Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Advice

Keep your eyes on the your flight path tonight!

Don't Scare Any Little kids!

Not like this anyway!

Girls only please!
Although it may scare boys too!

It's Almost Here!
Have A Lot Of Fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

So, You Don't Believe in Spanking?

Try this!
To the parents of the great nieces and nephews of Uncle Gary!
(He's kidding)

Give It A Rest!

On October 25th I posted my first in a series of Decorating Ideas. I want to elaborate on each one in future posts. Today I am talking about~

2. The space you leave empty is as important as the spaces you fill. Your eyes need resting places in a decorated space.

Over the years we all collect things we love and want to display in our homes. However, when we put up too much is becomes just that...too much! Too much stimulus is not at all restful or inviting. Not every square inch of floor, wall, and table tops need to be filled.

Here is an example of a home we were hired to stage for sale several years ago. This home was owned by a beautiful, very artistic lady and she loved a lot of everything in her home. For living there it was fine and really brought out her personality. Of course for staging a lot of it had to go.

The point of this is to show you that too much stuff creates too much visual confusion for most of us. Take a look...

Double Click for a Larger View

By adding so many pictures and accessories nothing stands out. The wall opposite the sofa was a series of bookcases with so much stuff you would not have believed it. By removing about 2/3 of the things in this room it looked so much better and the house sold rather quickly.

This client was so charming but her threshold for a lot of visual stimulation was higher than for most of us. Be selective about the things you want to surround yourself with in each room. It is great to rotate things and that way you can use all the things you love, just not all at the same time. The trend in the 80's and 90's was a lot of little groupings. The trend now is more towards larger pieces and less accessorizing.

This is another client's home and where a similar problem had to be addressed. The two photos that follow are the same room!


These are just a few suggestions to update your look, declutter, and simplify your environment.

You will notice that in a lot of our staged houses we use a lot of pillows on the sofa and chairs. That is to keep people walking through from having a seat and messing things up! It is great that they feel "welcomed in" but we do not want them to sit down and relax while they tour the homes. It would be fine if they put things back as they found them, know how that goes.

Blogger Buzz

For the past few weeks different people have been having trouble with their blogger comments. As an example, my daughter, Laura, would post a great message and then when you would click on comments the comment box would not come up and you couldn't leave your comment. Well, that was making me nuts so I did some investigating and this is what I discovered.

Blogger is trying out a new method of comments which will actually embed the comments right into your post. That way your reader won't have to click on a pull down comment box. Blogger thinks it is cooler and are initiating it on all new blogs. They have made it an option for older blogs which did not even work when I tried it on my blog. However, in the process of this changing of the setting page I think some of the blogs inadvertently reset to the embedded option. I know a few others were also unable to get comments last week. So this is how you fix it:

If you go to customize and then settings and click on comments and scroll down you will see a section called "comment form placement." Just check yours and make sure it is on the second button default and not the embedded one. Then save it and that should fix the problem for you.

Laura is back up and running now. Happy Commenting!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Possibilities

Pumpkins are so much fun and versatile.
Here are a few of the things I think are great about them

Topping my list is decorating with them

Halloween Night Dinner *

One pumpkin hallowed out and cleaned, remove seeds, string etc.
One cup instant rice plus needed water
1 lb hamburger, garlic, bell pepper, onions, salt and pepper to taste
(this is kind of a do your own thing mixture depending on what your kids like.)
1 can of cream of chicken or mushroom soup plus a little H2O
Add veggies if desired

Poke hole in lid of pumpkin. Grease outside of pumpkin and place in a roasting pan. Cover stem with foil. Fill pumpkin and bake at 350 degrees for 1-2 hours until pumpkin scoops out easily like potatoes. Good for the little goblins before they go out Trick or Treating on a cold dark night.

Gramma Jo's Pumpkin Bread Recipe **
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1/4 Teasoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs well beaten
1/2 vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin non-spiced OK
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in wet ingredients and blend well. Pour batter into greased and floured pans. Either 2- 7 inch pans or 3 or 4 mini loaf pans or muffin tins. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (Adjust baking time according to size of pans.) Cool 5 minutes in pans and then remove to a cooling rack. Recipe can be doubled or tripled and freezes nicely wrapped in foil.

Follow your favorite recipe ( I go to Costco!) ***

And my all time personal favorite
~get away car with a handsome prince!

flickr* m_is_for_movie
** judester1213


One word answers. This is going around apparently as I have received it via e-mail and have seen it on Jen and Traci's blogs.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse

2. Your significant other? Working

3. Your color hair? Questionable

4. Your mother? Missed

5. Your father? Mysterious

6. Your favorite thing? Movies

7. Your dream last night? Forgotten

8. Your favorite drink? Water

9. Your dream/goal? Balance

10. What room you are in? Family

11. Your fear? Dependency

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. Something that you aren't? Partier

15. Muffins? Poppyseed

16. Wish list item? Clients

17. Where you grew up? Sacramento

18. Last thing you did? Prayed

19. What are you wearing? Jammies

20. Your TV? Off

21. Your pets? Gone

22. Friends? Inspirational

23. Your life? Mine

24. Your mood? Questionable

25. Missing someone? YES!

26. Your car? Dirty

27. Something you're not wearing? Watch

29. Your favorite store? Clueless

30. Your favorite color? Changes

33. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday

34. Last time you cried? Yesterday

35. Who will resend this? Clueless

Four, Four, Four, Four...

A) Four places that I go to over and over: Church, Trader's, Utah, Keyboard

B) Four people who email me regularly: Lyle, Barb, Lee, Cathy Lee

C) My favorite places to eat: Home, Barb's, Scott's, PE

D)Four places I'd like to go right now: Italy, Scotland, Vermont, Wales

E) Four TV Shows I like, Gilmores, none, none, none

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Composition in Home Design

1. An object by itself is only an object.
Juxtapose it with something else and it becomes a composition.

This post will discuss the first of the principles discussed on my Design Blog on Oct. 25th.

Composition is an important aspect of decorating in much the same way as it is in photography. When you look through that view finder I am sure you take a good look at what will actually be in your photo. In the exact same way you should stand back and look at your room from the door way and ask yourself if the composition of the furnishings, art and accessories are pleasing to the eye.

Beautiful things must work together to create the atmosphere, ambiance, and feeling you want to evoke in the room. Things don't have to match but they definitely need to blend. Does the room invite you in and make you want to stay awhile?

Doesn't this room look comfy and invite you in for a nap?

The style and elegance is carried through out
this whole area of the entry and living room.

Make sure that different areas of your room
blend together and compliment one another.

A word about accessories and collections. Find a fun and interesting way to display your things. This is a photo of a collection of pears that I have in my dining room. Over the years I have enjoyed collecting pears from various places we have visited and I have also received several from friends and relatives. Imagine how silly my room would look with all these pears scattered around the room. I found this great copper tray and just started piling them on and people always comment on how fun this is and how they enjoy looking at them. Be creative and take a chance on something. The worst thing that can happen is you decide you don't like it and then you can try something else! Use a little whimsy in your decor and add that little element of surprise to each room.

All of these homes have been redesigned or staged by our company, Interiors by Design.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I really am enjoying linking to fun blogs this week. I have met a new friend that somehow found her way to my blog a week or so ago. Her name is Deanna and she has been away from her computer for awhile recovering from a corneal transplant. Now she is better and back and I just wanted you to see what a fun blog she has. The design, the music, and even some great old radio shows at the bottom of her blog will really take you back to the good ole days. And who couldn't use a little of that in these stressful times?

If this jogs your memory in anyway, you are in for a treat!
Thanks, Deanna, and welcome back to the blogsphere!!

I can just smell the freshly cut grass on a Saturday morning
and hearing the slamming screen door or being told to shut it~
as I would run outside to play!

While I was being a kid, my mom was sewing me some pretty new dresses that never looked anything like these glamorous babes on the patterns~when I wore them. The fact that I can ever remember that is a testament to the fact that body image frustrations for girls have been around for a long, long time! But that is another post altogether. For now just pop over and visit Deanna and a more carefree day!

**Flickr Green Wellies
***Flickr by ~K~

In Case You Didn't Know I'm 'Sparkley' and Love Cold Drinks!

My recent love letter from Julia

Double Clicking makes it easier to read

~Napoli News~

Got Talent?

Posted by our daughter, Laura, about our very talented 1st grader, Ross!

This afternoon Ross asked if he could use the computer to type a story. I was in the middle of a big "discussion" with Spencer and was happy to have Ross engaged in something other than our trouble. So I sent him down stairs to type without another thought.

Well, a few minutes ago I came down stairs and found this story on my computer screen. NOTE: Ross chose the font, size, spacing, etc. all on his own. When I told him his story was so good it was blog worthy he really wanted me to change the font color before posting it. I think we have author/graphic artist in the making over here.

The New School

Chapter 1:Ben

Ben was the shortest kid in Floros
(Floro is a name Ross made up) class. He had no friends and everyone teased him. Win ever (whenever) Floro caught sum one (someone) doing it(,) they wood (would) bee (be) at the Principle. (")123 eyes on me(") everyone quickly looked(.) (")today we will (...) FIRE DRILL! (") But nobody curved (covered) there (their) yrs (ears). (")BEN WEY (why) WRINT (weren't) YOU LISNING (listening)!(")

End of chapter:1

Not too shabby for only being in 1st grade since September! I did not even need Laura's (notes) after I worked for two doctors for twenty something years and I can read anything! One proud Gramma signing out for now!

Friday, October 24, 2008

No Man or Woman is an Island


Today I have been thinking about how wonderful it is to have a community of people in your life that you can relate to, that are like-minded, a positive influence, and that can support you when the going gets rough. It is also wonderful to be a part of that group of people when others are being tried and you can uplift them and show your support. It would be my hope that each and everyone one of us have that in our lives. Whether it is your family, your church, your work place peers, your Facebook friends, your golf buddies or whomever, I hope God has blessed you with this oasis of support and comfort.

Even though I am a bit of an introvert, I fully recognize how much I need and love other people in my life. Are you an extrovert or an introvert? The definition I like best for each is: an extrovert gains energy when surrounded by others. Perfect example (my spouse!) An introvert may love others as much as an extrovert but feels a sort of draining of energy when with others and needs solitude to recharge. (Perfect example, me!) I think it has less to do with outgoing or shyness characteristics and is more about the sources of one's social energy.

Which ever group you belong to, I think most would agree that we need other people in our lives to be happy and healthy and well-rounded. No healthy person is an island.

I was reminded of this once again when I read my good friend, Lanette's, blog today. I think a lot of us have been waking up with worries and concerns lately...I know I sure have. Never in my life have I been so concerned about the severe trials of so many people, issues, financial doom and gloom, etc. It has taken a toll on me in many ways. But when I surround myself with wonderful people like Lanette...I am comforted and uplifted.

Most people, it is said, have only one or two deep friendships in their entire lives. I feel so blessed to have that feeling towards many friends. From now on when I have those feelings of deep concern when I awaken in the morning I am going to remember this post from my sweet friend and rejoice in the day the Lord hath made for me and for you!


~Good People~
Family and Friends
The Sunshine of My Life!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Next Season's Dancing with the Stars?

I really like the idea of finding a caption for these funny political photos. Does anyone want to take a crack at this one? And while you are at it don't forget the Obama/Mc Cain one from a few days ago. I will give a prize for each one. Let's have a little fun~we need it at times like these! You all like prizes don't you? Don't feel obligated to take a prize if you is not mandatory or anything!

Laura's Coop

I have a great friend and one of my favorite bloggers that I want to feature today. Her name is Laura and she is one funny hen. I think she should change her blog name from Laura~scoop to Laura's Coop. Her baby chicks are adorable and she is a great mother!

Enjoy this post as I did! I am still laughing~so clever this one!

Differences of Opinion

Several months ago I think I mentioned that I really dislike politics. The reasons for this are numerous but probably the most important one is that deep down inside I am really passionate about some issues and that is why getting involved in politics is crazy making for me. We have a good friend that is running for the school board and the campaigning has been so filled with out and out lies, corruption and evil hidden agendas that it would make you ill.

Some Of the Main Things About It All That Makes Me Nuts Are:
  • The bureaucratic red-tape whenever anyone has innovative ideas that could actually improve things. As an example, you can buy copy paper four times cheaper at Costco that you can through the district but they insist the paper be bought by the individual schools from them while complaining about not having enough money. What? Everything down to something this mundane is so ensconced in politics.
  • Dishonesty! Needs no explanation.
  • Disrespect for the opinions and beliefs of others and out and out rudeness. Name calling, threats, etc. Think "8" need I say more?
  • Change is so difficult and reminds me of trying to push a donkey on its rear uphill. We've all been there done that!
  • Feeling like your feet are stuck in tar as you try to take steps forward when the process becomes so murky, the vision of the original intent is often impossible to see or even remember. Etc. Etc. Kids? Teachers? Oh yeah, that is why we are here in the first place!

The only person trying to be honest and to actually concern himself with the welfare of students, teachers and proper allocation of funds is Jeff Adams.

Yesterday our local newspaper endorsed Jeff and the opposition launched into the most despicable triad over why the paper is not entitled to their own opinion. The opposition is trying to band together to create a voting block that will control every decision. Jeff is for intelligent decisions based on the facts of each issue not on whose pocket he's in. The district is misappropriating and wasting money with no basic oversight. Jeff comes to the election with a MBA in finance and is also an honest attorney. These opponents are so hungry for the power and moving up the political ladder that they are scared to death of an upright individual serving with them. This is ulcer producing stuff for me. We are talking about our community's kids here.

The one thing that I really cannot handle about these people is they are always spouting off about the democratic process and then trying to deny Jeff his rights in that arena. They have criticized his rights to his own religious beliefs, his constitutional rights of free speech, etc. This is one of the great ironies of fanatical people. They don't see that they contradict themselves at every turn because it is their way or the highway! I am so proud of Jeff for standing up for the kids and families he is trying to represent and for totally taking the high road in this campaign when I would have blown a gasket by now. He is calm and respectful and honest. He believes in families and kids and doing the most good for the most people. It is no wonder they are all scared of his platform~it contradicts everything that they are.

So that is why I do not like politics and why I am getting an ulcer. This and several other items on the ballot this election year are very disturbing. Enjoy your freedoms to vote you own conscience in the privacy of the voting booth~the way things are going it could be short lived.

The difference between us and them is we believe in the rights of every American to voice their opinions in a decent, civilized way. They are a little too hungry for what they want at any cost. So just go out and vote, vote for what you believe in, and exercise your right as an American to do so. I really detest the contentions, the bickering, the whole political gambit. I vote for the PEACE of righteous living! Nope, I'm not political..nope, not me, not one bit!

flickr** no name

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gift-Giving and You

As the holidays approach I have been thinking about gift-giving. Do you struggle with what to get people? I know I sure do sometimes, especially for little kids and men. Now women, I think are much easier. Let's face it, our stuff is way cooler! I am not a big fan of giving money but I do it because I don't want the hassle of returns for the kids and I don't want to mail things that can't be returned. With little kids growing so fast and not living nearby it is impossible to keep up. I would rather have mom and dad pick out things they want their kids to have anyway. I know it is extra work for them but they seem to like having the control.


The ideal situation for gift-giving is when you really know the person enough to know exactly what they will enjoy. Don't you just love it when you are out shopping and you see the perfect thing for a person on your list? I do. One of the things I try to do is really listen when people talk about the things they like. I'll make a mental note and then write it down when I get home and that helps a lot. ( I learned this in the dental office...they always write down things about you in your chart so it will appear they really know you well!) Does that burst your bubble about Dr. Soandso? Well, that is another story for another day.

I have to say I am not fond of buying men's things. Their gifts for the most part, are so....can you say....BORING? I have a hard time getting excited about socks, white shirts, ties and tools.

ho hum not ho,ho,ho!

The bigger problem I have with men in our family is they don't want anything. Hello, do you even get that? I rue the day there is nothing I want...I know I will be six feet under! That sounds so materialistic but I choose to think of it as having a lot of varied interests!

Of all the men I husband, son and brothers are the worst and my Dad was no help either..they don't ever seem to have any gift ideas for me. My sons by marriage are a little better~at least they have wish lists on Amazon! Granted, their wishes are perplexing, albeit tangible.

Here's one from Robert's, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. Huh? This is a gift idea? OK, then! He is so brilliant I wish I even knew what the Peloponnesian War was? (apparently spell check has never heard of it either at least not on my computer!) Mind you though, I am not complaining. I love having even an inkling of what to do. If they are happy, I am happy. Lowell has created a wish list too, I just haven't been able to find it yet. I love them all so much and want to give them something they want.

Now the girls ~ it's awesome fun shopping for them! We have so many more categories to choose from and so many options. Compare this to a rack of ties, row of white dress shirts or Sears tool department. I ask you where would you rather be? This is a no brainer!

I have to say I love being a female, don't you? The other thing I love about most women is their enthusiasm for gifts given and received! They will rarely toss your gift aside and keep it in the box in the closet for an entire year. But if they do, just re-wrap and give it to them again next year. I actually did that to Jim one year when I gave him a biking outfit that was very expensive and took every penny of my annual bonus from work. The following year, the re-wrap saved me money and to this day I do not know if he even remembered it. Oddly enough, the second time around he loved it...go figure! Maybe it was the paper?? More likely his world famous, robin egg blue biking shorts had mysteriously disappeared by then and he was in need.

What I love most about giving any gift is just letting that person know they are important to me and I want to give them something they will love. I know it is hit and miss, but I delight in those times when I just know it was the right choice, right on target, maybe even a bull's eye. Then it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

Some Tips for Making it Easier for Others to Buy a Gift for You
  • Make a list and make it available on Amazon or somewhere (like I have done on my side-bar.) Hint hint!
  • If someone asks you what you would like, try getting back to them within the current decade, Gentlemen!
  • Occasionally talk about the things you love and that interest you.
  • Let them know when you have reached your limit on collectibles. If you don't want one more penguin...let them know in a passing conversation that your collection is now complete.
  • If you are a re-gifter remember who gave you what. No one wants to see their gift at the next white elephant exchange. Nor do they want to see it in different paper as a gift for them. I actually know people who have gotten back the gift they gave!
  • Realize that no one ever gives a gift hoping you won't like it. So practice being gracious and acting like you love it for their sake. I'm not saying you should be deceitful, just be kind and it will not kill you to show a little enthusiasm for their effort, if nothing else. This is
    Gift Receiving Manners 101, not rocket science...teach it to your kids!

Happy shopping and even better..coming up with creative ways to say, " I love you" that don't cost a lot but ~ mean a lot. And, if you are a type A, that doesn't mean add a whole bunch of homemade gifts to your already too full "to do" list, so that you either feel guilty if you can't or exhausted if you do.

Just be creative and make it fun. Christmas and gift-giving are to be enjoyed. I think we can keep the magic in it if we simplify and make it something other than work, work, work! In this time of economic distress, less can and should be more anyway....


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Girlfriends~The Best Medicine!

I have to hand it to my sweet friends. Yesterday morning I was feeling pretty out of sorts with life in general. They helped me turn my frown upside down!

I know I was tired as we had had an action packed weekend. It started out on Friday afternoon with political sign making for Jim and me. After three hour of rushing through that we decided we could squeeze in that movie we wanted to see. I Fandangoed the tickets and we went rushing to the theater for the 7:30 showing of The Secret Life of Bees. I jumped out of the car, ran in to get the popcorn while he parked the car. In all the rush we landed up at the wrong theatre! Hello..totally my fault. There was no time to go to the other place so they let us use our tickets for a movie there. Nights at Rodanthe. I know this was not the best for Jim. He is interested in Bees because he teaches it in his literature classes and it is one of his favorite books. He was gracious and liked the other movie but BUMMER anyway! Senility 101 rears its ugly head again.

Saturday was jammed packed with distribution of the signs for Jim, an all day long genealogy seminar for me, Halloween party for both of us in Tracy Saturday night, the usual Sunday stuff and then over to Oakland for the Temple Hill excursion. It was a good weekend just a little overbooked.

Anyway~back to the girlfriends. So Monday mornings is when I meet with my friends for an hour or so. It is a time that we just share stuff and try to come up with ways to improve our lives etc. We have been doing it weekly for years. I cannot tell you how important this group of friends is to me. We have been through every imaginable life crisis together over the years and every joyous experience too. What is shared in that room stays in that room!

It has been the best. It is like a coffee klatch without the coffee, a therapy session without a therapist, a play date without the kids! One of the best things about the whole thing is we laugh our heads off and that is what turned my frown upside down yesterday morning. I was feeling so stressed about politics about the economy some extended family stuff, and just had that uneasy feeling of a panic attack in the making when ~ along came my friends to the rescue.

There is something so special about sisterhood. I love the dear ladies I can call my friends. You light up my life in so many ways. And that goes to all my blogging friends as well. Love you all! If you haven't heard about our trip to Greece and your invitation to join in Click here!

**This photo looks absolutely nothing like us!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Caption Anyone?

This is one of those moments that the press loves! Only someone with a history like me of what I pray are rotten photos of myself...can fully appreciate it! I am feeling Mc Cain~Pain here! Anyone care to come up with a caption? If there are at least ten comments I will turn it into a contest. Thanks Jen for letting me use it. Too sad and funny! Also check out the videos on my sidebar from( Blissfully Domestic ~Blissful LOL) under the scary laughing cat button to brighten up and lighten up your day!