Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 24-Family Women

November 24 - Today I am so very thankful for three women in my family - my mother, her sister, my Aunt Sis and my grandmother. These three mean the world to me and the things that they taught me are invaluable.
AuntSis, Grandma, Mom

My grandma was born in 1887 and lived to be 93 years old. She was from Iowa, but lived most of her adult life in Wyoming. I used to love it when my family would go out to see her during summer vacations. Grandma was always so happy to see us, as we were her. She knew things that nobody else did and I always found her stories so interesting! I even taped an "interview" with her when I was about 12 and I still have the tape. She talked about the wagon trains that went through the Oregon trail, and had my great-grandmother's bonnet she wore during the trip. She explained what it was like to see inventions such as electricity, plumbing and cars - things that we take for granted since to us, they've always been here. She was so smart, so funny and incredibly sweet! She still did her laundry in a hand-wringer machine, hung it outside to dry and used her foot pedal sewing machine. One time when we arrived, she had dough spread the entire length of her Formica kitchen table with the wide metal rim, hand cutting noodles for her scrumptious chicken and noodles dinner. She'd cut the pasta with a paring knife, then hang it over the chair backs to dry. I'd never seen such a thing and she let me help, showing me exactly how thick to cut the noodles and how to hang them on my arms for transport to the chair. I thought it was the coolest thing! Grandma was also one of the original "use what you have" recyclers. Times were harsh, especially during the Depression, so she'd make clothes for the younger children (there were 5 kids) from the older ones' worn-out clothing. My mom, being the youngest, had dresses made from old shirts and sweaters, even re-purposed pants that she had to hold up with a makeshift belt! Grandma also cooked anything my grandpa brought home, even a goat. It was soon discovered, however, that goat not only tasted bad but smelled awful! She canned all sorts of fruits and vegetables and bathed her children in a big metal tub in the kitchen. Any stray dog or cat became a member of the family, even stray kids who didn't get enough to eat at their homes. My mom said that it didn't matter how little they had, grandma always made it stretch to help those in need.
Grandma with one of her dogs, Skeezix

We were fortunate to have her live with us for about 10 years prior to her passing. The circumstances weren't the best, as she'd come for a visit, broke a hip in a car accident, had surgery, was walking about, then broke another hip. While she was in bed most of the time in her bedroom/our family room, we spent many hours visiting, enjoying each others' company and learning more about each other. She was the only grandparent I ever knew, and I cherished her with all my heart.

 
Aunt Sis was very much like Grandma. Her real name was Elva Glee but she was 10 years older than my mom who always called her Sis, so we dubbed her Aunt Sis. I was probably in my teens before I realized that Sis wasn't really her name! She was born in 1910 and was gorgeous!
Aunt Sis
Very much like my grandmother, she was hard-working, intelligent and very nurturing. She never had children of her own and was like a second mother to us. We had a very strong bond. When she was old enough, she came to this area and settled in Washington, DC where she also worked. After two years of college, my mom joined her and they had an apartment across the street from the National Zoo. The building is still there. She and my mom got along famously. I can't imagine my two daughters living together, no way! They are so different from each other.
Aunt Sis and Mom
Aunt Sis was an accomplished artist and I loved to watch her draw and paint. I have many of her old oil paintings, one of which is hung in my basement family room. It's an ocean scene and the room has a beach theme. She also crocheted and tried to teach me, but she was left-handed and I'm right-handed, so I could never figure out how to switch the direction of what she was doing. It's like when you try to do something while looking in a mirror and you keep doing it backwards. She made beautiful things, including ponchos for my sister and me, which I also still have. My kids wore them when they were little and as soon as Abigail is big enough, she can wear them too! Holidays at Aunt Sis's home in Virginia were fabulous! She'd put out so many wonderful delights and her Christmas decorations were the best! Even the gifts she gave us were wrapped to perfection with beautiful bows and these cute little angels, Santas and elves on the bows. I saw some just like them on Etsy the other day and they made me smile. She also had this really cute metal train that ran back and forth along its track. I think my dad still has it. I remember being at her house when I was pretty young and she was teaching me how to make Christmas candle holders by running glue along the edge of a votive holder and dipping it in glitter. I thought this was really so special as I hadn't done too many crafts before then. Everything she did just had an extra special touch to it, a bit of creativity, from her packages to her table settings. I learned a lot from her. My uncle had a large garden and orchard and Aunt Sis and I loved to pick strawberries together. "One for the bucket, one for me" was our usual mantra! I know that my love of country and junk came from hanging out with her and my uncle. I'll have to post about their farm soon.
My Aunt Aileen and cousins at Aunt Sis's house for Christmas
That brings me to my wonderful, beautiful mother, who was born in 1920. Like her sister and mother, she too was a strong woman, honest, smart, funny and loving. Mom taught me that you can still be a woman and voice your opinion and that, as she would say, you should "Use the brain the Good Lord gave you!" She believed in wearing dresses when going out of the house and probably didn't own a pair of jeans after childhood until she was in her 70's. She also always had to "put on her face" before going out, which included rouge and lipstick.
My Mom
Mom taught me how to make spit curls with bobby pins, how to cook and bake like Grandma and Aunt Sis did, and how to value what you have. She too was a recycler, which must be where I get it from - my good family junk genes! She never drove but my dad tried to teach her out in the prairie in Wyoming. He figured there wasn't anything along this dirt road that she could hit. He was right but it was still a wild ride! Mom thought that as soon as you took your foot off the gas, the car should stop, so when she applied the brakes, she'd send my little sister over the seat back and into the front seat! Guess it's a good thing that they started putting seat belts in cars later on. She decided that driving just wasn't her thing after that. Snakes weren't either, even though she grew up in an area filled with rattle snakes and other poisonous types. In fact, anything that crawled along the ground, including earth worms, gave her the creeps! Mom was only 5'4 " tall but when she saw a snake, those little legs could really move! She'd scream and run like an Olympic track star! Mom also had that glamorous, movie-star beauty. One of my favorite activities we'd share were looking at her old photos. The dresses, gloves, hats, hair styles - so much beauty that we just don't see in our every day lives. I have to admit, I enjoy the freedom of going to the store in jeans and a T-shirt, but something special was lost when fashion changed, for both women and men.
My Beautiful Mom
My mom told the best stories from her childhood. There was the time her older brothers (Mom was the baby) decided to tip over outhouses for Halloween, only to find that a neighbor lady was using hers! They also thought it was fun to get her to slide down a neighbor's coal chute, which was quite dangerous unbeknownst to them. Fortunately for her, the homeowner was in the cellar and caught her as she flew out. One of my favorite stories, and there were so many, is about my Uncle Tom bringing home a baby skunk, hid in his shirt. He didn't realize that even babies can spray and came home smelling so awful that my grandma made him strip down outside so she could burn his clothes! He was full of mischief but so was Mom. She'd sneak into the spring house where my grandma's canned goods were stored and steal a pickle to eat on the way to school each morning. That is, until she discovered a snake in there! She never stole another pickle. I always encouraged her to record or write down her stories, but she never did. I'd have loved it if she had as I can never tell them with such delightful detail as she could. When Mom graduated high school, she received a scholarship to a 2-year college and, after that, made her way to DC where she worked for the Navy Department. That's where she met my dad, whom she didn't like at first, but he won her over with his charm. We had a big 50th Anniversary party for them and they were married just over 53 years when she passed in 2007. I miss so much her every day. There are so many things that remind me of her and make me think of her. I like to think that those thoughts are her saying hello.
Mom and Dad and Sock Monkey, their first born
This post could go on and on, telling you all the reasons I'm so thankful for these three extraordinary women and how important they are to me. Although they are gone, I will forever hold their love and teachings invaluable and keep them in my heart. I try to live up to their examples every day and in everything I do and pass all of those things onto my daughters and grand babies.

I hope that you have people like these three in your family to cherish, learn from and enjoy spending time with! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this long post!

Hugs, Leena

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 23-Nature's Songs

November 23 - Today I am thankful for the sounds of nature. So often, our brains are cluttered by so many things - thoughts of tasks to get done, people needing our attention, sounds of traffic, people talking, background music in stores, cell phones ringing, children screeching - Calgon, take me away, right? Well, if you don't have time for a nice bubble bath (boy, does that sound good!), try listening to nature's songs. Go some place quiet and listen. Depending upon where you are and what is going on at the time, you may hear crickets chirping, the rustling of fall leaves in the breeze, rain pitter-pattering on the roof or windows, waves crashing against the shore, birds singing a happy tune, the crackling of a warm fire, even the faint rumble of thunder in the distance can be calming.
Close your eyes and just open up to these wonderfully relaxing sounds. Breathe deeply and take in all that nature has to say. I guarantee that a little moment like this, even if just for a few minutes, will rejuvenate and calm your mind and soul. At this time of year, it's particularly important to keep stress in check and this is one way that I am very thankful for! It enables me to sort through the rest of my world more calmly and efficiently and to appreciate the little things in life that we don't always think of.
Go ahead, give it a try! Happy listening!

Hugs, Leena

Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Days of GivingThanks-November 22-Thanksgiving

November 22 - Today I am thankful for this blessed holiday, Thanksgiving! Although we are going through some struggles right now, I am thankful that God has provided us with a good, nourishing meal to share together. I am thankful for all that we have been provided with - Jim's continued health improvements, my business which, even though I have not had ample time to devote to it, will continue to grow as my schdule opens up. I truly believe that it is what I am meant to do and I am thankful for the opportunity. I give thanks for the love, health and safety of my family and friends. I am thankful that my oldest daughter has been able to find a job that she loves, enabling her to make improvements in her life. I give thanks for another year with our grand children, watching them grow and enjoying so much with them every day. I am thankful that my youngest daughter has stayed out of trouble - not even a parking ticket! I continue to be grateful for my personal growth and the people, experiences and knowledge that have given me cause to look deeper and soar higher, for the inner peace that I am blessed with and for the confidence that I will be victorious over my unresolved issues. There are so many hurdles right now, so many days when I lose track of my gratitude and blessings, but I am thankful that when all is still, I once again feel the strength and faith to carry on. Little things, big things, new things and old, I am thankful for them all!
Wishing you and your family a loving, blessed and joyful Thanksgiving! Thank you for stopping by and keeping up with my 30 Days of Giving Thanks posts. I am so appreciative of your visits and your sweet comments give me such motivation to post more! Enjoy your day! Hugs, Leena

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 20-The Beach

November 20 - Anybody who knows me, knows that my favorite place to be is at the beach. I think that I was a fish in a former life. Well, maybe a mermaid. That sounds nicer. Even as a child, I couldn't stay away from the water. Once I conquered my initial fear, I practically lived at the pool during the summer. I loved it so much that when I became old enough, I trained and became a life guard. I remember the first time I saw the ocean. I was about 6 years old and my family had gone to Virginia Beach. While my dad was in a meeting, my mom took the three of us to see the beach. I recall standing there, watching the waves climb up my feet and slide back down and before I knew it, I was flat on my rear in the water! Fully clothed too as it was early spring and not nearly warm enough to be wading in the waves! I had gotten so dizzy watching the water go back and forth that I just fell over! I wasn't upset; I was fascinated! A swimming pool was a wonderful thing but this! This was magical! Water that moved! Sand and shells and little creatures to discover! Waves that held things up and moved them about. Oh! I was smitten from that point on!
As I got older, I took any opportunity to visit one of the beaches nearby. In college, Virginia Beach was about a three-hour drive, so it wasn't unusual for a group of us to spontaneously decide to drive down, just for the chance to see the ocean for a little while and get our feet wet. Back home, Ocean City, Maryland is closer. That's where Jim and I head when a rare opportunity to escape comes our way. It's more to our liking and we've gotten so that we practically have the entire area memorized - where all the hotels are, the shops, bars, restaurants, arcades, shaved ice stands, you name it. We awaken to watch the sun rise over the ocean and head to the bay side in the evening to see it set. It's breath taking. The sun seems so powerful and mystical as it slowly rises from the horizon, bathing the area in light and the whole beach soon comes to life. Children scurry after shells, gulls gather looking for a hand-out breakfast, dolphins swim by on their morning feeding run, a lone fisherman casts his line into the waves and there's always at least one person with a metal detector, skimming the sand in the hopes of finding buried treasure.
Sunrise over Ocean City, Maryland by Leena Lanteigne
There is something about the ocean that rejuvenates my soul. As soon as I smell that salty air, I feel my body relax and the stress unwind. I become one with the elements, basking in all their glory and beauty. I truly believe that I could happily spend the rest of my life, watching and listening to the waves and never want for another view. The ocean really feels like home to me.
Ocean City, Maryland by Leena Lanteigne
 I am so thankful for the times that I have spent at the beach and hope to return again soon. I hope that there is something that provides you with such beauty and peace in your life.

Thank you for joining me today! I always appreciate your visits and comments! Hugs, Leena

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 19-Giggles

November 19 - Today I am thankful for giggles. I am especially thankful for little kid giggles. I love how they laugh, whole-heartedly and with total abandon. They are loud and boisterous and full of joy! There is no way that you can listen to a little kid giggle and not giggle yourself!
When Jamison was a baby, he had the most contagious, wild giggle! If something hit his funny bone, it hit it hard and he would let lose until he had to stop and catch his breath. As soon as he did, he would start up again. I'd laugh so much I'd have tears running down my cheeks! The more he laughed, the more I did. The more I laughed, the more he did. The real fun part was that often, nobody else knew why we were laughing. I could give him a look or make some silly noise and he'd just start up giggling and squealing. He still does at times, especially if you tickle him! Abigail wasn't too much of a giggler as a baby. She'd sort of chortle and snort. The snort always cracked us all up and, of course, made Jamison giggle.
I think he inherited it. My grandma and my mom were both gigglers and so am I. If something strikes me, I often can't stop myself and just when I think I have it under control, there it goes again! Then I spread it to Jim and he giggles too! I love the sound of his giggling as well. It doesn't matter how old or young you are, there's nothing as relaxing as a good old fashioned giggle-fit! Give it a try. Who cares if somebody is watching? Go ahead, Let 'er lose!
 Wishing you a wonderful, giggly day! Hugs, Leena

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 18-Christmas Carols

November 18 - Today I am thankful for Christmas carols! I love music of all kinds, but when I hear any version of any Christmas song, I can't help myself but to start humming. I know that some people think that Christmas gets rushed in by the retail industry, and it probably does. I understand why they do it and I really don't mind being reminded that the holidays are coming at the end of October or the beginning of November. That's about the time of year when I realize that yes, Christmas is coming - OH MY GOD! It's almost Christmas again! The music helps calm me down, de-stress and enjoy the JOY of the season instead of the madness.
We have a local radio station here that starts playing nothing but carols from Thanksgiving until after Christmas. I love it! I look forward to it every year. Any radio I get my hands on in the house and in the cars, gets turned to 97.1 - Christmas music, all the time! I sing it, hum it, do little dances to it, it's just so joyful! We had what I consider a little "Christmas Miracle" one year. While playing carols in the car, Jamison, who was only 5 months old at the time, started singing to "Oh Holy Night". This is my favorite Christmas song and he was sitting in his carseat going "Oh ho, oh holy ni" and making other humming sounds. At 5 months? I was having a hard time that year as it was the first Christmas without my mom, and his sweet little singing made me cry! It was just so unexpected, so dear and so unusual at his age. Melted my heart. Myabe it was my mom wishing us a Merry Christmas. I'd like to think so.
Jamison's first Christmas, age 5 months
When I was a kid, I took several years of piano lessons. My parents liked for me to play carols on Christmas Eve. I was always so nervous, playing in front of the family and friends who gathered at our house. My dad had a way of keeping me calm while I played. He'd stand behind me with his hands on my shoulders and sing in his beautiful voice. If I made a mistake, he'd wait until I started playing again and never skipped a beat. My brother, on the other hand, found great delight in making fun of me, getting in my face and trying to turn the music book's pages while I played. Annoying as he was, I loved him and wish he was here to do that now. I'll be posting about him soon.
This is the book I learned to play from as a kid. I still use it.
One year, when my oldest daughter was about 12 or 13, I played "The Little Drummer Boy" while she sang. I video taped it and think I'll watch it this year. It's one of my favorite memories. This year, we're teaching the little ones to sing "Jingle Bells" and I'll see if I can get them to sing it while I play the piano for them and my daughter video tapes it. They love to sing and are so cute when they do so. They also like to "play" the piano, so they may boot me off the bench before I get to play much LOL! I'll probably turn the radio on too, while I cook the turkey and all the other goodies on tomorrow's menu.

I hope you and your families enjoy some festive music to brighten the days ahead and that you all enjoy a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving! Thank you so much for being here! Anybody want a drumstick?

Hugs, Leena

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 17-YOU!

November 17 - Today I am thankful for YOU! Yes, you, you know who you are. You're the ones who come by and read my blog posts. You're the ones who leave your sweet comments that allow me to connect with you on a more personal level as I respond to them all via email. You're the ones who give me inspiration, motivation, confidence, your time and attention. You make me laugh, cry, pray, think, create, and want to put my best foot forward. You tell me that my dreams are possible. You show me how to accomplish those dreams. You share of your selves. You are generous, caring, loving, open-minded, open-hearted, honest, non-judgemental, down-to-earth, selfless and a true blessing! I find so much joy in reading your blog posts and emails and following you on Face Book. I look forward to checking in each day to see what's going on in your corner of the world and I revel in the fact that our worlds have been made that much closer through our contact.
 Some of you I have met in person. Some I have known for a long time and we've become reacquainted. Others I may never have the honor of meeting, but just because you can't see a person's face, doesn't mean you can't hold them in your heart!
 
So today, give yourselves a hug from me and know that you are in my thoughts and heart.
 
Thank you for being here! xoxo, Leena

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 16-Art

November 16 - Today I am thankful for art.

Pablo Picasso once said,

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”
Image by bloodinkdiary.wordpress

Think about it . When life gets stressful, even too much to handle, art can soothe away the harsh edges of a day's hurdles, calm the nerves and invigorate the soul. Art can conjure up memories from days past, can send our imaginations soaring and bring about an entirely different mind-set. It can take us to far away places, to beautiful gardens and lands unknown. Art can make us think outside the box, expand our horizons and cause us to take a moment or two to ponder whatever pops into our heads.

This brilliant and gifted artist also said,

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
Image by sapergalleries.com
How true is this? The only limits to our imaginations are those that we allow to exist. When we open our minds, we can create anything. Our mind's eye sees beyond conventional vision. It can over-take logic and normal thinking. When we truly embrace our imagination and let it run wild, it produces astounding creations and designs.

I am so thankful for art because it allows me to express myself in ways in which mere words cannot do justice. With art, I am free to be silly, crazy, wild, free-spirited, a kid at heart, serious, romantic, comical, philosophical, thought-provoking, spontaneous - so many things! It enables me to share these feelings and emotions with others and hopefully, bring something beneficial to their lives.

I am also thankful for all of the wonderfully creative people I have met in this online world of ours. There are painters, writers, crafters, and designers. There are people who work in clay, metal, paper, wood, fabric, paint, pencil, digital graphics, junk and many other mediums. Each brings their own special magic, there own beautiful touch to what they do and the sharing of their talents, skills and gifts is so inspirational, motivating and joyous!

Art is subjective. It is open to interpretation. It is seen in many ways by many people. One person sees a rose, another sees a carnation. A third sees a flower. Art cannot truly be judged for it is the heart's interpretation morphed into reality. Each heart is an individual - each creation is unique. Perhaps Picasso summed it up best when he said,

“The world doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?”
 
Thank you for your kind visit today. May you have music in your heart and art in your soul.
Hugs, Leena

Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 15-Peanut Butter!

November 15 - Today I am thankful for - PEANUT BUTTER! I love peanut butter! It's quite a versatile food! You can cook with it, bake with it, dip stuff in it, you can even eat it straight from the jar! You can eat it on toast for breakfast, as a sandwich for lunch or dinner, bake it into cookies for dessert, but my favorite way to eat peanut butter is to put it on apples, bananas or celery. What a fantastic snack! It's an easy way to get fruit, protein, carbs and fat all at once and within reasonable levels! It's a great way to get in a few food groups, although I still beg to differ with Jim when he says that M&M's aren't a good lunch, but that was another post.
If I eat a good old-fashioned PB&J sandwich, it has to be with real fruit strawberry jam. OK, sometimes pumpkin butter, but nothing else! No grape jelly because it just sits there wiggling and won't spread over the bread like jam does. Jim likes "fluffer-nutter" sandwiches, which is peanut butter and that marshmallow goo that comes in a jar. No thank you. When I was growing up, a kid next door ate peanut butter with mayonnaise sandwiches! That's one of those visions I will never get out of my head! Can you say BLECH? Nope, give me my strawberry jam and I'm a happy camper. Oh! It has to be smooth peanut butter too; none of that crunchy kind. My mom gave me some of that, unbeknownst to me, when I was in school. I bit into it and thought my teeth were falling out! My grandma always sprinkled sugar on her peanut butter sandwich. She said it kept it from sticking to the roof of her mouth!

I'm not exactly sure who first came up with the idea of peanut butter. I know there's that little song, something about a peanut sitting on a railroad track, along came a train and woot woot! peanut butter, but I don't think that it's really made by squishing peanuts on train tracks. I imagine that there's something more technologically savvy by now.

My absolute favorite cookies to make, especially for Christmas, are Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. My mom taught me how to bake them when I was younger and I've loved them ever since! While the recipe on the link isn't hers, I imagine it's pretty similar.
So, that's why I'm thankful for peanut butter! Now I need to go to the store and buy some as I've made myself hungry looking at all of these pictures and don't have any in the house!

Have a great day, ya lil' peanut! Hugs, Leena

30 Days of Being Thankful-November 14-White

Wow! Am I running behind! It's been a very busy week with not much online time, so I'm spending Saturday morning, which has now turned to afternoon, catching up!

November 14 - Today I am thankful for the color white. I know that white is very plain and not really considered a color, but I love it! I used to not be so crazy about white. It seemed that it was something you wore after Memorial Day and before Labor Day, but other than that, I didn't give it much thought. Well, I did think of how difficult it was to keep clean, as in when I owned white jeans and decided that the best way to get paint out of them was with bleach, a lot of bleach (I was in college) so I poured it on and it ate holes in my pants! I moved into a house once that had brand new white carpet. I had two dogs and two children, but it was the cable guy who christened it with his muddy shoes! No matter how many times I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed, I never could get it completely clean. I'd read about white slipcovers. A washable couch? How cool would that be? However, my decorating budget has never quite allowed for custom made white slips. Good thing I like my furniture! I do LOVE white painted furniture, especially if it's distressed and chipped. 
Chippy perfection! Cindy Robert's closet made from old windows and doors! Photo by Jennifer Grey, TheOldPaintedCottage.com. Cindy's blog: cutepinkthingscom.blogspot.com
This beautiful room by www.realsimple.com shows various shades of white - not sterile at all!
When we considered moving, I allowed a painter to convince me that all white was the way to go. I must say that after several months, the sterility of the walls was beginning to drive me insane and the color-lover in me was begging for some stimulation! Not over-dramatic, crazy, in your face color, just something other than white. I like black and white a lot! I also like accents of pink, lilac, sage green, grey and turquoise. I am always drawn to all-white rooms and ones with touches of the colors I love yet, I've always said that I could never live with that much white. Or could I? Hmmm.....
See what I mean? The green and black really pop and compliment the white! Photo of Fifi O'Neils' kitchen featured on www.theoldpaintedcottage.com. Photo by Jennifer Grey
I think my problem is that I like too many decorating styles; Old World, Shabby Chic, Romantic, French and have recently discovered Nordic French. I like cottage, farmhouse, vintage and other styles that I don't even know the names of...my head is spinning! It must be the Gemini in me - twins, two left brains, two right brains and I use them all! My solution? Start making design boards of what I like for different rooms and then see what I can pull off with what I have, can find and can acquire on the cheap. This is where the thankful part comes in. I am so thankful for all of you white warriors! You decorating mavens who have stared white in the eye and said "I'm not afraid of you!". You give me so much inspiration and show me how much can be done with a simple color such as white. Some use all white, others use a variety of white tones and some use colors in accessories. The end results are all admirable and beautiful! I love your imaginative and creative use of items in your room designs! So, I'll be on Pinterest, in Blogland and diving into my magazines until I come up with a plan. This may take a while, but I think it will be a fun project and one that will allow me to experiment while I discover my evolving decorating tastes.
White and shades of grey - one of my new favorite color combos! From www.countryliving.com

White, black and grey - love it! Photo taken at Fifi O'Neil's residence, featured on www.theoldpaintedcottage.com
 Thank you for your visit today! I really appreciate you being here! Hugs, Leena

21 Rosemary Lane Pfaltzgraff Give-Away!

Great news! Barbara over at 21 Rosemary Lane is having a fabulous give-away for a 32 piece, service for 8 set of Country Cupboard dishes from Pfaltzgraff! These beautiful dishes are perfect for both casual dining and more formal settings! Click on the picture on my sidebar and enter today! Good Luck! Hugs, Leena

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks-November 13-OBG

November 13 - Today I am thankful for OBG Cocker Rescue Inc. This awesome rescue organization is who we adopted our Gilbert and Sullivan from back in 2001. Although both boys have now passed over the Rainbow Bridge, we can't say enough about this fabulous organization and continue to offer our support.
The non-profit is run by volunteers who work tirelessly to save the lives of as many as 500 cockers per year! These wonderful dogs come from a variety of places; shelters, good Samaritans, puppy mills, and areas affected by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, just to name a few. They will go to any lengths possible to retrieve a dog who is on "death row" before its time is up. The dogs don't just come from Virginia. OBG has a whole network of other volunteer organizations who will connect several states away to transport a dog to one of their facilities. For example, a dog may come from Florida into North Carolina, where an OBG volunteer will pick him or her up and continue the journey to Virginia. Dogs are vetted, given necessary medication, surgeries or treatments and placed in foster care (a volunteer's home). Once the dog has had a chance to be socialized, evaluated (does it like kids, cats, other dogs?) and deemed to be medically fit, it is placed on the web site for adoption and often taken to an adoption event at a local pet store. We attended one of these events and fell in love with Gilbert and Sullivan as soon as we saw them! Not being able to decide which one we wanted, we adopted them both! We had taken out little Molly with us, so she could give us her opinion (Molly was a cocker I'd gotten when she was 8 weeks old and she'd recently lost her companion, Riley). She enthusiastically approved and all three dogs hopped in the back seat of Jim's car for the ride home! They loved each other from the start and never fought. Molly passed from cancer at the age of 10 in 2005.
Molly (blonde), Gilbert (buff), Sullivan (black) waiting for treats
Even if you aren't interested in adopting a wiggle butt, as we call them, you can help OBG's mission. On their web site, you will see an  Amazon logo on the left side. If you're shopping with Amazon this holiday season and click on this logo, you will be taken straight to their website and OBG will get a portion of your purchase! You can also click on links for eBay auctions, OBG merchandise, order their adorable 2013 "Sweetest Things" calendar filled with photos of OBG pups, and enter their current raffle! First prize is a $1000 gift card! Plus, you can browse through pictures and biographies of all the fantastic dogs currently up for adoption and read the happy endings stories of ones that have found their forever home.
Sullivan hanging out in his "tent"
I am so thankful to this organization for connecting us with our beloved boys, as well as for all of the outstanding work they do for cocker spaniels! These little ones would not know love and a happy home without the help of OBG! Please check them out. If those adorable little faces don't make you smile, I don't know what will!

Thanks for stopping by today! Hugs, Leena

Blog-OBG Cocker Connection
Website-Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue
Face Book-OBG Cocker Spaniel Rescue

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful-November 12-Blog Linky Parties

November 12 - Today I am thankful for blog link parties. I so appreciate all of the bloggers out there who host these parties! Some have themes, some don't, but all are a lot of fun! When I first started blogging, I had no idea what it meant when a blogger wrote "just hit the linky down there and join in!" The linky? What's the linky?" I have a friend named Linkie, but she doesn't have anything to do with blogs, so I was totally lost. I wanted to participate, but since I was a total DUH and didn't know how, I just read some of the posts attached to the thumbnails and followed the blogs I liked, leaving comments on each one I read. I really like to leave comments so that folks know I appreciate the time they take writing their posts and their content.
One day, I was on Twitter and saw a link to French Country Cottage's link party. I really wanted to join so I asked Courtney how to link up. She was so sweet to write the instructions to me in a message (it took 4 messages to get it all in!) and from then on, I was a partying linker! I love her Feathered Nest Friday, along with several other parties I have discovered. I don't participate every week (sometimes I just don't think my posts are very exciting) but I try to as often as possible. It is so much fun! I will spend hours during the weekend, reading as many linked posts as I can from the various parties. I have discovered so many wonderful, beautiful, informative and entertaining blogs this way and have also met many bloggers who fit the same descriptions! Several have even started following my blog, which is so nice of them and so encouraging to me!
You can see what blogs I link to at the bottoms of my posts. Click on the link and it will take you directly to the blog party. If you have a party, let me know in a comment. I'd love to join more!
 
Thank you for stopping in today! I hope you're having a wonderful day with lots to be thankful for!
Hugs, Leena

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks - November 11 - Veteran's Day

November 11 - Today I am so very thankful for all of the men and women who have served or are currently serving this great country of ours! I cannot imagine what they go through; the harsh conditions, the traumatic experiences, being so far from home, not to mention the injuries some endure. I am so proud of each and every one of them for all that they do!
My favorite veteran is my dad. He served in the Navy during WWII and while he doesn't talk much about his experiences, I have seen his photo album and know that he contributed so much to the safety of our country. He helped keep us free. He helped keep us whole. I think that the Navy helped make my dad who he is today - honest, loving, hard-working, considerate of others, smart - so, so many wonderful attributes to his character (although rumor has it that he wanted to join up so badly because his older brothers had enlisted, that he lied about his age and was only 17 when he joined the Navy!)
 Thank you Dad! Love you so much!
Have you recognized your favorite Veteran today? Let them all know how much you care!
Hugs, Leena

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Days of Being Thankful - November 10 - Thrift Shops

November 10 - Today I am thankful for thrift shops, especially the ones that serve local charities. I really enjoy shopping these treasures troves and I love the circle of giving that they provide. It's like this: I shop, the charity gets my money. I have something nice and inexpensive for my home or to rework into a piece to sell. If I sell it, I earn money for my family and I then return to the shop for more goods, the charity gets that money, and so on. It feels great to support the awesome work that the charities do and to support my family at the same time! I also donate to these thrift shops, thus providing members of my community goods that they need.

Today I was on my annual hunt for orphaned Santas. I started a collection years ago and if you were following my blog last year, you may have read about the 2011 hunt (HERE). I used to purchase hand carved chalk ware Santas from a favorite shop that held the most wonderful holiday open house. My friend and I would attend each year and we enjoyed it so much! Everything smelled like Christmas, looked like Christmas, sounded like Christmas and tasted like Christmas (they put out a buffet of cookies and other goodies that was fabulous!). Sadly, the owner retired a few years ago and the shop was closed. As a result, I started looking in other shops, then turned my attention to the local thrifts. Today, I found these fine gentlemen:
The one on the left is porcelain and has this beautiful cascading blue hooded robe and a reindeer. The other has the appearance of being carved (although he's resin) and hangs from the top of an evergreen tree, carrying his bag of goodies while a snowman precariously watches from below. I guess I should have turned him around so you could see the snowman.

They were only 50 cents each - come on home, boys! While there, I also found this sweet salt and pepper set.
I have a few Christmas sets, but this one has a nice vintage look to it that appealed to me and at $2.50 for the set, I couldn't resist. I also spotted some holiday linens and ended up with this lovely round table cloth for the kitchen,
The jacquard pattern is not as white as it appears - the flash was bouncing off of it. It is a silky fabric and has a pretty holly leaf and berry pattern. I addition, I found a great table runner to go with the ivory table cloth that I will use on the dining room table.
I really like the evergreen branches and red berries along with the little tassels that hang from the ends. Both should make for very festive tables!

I'm attempting to think about Christmas a little earlier this year in an effort to get more accomplished. The last few years have been so chaotic, that we've actually decorated our tree on Christmas Eve! I haven't sent out a single card in like 4 years! I'm really hoping to do better this time.

Thank you so much for visiting my little blog world today! I hope that you're having a blessed day with lots to be thankful for! Remember, when you're shopping local this year, check out the thrift stores and share the love! Hugs, Leena

Sharing with: French Country Cottage, Feathered Nest Friday
                             No Minimalist Here, Open House Party



Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Giving Thanks - November 9 - Grandbabies

November 9 - Today I am so thankful for my little ones, my grand babies! They really aren't babies anymore, as Abigail will be glad to tell you, but they're my babies, my little angels, my Minkey and Lil Miss. No matter what the day brings, what hurdles there are to clear, they always do something that makes me smile and feel so good! When I come home, they race to the door, shouting "Meemaw!" and give me big hugs. Before they go to bed at night, they come and give me hugs and kisses and "I love yous". The best time is when, for no particular reason, one of them comes along and spontaneously announces, "MeeMaw? I love you!" or "MeeMaw? You're the best!" Makes my heart sing!

Halloween 2012 - Green Power Ranger and Pink Crayon
I could do without the screaming, fussing, jumping off the furniture, breaking things and food fights, but overall, I know that I am blessed to have these two little darlings in my life! They grow up so quickly and I hope that we will always be as close as we are now. I think we will be!

Thank you for stopping by today! I hope that your day is bright and that tomorrow will be even brighter! Hugs, Leena
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