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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Busy Family Holiday and now QUIET

Many of you had busy holiday weekends, I am sure.  We did too. I am VERY thankful for having family to be with over the holidays.  Having family around is a blessing and something to not be taken lightly.

But it's TOO QUIET tonight in our house!

We had some busy busy busy family visits, starting with last week with our babysitting each of the two youngest granddaughters, Whitney and Claire.  These are the two youngest ones, as all the others are now 5 years old or older. These are our last two "babies".

We took care of Claire, the youngest, while her parents went to a concert overnight.  It sure was fun having a little one in the house, and she played so well. She crawls and stands but is not yet walking. It was pretty easy to care for her. She sleeps all night and is such a good tot. She played with the old Fisher Price Farm that our two generations before her also played with! She had some relaxing time with Grandpa while watching some tv....

Every Grandmother's kitchen needs a drawer full of containers, spoons and fun stuff for exploring--- strategically located at toddlers' height, right?  Look at that imp, standing up at the coffee table, peeking around my computer. She is looking for her Brown Bear Brown Bear book!


Then a few days after that, I drove up to Oconto and took care of Whitney, the next oldest grandkid.  Her parents had an overlap of work schedules and only needed me for the afternoon. She sure had me going with fun projects, pretend play, and she has a great imagination.

We cooked up Minion-themed mac and cheese and hot dogs for lunch. Oh yummmmm (not) and we played with big beads and she was performing as a hairdresser for Elmo. Whew.. the afternoon just flew by!

I really enjoy my "one on one" time with each of our grandchildren.
I am truly blessed to have been gifted with seven of them.

On Thursday, we prepared our dishes to pass for the Pfundtner Family Thanksgiving, this year hosted at Steve's brother Pete's and wife Cindy's new home.  We only had about 25 miles to travel, so it was nice and close. The main roads and highways were jammed with holiday travellers, but we had back roads to travel on. We had about 30 people gather for the day.  Missing a few, but they were in our hearts as well.

Our own children and grandkids gather with us as much as possible, but having their spouses and other family members to consider, they spread themselves thin each holiday. This year Heather and Jesse were able to attend our Pfundtner gathering with little Jameson and Whitney.

It was such a nice day with Pops Pfundtner and great aunt Nancy as the elders of the group.  We had all ages in between, plenty of  youngsters and even a couple dogs.  The evening drew out long as folks headed on out, but we stayed late to play cards and gab with Steves' brothers and spouses.

Our dogs were a bit miffed to have us come home so late.  They raced around and acted like a couple nutcases lonnnggg after we headed to bed and wanted to go to sleep. Paybacks?


Friday morning, our daughter Erin came to spend the day with us, bringing grandkids Chelsea, Clayton and Claire. Her hubby Waylen had to work, so we got to have them for the entire day.  We took a walk to the post office and stopped at Hilde's deli and bakery for some cookies and fresh Kaiser rolls.  I had made up a crockpot of pulled pork and gravy to put on the rolls, and we cut up some fresh veggies to munch on --- we were all set for our mid-day meal.

Erin packed up later in the day to head on home with baby Claire, but she left Clayton (5) and Chelsea (7) to hang out with us overnight!

While the grandkids are here, we get to have some special one on one time, but we also work them as all good little slaves should.  Hahaha....  Chelsea started a list of "Things To Do" of stuff that came to her mind.

But our list was long with projects that we had lined up for them:

  1. The both learned to use a power drill and put in pilot holes. They screwed in large white cup hooks to hold up our lit garland in the front porch. I used to use suction cups but decided to permanently mount some cup hooks instead. I like having that same garland up every year, hanging from the same spots. If I want to remove the hooks someday, I can always plaster up the holes and repaint.
  2. Next was to take our little red wagon and go to the hardware store. We planned to get a bag of birdseed to fill the feeders. The nice clerk in the store spent a LONG time with the kids, showing them all of the animals and taking them out of cages for the kids to pet and handle!  They got learn about a hedgehog, a turtle, a chameleon, a gecko and a snake! 
  3. Since we don't have any snow yet, it was perfectly warm out to make a huge leaf pile and of course, jump in it.
  4. In the kitchen, they both helped to make "Chompie On The Bone" (nicknamed by their mother years ago) which are breaded pork chops baked in the oven. They set the table for a fancy dinner in the diningroom and learned about where the napkins, forks and knives go by each plate.
  5. They found time to make a blanket fort in the livingroom and take the dogs inside too.  (the dogs LOVE it) Nothing can beat a homemade blanket fort! 
  6. After dinner, they helped to light a campfire outside---- it was VERY warm and still over 50 degrees into the early night. We had a nice backyard fun time with playing kick ball in the darkness, only illuminated by the yard lights. 
  7. Time for each one to take a bath (with bubbles) and finally fall asleep, almost sitting up because we tired them out so well! They slept all night and came in about 7 a.m. for some morning snuggles and watch a few cartoons with us in bed. My favorite part of having them sleep over is those morning huggy snuggles and sweet faces. 
  8. After breakfast, they got to assist with assembling our artificial christmas tree. They loved figuring out how to put it all together. It has five sections and each one has the branches already attached, but hinged to swing down once the trunk is set into place.  We decided to put the tree in the foyer this year. For the past four years we have tried four different places in the house. This seems the best, out of the way, but easy to look at through the pocket doors from the livingroom.  Also when illuminated at night, it can be seen from the side of the tree to the street through the glass front door.
    Of course, next comes the lights.  Clayton was right on that task, helping Grandpa untangle and put on the LED lights.  Chelsea, standing on the staircase, held the lights from the top while Grandpa tried to arrange them among the branches.... with Clayton tugging on the bottom end.  LOL!!  It was quite an ordeal, but they got the job done.

    Our two little Tree Mechanics figured out the stand, how the lights worked and how the branches needed to drop down into place to make the tree the right shape.  The LED light strands Steve bought a few years ago will shine either all colors, or all white, or do various flashing patterns back and forth between.  I think it has 8 different functions. I like all colors burning steady, no flashing.
    We added the ornaments later, as the kids were not as interested in the decorations as much as they were in "building" the tree,..  I wanted to arrange the ribbon garland and put on the ornaments in a more artistic manner anyhow.  Here it is finally completed. 
  9. Clayton wanted to weave, so he helped out at the loom for a while in my loom room. He loves banging the loom beater and is strong enough to pack in the weft pretty well. He is finally tall enough to reach the treadles on the floor and still sit on the stool to weave. All of the grandkids love to help in the loom room.  I see his attention span increasing now that he is in kindergarten, and he listens to directions pretty well. He even raises his hand to ask questions! 
  10. Now for some sewing! Chelsea had a jacket with two small tears at the pocket seams.  We headed up to my sewing room to take care of it. We tore it apart at the inside lining and repaired the pockets with triple stitching.  Then we also repaired a fancy dress that belongs to her little sister. She likes to help with the pins and understanding the idea of seams on the inside and not showing on the outside.  She is a good thread clipper as well.
  11. It was time to get some cooking done, so they helped prepare a big turkey breast to put in the oven, and learned about basting and seasoning.  They both thought the turkey looks funny when raw. Clayton wanted to see where the "heart" was inside the chest cavity. 

  12. We took out the apple peeler/corer/slicer device and they both worked to make an apple pie! This is a favorite project ever since Chelsea was a little tot. She called it "Makea Dah Ahpohs Go Roun an Round!"  Any time I can include a machine into our projects, Clayton is right there and eager to learn.  Chelsea is the creative one and thinks ahead of what we need and plans the recipe. Clayton just wants to make it work and eat the long skinney strings of peelings! 

    It just barely fit in the oven next to the turkey roaster.  The house smelled SO good and they kept asking "Is it done yet??"
  13. Grandpa decided to teach them about "Rightly Tighty Lefty Loosey" while he tore apart the clothes dryer. He wanted to clean the vent behind and also use the shop vac inside the bottom base under the drum.  We do this every year ----  we once had a fire in our dryer at our last home in Oconto.  Never again... so a bit of prevention and it was a good lesson for the kids to see how everyday appliances work and how they look inside.  They both had a chance to use the tools and help put the dryer back together again. 
  14. Clayton helped me set up three shelves of my Christmas Village inside of my buffet... he was so exacting and precise on how each piece went where.  He also used a screwdriver and changed out the tiny batteries in the lit up Rudolph.  Check out Grandpa's fancy magnifying glass with a chest brace that he is using! 
  15. The kids went with Grandpa to bring some brush and branches to the city garage and to get new batteries for the little remote controls for Steve's favorite LED Christmas lights for the tree. It gave me a little break to recoup and get ready for the next project.  They came back to help set the table and watch Grandpa carve the turkey.  They are not quite ready for knives yet.
  16. After a nice filling dinner of turkey and the trimmings, they curled up on the bed with me and took a rest. Clayton read us the family favorite story book of "Brown Bear Brown Bear". Nobody napped, but we "rested" for a while before their parents came to get them. 
It was sad to see them go.... 
and now the house is wayyyyy too quiet! 


Today, I did have a nice afternoon outing with my friend Vicky.  We met up in Plymouth and hit up a favorite thrift shop. Then we headed to a cute place called Vintage of Ada to check out their end of the season sales before they close.  I liked a lot of their stuff, but really didn't need too many things at this time of the year.  Vicky gave me an adorable little red cardinal ornament that she made... and now it's in the middle of my red berry wreath on the front door! 


Okay.. it's late now on Sunday night. 
The Packers lost. 
Time for bed. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mom's Roto-Rootering and Garage Reorganization

I want to take the time on the top of the blog to thank everyone for all the prayers, good wishes and kind thoughts for my Mom.  She underwent some heart procedures over the last few weeks that culminated in an angioplasty and implementation of 2 stents yesterday.  (I called it Roto-Rootering)  She came through with Flying Colors!

She got two special new stents where the polymer coating dissolves off after the drug regimen is completed.

Very interesting:
The SYNERGY BP Stent is the first and only FDA-approved drug-eluting stent with abluminal bioabsorbable polymer coating available in the U.S. It was designed to address the challenges associated with permanent polymer stents such as inflammation, neoatherosclerosis and late stent thrombosis.
The SYNERGY BP Stent provides synchronous drug elution and polymer absorption; the polymer is absorbed shortly after the drug elution is complete at 3-months, providing rapid healing and freedom from long-term polymer exposure.

She did so well, that she didn't have to stay overnight as expected, and was released on the same day.  I am sure she rested better at home in her own bed anyhow.  I called her this morning and she was so bright and chipper sounding. She is moving better and will follow all of the doctors orders from here on forward for sure. Today she was planning to head out on the new deck Lyle built around their home since they moved it. She wants to finish painting the spindles.  Like mother, like daughter?


As most of you blog readers know, we call our place "Our Old House".  We enjoy making things nicer, easier and try to restore it back to original if we can on our 103 year old house.  Some things are newer, but most of the original features are still there to keep us hopping with upkeep and maintenance. 

The garage is newer (built in 1974) after they moved off the old garage to someone else. Steve and I both have been unhappy with all the "STUFF" we seemed to have accumulated in the garage. Since the basement does have some water seepage during heavy rains, we opt to not store anything down there.  As we work on projects or collect lawn and yard items, the garage has become cluttered and not too orderly.

Steve saw an ad on the Facebook Buy Sell Trade Marketplace pages... and thought he would buy three of these steel racks with nice cream colored coating to put up around his raspberry plants next year.  They are 7x4 and he figured three would work around his plants.  They are coming out of a closed video store down the street.  She was selling them $10 each, but if you bought 2 you could get another free! 

We bought three panels for the raspberry bushes and stored them away for next spring.  But... but ... but... Steve's brain was thinking.  Remember what I said about an unorganized garage???  See what I mean?

How about getting some MORE panels and suspending them from chains and mounting to the back wall and making some overhead shelves in our garage???   We got ahold of the seller and bought four more sections!

This is a $30 investment to see if this will work.  We also bought some heavy welded link chain and S hooks from the hardware store, cleared out all the "STUFF" to the other side of the garage and went to work. 

Honestly, I was helping, but I only stood back to take pics.
The board is taking my place while holding the racks up and level
while he screws them into the back wall with brackets.

We are putting the shelves up high enough to walk underneath.  Well, most of us. They are 77" inches off the floor so Steve can just walk underneath it (at 6'4") and knocks his hat off. LOL .....  This way we can pull the car forward all the way and the nose of the car will nicely fit under the shelf as well. 

We had a couple supervisors watching all that we did 
from the safety of their "boss chair" 

It was a little tricky to screw the top screws into the brackets--- unless he would lay out across on top of each shelf to do it. Instead, he pushed the drill across from the top to get it over to the wall.  Then he reached up in between the mesh holes to hold the drill and take care of each brackets' upper screws.  We hung the front edges with chain rated for 250 pounds.  Once each panel was level, he crimped the S hooks shut so they wouldn't ever slip sideways and drop the chain links. 

Each panel was bolted together end to end to keep them all in row....
That steel stuff was pretty thick to drill through, for sure. 

This looks like it is actually going to work!  Two panels up, two to go!  We also added more chains than in this pic, It was only enough to get them level at this point.

 I opted for a fourth panel to be hung below the other three to the far right of the garage. This was originally my area for my shipping boxes and pots and planting stuff.

By having a lower shelf, I can reach my stuff without needing a ladder or Steve to fetch things for me.  I ship out a lot of things and need all the assorted sized boxes at hand when I am heading to the post office or shipping out from home.

Underneath this last shelf, I can still fit our wheelbarrow, red wagon and my rolling garden cart. But not being too low, the floor space can also be used when Steve puts our utility trailer all of the way back to the wall.  The garage is deep enough to fit the trailer behind and the Tracker in front in the same slot....

Three remaining panels and an extra metal door are setting underneath.  Those three are being saved for his raspberry plants next spring.  Or maybe more shelves?  Who knows what ideas he will come up with.

We added more chains for extra support. We don't think they are really needed, since we are not putting any really heavy things on the shelves. But we had the chain already bought, so we might as well finish it up as planned.

We took a break for a little lunch and then headed back to the garage to start arranging our "STUFF" on the shelves.  Oh my... for only living here just under five years, we have too much "STUFF"!  We sorted some, set some for donation to the thrift shop, and some to the garbage can.  The remaining items were lucky enough to get put up on our new shelves.

By three pm, we were getting chilled. It has only been in the 30's today and cold and damp and icky.  We don't have a garage heater hooked up (yet) and I was thinking enough was enough for the day.

We still have more to do, but Steve was heading for a hot shower and I wanted a nap in our bed with our heated mattress pad. Ahhhhhhh  he joined me in time for our nap.  Gosh we are getting old, eh?

But at least we have an organized garage. LOL!