We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Monday, July 28, 2014

2013 Cooking and Baking Directory -

   This is a directory listing of sorts, of the "Cooking and Baking" postings we did in 2013.

                 (update 2014 - never got letters to submit, still wishing for one)

Sept. 17, 2013 - The Bz's D-E-E-P Dish Pizza

    Doing these directories, helps me find when and where it was I had posted something. I'm sure you other bloggers never have that problem o;-p.
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You might also enjoy these postings:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2012 Cooking and Baking Directory -

This is a directory listing of sorts, of all of the "Cooking and Baking" postings we did in 2012.

Jan. 18, 2012 - Pie Crust 
     step by step directions and pictures

Jan. 19, 2012 - Blueberry Pie 

Jan. 20, 2012 - Toll House(R) Pie

Jan. 21, 2012 - Pecan Pie

Jan. 22, 2012 - Pumpkin Pie

Jan. 26, 2012 - Brownie Cake

March 21, 2012 - My Spaghetti Sauce 

March 22, 2012 - Pasta Pie

March 26, 2012 - My Lasagna Recipe

    Doing these directories, helps me find when and where it was I had posted something. I'm sure you other bloggers never have that problem o;-p.
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You might also enjoy these postings:

~ 2011 Cooking and Baking Directory

2010 Cooking and Baking Directory

2009 Cooking and Baking Directory

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wisdom in statements -

My father-in-law and I had many wonderful talks while I stayed with him. One day I was commenting about my on-going Vertigo, how I do seem to be doing better most of the time, yet I truly wish that it would just disappear from my life. The combination of the type of smile he was wearing with the sparkle in his eyes, told me he was thinking something and I really wanted to know what. So I pushed a little. Finally he said," that he thinks it's not so much that my vertigo has diminished, but rather that I have learned to adapt". He went on to say, "that there are two types of people; those that take "life" and learn to adapt to it so they can keep going on and doing things, and those whom not only throw themselves a pity party, but also choose not to come out of it."

So much wise truth in his words! 

I had then got to thinking (and sharing with him) about the saying I 'oft quote from my "great grandma" (Dora Hawkins). "Age is a thing of the spirit. Now, some mornings you have to convince the body, but age IS a thing of the spirit." I have witnessed so much truth to her words over the years! 

And then the saying Brian and I live by came to mind. "you can either laugh or cry at "life", we choose to laugh". 

We (Dad and I) decided that those three statements go hand in hand with one another. I was humbled by his compliment and redetermined to keep striving forward to be the positive side of all three of the statements.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Seeing the new snow out the kitchen window this morning, wasn't really surprising. As I was standing there missing the sunny sky, a memory came to mind. A wonderful memory, which warmed my heart and made me chuckle.

Due to the sun actually shining, I had opened all of the living room curtains, two weekends ago while the GRAND kids were here. At one point, Mr. Elliot was standing next to me up on the yellow couch. He leaned out towards the bay windows and was looking around. Suddenly, he literally pops back in towards me and with scrunched up eyes and a puzzled expression asked me, "Grandma, who turned light on? Who turned light on?!". With a gleeful laugh I had answered, "God did. He turned the sun on." "The sun on?!?" he asked, with even more puzzlement in his adorable little face. "Yes, the sun is shining. We haven't seen a lot of it around here this winter, have we?" He had then leaned out towards the windows again, but only took a quick look before popping back again, then while climbing down off the couch, started asking where his 'glasses' were. Very quickly he was back, with his sunglasses on (upside down of course ;-p!) leaning towards the windows again. "Better!" he declared.

Oh Mr. Elliot, you yourself are a ray of sunshine. Just that memory of you, is warming my heart this morning. Counting down till when they are here again. . .

Thursday, November 7, 2013

fixing the structure of our front porch

   I've told you about cleaning the walls of our front porch, and about scrubbing down the steps, all of that happened after the guys had fixed / rebuilt the structure of our front porch.
   I was going to add a picture of what our porch use to look like, but I couldn't find one in any of the files currently on this computer, probably have one in a box some place... you'll just have to look at this picture and imagine the whole porch this way - 
                                                             (June 2013 picture #2)

    For the record, I had never liked the way our front porch looked. Not from the very first time I drove by the house and saw it. But changing it was never a 'hit the budget' worthy priority. So I "lived with it". Glad that's over. o;-p

    Way back when, when we had bought this house from our friends we were renting it from, we had had to paint the porch roof due to FHA requirements. Over time, the ceiling at the door end of the porch had started peeling, but not the other end. 'Maybe it's due to the porch getting hit with direct early morning sunlight and the trees protect the porch from mid day heat', we had thought. Maybe that was the reason, not sure, but then the situation got worse. The ceiling at the door end started leaking. Not good! And it spread, closer and closer to the house. We decided that we better get to it this (now past) summer, find out what/where the problem was and fix it, before we had one heck of a Michigan winter and had ice build up in there, or even worse, have it spread into the house itself.
     We found the problem okay. YIKES! This is what was hiding underneath that white aluminum siding trim work.
                                                                   (picture #004)

     zoom in,
                                                                      (picture #003)

     and closer,
                                                                  (picture #005)

      and after removing one section,
                                                                  ( picture #007)

    Turned out, that the rotting away of the inner pillars was to such an extent, that the post at the alley end of the porch was this height, the middle pillar was three (3) inches shorter and the pillar at the door end was yet another three (3) inches shorter = the door end of the porch roof had decayed to the point that it was six (6) inches shorter than the alley end! Quite a shock!
    Also quite the project to tackle. We started on Memorial Day weekend. Thinking that we would get the whole project done. Between work schedules and the amount of rain we had this year, they finished it up Labor Day weekend. For now. There is some additional trim work they hope to add, next summer.

      They had to completely destroy/remove the pillar at the door end, which meant jacking the roof up a bit and temporarily putting in a support post.
                                                             (picture # 006)

     working on the front edge of the porch roof
                                                        (picture # 10)

     As you can tell by the look on Alex's face (the one on the right), Brent's shirt (the one on the left) says a lot about the attitudes while working - Mischief! (Byron is the one in the middle)
                                                        (picture #008)
    New post is in, adding new edging -
                                                         (picture #13)
                                                       (picture #15)
         and the upper edging - [Brandon is the son in the blue shirt]
                                                         (picture #18)

     The way the project went, work, stop, 'what should we do now?', work ....
                                                       (picture #19)
    'We have to take this apart so that...'
                                                         (picture #21)
     Removing the old (VERY leaky) gutters
                                                                     (picture #24)     
 p.s., I cleaned the mail box when I did the steps too!

     making progress - (Kayla is the girl in the picture, she did a ton of 'can you hand me the...')
                                                          (picture #25)
   oh the temptation o;-p
                                                                (picture #027)
      This is what the porch currently looks like. Yes, right now. I just went out and took these pictures :->
                                               (picture #001 from finished porch 2013)
        and a closer view -
                                                             (picture #002)
     (I noticed that the posts for the bottom railing need scrubbed too. Always something)

      I also got to pick my new porch light :->

      I had always thought our house looked quite a bit like a barn, so that's the style we're going for.

  Reminder, if want to see the pictures clearer/larger, just click on them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

cleaning the walls of our front porch

     While I had done the floor and steps of our front porch by myself, I had help scrubbing down the walls of it. My helpers were my two GRAND children :->
                                                      (DEEP dish pizza file - #167) 

   First, I showed them how to do it
                                                                  (# 181)

   They were suppose to do the lower section, I would do above where they could reach.
                                                                  (# 170)

   Yes, both 4 year old Analyse and 2 year old Elliot actually helped scrub!

   dipping the scrub brushes into the bubbly water (I used blue Dawn dish soap) was a lot of fun too

   'Maybe I should clean this too' :-p

    Splashing in the over spill was fun, dipping our hands in the bubbles was fun...

   Later he lost interest in the scrubbing, spilled his bucket, and had a blast playing in the water. Loved hearing his laughs of delight.

     She did a GOOD job! She took her task of helping very serious and I ended up needing to go over very few spots of what she had done. Impressive! :->

     We had done a section, then I would use the hose to rinse it off. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. They of course, wanted to use the hose themselves. I had raised their daddy and his brothers and thus knew that this could get out of control in no time flat. So I had kept the spraying rights to myself. Oh the squeals of delight when unannounced, I had sprayed their feet. That evening, after both daddy and papa were home from work, we invited them out to see what we had accomplished, "But we need to go out one minute before you do". The sparkle in Brian's eyes told me he knew what I had planned and he was willing to play along.  When we yelled "okay", papa came out. We were standing on the far end of the porch. I started talking about what we had done and pointing. As he was looking at the walls, the kids started to run towards him while talking. I tried to subtly call them back. Thankfully, he is a very good sport and helped send them back to me. While he turned to again look at the wall, I placed the hose nozzle in Analyse's hand and whispered for her to spray papa's bare feet. With giggling delight she did so. Papa 'screamed' and jumped. Elliot needed no encouragement to take his turn. ;-p

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Our front steps

   One day this summer, I went to sit down on the steps leading to (or from) our front porch, but I didn't, because when I looked down at them, they were just to gross to sit on.  So was the porch itself.*
                                                       (deep dish pizza file, #225)

    Action was needed ! 
    I remember reading how you shouldn't use bleach on wood porches or decks, that it wasn't good for the wood nor the environment. So instead, I started with an ice cream bucket of warm water, a scrub brush and lots of  blue Dawn dish soap.  While it did make an impact, the steps were in such a sorry state, that it wasn't getting all of it. 'Hummm... I don't want to spend weeks on this'. 
   Then I thought of all of the various things I'd seen on line, about using a combination of blue Dawn dish soap and Hydrogen Peroxide. 'Well (I thought), I know that Dawn is good for the environment, haven't a clue if Hydrogen Peroxide is, and not sure about either one on wood, but something has got to be done about these steps and I am in the mood right now to start on them..'. So I refilled the bucket. This time I put seven (7) swirls of the blue dawn dish soap in the bottom of the bucket, started adding warm water and while it was filing to half way full, added the equivalent of two (2) Tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide. 
    The scrub brush I was using, has a handle curved up from the base of it. It makes for a wonderful scrub brush, because there is a variety of ways you can hold onto it. 
     I could see how much more effective the combination of the two products was, within just a couple of swirls of the scrub brush!  I literally giggled with glee! (The * above, is due to the fact that I thought to take this picture the day I started on the steps, after having already done the wood from the front door to the steps.)
     Due to still being 'Ms. Vertigo', the overall project took me a week to complete. I tackled one step a day. Scrub it down, rinse it off with the hose, go sit and regain my equilibrium while it dried out, go out and double check it, usually decide that one more go at it would be a good thing, tackle it, and then go sit for the rest of the evening (o:-p). But it was worth it!  This is what the  steps looked like when I was finished.
                                                  (front porch and tree, picture #001)

     As you can tell if you look at the edge of the porch to the right of the steps, once I was done with the steps, it became all to obvious how bad the edge of the rest of the porch had looked, so I ended up cleaning it to (before the picture was taken).  Then I cleaned the railing down the other set of front steps.  Several weeks later, I cleaned the whole back porch too. The projects took a lot of elbow grease, but to this day, I smile when I see the finished results. :-]