Sunday, December 22, 2013

Google Let Me Down!

As many of you know, I love Google. Sure there are those who say Google records every move you do on the internet, and frankly I don’t care as I don’t have anything to hide.

Google

I love my E-Mail service from them, having more than one account. I’ve used their Maps more than once with excellent results. Love that street view! If you know where I live, go to Google Maps street view and see me waving to ya! Smile

When I first moved to a “Smart Phone” I chose a Motorola Droid from Verizon. Of course it runs on the Android platform, which again is Google. Love my Droid! And so many other applications Google has that I use and love.

BUT….Google let me down!

Picasa

I have been using the Picasa photo service for years. Watching it grow from an infant to maturity. Loved it! Both the computer version and the Web version. Still use it on my computers and probably will continue to for many years. BUT…

G

Since Google came out with Google+, known as G+, their photo sharing on Picasa has changed. Google wants everyone to use the G+ photo sharing features. It’s confusing to the non Google user, and was a little trying even for me. But I managed to accept it.

Also as some of you know, I have volunteered to take over the family records, going back to my Great Grandfather. This has been a pleasure to take over and I had a great idea to open a G+ site for all the family members to keep in touch by. Even went so far as uploading many photo’s and sharing them with family members. BUT….some members could see them others couldn’t. No rhyme or reason. No pattern to look at to correct. Nothing. It just was not reliable.

I sent out an E-Mail to my family members who should have been receiving the G+ photo’s, informing them that I was stopping the photo sharing on G+ until I find another service that was acceptable. It wasn’t long when a cousin in Iowa, Terry, contacted me and suggested I look at the service he uses.

Shutterfly

Shutterfly looks very promising! Terry and I have been working together on a “family site” for the past week. We are getting close to allowing a couple family members access to it so they can give us their suggestions and first hand experience with the site. The more input we can get from family, the more we can improve the site. I don’t see it being ready until after the holiday’s but the wait will be worth it. I’m confidant that my family will be pleased with the new site.

I’m so impressed with Shutterfly that in the future I most likely will be moving all my photo’s from G+ over to Shutterfly. That is another project that can’t get done in just a few days or weeks! But I do see it happening.

Three days till Christmas! Excited to have the Daughters and Grandkids over for our Christmas get together.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snow means Cookies!

Woke up last Saturday morning to this.  A seven inch snow fall.

That's a 7 inch snow fall.

Wilma steps outside on the deck to have her “smoke”, but this time a little snow sweeping had to be done first.

I Hate Snow...that goes for both of us.

It’s days like this that we really look forward to the day we leave for Florida! Speaking of….we received a Christmas card from our “Florida Neighbors” Greg and Cherie. In it they wrote a little note: “We shoveled the snow from your site, anxious for your arrival”. We both got a chuckle from that seeing how it’s in the 80’s everyday, and a wonderful feeling that they are anxious for our arrival. Thanks Greg and Cherie, see you soon.

Snow means it’s getting close to Christmas. That means Wilma has cookies to bake! Open-mouthed smile And bake did she ever!

Another batch of cookies goes into the oven.

She worked hours upon hours in the kitchen yesterday. Batch after batch. Neither of us should eat any cookies, but I know 5 Grandkids and 2 Daughters who sure can.

Just a small batch of these were made.

Today she made a batch of Chocolate Walnut Fudge. So tempting, but so bad for us. More for the rest of the family to enjoy I’m sure.

Chocolate Walnut Fudge.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tree’s and Camera’s

Wilma and I have been extremely busy the past month. Christmas gifts wrapped, some mailed to family members out of state, doctor appointments fulfilled, wow what a busy month December is!

Last year was our first year we did the “Snow Bird” thing for 3 months to Florida during winter. We scheduled ourselves to leave on the 27th. of December. Didn’t realize how much last minute work had to be done the day after Christmas getting ready to leave!

2012 Christmas tree with gifts

One thing we both agreed on was to get a smaller tree for next year! The 6 foot tree just took up too much time taking it down and putting it in storage for another year. So we made the change to a smaller tree this year.

2013 Christmas tree with gifts

It’s a 4 foot tree that we put on our coffee table in front of the Bow window. Perfect! It was so much easier decorating, looks great, and the gifts look pretty nice under it also.

For the last month, Wilma and I have been talking about what to do with our Nikon D40x camera. We have had it for about 10 years now, and have taken thousands of photo’s with it. But…it was starting to show it’s age.

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Every once in a while we would push the button to take a photo, and nothing! It just would not shoot the photo. This didn’t happen all the time, you just never knew when it would happen. We just didn’t want to take a chance with it failing to take “the perfect photo”.  So it was time to sell it.

Yesterday afternoon I went on Craig’s list and searched to see what they were selling for. I listed our Nikon at a “bargain basement” low price around 4pm. 

Nikon D40X Camera with 18-55mm lens, 55-200mm lens, 2 batteries, battery charger, USB cable, 4GB SDHC memory card, neck strap and instruction Manual.

My first “hit” on it was around 5:30pm. It was sold and I had the cash in my hand by 7:30pm. Now that’s what I call a quick sale. We are going to use the cash to put toward the purchase of another new camera. Wilma says it has to be able to take sharp clear photo’s when driving down the highway like the Nikon used to.

SZ-12_RED_RIGHT

Our Olympus SZ-12 works ok most of the time. Best for outdoor photo’s, but just can’t take sharp photo’s of moving subjects. Probably because it’s on the low side of quality camera’s. So our next camera will be one that’s classified as a “Point and Shoot” because we just don’t like hauling around the large camera’s like our old Nikon.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful for Thanksgiving

For the past 4 years now our family has celebrated Thanksgiving at our home. My entire family, along with a few friends, were invited again this year. Everyone brings a dish, Dad furnishes the Turkey’s.

Wilma worked very hard this past week getting the house ready for the 24 people that will be showing up for dinner. My job was to set up the tables, cook and carve the Turkey’s.

Busy carving the TurkeyWe had the honor of inviting my Sister Catherine's Mother and Father in law, along with a close friend of ours, Denise, who would otherwise been home alone this Thanksgiving day.

After grace was said by Scott my brother-in-law, the family honored our eldest by having them start first at the dinner table.

Honoring the Eldest, First in line.

After dinner, Catherine has come up with fun games for all to participate in. This year she brought a small stuffed turkey toy. Everyone placed their chairs in a circle. As the turkey was tossed to someone, they had to say what they were thankful for. Then they tossed the turkey to someone else.

Circle of Thanks

The adults along with the kids enjoyed this game, with laughter and a few “choked up” moments.

Also for the past 17 years, Sister Judy has taken up a collection for a charity donation. Everyone who donates gets their name put into a bowl. A name is drawn and that person gets to donate the monies collected to a charity of their choice. This year my niece Melissa gets to choose a charity to donate to. It’s just another way for our family to help those less fortunate.

From my family to yours, we hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we also wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The last of the leaves.

At least that's what I'm hoping for anyway. Couple of days ago I went over to dad's house and cleaned up his entire yard of all the leaves. Then I came home and cleaned up my yard of all the leaves.

7 Plastic containers and 5 Bags of Leaves.My aging body and especially my bad hip let me know that I over did it. So afterward I sat on the recliner taking it easy, looking out the window every once in a while at a job well done.

I did notice that my neighbor, Randy, hasn't picked up his leaves in over a week. This is unlike  Randy as he is usually very meticulous on getting his yard cleaned up. Another day went by and his leaves still were not picked up so I told Wilma I was going to clean up his yard for him .
It didn't take me but a couple of hours and his yard was cleaned of all leaves. Do I ever love my zero turn lawnmower!

Rear Bagger Kit includes a special blade and weight for the front.
Later that evening Wilma saw Randy out in his yard and mentioned to him that I cleaned up his leaves for him as a favor. He was so appreciative and told  her that the reason he hadn't got to them was because by the time he arrives home from work it's too dark to work outside. Sometimes a little favor goes a long way, and I didn’t mind doing it at all.

Now that the outdoor work is completed it's time to get ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. We are expecting about 22 members of the family for dinner this Thursday. After the feast it will be nice to sit around, talk with family and get caught up on their busy lives.

Until next time, be safe and God bless.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween and Blackberry Jelly

We were spared from the Halloween goblins. No tricks just treats. We didn’t count on so many kids showing up this year as the weather was windy with a drizzle of rain. But we were so wrong! Wilma said she bought enough candy to give out to about 200 kids.

Grand Daughters Rebecca and Haley handing out the candy.

The Grand daughters, Rebecca and Haley, had to turn off the porch light before the kids stopped showing up. We ran out of candy!

Brooke and Savannah trading favorite candy.

"Pa" clowning around with the Grand Kids.

So you know what that means? As the photo will remind me, “You my friend will buy MORE CANDY for next year”! Don’t want to have any of those “Trickers” around do we?

Used up the final bunch of Blackberries Saturday. Made more Blackberry Jam, and Jelly.

Jelly on the left, Jam on the right.

This was a first for making the jelly from the excess juice of the berries. The first batch of jelly didn’t set up, possibly because I made it with Splenda so Wilma could enjoy it. I made the modifications to the recipe.  This morning I tried it on some toast. It’s perfect, and we will enjoy it for many mornings on our toast.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Fall Day Trip and Blackberry Jam

A couple days ago we just had to get out of the house and take a short day trip. Where to go we wondered. Wilma had a great idea to take a trip to Great Lakes Crossing. It’s famous for being Michigan’s largest outlet center.

Some of our Neighborhood trees The sunshine was bright, skies clear, and fall colors are probably at their peak. Made for a pleasant 27 mile drive.

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Upon arriving we were surprised that there weren’t more cars in the lot than what there was.

Fall color trees

And you just can’t go there without a walk through the famous store of them all.

Made a stop here

But beware of some of the workers at Outdoor World. Especially the Greeters! Disappointed smile

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I believe we went up and down just about every row of items for sale. We were like kids in a candy shop, taking it all in. Even the wild life looked a little vicious! Don’t get too close now, those ducks will get ya. Winking smile

Ducks free to roam inside.

Leaving Outdoor World, we headed for a walk through the mall area. We thought we would start at one end of the mall and work our way through to the other end.

Great Lakes Crossings Mega Mall

They have the mall area’s divided into “Districts”. Photo above is our entrance to the mall.

We walked and walked, making it to District 9. Worked up a terrible hunger and found a great place to stop. Toby Keith's bar and grill. 

Inside Toby Keith's Bar/Restaurant

We were not going to have any drinks, water with lemon is our drink of choice. But we had heard they have large portions, especially the Nacho’s. So Wilma thought she would try one. She chose the “Small” portion.

Enough for 4 adults!

Wouldn’t want to order the “Large” portion, don’t think the tables would hold them!  Yes, there were two large “take home” containers that were needed.

It was a great outing for us that we both enjoyed tremendously.

Last summer while visiting Wilma’s brother Eddie and his wife Beth, he gave us 3, gallon size Ziploc bags full of Blackberry’s he had picked. They were frozen, so in the cooler they went for the trip home. Once home the still frozen berries were placed in our freezer.

It was full of Blackberry's before freezing. Now after the thaw, half full of juice.

Today I made some Blackberry Jam. Each bag held 4 cups of crushed Blackberry’s, the exact amount the recipe called for. The first batch was made without Sugar. Splenda was used in it’s place. I ended up with 5 half pints of Sugar Free Jam. Wilma had a taste and gave her approval. Looked like my very first crack at canning Jam was successful.

The second bag of Blackberry’s were opened, and this time I used the sugar recipe. I just couldn’t make myself put 7 cups of sugar in with the 4 cups of berries, so I reduced it down to 4 cups of sugar. As the second batch was cooking, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Used the store bought Strawberry jam. When I tasted my Blackberry Jam I was pleasantly surprised how much better it tasted. I’m happy now that I did cut down on the amount of sugar. I will be changing that recipe to 4 cups of sugar.

The outcome in the photo below, looks like we will have enough Jam to outlast a season or two.

Sugar added on the left, Sugar Free on the right.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grand Daughter Haley Turns 21

It was planned as a surprise get together for Haley’s 21’s Birthday party. Everyone gathered at our home, waiting for Tina to arrive with Haley. As she wasn’t aware of this, she just took her sweet time getting ready. Tina was pacing the floor, knowing they were already a half hour later than expected.

Haley finally arrives

After the excitement of a surprise get together for her, her sisters and cousin just had to let her know how slow she really is. All in fun of course.

Surprise! Happy Birthday

It didn’t take us long to get seated for our dinner, and afterward Haley opened her gifts and cards.

Now legal to consume.

Instead of a Birthday Cake, Nana purchased a fresh Pumpkin Pie, Haley’s favorite.

Blowing out 21 invisable candles

And you just can’t forget the Whipped Cream and Ice Cream. Haley had first pick of the pie.

Would you like some Pie with that Whip Cream?!

We all had a great family get together, with plenty of laughs and jokes. Can’t forget the delicious meal that Nana fixed us also! Open-mouthed smile Happy Birthday Haley!

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Farmers Market- Jalapeno Relish

Another beautiful sunny, clear blue skies fall day and we just couldn’t stay inside today. Wilma mentioned that the Farmers Market would be opening this morning with something special.

October brings in the fall crop

The local farmers held a special event today called “Soup Day”. You buy a special cup for a reasonable price of only $4.00, and your entitled to free soup. There were at least 3 different soups available. Buy a mug, get the soup free Wilma had a “Creamy Vegetable” and I had “Stuffed Pepper”. Wow were they ever good!

Enjoying a Cup of Soup

Maybe it was the cool fall morning, the atmosphere of the open air Farmers Market, or what ever. The soups were delicious. Even had to go back for a second cup of soup.

Mt. Clemens Weekly "Farmers Market"

Every year we look forward to at least one visit to the Mt. Clemens Farmers Market. Some of the prices are a little higher than the local grocery stores, but your supporting our local farmers and the freshness can’t be beat!

Leaving the Market, the sun reminded us how bad the car needed to be washed. So off to car wash we went. From there we worked up a hunger Eye rolling smileand decided to visit our favorite local restaurant, Dee Dee’s Family Restaurant, where we had a delicious breakfast.

Returning home, Wilma made a visit to her Sister Connie, while I worked in the yard.

Dead plants, over grown ground cover.

The patio area was in desperate need of attention, so I went to work here first.

That's better!

In another month the rest of the plants will be killed off and I’ll put the pots in the garage for the winter.

Next I headed for the garden, time to pick all the Jalapeno’s and get rid of the tomato plants.

The Last of the Tomatoes

Didn’t get a photo of them gone, but the garden is almost ready for it’s winter sleep. The rose garden did pretty good for it’s first year I think. I’m happy with the turn out of roses.

Sunny Fall day at the Rose Garden

The Jalapeno’s ended up on the kitchen counter getting cleaned and processed for relish.

Cooking the Jalapeno to make relish

This is my first try at making some relish. Hopefully it will be as delicious as Wilma’s cousin Greg's’, who gave me the recipe.

4 Roses from our Rose Garden, 4 Pints of Jalapeno Relish from the Veg. Garden

The finished product of 4 pints is well worth the little work it takes to produce the relish.

I think I have over extended my work day, time for a well deserved nap! Winking smile

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.