Smart or Smart Aleck??

Recently Miss Dub1, pictured above, was watching "Annie" with her family. She made the following observation (and I quote ...)

"Those orphans think life with parents makes life perfect. That's pretty naive."

Yeah ... she turned FIVE less than two months ago.

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I. Am. Giddy.

So ... it IS the most wonderful time of the year. I will refrain from singing the rest of that song, but trust me ... I am beyond ecstatic.

I think it's because Christmas was almost non-existent to me last year due to the fact that I moved out of my house on December 29th. This year I have been consumed with Christmas for a few months now. First off was making a stocking for Miss Dub3 (even though she won't be here and that's okay.)

I don't have all of my Christmas shopping done, but you had better believe that I am ready to wrap those babies once they are purchased.

I don't have a mantle but I had a wonderful time figuring out what to do with my pseudo-mantle.

My living room is complete with treats. Pretzel M&M's to be exact and I refuse to say how many I have already eaten.

My trees are up inside and out but I don't have decent pictures of them yet. I will try to post those before New Years.

Oh ... it IS the most wonderful time of the year, don't you agree?

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Pumpkin + Orange = Yum

So ... take your pick. You can have a lovely, albeit fake pumpkin ...

Or some honest-to-goodness Pumpkin Bread.

This is the recipe I used to make the latter. It. Was. Yum.

Libby's Pumpkin Cranberry Bread (printed from Cooks.com)

3 C flour
1 T + 2 t pumpkin pie spice
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
3 C granulated sugar (you could possibly reduce that a smidge)
1 15 ounce can LIBBY's pure pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 C vegetable oil
1/2 C orange juice
1 C Craisins

Preheat over to 350. Grease and flour two 9X5 inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl; beat unti just blended Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in craisins. Spoon batter into pans.

Bake for 60-65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to racks to cool completely.

Have a delicious Thanksgiving!

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The Pleasantest Thing

"Oh ... how I love to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue.

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing,

Ever a child can do."

With thanks to Robert Louis Stevenson and four of the most joyful faces on the planet.

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No Tricks, Only Treats

So ... this is the last of the Halloween celebrating I plan to do this year. Here are the Grandkids Five in all of their costume glory. I did have the privilege of accompanying the Race Car Driver and the USC Cheerleader to a Trunk or Treat and witnessed their glee over the fact that people were just randomly handing them candy.

I didn't get to see the Ballerinas in actions however I heard all about it. They are SO excited to be settled into their home in the Northwest. However on Halloween night they had some serious coats on over their costumes, so I chose to show you these pictures where they were first trying out/on their costumes.

Oh boy do I love these guys.
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Spooky: The Sequel

So ... just when you thought that the spooky creepiness of Halloween was over ... think again. I woke up to this eerie blanket of fog this morning. Loved every minute of it.

I came home from my walk and was greeted by these guys. They are actually my close personal friends and these homes and their orange residents are rampant where I live. My Bug Man assures me that they are not only harmless, but helpful.

Not so much in the creepy category are the Granddogs, all decked out in their Halloween regalia. Asher went as a (very large) pumpkin and ...

Morrissey went as a bumblebee. I sure do love these guys.

Also left over from Halloween? Candy. Since my home is not easily accessible from the street, I only had one group of trick-or-treaters. I was so excited when they came to my door that I am sure they left thinking I was the creepy one.

Anyone for some Mike 'n Ikes??


Mickey knows the answer ...

So ... one more time people: What did the butcher say when he handed the customer the empty frankfurter?

(If you are new here, you should know that I ask my children this question every single year. I can honestly say that they are losing interest in answering. I'm over it, really I am.)

I wish you an evening full of candy, lots of doorbell rings and the best prize of all ...

Permission to start thinking about Christmas with abandon.

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Miss DubONE turns FIVE!!

So ... tomorrow (the 25th) is the 5th birthday of my oldest grandchild ... Miss Dub1. This also means that I have held the title of "Nanny" for five whole years. I love that title.

This sweet, beautiful and very smart granddaughter is such a joy. Since I was a newbie at the grandmother thing, she was extremely patient and guided me along, step by step.

Her birthday this year falls in the midst of a move. She has actually been moving (and shaking) all summer long, but in less than a week she will be in her new home (in the Great Northwest.)

I could not be more proud of this young lady. I can NOT believe it's been five whole years! This picture above is her latest, proudly showing off her new 'do.

Kind of reminds of this picture. Kind of makes me sad she is growing so, so fast. Kind of makes me want to seriously cast a spell and hold her back.

Yeah ... that would be kind of bad, huh?
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My Quaint Little Town

So ... the community I live in has frequently been referred to (at least by the members of my family) as Toon Town. But, contrary to popular belief, the home pictured above is not mine. I could only wish my trash cans were that colorful!

The street lights in my community are not tied up in a knot. Nor is the traffic, for that matter.

I have electricity at my house. I also have an electric bill.

But these pictures didn't come from my house, they came from a very fun, exhausting and heavenly "stay-cation" I took this week with Ms. Gee. She arranged the entire thing for the two of us and I will never be able to say thank you enough.

We took hundreds of pictures, but oddly enough not a single one with the two of us in it.

Just picture us laughing, screaming and eating. Yep I'd say those were the three main activities.

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Rain & Shine

So ... I have had some (ahem) complaints about my lack of blogging here. (Oh ... you know who you are.) I am truly sorry, really I am, because I think that it was still Summer when I last posted and now it is 100% Autumn. In AZ the Autumn pretty much arrives in December when there is no time or inclination to focus on it. I was so pleasantly surprised to see it arrive in September here. Who knew?

And on top of all the change in colors which I have been enjoying for several weeks now ... today it is raining! I am loving the rain. I did not love it so much in AZ where my yard and neighborhood had some serious drainage issues. However, here at my home in the Southland I just inhale and enjoy it. I just got back from the grocery store where I got soaked walking to and from my car. I even enjoyed every minute of that.

And lest my descriptions were giving you a chill ... here is Miss Dub3 to warm the cockles of your heart. Oh ... she is such a delight. I spent time with her this weekend (along with all the Dubs) and was nearly sweating from all the ... warming.

Maybe that's why I loved my walk in the rain today.

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Wacky Wednesday

So ... these first two picture of Mr. Gee are because I promised him some blog time, having been consumed with the fact that my girly grandkids outnumber him 4 to 1. Also ... these pics were taken specifically when he dressed up for Wacky Wednesday for Soccer Camp a couple of weeks ago. Every single, wacky bit was a specific instruction from him to his mother. He is one creative boy.

He is also a very sweet boy. I was babysitting him not long after I had the infamous "blackout" and he said "Oh Nanny. I wish I could have been there to protect you." No lie. Exact words.

Then today ... where apparently the wackiness continues on this mid-week day ... I received these two pictures of the elder Dub Girls. The wackiness is apparently a genetic thing.

Oh, who are we kidding. Wackiness has always been a family trait.

It's one of the many reasons I am so happy to be a part of this family.

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My Split Personality

So ... I have big news. I have given birth to another child in the world of blogging. This is due to the fact that I apparently have way too much time on my hands and ... because I have a split personality.

Personality A is what you have seen here more often than not: personal, incredibly proud of my children and grandchildren and not afraid to brag about them incessantly and (as Ms. Gee likes to call it) ... with a little bit of a "snarky" attitude.

Personality B loves anything that is pretty, with pretty pictures and pretty ... prose. This personality is obsessed with the ocean and it's beauty and wants to quilt and tell. This personality likes to decorate.

Over the last 4 years I have tried to combine these two personalities into one measly blog and lately have found that frustrating. So about 2 weeks ago I gave birth to my second blog, aptly titled ...

Sea Quilts
(click here)

I hope you will visit both and visit often. (I hope to be posting on both more often.) If you have linked simplehappy home, I'd love it if you would add Sea Quilts. I am not on Facebook so ... please ... feel free to leave some comments and stop all that lurking.

Thank you for supporting me over these last four years. I'll admit ... I've been a little needy and you helped me more than you will ever know.

Actually ... both of "us" are grateful.

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The Parable of the Ants

So ... you deserve to have fair warning: this blog post could possibly involve a wee bit o' whining. As in wah, wah, wah, wah, wah. Before I go further, however, I do want you to know that I did learn some lessons from my adversity, I am grateful for all my blessings and I am well aware that these problems are miniscule in the grand scheme of things. Having said that ...

It all started Thursday afternoon while I was innocently doing exactly what I am doing now, working on the computer. Without warning, the screen goes to black and the air conditioning and ceiling fans come to a halt also. I was not concerned because I was just about out the door to get my hair cut and figured the power would be back on by the time I returned. Except that as I pressed the button to open my garage, I came to the immediate revelation that it too, was powered by electricity. Manually opening the garage (not an easy task for a weakling such as myself) I then took 30 minutes to get to my appt. (10 minutes away) because every stop light in town was now a 4-way stop. Alas ... no hair cut for me.

Not all was lost however. That evening I met some neighbors I hadn't known before as we gathered collectively on our front porches to get out of our sticky homes. Several people from church came by to "check on me" which I so appreciated and not long after attempting to go to sleep (and 8 full hours after it was turned off) the power came on and all was good. (You may have read about our little power outtage that affected about 2 million people. I was one of them. I was fine.)

The next morning dawned bright and early as I was expecting my door painter to come, thereby tethering me to my home for the next 8 hours while the door dried. He came. He painted. He left. I went to pour myself a bowl of cereal, but when I opened my pantry door, I discovered that a large colony of ants had taken up residence therein, during the night. I'm not gonna lie -- I shrieked like a girly-girl, while I pulled everything out of my pantry. I knew that I didn't have any ant killers on hand after my move and I knew that I could not leave my house with the door open. I also felt that it might be unwise to call the BugMan and have him spraying so close to my still sticky door. I headed upstairs to the closest thing I could think of that "sprayed" (see hairspray above) and then I came down and coifed those suckers to death one by one.

Eventually, I did call in the professionals who could not come until the next day. Unlike AZ where you just stick around while they spray, these CA exterminators require that you leave the premises. Before I left, he explained that I might still see a few "stragglers" when I returned and not to worry. I went and got my hair cut and then returned to find more stragglers than I was expecting. I fought those (with Windex this time at his suggestion ... and yes he scoffed at my choice of repellent) for the next 2 days, but finally got rid of them all and put my food back in the pantry. Yeah ... that was a mistake.

The next morning while once again reaching for the Honey Nut Chex, I discover the entire side wall was thick with them. All right ... these are definitely not straggling. I called the BugMan who heartily agreed that a return visit was in order and promised to be there in about an hour. Now, officially playing hooky from work, I headed upstairs to sew. About a half hour later I decided to go down and check on my little industrious renters (frankly hoping there were still enough of them to convince the BugMan the error of his ways.) As I stepped off the bottom step and onto the hard wood floors in my dining room ... I found that I was stepping in water.

This time there was no shrieking ... it was more weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. I grabbed towels and a bucket and turned off the valve in the bathroom right above where the leak was (which was actually coming out of a vent and not through dry wall, thank goodness) and the leaking came to a halt. Right then, the BugMan arrives (a different one than before) and explains that I will have to leave while he sprays. I didn't know what to do so I went to a nearby McDonald's while I made the necessary calls to find a plumber. I'm not gonna lie ... I was still a little weepy and I think it was creeping out the nearby children who were munching on their Happy Meals.

Sometime while I was sitting there I had the following thought: If I had not been there waiting for BugMan2, I would have been at work and by the time I returned I would definitely have ruined floors and possibly a giant hole in my ceiling.

I was absolutely stunned by this revelation and yes ... it made me cry even more. I'm pretty certain I will not be returning to that particular McDonalds any time in the near future.

End of story? The plumber came. He fixed stuff. He charged me a lot of money to fix stuff. He did not charge me nearly what it would have cost me to replace floors and ceilings. BugMan2 completely erradicated the ants with one try. I am pretty darn certain that BugMan1 never even sprayed the pantry which was the entire reason he was called to my home.

I will forever be grateful to BugMan1 and his forgetful/slacker habits.

The moral of the story? The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways and apparently He employs ... ants.


She. Is. One.

So ... can you believe it? L'il Miss Gee turns one year old today. And let me just say that the only thing that grows faster than her ... is her hair. That girl has a head of hair we could all aspire to have. It's thick and curly and beautiful. Just. Like. Her.

She also has a bit of a sassy attitude which only makes the hair thing that much more enjoyable.

She is also one of those rare babies who will keep the hair band IN her hair on a regular basis. (In the picture above she's also sporting a boo-boo on her nose, but it only seems to add to her charm.) Her talented mother makes all the hair bands, fyi.

I call her my "Girly Girl". She absolutely loves it when I say that. I can honestly say that she is rather fond of me. And visa-versa.

Happy Birthday to my Girly Girl. Nanny is very proud of you.

(My front door is drying as we speak and keeps me homebound once again. At least I have power which I didn't for 8 full hours yesterday. Boy ... I sure do love to complain, don't I?)

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