BACKYARD SKATING

My grandchildren started saying no thanks to bedtime books when they slept over in favor of stories about their parents as little kids. Lately, they've been asking for tales from the days when I was a little girl! Yikes.....not always easy to retrieve on demand!  Thanks to my friends Bob at Axiesdad and Grandma Kc over at Amaraland who do such an awesome job sharing their childhood stories and memories; I am encouraged to do the same for my grandkids.....so here goes!


 
I learned to ice skate in my own backyard. No big deal if you grow up in the winter wonderland of snow and ice for months on end as I did in Michigan back in the 50's. Folks still do this today in the northern states....but those years of skating and sledding are some of my favorite childhood memories!

Every winter, Daddy would freeze the backyard; after first listening to weather predictions, checking the sky or conferring with neighbors.  If there was a big snow on the way; he'd wait and shovel and freeze the next night. Sometimes we were disappointed...our little rink with the banked up sides would be nothing but chunks of crusted snow or ice! He'd have to start all over again. He put as much time into getting it right at he did the summer gardens!

Here I'm a daring one-legged ten year old and my brother Dave is about six. Easy to show off when Daddy's holding tight!






But not nearly as confidant am I alone with Dave.....he's about to launch ahead and I look a little leery; especially since it appears I've already fallen a time or two! Believe me...that look on his face spelled trouble!


 
Little did we know that not only were we acquiring a life time skill; but Daddy had an ulterior motive. Advertising was his game and creativity his name; he superimposed (is this even the right term today?) our fun photos onto illustrations from the art department and designed our Christmas cards year after year after.....


many more years! These cards were quite novel and a hit with all Mom and Daddy's friends. I was 13 when along came a sister; and two years later another brother. Our folks loved planning for these cards months ahead of time......just as many of us do today!  They stopped when I was half way through college...and Daddy changed jobs and had to be on the road a lot.
Dave and I love remembering those early years.....when it was just the two of us. Mom loved being outside too and I remember her skating so elegantly in her skirts or dresses. She'd pull pants up under them and tie on a colorful babushka and out we'd go to play in the snow.




Yes, Mom was lots of fun.....but that's not why we love this picture. Dear Dave...we can still tell when you're up to something with those mischievous eyes! We may have been posing for another card idea....or just looking cute. But Dave had a snowball hidden in his hand......and that's why it's a crazy funny photo! I can't recall if he threw it at me..... or at our dad......but I do remember us all laughing so hard and so long.
 
 
This post has been linked to the Grand Social at Grandma's Briefs
Congratulations on your new gig, Lisa!  









 
 

GRANDPA'S STOCKING


As my younger grandkids and I unpacked the red and green boxes during the past few weeks and decorated the house and tree......the twins were concerned about Grandpa's Christmas stocking.
 
You see Santa has always stopped at Grandma and Grandpa's house all these years.....pretty much ensuring a second round for everyone! There's been 11 stockings to hang for our five grandchildren, their parents and us! Making sure those stockings were filled with everyone's wishes was Grandpa's most important job....he used his awesome writing skills to let Santa know exactly how to surprise his family!

But as I considered returning his to the red container, little Paige shouted "no, you CAN'T put it back in the box, Grandma!"....while her brother chimed in that Santa would know what to do with it!  They wondered if God tells Santa when people die. They thought they could take something from their stocking Christmas morning and put it in Grandpa's. They said mine would be sad without Grandpa's next to it.

Sharing these sweet comments with friends; I received the greatest advice of all.....fill it with love!
I knew this was the perfect idea....but how? with what? It came to me during a sleepless night.....as answers often do.....write him a letter!

Each child wrote a love note or memory and so did I. Overthinking it again, I pondered the logistics of empty stockings hanging in anticipation, Santa's looooong, busy night and the early-risers rushing down stairs the next morning.  "Just stick them in his stocking right now" said one of the twins. "Yea...it will be a surprise for Santa and......you know.....so he knows what happened." said the other. How wonderful children are at solving the quandaries of life!

Can you feel the comfort? Can you imagine how my little gesture helping the twins through this difficult time has in fact been quite powerful; helping me embrace this first holiday in 47 years without my guy.

Alone, I read and reread them. I can sense the importance they felt in doing this. The older girls nailed it beautifully in their lengthy letters. They recalled his goofy stories and making them giggle over and over again; how he made them feel special for being who they are.

The oldest commends him for being a great role model; with his "great combination of high intellect and street-smarts" and how she loved swimming with him in her early years and learning to drive with him this past summer. Her sister is proud that she has his writing skills and sense of humor! "You were perfect, Grandpa, because you were very wise and very funny" she wrote. They both know he is with them in their hearts. And I love their promise to keep calling this Grandma and Grandpa's House!

The little one's were shorter, but their I Love You with hearts and I Miss You with drawings of  Grandpa were just as meaningful! The colored ink and curvy, carefully cut edges around their notes make them extra special. These are my treasures now.

Ten stockings will be gathered around the tree on Christmas Eve (once filled, they become too heavy to hang we've discovered).....but Grandpa's will hang just fine by the fireplace.....packed full of love.
After all the gifts have been open, our attention and excitement will turn to our stockings! And after they've been emptied.....with toys whirring and buzzing  and candy and cookies crunching... we'll  read and listen to Grandpa's letters and remember all the wonderful things about him!

Lake View


 On a brisk but sunny September morning in southwest Michigan; my kids and I rode slowly around Crooked Lake in a friend’s boat; waiting for the right moment to say goodbye. My husband of 47 years and their Dad; who’d died unexpectedly the month before, had always wished for his ashes to be sprinkled here. We just had to wait to get the wind right, quiet our voices and thoughts….and prepare ourselves for this final step in letting go.

He grew up on this lake. He and a few buddies stayed in the lake house during their college years. His parents gave us the home when we married. Our kids were born and raised on this lake. We remodeled and enlarged the house; built a new dock and landscaped the yard with new plants and trees. This is where we shared our first kiss…..and where we spent our first ten years together.

Cross-country moves following his career as a newspaper editor never kept us from annual visits ‘home’ to Michigan to visit old neighbors on the lake or to just drive by and say….“hello house.” Over the next 30 some years, it became a ritual to drive by it, take pictures of how it had weathered time and meet up with nearby friends and family.

And so it came as a shock earlier this year to receive an email from an old neighbor from his parents’ days letting us know that the “Stommen House” had been torn down.  Soon after, both of us and our kids started getting texts and calls from pals still living in this lake community; “your lake house is being torn down”… “the Stommen property is being bulldozed!”  Thirty some years after we sold it, it was still thought of as ours by various generations! Seeing the new home under construction from the lake now was okay with us; it looks good.  It was time for something new and modern on this spot.

He swam, sailed, water skied and ice skated on this lake. We hosted beach parties all summer long; the guys playing water football or volleyball while the young ones watched from the shallow, sandy shore. Every winter we shoveled a huge rink to teach our kids how to skate and for dad to play ice and broom hockey with his pals. Our son and daughter learned to swim and ski here; loved sliding down the big hill during the long, snowy months and spent hours playing in the fort daddy built them under the trees.

Now as the boat drifted in the middle of the lake with the breeze, it was time for him to be in the water again; in this blue, fresh water where his story….and ours….began.  Our daughter read a beautiful prayer she’d written; our daughter-in-law and granddaughters hugged me and held my hands as our son opened the pontoon door and lay down on the deck.
 We laughed through our tears as we took turns remembering great times and fun moments with Grandpa….and as the ashes fluttered for his last lake view; we all felt the peace and contentment of knowing we had honored a great man here today.

 

 

 

Till Death Do Us Part

Forty seven years and six days after we spoke our wedding vows; we were forever parted by death.
In the middle of an August afternoon, my husband laid down for a nap and never woke up.
He is on the "Blue Side of Heaven" now......as Alan Jackson sings.....telling everyone about me and hugging our loved ones who went before. I am sad and guilty and angry and lost. I did CPR until the paramedics arrived....but none of us could save him. I feel sorry for him as there was still so much more we......he.....wanted to do! I am angry because we hadn't planned on this.....his parents lived well into their 90's......why couldn't he????


I feel lost and clueless; unsettled and without an anchor. I have lots of love and reasons for living.....the greatest being our five grandchildren. He wouldn't have wanted them to have to learn about death so early. And now I have his pictures all over the house and the kids talk about what a great cook he was and I am not! They are worried Santa will leave less presents around the tree since there will be none for Grandpa. They ponder how Santa knows this; does he have a phone number for God?  They love having turns sitting in his chair, watching his TV.....and I do too!

It's been a rough couple of months. My heart is full and my mind is sad and I want to write it all down. I am alone after so many years with this man....my newspaper man. He was my editor from the day we met working on the college newspaper at Western Michigan University.  Now.....here's a disclaimer everyone......this is the first piece I've written since he passed away. He was my editor and cheerleader for almost 50 years....so I don't have his expertise to literally call on in the other room....or email it to him and ask "whadaya think?" 

I save old letters. I re-give letters. I kept the letter my mother-in-law wrote to my husband on his 40th Birthday telling him about the day of his birth......a snowy January day in Chicago. I gave it to him this year on his 70th Birthday to enjoy again.
We kept a copy of the letter my husband wrote to his father the day his Dad turned 96!  I just gave that letter to our son last month on his 44th Birthday....five weeks after his dad died.

Now I am again saving letters and cards and messages......wondering how I'll ever write again....how to write from my broken heart where once everything flowed through seamlessly. I've woven love and life and family into my writing ever since I was a kid. I bound everything I wrote.... letters, diaries, essays and observations, notebooks from Marriage Encounter and our travel journals.... into two big binders which I labeled Write From The Start for the earlier years.....and Write From the Heart for the rest.

After our 10th anniversary...he began climbing the career ladder. The kids and I followed him cross country several times as he welcomed challenges as  Editor in Owensboro, KY, Salem, MA, Norristown, PA and even on the island of Aruba. He was a great leader, a great writer and a great storyteller. He was a great friend and mentor. He coached youth soccer and hockey, served our church community and sat on the boards and committees of local businesses and charities in a variety of  cities and towns.

But most of all....he was ours. Father to our first born...a son conceived Christmas Eve in California and born the 25th of September! Three years later, our daughter was born on a snowy day in January just like her Dad. These two were our world.....the pictures, the home videos, the scrapbooks...all revolve around their baby years, their growing up years; their schools, scouts and sports. Next it was choosing colleges, occupations and then.....spouses. We bought our last home here in Georgia and called it our empty nest! But in the blink of an eye......the nest was soon filled with five precious grandkids!




These two amazing adults have been my strength when I was weak, my voice when I couldn't speak as we had to deal with the funeral home, the obituary, setting up services in two states and  greeting old friends, neighbors and colleagues. When I couldn't write....they put their own way with words together. My son wrote a beautiful tribute to his Dad which we used for the obituary; my daughter created programs for two different sets of friends, family and former coworkers.





Hurting as they were, they also found the strength to tell their children that their beloved Grandpa was gone. He died on a Monday. The older girls started their new school year Tuesday morning.....I made my son promise not to tell them (or get on a flight) until after their first day. He arrived Wednesday morning.


 My daughter and son-in-law.......both of whom met me at the hospital and took the rest of the week off.......told their three youngsters the next day after school too. My heart was breaking for them, for the kids and for my husband....who cherished each of these kids so very much.

A few of the letters I now treasure came from unexpected places. My daughter's childhood friend in Massachusetts for example. Growing up without her own father around......her lovely note detailed the great influence my husband had on her whenever she spent time with our family. My daughter read this letter at both services; reminding parents to "never underestimate the impact you have on the friends of your children. You may think you're coaching their little league, giving rides home after band or making sets for drama. But being there as a role model is influencing not just the type of people your kids become....but their friends as well."

Another letter mentioned admiration for his network of long time friends. It seemed every few weeks there'd be contact with someone else he'd met or worked with over the years. And he was a mentor to up and coming journalists as well. He offered these words of advice to my cousin as she headed off for an interview as a newspaper columnist: "always be curious...and always be caring." She got the job!
Among all the professional accolades he received from former bosses and colleagues; and the embellished retelling of stories from fellow softball and hockey players...was the recurring respect for him as a guardian of language and as a true team player! Oh what a smile that would bring to his face!

Although the kids and I are sad and have our moments when the tears just fall or we have to turn away.....we've realized that all these years he was equipping us for this. He made us strong in so many ways. He was a take charge, larger-than-life-kind of guy......and I leaned on him for so much. He'd lean on me sometimes when he didn't have his cane.....and he'd apologize! I never felt bad for depending on him to give me a wonderful life!






Inside my sadness, there is a happy kind of comfort. I am so very glad we traveled as much as we did after retirement. We went to Australia; we took our oldest granddaughter dog sledding in Alaska; we spent months on the beach in southern California with the girls and riding our bikes.





He bought a 57 Oldsmobile Cutlass to keep out there.....and loved driving it every chance he got. We went to spring training in Florida and Arizona for years; we flew business class whenever we could, he bought current best sellers at Costco every Tuesday and he enjoyed 3-4 newspapers every morning! I am glad we pulled off the January birthday surprise with my son flying in overnight and ringing the doorbell at 8 AM......and that the four of us spent so much time reminiscing about their childhood at the most expensive restaurant in town!

I am glad we wasted days doing nothing, I am glad we spent money and I am glad for his traditions of coloring Easter eggs and carving Jack-o-lanterns with the grandkids!

Our love for each other was always evident......he showed me every day how much he loved me with jokes, coffee in bed, signs taped around the house on holidays, making my burgers or tacos just the way I liked them or bringing me a glass of wine after a hard day. He was the love of my life...and  I told him again and again with little love notes or whispers in his ear!

Because of that love....I will be okay. I can do this, Sweetheart.......but it's going to be hard without you.














Ready For Lift Off



Last day of summer vacation for the Littles. Stuck inside at Grandma and Grandpa's house with thunderstorms all day. It turned out to be one of the best days ever. They used their imaginations all morning being Princess Paige and her Protectors; Spiderman and Wolverine.

They played nice with others, ate well, said all the right words (okay, sorry, excuse me, please..and did not call anyone stupid!) and they never even asked for Sponge Bob!!!


 This afternoon their imaginations had them playing secret agents/ninjas... using calculators for walkie-talkies, using words like "stealth" and "defeat" as they searched each room in my house for bad guys. I gathered them around me on the bed to play rummy and they actually listened, learned and did not cry when they didn't win!




I really think there was a force at play today, a dust-off-our-good-behavior vibe.....or maybe the God of back-to-school-prep...something very wonderful happened! They will be just fine tomorrow!
 


But what about their Mama.....and Grandma? There'll be teary-eyed pride thinking of these sweet little munchkins. The 3-year-old baby boy who welcomed twins into his life....now taking them under his wing as he begins third grade (on the second level with the "big kids!) Brother and sister twins starting kindergarten.... letting go of each other's hand as they head to separate classrooms. Oh how the memories flood back at times like this. Not only do I think back on these babies, but to my older girls now in middle and high school. And if it's another rainy, dreary day....I'll probably recall all the way back to my own kids' first days of school!



But then I'll remember the 33 years I spent as a teacher and principal......33 years of new beginnings!
I was as excited as the kids EVERY single year! I know in my heart that their teachers will love them and guide them; launching a new year with discoveries and adventures that will cement their love of learning!  And the Kindergarten teachers, with their special powers... will lift and send the twins soaring on
this great journey called education.

This has been linked to the Grand Social over at Grandma's Briefs! Click here to read more great posts......and about HER Kindergarten-bound grandson!
 

Profiles

Here's my new profile picture; updated since I recently found out I need to wear glasses full time!  This is the new me....this is how I look now.
 As I uploaded it to Facebook.....and began to do the same on Google (and the other social media sites I belong to) I was asked to also update my "Profile!" In addition to a picture, all these sites want a short, written bio of sorts telling about my traits, likes, talents and accomplishments.

Originally wanting to keep a "low profile" when I joined Facebook.....my first venture into cyberspace beyond anonymous email; I figured the lower  degree of visibility would better protect myself and my family. I have since learned it's okay to share what I can do/have done.....and even brag about it!




Years ago I had a hairstylist refer to the haircut she was giving me as having a "good profile"......meaning, I'm sure, that it looked good /balanced well with my sagging chin!  Now.... absolutely! PLEASE give me a cut/style with a good side view!




I am profiling myself as I write. As a writer and reader of numerous blogs and websites, I notice daily the recurring topic of 'seniors'.....as in older, mature, boomers, and my choice...... growing along. As in making predictions about what over-fifty-something men and women like, eat, do, dress, buy and need. Yes...the dictionary clearly states that analysis or predictions about a person or group of people (i.e. gender, age, race, religion) is called profiling!  Of course it's done everyday, everywhere; for all of humanity and all living things! (Our local paper has a "profile" for what grows best in the south.)


After my recent Dr. appointment, his nurse called to share the results of my lab work and "blood profile."  All was in good shape...in all the correct ranges.... and she agreed to put a copy in the mail to me for my records. The color coded graph  containing my data was actually called a biochemical profile. It amazes me how this word is everywhere; how we use it so easily in so many arenas!




 
As a fourth grade teacher and writing coach, I encouraged students to write essays or assessments about the characters in our novel studies...... 'describe the antagonist/protagonist' for example. This in turn would help them create and develop their own characters during writing assignments.  We called them character traits.
Look how they're referred to now as per a recent Pinterest post...creating a Character Profile!





Funny how this writing thing of mine has evolved....AND my sense of honesty/transparency. I had 'change FB profile pic' on my mind.....and as soon as I started to do it......all of this popped into my head. Is this anything worth sharing? Probably not.......it's not a story or informational article......but it does show how far I've come in Cyberville! I'm not afraid to write about whatever and whenever something grabs me! Like the use/overuse? of this neat little all purpose word.

Modern Memoirs: How To Blog




I was recently featured in an interview entitled Modern Memoirs: How To Blog. I've been teaching myself little by little...and with awesome support from other bloggers! For that I am most grateful; and now I'm able to help someone else in return!
 The interview was written by a correspondent for be.group; which represents senior living communities. Since they've used a stock photo in the article....here's one of me! I love the light from the kitchen window....and observing neighbors walk by, the gardens in bloom, the weeds that need pulling!



I have a personal Facebook page....called Gramcracker Crumbs; and of course this website with the same name. I am a grandmother of five and a retired elementary teacher and principal currently certified in Gifted Education. I love to read, travel and keep active with 5 and 10 K's, Zumba classes and riding my bike!

                            How To Begin Blogging              
  • Blogger and WordPress are both free and easy to navigate.

  • Ask web savvy friends or adult children for help when you need it.

  • In considering a topic or theme for your blog, choose something with value  for  your readers, something that you value and care about and something that spotlights your personality and style. After you're comfortable with these....you'll easily think of a blog name! As you can see....my inspiration comes from being with kids, aging and everyday life!

  • Be carful about sharing personal and family information-at least until you have confidence in your audience. I use nicknames when referring to my grandkids in posts; and I always get their mom's permission for publishing photos.

I view my writing as an outlet...not an obligation. My words are my paintbrush, creating images in the reader's mind. My sentences weave stories of family and friends....and how we embrace life and all it has to offer. I write about my life chapters, continual learning, travels, friendship, children and the joys of living and playing at every age!




Mom and I in her new Condo


I've shared memories of my parents;
expressing feelings about my
childhood and of my time spent as a
member of the sandwich
generation while caring for both Mom and my grandkids.
 
 


 
 
 

Naming my blog Gramcracker Crumbs invited many inquiries as to why. I composed a piece with the simple explanation that Gramcracker was the name given to me by my oldest grandchild....and picked up as the others came along.

 
 
I love words...the way words go together. I love the power and feeling of words....playing with words...the rhythm and rhyme of words!
And that's just what Robert Frost said; "Composing is a game with words."



Everyone has a story to tell....each word you write has been written before; each word you speak has been spoken before. But your thought is a creation...a statement bursting from within! Write something today....on a scrap of paper or on a word document. Tell us about the love of your life, your kids, your worries, your amazing adventures. You CAN write...and you can blog!

Joan Stommen


Summer Cousin Time

 Stormy weather and tornado warnings were a new experience for my older granddaughters who were visiting from California for ten days. The sirens were a bit unnerving.......but no worries and no damage; just rain and wind and then a rainbow! Mostly the weather cooperated and the girls and their cousins swam in our neighborhood pool morning, noon and night! Even swimming in the light, cool rain some afternoons was great fun.




This is the 8th year they have spent summer weeks with Grandma and Grandpa in Georgia. It was their first time flying alone and of course it was NBD....and it saved us all some money! I enjoyed this year's visit more than ever because.....there seemed absolutely no distinction between little kids and big kids! All my photos and videos just show the FAB FIVE enjoying playtime, summertime and kid time!
















My Flower did five underwater somersaults with one breath!  My Sunshine climbed our front yard tree.......which she's done every year since about age 4! My two grandsons rocked every tune with their enthusiastic dance moves and happy voices! They are just as tech savvy as their older cousins and my sweet 5 year old granddaughter, claiming they are really her big sisters; gave as good as she gets when it came to hair, make-up and fashion know-how! Notice her blond hair extension in the dancing photos!




As we prepared for our Hawaiian Hula and luau, all jumped in to explain how to use/find music on Pandora and how to spell Hawaiian.  The 8 year old got it right first....two i's together! We had a few things planned for the "all five sleepover night"......like baking cookies....(which really means eating the cookie dough) and all snuggling on the living room floor.




 

As the afternoon slid into dusk....Grandma remembered some old glow bracelets in a drawer......would they still work? In the backyard to try them out.....the first lightening bug appeared. Mad dashing for the nets and bug cage and they were off. I was left fumbling with how to take night photos. My yard looks so beautiful after dark with the garden lights.....wonder why I never get outside after dark unless there are children around?




The younger kids were delighted to hang with their cousins; the older girls relishing these carefree days where "no one knows them" and no pressure to be "cool" middle or high school kids! I love that the girls wanted to do the things they've always done here at G & G's house: sandbox, tea party, blue Kool-Aid and "macaroni with Joanie!" (Grandpa does all the cooking in our house.....but the girls have loved saying this every time they eat it!) They love the tradition and the security of knowing they can just be kids again when they're here! That is exactly what I remember from summer visits to my Grandma's house! Playing tag and hide and seek in the dark..... in bare feet......and no one cared; no one said no!  (I did put bug spray on them....annoying mosquitos can spoil a good time!)

It was a blast for me...the highlight of my summer! I laughed so much, rolled around in the grass, tried flips in the pool, wished upon a star many nights, danced and sang and learned new chants......but mostly.....clapped and giggled at their joy over and over again! I took our teenager driving a few times, and we visited the Titanic Exhibit here in downtown Atlanta. I spent a couple hours roaming Target and the Dollar Store with my preteen; gathering pool toys and Grandpa Day cards. Oh.....and how lucky we were..... an impulsive check-the-clearance-rack at a nearby shoe store scored a cute pair of sandals for mon fluer!



Every year I try something new when playing/hanging with the kids; but darn it.... I bailed at the last minute at the trampoline park! I was gaining confidence observing 'older' folks jumping; but just as I reached for my wallet.....buses full of  campers and day care kids pulled in, parked and pushed through the door all at once. Good decision! I captured some great pictures while hurrying back and forth to calls of "watch ME, Grandma!"  Here's my oldest grandson doing a flip!



The girls are back home now and enjoying their friends and beach community. But there are still three adorable kiddos here who keep me on my toes; amazing and amusing me with their words and actions. I loved having the cousins together.....giving them my full time and attention for ten days. I played hard and kept things going/changing up and pulling out new things to keep them busy and excited. I'm still feeling worn out....but savoring......like laughter....is great medicine.  As I share these words and pictures with you and compile another Gramps and Gramcracker Book for Summer 2013, I can feel the tiredness slipping away and smiles and contentment filling my face and heart.

Posting on the following Linky Parties/Blog Hops:  Sat it Saturday, The Grand Social and Let's Get Social Sunday .

JELLO FUN

This is nothing new......but great fun to do with grandkids. The three Littles slept over and last night we made red and blue Jello. That was a kitchen adventure in itself.....no time to grab the camera.....but whatever pictures come to mind....you've got it!

At lunch time today.....they each got to scoop the jello into my "fancy big glasses" and for the coup de gras.......squirt the whip cream! That was a YouTube moment for sure.....but when you're all laughing at the streaming white spray go evvvvvvverywhere but into the glass.....no time for photos!



Finally Grandma steadied the can so we could fill each glass to the top. We quickly cleaned up so I could get a picture! They were actually clanging their spoons in anticipation!


Afterward......they remembered the little flags in my 4th Of July bag of goodies.....so off they went to march around the yard singing "God Bless America!"  Just too cute and so fun to hear and see their joy! 
Happy July Everyone!




    





Frame Those Quotes!


"It's June, Grandma! You still have the St. Patrick pictures up in the bathroom!"
said my 5 year old granddaughter.

















 Like the rest of us, she's excited that her older cousins are coming for a 2 week visit soon. She also knows that I love pictures and frames and putting things up here and there and everywhere.
I realized I had no recent photos of my California girls....nor did I need anymore baseball pictures of the Littles around the house. So.....I made 4X6 prints of some of my favorite Facebook, Pinterest and greeting card quotes and sayings! 










Cleaning and getting the guest room ready for a teen and preteen.
Found a second lamp for the other side of the bed and a small tapas  plate for their jewelry. Paige insisted the girls will still want a snugly-lovey to sleep with!




Voila! All dressed up and ready to welcome my Sunshine and Flower!











I used to save greeting cards, comics and cute sayings for my scrapbooking. Now I've found another way to inspire and share a smile!



This post has been linked to On Display Monday at Snippets of Inspiration



                                                                                                                                                         




 








YARD 'N GARDEN READY



I'm at my best in a puttering-kind-of-mood....and that's exactly what I did as I combed through the house and garage for stuff that could be transformed into outdoor decor! This time of year it's all about getting yard and garden ready. Old wooden cats tucked away in a closet, seldom used placemats and a table runner in a drawer and artificial flowers in a jumbled mess in the garage....you know how it is.


Yard toys & tools in a basket to keep on or near the sandbox.


This is the 3rd summer for our repainted deck and ancient furniture....but it's still pretty presentable. All I needed was a few cans of exterior spray paint and fresh pine straw in key places.





 



 These frogs were a gift from my Mom years ago when we all cracked up at this photo of her and I and my husband! I make a new print every year; the grandkids love this display!




My faded cardinal and a sculpted, painted kitty tucked into a $5.00 fern!
If you look closely, you can see unscented dryer sheets tucked everywhere. They really do work in keeping pesky bees and flies etc away!


Weeding, new pine straw and some green touch-up for Mr. Frog! This spot is perfect for a cozy little bench.....going to start scouting neighborhood sales and flea markets soon!
























Yellow paint revised the rusted bicycle planter! But instead of a plant, it's holding my favorite frog statue....representing our fab five grandkids!  My photo frames are cheap, filled with plastic rather than glass in case of gusty winds. Weathering means they only last a season, so I'm always checking clearance sales for them.








I added the kiddos' Easter pinwheels to the mix of faux flowers! Last year's end-of-season-sale chair cushions are perfect for this oversized bench!



All in all....a pretty good start with the backyard! Next will be trimming the hedges and rose bushes along the sides, laying new pine straw and prettying up the front porch....another fun place to play decorator!  

UPDATE:  Look at my antique store/yard sale finds!



Found a wooden bench with gothic stencils; but luckily I had last year's cushion to tie on with pinestraw twine!
Little $3.00 ceramic carrots for the Rabbit Crossing! (We brought this sign back from Sydney years ago; the white faded bunny is a left over Easter Bunny....once brightly colored pink and blue!)



A clearance hanging frame I just tucked into the faux flowers. Love to have photos of the grandkids on the deck!

$6.00 wooden sign ready to hang......pointing straight to the flower garden/veggie & strawberry patch! Oh......and I pinestrawed everywhere.....fresh and ready for summer! Happy gardening!