Would our actions be different if we kept this in mind? This doesn’t mean you should give your loved ones everything they want. They will have good memories if you lovingly give them what they need!
Mom and Dad last year during our trip to Bermuda
Yesterday was my parents’ 56th wedding anniversary! I’m so proud of them. That’s a long time to love and live with the same person. It’s something to be so admired, though. There is a lot to be said for marriages that have lasted the test of time. My grandparents were married for 75 years! Heck, I think my husband and I are doing great at almost 33 years behind us.
There wasn’t a big “TO-DO” over their big day yesterday. That tends to die down after so many years, I guess. It’s sort of an unspoken rule that we have parties when the numbers hit a multiple of 5. Come to think of it now that I said that, I don’t think we even had a big party last year for them! Oops! Well, #60 is only 4 short years away and there’s no doubt we’ll be celebrating that one with them.
My two brothers live close to Cincinnati, about 6-1/2 hours away, and I only live 3 miles down the road, so my brothers can’t always celebrate all events with us. Yesterday we decided to go to a movie that we all wanted to see but knew that it would never come to our small little town. We drove 60 miles to State College to see “2016″.
I’m not going to get all political here. This is not the venue. But I will say that it is an excellent, well made movie based on facts about our current President. As the tag line of the movie says “Love him or hate him, you don’t know him”. I think the audience is probably mostly Conservative and the audience at the showing we were at was made up for the most part of “Over 50′s”. I think, though, that every person that loves this country and has an interest in who their President is should know all that they can learn about what he is about and what his vision is for the United States. Enough said about that!
Before the movie, we had a little time, so we went into Starbuck’s for a cup of coffee. Starbuck’s is a treat for us. There is no such place where we live. In fact, I think the one in State College is the closest. After the movie we walked around the Nittany Mall. It’s actually not very big, but it has a Macy’s! Woo Hoo!! We don’t have one of those where we live either. Are you getting a picture of what it’s like here in our little Western Pennsylvania town? And you wouldn’t believe how much it’s grown in the last 30 years since we’ve lived here! But still no Starbuck’s, Macy’s or movies such as “2016″! That’s OK. We get real excited when we travel out of town.
We had dinner at a cute little pub type restaurant in the mall called “Garfield’s”. I don’t know if that is a chain or just a locally owned restaurant, but the food was excellent. The drive between here and State College is also a very pretty drive. It’s hills and trees and very little traffic. This is a great place to live, raise kids, and retire!
So this brings me back to what I was thinking about when we got back home last night. What are the secrets to a long marriage? I’m maybe not a certified therapist on such matters, but I’ve lived and experienced the lives of long marriages. Here’s what I know to be true. First of all, it is only possible if it’s free of abuse of any kind. Free of that, commitment is tops on the list. We don’t think of giving up or quitting. All problems can be worked out if you’re committed to each other and the marriage. It’s a choice by both of you to not let anything come between. Mature love of each other, love of family and keeping it intact, respect, and wanting to always be with your children’s father and your grandchildren’s grandfather are very important to me. A strong desire to keep life Happy, good, comfortable, and as easy as possible are major factors. It’s not always that way, but I know we both try hard. Anger and difficulties are dealt with and fixed or compromised on right away. I remember my grandfather saying when I first got married, that a marriage isn’t a 50/50 deal. Both spouses have to be willing to give 100% to make it work.
I realize there are a lot of factors that come into play in many marriages that make long years together impossible. So I am grateful and appreciative for the role models and the husband that I have. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa. Rest in Peace. Thank you Mom and Dad. I Love You!
Have you ever tried to define what makes a house a home? When you start to think about it, it’s not as easy as you think it would be. And the definition is different for everyone. For some, home may be the motorhome they travel in to many different locations. For someone else, it may be their mother’s house in their hometown. And still for others it is the house they live in with their spouse, family and/or children.
I think it’s so hard to describe because “home” is a feeling, not a specific type of house or place. It’s the feeling you have in a house or place. It’s a feeling of comfort, welcome, nurture, warmth. It’s the place that feels like a big hug when you enter. It’s a haven where you feel safe and secure.
For those of us that live in a place where we have that certain “homey” feeling, we probably take it for granted without even thinking about what it is about the place that makes us feel that way. It just does and we just do. The feeling of “home” is such a good feeling that it makes me feel sorry for those that may not experience it.
Home should make you happy. When I think of a happy home, the first thoughts that come to my mind are the feelings I remember having as a little girl when I would walk into my grandparents’ homes and my childhood homes with my parents. It was never about the town or the specific house – it was about how I felt when I walked into those homes no matter where they were.
As a young girl, I was totally unconscious of specifics as to what it was that made me feel good about my grandparents and parents’ homes. In fact, I never thought about it at all. They just made me feel comfortable and good and safe. I liked being there. As a young wife I was still not aware of why I would decorate a certain way, or cook certain foods, or like doing certain things as a family with my own sons and husband. I just knew what felt good. And it had nothing to do with the size of our house, or how expensive our furniture or decor was (it wasn’t!).
Now as a grandmother myself, I reflect on this. If I were to try to describe to someone what it is that makes my house feel like a home there are some tangibles that I can now attach to my “homey” feelings. It’s a comfortable house filled with love, with comfortable furniture and warm colors, lots of pillows, quilts and lace table runners. It’s clean and neat, yet lived in. It’s a roast or casserole in the oven on a Sunday afternoon. It’s family photos on the walls and on tables throughout the house. It’s family heirlooms used in my decorating that bring good and loving memories. It’s my family pets laying next to me on the couch, or chair or bed.
I enjoyed creating this atmosphere in our small tiny cottage as a young family and I enjoy doing the same in our larger home for my husband and myself, family and grandchildren, and anyone that enters my home. I hope that someday my home can be remembered as an example to them as to how a happy home feels.
I’ve spent the last 33 years of my almost 55 years learning and working on perfecting the art of making a house a home. It is a constant goal and a never ending quest. If you are already a subscriber to my website, you see my “Happy Home Tips” every Friday. I only send these out to subscribers, so you can sign in on the box on the left if you’d like to received some simple tips and ideas.
Unfortunately so many households and families these days seem to be so busy with activities outside the home that they don’t relax and enjoy making their house a home. For so many it’s just a place to sleep and store their belongings. To each their own way of life and happiness! Maybe it just doesn’t seem important, or they just don’t know how.
Following is a recipe that will make you feel comfy and cozy and make the house smell good, too! I made this for dessert tonight and had my parents over for dinner. This comes from my favorite much used, well worn, food stained recipe book that I inherited from my grandmother, the “Better Homes and Gardens NEW COOK BOOK”.
In a saucepan combine 1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. cornstarch. (I also add about 2 Tbsp. tapioca). Add 1/4 cup water. Stir in 4 cups fresh or unsweetened peach slices. (I only had 2 cups of fresh and then used 2 cups of canned) Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Keep hot.
Mix 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Cut in 3 Tbsp. butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine 1 beaten egg and 3 Tbsp. milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just to moisten.
Transfer filling to an 8x8x2 inch baking dish. (I sprayed with cooking spray first) Drop topping into 6 mounds atop hot filling. Bake in a 400 deg. oven 20 to 25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into topping comes out clean. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired. (We desired!). Serves 6.
Mmmm! Smelled good, tasted good, felt good!
Did you know that yesterday was a special day?
I just saw this on Hallmark’s Calendar of Holidays website. I suppose it’s a good thing for Hallmark if every day is some special day. I wonder if they actually have real greeting cards for this. Probably! I’ll have to notice next time I go into their store at the mall.
National Cherish an Antique Day
April 9th, 2012
A suggestion for Work From Home grandmothers – don’t think it’s possible to keep your 20 month old granddaughter for the week and also continue to work as usual. Not going to happen!
I’ve happily had Baby Leanna at my house now for 5 days but I think I’ve returned all of one business call and have taken one shower and one bath. Baby Leanna and her family are moving from Pennsylvania, 1-1/2 hours away from us, to Texas next Wednesday. Since her mom and dad were busy getting the house ready for the movers to come and pack them up, and her two older brothers are finishing out this week in school, they asked if I would keep Baby L. for the week. Well, of course! Bob and I just adore her, as we do all the grandchildren, and 20 months is just such an adorable age. Her little personality, the good and the “attitude” are showing and she’s just a joy. Besides that, we aren’t going to see them like we’re used to after next week, so this opportunity for time with her is so welcome.
Here’s the deal, though, and I don’t have much time to go into it because she just woke up from her nap early, – my empty nest, work from home, 54 year old’s schedule isn’t used to this! For those of you that know me by now, know that I like (and require) organization and a schedule in order to get everything done. Bob and I Work From Home full time. I also have a few hobbies that I love to do. We also have a large home and 3 pets that I just wouldn’t take on when my two sons were young because it’s too much. Well, it’s now too much with one little 20 month old baby. I’ll tell myself that I’ll do this or that after she goes to bed at 8:30, but I’m too pooped to get off my chair and out of my vegetative state!
I wouldn’t change this week for anything, but I’m just sayin’ – Don’t try to Work From Home full time with a baby at home! It’s really not possible. I’m sure there are young mothers out there that maybe do this. And if you do, and do it well, I commend you! If I were a full time mother in this situation I would have to either work from home part time, doing something that could be done while the baby naps and after she goes to bed in the evenings, or take baby to a day care as any other full time working mother would have to do. I suppose if I were a young mother I would be able to come up with other options, but from a grandmother’s point of view, it’s too much!
Heck, just a small shopping trip with Baby L. to Wal-Mart yesterday just about did me in! Getting her in and out of the car seat is a chore all by itself! Then she decides she wants every cookie and cracker snack that you walk by and fusses about it until you distract her with something else. And since I was a taking a little longer than I had anticipated, we ran into nap time and then it was all down hill from there. I had to just rush toward the end of my shop and forgot so many things!
Maybe a Young Me could Work From Home somehow with a baby, but the Older Me thinks it’s very difficult. If I try to Work, Baby gets a little ignored. Although, a little bit of this is OK, but not to the extent that I need to put into work. And when I give Baby the attention she needs and wants, Work gets ignored and only done halfway. It’s impossible to stay organized like I need to and the house just is not able to stay as clean as it normally is. Bob is still handing me more to do and then tells me to just relax when I give him a “look”! Does he not see this baby I’m feeding and diaper changing?? If this weren’t temporary we’d be having a huge “discussion” over this! I have phone calls to make but I feel it’s not professional to have the recipients of my phone calls listen to a baby babble, or worse – cry, on the other end.
Here’s my solution: Basically drop everything else while Baby L. is here! We can’t help but be happy and smile every second we’re with her. If I can squeeze something else in, then great. (Such as writing this! She’s playing good by herself right now.) If I can’t get it done, it will still be waiting for me next week, after Baby Leanna and family are gone far away. After I’ve cried for a good solid day!
The rest of Baby Leanna’s family are moving in with us tomorrow, since their household is now on a big truck on the way to Texas. We’ll have 24/7 with them until Wednesday. This may be God’s way of working it out so that I’m ready for them to leave and it will buffer the pain of saying good-bye. I don’t know. I’ll let you know next week how it goes!
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So your ideal best life would be to Work From Home? I have received so many questions and requests through Facebook and my website to talk about this. How to go about it and get started? What do I do first? What is a good business to do from home? How do I get a website? And much more! This is a growing trend these days, with unemployement what it is, and people wanting to increase their income, or just the desire to be your own boss and get away from a BOSS telling you what to do and/or Corporate America.
I talk about Making Your Life What You Want, and the Art of Living Your Best Life, and Being Happy Over 50, and I feel I have 32 years of experience and learning and doing what I talk about. My husband and I have been self employed for almost 32 years and have Worked From Home being self employed for the past 8 of those years. I can tell you the how, why, pros and cons. The good and the bad, the upside and the down.
Here’s the upside. This is the little bit on the surface that people from the outside looking in can see. We live in a beautiful house on a lake, with Bob’s office in a separate room upstairs. He sits part of the day in his custom made leather recliner looking out the window overlooking the lake as he talks on the phone. My office is in the corner of my kitchen, with my little antique desk facing a wall of windows overlooking the lake. I can cook, bake, do laundry, dust and vacuum all in between computer work or bookkeeping, or mailers being prepared. Bob is a Financial Planner and I am his assistant. We can come and go as we please, take vacations whenever we want, visit the children, grandchildren and parents on a whim. Sound ideal? Well – it almost is. While this is all true, this is just the tip of the Self Employed Work From Home iceberg! It didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen without a lot of hard work. And it is still a continual learning process and even more hard work. I know that people just see the tiny little bit that I just described and think, “Oh how lucky they are and I want to live like that”, (well, maybe not everybody thinks that! -) . You have to hear and know the whole long story of what it took to get to this point, and it still continues to be very hard work and scary and unsure a lot of the time.
Here’s the start of “The Rest of the Story” as the late Paul Harvey used to say on his radio show after the noon news. Remember him? I would listen to him every day years ago in my insurance office. 32 years ago Bob and I has just been married and my grandfather was turning 65 and getting ready to retire. He had started his own Real Estate and Insurance Agency back in 1950 in this small town in Pennsylvania. His office was on the lot behind his home. As he readied for retirement he really wanted to see his life work and business continue and wanted to keep it in the family if possible. Grandpa came to me and my new husband and asked us if we would be interested in moving from Cincinnati to small town, Pennsylvania, to take over the family business. We were so young, at 21 and 24, both of us with good jobs, but no real career that was keeping us there, so we decided quickly, as most young people do, to go with it!
We moved our few belongings and started right off with going to classes and studying and taking exams and within six months we took over the business. There were many ups and downs over the past 32 years. There was a lot of hard work and many changes including 2 sons, later 5 grandchildren, parents moving back to the hometown after retirement, selling off part of the business, and last year the death of both of my beloved grandparents at the ages of 92 and 94.
Through those years Bob and I experienced and learned a lot. One thing we learned and know for sure is that it isn’t easy. The insurance and small agent industry also went through a lot of changes and we saw into the future a little bit and sold part of our agency about 8 years ago. Bob was already a Certified Financial Planner, working out of our agency and I sold auto and homeowners insurance and managed the office. It was my portion of the business that we sold. Bob’s part of the business was going very well and growing, so it is then that we started phase two of our self employed career. We sold part of the business, moved into a bigger home, put our offices in the home, our sons had gone onto college and moved out. I semi retired after 25 plus years of running an insurance agency and selling insurance. I could now work in the background as my husband’s assistant and I was very happy to do so.
But there is still a lot more to the story. It sounds ideal, doesn’t it? And it really is, but only because of what we’ve made it. It’s been and continues to be a lot of hard work. In the next article, and more after that in this new series, I’ll give you advice, tips, Work From Home ideas, go-to websites, and more.
Please leave me any questions you’d like me to address or comments you’d like to share of your own WORK FROM HOME experience. You can Live Your Best Life if you really want it! Working from home and for yourself you may discover isn’t part of that plan for you. What I can tell you, is that it can be Your Best Life as long as you know what to expect and don’t have visions of something that some (not all, and I’ll tell you the good ones) gurus, coaches, internet marketers, and business opportunity pushers try to paint for you.
Stay tuned for my next article on Monday, January 16, 2012.
Well, it’s this happy grandma’s 3rd day at staying with my three Pennsylvania grandchildren while their parents are away. I’m taking care of my 7 and 6 year old grandsons and 1 year old granddaughter, along with their dog. I got here Monday afternoon and my son and his wife will be home tomorrow afternoon. All I can say is – How did I do this 23 years ago? I guess the quick answer to that would be - Because it was 23 years ago! While that’s partially true, there is so much more to it.
For the last couple of days I’ve been comparing this experience with that of being a young mother with two sons also 16 months apart. As I got the two boys ready for school this morning, and they were outside waiting for the bus, I just had this flashback of my own two sons. It was a deja vu moment! But when my boys were young and I was a young mother, I was also working as an insurance agent and owner of my own agency. I was extremely busy, but I didn’t really think about it. I guess as a young woman and mother you just take for granted the fortune and joys and stress and hardships that you live. I didn’t think about how difficult being a working mother was. My husband and I were (and are) partners in business and in life and we ”just did it”! I also sat on several local boards, worked out (as in exercised) quite a bit, worked in my office at least 40 hours a week, and did everything possible with my boys. They were in wrestling, cross country, track, and of course all the academic functions and events. My husband and I were very involved parents and I don’t think we ever missed an event. To think back and remember all this now is overwhelming to me. If I had to do all that now I think I would curl up in a fetal position and cry!
So I’ve been thinking about this. Why do I feel so overwhelmed by this now when I obviously am very capable of handling it. And I’ve come to a conclusion and an answer: I’ve already done that and now my prize to myself is, I don’t have to do it anymore! Back then it was just what my life was. It was the plan and the progression and now I’m on to Part Two.
As I wrote about in my article, “Design Your Life to be What You Want”, we make the life we have. Whether consciously or unconsciously. The choices we make at each step determines the following step. We all have the ability to choose the direction of that track. Yes, unforseen events can derail us, but it’s then up to us to get it back on track.
Now, back to the present. The track I’m on now is to be a good and loving and very happy grandma. I am very willing to be the caregiver for temporary time periods, but I would not want to do this again full time. In addion to the boys, I also have their one year old sister, little Leanna.
Needless to say, I am busy and tired this week. If I HAD to do this full time due to some unforseen event, yes I could. This is not my current plan or track. I adore these beautiful grandchildren and want them to remember me as a good and loving grandma. When I leave here tomorrow evening and go back home to my husband, my house and my current normal every day activities, I’ll be so appreciative of it all.
I can look back and remember the first part of my life and appreciate how the hard work has paid off and gave me what I have now in my second half. I can also greatly appreciate that now in Part Two I have gorgeous grandchildren that I have the good fortune to spend time with. Then I get to go back to my well deserved current life that is now more about doing for me instead of a full time life of doing for others. And I don’t feel guilty for that at all!
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Does the word “no” make you happy to say? It takes practice, but it can make your life a lot happier if used in the right way and when needed for your own well being. It’s admittedly very hard to do sometimes. I know, because I have a problem when a comes to my kids and grandkids! This is an issue I’m working on. I very rarely tell them “no” and maybe I need to. Would I really feel better or happier if I did? Maybe not. Guilt, a very wasted emotion, would possibly set in. These are struggles that need to be weighed out.
I just feel like I’ve been bombarded with kids for the last month or so and as much as I love them I am finding very little time for myself. My son and his family just left today after a long weekend of much going on, including a garage sale that I tried to make the best of. It’s just very difficult when there are 3 children to care for in the midst of it all. Now they need me to babysit the 1 year old on Thursday and Friday and my son and the two older boys will be back up for the weekend again while their mother is away! It’s now getting to be a little much!
One thing that makes my life so good at this age is the freedom that I have. Well, it’s sort of disappeared right now. OK, so it’s up to me to get it back. Right? Without making my kids angry with me or me feeling guilty. But my life now is more about me and what I need, so I need to address this with them. It’s up to me to make them understand that even though they feel like my work and my time is trivial, it’s important to me and makes me happy. I love my children and grandchildren and love when they “visit”, but these frequent extended stays are going to have to slow down a little.
Happiness is up to you and it’s not always easy!
I was sent the following and it just feels so appropriate today:
A TYPICAL GRANDPARENTS’ ANSWERING MACHINE THESE DAYS:
Good morning . . . At present we are not at home but please leave
your message after you hear the beep. beeeeeppp …
If you are one of our children, dial 1 and then select the option
from 1 to 5 in order of “arrival” so we know who it is.
If you need us to stay with the children because they’re sick, press 2
If you are calling to borrow the car, press 3
If you want us to wash & iron your clothes, press 4
If you want the grandchildren to sleep here tonight, press 5
If you want us to pick up the kids at school, press 6
If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to
your home, press 7
If you want to come HERE to eat, press 8
If you need money, press 9
If you are calling to invite us to dinner, or, taking us to the
theater, start talking we’re listening !!!!!!!!!!!”
Bob and my dad drove an hour and a half each way to watch my two oldest grandsons on the last day of their very first wrestling camp. They are the 4th generation of boys in our family to wrestle. They’re only 5 and 7, so we’ll see if they keep it up. It’s their choice, but they almost have no choice. They seem to like it so far. They just have to keep being reminded right now that there is no kicking and punching in wrestling!
After wrestling the boys came back home with Bob and Dad. They love coming to Bobby and Nina’s (that’s what they call us) house anyway, but yesterday was with the promise that we were going to the county fair. Now wouldn’t you know it that yesterday was the only day this summer that it rained. We were waiting and hoping all day that it would stop, and it seemed to for a while, so off we started for the short half hour drive. As we got closer to the fair, the harder it rained! There was no way we were going to walk around in the rain and the muddy grounds, so we had no choice but to turn around and come back home. Logan started to cry and I felt bad. I felt like we were breaking a promise even though it was out of our control.
Now here’s the good thing about being the grandparents. We could have just said, “Sorry, that’s life, and there’s nothing we can do about the weather”. But we’re the grandparents. We’re here to make them happy, be happy ourselves, have fun with these new little playthings we grandparents call grandchildren. So we did what any good grandparents do, we promised something else we could deliver! We took them to the mall instead and bought them new clothes, a new WII game and they were allowed to order pancakes for dinner, followed by ice cream sundaes! Yay!!! We were all happy again!
Now we’re considering the fair again today depending on the weather and Bob’s work schedule. Too early to determine that yet. I better start thinking of another Plan B just in case!!