Saturday, February 28, 2009

365/46 End of February

This is what the end of February looks like around here. Puddles everywhere and muddy. Sorry you had to miss this Meghan, Ashley & Audra.....

Although it has a beauty (sort of) of it's own, it also has an ugly side. And it certainly doesn't mix well with a nearly white dog.

Poor Danan does not like bath time. As you can see her with all her hair wet she really is a slim and trim dog.

At bedtime she gets a little special treatment in case there's any dampness left we don't want her to catch a chill.

Friday, February 27, 2009

365/45 I Love Black & White Pictures

A couple days ago I received a book through and it's called Photographing Children in Black & White by Helen T. Boursier. It's a great book. There are many, many pictorial examples and she tells you all her tips and tricks for composing and taking the greatest shots.

I always thought it didn't matter what you wore when you shoot black & white because the colors don't show, but the tones do she says. Think of the colors on a scale of one to ten, with the lightest being one and the darkest being ten. White and light colors like cream, yellow, pink & powder blue are one. Black and dark colors like navy, deep purple, maroon, hunter green & red are ten. She says all people in the photo should wear either all light, all dark or all medium. It's okay to have all dark tops and light bottoms (or vice versa)but don't mix them up. Example: some people having dark on top and others with dark on the bottom, because it will make the portrait look all choppy.

Here are two of my all time favorite black & white photos of Michael. The first one was taken at the Polish Club in Hamilton at Michael & Ava's christening reception.

Mozart wasn't this cute when he started playing piano. Doesn't he seem enthralled?

And here at two of my favorites of Ava:

Watch out, whenever Gramie LaLa is left alone with the kids there's a photo session.

Doesn't this picture just say it all? LOVE!

And last but not least Sydney:

A Fourth of July picture.

Her First Birthday picture. She's so cute in pigtails!

Try some black & white pictures next time your trying to photograph a loved one.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

365/45 Audra's Collection

What do you collect? Audra's godfather & wife started buying Audra snow babies when she was just little...can't remember exactly when. We started adding to her collection and eventually she started buying them too.

The little snow baby poking it's head out of the wrapped present box is her very first one. I took these pictures after an ice storm, so the glass in the bay window looks really cool.

And the wedding cake one we bought her the year she was married. I love the Mr. & Mrs. Penguin on top.

The moose one is from Rick this year.... I LOVE IT!

A couple of years ago, I started to realize how much I was going to miss putting out the snow babies when Audra finally moved away, so I started collecting them myself. Smart thinking on my part, because now all those snow babies are in transit to the other side of the United States.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

365/44 Longing for Spring

While outside playing Frisbee with Danan, I noticed my butterfly garden and wished I'd finished working on it before winter hit. I laid newspapers on all my other flower beds and applied new mulch with my husbands assistance. We made the butterfly garden smaller (it's over the property line anyway), but that's as much as we accomplished. Plants and rocks were moved and we weeded it, but I didn't get things trimmed back or the mulch laid. Now it's covered under a layer of snow. The vine you see climbing the tree stump and trellis is a trumpet vine.

Here are some of the beautiful blooms I took photos of last summer. It was just loaded with these beautiful trumpet shaped flowers. These flowers attract hummingbirds and yes I've seen ruby-throated ones near my vines.

Before you get too excited and run out and buy some, a word of caution. These creepers can be invasive. I will once again have to weed them out of the bed, because they multiply like wildfire, especially when you fail to trim them back in the fall. Oh! Well! I took a trip to Maine instead, it was well worth the weeding I will have to do in the spring and summer.

And a bit of trivia for you gardening buffs. This vine is also sometimes called "Cow's Itch", because the leaves have a toxic substance (they belong to the night shade family) which can cause itching and rash. I always pick some and bring them in the house, and they've never caused me any grief, but I'll be more careful now that I know it could.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Almost No Post Today

Everyone talks so sweet about their husbands on their blogs. How thoughtful they are, how charming, how they are their best friends etc. etc. No one talks smack about their other-halves. Well I was about to....

Since the last two girls have now flown out of the nest, my husband decided we no longer needed remote access for just one computer at our house, so he started unplugging things. I suggested he leave it be, until he had some help, but oh! no! He decided to do it yesterday morning and guess what? It wasn't as simple as he thought. So no Internet yesterday. No problem, I read a book and crocheted. But I couldn't add anything to my blog this morning or check my email, or mark my books mailed or received on paperback swap, or pay my Capital One bill, or to check the status of something I was bidding to buy on EBay, or order a baby gift for a friend, or.... Do you get the idea?

When I came home from work today, he was on the computer with a computer geek friend for over an hour, but to no avail. Then he called SBC technical support and another hour passes. I was so stressed out I popped some popcorn to snack on, my comfort food. Finally, he was able to get a connection and we were back in business. Can you believe he had the nerve to to check his email, print some stuff and take his time on the computer, before letting me have a turn? I could have spit nails. What a bugger! He'd better walk the straight and narrow or you guys will hear about it.

On a much happier note, my friend had her baby this morning. She named her Ella Rose and I believe she weighed 7 lbs. & 4 oz. I'm so happy for her, she's one of the most awesome moms that I know. They've wanted a second child for a very long time. Her big brother will make the best big brother ever.

I have tomorrow off, so hope to be on blogging at some point.

***UPDATE*** Next Day

He's out of the doghouse. My husband made me coffee and an Egg McMuffin sandwich this morning and brought it to me while I was blogging. He's the greatest, most thoughtful (and now that every ones left).... my best friend. Just Kidding! Couldn't resist taking a jab at those wives with the perfect husbands. I wouldn't trade mine for anybody I've met yet.... Have to keep him on his toes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

365/43 What's on Your Fridge?

Do you think refrigerators are suppose to look nice and neat?

I bought these cool frames on Kodak Gallery and I just love them. But... it seems to be a never ending vicious cycle; the more frames I have, the more pictures I want to display, so there are always strays tucked in here and there. Do you have a solution? And pl-e-a-s-e don't tell me to get a scrapbook. I want them there right in front of me, so I can see them everyday and change them easily and cheaply.

Who's Who on Dorsey's Fridge.

Well there's my girls & their hubbies & soon to be hubby, Miguel
Michael, Ava & Sydney - La La's Grandbabies
Our dog, Danan
G.T. & Kalli (very important kids)
** oops I've got to get Bryce up there.
Allison with the dolphins
Branson her brother
Grace - Ava's best friend - Love that Picture!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Get Your Groceries Cheaper

As money gets tighter & tighter around my house, I'm continually trying to improve my shopping skills to save more and more money. I've posted our savings so far this year, below. I tried to post it in a chart format, but it doesn't recognize the spaces and so it was all a jumble. This is the best I could do.

In Jan. we shopped three times.

1/3 Spent $31.18 Saved $19.27 Of which $17.27 was in-store savings and $2.00 coupon savings. That was a 61% Savings!!!!!

1/14 Spent $165.22 Saved $75.27 Of which $47.44 was in-store savings and $27.85 coupon savings. That was a 45% savings.

1/31 Spent $198.05 Saved $82.69 Of which $59.94 was in-store savings and $22.75 coupon savings. That was a 41% savings.

In Feb we shopped twice.

2/7 Spent $133.36 Saved $36.72 Of which $34.42 was in-store savings and $6.30 coupon savings. That was a 27% savings. Not so great. I was sick, Gary went alone, we were desperate for food, saving wasn't top priority.

2/19 Spent $227.04 Saved $97.75 Of which $56.40 was in-store savings and $41.35 coupon savings. That was a 43% savings.

By in-store savings - I mean we shop for what the ad says is on sale and make our menu off of it for the most part.

****My goal is to always save over 50%.

What Tools Do I Use To Save Money:

Sunday Paper Inserts

Member of the Grocery Game I also took a Webinar class from this site on basic couponing.

I recently started using this website Be Centsable They also have classes that you can take, but I haven't tried theirs yet.

I have used two different coupon clipping services. You chose the coupons you'd like and they clip and send them to you for a fee. Here is the link to one of them. Coupons and Things The other is a part of the grocery game. Sign in and go to the The Coupon Master page.

Another blog I've found valuable information on is Sharp Scissors Lady She actually teaches you how to use coupons, at coupon parties. There's one coming up in Brighton the first part of March, that I want to attend.

I buy coupons on EBay

So yes, I spend money to save money, but as I increase my skills, the spending money should decrease and the saving money increase.

If you want to save more money, check out these sites. And share with me if you have some of your own favorite sites for tips on saving money.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

365/42 How I met my Grandchildren

A couple weeks ago I was organizing my file cabinet and I found a misplaced treasure. A note card with a picture inside.

I knew immediately, I just had to blog about it.

Most grandparents meet their grandchildren in one of two ways: at the hospital or at the arrival's new home. Amanda's pregnancy with Ava was high risk and she arrived by C-Section, so I flew to be there as soon as I could.

Ava Lauren (24 hours old) Totally Precious!

Meghan had decided that she and Bill would like a couple days alone to enjoy their new little one, so I arrived after the whole hospital scene to meet my second granddaughter.

Sydney Nicole

Is there anything cuter than a yawning baby? Perhaps, a sleeping baby? Sydney your a doll.

Meeting Michael was a bit different. This note card arrived with a picture of my *first grandchild. I was mesmerized by his eyes. After raising four daughters, we had a boy in the family, a grandson. I was delighted, overjoyed and my heart was full. It was another month before we met him in person, but I was already in love.

Welsh Proverb --- Perfect love does not come until the first grandchild.

Dear Grandma & Grandpa - Meet Michael! He is 14 months old.

Here's my first look at him in person, Amanda & Michael at the airport! It was a rough trip. Flights cancelled and delayed, all the babies screaming on the plane, but they were finally here. It was a fun filled week getting to know him at our house. Aunt Meghan was there and relatives from Houghton Lake & beyond visited.

What a cute little boy he turned out to be. Mr. Charisma, he has charm to spare. I am forever grateful that God placed him in our family.

** Ava arrived 2 months before Michael was legally adopted, but in my heart he will always be my first grandchild.

How will I meet the next one that's due to arrive in October? None of us know. Life is an adventure. I know this Gramie's heart will be stretched and full when another bundle of amazing possibilities is placed in her arms. Being a Grandma is just the greatest experience.

Grandma's hold our tiny hands for just a while, but our hearts forever.
Author Unknown

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Welcome Sign

When I heard my phone do the little jingle for an instant message, I knew it was Audra as she is the one and only person who keeps in touch with me that way. Sure enough and when I retrieved the message it was in picture form. Cute! Audra!

This is not the exact picture she sent me as I'm not sure how to download it off my phone, but.... you get the picture.

Another message was sent saying we have 3 more hours to go until we get to the base. That was this afternoon and she just called to say they made it to their house. Audre said it's nothing great to look at from the outside, but inside is huge. She will send pictures in a couple days.

Ruby Boy (the cat) traveled very good; well some people just have all the luck, don't they?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

365/41 Last One Out

Yesterday the movers came and boxed up what hadn't been already. They arrived mid morning and left by 5:00 pm. A new life awaits the Roberts couple in New Mexico. They will be living together for the first time is their short married life of One 1/2 years. Audra is very excited to set up house, especially the kitchen. All of their wedding gifts will finally be put to use.

It will be about two weeks before the moving company delivers their possessions, so in the meantime they will have to make do. They of course have their car loaded with some essentials to help them make it through until then.

I have their mailing address, so email me if you'd like to have it.

Aud & Rick spent last night saying all their good-byes to friends and spending time with Kalli. We took them to Applebee's for dinner on Wed. evening. It's going to be a tough few days for me, so keep me in your prayers. I'm off to Little Kiddo's Day Care, so at least I have therapy today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

365/40 American Red Cross

When I think of the American Red Cross, it conjures up two different types of images in my mind. Locally, blood drives and CPR/First Aid Classes and then globally, disaster relief. Now a new element has been added. I didn't know that they bless service men and women with a handmade quilt. Audra & Rick went to pick there's up yesterday and this is the beautiful quilt they received.

If I had the time I'd research the pattern and tell you what it is called, but moving vans are coming today and there's no more time for posting. If you know your quilt patterns and recognize this one leave me a comment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

365/39 I Got Lucky!

Being a long distance Gramie, is not very much fun. You miss out on so much, but there are times when I believe God intervenes on your behalf and lets you experience something touching, a Gramie moment. He can give you that feeling like you're there, even across those hundreds of miles and over the phone lines.

Last night I was talking on the phone with Amanda (my oldest, daughter), a rare treat as she is one super busy career woman and mom of two high maintenance kids. Miss Ava, 3 1/2 years old was entertaining herself on the computer, typing letters (as in ABC's) in Microsoft Word. Both Michael and Ava get a kick out of pretending they are writing stories, while sitting at the computer pecking on the keyboard.

After a few minutes the conversation was interrupted by Ava who wanted to talk to Mama for a minute. She exclaimed loudly "I want to put toys in my stories". There was a slight hesitation and then Amanda cracked up laughing and then explained the scenario to me. It seems that Mr. Michael at 5 1/2 knows how to change fonts and such and likes to put Webding symbols in his stories, so Ava wanted some too. LOL Crack me up.

I tried to type a sample of writing with toys in it (Webdings), but when I transferred it to the post all the cute symbols, turned into little square boxes. Okay, so guess if you're not familiar with Webdings you'll have to check it out yourself.

Until the next Gramie Moment....
Hey, what does luck got to do with it? Thank you, GOD.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Buyers Guide 2009

So what am I buying?

I've been dreaming of a new camera. A digital SLR to be more specific. So while my husband was buying diesel magazines at Borders, I was looking at the photography magazines. Perhaps this will help me decide which brand is best for me.

How about a Canon Rebel? I'm leaning towards it at the moment, but the magazine may sway me another way. A Nikon D90? or Olympus E-520? A Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1? Pentax K200, Sigma SD14 or a Sony DSLR-A350? See why I need the magazine?

Do you have a SLR? What do you use or recommend? Help me out here, please!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Being Frugal in 2009

This post is going to mainly be concerning grocery shopping, but I have undertaken strides in other areas as well.

I've used coupons for as along as I can remember, but this past year I began searching for them in new ways. I bought them off eBay, I didn't know you could even do that. Essentially you can't buy coupons, the price you pay is for the persons time in clipping them etc. I also started printing some off the Internet and have bought them from a service called I joined and used their weekly grocery list to make purchases at my store of choice, Meijers.

Okay, so what's new to do in 2009 you say.
Well, I took a Webinar on basic couponing. It wasn't that expensive (just $10.00) and when you attend the class, they gave you a certificate for $5.00 of free coupons of your choice. You register for a specific date and time and then show up at your computer and log in through the special link they send you. It was pretty neat. You can even ask questions, if you have a microphone or you can type in the questions and they will be directed to the leader and she answers them then and there online while the class is taking place. I thought I was an intermediate couponer at least, but not so... I learned quite a bit from the webinar I signed up for, which was for beginners. I took pages and pages of notes.

This month I'm signing up for a coupon class in my area. I found the class on this blog I have a list of blogs on couponing I'm checking out for more frugal tips. If you have any ideas to share with me and the people that are following dorsey's blog, please leave it in the comments section. Thanks!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

365/38 Overnight Guest

Rick & Audra wanted to go out with friends Greg & Ashley, so their little guy came to stay the night at Grandma Ya Ya's. He didn't have a nap, so came all ready for bed, a video and bear in hand ready to go off to slumberland. It was around 9:00 p.m.

However, Bryce had other ideas. He loves to play blocks at Ya Ya's.

We also played puzzles, read books, watched Shrek & Nemo, ate yogurt etc. etc. etc. And sometime after 1:00 a.m. I insisted we take a rest and he got the big couch and I got the little one. We both fell asleep. When Audra & Rick got home I went to bed. He woke up in the morning yelling "Where are you, Ya Ya?"

About 4 inches of snow fell overnight and Bryce wanted to go outside and play, but he didn't have boots or mittens, so we brought some snow in to play with. He had a great time scooping and building things and it kept him entertained for a couple hours.

He's such a cutie and great therapy (NOT a replacement, just a temporary fix) when I can't be with my own grandkids.

Friday, February 13, 2009

365/37 Anticipating.....

What is Audra doing hovering around the front door, grinning from ear to ear?

Can you guess?

I could be like other bloggers and make you wait hours or days for the answer, but I won't be that cruel.

Nope. Here's your answer................just scroll down a bit.

Okay, just a little bit more.

Gee you're very good at following directions.

Okay, I won't tease you anymore.

This guy arrived two days earlier than she expected, so they could spend Valentines Day together. Now isn't that romantic? Remember the days, when we were young and in love?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh Where oh Where is my Audra Going?

View Larger Map

White Sands, New Mexico.

Helpful Hints:
You can zoom in and out by using the plus and minus signs. And you can use the arrows to move around. Click on the X to get rid of the White Sands sign that pops up. *Most of you probably don't need those hints, but since it took me awhile to figure it all out, thought I'd mention it just incase.

Rick has been in-processed and has secured a three bedroom house for them on base. The last we were told is that he will arrive here on Sunday, take a couple days to visit family and friends then they will head to New Mexico. The moving company will pick up their boxes, bedroom furniture and whatever else they can scrounge for their empty house on Wednesday of next week. That is all we know right now, but will keep you posted as we know more.

You would think that Audra and Ashley would be the closest together if you checked out a map, but looks are deceiving; it's a 25 1/2 hour trip. Ugh! 1195 miles going straight across, more taking suggested route.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

give me a G, give me an R, give me a........

AMIE, what does it spell?


Announcing our fourth grandchild is on the way. Meghan & Bill are expecting. I was just telling my neighbor, at her daughter's baby shower (on Sunday) that it looked like we wouldn't be having any new grandchildren this year, and the very next day Meghan called to give us this news. I sort of assumed they'd want a boy and Meghan said "Well we're prepared for a girl, and I grew up with all sisters, I'd sort of like for Sydney to have sister". I thought that was so sweet.

This great news also has a bittersweet flip side. Tears slide down my checks as I type, but I can't announce the great joy of one daughter without feeling great pain for another. This Gramie feels the lose even across all the miles, the loss of what might have been if.. Amanda's body hadn't betrayed her once again and failed to carry another pregnancy last fall. It was doubly painful, twins lost days apart and thus we kept it to ourselves at that time. I know Amanda rejoices with Meghan, because that's what sisters do, just as Meghan felt the pain of her loss when Amanda called her with the sad news of one loss and then another.

Sisters, yes it would be good for Sydney to have a sister. For they are the ones that rejoice with us, cry with us and tell us to straighten up when we need to. My girls are both such awesome Moms. I pray God will bless them both with more children if it's His plan for their lives. This Gramie loves all her Grandchildren, the ones on this earth and the ones in heaven. Someday I will see the ones in heaven; but don't expect me to like sharing them there, any more than I do here. Oh! wait. I'll be made perfect, maybe I will share. *wink*

Autism Blogs - Helpful info from Moms & Dads with kids on the Spectrum

Here are some of the autism blogs I've been tuning into and learning from:


Tons! May I say it again, tons of information, resources, book reviews, you name it, it's on this blog. She has a six year old, named Michael.


This mom has a son named Samuel. She has an awesome video of stimming and other useful information, look on the left under the bar, named labels. I have read many great entries on this blog.


This mom has a daughter with autism. Check out her recent post on intervention for autism - they call it Autism 991 - as seen on CNN.


The life and times of six autistic angels. This is the family that was on the discover channel a few months back.


This blog has pictures of autistic kids & some adults, with some information about them. So sad, it's just never ending, it really is an epidemic. If you click on the entries, you can find out more about them on their websites.


A celebration of our Journey. Daniel is the star of this blog. Mom shares homeschooling ideas.


Rhema is autistic, another little girl, that didn't escape the mostly boys disorder.

These are the best of the dozens I've been checking out.

And here is a definition (below)I found on an Aspie's website....I'd give him credit, but not sure I can find his link again, I didn't bookmark it. It's a pretty good overall definition for someone that has some knowledge to begin with. I'd still like to find one for someone that doesn't have a clue or how to explain it to a child. Anyone out there that can help with that? Please leave me a comment.

What do you say when someone asks you “what is autism?”

A genetic difference in the functioning of the brain which for some is a disability, some a challenge, and some a gift, and often all three in the same person. Typical signs are difficulty reading and or understanding social clues, an affinity for routines, participation in repetitive body movements, and often sensory difficulties.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jogging this past weekend

Just recovering from a bad sinus & ear infection, cough & cold type thing, but I needed to get back in the exercise routine, so I went jogging. I thought I would share this experience with you as it was a bit unusual.

I passed a couple other joggers and they nodded and waved, not unusual, but then I noticed that there were people along the way that waved at me too, that was weird. Then I saw at least 6 dogs off leach, what the heck? Have they disbanded the leach laws now? I'm glad they all looked pretty friendly, jogging and all as I was; my heart can only take so much. Then I saw this girl with the most ridiculous glasses, those huge grasshopper ones. God! I hope those aren't coming back into vogue, I looked ridiculous in those the first time around.

Then the waving from the sidelines began in earnest. I even saw one guy standing on a rock waving and it was about this time that I realized I must be on a route of some kind of special race. How embarrassing is that? About that same time this girl ran up beside me and tripped and fell. What did I do? Well, I started laughing like heck and kept jogging. I didn't know what to do. Should I have stopped? It was a race after all or was it for me? While I'm feeling guilty and wondering what next, I saw the finish line and this gray haired lady with her hair up in a bun started to pass me. My butt is dragging at this point, but my ego was whispering in my ear, "Don't let that old lady pass you". So I pressed some more power out of my already overtaxed muscles and crossed the finish line ahead of her. Hurrah!

I can't wait to go jogging again, who knows what my experience will be when I jog with my Mii on the Wii.

Monday, February 9, 2009

365/36 Full Moon & Night time photography

Full Moon by Robert Hayden

No longer throne of a goddess to whom we pray,
no longer the bubble house of childhood's
tumbling Mother Goose man,

The emphatic moon ascends--
the brilliant challenger of rocket experts,
the white hope of communications men.

Some I love who are dead
were watchers of the moon and knew its lore;
planted seeds, trimmed their hair,

Pierced their ears for gold hoop earrings
as it waxed or waned.
It shines tonight upon their graves.

And burned in the garden of Gethsemane,
its light made holy by the dazzling tears
with which it mingled.

And spread its radiance on the exile's path
of Him who was The Glorious One,
its light made holy by His holiness.

** I deleted the last stanza, because the poem took a dark turn I didn't care for.

We've all heard about the harvest moon. Did
you know the moon has names for the other
eleven months. Here they are.

January: Wolf Moon
February: Ice or Snow Moon
March: Storm or Worm Moon
April: Growing or Pink Moon
May: Hare or Flower Moon
June: Mead or Strawberry Moon
July: Hay or Buck Moon
August: Corn or Sturgeon Moon
September: Harvest Moon
October: Blood or Hunter's Moon
November: Snow or Beaver Moon
December: Cold Moon