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Back on the Road with Travel Man

suitcase picI’m on the road with Travel Man this week.  Yesterday we took a short flight to the Sacramento airport.  Only a little over an hour in the air (we call these up/downs).  Everything went fine. Flight was good, got in just a tad late, walked through the terminal to get ourselves to baggage claim.

Oh wait, and  before we mosied over to baggage claim Travel Man had to make a mad dash back on the plane.  He left his Nexxus tablet in the seat back (this never, ever  happens to him).  He tried to claim I distracted his “normal” flight check routine.  The nerve!!

Now we’re at the baggage claim waiting for our suitcases.  Travel Man  tells me a little story he read about suitcases being stolen right from the baggage carousel.  We’re still waiting for our bags.  Finally here comes the big Travel Man bag, his tool box, and we spot my bag with the pink luggage tag at the top of the carousel.  Travel Man’s bags come around the carousel no problem, and then we’re waiting for my bag.  Waiting, waiting and no bag.  So,  Travel Man booked it into high gear around the other side of the carousel. I’m watching the people leaving to make sure my bag with the pink tag is not rolling out the door without me.  Travel Man gets to the other side of the carousel, and my bag was just sitting on the floor, off of the carousel.  The nerve of some people.  Someone took my bag off of the carousel, realized it was not their bag, and just left it sitting there.  Luckily we were pay attention, and my Super Traveler rescued my bag from the perils of some other fate.

Thought for the day – always pay attention to your belongings when you are on the road. Oh and don’t leave home with out a Travel Man!!

Our Christmas Tree Revamp

Yes we have an artificial tree. Yes, I can put up my tree whenever I choose.  Provided I have someone here to help me get it out of the rafters (thanks boys!). My artificial tree has (had) white lights Pre-wired to the branches.  Lots of white lights.  It’s a really pretty tree even of you don’t put any other decorations on it.

It would normally look like this-


Last Christmas I was having some issues with the lights on the tree shorting out.  We bumbled along and made the lights work through the holiday time.  When the tree came out for its annual decorating this year Travel Man helped me check the lights as we were assembling the tree.  We figured out where there was a bad plug, got it repaired  and thought we were golden.  All of the lights were working, we were off to a good start.

Until……. the next morning.  The entire middle section of lights on the tree had shorted out-again!  Problem is once the tree is completely assembled , the branches are fluffed, and the tree is generally looking good it’s a total pain in the toukas to take it apart, and fix anything.

So, we made the executive decision to bypass the white lights all together.  The white lights were not going to co-operate, and I had no patience for them.  We were not going to take the tree apart, and we had two strings of colored lights to starts us off on the tree re-vamp.  That meant we only had to buy three more strings  to finish off all of the lights, and my budget could handle that expense.  The white lights  were unplugged and we put colored led lights on the tree, our collection of ornaments, and last but not least- the tinsel!  Yes that’s right we have tinsel on our tree.  I’m calling this our retro tree because the tinsel totally brings  back childhood memories for myself and Travel Man.

Of course ours kids are divided on the appearance of the tree.


  • What happened to the white lights?  We changed them up decided to do something different.
  • Tinsel?  Really who uses tinsel?  We do.  Another change to our traditional Christmas.

Grandson Evan tells me last night, “Grandma, I like the tree this way.  It’s really pretty.”  Melt my heart.  I’ll put colored lights and tinsel on the tree every year just for Evan!

I have to admit I’m a huge fan of the all white lights on the tree.  I think it’s because it reminds me of snowy winters in Illinois in a strange round about way.  But going retro with this tree has been fun.  Colorful, tinsselly fun.  Is tinsselly really a word?

So for Christmas 2012, the decorations are complete, and my annual tree revamp is done, and I am happy.  Maybe I’ll start doing a different theme for the tree every year.  All Santa’s on the tree, or all angels on the tree.  Maybe next year we’ll add garland, or the kids favorite garland –  colored strings of beads!!

What your favorite Christmas tree theme?  And was that a real tree or an artificial tree you put up?

We had a Lovely, Positively Pink Day

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday,  my daughter, Hilary and I hosted a baby shower for Hilary’s big sister, Naomi.  We were surrounded by family and friends, all of them ladies at this shin-dig, except for Evan and his cousin.  It was a wonderful, sunny Saturday, and the planning paid off tremendously.  Of course,  all of us Grandma’s, Grammie’s, and Nana’s in the crowd were especially excited.  For me there is nothing more heart-warming or meaningful than knowing that the family tree will soon be expanding.

We had lovely tissue paper flowers, a diaper cake, lots of pink tulle and ribbons, and even a crown for the guest of honor.

And we had the food!  Deli sandwiches, chips, dips, watermelon salad (more on this later), pink lemonade punch, and a beautiful coconut cake.

We passed around a journal for everyone to write their thoughts and good wishes to Naomi and her family.  It was a lot of fun, and will be a great keepsake for the new arrival.

Hilary headed up the game co-ordination, and I think we had the most fun with “The Purse Game”.  In our game,  we used a points system which made it a lot of fun to find out what treasures all of the ladies had in their purses.

One of the highlights of the day was Evan opening his “Diaper Dude Junior” tool belt.  I saw this idea on Pinterest, and had to make them for Evan and his Dad.  Both of the tool belts had a diaper, baby wipes, goggles, plastic gloves.  All set for diaper duty.  Evan was a great sport and thought this was a very fun gift.  I’m sure once his baby sister has arrived he will try to put his diaper tools to good use.

My daughter and her family received a plethora of wonderful, amazing gifts.  They will be ready for anything when the baby sister arrives.

This is all of the grandma’s that live in the area with the “mom-to-be”.  We are blessed to have so many family members close by.  The only thing that would have made this a positively more perfectly,  pink day is if my Sister and my Grandma could have joined us.

We had a wonderful afternoon together, and are counting the days/hours Until Evan’s baby sister arrives.  Travel Man and I are sponsoring a guess the baby date prize for the family.  It’s turning out to be a lot of fun. We’ll keep you all posted on the arrival.

What’s your most recent and favorite family moment?

A Near Electronics Mishap

Last week I was in my kitchen working on chopping up some apples from our own tree, for an apple crisp.  Many recipes that I use in the kitchen these days reside on my iPad.  I use a program called Evernote to store a lot of my family favorite recipes, and also favorites that I have found on the internet.

I was diligently working, talking to the kids, and as I moved the cutting board I knocked over a glass of water, and it splattered my iPhone and iPad.  My twenty-somethings jumped out of their seats, and got my iPad out-of-the-way.  I grabbed my iPhone, and I was ever so thankful that I had the Otterbox cover on it.    The twenty-somethings quickly grabbed some towels while I was tending to my iPhone, and we got everything dried up.  Oh, and I also had my favorite Pioneer Woman cookbook sitting on the counter.  This was a big glass of ice water.

Without the Otterbox cover on my iPhone it would have been toasted.  I got the Otterbox for my iPhone because I’m always carrying it with me outside, especially when Travel Man’s on the road.  And since I garden a little everyday it becomes a necessity when I am working outside.  My Otterbox has saved my phone a few times now.  Totally worth the investment.

There was a little skosch of water underneath the screen saver on the iPhone, and I had to remember how to get the darn Otterbox off of my phone.  I could not remember which tabs to push or pull, so my daughter when on the internet and googled it for me.  She tried to find a you tube video for me, but Travel Man knew how to take it off and saved the day.

Normally I don’t have a glass of anything liquid anywhere near my electronics.  But I must have been extra thirsty on this cooking day, because I wasn’t really paying attention to where my glass of water was.  I was focused on apple crisp (Which is a great recipe for another day).  With so many electronics in the house it’s a wonder we have not had more mishaps similar to this one.  Fortunately for me,  this one turned out A-ok.

Have you had any electronics mishaps recently?

Tie-Dye Day at Camp Grandma

One fine sunny morning at Camp Grandma I decided it was time to try my hand at tie-dyeing.  I had purchased a little tie-dye kit at Joann‘s Fabrics, along with some white t-shirts that were on sale.

This kit included the three bottles with the dye powder, rubber bands, and plastic gloves, along with the instructions of course.  It was supposed to be enough dye to make 6 shirts.  We made two kids shirts and one adult shirt.

In order to make this a successful project with Evan I had to have ALL of the supplies we would need set-up before we got started.

We headed outside to a table I had set-up on the  patio, covered with black trash bags.  I wanted to keep the mess in an easy to clean up state.  And I knew that Evan,  being only 6, might not have the patience to wait around for the process we were about to dive into.  I was not able to take pictures of our processing, so I will do my  best to describe the steps of our project.

  • We laid two of the shirts out flat, and then pulled up the center of the shirt into a long skinny tube-like shape.
  • Then we put the rubber bands around the shirts in 4 or 5 spots along the length of the tube.  Similar to this:
  • For the third shirt, it was twisted it into a ball from the middle of the shirt. 
  • Next the rubber bands were placed around the ball like the sections of an orange. 
    The shirt looked like this:

Now for the fun part.  Evan and I put on some plastic gloves and carefully and slowly began to apply the dye to the shirts.  Each section between the rubber bands was a different color.  We had red, navy blue and a teal blue.  Very patriotic in the end.  Once all of the dye was applied to all of the sections of the shirts they were left to soak for the rest of the day.  We put them inside plastic grocery bags, tied them shut and then cleaned up our table.

After about 6 hours the shirts were rinsed first under only cold water.  This was to remove the excess dye in the shirts.  Then the rubber bands were removed, and the shirt was rinsed again,  in only cold water.  This was to remove the last remaining bits of the excess dye that had not set into the fabric.  Next the shirts went into the washer, cold water only, on the shortest wash cycle possible.  Mine takes about half an hour.  Then I threw them in the dryer on a very low heat. 

The end result looked like this:

We purposely left a section white, as we were going for the red, white and blue effect.  That was Evan’s idea.  But with this kit the colors set in very well.  Evan was so excited with how they turned out he modeled quite graciously for me.

When we do this project again,  I will make sure I have another set of hands to help with the mess.  The dye is fun to work with, but takes some skill in getting the colors on the sections of the shirts without running over into the next section.  This process is not as intense as using a Rit dye process, but the results were pretty good.  This project will be a great memory for Evan in the years to come.  I still have fond memories of tie-dying some awesome,  orange sheets with my Mom, and her girlfriends, and all of the kids, many moons ago.  

And to all of my family – what do you guys think about a tie-dye party for an end of summer shin dig, or maybe for the holidays?  Leave me a comment.





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