Monday, July 09, 2012

Iphone-o-Gram! As seen from above--

Hello from the San Francisco Airport!

There are no photos to this post as my pics are all on my laptop---yet I couldn't connect to wifi for some reason so you will have to imagine this post without them.

There isn't much to see outside of Boise for a while, but the closer you get to San Francisco the more the landscape changes---desert turns to foothills which turn to mountains and barren earth becomes spotted with pines and brush.

Here and there I see the patchwork of farmland where hard work and determination have turned the unforgiving wasteland to green bounty.

I am awestruck at the appearance of snow capped mountains in the distance.

Crystal blue lakes appear to dot the land like precious gems.

What looks like a blowing dust storm turns out to be a huge burning wildfire---and I am caught speechless as my seat mate and I gaze in in wonder.

Closer to San Francisco the cause of our 1.5 hour delayed departure from Boise is self evident---rolling banks of thick fog hug the shore and the hillsides. This is the land of my childhood---the San Francisco Bay Area. I have been blessed to call many places home---but this is the place that grew me.

I'm boarding for Redmond soon---so anxious to reconnect with friends who will greet me when my flight lands!

iPhone-o-Gram! Bye, Bye Boise!

My flight is delayed 1.5 hours which means I get to hang around the airport with Jason til I head to San Francisco and he to South Carolina.

While grabbing a slice of pizza in the food court, I spied the Boise State University plane at one of the gates!!

This is for all the BSU fans in my family.

Go Broncos!!

So Long, Farewell ---

I love this picture of the 8 of us kids together!

Back Row left to right: Rick, Mike, Scott, David, Mark

Front Row left to right: Joy, Me, Mary ((Notice the legs all crossed the same way? SISTERS!))

Remember that song from “The Sound of Music” where the Von Trapp children are singing their farewells to the grown-ups who had gathered for the fancy soiree?

This is the soundtrack that is playing through my mind as various family members pack up their cars, vans and trucks and head down the mountain toward home.

There weren’t many of us left by late afternoon yesterday ---and we spent a quiet evening at home just talking and relaxing and watching the remaining cousins wear themselves out silly.

One of the other fun things instigated by my two sisters, Mary & Joy, and my mom is a jewelry exchange for our last evening here.

((Yes, I have an AUNT Joy and a SISTER Joy! We’ve also got two Davids, two Michaels, Kelly and Kelli and two Marks!))

What is a jewelry exchange? We’ve all got earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other fun things that are sitting around clogging up drawer space. And we all know that it is more fun to play with someone else's stuff than our OWN stuff ----

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I should have taken a picture when we first started, but the “game” goes like this: Bring all your unwanted jewelry and place it on the tray on the lazy susan in the center of the table.

Everyone takes turns removing what they want from the tray one at a time.

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You can opt out if it gets to the point where there isn’t anything you want anymore. Anything left over that is unclaimed is donated to the local thrift shop. It's a win-win for everyone! And I'll remember my mom and my sisters when I wear their jewelry through the next year.

OH! I just had a brain storm --- what if we turned this into a “Dirty Santa” type thing and started opting for the things others have already claimed? LOL! Might have to do that next year!

It was a lot of fun, and next year I’ll be digging for more stuff that I want to swap out!

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Here we all are….cracking up on what it took to get this photo with a camera set on timer and the photographer running like a crazy woman to get into the picture in time before it snapped!

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Here are the 8 of us plus my mom & stepdad ---

I’m the oldest, so starting on the right and working left, it’s me, Mark, Scott, Rick, Joy, David, Mike, and Mary ---and of course, Mom & Gary in front!

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And just because we ARE “THAT” kind of family – no family photo session is complete without "The Return of the Zombies!"

This morning we are off to the airport. Aunt Joy and cousin Andy are on their way back to Minnesota. Jason is headed back to South Carolina ---and off I go to OREGON!!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

A Night at the Starlight Mountain Theater!

We were all jazzed up and ready to be heading over to the Starlight Mountain Theater in Crouch to see this summer’s production of Fiddler on the Roof!

I used to do musical theater when I was a teen, and I so LOVE these classic musicals!

In fact, Jason nudged me a couple of times to get me to shut up from singing --- I’m SORRY, I can’t HELP MYSELF!

We caravanned through town and found our parking spot in the grassy lot out in front of the theater itself. It reminded me of all those times as a kid that we would go to drive-in movies ---but this time --- we piled OUT of the cars, and walked a short distance to the theater where we were met by cast members in full costume, handing out programs and helping direct us to our seating.

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Here are many of us as we were waiting for the rest of us to arrive.

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It was a packed house!

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The cast starts every show with the audience joining in to sing the national anthem.

We were told that during the performance itself that we were not to take pictures, but that we could during intermission or after the show. Knowing what a shutter bug I am – it was hard to put the camera away, but I did!

And at intermission ---we were too busy with an emergency ---the lady sitting two seats down from me passed out cold ---REALLY PASSED OUT--- from what was most likely dehydration! Her family yelled for help --- I saw what was going on and yelled for SOMEONE to call 911 ---the only bad part being…NO ONE HAS CELL SERVICE UP HERE! They must have gotten someone in the office to call it in.

In the mean time, we were in good company with my family. My aunt is a nurse, my brother in law is an EMT and a medical student studying to be a PA. We kept things under control until the ambulance arrived.

Kelly was asking the lady questions after she came back around, and just watching his gentle manner with her made me so proud to have him in my family. Turns out ALL she had had to drink on this 100 degree day ((And it was now after 8pm at night)) was a cup of coffee early in the day, and a can of root beer in the afternoon. That’s the problem with dry heat – you dehydrate so fast and don’t even know it because you don’t sweat. Keep that water flowing, folks!

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We ended up with a LONG intermission until the ambulance could get there and convince her that she NEEDED to go to the hospital to be checked out.

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As intermision milled around – the evening got darker, cooler, and gentle breezes were welcome. We were all ready to get back into the story when the music started up again!

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The bows at the end were met with great rounds of applause and standing ovations!

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If you find yourself anywhere near Boise, Idaho in the summer time --- It’s well worth the drive up to Crouch to see one of the many musical productions that go on through the season. The talent is phenomenal, the location is breath taking. Just be sure to drink loads of water through the day before you come to the show!

Cousins and the Magic Coin Hunt!

How do you keep a bunch of age 10 and under kids busy? Send them on a treasure hunt!

First off, you have to FIND 500+ wooden coins at the dump and come up with the idea to repurpose them into gold coins via spray paint!

((This would be all Grandma's great idea!))

Second --- you have to convince all the other adults to HIDE the wooden-golden-coins in and around the garden ((but not too hard, think of the little ones!)) to keep the herd of youngsters busy for a good portion of time.

Third ---Label a bunch of zip-lock bags with kid’s names for collection ---

Fourth --- set them loose and watch the fun begin!

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Coins hidden on cup shaped leaves! Who will find this one?

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Someone found this one on the ceramic bird in the bird bath!

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Who will be brave enough to get the coin off the noise of the alligator in the pathway?

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Ashley has a handful!

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Kenzie grabs another one!

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Are frogs worth extra bonus points?

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Somehow, I don’t think anyone stopped to do this!

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There are some kids on the way other end of the garden still searching ----Getting closer!

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Kelli helping her cousin Porter gather some “hard to find” ones!

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Be sure to check under the giant wooden mushroom!

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Are there any coins in the bird house?

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A happy group of cousins with baggies full of coins!

Coins will be redeemed for goodies and saved for another round of Coin Hunt next year!

Today family members are starting their journeys back home to our distant locations. We are hoping to do it again next year ---

Many memories have been made with promises to stay in touch and get together as often as possible.

Monday morning is departure day for Jason and me --- he will head back to South Carolina, and I will be on my way to Oregon to meet up with Randy and the Wisconsin girls…and phase two of this adventure will begin! Next up? The Sister’s Quilt Show!

I’m going to need LOTS of naps!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

iPhone-o-gram! Family feeding time!

This is what 31 family members look like when we gather together for yet another meal time!

Burgers and hotdogs and fresh fruit and chips---and bug spray!

Evening Edition! Free Kindle Book!

There has been lots of kindle-talk around here!

Mom is curious about them, and my Aunt Joy and I have been talking about the differences between the one she has with the keyboard and my newer kindle fire.

And I found out something I didn’t know!

She has been following along and downloading the freebies I’ve found and posted! Oh that makes it fun, because we can talk about the ones we’ve read and liked.

Something freaked out on her kindle before this trip though --- and they are sending her a replacement kindle, but it didn’t arrive in time for her to take it on this trip, and there is a book she wanted my cousin to read ((Not like he has had a lot of time while here--- several were out the door this morning at 6am to go fly fishing on the river!)) and I offered up my kindle fire for him to get started on the book, knowing he can pick up where he left off when they get back to Minnesota and she has her new one functioning.

I love to read before drifting off to sleep. Some days that’s the only time I have to unwind after a long busy day ----and I miss it when I don’t get to tuck in and read at night.

Several have asked where I find the free books. There are lots of websites out there or facebook pages that list books --- but I simply go to amazon and type in “free kindle book”in the search bar.

I want to know what is out there – and I don’t want anyone else doing the searching for me because I might miss something I liked better, so a simple search on Amazon is all I need.

And I only post here the ones I download for myself, figuring that if I liked the description and the reviews enough to download it, that someone else might benefit from it too. That’s all there is to it folks! There is no big secret on how to find them. You just have to go looking.

Those who don't want to look can just sit back and watch my posts, because I'll weed out all of the junk and just post what I have downloaded ---I love mysteries, historical fiction, heart-felt drama with deep life lessons, ((But NO PREACHY!)) humor and drama. And cook books! You won't find vampire thrillers, slasher murders or demonic terror, or sleazy bodice rippers --- I don't like those and won't download them, but you are free to search for those if you like them.

So --- how about a comedy mystery for today?

Suburban Task Force by Addison Towne is free tonight in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Genre: Mystery/Humor

Book Description:

Suburban Task Force is a light, humor filled, high octane, action-comedy. It follows Jade Lydell, who at thirty one finds herself living the surreal life of a married suburbanite.

It takes a home invasion scare and a co-workers brutal mugging to wake Jade from her suburban slumber. The adventure begins when she and her two best friends forgo an uplifting spa retreat for an intense tactical, gun and self defense weekend, all without their husbands’ knowledge.

Upon their return, feeling rejuvenated and proud, the women try to re-adapt to their suburban lifestyles. Not so easy when you have to attend a VIP party on Catalina Island with the who’s who of Hollywood and Politics.

Without warning, the island is taken hostage by a rogue terrorist group. With the men and women separated, and all outside communication cut off, Jade and her friends feel their only hope is to use their combined talents and outlandish movie knowledge to outsmart their captors.

Comedy and daring action ensue as the three women, with one weekend of self defense training, try to lead an all out attack against those holding their loved ones hostage.

If you are a fan of the Stephanie Plum series or enjoy a light, laugh out loud read this is the book for you!

I love the Stephanie Plum novels, so this was a quick download for me and it was free just a bit ago when I downloaded it – please double check before hitting purchase that it still is for you!

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I finally got some stitching time in today –the little beezers went down for naps, and I escaped to the cabin while things were quiet to sew up just a FEW Wild & Goosey blocks ---soul centering time! Sometimes you just gotta escape when there are 31 family members occupying every corner at Mom’s!

The fire in the fire pit is just now getting going --- it will be hotdogs over the fire for an early dinner tonight, and then off to see Fiddler on the Roof in the outdoor musical theater --- can’t wait!

Have a great evening everyone!

iPhone-o-Gram! Wandering round town!

It's a hot hot July afternoon in Idaho!

Everyone is here, searching out cool corners of the house and trying to alternate nap times for little ones.

We took a drive into town this morning for MORE groceries and found time to wander through the little farmers market in town. Fun fun!

This evening we are going to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Starlight Mountain Theater where outdoor family musicals are presented all summer long.

All are happy, all is well, all are tired!

Mom’s Sewing Room!

It’s only been the last few years that mom has really gotten bitten by the quilting bug. Up here in Garden Valley, there is a quilt shop --- and local ladies gather for chatter and companionship as much as they do for fabric, notions, books, patterns and classes.

They also sell yarn and other craft and scrapbooking supplies, so it was inevitable that mom would begin to frequent the quilt shop.

I knew it was only a matter of time before they converted her!

She’s got her featherweight set up on one corner of the room, and the other sports her new Pfaff machine with all the bells and whistles – the girl is a quilting dynamo!

She joined a guild! She goes on quilt retreats! I don't think there is any chance at stopping her now ;c)

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One wall of bins holds her scrap users system and her fat quarters…she’s also always loved baskets and uses them for all sorts of occasions. When not in use they live on top of the bins…..

Open up the drawers:

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Oodles of 2” leader/ender squares! Let me at ‘em!

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Open up another drawer and you will find mini log cabin blocks, and crumb blocks all stacked just waiting for a project!

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And you thought *I* used small pieces? Look how fun these are! I love how she used hand quilting thread to stitch around the inside of some of the squares before putting them in a project.

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Stitching around just SOME of the squares but leaving others un-stitched adds interest and keeps the whole thing from being predictable! My mom is ANYTHING but predictable!

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She’s also been bit hard by the recycled shirt bug. There is a little thrift store in town that has $3.00 a bag Saturdays every once in a while…looks like mom has scored a haul!

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Mom told me that she uses hand quilting thread to do the accent stitching because it was stronger than regular piecing thread and it had a thicker texture for stitches that would really sew I can’t wait to see what she works these up into! Cute Cute Cute!

She’s also been working on a special project for the three youngest grandsons:

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All three received quilts just for them!

This is Porter with his, an up-take from the “Denim Rails” quilt in my book Scraps & Shirttails I. Of course, mom is an over-the-topper and you will notice fun things like

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pockets along the edges where Porter can put his “favorite things” like matchbox cars…

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and labels from the shirts on the blocks!

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It doesn’t take much to make little rough and tumble guys happy --- they are all sleeping under their quilts made by Grandma here at Grandma’s house – and they will all go home with them!

Hmmmm….I wonder if mom will miss a few of her 2.5” plaid strips…I have an itch to sew up some simple 9 patches!