Monday, January 31, 2011

my kitchen

Some of you have requested photos of my house.
Disclaimers first:
1. I  love to decorate.
 It may not be everyone's taste, but it is mine.
I prefer old over new any day. 
I am a junker and collector at heart.

2. This is not a photography blog.
My pictures are rudimentary at best.

I'll bring you in the way 
everyone who visits enters.
Come on in through the garage.
It comes into the kitchen.
We built this portion of the house on in 2000.
We needed a new chimney
and it was the easiest way 
to accomplish that goal.
We added the garage, kitchen downstairs
and upstairs, a master bedroom and bath,
with a basement under the kitchen.
There is a cellar under part of the original house.
On the left hand side is the working area.

This cabinet I "married" out of two
cabinets I collected.
I  had an antique shop
for several years and
did 3rd Sunday Market in Bloomington IL
for many of those years.
I pretty much specialized in primitives.
I call my style grandma-funk.

Then the corner near the door to the yard 
and side porch.
The sink wall is my favorite.
The sink was my late grandma's
Stuart made the cabinet for it and I distressed it.
The big glass door cabinet is
"married" to the bottom one.
I found the top through my picker 
at the time and the base
I got at the 3rd Sunday show
with the hopes someday I 
would get to build my dream kitchen.

The yellow cabinet in the corner I use as a pantry.
I got it as a surprise in April for my birthday.
The small door was the window 
in my original kitchen. It is now the laundry room.

On the left side of the room
is a sitting area.
 I started with a couch here,
then later the table in front of the fireplace
and an old counter for an island 
where the table is,
But my family likes having the sofa
and chairs better.
It suits our lifestyle.
So, I am back to my original floor plan.

  My desk is beside the fridge.
It transitions into the sitting room side.
I LOVE old linoleum.
I have several pieces with it on their tops.
This piece is covered 
and the label is one of the drawers.
I love how people made things do.
They made repairs instead of getting new.
I also collect little cubby cabinets,
see the 2 on the top.
Most of the drawers are empty.
The one on the right
is made out of old crates.
Someone took lots of time 
to make this.
LOVE it.

Stu took one of my old doors 
and made a daybed 
for me and the littles to lay in.
They read with me, nap and watch tv here.
I love this spot.

Our nephew has a concrete and masonry business. 
 He built the fireplace.
Once those stones get warm, they stay that way for quite awhile. 


The green cabinet Stuart surprised me 
a year ago at Christmas.
He is a great Christmas shopper!
I collect ironstone (the white dishes)
and little chairs.
They are scattered around the house.
I have too many to group together.

 So that is the kitchen tour.
I like color.
I am a neat freak,
but I do like my collections out.
I can't live sparsely.
I have tried.
I have to be true to me.
I change things around 
 pretty often and with the seasons.
I think that comes from 
having a shop.
And a decorate-y mom.
Stop in and see it in person,
I'll fix you a cup 
of that home-roasted coffee. 
Next up, my original kitchen,
now, the laundry room. 
Guess I'd better 
get out that camera!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wrong, I guess.

In my last post I spoke of 
one of my pugs.
I called her Reta.
*that black lump is Stella on her pillow*
I heard from all 3 daughters,
"That is not how you spell her name!"
They claim it is spelled 
Rita, with an "i."
They said I changed the spelling 
to make her seem 
more of a celebrity.
They accused me of being highfalutin.
I argued it has always been 
Reta, with a "e. "
I retrieved the AKC papers
to prove my point.
Alas, it is on the document
Rita, with an "i."
I came clean and told them
they were right.
I have spelled it this way forever.
R. E. T.A.
As my defense, 
I say it is because my MIL
is named Leta,
and the names rhyme.
Reta is fat, 
ok, morbidly obese
in dog terms.
I think she is cute...
in a round, portly way.
I really think the spelling change 
came with her size change.
An "e" is so much more spherical.
It is befitting of her rotund size.
However, with this thinking
her name should be Rota,
well, probably Ruta.
I am sorry for erroneous information.
I will try to do better.
Oh, and if you see me out and about

I still go by Janie.
Don't be a calling me Junie!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Over the river and through the woods...

Last night the Reid littles stayed all night.
Their mom and dad needed to go on a Menard's run,
so I loaded them up to come over and par-tay.

Trudie Claudette, their dog came also. 

We ate popcorn and watched a little TV.
We snuggled in bed, and snuggled and snuggled, 
Ev said "Grandma, I very much love you"
a jillion times.
He is sweet, and he already knows how to work it.
Finally, Grandma said "!"
At 7 a.m. I hear them
"Grandma, it is day!"
We made frozen waffles and turned on cartoons.

Aubrie watched TV.

When I tried to take her picture,
she wanted to pretend to be asleep.

 She will not be an actress.

Everett did some construction work.
He was so hard at it his googles fogged up!

Whilst checking e-mails,
I was unaware that Everett was
figuring taxes

and playing with stickers.

Ev likes to maul hug my dogs.
I have 2 older pugs,
who think they are floor pillows.
Stella went into a coma.
Reta got crafty.

 Their mom came around 9
to take them to a haircut appointment.
I think I saw Reta give Stella a fist bump.
I believe with my hands-on attitude
and uber attentiveness, maybe
next time cousin Caroline will come too.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Self-reliant or just cheap??

A few posts back I blogged
about roasting my own coffee. 
It was great. 
I had some friends over this week
and they concurred it is GREAT coffee.
I have done it 3 times.
I did burn one batch,
but now I have a system in place. 
I know what to do and what not to do.
This week I received 
a whole assortment of beans.
Different regions ...
different flavor notes.
I fear I may be in a little deep.
I have enough beans to serve Colombia. 
However, I like that I can have a
premium tasting coffee 
for very little cost.
Also, I made bread pudding for the very first time.
I realize I am old, but I had never tried it.
I had left-over homemade bread, 
and cinnamon rolls. 
I have tried to resist eating "white stuff"
(I like to torture myself this way.)
and it seemed a shame to throw them out.
Since I am into trying new things-
My friend and I 
made homemade laundry soap
this week too.
It was simple and quick.
The recipe produced enough 
detergent to do tons of loads.
What am I trying next you ask??
I am not sure...
but don't be surprised if you see me
with noodle flour on my hands,
no zipper in my pants,
driving a horse and buggy.
Amish- it's the new black. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ollie Faith

Most of you who read  my drivel,
also read my daughter Annie's blog.
You know this story 
I am about to tell.
For those of you who don't,
it is a tale of love and faith.
My oldest daughter, Annie and her husband, Jade 
are expecting their third child, a daughter
in a matter of days.

The doctor has planned an induction
for Feb. 10th at 9a.m. 
This baby, Ollie Faith,
is famous around these parts.
She has been the object of 
many fasts and prayers.
The warriors have been petitioning
on her behalf for months.
You see, the doctors tell us she has
A/V Canal defect, 
a heart defect.
You can read the details here.

They also suspect here is a good chance
Ollie has Down Syndrome. 
This, we won't know until her birth.
After many ultrasounds and tests
the doctors give us great hope.
They assure us that her's is 
a condition that a surgery can fix. 
The surgery would be around her 15 lbs. mark.
The medical team called the procedure
"old hat".
The success rates are phenomenal.
What we are certain of, is God.
We know He alone is in control.
It is our calling to surrender to Him.
He can heal her heart.
He can choose to deliver to us a 
perfectly formed, healthy heart.
He is all powerful.
God has a purpose for Ollie's life.
We have absolute trust in Him.
Whether His plan includes doctors,
surgeons, or not, 
we will bend our knees and praise Him.
We will honor our Lord and
we will count our blessings.
For we know, that He is good all the time.
All the time He is good.
Your love, support, and prayers
mean the world to us. 
Thank you so much.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty
hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5: 6,7

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalms 9: 9,10



Monday, January 24, 2011

Yogi or not?

Today I had lunch with two of my best buds.
We try to get together at least every other week.
We do coffee or lunch, an art project, shop,
or just a time of gab.
While one friend was paying her bill,
the other pal and I
 decided that a road trip is needed
to the area outlet mall. 
There is a Jockey store, and we are in 
dire need of new underwear.
Here's where her eyebrows 
were raised (about me).
I said "yeah, mine are getting worn out,
both my daytime and  my sleep ones."
Her facial expression was
like I was speaking German.
So I ask you... you be the judge.
Am I the only person who has designated 
underwear for day and night?
It makes perfect sense to me.
Daytime has different demands.
Nighttime has separate requirements.
What kind of Neanderthal wears the same kind 
for two separate and very dissimilar times?
Or God forbid, none at all.
No hate, but seriously????
Confirm that I am right and they are wrong. 
I am smarter than the average bear, no?

P.S. Oh, and don't even get me started 
on the word panties... ick!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What I Know For Sure First Edition

1. "I want my Mom" is forever true.
2. Freckles are cute, liver spots are not.
3. Prayer works.
4. Stupid has no age limit.
5. Chin hair happens.
6. Unexpected laughing, tripping, or sneezing results in a wardrobe change.
7. Fat does crack.
8. Being married to your best friend is a blessing.
9. You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
10. Smart is all in where you're at and what you're doing.
11. Coffee with a friend is better when it's snorted out of your nose.
12. Bad TV is abundant.
13. Beets taste like old basements.
14. Sleep is a commodity.
15. Giving is way better than receiving.
16. I Love Lucy... still.
17. With neglect feet become kindling.
18. Lying about your age isn't intentional when you can't remember your age.
19. Grand kids are one of life's best rewards.
20. If you blather, they will read.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I don't do windows

Do you have a nickname?
I do.
My daughter, Abbie has given me one.
She calls me Little Arm.
  Unusual, I know for someone 
who sports Oprah-like arms.

There is a story behind this title.
It stems from an incident
a couple of summers ago.
On Saturday I had washed the siding
and scrubbed the porches.
We went to church that evening
because Stu had to bale hay the next morning.
I got up early Sunday morning.
I wanted to wash windows.
They had been splashed by all the siding grunge.
I was on a roll. 
I had music going and was kicking rear.
My windows in the front room
and Stu's office are wide. 
They are 44" wide.
They are 1/4 and 3/4, rather than double hung.

They tilt in so that is great but,
the bottom section is so deep 
you can't reach it and hold it.
I was putting it on a chair back 
so I could reach it all. 
The top is easy.
I was on my last window. 
This exact window I just posted.
I was standing on the desk
but couldn't reach it all.
I stepped down on the office chair. 
It was a swivel chair on a hardwood floor.
I flew back and sideways and crashed.
I landed on my left shoulder. 
I knew I was in trouble.
I had to focus.
I drug myself up and felt crooked.
I went for my phone.
I grabbed my cell, went back to the couch
turning the fan when I went by it. 
I was sweating and about to puke.
I called Stu and no answer. 
Then I called Maggie.
She answered and I asked
"Whatcha doing?"
She said "eating at Steak and Shake,
 we've been to church."
I asked her to try her dad again,
I had fallen and gotten hurt.
Two seconds later he calls.
He had no truck, just a tractor, 
the neighbor guy had to go get him.
We went to the local hospital.
They did the x-ray and cat scan.
The guy on call said you will have to go see a surgeon in Decatur.
You have broken your shoulder.
I bawled the whole way home. 
Who was going to babysit my grand babies?
Aubrie was 3, Everett was just 1.
I slept in the recliner and Stu slept on the couch.
I couldn't get in to the surgeon on Monday
so Tuesday we got an appointment.
I got disappointing news.
 My shoulder was pretty busted up.
They did the surgery the next day.
I came home the next.
No movement for 4 weeks.
I got some hardware, still do.
I slept in a hospital bed
in the living room for a month.
Not once did Stuart go upstairs.
He stayed on that couch, even though 
I told him I would be fine.
He was a great nurse.
He hired a cleaning lady.
He cooked, and he helped me bathe.
 He would shave the good arm's underarm. 
The other I couldn't raise.
He was (is) awesome.
We found a lady to keep the grandkids
on the days I usually had them.
After a month, I started therapy.
The doctor said if I could raise it to my waist,
he considered it a success.
No way!
The first session, I prayed scripture 
in my head the whole time. 
It was so painful.
I worked hard, and man, it was hard.
I couldn't drive for 9 weeks, 
but my buddies/family were great. 
They visited, brought meals,
took me to therapy,
to lunch and anywhere I needed to go.
After 15 weeks, I was released.
I can put my arm straight up beside my head.
I can reach behind to my bra line.
My deltoid atrophied a lot. 
I have built it up,
but it just isn't the same as the other.
I don't have as much  strength as I did. 
I can't lift as well as I used to,
but hey, I'm no little arm!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#1 Jesus, #2 family, #3 coffee

Today I tried something new.
Something one of my favorite blogger friends 
has been nagging encouraging me to try.
Home roasting my own coffee beans.
Jayme, said friend, does it.
  She swears the stuff I have been mass consuming 
is inferior. 
She may have even said ... swill.
I trust her. 
She is who I want to be when I grow up. 
Technically she is younger than me,
but my rules.
So, I ordered the beans a month ago
and then spun my wheels....until today.
I gathered the equipment, the beans, 
the roasting apparatus and ventured forward.
I was advised to do it in the garage.
Not to roast them in the kitchen 
because it smells like burnt popcorn.
I drug the gas grill into the garage. 
Mine has a burner on it.
 Yeah, I didn't bother to clean it.
Don't judge.
Next I measured out enough beans to last for 7 days.
That is supposed to be the maximum time frame
to store them for freshness.
Then the magic machine...
This is what the green java beans look like.
I put the beans in the pan on low heat.
Then, I started my arm workout.
In 2-3 minutes I had the first color change (orange).
Next, I heard them start cracking. 
In (about 30 sec.) increments they get darker,  
the crack in them changes color.
Oils come out. 
It steams.
It smells like over- microwaved popcorn.
Sorry for all the scientific terms,
but readers, I am very smart.
  After 10-12 minutes I decide it looks good.
I turn off the burner and head into the house.
I dump it on a paper towel to absorb the oil.
Next, I put it in a colander and stirred to cool. 
Lots of chaff falls out during the stir.
Luckily, being smart,
I stepped out on the porch into the cool air 
and the mess fell out there.
I think I could have skipped the paper towel step, 
but I didn't read all the tutorial until after I finished.
It's how I roll...remember, I am smart.
On returning from the porch, 
I see I have left the door to the garage open.
All the burnt scent has wafted into the kitchen.
Jane E. Smart.
While I wait for the beans to cool a bit more,
I decide to clean up my mess.
I need to air the garage, take out the grill 
and bring in my vehicle.
Story of my life. 

After the beans cooled I put them in a jar.
Then I ground and brewed my first pot.
I poured the first cup in great anticipation.
Then, for some unexplained reason,
I wanted an unusual coffee-time snack.
Most excellent!
It is official.
Janie = barista

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mary, Mary, Qute contrary

Well, the garden catalogs have started to arrive. 
That means I need to get a game plan going. 
 Have you ever wanted to just tear it all out,
put in gravel,
 spend the summer with a book in one hand 
and an iced tea in the other?
No yard work, no guilt?
hmm yeah right, me neither.
 I have learned over the years that I love making a garden...
 cleaning the winter rubbish from the beds,
 placing my birdbaths and birdhouses in their perfect spots,
visiting the nursery for new plants,
finding antique-y, decorate-y, things for just the right places,
spreading the warm, dark mulch just so.
Yup, starting them is exciting.
June is easy peasy.
Perennials come up and are looking green and full. 
Things start filling out nicely.
Plants begin to really bloom.
 July comes and my grasses are getting big.
  Bird feeders are full of birds,
under them sprout all sorts of unknown plant specimens. 
But, I am keeping the weeds at a minimum.
Occasional watering is needed.
My garden is lovely.
 Late July arrives and it is Illinois hot and humid.
I make myself go out early in the day and weed.
@#$%& bird feeders. I fight the urge to pitch them.
 August comes... makes July feel chilly.
It is a sauna outside. 
I live on the surface of the sun.
Gardens, I am so. over. you.
 So as spring approaches, I vow to do better,
to persevere as the weeds multiply and the scorch ensues.
I'll keep you posted. Literally.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

A love story.

Today I went to visit my mom and dad.
I went for lunch and a visit.
Something I need to do more.
My mom is 86 years old and my dad is 91 years old.

Meet "Toots" and Howard.
My mom's real name is Ethel Edith, so you see why she goes by a nickname! 
This is a picture from their 65th wedding anniversary.
God willing, they will celebrate their 70th anniversary on April 28, 2011.
They married when Mom was 17 and Dad was 22.
Times were tough.
They worked hard and tried to scratch out a living
Dad farmed and Mom took care of people's children.
After six years, they started a family.
My oldest sister, Judy was born.
Three years later, my sister Linda followed.
Nine years after that, my twin sister and I joined the family.
Then five years more, my baby brother, John was born.
We had a wonderful childhood.
Our house was loud and happy.

Mom is a happy soul. 
She's quick to smile
She is a fun woman.
She finds joy in whatever she does, 
from cleaning chickens, to home renovations, to shopping excursions.
She taught me how to be a good wife and mother.
She showed me how to cook, clean, decorate, how to run a home.
She sat  at the kitchen table, serving a snack and lending a willing ear after school every day.
Most importantly, she gave me my faith, my Christian values.
She instilled in me the truth that every word spoken should be kind or to remain silent.

Dad was a hard worker. He farmed with my mom's dad and it wasn't always easy. 
Some years, he worked long hours for little money. 
He raised cattle and provided for our every need. 
I never felt like I lacked for anything.
He rough -housed with us.
He was witty and he teased us.
He put all five of his children through college,while he himself had only an 8th grade education.
His greatest accomplishment though, was his example of what to find in a husband.
He treated my mom with respect. 
He would wrap his arms around her while she cooked, calling her Sweetie Pie and nuzzling her neck.
He still holds her hand.
He still rubs her knee.

 Both are in good physical shape.
Dad, though is in the stages of Alzheimer's disease.
He forgets a conversation from five minutes earlier.
He can't reason anymore.
It is a hard thing to watch.
I see the stress on my mom's face. 
I see the sadness behind her eyes.
Her best friend is slipping away and she cannot save him.
It is a break she cannot glue.
She is doing what she vowed to do.
Loving him through this sickness journey.
They are walking this road together, hand in hand.
They are trudging toward the prize, eternity together with Christ.
They are counting each day a blessing.
They are a love story.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Houston, we have a problem.

Green Acres is the place to be,
Farm living is the life for me.

 This is our house and outbuildings.
There is a  large storage shed  ( we call the shop,b/c Stu works on his equipment in there).
For you city folks...
The semi round building is called a quonset.  It holds grain, then equipment, once the grain is off to market.
The round cylinders are grain bins. Self-explanatory.
So, lots of grain around here.
With grain comes a BIG late fall and winter problem. Infestation of mice.
They love it here. Lots to eat around these parts.

We have no cats, because we have a couple of outside dogs who call them shake toys.
 So, the yard is safe place to frolic for a mouse.
Some get confused though and trek to the house.
PETA folks... turn away now.
A fight is declared.
I wish I could say I spare them but where would I take them.
Catch and release would be a waste of time, not to mention a bone to pick with my neighbors.
Trust me, they have their own!
They are dirty, filthy, they are the enemy! (the mice , not the neighbors)
I have a problem with anybody or anything that poops freewill wherever they choose.
Especially, if it in in my drawers, or cabinets. Can I get amen?
It is WAR!!

The weapon of defense for me is poison. I can't bear traps.
I hate to have to see them on a trap and I hate to have to remove them.
I buy the poison packages that look like those little silica packs that come in everything.
I put them in closets, behind cabinets and under big pieces of furniture.
They work well.
Most of the time the mouse crawls out to the middle of the room and is dead. No mess. 
I pick it up in a plastic bag, tie it up tight and take it out to the garbage.
Sometimes, I walk into a room to find one in the throes of dying.
I exit quickly.
I cannot take that.
I am not heartless. Though I don't want to resuscitate it either.
Then occasionally, and this is the worst... they die in the wall.

Stink permeates!! It lingers for 2-3 days .
You just hope it is in an area no one visiting ventures.
Nothing says welcome like the stench of a dead mouse.
I burn even more candles when this happens, but then it just smells like dead vanilla mouse.
Nice. Real nice.
So if you show up and I keep you in a holding pattern on the porch, you are in the know.

Land spreading out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.