Sunday, May 28, 2023

End of May Update

My update is that I accomplished nothing further. 

My dining room table is still full of things that I took out of my kitchen cupboards. I still have cupboards to empty. 

Nothing can move onto the shelves in my temporary pantry because I had to move everything in the room to get to the dresser where I store my flags and I have to reorganize that mess. 

I have not been to Goodwill so there are boxes stacking. 

Schools are starting to end so Friday we took four little people to our amusement park to celebrate the end of school. That is exhausting. Then two little people had a sleepover which meant I was in the uncomfortable twin bed in my Bed and Breakfast room. The too soft mattress is on a frame with no headboard and it was very tricky for an old lady to get in and out of the bed. 

The next morning we fed the group and I really don't remember Saturday. Until 4 pm when two moms and five children stopped by to visit and stay for supper.  (I ordered pizza). They stayed until dark so that they could do a field trip to the drive in. I waited up until after midnight for the return of some extra car seats and our radio. 

This Sunday I am planning to work on that table . . . . depending on company over the next two day, I might be able to make a dent.  

We also had a sad day where my husband's former co-worker for over 25 years suddenly passed away. The same day I got a call that a dear friend was hospitalized and things are not good.  We are now trying to maneuver childcare this week for a funeral. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

End of May

Another post of pictures.  I have just started a new project. Because another one of my super powers is to start projects. I am praying for another super power, the one to finish projects. But meanwhile . . . 

Blah, blah broken arm. It is hard to lift dishes up into cupboards. And during the month of May I have been dropping my Pfaltzgraff on to the floor at an alarming rate. I decided to 

1. Empty my kitchen cupboards

2. Wash the insides of my kitchen cupboards

3. Reorganize the insides of my kitchen cupboards so that the lightweight dishes are easily in reach. And, while I am at it, move the pantry items back into the kitchen cupboards, then move my craft supplies on the shelving units (which are temporarily in a guest room) and reorganize the closet where the craft supplies currently reside. . . 

I started on Sunday night. This just some of the items from cupboard one. Somehow we have yet again accumulated an entire box of miscellaneous coffee cups to take to Goodwill. 

To make room, I am moving all my sandwich sets . . . somewhere. And here is just the inside of my spice cupboard. Because I jumped to another cupboard when the job got hard. 

I found this adorable little shelf at Michael's at 50% off which was only a little more than I wanted to spend in the first place. I am having a serious conversation with myself about spice hoarding. 

I did move one entire shelf from the pantry into my kitchen pantry cupboard. The items I was hoarding in this cupboard are now on the dining room table. 

I am declaring June as Emergency Grocery Items only month so we can eat what is in this cupboard and maybe start eating healthier in July. My pandemic mentality has got to stop. It's an Ode to Processed Food. 

Now the project is at a standstill as I am working 8 hours tomorrow at my church office, Wednesday is the nursery school picnic, then something I can't remember, Thursday is my monthly lunch with friends, then a fundraiser for a political candidate we support, then Friday we will have 5 grandchildren (I think, after we send two to school) since 2 out of 4 schools will be on summer break. We plan to take them to our amusement park for the day. Saturday our local drive in is showing G rated movies and the outing is going to end with (gasp) a cousin sleepover. 

Speaking of the amusement park, I had a free day and one child - so we took off for our first visit this year. 

I added a meal plan to my pass for the first time and we split this lunch. 

My daughter tried to get his nursery school event days off, but there were too many requests. She did get a random Monday and we took off for a nearby Amish community with nurseries. It was an adventure. Our favorite nursery family decided to move out west this past winter and left us stranded. After visiting three other nurseries, we discovered a fourth family farm with similar baskets and plants. Here is my granddaughter Vanna - who took a personal day with her mom. 

Her name is not really Vanna, but she makes a lovely model, doesn't she? 

She is very bendy. 

I am a happy person! 

And we have been eating well, although not from the pantry. 

A local business near us has welcomed a barbeque food truck to the neighborhood. 

And the ice cream stand at the end of my street introduced ice cream nachos. Please excuse my melting soft serve ice cream. 

And another play. 

Oh, and the new nursery gave her a free flower! 

And if this isn't living the good life, I don't know what is. 
Well, I got out of spending this evening working on the kitchen cupboards! Hope everyone has a great week. 

Oh, and please excuse the varying font sizes and margins. 10:18 pm.  I am over it. 

Friday, May 5, 2023

My State Geneology Conference

I started doing genealogy a few years ago and, as luck would have it, my state decided to hold their yearly conference in the city next to mine in April 2020.  I registered early, worked out childcare for the grandchildren and was so excited to go.  When I broke my arm, I was still trying to convince my husband that he could drive me over each day. Until our state closed for the month of April. I think the conference, which rotates to mid-state the next year, was cancelled in 2021. In 2022, the conference was held in the southern part of our state. And this year . . . It rotated up to me! 

I signed up in November for the early bird pricing. I decided it would be easiest to drive back and forth instead of staying at the conference center. I could still feed everyone breakfast Thursday and help get kids on the bus. Friday I left breakfast on the table when I left at 7:15 am and Saturday hubby was on his own.  This is my genealogy notebook I made at Shutterfly. 

The first two sessions I attended were worth the entire cost of my registration. My first class was about finding Polish records and the presenter had living in Poland for several years as an employee with the United States Government and so knowledgable. She started with a history lesson of wars since the 1700's and all the border changes. She tied this in to the different birthplaces that Polish immigrants would list on census records. She made me wish she had been my history and geography teacher when I was in high school! By the end of the session I had decided I would have to purchase the syllabus for the conference because I would never remember everything I was learning.

The next session had an equally fabulous presentor who explained the history of Amish and Mennonites in Europe and how and why they ended up in Lancaster PA. Another history lesson! And this is where I discovered my paternal great grandmother (and generations of her family) came from.  He had great research tips and I will have to convince my dear husband to take me on a road trip there!  At this point I started a list of presentors so I can watch for their names for future classes. 

The topics the speakers were presenting at the expensive lunches were not interesting to me, so I decided to take myself to lunch each day. The first day was a lovely lunch at Olive Garden. They had a tiny table by a window in the bar area which was perfect for me.

We received 3 strips of free raffle tickets and I decided to use one strip per day for the silent raffle baskets.  Late afternoon I received two texts and when I checked at the tables, I had won two prizes!

I can't wait to read these. I love genealogy and stories of crimes. 

The Underground Railroad is a particular interest of mine and this book included two passes to Ohio's Underground Railroad Museum in Southern Ohio,  A place I have always wanted to visit. It is far enough away that I think we will have to plan a two day trip. 

Day Two had equally great sessions. My list of favorite presentors kept getting longer and longer.  I took myself to Cracker Barrel for lunch. That's vegetable soup and I was impressed with the Twinnings tea bag. 

I stopped at the book table on my way back to class. 

And purchased the fattest and heaviest book there. 

It is a rebound copy of the two earliest histories of my county which list all my ggg grandparents. 

And that afternoon I got a text from the raffle table that I had won a prize. 

I am really excited about this prize, too. My daughter has never taken her children to the zoo and we were discussing buying season passes to a zoo nearer to us, since the cost wasn't much more than admission. But free is even better and I have never, ever been to the Columbus zoo. Approximate value of prize: $120

Day Three dawned. When I arrived at 7:45 am, the parking lot was almost full. It turned out we were sharing the facility with a cheerleading competition.  It was . . . interesting. They were not supposed to be anywhere near our section, but you know how that goes.  Again, terrific sessions, but I was afraid to leave the facility as it was raining and I didn't know where I could park when I got back.  So I stayed and bought my most expensive lunch of the week (the facility does not permit outside food - like the packed lunches I had planned orginially). 

$16.81.  Then I went to class and . . . . got a text that I had won a door prize. 

I have actually stayed at this motel in the past. It is a lovely two story building with a beautiful pool and walking trails and is a parking lot away from an Amish restaurant. When I worked under a state grant for our local extension service, our employee trainings and workshops were held at this facility.  It is also located in the same town as the Children's Imagination Station where I take my grandchildren and just down the road from the restaurant inside the railroad cars.  My daughter, who also has a teacher pass to the Children's Imagination Station, and I are planning a trip this summer with her children.  

At this point, I am hiding my door prize certificates, not mentioning anything to my fellow attendees. I am feeling tremendous guilt over this overflow of luck and gifts. I don't know anyone involved with the drawings or prizes, I swear. Actually it seemed to be different people every day. I have won my registration fee three times over. 

Then, I get another text. I spent $5 on six raffle tickets for a local geneaolgy basket - and I won.  They did put it in a file box so I could carry it around the rest of the day. I felt so guilty as every new class congratulated me. 

After that, there was nothing left to win. The classes were over and I returned home.  It is time to get ready for my church festival, so I pulled the important things from this basket (the Polish tea cup and the dish towels) added more wine and repackaged it for my church's silent auction.  The items were all very lovely, but I am downsizing and do not need more pretties! 

So - the conference was actually so much more than winning prizes. I actually stopped for a lottery ticket on the way home, but my luck did not hold. I have so much information and ideas and "to-dos, I can't wait to start. AND at the end of the conference they announced that, due to planned remodeling at the facility in the next area of the state to take a turn, the conference will be held in the city next to me in 2024!!!  

I plan to register on day 1 and this time I will sign up for the fancy lunch and speaker on Saturday to cover my bases. I do not expect to EVER win another door prize! 

Tuesday, May 2, 2023


I'm actually very proud of myself.  I spent 3 days at a Genealogy Conference (and I will share more about that) and had one day to do laundry and get my act together.  One part of this act was to gather items I had accumlated for the past year for silent auction baskets for my church festival. 

I left the house to get more baskets at Goodwill and hopefully those clear mylar bags for baskets at Dollar Tree (they were out). I got waylayed for over an hour at Walmart when I ran into the children's librarian I worked with at the library 20 years ago. But I made it to Goodwill about 15 minutes before they closed. 

I did not take a cart because I was just getting two baskets. The first thing I saw was a box with pieces of Pfaltzgraff in the Tea Rose pattern. The old kind made in the USA! There were some luncheon plates and some ruffled edge plates and misc other pieces. I left it thinking I would pick it up on the way to the register. 

Then I saw this huge box of plates that I just love!

And next to them was this box with cups! 

And even more plates and things. 

And I did not buy them.  

I loved this set - it's plastic but cute. 

Do you ever feel like you are finding things you donated at Goodwill? Even years ago? I swear these are plates my mother sold at a sale when she sold her house and moved into a condo. 

I really, really think they are her plates. But I did not buy them. 

Is this not the cutest mini tea pot? Yet, I did not purchase it. 

I did grab two baskets as they announced the store was closing. And I did not remember to pick up the Tea Rose plates. 

The reason I am so proud that I resisted the urge to accumlate dishes is my dish hoarding. When I was a young housewife a hundred years ago, I liked to look at the place settings as much as the recipes. I remember when I found some checkered border plates at Big Lots that were very similar to ones on the cover of Country Living magazine! A few decades later I discovered blogs on the internet that featured "Tablescapes".  I found my people! No dishware or china was safe. 

I have way too many dishes. An embarassing amount of dishes. There used to be a Pfatzgraff outlet near my home. And I inherited everyone's wedding china. Then, in 2020, I fell and shattered my arm. Now it is difficult to lift the plates on and off the shelves. I purchased some melamine plates and that is what we mainly use for meals. 

But I still have all the dishes.  

I also have a Pandemic Pantry which borders on hoarding. I had to have a stern talk with myself. Even if . . . We are not in the same situation now as we were in April 2020. Personally, I have a freezer full of beef. There is a large dairy in a neighboring city north of us and they set up online ordering and curbside pickup of all dairy products. I am sure they can set it back up in minutes.  And south of us are two large vegetable farms who sell to restaurants and grocery stores. They set up online ordering of small, medium, or large boxes of miscellanous fresh vegetables with curb side pickup for households. I'm sure they could do it again.  I do not need to keep all these processed foods on shelves. (I still plan cupboards full, just not enough to stock a small store). 

The master plan in my mind is to take everything out of my kitchen cupboards and scrub them.  Then I am only returning the plates, glasses, cups and bowls we actually use. And I am moving in my mixing bowls and glass baking dishes that I actually use to the kitchen. AND I am putting the food in the cupboards in the kitchen. I know this sounds elementary to most of you. 

And the cute stuff (shelves and shelves of cute stuff) is going in the utility room or possibly in the overflowing china cabinets. And if I am in the right mood, some of it might jump in the donation box. 

So I am very happy I did not bring home more plates that I do not need and that I can't even lift into the cupboards. Baby steps. 

Miss Merry