Just for Fun... a Giveaway!

"Howdy" series includes magnet (1), greeting cards (2), and post cards (6)
Plus a pack of spring tissues thrown in for cheerfulness

STASH Creme Caramel Decaf Tea - box of 30 tea bags
(cup & saucer not included)

So here it is finally, my little giveaway contest! No reason ~ maybe just because winter is winding down and it's fun to do. The Stash tea is dee-lish with a tad of cream and sugar. Stay in touch with friends and family with my personally designed "Howdy" greeting cards and post cards and use the magnet to hold important appointment cards on your refrigerator.

The tissues?? Well, just in case you get a little teary writing that check for the IRS, or your kid in college, or for a new water heater because your old one just overflowed and left a disaster in the basement..... I guess you get the idea. Actually, I just thought they were spring-like and perfect for this time of year, when we are ALL anxiously awaiting the end of winter!

Simply leave a comment on this post and I'll enter you in the drawing, to be held this Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, Tori Mae or Trixie Lou will have the honor of biting or licking someone's name from the bowl. They are both pretty darn excited about this contest.

So, comment away and good luck! :-)

(And if you're not a tea drinker, then it's perfect for regifting to someone who does like tea!)


I just discovered upon my return from Wichita that the word verification is working again, finally! So I have left some well-deserved applause on some of your blogs for your lovely photos. :)

I am getting my giveaway items together, and I hope to take some photos of them in the next few days, and get my post together, so someone can win this stuff and enjoy it! I think this will be fun....

UPDATE on Word Verification

Well, it still isn't working on many folks' blogs yet today. Very annoying. >:-|

I would love to leave some comments for many of you, but alas, I cannot!

Lin, just FYI, I've tried leaving comments on your blog, and I'm getting the pop-up word verification?!

Word Verification Isn't Working!

I've been trying to leave comments on several blogs today, and the word verification isn't working, so I can't leave comments!! It just says "Loading..." but it never loads the captcha. I tried typing in "Loading..." but it didn't think I was very funny and wouldn't accept it. This is only happening on some blogs, not all.

I've removed the word verification step from my blog, so if anyone is experiencing this problem, 1) leave me a comment and let me know that it's not just me and 2) remove the word verification from your settings, at least temporarily. I'm sure it will be fixed sometime soon..... well, I hope so!

First Blog Giveaway Coming Soon!

Be sure to watch for Oz Girl's first blog giveaway! When I post the items that will be included in this giveaway, you can enter by simply leaving a comment on that post. I will then have Trixie Lou or Tori Mae draw the winning entry one week after the post.

Tori Mae (on left) and Trixie Lou

I'm still pondering the items to include, but I know one item will be a "Howdy" horse magnet and I'll probably include some greeting cards. I hope to post the giveaway, with photos of the items to be included, within the next week. Keep watching! :-)

Taggity Tag

A long time ago... ok, just over a week ago.... my lovely new blogger friend, Cindy Beck, tagged me in a game where the person who's "it" has to write 25 random things about him/herself, and then tag 25 more people. I have given this endeavour significant thought, and I've come up with not very much. Much as I wish, I'm just not as creative a writer as my friend Cindy. I love her style of humorous writing, and wish I possessed that talent. Now, my sister is incredibly gifted and can write a mean humorous line.... maybe I should tag her? I really think she needs to start her own blog, perhaps "The Funny Knitter". :)

Last but not least, I don't even know 25 fellow bloggers to tag, and I fear even if I did, they might smote me for flinging this dastardly responsibility their way.

Ok, without further ado, here goes my list of 25 random things about myself.....

1. I am, at this point in my life, what I would like to consider a "spunky old broad". I am two years removed from 50, so much as I may fight the "old" label, I regretfully think it fits.

2. My mom broke my thumb by slamming the car door on my hand when I was a young child. She said it was an accident. As you can see, she even dressed me up and documented this event, forcing me to smile for the camera.

3. I broke my foot while sitting on a wheelbarrow full of foundation blocks with my best friend. That was due to 7-yr old stupidity, or however old I was at the time. I don't remember if my dad told us to get off, but I would guess he did, and maybe that's when it tipped over and trapped my little foot.

4. Around the same time in my adolescence, a group of neighborhood kids formed a "wagon" train. We determined that the way to signal the puller to stop the train would be to pull on our handle. A recipe for disaster. I pulled my handle up, the puller had already decided seconds earlier he was going to stop, so my handle flew up and hit me in the forehead. The two things I remember are being carried by his mother at a dead run with blood streaming down my face, and then my face being covered by cloth at the hospital while they stitched it up with bright lights streaming through the cloth.

5. My parents determined with fear that I might be an accident-prone child. Except for future trips over non-existent carpet ripples, I think I escaped the "accident-prone" label.

6. As with almost every young girl, I loved horses. My dad bought me an Appaloosa mare when I was 16 yrs old, shortly after we moved out of the city to 3.5 acres in the country. I learned that horses are a lot of work, especially when lugging 5 gallon buckets of water in the winter. Still love'em though!

Wannabe Farrah Fawcett ridin' cowgirl

7. Cindy is right... 25 is too many things to try to think of for this list!

8. I hated school. Hated it. I was an over-achiever because I was scared to bring home anything less than a B in any subject, except gym, so that made me a geek at school. I hated gym the most. I was that kid who was picked last for any team. Do you know what that does for your self-esteem??! I have serious emotional issues to this day with family croquet.

9. I love dogs. Absolutely adore them. It is difficult to stem this desire to get more since I live on 26.6 acres now. I keep telling myself, "more work, more work, more work...." I have two Australian Shepherds now and my husband has a chocolate Lab. They are all around 5 yrs old, so we will have them awhile yet. They are all GOOD dogs.

10. I love the country life. I loved it the 2 years I lived on our 3.5 acres in Norton, Ohio with the cantankerous Appie mare Shiloh and our goat and our bunnies and our kitties and dogs, and I love it now on our 26.6 acres in Kansas with our dogs, our kitties and our horses. I think I love it more now. At my age, I have the proper appreciation for this slice of solitude in the country, especially in this crazy world.

11. I love my family -- my mom, my brother and sister, my son & his wife, and my gramma. After losing my father 2 years ago, you have a more realistic view of the shortness of life, and appreciate every family member you still have.

The crew in Hawaii, October 2007

12. I appreciate every girlfriend I have. After my first marriage at the dumb age of 18, I lost contact with almost all my girlfriends, foolishly believing that my husband was my best and only friend. When we divorced 4 years later due to his love of alcohol, I learned to appreciate how wonderful all my girlfriends are, and not to take a single one for granted. My husband Tom is now my best friend, but he is certainly not my only friend.

13. I got in more trouble while growing up than my younger sister did. My brother hardly ever got in trouble. I believe it was a double whammy for me -- I was the oldest child so I had barriers to break down for the other two, and I was a girl, so my parents were very strict with me. Plus I think by the time my sister was sneaking back in the house early morning after attending a Kenny Loggins concert, my parents were tired and didn't care anymore.

14. As a young child, my son loved hiding in round displays of clothing while I was shopping. This was infuriating for me; my first clue would be the rounder moving and about to topple over. We went round and round over his desire to cause trouble while I was shopping, but then one day, it paid off when he found a $20 bill under a rounder. I never stopped his treasure hunt abilities hence forward.

15. Wow, I can't believe I'm only up to 15?! I've probably lost my readers by now with this boring litany of stuff about me....

16. I love to read. Read, read, read..... except sometimes I forget what I read, or where I read it when reciting my vast knowledge to those who don't care.

17. I start things and don't finish them. This is a very bad quality that I am still working to improve. I finished the dining room chairs earlier this week! (see prior post) Here is a baby quilt I started several years ago for my son and his wife.... now if Kristin sees this here, she can bug me to finish it.

18. I love mexican food and margaritas. I don't get either as much now that I live 30 mins from any town. I think I will have a margarita later today, right here on the ranch. :)

19. I remember when we were studying the Bible one night as a family, my dad asked "what happened when Jesus blew the trumpet?" We were 3 young fidgety children, silly and giggley, so my brother answered "a turtle came". Being 3 silly young children, we thought that was the funniest thing ever. My brother got spanked and we were all sent to our rooms. We learned that Bible study was not the time to exercise our funny bone.

20. Woo-hoo, I'm up to twenty!! Only 5 more to go. Yeppers, I'm going to use this as one of my random items.

21. I have colored my hair since my early twenties. I do not remember what color it really is. I think it used to be brown, but it would probably be gray now. I do not want to find out, so I think I will continue to color my hair.

22. I have been extremely happy since I left my last job. Those who know me, know why.

23. As much as I love it here in the country, I do miss my Ohio friends and family. They are all welcome to visit here anytime. FYI -- Tom will be in Renton, WA the month of August, so plan your trip then to keep me company. :-)

24. I am trying to improve my photography skills with my new Nikon camera, but I'm not sure that I'm doing very well. :-( Hey, I'm TRYING.

25. I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!!!!

I hope everyone enjoyed reading this miserably boring list of random things about myself. If you did not, please let me know and I will never do this again. Oh, forget it, I promise I will never do this again....

Almost forgot, I need to tag someone. I tag my sister.... get started on your "Funny Knitter" blog.

Old Chair Renovation

Ta-da! I finally finished one of my smaller projects earlier this week. Tom had 6 of these crappy dining chairs; several were beyond repair. I picked the two that were in the best of shape, scrubbed the rust off the chrome with steel wool, and recovered them with a faux leather material. I finished the second chair earlier this week; I started this project in the autumn, so um, you can see I tend to put things off at times. I decided that I must finish this small project before I could start refinishing the kitchen cabinets! Now, since yesterday, I have been working on the lower kitchen cabinets. I'm hoping to finish the cabinets by next weekend. Think positive! :)

One of the old "crappy" chairs

Ta-da! The new recovered chair

Close-up of faux leather fabric


My new hat from Anthropologie (on sale)
Stays PUT in Kansas wind

Waving "hello" to all my family & friends
Because you hardly EVER see pics of me
And this is even WITHOUT make-up
Hey I'm clean, I showered :)

New Blog of Note

When you have a minute, check out Mary's blog which promises to help those in need, GIVE...a hand up. Kudos Mary, for this wonderful idea. With so many people losing their jobs, this is another way for those of us who still have jobs to be helpful. Well, ok, I don't have a job, but we all have extra things at home that we may not use or need anymore. ;-)

Excerpt from GIVE... a hand up blog:

It may be easier to ask a stranger for something in a time of need rather than a friend or neighbor. Need something? Just ask, and I'll post an entry to see if anyone has what you need. Not cash, cars, plasma tvs or Coach bags :-0, but a warm coat for your child, a blanket for your grandmother, a care package when food is scarce, or an outfit to go on a job interview. Someone out there may have just what you need. So ask me. Some items may be used but all are given with love. ~Mary

Answering "So, who takes their shoes off these days??"

A big, big thank-you to those of you who commented on my prior blog post, "So, who takes their shoes off these days??". I am still trying to convince my family that they need to be more interactive with my blog, instead of just reading it. They are all internet-savvy, I'm just not sure they feel compelled to make comments on my silly posts. :-) I'm sure they will rally around one day.

Growing up, we were required to take our shoes off when entering the house - it was one of the ten commandments (ok, I exaggerate), and discipline was strict if you were caught with dirty soles in contact with clean interior flooring. But children always find a creative way around any household rule, so my method was to get down on all fours and crawl through the house to get what I needed, feet high in the air. Needless to say, this method didn't fly with my parents, and discipline was still meted out....

Today, here in the Kansas countryside, with two inside Australian Shepherds and one part-time inside chocolate lab, we don't take our shoes off. In fact, we have old, crappy carpet thoughout most of the house, and for the first time in my life, I don't feel this urge to replace it. WHY? Because then I would have to take my shoes off, and wipe my dogs' feet everytime they come in if it's wet or muddy outside. No, I think I will keep my old, crappy carpet for the time being. It works! Even though it's old and crappy, I do still keep it clean. Frequent vacuuming is a must with two large hairy girls in the house.

I believe in keeping life simple and happy these days. No hard and fast rules to abide by. No list of "things" that must be done by a certain day or time, or at least keeping that list very minimal. For those interested in keeping life simple, there is a great book I re-read time and again. The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs. Check it out if you've ever been interested in streamlining your life and getting back to basics.


Ok, so I'm back in Kansas now but I'm SICK. Can you believe my body had the nerve to get sick while in Ohio, when I'm supposed to be helping my mom?? I haven't been sick since, well, I'm not sure when. April '07 I think. It's just a lousy cold this time, but it's done a pretty good one-two on me and I'm not liking it! I have too much in my brain that I want to be doing rather than taking it easy.

Enough about my sad little cold. The reason I was in Ohio was to spend time with family and help my mom through some surgery that I think she was morally against.... of course, not one of us really looks forward to something like that, so she just wanted to get it over with and move on with her ridiculously active life. She's a busy, busy woman, a dynamo, and it seems there's never enough hours in any given day for her to do all the things she wants to do. The surgery went very well according to the doctor, but the hardest part for my mom has been dealing with the pain and laying around the house. After about two days, she's crying because she wants to DO things and she can't. I understand where she's coming from, just this little cold has me crying... I'm such a sissy. But I digress yet again....

So here's a pic of mom "relaxing" (she's going to eliminate me from her will when she sees this, I just know it)..... remember as you look at this picture, RELAXING is very hard for her to do.

I know it looks like she is smiling, but I think that was a grimace from the pain. The vicodin helped for the first few days, but it caused issues of its own, so she switched to ibuprofen; she said she's eating more now, so that's a good thing.

Here's a pic of my sister Stacie and my daughter-in-law Kristin watching a movie. They will probably demand I remove this photo immediately, as they generally do not like to have their photo taken. I told them I was just taking sample shots with my new camera and they BELIEVED me. You can see my sister is knitting; she has become a knitter extraordinaire. I am truly blown away by her talent and how good she has become!

Last but not least, my lovely son Josh. When he sees a camera pointed in his direction, he absolutely, positively cannot keep a straight face. He feels a strange compulsion to distort his face and scrunch up his body into strange shapes, so we have very few photos of him in a normal state. Kristin truly has her hands full with him.

Josh is also a part-time prankster, in addition to his full-time job as beagle dad (they have two of the little monsters). So now that I've posted these photos of him on my blog, I can be sure that he has added me to his list of forthcoming pranks to be doled out. Yes, I can be sure that I will receive something lovely in return for posting these pics.

Regretfully, I did not get any outdoor photos while in Ohio, due to getting sick Sunday evening. The desire was there, but this old, sick body said NO. So my apologies there are no 6 foot snow drift photos; hey, it all melted while I was there anyway.

I think this about covers my Ohio visit. My apologies to all my friends in Ohio, there just wasn't time to visit many of you. Next time, I promise, I will try to stay longer. In the meantime, thanks for reading my blog, and for staying in touch with me via email... I miss all of you! :-)

Visiting Ohio

I need to apologize for the lack of posts this week ~ I'm in Ohio right now visiting friends and family, and did not bring what I need to upload any pics. I promise when I get back home to Kansas next week, I will create new posts and upload some Ohio pics!

I am very, very lucky, as Ohio is having a "warm snap" while I am here; the temp hit 48 yesterday, which is a heat wave for most Ohioans... roll down the car windows, whip out the cut-offs and tank tops and have a lemonade, woo-hoo!

Today my sister and I will visit my gramma, who turns 92 this month, and is still very active and independent for her age. She still lives in the same house she has lived in since her and my grampa were first married. She can be a bit blunt with everyone, but hey, when you reach 92, perhaps you've deserved that right. Hmm, then again, I believe she's always been a bit blunt and pissy with everyone... oh well.

Stay tuned to future posts! I intend to run some contests wherein you can win my original photography themed products - note cards, postcards, magnets, mugs, etc.

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend, whichever lovely state you happen to live in.

So, who takes their shoes off these days??

Ok, so mom taught us to clean our rooms and make our beds, finish everything on our dinner plates because there are kids starving in other countries who would give anything to have our brussels sprouts (fine, then ship 'em to 'em), take our shoes off when we come in the house, no play allowed until the chores are done, etc., etc.

Which begs the question... do YOU still take your shoes off when you come in the house? C'mon now, be honest. Leave me a comment, I'm curious to know who does... and doesn't! I'll tell you if you tell me. :) Things are different here in the country....

What's New in Kansas?

Well, we've made it through January (finally). I swear it's got to be the most depressing month of the year. I don't know why, it just is. We've been quite lucky and have only been snowed upon maybe twice? And just a dusting at that. Got up to 70 degrees yesterday. BUT IT'S WINDY. You really can't do much of anything outside when the wind is gusting between 20 and 30 mph. No, I'm not kidding. Mind you, I am not complaining, just stating the facts as they are. I know I have much to be thankful for here in Kansas, the largest thankee being that I don't live in Ohio any longer and I haven't had to put up with the most horrible winter they've had in years!

At least the sun is out in full force today (winds gusting 24 to 33 mph). I firmly believe just the presence of the sun everyday makes life infinitely happier. We're at 51 today, still pretty darn good for February 1.

We just watched the funniest Super Bowl commercials; Tom taped it earlier this week. I feel the need to share what I felt was the most hysterical commercial - the Tide talking stain. Copy the link below to your browser - you'll laugh. You need it, it's probably Monday and you're at work... a good time to waste some time. :)

Aside from our wind (I know, Ohio friends and family are quite jealous and would gladly trade their single-digit cold and snow and ice for WIND).... not much a-shakin' lately. I've been pretty busy with my photography and making new products on Zazzle. Here's a few items I rather like...

Dance in the Sun Note Card card