Sunday, December 4, 2011

Contest Winners!

The question was: Which is my favorite Christmas song/artist from my PlayList and there were 3 entries. Just 3! And sadly not one of y'all guessed correctly. They were great guesses, but my favorite is: Elf's Lament by the Barenaked Ladies. I LOVE that song! I play it over and over! Charles on the other hand is very sick of that song!

BUT, since I LOVE to give out prizes and there were only 3 of y'all who guessed....EVERYBODY GETS A PRIZE. Ella gets a prize (she posted on FB), Janie gets a prize and Laura gets a prize! Please just email me in private with your address and I'll get something fun out to you soon. I do believe y'all will be getting a prize winning jar of jam or jelly in your prize box!

Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

First give-away!

I love Christmas music! Love it VERY much. It is a huge task for me not to start playing holiday music before Thanksgiving. So, I cheated this year and started playing Christmas songs a few days early and have updated my blog with my Christmas Playlist (on the side, in green). I have LOTS of favorite songs, but only one REAL stand out that I listen to over, and over, and over and over...until Charles puts the 'ole kibosh on it! My favorite song is listed in my Playlist, sooo.... is the BLOG GAME/GIVE AWAY:

You'll have to do two things, first pick which song and artist you think is my favorite and second you have to read the "How to Build a Community" poster on the sidebar. Post a comment on this post stating

The first person to guess it correctly AND have all three things in their post will be sent a HOMEMADE goody (or two) from me! Your goody will be a surprise. It might be something holiday-ish, something practical or something to eat! Never know, but it'll be GOOD!

Have fun, enjoy the music and GOOD LUCK!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Hate My Coat!

We have had a nice, warm fall. Not a lot of cool days, hardly any snow. But last night that changed. It snowed and the temperatures dropped overnight. I do not have many winters under my belt, but I have started to dread the arrival of snow and lower temperatures. Not because I am not liking winter itself, but because I HATE MY WINTER COAT!!

Back in 2004 we were planning our Christmas trip to London and Paris and being a true Floridian, I didn't own a proper winter coat. In hindsight I realize that I made two critical errors in my coat purchasing decision:

1) There are no stores in Florida that would stock the kind of coat that I needed, so I was forced to order on-line-which means that I couldn't try it on.
2) My husband's advice was the only advice that I sought out for the specific things that I needed to look for in a proper winter coat. He gave me a list of things that I "needed" in a winter coat. Things that I've never considered like "thermal lined", "sealed seams", "temperature rating" & "storm flap".

Because I always try to look for the positives, I CAN say some nice things about my coat:

1) It is nice and warm.
2) It's black, so it matches everything.

That's it. That is all I have in me to say nice about my blasted coat!!

Let me tell you about this coat and just why I hate it so...

First of all, it is water-proof. Have you ever worn water-proof clothes? They are stiff and make noise. My jacket's material sticks out in all directions, it crumples in odd spots and when I move it rubs on itself, so it makes a scrunchy sound. Yuck.

Second, it's zipper goes up VERY high. I suppose that the collar is high on purpose so that it keeps one's neck warm, but I have a short person's neck and that bloody zipper, that if it went all the way up, it would fall just about a 1/2" shy of my forehead. So, I fold the collar down and zip up to just my neck. This makes the excess collar stick straight up and pokes my cheeks. Honestly! It pokes my cheeks! Nice...

Third, it has elastic sleeves, an elastic waist and lots of "thermal" protection (padding). These three things combined, on this plus-sized gal, makes me look like the Michelin Man out and about, wearing a water-proof, black coat. I've destroyed every photo of me in that coat.

Fourth, it is a jacket and not really a coat, so it can NEVER go from throwing snowballs in the yard to a casual dinner out. In other words-It's UGLY!!!

Fifth, it was expensive. This is why I have not parted with it yet. Yet...

I am happy to say that this weekend I am going coat shopping! I am headed to Burlington Coat Factory in Horseheads and am gonna come home with a proper winter coat that I don't give the squink eye to whenever I take it from the closet. And if it happens to not be water-proof (AKA-snow proof) then I'm gonna put a rain poncho in my car and if I ever need to be 100% waterproof, then I'll slip it on over my beautiful new coat and jump into a impromptu snowball fight!

AND...some unsuspecting, plus-sized gal is going to be shopping the racks of the Goodwill in the near future and see a black, water-proof, Land's End coat on the rack and say, "Oooh! This is a nice coat! Wonder why someone got rid of it?" To her I say, "Good Luck and I hope that the zipper-in-the-cheek thing doesn't drive you too crazy!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is a day we remember what happened 10 years ago. Everyone has different thoughts, feelings, remembrances of this shared experience. But last night I got to look at this event from a very different perspective. Thanks to a dish that wasn't communicating too well with it's satellite, I had limited choices on TV to watch and I picked the History channel. They were running a 9/11 special which was called "Voices from Inside the Towers". It featured recordings from people stuck in/evacuating from/headed into the towers and recollections from their loved ones. It was sad and hard to watch. But it did have a simple and ultimately uplifting message. One that reminded me of a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, Love Actually. (It is at the beginning of the movie, in a voice-over done by the fictional British Prime Minister.)

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.

So my simple joy today on this very sad and emotional day is LOVE. Pure, complicated, unconditional, fleeting, unrequited, passionate, sweet, trusting, blazing-hot, tender, inspiring, messy...LOVE. Keep it, share it, give it away, shout it from the mountains, hold it close...treasure it until your last moment on this earth.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We are in need...

Charles and I are in the final (yippee!) stages of becoming foster parents and we have a few needs. I have been trying to collect some non grown-up things for the child coming into our home in a very short while and since we do not know the exact age or sex it has been kind-of difficult. So let me explain...

-We will get either a boy or a girl between the ages of 0 to 6 years old.

-When we get "the call" it will be hours before the child will be placed in our home. Depending on where we are it could be at work, at home, at the store, deeply asleep! We just don't know.

-They will come with SOME personal items, but not nearly enough, or any of the "big" things.

-We will be first time parents. "No experience required", my fanny!

-We are planning on being foster parents for a long while, so my ultimate goal is to have an inventory of items for children in that age range. That way when we get a call, we do not have to scramble for anything.

-There is no children's consignment shops in our town. One Goodwill the next town over.

So, you see, we need some things! If you are parents, you'll know what we need much better than we do, but I'm guessing...

-Car Seat ("seats" for different ages/weights)
-High Chair
-Eating & Drinking Stuff (not food, but the dishes, etc.)
-Toys & Games
-Grooming Supplies (I couldn't think of a better way to say that...)
-School Supplies (not "consumable" items)
-How-To books (for US!!, like the "What to Expect" series)

If you have stuff that you are not using anymore, would love to purge, would loan it to us until you need it again or would just like to pay-it-forward to a good cause, then we are your people! Because we need so many different items to get us set up for so many ages, we wouldn't be able to pay a ton of money for the items you have, but if you could email me privately with what you have, we can talk. Also, if you live near us and know of a good children's consignment store, please let me know of it.

The very much appreciative Pecks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aah, country living!

Another story from the country...

Today I came home from work to discover that a few of my plants on the steps and front porch were tipped over, so I righted them and put the potting soil back in and went to get the dogs. We head back outside for a potty break, Kiwi on a leash, Ginger running free. When we get to the spot where the plants were knocked over, Kiwi goes crazy with the smell. She really wanted to just stay and sniff there for awhile. But necessities await. We are near the flag pole/planting bed you see in the below photo when, I hear the unmistakable sound of cracking underbrush. And from the sound of it, it was something large in the tree line ahead of me. In the photo below, it is to the left of the driveway. I realize that we are not alone and pick up Ginger who has yet to go potty and wait to see if it moves on or stays put. I am watching the tree line as a really big bear moves out into view and just stares at us. (Gulp.) I know I'm not supposed to turn and run and I really don't want to 'cause Ginger still needs to go potty, so I just take a few steps backwards. The bear, seeing me move, decides to turn and run (Something that I am quite happy for them to do!). Unfortunately, it runs into the road just at the end of the driveway as a car was just going by. The car misses the bear, but spooks him to turn back around and start running towards us!! My sensible back-up, baby steps turn into a full fledged turn and run maneuver. The bear is headed towards us. The car that spooked the bear sees what is happening and backs up and watches (My hope is that they wanted to lend a hand if I got into trouble!). I make it to the front porch and see that at bear has turned off and is now running parallel to the road/stream, across our front yard and back into the woods. But he is going slow, so we all got a good show of it.

Now the old terrified-of-bears me would have turned tail and gotten back into the house as soon as she had heard the cracking in the woods. Or, would have figured out that those plants were probably knocked over by a bear and not ventured out at all for the rest of the day. But, no... The new embracing-all-parts-of-country-living me knows that bears are all around us and has decided that she is not all that scared of 'em anymore. Respectful, but not scared!

Oh, and PS-the foot prints in the grass leading away from our front porch were from a bear. A really, giant bear since those footprints/impressions remained in the grass for days.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hello Autumn Menu

Hello All!

I have been working hard on putting together a yummy menu for our long weekend in the Pennsylvania countryside. There is a full kitchen with all the bells and whistles on site and I am going to use that baby to make us up some tasty meals.

I always post the menu ahead of time so that in case my menu doesn't meet any of your dietary requirements or if something isn't to your liking you can make other arrangements. There is a 'fridge space in the kitchen and in the crop room, so feel free to bring something you might need. As always, there will be PLENTY of food, but if there is a snack that you MUST have to crop with, then by all means bring that along. I will have coffee service set up all day long as well as iced tea, lemonade, water and a few sodas. There will not be a TON of soda, so if there is one that you need, please bring it along. I always prepare a vegetarian (not vegan) option to every "meat" meal, so please let me know ahead of time if you are a vegetarian. All the food is prepared together, so I cannot take any special requests at mealtimes.

Whew...with all that is the menu!


Breakfast-Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Grits, Biscuits with Jen's Homemade Jams & Preserves
Lunch-Posh Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Peppers, Mixed Green Salad with Jen's Homemade Blackberry Dressing and Mini Brownie Banana Splits
Snack-Chips & Salsa
Dinner-Olive Chicken over Linguine, Crusty French Bread and Chocolate Bread Pudding with Whipped Cream


Breakfast-Caramel Sweet Rolls, Thick, Smoked Bacon and Melon Salad
Lunch-Vegetable Quiche, Cheddar & Cauliflower Soup and Lemon Drop Cupcake
Snack-Peach Bellini Floats
Dinner-Toasted Almond Chicken, Whisky Glazed Carrots, Creamed Spinach, Parker House Rolls and Baked Apples with Jen's Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream


-French Toast with Berry Butter & Maple Syrup and Sausage
Lunch-Grilled Turkey & Cheddar Panini with Chutney, Spiced Cabbage Slaw, Chips & Assorted Chocolate Truffles
Snack-Homemade Pretzels with Cheesy Mustard Dip
Dinner-Pumpkin Penne, Green Beans, Roasted Tomato Bruchetta and Peanut Butter Mousse with Whipped Cream


Breakfast-Made-to-Order Omelets, Hash Browns and Fresh Fruit
Lunch-Grilled Goat Cheese & Tapanade Sandwiches, White Bean & Wild Mushroom Soup and Cheesecake Tartlets with Blackberries
Snack-Fruit & Cheese Plate
Dinner-Meaty Moussaka, Marinated Vegetables, Greek Salad and Baklava

Winter in Summer?

When I told all my friends and family that Charles and I were moving to Pennsylvania, I had a bunch of mixed reactions. But almost every person wondered how I would make out in winter time. Being a clever Southerner I made sure that all my "up north" visits were made in the summertime and thus had avoided seeing snow up until our move up here. There was cause for their concern. Heck! Even when I was wearing my most optimistic pants I held a small dread for (gulp) snow.
There was one fellow down south that really worked hard to convince me that I would hate snow. That I might think it was nice at first, but I wouldn't get used to it, wouldn't like it and would never be able to stay up here. He pounded me with this every time I spoke to him or would relay anti-snow messages to me via his wife. It got to be downright pesky.
Now I consider myself a pretty positive and upbeat person, and for the sake of my husband and my sanity, I told myself that I was going to make the best of the big changes that were coming into our lives. So with arms (and mind) wide open I have embraced our new rural lifestyle-winter days included. In fact, I have either put up such a good show that I have convinced myself or it is more possible that I actually do LOVE it up here! I find myself telling folks ad nauseum just how much I am enjoying life as a Northerner.
I so wanted to tell my friend that for me, it wouldn't matter the season I was living in, that I would still be ME. I would still think the same, enjoy the same things, love the same, create, socialize...that I would just have to do it all in snow boots!

So, today, during this most wonderful summer season that I was looking up some summer quotes when I found this one that I would like to share with that negative dude down south...

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. -Albert Camus

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hello Muddah Sleepaway Crop 2012

Announcing for March 2012...

Hello Muddah Sleep Away Crop!!

Thursday, March 8th through Sunday, March 11th

Starting at 12pm on Thursday and going until 3pm on Sunday afternoon!

Your long weekend will include:

-A huge cropping room with plenty of personal space!
-Accommodations for your weekend stay!
-All meals, drinks and snacks all weekend long!
-Games and shenanigans (look for the Talent Show to return)!
-Small goodies for everyone, with a unique twist on the "goody bag"!

Cost for the long weekend:

-$220 (Scout Cabin)
-$250 (Leader Cabin)


(This is a long post with LOTS and LOTS of important information in it. Most of it is exactly the same as last year, but there are a few differences. Please read it all!!)

We will be staying and cropping in Florida's beautiful O'Leno State Park in High Springs.

This park is located along the Santa Fe River and is full of natural charm. The park has a wonderful suspension bridge over the river that along with the cabins and surrounding buildings were constructed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
We will be staying in a large cabin loop that is for our private use during our visit. Our area consists of 17 rustic cabins, one large arts & crafts building, a pavilion, two restroom facilities with showers and a very large dining hall. The dining hall has windows around the room and two very large fireplaces on either end of the hall. It also has a huge kitchen where all your meals for the weekend will magically appear from!

Speaking of food, it will be our pleasure to be cooking for you all weekend! Your weekend fee will include: lunch, dinner and late night snack on Thursday, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks on Friday and Saturday and brunch and afternoon snack on Sunday. There will be drinks available all day long. If you are not familiar with my cooking style it is good, old-fashioned "make you happy" meals. There is no diet food at crops! (Unless you pack it in yourself!) I always have a vegetarian (not vegan) option at every meal, but cannot take "special requests" at meal time! There will be a menu posted ahead of time so that you can make other arrangements if something doesn't strike your fancy or doesn't meet your special dietary requirements. If you need a bit of 'fridge space, please let me know in advance. The park does allow alcoholic beverages as long as it remains in your cabin or in our rooms. Basically, our camping area. So you can feel free to BYOB! (And specific mixers your require!)

About the cabins! Yes, I know that some of you are worried by now about that word "rustic". I would love to paint a spectacular picture of these cabins, but they ARE "rustic"! They were built in the 1930's. They do NOT have AC or heat. (This is why this trip is not in the summer time!) They DO have electric and electric plugs. The do NOT have bathrooms in the cabins. They DO have doors and windows-some are screens, but they ARE doors and windows. They have bunk beds. Most cabins sleep between 6-8 people. Depending on the number that I have sign up, I will assume that most everyone wants a bottom bunk. So unless this crop is extremely popular or you have a large group that wants to bunk together, I'm shooting for bottom bunks for all!!
About the bathrooms! Again...y'all worry too much! There are bathrooms in our cabin circle. There are two bathrooms in the crop room. If you've ever been to a state park you know what the bathrooms look like. They are concrete buildings with men on one side and women on the other. Both of the bathroom facilities have showers stalls. The showers have a row of sinks with mirrors and electric outlets. Then it has a row of private showers. They have bench seating just outside each shower stall. There IS hot water!
More about cabins and bathrooms! There are actually two types of cabins. "Scout" cabins and "Leader" cabins. There is a LOT of "scout" sleeping accommodations, but only a few "leader" beds. There are actually 3 leader cabins. Leader cabins do NOT have AC or heat either and DO have bunk beds, but they DO have their own bathrooms. I would like to offer these cabins up to those who are a) "infirmed", b) "old" or c) "sissies"! (I have just officially cracked myself up at those last comments!! Honestly! I cannot stop laughing...) But, if you feel like you would only be able to come if you had an indoor potty, then these spaces are a little more money and are on a first pay, first get basis! You can email me for room/bed configuration for you and/or your group. I will also take on a first pay, first get basis requests to be in the cabins closest to the bathroom facilities. There are four of those cabins, so once they fill I will move out from there! Unless you have something else you want to be close to!

About the weather! I have no idea what the weather will be like the beginning of March 2012! I CAN give you the last four years in weather history from that area according to Weather Underground. 2011: high 80/low 40, 2010: high 73/low 39, 2009: high 80/low 47 and 2008: high 66/low 40. Suffice it to say it will be much warmer than January! If the night time lows are too low for you to sleep without some kind of heat and since the cabins are not heated you will might need to bring nice warm bedding and/or a heater or electric blanket. Each cabin will only take one heater, so once we have cabins assigned you can talk amongst yourselves about who has a heater! (If you plug in more than one heater, you MAY blow a fuse! They draw a LOT of electric!!)

Even more about the cabins! You need to bring your own bedding and towels. Each bunk has a mattress pad (upgraded since the last time I was there!), but you will not, I repeat NOT want to use that as your only pad! I would suggest getting one of those egg crate mattress pads in a queen size. Fold it in half to make a super, thick twin size. If not all the bunks are filled in your cabin, you are free to use a pad from another bed to make yours nice and full.

About the area. I cannot tell you just how beautiful this area is. This crop will be a great chance to escape the everyday and recharge with friends, this hobby we love AND nature! There are great opportunities to just sit and be one with the beautiful Florida landscape. Hiking trails which in January were very popular, the river, canoeing or just sitting on the porch in a chair and relaxing. This location doesn't disappoint...
O'Leno State Park is about 30 minutes from Gainesville and about 5 miles from "downtown" High Springs. This is where the closest area restaurants, grocery, etc. will be located. You can come and go from the park but if you come back after dusk/the park has closed, you will need a gate entrance code to get back in. IF you should want to come to the event, but really cannot see yourself plunging into the camp adventure, you could check out hotels in the High Springs area. You will not hurt my feelings one tiny bit, but you will also still be paying the same event fee as well! But it is an option!

About the crop. After January's roaring success and with so many of y'all trying to hand me deposit checks for 2012 I figured we should go back again. And since January was a wee bit too cold, we are trying for March this year. This will still be a "budget" crop-same as last year without all the hoopla. Everybody loved Thursday, so that stays and kept the cost super low! As per the original poll, there will be no lavish goody bags and no door prizes. No give-aways and no make-n-takes provided by me. There will still be games and fun organized things to participate in at your leisure! The really unique idea on the goody bag/make-n-take notion was also a GIANT hit, so again, thanks to Dianne and Kathy who came up with this idea and to all the January croppers who astounded us all with their talent the goody bag "trade" remains. I will set a theme, pick the colors (and possibly a line from a specific company) and the album size and anyone who wants to contribute a handmade goody for each of the croppers is highly encouraged to do so. You could make a tag, a page topper and embellishment, a title...whatever! You would just have to make enough for everyone. Then we will swap and hopefully we will have enough stuff to make a killer album! More on that to follow. At the last crop, we had some "think outside of the box" people whe brought homemade cookies, hand warmers and treats.

I am also opening up the big arts & crafts room to any of our croppers who want to teach a class! If you are interested in this, just email me and I'll get you the information. So that means if we have anybody who wants to teach, we'll offer classes at an additional fee. More on that as it happens! Maybe I'll even try to talk Lance into coming back. He was such a FUN addition to our group.

If you are a direct-sale merchant (like CM, CTMH, SU, MK, PC, etc.) and want to be heard from, just email me quickly and we'll talk! There will only be one person representing a company, so contact me soon!

Just a few more tips.

-You can easily walk between your cabin and the crop room, but if you prefer, you can drive!
-This is the Florida "woods". You may encounter wildlife. Deer and raccoons are very common in that area.
-We have to respect the other campers and keep our party to a dull roar.
-If you bring extra lighting, you must bring your own extension cord.
-Hobby Lobby is on the way up from the Tampa/St. Pete area!
-More tips will come as it gets closer!

The registration form is at the bottom, so if I have convinced you that this will be an unforgettable and fun adventure or you've been waiting with baited breath since the last crop for me to announce 2012, then print out the flyer and send it in with your payment.
I take checks and money orders. There is a payment plan if you like. You can pay in full-easiest and you will be my best friend! Or pay $70 now and the rest in three installments. The fee will depend on the cabin type you get. BUT that payment is what holds your spot!! So if you want to get a leader cabin or a cabin near the potties, you must get that deposit to me ASAP. Once I receive your payment/deposit I will notify you on what cabin you got. So if you are making payments, you will know how much to send.

Because the Leader cabins were very popular in January, and they might be again in March, I have come up with the new way to register. This really will only pertain to you if you are hoping for a Leader or specific cabin. You will still be mailing checks or money orders (no, I didn't set up the PayPal...too many fees) I will be checking all envelopes for the CANCELLATION DATE. It must be Saturday, July 2nd or later (NOT earlier!). Once I receive all the registrations from the 2nd, then I'll start assigning cabins on a first CANCELLED, first assign basis. If by some wierdness, I get more registrations than I have Leader space, I will then put all those registrations into a LOTTERY and do a drawing to assign space. If there are more "special request" spaces leftover after the 2nd cancellation date, I'll move onto the 3rd, etc. NOW...if you are traveling in a group and want to all bunk together, AND if we must go to the LOTTERY method of cabin assigning, then EACH AND EVERY person who is in your group must have the same DATE CANCELLATION on their letters and if I pull one person from a group, they will all get the special request. So...I have a few suggestions:
-If you are traveling with a group, maybe have one person register/mail them in together.
-Take your letter to the post office on Saturday and have it hand cancelled. That way you are 100% sure it is done on the day you mail it!
-Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to be sneaky and send your registration in early. Any letters that arrive with a cancellation date earlier than the 2nd will be moved to the END OF THE LINE!

Crop cancellations-A full refund will be given if the crop is cancelled before February 8th. If you need to cancel the crop after February 8th then no refund will be given. Crop registrations ARE transferable.

Please call, email or holler any questions you might have. (My personal email is: I am REALLY looking forward to this adventure! We are gonna have a grand time and remember this...“Art flourishes where there is a sense of adventure.” -Alfred North Whitehead

Monday, May 9, 2011

Project Life

It sure has been awhile since I've posted any photos here. I guess that working 9 hours a day, 5 days a week has put a dent into my blogging time. But here are some of the latest happenings up here in beautiful Pennsylvania!

The girls at church serve up cupcakes they decorated for the "Games for UU and You" game night.
10 below! This winter sure was mean to this poor Florida girl!
This is a carriage house with above living space that is currently under construction that Charles designed.
My first visit to Starbucks in over 9 months! I am one happy camper.
Charles and I post at the little park near our house. We were exploring it with the Peace Kids. (AKA: The girls in my Sunday School class)
The first of the raised planting beds that Charles built.
The eggs in the play yard "hidden" for the toddlers.
The Peace Kids have a slumber party at Miss Jen's house and we go for a hike in the PA Grand Canyon.
The weather is turning warmer and the kids don't need their coats, so they are all lined up on the fence in the play yard one morning.
My tomato seedlings.
Ginger goes to work with Charles for a few days during one of her seizure bouts.
A little Easter home decor project I did this year.
These are the cute name markers I made for the toddler room.
It is funny to me that I'm up in PA buying Plant City strawberries. This might only be funny to people from Florida!
Serving up Blackberry Cheesecake Tartlets to the girls from Stepping Stones at our monthly training meeting.
The car all packed up for a day of scrapbooking at the library with the Blossburg Girls.
Check out the snow that is piled up on the window sill! Holy crud!!
Kiwi poses near a waterfall that we found on an impromptu hike.
The girls from Stepping Stones head to Cast & Crew to celebrate Miss Karen's birthday.
First bear sighting of 2011 is a doozy! A mama bear with four cubs spend about 3 hours in the yard playing and climbing trees and eating the last of the birdseed.
This picture shows just how close they are to our bedroom window.
This is a charming movie theatre in Blossburg that we've been going to since it's re-opening. It has it's (still operational) popcorn machine from the 30's! Love this place!
I love all the trees when they are budding in Spring.
This cracked me for potting soil in Lowe's Garden Center while pushing my buggy through piles of snow.
Morning Star Farms brings back their wonderful veggie corn dogs!!! This made my year!
Ginger discovers the joys of an electric blanket. She spent many hours curled up on it this winter.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Today in the Toddler Room

Had to bring this story over to the blog 'cause there is not enough room for this one in my Facebook status...

Today, one of my favorite little friends pulled up a chair to the table while I was putting together breakfast and here is our conversation:

Him: Miss Jen? What is in those breakfast bowls?
Me: Oranges.
Him: No. What's in MY breakfast bowl?
(Now, he knows that I know that he is allergic to oranges, but still feels he should remind me about it at each meal that features oranges for the other kids!)
Me: (With a big smile on my face, 'cause I feel like being funny)
Him: In MY bowl?!
Me: Oranges.
Him: (Squinting his eyes at me)
Are you kiddin' with me?
Me: Yes. I surely am!
Him: (Silence)
Him: (More silence, then resting chin in hand)
I don't need you kiddin' with me right now.

Lesson learned for Miss Jen? Don't come between a boy and his breakfast!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hello Autumn Crafting Retreat


Hello Autumn Crafting Retreat

Thursday, November 10
Sunday, November 13

At the BEAUTIFUL Linck Hill Inn located in Morris, a part of the Endless Mountain region of north-central Pennsylvania.

This crafting retreat is meant for those of us who enjoy working on our crafting projects while enjoying some good, old-fashioned fellowship with friends. These friends can be the ones that you pack in with you, or ones that you are just meeting over the weekend! This retreat isn't limited to scrapbookers-all crafters, artists or women who just want a long weekend for themselves are welcome! If you are a knitter, a paper crafter, a reader, a nature lover, an altered artist, a quilter...whatever...this is the place to be!! You will have plenty of time to rest, create, recharge, explore, mingle and EAT! All this with a picturesque backdrop of glorious fall scenery!

The Inn was built in 1900 and has been added onto and restored to it's current, beautiful glory. The mansion has 14 bedrooms on three floors, 2 dining rooms, meeting room, game room and tons of cozy sitting areas, all decorated in the Victorian-era style. The grounds boast many great spots to just sit and enjoy nature along with the options for scheduled outdoor activities. Activities like horse-drawn hay rides or horse back riding (for additional fees). The meeting room that we'll be using as the craft room is well-lit & spacious, has lots of windows for outdoor gazing, a large screen for movie watching and a sound system. Inside the game room there is a kitchenette including a microwave for late night snacks, plus a full sized pool table, ping pong table, air hockey, board games and more! Each bedroom is beautifully decorated and has it's own bathroom (either in the room or across the hallway). The rooms sleep between 2 and 6 people and have their own heat.

The retreat runs from Thursday morning until Sunday evening. Since we'll be crafting in the same location as we'll be sleeping and since we will have the entire mansion for our private use, we can come and go from the crop room at our leisure! Yep! This means 'ROUND THE CLOCK CRAFTING!

As usual, I will be cooking all the meals during the entire retreat. Breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner will be served Thursday through Sunday in the Dining Rooms. Since the mansion is located in rural Pennsylvania, there is no fast food, restaurants or convenience stores within walking distance, so you will not need to leave at all for your meals. After visiting this wonderful kitchen with it's beautiful appointments, I've decided that I have to step up the food options (from our "camp fare") and will be pulling out the culinary stops and creating some really POSH meals! I cannot wait to finalize the menu!!

There is even a coffee/beverage station located in one of the Dining Rooms! Pretty, huh?

If you feel like you need to do a day (or so) of sightseeing, there are a few options near and further out that I can suggest. I will not be organizing any "group" outings or attending any of the outings, but I am happy to suggest some spots to visit.
-New York city is about a 4 hour drive away. Benedict's Bus Service, out of Wellsboro, offers a NYC "Your Way" trip on Saturday for $68. You go and come in one day, so it's a long one!
-There are winery tours around the Finger Lakes area which is about an hour, hour and a half away from the Inn.
-Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon offers beautiful views and great hiking and is just outside of Wellsboro, about 40 minutes from the Inn.
-Corning, NY is about an hour from the Inn and has the museum, the Gaffer District for food, museums and shopping.
-Williamsport has great shopping, entertainment and food. Plus that FABULOUS ribbon store that I love and it's a little over an hour from the Inn.
-Further out is Lancaster (3 1/2 hours), DC (4-ish hours) and Buffalo/Niagara Falls (4-ish hours).
Traveling will be totally on your own. You can get together with your group and rent a car if you want to see some sights. If you are traveling "single" I can try to hook you up with other sightseers. We can discuss this more as y'all decide what you want to see/do. And, of course, if you want to do more sightseeing, you can always come in a day early or stay an extra day to see some sights.

One of the things that is NOT included in the below packages is transportation from and to the airport (Elmira, NY). There are options for getting everyone to the Inn, but I do not know how to arrange it until there are registrations and flight reservations. There is a couple of shuttles that I can organize for one or more people. There are a few rental companies that operate from the airport (Elmira, NY) that you would need to book on your own. BUT, I was going to wait and try to "bundle" y'all together so you could travel together and save some money on transportation. So, as of now...transportation is TBA!

There are 4 different "packages" to choose from depending on if you are traveling in or if you are local.

"Out of Town Package"
-Accommodations from Wednesday, November 9th through Sunday, November 13
-'Round the clock access to the Crafting Room and use of the entire mansion and grounds
-Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and drinks from Thursday morning to Sunday night.
-Goody Bag
-Games with the chance to win door prizes

"Local Package A"
-Any 2 days of accommodations between Thursday, November 10 through Sunday, November 13
-Those same 2 days of 'round the clock access to the Crafting Room and use of the entire mansion and grounds
-Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and drinks on those 2 days
-Goody Bag
-Games with the chance to win door prizes

"Local Package B"
-8am to Midnight access to the Crafting Room and use of the entire mansion and grounds (excluding bedrooms) Thursday through Sunday.
-Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and drinks from Thursday morning to Sunday night.
-Goody Bag
-Games with the chance to win door prizes

"Local Package C"
-Any 2 days of 8am to Midnight access to the Crafting Room and use of the entire mansion and grounds (excluding bedrooms)
-Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and drinks on those 2 days
-Goody Bag
-Games with the chance to win door prizes

The registration form is below, and if you click on it you will be able to print it out and mail a check to the address listed. Please circle or highlight the package you are signing up for. You can either pay the amount in full, or choose a payment plan. I honestly have NO idea how many people I can get for this event, but I DO know that there are limited slots (40 to be exact!) so if this sounds like a retreat you'd like to attend, make plans and register soon! (Just a FYI-I said that I'd be happy with 20 people coming to the Hello Muddah Crop and I got 60! So...?!)

"Out of Town"-$65 deposit due at registration. $65 due on the 1st of May, July, August and October.
"Local A"-$40 deposit due at registration. $40 due on the 1st of Many, July, August and October.
"Local B"-$40 deposit due at registration. $65 due on the 1st of May and October.
"Local C"-$40 deposit due at registration. $45 due on the 1st of October.

Cancellation Policy:
Cancel before September 10th-Full refund.
Cancel between September 11th and October 11th-Refund payments except deposit.
Cancel between October 12th and November 10th-No refund will be given.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I want my mommy...

I don't say that much in my life, but last night I REALLY wanted my mom around. One of the things that my mom was really great at was taking care of sick people and last night, I was REALLY sick!
All that I could think of last night was when I was a little girl and got sick. How my mom would run her thin-fingered, always cool hand, and over my forehead to check for a fever. She would know just the spots to check before she would pull out the thermometer. She would linger a bit, stroking my hair just because that's what you do for sick kids. If I was "potty sick" like I was last night where I spent more time in the potty than resting, my mom would make sure that I was as comfortable as possible. I remember her setting up small, empty garbage cans in the bathroom and by my makeshift bed-which was on the couch near the TV. I also remember her once setting up a cot in the bathroom, so I didn't have far to go. My mom would immediately send my dad out for ginger ale and Charms lollipops. Those two things along with white toast is what I remember her serving me during these times. She would also set up a little table near the couch with water, ginger ale, ice chips and those Charms. She would tuck "Dirty Whiskers" into bed with me and ask if there were any other "friends" I needed. She would let me pick what to watch on TV, and those were the days before remote control, so she would get up and change the channel if I asked. Heaven forbid I even think of cleaning up my own mess in the bathroom. I was always ushered out, put back to bed and my mom would head back to take care of business! I remember that if I also had a fever, not only would I get the over the counter baby aspirin (the med of choice at the time), but she would set up another bed with towels and blankets, lay me on the towels and give me a sponge bath with water and alcohol which is meant to pull the fever out. This seems like such a small thing, but she had lots of extra towels over me and would only take off a towel for the spot she was bathing so that I wouldn't get chilly. After I would get sick, she would get me back to bed and come rub the muscles that she knew would be hurting after throwing up. I know that when some one was sick in the house, it was a family event. Everyone knew about it, knew what was going on. I can still hear my mom, dad and grandma talking in hushed tones in the next room, going over my temperature, how long I'd been sick, what to do, etc. Even my great Aunt A would drive over during the days to sit with me. I loved the four of us "ladies" on a sick day off from school, sitting in the family room watching their "stories" on TV. Sitting all curled up on the couch listening to the three of them talk about the love, lust, betrayal and drama just seemed like I was sitting in on something scandalous and I loved it! Once I got better, my grandma and/or mom would spend the next few days fixing all my favorite suppers! They never asked what my favorites were, they knew and got it right every time.

Boy! There is nothing like a loving and supportive family when you are feelin' poorly, but nothing AT ALL like a mommy!

Now I love my husband to pieces, but at this stuff he is just ill prepared. He asked a few times if there was anything I needed. Picked up ginger ale at CVS when I called to ask for it. BUT, it was the other stuff like turning off the heater in the room I was sleeping in, asking me WHILE I was throwing up if I had eaten dinner and letting me clean the bathroom myself that got me to wishing for those good 'ole days!

So, I'll say it again...I want my mommy!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hello Muddah Wrap Up!

First of all...I know, I know! This post has been a long time coming. I've been meaning to share some photos with y'all and tell you all about the fun we had at the Hello Muddah Crop (2011). The popular consensus was that everyone had a ball, ate themselves silly and want to do it again next year! So, watch for announcements for Hello Muddah 2012. But in the meantime, enjoy a few photos from our camping crop!

This is a group shot of almost all of our campers. What an amazing group of ladies!

The REAL Florida. We all loved this state park and (most) of the Rangers!

The park is just so very beautiful. Lots of ladies were inspired to take amazing photos.

There were just TONS and TONS of deer wandering around camp. In fact, Dawn saw a heard of 20 and Julie almost got run over by a group of "bolting" deer.

The morning Nature Walk was popular.

A few of the cabins in our group.

Some clever gals made signs for their cabin doors.

Getting cozy in the bunks! It felt just like summer camp...only in the winter!!

The much dreaded shower. It was all open screen at the top and quite chilly first thing in the morning. Most of us smarties, waited for the afternoon for taking our showers.

This is the room where we cropped at dusk. My favorite part of any crop is just listening to all the chatting and laughter coming from the crop room. And you could really hear the fun from outside!

Miss Barbara, Julie, Deanne & Kim looking cute as ever!

BethAnne's work space filled with goodie bags and snacks.

One of the buildings built in the 1920's by the CCC-this one we used for our Talent Show.

The audience waits for the Talent Show to begin.

Dawn, Tracy & Pam, AKA "The Scrappie Chicks" showed us how to take care of a pesky man in "Goodbye Earl"!

Stacey and I lip synced to the song, You're Timeless To Me, from the Hairspray soundtrack. No! I have not gained more was TWO pillows! Thankyouverymuch!

"If You're Chilly, Then You Should've Put A Hat On It!" An original song performed by these three cuties!

Stacey and I spent a couple of days just shopping for the groceries! Here I am with the first load we took to the park.

My spice central!

Lydia serves up some Meatball Subs.

Aahhh! That Pumpkin Bisque! Bliss!

It takes a BUNCH of food to feed all these hungry women! Especially when it's mac & cheese! I made Stacey "photo bomb" the shot so I could get perspective on just how big that pan was!

Lunch al' fresco. Bueno!

Tracy samples the super yummy Sticky Banana Bread Pudding.

Lydia and her fire! It sure was a thing of beauty!

Jo warms up herself and a marshmallow by the fire!

The perfect s'more!

A group of volunteers packed the amazing goodie bags.

This is the most amazing goody bag EVER! Each camper created something different, but all done in the same color scheme/theme so that we could all have some handmade embellishments for our albums. There were also lots of godies, like custom made cookies, cocoa kits and very handy hand warmers.

Lance Anderson from Rusty Pickle poses with Miss Barbara after one of his many classes!

This is one of the cool projects that Lance brought to teach. He is such a wonderful teacher!

The cute project that Stacey taught in one of her class.

Stacey taught a VERY full knitting class. Some gals caught on rather quickly...some, like me, were cussing!

PJ's and scarves were haute cotuer at this crop!

Such sweet gals!

The suspension bridge is a popular spot for a photo opportunity.