Adventure's of a volunteer.......

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Still no snow

Well it does not look good for a white Christmas. Which is probably nice for those who have to travel. I don't want a lot of snow, just enough to cover the grass.
Christmas will be a hard day this year as it will be the first time in 51 years that I will not be seeing my mom on Christmas day. I remember how much my mom loved making holidays so special.  I remember one Christmas when us kids go up early and there were mud prints on the kitchen floor, the glass of milk  we left for Santa was spilled and there were cookie crumbs left in the kitchen. I could not believe that Santa would leave such a mess. As I got older and was helping my mom get ready for Christmas I asked her about that Christmas morning and the muddy prints. She told me that she boiled water on the stove and then had my dad clear a spot of snow. She poured the boiling water on the spot my dad had cleared and then my she put on my dad boots and got them muddy. Looking back, I should have realized that with the snow and cold there would not be any mud. But my mom kept the magic of Christmas alive, even as we became adults.
Made a pot of chicken chili today! It is a grey, damp, chilly day so needed something to warm the ole bones!
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy today!
Joan

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guess I better not wait for snow...

I am having a hard time getting going on making my Christmas cards this year. I was waiting for some snow hoping that would help, but looks like it might be a long wait. Strange for Wisconsin I know. We are suppose to be in the 40's most of the week, with a chance of RAIN on Thursday. This year I am doing things a little different. I used to go through my address book and do my Christmas cards that way. I hand make my cards, so I try to make them all at once, then get them ready to mail. This year, I am going to send them as I get them. Doing it the old way, half way through my address book, I was getting tired of writing, and my hands were getting sore, so I would not put personal messages in them. Just sign our names. Well this year by sending as I get them, I can sit and write a message and not feel so stressed about getting through the address book. So far, we have gotten 3 Christmas cards and getting them ready to send was a nice, relaxing experience. Putting a personal message in them, spending time to reflect on what it means to have this person in my life. Remembering the true meaning of this wonderful season.
I have not done any postings about volunteering lately. Last Friday was a weird day. Kailey (the other girl I volunteer with) usually split up the patients. We had a total of 14 people in the program, so we each took 7. We left the volunteer office off to see our first patients. Mine as on the 11th floor and Kailey's was on the 6th floor. We both got back to the volunteer office at the same time. Good news, both of those patients were getting ready to go home! We grabbed the next on our lists and headed out. Both on 8th floor this time. My patient was having some therapy and it was not  good time for a visit. I went back to the office. Kailey was there...her patient was down having x-rays. Hmmm, signs of what the day was going to be like. The next patients we went to see all had company, and I feel that visiting with company is much better than visiting with me, a volunteer. So Kailey and I were done early. We went and stocked the nurses helpers and cleaned the volunteer room. Hopefully our volunteer boss can find what he needs!
Hope everyone has a great day! Stop back soon!
Joan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Snuggle Exhilarations® White Lilac and Spring Flowers

Snuggle Exhilarations® White Lilac and Spring Flowers: Thx Snuggle 4 my free Exhilarations White Lilac and Spring Flowers sample! Like 4 ur chance to win! http://on.fb.me/SnuggleSweeps *Please remember the FTC requires you to mention that you received a free sample courtesy of Smiley360 when sharing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday...again!

Candy (our 3 year old chocolate lab) had taken a liking to getting up at 6 am! She can go outside and do her thing, eat and then falls right back to sleep. I on the other hand can not go back to sleep. So, I hit the floor running this morning. Have to go pick up some groceries. Hy-Vee has some awesome deals this week, and I am really getting the hang of this coupon thing. Not that I am going to have a massive stock pile, or spend hours in the check out doing lots of transactions, but I find trying to find a good deal thrilling. Also, if I don't buy the thing I have a coupon for, I leave the coupon near the product for someone else to (hopefully) pick up and use. My husband calls me the "coupon fairy." I am learning how to stack coupons with sales at the store. For today, Hy-Vee has a coupon in their ad for buy any 2 Ore-Ida potatoes, get one free. Plus I have a coupon for $1.00 off any Ore-Ida potato. Then we will stop at Wal-Mart. I am returning some cupcake mix I bought. It was on a clearance bin marked for $1.25. (Plus I had coupons for 75 cents off each box) I picked up 2, but when I got home they rung up for $2.88 each! Nope, not paying that much for a box mix. I am usually better at watching the scanner. Plus we have to find 2 gifts to take to our stroke meeting on Wednesday night. Then home to start baking. I am making an awesome peanut butter dessert to take Wed to our stroke meeting. It goes in the freezer and the recipe says it can be make up to 3 months in advance. So, I think I am safe making it today. Also going to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. And trying a new recipe for supper, hamburger steaks. (Hy-Vee also has hamburger on sale this week!)
Hope to clean my craft room this afternoon, so I can start on making some Christmas Cards!
Take some time to find some joy and wonder in today!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Joan

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I want snow!

Happy Sunday! I have been trying to get my Christmas cards started, but just can't find the energy or spirit. I usually love making and sending cards, but not this year. I tried today to start, even put on some Christmas music, but that did not help. So, I made lasagna for supper and am now watching the Packer game. My dear husband went to Fleet/Farm with his friend today and he bought me 2 big bags of "angel food" It is my all time favorite candy and they only carry it this time of year. Maybe that will help put me in the Christmas spirit! Sure can't hurt! Plus I need postage stamps, and the thought of going to the Post Office does not help! I have a lot of friends who still work there, and I hear it is pure hell.
We have a busy week this week. It sure seems like we can go weeks with nothing special going on, but then when we do have something special going on they sure all seem to happen at once. Monday I am baking, Tuesday Bryan volunteers and I get the house work done. Wednesday we have our Young Stroke Survivor/Caregivers support group. It is our Christmas party! Students from the University come and help the  stroke survivors play casino games. They have prizes you can bid on with your winnings. It is also our pot luck, so that means I don't have to cook!! Plus it is a good night to catch up with other caregivers and chat. Thursday we have a Stroke luncheon. We will get to see the recreation therapist who worked with Bryan when he was going through day rehab. She lost her job when they closed the day rehab (November 2010) so it will be nice to see her again. Then it will be Friday and that means volunteer day! WHEW!
I hope you all have a great day!
Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon!
Joan

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Yummilicious!

Good Morning! It has been a long week. My Aunt passed away on Saturday night. This is my dad's sister and his only living sibling. My dad just lost his wife (my mom) 5 months earlier, so it was a hard day yesterday at her funeral.
I have been following Becca at http://itsyummi.com/ and she is giving away a cookbook. She has some awesome recipes on her blog. You will get hungry just looking at it. But thankfully you won't gain any weight!
You should go check out her blog and sign up for the cookbook! Good luck everyone!
Joan


Sunday, November 27, 2011

No Butterflies....

Friday was a very busy day volunteering. I was the only volunteer for my shift. And I was happy there were no butterflies! I am sure you are wondering what in the heck I am talking about. Well about 2 months ago, I went to visit a patient.  She was not doing well, and her Pastor was with her. I told them  I would come back later. Well a couple hours later I went back to her room. The door was shut, so I knocked. Someone answered, "come in." So in I waltzed. Well to my surprise, it was the funeral home there to pick up her body. I assumed that when you died in a hospital, they moved you to a special room where you waited until the funeral home came and got you. Well, found out that is not the case. It was really hard on me to see that body being zipped into that body bag. So, after talking to some of the staff, we came up with this idea. When you come to a room that the door is shut, and there is a butterfly on the door, that means the person in that room has passed away and are either waiting for the funeral home personal, or the funeral home personal is in with them. No more surprises.
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I struggled missing my mom.
Still have not gotten into my craft room. We had some awesome weather last week, so I took Candy for a couple walks every day. Did all the laundry and hung it outside. Nothing beats fresh sheets off the line. And got a lot of cleaning done. I hope to start my Christmas cards soon. Need some snow on the ground first! Hopefully that will come soon.
I hope everyone has a great day!
Joan

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday! That means volunteer today!

Whew....made it through another week. What a rough week. I had cooking disasters, baking disasters and did not get any crafting done! Here is some of the disasters this week. Monday, I got my sample of Snuggle's new Exhilaration's White Lilac and Spring Flowers. Was so looking forward to getting this. And perfect timing as Tuesday is my laundry day. Well this sample was a full sized bottle. It leaked all over the box. There was only about 1/4 of the bottle left. However it did make the rest of my mail smell wonderful. My mailbox still smells good, so this must be some good stuff! I did e-mail the company that I am trying this for, and they are sending me a new bottle! Tuesday we had steak on the grill. Whenever we have steak on the grill we have mashed potatoes and creamed corn. Bryan's favorite. I made the mashed potatoes (my carpal tunnel was acting up...that is my defense) and the potatoes were pretty lumpy. Although they tasted good, just not "mashed" enough. That disaster over we made it to Wednesday. I had a coupon for $1.00 of Idahoan instant  potato's. Never tied them before. But with the coupon making the package only 18 cents! Heck ya. Well I had a million (well ok, maybe not a million) things on my mind as I was making the potatoes. I followed the directions correctly (or at least I thought) When dinner was finally ready, I called Bryan to the table. I took the potatoes off the stove and they looked like (according to Bryan) cream-of wheat! Oh crap! I looked and sure enough they were really soupy. I got the package out of the recycle bin and thought I had done every step correctly. I mean really, how do you screw up instant potato's? Well as I looked in the sink, I noticed that I had grabbed the 2 cup measuring cup instead of the 1. Oops, that will make soupy potatoes! Thursday I was in the mood to bake something. I decided to make my mom's blonde brownies. I usually double this batch so I can make a 9 X 13 pan. I got them all mixed (something did not look right, but I have not made these for a long, long time) and put them in the oven to bake. They smelled good while baking. I let them cool, and had one. They did not taste anything like I remember. Looked at the recipe again, it called for 1/3 cup melted butter (which I doubled) and 1 cup of brown sugar. Oops, I read the recipe wrong and added 1/3 cup brown sugar, doubled. Not the 2 cups that it called for. They really had not taste. So last night I told Bryan we were having something simple. So, I made SOS (shit on a shingle) I made everything right!!! Tonight is our pizza night, so I know I will have 2 nights with no cooking disasters! I mean , who can screw up frozen pizza........right?
Thanks for stopping by!
Take Care
Joan

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Our anniversary!

Saturday was Bryan's and my wedding anniversary. I had wanted snow on my wedding day, but just had really cold temps. We were eating breakfast yesterday and I asked Bryan how long we had been married. He said "13 blissful years" Well, I told him to try again.. he guessed 15 years? I told him that it has been 17 years. He said, "it sure does not seem like that long" I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. Bryan tried hard to keep my spirits up, he came home from his morning coffee and was so excited that he had figured out what we were doing for dinner. I ask and usually either hear, "I don't care, or I don't know" As the day went on, I kept trying to guess. We had just talked about my favorite restaurants to go to. I like Pedro's ( a Mexican restaurant) but Bryan does not like it. I usually go to lunch there with my friends Karen and Janet. Then I guessd Olive Garden. I was just telling him how I could go for their some of their salad. Nope, still was not right. Although, knowing my husband all my life, I knew he could be fooling me. I asked him how fancy I had to dress up. He said not real fancy. Well to my surprise, he took me to the VFW for all you can eat corned beef and cabbage! I am so lucky to have married Mr Romance! It was a great dinner, and I did not have to cook. So it was a great night!
Tonight I tried a new recipe. Chicken Sticky Strips! Yumm... So easy and fast. We had them with steamed green beans (from our garden) and mashed potatoes.



This is after about 20 minutes.

It does not start out to look like much, but once the sauce cooks down. I think next time I make it I will make it along with some rice. Here is the recipe.

4 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 cup Italian dressing
2 t lemon juice
2 t honey
2 t brown sugar

Put everything in a zip-loc baggie and marinate for at least an hour. In skillet on med-high, add everything to the skillet. When comes to a boil, turn heat to med-low. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Mine was not turned high enough so I had to crank the heat for the last 10 minutes. Once the sauce starts to turn, it turns very fast. Also, don't get nervous that you have so much sauce in the beginning, it will cook down.
I hope to get into my craft room this week and work on some cards. I was not in the mood the last couple weeks.
Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by, have a great today.
Joan

Monday, November 7, 2011

Well....Saturday sure sucked!

Saturday was my birthday, and it really sucked. This is my first birthday since the passing of my mom.
She really knew how to make a person feel so special on their birthday. She always called, we always got 2 cards, one funny one and one special one. Growing up as kids, we always got to have our favorite meal and our favorite dessert. I always picked her spaghetti and her Orange Kiss Me Cake. Although in my more "adult" years, I wanted her apple pie. This pie she won a blue ribbon for at the fair in their town. I tried to keep so busy on Saturday, but spent a lot of time crying. The phone never rang....no cards in the mailbox...no spaghetti dinner or apple pie. It was a very beautiful sun shiny day. I did laundry and hung out our bedding. My sister-in-law gave me a bottle of my favorite laundry soap, so doing laundry gave me some comfort. I was emotionally drained and ready for bed about 7:30, but went around to turn the clocks back before I went to bed, but that made it 6:30. YUK!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and hope you come back again!
Enjoy today!
Joan

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bryan's project.....done!


I have ALWAYS hated the tv stand we had downstairs. We got the big tv about 5 years ago, and used an old stand we had in the basement. It was black so if felt like it needed to be dusted daily. Notice I said, needed, not that it was done. And it was low. For the past 6 months, Bryan and I have been looking at them in the stores. We would like something on one, something else on another. But they still all seemed so low. And so expensive for a what we wanted. We both wanted something very simple. So one day Bryan and I were talking, and we thought that (will a little....ok a lot) of help we could make our own. My brother-in-law, Tim is an awesome wood crafter. After sending him an e-mail on what we wanted he thought we could do it. So one Saturday, Bryan and I went up to their house. Bryan and Tim put together what we wanted! It is GREAT! It makes the whole room so much brighter. The tv sits up so much higher.
I took a before and after picture!
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Badger Game Day!

I love fall and everything that it brings. A cool morning, sunshine, and football! Although I don't like it when they play night games, cuts into my sleep. As you get older, your bed time seems to get closer to dinner time and dinner time gets closer to lunch time...and on it goes.  People get a laugh when I tell them that Bryan and I eat supper at 3:30 in the afternoon! Well, we only eat 2 meals a day. So sometimes when we eat at 3:30, buy 6:30 I think it should be about bedtime. And now it will be dark at 4.
I made this card to enter into a challenge at The Spotted Chick. http://thespottedchick.blogspot.com/ She does such cute cards. I really enjoy seeing all she makes.
This is my krafty card, hoping it makes me a "Krafty Chick!"

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
Joan

Monday, October 24, 2011

A beautiful fall day

It was such a great day today. Thanks to mother nature for heating my house for me today with her sunshine!
I also got in the mail information on my Compassion Child. My best friend, who just happens to be my sister-in-law, (I know, how lucky am I) has set me up with a child to correspond with. Her name is Stephany and she lives in Ecuador. I am so looking forward to getting to know this child.
Also, my friend Mary at http://www.cardztv.blogspot.com asked me if I would post my granola recipe. Like I said, it is very basic, so you could add whatever you like. I had some in my yogurt today. Yum!

4 cups oats
1 cup nuts
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1 cup raisins

Mix all together (except any dried fruit you are going to add) and put on a cookie sheet. Spread out. Bake at 300 for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Then add any dried fruit you would like.  Store in air-tight containers. I baked mine on parchment paper so it came off the cookie sheet really easy. If you try it, let me know how you like it.

Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great today!
Joan

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday...again!

Can't believe that it has been a week since I posted. Hope everyone had a good week.

I thought I would give up soda, but woke up this morning, headache and crabby so I had a soda and a calm feeling came over me. It was an Ahhhhh moment. I guess maybe I will just cut back on my soda drinking. I also have been having a craving for granola. I was at the grocery store and could not believe the price. I thought to myself, it can't be that hard to make. So I looked around online and found some recipes that sounded really good, some not so much. I took bits and pieces from different recipes and made some this morning. Mmmmm. It is so good. I put it in jars, and then had a little left. I put a little milk on it and it was a great treat. I love it in my yogurt. And by making it myself, I can put in it what I like. This batch was pretty basic until I knew if I liked it. But, with this as a base, I can add different things.

I hope you all have a great day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Packer Sunday!

Happy Sunday!
I woke up with a really bad headache, so have spent most of the morning in silence. Well...silence until Bryan got home from coffee singing the Subway $5.00 foot long jingle.
I have always been someone who clips coupons. But never gave them much thought, if I remembered to take them to the store, great if not, no big deal. Well that all changed after Bryan's stroke. I really had to learn how to budget and stretch our food dollar. I am getting better (still feel confused at times) but I am learning so much. How to look at the deals and use my coupons to my advantage. One of the resources that have really helped me is http://midwestcouponclippers.net This web page is full of information. You really need to check it out. They also have a face book page http://www.facebook.com/WisconsinCouponClippers
Here is how I worked coupons for our supper on Friday night. Wisconsin Coupon Clippers put up a like for a coupon for $2.00 off a DiGirino pizza. We usually have pizza on Friday nights after a day of volunteering. I also had a coupon from Fresh Express for $1.00 of a bag of lettuce.
I went to the grocery store, and DiGirino pizza were on sale for $5.59, the bag of lettuce was on sale for $1.19. So, with my coupons I got the pizza for $3.59 and the lettuce for 19 cents! I was pretty proud of myself! I like the challenge of getting the best deal I can!
Hope you all have a great today!
Stop back again.
Joan 

Friday, October 14, 2011

FRIDAY~

Hope everyone is having a good fall. I have been trying to keep busy. Have the garden all cleaned. The final tomatoes are in the kitchen to get ripe. I have a bowl of cherry tomatoes that are getting there. Sure is nice to grab some for a healthy snack. Of course, they are sitting right next to the bowl of Butterfinger candy bars! But life is full of choices! And I figure if I eat 5 cherry tomatoes and 1 candy bar they will cancel each other out!?
I took today off from volunteering. The last 3 weeks have been very challenging for me. I understand no one likes to be in the hospital, and there are not there for fun. But the past 3 weeks I have had some of the most unhappy, ungrateful just plain rude patients! I don't get paid enough, WAIT, I don't get paid anything to have to deal with that. I try not to take it personal, come on who would not want to spend some time with me!? I can usually deal with the crabby one's because the nice one's make it all worth while. But last week, not one patient was happy. And I had a full folder of 8 patients to see. So I have been in an ugly mood all week. Even though our weather has been awesome (except for the last couple days) I love fall and everything about it. I just could not shake my ugliness!

Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!
Joan

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Challenge at Outlawz

The Twisted Thursday Challenge at http://outlawzchallenges.ning.com/ was to use the colors, red, green and yellow. This is the card I made for that challenge.
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great today!
Joan

Apple Pie Muffins....yummy

Have a fun morning playing BINGO (the crafty way!) over at http://outlawzchallenges.ning.com I had mentioned that I made some Apple Pie Muffins and promised I would post the recipe here. They are really good.

As you can see from the second picture...my husband stole one!

Apple Pie Muffins

2 1/4 cups self rising flour (or regular flour with 1 t baking soda and 1/2 t salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk ( I usually don't have on hand so I make my own using 1 cup milk plus 1 T vinegar)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups diced apples


Topping

1/2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 t cinnamon
2 T butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt. (or the self-rising flour)
Beat in the egg, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla and brown sugar until well combined. Stir in the diced apples. Stir just until everything is blended. Spoon into the prepared muffin tins. Filling the cups to the top.
In a small bowl, stir together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the tops of the muffins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you come back soon.
Have a great day!
Joan

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Outlawz 1000 Member Party!

From
Monday, October 3, 2011, 12:01 AM EST
until
Sunday, October 9, 2011, 11:59 PM EST
We are celebrating The Outlaws 1000 members! Prizes worth $ 800.00!! Let's play!
Aren't you a member yet? That's not too late to join.
At The Outlaws we have challenges every day of the week. Check it out!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

WHEW...I have been on a card making roll!

I lost my interest in making cards after my mom passed away. She and I were awesome pen pals, and I enjoyed so much getting her cards and letters. After she passed when I had to make a card for someone it sure felt like a chore. But the last few weeks, it has brought me comfort again.
Another one of the blogs that I love is http://disguisedasagrownup.blogspot.com/. She has some great images that are usually free for the first 24 hours. She has a smarty-ass attitude. I got this image from her and made this card for a coffee buddy of Bryan's. 
This second card is for my brother. My second attempt at a center panel card.

And finally, this last card is for my Aunt who will turn 88!
Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you come back again!
Have a great day!
Joan

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy National Card Making Day!

One of the blogs that I LOVE is http://createwithtlc-createwithtlc.blogspot.com/. You really need to RUN over and check it out. She has some amazing stuff on there for cards. She does a lot of freebies, which I REALLY appreciate! She is having a blog hop today and this is the card I made for it. This was one of her freebies!
Today is National Card Making Day, so I hope to spend most of my day making cards!
Thanks for stopping by and hope you come back!
Joan

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A simple "thank-you" means so much!

I made a card for my nephew (by marriage) Curtis. He is such an awesome guy. Works hard so my niece can be a stay at home mom to their 2 wonderful daughters. Daelyn and Suri. He is such a hands on dad. I love this picture of them. So I made him a card and the sentiment I put on it says, "Not all Hero's wear capes." He "thanked" me for the card via face book and it made my day! That was my reminder as to why I make cards. I have been trying to remember to take pictures of my cards....but forgot to with this one.
This card is for our friend Greg. We met him through the Meriter Stroke Support Group. He sure has had his struggles. He was doing great since his stroke. But last Tuesday, he had some reaction to some medication, and he is back to square one. He was moved from Meriter in-patient rehab to a nursing home. He has a chocolate lab, that I am sure is really missing him.
I have been trying lots of new recipes. Some have been great, some not so good. Thank goodness I have a husband who is willing to eat my experiments! I made these gorilla balls on Sunday morning. Oh my! They are so easy and sooooo good! The house smells amazing while they are baking!
They are canned biscuits. Flattened out a bit. Then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Then you take a piece of cream cheese and put it in the center. Wrap the biscuit around the cream cheese to form a ball. Making sure to seal tightly. Rolled the balls in more cinnamon and sugar. Then I took butter and melted it with some brown sugar. Once melted and combined, I poured this sauce over the balls. Baked at 350 for about 30 minutes. This experiment sure was a keeper!
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are all having a great day!
Joan

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall weather...makes me happy!

Sure does not seem like that long ago since I posted.
Fall is my favorite time of year. I have been busy baking and canning.
Canned some tomatoes from our garden. Still have a LOT of green tomatoes. Both cherry and beefsteak. I have a feeling they are going to all turn ripe at once.  I have picked 5-- 1/2 gallon sized buckets of cherry tomatoes. Even tried my hand at making Raspberry refrigerator jam out of green tomatoes. It is really good! If you did not know there were green tomatoes in it, you can not tell. Although, next time I make it, I will chop up the tomatoes a lot smaller. My jam was a little chunky!
I have been making some cards. When my mom passed away in June, I lost my pen pal. We loved sending each other cards and letters. I lost my desire to craft after she passed away. I have been forcing myself to make some cards, and finally for the first time today, it felt good making cards again.
I sent this card to my dad. He has lots of trees at his house, and fall is spent raking and burning leaves. Although I don't think he has as much joy in doing it as this monkey.
This was my first shot at a center panel card. (ok so, this was my third attempt!) I think it turned out ok. I look forward to making more of these. I am still learning how to color with colored pencils and orderless mineral spirits.

This is for my niece, Kristen. She is a CNA at a nursing home, and as I know from working with the elderly with my volunteer work they can sometimes be a challenge. I hope this makes her day a little brighter.
Thanks for stopping by and hope you come back soon!
Enjoy today!
Joan

Saturday, September 10, 2011

WHEW...what a week!

We have had such a busy week. Wonder why it seems that everything happens at once? Next week, we have nothing but our volunteer schedules. Let's see....Monday was the holiday. Sure seems like a long time ago. We did yard work. Pulled a bunch of weeds. Cleaned up some of the garden. Tuesday and Thursday is the day I get to help my neighbor  (and friend) with her grandchildren. I love spending time with these kids, although it makes me miss our granddaughter! I go over at lunch and help feed them. Once they are all down for naps, my job is done. They are 2 years, 23 months, 9 months and 8 months. The youngest are really starting to get around so that makes things a little more challenging! Bryan goes to Meriter on Tuesday's to volunteer. On Wed, I had a surprise for Bryan! About 4 months ago, I entered him in a Home Town Hero contest put on by a A1-Furniture and Bedding. You had to write why you thought they should be a Home Town Hero. I wrote about how proud I was of his fight and determination since his stroke. His never give up attitude. I told how since he can't return to work, he now volunteers 2 days a week helping the current stroke patients at the same hospital he did both his in-patient and out-patient rehab at. First place was a $500.00 gift certificate, second place $50.00 and third was $25.00. I got an e-mail on Sunday that he had won 2nd place! We are saving up for a new recliner for him. Since his stroke, some nights he just can't get comfy in bed with his left sided weakness so he sleeps in the recliner. This recliner is almost 20 years old! We got it really cheap because someone had special ordered it and did not like the color green it came in. Well, on Tuesday while Bryan was at Meriter, the owner of the store called and said that Bryan's story really touched his heart. He wanted to give him a new recliner! WHAT! He asked if we could come into the store on Wed and pick it out. I did not tell Bryan where we were going. We got to the store, and he wanted to know what we were doing there. I told him that I had to go in, I had won a gift certificate. Once in the store the owner came and met us. He showed us all the recliners and pointed some out. They were very nice, but seemed small. Bryan sat in one that he REALLY liked. It had a little higher of a back for when he sleeps in  it. The owner had a phone call, and said he would be back. I watched the owner as he watched Bryan try the different recliners out. Always going back to the same one. I told Bryan not to get to attached because of the price. He said he knew, but it was so comfy. The owner came back and said to Bryan, "you really like this one, don't you?" Bryan replied, "yes, it is nice, taller back and very comfy." Then the owner said, "Well, ok then that is the one I want you to have!" My jaw dropped. This was a $699.00 recliner! Our neighbor helped Bryan go and pick it up later that afternoon. We got the old recliner moved upstairs (it's mine now!) and Bryan's all set up in his "man cave." I have even gotten to sit in it a few times.Then Wed night was our monthly Young Stroke/Caregivers support group. We really enjoy going to these. We have met so many awesome people through this group.  So now it is Thursday already. We spent the day getting the hot tub ready for winter. We started draining it in the morning. Then I went to do my lunch duty with the kids next door and Bryan went for coffee. After it was drained, I got in and scrubbed the inside. Then begins the process to fill it back up. Friday is our day to volunteer, and that brings us to today. Spent the day getting things done around my craft room. Cleaned and put everything where it belongs. Tried my hand at making a new kind of card called a panel card. After 3 attempts I think I got it. (I will post pictures tomorrow) Watched the Badger game. The water in the hot tub is now up to 120 degrees, guess where I will be going tonight! Ahhhh...
It was a good week, it was a very busy week.
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great day!
Joan

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A blog hop...

I followed along on a blog hop today. Saw some amazing cards with some new stamps. You should come and hop along. You can start here: http://ladybugcraftsink.blogspot.com/
Hope you come back soon and enjoy today!
Joan

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh, Candy!

I am working on making myself a family cookbook. I have never crafted a project for me! So, as I make family favorites, I am taking pictures of them. I made carrot cake yesterday. This is my mom's recipe, and Bryan's favorite. Candy REALLY wanted to try it!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!
Joan

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2 posts in 1 day....

Hey, hope everyone is having a great day! I did another video. I have been seeing so many cards using the action wobbles. I don't have any action wobbles, nor have I been able to find any at my local stores. So, I put my thinking cap on and made my own! This is a card I made using them.
video
Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!
Joan

Ok...who forgot to pass out the happy pills???

Yesterday while volunteering, I wondered why I do it? There is a lady who has been a patient since June 19, 2011. She has seen some of the cards I made, and asked my "boss" if I had any extra supplies, if I could bring her some to help pass the time. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it has been to pass the time this long. So, Thursday I made her up a goodie box. Cut paper to size to make some cards, printed some images for her to color, gathered some stickers, got some colored pencils and glue sticks. I was so excited to take her this box and make her day. I walked in her room and she was laying in bed. I asked her how her day was going, and she did not reply. I told her that I was the "card lady" and I had brought her a box of goodies. She did not respond. I asked her if she wanted to get out of bed and look at them, maybe make something. She screamed at me, "DOES IT LOOK LIKE I WANT TO GET OUT OF BED?" I was stunned. I said well, I will just leave this here for you to look at later, is there anything I can do for you? Her reply, "Ya, get the hell out of my room" I wanted to grab that box and say, "screw you, I don't have to be here, I didn't have to make this box up for you." But I said, "have a good day" and walked out. Outside were a couple of her nurses, who had heard this exchange. They said she was not having a good day, she was mad that the hospital did not have laundry service, and that she is so sick of the food at the hospital, she thought the hospital should give her money to order food from local places. They thanked me for making the box up for her. I went back to the volunteer office to get ready for the next patient. Mrs R. She was a 77 year old lady. I walked into her room and she was watching tv. I told her who I was and asked her if she felt like a visit. She asked me if I went to college, and I told her no. She then said that I probably could not carry on a conversation with her as she was "very educated." I told her that I was educated at the school of life. She did not find this very funny. Ok, I tried. I asked her what she liked to do, and she said read. I noticed she did not have anything to read, so I asked her if I could get her a magazine or book? She said she only reads the New Yorker magazine, and the Wall Street Journal, and she was sure that this hospital would not have those. I told her that I did not know, but I would look. I left her room. Back to the volunteer office do the paper work on the last 2 patients, and get ready for the next. Up next, Mr W. He is 81 years old and was admitted because of a fall. He was sitting in his chair looking out the window. I greeted him, and asked him how is day was going. His reply, "I am in the hospital, how do you think my day is going?" Well, I thought to myself, here we go again. I asked him if there was anything I could get him, and he just shrugged his shoulders. I saw his water was empty, so I asked him if he would like some fresh ice water. His reply, "if I wanted ice water, there would be ice water in the cup" Geez, just asking. I told him I would leave him rest and hope he had a good day. Well, lets see who is next on my list to be bothered. Mrs E, an 89 year old lady who was also there due to a fall. She was watching the news when I went into her room. I asked her if she needed anything. I figured the way the rest of my day had been going, I would just cut to the chase. She smiled and said, "no, I don't want to be a bother." I told her it was no trouble. She wanted her cup filled with cold ice water. I asked her if she would also like some juice, she thought for a moment and said, "oh, that sounds really good, do you think you could get me some cranberry juice, but only if it no trouble." I said I would do my best! And off I went. I found the cranberry juice, filler her cup with ice and water. And went back to her room. She thanked me over and over again. She told me that she was really trying to drink more liquids so she could get out of the hospital soon. She missed her husband and her garden. So we talked about gardening and had some good laughs. I told her about my planting 8 zucchini plants when I only thought I had 4. About the oddles of cherry tomatoes I have picked and all the ones still green. Before I knew it  an hour had passed. She had finished her juice and water. I asked her if she would like me to get more before I had to leave. Her reply, "only if it is not a bother." A bother, it's what I am here for. So, I got her the goodies and wished her well. She thanked me again for the visit, juice and water. Told me how her day was made better by me stopping by. Done for the day and off to 3-North to pick up Bryan. Hoping his day of volunteering had gone much better than mine! On the way out of the hospital, in the lobby sitting on a table I spotted a New Yorker Magazine AND a Wall Street Journal. I grabbed them and headed back up to Mrs R's room and gave them to her. I wanted to be a smart ass, and say, "bet you didn't think my un-eduacted ass would find these,did you? But, I smiled and said, "Look what I found for you!" She took them from my and smiled and said, "Thank-You."  Hmmmm, now I remember, this is why I volunteer!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a GREAT day!
Joan

Monday, August 22, 2011

I really think it's a sign......

As many of you know, I lost my mom on June 27, 2010. I miss her terribly. On the Wed after she passed, I was working in the garden. I asked God for a sign that my mom had arrived and I would be ok. A couple seconds later, this yellow finch was on the fence, just singing away. I have always loved feeding and watching the birds. Something my mom also enjoyed. I watched the bird for a bit and then back to work. A couple days later, I was having a sad day. As I was cleaning the living room, I heard a bird singing, and sure enough there was a yellow finch, outside our window singing. I watched her for a while and went on about my cleaning. A week later, I was baking some cookies. Another thing I learned from my mom. She was such an awesome cook and baker. I thank God she taught me to enjoy this also. As I was taking out a batch of her peanut butter cookies (Bryan's favorite) I again heard this bird singing in the pouring rain. I looked out our kitchen window and sure enough, a yellow finch sitting on my shepherds hook. I grabbed the camera and took this picture. I think God has this bird watching over me as I journey though the loss of my mom. It sure seems this bird shows up when I need her the most. Just like my mom. She always knew when I needed one of her letters or cards!
Thanks for stopping by! Have an awesome day!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ah....Sunday, funday!

I hit the floor running this morning. Made 2 loaves of zucchini bread and then made and canned 5 pints of homemade salsa. I picked 75 cherry tomatoes in the past 2 days. I have lots of more to come. I also now have 20 cucumbers waiting to get big. Picked 5 the other day. The tomatoes and onions in the salsa came from our garden. I had to buy a green pepper, forgot to plant those. Oh well, there is always next year! Then cleaned up the garden a bit. Pulled my sugar snap peas, they are done.

Now I am off to my craft room, hoping to get the creative side of my brain to work.


Thanks for stopping buy and have an awesome day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday!

Friday, and that means a day of volunteering at Meriter. I so look forward to these days. Mary at http://www.cricutcardzchallenge.blogspot.com/ has a challenge every week. You really should go check it out! This week the challenge is called Tutti Frutti. You have to make a card with fruit on it. Well, in my wacky brain, this is what I came up with.
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a great day.
Joan

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Zucchini....zucchini....zucchini....

Well if you have been reading my blog, you know that I thought I bought 4 zucchini plant when I really bought 8. Well zucchini and I have become friends. I have made 6 loaves (so far) of bread. I wonder if the staff at Meriter 3-North is getting sick of it yet. I LOVE to share. I have made fried zucchini, and baked zucchini. I was in the mood for a salad, and thought hmmmm, how can I use up more zucchini. Yep, picked 4 more yesterday! So I made this zucchini salad. And it is SO good. I have never tried raw zucchini and although it does not have much flavor, it has crunch. I shared some with my friend Cindy, and she loved it too. It is a sweet/sour type salad. And the sky is the limit as to what you could put in it.
  • Joan's Zucchini Salad
  • 1 ( 1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 7 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 med red onion, chopped
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • In a mixing bowl soak the onion soup mix with the white wine vinegar. Let stand 5 minutes. Combine the green pepper, celery, zucchini, red onion and kidney beans in a bowl. Add the white sugar, salt, pepper, vegetable oil and apple cider vinegar to the bowl with the soup mix and white wine vinegar. Mix well. Pour over vegetables.
  • Chill at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain off any extra liquid before serving.
Let me know if you try this, and how your family likes it. It has been so hot here in Wisconsin for the past 3 weeks, so this is a nice refreshing salad.
Thanks for stopping by, have a GREAT day!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ok, so not my best work....

I was cruising the web the other day and found the neatest blog. I thought I would try her challenge and make a card using kraft card stock. I have NEVER used this before. This is what I came up with. You should go check The Spotted Chick. She has some AWESOME cards on there. http://thespottedchick.blogspot.com
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Volunteering adventures!

Friday did not start out to be a good day at volunteering. When I got to the volunteer office my "boss" gave me a list of patients that he thought I would enjoy. He was heading to a meeting to discuss our budget. I told him to let them know that I did not need a raise. He did not get it, and I told him, I am a volunteer, they don't pay me! Then he chuckled and out the door. My first stop was to room 804, Mrs C. Mrs C was all hunkered down in about 5 blankets. I walked in and said, "Good Morning, how are you doing today/" She got this look in her eyes, and snapped "I am in the god dam hospital, how do you think I am doing?" Well I guess the nursing staff forgot to give her some happy pills with her morning meds. I asked her if I could get her anything, and she snapped back with a firm NOPE! I left her room, and took a deep breath hoping this would not be the way the whole day was going. Next stop room 1108. Mrs W. I took a deep breath before walking in, getting ready to whatever might happen. Mrs W was sitting up in bed, looking out the window. I asked her how she was doing this morning and her  reply "oh, pretty good." WHEW, this would be a nice visit. Mrs W had just ordered her lunch and was waiting for it to come. As we got her all ready we chatted about my garden. Mrs W had gardened for years. And canned. I told her how my mom and dad had canned for years, and with my mom's recent passing, I hoped to carry on the tradition of canning. Mrs W said she would like a warm wash cloth to wash her face before lunch arrived. Just as we finished that, her lunch came. She had ordered fish, mashed potatoes, peas and a brownie. We uncovered and opened everything up and she looked around at her plate. Grabbed her fork and headed for that brownie. I asked her if it was good. And she told me that she always tastes her dessert first. Then if she starts getting full on the healthy stuff, she will know when to stop so she can still have room for dessert. She asked me to put on the news, and I left her to enjoy her lunch. Next stop was Mrs B. She was in room 818. I walked in and she had a visitor. They were just starting to eat their lunch. I asked if she minded if I sat and visited while they ate. They both welcomed the company. I knew Mrs B, she was my patient a couple weeks ago and I got to visit with her while she ate that day. She was so excited that day because she was going home. She remembered me, and was telling her husband about the great visit we had the last time. Her husband is blind, and has been since the age of 15. They have such a fairy tale romance. They met when they were both young adults. Her father would not let her marry this man because of his blindness. Her father was afraid he could never provide a life for his daughter. They both went their separate ways, married other people. As fate would have it, they were both getting kicked to the curb (as her husband tells the story) at the same time from their respective spouses. Mary had moved to Arizona. So, Mary moved back to Wisconsin. And when she got to Madison, she thought she would look in the phone book and see if she could find him. She found his phone number and gave him a call...the rest they say is history! In the 20 years they were apart, they never spoke to each other. But according to Mr B once they met up again, it was like they were never apart. It was nice to see her again. I had thought about her a lot since I had first met her. I told her that I hoped she was better and home by the next time I came in to volunteer, but if not, I looked forward to visiting with her again. I went back to the volunteer office, and I told my boss that one of the things I don't like about my volunteering is that once a patient leave the hospital, we don't have any contact. I hope that my little visit has helped make their day a little brighter. I know most of the patients I see, have helped make my days a little brighter!
Thanks for stopping by!
Joan

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bring on the heat wave.....

We are at the beginning of a heat wave here in Wisconsin. For at least the next 8 days we will have temps over 90 degrees. The lows at night are the high 70's. A great week to stay inside and craft! I think we have the only lab in Wisconsin that does not like to get wet. Although she loves baths. Bryan put her favorite "chew log" in our sprinkler and tried to get her to get it. She barked and looked at Bryan as if to say..."you put it in there...you get it out!"

As far as the garden. It is going GREAT! My next goal is to get the stuff I pick to the kitchen. I love to pick and eat. I have picked zucchini, green beans, peas, cucumbers and tomatoes. And, speaking of tomatoes. Candy has taken a liking to them. We have to watch her when we have her outside as she will run for the garden and starts eating the tomatoes. She never paid any attention to them until they started turning red. The only thing I can think of is that she has a ball that is red, and she thinks I have a plant that grows red balls for her!
Thanks for taking time to stop by. Hope you come back again soon.
Have a GREAT day!
Joan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My first mini album...and video!

video
I so admire the work Mary does at http://www.cardztv.blogspot.com/. She made a mini album of her herb garden. You should go check it out. I thought I would give a try a making my first mini album and video. I have a feeling there will be lots more mini albums in my future...as for video, not so sure!
Thanks for looking.
Joan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Update, update...update!

I realized that in my last few posts, I have not talked about my volunteer adventures. Last Friday was a pretty slow day. Which is good because not a lot of sick, hurting people. My first visit was to an 85 year old woman. Mrs B. She was having a great day as she was going home. She really missed her garden and her cat. I helped her order her lunch. At first she was not hungry but I helped her look at the menu. I then picked up the phone and placed her order. She wanted a V-8 juice, hot chocolate, beef broth, a turkey sandwich, jello (only if it came without any fruit in it) brownie and ice cream. I went to do a few things and told her I would try to be back when her tray arrived. Got her all ready to eat. Went back the volunteer office and did the paper work for my visit. Food services told me that Mrs B's lunch would take about 30 minutes to arrive. I went to visit a 50 year old named Mrs. K. She had taken a fall and was still pretty sore. Her lunch had just arrived so I helped her open all the packets. She had ordered a taco salad, and I must admit, it looked REALLY good. She wanted to sit facing the window while she ate. She had a great view of the lake, and wanted to enjoy that while she ate. After getting her all set, I went back to check on Mrs B. Mrs B tray had not yet arrived, so we talked about the "olden days." After about 10 minutes a knock on the door and food services was there with her lunch. Oh she sat straight up, ready. Hmmm for someone who was not sure if they were hungry or not. I opened everything up and asked her what she wanted to start with. She gave me a look  and said, "silly, I have to start with the brownie and ice cream...what if the ice cream melts?" Made perfectly good sense to me. So she had a couple bites of brownie and ice cream. Then had some of her turkey sandwich. She thought she better eat something healthy. I sat with her for a while bit while she ate and then her soap opera came on. She was very interested in that, so I left her to enjoy her lunch and her soap. On the way back to the volunteer office, I noticed a lady in the family lounge struggling with her lunch. I asked her if she needed any help and she gave me a big sigh and gladly accepted the help. She did not have silverware or napkin. I gathered those and got her something to drink. I asked her if there was anything else I could do for her, and she touched my hand and asked if I could sit with her while she ate. She was there to visit her sister who was not doing well. We had a very nice visit. She finished eating and sat back and said that was the best meal she has had in a long time. But wished she would have gotten something sweet. Ah...I can take care of that. I went to the nutrition room on the floor and got her some orange sherbet. Took that back to her and the smile on her face was priceless! These are the interactions that make me love my job as a volunteer!
I can't believe how much our garden has grown on the past couple weeks. I will take some pictures later today and update you on that. I helped my friend (and neighbor) can some green beans from her garden last night. We did 4 pints. My beans are not big enough for that...yet. But I am going to try my hand at canning this year! I loved going to my parents and helping them can. Now that my mom is gone, I hope I can keep the tradition of canning and having great canned goods all winter long!
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a GREAT day!
Joan

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

.
The challenge this Friday at http://stamptv.ning.com/ was to make a birthday card for a child. This is what I came up with. I have noticed that the elderly and children love cards with sparkle on them.  Thanks so much for looking!   Joan

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Saying good-bye is so hard....

On June 27, 2011 my mom walked home to Jesus,with love, grace and strength.. She has suffered for years with COPD. She showed us how to face death with a happy open heart. She was such a giving person that she donated her body to science. She never liked the attention on her, and did not want a funeral. We gathered as a family to celebrate her life. I am so grateful for my dad, sisters and brother for taking such good care of her in her final days. I appreciate all they did for mom. And I know I can never repay them for that.  I have learned so many lessons from her, lessons that you can't learn from a book. She gave me my love of cooking, baking and gardening. My love for letter writing and card sending also came from her. (my sweet tooth, that is thanks to my dad!) I am at peace knowing that she is in a much, much better place. Free to feed her birds, work in her garden and enjoy her lake with no difficulty breathing. I hear a lot of women complain that they have become their mother, I am proud to say that I hope I can become my mother! Godspeed mom, I look forward to seeing you again. I love you!
 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This weeks challenge.....




At http://www.cricutcardzchallenge.blogspot.com this week the challenge was to make card that was picnic or cook-out theme. This is what I came up with. I used Every Day Paper Dolls for the picnic basket. The ant was cut in Plantin SchoolBook and cut down a little.


Thanks for stopping by!


Have a great day!


Joan

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday.....ah Monday





I had mentioned in my last post about Candy liking to go through our wood pile and look for a "stick" to play fetch with. Her choice of sticks is something I question. I took a few pictures of her with one of her choices.







Her eyes in this last picture seem to be saying, "Wow, that is a lot heavier than it looks!

Have a GREAT day!









Saturday, June 25, 2011

A update on our garden
















Growing up we always had a garden. My parents at the ages of 80 and 78 still love to garden. I have not had a garden since Bryan had his stroke. But this year I decided to have one again. It is pretty theraputic to work with the soil. I planted 2 kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, beans, onions, peas and 2 kinds of cucumbers. I thought I had 4 zucchini plants, but turns out I had 8! Guess we will be eating a lot of zucchini! Candy loves laying in the sun while I work in the garden. She likes taking wood off the wood pile and waits for me to get done to play fetch. I often question her pick of the piece of fetch wood and go get a tennis ball. I don't think my arm would last long throwing a LOG! After lots of nibbling by the rabbits we broke down and put a little fence around the veggies. Worked! I tried 3 different types of twine for the climbing veggies and everyone broke. I was so tired of fixing it, that I figured I would just leave it and hope it would work. So far so good!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A challenge....

I found this site (www.cricutcardzchallenge.blogspot.com) and decided to give it a try. The challenge was to use the American Flag and any cricut cartridge for your card. I used Plantin School book for the blue square, the red stripes and the stars. I used Country Life for the apple pie.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yucky outside...great day to craft!

I know you are probably wondering where my volunteer update is for Friday. Well I did not have to go in. There were only 3 patients enrolled in the program and there were 2 volunteers going in earlier than me. So I went to some garage sales with my friend Cindy. I found a pair of leather loafers (never worn) for 50 cents. They are so comfy. And I got a butter dish for 5 cents. It was a fun day. I will be going to volunteer this Friday, so stay tuned for more great adventures.





It is a cold day here in Wisconsin. I think our high today is suppose to be 54! I thought I would try to make some Twisted Easel Cards that I saw on Mary's blog. (http://www.cardztv.blogspot.com/) She make them look so easy! This one is for my mom. She continues to struggle with health issues. The colors did not come out very well. The "bug" is lime green and matches the card base.