All of Us!

All of Us!
Finally! All together with enough time to spare (??) to capture a picture of all six of us in the same spot, same time. Now this is a precious photo! I tried to get one last year for our Christmas card and didn't succeed. So when I had the chance I threw out the lasso and rounded everyone up (at my niece's graduation party) to grab a couple snapshots. My oldest son, Casey, and his girlfriend Nika are on the left; and my youngest son, Brady, and his girlfriend Jenne on the right; that leaves Bob and I in the center. (Bob is the one who doesn't look very happy about having his picture taken!!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall Projects Galore

Fall seems like it is the time to get projects done around the house. This past weekend, it seemed as if I was trying to accomplish so much, and I actually did, even though it was little iddy-biddy projects. I’ve been cleaning out cupboards and re-organizing, organizing and then re-organizing. Last night, I went to Menard’s because they had a sale on their blinds. I have been meaning to do this for some time to hang up in the kitchen windows.

I met up with my cousin, Jo, and she helped me out. It was a fun, fast little shopping trip that actually meant so much because I got to spend a little quality time with Jo, and accomplished a lot in the meantime, too. She even helped me pick up more (120) tulip bulbs for my flower gardens, so it was a very productive shopping trip. Now, Bob has to hang them for me. To aid in that situation, I even picked him up some peanut M&M’s that were on sale. (A little bribery goes a long way, sometimes).

Jo was in search of some more mini-lights for her faux fiscus tree. She wasn’t successful there, as they didn't have their Christmas decorations out yet and nothing in the Halloween department. The Halloween decorations were out and seemed to even be a little picked over. We had fun looking at some of the big, big blowup decorations. One in particular Jo pointed out was a horse-drawn hearse. It was comical, needless to say. There were shelves of planting items which were on sale, I suppose to make way for the incoming slew of Christmas items. I should get back over there to help them make some more room. I could be good at helping to clean out a few items of their summer garden stock. Hmmm....that is sounding like a plan. Jo even remarked about it when she saw the sign on the doorway that went into the garden center stating “50% off garden items” and which was boldly whispering my name saying, “Shari, come in, come in.” But, Jo held me back and stated, “you probably shouldn’t go in there. Save it for another trip.” Such a good person she is!!

Next, on my list, is I have some furniture that I want to re-do and paint, so before snow flies, I want to pull out the sawhorses in the garage, lay down some plywood and get at it before I put them on the back burner and another year flies by.

Wow, when I talk about the garage, that will have to be another weekend project, as it is in desperate need of cleaning and reorganizing before Winter sets in and the car goes back in the garage.

So many projects and so little time. Menard's was not a good place for me because it was giving me more project ideas, which means more shopping trips. I’ll have to make a note to take Jo along on some more of my next shopping trips. She sure knows how to help me spend my money, but then she knows just the right moment to hold me back, too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall, Football and, yep, Christmas

Well, the air is getting a little crisper and cooler in the mornings and evenings. Fall must certainly be settling in. Hmmm...that means the hot, humid, dog days of summer have flown by, football season is upon us, the vegetable gardens are waning and the flower beds are wanting some attention. My flower beds have certainly been calling for me the last couple weeks. And it has been easier to stay outside working in them, too. I’ve dug up one big bed and am waiting the arrival of plants and bulbs shortly. The estimated shipping dates are starting next week on the 21st. Waiting for the arrival of plants is like waiting for the stork to drop in with arrival of a new baby – a much anticipated day-by-day waiting game. But, I’ve transplanted the plants that I had there and the tiller is sitting waiting for the day to be put back into use. I’ve also got quite a pile of mulch leftover from the spring planting. The only thing I will have to engage once the plants arrive is my husband, Bob. He will do the tilling, I’ll do the planting and then together we will put down the mulch. Next, I'll have to do my planting layout. That is always the fun part.

I’ve decided to change up my beds in the back of the house and am going to color code them. The big long oblong one is going to contain 3-season pink, lavender, and white plants. My round one by the clothesline is going to be the hub of the red, yellow and blue. And, finally, the smaller oblong one is going to contain the orange, yellow, salmon hues.

I am currently awaiting shipments for the big oblong one. So far, for tulips I’ve ordered the following: First Cherry Blossom (pink/white), Mayflowering Tulip Survivor (pink), Purple Flag (purple), and Rembrandt tulip mix. I absolutely love the Rembrandt tulips so that will be a nice mix in this bed. These will bloom in March - May.

Next, I’ve added the Tango Lily Cappuccino (white lily with a purplish-maroon throat; June-Sept.), the daylily Rosy Returns (big rosy flowers which are 3" across and have a darker pinkish-purple eye-zone and yellow-green throats; June-Sept.), a Bi-Color Blue Grape Hyacinth (which is a bluish-purple; April-May), Allium Roseum (pink; Mar-April), Allium Purple Sensation (purple; March-April), Dutch Iris Mix (purple, pink, white, yellow; May-June), Fox’s Grape (purple-yellow; April-May), Grape Hyacinth White Magic (white; April-May). My plan is to pick up a few more plants and/or flowering shrubs that are on sale now around local nurseries to fill in. I may order some more day lilies or pick up some roses to complete this bed.

To add to my round red, blue and yellow bed I’ve ordered the following: Apeldoorn Elite Tulips (yellow-red; March-May); Candy Apple Delight Tulips (red-white), and Sky-Blue Lillies (blue; May-June).

In all, so far I’ve ordered around 125 tulips to add to my gardens this year. But, knowing me, if I make it into any nurseries now, I’ll be picking up more fill-in tulips. Nevertheless, I still always like to have the “show-stopping” ones, some of which I have in my “save for later” lists with different plant companies, just waiting for a sale so I can hit the “ORDER” button. I’m still getting more Fall catalogs every day, so the weekends are fun to do my wish lists from each catalog. Then when I get an email telling me there is a sale, I can quickly go to those lists and do my ordering, carefully making sure I haven’t already ordered each plant or bulb somewhere else.

With all the Fall plant and bulb ordering I have been doing, I’ve also simultaneously been doing some on-line Christmas shopping, too. This has been somewhat confusing to me, as now I’m not sure what season we are really in. Seems like we get to this time of year, when a few weeks ago the Halloween stuff was appearing on the shelves, signaling that Fall was fast approaching. But sometimes it seems like Fall never arrives because by the time the calendar hits that 21st or 22nd day of September, official first day of Fall, the Christmas decorations are on the store shelves and we have officially bypassed Fall and gone straight into Pre-Christmas season. Unfortunately, for Fall, he is now short-changed, becoming the smallest of his bigger triplet clan who have taken over to dominate this time of year. What do I mean? Well, the better known family tree of Four Seasons have now turned into the Three Seasons and their cousins, a three-headed Cerberus fourth season, named Fall/Football/Pre-Christmas – never quite knowing who got the bigger, broader shoulders in that family but it is definitely a fight between Football and Pre-Christmas. Fall is now just the runt of the bunch.

Nevertheless, Fall has brought about the color changes in the trees above and those leaves have started falling softly from the trees, Football is now conclusively dominating the TV sets and, yes, Pre-Christmas is also here. I wouldn’t doubt that once I go to the stores tonight in search of blinds for my kitchen, that I will see Christmas decorations starting to go up. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit, since I have already begun my Christmas shopping. This must, though, undoubtedly mean it is going to be a cold, hard Winter, because I never start shopping this early. And, as my sweet little sister Suzi pointed out, I’ll hit the stores on Black Friday and yet won’t even be done then and will continue to shop until a couple days before. It is always hard for me to stop.

Yes, I’ll admit that Christmas is definitely my best holiday of the year. So, right now while my hubby might enjoy Fall’s triplet brother, Football, I’m definitely much more fonder of their triplet sister, Pre-Christmas.