Thursday, December 26, 2019

The true meaning of Christmas

December 20th, 2018 . . . . Lizzie (who was 9 years old at the time )and I  were driving into town, when she said, "I can't wait till I'm old enough to get a debit card."  Why I asked?  She said, "So I can buy my mom and dad some Christmas presents."

A few weeks later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The blacksmith and I talked about what we would be facing. Knowing I might need some extra help, I told him what Lizzie had said. We decided to offer her a deal.  If she would help me/us we would pay her a small amount.   I set up a plan to pay for things like emptying the dishwasher, cooking, dusting, taking drinks to grandpa in the shop, vacuuming the vehicles, staying off Youtube, sewing, setting the table, and other things. 

She knew how to set up a spread sheet on the computer. Grandpa helped her with the column totals. 

She was a worker, always asking what she could do. This was a secret between her and us. No one else knew. 

In the summer time she asked if she could make something for her brothers for Christmas. She explained what she wanted to make and she looked through my bins of fabric. She found Cardinal fabric for Brady and Chiefs for Alex. She cut out 3 pockets for each banner in coordinating  fabric. I helped her with the loops on top. She made the banners to hold their pocket change, billfolds, and cell phones. These she sewed all on a hand crank Singer 1931 Singer sewing machine.  December 23, she FORGED the 4 hooks to hang them on the wall with!!!

Fast forward to December 20th 2019, She counted  her money and had collected over $70. (She knows exactly how much!!)  I took her to Walmart where she had a list of things she wanted. In a few quick hours we visited 2 Walmarts, Menards, Lowes, Westlakes and Dollar General.  

4 days until Christmas and she was so excited!!!!!  She printed off the 3 page spread sheet to have to show her parents. 

Here she is posing with all her gifts, which she intentionally did not put a name on. She knew which color of ribbon went to who.

After all the family gifts were opened, she said well there are still presents under the tree . . . . 
She then said they were from her and we told how they came about. (I might have been in tears)

Mom opening the picture frame that Lizzie explained was a family item, as it has a family verse on it. 

Mom and Dad I think were stunned.

Here is what she bought for Mom and Dad. I let her do all the shopping, including the sarcasm t-shirt, she knows her daddy well!

She's telling him be careful, don't cut too deep.

Brady's wall hanging

Alex's wall hanging.

To say we are proud of her is an understatement. It's not the fact that she helped us, it's how caring and giving she is.  Her parents have done a beautiful job raising her and her brothers. 

God is good.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A road trip with the 3 oldest grandkids

We picked up the kids early this morning and headed to Eldon, Missouri for our favorite donut place, AKA Donut Palace. The Asian family that runs it is so friendly. 

You see the two twists?  That is the blacksmith's favorite. 

It was on to Excelsior, Missouri  to County Road Surplus. Next door they have an Amazon return store that is so much fun. New products are put out on Saturday. Everything is $5 on Saturday and Monday. Tuesday it goes down to $3, Wednesday it's $1, Thursday 50 cents, and  Friday 25 cents.

In the non Amazon section Alex found a brand new pair of Red Head snake proof boots for $39. They were regularly priced at $129.00  BARGAIN

I found 21 cherry bright red lids for $1.00.  I thought they'd be perfect for holiday gift giving of jars of homemade jellies, etc. BARGAIN

Three new movies, $1.00 each.  BARGAINS

Lizzie found lights for me with clips to hold pictures for $1.00 BARGAIN

I bought 2 packages of these apple USB cords at a $1.00 each, retails for $17.00 per box.  BARGAIN

Fashion gal found a new holiday fleece throw for $1.00 BARGAIN

She learned several ways to make new wearable tops from it. 

For $1.00 each Lizzie found a new phone case, earbuds, earbud case, and a phone stand. BARGAIN

I didn't get a picture of Brady's bargains.  He got an Apple iphone charger that you just lay your phone on and 5 USB cords for $1.00 as well as  Alex too. BARGAINS

With all that shopping the kids were ready for lunch. We went to Lehmen's Mennonite restaurant. No one opted for the buffet, which included a whole turkey with stuffing. Instead it was a french fry kind of day!

Our last stop was Pop's surplus in High Point, Missouri. All their clothing was $1.49 each. This top retailed for $30.00. BARGAIN

She loved this dress, it retailed for $44, and was from Sears. BARGAIN

This also was Sears, retailed for $24.  BARGAIN

Overall I think today was a BARGAIN day.

Tomorrow we'll rest and eat Turkey and dressing!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

We had company!

I have been trying to get this Hawaiian blacksmith to our place for a couple of years. He's really not Hawaiian, but his choice of shirts indicate that he is!

I had changed the sheets in the guest room before we went to Oklahoma, hoping he'd stop on his way to the conference,  but it didn't work out. 

We had only been home from Oklahoma 1 day and look who showed up! He not only showed up but he brought his parents.

The Yoders came from Tennessee. They were traveling several states visiting family and friends. Glad we are included in that group.

It was funny after Mark took this picture, in typical mother fashion, his Mom said, "son they will know there's no fabric under that needle"!

It was so much fun pulling out a few quilts to show to a fellow quilter!

Mark's phone takes the coolest pictures. It's a Samsung Galaxy 10, with 3 cameras. 

This is my adoption picture, I hope they take me! Mr. Yoder was a preacher and played a couple of church songs on his harmonica. I wished they could have stayed for the lemon pound cake I had made, but they had places to go, and people to see.

We sure enjoyed their visit!

One last picture . . . Mark took of the blacksmith shop, such a neat view!

Friday, October 25, 2019

A quick trip to Branson

We slept in Monday morning to a little after 8.  It was then time to re-tape the fantastic roof vent. I'm pretty sure the Walmart bag and inexpensive tape was not going to hold the highway winds from ripping it off. 

Together we worked as a team, as we have done for more than 49 years. He stepped on the bumper, up to the spare tire,  and then I gave him a shove, I mean boost.

Gorilla tape and the heaviest garbage bag we could find in the store was taped down. 

The highway we took led us through northwest Arkansas, through some beautiful mountain views. We pulled over several times on the switch backs just to see the view.

We arrived at Treasure Lake RV Resort  shortly after our host, John and Beth had arrived. Beth met us at the gate to get us in. 

This is the largest gated RV park in Branson. It has 577 sites on 340 acres. We got set up just across the street from them. We did a quick tour of their new RV and then took off for Montana Mikes Steak house. There we met Blacksmith Pat McCarty and his wife Mary Jo. They are working the craft fair in Branson for three weeks. 

We were next to last of the groups to leave the restaurant that evening. It was just so much fun catching up. It's hard to separate 3 good blacksmiths deep in conversation.

Back at our little Casita, John and Beth toured ours. We then called it a night. 

The next morning we rode along with the Lovin's to Grandmas Kitchen.  I had a huge cinnamon roll made with cream cheese, I couldn't eat it all.

After breakfast was over we visited the landing before heading north. The guys went to Silver Anvil Blades. They enjoyed visiting with owner Jo Smith. So while they were there, Beth and I caught a few other near by shops. 

Bernie, Jo, and John, blacksmiths once again talking away!

After leaving the downtown landing, John was nice enough to give us girls one more stop, the Quilt shop! 

Quilts and Quilts is huge. I made quick scans, picked up a couple of quilt templets and before I knew it the guys were back from the Coleman store and our shopping trip was over.

We covered a lot of ground and visited a whole bunch in a very short period of time. 

Life is Good!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Oklahoma OK

On Friday morning we headed west. It was about 480 miles to Sulphur, Oklahoma where we would be attending the Saltfork Blacksmith Conference. 

We arrived at Country Days RV park right at dark. That's never good when you have to  set up camp. Debby our host had given us the gate code and we proceeded to our lot. After set ting up I went to open the fantastic fan vent on top.  It felt different cranking it up, so I cranked it down. Or so I thought. We discovered it parted ways with the Casita some where along the road.

We had needed to cover it regardless. The forecast was no rain that night.  We found a plastic Walmart bag and the RV duct tape Lizzie our 10 year old granddaughter had given us. It worked in a pinch. No ladder to the top, no problem, we're a team. The blacksmith stepped from the bumper to the spare tire, and then I gave him a shove, I mean a boost!

Wouldn't you know it after we got in bed later that night, it did rain. The plastic and tape worked.

The conference started bright and early the next morning at 8 AM, we just didn't make it there quite that early.

Peter Ross a blacksmith, who does beautiful historical work, was one of the demonstrators. It was not the first time we have seen Peter work. However it was the first time I had spare time to watch the demonstrators. I always love watching a craftsman who is left handed! 

Then there was Ken and Marylou from Ken's Custom Iron.  This husband and wife team are so much fun to watch. You can feel the love and see the love between them. They work together perfectly! And man, or should I say woman, can she swing a hammer!

My friend Mark, talks with Oklahoman Ed McCormick. The works this man has done are amazing! His niece put together a book of his works. 

This pocket knife was BIG. probably 24 inches long and worked just like a small pocketknife!

Ken and Bernie are caught sitting down for a chat.

Mark, Bernie and Ken are discussing the shape of anvils. As the saying goes, you're never too old to learn. Right Ken??

Marylou served dual purpose for the conference, sales woman and demonstrator.

The Saltfork group prepared the best meals ever!  3 meals Saturday and 2 on Sunday. All could be had for a donation. One of my favorite things Saturday night was the smoked bologna!

Besides smoked bologna, they had smoked ribs, brisket, ham, and pulled pork. The dessert was always Mrs. Fields pecan pies. If you went away hungry it was your own fault.

There were not many vendors, in fact only three the first day and two the second day.

There were a few more tailgaters, including me. I sold Osage Bluff tongs along with jewelry and tee shirts for the BAM boutique.

My luck wasn't so good as when I attended this conference 6 years ago. I bought a few more tickets this time but  did not win their tool box.

Look at this piece of coal. Does anyone have a stocking that big???

On Sunday evening after break down, a room was reserved in town at a Mexican restaurant for those who wanted dinner. 

I'm hoping we convinced several of their guys to come to our conference.