Thursday, February 26, 2015

While I was sleeping...

I'm sharing this today at Good Fences.

This is what I woke up to this morning.
I know this is probably the last thing you want to see right now...more snow.

Let me just say that I have totally suffered through enjoyed your many lovely snowy posts.
Yes, I confess...I was jealous.

But please bare with me as I share my joy with you.
It was hardly even daybreak before I was out trudging through it and snapping away.

I have lived here for twenty-three years and have never seen a snowfall this beautiful.

Please indulge me if you will for a moment while I share a few more.

It was so quiet and peaceful!

Some of the limbs hung down to the ground.

As I wondered around the yard and through the woods, 
I came upon what is left of this old dog lot that was hidden among the trees.

Do you folks in the north use that term too?
It's a good thing the dogs in it weren't pit bulls or dobermans.
I don't really think this puny little fence could have kept them in...or out for that matter.

I remember my son had built it for a litter of puppies and their mommy.

It normally just blends in with the surroundings.
Isn't it funny how some clingy snow can turn it into a piece of art.
Well, maybe not art... 
So anyway, it's been a while since I've posted any fences so I thought this might suffice.
Plus...yeah you guessed it...I wanted to show you my snow!!

Needless to say, the little birdies had to dig for their breakfast :)

So, it is now the afternoon and much of the lovely white stuff has dropped off the trees
and is melting as we speak.

I got my snow fix...I'm all good now.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Belated Valentine Story

So I came home for lunch last Monday and found these on the dining room table.
As you can see, they are for Jim and one for me.

Jim was working his five-day (yes, five-day) shift and had evidently come home briefly,
leaving these on the table before returning—before I got home for lunch.
Many times, your schedules aren't your own...
...especially when you co-manage a group home for individuals with special needs.
 It would be lunch for one...again...unless you include Hunter and Oscar :)
Nothing unusual in our household, I might add.
Okay, back to the Valentines...

If you look at the bottom, you can see they are from Joshua.
The crude drawings and juvenile printing could have come from any first-grader, at best.
Josh is in his early twenties.
He is just one of six men who make up my husband's extended family.
Jim Ray is Josh's most favorite person in the world, next to his father.
Josh is a little boy in a man's body.
At first glance, he might look much like any other twenty-something young man.
By taking that second look, you will notice that he has the face of a little boy,
somewhat timid, yet still having the trusting eyes of a child.
Josh is autistic and is also a savant of sorts...
...math and trivia are among his strong suits.
When I studied those sweet Valentines more closely, they just melted my heart.
I visualized this big, strapping young man sitting at his desk...
...pen, paper and crayons all within reach,
pouring his heart into creating these Valentine cards for us as if he was on a mission.
I thought about how we so often imagine what our lives will be like in the future...
...what we will be doing this year or next year...
  ...and remembering the changes that had taken place that brought us to this very moment.

No one could have ever predicted where the turn in Jim's career path would take him.
After thirty-six years in management with the same manufacturing company,
and two houses in two states later,
my husband found himself among the unemployed for eighteen months...
...the exact amount of time his severance lasted.

God was doing His thing.

Over two hundred resumes and a few interviews later, still nothing.

God had something else in mind...
...for He had put something special inside of Jim when He created him.

Something special, to be sure...
...but I admit I had to snicker a bit when I saw Josh's rendition of Jim (above).
And me too, for that matter!
How did Jim get more hair than me...or is that a hat on his head?
But he did get the chin hair right! :)
When I see my husband doing his job, working with these special individuals,
I have come to realize that it is way more than just a job to him... is his is his mission... is his heart.

And God knew it all along :)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21

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Monday, February 16, 2015

A Little Pop of Red: Homemade Chalk Paint

 As John Denver sang... "Gee, it's good to be back home again".
Although we had a wonderful time in Tennessee taking care of these cuties... is always good to come back home.

We normally are only away just over a long weekend whenever we visit anyone...
...but his time were gone eight days!
Adam and his family moved into their new country home a few days before Christmas.
Since we visited then, they have gotten settled in pretty well,
although on the outside it is still somewhat of a construction site.
The cold weather had prevented some stonework and concrete from being completed.

But inside, it was warm and toasty :)

Early on, way before the construction on the house had started,
 Adam built a really cool table from an old barn door but wasn't sure about chairs for it.
They had planned to get rid of the current chairs they had been using,
not liking the yellow oak with all of the other wood tones in the house...

...but yours truly talked them right out of that.
I had a vision...I was seeing red.
 And they agreed...only little did they know I had a surprise up my sleeve!
So while the kiddos were at school, I got busy.
I decided to go with chalk very first attempt, I might add...
...since I wasn't up to doing any sanding or stripping.
Jim and I went to Lowe's and to my dismay, they didn't carry chalk paint yet.
Not until March.
They did, however, present me with a printed recipe to make my very own...
...along with a very enthusiastic employee who convinced us that this was the way to go.
Well let me tell ya, I was just a bit uncomfortable with this idea...
...not only had I NEVER used chalk paint, but now I was making my own??
My dear, sweet hubby talked me into it.
The bottom color on the paint chip is what I chose...
 but found out later that the plaster of Paris will lighten it up.

So here's the recipe and their directions:

*flat latex paint (any color)
*plaster of Paris
*water (cool, not warm)
*plastic paint buckets
*plastic measuring cup (do not re-use for food)
*stir sticks
*plastic measuring cups (do not reuse for food)
*paste wax or other sealer

Mix 1/3 cup of plaster of Paris and 1/3 cup of cool water; stir until completely smooth. Mix that with 1 cup of latex paint and stir thoroughly. This will make enough chalk-finish paint for one coat on a six-drawer dresser. Chalk-finish paint should not be stored and reused. If you have a smaller project, mix smaller amounts of plaster, paint, and water in the same proportions.
I actually doubled the recipe for the four chairs I painted, painting one coat.
I admit that I ran out with about 1/4 of the last chair to do....UGH!
As you see, the directions say not to store to reuse...well, let me tell ya...
...I painted one chair on one day and the other three the next day.
The paint stored overnight in the plastic bucket with a tight lid was still just perfect.
But I was horrified when I saw the color after the paint was applied.
It looked almost neon pinkish-coral and I nearly had a heart attack!

Thank the good Lord it did dry darker but it was still way too bright.
I knew I needed a dark wax to calm the color down but I didn't want to use the paste wax...
a long, drawn out and expensive I did a little research.

I decided on Minwax Wood Finish in a dark walnut shade.

It is basically a rub on stain/sealer that can be applied with a brush or a rag...
...and then all of the excess is wiped off.
It worked perfectly and created just the effect and color I was hoping for!
The wood grain was still showing through a bit and it created the most beautiful shade of red...
...a far cry from the neon pinkish coral!

 The day Adam and Carrie returned I made sure that their "new" chairs were in place at the table.
They were totally surprised and beyond thrilled with their little pop of red!

Isn't that just what any country kitchen needs?

It just thrilled me to be able to do this for them.
Living so far away, we are unable to do many of the things we would like to do for them.
Not only was it such a blessing to be able to spend the time with Parker and Olivia,
but also being able to do this little project blessed me as much as it did Adam and Carrie.
Yes, this was one worn out Mawmaw by the end of the week.
It was that good kind of "worn out" though...
...the kind that makes you realize you had given something of yourself to someone you love.
So as I sit here looking around, I wonder to myself...
...what might my next homemade chalk paint project be??
It may or may not happen :)

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!
I've been away for over a week and seems like I have been gone a month!
We have been in Tennessee taking care of our sweet grand kiddos
 while Mom & Dad went off on a cruise to celebrate their ten year anniversary!
This was a first for us and it was such a blessing to be able to spend this time with them.
Caring for an eight and a six year old, getting them off to school and picking them up...
...well, let me tell you, it's been a while since we've had to do this!
Need I say more?
This was one worn out Mawmaw by the end of the week...
...but I wouldn't have traded the opportunity to do this for anything!
I didn't look at one blog while I was there....just too much going on everyday.
But I did gather enough fodder for several posts of my own...'ll hear more about all of that later.
 In the mean time, I will try to catch up a bit :)
So, again, I wish everyone a very special Valentine's Day...
...filled with love and many blessings!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snowy Memories and a Close Second

When I was a girl growing up in Ohio,
I hardly remember a winter when we didn't have plenty of snow.
Our home was close to a small lake and ice skating...well...let me re-phrase that...
...trying to ice skate with my brothers and sisters was the high point of my winters.
I thought I had some old photos of us kids down at the lake skating
but one of the other siblings must have them in their collection. 
 All I found was this old photo of me and my sis, Barb, all bundled up...
...we even took a!

And why was I hugging a tree?? Really?
We would gather up all of the other neighborhood kids and have a blast.
Have you ever played a game called Fox & Geese?
It's where you make a huge circle in the snow with your footprints,
then with more prints, dividing the circle into quarters like pie.
The center point, is where "home" is.
Whoever is "it" chases the others around the circle,
 with everyone having to stay in the tracks until they reach the center safe zone.
Whoever either falls down or runs outside of the tracks is tagged...
...and then they become "it".
The deeper the snow, the harder is it...and the more fun!
Of all the fun snowy memories, making snow cream was one of the best.
I will never forget the excitement to see a fresh, untainted blanket of snow,
knowing that my dad or one of my brothers would don their coats, gloves and boots...
...along with a big bowl and scoop and fill it up with that lovely white stuff.
Mom took over after that, adding just the right amount of cream, sugar and vanilla,
and sometimes cocoa powder when one of us asked for chocolate.

Last February, we actually got enough snow for me to make a batch.
Here is a photo of some I made last year, right before Valentine's Day...
You can read all about it here.
It seems we get most of our snow around the middle of February...
...that is if we get any worth mentioning.
I do realize many of you have no trouble getting more than enough every year :)
This past Christmas while visiting Adam and his family in Tennessee,
my DIL found store-bought snow cream at Kroger, made by Purity Dairies in Nashville.
I was pretty excited but then quickly realized we wouldn't be able to get it in our area.
So, a few days ago, I needed a few groceries and stopped at Lowe's Foods.
I usually don't shop there but it is right across the street from where I work.
On a whim, I went to take a peek in the ice cream section.

Looky, looky, looky!
Thank you, Mayfield Dairies!
It may not be quite as good as the real thing...

...but it's a close second!

Now...if we'd just get some snow....

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