Don't forget to visit my website! Jackie Coleman - Author

Friday, January 31, 2014

Snow At The Georgia Cabin

Here are a few screen grabs from the cabin in Georgia. I think the second picture was taken at night with infared ... the woods weren't actually glowing! Looking at the road, it appears that everyone on the mountain was staying put.

The adults who had to drive in it probably weren't too thrilled, but the kids who got out of school surely had fun playing in it!! I like to think that if I had been there when it snowed, I would have put on a big pot of chili ... or made chicken and dumplings ... or a roast with carrots and potatoes ... and I would be sipping peppermint hot chocolate by the fire ... warm, and safe, and sound :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I've Said It Before ...

and I'll say it again ... nothing makes me sleepier than the sound of my alarm clock going off!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


A few years back I made several birthday cakes, and while a professional would laugh at my attempts, I was pleased with the results. My daughter is getting married in October and wants cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake. I told her I could make a small cake for the top ... I think I can handle a small one! I haven't decorated a cake in a long time, so I guess I need to make some fondant and start practicing!

The blue and brown cake was for my boyfriends oldest daughter's birthday, the yellow cake was mine (lemon ... yum!). I made other cakes, but I can't seem to locate the pictures of them! My birthday cake was definitely amateurish, but my friend and I had fun making it! If you look closely, the blue/brown cake matches the paper her gift was wrapped in! (Click on photo to enlarge).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Miss Green Grass!

As I write this, it is a miserable 3º with a wind chill of -8º! I know it's even colder up north, but weather like this isn't normal around here ... and I couldn't help but think about how particularly ugly this winter has been. Everything looks so dead and lonely and forgotten. Winter is so colorless. I realize gray is a color, but its a sad color ... and I miss the vibrant colors of spring and summer!

I miss green trees and blue skies and flowers every color of the rainbow! So, I did something I probably shouldn't have done ... I looked at some pictures I took last summer! Oh, how I long for summer!

I LOVE summertime! Everything is alive and fragrant and colorful. I miss wearing shorts and being able to leave the house without looking like Ralphie's kid brother in A Christmas Story! I miss wanting to go outside! When work is closed due to snow or cold, I very rarely leave the house.

I often say I would have made a good bear ... and it's true. I think I might be part bear. I'm ridiculously tired all winter! When spring hits, I get a burst of energy and can't stand to be inside ... but in the winter, I'm quite content to stay inside. If it weren't for work and my boyfriend coming to get me for dates, I might never leave the house between December and February!

So, here are a few pics from a happier time (last summer) ... when the world was alive with color!

Monday, January 27, 2014


It seems that everyone has a Twitter account these days. When you sign on, Twitter is kind enough to offer "friend" suggestions to you, often of animals or inanimate objects. Sometimes they have a good suggestion and I follow someone, most times I look at them and wonder why they would recommend I follow that particular "person".

A few weeks ago it recommended I follow the following Twitter account ... um, I'm sorry, but ... no thanks! I wouldn't follow this Tweeter even if I used that particular product!

Your eyes are not deceiving you ... Kotex actually has a Twitter account. Really? I clicked onto their profile to grab this screen shot. Not much shocks me these days, but this one did ... it has almost 5,000 followers!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Goldfish Plant Is STILL Blooming!

Even though I keep the plant inside, I figured it would stop flowering once winter hit, but to my delight, I was wrong! My goldfish plant has had constant blooms since last summer ...
Isn't this the most incredible flower? I LOVE this plant!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I've Started My Christmas Shopping!

I bought the first Christmas present a few days ago ... and it's safely recorded in my 2014 Birthday/Holiday Spreadsheet!

Valentines presents are bought, I've started on Easter, and I have one birthday present purchased (and recorded in the spreadsheet!). "Birthday Season", as I like to call it, runs from late June to early January.

Actually, saying I have one birthday present already bought is a half-truth ... the birthday present I've have stashed away is really a half-birthday present. My boyfriend and his daughter both have birthdays in the winter, right around the holidays. That's an icky time of year to have a birthday, so I created half-birthday's for them, and I buy them a small gift or two. Sometimes I leave it at their house for them to discover, and sometimes I give it to them with a candle in a Little Debbie Cake and sing "Happy Half-Birthday To You"!

My kids were a little upset that they don't get half-birthdays, but they were all born when it's pretty out ... and they are already plenty spoiled. The last thing I need is yet another occasion to buy them a gift!

I reminded them that I don't get a half birthday, and neither does my boyfriend's oldest daughter, her husband, or their two sons. One of his grandson's was born in a month with pretty weather, and the other was born around the holidays ... but I can't give one grandchild a half-birthday and not the other! Besides, we have five kids between us, and the potential for many more grandchildren, so I decided that was a tradition I wasn't going to start!

In addition to everything I already have to do, I have a book to finish and a wedding to help plan, so I have a lot to do this year. With a little luck, I'll have all ... or most ... of my Christmas shopping done before birthday season begins!

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm Ashamed Of Myself

I actually took one of those silly quizzes on Facebook ... and then I actually posted it ... and THEN I actually wrote a blog about it (this one)!

Now that I've let the cat out of the bag, I feel obligated to defend myself. Several friends on Facebook took the "Which Disney Princess Are You?" quiz, and I noticed their princess descriptions fit them quite well, so I thought ... "why not"!

It turns out I'm Cinderella! I always felt a certain kinship towards her growing up, kindred spirits if you will, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turns out I'm most like Cinderella. (My shoe obsession might have had something to do with it!) Still, the description fits me fairly well ... even the part about landing a handsome prince :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Olivia ... The Peeping Tom(cat)!

I went to the bathroom upstairs and was surprised to see Olivia's bed was empty.

"So, you finally got up and moved," I said aloud to an empty bed.

 And then I looked to my right ...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Today Was My Mother's Birthday

My mother left this world in October of 1996. My kids were only 2, 4, and 6 at the time. My oldest daughter has a few memories of her, but the other two were just too young.

She loved her grandkids, and like all grandmother's, she spoiled them rotten and let them get by with things that would have resulted in swift and severe punishment had I done them! They say grandkids are different ... and better ... than having kids of your own. I guess that must be true.

For instance ... and this is a true story ... she watched the kids for me one time when my oldest was about 2 1/2, and my second daughter was only about 6 months (my son wasn't born yet). I came home well after midnight and found her rummaging through the kitchen cabinets searching for something. I thought she might have a headache and was looking for ibuprofen.

"What are you looking for, Mama? I'll get it for you."

"Oh," she replied innocently, "your daughter wanted chocolate."

You have GOT to be kidding me!!!!!

Nice try, old woman, but you're not giving that child chocolate in the middle of the night!!

As I crawled into bed that night, I couldn't help but wonder ... "Where was that woman when I wanted chocolate at two o'clock in the morning?!!!!"

Mama had the kindest heart of anyone I've ever known. She only saw the good in people. If you had committed a crime, you would have wanted her on the jury.

And she was really funny. She was one of those people everyone loved being around. Mama was just naturally good and nice. She truly did not have a mean bone in her body.

There were eight kids in our family ... six girls and two boys ... and one bathroom! My dad had to get up really, really early to get his turn! To say our house was a madhouse would be an understatement. It was chaotic and messy and loud! I figured she was counting the days until all of us kids left home! One time, as an adult, I asked her when she was the happiest.

She knew the answer without even having to think about it. "When all of you kids were at home." Now that is a woman born to be a mom.

Like all mothers, she made mistakes, but I never once doubted that she loved us more than she ever thought of loving herself.

Mama loved to read. She could easily read a book a day, and often did. Once Daddy was gone and she had no one to take care of anymore, she read constantly ... and reading was her answer to everything.

"Mama, I'm bored!"
"Read a book."
"Mama, I'm hungry!"
"Read a book until supper."
"Mama, so-and-so won't play with me!"
"Then don't play with her and read a book."
"Mama, so-and-so hit me!"
"Then stay away from her and read a book."

Growing up, my mother took us to the library all the time ... and by all the time, I mean sometimes every single day during the summer! I loved going to the library, and that's where the seed of becoming an author took root. She didn't live to see me realize my dream and I never got to hand her one of my books and watch her face light up.

Sometimes I dream about her. Instead of waking up sad, I wake up happy ... I got to spend a few minutes with my Mother.

I miss you, Mama, and there isn't a day go by that I don't think about you and wish you were here.

As I fall asleep tonight, I know I'm going to be hoping my mother pays me a visit again ... and that I get to spend a few minutes with my Mama.

Olivia ... The Creepy Cat!

My middle daughter was lying in bed one evening, texting or playing games or listening to music on her phone. Olivia was sleeping at the foot of the bed on the "passenger side" (because the electric blanket is apparently warmest there).

Olivia wandered off for a bit, presumably to eat, poop, and ditch the collar with the bell. She returned from her mission, sans bell, in ninja-mode, and my daughter didn't hear her come back into the room ...

Later she looked up and saw this ...

I think its best that we don't know what cats are thinking!

(P.S. ... Did you happen to notice whose books are at the foot of the bed, under the bowl?!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Olivia ... The Lazy Cat!

This is my middle daughter's cat, Olivia. She looks nice enough, and for the most part, she is a sweet kitty cat ... but she's also very vengeful. When she wakes up in the middle of the night and decides she wants to be loved on or she wants to play, she'll try to wake my daughter up. My daughter does not want to get up and play or love on a cat at 3:00 in the morning, so she pushes Olivia away.

Olivia does not like it when her needs are not met.

So what does Olivia do? She walks around my daughter's room, knocking things off and generally make a mess of things. She'll knock over glasses, breaking the glass and spilling whatever was in them, she'll knock over trophies and picture frames, jewelry, and basically anything she's strong enough to move, dig up plants, etc.

So what does my daughter do? After she yells at Olivia to stop (which never works), she'll pick up Olivia, toss her into the hall, and shuts her bedroom door.

So what does Olivia do? She stands outside my daughter's bedroom door, "singing the song of her people". When she gets no response, she heads to my room ... where the door is always shut to keep her out ... and cries some more. When that doesn't work (and it never has), she wanders off and finds a place to sleep.

I guess my daughter felt guilty after finding Olivia curled up in a little ball wherever she could find a scrap of fabric big enough to hold her enormous rear, so she put Olivia's bed in the bathroom.

I took this picture of Olivia yesterday afternoon, and that's exactly where she was yesterday morning, and the day before that, and the day before that ... and it's exactly where she was when I went to bed last night and when I got up this morning! I have not seen this cat anywhere except in this bed for four days now! I know she's alive because her eyes are open, and even when they're not, she's usually in a new position every time I enter the upstairs hall bath ... but I haven't seen her outside of her bed in days. I guess she eats in the middle of the night (when she's not outside our bedroom doors serenading us) because we keep filling up her food bowl and it keeps disappearing.

They say cats sleep 13-18 hours a day, but Olivia is an over-achiever ... that lazy cat sleeps closer to 23 hours a day. Olivia is truly the laziest cat I have ever seen! I wonder if Guinness has a record for the most hours slept by a cat?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ready For A Day Of Writing :)

Coffee with cinnamon cream and a blueberry muffin for breakfast, and a pot of chili on for later. Let the day begin!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Website and Blog Got A Facelift!

Maybe "facelift" isn't the right word to use ... maybe they both just got a new outfit!

Regardless of what you call it, my website ( and my blog have a new look. It's been a while since I updated my website, and since I try to make sure my website and blog have a similar theme, they both had to change. It look about two days to complete, which meant two days I didn't get to write, so I'll be back at my keyboard first thing in the morning to continue my work on novel #3!!

Take a look around and let me know what you think!

Lone Survivor

Theatrical Release Poster
My boyfriend and I went to see Lone Survivor last night. Well, he saw it, I mostly listened to it. It was my idea see it. I knew an action film that showed our military hero's would appeal to him, and I just wanted to know the story of these brave soldiers.

I knew it was going to be graphic and intense, which meant I would be hiding my eyes through a great deal of it ... and that's exactly what happened. Regardless, I'm glad I went.

There are some that are critical of the movie, saying it glorifies war. They couldn't be more wrong. There was nothing "glorious" about that movie. At the military base, the men goofed around and hot-dogged, but when it came time to do their job, they were serious. They did what their country asked them to do, but I can pretty much guarantee you those men would have been just as happy to go home and see their wives and children.

Others critical of the movie said it sends the message "American's good, brown people bad." I'm wondering if they watched the same movie I did. I saw many, many good "brown people" in that movie, people who had nothing to gain and everything to lose ... whose goodness and kindness came with incredible risk to themselves and everyone they know.

There is nothing larger than life than the American Soldier, and Navy Seals are an elite group unto themselves. It made me proud that these men were American's, and it humbled me that they were willing to sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms ... including the freedom that gives naysayers the right to criticize this film.

I have never watched a movie about Batman or Spiderman or any other "superhero" someone made up, but I have watched many, many movies ... based on true stories ... about the American military. To me, those made-up, comic book "heroes" can't compare to the American soldier ... who are real-life superheroes.

I fall asleep every night in a warm bed with a full belly, safe and sound. I don't spend my days wondering if I'll be alive at the end of the day or worry that my husband will come home in a flag-draped coffin or if my children will have to grow up without a father ... and it's all because of brave men like those brought back to life in this movie.

I hope they and their families ignore those who are critical of the sacrifices they all make, and that they know the American people are grateful for their service to our country. It cannot be said enough, and so I'll say it again ... to all the soldiers ... thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Does Anyone Else Get Mad At Apps?

When it comes to apps, I get very attached to specific versions. I hate when an app changes its interface so much that using it becomes something of a scavenger hunt for the functions that used to be second nature. Sometimes they change so much that I get mad at them and uninstall the app entirely. It's the only recourse of protest I have! I realize they don't know or care, but I know!

I am on my fourth smartphone. I went from a Treo 600, to a Treo 650, to a Blackberry Torch, to a Galaxy S4. I like my Galaxy, but not nearly as much as I loved my Blackberry. I tried the new Blackberry, but I was very unhappy with the calendar and the memo function with the new operating system, and those two things made it a deal breaker. I have tens of thousands of calendar entries dating back to 2003, and close to 300 memo's in my phone, and there isn't a day go by that I don't access the data in my memo's or past calendar events. The built-in calendar app on the Galaxy fit my needs (mostly), but the app for memo's is a joke. After I exchanged my Blackberry Z10 for the Galaxy, I spent the good part of a week downloading and demoing different notepad apps. I finally found one I could live with, and now all is right with the world.

My phone has all my important data. I make sure it can all be backed up, imported, and exported. I use my phone for calls, texts, email, calendaring, notes, and taking pictures. Period.

My iPad is for surfing the web, playing games, listening to music while I do housework, checking email quickly, and generally wasting time. Pinterest is one of the apps I used (note that is past-tense) a lot on my iPad. I have pinned lots of funny things, recipe's I'll never make, homes with features I will never be able to afford, and clothes that I will never buy ... but I've also pinned some very useful things. I would get on Pinterest most every evening. I enjoyed it. (Note that "enjoyed" is also past-tense.)

I no longer use or enjoy Pinterest on my iPad since I decided to accept the update ... and boy, was I sorry. I don't remember what they changed that made me so angry, but after using it for a few nights, I decided "Nope!", and uninstalled it. Now when I want to get on Pinterest, I have to do it the old-fashioned way ... I go to their website and login. Consequently, I don't get on Pinterest much anymore.

I understand they want to "improve" and keep things "new" and "fresh", but they need to understand when most people update an app, they're really just hoping some of the bugs are gone ... they're not looking for a "new Pinterest experience"! It would be nice if we had the option of rolling back a version after updating an app, but that doesn't appear to be possible.

I work in technology. I am constantly facing updates and upgrades. Some are good, some are great, and some leave me scratching my head ... like Windows 8. I'm hoping Windows 8 is like Windows Vista. I don't know of any business that upgraded all of their workstations from XP to Vista. I know people who upgraded some, or purchased new computers with Vista ... and wished they hadn't. Those of us making operating system decisions for technology waited for Microsoft to develop Windows 7, which is a very good, stable operating system. They updated from XP to Windows 7, bypassing Vista entirely. Windows 8 may be stable, and it may be a good idea for tablets, and despite how quickly it boots as compared to previous versions of Windows, it is not a good operating system for laptops or desktops. Everyone I know is hoping Windows 9 (or whatever their next version will be called), will be a viable alternative to Windows 7 ... because Windows 8 is surely NOT! When Microsoft comes up with something worthy, we'll update to that version, bypassing Windows 8 entirely.

I miss my Pinterest app, but not enough to re-install the app. I will probably reinstall it in the future ... but not until my memory fades and I forget how much I dislike the app and why it left such a bad taste in my mouth. By the time I download the app again, it will have changed yet again ... and I'm hoping I'll be able to live with that version ... and then ... once again ... all will be right with the world.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Dusting of Snow and 25º

It was snowing when I woke up this morning, but barely. Forecasters said we would get an inch or less, and they were correct. We only got a light dusting of snow which will likely disappear before lunch. There was nothing wrong with the roads, but in this land of over-reaction to anything snow ... or the mere possibility of it ... I was really hoping for a two-hour delay for schools! It would have been overkill, but in these parts, we tend to err on the side of caution ... and a dusting of snow has delayed schools before! A girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, January 16, 2014


After the bitter cold from winter storm Ion, we our temperatures rebounded, and we've had several days in the 50's. The temperatures are now falling again, lows in the 20's, highs in the 40's. It's snowed the last two days, but only a dusting, and it disappears within the hour.

I don't like winter, but we've had worse winters ... and it could be worse!  Those in the north and northeast are having miserable winters. They deal with snow much better than we do here.

My kids and I visited my sister and her family in Minnesota one June, and were surprised to learn that early all apartments have heated garages. Heated garages for apartments around here are nearly unheard of. It gets so cold up there, and stays cold for so long, that cars won't start if they aren't kept warm.

The kids and I spent one day downtown Minneapolis/St. Paul, visiting different museums ... they have some fabulous museums. While there, we noticed several differences between their city and ours.  Their parking garages are heated and enclosed, and there are walkways connecting the garages to buildings. What a treat that would be! Our parking garages are open-air structures, and none of them are connected to buildings.

I'm jealous!

I understand the reason our parking garages aren't enclosed. We don't get the extreme cold like they do up there, and it gets very, very humid here ... spring through fall. The cost to air condition them would be outrageous.

Speaking of humidity, when my sister and her family come down to visit, it's always in the summer, when the kids are out of school. They are miserable in our high heat and humidity. I've always heard that "dry heat" isn't as hot, but all I've ever known is humid heat, so I don't know any better.

When my sister brought her kids here the first time, their kids were all young grade-school age. All of my brothers and sisters and respective kids were at my house for a cook-out one evening. Her kids came running in, squealing with delight ... there were fireflies in the backyard! Apparently, it's too cold in Minnesota for fireflies ... a fact that I found fascinating! Her kids had never seen a firefly in person and they were thrilled! All the young cousins spent many hours chasing fireflies that week ... including my kids, who were still young enough that a bug that lights up is cool no matter how many times you've seen one!

I often go to the ocean, and wonder if the people who live there have any idea how lucky they are to be living so close to such majesty ... and then I think of life here, in this quiet river town filled with fireflies ... and think that maybe I'm pretty lucky, too.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


My oldest daughter loves cupcakes ... and snails! She read a book called "Snail Mail No More" when she was young girl, and even though "snail mail" and "snails" are entirely two different things, she became obsessed with snails. She began calling my middle daughter "Snail" or "Snailey" or "Snailey Mae" ... and still does so to this day. She also calls her Sassy, but we'll discuss that at a later date! She made a snail apron for work ...

Yes, her brother, sister, and I know she's a weirdo.

And yes, she knows she's a weirdo!

When a movie about snails came out (Turbo), I really had to take the kids to see it (despite the fact the movie was made for children, and my "children" are adults). I love it that my kids are still really just "tall" children!

And, like all the other weird things my weird kids and and their weirdo mother do ... we had to pose in front of the movie poster in the lobby to memorialize the evening.
The movie poster didn't come out very well, so here's a better picture (not that anyone really cares, but it will make my kids smile!)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bye-Bye, Little Black Dress :(

I was going through my closet, getting rid of the clothes I know longer wear ... and the ones I have no business wearing anymore ... when I came across a little black dress I bought about ten years ago. I only wore it once or twice. My daughter borrowed it a few weeks ago and she looked adorable in it.

I tried it on the other night and was a bit horrified at the reflection in my mirror. I was forced to accept that I am past the age where short dresses are acceptable ... or even remotely attractive!

Since my daughter looked so cute it in, I gave it to her.  And, as per my usual modus operandi, the transfer came with a note (click on pictures to enlarge)  ...
If you think that's weird, here's the note she got when I bought her a new curling iron ...

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Wedding Spreadsheet(s)

My oldest daughter became engaged about four weeks ago. She picked out a date, and knows who she wants in the wedding party, but that's as far as her planning went. She was busy day dreaming about the wedding and pinning things on Pinterest with the date she had chosen in mind without having a venue for the ceremony or reception. I kept poking her to try to get her to find a place, and she kept procrastinating. I finally used my mom voice and ordered her to call around, that if she didn't, she likely wouldn't be able to get married on the date she had chosen ... or even this year!

She made the calls and called me back freaking out about not being able to find a place. This was the second time in a matter of days she had called freaking out about the wedding. I foresee many more of those calls in these long months leading up to the wedding. (My middle daughter and I now have a bet to see who correctly guesses the number of times she calls us freaking out over the wedding. I think we're both going to find out we've guessed far too low!). I'm used to my daughter calling me freaking out. She is the quintessential worrywart. On a regular week I typically get at least one call where she's freaking out over something, so I know the wedding will put her in freak-out overdrive!

So ... when she called me freaking out over the venue I told her to calm down and got to work. I found a place for the ceremony and reception. I've been to a wedding there before, so I already know the layout and had a good idea of the seating capacity. The date she had chosen was already taken, but it was available on her second choice. After getting her stamp of approval, I booked the location and placed the deposit.

My kids childhoods were filled with parties ... slumber parties, birthday parties, Halloween parties, Christmas parties, New Years Eve parties, Graduation and other celebratory parties, impromptu parties, and parties because they wanted to have a party parties. All they had to do was ask if they could have a party and invite people ... or give me the guest list. On the day of the event, the house/venue would magically be decorated and filled with food, music, games, etc. They have no idea how much planning, money, and creativity went into these parties, so I really shouldn't have been surprised when my oldest daughter didn't start planning her wedding immediately.

When it comes to organizing, I'm a master. Think Sheldon, from Big Bang Theory! Some might say my pathological need for organizing, labeling, sorting, and cross-referencing borders on obsessive. Some might also remind me that there is an entire pharmaceutical branch devoted to researching and developing drugs to cure this type of behavior ... but I don't need cured!! All I need is a computer with Excel and access to the Internet ... and lots of paper! I could also use some minions to do some of the grunt work, but I'll deal with that problem later.

I no time at all, I had developed numerous easy-to-navigate spreadsheets for the guest list, to-do lists, things to purchase/rent/borrow, broken down by category and sub-category, etc., which link to the other spreadsheets and automatically populates data into a master list.

Does anyone know a better way to organize than with spreadsheets?!! Me either!! I spent several evenings searching the web for ideas and the best prices, then copied links into spreadsheets and categorized folders and sub-folders, then sent my daughter an invitation to share this resource. I sent her a text for her to check her email for the invitation (because her generation thinks email is antiquated and rarely checks it). I knew what her reaction to the shared spreadsheets would be, so when I texted, I told her to quit rolling her eyes ... she knew spreadsheets would be involved!

For those of you who don't know about my love affair with spreadsheets, I can give you a glimpse here ..., and here ...

The plan was for both of us to update the spreadsheets ... you know ... tweak the guest list, enter the costs of items purchased and deposits, make notes, add/delete/check-off "to-do" items, etc. Do you know what she did? She sent her guest list to me so that I could edit the Guest List Master Spreadsheet! I can see I will have to remind her many times that I am not her secretary ... nor am I a wedding consultant being paid to do her bidding!

I have been singing the praises of spreadsheets and gushing like a school girl with a crush to my children for years. Sometimes they roll their eyes or shake their heads ... or both. Sometimes they put their fingers in their ears and sing Mary Had a Little Lamb, and sometimes they just burst into tears and run screaming from the house.

They think they can outlast me ... that I will grow so discouraged over their complete and utter lack of interest in spreadsheets that I'll quit trying to drag them, kicking and screaming, over to the other side.

They seem to have forgotten who they are dealing with!!

I was a single mom with three little kids under the age of four! I was out-numbered, and despite their tiny size, those miniature humans were crafty. Whether I felt it or not, I had to display unwavering authority. Like wild animals, they could smell fear, and any trepidation on my part would result in total anarchy!

Do they not remember that they never once prevailed at getting out of nap time? Have they completely forgotten about the time I put them down for a nap after Blues Clues was over at noon ... and they kept getting up ... over and over and over and over and over ... and I kept putting them back in their beds ... until I won ... six hours later?!!!! I paid for it the next day, when they were extra rested ... but they didn't get out of their beds after I put them down for naps!

And the answer to your question is yes ... I do realize I will be the only one using the Wedding Spreadsheets!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Breakfast from Georgia

Here is a breakfast of sausage and scrambled eggs, courtesy of my chicken friends in Georgia. I asked my middle daughter if she wanted some ... she wanted eggs, no sausage. Really? ... who turns down sausage?!!

So I fixed us both a plate and sat down to eat.  Here is my (normal) plate ...

And here is hers ... the red stuff is ketchup, not salsa or hot sauce. I think eggs might be the only thing she doesn't dip in ranch dressing! My kids are so weird!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I'd Like To Introduce You To A Few Ladies!

When my daughters and I went on vacation last summer (my son couldn't get off work), we spent some time with my sister and her husband in Georgia. She had seven chickens (six different "breeds" ... or whatever different chickens are called!). They hadn't laid any eggs yet, but she was hoping they would start laying soon. I can't remember if they weren't old enough then or if they just didn't felt like laying eggs!

By the time they visited here for Christmas, the ladies had been hard at work! My sister and her husband brought five or six dozen eggs to split between all of the households. I didn't get a picture of the eggs (I guess I wasn't thinking), so you'll just have to take my word on how pretty all those different colors of eggs were together. I love brown eggs!

My eggs made cookies, a big breakfast casserole, french toast, and scrambled eggs ... so thank you Blanche, Charlotte, Matilda, Lucy, Ethel, Wrenny, and Lily!!

My sister sent me a few pictures of them and gave me their descriptions so that I could tell them apart. It took a while to figure out Charlotte vs. Wrenny, and Matilda vs. Lily. I think I have them all straight now ... except for Lucy and Ethel. Lucy and Ethel are both the same kind of chicken, but I figure Lucy knows to always stands to the left of Ethel ... you know ... to make their identification easier! (It's never Ethel and Lucy, right?!!)

Below are three pictures of these sweet, hard-working southern belles ...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Attention All Vegetable Chip, Crisp, and Cracker Makers:

Don't these look tastey? They're not!!!! 

I love almost every vegetable in pretty much any form ... raw, cooked, dehydrated, pureed into sauce or juice, etc. ... it makes little difference to me! When I saw these at the grocery, the vibrant color of these veggie chips made them irresistible. I could hardly wait to get home to taste them!

The packaging said they are "Lightly salted veggie crisps".  It should have said "A grain or two of salt on colored wood chips".

I have two words for you ... GARLIC POWDER! If there are any calories in garlic powder, they're negligible. And, garlic powder is made from yet another vegetable ... garlic! Garlic has numerous health benefits and adds amazing taste to nearly everything ... so, they could still be called "Veggie Crisps"!

They could come in two flavors ... the original flavor, "Cardboard" (pictured above), and "Garlic"!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Can't Decide Which Tastes Better

The crackers or the box.

I asked my daughter to taste one and tell me what she thought.

Sadly, we're both kinda leaning towards the box :(

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Random Sweetness

I came downstairs one day to find this note from my little girl (who really isn't so little anymore!) ...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Butterfly Sandwiches

My oldest daughter came the other night with her future sister-in-law, who is only four years old ... and she's absolutely adorable!! She is one of the sweetest, most polite little kids I have ever had the pleasure to be around. I asked her if she wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, and she said yes.

When my kids were little, I would cut their sandwiches on the diagonal and lay the points together, and they were butterflies. While I was making the sandwich the other night, I told her I'd make her a butterfly sandwich, that my kids loved butterfly sandwiches when they were little. (Actually, they still ask me for them!)

She politely replied, "I just want cheese on it."

I could tell she was still nervous about eating butterflies, even after my assurances that the sandwich didn't really have butterflies in it, and she was delighted when I presented her with her Butterfly Sandwich and realized it truly did not contain actual butterflies!

Below is a Butterfly Sandwich I made my son years ago (we take lots of weird pictures at my house!). Click on the image to enlarge it ... there's a face on the pickle!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Current Conditions ... -2º, WInd Chill of -22º

We got less than 1" of snow, but the news said the roads are icy. Our roads were pre-treated before the storm, but the rain washed most, if not all, of it away.

My new furnace is running efficiently, and I have my fireplace and electric blanket on, so I'm quite toasty! I made a super-tasty meat and potatoes casserole last night, and have plenty of other comfort food I can make. I don't have to work today, so I should stay warm and cozy with a happy, full belly.

I feel for those in the north and those around here who have to get out in this today. I am soooo grateful work is closed!! Just walking to my car sounds painful!

I was watching the news about some big football game up north (I think in Wisconsin), where the wind chill was something like -40º, and people were lining up to get in. It is inconceivable to me that they would even have a game under those conditions ... and I simply cannot fathom wanting to watch complete strangers play a game so badly that I would put my life in danger.

The good news is that it's supposed to be in the 50's next weekend ... as if I need another reason to look forward to the weekends!!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I ran some errands with my boyfriend this afternoon. It was rainy and chilly (but not freezing) when we left, but the temperature began to plummet and the rain turned to snow. We headed to my house about the time the snow started around (5:00 pm). There was only a dusting on the roads, but it was pretty slick, even in his big truck. It's currently 15º and snowing (lightly), but the wind is howling!! It's supposed to get -2º tonight, and a HIGH of only tomorrow! Wind chill tomorrow is supposed to be -25º. I've never experienced -25º ... and I don't want to! (sob!!)

That is waaaaaaaaaay too cold!

Schools are closed here and I don't have to work, so I have no reason to leave the house ... and I can guarantee you, it would take a pretty extraordinary event to get me outside tomorrow!

We don't have much snow right now, and the original forecast of 5-8" was adjusted to be 1-3" ... and will probably be closer to 1" or less here ... but it is FRIGID! I hate to complain, though, because up north it's much, much, much colder! It's so cold, schools are closed in Minnesota! My poor little sister and her family live there up there. If I were her, I'd be tempted to give my husband an ultimatum ... it's Minnesota or me!!!

Squirrels and Raccoons ... My Arch-Enemies!

This is a picture of my patio chair cushion. I texted this picture to my boyfriend and told him that I was certain the villainous squirrels had something to do with this. I had no proof, but it certainly seemed like something those glorified rats would do ... just to irk me!

He thought I was crazy, and he's probably right, but I still blamed the squirrels.

One afternoon I was talking on the phone to the insurance company about repairing some damage a raccoon did to my house (read my first raccoon blog here). I was looking out the window as I spoke, and saw a squirrel run up onto my deck and grab a wad of chair stuffing!

The insurance agent must have thought I'd lost my mind because I raced outside screaming at the squirrel. It put the wad of stuffing in it's mouth and ran away!!

I knew it!!! It was squirrels!!! I was vindicated! I don't have it on video, but I saw it with my own two, squirrel-despising eyes! My gut instinct was correct ... it was the squirrels destroying my patio furniture!

Squirrels and raccoons have been my arch-enemies for years. Now, before you tell me how cute they are, save your breath ... it will do absolutely no good ... you'll be beating a dead horse. I know many squirrel lovers, and after hearing all the squirrels and raccoons have done to terrorize me, they all agree that if they were me, they'd hate them, too! I can even sympathize (to a degree) with squirrel lovers, as I was once (in my days of carefree innocence) entertained by their antics ... but it's all a trick, designed to lure us into complacency ... and then they make their move. If you think about it, they're really quite diabolical!!

A critter guy, who has made numerous trips to my house, says he gets quite a bit of business from the small area I live in ... because some senile old lady up the hill feeds the squirrels and raccoons ... and it draws them into the neighborhood like flies to honey. The critter guy, and several neighbors, have spoken to her, begging her to stop feeding them, detailing the expense those (filthy, disgusting) creatures have done to these century-old homes, but she doesn't care. She continues to feed them ... and so they continue damaging our homes and property. At this point, my only hope is that I outlive that decrepit old bat!!

I now understand know how Wile E. Coyote felt ... and I'm wondering if the Acme Corporation has an online storefront ... and how fast they deliver.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Speaking Of My Daughter's Cat

I walked into the family room one day and saw her laying like this ... sound asleep! We call this her "Steam Roller Position"! Have you ever seen anything so ridiculous?!!

I guess all the giggling woke her up. She looked at us, but didn't bother moving to cover her modesty!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Simple, Indulgent, Long-Forgotten Pleasures

I have rediscovered the joy of baths.

After many years of rocking babies and chasing after little kids, then rushing around from school to friends to some-kind-of-sports-practice ... they're all grown up now. And even though they haven't all left the nest, they no longer need guarding. Well, I would still guard them if I could, but they won't let me tag along on their dates anymore! Without children to hover over, I have my life back, and with that freedom comes simple, indulgent, long-forgotten pleasures  :)

In the evenings, when the house is quiet and bedtime nears, I turn on soft music, light some candles, pour a glass of wine  ... or sometimes Ski ... or milk (I'm kind of weird!) ... and soak in a deep, antique claw-foot tub full of scented bubbles or calming bath salts ... and ....