Posts Tagged With: family

Mountains of rest and Miles of Fun

Every one of us has a special place where we find rest and refreshment. The Colorado mountains – and the high plains next to them – are that place for me. So Husband of the Year and I soaked up some time there recently and I thought I’d share the highlights.

Historic buildings, artesian shops and light snowfall … perfect day in Manitou Springs!


Daffodils and snowflakes – that’s Colorado spring!


Eating tiramisu with a chocolate spoon – delectable indulgence!


Dietz onstage at a old fashioned melodrama?!? only to help someone take a picture!


Afternoon coffee by the fire! THAT is vacation!


What every good trip must have – a quilt shop! Nana’s Quilt Cottage in Manitou Springs, CO.


Some inspiration found in a class sample. Maybe it would work for lilacs, too? Their website is HERE.


If you get this far out onto the high plains you have already passed your last chance for a potty break for at least a few dozen more miles – says the voice of experience.


Dad reading us a book of cowboy wisdom. “If you find your self in a hole the first thing to do is STOP DIGGING!”


Family Sunday dinner out with Dad (and his Iwo Jima hat) is like traveling with a celebrity!


It took some talking, but I finally got a picture with my big brother by the perfect sign!


Family work day at Dad’s – good times working together!


And it always helps to have a brother-in-law who has skills – and a willing heart.


Of course there was time in Sister’s quilting studio – pondering the story behind the Perrine quilt – found used as batting inside another quilt that our great grandmother and her sister made.


A quilt show with the Colorado sister – what could be better? More on that in a future post.

Hope your Spring is filled with some rest and fun, too.

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Sister Time 2017 (with brother, too)

It’s not often enough that we sisters are in the same state at the same time. So when we are, I soak up every minute we have together like it’s a life prolonging magic vitamin. This time the Dietz B&B was the southern-most stop in the Escape the Winter road trip for the Colorado sister and her rancher husband.

To double the fun, our brother and his wife made the trip down from their house hunting in Atlanta for the Kick Off weekend. Having three of the four siblings together is a rare pleasure. I missed our other cowboy brother, I admit.


Our brother, Bill, and his wife, Susan, soon to be closer to us as Georgia residents.

We ate Italian stew and Mexican green chili (recipe at the end of this post), played raucous games of cards, visited the USS Alabama,


A sewing machine on board! The tailor’s quarters. Note that he sewed under his bunk.



Three of the siblings in the Marine Corp quarters of the ship – thinking about our dad, a WWII Marine Corps veteran.


The reason they needed Marines on a Navy ship.

went to church together, and watched football. Then brother Bill and his wife, Susan had to return to the real world while we partied on.

Once the first weekend was over Sister 2 and I got down to the business of organizing my studio. We needed to legitimize our trips to antique malls and thrift stores.

We found great organizing treasurers to help us with our Fight the Chaos Friday Challenge,


This stuff really is useful. Stand by for more details next post.

as well as other treasures,


We thought it was a great idea but after texting our daughters we stepped away from the display case and back into reality.

and we went to a Glenn Miller Band concert.


It was a trip back in time.


Cindy knows how to do 1940’s glam!



We did no swing dancing but it was a fun night.

And we stitched! A 10-minute runner. (more on that later.) And we cut scraps into useable sizes. (more on that later, too.) We also gave attention to the row quilt we are working on. Once again – more on that later.

And then she went home. Sorry for the sad ending. Please pass the tissues.


Green Chili Pulled Pork Bowls

  • 4   pounds pork butt or shoulder
  • 1 can green chili (4 oz)
  • 1 large onion — chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic-chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro — chopped
  • 1 jar salsa verde

Dry seasoning:

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 4 teaspoons cumin

Serve with:

  • Monterey jack cheese shredded
  • Corn tortillas
  • limes — cut in wedges
  • Sour cream

To the slow cooker add onion, garlic, green chilies, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and salsa.

Season each side of the pork with the dry seasoning and place in slow cooker fat side up

Cover and slow cook on high for 4 -6 hours until tender

Shred with two forks and mix well with the sauce.

Serve with fried corn tortillas or chips, cheese, sour cream and lime wedges.

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Let the New Year unfold!

FL Sister id tag

I’m not sure if I’m excited by the possibilities of the new year or if I’m unnerved by the possibilities. My state of conflictedness may have something to do with how Day #1 of 2017 started.


On New Year’s Day at about 7 o’clock in the morning I got a message from my neighbor with some pictures of our house attached. (We were driving home from the Georgia mountains.)


Dietz says the back yard is more important to me than the house. That is true. This was hard.

That’s right. At about 4 o’clock that morning they woke up to strange whistling in the air and lots of debris hitting their house so they had a family meeting in the bathtub. (That’s a safe place to ride out a storm, in case you haven’t experienced this kind of event in person.)


This and 9″ of rain in 3 days is not a good combination.


Those little shards of glass can travel quite a distance from the blown out windows!


Let’s just say that the tornadic activity did not translate into good news for the old live oak trees in our yard. So the next several days have meant getting to know tree service people – and our home owners insurance people.


For some reason the storm left this branch on the deck and snatched the cover from our grill. Go figure!


Looking back, I should have known that the holidays would be anything but normal when I sent to the dentist right before we left on our Christmas trip and found my dentist in strange garb. Evidently his family loves the movie The Christmas Story and designated him to wear the Ralphy costume for a day this year. THAT should have been a forewarning that unusual things were coming our way.


He really is a good dentist. I promise you. And his family has great humor. Obviously.


Is there a striking resemblance? you decide.

Flash forward to our return home:

When we finally faced the chaos in person, it helped me to remember the fun of the previous week when we spent Christmas in Minnesota with our daughters, son-in-law, mostly grownup grandchildren and their – ummm – friends. Should I say boyfriend/girlfriend? Love interest? Significant other? I’m never sure. I include that category because we got to go on a triple date to the movies with these fun people – such good sports!


They promised to cover my eyes if we came to a kissing part!

As we faced the tornado cleanup, we kept our smiles in place, in part, because of the great time we had celebrating:

amazing food, fun games, Christmas eve candlelight service & family pictures


Why does Minnesota have to be SO far away?

the white elephant gift exchange (which included one poor soul who received his own video game which had been snatched from his room with great slyness) and other delightful gifts …


That leg happens to belong to my just-turned-eighteen-so-he-got-to-vote grandson!

decorating cookies


She painted a VanGogh version! I barely did stripes!

and visiting my granddaughter’s favorite antique shop. I found this sweet set of hot pads which needed embroidered. That size project is great for airplane rides!


The old stuffing had to come out before the stitching could start.

It’s probably safe to assume that the rest of the year will continue to unfold in much the same way as these last couple of weeks – hard and easy, laughter and chaos, excitement and disappointment, celebrations and surprises …. and stitching.

I’ll have to admit that I’m hoping for less of some and more of others. What are you hoping for in the coming year?


This daughter, our first child, is an amazing woman! (I know – that’s sappy and I’m okay with it.)

PS – Thank you, Ryan & Mandy and Joby for all your work to host this celebration! And nice to meet you, Tony!


Happiness is seeing your children smile! (Even when they are grown ups!)



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Dan the Man!

CO Sister id tag

I don’t normally “gush” in social media about my husband, but I want you to meet Dan and it just MIGHT sound like I’m being a little mushy. He entered my life approximately 40 years ago and we will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary this week.  So I think I’m entitled to a few warm & fuzzy remembrances. ann

He’s lovingly referred to in many of my posts as DH (dear husband).  Some of the references are true. Sometimes it should be in bold.  Sometimes in italics. But I always refer to him in love.

So heeeeeere’s Dan….


  • Dan is a rancher by occupation.
  • He is a passionate truth-teller by nature.
  • He is a gifted wood worker by experience.
  • He is multi-talented fixer-upper.
  • He is a (very) hard worker.
  • He is an analytical thinker.

Dan will not be reading this post because he really isn’t into the internet unless he is ordering tractor parts or listening to big band radio, so I can brag on him a lot.   To him history is more than a hobby, it seems to run through his veins. He loves militaria and  knows more names & dates than the average professor. The past is part of what makes him who he is as his father, George Jacob, and grandfather, Scott, were also ranchers and very special men.  dan-1web


But all of those things are not why I feel “warm & fuzzy” about him.  I remember him as a humorous young man who made a young lady, who took herself way too serious, laugh a lot.  Memories of a patient father with 4 young kids are at the forefront. Days of concern for a sick loved one (or animal) were far too familiar for him. Dan’s passion for his God makes him passionate for the well being of others.  I am truly blessed to be his wife.

He is still humorous, but slightly older, even more caring & patient grandfather of nine and a half, with a passionate concern for his family and others.  As we celebrate 39 life-filled years this week, just know I’m proud to say, “Dan MY man!”dan-2web

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Spring Is Here! (Almost)

About this time of year I get a little anxious for some warmer weather.  The snow is brown or gone.  The trees are bare and it won’t change for a couple more weeks/months.


Spring/Winter storm

So I decided to go on a hunt for spring right within my own home.  I didn’t “stage” anything for a photo shoot but just needed some in-the-moment reminders that spring is in the eye of the beholder.  One of the first things I saw as I looked across the room was a plant that Dan and I have had since our wedding (in spite of my black thumb).  I never met a shade of green I didn’t like, especially growing green.


Green AND Growing

Nearby was an arrangement of flowers (silk) that my daughter had done when we re-decorated together one weekend.  She now lives far away and I’m grateful for the “fragrance” and beauty she left behind.


Gone but not forgotten

Last week I had put out the tea set when I put away the Valentine’s decor and just now realized that the tea cozy is such a floral print.  Sister and I share a tea cozies that match.  Wish she was here for a cup of tea right now.


Tea Time (again)

I walked into the bedroom where I saw another colorful, floral treasure from our early marriage days (it was actually part of Dan’s hope chest). The pitcher and bowl set have been in every house we have lived in and it holds many treasured memories, as well as our loose change.


Flowers from our past

Right above the little walnut washstand hangs a picture of roses.  Antique dealers call them yard-longs – guess why.  I think the designer of those frames may have been married to a quilter as “yard-long frames” are an approximate translation/measurement.


yard-long of roses

On the dresser was an embroidered piece of linen with flowers and birds.  It was done by my 84 year old quilting friend many years ago.  She was clear on her instructions about “hiding the knots and quilt in a straight line”.  She also had one of the most prolific flower gardens I know of.


First birds of spring

Across the room is one of my all time favorite prints that hang in our home.  Painted by the turn of the century artist Paul de Longpre, known for his exquisite flower paintings.   You’ve probably noticed a theme in the art work I’ve shown.


Notice the bumble bee?

I found spring is around me all winter long if I chose to find it, as is true of most of the blessings in life.  So I think I’ll forget the gathering clouds outside–


Northern Clouds

–and go sew on a baby gift with BRIGHT fabrics and good music.


Bold and Bright

Hope your spring arrives for real in the very near future.  Happy Hunting.


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My Favorite Things

Broken water lines, flooded floors and forced dislocation from home – these are NOT my favorite things.

But sometimes in the middle of UNfavorite things we encounter the BEST of our favorite things. And that has been the case this last month while this sister navigates through insurance forms and deconstruction deadlines to get to reconstruction. A business trip took us to South Florida where we arrived at just the right time to help Middle Daughter move.


It was time to take a brief break from boxes and enjoy brunch on the beach.

brunch sm

A Favorite Thing with a Favorite Person! Double goodness!

While the final packing was finished, this Nana’s job included Foosball contests (including a “trash talk” competition where “I’m going to sit on your pancake” won over “I’m going to eat your lunch.”), swimming pool duty, many Minion games, and Art Class.

art sm

Sister wanted to draw “me and Momma and Nana packing boxes” while Big Brother wanted to learn how to draw the Really Big Hat Santa from the Holly Jolly collection!

We also had Music class where we listened to “My Favorite Things” 25,000 times in a row and then wrote our own version.  “Sushi and haircuts and ice cream on toesies” has a nice ring to it.

ice cream

Licking ice cream can make the tongue REALLY cold!

Leaving that spot of sunshine is never easy but at least we didn’t have to face the unfinished floors right away. We headed north to the Georgia mountains.


Fall in the mountains !!! Definitely on the Favorite Things list!

Sisters at Heart presented an Orphan Block Trunk Show at Fabrics Galore & Quilting Store in Blairsville on one Saturday morning followed by the Misty Mountain Quilt show on the next weekend. And our booth was right next to our friends from Fabrics Galore!

patricia fabrics galore sm

Patricia showed me these great expandable rulers! And their double binding demo was great.

The high school gym was filled with creativity.

gym 2

What a variety of quilts were hung – and then there was a boutique, too!


gym sm

Challenge Quilts hung around the edge of the mezzanine.


black quilt sm

The vivid colors of this dazzling quilt made it my favorite.


vintage sm

Vintage quilts and linens have long been a Favorite Thing for both Sisters. Watch for more to come this year.


pink work sm

Pink work featuring adorable nursery rhyme figures.


round butterfly sm

This beautiful butterfly captured “Viewers Choice” and the round setting was drafted the old fashioned way – pencil and paper.

I had the joy of meeting Cathi Gainey, owner of Shakerwood Woolens who we will be partnering with on some future wool projects. Her skills with dying wool produce amazing colors! It was definitely a “right time, right place” meeting and we Sisters are excited about working with Cathi – and her wool.

Cathi Gainey Shakerwood Woolens sm

Cathi Gainey – Shakerwood Woolens

And to make the time even more Favorite, we got to have time with life-long friends (at least since college days) at their cabin where the hospitality is warm, the card games loud and the laughter goes on waaay too late.

friends sm

All of these Favorites should keep us humming as we re-enter the hard work of water disaster recovery. As we work hard to finish, I’ve added another verse to the song …..

floors that are finished

walls that are painted

a room where I stitch on my favorite things …..

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Camping, Family, Projects, Summer…

CO Sister id tag

My mind is racing with what to write about that explains a  little of the life journey of this past week.  So I decided to put it all into one blog post!  If you asked my sister, she would tell you it is NOT uncommon for me to tackle too much at one time.  So we just won’t tell her what I’m writing about all this until it is already posted. (Let’s see where that gets me…)


This past week the Colorado family gathered to celebrate a life together.  Dan and I raised our four children on the same ranch that he grew up on.  What an incredible life!  The past holds memories of family tent camping in the Colorado mountains because that is what I grew up doing.  So combine the two (Dan & I) and we are camping as a family but on the home ranch.  Yes, we drove all of four miles (!) to set up the camp site for our summer vacation.  Makes for a good car ride because no one asks, “Are we there yet?”


We are definitely a group of DYI’ers so every family gathering has a project.  When sister comes to visit it involves pattern design & sewing.  But none of our in-laws are into that yet, so the “planners” of our family picked a swing/fire pit project.  Some of the “free-thinkers” of our family were considering…Midsummer_bonfire_web T-swing-webbut we quickly put them on the Pinterest path.


But with only a couple of days together to do a

scavenger hunt,


some water fun,


making s’mores,


playing yard Yatzee,dice-web

going on a treasure hunt,treasure-web

and yes, a family photo shoot, we barely found time to work on the project of choice.  It became very clear early on that the pit/swing project would take back burner to the people plans.  We loved spending time together with stories


Discovering the choose your own adventure genre. It was truly an adventure.

and laughter


Family Auction with “funny money” won during all the games!


making memories in the “pretend” world


Cousins on their way to the store

eating too much of the incredible food


Each family took one night’s meal time.

and helping Grandpa


Grandpa giving “instructions” for sparklers.

We did actually start on the fire pit/swing by removing a dead limb from the space we needed. But the work crew got distracted by the bucket truck.


So here’s the final report:

Bug repellent – F! there were a “few”

Wading in the creek – A+  even if it wasn’t totally clean

Treasure Hunt -A   everyone wins a prize

Swing/fire pit – I   incomplete; a reason to return next year

Family Photo Shoot – Priceless!  Actual pictures will follow in another blog

Don’t let your summer go by without making a few memories of your own (whether or not you’re camping).  And if the projects (sewing or otherwise) don’t get completed, just remember to love the people/family you’re with! What summer memories are you making?


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FREEDOM: love it, celebrate it

FL Sister id tag

We love many of the same things:

frosty iced coffee,


flag with jude sm

This is only one of the cute things this little patriot does!


fireworks sm

“Aunt Pat” comes through again!

fireworks sm

I guess these are Before and After shots.

and Frog Eye Salad.

Also parades,

tractor sm

Americana at its best!


pancake breakfasts on the library lawn, and

pancake breakfast sm

This annual date with dad is priceless!

patriotic decorations.

– which explains why we both LOVE the Fourth of July.


One little note about the patriotic decorations: because we have stitched together for so long our homes contain many of the same holiday decorations.

In Florida you will see this …

yoyo flag sm



In Colorado you will see this …



In Florida you will see this…

flag runner sm

In Colorado you will see this…




The 4th is a holiday filled with things we love AND it’s the holiday we, as an extended family, most often celebrate together. But, our love of this holiday goes deeper than the homemade ice cream and time with our favorite people at the Ranch.

We love freedom.

Freedom allows us to have so many other things we love.

And we love freedom because we know that our freedom came at a very costly price. We learned this young. We grew up knowing the Pledge of Allegiance, how to sing the Marines Hymn and knowing that places like Iwo Jima had a special influence on making our dad into the man he is: Semper Fi. Always faithful.

semper fi

Though years have passed since our dad gave his years of military service, our homes hold special reminders

lamp and tags sm

dog tag and battle ribbon


picture sm

This photo appeared in the New York Times – Dad is second man on the right.


of his sacrifice and selfless bravery – and of other young Americans who risked everything because they, too, loved freedom.

So again this year as we …

set on sidewalks for parades and

sign our names on the autograph tablecloth and

make our deviled eggs and

shoot off all kinds of noisy entertainment, and

play horse shoes or Corn Hole …

corn hole2sm

Studies have shown that leaning can assure that the little bag goes right into the little hole!

corn hole

The trash talk can be as much fun as the game itself!

we will be remembering the heroes who made it possible for us to enjoy all those things we love so much.

We will be remembering that we LOVE freedom! And we will be celebrating what we love!

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