One Week In – Or How Am I Doing In 2018?

The floor and joists are gone!

Today is Monday, January 8, and we are one week into the new year.  Unfortunately, I have no tales of great accomplishments as far as my resolutions are concerned. My weight is the same as it was last Monday.  I have not met my step goal once in 2018.  No blogging schedule to speak of. No business reading accomplished.  No painting.  As far as Passion Flower Farm business is concerned, I am stagnant.

However, I am totally happy and content.  You see, I have my family with me.  Sarah received a bathtub for Christmas.  When Andrew went to install it we found that all the floor joists in the bathroom were rotted due to water damage.  So the floor and all the joists were removed.  The window is old and not airtight, so the window is going.  The vanity, medicine chest and commode are over 30 years old – so they are going too.

So naturally, since this is their only bathroom, they have moved in with us.  Zac, Sarah, Taz and Breezy and their dog, Deniro, have been with us during the tear out and reconstruction.  I get to see them in all their different moods.  Taz is all smiles and happy in the morning while Breezy is a grump.  They come to me for everything from wiping poopie butts to snuggling on the sofa and watching  Paw Patrol. We are rescuing kitties from Breezy embraces all day long.  Taz doesn’t want to eat anything but pasta.

When my babies were little  we also had piles of legos everywhere and you couldn’t sit at the table without clearing off the Play Dough first.  There are Lunchables in the fridge (we had a coupon) and fruit snacks on the counter again. It’s loud and hectic, and then very quiet and relaxed.

Taz is asleep in his bed. The baby monitor is next to me on my desk so I can watch Breezy sleep while Sarah takes a shower. I am going to fix a cup of herbal tea in a minute.  It’s not even 8:30 and I am thinking about bed.

Now Sarah is in the kitchen talking to Smokey the cat while she is making Chex Mix for her MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers) group for tomorrow.  Zac will be finished with his shift by 10 and should be home soon after.  Andrew is doing a workout in the basement (as if he didn’t already do enough physical activity).   Steve is watching an old movie in the den, and my dad is watching wrestling in his living room.

So 2018 didn’t start out the way I expected it to.   That’s okay.  There will always be time to decorate and repair this home.  My ideas and my Pinterest boards aren’t going anywhere.  However, one day Taz and Breezy will be teenagers, and  their lives will be filled with friends and school activities.  That’s just the way life is.   I know it and accept it and am soaking up every minute with those two babies that I can, while I can.




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Happy New Year!

A healthy and happy 2018 to all of you.  We hope you have all enjoyed your Christmas holidays as much as we have.  Our holiday was filled with family, food and fun and it’s hard to put it behind and get back to normal living.

Our Christmas pajamas were a big hit.  We started off Christmas morning with some pictures showing off how lovely we looked.

My beautiful girls on Christmas morning!

We roasted one turkey and deep fried another with all the fixins. Between that, the snacks, cheesecake, pumpkin pie and candies we were well fed. Everyone was thrilled with their gifts and we spent hours working on Hot Wheels tracks  and LEGO sets.

Andrew pulled Sarah’s name and her gift was this.

Sarah and her bathtub shelf made by Andrew.

Zac and Sarah do not have a bathtub in their house, only a shower. This year we are installing a bathtub the week after Christmas. The shelf Andrew made has a place for a candle, a glass of wine and a place to hold your book or kindle.

Needless to say the old shower unit was removed with no problem. However the entire bathroom floor under the brick was rotted and so all the flooring and joists were removed.

Sophie and I carried all the old brick flooring out and piled it up. We may do a small patio with it.

We are in the process of putting it all back together. New tub, vanity, commode, mirror, closet, flooring and lights. More pictures to come as we make progress.

Sophie and I also took some trips to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.  She taught herself to arm knit using a video on the internet.

Sophie arm knitting.

We also picked up a lovely pattern from Hobby Lobby for a blanket using Eternal Bliss by Yarn Bee and size 50 circular knitting needles.  She finished it today. It is beautiful.

I can’t wait to make one myself. I looked on the Hobby Lobby website and they are out of stock in most of the colors. I signed up to receive emails when the colors I want are back in stock.

So day two of 2018 is in the books. Many more exciting and busy days ahead for Passion Flower  Farm, and we hope for you too.



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Today is Friday and that can only mean one thing. Sleepover!  Taz has been sleeping over on Friday nights for about two years. He slept over for the first time when Breezy was born.  He gets to pick dinner (usually pasta and Parmesan cheese). We eat in front of the TV.  Later he is allowed to watch a movie with popcorn.  We play legos or stickers or farm set the whole time also.

When it’s bedtime he climbs in my bed and we read or talk till he falls asleep.  He likes to make plans.  For instance we would discuss all the foods we would eat for Thanksgiving.  Tonight I am sure his Christmas list will be a topic of conversation.  When Uncle Funcle (Andrew) is home it takes longer to settle down because they have to wrestle a little (WWE).

On Saturday he likes to hang out, watch TV and play with whatever we were working on the night before. Sarah and Breezy usually FaceTime us when they are eating breakfast to find out how he slept.  The little stinker usually stays until Saturday at 6 when it’s time for his dinner.

Soon Breezy will begin to sleep over too.  Taz and I have discussed at length what to do – should they have sleepover together or alternate. Right now he is leaning towards sharing the night – he loves his little sister.

Tonight will be the first sleepover in his new room. Andrew just picked up the mattress and box spring for me. Reliable Bedding -$230.00 for a full set.  Finally got to put my sheets and Pioneer Woman comforter on the bed and it looks great. The kitty and cow pillows are adorable and the antique quilt I already owned looks great with it.  The quilt also pads the trunk which they sit on while playing on the Thomas table.

The bed looks so inviting!

Next on the agenda for this room – curtains, hang up artwork and finish loading books into the chalk painted cabinet.  I unpacked my bear collection to add to the shelves also.  Unfortunately, the bears almost need their own room. When it came to bears I had no control.

Visitor outside my window

You can barely see a little visitor near the tree line.

Time to get back to work – hope you have a great Friday night too!

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Tomorrow is December 1

It is so hard to believe tomorrow is December 1. Where has this year gone? What a year it has been too! I am continually saying “at this time last year who would have thought I would be at home  with no outside employment – spending gobs of time with my grand babies and having time to volunteer!”  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be where I am today.

Where are we today? The Passion Flower Farm workshop is still waiting for Duke Power to run the power line and set the meter. We have been told next week. Keeping our fingers crossed.  Andrew is busy organizing the tools and acquiring what he needs to do the work efficiently and safely. We have some additional projects underway such as candle holders.

The house is in various stages of remodel. No room is completely finished but every room looks better than it used to.  Every job depends on something else.  For instance, the kiddos bedroom is finished except for the mattress and box spring. The kitchen appliances are purchased but when delivered they will sit until we decide on a floor and cabinets. The hallway is finished except for the ceiling, and then the light fixtures can be installed.  I can paint and clean but when it comes to other things I am no help.

I am about to try my first batch of soap – milk based. Based on the directions it’s a big project so I want to do it when the kiddos are safely at home for the day.  I am hoping that this, with my hand knitted wash cloths, can be something that we can offer for sale. They came down with Zac and Sarah earlier and played in their bedroom for close to an hour. We set up the Thomas the Train table with the tracks at first, and then removed it all and set up the farm set. It’s nice that now they can leave things set up and no kittens will be sitting on them and tearing them down.

My dad and I purchased  the wood stove yesterday. Went to Fleet-Plummer in Greensboro. That is quite a store. I hope to go back again and really spend time browsing. See what they have to offer at   The employees were really helpful.  I actually purchased a soapstone stove and I love it.

Our new wood burning stove.

We have someone coming to line the chimney and install the stove on December 21 so we will have a beautiful fire on Christmas Eve.

Oh – and regarding my obsession with all things Pioneer Woman. Look at what Andrew and Gloria gave me for my birthday.

Pioneer Woman tea kettle for my birthday

Steve turned 60 on Sunday and yesterday was my 59th. Again, who would have thought that my life would be this good at this time.  I love my family, husband, dad, kids and grandkids. I am excited about our new business, and can’t wait to see where Passion Flower Farm takes us.

I hope you have good things in your life too-



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Cyber Monday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and that you were able to enjoy your family and friends like I did. Much of my holiday was spend holding sick grandbabies. They were so pitiful and I loved every minute of them needing to be held, cuddled and spoiled.

Due to their illnesses we decided not to drive to Hillsville, Virginia for our annual Christmas tree hunt. Instead on Saturday we went to the Farmers Market and bought our trees there.  A beautiful Frazier fir cost $50.  They wrapped it and tied it to the van for us. Couldn’t have been easier. It was still exciting for the kiddos, minus the hour long car trip.  Taz had $5 and had his heart set on buying fruit with it. He walked away with a beautiful bag of apples and couldn’t have been prouder.

On Sunday Steve was sick so my dad , Zac, Sarah and the babies attended church. It was also Steve’s birthday – happy 60th! We had soups made from our leftover turkey (turkey noodle) and I used our leftover mashed potatoes to make potato soup. It is such  a simple recipe. A large box of chicken broth into my crockpot. All the leftover mashed potatoes added on high. Stir until smooth. About 1/2 hour before serving add 1 cup of whole milk and  1 cup of shredded cheese.  Easy peasy and so delicious.

While it was Cooking I worked on the kiddos bedroom – started adding furniture back.

It feels good to put things back

I spent today – Cyber Monday finishing my Christmas shopping – but I have so many projects I still want to make. Knitting like crazy. Making washcloths, dish cloths, cowls and ponchos for Taz and Breezy. Soap is next on my agenda. Hope to start that before the week is out. Also painting, painting and more painting. Can’t forget the Christmas decorating either.

But, instead of that I worked on my steps 15,448 today and looked  at my beautiful Bradford pear trees.

I hope you are all doing well too. Even though Thanksgiving is over I am grateful for everything.

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Book Club


Our family made its own little book club – there are usually 5 or 6 of us reading the same book at any given time.  We choose our books based on dates of birth – Sophie is first because she is born in February, Sarah is a July baby and so on.  We had always skyped our end of book discussion which was difficult sometimes with everyone’s crazy schedule.  Tiffany lives in Oklahoma now so there is a time change and Gloria works Saturdays so we really struggle to skype our meeting. The last several books we read we did a text meeting – the facilitator would put up the question and we would text the answer based on our feelings on the book.

We have read some great ones that we loved like The Time Traveler’s Wife, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Book Thief.   I loved Girl on a Train and A Man Called Ove.  We all struggled with Wuthering Heights.  Sorry Tiffany!

Our latest book is Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.  We have really dropped the ball on this one. School started, everyone got busy and after about 2 months we are still not finished.  Sarah returned her copy to the library unfinished.  Gloria bought her copy and is determined to read it and I am on chapter 14. These young girls with their busy lives are beginning to cramp my style – I need to connect with people while reading.

I just heard about a Global Book Club.  Its called Big Library Read.  This program is facilitated by Overdrive, and is a reading program through the library.  Readers throughout the world  can read the same eBook at the same time without any wait lists or holds.

I went to the Archdale Library because I just could not figure out how to get this eBook onto my I phone  – (I am of the typewriter generation – it takes me longer). Matt Shaw, Library Manager, and Rebecca Fleming, Asst. Manager explained the program to me and actually downloaded the Overdrive  app onto my phone for me and set me up.

The book beginning October 12 is The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti.  The website is where you will get a glimpse of the book, and an interview with the author. There is also a Discussion Guide and Author Letter available.  I also love the idea of downloading a book for 21 days and not having to drive to the library or buy another book.

What kind of books do you like to read?

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September Give Away

The first Passion Flower Farm Give Away winners are:

Ellen Dale, Lancaster, SC

Joan Brady, Fort Mill, SC

Our third winner has not responded to me yet.  The email address begins rlarue…….  Please email your contact information  to so that I can send you your cloths. Continue reading

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One Year Ago…an Alzheimer’s Story Begins

My dad and I were remembering my mother today. Last year at this time he called me and told me I needed to come because she was not doing well. I took a week off from work and drove up the last week of September.  She wasn’t doing well but immediately knew who I was. Her speech was severely affected. She couldn’t remember words and had trouble being understood. She had begun sundowning – wandering and becoming agitated in the evenings. Little did we know how mild this was compared to what we would experience. Continue reading

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Busy Friday!

On Friday mornings my dad and I usually attend Mass at our church. After Mass is a welcoming breakfast of coffee, tea and pastries. It’s a great opportunity for him to meet people. My dad has always been a talker. He owned his own business for 34 years and was used to seeing many different people. They all knew him and had their topics of conversation – the Mets or Yankees, Giants or Jets, politics, the price of anything.  Continue reading

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