Friday, May 26, 2017

Bicycle Planter

All winter I was searching Pinterest for ideas for a bicycle planter. I was searching Facebook garage sales for used bikes. One afternoon I spotted a listing for a dusty bike pictured from the back in a storage unit. $10! I was on it. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to have a basket attached!  
I had pictured my bicycle planter in pale pink, but I had a can of coral spray paint left over from a previous project.  Well, it took FIVE cans of paint to completely cover the bicycle, including the tires. One can each side to prime the bike, one can each side to paint the bike and one can to cover the places I missed.  This added $25 to the cost of the project. 
The largest cost turned out to be the new tennis shoes I put back on when I changed to my painting clothes. Completely ruined. I even had paint on the soles from tracking on the tarp.
 Just as I pictured it! My husband added plastic zip ties to the tires and frame prior to the fifth and final coat of paint. The tires, which are flat and rotting anyway, can not turn. I have not yet attached it to the tree, but I may just do that in case of a strong wind.
 I bought a hanging basket with liner on sale (cheaper than the liners alone). I positioned the liner in the basket and will show you the basket at the end of the post.      
  Next I filled the liner with Miracle-Grow potting soil. I did adjust the basket later so that it leans more toward the street.
 I wanted a pretty full basket so I placed purple salvias in the back, yellow marigolds next, coral impatiences since they match the bike so well and then vinca vines to trail over the basket.
I love it already. I just can not wait until the flowers grow larger! Maybe next year I will add rear baskets, too.
I used the extra plants for some small planters. The stands were leftover from one of my kids weddings and I painted them to match.
 And here is what I did with the hanging basket that came with my liner. I turned it upside down and made it a canopy for my fairy garden!  I hope to train some vines to climb it.
Meanwhile, instead of bedding plants this year, I am adding color to my landscaping with painted signs. Every morning when I hear the latest catastrophe of our government, I try to relieve my anxiety with my paint brush instead of screaming. Here are some of my recent sign boards.  


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Planning my Summer

June is just around the corner and summer will be here!!  I am currently providing day care for my younger grandchildren (aged 4, 3, 2, 15 months and 12 months). I was having a little pity party for myself when I realized that two of the moms are teachers and starting in June, I will only have the 4 and 2 year old two days a week! 3 days off! It is a summer vacation.    And at the end of July I will add one more person to the day care - my husband is retiring!
Ever since my oldest grandson was born, I have tried to schedule a week in the summer for Gramma Mimi's Cousin Camp. Luckily the oldest three are the out of towners and are potty trained. They are the only overnight guests. Everyone else lives locally. 
Last summer was a huge challenge. I was stricken with a horrible case of shingles over Memorial Day Weekend and could not get into a doctor until it was too late to get any medication to help me. The whole experience was pretty devastating and I would urge anyone who has not had the shingles vaccine to contact their doctor immediately. As I shared last year, I was months away from my 60th birthday and had planned to get the vaccine, only to discover that my insurance actually covers the shot at age 50. It has taken me months to recover and I am still suffering from some nerve damage.
Nevertheless, camp must go on! The cousins all look forward to it and so do I! We had an abbreviated camp last year.  The activities were pretty simple and we really did not do field trips and outings.    
And luckily Aunt Sissa bought a house with a pool! It was a great place for everyone to burn off some energy since there was a lot of video watching in the schedule to give gramma time to rest.  
My four year old was invited to spend one night at our sleepover. I really have to limit the overnight to those no longer in diapers. Eventually it may be the whole crew!
I made it all winter without visiting a doctor and now, at the end of May, I am battling bronchitis.  I have chosen the theme for this year, I have mailed the registration forms (with important questions like What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? and How late would you like to stay up?).. Since today I am trying to rest in my recliner during nap time, instead of cleaning, cooking and trying to accomplish all I can before they wake up - I am planning the itinerary. I hope I am up to this!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2017


 Unfortunately I was not able to identify which of the six lovely daughters in the picture on the top right is my great grandmother. I did put the pictures together for a collage for this year. And it is perfectly fine. I do hope by next year I can make the picture I have in mind, though.    Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Climbing the Family Tree

A few years ago I took advantage of a free genealogy class offered by a neighboring library.  The class is held for two evenings and explores how you can use the internet to learn something about your family. I was very excited and spent a few weeks exploring the true story behind some family myths and discovering a little information about branches I knew nothing about.
Then life happened.  As usual. Everything got packed in a box and that was that. I think I gained four more grandchildren in the lapse. And then I saw that they were offering the class again! I called and asked if you were allowed to repeat it and they welcomed me with open arms.
My Mom
I had this great idea for Mothers Day, I wanted to make a collage of all the ladies on my mothers side.
My Gramma
I was told this was my great grandmother who died when my gramma was only 9 years old. Spoiler Alert - this is the photo that will gum up the plan.
My great grandmother - but which one?
 I did find this wonderful portrait of my great grandmother and her family on Ancestry.
One of these six daughters is my great grandmother! But which one?
My next mission is to figure out which one is her.    And this is a photo of my great-great grandmother, Sarah Perry (Snyder). My grandmother was her spitting image!
Sarah Perry Snyder
 And this is a photo of my great-great-great grandmother Sarah (Ammerman) Perry.
Sarah Ammerman Perry
  Lots of Sarah Perrys to confuse me further when going through records.  The end of my story is that when I took the photo of who I thought was my maternal great grandmother out of the precious frame, it is labeled on the back with the name of my paternal great grandmother (in my mothers writing) on the back. Whether this is true or not I will need to verify.  In the mean time, this project will be postponed until I can identify a photo of my true maternal great grandmother.                                                                                    My finished collage could include my granddaughters, my daughters, myself, my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great-great grandmother, my great-great-great grandmother. EIGHT generations!!  The library offers genealogy assistance the first Tuesday of each month and I cannot wait to go back! 
My oldest granddaughter, the fashion icon. She is posing on abandoned tracks at a railroad museum.

My youngest granddaughter, posing on her first birthday. 
Linking as a BEFORE with Metamorphis Monday at,  and Foodie Friday and Everything Else at

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cousins Tea Party

I haven't hosted a tea party in quite a while. And when I do host a tea party, it is usually for friends or a baby shower or something similar. I am great about cooking and baking for others.
When my children were little they always assumed that baked goods like cakes, cookies or pies were going somewhere else.  
When my oldest daughter said she would make the hour and forty five minute drive this Saturday to deliver girl scout cookies, I called the rest of my daughters and daughter in laws and it turned out all of them and ALL of my grandchildren were able to attend.
Not that I do not love them dearly, but I decided to use up odds and ends of different paper products and disposable items instead of my good china for the party.
 I tried to talk the 2 two-year olds into sitting at a smaller table, but they wanted to join the crowd. We also had two high chairs along the sides. Good thing we are a close family.
 I babysit for most of them at sometime during the week, but luckily not all of them at the same time. This limited my prep time for cooking so I took advantage of a few box mixes.
I know my audience. I made mini Kraft macaroni and cheese casseroles for the younger set. About once a year Aldi offers a boxed cranberry pumpkin scone mix. I stock up. The day or two after Thanksgiving, I stop by again and load up on cranberries on clearance. They can go straight in the freezer. I add about 1/2 a bag to the mix.
 I came up with a potato soup recipe years ago and it is a good fit for March. It is probably the most unhealthy version ever, loaded with butter and cream. It is delicious! And I can only make too much (2 crock pots full is the least I can do) so people have to take it home with them. Cream based soups do not freeze well.
Friday night I also made egg salad for sandwich filling and finely sliced cucumber. I layer the cucumber slices on paper towel and sprinkle each layer with salt, another paper towel, repeat, and chill over night. To make sandwiches , I butter bread slices, cut off the crusts and place 4 cucumber slices on top. I cut each slice into 4 squares. They are wonderful.!
I also layered cheese and ham on Hawaiian rolls and made a special Carrot Cake Sandwich (recipe courtesy of Tea Time Magazine) that they all love.  I took a fruit tray to the last pot cluck and the kids all loved it, so I cut up tons of fresh fruit the night before, too.
 I had some sparkling lemonade for the kids and made several pots of different teas for the ladies to try. I am the only real tea drinker, so I am always trying to sway them to the right path! For dessert I baked (from an Aldi mix) strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting. Most missed baby Oliver's first birthday party because they all had the flu, a cold, an ear infection or something - so we ended the tea party by singing happy birthday! 

Miss Merry