Monday, December 28, 2009


I asked my husband if he had any ideas about what I should blog about tonight and he said "about how wonderful I am". He was joking, but I thought it was a good idea.
My husband really is a wonderful guy. Lately he has me laughing because he is addicted to a video game. He just now exclaimed "I just shot myself in the butt. Killed myself!". It is funny to me because it is a silly little game about shooting robots -- not one of those fancy Wii or Playstation games. He is a little kid in a big guy's body. I love that about him.
I like this photo of him because he looks full of mischief. Looks like he is plotting something. The cutie in the photo is his sister, "Pete".

Take a look at her, then take a look at this photo of me. I think we look a lot alike here.

Anyway, as I was saying... Charlie is a groovy guy. I might be a little biased, but I don't think so.

We had a nice Christmas. We were able to spend some quality time with both families. I could go into details, but I'm getting tired tonight and I figure the details aren't important to most folks who would read this anyway. I hope that you had a nice holiday too -- Christmas, Hanukah, solstice, etc. -- whatever you celebrate.

My next post will most likely have to do with New Years resolutions, so I'm curious if anyone out there is making a resolution this year. Leave me comments...
Also, looking for new blog subjects to write about. Anyone curious about any aspects of my life? If so, let me know...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last minute Christmas gifts

The Christmas tree is FINALLY up and decorated. This is one of my favorite ornaments -- a couple of love birds (perhaps turtle doves? I'm not sure I know what those look like) snuggling in the tree.
Today was nice and relaxing. Charlie came home from work in the morning (after running to Ohio and back yesterday -- hauling sugar to the cereal plant). He took a nap while I started assembling Christmas gifts with Christmas music on in the background. We scaled way back this year -- mainly because we have a house to pay for now. I needed a few things to fill a gift basket to Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary (our previous landlords) as we are going to see them this weekend. I thought I'd share what I made in case you too are looking for inexpensive last minute Christmas gifts.
These chocolate coated pretzel rods are easy to make and definitely yummy to eat! I just melted a block of "Candyquick" and cover the pretzels... then add some sprinkles before they harden up. You can find either chocolate or white chocolate flavored in the baking section in most larger grocery stores.
I had a lot left over so I decided to jazz up some caramel corn. I broke that up in to chunks once the chocolate set up and bagged it up too.

This last photo is of some spicy sweet pecans. This is my first year making these (Mom made them previously and I insisted on getting the recipe). I halved the recipe she gave me because I only had 12 oz of pecans. They made the whole house smell AMAZING and, well, Christmas-y.

Grease a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Blend 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ground pepper, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne.

In a separate large bowl, beat an egg white until slightly thickened but still a bit frothy. Add 12 oz. pecans. Stir until all the pecans are well coated. Add the sugar mix and stir well until the pecans are evenly coated. Place in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake 1o minutes; stir. Bake 10 more minutes; stir. Bake 5 minutes more then transfer to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and cool completely.

They have a bit of a kick from the cayenne and the pepper, but I like it.
So, anyway, Charlie is up now and we need to go out and grab a couple gifts -- and also deliver the gift to Dave and Mary. It finally feels like the holidays are here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mid December day

The cat continues to adore her sunny spot in the dining room near the slider that looks out onto the backyard. This morning there was quite a show back there. We had the most turkeys I've seen out there yet. I counted at least 23 of them -- they were having a real party! There was feasting and gobbling, males were mingling with females... why, I just imagine that they planned the whole thing in advance and sent out e-vites to all their neighboring turkeys. "Come on over to Shari's backyard, we're having a hoe-down!". Things got a little crazy when one of the turkeys jumped onto the roof of the little shed. I could almost hear the other turkeys cheering him on "Jump! Jump! Jump!" like some drunk teenager about to jump off a roof into the pool at some house party. Well, that is what I was imagining anyway.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snowy trip

Wednesday night Mom called me to let me know that my Dad was in the hospital again -- he was having a stroke. I am finally well enough to see him without worrying about getting him sick so I took off and went to visit. The ride over wasn't too bad, although we were getting that large winter storm that just swept the country.
Anyway, I got there around 3 am and got to see him. He was doing well considering what he had just been through. I spent some time there then went to my parents house for a quick nap and to grab some clothes for Mom. I only had my cell phone, but took a couple quick photos before leaving. This is a photo of Peggy Sue (who refused to let me sleep while I was there) and some flowers that were sent by the Gaither's (Dad does some work for the Gaither Vocal Band). I thought they were a lovely arrangement.

I also wanted to show a photo of their large pines in the back yard with all the snow on them. These trees are huge!
Anyway, I went back to the hospital with coffee and bagels for Mom and I. I was able to spend the day with her while they put Dad through a variety of tests. At this point, he is doing well for someone who had a stroke of that magnitude. The stroke hit his left side, but he didn't lose his strength on that side. He is fine mentally and can speak clearly. He is only having a little loss of feeling and perception on his left side, which should be helped with therapy.
Please keep him in your prayers so things can return to normal for him as soon as possible.

The last photo is from my trip home yesterday. I didn't want to leave, but I have to work today. They were having blizzard conditions all day yesterday so I just white-knuckled it all the way to Grand Rapids and back. I'd like to go back this weekend, perhaps tonight after work...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Holiday Party

Last night a good friend from work had a Christmas tree decorating party.  There was plenty of good food, warm beverages, and great conversation.  I got to meet a few of her friends from outside of work -- which was nice because I don't get a chance to meet new people very often.
Oh, the beverages were amazing!

This is a photo of her mulled wine (shot outdoors to show off the steam).  It is from a German recipe and was quite delightful.  After I sampled the wine, I also tried the buttered rum.  I had never had buttered rum before, but I'm pretty sure she nailed that recipe.  I have found a new favorite holiday drink.  It was like Christmas in a glass.

With 7 of us there, it didn't take long to decorate her tree.  She had already done the hard part by getting the tree up and lit (she shared the saga all week at work -- it gave her a fairly hard time).  After all the glass ornaments were on, my friend did the honors of putting the star on top.  I think her tree turned out lovely.

Dad is getting better and should be going home tomorrow from what Mom tells me.  I'm still coughing and dealing with chest congestion, so I didn't go to visit today like I had originally planned.
I must get going on some Christmas shopping.  I haven't done anything at all yet.  Usually I am almost done with buying or making gifts by now.  I am finally feeling the festive spirit so I'll have to kick it into high gear to get everything done in time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crazy fat cat

Sassafras is running around the house this morning -- I think she has lost her mind!  She starts running in the kitchen on the linoleum flooring and can't get any traction.  She looks like a cat from the cartoons... just running in place with a wild look on her face.  It took her a while to feel comfortable in our house (she is scared of everything and everybody) but now she seems extremely happy to have more room.  She also enjoys the windows.  There is a large bay window in the living room that has a ledge she can sit on.  In the back we have a glass sliding door that gives her a perfect view of everything out back.

She isn't quite sure what to think of the turkeys that frequent the back yard, but she likes to watch them.  In the photo below, I was trying to get her to look at the turkeys (you can see them as little grey out of focus blobs at the top) but she just wanted to roll over on her back and look cute.  Although this photo really shows off how fat she is, I thought it was adorable.  Silly cat!

On a more serious note, I spoke with my Dad last night.  He was very tired but said he wasn't in any pain.  He understood that I couldn't be there (I have a very bad cold right now and can't chance infecting him).  It was good to talk to him.  Thank you for keeping him in your prayers.  There is a long road ahead toward recovery and good health.

Friday, December 4, 2009

First snow

We finally had our first snow last night. It seems late this year -- it is already December. We only have a little here. I spoke with my Mom today and she says they have 10 inches in Grand Rapids. We are fairly safe from the "lake effect" snow over here. I'm grateful for that because we don't have a snow blower or plow yet and our driveway is long and steep.

Please send some prayers out for my Dad. He has been having some health issues lately and last night he ended up in the hospital. Mom says he is going to be there a couple of days. He had a heart attack and had to have some stents put in. Dad, I know you won't see this until later, but I love you and am praying for good health for you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


We finally got internet installed at our new home.  It has been close to torture being without it.  What in the world did we do with all our time before they invented the internet?

So, I will be posting more frequently -- at least I hope to.  The holidays are always a busy time, but it is a good kind of busy.  Thanks for anyone who still looks at my blog.  I know there hasn't been much going on here lately, but I intend for that to change.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The turkeys in our back woods have made it out alive.  I made a green bean casserole to bring to Thanksgiving dinner this year instead.
Oops, dinner is about to start.  I gotta make this quick.  Just wanted to show the huge oak tree in the woods behind the house.  Mom is in the picture to show the size of the tree.  Awesome, isn't it?

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Slumber Party

Last night I had visitors.  Two of my nieces came over to spend the night and watch movies.  We popped popcorn and watched 'Annie' and 'Ice Age - Dawn of the Dinosaurs'.  It was a good time.  This morning we made pancakes for breakfast.  With full bellies we headed outside for a photo shoot.  Here are a couple of my favorite photos.

Their Uncle Charlie came home shortly after we shot these and we all hung out for a bit and watched another movie - 'Up'.  It was nice to be able to have people over and to have a spare bedroom for the slumber party.
We are getting dish t.v. hooked up this week and hopefully internet service as well.  We are looking forward to that.  Things are all coming together at the house -- slowly but surely.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm back

Finally, I'm able to post a blog again.  We've been busy moving and getting settled in to the new place.  We are having trouble finding internet service also... currently I'm at Charlie's folks' home borrowing their internet connection.
Things are going very well at the new place though.  It is a really nice feeling waking up in your own home.  We worked hard today, raking leaves and building up a compost pile.  I'm hoping to do a raised bed garden in the future and will need lots of compost/mulch.
I'm absolutely in love with the property we are on.  We have deer and turkeys frequently.  They are entertaining.  We have almost 3 acres now and I've been exploring the wooded part when the weather is nice.  There are so many magical little places on the property -- there is a HUGE old oak tree out back, little clearings where the deer hang out, fallen logs with fungi growing all over, etc.
Here are a few photos of the yard...

So, we are hoping to get internet service soon so I will be able to post more often.  Be looking forward to some good recipes this winter as my new kitchen inspires me to cook.  It may be a while before my craft room is put together, but there will be projects coming out of there soon too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's getting closer

Our move date is getting closer and closer.  We had hoped to have the keys this weekend, but never got the call from the seller.  Perhaps she is moving the last of her stuff this weekend.  This calls for a "drive-by".
I am faced with a weekend full of packing and sorting.  I really need to get rid of some stuff.  It is silly that I have so much.  A lot of it comes from my hobbies.  I have so much photography stuff - enough for my own darkroom (which is an option now that I have a house to build one in), yet I don't know if I ever will.  I have tie-dye supplies galore, yarn, fabric, beads, glass to make beads -- you get the idea.   I don't horde things, but I definitely fit in the "Pack Rat" category.  Anyway, I guess my point is -- it is hard for me to let go of some of this stuff.  Especially the stuff that has memories attached.
I know we are just moving 10 miles away, but I am already starting to miss the farm.  It has been so amazing living here!  We have been so lucky to be able to stay here for the last 4 years.  I'm going to miss Dave and Mary, their beautiful garden, and the barn cats.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just a quick update

No photos for this post -- which is kind of rare for me.  I felt the need to post an update on the house.
We closed last Tuesday and every thing went smoothly.  We met the seller and she is an extremely kind woman.  She let us know that she was trying to move out quicker than 30 days and that she knew we would be anxious to move in.  She had a garage sale this weekend and is calling the Salvation Army to pick up the things that didn't sell.  We went this past Saturday to the sale (I had asked her to reserve a wood stove and some bushel and peck baskets that I had spotted during the inspection) and she informed us that she hoped to be finished moving by the end of this week.  We are, of course, looking forward to moving into the house.  We are just faced with the joys of moving everything we own from one place to another (I intend for this to be my last move for a very long time).
I apologize for the lack of blog posts recently and in the near future.  Once we are settled in I will be sure to post more frequently.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Abstract art

Is this abstract art?  No, it is just a mess.  These are the seeds from a wild asparagus plant I had gathered from the ditch down the street.  I've been saving seeds from the garden this year.  I'm excited to have my own patch of asparagus soon.
We are going to the closing on our house on Tuesday!!!  It is finally happening.  I was starting to worry we wouldn't get it done before the deadline for the first time home buyers credit.  I drove by the house today and they have a "SOLD" sign up.  How wonderful!!!
This means we should be able to move in over the first weekend of November.  I have much to do between now and then.  It is very exciting.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Autumn Harvest

I have been sticking fairly close to home this past week that I have had off of work.  It is hard to believe a vacation can fly by so quickly.  Yesterday I harvested some of the garden huckleberries.  I have way too many!  I only had two plants, but they are just full of fruit.  They both grew about 4 feet high and probably 6 feet in diameter.  I picked a large colander full and the plants both look like I never even touched them.  I've been researching how to process them and will write more on that when I do it.  They can also be washed and frozen, much like blueberries.  
While out in the garden I picked a few other things.  My first eggplant of the year, broccoli, hot and sweet peppers, and tomatoes.  Oh, and a couple summer squash.  I also harvested some seeds (from my beans, peppers and cilantro, aka coriander).  
With the pumpkin patch out behind the house this year, there has been a little traffic for the u-picks for the last week or so.  Thus the quaint signs pointing the way. 
Detour around the pigs on your way to some of the pumpkins.  They are getting quite large nowadays.  Like Mom said, if they knew what was good for them, they'd go on a diet.  Last year's batch survived to Oct. 30th.  I'm guessing this year's pigs will see a similar fate.
No news on the house yet.  The mortgage gal wrote today saying she is just waiting for the appraisal to come back to her.  I'm still packing and sorting things.  
I was tempted to make a trip to Grand Rapids today, but opted to stay home.  I've got stuff I should be doing around here.  Should is the key word -- guess I should get off the computer and stop procrastinating. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

The weekend

This past weekend, Mom and my brother came over for a visit.  We had a nice time.  Mom and I spent time shopping together and having coffee.  We walked around the garden and the farmer's market and took a nice cruise in her convertible.
It is beginning to look like Autumn -- just in time for the Equinox.  Most of the trees are still green, but the weeds are turning yellows and oranges.  The pumpkin plants are dying back, revealing some big beautiful gourds this year.  The weather has been cooperating.  We even made a small bonfire and all sat around it -- listening for coyote and watching the barn cats' antics.
I also wanted to give an update on the house situation.  We are still working on it at this time.  We have had a few frustrating moments with making sure all the paperwork is in order.  I think we have everything we need now.  We are just still waiting for the appraisal and closing.  I am getting anxious and have started packing some of the things that we don't use often.
I have this week off of work and plan on enjoying myself the best I can while getting more things packed and also going to the dentist and taking Sassy in for a rabies update.  I will try to blog more this week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Harvest time

I took a few photos at the farmer's market yesterday.  There is a huge variety of produce right now.  I didn't really buy much - we have more veggies than we can use around here right now.  I go more for the atmosphere.  
After I got home I worked in my chunk of the garden.  I had a terrible mess with my tomatoes and yanked some of them out (next year I will invest in some real cages to keep things upright).  These baskets are from Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary's part of the garden.  Mine are much greener - this summer has had poor weather for growing tomatoes.
After Charlie got home from work we headed to Grayling, MI for a get together at his Great Aunt and Uncle's house.  We got there after everyone had eaten dinner.  Most of the guys were playing horseshoes while the gals and kids listened and sang along to folk songs on the banjo/guitar.  It feels like Autumn, even though we have a tiny bit of Summer left.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Found Apples

Charlie and I went foraging for apples and pears yesterday.  We braved a drainage ditch for the apples and I had to avoid bees to get to the pears.  It was worth it though.  I made an apple crisp with the apples and brought it with us to the Labor Day cookout at my in-laws.  Yum.  And the best part is that they were free!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Grand Tour

We had the inspection on "our" house this morning - things went about as well as we could have asked for.  The inspector gave it a clean bill of health and pointed out some small things that we do.
I've attached a bunch of photos so you can see more of the house (especially you Mom).  Let's start in the basement...
nice work bench...
master bedroom - has two separate closets...

attached to master bedroom is a large bathroom - has shower and tub/shower...
another view...

The next largest bedroom, would be my craft room/office...
The guest bedroom.  I like the retro wallpaper and I'm torn about redecorating it.  The carpet has to go (the rest of the house has brand new flooring, this is the only room that needs carpet).
Mom, so you can figure out the layout of the living room/kitchen/pantry and dining room.  This is looking at the whole thing from the hallway to the bedrooms.  Behind me are the bedrooms and bathroom and a door to the basement.  I'm shooting from an open doorway between the living room and the dining room.  Directly to the left would be the front door.  Beyond the woman in this photo is the laundry/garage/half bath.
Here is another view.  You can see where I was standing during the last photo - the open doorway on the far left of this photo.
Here I was standing in the extra length of space in the living room.  This is where I would put some bar stools and a reading area since we wouldn't need to use it as a dining area (Mom, I'm thinking the roll-top desk would go nicely here along the wall to my back).
A view of the storage space in the pole barn.  I hope she leaves the lockers behind -- they are kind of fun, don't you think?
This is a photo of our inspector checking out the septic system.  It is torn up because the seller was having work done on it.  Good timing.  There are two septic tanks here - kind of unusual, but still look good.
This is a view of the front yard from the corner of the house.
This is another view of the front yard, just a different angle.

I hiked out back to scope out the acreage.  It has a lovely woods out back - something I would have loved as a kid.  I still see myself spending time out there, taking photos and foraging.

So, at this point we have a signed purchase agreement and a good inspection.  All we need now is for the bank to appraise it and approve our loan.  She'll get 30 days to move after we close so we are hoping to close as soon as possible.  Everyone - pray, send positive vibes, knock on wood - whatever you do that will help.  We love this place and can't wait to get settled in!