17 March 2018

Heritage Album Project: Sorting Photos


Progress continues on my heritage album project! I'm making family history scrapbooks based on family trees I'm creating on Ancestry. (If you have an interest in family history, Ancestry is a terrific tool! It's easy to use and makes a wealth of information available at your fingertips.)

I've found that having a fleshed out family tree is a huge help in identifying and sorting photos, so that's where I've been spending time lately. 

At the moment, I've set aside the work on my dad's side of the family tree, mainly because I have a ton of very CURLY photos that I'm tying to flatten and identify. Since I took the Ancestry DNA test, I also recognized that I needed to fill out my mom's side of the tree in order to make the most of the test results, so it's time well spent.

I've read -- and it's TRUE -- that focusing on one line at a time is the best way to do family history research, working your way back through one generation before moving to the next. Otherwise it's very easy to get confused! 

Here you can see just my mom's side of the family. This is a "pedigree" chart which only shows direct ancestors: grandparents, great grandparents, etc. (no aunts and uncles are shown, although I do have many of them in the tree). For this one particular line, I've worked all the way back to my 5th great grandparents, with enough documentation to know it's accurate. The other lines are not quite that far along, but I've made good progress focusing on one family at a time.
 With my mom's side of the family tree fleshed out at least somewhat, I turned my attention back to a tub of photos I have for this side of the family. Before I knew all of these names, the photos made little sense to me. Now that I have names, I can easily match up the photos that are labeled with people in my tree. Of course, I still have plenty that aren't labeled and need to be identified. But it's not nearly as daunting as it once was!

  I sorted the "known" photos into family groups and made a folder for each married couple (my grandparents, great grandparents, 2nd great grandparents, etc.) and their children. These are just temporary folders which will be used to hold the photos until I can get them into the scrapbooks. I'll scrapbook one family/generation at a time using the information I've found on Ancestry and the photos in the folders.

 Each person in my tree has a "profile", and I'm working on fleshing out all of my grandparents' siblings and children (my aunts and uncles). So if I find a photo with a name written on the back, I can easily search my family tree using the mobile app on my phone, find the person, and drop the photo into the proper folder.

 In sorting through this large tub, I discovered that I have a LOT of photos I had no idea were there. I inherited all of these photos from my mom, my grandma, and my aunts, but I really didn't know what I had. I was delighted to find photos of some grandparents that I've never seen, and now that I have the tree sketched out, I finally understand who these people are and how I'm related to them.

An older relative recently gave me some of his notes and copies of labeled photos, many of which match up to originals I have in my tub. All of this is great information to confirm the family tree I've been putting together. Verifying information through multiple sources is the best/only way to research family history. Without multiple sources, you may find yourself climbing the wrong family tree and not even realize it!

I also have a few framed photos, including this one which is in a small fancy case. I have no idea who these people are but I am optimistic I can figure it out!

I also have a small photo album which is falling apart but includes lots of labeled photos. I don't recognize many of the names, so it will take some sleuthing to figure out who they are.

The great thing about having a family tree is that I can reference it as I look at these photos. 

 In the back of the album are a few very old tintype photos! I do not plan to remove any of these photos from the album at this point; if I want to include them in my scrapbook, I'll just make a copy.

 So once I finish sorting through this tub of photos, I'll put them all into the appropriate folders and then I'll be ready to add them to a brand new album for my mom's side of the family. Once the family tree is complete "enough", I'll print it and add it to the album to give the photos context.

Stay tuned to see the fruits of this labor, hopefully sooner than later! 😊

16 March 2018

Feline (Fashion) Friday

Our daughter (along with the two other band directors) recently took a group of high school seniors on a fun cruise to Cozumel. Most of the time was spent at sea, with one day in Mexico. After some time at the beach, the group had a brief shopping excursion and Bailey picked up a new dress for Rory -- the very latest in resortwear!

As you can see, the trendy coral color suits Rory's coloring purr-fectly. This sporty dress is just right for lounging, playing, riding in the car, or visiting the vet!

 The ruffled neckline frames Rory's adorable face, and the sleeveless design allows her to climb into cupboards and jump to high places with ease. No sleeves for this girl!

And while the tiered ruffles add flair and draw the eye (unfortunately...) downward to her somewhat wide bottom 😍, "LOVE" quickly draws the eye back upward. WHEW!
Good job modeling, Rory! Thanks for showing us the latest trends in kitty resortwear!

Happy Feline (Fashion) Friday!

09 March 2018

Feline Friday: Everybuddy's Irish!

 Awhile back, I had my DNA tested through Ancestry and linked it to my family tree. As I've written in previous posts, the results were pretty much in line with what I expected...but with a few surprises, namely the Irish heritage! I'd known about my Scottish ancestors but the Irish background came as a surprise. Perhaps it shouldn't have, given my red hair!

Anyhoo, I was at the grocery store last week and noticed they had a whole table full of Irish-themed goodies, including cakes and Irish soda bread. The bread looked quite tasty and, SINCE I'M NOW IRISH 😊 I determined it was perfectly justifiable to purchase a small loaf. At less than $3, it looked like a reasonable gamble. I raced home, excited to cut into it...only to discover that it wasn't baked all the way through. What a bummer!

So I headed back to the store to return the bread and let the bakery know about the problem. I had sampled enough of the bread around the edges to know that it was actually delicious...if not for the unbaked part in the middle. The people at the store were quite apologetic, refunded my money and gave me a new loaf. 

Back home I went and eagerly cut into the new loaf, only to discover the same problem. So back to the store I went! I could feel that my eagerness to try Irish soda bread was starting to border on obsession, but I was powerless to stop myself! I HAD TO HAVE A LOAF, and we all know that attempting to bake a loaf myself would be a Very Bad Idea.

 The nice customer service lady offered me anything else in the bakery, but of course nothing else would do BECAUSE I'M NOW IRISH 😊 (I stopped short of showing them my Ancestry results...), so they vowed to try again and promised to set aside another loaf for me, free of charge.

 The following day I returned to the store to pick it up. As it turned out, the third time was the charm!

I cut into the loaf to reveal a moist, sweet bread dotted with plump raisins. It was so tasty that it didn't even need butter! I was enjoying my very first slice of Irish soda bread SINCE I'M NOW IRISH 😀 when suddenly from all the way upstairs....

 ...Lily awoke from her nap. DID SOMEBUDDY SAY IRISH SODA BREAD???

It's no secret that Lily loves baked goods, yet she'll only eat bread if it has butter slathered all over it. But Irish soda bread? She became CRAZED for it, diving and jumping for any nibble I might give her as long as the loaf lasted. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen!

 Lily enjoyed her Irish soda bread so much that I concluded, even without a DNA test, she must be Irish, too! 😻

After all, everybuddy's Irish in March!

02 March 2018

Feline Friday with Rory

Happy Feline Friday!
This week, I have a really good excuse for the lack of blog posts...we were visiting our girl in Texas! We hadn't seen her since Thanksgiving, so you can imagine how happy we were to spend time together! I hope to share some pictures of our  visit.

Of course, we also got some quality time with Rory. I was pleased that Rory remembered me right away and even jumped up on my lap for some cuddles!

We got to see a little more of Rory's routine. She's a busy girl! Every day when Bailey comes home from work, she leans over and Rory jumps right up on her back! She is so happy to see her meomy that she immediately begins kneading. We call that "making biscuits". 😉

Bailey knitted Rory a lovely blankie which she enjoys immensely!

Occasionally, Rory goes out on the balcony (wearing her harness, of course). She's not too keen on the balcony these days.

 But she IS keen on the catnip Bailey has growing out there! Being in Texas, it's green and tasty all winter.

 Apparently VERY tasty! Check out her paws!

  On cooler evenings, Rory still wears her outfits -- although apparently there has been some shrinkage. Strangely, they're a bit smaller than they used to be!

But Rory's favorite activity these days is camping! The inside pillow is sooooo comfy that it's not a wonder she is constantly hanging out in her tent. I wish I could fit inside!

As you can see, we sure enjoyed seeing BOTH of our Texas girls this past week!

Happy Feline Friday!

23 February 2018

Feline Friday

Did you know that cats get a new winter coat each year? It's true, but maybe not in the way you think!

Lily has decided that MY winter coat is now HER new winter coat! The minute I take it off, she curls up on it!

Too bad I have to move her each time I need my coat and find her wearing it. It's too cold for me to go without MY winter coat!  I guess we're sharing now!

21 February 2018

Recipe: Homemade Salsa Verde

My daughter recently shared a recipe for homemade salsa verde. It seriously couldn't be easier...even I made it successfully!

You should be able to click on this image to enlarge it to see the recipe.

This easy recipe came from a Tex Mex cookbook in Bailey's boyfriend's growing collection. He has taken up cooking seriously in recent years, and her culinary skills have improved because of him! Even I've become a TINY bit more competent in the kitchen as a result of his suggestions and recipes. (I still have a LONG way to go...)

There are only a few ingredients in this recipe (tomatillos being the main one). Pop them in the blender, push the button a couple of times and you're done! As a bonus, I even whipped up a small batch of homemade guacamole.

The salsa and guacamole were really tasty with grilled chicken tacos, another recipe from the kids in Texas.

Even though she's very far away, I'll concede that there are a few good things about having a daughter in Texas...authentic TexMex recipes being one of them! 

17 February 2018

Scrapbooking: Pocket Pages for the Win!

So a few weeks ago I got back into the massive scrapbooking "catch up" (is that even possible?) project I started last year. It had been so long that I didn't even know where I'd left off. Then it all came back to me. 

2003. That's a LONG time ago!

I scrapbooked a LOT back in those days, but apparently I skipped over events that seemed overwhelming or problematic for one reason or another. As it turned out, some years were mostly SKIPS without a lot actually scrapbooked! Moreover, it became really difficult to add pages to my post-bound albums so I just sort of gave up. Last year I switched them all to 3-ring binders, which makes it easy to go back and FINALLY finish. Binders are the best thing ever.

 As I've mentioned before, pocket pages and smaller size page sleeves have turned out to be my saving grace. They're much easier than making traditional 12x12 scrapbook pages for every event, and you can match the size of the pocket page to whatever needs to go in it.

For instance, I had saved Bailey's 6th grade schedule, and it fit perfectly inside a 5x7 sleeve. A few other school pictures are on the back side.

 In the box of 2003 photos, there were several photos that hadn't made it to the scrapbook the first time around. In this case, there was only one photo of this event (Bailey's first time BABYSITTING!) and back in those days, I didn't like doing single-photo pages so I guess I just skipped it. (WHY??) This picture and story fit perfectly in a small sleeve.

I also ran across several photos that I skipped for other reasons but now (with the passage of time...sigh...) I thought too adorable to leave out. These three "bus stop" pictures fit nicely in a 6x12 sleeve without much fuss.

 Back in my "early days" of scrapbooking, I also skipped over of my own events. I know that it's not good to leave yourself out of the scrapbooks, so as I've found pictures of myself or my activities, I've added them in. I have very few pictures of myself teaching classes, so I was actually kind of happy to add these convention photos to the album using a traditional page.

I'm also not a fan of holiday scrapbooking, so I had skipped over all of the holidays, too. (Are you sensing a theme here???) So this time around, I had no choice but to finish Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Pocket pages made it easy to add those events in between my traditional 12x12 pages.

In going through my 2003 stuff, I realized that I'd also skipped over events for which I had newspaper articles. I probably intended at the time to take them to Memory Bound to color copy but never got around to doing it so they went into the album AS IS. It was actually great to have those articles because they pretty much took care of the journaling for me.

I've slogged through multiple Christmas pages and can't wait to finish up the journaling so this album can be officially done.

After all...2004 awaits! :)

16 February 2018

Feline Friday with Rory

 Wondering what Cousin Rory in Texas has been up to lately? Let's take a look!

She went for a VERY brief stroll out on the balcony and quickly decided it wasn't for her, in spite of how cute she looks in that harness. The balcony over the parking lot feels scary, but I'm betting she'll love being on a harness in a real yard someday!

Since you've seen her last, Rory's ears have somehow grown even larger.

She's also been enjoying the tent we sent her for Christmas. Here you can see her "camping in nature" (enjoying bird/squirrel videos on YouTube).😺

Oops, she also developed an interest in Parks and Rec. Well, it's KIND OF nature-y.

 As you can see, Rory has been pretty busy lately...but never too busy to sit on her Meowmy's lap and just be adorable!  

Happy Feline Friday from Rory, y'all!