Thursday, April 29, 2010

Following Mom's Advice

My mom always liked to give books as gifts.  She often gave inspirational books and she had one rule about her gift books.

They always contained a handwritten message to the recipient.  When I turned 42, this book was wrapped up and placed in a box with 41 additional little packages.  I remember the fun I had opening each gift.  I couldn't tell you what was in any of the packages, but I remember the book "42 Gifts I'd Like To Give You." 

It would be unheard of for anybody in our household to give a book without that personal message included.  This is a book that my dad gave to me on my 12th birthday.

Complete with loving words from a father to his daughter. 

As a kid I sometimes thought this rule was silly.  After all, my friends didn't have to do it and I wasn't so sure that I wanted to either.

But, I went along with it because that was the way it was done at our house.

Just before my dad turned 70, he had to have quadruple bypass surgery.  He lived in Tennessee and I was in Michigan at the time.  One day I received this book in the mail.

His surgery was a very sudden thing and gave us all a bit of a scare.  His words to me in the front of this book were very precious to me and I began to realize that my mom's rule for writing in the front of books might not be such a bad idea after all.

She also liked to write little notes on the back of bookmarks and include them in cards and letters.

I'm so glad she did.  When I took this one out of a book I was reading the other day, I flipped it over to find this.  I miss you too, Mom.

This bookmark was in another book I was reading recently.  As you can see my sister learned well too.

Last week I received this book as a birthday gift from my sister.  I was very touched to think that she was even able to send a gift.  If you are new to my blog I will mention that my sister had a massive stroke last June.  It left her paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak.  She is working very hard to recover, but it is a slow process.  Any kind of communication that we are able to have is a gift in itself.

Knowing how hard it is for her to write, these are words that I will always cherish.  And the message on this page speaks volumes for the person that Norma is.  She is the type of person that can do just about anything she makes up her mind to do.  She always preferred to do the type of work that would help others.  She is not only a good mother to her 2 sons, but she has been a teacher to hearing impaired children, an assistant principal in a private school, Sunday school director at her church, college professor and most recently she had gone back to college to earn her master's degree in psychology and had opened a practice as a therapist for children. 

All those years ago when my mom was teaching us her little rule, I never would have thought that a few words from the heart could mean so much.  My how times have changed.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fun in the Garden

On a recent visit to the thrift shop, I noticed these cute little boots.  Not only were they cute, but the blue and yellow was calling my name.  Since there are no little feet around my house any more, I knew I would have to think of a less practical use for them.  Luckily, I had an idea in mind.

In the spirit of Earth Day, this proved to be a fun recycling project.  After drilling a few small holes into the bottom, I put in a small layer of pebbles  followed by some potting soil and then the flowers.

Thrift shops and garage sales are great sources for finding whimsical pieces to add to your garden. 
It can be relaxing to think outside the box, play and have fun in your garden. 

~ Happy Gardening ~

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To Do or Not to Do ...

That is the question.

To be more specific, I'm wondering how you feel about "To Do Lists".  Do you make them?  Do you stick to them?  Do you make them for your husband and then go out shopping. :-), :-), :-).

I think I would fall into the category of making them on occasion, enjoying the satisfaction of checking things off, but not stressing if at the end of the day there are still items waiting to be checked off.

My husband, however, is a great believer in getting up on a Saturday morning, making the list and spending the weekend trying to accomplish everything on the list.  Every.single.thing.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am impressed by what he is able to accomplish by the end of the weekend and I appreciate how hard he works.  But as I get older I'm less interested in spending every weekend working and more interested in ditching the "to do list" from time to time to do something a bit more spontaneous.  After all that is one of the benefits of the empty nest, isn't it?  Spontaneity.

So, last Friday night before the "to do list" was written, I suggested  something different.  We got up on Saturday morning and headed here:

I had just heard on the news that they had just completed an Asian garden on campus and they were having a plant sale.

After purchasing a few new plants, we toured the gardens. 

It was a beautiful, sunny morning.

The azaleas were in full bloom.

My husband has been working really hard and I think it's important for him to relax and de-stress when he can.

The sights and sounds in a beautiful garden can do wonders for lowering our stress levels.
I think he would agree.

My husband loves snowball bushes.  While I was taking a phone call, he grabbed the camera from me and started taking pictures.

These are some of his photos.
I think he enjoyed ditching the to do list.

But, just so he wouldn't go through withdrawal, I let him plant the flowers we bought when we got home. ;-)

If you are loyal to your "to do list", you may want to try ditching it on occasion.  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Flower Families


Young lady
Husband and Wife

Mom, Dad and the kids

Extended Family

Family Reunion

~ :-) Have a Happy Day :-) ~

Thank you for your part in making my birthday a Happy Day.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Making A Wish

Adding another candle to the cake today.

Woo Hoo !!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

~ Preparing for Picnic Time ~

It won't be long now until Picnic Time will be in full swing.  That fun time when meals become a bit more casual and relaxed.  I think there's nothing like a cute picnic basket to set the tone for a tasty meal served picnic-style.  With that thought in mind I headed to the attic to take stock of my picnic basket situation.

Oh my, these old ratty things will never do.  Somehow I don't think they will set the tone I am after for a lovely picnic like this:

Hmmm ...  I guess I have no other choice.  As much as I really don't want to ...

Spray paint to the rescue :-).  I feel so much better now.  Let the picnics begin!!

While I'm waiting for that first picnic of the season, these blue and yellow whitewashed picnic baskets are the perfect place to display a vintage tea towel and . . .

 a couple of yellow tulips in a vintage little creamer.

Thank you for bearing with me as my fun with spray paint continues.  The novelty is bound to wear off soon, isn't it???