You will recognize the ducks from the house. I took them to the farm house. 

The other is something I had from many years ago. I have had it in a cabinet, but I think it will be well suited for the farm house.

Jeff was excited to see the bass in the pond. A couple of small bass were around the feeder and had laid eggs. According to him, that is what those round areas are in the water. Places where they have hollowed it out and laid eggs.

I couldn't get a good picture with my phone, but they were swimming just a piece from that and according to Hubby were not happy that we were there.

Then Saturday, we spent doing a few odd jobs. Hubby moved a shelf lower for Mama in her closet and got her a water hose set up for washing her car. I caulked a few things that had needed taken care of. We helped her plant some flowers on her little back deck and no, I didn't get a picture. I will do that later. She loves it and sits in the hot sun that would otherwise melt us. She is always cold. Long sleeves too.

Sunday after church we took a perspective staff member out on the boat. Since we helped start our church, we generally are in on giving our opinions on those we hire. WE don't ask for that input, but we are often asked to do this. A boat ride is a great way to relax and get to know people. It was a gorgeous day to be on the water. A little cold when running to Destin, but otherwise simply gorgeous. 
We saw a bald eagle out by the General's House which is yes, where the general lives. It is on the back of the bay in an area that other than that home is undisturbed land. Like it used to look. Amazing!
Hubby goes back there to fish and escape the pressures of work.

Lucy is on meds, but not the usual medicine given for seizures in a dog. We are hoping this will work. She sleeps for a little while after giving it to her, but then she is all good.

Tried to snap it from my rocking chair without waking her. Not successful.

I finished up March last night.

Then worked on a sampler for the farmhouse. I am going to spend the rest of February working on it.

I have moved my Bible study and prayer time from the rocking chair in the living room to the sewing room. I am loving my new place. If I can't find time to sew, then at least I can enjoy the room. It is very quiet in there. I have found a winner in the location.

The view below is the trees right outside the window. The water is to the left, but I love those trees. They have been home to a pair of cardinals for years. The Mama was out and about this morning. She wouldn't let me get her picture, but they stay close by. I once got to see them teaching their little ones to fly. 

I am going to try really hard to get in there this week for some sewing action if nothing else adding some ribbon to the curtains I bought for the farmhouse.

Off to get busy,

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cheering Up My Surroundings

This past fall, I learned that I absolutely can't add too much seasonal decor too early. I am sticking with that lesson. I am learning new ways of adding that bit of seasonal decor that I missed from my classroom without my home becoming my classroom.

No bunnies or shamrocks yet, but I am wishing winter weather away as much as anyone else. It is my least favorite season. I am not wishing the days away though. I am getting older...I want each day to last as long as possible.

I have found that my monthly cross stitch cottages are the perfect thing to add a bit of season in the kitchen. I am almost finished with March.

I shared earlier that I added some flowers to the kitchen table and changed out the napkins in my kitchen so that helped me a bunch. 

I also added some flowers to the foyer table and the dining table. Those simple things have squelched bringing out the bunnies and shamrocks.

I did however succumb to ordering these cute little bunny plates from Pottery Barn. I have fallen in love with adding salad plates to what I already have to add a bit of interest. I think I have all of the seasons covered now with the addition of those bunnies, so no more plates for Sandy!!!

These little bunny plates will be perfect with my blue dinner plates that I already have. I will be using them for Easter. I usually cook my Easter dinner on Saturday, because I serve in the preschool area of my church and it is a full day. I love family celebrations and think they are extremely important. I just don't want to eat out. I love the family around my table.

That is all for today,

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Life with an Aging Parent

This has been a post that I have thought about writing many times. 

I spent the day with her and decided today was the day.

Any advice I give is related to the dynamics of my relationship with my mom and all of it may not applicable to everyone.
We are complete opposites in personality, so that leads to challenges. We have both had to learn how to be back involved in so many of life’s decisions together.

The roles do change. You always hear that you become the parent and they become the child. That is kind of true, but I would say it is more of a leadership role that must be carefully played out. 
They don’t take well to being treated like a child. Most of us wouldn't take that too well.

I have found that if she in any way perceives me as being bossy or taking charge, she gets her dander up. She is not going to be told what to do AT ALL ---EVER. I have learned I have to be a little sly in that role. I am the leader and she knows without a doubt she needs me, but I have to give her choices and let her think things over before we come to a conclusion. This way she still feels like she has a say in what is going on in her life.

You have to take control without taking control. One of many examples is the driving. I am confident that Mama can drive in settings that she has done many times and there aren’t too many new things thrown at her. I am not comfortable with some of the things she comes up with though. She knows no limits. It would take far too long to tell you all the things she has done in life that makes me know she is fearless. You will have to just take my word on that one. 

Her latest one is she wants to drive to Dothan because my aunt has moved there. Are you kidding me? New territory ---I 10---not happening! I voiced concern, not an edict, and gave her time. She is now saying I can take her, she will stay a few days and my aunt can bring her back.
Now, that is a solution I can live with.

That leads me to the next piece as I will be taking her to Dothan at some point in the next few weeks.

You must be flexible with your time. I have shared before that I had retirement in my sights and she fell in a fluke accident, followed two months later by the cancer diagnosis for my step dad. Less than one year later from her fall, I had nursed her, spent most of my free time driving the roads to take care of them, planning and having my daughter’s dream wedding, and then burying my step dad. I tried to make sure I took care of each and every person in this period of time with the exception of myself.

It took me some time to get over my pity party. Life happens and you must adjust.
It wasn’t what I planned, but I am learning daily to quit trying to put life on a schedule, because I am glad to have her near me and she has been through a ton as well.
She has no one else to call on when things go wrong for her and she took good care of me when I was a child.

We as a family are learning to involve her in our activities. She was not around and now she is, so we have to be mindful to involve her in the things we are doing. It makes her feel needed. This is dinner, trips to the store, trips to the farm, etc. I have learned she does less driving if I go get her when I am out and about. Taking control without letting them know it!

They don’t like what is happening to their bodies and their minds. Most often they are aware of the changes in mind and body even if dementia or Alzheimer’s haven't set in yet.
I have watched and remembered exactly what my grandma (Mama’s mom) was like as dementia crept into her life. My husband’s mom had Alzheimer’s. That is one of the most horrible things to watch. Mama actually constantly worries that she is losing it and doesn’t want to be a burden. If she forgets anything she is beyond stressed about it. I am working on that with her. I am constantly reminding her she is fine and that forgetting things is ok, that I am here for her.
Her body is also slowing down and she is not handling that at all. I find that she complains a ton, which is not like her in the past. I have had to learn what is a real symptom and real concern or just her not realizing she can’t do everything she once did. Being cold is not a fever everyday and that some things are just aging issues.

I have had to learn that she will complain to me more than anyone else, just as anyone would do with the person they are most comfortable with. I have noticed she can be all down and whiny and her brother and sisters can come to visit and she is all happy and ready to go take on the world.

That took me awhile to see and not let her bring me down so much.

She had a live-in handy man with my step dad. She no longer has that, so I have had to learn to not get stressed over her dreams and can you do this and that all the time. I do what I can and remind her that she is blessed. She may or may not get a backsplash behind her stove anytime soon. At least she is looking forward.
Get a good calendar or notebook to keep up with not only your life but theirs too. This is where the child thing comes in. You have to have a calendar much like you did when you were running around during Little League.

I will not lie, she was wearing me down a year ago. I love her beyond words, but I had to learn I couldn't fix everything. I had to learn to manage our new life.

That is a bit of wisdom to date, and I am sure there will be more to come. Grieving and changes are a process. I am on a journey. We will have many more ups and downs along the way.

She did go out to eat with the ladies in the neighborhood last Friday. That is a huge win! 

Well, if you survived this post, I will be back to happier things soon. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Kitchen Deep Cleaned and Decluttered

I am still here. I had an unbelievably busy end to last week. I barely had time to read all my favorite blogs let alone comment.
Hubby was off yesterday too for President's Day, so that meant a different schedule. I can safely say I am retired because I hardly noticed it was Valentine's let alone President's Day.

You may have noticed it is Wednesday on the post, that is because it is after midnight that I write this. You will see why at the end.

Today I tried to make up for with some cleaning. I decided to tackle my kitchen. Lately, it has been a hotspot for trouble, so I gave some thought to what was going on and tried to remedy it.

I decluttered and rearranged the counters a bit. I moved the mixer to this side of the room. My pantry is behind that wall and the island is in front. I have a lot of my baking things right inside the pantry door or either in the island on that side. My measuring cups and stuff like that are in those drawers. I don't know if I will like it or not, but it has to go along the wall because of the outlets.

There was a basket organizer in that location with a plant in front of it. I had that there from my working days. It housed stamps, labels, pens, pencils, and was a junk collection spot. I really didn't even use it anymore. It just housed junk and looked somewhat messy. I am one of those people if there is a mess already there, I will continue to add to it rather than take the time to put it away. 
That is not totally fair to me...I was that way when I was working. I have been much better since I am at home. I try to touch once only.

I moved my cross stitch month back over to this counter since it is never used for meal prep. That is done on the island. Plates are above this counter and the table is to the left so the path to the TV was always a necessity for my son. That is why that metal tin is there. He loved oatmeal cookies to dip in milk. I kept it there, because that is where my mother in law kept them and got him hooked on him. When he was younger, he would grab a stool, and sit there and eat cookies dipped in milk while watching cartoons. Maybe that is where I went wrong:) He is actually doing much better.

A little less of the things that could bring hotspots of mess. Hubby uses the toaster oven and I use the toaster, although I haven't had a slice of bread since November, so maybe I can get rid of the toaster.

The island is the prep station as well as the serving station. I truly try not to put anything on it whatsoever. I have been eating tons of fruit on my new program, so I keep the bowl of fruit there. The island is one of those places that if anything is placed on it....well....trouble looms. I struggle to keep it from being a drop off zone. I am the guiltiest of all here. I have recommitted to keeping it clear.

The silver piece in the middle is a mixer. It only works on high, so I use it for meringues. One of those dreams is to redo that island and give myself an outlet there. I have outlasted the trend for granite and I think white counters are making a comeback. I just could never justify pulling up the Corian that nothing was wrong with just to have a different color, so mixer stayed.

Moving onto the stove area. I moved some other clutter around that and left only the two jars for spoons, utensils, etc. I have room in drawers for those, but the drawers are not so deep or wide so that you would have to spread them out over four drawers, so that is simply not practical for day to day use.

I had some decorative items around those jars that I took away. Much better.

Onto the sink. Underneath the paper towel rack, I had a basket that also was a catchall for junk, but it really had nothing much in it and I can't remember the last time I put anything it it. I also had a picture in a frame that I was forever wiping off. Moved both of those. Hubby has some protein drinks that he is using right now and insists that they are left right there. Oh well!

I am pondering maybe moving the dishwashing liquid to something at least cuter. I know I should store it underneath the sink, but I am not sure I would like opening that cabinet so many times. My mom would absolutely never leave hers out there. I may give that some thought.

I am not a photographer at all, so taking a picture with sunny weather around that sink is a no go. I have to tell you that when I am feeling like I want to throw a pity party for myself for whatever reason is quickly dismissed when I look out those windows. 

I did go back and remove some of the stuff out of the window after taking this picture.

After putting out fall decorations too early this past year, I have been very mindful of not doing that again. I am generally good for about two weeks with extra stuff floating about, yet I am no different than anyone else in longing for spring.

I changed out my placemats and napkins getting rid of the Valentine's Day red while not putting any bunnies, eggs, or shamrocks yet. I added some flowers for good measure.

Definitely made it more springy in the kitchen.

I also decided to give my grout a once over in the kitchen today, so down on my knees I went. I had a cleaning lady before I retired that really kind of messed up my tile floor in the kitchen. It was her last stop on the cleaning day and I think water that was not so clean ended up dirtying that grout. She was a wonderful cleaner in all things but that. 

It isn't white grout, but it did look much better.

One tiny problem!!!

I started feeling sick with a scratchy throat and my nose was burning this evening. I got out the cold medicine and took a big dose thinking ...."Wow, that came out of nowhere." 

As I have tried to go to bed and am miserable, it hit me. I am pretty sure the cleaner I used to get that floor looking better got me. I was on my hands and knees spraying it and then letting it soak in. Then I used a scrubber on it. After all that, I mopped the kitchen. It looks great, but I feel terrible. Slight headache.

That would probably not happen to anyone else in the world, but me but yes, I feel yucky and can't sleep. Trying to drink a ton of water and use saline spray in my nose. I am guessing I should have opened windows.

I am thinking that was not so good for my doggies anyway. Although they avoided the room all day. They did eat on it this evening. Lemony inhales hers and then goes to sit by Lucy who is a slow eater.

I will not being doing that again!!!!

Hoping to fall asleep soon and feel better in the morning.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Beginnings of a Garden

Hubby, Mama, the dogs, and I spent the day at the farm. Hubby tilled up a small area back in November for us to plant a garden in this year. I am so excited about this. 

Years ago, we had one in our back yard. It is a ton of work, but the fruit of that labor is delicious.
We will again attempt to have enough time to manage a garden, but this time at our fairly new farm.

We are starting small and will only plant things that we like to eat. Today, we started with some things that should get us started. 

We did three rows today and will add rows as the season continues.

I will give you a rundown of our activities. Hopefully, we will be successful!

He tilled up the three rows again.

Then added Black Kow.

These three rows are for root plants, so we planted on the hills today, not the valleys.

Once the hills were made, Hubby flattened the top to plant. On the left you can see the little trench that was made to add fertilizer.

That fertilizer was Red Fox. 

The rows were flattened again. Now, the first row is potatoes. We used seed potatoes. I used the hoe handle to make a hole for the potatoes. 

Then potatoes added.

The second row was onions and the third - carrots.

Lucy kept trying to walk in the rows. She was feeling much better today, but Daddy had to get after her about walking in the rows, so she decided that going to be near Grandma was the thing to do.

Lemony rode it out under the truck.
She avoids all trouble and is more of a city dog than a farm dog.

In fact later in the day, she decided she might need to ride in the mule.

She settled for the back.

Lucy had more than one swim in the pond. Ugh!

The completed three rows of potatoes, onions, and carrots. The metal pan marked the spot where we had two kinds of onions, but not enough to finish that row. We will add to it.

To finish up the day, I checked our fruit trees. We planted 10 trees back in November. There is a bit of budding. I am hoping a freeze doesn't bite them!!!

A beautiful and productive day. 

We will see how it all goes down.

Digging in the dirt,
Farmer Sandy