Show and Tell

I have always had a love for antiques. I love the history that they contain and that there’s a story behind them. I actively began buying antiques when I was a teenager but even as a young child I had a fascination with them. By no means am I buying expensive antiques. In fact I prefer items that show that they were used and loved. Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorites and the stories behind them!

The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe

The Wardrobe

This is the first antique I bought when I was 16 years old.  I bought it from a resale shop for $50. It was plain wood at the time and in semi-rough shape. I brought it home and restained and varnished it. It is a big, cumbersome piece and traveled with me to all my apartments and houses. My Dad hated this thing. He would spit and swear under his breath every time he had to help me move. My first house had a steep stairway leading upstairs and a narrow landing. In order to get it up to my bedroom this had to be hoisted up over the landing at such an angle. It got dropped once. My Dad said he would never move this thing again! It now resides in my daughter’s room and my Mom painted it for me.

The Iron Bed

The Iron Bed

The Iron Bed

I love old iron beds but could never afford one. They can be quite pricey. I spotted this one on the back of a guys pickup truck one day when I was in my early 20’s and out with my Mom. He had a lot of junk in the back of his pickup and I came to the conclusion he was collecting things to bring to a scrap yard. I instantly hopped out of my car and asked him what he was going to do with the bed. He looked at me in a confused manner and managed to let me know he didn’t speak English. I somehow was able to explain to him that I wanted that bed. I took out my wallet and offered him money for it but he just waved it off and unloaded the bed and put it in my car for me. The only problem was I still needed the bed rails for it too. Trying to explain bed rails to someone that doesn’t speak English is nearly impossible so I just started digging through his truck until I found them. This clearly goes down as one of my ultimate finds because it was free and was quite the adventure trying to get it! This was my bed for many years and now serves as my daughter’s bed.

The Hoosier Cupboard

The Hoosier Cupboard

The Hoosier Cupboard

I found this piece through a newspaper ad when I was 20 years old. It was advertised for $250. I took my brother along to come look at it with me. I instantly fell in love with it and offered $200. The lady selling it accepted my offer as she said her husband was making her get rid of it because it was too big. I estimate this piece to be about 100 years old. It has the original etched glass in it which is very hard to come by. This has always been my baking cupboard. It stores all my cake pans, measuring cups, spices, baking ingredients etc. It is absolutely one of my favorite things I own!

The Stove

The Stove

The Stove

I found this Stewart stove at an estate sale with my Mom when I was in my early 20’s. It was in a basement hooked up and the owner said she still used it to do her canning on. I asked her if she wanted to sell it. She said yes but she would have to get $25 for it. In a blink of an eye I handed over the money. The thing about this stove though is that it weighs a ton! As I said it was in the basement so my Mom and I had to carry this thing up the stairs and then down the street to where I was parked. It was really insane when I think about it now. I have always had this sitting in my dining rooms as just a decoration basically. It serves no purpose. A few years ago I set it out to a rummage sale I was having and put $150 on it. A guy came and said he wanted it but he had to run to the bank quick and get the money. As soon as he left I got a sick feeling in my stomach and made a “sold sign” and put it on the stove. When the guy returned I told him someone else bought it and had given me the money and were just going to get their truck. Even though this stove is not an essential piece I just can’t part with it!

The Frames

The Frames

The Frames

Throughout the years my Mom and I have found several different frames at rummage or estate sales. They are usually in pretty bad shape but cost no more than $5. Some of them even contain the old bowed out glass which I don’t think is made anymore. My mom fixed all of these up and through the years I have added them one by one to my living room wall. We have our wedding picture, all of the kids baby pictures and our family picture. These are by far my most cherished pieces!

I hope you enjoyed my Show and Tell today!

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There’s History In Those Love Letters Part II

I wrote a previous post about my Grandparents and shared a love letter my Grandpa sent my Grandma. I have another one to share with you today.

My maternal grandparents started courting in 1936 when my Grandma was 17 and still in high school. My Grandpa was 23 and had a teaching job in a one room school house a few towns away from where my Grandma was living.

My Grandpa in his school room in 1937

My Grandpa in his school room in 1937

Even though this is when they started dating they knew each other since they were children because they grew up in neighboring farm houses. My Great Grandma never liked my Grandpa but I don’t know why.

My Grandpa’s Mom, Alice passed away on January 9th, 1936 leaving her husband, my Grandpa and a young daughter Bonnie to live at the farm on their own.

Even though I don’t know for sure, I would think all of these circumstances play a part in my Grandpa’s following letter to my Grandma. I mentioned in my last post that my Grandparents did not express their love outwardly but this letter truly proves that my Grandpa was a very sensitive, emotional man and loved my Grandma very much.

My Grandma Charlotte's Senior Picture

My Grandma Charlotte’s Senior Picture

March 17, 1936

Dearest Charlotte,

Well I hope you are not disappointed in finding this letter is from me instead of some other guy.

I got home o.k. last night, but I had to get up and get breakfast. Ruby and Art didn’t come back last night. Bonnie and Dad were back sick this morning. And I felt so darn blue I cried all the way to school.

It is noon now and have I felt mean this forenoon. I bet the kids think I am terrible. They have all gone out of the school house; because they are afraid of me I suppose. I wish you were down here; I would have you make out some tests for me. Not only that but I would just like to have you here. You seem to make my heart beat faster, and I feel as though it should.

I have got to take Dad to Readstown to-night. I think I will mail this then if I don’t forget it.

Gee I wish I could come up some night this week, but I am afraid I can’t. I have got to go to bed more and redeem myself for things I have been doing. I can just imagine what your mother thinks of me.

Well I know what I think of you any way. I think you are the sweetest darn kid I have ever been with, and I was never so darn crazy over anyone in my life. But the question is just what do you think of me. I have thought a lot about it and have come to no definite conclusion.

I shall be expecting a letter from you; if I get it I will be surprised and if I don’t I shall be disappointed.

Write Soon

With Love

Eddie Heal

Love Letter

Page 1 of Love Letter

Page 2 of Love Letter

Page 2 of Love Letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read the first love letter click here!

Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, Stick a Needle in My Eye

Today I am posting the most important information that I have ever shared! I guarantee it will change your life. I am so sure about this one that I “Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.”

It is for the greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies ever!

Now trust me when I say, that I have never met a Chocolate Chip Cookie I didn’t like. You just can’t go wrong when you mix brown sugar, butter and chocolate. Heck, I even burnt 2 batches of Chocolate Chip Cookies on my children’s first day back to school this year for their special treat and even those weren’t too bad.

However, I have been baking since I was a small child and have probably been making cookies for over 2 decades but all the Chocolate Chip cookies I have made always had some flaws. I’ve tried numerous different recipes. Some were too dry. Some were too moist. They were never good enough to give to anyone except my immediate family.

Here I am at age 7 with the first cake I ever made! I really thought I did a stroke with this one!!!

Here I am at age 7 with the first cake I ever made! I really thought I did a stroke with this one!!!

Admittedly, I am not a good baker. I make mistakes. I forget how many cups of flour I’ve put in. I don’t take the time to measure correctly. I throw everything in at the same time even when it says to beat separately. I probably should just stay out of the kitchen but nothing beats a cookie straight out of the oven. You just can’t buy that in a store!

In pursuit of having the perfect cookie I went on a crusade and did a lot of research this past year. I combined a couple of different recipes I found and I have finally reached my goal of making a Chocolate Chip cookie I felt confident in giving to people!

I believe the whole secret is mixing the baking soda in hot water. It must make some serious magic in these cookies and create a chewy center with a crisp outside. I also found that a lower oven temperature is key.

So go ahead and whip up some Chocolate Chip Cookies and spread some love. We gave last week’s batches to the crossing guards that the children use on their way to school and home. This week’s batches were given to my parents and to our mechanic!

The Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

The Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

The Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Ingredients

  • 1 C. butter softened
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 C. chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time
  • Stir in the vanilla
  • Dissolve baking soda in 2 tsp. hot water and add to batter along with salt
  • Stir in flour and chocolate chips
  • Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake for about 10 minutes

 

My Top 5 Behavior Busters for Kids Behaving Badly

By looking at this image, it appears I have well behaved children who love each other madly all of the time:

Sometimes they love giving each other hugs!

Sometimes they love giving each other hugs!

This however is not always the case. I run into plenty of instances like this too:

I don't want my picture taken. I don't care if it's my 4th birthday.

I don’t want my picture taken. I don’t care if it’s my 4th birthday.

I said I wanted candy for breakfast!

I said I wanted candy for breakfast!

I have no idea why I'm crying. I just feel like crying!

I have no idea why I’m crying. I just feel like crying!

Maybe if I make it look like a hug, no one will notice I am squeezing him too tight!

Maybe if I make it look like a hug, no one will notice I am squeezing him too tight!

This is how I feel when my sister gets too close to Mom!

This is how I feel when my sister gets too close to Mom!

You are standing too close to me!

You are standing too close to me!

It's my turn to use the bathroom!

It’s my turn to use the bathroom!

So I have compiled my top 5 secrets to stop bad behavior dead in it’s tracks! I never do any of these in public for fear that I will be committed. These are strictly for the privacy of my own home. The only one who knows about any of these is my husband and sometimes I am slightly scared he will have me committed.

Dramatic Fall. You walk into the room where the scene of the bad behavior is happening. Do a slow motion spin and let yourself fall down in the most natural way possible. Keep your eyes closed. The kids will come running to your side and at this point tickle them. They will forget all about what they were just engaging in.

Witch Doctor. This song from 1958 from David Seville (the creator of The Chipmunks) is one of the catchiest songs I know. Children as little as 1 year old love this song and if you start singing they will immediately start dancing or singing along no matter what they are doing.

The Unknown Brother. Whenever the children are being too noisy and I can’t get their attention, I say “Be Quiet, you’re going to wake up your brother Johnny.” They do not have a brother Johnny. The downside on this one is that you have to finally tell them you were just joking so they don’t go tell people that mom is hiding a secret brother.

Rain Dance. Walk into the room and start dancing like you are beckoning rain. High skipping leg motions and arms flailing wildly in the air. I don’t know if this works because they are so entranced with the beauty of the dance or that they are scared I have really lost it!

Cabaret Singing. This is my favorite. I can not sing worth a darn which makes this one even funnier. When the children balk at a certain task I channel my inner Marlene Dietrich and begin singing in a sultry, smoky voice words like, “Come put your pajamas on Baby. It’s time for pajamas to come on. Mommy loves you in pajamas. Come put your pajamas on.” Again I’m sure my children comply at this point because they are scared Mommy is on the verge of nervous breakdown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I May Have Lacked Self-Control

My 5 year old son gave me some helpful advice the other day. Apparently he has been throwing around a problem in his head the past few weeks and has finally settled on the perfect solution.

His suggestion came because my 7 year old daughter bought me a tin of English butter cookies this past Christmas. She had remembered that I mentioned one time how much I love these cookies. She insisted that her Dad drive her to the store so she could purchase some for me.

I am embarrassed to reveal that one night shortly after Christmas I consumed the whole tin of cookies after I tucked all the kids into bed. I really only meant to eat two but they tasted so good and they were just so tiny that I couldn’t get the whole butter cookie experience with just two. In my defense it was a 4oz tin so I think there was only 10 cookies in it….and they were small!

I told my daughter a few days later that I really enjoyed the gift she gave me. I told her I enjoyed it so much that I ate them all in one sitting. We laughed at my lack of self-control.

Apparently, my daughter then went and shared with my son that Mommy was a big pig and ate all her cookies…all by herself….in one crazy eating frenzy moment.

This information obviously put my son into a tailspin trying to come up with a solution. And apparently his weeks of thinking did provide him with the answer because he presented me with this the other day:

“Uh, Mom, I think it would be best that if you ever receive another tin of cookies that you put it in my backpack every morning when I’m on my way to school. The cookies will be safe in there.”

My mouth dropped open and my eyes got huge. My son then put his hand on my arm and said in a sympathetic voice, “I know you get lonely during the day when I’m at school and it makes you want to eat a lot of cookies. This way if the cookies are with me you can’t eat them all.”

I just nodded my head and thanked him but what I really wanted to say was:

  • I am really not that lonely when you are at school. I am too busy to be lonely or eat half the time.
  • How does a 5 year old know that loneliness and overeating go hand in hand?
  • I didn’t even eat the cookies when you were at school. I ate them when you went to bed. Yes, that’s right…Mommy really lives it up when you go to bed! I eat all kinds of good stuff as soon as you guys are all tucked in for the night!
My tin of cookies from Iris proudly on display in my laundry room!

My tin of cookies from Iris proudly on display in my laundry room!

A Gumball for You and You and You

My children often ask for some change so they can get a gumball out of the candy machines at the exits of stores.

I rarely have any money on me as I am accustomed to paying for everything with a debit or credit card.

The other day when we were exiting the grocery store they asked if they could get a gumball. I quick answered “no” because as per usual I knew I didn’t have any quarters in my purse. I then stopped and remembered I had a dollar bill in my wallet. I walked across the length of the store over to the customer service desk. I waited in line. I asked the lady behind the counter for 4 quarters in exchange for my dollar. She gave them to me and then the kids and I walked back across the store to the gumball machine.

I did this because I remember.

I remember being a little kid and going to The White Store with my mom. It was a clothing store in our town. It was kind of a fancy store.  The smell of new hit you when you walked in. The floors were carpeted in a plush dark green. The walls were papered with gold and cream stripes. All of the clothes hung perfectly organized and straight on their racks. The mannequins wore perfectly assembled outfits fit for a glamorous girl ready to go to work or out for the evening. In the middle of the store was an elaborate glass showcase filled with beautiful jewelry. The store clerks were always eager to show you a tray of rings or help you find the perfect bracelet.

I hated this store. It was so boring to me to have to walk around and look at clothes. It was torture to have to be quiet and not run around. Admittedly, we did not shop there too often. It was only when they were running sales or someone in the family needed something for a special occasion.

In my eyes there was only one good thing about an outing to The White Store. I always knew on the way out my mom would let me get a gumball from the little red machine sitting in the entrance way. I remember the gumballs had the word FORD printed on them in white. I always wondered why. I remember always hoping I didn’t get black and more times than not I ended up with black. It tasted like black licorice. I would have rather had the purple one with the grape flavor but I never complained. I was just happy I got to turn the crank and hold my hand out waiting for the gumball to roll down the tunnel.

So that is why I walked across the store to retrieve some quarters for my kids. I hope someday they remember the times their mom gave them each a quarter so they could turn the crank and watch the gumball travel down the chute and then place a gumball so huge in their mouth that they could barely close their lips around it. I hope they remember they got the good ones; the purple with grape flavor.

1984 My Dad and I all set to go to the Father/Daughter dance. I'm wearing a dress from The White Store

1984 My Dad and I all set to go to the Father/Daughter dance. I’m wearing a dress from The White Store

Are You in the Mood For Love?

Are you thinking about Valentine’s Day? I sure wasn’t until I came across this little ditty in my daughter, Iris’s room that she wrote:

Valentine’s Day Song

It’s Valentine’s Day.

Watch out for Cupid. Cupid could get you.

You would think he is sweet but he shoots arrows at you.

Stay clear from Cupid. But watch out for his arrows.

You do not want to get shot because you will fall in love.

Iris's Song

And then my son Bency drew this picture the other day:

I love people in my class

I love people in my class

These sure got me thinking that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with that comes the Valentine exchange at school!

So this year I thought I would make their Valentines on the computer and send in the files to be printed as 4×6 pictures. They can write their messages on the back and have their own unique Valentine’s to hand out!

This project took me a 1/2 hour and I ordered 50 prints total which cost $7.00 with shipping.

And here are the finished results:

Iris's Valentine for school

Iris’s Valentine for school

Bency's Valentine for school

Bency’s Valentine for school

I just noticed now that I forgot the apostrophe in Valentine’s on Bency’s card and I already have them sent in! Wow, that’s so typical of me!! Good thing I’m not a perfectionist!

Have a great day and don’t get shot by an arrow!!

Melissa

Getting Some Real Mail

My 7 year old daughter, Iris loves to write letters. She’s kept a steady correspondence with the Tooth Fairy over the past couple of years who exchange their letters through her tooth fairy pouch she keeps on her doorknob.

Her latest letter:

Letter to Tooth fairy

To Tooth Fairy,

My tooth fairy pouch broke, so I put it next to my bed. Can you ring the bells to wake me up (only on a school night) so we can think of things to fix my pouch?

Iris

P.S. Am I a fairy?

P.S.S. Did Jack Frost take all the snow animals?

Iris

Recently, Valerie over at Atlantamomofthree did a postcard exchange which I participated in because I knew my kids would love getting some “real” mail.

When we received our postcard, letters and some stickers the kids were so excited. They loved looking at the pictures on the postcard, they loved learning about another family and of course getting some fun stickers in the mail was an extra bonus.

Postcard from Valerie and her family

Postcard from Valerie and her family

My 5 year old son, Bency fell asleep last night clutching his sheets of stickers.

There is definitely something special about receiving something in your mailbox or I guess your tooth fairy pouch that just can’t be replaced with an email. You get to hold those pieces of paper containing the words that someone wrote especially for you. They gave you a piece of them that you will have forever.

Thank you Valerie and family!!

***********************************************************************************************************

To read more letters to the Tooth Fairy that Iris has written read the following stories:

She Believes in Unicorns and Other Fancy Stuff

The Tooth Fairy is Involved in the Case of the Missing Library Book

I Totally Thought They Were Wooden Blocks

As you all know I believe that motherhood is an art form. It takes a lot of creativity and humor to navigate your way successfully through parenting.

This philosophy is particularly true when it comes to potty training.

I am in the throes of potty training my third child. My 2 year old Cesar has insisted on using the toilet. I actually would like to wait a few more months but seeing as he’s the third child and has two older siblings to look up to, he has proven to be very independent and wants to do everything they are doing.

So the potty training commenced a week ago.

I put underwear on him, showed him how to put his potty seat on the toilet and then how to sit on it by himself.

We’ve had some successes and plenty of accidents throughout the past week.

5 days ago Cesar and I were upstairs changing bedding when I noticed two of Cesar’s wooden blocks on the floor. I went to pick them up but quickly discovered they weren’t blocks…yes, they were poop that were amazingly square shape.

As I ran to his room to grab a new pair of underwear and run back to where he was, I discovered him picking it up…

So now he has poop streaked down his legs, all over his hands, it’s ground into the carpeting and I have to try to figure out a way to get him downstairs to the bathroom to get him cleaned up!

(Insert creativity and humor here!)

2 days ago Bency came downstairs and in a very nonchalant voice stated, “There’s something really weird happening in my room, Mom.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?” I asked

“Well, the decorations on my dresser have all been turned backwards and my baseball hat was moved and there’s poop on the floor.” Bency replied in the most casual voice possible.

I stood there shocked. I wasn’t shocked that there were things moved around in Bency’s room nor that there was poop on the floor. Obviously, after my go around just the other day with the poop on the floor fiasco I have kind of braced myself for future occurrences as Cesar is still running amok with only loose fitting undies on.

What I was most shocked about was the ho-hum attitude that Bency had about discovering poop on his bedroom floor. I certainly think he could muster more surprise, disbelief or outrage.

So as I tried to wrap my head around his calm, cool attitude about the discoveries in his room, I made my way upstairs for a poop scavenger hunt to pick up before Cesar did….

(Insert creativity and humor for the next few months!)

Business on top, Party on the bottom

Business on top, Party on the bottom

It’s Kind Of Like Cloud Watching

I made up a new activity to do with my 5 year old son, Bency this past weekend. Well, I should say, I think I made it up. It’s such a simple concept that it has probably been around for a hundred years and I just never heard of it.

It came about because my 7 year old daughter, Iris had a friend over and they didn’t want to include Bency in their games. Bency was feeling left out so I told him I would play with him.

First we played a very long game of chess which I finally beat him at then I suggested we do some drawing together.

Bency sighed and groaned, “Oh please don’t try to teach me how to draw Superman again.”

Since Bency is my little artist and loves to draw I had tried teaching him how to draw Superman last week. I thought he was ready to advance beyond stick people. He wasn’t. I tried to keep the lesson simple but apparently moving from stick people to Superman is too big of a leap.

So I quick came up with another idea.

I’ll call it Cloud Drawing.

This requires two or more people

One person starts out by drawing a 1-3 inch line on the paper in any direction either straight or with curves (anything goes it just has to be 1-3 inches).

The next person starts off where the last person left off (keep the lines connected) drawing their own 1-3 line or curve.

This continues until the lines finally find their way back to the starting point and you have one large shape.

Now the fun part is trying to decide what it looks like. It’s similar to cloud watching!

We turned the paper every which way and would decide what it most resembled and then I went in and added details to bring what started out as a blob to life!

This was a great activity and would make for an excellent road trip game, some rainy day fun or in our case a cold, winter day with no one to play with except your Mom!

Here are some examples of the ones we made:

Bency and I both saw a tree with a bird perched on it so I went in and added bark for the tree and an eye for the bird!

Bency and I both saw a tree with a bird perched on it so I went in and added bark for the tree and an eye for the bird!

Bency saw a pirate standing by a tree...I didn't see it at all so he went in and added the details on this one!

Bency saw a pirate standing by a tree…I didn’t see it at all so he went in and added the details on this one!

We saw a puppy in this one but I had to add the tail and eyes!

We saw a puppy in this one but I had to add the tail and eyes!