It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Grandma's Backyard Olympics

One of my grandsons had a birthday on Sunday, so on Saturday we had a backyard olympics for his birthday party. It was kind of crazy but I think the kids all had fun. We had 9 individual events, 1 team event and a pentathlon. There was the peanut toss, the shot put, the discus throw, the javelin throw, the hurdles, the 15 yard dash, long jump, the limbo, a squirt gun shoot, and a tug-of-war. For the pentathlon, they started at the deck and walked backwards to the 1st station, then did the inchworm walk to the next station, then had to carry a styrofoam ball on a spoon to the next one, then crab walk to the next one, and then finally hop on one foot all the way back to the deck. We had 6 grandkids involved, ranging from 2 years to 8 years, so there was a big difference in abilities. I tried to make sure the teams were as evenly matched as possible, and of course the little ones had some help, but everyone had fun. I bought a bunch of metal washers in 2 different sizes and hung them on ribbons for the awards, and we had a little stool that the 1st place winner stood on while the others stood to the sides, and we da-da-da'd the Star Spangled Banner while we gave awards after each event. My daughter-in- law video taped it, so we will have some good memories to look back at in the future. Because I was the one running the show, my camera got no photos, but they are supposed to send me a CD with the photos on it and a DVD of the video. As soon as they send me some pics, I will post a few.

Also for Hal's birthday, Grandpa and I took everyone to the movies to see Wall-E. It was not quite what I expected, but it was a cute movie. The kids really liked it a lot. I suppose that when it comes out on DVD we will have to buy it for when the kids visit.

The family has all gone home now. They were supposed to stay for another week, but the girls missed their husbands too much, and wanted to spend the 4th of July with them at home. I don't blame them for that, and the valley where they all live has a really big celebration for the 4th every year. In fact, I will miss it. It starts early in the morning with the raising of the flag, then breakfast, entertainment, games, and a watermelon bust. Then a break in the afternoon, followed by a dinner, entertainment, some community awards, and finally the fireworks. It's a great day for everyone, and there is no cost! The committee sells T-shirts (which are designed by a contest winner in the community) and gathers donations all year, plus they apply for grants, so that everyone can participate, regardless of economic status. Isn't that wonderful? That's the way America should be.

As the holiday approaches, I will be writing more about America, and how I feel about this great land of ours. For now I will say toodle-oo, and hug one of those loved ones. You'll not only make their day, but yours as well. 'Bye for now, Gramma G.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Too much Stuff

It's been 4 days that I haven't written, and each day that I find I don't have time to write, I think about how busy our lives are. Of course, mine is a little busier than normal right now, but even without 6 extra people in the house, life can be hectic. We all seem to get caught up in things that are just that....things. Our jobs, our houses, our cars, clothes and gadgets. I am trying not to get caught in that web again, but it's hard! Before we moved to Montana we lived in a motor home for a year. Talk about paring things down! Don't get me wrong. We still had plenty of conveniences, but there was only so much room for things, so we had less of them. Now we're back in a house and we're starting to acquire things again, and I am fighting my own nature in this. It's built into my very being to collect things. Big things, little things, if I like it or think I might use it someday, I save it. Or buy it. Or accept it from someone else. My husband and I were trying to find something in our storage unit the other evening, and his comment was "Why do we have to have so damn many books?" (Books are my greatest weakness, with no room to put them all.)

Why is it that we think we need all this stuff? I know that part of my obsession comes from not having a lot of money growing up, and also from losing everything in a fire. But those are really just excuses for lack of self-control. I had everything I needed growing up, as do I now. But still I yearn for more. Its stupid! But, after all, I am trying not to......... that counts for something, right?

Its almost 1:30 in the morning and I am enjoying the peace and quiet. The girls are out for the evening (my daughters) with some friends, probably until about 3 am, the kids are asleep, the TV is off, and its so quiet I can actually hear myself think, except that I'm so tired I can't think.

So I guess I better "shuffle off to Buffalo", as my mother used to say, or go to bed. The morning will come all too soon. I will write more soon. Oh, BTW, that pineapple angel cake is really good!!! If you didn't get recipe, it's in an earlier post from June 16, so go get it and try it out. The hat is progressing, too. 'Night to all, Gramma G.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Well, we made it through the day! 5 adults and 8 children. Wow! There were some flare-ups, but that's to be expected with that many people in such close quarters. Our house is not very big, so we keep shooing the kids outside to play in the nice sunshine. Especially those from Nevada, because they will be going home to temperatures of 105 to 115, so we keep telling them to take advantage of it while they can. We made a trip into Missoula and went to the park, then Costco and Wal*Mart. We had 4 kids cramped in the back seat of our car, and my daughter had 4 in hers. Talk about sardines!

It's the next day now. I had to go to bed last night. I couldn't stay awake. Now we're all gathered around the TV while my oldest daughter does the Wii Fit program. I think I might have to get one. It's a really good workout and it's not boring, like most video workouts. If you don't know what the Wii is, it's an interactive video game system for the television screen. There are remote controls that you use to play games, etc. You actually have to swing the remote to bowl, golf, box, etc. Anyway, the Fit has yoga, strength training, balance and other stuff. It's a lot of hard work, but in a fun way. (I will try it later, maybe when no body's looking.)

I've trying to work on my ski tube hat thingy, but there's been too much chaos for me to get much done. It's looking good so far, though. I'm using 3 strands of yarn so it will be nice and warm. One of them is an eyelash yarn with ribbon pieces in it. It's really pretty and makes it just a little more fancy. I'll try to get it done soon so I can post a photo.

So, I tried the Wii Fit program. What a workout! It was fun and some of it was easy and some of it was not so easy. A lot of it, while working on certain muscle groups, also works on your center of balance, and I'm a kind of klutzy person. But I didn't do too bad. There were a few of the exercises that I flat out knew I couldn't do, so I didn't try them, bit I tried most of them. A lot of them are funny; in fact most of them. There's one where you have to try to hit soccer balls with your head while dodging shoes and panda bear heads that look a lot like the soccer balls. Boy, did I fail that one! There's the hula hoop one. You have to get as many rotations of your hips and catch as many more hula hoops as possible. I think my favorite is the one where you have to follow the dance steps. It's really a lot of fun. My daughter says it takes about 3 days for it to catch up with you and then you can't move! We'll see. OH! And at the very beginning it measures you body mass and weighs you, etc. and then tells you your "real age". According to my real age I'm only 33!!!! I'm getting younger! Yeah, right!

What would life be like if we never grew old? If, when we reached a certain age, we just stayed there? Kind of like hitting a plateau in weight loss. So much money is spent every year trying to stave off the ageing process.

I have to finish up and get to bed. I keep dozing off. You should have seen what I just typed in my dozingness. Will share more later. Hug a loved one. They need it like flowers need water.
'Night, Gramma G.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Family is Here!!!

Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! It's 10:48pm and I am sitting in my living room with 7 rugrats lined up on the floor, so wound up that who knows when they'll get to sleep. We put on Alvin and the Chipmunks for them to watch, and hopefully they'll settle down and go to sleep soon. Plans had a little change, and the two oldest aren't going home until next Thursday, so we'll be like this for another 4 or 5 days. My two daughters from Nevada are loving the weather, and are going to sleep on the trampoline. It's been 104 and 105 degrees in southern Nevada this week, and they are loving our nice, cool weather. The youngest grandson, who is 2, is in his bed, but out here I have one 3, one 4, one 6, one 7, one 8, one 13 and one 15. My 8-yr-old Hannah stayed at home to go to camp. If we had the three from Tennessee here, we'd have them all.

The change of plans for Alex and Cyd is due to the price of gas and the price of air fare to Las Vegas. We have a small, not-too-well-known airlines that flies out of Missoula straight to Vegas, and on certain days, airfare is only $29. Of course, there's the taxes and fees, etc. etc. etc. But to fly the two of them it is costing $132, which is about half of what it would cost me to take them just halfway (to Ogden, UT, where their dad would pick them up). Then there's the money my son would have to pay for gas, too, so $132 is CHEAP! I may go crazy in the mean time, though. (I may run out of food, too.)

All kidding aside, we are really glad to have them here. Cydney will no longer be bored all the time, and Alex will have someone else to occupy him. Grandpa and I may have to run away every once in a while, but it will be fun. We'll have to take them to the park every day or somewhere where they can wear themselves out. I'm worn out just thinking about it! On Wednesday we're having the missionaries over for dinner, and I have no idea where we'll put everyone. I think we'll eat in the backyard, maybe. With the weather this nice, we could do that easily.

I miss my mother. She's been gone 19 years this coming September, but I still miss her. This would have been just her cup of tea. She was never happier than when she was surrounded by her grandchildren. I was her only daughter, so my five were her only grandchildren. They loved her and they knew she loved them, even though she wasn't an old softie. She kept them in line when they were at her house, but she also gave them room to be themselves. She fostered their creativity, and urged each one to find their own potential and explore it. She encouraged them to be the best they could be (kind of like the Marine Corps). She taught them games that built intelligence and skills and they didn't even realize it was happening! I hope I can measure up to her standards and do the same with my grandkids.

And she was brave. At this time of year, when so many towns across America are having their American Cancer Society Relay for Life, I think about her a lot. She suffered from cancer for a year before she died, but she always had a smile. She gave her wig a name, and went about her business as if everything were the way it was supposed to be. My dad had cancer, too, but died from a heart attack instead, four years before mom, so she basically braved this horrible disease alone. My kids miss her as much as I do, and we will miss her for the rest of our lives.

Speaking of Relay for Life, if you haven't been to one, either as a team member or as a supporter, you should find the one closest to you and attend. You will have fun and get to donate to a worthy cause, all at the same time. You will be fed, both physically and spiritually. You will get to meet people and hear stories of great strength and courage. There will be survivors and their families there, along with family members of those not so fortunate. And a good lot of those who just believe its a good cause and will throw themselves into it with heart and soul. A lot of money is raised every year for cancer research, along with other programs that benefit cancer patients, so go and enjoy yourself and support the cause!

Well, it's really late, or should I say really early, so I better get to bed or I won't make it to church in the morning. I didn't go last week because the two grandkids, just coming from a week of camping at Yellowstone, had no church clothes. But when I don't get my weekly dose of spirituality, it just messes up my whole week, so I told the family I was going tomorrow, whether anyone went with me or not! So goodnight all, and remember, if you love someone you need to tell them. Oh, and here come the girls in the house. It just started raining! 'Night, Gramma G

Friday, June 20, 2008

Look for the Good

I am very sad tonight. I have had a blowout with my oldest son and he is probably not speaking to me now. I hate fighting with my family, about anything, but this was bound to happen. He just got back together with his estranged wife who doesn't like his family and has managed to alienate him again! It only takes her about 24 hours for her to get him under her thumb so totally that he forgets he even has a family. And he wonders why we don't like her?

Anyway, I'm going to focus on the good things in my life. Like these two grandchildren who are visiting. they really keep us hopping. We would never have time to grow old if they were around all the time. It's kind of fun. This is the photo I promised of the artwork the kids did for Grandpa for Father's Day. It turned out pretty good, considering it was done by a 2 yr. old, a 3 1/2 yr. old, a 13 yr. old and a 15 yr. old. The disparity in their ages is balanced out by the use of common colors and the fact that I told them it was modern art and I didn't want the see any houses or trees or anything recognizable. I think it will be beautiful when I get it mounted and hung on the wall.

I'm working on the tube ski hat. I hope to have it done in the next day or two., and then I'll let you see it in action (in a photo) and post the pattern. I hope its as cool as it looked. I'm just using scrap yarn, so the color may not be WOW, but you gotta use those scraps somehow, right? Besides, it's just the prototype. I don't know when I'll have the time to work on it, but I will try.
I'm going to leave this a short one tonight. I'm tired and need to get some sleep. Put your arms around someone you love and tell them so. 'Night, Gramma G.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I spent the afternoon yesterday looking at pictures with my grandchildren. Pictures of our family, old and new. (The pictures, not the family.) Pictures of people that they know and some they don't know, family members they have never met, and some they never will. It got me to thinking about families, and how they intertwine one with another, and how sometimes they lose the thread that ties them all together because of hurt feelings, or arguments, or just because they move away and grow apart.

My children are all very strong-willed (gee, I wonder where they got that!) and they fight a lot. And I don't just mean they argue, but they get so mad at one another that they don't speak to one another or associate with one another for months at a time. Considering the fragile nature of this life, I think that's downright stupid. And that's not a word I use lightly. I can't even imagine being that mad at someone I love. So mad that I wouldn't let my family share in family events if that "other" part of the family was there. So mad that I would back out of commitments I had made to them. I'm sorry, but I just don't understand that level of selfishness.

I have a sister that I would give most anything to be close to. She is my father's daughter by his first marriage, and her mother wouldn't let her have anything to do with us, so I never got the chance to get to know her when we were young. I have had the opportunity to get to know her a little as an adult, and I know that she is someone who brings joy and light to the lives of those who know and love her. I know that her family is the most important thing to her, and she would do anything for them. I know she is married to a good man, who loves her and their family, and takes care of them. My oldest daughter got to spend time in their home while she went to summer school one year, and the whole family welcomed her with open arms and made her feel a part of their family, and for that I will be ever grateful. I'm also grateful that at least one of my children knows her better than I do.

My parents both passed away when my own children were fairly young, and so my grandchildren will never get to know them. They were not perfect, but they were wonderful people doing the best they could.

All of this has a point, I promise. It leads to the fact that families break up for many different reasons, some of which we have no control over. The things we CAN control, we should! We should be mature enough to not let disagreements take over our lives. We should keep our families close, even if they live halfway across the country. We should realize that when the world as we know it is over, and there are no more lemons to make lemonade from, that what is left is our family. FAMILY.

So, as you read this, I hope you are making a mental list of those family members you haven't heard from in a while, and making plans to call them, or write to them. Or even go see them. And for heaven's sake, get out those pictures. Show them to your children and grandchildren and reminisce with them. Tell them who the people in the photos are and why they are important to you. And don't forget....tell your family that you love them. They are your most valuable assets. Never let life come between you. 'Night. Gramma G

Monday, June 16, 2008


Well, my two littlest grandsons are mad about their cousins! They think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. At the end of the week when Alex and Cyd go home, they will be sorely missed. It's kind of funny, too, that Rafferty, who is just like Cyd, has taken a shine to her, and Cyric, who is more like Alex, has taken a real liking to him. (And you thought opposites attracted!) Poor Alex and Cyd, they have two little shadows wherever they go. They can't get away from them. But they are really good with them. They play with them and entertain them and keep them out of trouble. I'm liking this a lot! I will miss them when they go home, too.
Today is a kick-back-and-do-nothing day. We are going to do an art project, but other than that I have nothing planned. We might take a walk to the school playground, but I'm not sure we'll even do that. We actually went to two parks yesterday, so I think we need a rest today.

We're going to do some scrapbook pages of their visit, and I think we'll start with the carousel rides yesterday. We all had a lot of fun, and we have a couple of small souvenirs to put on the pages, so they'll have a little extra embellishment. Our art project for the day is the one we were supposed to do yesterday! It's for Grandpa for Father's Day. I will post a picture when we are done.

I found the best recipe in a magazine the other day. It was an older magazine, and I cut out the recipe and now I don't remember what magazine it was, but here's the recipe.

Angel Lush with Pineapple
1 sm. pkg JELL-O vanilla pudding
1 20oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
1 prepared round angel food cake
1 cup fresh mixed seasonal berries
Mix the pudding and pineapple in a bowl. Gently stir in the Cool Whip. Cut the cake into 3 layers and place the bottom laer on a serving plate. Top with 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Do this with the other two layers. Refrigerate for at tleast 1 hour, and just before serving, top with the berries. Be sure to store the leftovers in the fridge. Serves 10.

Doesn't that sound good? I'm going to make it this week, I think, so I'll let you know if it's as good as it sounds. That's all for now. Hug a loved one today. It'll carry over into everything they do for the day, and it will make you feel good, too. Gramma G

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Grankids and Journaling

They're here!!!! The two oldest grandchildren, Alex, 15, and Cydney, 14 in 6 wks. They live in Utah and we don't get to see them very often. They're great kids. Yesterday and today were Western Heritage Days here in Stevensville, and we went to the art show last night and lots of things were going on today. We walked downtown from our house and that was a new experience for them. Practically our whole town is within walking distance from from downtown. Okay, not really, but it is a little town. The community is very large because there is a lot of farm land and ranches and its really spread out, but the town itself is really small. They live in a rather large place, and are not used to this. We also had a parade, and Cyd looked at me and said so this is a parade? She doesn't remember ever going to a parade! Alex can remember going to one, but that's all! That is so foreign to me! I love parades and we always go to every one that's near us. Of course, we've spent our lives mostly in small towns, and small towns always do things in a big way, and that includes parades for every occasion.

There was a kind of small fair; some booths, an antique car show, free admission to the museum, historical demonstrations like spinning, making ice cream in tin cans, a mountain man camp, things like that. There was even cow-pie bingo! It was a lot of fun and just small-town nice. On Saturday evening there were food booths and free music and dancing. Gosh, I love small town life!!

Tomorrow we're going to Caras Park in Missoula, where there is free music, good food, Dragon Hollow (which is the coolest playground you ever want to see) and free rides on the carousel. It's a Welcome Home picnic/party for all Veterans and anybody who wants to show their support for the troops. The Missoula Carousel is one of the fastest carousels in existence, and it's really cool. I think the kids will like it. Of course, it will be packed, I'm sure, but we'll just have to be patient and wait in line. (Grandpa is the one who is short on patience.)

I have a few projects lined up for them to do while they are here. I don't want them to be bored with just old people and babies around (the babies' momma works so she's gone more than she's here), but I don't want to overload them either. There will be some time when we just chill out and watch TV or read or listen to the radio. We have a trampoline in the backyard, so that's always available, too. I like to think they won't have too bad of a time while they're here.
OK. Enough of that. I saw the neatest hat today at one of the booths. The woman called it a ski hat and it was just a big tube with a ribbed band at one end and open on both ends. You pull it down over your head and then you can pull the front edge down to your nose or all the way to your chin. It was very cool, and I'm going to try to make one. We'll see how it turns out. If it works out, I will post the pattern I figure out here.

But for tonight, let's talk about keeping a journal. If you're LDS, you hear about this topic at least once a year, if not more, but if you're not LDS, this could be the first time you've thought about it. Blogging is actually a type of journaling (at least for some us), and it's fun, no less, but it's not very permanent. Do you ever print out what you write? Do you keep a written record of the stories you tell or the insights you give into your life? People all across the internet can read about your life, the ups and downs, the good , the bad, the ugly. But what will your grandchildren know about you? Or your great-grandchildren? Will they know that they got their green eyes from you, along with their love of hockey? Will they know that you had 8 miscarriages before you had your only daughter? How will they know YOU? Have you ever wished you had known your great-grandparents? Did they come across the plains as pioneers? Maybe your great-great-grandfather fought by the side of Teddy Roosevelt. Or sat in a foxhole with Audie Murphy. What if your great-grandmother was a baseball player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II? Wouldn't you want to know? Well, your great-grandchildren will want to know, too.

So tonight's idea is for easy journaling. Get yourself a calendar, or better yet, a datebook. Or make one to fit your needs. Make sure it has enough space to make notations when something happens in your life. But don't just wait for an "event". Make note of when you go to the doctor and what the diagnosis was. Make note of concerts, plays, ball games, dinners, births, name it, you should note it. And not only for writing about those specific things. I suggest you take a little time once a week, maybe on Sunday afternoon or evening, and write about your week, and all those notes and jottings will jog your memory. They will help you remember not only what you did that week, but the feelings you had about what you did, and that is sometimes more important than the actual acts. This type of journaling only takes 5 or 10 minutes a night! How much easier can it get? Do this faithfully, and Tah Dah!!! You have a journal! So get started today. Jots and notes ARE worth something. And so are journals. 'Night. Gramma G.

Journal photos

Here are some photos of some journals I made for a Relief Society lesson. They are really easy to make and you could do it on one piece of paper and staple it in the middle. The left page has a space for each days notes and the right page is where I took that info and did my journaling. You can make yours any way you want to fit your needs. Easy as pie. Have fun making your own, or go out and buy one, but get started today.

'Night. Gramma G.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Off to Yellowstone!

I'm posting early today because I'm headed to West Yellowstone tomorrow bright and early and I have to go to bed tonight. I'll be picking up my two oldest grandkids to come stay for a week. It's about a 4 1/2 or 5 hour drive from where we live. My husband is not too happy about my driving it, but he really can't afford to take the time off work, so that leaves me. And the two little ones. How do you occupy a 2-yr.-old and a 3-yr.-old on a trip that long? It's been so long since I've had to do it that I don't remember. We'll figure out something. It won't be a problem after we pick up the other two. Then there will be someone to entertain them. I wish I could afford to go through Yellowstone while I'm there, but with the price of gas, that's not going to happen.

I usually blog late at night because it's quiet and peaceful and I can think. Right now, it's loud and noisy and crazy, and I can't seem to get my thoughts together. I'm thinking about what's for dinner, about the two little boys who are in my rocking chair rocking it as wildly as they can, and about my daughter, who is yelling at them. So if I am a little more scattered than usual, you understand.

I finally got MY photos in the slide show, but now it's too big and you don't see the whole photo. I have the same problem with one of the ads. They both run off the edge of the blog, and I don't know how to fix them. But I will persevere! I'm pretty stubborn about what I want, and I'll just be the squeaky wheel until I figure it out. I've spent some time in the last few days checking out other blogs, and I can see that I know even less than I thought I did. Some of them are really nice looking! Of course, there are others that are rather plain, too, so mine falls somewhere in the middle. If anyone out there is thinking about creating their own blog, sure does make it easy! They have a selection of templates that you just plug your info into, choose what elements you want on your page, and Voila! You have a blog! Now if I were just a little more computer literate, I could really make it great! I want to start a web page, too, but I think I will need to have help with that. I haven't found a place with plug-in templates yet. (LOL)

Today's addition is another recipe. It may sound a little strange, but it's delicious.

Corn and Tomato Salad
1 can Niblets Corn, drained
1 med. tomato, diced
2 TBS. of your favorite Italian dressing. I use Wishbone Light (formerly Just2Good) Italian, because it doesn't have that really heavy vinegar flavor.
Mix all together and enjoy! Its really good and quite filling, too.

Well, this is a short one, but I'll be back tomorrow. Remember, tell your loved ones often that you love them. They are your greatest assets. 'Night. Gramma G.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Of family and recipes.....

We're going to have company this weekend! My two oldest grandchildren are coming for a week's visit and I'm so happy. I don't get to see them very often, and I miss them a lot. I have some fun things planned for them that I hope they will like. They are my oldest son's kids, and Alex just turned 15 and Cydney will be 14 in another month and a half. I can't believe I have grands that old!!! Then when they leave, two daughters and 5 other grandchildren are coming! I hope they are staying for a while, but I'm not sure. The worst thing about living in Montana is that most of our family is in Nevada. We have 2 grands in Utah and 2 in Tennessee and 1 in Arizona, but the rest of them are in Nevada, along with 4 of our children, and my husband's brother and sister and their spouses. He has one other sister and his Mom in Southern California, (which is a lot closer to Nevada than Montana). I miss my family a lot, but I also have other interests. I make friends pretty easily, most of the time, because I go to church and I volunteer around town, but my husband is basically a go-to-work-and-come-home-and-watch-TV type guy, so he gets lonely. It wouldn't surprise me to have him want to move closer before too long. It's just so expensive to move, especially with gas prices the way they are right now, so it will probably take us a while to save the money. We really love Montana, though, so maybe he'll surprise me and we'll stay here for a long time.

My husband and I are opposites in the moving around way. He lived in one place most of his life and now he has itchy feet. We have moved so many times in our soon-to-be-35-years of marriage that I've lost count. Me, on the other hand, I was an Air Force brat, and we moved a lot while I was growing up. I went to a different school every year until Dad retired when I was in 8th grade, so I could settle down and stay in one place (as long as it was somewhere I liked) for the rest of my life. So we compromise....we move a lot, but sometimes to places that I want to try, sometimes to places that he wants to try. One of these days we'll find our perfect place and stay put. I THINK we will, anyway.

I'm going to start adding some new things to this blog. I'm going to have some recipes, patterns, kid's craft ideas, things like that. Tonight's addition will be a recipe that has been in my family for years. It was my mother's recipe and we really like it. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Hamburger Heaven
1 lb. ground beef
1 med. onion, diced
3-4 stalks celery, diced
1 can tomato juice (I like Campbell's best)
12 oz. pkg. noodles
1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
Start browning the ground beef in a large frying pan. Add the onion and celery and let them saute at the same time. When the ground beef is no longer red and the onion and celery are transparent, add the tomato juice. Bring to a boil and add the noodles. Bring back to a boil and turn down to low. Cover and cook 25-30 mins. or until noddles are tender. Spread with cheese, cover again and turn off heat. Let sit for about 10 minutes to thoroughly melt cheese. Easy and delicious!!!

Well, that's it for tonight. Cook up some Hamburger Heaven and think of me while you pig out. Until next time, 'Night, Gramma G.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No Willpower!!

Well, I'm sure off to a good start! I had bacon and eggs for breakfast with an English muffin (BAD, BAD, BAD!), salad for lunch and tacos for dinner. 2 of them. I should have only eaten 1 and I would have been OK. The bacon and eggs weren't really THAT bad, because I only ever have 1 1/2 pieces of bacon, and I had two scrambled eggs. I had a little of that "I Can't Believe its Not Butter" so that wasn't too bad, and I don't eat jelly on my muffin or toast, so I really didn't do too bad. The salad was good, too. But I need to fix dinners that are not so tasty if I'm going to stick to this diet! I just have no willpower. I eat before I even think about what I'm doing. This does not bode well, but we'll see what happens.

Let's change the subject and talk about deadbeat dads for a minute. My youngest daughter is divorced and her ex is a real crumb. He hardly ever calls to talk to the boys, and if she tries to call him so they can talk to him, he won't answer his phone. He doesn't pay his child support, and now all of his taxes went to his first ex-wife and my daughter got nothing! Both boys need new glasses, new shoes, and dentist appointments, and she has no child support to help her get these things. My husband and I are really struggling right now financially, and we can't offer much help, but we do what we can. I just think it was wrong for the government to give it all to the other ex. It should have been split between the two of them. It's like saying that my daughter and her two boys don't count. That they are nothing! And that's just not right. I'm so ticked off about it that I could scream. I told her that I think she should forget about the money and terminate his parental rights. I'm not sure she can, but she could sure try. Thank heaven she finally got to go back to work, and she'll get her first paycheck this week, because he doesn't care if she can support those babies or not!

OK. Enough of that! I just saw pictures of the first pregnant man. Yes. I said MAN! What is this world coming to? They said he is a trans-gender male who kept his female reproductive organs. He is VERY pregnant! His wife said the baby will be raised by traditional parents, she will be the mother and he will be the father, but the poor child will never be able to get away from the fact that his father was the one who bore him, not his mother.
Well, this is a short one tonight, but I better get to bed. From Gramma G, 'Night.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Going on a Diet

I can't think of much to write about tonight. I'm really tired and my brain is shutting down, so I hope whatever I write makes at least a little sense.

I watched a movie today called P.S. I Love You. It was really good, and talk about romantic! It is definitely a chick-flick. If you haven't seen it, I don't want to give away the story line, but you should see it. Have a box of Kleenex handy, though, because I cried through the last half. And then I cried some more because I've never had that kind of romance in my life.

I'm going on a diet. That dreaded word. Usually all I have to do is think the word diet and I gain 5 pounds! But I've gotten so fat again that I can't stand myself. Two years ago I joined Weight Watchers and lost 45 pounds. I felt good, I went down 3 dress sizes, and I looked a lot better than I had in a long time. It was nice. Then we started having some real financial difficulties and I started to gain it back. I've gained back all of it but about 18 pounds, and I hate myself once again. The financial difficulties have not gone away, and maybe they never will, but this weight has got to go! I've battled this problem all my life, and I'm tired of being fat!!! I need to lose around 65 pounds to be where the charts say I should be, but about 55 pounds to be where I know I should be. I've yo-yoed so many times its not funny, but I do believe that Weight Watchers is the best way to go. At least for me. My problem is that I'm not very good at doing this on my own, and I can't afford WW right now, so this is going to be doubly hard. I hope by telling everyone here in this blog, that it will create a sense of accountability.......

Well, I can't stay awake any longer, so I'm signing off for tonight. See y'all tomorrow. "Night. Gramma G

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On Trying To Be an Author

I am trying to write a series of children's arts and crafts (mostly crafts) books. I envision them as small books, 5x8 or thereabouts. Soft covers, laminated for keeping them clean, hand-illustrated, 10 projects per book. I have 9 of them outlined and I've got the first one, which is actually craft recipes for moms, just about finished. I'm doing them in Adobe Pagemaker which is a fairly easy program once you learn it. My biggest problem is how to get them published! I looked into self-publishing and that's way out of my price range. Even the least expensive publisher I found, which was Trafford Publishing, was too much for my humble budget. I have no idea how to submit them them for publishing by a publishing house and probably wouldn't find one that would take them anyway. So now I'm looking at the REAL self-publishing. Printing them on my printer or taking them to somewhere like Kinko's. Either way, I would only have to print them as they were ordered, which would help with costs, but marketing is the problem then.

You've probably all been to fairs and shows and other events that have booths, and seen the people plying their wares. Usually there will be one or two authors who are trying to sell their books, and they usually look like they aren't having much luck. I don't think I'm up for that. So that leaves the internet. BUT....I've learned from trying to set up this blog that it isn't as easy as it looks. And if this easy thing is hard for me, creating a web page is probably impossible! I'm starting to get a little discouraged about the whole project. I will keep writing, and drawing illustrations, and doodling my little title pages, etc., but now it looks like the only children who will ever see them are my grandchildren. And that's OK, but it's a lot of hard work just for 12 kids! I shouldn't say JUST 12 kids, because that minimizes their importance, and I don't want to do that! They are the most important readers my books will ever have, but it IS a lot of work.
I have also written a couple of children's story books that I don't know what to do with, either. I wrote the first one 34 and a half years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, and it's been hanging around since then, just waiting for me to do something with it. I even wrote off for information on writing children's books - you know those ads you see in all the magazines. But it's hanging around along with the story (they just seemed to go together) and now they're both waiting for me to do something. I'm not sure the ad information is anything I will ever use, but it's nice to have the option.

So, now....................I'm hanging, too! I keep reading and checking books out of the library on publishing, and submitting manuscripts, etc. etc. etc. but it's a pretty scary thing, putting your work out there to be judged and criticized and knocked down. And that's before it even gets to the readers! Look at how long it took J.K. Rowling to get Harry Potter published, and I think those books are just about the best children's books I've seen in a long time. I don't even necessarily think of them as "children's" books, because their appeal is across the board. My little stories are definitely aimed at the younger crowd.

But, like I said, I will keep working on them, and maybe after I'm dead, one of my kids will do something with them. Enough rambling for now. "Night. Gramma G

PS - I've given up on the slide show for now and just put a photo of me and my hubby, instead.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Who needs food anyway????

Today was grocery shopping day.WOW!!! The cost of food is skyrocketing so fast that soon we will all be on forced diets! I don't know how it is where you are living, but here in Montana a gallon of milk is $4.00! A little more, a little less, depending on the brand and the fat content. Have any of you out there noticed the so-fat, low-fat, no-fat thing going on in the world today. Doctors and nutritionists tell us that we live in a too-fat society, that we are over-eaters and over-indulgers and that we need to cut back on things that make us fat, that make our blood and heart fat, and that cause so many other problems that I can't count them all. But what happens to the price of the food when they take out the fat, or the sugar, or anything else that tastes good but isn't good for us? The price goes up. Do you know how much more it costs to eat healthy that it does to eat what tastes good? I'm far enough over the hill now that I'm not sure that healthy is worth the lack of good taste. Have you tasted a diet soda? My daughter swears that once you get used to it, you'll never go back. But how long 'til you get used to it? A month? A year? A lifetime? I don't know if I have enough time to get used to that nasty taste.

Now, I will admit that there are certain things that taste better to me without all the sugar. I'm not saying NO sugar, just not as much. I like Blue Bunny No Sugar Added ice cream. I think it tastes better than the too-sweet regular type ice cream. And I like Aunt Jemima Light syrup. Regular syrup tastes so sweet to me now that I can't stand to eat it. (I was on Weight Watchers for over a year, so I have made some adjustments to the way I eat.) But fat-free cream cheese just doesn't get it. Neither does skim milk. Yuk! Its like drinking blue water! If "they" want a healthier America, one who eats less and better, they need to figure out a tastier way to do it.

Anyway, back to the topic for tonight. Food is supposedly getting better for us, but it's getting so that by the time you buy groceries for the week, you're a week behind in the budget! Pretty soon we'll realize that our ancestors probably had the right idea: grow your own food! What a concept! If you grow what you need and a little to sell to the neighbors, you'll be able to get ahead in life and give your children more than you had. Oops! I think that's how we got in this mess in the first place! Every parent wants their children to have a better life than they did, so they work hard to give their children what they think they missed in their own lives. The children become spoiled and think the world owes them a living, they squander what their parents worked so hard to give them by paying someone else to do everything for them and Voila! Here we are! Right where we don't want to be. It's a big, vicious circle.

Not only is growing your own food easier on the grocery bill, but it's better for you nutritionally. And.... you get a work-out in the garden, so you're in better shape, too! You kill two birds with one stone, as my grandmother used to say. Because along with the "fatness" of our food is our sedentary way of life. Computers are probably one of the greatest, if not THE greatest things ever invented, BUT...they don't lead to a very active life anywhere but in your head. Same with TV, but that's another night.

Well, I guess I've rambled and ranted enough for tonight. Just one last thought. I am looking for a way to work off a student loan, by teaching or volunteering or something. I can't afford to pay it back and eat, too. (Maybe I should plant a really, really big garden.) If anyone knows anything about loan forgiveness, please, please, please let me know. Thanks and 'night. Gramma G

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Some tired observations

Well, I took the slide show off, because I can't figure out how to get my pictures in it. I'm not giving up, I just don't want to leave it a blank space on the sidebar. It's really frustrating to be an old Gramma G who is dumb when it comes to complicated computer stuff!

I just got through reading an article on blogging that said you need to have a focus for your blog and not have too many topics or ideas or whatever. Boy, am I in trouble. It said to have a plan and to use the blog as part of the plan. Not only do I not have a plan, but I don't have any idea how to use my blog to further a plan. I guess I will work it out as I go. Hopefully, this will eventually lead somewhere. I just need to learn how to work out the bugs. (If anyone reads this who knows how to put a slide show on a blog with the right pictures, contact me. Please!)

I can't think of anything to say tonight, my mind is so tied up with the slide show thing. I have read posts and blogs and blog help FAQ's and everything I can find, but I haven't found the answer yet. I stayed up half the night trying to figure it out, and now I'm so tired I can hardly hold my eyes open. I have already nodded off three times and had to delete a whole row of periods twice, and the third time it was ssssssssss's.

I will just make a few observations and let it go for tonight. Why does it seem to be inherent in human nature to think the worst about other people? Why can't we all just be the best that's in us, and then think the best of everyone else? I hate to see someone jump to a negative conclusion about someone else, just because they judge others by their own guidelines. It's a fact about the human state of being: if we are liars we tend to think everyone else is lying, too. If we are thieves, we think everyone else is after our stuff. It's really a shame that we aren't all kind and honest and reliable, for then we would be more apt to think the best of everyone else.

My other observation for the night is this: our children are destined to follow their own paths and make their own mistakes, no matter how much we try to teach them about OUR mistakes so they won't repeat them. I tried to raise my children so they wouldn't make the same mistakes I did, or go through the heartache that I did, but do they pay attention? No! And do you know what I have found out? I have to live my own mistakes over again as I watch them struggle with theirs. It's like a double whammy! I love my children very much, and I wouldn't have them change a thing. I had some kind of a little mold that I thought they would all fit into, and they don't, but that doesn't mean they are less good, or less important. It just means that I have had to refocus my ideas of what my children should be. They should be themselves and not have to worry if I approve or not. My love does not diminish just because they don't fit the mold.
Well, I'm really rambling tonight, so I better close for now. From Gramma G...."Night!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stuff, Stuff and More Stuff!

Well, I missed last night because I was so busy trying to get this thing up and going the way I want it to be, that I forgot to write! I finally figured out how to get the slide show going, but the pictures aren't mine! How's that for crazy? So I will probably spend half the day tomorrow trying to get MY pictures into the slide show, instead of those really nice photos of places I've never even seen.

I just finished reading The Gift by Richard Paul Evans. Man, what a powerful story. What would or could the world be like if everyone were so unselfish! If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. But be prepared to read for 2 or 3 hours straight, depending on how fast you read, because once you start it, you won't want to put it down until you're finished.

Today was a beautiful day here in Montana. It was warm enough to wear Capri pants and short sleeves, but cool enough to get out in the yard, or the garage in my case, and get some work done. We have just moved to a new house, and its quite a bit smaller than the one we were living in, so there is a lot of "leftovers" that won't fit in the house. I'm going through everything and trying to decide if it stays or goes. My youngest daughter and her two little boys are living with us, so the space is even tighter that it would be normally. The garage has become our craft room, with a set of shelves on one wall that are 7 feet wide and 8 feet tall. On the opposite wall are storage bins for paper, embellishments, tools, etc. It's not the perfect place, but it's better than having all the stuff in storage and not being able to use it. We have her nice big dining table in the middle of the room for working on. (At least we should be able to work on it at some future date. Hopefully before the end of the world.) We are big scrapbookers, plus we like to make our own cards and gifts, so we have a lot of supplies. Junk, my husband calls it. We had a yard sale last weekend and he kept trying to sell the craft stuff along with everything that really WAS for sale! Men!

I have carpal tunnel and arthritis in my hands and sometimes its really hard to type, so if you find mistakes in my writing, please know that its not because I'm illiterate. I actually have a college degree. Of course, my degree, which is in Art, doesn't gaurantee that I can spell, but English was always my best subject in high school. So overlook the mistakes, OK?

My youngest grandson, Rafferty, who is one of the two living with us, is such a toad! He is so cute, and such a little devil at the same time. He's just like his Uncle Clif was. He wants to take everything apart. He gets in to everything! He can open the childproof doors now, and there's no stopping him! He's so smart, too. His vocabulary is growing almost as fast as his brother's, and he's a year and a half older. Cyric was a slow starter as far as talking goes, but he's making up for it. He's 3 1/2 now, and he talks up a storm. And he's really smart, too. He already knows about half of his letters and numbers, and can count to ten most of the time. He knows his colors and shapes and loves those books where there are things hidden in the pictures that you have to find. I actually have very smart grandchildren all the way around. The oldest just turned 15. (Wow! I don't feel really old until I think about things like that!) He and his sister will be spending a week or so with us pretty soon. Then when they leave, 5 others will be coming to stay. We will have a house full!!!!
Rafferty has found a new place to hide!

I guess I used to think that when my kids were all grown and away from home, that I would have lots of time to do all those things I wanted to do but never had the time. Guess what? It's not happ'nin'. All those things are still on the back burner waiting for me to have the time to do them. Remember that old saying, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Well that's me. I find a project I want to do, I get the instructions, or I save up the stuff I need, and then I never get around to it and I wind up with all this "stuff" that I never use. And the sad thing is, that my children are just like me. They are all collectors of "stuff". With my boys, it's mechanical stuff. Cars parts and tools and computers and things like that. With my girls, it's scrapbooking stuff, and crafting and gift stuff. I apologize to them for that, and for all the headache it will cause them throughout their lives. I got it from my mother, and I was weak and didn't break the chain of "stuff collecting", but instead passed it on. Woe is me! Do you suppose that when I get to the pearly gates, that St. Peter will tell me I can't come in because of all the "stuff" I left behind? I'm going through it all now, but I'm sure it won't take me long to collect a new bunch of "stuff".

I'm going to try to add some links to other pages that I like and I hope you will like, too. We'll see how long it will take me and how I can screw it up before I figure it out. Hopefully, tomorrow I will have some of those links for you to look at. When I lived in Nevada, I belonged to a group called "Crafting Angels" and we did humanitarian projects. We made hygiene kits and school kits, and dressed dollies, things like that, for distribution by the Mormon Church to those in need. We knitted hats and mittens, made ABC books and picture books, that kind of thing. It was a lot of fun and we always had a potluck lunch and good companionship. I miss all those ladies a lot, and I know they are still doing great things. Anyway, the lady who started it all has a very nice website, and that will be my first link. If you go to her website, you will find patterns and ideas for all kinds of things.

Well, I think I've rambled enough for one night. If you ever have any questions about my ramblings, or want to clarify something I didn't make too clear, just drop me a line. I'm always here. This is Gramma G signing off. 'Night.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1, 2008

Well, here goes! This is all new to me, but I'm going to give it a try. I'm a 53-year-old grandmother with a laptop. Probably a dangerous combination. I have 5 children and 14 grandchildren, 2 of whom have already left this frail existance. (That will be a post all it's own.) I love to sew, or at least I used to, and I like all kinds of crafts. Scrapbooking is my current interest, along with making cards and rubber stamping. (I'm a kind of rambler, in case you can't tell that already.)

I also am the granny-nanny for my two youngest grandsons, one 2 years and one 3 and a half. They keep me going, for sure. Some nights I feel like I've been run over by a Mack truck! But there are those moments that make it all worthwhile, like when the little one says to me "Hug!" and holds out his arms and puckers up his lips. Its enough to melt your heart. The little toad has learned now, though, that I love those hugs and kisses, and when he knows he's in trouble, or soon going to be, he holds out those arms and puckers those lips to get out of his punishment! Sometimes it even works!

My husband is a mechanic who would like to be something else now. Mechanics is hard work, which he doesn't mind, but he thinks it would be really nice to have a little easier job now that he's getting older. Or maybe just a job that's new to him. It's always nice to learn new things, and I think it would be nice to have a steady income instead of one that goes up and down all the time. If I could find a job on the internet that REALLY makes money, that would be great. I have this laptop and plenty of time, but those jobs all seem to fit my mother's old saying, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!" I have spent far too much start-up money on things that I thought would augment the paycheck, but really only "started up" someone else's extra cash. I'm trying to think up an original idea of my own for earning that extra cash, but so far, no luck. I may start my own web page here soon to sell original patterns and children's craft books. The big problem with that is I don't know how to build a wab-page! I have been looking at instructions and manuals for different software, and holy moly, batman, I can't understand a thing they say!!!!!

I told you I was a rambler! I tend to jump from subject to subject. The connections all make perfect sense to me, but they may not to you. Sorry!

It's almost one o'clock in the morning right now and as I write, Frazier is renewing an old acquaintance with a woman called Nanny G, (funny coincidence, don't you think?) although I think it was a whole lot more than an acquaintance! I think Kelsey Grammer is a really funny guy, and I used to be a Frazier watcher when it was on Prime Time television. I used to watch Cheers! too. And now he is a director or producer, I'm not sure which one, on another of my favorite TV shows, Medium. I was surprised to see his name in the credits not too long ago.

Well I think that's enough for tonight. I'm going to try to be faithful and post every night for the first month, and then probably 2 or 3 times a week after that. I hope that someone out there will find this blog and read it, and maybe enjoy taking a peek into the very crazy life of Gramma G. 'Night!
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