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Friday, December 12, 2014

Stockbridge Critter Sitters Open House --- and a new member to our family????

Sunday we had the chance to attend a great event right near Chilton.  In the tiny burg of Stockbridge is a boarding kennel, groomer and doggie day care called http://stockbridgecrittersitters.com/     Facebook page for Stockbridge Critter Sitters.  The owner, Lisa Martin, also runs the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue.  So beside the open house festivities, she hosted a silent auction with proceeds going to the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue Organization.

There was a lot of fun stuff going on--- chili contest, pet photos, shopping discounts in the store, refreshments, and Lisa also let me set up my antique circular sockknitting machine!

I put up a sign that said 50% of my profits would go to the rescue fund!   Finnegan came along to keep my machine under guard of his watchful eye.... heh heh  he also got a huge doggie crush on a pretty gal named Merlot who also dressed up for the occasion.   I sold a lot of socks, a few hats and even a set of hotpads I happened to have along!

 Here are a few snapshots I took throughout the day

Finnegan was socializing with some of the other dogs and people too
(and begging for snacks!) 

Dogs of all breeds were schmoozing for snacks! 

Very polite and well trained dogs attended the event.

Lisa has a great setup with indoor exercise areas, two outdoor fenced in yards for small and large dogs, and a grooming area besides her little shop of pet supplies and gift items.  Stop on by and check it out--- by appointment, please.  Use the links up in the first paragraph for more information.

These kids were busy making doggie bone ornaments for their Christmas tree... and were using my little sock machine stand to color them on.  They were entertaining and delightful little people!

 And someone even brought a puppy that needed socializing! 
I sure didn't mind helping out----

The celebrity judges were fun, and there was a lot of laughter and dogs and people throughout the day. The rescue group made some money to help with vet bills and expenses for the shetland sheepdogs that end up in shelters or need rehoming in our area. Lisa does a great job finding the right dog for the right home for the right people.   Hmmmmm speaking of that.....

Went out to dinner on Sunday night with Lisa and Brittany, the owner of Finney's mommy, Daisy.  While at dinner Brittany asked if we were thinking of getting another dog since Duke has passed away.  I said "Hmmm not sure. I think Lisa would know that before we do!"  

Was I ever right! 

I had arranged for Finney to go to the Stockbridge Critter Sitters Day Care on Thursday while I went up to two of the grandkids school concerts during the day.  Since I would be gone for 8 hours, I thought Finney might like some company of other dogs at the daycare. He's been pretty lonely since Duke is gone.  It was his first time attending.

What I didn't know until the night before that Lisa just got in 3 dogs from Michigan needing placement in homes!  Hmmmmm  Well, I saw a pic of a little sweetheart and my heart jumped up in my throat!  I couldn't hold back the tears at my eyes as I showed the pic to Steve when he got home from work.  Then Lisa posted a video of the little girl so I could see her in action.  Little Debbie was needing us.  I could tell.

That was it.

I knew she had a really rough start living in a dump with a hoarder in Midland Michigan. Finney's mommy was from there too!  He was actually conceived while still in that "hell hole" inside of his tiny 6 month old Mommy, Daisy. After the place was raided and the shelties seized, then a tiny 8 month old little Daisy gave birth to a litter, of which one was Finnegan!

Here are some links of that horrible situation and all of the work that the rescue groups did to take care of all those malnourished mistreated shelties... 38 live dogs, 2 dead dogs, and soon many of the pregnant females had litters after the seizure!   And the horrid woman who did all this? She pleaded insanity to avoid the felony charges!

Well, now back to Little Debbie-----  when she was seized she was skin and bones and had positive heartworms. She then got good vet care by the Michigan Sheltie Rescue Groups, those saints with gold halos!  It took a long time, lots of vet care, and of course lots of money to help bring her around. She was about 1 year old at the time, and now is between 2-3.  Michigan Sheltie Rescue leader Carol S kept her safe and fostered her in her home all this while.  It was time now for Little Debbie to have a real home.  A Forever Home.

Our home.

Another kind volunteer, Ginny, and a friend of hers, drove all the way to Grand Rapids, MI to get three dogs to take back to Wisconsin.  The dogs arrived in the afternoon on Wednesday, after I had already made a playdate appointment for Finnegan for Thursday. I had no idea they were coming! But when I saw the photo of Little Debbie that night, I just could not wait for Finnegan to meet up with her the next day at his playdate, and see how they got along.

Finnegan got to spend the WHOLE day with her at the Critter Sitters, and they spent time together in a crate too while the other dogs were doing their fun stuff.  Some "bonding time" Lisa said!  LOL  She is a little lighter in color and standing in the back, Finney is laying down up front.

After the Grandtot's Christmas concerts were over up in Oconto (more about that in another blog) I rushed back down to Stockbridge Critter Sitters to see the result of Finney's play date.  YAYYYYY  they liked each other!   Steve was able to stop by too on his way home from work. So he got to snuggle her and cuddle her up.  Lisa was going to head out on errands, so we made a quick decision to host a "sleepover" at our house... nice and quiet and see how they get along.  Like a "fostering situation"

Well, I admit it. I am a Foster Failure!   I decided that this little girl was going to stay here FOREVER!   Steve cuddled her and played with Finney so he wouldn't be jealous.  She tenderly explored our house a room at a time.  Finney wanted her to romp and play, but she is just a bit timid yet.  She slept in her wire cage set up alongside Finney's bed, at the foot of our bed in the bedroom.  Not a peep out of her!  I looked down during the night and Finney's body was pressed tight to the wires on her cage, and she was laying tight to him from the inside, fur touching. Awwwwwwww  I think tonight she can sleep out of the cage.

By morning, we all three cuddled on the couch with our coffee, computer and watching the news... Steveio had to leave for an early doc appointment, but came back to snap this pic of the three of us!

Yup... it's official
She is now a part of our family! 

We are considering changing her name from Debbie to Binney....  many times we would say to Finnegan : "Finney Binney, but we don't know what a Binney is?"    Well, now I think we know! It's our new family member!

Binney: named for someone who lived on land enclosed by a bend in a river, from Old English binnan ea 'within the river', or a habitational name from places in Kent called Binney and Binny, which have this origin.Scottish: habitational name from Binney or Binniehill near Falkirk, name in Gaelic. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oil Change on the Motorhome and Chilton City of Lights Parade

Catching up on things that I meant to blog about....  since we were sick for so long, I really didn't feel like blogging much.  Now I have multiple topics to catch up on here.

First is the oil change and filter on the motorhome.  It needed to get done before we head out on a winter vacation, and best to be done while the weather is kinda sorta warm.  We picked up the oil on sale in large 5 gallon buckets, because our 3126 Cat diesel engine takes 28 quarts of oil!    Neither of us was feeling quite up to it, but a little warm snap was the most opportune time to "git er dun" ... so we did!

In preparation for the oil change, Steve saw this neat 2 piece funnel set at Menards for $3.00.  He figured the threads of the spout were the same size as the threads on the two buckets of oil that he purchased.  We took a chance and bought it and took it home.  Sure enough, the nozzle piece fit!

We had just driven home from staying the weekend up at Erin's house, so the oil was still warm.  That is the best time to drain it. Even though neither of us felt up to snuff, we knew it needed to be done. He drained the old oil out and he hauls it off for recycling, and then changed out the filter to a new one. We change the oil every year, even if we only put on 3,000-4,000 miles this past year.  Still good to change it.

Sure made an easier task by just holding up the bucket to pour it in, rather than dumping from the big bucket into smaller buckets to lift up and reach wayyy into the fill port. Less chance of contamination of moisture or dirl getting into it.  I was on hand to help guide the nozzle into the port without spilling a drop!  (and to take the pics once he got it pouring in)

ahhh liquid gold flowing in..... 

Good thing Steve is strong and can hold the big bucket up there until it's done draining into the engine. I could never do that.  I would be pouring out a quart at a time, or the most a gallon at a time?

Once he was done pouring in his calibrated 28 quarts, he started the motorhome up to let it circulate the oil through the system and checked the level to be sure.  Spot on.  But he will check it again once we hit the road.

At the same time he also ran our generator to exercise it and put a load on the output by starting up an electric heater inside. Set on high to draw a good load, and then he fired up a roof airconditioner at the same to draw more wattage.  Talk about contrast, heat and cold, but it kept the generator running with a load on which is good.  Good to do that and keep the copper windings and brushes from corrosion.  It's good to run it every month under a heavy load. Because we use our solar panels and battery bank so much, we didn't run our generator enough during the first few years that we owned the rig.  Without enough use, we had to do an expensive rotor rebuild.  Here is the blog post from that project:

Now the motorhome is ready to roll when our winter vacation time comes around.  Toss in some clothes, some food and the dog, and we can escape!

Next topic:
Saturday night our tiny town of Chilton, Wisconsin held a delightful event.  It was called the City of Lights Parade taking place in the evening.  We missed it last year because we were out of town for something. This year we made sure we were in town to catch it.  Waiting a few blocks from our house, we hung out on Main St. but didn't see much going on.  I did take a pretty pic of the lights on the little park in the city center...

After asking a few people and doublechecking the Chamber of Commerce website, we realized we were in the wrong place!  We found out the parade route was in the other direction and would be passing within 4 houses from our own house, on the corner of Grand and Madison!

We hoofed it on over and made it in plenty of time to watch the parade coming along ....  here is a video clip I made of the entire parade!  Yes, it's a small town, and it's a short parade. Pretty good for a town of less than 4,000 people.  The evening was full of cheer, good wishes, and Christmas Greetings from the parade people ..

If you don't want to watch the video clip, 
here are a few pics of the evening.... 

and most of all SANTA at the end of the parade! 

As we walked back home through the night, warmed by the love and joy from the event, we talked.  Talking about how much we enjoy this little town and all the spirit they show with three parades each year.  The Memorial Day parade passes right past our home.  The big Father's Day parade is quite large and we caught that down on the other corner.  And now this City of Lights Parade coming within 4 houses of our own home.  What luck!

The city workers had also come down our street this week to decorate the street lights.
This is the one right out in front by our own driveway... 
complete with pine garland, wreath, lights and a big ribbon! 

As we turned up our sidewalk, 
our own decorations were shining brightly into the night.

 The same evening as our City of Lights Parade, our son Dan and wife Heather and kids Allegra and Mason attended an event at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. It was a holiday themed light festival going on there too. Turns out they got to meet Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy!

Pretty cool eh?
Around Green Bay, that is like meeting up with some Hollywood Movie Star! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Blogging During the Packer Game - Allegra's Birthday Party!

Sitting here tonight watching the Packer / Falcon game (winning!)  and thought I should start catching up on some blog posts.  I have about 5 or 6 things to write about, so I will work on them this week and do one subject per post.

We had a chance to get tickets to go to the Packer Game tonight.  But we passed on them and decided to stay inside and stay warm.  We are finally both at the end of our cold/flu bugs and starting to feel normal.  No sense chilling ourselves at an outdoor game for hours on end and getting sick all over again. 

Oh a quick shout-out to our RVing friends Mel and Paula. They are leaving tomorrow morning to head south after a few unexpected delays.  They have a Safari motorhome like ours, and we often camp together.  We hope to run into them somehwhere this winter while on vacation, either in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, who knows?  But I wanted to wish a "Safe Travels" blessing to them as they get ready to head on out.

I am sitting here all comfy and warm as the snow is falling outside.  We have a fire going in fireplace, and I think it is really helping our heat bill this year having it going.  It's a gas log insert we added this past spring, in place of the faux electric pretend one that was there in the tiled facade and hearth. It sure feels nice and comfortable.  Plus we don't have to keep hauling in logs to stoke it, or haul out the ashes in the morning.  Nice!

The flash kinda blinds out the flickering flames behind it...

This past weekend had a lot of events going on.  The first and foremost was the FIVE YEAR OLD birthday party for our granddaughter Allegra!  Wow.. hard to believe she is five years old. I know everyone says that.  But for some reason I keep thinking of the day she came into the world, and waiting at the hospital while I was knitting pair after pair of baby booties! 

I like doing homemade gifts for the kids if I can.  This year I am making each child a quilt and matching sheet set for their twin beds.  For Jameson's birthday in July I did the Minecraft theme.  For Allegra I chose a sheet set of the Frozen theme from Disney, which all the little kids seem to love right now.  I remove the flat sheet from the set, add a thick batting and backing fabric---- and made it into a tied quilt!  

Most kids don't ever sleep with a top sheet, so by making the top sheet into a comfy quilt, they can get all snuggly at night, but one good flick of it and their bed is made in the morning!  Easy Peasy!!!

We drove on up to her party at noon in their home in Green Bay.  All of the family was gathered around as we ate "Macaroni and Trees" (mac n cheese with broccoli)  and all the trimmings for a birthday lunch.  I brought a crockpot of little sausage links in grape jelly/BBQ sauce to add to the meal.  The kids just love the "Little Weiners"   haha. 

I love it when all the little grandkids can get together. We were missing Jameson, as he was at his other grandma's house for his daddy's birthday.  But we will see him in a few weeks for Christmas!

It's so cute to see them huddling and playing and making up their own games.  They sure can get creative! It was nice to see them include the two 2-year-old little brothers.  I was eavesdropping on them from time to time to make sure they were playing good and fair.  And they were, making sure to include the little guys in their antics and pretend world.  Soooo sweet.

I also let Chelsea and Allegra take turns walking around with my camera and had them taking pics for me.  Oh boy some of the shots they took were sooooo silly.  Like---- a picture of the refrigerator?  The lamp?  The cabinet doors?  Not to mention the camera shots of each adult at the party, aiming right up their noses and including open mouths while eating or laughing.  Soooo I won't publish any of those.

It was present opening time, and Allegra had a whole stack of lovely wrapped gifts to open.  She plowed her way through the pile, gift after gift to rip open and squeal about.  After opening each one, she politely thanked the giver and delivered a special hug to each and every one as she said "thank you"...  her parents are teaching her right!

She opened a few other smaller presents from us, and then the BIG BOX.... Here she is whipping open the quilt and tossing it up in the air!  WHEEEEEEE!!!!

Her little brother had an eagle eye on that box!  He promptly climbed in and commandeered it for himself! Give a kid a box and they are happy for hours!

Soon it was time for the Happy Birthday serenade over the ice cream cake! 
What a pretty looking girl, surrounded by her family and friends on her special day. 

I happened to make a little video clip of the song too! 

The grandkids got all sugared up on the ice cream cake, and soon were bouncing off the walls!  While the grownups tried to talk and visit, the kids were zooming around and having a wonderful gleeful screechingly good time.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finished Daughter's Kitchen Redo, Thanksgiving and Babysitting

Let's see... first I will start with some babysitting.  We swiped two of the grandtots last weekend for an overnight.  It was full of fun, baking, toys, silliness and good snuggles.  The kids were so busy...  and we were happy to find interesting thing to keep them busy.

Donning the "baking aprons" they went to work in our kitchen.  They worked together on breaking eggs and baking some brownies... here are a few video clips of their creative cooperation:

Check out this video clip is just adorable of little Clayton 
serenading his Granfaddah with the song from Frozen, 
while Granfaddah makes up pancakes for breakfast. 

Granfaddah put in his time with games, stories, and just hugging grandtots on his lap as they played. They have a whole pile of toys here that wait for them in the little hallway closet.  We made a reading nook in there too with a light for them to see wayyy back to the bottom of the staircase inside.  It's a great getaway room for them to hide out and play quietly.  Finnegan likes it too and curls up with the grandtots in there.  I even crawled in and snuggled to read them a story in there.

Chelsea put in some time at the loom, working on a rug. She wove close to 12 inches of a rug before taking a break for a nap.  Little Finnegan loves the cuddles with "the"childrens" who come to visit.  He glues himself to their sides, waiting for snuggles, pets, and of course dropped morsels of food for his TREATS!

Both of the kids helped to prepare dinner for the grownups coming later in the day.  They worked so hard to create two pans of lasagna.  One pan was the traditional style with meat spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and mozzarella on top.  The other pan they made is becoming a family favorite of shredded chicken, alfredo sauce and mozzarella cheese with a liberal sprinkling of bread crumbs and parmesan on top.  Add in a big salad, some garlic bread and of course, their home baked brownies.  We had a meal ready for the parents.  The grantots even helped set the dining table for the meal.

That evening, our other daughter Heather and soninlaw Jesse came over with our grandson Jameson and their two incorrigible corgis!  It was a good family evening, but we were missing our son Dan and his Heather with grandtots Allegra and Mason.  They were doing a family annual shopping event with Heather's family.

Boy oh boy did Finnegan have fun running laps with the two corgis, up one set of stairs, thundering like a herd of elephants across the upper floor, then race down the other set of stairs.... Around and around and around.... Here is one moment that Heather got all three to sit still in ONE spot and held their attention with a treat.


During the week, I managed to get all of the outdoor Christmas decorations up on the house.  It snowed right after I got them up, so it REALLY felt like the holiday season was here!   I just love the house in the snow, it shows the Craftsman style so well with highlights of snow around it. 

The Pfundtner family gathered over in Waupaca for Thanksgiving... ya know, over the river and  through the woods to get there?  We meet in a restaurant because there can be anywhere from 20 to 40  people attending on any given year.  We sure fill up the room!    Little Clayton and Chelsea made little paper "turkeys" for Great Grandpa Pfundtner! 

Since we are both finally feeling better, yesterday we were able to get back up to our oldest daughter Erin's house to finish working on her kitchen with her.  Last time we got the cabinets and walls painted, and part of the countertop installed.  Steve also put in her new sink, faucet, and light fixtures....  So it's been halfway completed for a few weeks while we were sick. It needed to get done before she hosts our Christmas celebration at her house.  We drove up there Saturday morning and put in a full day.. and it's DONE!   (well all except a little piece of trim that Steve has to make a compound miter cut on that will take some time on the table saw at home)   

Erin and Steve mounted the last section of countertop on the peninsula to make the work area complete.  It was difficult to transition from the one piece to the other, but they got it done and it worked out great.  Then they put trim along the backsplash edge, the end cap on the countertop; it all came together great! 

Before we got there, she had given two coats to the floor with some porch and floor enamel paint, and it was dry enough for us to walk on the next day.  Great way to cover up ugly olive green and harvest gold patterned vinyl flooring without ripping it up or applying more over the top.  We were working on a set budget that didn't include new flooring at this time.  So she did the next best thing! 

The kitchen looks so sharp now, compared the the "before" pics I put in this blog post:
It really was UGLY in pale pink and hunter green and gooses on the wallpaper! 

The little bit of silver on the curtains really isn't this shiny, it just reflected from the camera flash. It has more of a hue and sheen like the muted silver on the backsplash around the countertops.

 She found this perfect table and stools for setting right between the windows.
Anything bigger would not look right or take up too much space.   
I can see sipping early morning coffee here as the sun comes up. 
I can see the grandtots sitting here to eat their cereal. 
I can see them helping to bake more brownies! 

And here it is... TA DAAAAA   

Complete with a new stove, fridge and rangehood/microwave mounted above
(missing a bit of trim yet) 

 Of course, little Finnegan helped too... 
with the painting!!!   Can't you tell????

Today is a rest at home Sunday kind of day...
I am going to work on a quilt. 
Steve is going to make us breakfast.

And later on there is a Packer Game that needs our attention....
from our comfy chair and couch in front of the television!