17 November 2017

Feline Friday

While making dinner, I stepped out of the kitchen for a moment then returned to find Lily up to her whiskers (quite literally) in the sour cream container. 

Oh, well...I guess we really didn't need sour cream with dinner anyway! 😏

10 November 2017

Feline Friday

Awhile back, I finally bought a cat tree. I'd been holding out for one that was a little less bulky than some I've seen. Bailey found a great one for Rory, so I bought the very same tree. Here's little Rory on the day her new tree arrived. It was barely assembled before she had claimed it as her own!

Truth be told, I've always felt kind of guilty that the girls didn't have a cat tree, so when the new tree finally arrived, I was absolutely sure they would love it.

Turns out...not so much. Tinsel, who was much more of a jumper than Lily, would occasionally sit on the tree. But Lily would have nothing to do with it.

It's kind of like when you bring home a new cat toy but the kitty would rather play with the box. :)

Since Tinsel has been gone, I've been trying to coerce Lily to use the tree. I've moved it around to every window in the house, upstairs and downstairs, to the point that Spouse thought we perhaps have TWO trees! 😁 Finally it ended up back in the kitchen.

Again I sprinkled it with dry catnip. I sprayed it with catnip spray. Finally, Miss Lily jumped up on it...

 ...if only to reach the catnip sprinkles!

But once she was up on the top, she looked at me as if to say...HAI MEOWMY! Dis bee kinda FUN!
 Still, I wasn't optimistic. After she ate the catnip, she had nothing to do with the tree for several days.

Then one day...a glimmer of hope! Lily climbed onto the tree without my "encouragement"!

What a shock to see this!

And now, I've caught her several times on the lower platform. This week I even saw her run through the house and take a flying leap to the tree. That was quite a surprise!
HAI, MEOWMY LOOK! I haz a nu TREE! 😻

09 November 2017

Recipe Worth Repeating: Greek Pasta with Shrimp

 Whenever Spouse is out of town, I take the opportunity to make some foods he doesn't like. I'm very slowly making my way through quite a number of recipes which include fish or shrimp. He will not eat anything that "swims or crawls on the ocean floor". :)

Instead of trying a new recipe, the last time he was out of town I repeated a favorite from awhile back: Greek Pasta with Shrimp, Garbanzo Beans, and Lemon (I skipped the lemon...again). It was so good and made plenty of leftovers!

Check out the recipe in my past post HERE! It's definitely a keeper.

While I was shopping for food to make while he was gone, I picked up a rotisserie chicken on sale. After I finished with it, I plopped it into a pot of water and let it simmer for a couple of hours to make broth. And since I had recently brought inside my planters of sage and rosemary, I added a bit of both to the broth, along with some leftover onions.

In short order, I had three nice containers of broth to freeze for recipes. I use a lot of broth in soups and I've found that homemade broth is so much better than store-bought. It's worth the time to make whenever I have a rotisserie chicken in the house!

Hope you try the recipe and also make some broth! If you do, let me know in the comments below! :)

03 November 2017

Feline Friday

Lily recently enjoyed a TEENY TINY (dime-size) PANCAKE on a TEENY TINY butter plate.

 At first, she wasn't quite sure what to make of it, as she's not accustomed to having her very own TEENY TINY PANCAKE!

 But it didn't take long for her to figure it out! 
Pass da syrup, Meowmy!

31 October 2017

Heritage Albums: Mistakes and Discoveries

   If you're following along on my heritage album project, I truly appreciate your interest! Since the last time I posted, I've made quite a bit of progress. I'm now into the second album and my family tree on Ancestry has expanded to include the lines from both my paternal grandpa and grandma -- more than 200 people!

 I've learned a lot about my ancestors and have also had to slow down and back up more than once to correct my novice errors, like this photo! I was so excited to have what I thought was a picture of my great grandma as a young girl. Turns out that with a bit more study, I learned that this is a photo of her cousins' family. Had I read Grandma's notes more carefully, I wouldn't have goofed this up!

 In another error, I discovered that this obituary is not about my great great grandfather but rather his brother, so I'll need to correct the label on this page, too. I made both of these mistakes when I first started tracing the family tree. I decided at that time that I would not add my grandparents' siblings to my tree and would just focus on my direct lineage. Well, that quickly proved to be a bad plan because often you need information from those siblings to complete the information on your grandparent. Once I filled out those families in my chart, I spotted my errors right away. Lesson learned!

Luckily, I've also made a few interesting discoveries, including the fact that my great grandpa was known locally for the chickens he raised. I Googled his name and quickly found a write-up about him on a county historical website, so I formatted and printed it for my scrapbook.

 I also discovered that one of my great great grandfathers had a patent approved for a piece of farm equipment he invented, although he didn't have the money to get it produced. I found a diagram and a write-up on a local county history website, which will be great information to put in the scrapbook!

 I also added several pieces of memorabilia to the albums, including my grandparents' marriage record. Rather than use adhesive on it, I attached the "folder" with a band so it can be slipped out to open. I've had boxes of this stuff just sitting around so it feels good to finally have it in an album.

 Most of my recent pages still need photo captions, so I put a temporary piece of paper in the space to remind me to go back and add that information. I have found it's more efficient for me to format and print labels for several pages at once.

 I'm deep into several pages about my dad. He's the little boy in the go-cart at the left. Next I'll be working on his military photos.

Before my grandma passed away, I took several photos to the nursing home and asked her to tell me about them. (I wish I had taken more!) The photo of my dad in the sailor suit was especially memorable to her. Turns out that a traveling photographer had come to the house one day offering his services. Grandma had no money but wanted my dad's picture taken, so she paid for the photo with a chicken!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I continue to discover useful information that is right under my nose. I ran across a post on Ancestry which referenced a local town history book which I have but had not looked at in years. As soon as I opened the book (which was on my very bookshelf!) I found lots of information which gives context to some of my photos.

 I'm also really happy that I now have my dad's family tree much more sketched out. Working from Grandma's records and the wealth of information on Ancestry, I've been able to fill out much of each grandparent's family. I'm not planning to spend much time on those siblings, but having the information documented definitely helps with my accuracy!

 When I started this project, I knew the names of my two grandparents and four great-grandparents on my dad's side but beyond that, my knowledge got very murky. Now, through my grandma's genealogy records and the information I've found on Ancestry, I actually know the names of my eight second great grandparents, 15 of my 16 third great grandparents (not shown below), and even some beyond that. I just think that's the coolest thing. 

 I can also now identify the countries where each of their families immigrated from, some locations more specifically than others, and the various states where they settled after coming to the United States (Maine, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, to name just a few). After I finish with my US-based research, I'll move on  to those European records which will be much more of a challenge.

 Because I'm a novice to family history, I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos published by Ancestry. I've learned many good tips and have fixed lots of my errors after getting a better grasp of the basics! If you're interested in learning basic genealogy, I'd recommend starting with Ancestry's Desktop Education Series.There are all kinds of topics which are useful even if you are not a subscriber to Ancestry. 

Check it out...you just might get hooked, too! Thanks for following along with me on this project!

27 October 2017

Feline Friday: Trick or TREATS

"ROAR-Y" is dressing up as a dinosaur for Halloween. As you can see, she just loves her costume! :)

So Lily and I decided to send Rory some TREATS, as she won't actually be going Trick or Treating, of course. When she heard that treats were involved, Lily thought it was a great idea!

That is, until she realized that we'd be sending some of her treats to Texas! Oh, the woe!

 It took some convincing but after letting her sample one or two, Lily finally agreed to share just a few with Rory.

 Our little dinosaur LOVES them!

Lily and Rory both say...Happy Halloween, y'all! :)

20 October 2017

Feline Friday: Food Grab!

Check out this quick clip of Lily's technique as she tries to grab a bedtime treat (or ten) from my nightstand! :)

Hope your Feline Friday includes a treat or two!
Thanks for stopping by!

17 October 2017

Living History

 As I've been working on my heritage album, the thought has occurred to me that perhaps no one else will care about the work I'm putting into it or the finished product I hope to create. As an only child, I'm used to doing my own thing so that doesn't really concern me. This project is important to me, regardless of who else may be interested in it. 

Not everyone enjoys family history. I get that. For some, it seems to be a dry subject with little application to current life. I guess I see it differently. Perhaps it's BECAUSE I don't have much family that I am drawn to learning more about those who came before me. Perhaps it's because I've lost so many people that I feel compelled to honor their place in my personal story. Whatever the reason, I know that if I don't take the time to pull together the puzzle pieces, no one else will.

If you're still here, let me explain. :) These folks are my paternal great-grandparents, Pete and Emma. My great-grandfather passed away many years before I was born, and I can only remember meeting my great-grandmother Emma once when she was in a nursing home. I've been told that she was the kindest soul ever. I wish I had known her.

 Here she is (with the purse) in her later years. Even though I never knew her, her blood runs through my veins. And I've come to believe that part of understanding myself involves learning a bit more about her and all the others in my family tree.

 My family tree now includes over 100 people. Will I research them all? Definitely not. But I will try to find out as much as I can about those in my direct lineage -- in other words, all of my grandparents going back as far as I'm able. Just this week, I've learned that one fought in the Civil War and another was a barrel maker (called a cooper).

 Through Ancestry, I've been able to gather information about all of Pete and Emma's children (one of whom was my grandpa), where they lived, and the type of farming they did.

 As I've collected and verified facts, a story emerges -- a very readable, engaging history with maps and pictures. Naturally, this information helps bring to life the photos that I'm including in the scrapbook.

  Prior to starting this project, I wouldn't have known who these people are and how they're related to me. Now I know that this is my great-grandmother Emma's family. She is shown at the left as a young girl, seated next to the dog. I can also see that she had four brothers at the time (the hired hand is standing in the distance), but I've only been able to learn about one of them so far. I now regard this as one of the most special pictures I have, but it meant almost nothing to me before I started this project.

  This photo is of my grandpa (on the left) and his siblings. I absolutely see my dad in his face. A photo like this could have easily been discarded. But now I treasure it, because it's the only picture I have of my great-grandfather with his brothers and sisters.

  Learning this history also helps me better understand and give context to the heirlooms I've been given. I somehow (fortunately!) ended up with my great-grandma Emma's Bible.

I can tell that she had this Bible as a young woman because she wrote her maiden name in it.

She also wrote that "Pa was born in Germany on May 16. In early age united with Lutheran church. At the age of 22 enlisted in the army of his country, served 4 years. The third year, 1866, fought battle with France. Passed away April 21, 1921." This information is consistent with what I've discovered on Ancestry for Emma's dad, my 2nd great-grandfather.

 I'm also the keeper of great-grandma Emma's beautiful dresser which my parents had restored for me. Knowing more about her home life and the things she enjoyed brings more life to this piece. I've learned through her obituary that she enjoyed sewing so I guess it's appropriate that this dresser is filled with hand-sewn family heirlooms such as dishtowels, aprons, lace, and more.

She must have loved and appreciated beautiful things because after all these years, great-grandma Emma's pedestal compote (which I'm told traveled over very rough terrain to reach Iowa) is still in perfect condition. Turns out I love beautiful pieces like this, too.


So on I go in my quest to learn more about those who came before me and in so doing, hopefully more about myself. If you're interested, I hope you'll stay along for the ride.

14 October 2017

Heritage Album: Detective Work

 I've spent a few evenings working on my heritage project, and I must say I feel like a detective! Accuracy is really important to me, so I'm trying to be very careful about identifying people, places, and dates. It's very easy to make mistakes!

The more I work on this project, the more amazed I am by my grandma's genealogy work. In her younger days, nobody got more done than Grandma. She prided herself on being efficient, and I can see that skill really paid off in her genealogy research. But while Grandma and I talked about it frequently, I wish I had spent more time with her working on her genealogy. Especially in her older years, I should have taken a more active role in helping her keep up with her filing. But I guess she knew that I'd take care of it when it fell to me, and I'm so glad she entrusted me to be the keeper of her books.

I have no idea how she navigated her books without tabs. I now have tabs along the sides and the tops of each binder.

As I started putting her books in order (the photo above is one of four humongous binders I now have -- two for each side of the family -- plus several smaller "supplementary info" binders), I have had a sense that those binders contained all of the answers to my questions about my family history. And so far, that has largely proven to be the case.

So as I've approached all of the unidentified photos, I've been hopeful that -- like a detective -- I'll eventually solve these mysteries. Many of these pictures have obviously been glued to poster boards at various family reunions, and in removing them they somehow all ended up dumped together -- both sides of the family mixed. I didn't even realize they were so mixed up until I started studying them more closely.

So time and again, I've gone back to the big tub of genealogy stuff looking for any clue that might help me. Each time I delve into it, I "see" different things, even though the contents of the tub have not changed. This week, I decided to look at these books which were written by my grandma's cousin about their family's history (how cool is that?). I hadn't paid much attention to them, assuming that since they were written by a cousin they might not be all that relevant. (That was a mistake in judgment: Back then, cousins tended to spend a lot of time together so they shared many experiences.) Although I'm not working on that side of the family right now, I opened the books and was surprised at what I found.

As I looked through the books I discovered pictures that I know I do not have but would like to add to my album, such as my great grandpa and great grandma on their wedding day.

This is one of the few photos I've seen of my great-great paternal grandfather.

But even better -- for where I am right now in the process -- these books have helped me identify some of the "unknown" pictures I'm working on. As I thumbed through the book, I immediately noticed that many of the pictures were similar to the photos I've been trying to identify.

Check this out! Now I can identify the girls in the white dresses and the little girl on the horse.

This is enormously helpful in at least sorting the photos into the correct side of the family! I feel very, very lucky to have this information. AND IT HAS BEEN THERE ALL ALONG, just waiting for me to find it. :)

As I've worked my way through Grandma's boxes, I've also found some pretty special memorabilia, such as this wedding certificate for my paternal great grandparents. I assume this document found its way to Grandma since she was also the keeper of the family history for Grandpa's family.

It feels great to put that certificate safely with the photos in my album -- I can't really explain it other than to say that making these connections gives me an "all is right with the world" feeling.

 Other very special items include my grandparents' marriage records...

...and my dad's baby book! There is so much information in this little pamphlet that I can't help but feel they're clues my grandma has left for me. 

So with more questions answered I've been able to make a few more pages for my scrapbook, this one with photos from my grandpa's childhood. I am pretty sure that I'll have more once I finish identifying the pile of unknown pictures.

I found a great picture of my grandpa in his late 20's or early 30's and enlarged it.

And I've made two pages using pictures from my dad's childhood, with many more to come.

Progress is slow but steady, and I feel good about the work I've done so far in putting this album together. It's great to see a clearer picture of my family's story emerging through this process, and I know Grandma would be thrilled to see this album coming together. I truly owe her a debt of gratitude.