Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Christmas in Years - Update

So, I was so tired the past few days traveling and having everyone home, I didn't get to post about our wonderful Christmas day. 

Princess Five got a laptop and was super excited so she could now use it to play her new electric guitar by looking up chords for her favorite songs. 

In the past, she has used her ipod to do it and has to scroll in the middle of the song to be able to see the chords.

Because our family is changing, our typical traditions aren't working for us anymore. We used to open our pj's and put the girls in one room watching videos and playing video games. We would read the story of Christ's birth in Luke and do our little puppet story. 
This year, we played the game with dice to win videos. It made the evening enjoyable for us all. 

Then, the next morning, we got up and enjoyed seeing what we got and then it was so relaxed since we didn't have to clean up and head out of town the next morning. 

Everyone took a nap and relaxed playing games and with their new toys etc.  
I hope our Christmas's in the future can be as fun. I shared that my favorite moment was when everyone was playing with something they got and the girls were playing the guitar in the other room. 
There are those moments when you are just happy and content and everything seems to "fit" and be "right" just as it is. I have a few of those in my life and that was just "one of those moments." 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Beware of Photographers - Wasting Time

It has been many years since we all went to a photographers and had a family portrait taken.

In 2003 I bought a portrait plan from a national photography studio. I had purchased the same plan years before and with the plan, you get six free sittings and a free 8x10 picture with each sitting. 
On the last sitting, you get an outside sitting. We LOVED our portrait plan and I used them to get pictures of the girls with their cousins in fun pictures for some and family pictures for others.

We used up our first plan and I purchased another. With the girls going on missions and at college, we just never were in the larger city where the portrait studio was located at the same time.

The last time I used the plan was in 2006 and it was just a portrait of myself which I never even got the 8x10 of since we never are in the town to pick it up. 

I guess since then, the company went under and sold their client plan list to a local photographer. 

The girls asked if we could get a family picture taken over the holiday. I hadn't asked anyone for help to take them so I called the number on the portrait package and a man answered and said the place had moved and changed names but he still honored the "plan." 
We all got ready and went to the new location and it was set in an office building in a horrible location and he had an office upstairs. He had 1, yes ONE wall that didn't have a window or door in it and it was painted with a huge grey and white chevron. He had no backdrops and the one solid colored wall he had was bright PURPLE! 
He had turquoise with white stripes, gold with white which reflected the flash and a reddish leather wall with staples in the middle. Every wall had windows, light switches, and some of the pictures we took in an arch since there wasn't anywhere but ugly colors that wouldn't match my house had the light fixtures of the ceiling in the room behind it showing just over our heads. 

He never turned the lights on us fully because the rooms were so small so we had shadows in every picture which made the girls have a black eye on one side and a colored eye on the other side making them looked possessed. I was so upset when we got the pictures. Everyone on the left side near the light is highlighted and everyone on the right side is in shadow. 

We left knowing it was bad since it wasn't a "real" studio and had my sister meet us and take some pictures at another sisters house. These are the results but it was dark and cold so we did what we could but I felt sad that we wasted the entire day not wanting to enjoy being at the party knowing we had pictures later and then to drive and find the place, waste our time getting them taken just to have them turn out horrible. I think we would have done better to have my sister take some cute one's of us at the skating place in the ball pit or something. 

Live an learn, check out a photographer before you go, ask to see their web page or get referrals, it is a horrible waste of time and disappointment otherwise. They pictures are closer to $100 for an 8x10 and I am so disgusted with the pictures, I will NOT be ordering anything! 

Sad to waste the photographers time as well but some people just weren't meant to be artists. I learned a lesson and I know my girls did as well.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Annual Christmas Skating Party First For Grand-Princess

My Father pays for us to rent out a skating rink fun zone place every year after Christmas. Normally, we have the entire place to ourselves in the morning before they open for others. 

This year, two people had to work the day after Christmas so we moved the party to the Saturday after Christmas. 

This was the worse mistake we have ever had with the annual party. There were about five or six birthday parties going on at the same time plus it was booked out in the morning with two larger private parties and there were left overs from that party when we arrived at noon. 

It was a mad house and my guess would be about 500 people there while we were there. It is a LARGE building with laser tag, ball zone with many areas, a bounce zone, a roller blade, skateboard track and a regular skating rink with arcade. Also, above and under everything is a large netted area with little zones of ball, swings, climbing areas, etc. 

We have been doing this party for MANY years now and I really can't remember the first year we did the party. Here is a post from 2010. Here is a post from 2011.

I am sure there are pictures from the last two years or so on here as well but I am so tired and "sit-itus" is hitting me hard so I gave up on getting those posts.

I loved some of the pictures I got of my brother playing with his kids who were in the "ball pit" throwing balls at him and he would make funny faces acting like he was hit. I love that I got several balls in mid-air. 

I didn't do any of the activities and most of the girls didn't either as we were going to get a family picture taken afterward. Thus the bored look. I really messed up on the pictures. I called a place where I had a photography picture plan with so many sittings and a free 8x10 with each sitting. 

I haven't been there in years and I guess the national chain closed down and sold their name database to local photographers. It was an office complex and we had to rush from our party to the complex across the city and it wasn't a studio, it was an office with all the walls painted a different color and the only solid background color he had was bright purple. 

It was a long day.  The party was fun as we enjoy seeing our extended family but it was a VERY long day.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Best Christmas in Years

I am so tired again. I had a great thing planned but it is almost 3 a.m., and I don't want to miss anything on the post so I am going to share with you that Princess Five got a new electric acoustic guitar. She and Princess three sat playing for hours. I wish the sound was better on this video so you could hear them but it was more about the  time they spent together than what they played.

I will hopefully recover this weekend and get back to posting. I have been sitting here over and over dreaming in the chair. Sit-itus is bad tonight. I'll get back to real life soon. Hope you have a wonderful holiday. :-)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours

I was washing the dishes from Christmas dinner when beautiful singing came from the other room. I grabbed my camera and got the last few seconds of  a Christmas song the girls were singing. I asked them to start over and sing the entire song. 

Grand Princess One is teething cutting her first top tooth night before last and is working on the other front top tooth. She has been a bit upset in-between our dosing her with Tea Tree Oil for the pain. We had just put the tea tree on her gums which makes them a bit numb like "Anbesol" but using a natural oil. (Click here for a post about that.)

The girls started singing and then the baby starts pursing her lips and blowing and spits all over Princess Four who was holding her. It was funny but the girls still sounded good singing "A Merry, Merry Christmas" for you! 

We hope this finds you all well and having a Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fun Christmas Eve Game - Video Yahtzee

 This year for Christmas Eve, (we celebrated a day early due to some plans after Christmas) I wanted to do something different. 

I heard of a friend that played 21 on Christmas Eve with her kids. I didn't think that would go over with my girls but tried to think of something fun we could do. 

This year for Christmas, I told them I was getting them movies, games and candy. 

They all love movies. They all like playing games with friends and family and who doesn't like candy?
I had some things to return to Walmart so I waited until the day after Halloween and made all my returns which got me a large giftcard. 
With that gift card, I was able to purchase lots of candy that I normally wouldn't purchase. I thought of playing a game with the candy but I had bags of most of the same candy for each girl so I thought it would be better if I did something with the movies. 
My first thought was to play a game and whoever wins, gets first pick at the movies and then we rotate around just picking the next morning. 

I then thought that since it would take some time for us to pick out the movies, I would do a variation on the "candy" game where you roll the dice and if you get even numbers, you pick a movie. 

If you get odd numbers, you put one back. If you get all of one number, you get to steal a movie from another player. 

I realized this kept me out of the game so I then threw in that if you rolled the same number that round as mom, you get to put one of your movies into a "safe" zone where no one can steal it. 

This was a hit as some of the more coveted movies were taken back and fourth a few times before making a "safe zone" in someone's pile.

I have been collecting for months and checked the online classified regularly for someone selling their movies for $1 - $3 each and then I would make them a group offer and many times by taking most of the movies, I would get them for under $2. Sometimes even under $1 each. 

I would keep checking the second hand stores. Often times, I would get new movies for $2-$4 there. 
I thought it was funny as you can see in a few of the pictures, the kids kept hiding the names of movies they picked so no one would steal them. It was also funny how they were climbing all over the boxes. 
The kids said it was good fun but now they have most movies they would want so I need to come up with a different plan for next year. 

The younger girls ended up with the most movies by defalt as the older girls have many of them already. Princess Five only had one or two movies but as they all take them off to college, I know at some point she will like having them to take.
Sit-itus is really bad as I was up all night putting thing out and finishing up a project or two. It is 7 a.m. and i hope to get a minute or two sleep before everyone is up. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sit-itus and Grand Princess Number ONE

It isn't even nine p.m. and I have fallen asleep at the desk about ten times. I have been cleaning house, having company and LOVE having my grand-baby Grand Princess One here for the past few days. Of course it is nice having her parents here as well but we can't seem to get enough of her.

I have a few cute videos I want to down/upload to share but I am by far toooooo tired and have sit-itus beyond belief and I helped Princess and Prince One get a nice hotel room though a wonderful friend for their third anniversary so they are off getting a good night sleep while we take the baby on for the night. (Click here to see a post about their wedding. Here is another. There are many others you can search for at the bottom of the page.)

She is sleeping now so I think I may just go to bed early and sleep when she sleeps as she still wakes in the night some so this post is short but how adorable is she!!! I LOVE being a grandma! Worlds best Christmas present EVER having her here. We are continually holding her so her parents will have to deal with her always wanting to be held when they get home but for now, we are LOVING it. I am headed to sleep. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Sewing Machine Is Out of the Bag - Part 2

As I was getting ready to leave the store with the sewing machine, people kept stopping me asking about it and telling me I got a good deal. I have to agree. 
When I talked to Princess about it, she asked if it had a groove to be able to hook it to a treadle machine and it does. So, if she can find an empty case at some point, she can then use it as a pump instead of a crank. Over the years, I have seen several cases for sale and just about six months ago, one second hand store had two for sale. 
I looked up online several shops to purchase new bobbins and leather strapping to attach it to the treadle and both can be found new. 
I couldn't find a hand crank for my treadle however. They sell new one's you can use even on your regular machine but I also couldn't find any original bobbins. So, I guess she will have to purchase some newer remake bobbins. I have enough if I ever did need to use it I would be ok. 
After some research, my machine was manufactured in Germany and the records of exactly when it was made are lost from the war. Princess's was made in another country and is a bit newer than mine most likely. Both are similar and in wonderful shape.
When I got it home, I thought I could just lubricate it and get it going in an hour or so. I planned on staining the cabinet and lubing it but when I got home, every part was welded to the next with hard sticky oil that had solidified. 
I spent well over 12 hours working on it and made a video with the main description of the part that was stuck.I was up until 6 a.m. getting it going. Works like a charm now. 

I thought the worst of it was over at that point until I realized that the foot release that picks up the foot and allows you to move the fabric under and should go up and down didn't do anything. I had to force it up and down with a metal clamp and then chisel the old oils off using a screwdriver and then the spring loosened and I was able to get it to go up and down with ease.  

You can see in the pictures how sticky and clumpy the old dried oil is and why I needed to chisel it out. Once it was out, I re-lubricated everything with grease and I was THRILLED with how easily it worked. 

I realized after that I didn't work or try the bobbin winder and I probably should make sure that works before giving it to her. 

Once I finished with that, I used "Old English" furniture polish on it. With some of the oil I was using to lubricate falling on the wood, I could see it was starving for moisture. I used the darker polish and it stained the cabinet and brought it back to the darker color that the cabinet was originally. 
I polished the machine with oil and oiled all parts. It looks beautiful. Most of the ones on Ebay had rusty parts. I am not sure why the cover plates on this one are black and most of the others are metal that has rusted but I think the black paint on them has kept them from rusting. 

It was a great find and I feel grateful to have found it for Princess One. I know she will be excited when she opens it and sees how wonderful the machine is.