Fix the Foyer

Are you a fan of stuffing? 

When the holidays come, do you picture yourself sitting at the table, scooping out a mound onto your plate? 

Me? Not so much. 

Like ever. When that bowl gets passed around the table, it goes right by me. 

Just the idea of stuffing a bunch of stuff into a space simply because it’s empty, doesn’t really appeal to me too much. 

Yuck, as a matter of fact! 

Which is why this morning, I found myself laughing as I stood at the abyss of the toy room doorway. 

Granted, balls, games, books, racetracks, stuffed animals, magic kits, coloring books, and musical instruments aren’t technically the same as bread crumbs, raisins, and apples, but the idea is somewhat similar. 

Hey, this is empty- let’s put it here! 

Yikes. 

Nearly every day for the past month I’ve found myself telling Little Bit, “I am going to clean the toy room today!” 

But… maybe not. 

Each time I set foot across that door’s threshold, I turn around,  scrambling for the nearest exit. 

Whew, made it out of there! 

So, I knew I was going to have to come up with a plan for actually getting something done in there. 

Enter Bee Organized With Pamela

You want to talk about some tips for taming clutter? She’s got amazing ideas. 

A few days ago she had a post asking if we wanted to park in our garages this year. 

Like, in it? 

I can’t remember the last time I could. When I commented, I mentioned the toy room, and she gave me some fabulous tips. 

I was all fired up. 

Well, despite my “good” intentions, I didn’t get anything done in there that day. At all. 

But, for some crazy reason this morning, I had on my imaginary “I can do this” boots. 

And, I just have to say, I rocked that room! 

I got everything moved out! 

Afterwards, I texted my mom. Her response? 

“Where’s all the stuff?”

Hmmm.

Next on my To-Do List?

Fix the foyer. 

Woo hoo! Toy room: 

Ugh! The foyer:

A Trip To The Store

Need a good chuckle today?

THIS is it. It’s so good. I’m pretty sure I’ve thought the same thing myself about a zillion times!

Thank you, Sandy, for letting me share your wonderful writing!

Out of My Write Mind

Scan0357

I recall accompanying my mother shopping
in the late ‘50’s and early 1960’s.

This wasn’t Saks Fifth Avenue, mind you,
just local retailers, independently owned.

Upon entering the premises, a sales associate
immediately offered assistance.

The clerk queried to determine customer needs.
Items were pulled and brought to the dressing room.
The sales associate checked back regularly to clear
unwanted merchandise and bring additional sizes or styles.

A seamstress was ready with tape measure and pins in hand.
Basic tailoring of apparel was complimentary.
Items purchased were neatly bagged, boxed or placed
on hangers, once wrinkles were removed with a steamer.

Regular customers were addressed by name.
Sales associates became familiar with the individual
preferences of customers and often gave a heads up
when new merchandise arrived which might suit
their particular needs.

Fast Forward to 1985

My mother needed a new spring jacket. I accompanied her
to a local…

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Next Time We’re Doing a Craft

Have you ever done something then found yourself sort of stuck in self doubt?

Yeah, that’s me. I’ve spent the last few days swimming in that uphill current called “I wish I would have done that differently.”

A couple months ago a friend asked me to give a talk at the library she works at. I was honored and said yes. It was scheduled for Thursday July 7.

For two months I have contemplated my subject matter. Would I talk about this or that? 

I had a general idea, but never could get quite settled on it. Two days before the 7th, the subject I had picked out suddenly didn’t feel right. 

I panicked. My husband is very knowledgable and experienced in giving presentations, so I asked him about it. I even took notes. 

His suggestions were amazing.

  • Write an outline
  • List your goals
  • Ask audience their goals- what they’d like to get out of it
  • Write their goals on the board so you can cover them as well
  • Use Power Point or a visual to help keep yourself on track
  • Have a question session at end and pass out index cards so audience can anonymously ask their questions
  • Thank them for their time because time is something everyone is short on and no one can get back.

Great advice. I spent two days trying to come up with my outline. Finally settling on a subject matter, I got my outline pages done. I rehearsed what I’d say during the one hour drive to the library on Thursday.

Oh my lands. I was soooooooooo nervous. Let’s just say, everything I learned from my husband went out the window. Oh, I talked. Like wayyyy too much. 

How does that even happen? I talked about stuff I haven’t even thought about in a year! Who wants to go to a seminar and hear someone talk about themselves the entire time? 

I walked out of there with my stomach in a knot and a “did I really just do that?” plastered in my mind. 

All the way home, I replayed it. Did I do anything right? Oops, I didn’t tell them my goals. I totally forgot to ask theirs. I sort of stayed on topic except for several times and for like 20 minutes…

When I got home my friends asked how it went. One word: disaster. They said it couldn’t be that bad. Hmmm…. Nope, pretty sure disaster sums it up quite well. 

Lucky for me, the gals that came were beyond fabulous! They listened, were engaging, and asked questions. (If you’re reading, from the bottom of my heart, thank you ladies. Your kindness is a saving grace.)

The lessons learned? Changing the subject right beforehand isn’t the best idea, nervous chatter doesn’t ever actually end, and if I ever get invited back, forget the talking! Next time we’re doing a craft! 

It’s Back

Remember that possum? The one that blared the garage weather radio at 3 am and got into a bag of apples on my deck?

Yeah, I forgot about it too. I mean, if you don’t see something, it has to be gone, right? 

Last night, I walked into the garage, shrieked, then slammed the door. 

Apparently, it’s back. 

Unless… 

Maybe my cat is wearing a disguise??? 

By Apples, Thank You for the Snack, Lady! 

Remember my recent tales of the possum in the garage?

A few days ago, I set a bag of overripe apples on the back deck with the intention of taking them out to the back fence row to leave for the deer. 

I noticed apples had been taken out of the bag and nibbled on. In fact, the bag must’ve been tipped over because I saw my dog carrying an apple around. 

Since they were near the bird feeders, I thought the birds were eating them. 

Last night, a movement on the deck caught my attention. When I opened the door, I saw our friend, the possum, eating an apple and looking right at me!! 

I slammed the door and it ran under the chairs. Whew! That was close! Now, you would think it would run for its life, but nooooooooo! It stuck around and started chomping on an apple closer to the chair! 

This time I ran for a camera! The pictures are quite awful. 

I’m quite surprised how unafraid it was. Heck, after our 3 a.m. meet up in the garage, maybe it thinks I’m pretty darn cool. I mean, I did shut off that stinking radio. 

Who knows. Maybe it thinks we’re pals and this time it was saying, “By apples, thank you for the snack, lady!” 

 

SomeTHING’S Back

Ever wonder what goes through a wild animal’s mind? 

If you’ve had a chance to read my story, “SomeTHING’s in the Garage” you may be disturbed to know that this is a sequel! 

The morning after my 3 a.m. encounter with the possum and crazy radio, I decided to clean out the garage! Take that wild animals! No more hiding places for you! 

What a disaster our garage has been! A few months ago we finally emptied our storage unit in town after 7 years. I bet you can guess where it all landed…

All day I worked on the garage. Ugh! Where’d we get all that junk? Finally I got it most of it organized. 

However, there’s a giant air compressor, a table saw, and a lathe I can’t even begin to think about moving and just past those is an old recliner. Fair enough, I cleaned up all around it and the garage was looking gooood.

I set a bag of cat food and a glass bowl on top of the roll top desk and the cat’s food bowl on a low shelf a few feet away. 

When I went to bed that night, I heard a loud noise in the garage. Hmmmm. What’s that cat doing in there? She’s loud. I figured she’d settle down and I went to bed.

Well… In the morning I discovered that both cats had spent the night inside the house. Oh. Great. SomeTHING’s back!

Sure enough! SomeTHING had been on top of the roll top desk and the glass bowl was shattered on the floor. The cat food bag lay beside it OPEN! And, the cat food bowl a few feet away? Tipped on its side.

Yikes.

Really? Really! After the radio thing? Makes me wonder if that possum told his friends “I found a place with some grub, but man, it’s loud!”

Well, I didn’t  know what to do! Keep the garage door open or closed? Was it still in there? I decided to leave it open hoping whatever it was would run for its life. When it was close to getting dark, I shut the door. 

Later when I was getting Little Bit ready for bed, there was a bunch of commotion in the garage. Are you kidding me? 

I opened the door and over in the corner behind the air compressor near the recliner where I couldn’t see, someTHING was moving around. 

Enough already! My husband was bowling and I messaged him. He said he’d look when he got home. He looked and said he couldn’t find anyTHING. 

The following morning we were gifted a lovely trail of greasy footprints after it apparently stepped into the grease bucket. 

Good grief, what a mess. But, hey, at least this time nothing turned on the radio!  

 

SomeTHING’S in the Garage

Have you ever had the heebie-jeebies? Like twice in one night? 

A few nights ago, my husband went to bed early and asked me to let the cat in before I went to bed. 

Sure, ok, that’s easy enough. When I was ready for bed, I opened the front door and called for her. She didn’t come. I opened the back door. Here kitty kitty… She still didn’t come. 

I remembered he had left the garage door raised about 6 inches during the day so she could come and go as she pleased. 

I opened the house door, stepped into the garage, and heard a loud non-cat “Crunch, crunch, munch, munch, munch.” Enter heebie-jeebie.

I froze, thinking, “What was that?????” Then, I spotted a dog food bag tipped over on the floor. SomeTHING was in it! SomeTHING was having a snack! 

Several boxes were surrounding the bag, so it was a bit hard to see. So, I tried to scare whatever it was by slamming the door. 

The bag rustled like crazy, then was perfectly still. Apparently whatever it was ran back out. Whew! That was close! I shut the big garage door and the inside door and went to bed.

At 3 a.m. I sat straight up in bed. Was that the tv blaring? Why in the world would my husband have it sooooo loud? I got out of bed to go see.

Turns out it wasn’t the tv. That horrendous noise was the weather radio blaring full blast in the garage! 

Oh no! Not the garage! This was already an odd scenario. Everyone else was in bed, yet the radio that we haven’t used in 6 months was on?

As you can probably guess, I was afraid to open that door. S-l-o-w-l-y I opened it just a bit and peeked in. 

Eeks!

About two feet from the door was a possum, sitting straight up, hands on its tummy, staring right at me! 

I slammed the door and weighed my options:

  1. Just go back to bed and and listen to “you are in a freezing fog advisory” on super loud the rest of the night. 
  2. Get that animal out of there and shut that dang radio off. 

So… I cracked the door, stuck my arm out, pushed the garage door up button, then closed the door and waited. A few minutes later I looked again and that possum was GONE! 

Possums don’t wear shoes, but could you imagine being in them? First, you’re out on your nightly rounds, looking for supper. “Hey, what’s this? An open door? Dog food? Yum! What? Who’s that and why is she shutting the door? How am I supposed to get out of here? I’m stuck in here? Oh well. Guess I’ll snoop around behind the toolbox. Hey, did I just step on a button? Oh no! I did! Who is screaming at me? Help! SomeTHING’s in here with me!”

The look on that poor critter’s face when I first opened the door said it all! 

“LADY!!!! TURN DOWN THAT RADIO!” 

P.S. I only wish I would’ve had my camera so you could’ve seen its expression! Oh, and the cat never did come when I called her. Found out the next morning that she was inside the house the whole time!  

 

Best. Husband. Ever. 

What’s your favorite holiday food?

With Thanksgiving only eight days away, I’ve been dreaming of all those yummy foods that make up that beloved feast! Mashed potatoes slathered in butter, sweet potatoes with delicious burned marshmallows on top, homemade rolls, pies with homemade crusts… Oh my. My mouth is watering just thinking of it!

I can’t wait to pull up a chair to that lovely table and sink my teeth into…

None of those. 

Yes, you read that right. None of those yummies will be on this girl’s plate. No mashed potatoes. No homemade rolls. No marshmallows. No pie. What? That’s not even fair! 

On my recent health craze, I gave up gluten, grains, and sugar. Hmmm. Maybe that would have been a smart move AFTER Thanksgiving. Such is life. Guess I should have thought ahead and had triple helpings last year.

If you’ve read my stories on my recent non-grain baking adventures, you’ll know I’m not too skilled at baking yet. Now, with good old fashioned wheat flour, I can make pretty much anything. However, coconut flour and I are barely on speaking terms and we certainly aren’t friends. When I set that container on the counter, I’m pretty sure it is laughing at me. 

So, as you can imagine, I haven’t been really looking forward to all the “I can’t haves” for Thanksgiving this year. I sure as heck don’t want to make a grain free dish for someone else to eat. Yikes. Can you imagine that poor soul? 

All that meal dread turned around last night. My husband came home from being at the woods cabin for several  days. He had a gift for me that SAVED Thanksgiving! A bag of these big, beautiful, hand dug just for me, turnips!

If you’ve never had a turnip, you’re missing out. While they’ll never quite replace a steaming hot bowl of mashed potatoes, they are white, steaming, and taste rather sweet. And, they are my new favorite comfort food. What a welcome sight after weeks and weeks of green leafy vegetables and coconut baking disasters. 

I’ve only got three words for you: 

Best. Husband. Ever. 

Scratch “Near-Disasters” in Baking

Have you ever told somebody about some cool thing you did, then the next time you tried it, it was an utter mess?

Well…

I think I may have jinxed myself. If you read my story called “Near-Disasters in Baking” yesterday, I essentially may have bragged a little too much about my totally accidental pancake pizza.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to make it again, onIy this time I tried to double the recipe. Mistake! Huge bust! Forget pancakes. They looked more like scrambled eggs.

My grandmas could roughly estimate the ingredients they needed when they baked. Some scoops of this. A pinch of that. And, substitute? These ladies could find a substitute for anything.

So, one disaster down, I thought I’d bring out my Iowa baking skills and just do it right. There I stood at my counter with various grain free/gluten free ingredients and I got busy.

Staying true to my Iowa roots, I started pouring stuff into the bowl and mixing. Ten minutes later I was rather impressed with how it turned out. It wasn’t quite traditional pizza dough, but it actually looked pretty good. Into the oven it went.

My goodness, when it was done cooking LOOKED like a pizza. A real pizza? Please bear in mind that the last time I had a real, hot, gooey, cheesy pizza on a crust you can actually pick up to eat, was last January. I could hardly wait for this one to cool off. It looked so delicious.

Are you sitting down?

It was absolutely awful.

I mean bad. Really bad. Like “peel the cheese off and leave everything else on the plate” bad.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing I didn’t write down the ingredient amounts as I went, because I can guarantee you, I will never make THAT again!

The good news is, I skipped trying to bake anything for supper last night and instead stuck with straight vegetables.

Oh, and I still had one egg left out of my three eggs! Woo hoo! Guess who had one fried egg for breakfast!