Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Cousin Connection

I am one happy camper about Jennifer's birthday present. She got an iPhone and she has been sending us some cute and funny photos of the kids lately. Here's one to prove we have the cutest grandkids! (Hey, that would be a great blog party.) Everyone post your cutest kids in the world! We can do it once a month and that way Lanette can have a go shortly!) OK, so here is my first entry!

Chloe, almost 4 and Zachary almost 5
they each have a May birthday!

This should settle any questions about
why we want to move to Utah!

These two have a real live Hollywood love story. You know how the two main characters always fight and bicker like crazy until they discover they are in love? When these two were tiny they loved to annoy each other, take toys from each other, make each other cry, then as their cousin Ross would say...'Suddenly' true love!" Thanks, Jen, keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Yesterday when Jim and I were painting we heard a really absurd conversation between two people on the radio. The hot topic was the Swine Flu, of course. So this one person says..."I have heard they are trying to find a better name for the swine flu as many Muslims and others who find pork distasteful are complaining. (What? A deadly disease should have a lovely name?) The other person says,"I did hear that and they considered calling it the Mexican flu but that would offend many as well."

Are these actual truths or were these people kidding? Please tell me they are kidding. Please? Maybe we should call it the "politically incorrect flu or PIF for short?" Is PIF ringing anyone's chimes? Pretty soon we won't be able to say anything!

This whole thing of political correctness has gotten to be so funny. Of course we should respect and honor others but we are all different and that is OK. It is part of the plan. Some of the old adages and idioms need to be brought back like..."You cannot please all of the people all of the time, no matter what you do."

And, come to think of it, I really hate that my astrological sign is called "Cancer!" It offends me....can someone fix it? I am sure that at least 1/12 of the world's population agrees right off the bat and that we could persuade many of the rest of you to join in our cause. As far as I am concerned terrible diseases should not have lovely names and lovely people should not have nasty diseases as their own personal astrological signs. Let's get something going, people! Who will volunteer to find the person in charge of making these crackpot decisions so we can protest? We could hold up some signs and march around.....oh well, on second thought...never mind, we would surely offend someone in the process and might even get pelted with something distasteful from an open car window! And that would offend us big time, right?

What is a person to do..... in a world where everyone is different and acts like they want to be the same to be politically correct? Or acts like they love being different and never want to be the same, so they stir up contention at every turn? It is all so funny and bizarre, and non-productive and as ancient as the family of man. But I do think it has gotten worse, much worse, don't you?

P.S. The New Name of the Swine Flu is...

WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said the agriculture industry and the U.N. food agency had expressed concerns that the term "swine flu" was misleading consumers and needlessly causing countries to ban pork products and order the slaughter of pigs.

"Rather than calling this swine flu ... we're going to stick with the technical scientific name H1N1 influenza A," Thompson said."

If this new name offends anyone... they should see a shrink!

**Flowers and photo by Laurascoop

The Kitchen~Heart of the Home

Over the last several weeks, as some of you know, we have been remodeling several areas in our home. The current project is our kitchen. This is always the most exciting room to redesign. It is usually the heart of the home and the place that people congregate in their daily lives as well as when entertaining. A great kitchen will sell an otherwise average house in a heartbeat. Whenever people think of a newly remodeled kitchen one word pops into their minds almost immediately. Granite. Everyone seems to want it! We thought we wanted it too until I started actually looking at it.

I think what people really mean when they say they want granite is that they do not want little six inch tiles with grout or a laminate surface. They are looking for a stone surface for its beauty, durability and it value in terms of resale. However, as we have found, sometimes in working with what is already in the kitchen, granite is not the best choice.

Our home is several decades old and has random plank oak flooring with wooden pegs. It is a beautiful floor and in excellent condition after many decades of being carpeted. We had it refinished a few year ago and love it.

I am still looking for the perfect area rug in our dining room!

Because it is in the adjoining rooms of our kitchen, we selected a stone tile pattern for our kitchen and had it installed in our kitchen, entryway, laundry room, pantry and small bath at the same time. We really like this floor and did not want to replace the entire run of it during our kitchen renovation as that would be quite costly and it is practically new.

When purchasing a granite counter top you usually go to the showroom and choose a color and pattern that you like and then hope for the best. Since granite in not a man made surface you will never get one that looks exactly like the one in the showroom. There are always naturally occurring variations in the pieces. Granite is very beautiful and I love it, but it was not for our kitchen and here is why.

Usually granite is sold in 8 foot slabs. I spent quite a bit of time in the granite store selecting what I thought would be a good choice for our kitchen. Then you wait a few days while they actually truck in your pieces. Once you sign off the pieces indicting that this is what you want, you will soon have a beautiful new counter top. It sounds simple enough, but not really. Twice we went down to see the granite they brought in for us and it did not look anything like the sample in the showroom. We needed three slabs and each was as different as you can imagine from the other two. (Note: If you are keeping your flooring or cabinets, you need to take a sample of them with you when shopping for a counter top.)

This is what I learned from this unsettling experience:

  • If you have a patterned floor, think twice about granite as your choice. Our particular floor is really beautiful but varied in both color and texture and pattern. The problem~ that is exactly like those same characteristics in a slab of granite. There were pieces of granite we looked at that would have looked like we had run the same material on both the counter and the floor! They were much too similar and there was not enough contrast. Granite seems to work beautifully with wood flooring but not always so well with geometrics or color variations in patterned flooring.
  • If you have a counter run of more than 8 feet like we do, you may run into matching problems. We have a 19 foot run of counter which would have looked like a plaid shirt with mismatched stripes if we had selected the granite we liked in the showroom.
  • You can have a beautiful stone counter tops other than granite that looks great with patterned flooring. Patterns mix best when the scale of the patterns is quite different. Since we have a rather large, random, pattern on the floor featuring both copper and silvery metallic tones, I have selected a much smaller, predictable pattern for the counter top. The pattern is in black which will compliment the black appliances. The color will compliment the warmer tones in the flooring.
I ended up selecting a Silestone counter top which was more expensive than granite but was right for our home. The color is kind of a brick and not represented well in this photo. We do have a brick hearth and black cast iron fireplace in the room as well so lots of patterns going on and the counter top needed to be subdued and still compliment the colors in the existing elements of the room. Silestone does have a lovely shine like granite as opposed to a Corian mat surface.

There are at least four companies that make a fabricated stone counter top like Silestone that is amazing. It is virtually maintenance free. No annual sealing or anything like that. I learned that they are all made by the same manufacturer on one machine and distributed to the various retailers. They are made of crushed quartz~ which is essentially granite with a man made pattern for more continuity. When that pit in my stomach went away I knew it was right for us. Whew!

Even though I have worked with several clients selecting countertops for their kitchen renovations, I realized that every one of them had a wood floor and that made granite selection pretty easy.

So when you are making a purchase of several thousand dollars, be informed, select carefully and realize you will be living with it for a long time. If you plan to sell your home, think stylish, updated and somewhat neutral. Remember to think about what is already in the room and coordinate accordingly. Go more to the neutral side and jazz it up with paint and accessories. Something classic will appeal to the largest number of potential buyers and you will tire of it less frequently over time. Happy hunting and think beyond granite sometimes! I'll have some photos of our finished project in a few weeks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Every Cloud Has Its Silver Lining

The economic situation has everyone in a dither. I know so many are really suffering and so many have lost their jobs and my heart aches for them. I feel so badly for the families with children and the elderly and infirmed especially. This is what I find interesting...

Everyone is freaking out because President Obama hasn't fixed it in his first 100 days. Some people really are stupid funny, aren't they? We expect instant everything in this country. We have got a crock pot problem and people wanting a microwave solution. We've watched too much TV apparently, where things become problems and are solved in an hour with 20 minutes worth of intermittent commercial breaks. That is just not reality, folks, but half of America seems to think we are almost over this economic crisis!

I am no economist, but I have a feeling we are in this for the long haul. There is no instant fix this time. We could talk for hours about why it happened, how we got here, what we can do about, etc. and we still have to wait it out, improve our personal financial responsibility and integrity and learn from our mistakes.

It has been said that every cloud has a silver lining and these are the silver bits we have noticed from this economic crisis.

Most are more aware of how, when and where they spend their money.

People seems to be taking saving $ more seriously. They are also thinking about stocking up on the essentials, and staying out of debt.

Couples and families are talking about $ more and making decisions together about how they do business.

We are wasting less in all areas, our garbage cans are not nearly as full as they use to be.

Families are being creative in the way they spend more time and less money together.

Government, corporations, companies and small businesses are coming up with better ways of cutting the fat.

People are repurposing things, renovating, and donating more things that others might be able to use.

People are learning new skills and trying to be more self-sufficient.

People are planning and prioritizing like never before.

People are sharing more with those in need and trying to help those out of work.

Services in some retails businesses have increased significantly almost over night.

It could be that people just want to keep their jobs, but it is nice to see them going the extra mile.

Today in a paint store a clerk wanted to carry a gallon of paint out to my car for me. (what??) When I assured her I could do it, she said fine and then ran and opened the door for me. In a hardware store I asked someone about paint rollers and then I needed some halogen bulbs. She directed me to the electrical department and called another sales person to meet me there. Hello! This is fantastic! There is no way, in you know where, that would have happened a year ago.

And lastly, I think it's great that maybe we will be raising a new generation of kids that have less of a claim on their entitlement to have everything they have ever wanted, without putting out any blood, sweat and tears of their own. And hopefully they will be learning it from their parents and grandparents~by example....finally. If that occurs it will cut our losses in half.

A Simple Woman's Daybook~April 27, 2009

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, click here.

So, For Today...Monday, April 27, 2009

Outside my is noon and so we have bright blue skies and a brisk breeze some would call a cold wind. Burrr!

I am is so unpredictable, one just never knows what will be dropped on your plate on any given day. It is best to be prepared spiritually, mentally and emotionally for whatever comes your way.

From the learning rooms...I have learned that my husband's ability to work tirelessly and for many many hours is a talent few have. I am going to stop feeling bad about not being able to keep up. I don't know anyone who could except maybe his friend, David.

I am thankful for...Jim's talents and his abilities and for the great new kitchen we are working on together.

From the kitchen... the windows are installed, the wallpaper is gone, the counters are gone, the wallboard is repaired, sanded and washed, the dust cleaned up and we are about to open the primer and start the painting. Very exciting. The project is going pretty quickly all things considered. The Silestone template for the counter has been made today so we are on the count down for installation now...9 days they said.

I am wearing...Dark jeans, sandals, white tee and a celery green hoodie.

I am reading...mostly blogs right now and scriptures.

I am find my routine and rhythm again soon. April has been very chaotic it seems.

I am Praying for...people I know that are seriously ill, the world in general and always our family and friends.

I am much order as I can possibly create. I am finding as I get older I need order to concentrate. Should I be worried?

I am hearing...NPR and they are talking about the swine flu. Sometimes I think that the most prevalent terrorist among us is the media.

I am keep a positive attitude about life and increase my faith in the Savior and His plan for us all.

My spiritual thoughts include...wondering where we will be serving next in the church.

Around the house...our herd of deer have had new babies. There are at least two fawns and they are adorable. Everyone loves babies, even when they grow up to be a menace and eat all your vegetables and flowers. They are so cute right now.

I have been procrastinating.....
paper work...ugh. That is always what I procrastinate about anymore.

One of my favorite things...Looking out the beautiful new window here by my computer and seeing the American Flag blowing in the breeze.

A few plans for the rest of the week... another fun friend night, a baby shower, some design work, some writing, some shopping, some organizing and more decluttering, dinner with friends on Saturday and anticipating Sunday.

Here is a picture and a thought I am sharing with you...

These beautiful flowers were grown by my friend Laura. I am including them here for anyone that needs special prayers, healing, and uplifting today. Amidst all that tries us, there is always something beautiful to look at and enjoy and rejoice about. We have to look for it and allow ourselves to be lifted up in joy and happiness! These are choices we all can consciously make. Just do it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Parable

"A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and
said, 'Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.'

The Lord led the holy man to two doors.

He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.

In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the
table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy
man's mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared
to be famished.

They were holding spoons with very long handles, that were strapped to
their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and
take a spoonful.

But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get
the spoons back into their mouths.

The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.

The Lord said, 'You have seen Hell.'

They went to the next room and opened the door... It was exactly the
same as the first one.

There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made
the holy man's mouth water..

The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the
people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man
said, 'I don't understand.'

It is simple,' said the Lord. 'It requires but one skill.

You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think
only of themselves.'"

Serendipity Thrifting

Yesterday I took a load of stuff to Goodwill. While there of course I had to look around for just a minute. Goodwill is so hit and miss for me. Every once in awhile I find a real treasure but more times than not, I just stroll through...look at the books and leave empty handed.

But yesterday I found this great purse for $6.00. It just made me happy. It reminded me to keep praying for Stellan, it is my current favorite color and it goes great will all the brown in my wardrobe. Oh and then I got a 10% discount at the register. Yippee.

When I got home Jim said he liked it and it reminded him of the ones we had seen in Florence. I go for that so~ if any of you have seen it at Walmart of K-Mart, don't tell me, K?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh, the Pressure! I Am Not Much of a Cooker!

Yup, we actually "live" here.

Today I had the thrilling task of emptying all the lower cabinets in the kitchen and sorting through all of our cooking paraphernalia. Well, if you are familiar with FlyLady, you will know what I mean when I say, I have been doing the 25 boogie flingin', all day long. I am decluttering the kitchen! I do not want to be shackled to this stuff anymore. And I am heading straight to Good Will shortly!

I have four bundt pans...four! Now some of you might say great, if you bake a lot. I haven't made a bundt cake since 1981! It was buried so deep in our cupboard that I hadn't even thought of a bundt cake since I saw "My Big Fat Greek Wedding!" Here is how part of our conversations have been going through this process.

Jim: "I really wish we had a pressure cooker, I've always wanted one."

Me: " Why, what would you do with it? My mom had one and it blew up and sprayed vegetable soup all over the kitchen!"

Jim apparently not really hearing what I said: " I don't know why, I just want one.."

Me: "Hmmm, that is really weird..yesterday when I was going through the silverware drawer I found a gauge for one."

Jim: "Wow, that is double weird...I wonder where we got it?

Me: "I haven't a clue, nor do I know what I did with it"

Then this morning....

Me: "Honey, there is something in the way back of the corner cabinet..I can't reach it...can you get it for me?"

Jim:" Sure, no problem.....I'm gettin' it, I almost have it...Oh my's a a a pressure cooker!" (Grinning ear to ear!)

Me: " Ahhh, Happy Birthday, Babe, great hiding place for your present...don't you think?" I've known all along you wanted one and you have been waiting so long. But you can't have it until your birthday in November. Then you can use it and maybe even actually blow up "The Soup" with it. (That is, of course, if I can find the gauge by then.)

Why is it that we all have so much stuff that we don't even remember what we have? It is beyond ridiculous. And another thing, why are the old-fashioned cabinets so inconvenient? They are like freezers, they just aren't meant to be places where you can easily keep track of things. I found a wire bread basket I have been looking for for a very long time today.

Our cupboards are about to look like the plate from a fancy California Cuisine restaurant...lots of white space around all of the essential items. We will savor only the best of what we have in the kitchen and the rest is getting kicked to the curb!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Jim and I pretty tired as we have been working non-stop on the kitchen. Well, I should really say he has been working non-stop. I do stop and rest occasionally but not enough to catch up on anyone's blog right now. I am thinking of you all and wish I could be leisurely flipping through my blog roll. Maybe soon though.

Right now I am just dead dog tired and needing a nap. Yesterday Jen sent this beautiful little photo of Hazie and I would love to be cuddled up right next to her for a nap! This is still Baby Halo to me...this little granddaughter gives off a lot of light! Doesn't she look so peaceful and beautiful?

One Word Wednesday!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wearing Orange For Stellan Today!


People all over the world are praying for this little baby today and wearing orange (his mom's favorite color) to show our support for his heart surgery this morning in Boston. See his story at <>

San Francisco Bay Area

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook~April 20, 2009

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, click here.

So, For Today...Monday, April 20, 2009

Outside my is simply gorgeous out today.

I am thinking...I have mixed emotions about starting on the kitchen remodel this very day. I just dread the upheaval but delight in the finished project, somewhere down the line.

From the learning rooms...patience is a virtue.

I am thankful for...our family returning safely to Utah yesterday.

From the kitchen...lots of wallpaper scrapping in my next several hours.

I am wearing...Snoopy PJ bottoms and a white tee shoes yet.

I am reading...are you time for reading today!

I am hoping...we can use this week well and be very productive in our remodeling as Jim goes back to work next week.

I am Praying Murphy's Law moments this week.

I am creating...visions of the new windows, new counter top, new paint and dangling it all like a carrot in front of my eyes to get me motivated to do the hard stuff.

I am hearing...our sprinkler system running for the first time this spring.

I am going... to create a new temporary kitchen in our laundry room and on the back patio and pray for no rain for awhile.

My spiritual thoughts include...heaven help us!

Around the house...orderly chaos is about to begin.

I have been procrastinating.....getting all the decor put away that is not going back in the kitchen and emptying the cabinets, drawers, etc.

One of my favorite things...making old things new again with elbow grease..(I am trying to convince myself that removing wallpaper is fun!)

A few plans for the rest of the week...pushing through for the end results that will be so sweet and amazing!

Here is a picture and a thought I am sharing with you...

It is so sweet to see my husband enjoying grandparenting so much. Little Aynslee adores him (and vice versa) and her crying and wailing could be heard for a block when they drove away on Saturday to go home to Utah. Someday we will live closer!

She loved putting on her Grampa's glasses and I though this was an adorable photo so wanted to include it. With no teeth and the bi-focals maybe we could morph the photo into a little old lady!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Beanie!

Today Jim and I have been parents for 37 years! Happy Birthday Sweet Jen! There simply are not enough of the right words to tell you how much you are loved! You have been the light of our lives for so long. We have experienced so many firsts with you. You have been and continue to be an amazing daughter and friend to us. We stand in awe of your accomplishments and your pioneer spirit. The world is a far better place because of you. We love you with all of our hearts and our total respect for you and all you do is beyond description! Have a Wonderful Day, Honey! We miss you! XO times 37 and one to grow on!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Photo Shoot~Reward!

One Happy Little Guy!
Don't you love the gianormous spoon someone gave him?
Supervision and photo by Grampa

Saturday Morning~Farewell!

Our last morning was really fun we had a pancake breakfast and then we were off to the yard to try to get a good family photo of Chris and Missy, Connor, Aynslee, Zachary and Owen. Can you guess how many photos Jim took? Tons and in most something was just a little off but they are all cute.

Here is one I like of their family.

Here is a couple of Jim and me that are passable for a couple of old duffers! We were trying to duplicate a pose from another photo of us that is OK but it wasn't totally successful!

Here's one of Chris and Missy

And since we had to do every possible combination
Here is one of Jim and me and the kiddos...

As we were doing all of this Aunt Gail was able to come over and so we got her into the act also. Here she is on the teeter totter she bought for the each of the families of our children. We are keeping Spencer's and Ross' while they are in Italy.

I for one loved this time with everyone.
It was just great to be together!
I know Grampa agrees 100%

Friday, April 17, 2009

The San Francisco Museum of Science

The San Francisco Museum of Science has been under reconstruction and renovation for several years. It just recently reopened and the changes are pretty spectacular. We picked up Grandma Gloria and took off for The City fairly early in the day. Being Easter Vacation week it was pretty crowded which is one reason why I am not a big museum fan. You pay a lot of money to stand in big lines but that is OK...the kids enjoyed it very much.

The museum has a wonderful three story rain forest that I did enjoy very much although it was pretty humid. It was filled with beautiful trees and tropical plants and birds and the biggest surprise for us...there were many beautiful butterflies. The butterflies, in a rainbow array of exotic colors were landing on people. One landed in my hair and the next thing we knew one landed on the baby carrier right in front of Owen's big blue eyes.

Look closely on Christopher's back to see
the black and orange butterfly that has Owie mesmerized!

When we got on the elevator we were to look in the mirror provided to make sure we were not exiting with butterflies on us. The aquarium is really neat and under the rain forest. The floor of the rain forest is glass so you can see the people walking around underground in the aquarium. It was really cool from down below as well as up above. The kids enjoyed all the creatures and fish and the immense tanks are very tranquil. One thing that was unusual was an albino alligator along with the green cami ones.

The Entry to the Museum
flickr photo from an insider.
It was full of people when we walked in.


One of the two remaining attractions from the previous museum~
The pendulum measuring the rotation of the earth.

3 Story Rain Forest

Boy do I miss this kid!

Having a little moment with our son! Rare and really awesome!

The ceiling is the rain forest floor!

The bunny ears follows us everywhere!

Don't the kids look little?

Jim's Mom with her great grandkids~she is amazing for 82!

I don't know how it happened that we only have a couple
of photos of Missy's back and none of Grampa! Sorry guys!
Nice haircut, Missy!

The beauty of blogging and being behind..
you can add in a different day's photo!

On our walk back to the car to go for Pizza!