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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tuesday Tiles and Trees

It is now Tuesday and the temperatures have dropped, which means the flooded areas nearby have now frozen over. The people along the bay have had to evacuate their homes and many of them cannot move back in again until power is restored, as well as heating and un-freezing their pipes.

Our back ponds (really the flooded backyard) froze over, but we were fortunate to never lose power or have water entering the house during the storm.

Yesterday we ran up to Marinette to pick up an order at Menards and admired all of the beautiful winter scenery along the way...

Things everywhere look like a Winter Wonderland! 

We had ordered a special caulking tube of premixed unsanded grout in a particular color that will coordinate with the flooring in the tile the entryway of the she shed. Because it wasn't in stock, we had to order it and it was not even able to be shipped to the house!  So that meant we had to go 20 miles one way after a week's wait to pick it up.

When we got there, we went to the special order department with our little piece of paper. Of course, they could not find our order. GRRRRRRR  The first guy behind the desk said it's not in the proper bin on the wall. He got a second guy to come and look, who then walked up and down the entire special order area, checking every bin.

They got a third guy involved who let us walk with him up and down every aisle of the special order looking and look in every bin---- in case it had been put in a box???  So we checked every label of every special order in the entire area of every box that look like it could container tube of grout caulk.

Nope we couldn't find it.

Two different guys went through the computer double-checking and, yes, it showed it arrived at the store the day before. It was not in any unpacked area. And since the computer showed that it had been checked into the store, I suggested another idea.  Could I walk over to the tile department across the store where there were other colors of this particular grout caulk tubes and see if perhaps somebody just happened to maybe put it on a shelf instead of keeping it in the special order area? That makes sense to me.

Nope, they said that wouldn't have happened. It's not a regularly stocked item.  They kept looking through the computer trying to figure out where our order was.

Finally I said I WAS going to walk across the store to the tile area just to double-check. The manager walked with me. Lo and behold, there in the tile department in the grout section of tubes was our tube of Dove gray grout caulk!!!  It was stuffed into the first row of brilliant white caulk. So whoever happened to find our tube in the special order area decided to bring it out to the floor and stock it. But they didn't even put it in a correct spot because there was none because it's not a regularly carried color.

The manager apologized profusely. When he saw I wasn't very upset and kinda laughing it off, he then grumbled about how many new temporary seasonal workers there are, and many of them never listen anyhow! He said you tell them three times and they still don't listen.

I said it really wasn't a big deal because we could have just ordered another tube and waited another week. But I'm glad that we were able to locate it because we drove 20 miles to get it!!!

When we got home, I snapped this pic of our house in the sunshine:


This morning Steve put a layer of the caulk grout in all of the cracks of the tiles in the entryway to the she shed. Because we used a very narrow tile spacing, he used unsanded grout based in a silicone caulk. 

Now we can finish the trim around the french windows
and the baseboard along the wall. 

Steve left today to go up and assist his brother and help out his dad today in Door County. That meant I had a day to myself. I fiddled around with putting the lights on the Christmas tree.

I got all the lights on fine... but then I got stumped. 
I couldn't decide what ornaments to put on yet. 

I have ornaments that can be all in gold like last year 
I have ornaments in deep rich rust colors from the year before 
I could put everything crazy of every single ornament 
from many years accumulation??

But I just might go with snowflakes this year. I have these white frosty snowflakes that I used to put along the foyer and along the front porch windows in the last house in Chilton.  I would also add little tiny blow glass Venetian candy ornaments I have collected over the years. I hung a few on the tree and I will see what Steve thinks when he gets home later this evening. So for now it's undecorated.

We did put up the small "Family Tree" down in the She Shed. It has little handmade ornaments with every member of the family written on each little heart. It includes grandparents, grandkids, aunts, uncles and cousins too.   It is a fiberoptic tree with multicolors changing and morphing from one to the other as the little fan motor runs in the base.

I also put up this cute little metal tree we fondly call the Dr. Suess Grinch Tree....  The grandkids love it because the ornaments cling on with magnets, and they can arrange it any way they want.  We strung up a couple strands of tiny wire LED battery operated lights.  It makes a great night light in the Grandtots Bedroom for sleepovers!

It was strange having a day to myself. I've gotten so used to having Steve around now that he's fully retired. I've been busy working on some Christmas projects that I can't put pictures on here .... and then I am cranking some socks and getting some orders done for customers.  I love having space in the she shed to leave my stuff set up and not have to tear it down and put it away in between projects.  Now I have room to leave it all out and I can go back and forth to it when I want.

I am going to get back to cranking socks, 
and watch The Grinch on tv. 

Finney is waiting for Steve to get home....

So am I. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Weekend of Thankfulness

I would like to ask for special thoughts and prayers of comfort and peace for a family member who is going through a really rough time right now. We are holding him in our hearts and our thoughts and waiting for more details later today.


The Pfundtner family gathered for their traditional Thanksgiving feast. This year again, brother Peter and wife Cindy were hosts at their beautiful home in Menasha. Many of the family were able to attend and it was good to have all five of the Pfundtner siblings together with their father.

Good food and family, interspersed with many fun stories of the past and thoughts of the future.

Steve's dad, the patriarch of the Pfundtner clan, was able to make it all of the way from Sister Bay. Three of his great-grandchildren helped him celebrate his birthday with homemade cards and big hugs.

We trekked on back home afterwards, and kept two of the grandkids overnight at our house. We held fun challenges of playing rounds on an old "Trouble" pop o matic game. Each of the children took their turns having a bath in Grandma's elegant clawfoot tub, sipping glasses of apple cider and snacking from tiny dishes of treats set on my wooden bath tray suspended across the tub. How spoiled is that?

The morning breakfast of homemade waffles was delightful as well as a morning baking session where the kids helped put together a pumpkin pie.

We planned a smaller close family gathering on Sunday, so this our was going to be dessert. I just had to keep myself from cutting into it between Friday and Sunday!

It came out perfect!

Now I know most people go rushing to stores on Friday for all of the Black Friday specials. Not us. But we did go to the Menards store in Marinette to pick up some extra two-by-fours and some carsiding wood to enclose the triangular closet area in the she shed.

It was starting to snow/rain/sleet so we didn't want to take the trailer behind the Tracker. Snow and slush on raw wood is not a good thing.

We do know that in my big old Lincoln Continental, we can fit 8 foot long boards if we set them on a diagonal between the floor on the passenger side, between the seats, and up to the back window on the driver side. That's how we roll!

After some careful measurements, Steve started framing in the two little side walls for the triangular closet. Our house does not have a coat closet anywhere and right now we are currently using the guest bedroom closet for storage. By having this little triangular coat closet near the back entrance, we will have a place for our coats and boots as well as our Swiffer and stick vacuum cleaner for the she shed.

While Steve worked on framing in the doorway, I was finishing up a new rug on my loom. From time to time as he needed something I could be there to lend a hand or hold something for him. I love the togetherness we have in the she shed room where he can be close by doing something and I can work on my fun stuff at the same time.

Most of the Great Lakes area was forecast for a heavy snowstorm. They had said it was supposed to start already on Friday but we didn't see anything that would accumulate much. By Saturday morning we were hoping for a few more flakes but all we were getting was rain. It started more in earnest Saturday evening but not with snowflakes. Instead it was sleet and icy rain slinging itself against the woods and our windows.

We were cozy warm inside, sitting next to the gas fireplace. Watching out the big french windows, it was interesting to see all of the ice clinging to the glass. It was pretty noisy pinging like needles as the winds whipped in from the Northeast. In the morning it looked almost like lace stuck against the glass panes.

With the Great lakes water levels as high as they are, the winds coming in from the Northeast drive the waters right up the bay into the small city of Oconto.

The houses all along the edge of the Bay and harbor were flooded with the waves crashing in from the high winds. This area is less than a mile from our home on the other side of the big swamp and nature preserve. These pics are from the local Facebook Page, we did not drive over there ourselves.

 Yes, these are roads, and yards.

The residents haven't ever seen it this bad.
They had to be evacuated and could not drive out on the roads.

We have water backing up in our yard, but not anywhere near the horrible conditions out on the edge of the bay. Roads were closed and people were evacuated.  When this all freezes solid, we will have an ice rink back there!

Power was out all over, but for some reason ours stayed on. Various people around town were complaining about the power outages at their houses. Businesses closed down because they had no power so the local grocery store, gas stations, and even McDonalds were all closed up.

With a high water table to begin with, the water floods over into our city's waste treatment plant. The city had to put out an emergency warning to not flush your toilets, run your dishwasher, run your showers or baths or put as little water as possible down your drains until they could pump things out and rectify the situation.

With the heavy ice on the tree limbs and then the winds blowing so hard, our neighbors lost half of a tree. Fortunately it landed right directly into their dog exercise area and not on their workshop nor on their house, nor on any of their vehicles. Very lucky!

Sunday morning it begin to snow. I mean REALLY snow!

We were forecast anywhere from 6 to 10 inches, maybe 12. It was hard to tell how deep it was because it was so windy out of the Northeast. Deep drifts in some areas but windswept down to bare ground in others.  Steve was able to use the snowblower for most of the heavy wet slushy snow to clear the driveway and around the fire hydrant in front of our home. It's our responsibility to keep it clear of snow, or else we get a letter and a fine from the city!

The kids and grandkids were coming over for a noonday meal during the Packer game. Both of our daughters have four wheel drive vehicles and were able to make it here safely with their families.

We had such a fun time hanging out in my she shed. We had popped in a large turkey breast in the pressure cooker, and whipped up all the fixings to go with.

When the food was ready, everybody filled their plates. 

Instead of sitting at my big dining room table that seats 8, or at my new table in the kitchen that at least seats four, instead we all congregated back down in the she shed and balanced our plates on our laps.

Granddaughters Whitney and Claire
 even carried their little table and chairs
 from the playroom 
down to the she shed.

We sure had fun watching the Packers win and the kids were having a great time. Whitney and Claire always have a giggling good time as you can see below on this little video clip:

The snow came down pretty heavily all day until late afternoon. I think we got about eight inches total. It's hard to tell the final total because of the wind blowing around so much. The weathermen were saying it was around 10 inches.

Once all of the leftovers were divvied up between the families, everyone donned their hats and boots and jackets and mittens and tracked on out through the snow to their vehicles. Neither had very far to drive, and made it home safely.

It was a wonderful weekend with a lot to be thankful for.


Today is our oldest granddaughter Allegra's 10th birthday. 
My oh my, how time flies. 

We hope she has a wonderful day
 and enjoys her birthday to the fullest.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Pre Turkey Day Stuff

Wowzers has it ever been raining in Wisconsin! At least in our part of the state it is. To the north and west of us they are getting snow, but we are just getting rain rain and more rain.

Honestly, there is more rain built up in our backyard and huge puddles and ponds than there has been any time during the spring or summer.

Our friend Gary said once that freezes over we better get some ice skates and open up the Pfundtner Ice Rink!

Our morning consisted of a few odd jobs. The tiles are cut now for the last four spaces in the entryway and Steve has them mortared down into place.

Rented a tile saw from the local hardware store and got them done toot sweet in 3 minutes flat.

His next job is going to be a triangular closet in that section.

Steve made us up a late breakfast / early lunch. In the meantime I got a couple more rugs measured up and photographed and listed in my Etsy store.

Speaking of rugs, the wonderful realtor that helped us buy this home happened to bring her daughter and sister-in-law over to see my She Shed.  They oogled and oohed over my rugs and knit wool socks. They did some very serious Christmas shopping and put a dent in my rug inventory! Thank you so much Amy and Angelena!!!!

Midday the temperatures started dropping and the raindrops were turning into snowflakes. I wasn't sure if we are going to get the snow amounts that were initially forecast. Towns just 50 miles to the west of us were getting measurable snow accumulation. But it seemed like everything here just melted or blew away. I think we missed the "Big Storm" that they have been warning us about for 2 days on the news!

Steve is finally feeling better and started measuring out and figuring out the parts to build the little triangular closet in the corner of the She Shed.  We already have the folding bifold door, brand new still in the wrapping, leftover from the sellers when we bought the house. We are not sure what he bought this closet bi-fold door for, there wasnt any coat closet for it to fit anywhere in the house? Maybe he was going to make a closet somewhere and never got around to it yet.

We really do need one near the back entrance into the she shed. That has become our main way to go in and out and need a spot to put our coats and boots and hats and mitts, and to hide away the Swiffer and the stick vacuum cleaner.

He is going to construct it right around the existing coat rack that little Claire helped me make:
 (if you had read that a couple blogs back)

Some holiday gift boxes arrived in the mail today from Florida. Mom & Lyle have a real orange tree in their backyard and it was time to harvest. They generously packed full a box to send up here that we can share with the kids and grandkids. If you leave the stems on the oranges, they stay fresher longer. Besides, I think they look pretty with the green leaves attached as well.

During the afternoon, I needed to put together a crock pot of my special calico beans. Once they were fully cooked through I can stow them away in the refrigerator until tomorrow. They always taste better the second day. I will warm them up in the morning and we will take them to our Pfundtner Family Thanksgiving in the afternoon. We are traveling to Menasha to Steve's brother Pete's and his wife Cindy's home for our family gathering.


**warning** I am a dumper kind of cook, not a precise recipe person!!!

first brown up some ground beef, bout half a pound, and chopped onion, and drain. 
then either fry up about 4 strips of bacon, and cut or break into small pieces
or use those great bags or small jars of Hormel real bacon bits already made up! 

now dump that and all this into a crock pot:

1 can kidney beans
1 can baked beans 
1 can black beans
1 can butter beans
a big squirt of ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
dollop of molasses
squirt of steak sauce
double squirt of BBQ sauce (we like Sweet Baby Rays) 

season to taste
you can heat it up quick on the stove or 
let it go a few hours on the slow cooker 
some folks add grape jelly...
some folks add mustard... 
some folks add vinegar...

I tripled this for a larger crock pot for a gathering of about 20 people


We made up some homemade beef minestrone soup for supper. On a cold windy damp snowy rainy icky day, it hit the spot.

Now it's a cozy evening during down in the she shed. We have the fireplace going, and I am planning to do a little weaving once I finish up this blog.  Working on some flannel and wool rugs in amazing color combinations.  I really like how they are coming out.

In closing, may everyone have 
a thankful 
and wonderful 
and safe
and thoughtful 
Thanksgiving Day!