Don't See That Everyday!

Came across this picture I had taken on my cell phone...  The husband (my attempt at humor) and I had headed out for a quick dinner at a nearby Applebees which happens to be in the same shopping plaza as a Walmart when we came upon this "girl" (below) hula hooping through the parking lot as if it was the natural thing to do!!!  I wanted to sneak a picture and we ended up following her into a nearby manufactured home park (lol)....where she actually seemed to be camera shy!!!?? 
 I don't know whether to be jealous of her "free spirit" or mortified that she was hula hooping while wearing this outfit in public??

ps She was drinking a soda
pps She looked as though she may have been "with child"


We Went Raspberry...Searching!!

     One of the things on our Summer List was to go  raspberry picking.  Doesn't everyone like raspberries?  We LOVE 'em and are willing to work for them (instead of paying $4 for a pint at the grocery store)...  So earlier this week, after taking Grandma to her "Senior Club", me and my three kiddos set out to an orchard about a half hour away.  I had called ahead to make sure they were "picking" and they were.
     When we arrived, we took a little tractor-pulled hay wagon ride out to the raspberry bushes.  There were about ten people already out picking.  This was our first time picking raspberries at this orchard.  Normally, we go for raspberries at a smaller orchard by our place up north.  Honestly, we were a little disappointed that the picking was not great on this particular day.  Of course, we like it when the ripe raspberries are plentiful and you can fill your quart pretty much just standing in one area...  That was not the case -- we had to do some serious searching.  Lots of walking, looking under the leaves and down low, etc...  We worked hard -- like farmers!!??  It was kind of a bummer and we had a hard time getting 4 quarts (one each). 
     Fear not, as we are going to go back to our usual place up north to see if their raspberries are ready for "easy picking".  In the meantime, we worked on our tans, had some quality time together and, of course, later on managed to have some yummy raspberry, angel food cake and whip cream desserts!  However, I think next time I go back to this orchard, instead of picking raspberries, I will check out their new Winery!!  Anyone want to join me??  ;)


Freebies 101

     Well, when I posted a couple of weeks ago my first Freebies 101 post, I thought maybe I would post some stuff about once a month or so.  To my surprise, it's only been about 2 weeks and I have a few more "Freebies" to share with you!  Remember, verrrrrry little effort, but some neat stuff to try out!  I think I am most excited about the Tide stain release...it was a really good sized sample!  Yes, sometimes I can be easily amused ;)
     Has anyone else tried any of these products or received any fun surprises like these in the mail??  It beats getting "bills" any ol' day, right!?

This one was quite tastefully packaged!

I put this one in my purse for a "snack attack"

Great for travel!

Yes, they offer samples of EVerything!

A free pen (the blue one is real)!

Everyone likes these, right?

Can't wait to see if it works...


Christmas in July!!

     I have to say, I love the idea of "Christmas in July"!  Of course, nothing compares to my favorite religious holiday celebrated on December 25th.  However, I just love the thought of Christmas in July...  Not like let's get our Christmas shopping done, or let's put up the tree, but just the idea of fun summery activities coinciding with Christmas.  The reason is probably simple...we live in Michigan, and I have celebrated all of my Christmases here...in the winter.  Don't get me wrong, nothing beats a white Christmas here in the Great Lakes State, but I do love my iced tea and flip flops, too!
     When my husband and I were first engaged we had a Christmas in July party!  Such a fun theme...Santa and Mrs. Claus (a/k/a our crazy friends) even stopped by.  Those were the days! 
     Because yesterday my laptop power cord chose to stop working, I thought I'd come up with a quick blog post with some pics of how we ended up celebrating our Christmas in July (yesterday).  Sorry, the pics are raw (not cropped or fixed) as I am not using my own computer.  It was really an average day, no party or celebration.  Just some errands and then the kids and a friend or two trying to entertain themselves.  Just another day with The Griswolds my family.  Here are the parts I got on camera...

My idea of a refreshing drink

Kristin's idea of a refreshing drink :(

Kids and Friends Hanging Out in their Bathing Suits

Some indoor Wii Dancing with Just Dance 2 

I LOVE watching them dance...and "The Jake" is pretty darn good!

"The Jake" groovin' with  some Michael Jackson

Mom, Can We Get a Built-In Pool??  (She's a NUT!)

The Husband Celebrating with his "True Love"



Monday "Memories" With My Mom

     It's Monday again...time for another entry about my mom and how she's doing (and how we're doing).  In spite of lots of setbacks, there are some things heading in a positive direction.  One thing in particular is that I was made aware of "Encore", an adult day service specifically designed for seniors who are unable to initiate their own activities.  This is key because, unfortunately, my mom does not "think of" things to do to occupy her time.  She rarely calls anyone or reads on her own.  I normally initiate the activity for her.  In my quest of looking for an appropriate living situation for my mom, I learned of the "Encore" program which takes place about 5 miles from my house.  It has been a godsend for my mom, me and my kids.  It gives her some socializing time with other seniors and me some time to just be with my kids. 

     I can't say enough about the Director and volunteers who work with this program.  They make my mom feel so welcome and special and she just LOVES it!  This particular program is actually designed for senior's with memory impairments such as dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease.  
     For my mom, we call it the "Senior Club".  Nobody (especially my 67-year-old mom) wants to think they are going to "Adult Day Care".  Before I brought my mom, I had an extensive "intake/application" process with the Director.  They were very thorough wanting to learn about my mom, her health, her personality, likes and dislikes, etc....  I was so excited because I knew if my mom gave it a chance she would love it.  The first day I brought her to the Senior Club I was so nervous...literally felt like bringing my first child to her first day of preschool.  Afterall, it was the first time in 4 months that I was going to "drop off" my mom with people she did not know. 
     Well, from the moment she walked in and they said "are you Mary?" and had a name tag all ready for her...well, let's just say they had her right then.  Everyone gathers in this big circle of comfy recliner chairs (see below)....there's music, snacks, lunch, current events, weather, horoscopes, themes each day, etc...  When I picked her up 5 hours later...she was singing away in one of those chairs and when she saw me, she literally "shooed" me away with her hand!!  I couldn't have been happier!!  If I could afford it, she would be there almost every day!!  (It's $35/5 hours and $45/up to 8 hours.  Very reasonable prices, but she does not have that extra money and, for now, we are paying for it once a week.  She has gone four times so far and it's been great.  Last week me and my 13-year-old daughter walked in to find some of the seniors were literally having a "squirt gun fight" (yes, indoors!!!???)  Too funny...I wish I had it on video.  My mom had sooooo much fun and says she wants to have a sleepover...with alcohol!!??  She's a crack up sometimes!

A comfy gathering place for "Senior Club"

     The week before when I picked her up they were just dishing out the "double chocolate cake" and sugar free ice cream to celebrate a birthday.  Right away, they asked if my mom wanted hers "to go"...  Well, if you know my mom, you know the answer was "yes please"!!!!
     Also, for those wondering, I did attend the "Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Group" that I referred to in last week's post.  I will share that experience very soon, and I appreciate the encouragement from other bloggers -- I'm not sure I would have gone without it.  In the meantime, "Encore!" for Encore!

Their information pamphlet

A typical calendar of activities


When Life Gives You Lemons...

     I was kind of laughing when I re-read my Friday post about the "Lemonade Stand"  that didn't turn out exactly how I would have liked.  I hope I didn't scare anyone...lol.  It is just disappointing when you're kids don't behave as you would like.  It was mostly good, and I really wasn't as mad as I may have come across.
     I wanted you to know having extra "leftover" lemonade has its advantages -- I'm feeling much better now!!! ;) 




7.21.11: The Last Stand

     One of the things on our Summer List was having a lemonade stand.  We have done this in the past and the kids have always thought it was the greatest.  I really thought they were too old for a Lemonade Stand but they wanted to have one -- I think mostly to "make money".  The problem is you have to be home to have a lemonade stand and you have to be stocked with... lemonade stuff.  Recently, when we found the cute little accessories on Target's Summer Clearance it reminded us it is time to sell lemonade.  So that, combined with record high temps, we decided yesterday was the day!  I did my running around in the morning so we could be home for the afternoon.  We decided to make it a Lemonade and Fresh Watermelon stand.
     The girls made very cute signs, we bought lemons, cups, watermelon, ice and some frozen concentrate and powder mixes.  (Sorry, no time for fresh squeezed!)  Since our street branches into two cul-de-sac streets together, we do not get much traffic, so the kids took turns standing at the end of our street with signs, etc...  Gradually some of our nice neighbors took pity and came out of their air conditioned houses and bought some lemonade.  It was sooooooooo HOT out (98 degrees)!!  One of my friends drove over from like 5 miles away, the kids were texting their friends (modern day marketing) and then their moms were driving them over to get some lemonade, so it was good to visit with some people....for awhile....

     Sometimes I wish this was one of those "perfect blogs", with the perfect house and the seemingly perfect mom and children.  It's not.  I have higher expectations for my teen and tweens than when they were younger.  The truth is cooperation was lacking between siblings.  The cleanup did NOT go smoothly and there was a lot of unnecessary bickering.  I also would have preferred that my kids did not see $$$ signs in their eyes when a few generous people insisted on overpaying for the lemonade.  In the end, I think the heat got to everyone (crabby!) and perhaps it was even tooooo hot for a lemonade stand!?
     So, what started with good intentions will now be known as our LAST lemonade stand.  My kids are not cute and little anymore...they are bigger and sometimes they even forget to treat each other with respect.  I was disappointed at the lack of cooperation.  Thankfully, they are not like that every day.  Perhaps what they did learn now that they are older is that making money is often less about fun and more about work!
     So, this mom says...lemonade stand CLOSED! 



Shade is Good!

It's gonna be a good day to have some extra shade!!!!**
Stay Cool!!


**This was one of my Target deals!  So worth it !!!


SO WHAT Wednesday

It's SO WHAT! Wednesday and I'm linking up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew"
to tell you what I say "So What" to!  Here we go.... 
So WHAT if:
  • The husband was "asking" and I couldn't come up with a good reason why I had time to go to Target (seven times in four days) and yet never made it to the grocery store once in the last week (did I mention I hate dislike grocery shopping?)
  • I haven't been following The Bachelorette as closely as I usually do and don't even know who's in the running...
  • I had to rush my kids to Border's (books) last week to spend their gift cards 'cause it looks like they will be in liquidation soon...sign of the times
  • We had popcorn for "lunch" yesterday...it was free popcorn day at the movies!
  • My dog was barking away the other night...and when I went to look what the problem was,  I realized it was because our high school neighbor was outside smooching with her boyfriend! (awkward)
  •  I just realized I musta had an ok week...I'm having trouble "so whating"!!
Sooooo....What are YOU saying
SO WHAT to this week????
 Link up...it's fun, you'll feel better, and I'd love to know!!


Totally Target Tuesday, Part Zwei

     Here's a follow up to this morning's post.  If anyone is curious what I do with some of that "stuff" I bought, here is a little gift I put together for a family friend who has been entertaining two of my kids almost every day this summer.  A little package of summertime fun!
     It's not my most beautiful looking gift (I was in a rush), but it sure is packed with some goodies!!

Beverage Tub
Matching Set:
     4 Dinner Plates
     4 Lunch Plates
     4 Tumblers
     4 Reusable Water Bottles

Paddle Ball Game
Toddler Baseball Mitt and Ball
Summer Fruit Snacks
Water Toys
Mini Soccer Ball
Lemonade Sale Tablecloth
Lemonade Sale Money Box
Table Scatters
4 Summer Spreaders
     All of the Above Under $25*

Plus I added Non-Summer Clearance Items:
4 Diet Cokes
Bag of Cheese Balls
Country Time Lemonade Powder
     Non-Clearance Items Under $7

*Retail Value approx. $100

ps...  I mighta accidentally gone back to a Target today, there was only one worthwhile Summer Clearance item left, and my daughter insisted I buy the remaining 10 boxes...  If you read all the way to the bottom, it will be our little secret.  Jennifer, do you need any?

Totally Target Tuesday!

     Okay, this is fun!  Nothing like a little retail therapy to make you feel better!  (At least until the Visa bill comes!?)  Yesterday I went to 4 Targets in about 5 hours scavenging for Summer Clearance items.  I had also gone last Thursday and Saturday, but was a little disappointed that the items were at 50% off then.  Is 50% off good?  Yeah, it's awesome!  However, when things are 75% or more...that's what I'm talking about!  
     Each Target had different inventory, quantities and styles available, but I was happy that yesterday everything was 75% and one Target was at 80% off.  It was fun, and I have my kids trained to check prices on the scanners to see what the markdown is.  They are good at checking stuff and they also help find good deals.  Below are some pricing highlights

Bocce Ball Set $4.99, reg. 19.99
Backpack Folding Beach Chairs, $8.99, reg. $29.99
Cereal Bowls, .53 cents, reg. $1.79
Glad Storage Containers, .89 cents, reg. $2.99
Platter $4.49, reg.$14.99
Serving Tray $3..59, reg. $11.99
Placemats .59 cents, reg. $1.99
Plates .59 cents, reg.$1.99
Large Tumblers .59 cents, reg. $1.99
Disposable Cups .89 cents, reg. $2.99
10' x 10' Gazebo*, $50, reg. $249

     Many of these items are going to be given as gifts, in particular, the beverage tub with the matching goodies in it will be given to a family friend after I add some snack and beverages to it.  The matching white, red and turquoise set is going to be used for our place up north.  Right now we don't have cute summery stuff up there, just a mix of odds and ends for dishes...
     The gazebo*?  Now that was a fluke!  Someone at Target put the gazebo box in the Summer Clearance area.  It was already marked down 75% ($62.25), and I asked if they would sell it to me for the 80% and the manager said he would ($50.00).  Meanwhile, I didn't even know if it would fit in my car, but it did!!  Such a deal!!!
     If you want to see someone who really knows what she's doing when it comes to Target, check out my cousin Jennifer's blog and see what she found on clearance at Target.  She's the one who told me about the items that are not always in the clearance area (i.e. the Glad storage containers).  (I'm so proud!  ;) )
     Now, if someone can just tell me how to make a proper collage with my pictures, I would be happy!  Meanwhile, I'm going to try really hard not to go to Target today!!