Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autism X 6 - October 1st Discovery Channel

Okay so I just put the whole story in the Title, so what do I put in the post? If you haven't seen it you need to, it's an eye opener. If you want to see what a family with an autistic child goes through, here's a good place to start, because this family has six kids and they are from one end of the autism spectrum to the other. Classic autism, PPDNOS, Aspergers, the whole gamut in one household. It is hard to fathom, for anyone who's had experience with how much one autistic child can effect the whole family. Lord! Six of them, how do they manage...the answer is the best they can. I have to give them tons of credit, I'm not sure I could persevere for as along as they have. Three of the kids have Aspergers - a high functioning form of Autism: Bobby the oldest, Emma oldest girl in the family and Nephi a year younger that Emma. Two of the kids have classic autism, Sarah & Ammon and the youngest Mary has PDDNOS.

When these parents found out all six of the their kids had an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), they felt hopeless, overwhelmed and numb. Then came the grieving process...and after that, came the time to move do the best with what they have. Shame on those people that sit in judgement of how their house looks. It's easy to point fingers when you have normal children who sleep all night, are potty trained and can entertain themselves for short periods of time. Don't even get me started, because I would just love to have the power to make their accusers walk one day in this family's shoes.

Here's the link to the families own blog, Autism Bites. And don't forget to check out their story on the Discovery Channel tomorrow (Thurs) night.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

TOMS Shoes - A Pair of New Shoes is Given to a Child in Need With Every Pair Purchased - One for One -

A male coworker came into my office this past week, to show me his new shoes. Some people might think that's a bit odd, that it's not a guy thing to do. But this guy has a heart of gold and he know how much I love children. He's seen pictures of the boy I sponsor in Guatemala through World Vision, and knows I support the Heifer Project and other humanitarian efforts to help children. So he shared this with me and I in turn would love to share it with you.

What a neat way to help others, we all buy shoes don't we? Why not buy a pair or two of Toms?

Check out Toms Web Site.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Miracle Blanket

The Miracle Blanket, also affectionately known as the baby straitjacket is a wonderful gift for any mom with a new baby. Please go to their site and read their testimonials and see what they look like, click here. They come in an array of different colors. Personally I haven't used one, but I have heard great reviews from people I trust.

I'd love to give one to each of my new grand babies, so I'm trying to win one from this lady's blog, and so can you, just click on Waiting for Happy and you'll be taken to Kristy's Blog where you can read about how to get a chance to win one of your very own. Once there don't forget to check out baby Hope all wrapped up in her own pink Miracle Blanket. Hope is a little miracle herself, stay awhile and read about her amazing birth and life in the Bolte family.

If I win the Miracle Blanket, I'll buy one too, and thus have one for both the new babies coming soon to our family.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Afghans I've Made from this Book

This book was not cheap, even back in the day when I bought it probably ten years ago at least. I looked through the book and picked out five blankets that I wanted to make and then I asked my sister to look at it and she picked out five and I told her I'd copy the directions for her and mail them. I just had to get my monies worth out of the book. Well out of the the 55 baby afghans they pictured, we both picked out four of the same ones. I guess you could say we have similar tastes when it came to making things with yarn. I have made four out of the five that I originally picked and a couple others. How about you Martha, how many have you made?

These are in no particular order. This one is called "Field of Flowers". When Ashley was taking Tae Kwon Do lessons I would take something along to do as I watched her practice. There was a little girl there every week by the name of Taylor, who was around five at the time and she would watch me crochet and count the flowers and ask questions. She was extremely interested in the whole process and never grew tired of watching me. Taylor kept commenting on how pretty it was, how soft and cuddly, how great it would be to snuggle with etc. etc. Well about three-fourths of the way done with the blanket I'd decided to give it to Taylor, but she didn't know that yet. Let me tell you, when I gave it to her ... she was ssoooo thrilled, I really made her day. She took it to show and tell and wrote me a very nice Thank you note (which I have saved). Taylor & her Mom gave me a whole set of crochet hooks in a case as a thank you gift.

This one called "Ruffles All Around" I crocheted for Amanda's best friend Laura's first baby. I also knitted her a sweater and hat set, which I finished in the parking lot of the baby shower venue. I had wrapped the box and lid separately and finished the collar of the sweater at the very last minute. After taking a picture, I placed it in the box and into the shower we went. When Laura opened my gifts they asked me to stand and every clapped. I had to confess I'd just finished the sweater in the parking lot, but their admiration for my handy work made it all worth while.

This one called "Twirling Pinwheels" was really fun to make and was given to a lady who attended my church. She had recently had two sons having babies and I didn't go to their showers, because I didn't know her older children at all. I did however, know her younger son, because he had dated my daughter Meghan and they were going to the same college. One weekend I hitched a ride to the college in a neighboring state with them and took the afghan along and gave it to her as a gift. It was a Grandma's Afghan for her to keep at her house and use when the grand babies came over to visit. Little did I know that years later, both of her adorable granddaughters would be in my Sunday School class.

I think the writing is on the wall for this one. "Flower Garland" will haunt me forever. I tried to tell my daughter Ashley, (who begged me to make it for her) that it was a pain in the hiney to make, but she wouldn't listened. There is a constant need to tie off and hide strings that I hate. Whenever it was washed, no matter how gently, it would fall apart somewhere and I'd end up mending it. I hated that blanket as much as she adored it.

This one aptly named "Hearts & Bows" was given to a baby that my daughter Meghan nannied for. I believe it was for Monique, who made national news when she was car- jacked/kidnapped by an escaped convict who later ditched her and the van in a restaurant parking lot. But that's another story all together.

This is the blanket I'm working on now, it's called "Bathed in Bubbles". It's going to be trimmed in chocolate brown, so that it will match Griffin's room. Griffin is to make his debut the middle of October. If you want to see his room, click here.

This blanket is very thick and warm. I don't like open weaves that invite tiny fingers and toes to get caught.

It would make a great blanket to put on the tiled floor when that baby girl needs tummy time...what do you think Ashley? Shall I make you one too, or one of the other ones. Anything, but "Flower Garland"!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Out for a Walk

All harnessed and ready to go for a walk. Danan is sporting a new shorter coat these days. The groomer left her face too long and it didn't match the shortness of her body, so I cut another inch or so off and shaped it up a bit. Can you tell? I did go to beauty school, so I know how to cut human hair, but I've never had a lesson in dog grooming or even watched one in the process of being groomed. I don't think it turned out bad for a first attempt.

These berries looked so pretty, I had to get a quick picture of them. I wish I had a guide along with me, so I could ask about specific plants. I was wondering if this could be bittersweet? I've only seen the dried version, so it's just a wild guess.

We went for a long walk, all the way to Peru..... Ya believe that one I'm sure. With 98% of all Alpaca residing in Peru, Bolivia & Chili, chances are ..... but these were right here in Michigan. And this little girl Alpaca is very close to the color of my dog. Speaking of dogs...Dogs are not allowed! And we obeyed the rules, dear hubby kept her back away from them, while I took a couple quick pics.

They are grown for their amazing fleece. Alpacas come in 22 different colors and are in great demand for making non-dyed natural fabrics prised by health-conscious consumers. Once made into fabric it is nearly indestructible and will last a lifetime. It is said to be warmer than goose down, stronger than Mohair and smoother than silk. I'll have to take their word on that last statement, I didn't get close enough to pet one.

Folks I must be honest here, I did a little quick research. This part caught my attention the most "lacks the prickle of fabrics made from coarser fibers". Maybe I'll purchase some to knit myself a sweater. That would be really awesome. It's probably expensive, but heh - I'm worth it, right.

Our walk was much longer than that, but for some reason the site or my computer is giving me a hard time uploading pictures today, so this is it for now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What is that?

The black thing in the photo is my umbrella for my patio table and the rainbow colored object, what is your guess on that? If you said ... hot air balloon you'd be correct. I was trying to take one of those really cool pictures, you know...of someone holding up the moon or trying to straighten the leaning tower of Pisa. It didn't come out like I had imagined it would. I'll try again when the opportunity knocks and maybe next time I'll get something spectacular.

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of the hot air balloons that flew over my house a couple weeks ago.

There is a Balloon Festival here every year and in between times there are people practicing for the Balloon Challenge.

One year when the kids were little they landed in the back yard next door. It was so exciting for the kids and adults alike. I always wonder if they'll choose our backyard sometime.

This is not an enhanced photo folks, the sky was really that blue. God's original design caught on film or bits and bites of it on a digital photo card.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Magnet will attract...

This is the bush that grows in our front yard, it is the magnet.
What does it attract?

These very cool birds of which here is a picture of the juvenile. I saw one come in to the Nature Center where I work this week and was so tickled when I was able to positively identify it.

Every year around mid October a whole flock of these birds, which I believe are migrating, come by our house and descend on this bush. The bush is literally covered in birds eating these red berries. I'm not sure what type of bush it is, it was here before we moved in. It used to be as big around as a silo, but my husband chopped it down. I was devastated! It took a few years, but it has returned to a decent size bush again. Now I'm just waiting and watching for the cedar waxwings to come.

Here's a picture of the adult cedar waxwing.

And I hope to be able to get some great shots of my own when they do. These pictures are borrowed off the net, not my own.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I am drawn to sunflowers, the way that sunflowers turn instinctively to the sun. For many years I've planted them in my vegetable gardens to enjoy. My eldest daughter loves them too, we incorporated them into her bridal shower decorations and wedding flowers.

And so I took a walk with my dog and my camera and captured these photos to share.

If you love Sunflowers, do yourself a favor and check out this great book, it's called "The Great Sunflower Book" by Barbara Flores.

Read about:

the history of this American weed
sunflowers as medicine
the Chernobyl Sunflower Clean-up Project
great recipes like Choco-Dot Pumpkin Cake
so many great

"Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light" Theodore Roethke

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." Hans Christian Andersen

"Nobody sees a flower---really...we haven't time----and it takes time like a friend takes time." Georgia O'Keefe

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One for the Girls!

Hey Girls! Do you recognize any of these people? They stopped by my office to say "Hello!" a couple weeks ago and I neglected to post their photo I took just for you. This is a childhood friend of my oldest two girls. Now _______ is a Mom of five. The last time I saw her she only had Jack - her oldest, now she has three and her husband's two from a previous marriage also. _______ was in Michigan for her sister's wedding.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Mexico - Part II - The Stay

A cool water tower in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Rick & Audra took the dog Cody to the White Sands Sand Dunes. They brought the round saucer sled and went down a few hills. Rick tried it with Cody, but the dog didn't like that program much.

Beautiful white sand, it almost looks like snow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Mexico - Part I - The Trip

Gary is at the wheel driving to New Mexico. Audra is taking the picture. Ruby-Boy is enjoying the sun and the hum of the engine. He's one laid-back kitty cat.

Elkin is the newest edition to the Roberts family, which now has more animals than humans in it. Elkin was the map reader, but looks like he feel asleep on the job.

Rick & Audra's house in New Mexico. The dog, Cody will be in the Part II of the post.

I sent the camera, folks and although he was gone for a week, dear hubby took only a dozen photos. Can you believe we are married?

The trip took 30 hours, counting time zone changes and four hours of sleep. Thank you Rick & Aud for taking good care of my man, and showing him a nice time. It's good to have him back home. Danan missed him too. She slept down by the door the first night waiting for him to come home.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More Grocery Freebies

All of these products were FREE! They didn't cost me a cent. They were all products that I would normally buy....well that chocolate probably looks suspicious since many of you know I'm allergic to it. The dove bar is for a co-worker who helped me solve a problem at work. It's nice to get a reward when you do something kind.

Guess how much these products would have cost if I would have purchased them. The lipstick is L O'real. I'll post the answer at the bottom.

Here's how much I saved on promotions (such as Meijer Catalinas), in store specials and coupons.

And here's my total shopping bill. Not bad. Not bad at all!

Drum Rolllllllllllll Please! ddddddddddd......... $25.60 in FREE items. See if you can beat that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Gift from the Heart

Have you ever admired something someone else had in their home, complimented them on it; and then have that same person, at a later date give it to you as a gift?

I have, twice in my lifetime. The first time it was while visiting an elderly neighbor near our vacation home. The object of my admiration was a handmade white crocheted doily with different colored violets all around the edge. It was so pretty, colorful and it just said "friendship" to me. Later that neighbor gave the doily to me. I don't remember if she gave me the original one, or made me one, but I do know I was thrilled beyond belief. Not only did I display and use it at my house, but I also bought 12 colors of crochet thread (besides the white) and I created more doilies of my own. Believe me it took hours of trial and error until I was able to recreate that doily and the I made more for friends and relatives.

I tried to find the circle of violets doily so I could share a picture of it here, but couldn't locate it. No doubt it is somewhere in my knitting & crocheting supplies with a half finished creation of my own. That doily was truly a gift from the heart.

Here's a picture of my most recent gift from the heart. It's a beautiful wooden dish of my Mother's that I admired. She said she knew how much I loved it, so she wanted me to have it. And yes, I was thrilled. It just makes my living room feel so much more homey.

The birds look so real, just fat and happy, friendly, fluffy fellows. I have quite an extensive collection of bird ornaments; in fact, I plan to put only bird ornaments on my Christmas tree this year. I only get to enjoy my bird ornaments for a few weeks, but this new gift I will be able to enjoy 365 days a year.

Thanks Mom, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day versus Memorial Day

Labor Day was a very gray, cloudy day, I never saw the sun once. I spent the day cleaning and organizing and taking care of things I'd been procrastinating about doing for quite some time. Don't tell anyone, but I stayed in my pj's all day. I did take some time to enjoy reading a couple chapters of a book.

Memorial Day was the total opposite. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was on vacation in Maine. We had a great day at my daughter's friends house in Portland, Maine.

This is Grace in the Teletubbie space craft. It's a thumbs-up for this ride.

It started with four kids and three ladies at Chuckie Cheese. Okay, I'll be honest....four little kids, one childish Gramie and two ladies. My daughter and her best friend, Theresa managed to keep us all under control. I did almost get stuck in the caged in climber trying to help Michael, but how was I to know..... they make them a lot bigger in Michigan.

David & Michael riding the Buddy Mobile, they are best-buddies.

Ava lovin the swings. More under-dog pushes Gramie!!!

After that we spent some time at a park on the beach. The playground was great and the kids enjoyed trying every piece of equipment while Gramie snapped pictures and gave them HUGE under-dog pushes on the swings. Theresa's little ones call me Gramie Doris and my grand kids call me Gramie LaLa. I respond to both. We hated to part at the end of the day, they used to live very close by, but now we had a 2 1/2 hour trip back to Bangor.

An hour or so into the ride home Michael yells "My bug bites bleeding!" Amanda turned to look and it wasn't a bug bite - it was his nose. It wasn't gushing, but bleeding fast enough to drip on this shirt. I scrambled for Kleenex and handed it back to him and realized he was going to need help. My daughter was unable to pull over in the busy traffic. We were driving in a jeep with a DVD player setting on a bar between the two headrests. I would have to navigate the space between the bar and the console between the seats. Me, (who's up for the Gramie of the year award) started to wiggle and jiggle my way into the back seat. Okay, so climbing prone wasn't working, so I tried to turn myself sideways and that's when my hip fell part way between the seats and my feet were in the air. I was starting to get the giggles but Amanda didn't think it was so funny. The day had turned humid, and the jeep was doing this weird swaying action and she'd been complaining about being nauseous. My feet had been sweating in some old sandals all day and when they went in the air, they were also right in Amanda's face. She started gagging and I was laughing hysterically now as I tried my darnedest to get my rumpus out of the ravine and up onto the back seat. I guess you had to be there to get the full effect. We were both very relieved when I succeeded.

Finally I was able to assist Michael who was grinning from ear to ear at his ridiculous Gramie. He had blood smeared cheek to cheek and desperately in need of some new Kleenex. Next to Gramie was Ava sleeping with her neck bent way over, blissfully sleeping through all the commotion. We stopped at a gas station to clean up Michael and bought ice cream for the kids and popcorn for Gramie. She deserved a reward. All in all it was a full, fun day.

No Contest. Memorial Day wins.

Monday, September 7, 2009

An Update. Guano What?

The light outside my door that I was telling you about.

And the evidence below it. Or is it the real evidence? While cruising bat sites I found these ideas for ridding a building of bats.

And I found this picture posted below the advise of bat poo-pooh, or guano. Scroll down.

Mothballs are great bat repellants. Simply fill nylon hosiery with mothballs, and hang the mothball filled hosiery in roosting areas. Mothballs are cheap, and this is an easy way to get rid of bats.

If mothballs alone won’t keep the bats away, you can also place lights in areas where bats like to roost. Since bats prefer to roost in dark areas, the lights will drive them away to darker locations elsewhere.

Apparently this is what bat guano looks like. Heh! maybe it wasn't a bat after all. Wouldn't that be nice. I may be able to walk out my front door again.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It Freaked Me OUT!

Last night I took my dog out for a late evening potty break. I flipped on the porch light, opened the door and stepped out onto the deck. My peripheral vision caught some movement next to my head. Something came out from behind the porch light that's attached to the house and flew straight out away from the house into the night. You got it... A BAT!

You would have been proud of me. Really, it happened so fast I didn't have time to scream or get all upset. However, it did freak me out. I was very focused and came back in very carefully and quickly in order to prevent any critters (besides my dog) following me back in. Like this thing...

And tonight.... I went out the back door and the dog pottied in the back yard. I'm not taking any chances! I think that the bat is living behind the light and will be waiting for me every evening from now on. For now, I will not use that door after dark unless it's really necessary.

Any advise you could give me? I wanted to post a picture of a bat, just to remind you what I'm up against. Going outside and taking my own photographs was out of the question!!! I found a middle of the road picture to post, not to cute & furry, but not a picture with it's mouth open, fangs showing and looking rabid.

I really shouldn't have looked at those pictures. Ugh! I hope I don't have nightmares.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

No More Multi-tasking for me!

Women are known for being multi-taskers. In days gone by they were just expected to have a clean house, get the kids to bed on time and have dinner on the table when there husbands got home. Over the years "Super Woman" has evolved and so much more has been expected of her. She must now be employed to help the family meet the rising costs of living and to keep up with the Jones family next door. Besides all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and shopping, she must also get the kids to and fro all extra curricular activities, monitor homework, sibling fights etc. etc. Why am I telling you all this? Chances are you are a woman if you're reading this, I don't need to explain all this to you. Right now you are probably nursing a baby, filing your nails, waiting for the timer to buzz on the microwave or some other such task.

Well my days of multi-tasking are over after the fiasco this past weekend. I was trying to do to many things at once while applying my makeup on auto pilot. I glanced up to make sure my lipstick had covered my entire lips and was taken aback for a moment. I thought "what is wrong with this picture?" It took me a full 30 seconds for my beige lips to register. I had applied my under eye concealer to my lips. Ugghh! If that wasn't a sight to see!!! No more multi-tasking for me, guess I need to slow down and do things one at a time. After I'd given it some thought; I decided it could have been worse. Imagine me with L'Oreal Colour Riche #825 Plum Bronzine under my eyes. LOL

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Did Dorsey Make It?

I intended to post yesterday, but had problems downloading the photo. Without the photo the post wouldn't be nearly as interesting, so thought I'd wait a day and try again. You can see the original post regarding the commitment to exercise the last 10 days of the month here.

Viola! Today the pictures downloaded of my camera just fine with no problems at all. Go figure!

Here is the picture revealing the results. See days 21-31 of August. There's Dorsey standing by the calendar page. Does she look any skinnier? Perhaps more toned? Okay, does she look more energetic?

Oops! There's two days not stamped. How did that happen? Faulty game, probably. Believe that one? Electronics, just can't trust them.

All jesting aside. I tried my darnedest. If there's a competitive person in this family it's Mii. I wanted to succeed badly, but I was thwarted by the beginnings of a bladder infection. I beat it by drinking extra fluids, taking cranberry pills, an anti-inflammatory and resting. There was no way I could do even the easiest of exercises. My challenge seemed to bring the bad-luck illness spirits out of the woodwork to attack me. I'm continuing to use the Wii, but am going to focus on walking with the dog the next couple months, as the Fall is my favorite time of the year and I want to take advantage of the great outdoors before winter hits Michigan.