Thursday, August 27, 2015

Family Funny

Many, many years ago, my mom's side of the family started a fun little tradition.  Someone sent a birthday card that was so cute and funny to one of our farm-loving relatives that it had to be recycled to another family member. For years, it was passed on, signed and dated, sometimes with notes added. I remember receiving it once as a teenager and feeling like I was part of something really special. Sadly, no one has seen the card in at least twenty years, and no one can remember who got it last; it just disappeared.

Look what I made! (Mom's maiden name is hidden from the public version)

and the inside...

[Hopefully, Jim will excuse my crowded words!]

On the back, there is a note that reads:

Long ago, a "chicken dinner" birthday card began circulating but eventually got lost. It was fun while it lasted! Please pass this new card on to a D Descendant you love and add to the journey here:

The actual url leads to a spreadsheet like this one.
This is going to be fun!

I used PicMonkey to create the image and words for the front of the card
 and Snapfish to make the 5 x 7 foldable card
With shipping, it cost me $2.49

But, of course, we all know it's priceless.

*Chicken image came usage-rights-free from
Shout-out to my co-worker, Jenni, who provided the chicken feed!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The "Cycle" of Life

I often take long (20-25 mile) bike rides, rides that have a way of making me philosophize. Often, it occurs to me that life is like a long bike ride.

Some paths are straighter than others.

You have to follow the rules if you want to live through it, though it's sometimes okay to bend them. I ride on the side facing traffic, for example, and I don't always come to a complete stop before railroad tracks.

If you never go off the main road, you will miss some good stuff.

Sometimes, what you see up ahead will be ominous,

and you might need to take a little break.

Sometimes, it seems like it's all uphill, but if you stick with it, the payoff can be great.

If you don't pedal hard sometimes, you're going to be late.

Sometimes, you won't be able to keep your destination in sight, but you have to keep going.

Having a friend along for the ride makes the trip more fun.

Even when you're alone, the journey may be beautiful.

There will be times when you think you just can't go any further. Yes, you might even have to walk your bike for a bit, but you will get there eventually if you just keep moving forward.

You'll see many others pedaling faster than you; that's okay.

You'll enjoy the ride more if you stop to smell the roses now and then.

As for riding a bike, life requires balance.

And the best part about biking, unlike life: going downhill can be exhilarating. [no pictures of that, of course!]

Monday, July 27, 2015

That Sugar Film Review

I recently had the opportunity for an advanced viewing of a film that's coming out July 31st in major cities across the United States, and because it relates to a topic I'm interested in, I happily agreed to watch it.

That Sugar Film is a powerful look into sugar, of course, and we all know it's bad for you, but I don't think most people understand why it's bad and how much it has crept into our diets, even without our awareness. The film uses humor, in part, to help educate viewers. It also contains plenty of eye-catching graphics and visuals that keep viewers entertained, but the content itself is compelling, of course.

I don't think people realize how many food items contain sugar. As a teacher, I often see students eating "breakfasts" that they've brought from home. Even the smartest parents send Pop-Tarts, granola bars, and "yogurt" to school, thinking they're doing right by their kids. I think if parents watched this film it would have a significant impact on their own habits, as well as those of their children. I also think the film would be excellent viewing for high school kids.

Damon, the That Sugar Film's main "character" is endearing; he sacrificed a lot to participate in the sugar experiment he endured for the film. His blog is also worth reading, and if you scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up to join the "Sugar Squad," you get a free pdf of some of the recipes he used to detox from sugar after his experiment was over. I find them to be very easy and meals I'll actually eat!

Ninety-nine percent of Damon Gameau's film is terrific;
it's funny, informative, compelling, and inspiring.
(There's just one tiny PG-13 comment (meant to be funny)
that may require parental guidance, in my opinion.)
It's certainly worth watching anyway; people of all ages should really see it.

To see the list of theaters in which That Sugar Film will open, click here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bedroom Transformation

Summers are good times for for me to paint; every room I've painted in this house was painted during my summer breaks from school. This summer, I decided to repaint our master bedroom, because it had been about ten years since I'd painted it "butterscotch" and even longer since the builder painted the ceiling. I loved the butterscotch color, and so did Mr.4444. I took a few "before" photos...

So pretty in the morning light...

Warm colors and furniture that almost blended in with the walls 
(I only realized after the new paint job.).

Grandma Grace's waterfall-front 1920's dresser, matching vanity, one nightstand, and one lamp.
 The other "nightstand" is an old end table from Mr. 4444's grandma's house, too.
Sorry for the poorly-made bed; that's par for the 4444 family course.

I was going to make it a surprise, but Mr. 4444 stumbled upon my paint stash, so I started on the ceiling over the weekend. It took two gallons of (white) paint to apply two coats. I was thrilled that my shoulders and neck held up just fine! Shout-out to a friend who loaned out his six and eight-foot ladders to add to our 12-footer; this room required all three!


Monday morning, Mr. 4444 went out of town, and two of my nephews came over to tear out the old carpeting for me. Steve (who incidentally hurt his foot while digging a HOLE in the yard) hated to see the carpet go, apparently.

Here, he's begging Caden to put it back
or maybe to stop working and play a little.

While the boys worked on the flooring, I started painting the accent color, gray. 
Good thing I'm not afraid of heights!

My dear sister Mary loves to paint, thank goodness! 
She offered to help and ended up staying all day on Monday and half of Tuesday; 
without her help, I might still be at it!

The blue color, incidentally, is Indigo Batik, from Sherwinn Williams, and it is gorgeous.

Our cat, Ted, tried to get in on the action, too.
Here's Mary pulling him off the third step of the ladder.

I later found him on the top of the six-foot ladder, just hangin' out, little stinker.

More gray accent:

The top of the corner was easier to reach when I could lean the ladder on the wall;
no such luck after the first coat.

Steve was so relieved when I brought the new carpet sample in to get a sneak-peek.
He sat like that for at least 20 minutes, poor thing.

Finally!! Here's a recap comparison for you, as well as a little video tour:

That's an old-time radio stand up there on the right, 
converted by Mr. 4444's grandpa (we assume) into a shelf.

The bedding (Vera Bradley, from Kohls) is silvery gray with blue and slate accents, 
plus the blue coverlet.

Milo loves it.
When I tried to make the bed that morning, he wouldn't cooperate,
so I thanked him profusely.

Only kidding, of course; I've turned over a new leaf
and make it religiously now.
Who wouldn't? It's gorgeous!

And the tour...

So that's my big summer project!
Mr.4444 totally loves it!
He also loves the special present I made for him.

How about you; any summer projects in the works?