Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Waking Up After A Long Winter's Sleep

 Oooooh I am married to a Happy Motorhoming Man!!! 

Today, Steve decided to move the motorhome out of it's long dark winter's berth, and awaken the sleeping giant to get moved over to another spot in our driveway.

We have been storing our oldest daughter's motorhome in our yard behind our rig. They wanted to get their motorhome out to bring it up to their cabin.  Steve has been wanting to get our rig fired up as well. He wanted to move it over and take a look at the calipers and master brake cylinder for a possible future repair coming up. 

Just look at that smiling face!

He was very happy that our 25+ year old diesel fired right up, roaring to life at the touch of the key. Purring like the Cat that it is.  He let it idle in the parking spot for a while to warm it up to an operating temperature before moving it.

The littlest granddaughter was here for a visit, and decided she needed to take over the co-pilot's seat. Even if it was just moving from one spot to another in our driveway. Why she decided she needed sunglasses, I don't know? It was an icky rainy foggy miserable day. Not much for sunshine. But I suppose she is a little ray of Sunshine herself!

While I stood outside to watch the overhang of the garage eave, Steve drove out of the winter parking area and moved it over into the regular driveway. Now it's a little closer to the garage door to do some repair work if needed, as well as soon we will be de-winterizing and loading it back up with our camping essentials

This little stinker was pretty proud to be in the co-pilot seat, and was giggling all of the while.  I think she and Grandpa were on the same wavelength? 

At the same time as moving our rig, her parents came to move their Forester Class C from where it was parked behind ours along side of the garage. The granddaughter then was able to transfer over to that co-pilot seat and ride back home with her daddy behind the wheel. They only live a mile away so wasn't too far to go. But in her little mind it was an "Exciting Journey".


With the reduction in covid case numbers, and the increase in vaccinations, hopefully this year we will get in a lot more camping. Although maintaining social distancing really is pretty easy to accomplish for the type of camping we like to do. We like being out in beautiful natural areas like the smaller County, State and National Forest parks, and not in crowded touristy type camping resorts. We don't even do touristy activities when we go, we are usually pretty remote and secluded, enjoying nature and the woods. So camping really hasn't been too restrictive for us, other than the fact that many of the campgrounds were not open most of last year due to covid precautions. Hopefully, this year more campsites will be available and we can get out more often.


Last week we had picked up an extra screen door to mount on the side of the She Shed leading from the garage through the pergola. The screen door is cute but I wanted to dress it up with the same little bric-a-brac wooden brackets that I had put on our other two entryway doors. I was able to order them from the same place on eBay, the cheapest place that I found anywhere. So this week I decided to paint them up to get them ready to be mounted onto the door. I love working on piddly little painting projects like this, it's fun to do and I think it just is so nice to trim things up and make them neat and clean and fresh and white. A coat of paint can do wonders.

The other thing that I was painting with our newest Facebook Marketplace find. I had been thinking that little cafe shutters in the bathroom would look really cute instead of the lace curtains I had in there. I looked online at places like Home Depot and Lowe's, and the faux wood (plastic) cafe shutters were at least $99 a set! I wanted two sets, for the top and bottom for privacy. Then I looked at the real wood shutters, and those were $150 a set. My goodness, $300 for one window? Well that just wasn't going to happen.

Mr Steveio zeroed in on this Marketplace bargain of two sets of vintage real wooden shutters almost the exact size that we needed for the mere price of $25 total!

They were a little more of a creamy color than the soft off white pearl color that we have on our window trim. Steve had to take off about a quarter inch with the table saw on each side to get them to fit. Out came my paintbrush and my bucket, and I took on giving them a double coat on both sides.

While I work on my little painting projects, Steve comes out in the garage to keep me company. We have the radio playing softly and we sit and talk while I dab away with my paint brush. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know he doesn't like painting. Not. At. All. But it's nice that he comes out to keep me company while I do.

After the shutters were dry, we needed to put all of the hinges back on again. Our grandson Jameson was over for his special one-on-one evening to spend time with us. He helped Grandpa put on all the little hinges, even using the old fashioned flat-headed screws which are much harder to deal with than Phillips heads. It took a lot more patience and trying a few screwdrivers to find one that would fit the slots just right. These shutters came from an old house that's being restored up in Marinette. The type of screws used kinda told their age. New ones are always Phillips! 

Jameson spent the evening here doing some projects, updating his cell phone and games on our unlimited Wi-Fi, and he decided we should bake brownies. Even being 12 years old, he's not too old to lick the beater and to use the spatula to get the remains out of the bottom of the mixing bowl. 

Soon the shutters were ready to be mounted into place. I was really excited to see them going up. We don't have any neighbors in the backyard, except maybe a few visiting deer and turkeys and other assorted stray wildlife, but it's nice to have the option to close them down for privacy, or open them up or swing them wide and fold them back for sunshine and fresh air.

There we go. I like that so much more than the lace curtains I had before. This bathroom is my little Oasis Retreat and I like the idea of the little cafe shutters being the finishing touch.


On the fiber front, I haven't had a chance to work on my quilt all week. Instead I've been very very busy working on these little bunny families. The older granddaughter Chelsea had already sewn a complete family set 2 weeks before. I had two more sets to go for the younger granddaughters. It takes awhile to get them cut out. There are the fronts and the backs and the ears and the little babies, not to mention the pieces of clothing that goes along with each one.

They need to be all matched up perfectly and sewn around all of the edges. Then I zigzag around the outer margins to make them extra secure.

It takes even longer to turn them all right side out and carefully stuff them in each of their limbs, adding their ears, and finally filling up their faces and bellies. I'm not much of a toy maker, but I know the delight and joy that this will bring to the younger granddaughters once they are completed.

Here is a finished set of Mama bunny, Daddy bunny, and three of the Baby bunnies. Notice the mom has a cute little skirt on with pockets all the way around. Why would a mama bunny need pockets?

Of course, she needs pockets
 to carry her baby bunnies in!  

Well, not to be a sexist grandparent, our son-in-law Waylen showed that the Daddy bunny is perfectly able to wear the skirt and carry the babies around his waist in the pockets, just as easily.

We dropped off a set of the bunnies with granddaughter Whitney. She was delighted and plans to bring them over for playdates with the other grandchildren.

Claire now has her little bunny family, and is excited to play with her cousin Whitney soon as well.  

And I am still making some little miniature baby bunny quilts from the scraps for all of the little bunny babies, as time allows. 


It was such a damp dreary foggy day today, I decided to lighten it up a bit by firing up the pressure cooker this afternoon. I made a big hunk of pot roast, and Steve peeled the potatoes. The house smells so good tonight. After we eat a portion of the pot roast, I save the leftovers and chop up the meat to make stew with the remaining potatoes and carrots.  Some of the meat I save and shred and freeze for future tacos or casserole dishes. That way we get two more meals worth of food from the same hunk of meat.

Tonight we are going to curl up 

with some HGTV

and take it easy.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Birthday Bash and New Projects

Last year when the covid pandemic was forcing our isolation and quarantine, a lot of our family gatherings crashed to a halt. Our youngest daughter Heather's birthday was the first family holiday in March 2020 to fall victim to the covid-19 pandemic. She really got ripped off last year for her birthday, and we could only order her presents and have them shipped to her house. 

I told her that this year we would do a super wonderful birthday for her to make up for it.

Now with our vaccines and having our family gatherings deemed safe, we were able to plan a special day for Heather on Monday.

Just look at that happy face! It sure was worth it!

Yummmm a cheesecake birthday cake!

With a little preparation, Steve set up the big steamer kettle on the propane burner for snow crab legs and he got out his new grill to whip up some New York strip steaks. Even though it wasn't a sunny day, the temperatures were pretty warm so he was able to grill out in the backyard near the pergola by the She Shed. 

Of course the two sons-in-laws had to help supervise and christen Steve's new grill by opening a beer on the built-in bottle opening device!  He is pleased to say it works very well, and we even invested in a couple new grilling utensils to enhance his grilling experience.

I bought the first watermelon of the season! They were rather pricey at $6.99 each but I felt it would be a good way to start off our outdoor family barbecuing fun by having a watermelon. It was a winner! Red and juicy and it had such a wonderful flavor---

We laid out an array of foods and had everybody's favorites. Even though we had back up of hot dogs and tater tots for the younger kids, they even tried things like crab legs, calico beans, and salads and other good stuff. Clayton and the two youngest girls sat at the Kids Table, but Clayton kept coming over to steal crab legs from Grandma's plate!  LOL

p.s. that is my wine glass, I set down to take the pic

The two oldest grandchildren now had the opportunity to sit at the Grown Up Table. I guess they graduated? Now that they eat grown up things like steak and crab legs, it's easier to have them sit close by with all of the adults. It was a wonderful meal with laughter and family fun and the joy of being together again.  It warmed my heart through and through. 

We had the kind of a celebration of being able to be a family again and not be spread out and isolated. There's been some sadness in the family as one of the son-in-law's, Jesse, recently lost both his father and his grandmother to covid. So two of our grandchildren are mourning the loss of their grandfather and great grandmother.  Life has been hard and we wish his side of the family the best in dealing with such a horrible pandemic and what it has cost in lives along the way.

After dinner, we decided to go outside for a while as the temperatures were still up in the 50s. After all of that food (and beverages and birthday cheesecake) it felt good to get out and go for a walk. The kids were playing in the big backyard and running around.  I decided to take a little stroll around our rural block, with all five of the grandkids. The back road that runs along our property is gravel and the side road is gravel too. But the city still decided they needed a street sign there for two gravel roads! LOL. It seems to be a little crooked, so the kids decided they were going to try to boost it back up right. They tried.

Claire and Whitney, the two youngest granddaughter's, are best buddies and they call themselves "sisters"! Here they are holding hands as we go for our walk. Totally cute!~  Whitney is the Kitty Girl and Claire is clutching her Bunny Friend. 

We hung out in the backyard for a while, just enjoying the nice weather. Even though it was cloudy and getting late and getting dark, the temperatures were still warm enough to sit outside and have another beverage or two.

The grandkids always find something to play with---  they hauled out the little red Radio Flyer wagon. They decided to take the Birthday Girl for a ride!  Young Clayton tugged her along with a couple extra riders around the yard on the grass. He did pretty good for a young kid and he really pulled them hard. Later he showed us the red marks on his hands from pulling so hard. I'm so glad that they can have good clean outdoor fun and not just be indoors attached to electronics.

It was a wonderful day, but ended all too soon because kids had to get home to bed for school and the parents for work the next day.  I went to bed with a big smile on my face, for sure. 


On to a few house projects: 

For a while now, I have been thinking I would like to get a set of white cafe shutters or plantation shutters in the bathroom window. I had kind of been keeping an eye out for ordering two sets, one for the top and one for the bottom of the window so I could have the option of opening up one and not the other. 

Egads!!!  We looked online and even the plastic faux wood ones were $100 a set. And I wanted two sets, one each for the top and bottom? The real wood ones were $150 a set, so that would be $300 to do the window the way I wanted!  Ouch! 

But you know us, Steve was watching on Facebook Marketplace and found two sets the sizes we needed for a mere $25 total! They were already a creamy color and I had hoped they would match, but they did need a fresh coat of paint. Steve had to shave a mere quarter inch off each side to get them to fit perfectly.  After he did that, I started the first coat of paint today. I will give them a second coat tomorrow and we will get them mounted into place,

We got another cool toy in the mail today from Amazon. We've been talking for quite some time about this electronic device that operates by Wi-Fi and can turn your water main off in your house. Steve read about them, and researched until he found one we thought would work for our water main valve.

When we leave to go camping for a weekend or for a couple weeks at a time traveling, it's nice to turn the water off in case of any problems while we are gone.   We even turn off our ice maker on the fridge.  

One time our daughter Heather and son-in-law Jesse had left their house and they had a complete flood when a fitting near a dishwasher failed, and their hardwood floors were completely flooded. They had to stay in a hotel for two weeks while the insurance company pulled up all of their vintage schoolhouse hardwood flooring, kiln dried it out, and reinstalled it all and restained and revarnished it. Not to mention the hassle of needing to live in a hotel room with two kids and two dogs and handle school, work, meals etc.  What a dilemma.

So....  these things can happen when you least expect them. We had talked about getting this type of a shut off device, and Steve found an interesting one on Amazon. 

This may sound silly to most people with a regular basement and easy access to a water main valve. 

But for us, it means going outside to the bulk head doors, then go into the newer side basement, then crawl through the "secret tunnel" as the grandkids call it, that is between the new basement and old basement to get over to where the water main is.

Here is Steve on the other side of the "secret tunnel". It's actually where the new portion of basement was built up against the older existing rubblestone basement and they knocked out a part of the wall to crawl through. So we go up on the little step stool, put our butt on the yoga mat, and swing our legs through to the other side. That's where we would have to go to shut off the water valve each time we leave or come back home on vacation.  

It installed very easily and it manually turns the lever from open to closed. It set up and we tested it out. Now with a flick of a button on my phone, I can shut our water off. We tested it two or three times, works great.  Problem solved and it makes life easier. 

The other item Steve got today from Amazon is what I talked about in my last blog. It's called a mechanical plug. He was able to put it into that second mysterious opening in our basement floor that has been gushing water up into our basement and over to the sump pump hole.  It had an old rusty metal cap that let loose last week and the water kept flowing and flowing.  We're not sure if this was an old well or if there's an artesian spring underneath here, but it is now plugged off and it will dry up and be securely sealed again.

Those were the toys that Steve ordered from Amazon. I ordered something from eBay for myself. Remember that screen door we picked up last week? Well I ordered four more curlicue brackets to dress it up like the other screen doors on our house. Actually, I ordered a set of 8 brackets and split it with my neighbor across the street. She wanted four of them to dress up her screen door too.

I started giving them their first coat of primer / paint because it's warm enough in the garage to do a little painting today.  I love doing piddly little painting projects like this.  Must run in the family, my 82 year old mom in Florida has been painting her porch deck and railings bit by bit, a few each day. 

Once I get two coats on them, Steve will drill the tiny holes and we can secure them to this screen door to dress it up.  It is going on the side of the She Shed that leads to the pergola and garage and yard. 

Oh, the other day, we finished digging the rest of the paving stones and laying them flat.  After a few weeks, we will brush the polymeric sand in the cracks and lightly use a hose to activate the sand. Then hopefully no weeds will grow up between the blocks.  

The weather here has taken a turn and is now going to be rainy for the next 3 or 4 days.  I think I'm going to get more sewn on my quilt.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Saturday Workday and Sunny Sunday

Spring has arrived in Wisconsin, and the beautiful sunshine and weather on Saturday was perfect for getting things done. We ran a few errands in the morning and took care of some projects around the house in the afternoon.

One of the main projects we wanted to tackle was settling down these newly laid paving stones into a nice level configuration.

The frost is now out of the ground so we were able to score the edge of the turf around the stones, now that we've had them laid out in the pattern that we want. With a square ended shovel, Steve was able to dig straight down about 3 inches around the outer edges of every stone.

The goal is to get the paving stones level with the surface of the lawn, while keeping them evenly spaced and tight together.  Removing the sod and using the level and some hoes and shovels, we were working in the sunshine and it was soooo nice and warm!  Notice Steve isn't even wearing a sweatshirt. 

Once we scored the turf, Steve carefully scraped up the sod off of the compacted dirt below.  We didn't want to disturb the surface any deeper, or make any of the dirt under the stones shift around too much.

Kinda like laying tiles!

Working in pairs of stones, we used the 4 foot level to check, we shifted and adjusted them until they were level with the pair from before it.  The lawn between the garage and the She Shed is pretty level to begin with, so it was not too hard of a task.

Lifting each paving stone into place gets to be tiresome. Each one weighs 32 pounds. I found that using the tip of the hoe and wedging underneath to tilt them upward, kind of like a fulcrum and lever, made it easier to grab them with our gloved hands.

We made it up to the turn and decided to call it quits for the evening by 5 p.m. That was 28 stones. Things were starting to cool off a little bit so it was time to give up and head into the house for supper. I think we will tackle it again this afternoon because it's going to be a beautiful day, although it's supposed to be windy. Situated between the garage and the She Shed we are blocked from a lot of the wind, so I think it will be okay.

Once we get that portion done, then we will move on to this other section. This photo is taken outside of the South side door of the She Shed that leads out to the fenced-in dog yard. At one time there had been a cement patio and these are the remains which are in quite rugged rough shape. We are going to level off over this area with compacted sand and gravel and then lay the new stones into place. It will be about level with the door threshold. This area will be 6 feet by 12 ft and make a wonderful little patio space. 

This is the perfect spot for Steve to put his new grill. This door is located much closer to the kitchen for cooking and dashing back and forth to check on the food as he grills out. He just informed me that his technique is called "sprinting".  Okaaaayyyy.


Another upcoming project is an unusual one.... we always find strange stuff in old house construction.  Sometimes there is no explanation.  Sometimes you have to investigate to figure it out. 

In our basement, there was a recessed hole in the corner of the newer cement portion of the basement.  This from about 1945-50 when they moved this portion of the house onto the site. (our original late 1800's house was added onto by another house moved over from a different location) 

In the center of that recessed hole was an old metal cap. Just the other day, it had rusted through and came loose, emitting a constant stream of water into the basement! Similar to a slow flow from a garden house rate, like if you had a 1/4 turn of the faucet turned on. 

It came bubbling up from this recessed hole and flowed into a cement groove in the floor, channeling it towards the sump pump.  The entire basement on that side has a little channel cut into the cement around the perimeter to drain water over to the sump pump. Now the poor sump pump is running every few minutes to dispense this extra water.  

We are not sure if it an old well that has been capped off, or an artesian spring that exists on the corner of the house? The grass there is always lush and green by that part of the house.  There isn't any standing water in the yard, nor is the water table too high right now.  Actually we are flagged in fire danger warnings for being too dry this spring.  

Either way, we need to stop that flow! It's going to burn out our sump pump soon.  It is running every few minutes. Steve ran to the hardware store, and he bought a cheap plastic 4" plug to close it up for now. But that is only a temporary fix.

We knew the device he really needed, a firm "mechanical plug" made of heavy rubber and steel.  We couldn't find one locally,  so I ordered this one from good ole Amazon. It is the larger 4" one with the racheting top nut to expand it into place. It should be here by the end of the week and we can fix the problem properly.  Once he gets it plugged off and dry, he will cement it with hydraulic concrete. 

We do know in the other part of the basement, in the older rubblestone area, from pre-1900's there is another capped off well.  That one is holding after being cemented in many years ago.  This home originally used to be in the country, and as the town grew outwards to include it into the city at a later date.  Then city utilities with water and sewer were supplied up and down our street.... and existing wells were capped off.  I suppose the water bubbling up has to go somewhere, but I want it to stay OUTSIDE of the basement foundation!  LOL.


Yes, we are still babysitting the sassy Grandpuppies, Biscuit and Ewok.  I'm still keeping the quilt on the new loveseat, as you can see, to protect it from their little claws. It has become the favorite perch in the She Shed for them. They love looking out the windows, because there is so much to see outside. At their home, all of the windows are at a much higher level and they don't get so many wonderful outdoor views. They have seen a cat, some deer, and now some turkeys!  This is pretty exciting. Like a doggie theater and they are in the best seats!

Little Biscuit seems to think that anywhere she perches, we should lean over and pet her and scratch her ears. She is quite the little jumping bean and bounces all over the place.  She is the youngest of the bunch. 

Ewok is more sedate and loves to be a couch potato and snuggle buddy. Anytime you sit down, he seems to think your lap is made just for him to perch on.  He grunts at you like a little piggy, until you lean over and lift him up on your lap.  

We've been trying to take them for walks every day to wear off their energy. One person, three leashes, and energetic dogs does not work. They were going Every Which Way Direction. So we have to divide and conquer to get in a walk.


On my fiber front, I've been working on my Jewel Box quilt. I have almost all of the blocks done and ready to start putting them together into strips and then complete the top. Here are just 16 of the sections that make up four blocks of the quilt. There will be 20 blocks in all plus a border, and there are 960 little pieces total in this queen sized quilt.

(incidentally, it's the same pattern as the quilt I have covering the love seat)


Tomorrow is our youngest daughter Heather's birthday. She will be 36 years old! Hard to believe 36 years ago she came into our world and now she's so grown-up and a mommy of her own. We are having a special little birthday celebration for her tomorrow here at our home.

Why did you grow up so fast? 
It seems like yesterday. 

Your big sister was SO excited to have a new baby... 

And now you have babies of your own to share with us.
What a Fun-Loving Jeeping Mom you are!



Steve is chomping at the bit to get going on the sidewalk again, I better get out there and help.