Thursday, April 30, 2015

Eye Surgery on my Tree

I have a face on one of our outside trees. I found the set at a second hand store still in the box. When I put it up, the girls thought it was so fun. 
Last year, one of the eyes fell down and was in the flower beds. 

I pulled it out the other day when I was putting the mulch in. I knew it needed to have the back fixed for a long time but it is just one of those things that isn't a priority and I have so many things on the list to get done that it just didn't get done. 

As I have been working so hard on the yard, house, trees, garage door etc this past year, I see so many things that I still want to do but don't realize how much I have done until I do list them and look back at past posts. 
I am amazed how single mom's can work a full time job, give their children the time that they need and still have time to do house, yard etc. 

I know sometimes things have to slide and sometimes that is the yard, sometimes that is the children and sometimes, it is the job. 

I have been blessed to be able to stay home with the girls and go on all the field trips, be class room mom and plan all the parties and take them to the Dr.'s etc. 

I know that my time staying home is going to have to come to an end soon and I am grateful that I can work at a skilled job. I pray that I can find out what is wrong and get healthy. I also hope I can find a job that I can work days and be home when Princess Five is home as I know she likes company. 
She is so excited to be getting her license soon and I really am excited for that as well. It will be great having her be able to drive herself to cheer and school activities for the next two years. I am grateful we were able to purchase Princess Five's car back when she purchased a new one so Princess Five will have something to drive.  

My girls will be happy to see the tree's familiar face fully functional again, a little worse for the wear, but there again. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Someone Gave Me a Hand Today - A True Angel

Once again, I was working in the yard, giving Princess Rides and fitting girls for their sweat pants for camp. I had people in and out and was in and out myself. I was on one of my "ins" when I grabbed the mail.

There was a thick envelope with a little tare in one corner. It had no return address. It was addressed to me. When I opened it, I could see some money sticking out of the bottom of the card. I was thinking perhaps one of the girls sent and early Mothers Day card. 
I looked to see who sent the card and there was no signature or writing on the card at all. Then I saw the typed note. I didn't get half way through the note before I was bawling quite hard.  

I didn't want princess five to hear me crying until I got myself in control so I went to my room for a few minutes to get myself composed. 

It didn't take long but about then Princess Five came up, I shared the card and letter with her. She thought it was as sweet as I did. 

I didn't feel great on Sunday at church and haven't felt well in a long time. I am frustrated with Dr.'s not putting things together and I think I have found some information that gives me some hope about my health but I think I cried because I don't feel good and to have people notice makes it worse. 

I was overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity and I am sure they don't know that this is my last month for child support for Princess Four so my income will be decreased by a fourth or so. 

I am SO grateful for kind people who take notice of things. I had a friend show up to have her daughter and herself fitted for the sweats for camp and I was sharing the thoughtfulness of the card and money I received today and her mouth dropped open and said she and her husband had that exact conversation today about how wonderfully amazing my girls have turned out and how on a low income I have been able to give my girls all the opportunities that others have and sometimes even more. 

I joked and asked if her husband sent me a check. She laughed and said she didn't think so. I really think it was a woman as I don't see many men at church but it made me wonder how many others have had that conversation having heard of two in one day. 

As I was working in the yard later, I was giving gratitude for kind people who can see and notice when others are in need and may need a helping "hand." It brought to my mind times when I have been that person. I realized that I haven't been that person as often recently as I have in the past. I have noticed several times when others may need my help but due to not feeling well, I let the moment pass or let someone else take the opportunity to do service. 

I know there is a time and a season for each of us and I hope that my time for needing a helping "hand" will be over soon and that I may be the one extending my "hand" soon. 

To the kind angel that sent me the $100, I will and have prayed that you will be blessed 100 fold for your kindness.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gratitude Reminders for the day

Today was a beautiful day. I had a list of things to do and I got most of them done. I then got home after picking up Princess Five and figured it would be good to get more yard work done as I had lots of hours to do some which doesn't happen often. 
I found an edger at a second hand store that was BRAND new. It was $15. I was thrilled with it as my old one died last year.
I worked from 4 until after ten and I only got the front yard edged. Even with that, I didn't get the brick and fence "weed whacked" but just edged the sidewalk and decorative edges. 
I forget how much work the yard is in the winter and I usually am excited to get to it in the spring but this year, I am struggling to get to it. 
It seem like I have so much going on that I can't get to it and I'm still not feeling great so things just seem to take longer. 
I did enjoy being outside and working on the yard and my mind was going pondering on how grateful I was the the new edger. 
When I got to a specific part of the yard, I got a great smile on my face. My mind went back to a post from last year when I was weed whacking my front yard.
I found lots of coins while working. Here is a link to that post. 

I was moving right along and realized I was daydreaming a bit and then I missed seeing a sprinkler. I chopped it to bits and the wire spring choked up my new edger. 

I had to pull it apart to get it off. One would think that I learned my lesson to look ahead of me for sprinklers but I broke two more but at least stopped before the wire got tangled. 
I finished up after dark and was so excited about getting something of my list. I am going to try getting the rest of the stuff on the yard list done in the next week or two. It would be nice to get the yard and house into a place where it isn't so much work.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gathing Pants Using Existing Hem and Cutting Multiples to Save Time

I realized that sometimes when I give posts cute titles, people miss out on what is actually in the post because it wasn't clear in the title what I was going to put in the post. 

I came up with a way to cut multiples of things for crafts and sewing that is much easier and more organized that just wrapping and cutting in bulk. 

Some items need to be a bit more exact in size and if you cut one side of the wrapped item, if you aren't holding the other end, it can be frustrating if you need to cut the other side and they all fell apart after you cut the one side. 

If you are only cutting one side, that would work. However, I needed to cut both sides of this to get enough elastics in the right sizes to put through the hem of the pant leg to gather these sweat pants

I am doing camp again this year and I have 25 or so people going. I went to Kmart the other day feeling like I should stop there. I probably purchase maybe twice to four times a year at Kmart. 

I won't get into my frustrations with Kmart in this post but I can see why it is going out of business and with those frustrations, it isn't my favorite place to shop. 
I saw that they were having a clothing clearance. I have to say that when they do their "final" winter clearance, I have found screaming deals. Most every rack of any type of clothing is $2 to $4 total. Nothing over $4 even if their tags say more. 
I bought some really cute hooded onsie type pj's with licensed characters on them for $3 each. The tags were $35 and above. 

I noticed they had lots of sweat pants. I started looking to see if I could find enough of one type or another for camp and I was able to find enough in all the sizes of black for everyone going. 
It was just over $100 to buy about 30 pair of sweat pants as I bought a few extra for sizes I was unsure about. My friend's son just bought a store that does printing on shirts etc. She called him about buying sweats wholesale and he said, I am quoting her, "If you can get sweat pants for $3 a pair, that is a "screaming" deal and you should get them!" 
I used his "screaming" deal description above as I thought it was fun. I had most of the girls come and try them on today and we consistently had a problem with them being long and hanging. 

When we viewed the cabin, there are open back wood stairs and I tripped walking up them in normal clothes. I thought if the girls were running around with long pants, we could have a fall. 

I figured a quick way to gather them all. I have done a similar wind thing with doll hair, wigs, lace etc but hadn't taped it down before. That was a new inspiration for me so I will definitely be doing that again. It made it so easy to do.  
To put elastic through a hem to gather the bottom of a pant leg, measure your ankle with a piece of elastic. Make sure the elastic you purchase fits into the hem. 

For example: If the hem is 1 inch, you need to use a 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide piece of elastic.
Once you have measured it, add an inch to the total circumference of the ankle so you will have room to sew it and some for the fabric that will be under it which would make you need a bigger piece to go around the fabric and your ankle. 

Put a safety pin through one end of the cut elastic. go to the inside (wrong side) of the pants bottom hem and on the inseam side, take a pair of scissors and snip a little hole on the inside and then thread the elastic through with the safety pin. 

Once it is all the way through, make sure there are no twists in the elastic, lay one piece over the opposite end piece and stitch it flat. Watch to the end of the video to understand why and how to leave a little extra on the elastic in case it ends up tight and you need to let it out some. 
I don't usually worry about the little hole I made to insert it but if you are worried about it fraying, you can do a small whip stitch around the edges to keep them from fraying. 

Since I needed to cut 20 plus pair of elastics to gather all the pants, I measured what size I needed, then, I searched for a book that was about the size of the elastic. I then put one end of the elastic (yarn, string, lace etc) you want to cut inside the book so it holds the item secure. I then start wrapping the elastic around the book so for each full rotation front and back, that is one pair of pants. 
When I had finished wrapping the book, I put tape on the edges and back and front corners of the book over the elastic so that it would hold the elastic in place. If i hadn't done that and had cut it, they would have all fallen away and I would have had to hold them so I could cut the other end of the book wrapped elastic so I would have two shorter pieces rather than one long piece.

The tape held everything in place and I was able to cut both sides easily and then put safety pins into the edges so that they are ready to thread into the hems of all the pants so I can just watch a movie and thread all the pants hems and gather them and then I will only need to be at the sewing machine for a few minutes to stitch the edges together. 

You can see how the hole looks after everything is threaded in and sewn. 

I feel much happier knowing that there won't be any long pants getting stepped on or tripped over at camp. I am hoping for a no accident week. 

Sleepitus is happening and I keep typing things that aren't clear so I wish you all a great day! I hope I am sleeping.... It was a VERY long week.       

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's OK, I Have Another One

I had never heard the expression, " pied" in your "bouche", until I took a creative writing class in college. It means, to "stick your foot in your mouth." When I did hear it, I thought of a wonderfully funny example to write about for the assignment. Nancy has been one of my best friends since high school.

Nancy, is the youngest of eight children. Being the youngest, Nancy received much teasing and jousting. She grew to have a unique sense of humor through all of the jokes and teasing though.
Nancy could make a joke out of anything. One time we were on a double date and her date made the comment, "I love your perfume, what is it?" Nancy then replied in all seriousness, "Why thank you, it is Ben Gay."

She was always telling cute jokes and stories. When someone would make a "wise" crack, she would say to me, "hit 'em, your closer." She would fire out wonderful "come backs" to anything one could throw in her direction.

Having a contagious laugh and a supply of jokes, Nancy could make anyone laugh. She had a cute saying for anything that happened. When someone would bump an elbow or stub a toe, she would say, "It's ok, you have another one." Well, being together all the time, this became a saying which I used also.

One sunny spring day, we were eating at the local McDonalds, where we always ate. We had just finished our meals and were cleaning up the table. Nancy dumped her meal into the swinging lid garbage can, I followed. 

Being right handed, I used my right hand to dump the tray into the garbage can and in the process, I caught my right pinky in between the garbage can lid and the swinging door. I pulled it free and complained about how it hurt. Then Nancy made the smart comment, "It's ok, you have another one."

Nancy and I then looked at one another and burst into a fit of laughter. We laughed so hard we had not only tears, but streams of tears flowing down our faces. We were so caught up that we were sitting on the cold tiles of the McDonalds' floor.

People around us watched uncomfortably as we "died with laughter" there on the floor. In a few minutes we had toned ourselves down to quiet chuckles, wiped the tears from our faces, and peeled ourselves off the tiles. 

As we were leaving, a little embarrassed, Nancy rested her arm on my shoulder. It is one of the best memories of our friendship. As I pushed open the door to leave with my left hand, one could see, I have no left pinky.

I posted a few years ago how I lost my left finger. Here is a link to that post.  I have thought of that situation over the years as someone hurts themselves on their arms and legs and I still sometimes finding myself saying, "It's ok, you have another one!"

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cell Phone Covers for Cheap - Factory Reset a MUST

I've purchased four smart phones in the past month. Verizon has a new plan that if you don't purchase their new phones and two year agreements, since they don't have to subsidize the cost of a new phone, they will give you $15 back per month on your group plans for each smart phone and $10 back on each flip phone on your account that doesn't have a contract. 
With that new program, it is actually less now to update the girls phones that are purchased rather than renewing a contract. I was happy to be able to purchase an iphone for Princess Two with her sisters chipping in some. Her birthday is coming up and I know she loves her ipod and knows the running system so we got the iphone as she doesn't always like learning new electronics. 
Princess Three is a very discerning shopper and searched for what she wanted researching her wants verses phones and decided to go with a Samsung. It has LOTS of storage and she is thrilled with the features. She purchased it for herself and has been the "trial" run for smart phones on the plan for a few months and she LOVES it.
Princess Four at college needed an upgrade so I purchased a Droid used off the local "yardsale" site.  I gave her the phone and then took it back to see if I could sync her contacts or something and I got into the internal memory of the phone.

When I bought the phone, I asked the woman selling the phone if they had taken all the pictures and video off joking about how I would hate to find "porn" on it. The woman looked a bit nervous and took the phone back to make sure they had removed videos and pictures. 

When I got into the internal memory, I found all sorts of personal pornography. It took me a few minutes to even figure out what I was viewing. It was her husbands phone and I guess he didn't want the kids finding it or something it so it wasn't in the "video" section. I immediately called Verizon as I couldn't find the factory reset fast enough.

Verizon was wonderful to help me reset the phone and Princess Four has been happy using her birthday gift for a few weeks. I got two 4G phones from a local person who upgraded to the Samsung new phone. I needed to put new covers on them so I could put them into their cases. 

I purchased some covers for a larger LG at a second hand store for $1 for two covers. I have also purchased covers at the dollar store in the past. 

You can use white board dry erase markers to mark the cover as it needs to be cut to fit and then cut it down to size and then wipe off the marker after it is cut to size.

If the cover has a clear protection on both sides of the cover, you can actually use a sharpie or other marker to mark the cover before cutting it. 

It is wonderful to be able to have covers on hand. It is good to cover them for spare ipods or phones you may want to let your kids play with for games or to put movies on them and allow them to use for personal viewing in the car etc. You can just load them up with a few movies and just leave them in the car for those times when they have to wait for you in a store or the trip is taking longer due to traffic or something. 

The moral of this story, ALWAYS factory reset phones before selling them or when buying them before looking at any memory. I wish I could get those images out of my head as I found it disturbing but in the end, it was a bit of a blessing as the staff at Verizon gave me an extra gig of memory each month for a year due to the stress of the event. I know Verizon is trying to get everyone switched over to smart phones but it wasn't Verizon that sold me on upgrading. 

Princess Two used her phone over Easter for us to facetime / skype Princess One and her family and after visiting with my grand princess face to face on her phone, I was SOLD. I had to upgrade to a phone that I could use to video chat my beautiful baby! Not that I will hate having a camera that works on my phone as I broke mine about a month ago and I didn't realize how much I actually used the camera on my phone. 

Yahoo for new phones. Hopefully, I will be able to get the phones all hooked up this next week and we will all be able to video each other!

I can't wait to see grand princess's cute reactions to my talking with her. We actually had a conversation of sorts this week. I LOVE being a grandma!!!!!