Thursday, June 30, 2016

Scrapbook Overload - Little Bit Stressed

Once again, so much going on that I haven't had much sleep. 


I was up late working on the scrapbook for Princess Five and had a few hours sleep before needing ot get up for a food bank board meeting. 

I had errands to run and by the time I got home, it was late and we started working on her scrap book portfolio about five. 

Princess Four was here with her TB test needing to be read and she now has to wait until a few cavities get filled before she can put her paperwork in to serve as a missionary. 

She helped us for a few minutes before she had to return to her job so we miss her when she leaves and she was VERY helpful on the scrap pages as she is very creative so we missed her when she left. 

While they worked on pages last night, I worked the scanner making little copies of all our play programs, awards, letters etc that she wanted in the portfolio. 

I scanned for hours and then we print them off and put them with the corresponding pictures. It is nicer to be able to see the program in mini form rather than keeping a larger program and it taking up space. 
I had to forge lots of junk in the basement to get to our scrap book stuff as I haven't had time to get the basement put back together since my mom was here with me. 

We pulled out some files that had all the paper, stickers, lace etc. I was VERY organized at one point but it just seems I am hanging on most days. 

Princess Five was afraid to do much at first and was just stacking square pictures on the pages and it took a few tries to get her to open up the creative side and she started making some really cute picture pages. 
Princess Four was cute as she would write anything we wanted as we thought her writing was better than ours. 

We have to have the book portfolio in and postmarked by Friday so I am praying that we can get it done tomorrow and hopefully get back to having more than a few hours sleep. 
I'll have to let you know how we do with all that. I will be glad when school starts, I think as for the next few months she is a busy one!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Full House - My Mothers Estate Items Delivered

My sister called today and said they needed to clean out their trailer as she needs to put all her wedding decor business stuff in it. 

I have gotten several texts and calls saying she would be bringing them over in the past few weeks but was grateful she is as busy as I am so that I didn't have to worry about it during the crazy past few weeks. 

Today, however, was the day. I shared that it is still crazy around here and there was on and off showers / lightning today and didn't want to unload the wood in the rain so I was VERY grateful when they arrived and there was no rain. 

I cleaned out the room my mother stayed in so we could put the items in there but my brother-in-law had his brother and his wife helping and I didn't want to take the time to have them place all the items where they would end up so I just had them stick them all in the front room as they all need intense cleaning and dusting along with some repair work. 

Funny how I forgot things that happened during the week of cleaning out my mothers. I can't find some of the stuff I know I got for my girls but forgot some of the stuff I ended up with that the girls wanted. 

I am not sure when I will be able to get to all this stuff to refinish or repair it all but I am happy with the items I got and think that the girls also will be happy with them when I am finished refinishing them. I am not sure I will be able to "fix" this table.

This table to the right is actually a radio table. I have never seen one before and didn't realize that my mother had a radio table as it had a cloth over it and her big screen TV was on it so it was fun when we found out it was a radio and Princess Five wanted it. 

I will refinish it and hope to be able to restore it to working order but who knows as I don't know anything about electronics or old radios. 

I know I will be able to repair all the wood furniture but may need some help in refinishing the burl wood vanity dresser with "bat wing" mirrors. 

I didn't know when I picked it that it had some damage but at least all the pieces are there and there is some beveled / rounded glass cupboard fronts and a large beveled middle mirror as well so hopefully, I can get it fixed and refinish it if needed. It is beautiful and I am excited to see what it will look like finished. I can't believe that all the six mirrors on the two vanity / dressers are intact with no cracks or chips!

There is another triple mirror vanity that needs some work as well but I love how the mirrors move so you can see yourself at all angles. It may take me years to get all this stuff refinished with the way my life is going. 

This round table has a serving tray that comes off the top and glass all around the sides so you can see into the bottom of the cabinet. It is hidden behind the other stuff so until I can get to moving and cleaning some of the items we received today, it will be staying where it is covered with a beach towel. 

One of the things I am excited to have is her Victrola. We cranked it up and it was actually playing at her house when we were cleaning it out but now, I can't seem to get it to work and should have taken a picture of it before moving it. 

This stand that she had the victrola on is weird. It has two light sockets in the inside and a plug but the top hinges, so I think it may have been a radio at one point. She kept the glass victrola records in it with the little portable victrola on top so once I can clean it all up, I will put it back up on top and go through the records and keep only a few that I recognize. I may need to do some research to see how to get that needle working again. 

Wish me luck as it is now 4 a.m. and I have a board meeting tomorrow, and will probably be up all night tomorrow night scrap-booking as her portfolio is due in the mail on Friday! So much going on! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

9999 More Pictures to Go, 9999 More Pictures To Go

Last week we had the pageant until late Saturday night. I had such a long week that I was so sleep deprived that I did the most embarrassing thing of my life (or one of) during the pageant.
I was dropping Princess Five off with all her stuff at the stage door. Just then, the girls past drill instructor was coming up. I had a gift in the car that I had been trying to deliver but she was never home. I grabbed the gift and the rest of the pageant stuff and left the car running while I went in. 

I talked to the Drill instructor thanking her for all her years of service and how wonderful she was to give my girls rides in the morning for early practices etc.I then gave Princess her stuff, ran in to save some seats, hooked up the video camera to a tripod in teh back etc. 

I realize I grabbed the wrong tripod and called Princess Four who was on her way into town to pick it up. In all of this, Princess Five is getting ready and Princess Four shows up within two minutes of the show starting so I am rushing to get the video working. 

I sit down and enjoy the show while taking pictures etc. The show ends, I rush back to get the video unplugged, pack up the camera equipment and rush to get some pictures of Princess all dolled up. I get on the stage and am looking for her in the throng of people when the drill instructor comes to tell me they are trying to get a fork lift to the back of the stage and my RUNNING AND OPEN CAR IS BLOCKING THE STAGE DOOR! 

Yes, I had left my open car with the AC on at the back stage door for three hours still running!!!! Yes, I freaked out and was SO grateful that Princess Fives expensive guitar that we brought as a backup was still in the back of the car! 

We arrived home after that fiasco and I was so over stressed, I couldn't sleep. I knew I would have to be getting up at five a.m. to head up to see my niece who had just arrived home as a missionary so with all the sleepless nights and stresses, I couldn't sleep. I tried reading, I prayed, I played solitaire, I watched boring youtube videos, I counted backwards by threes.... I COULDN'T sleep. I got up and got ready and left for the 6 hours of driving for the day with the girls. 

We were to pick up Princess Two on our way and she didn't wake to her alarm so we had to make the extra trip to her place to wake her instead of meeting at the highway. I was doing OK at that point but I had the girls in the back seat going over pictures and listing what pictures we needed and how many from each event for a scholarship book that Princess Five needs made this week. We only have a few days to pick out the pictures, get them printed, make it into a scrapbook form and mail it to the organizer of this scholarship event. It is due on Friday. 

I was so tired that we had to stop for a nap when we were dropping Princess Two off after the homecoming before driving another two hours home. We arrived home late and I had to blog and unpack more sorting stuff my family sent down from my mom's estate. I was so tired but still had a hard time getting to sleep. I have had a problem since Princess One's wedding, when I get super stressed and tired, I can't sleep no matter how tired I am and how hard I try. It is like my nerves are so worn that they can't relax. It has happened about five times since then and I am just that tired! 

So, today, I had to get up early as we are trying to move a few camps around to accommodate all she has going on with Drill and 4-H camps and a few other leadership camps and one fun religious camp. I was on the phone first thing as I have been working with them for a month now seeing if we can fit her in on another week so she can compete in a state talent contest.

She is the music sterling scholar next year and she needs to get in as many musical performances as she can to add to her portfolio. State competition would be a wonderful thing to add to her portfolio so I hope we can work it out. 

After that, I spent all day working on finding the pictures she needs for her HOBY scholarship portfolio due this week. We worked until 8:40 when I knew I had to be to Walmart to get them printed. I arrived with ten minutes left and wouldn't you know, the file I put all the pictures in was read in individual dates files and pulled all the pictures out of the file so I had to select each file. I hurried as quickly as I could and the worker was so kind to allow me to finish my order. As we waited, we started talking and she has many of the symptoms of the Horsehair Nematormopha parasite that I have. She has the large thyroid, has thyroid problems and is on medication. She chokes on her food, she has gained weight, she has a rash at the base of her hairline in the back, etc. She asked for my blog information and I shared how grateful I was that she would stay open so I could get the pictures printed. 

I was feeling really tired and somewhat overwhelmed by the day and she was upset that there was no cure and I hate sharing the parasite with people without giving them hope but on the other hand, the state epidemiologist won't do anything unless 50 people get diagnosed. Like that will happen without major work on my part and that isn't going to happen.

I get in the car to head home and feel like I should turn on the radio. My mothers car I got for helping with her has a tape deck radio with no on switch. It will just start playing loud when I hit a bump or something and scares me. Then it will just stop playing at random times. I can hit it and make it work so I hit it and push a station button and guess what song is playing.... Yep, Jimmy Eat World "The Middle" which is the go to song when God is trying to tell me that everything is going to be alright!  Here is my first post about this song. You can search "the middle" in the box at the bottom of the page to see other posts about the song coming on just when I needed it.

I really laughed out loud in my car. It was so funny. Another appropriate song came on about how I can hold on and get through this came on and then the radio was off again. I pondered on the song timing and I look over and see the shadow of a cat in someone window on the way home. I had to stop and take a picture as I was a bit frustrated to find out the people that moved in just across the street from me have two cats and a dog. That is with the person that lives next door who owns two cats and a dog. Her cats are always using my garden as a litter box. It was stressing me that now, I will have all the more cats as there are always cats in my yard now! 

The song and the cat just made me think that God is in charge and it isn't that I dislike cats but I just don't want these parasites anymore! 

I get home and start organizing the pictures only to realize that only 2/3rds of the pictures printed. I looked on the SD card and they were all there but for some reason didn't print. The machine was making an alarm sound when the pictures stopped printing so I wonder if there were more that needed printing but something kept it from finishing.  

I got home and had to make a list of the missing pictures to compare with the disc and to let them know and there were a few that I pulled over to add but must have slid into a different file because some weren't on the disc so I got back on the computer and just finished up so I could blog and it is 3 a.m. 

I really thought my life was going to be less stressful with one home but I didn't know to put my mother being ill and living with me and then passing away on the list and Princess Five is expecting any day so it doesn't look like my summer is going to slow down at all. I have so many posts I want to spend time to do but don't have the time to give to them so I probably will keep doing the daily stuff I am now. I sorted all the pictures into groups like; drama, musical theater, performances guitar, band, service, cheer, drill, spirit days, etc. Hopefully we can get the rest printed in the morning and get working on the book. 

Also Princess Four is home and has had a Dr. visit, TB test, Eye exam, and a dental cleaning and exam within less than 24 hours so that added to the stress of the day helping her print paperwork, sign them, figure out the best options on how to order and what to order and we aren't near being finished with getting her ready to serve as a missionary so get ready for the ride and hold on for the next few months.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Getting Free Stamps May Not Be Free

When cleaning out my mothers house, we found many piles of envelopes with stamps on them or just piles of stamps. 

At first, I thought that she put the stamps on herself and was just going to use the junk mail envelopes to mail things by crossing out the "to" address or covering it up.
After finding quite a few of these envelopes in different areas of her place, I realized that they were all from "charities" and that they were sent to her so she would donate to their charity if she didn't have to pay for postage. 

My mother was a hoarder towards the end of her life and I don't know if donating to charities is part of her hoarding tendency or if she was just charitable but I think she really had a big heart and loved to "help" things she believed in. 
I would LOVE to get a total of monies she donated to charity or what she thought were charities over her lifetime. She would get calls daily where people would visit with her and ask for donations and she felt like she needed to donate to them because they took time to visit with her. 

She wouldn't donate to her kids or grandchildren as often. She would pay for her way and sometimes offer to cover something but she always felt she was broke and many times it was due to her purchasing of items for her costume rental business but it wasn't until her later years when we got involved more in her finances that we realized how much money she was giving away. 

The envelopes we collected show many charities that she would donate to with check and I know several of my siblings have a handful of the stamps she pulled off the envelopes as we split up stuff when cleaning out her place.  

She complained of never having money for quite some time and was paying huge fees in overdrafts. When we finally got into her accounts, we realized she was giving away most of her social security income each month. The saddest part to me was many of the "charities" were around Native American groups and the name was just changed a little on each withdrawl and I think it was the same person calling her every few days asking for $10 -$30 each time and she would give them approval for a withdrawl. 

The other group she loved to contribute to was the Republican Party, the young republicans, Mitt Romney Campaign etc. She donated so much over time that she was invited to his inauguration when he was elected Governor of Massachusetts and I went in her place.   

If you have an elderly parent, you may want to monitor their junk mail and take out the "Please Donate" mail and put the "no solisitation" recording / block on their phone so that you don't end up in the situation that my mother did.

We finally had to change account numbers so they couldn't withdraw anymore as she had given them her access so they just drained her account each month leaving her with not much to live. 

The changing of the account didn't keep her from giving as she continued to write checks to charities that sent mailings but she also got more calls and even though we made her promise she wouldn't donate, she did. In fact, the month she died, while I was up at the cancer clinic getting her blood, I opened up some mail about her "monthly support donation" so that was interesting. 

Our family just wished she would have used that money to help out missionaries or our children's college funds etc. 

In the end, I did get a few dollars worth of unused stamps so it wasn't a total loss. Ha ha!     

Friday, June 24, 2016

I Swallowed A Basketball - 37 1/2 Weeks

It is nearly six a.m. and I still hadn't started writing my blog. I uploaded a video and all the pictures for the post I wanted to do but that will have to wait. This week has been way too long and stressful and I am just going to pull a picture and share it with you that my daughter posted today on our family chat. 

She will probably not be happy with me for posting this but I am SO excited. I got to hold a cute and happy baby boy tonight at bunko for a good 40 minutes and it just made me so excited to meet the coming grandson! Grand Prince Number One could arrive any day! Our family is so happy for the addition and look forward to that day with a prayer in our hearts that both mom and baby will be safe and healthy! 

Hopefully I can get some of the posts I have uploaded written next week if things slow down some. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Mole Digging in A Hole - In My Window Well

Princess Five and I have been spending lots of time in her bathroom recently trying to learn contouring make-up and how to use things as "finishing spray" for make-up which I had never even heard of before this week.

A few weeks back I was visiting one of the women in my congregation who is helping put on the "Miss" pageant for our town. I shared with her that I don't use much make-up and so my girls also don't use much make-up and that I thought a "make-up" tutorial on contouring would be very helpful to the contestants. 

I am so glad they decided to do the tutorial as Princess Five seemed excited about learning how to do it.We went out that night and spent some money on make-up for her to experiment with. Come to find out, I should have had her go shopping in my cupboard as the stuff we bought, the contouring palette was expensive and had sparkles in the highlight white which made her look sweaty and shiny on stage. 

She was also having a problem with what I thought was her foundation as it always looked wet and shiny on her nose anyway. I finally went to the bathroom to figure it out. 

I guess the powder she was using had oil in it and never dried. I thought that odd as powder is supposed to set make-up and dry oily areas so with that, we got her some different powder and used the contour kit I already had and now she looks BEAUTIFUL!

I was ironing her skirt and she said, "There is a mouse making noise in the window well." I don't like when animals get stuck in my window wells as I have to suck it up and get them out being the mom. 

Problem with this is, it wasn't a mouse! It looked like a mole. It has long white teeth which you can see reflecting in the top picture. There are long claws and some white sensor things coming out of its nose.  

I don't want any mole, live or dead in my window so I posted on a local yard-sale site if anyone wanted one to "study" for home schooling or something. Nope. But I found out it isn't a mole but a "Pocket Gopher" which some experts shared with me. 

I did get the idea to stick a piece of wood in it but frankly after looking them up, I don't know that I want it to live in my yard as I have seen what they do and don't want them around. I truly hope someone decides to come and get it tomorrow so I don't have to deal with it. 

I couldn't help but think of my favorite band U2 song "Elevation" where they sing: "A mole, digging in a hole,  Digging up my soul, Going down, excavation." Who wouldn't think of that song in this situation!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Drying Flowers From a Funeral or Wedding Using Silica Gel Crystal Sand

My mother had a wonderful talent. She dried flowers from wedding bouquets and funerals. 
Many years ago, fake flowers weren't very good and looked "fake" so fresh flowers were always used and if you wanted to be able to have the bouquet as a keepsake, you would have to dry it. 
The same goes with funeral flowers. If you want a keepsake from a funeral, there isn't much other than florals at funerals.    

For years, I would watch my mother dehydrate flowers and put them in glass domes for friends, clients and family for either weddings or funerals. 

She would spend hours layering the flowers or petals in layers of silica gel sand and let them dry in the garage or put the trays of gel in the oven on the lowest setting for a few days and they would dry more quickly if she had a deadline. 

My mother was so creative that it was "normal" for me to have trays of sand in the oven or many in the garage. I never questioned growing up that every home didn't have crafts throughout the house.  

Princess Five was in the Jr. Prom royalty and wanted to dehydrate one of the carnations she got in her bouquet so I showed her how to dry it and made a few videos in the process as dried flowers aren't something that is popular anymore with all the wonderful fake flowers available and different trends in home decor. 

I haven't used the drying sand since one of my best friends mothers died. I dried some flowers from her funeral arrangements and put them in a deep picture frame for her to have as a reminder. 
To dry the flowers, you take the stem off as they take longer to dry. You pour sand by the handful into the petals of the flower. 

Make sure you get drying sand down as deep as you can because if it doesn't get down into the base of the flower, it can mold or turn black as it dries. 

For the best results, use fresh flowers. You can dry them in the same tray but you can't have them touching any side or other flower or they don't dry well or dry bent. When it is dried for a week or so, you just start to pour off the sand back into the bucket or another container and once the flowers are uncovered, you can use a paint brush to brush off pieces of sand that are still stuck on it. 

You can use floral tape and floral wire to make stems. You can dry leaves and baby's breath to use as background or leaves and you can put them in frames or glass globes and make arrangements. The videos are descriptive. Feel free to ask questions if you have any.