Category Archives: Life in a small town

If We Were Having Coffee…Fireworks, Films and Felines

Morning friends!

If we were having coffee I would invite you inside the house for coffee and apple cider donuts because this…

definitely says it’s way too humid to sit on the porch! The soupy New Jersey air is actually attempting to infiltrate the house but we’re keeping it at bay thanks to the air conditioning. The cat’s kinda annoyed because she can’t keep a proper eye on the squirrels. I’m just happy I don’t need to leave the house. D-Man left an hour ago to mow his mom’s lawn before it got too bad but I’m hoping he’ll stay in after that.

If we were having coffee…I would tell you we went out with friends last night to see the film “Yesterday.” I quite enjoyed it. It certainly helps if you are a Beatles fan since so much of the movie centers around their music but, it was a sweet story anyway. Absolutely no CGI, explosions or aliens which was a nice change from most of the other films we usually go to see. (Which reminds me, Spider-Man Far From Homeis definitely on next weekend to-do list!)

If we were having coffee…I would ask those of you here in the United States if you enjoyed any special Independence Day celebrations? We have a lot of traditions for that holiday.

Miss Dee and I always attend the town “Miss” pageant the evening before. The winner this year was a former student at the elementary school where I work so that always makes it fun. The newly crowned “Miss” then rides in the town Fourth of July parade the next morning. After the parade (which was a rather hot and humid event this year), we head to my father-in-law’s home for a BBQ.

My in-laws have a lovely house and a large yard in a very wooded area. We always make sure to cover ourselves in bug spray since they also have zillions of insects! My FIL ends the day by setting off fireworks, a tradition that has made me nervous since my children were wee. It makes me even more nervous now since Mr D is old enough to help light them!!! Happily we made it through another year with no casualties although one box fell on it’s side and started shooting out stars in random directions. That was exciting.

We usually end the night by attending our town fireworks. Traditionally, this is a nice way to end the day but this year Miss Dee and I were both wiped out. I suspect it was mostly because of the heat, so we decided to opt out. We both took long cold showers and then watched the first episode of Stranger Things 3! For us, this was every bit as exciting as the fireworks!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we acquired a new kitty this week. He was abandoned in front of an animal hospital where one of my son’s friends work. She told him that if they didn’t find a home they would have to take him to the shelter. We have been looking for a friend for Darby since we lost our sweet senior cat Chrissy earlier this year so we thought we’d give him a try. He’s all dark gray and quiet the charmer, always rubbing against you and purring, very dashing so we’ve took to calling him Dash. The vet said he seems to be about 3 years old and well cared for. He is currently living in the laundry room and we’ve been introducing him to Darby slowly. There’s been a bit of hissing but I think they’ll work it out in time. Stay tuned!

Miss Darby is still considering whether or not a new brother is a good idea?

Well, if we were having coffee, we would probably agree that Ive been monopolizing the conversation! Time for you to tell me what you’ve been up to. Let me refill you cup. Have you done any traveling? Seen any movies? Read any good books?

I’m so glad you stopped by. Don’t forget to visit our host Eclectic Ali, see what she’s been up to and visit the rest of the Coffee Share Gang.

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If We Were Having Coffee…Busy mornings!

Happy Sunday morning!

If we were having coffee I would welcome you up onto the porch and hand you a cup of French roast coffee or whatever beverage you preferred. There’s lemonade, tea or crisp cold ice water. We are looking at a sunny Sunday here in Southern New Jersey with a high of 79 degrees. Perfect!! I’m enjoying it while I can before the stifling humidity returns.

How has your week been? We’ve been slogging our way through the last two weeks of school, trying to keep a lid on the students building excitement and maybe get a little bit of learning done as well. It’s been a bit of a challenge! I may need to give myself several pep talks just to get through this final week.😊

Thursday morning, some of our fifth grade students put on a talent show for the rest of the school. There were only 9 acts but they ranged from dancing or singing to comedy and karate! I give each one kudos for being brave enough to perform (I’m a behind the scenes girl myself.) It was a fun way for us to start the day and a fun way for them to cap off their time in elementary school before moving on to middle school.

Friday morning I accompanied the third grade class and teacher on their annual walking tour of our town. The final social studies topic for that grade is always about communities including founding and development of ours. The culmination of that is a visit to the many places we’ve learned about. I love that we live in a town that is walkable and has an actual Main Street with a library, small stores, restaurants and police station/borough hall. We toured the police station and the local museum and checked out some other landmarks including our Veterans Park and an old stone horse watering basin that still stands just next to where the railroad station used to be. The students really enjoyed the trip and behaved very well.

Saturday morning Miss Dee and I went shopping for new kitchen appliances which was fun. Mine are all over 15 years old and showing serious wear. The D-man and I decided last month to take out a small loan in order to do some updating around here. New counter tops (our current ones are red laminate, straight out of the 80s!) and appliances are the big purchases. Ahh, to have an oven that actually keeps the proper temperature and a dishwasher with a door that doesn’t drop down spontaneously scaring the sh#% out of us and the cat. I’m simply tingling with anticipation!

Miss Dee thinks I might get nostalgic and start missing the red counter tops. I’m not so sure….

That’s the thing about home ownership, isn’t it, there is always something that needs fixing or updating. I’ve got a list of other summer projects as well. I guess we will see how much of it gets accomplished. Usually something has to really start bugging me before I’m willing to spend money on it. I’m kind of cheap, and the fact that no money is coming in during the summer makes me even cheaper!😊

So now it Sunday morning and you might wonder what my plan is for today. Well, after all those busy mornings, I think that this one will be spent sitting on the deck, reading a book or working on some art work. That sounds just about perfect, like the weather! I’m so glad you could join me for a chat. You should run on over to Eclectic Alli and visit with the rest of the Coffee Share crew. I’m sure they’re serving up some great conversation as well.

If We Were Having Coffee…11/6/16

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If we were having coffee…I would probably start off by apologizing to any visitors from outside the USA. Tuesday is Election Day and afterward the nonsense should stop (we hope). On behalf of all Americans, I am very sorry…

Moving on..

If we were having coffee…I would invite you in, offer you a seat, a cup of hot French roast (or tea or lemonade, what ever you prefer) and ask you how your week has been? Mine was better than expected considering that Monday was Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. I enjoy seeing the children in their costumes, handing out the treats, carving the Jack-o-lanterns, all that stuff. My only objection, speaking as someone who struggles to keep young people focused on learning each day, is that it happened to fall on a Monday this year. This doesn’t bode well for productivity on Tuesday, Wednesday and possibly even Thursday, depending on the amount of candy consumed.

As it turned out, Monday was the only really challenging day. Thankfully our principle has this whole Halloween thing down to a science. We really only have to get through the morning and the lunch hour (wanna guess how loud it was in the cafeteria that day?) because after that the room moms and dads arrive with games and crafts and then the children put on their costumes and proceed outside to parade around the playground. Families are invited to come watch and by the time the parade is over, it is time for dismissal.

If we were having coffee…I would share that I noticed, both at the parade and with the trick-or-treaters later at my home, that the popular costume this year seemed to be the characters from the newest Star Wars movie, Rey especially. I would ask what popular or fun costumes you noticed? Do you celebrate Halloween? Do you have many trick-or-treaters? We went through about 10 bags of candy which is about normal around here. It’s quite a big event around here.

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that the rest of my week was pretty quiet. We are approaching the end of the first marking period so teachers are trying to finish up projects and gather grades. One of the fourth grade teachers I work with will be leaving on maternity leave at the end of this month and will not return till next year so she has been stressing a bit, feeling like she is not quite prepared to hand over her class to the substitute. I’ve been trying to help as much as I can and my knowing the children and the classroom routine will make things easier for the incoming teacher but there are still lesson plans to be made and schedules to be arranged. Fourth grade, in our school, team teaches, which means that one teacher does math and science and the other does  reading and language arts. The students switch classrooms through out the day. The teacher that is leaving, only teaches science and math so at least there is less subject matter to prepare and the other teacher will be on hand to help.

Our biggest classroom challenge this week came on Wednesday when we noticed that the thermostat was stuck on 88 degrees. Laura (the teacher) and I were red faced and sweating having already removed all articles of clothing that we could without raising eyebrows, when the maintiance man came to check on it. He told us that it was stuck and that he couldn’t get anyone to fix it till later in the week. Our school was built in the 1920s so you can imagine how well our heating system opperates anyway and even though the weather was quite cool and all the windows were open, we were still suffering. When you factor in that one woman in the class is eight months pregnant and the other in in the throes of menapause, it’s really lucky the the maintenance guy made it out of the room alive!

Anyway…if we were having coffee…I would probably  notice the time and even though we did gain an hour this weekend I find I have dawdled over my coffee far too long,  enjoying our visit and now am running behind as usual. I really should try to do something productive today. 😉 Thank you so much for stopping by. Don’t forget to visit the rest of the Coffee Share Posts brought to you each week by Diana at Part Time Monster. Have a great week!

The Weekly Smile…Grand Love

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At lunch time today, as I was walking to my car, I noticed two ladies heading toward each other across the street each pushing a stroller. I would say they were a bit older than me, maybe in their 60’s and were enjoying the crisp autum afternoon by taking, what I’m guessing we’re their grandchildren, out for a walk. As their paths met they pulled up beside each other and immediately began exclaiming over each other’s little bundle of joy…

“Oh! She is simply adorable! What blue eyes!”

“Isn’t he the sweetest! Such a happy boy!”

As I was getting in my car I could hear them introducing the babies to each other, not that the two infants in the stroller understood that! I had to smile because it was so obvious in their manner and how they spoke that they were both just bursting with that special kind of adoration that only a grandparent can have.

I glanced in my review mirror as I was pulling away and noticed that one of the ladies had turned her stroller around  so they could continue their walk together.  This is a pretty small town so it’s quite likely they already knew each other. They may have even arranged to meet. No matter the circumstances these  grandmother had already been doing their most favorite thing-spending time with their grandchildren, and now they were able to share that special time with someone who totally understood how they felt. I bet they found a lot to talk about and I bet those two little babies were fussed over and spoiled rotten!

Very lucky babies. And lucky me. I got to caught in the overflow from that really “grand love!” ❤️

imageThe Weekly Smile is brought to you by Trent’s World. Click here to visit the link up and catch the rest of the smiles. Maybe you can even leave one of your own!😊

If We Were Having Coffee…7/2/16

Good Morning!

If we were having coffee…the first thing out of my mouth would probably be “Holy cow! It’s July! How did that happen?!” Is seems like the weeks are just breezing by. Maybe not for those of you that are hard at work but when you are on vacation, naturally time flies.

Anyway, after I filled your cup with some rich French roast or iced tea, if preferred, we could settle ourselves on the porch and enjoy the lovely cool mornings. As you can see, the hibiscus my FIL gave me for Mother’s Day is still alive and thriving. Hubby has been keeping it watered because the poor plant has a much better chance of survival if I just keep my distance. 😊

If we were having coffee…you would have noticed that my Hubby has also been tending to the front of the house, decorating and preparing for July the fourth. The flags are out and he even gifted me a pot of red, white, and blue petunias (which he will also be in charge of keeping alive)! We get very enthusiastic about the Fourth of July in our little town, but that’s another post altogether. For now let’s just relax, enjoy the sunshine and our beverages and catch up!

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If we were having coffee…I would ask you what you have been up to this week? Have you enjoyed exciting developments or endured frustrating problems? I would hope for more ups than downs. My week has been busy but enjoyable for the most part.

After our adventure at the Blueberry Festival on Sunday my honey and I mostly spent our time on day to day stuff. It is an odd feeling having both children head off to work while Hubby and I hang out at home! I’m kinda liking it, especially the part where they complain and grumble on their way out the door…

“Boy, I wish I was on vacation and could just hang out all day!”

“Must be nice not having to go to work.” 

We just smile and wave them off….”Have a great day. We’ll be here when you get home! “😊

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that I finished another backdrop for the STEAM camp. Day four is going to be “Island Survival Day” where the campers are asked  to pretend they’ve been stranded on a desert island and need to use resources available in nature in order to survive. We are going to learn all about various plant life and they are going to be making sundials.

Here is the photo back drop:

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It measures 6′ X 4′ and I was a little intimidated because I’ve never painted anything that big before but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  I used a paint roller to make quick work of the larger areas and to avoid brush strokes. It’s a good thing I’m finished, though, because my family was a little tired of my taking up the entire kitchen with paints and foam board!

If we were having coffee…I would share one really annoying part of my week. On Thrusday, Hubby and I decided to go grocery shopping together…that’s not the annoying part 😊. Usually I go alone but it was nice to have company and strong arms to carry the bags. However, after all the $123 worth of groceries were rung up and I swiped my debit card, the computer kept coming back saying we only had 21 dollars available?! I knew there was over five hundred dollars in the checking account and Hubby had just deposited his paycheck that morning as well. After trying the card three different ways on two different machines (with a line of people forming behind us) we gave up. Luckily, after we pooled our cash, we had just enough to pay the 101 dollar balance. If we hadn’t been together, one of us would have been putting some food back on the shelf or just leaving it all behind!

When I got home, I went online and discovered the problem. All of the funds in our checking account (except for $21) was being held untill Hubby’s paycheck cleared. This made no sense to me because we have two savings accounts with more than enough money in them to cover the check. And why $21? Electronic banking makes me crazy. I can never figure out how they determine what is “pending” and what your “available balance”is!!!!

Okay, I’m done my little rant. I know how lucky we are to have enough money to buy food in the first place so I’m just going to shake off my frustrations! (I hope all those people who were stuck in line behind us are feeling the same way.)😊

If we were having coffee…you would probably glance at the clock and realize that the time has gotten away from us again! We always have so much to chat about that I quite forget about all the other things I have to do today. This is my afternoon to volunteer at the Thrift Shop downtown and then Miss Dee and I are going to our local “Miss” pageant with some friends this evening. The rest of the holiday weekend will be filled with parades, barbecues and fireworks.

For my friends here in the U.S-  “Happy Independance Day!” and for my friends in the rest of the world (where July 4th is just another day 😉), I hope that your weekend is pleasant and joyful and that you are surrounded by those you love most! Thanks so much for stopping by. Make sure to visit Diana over at Part Time Monster so you can catch up with the rest of the Weekend Coffee Share posts!

An Abundance of Blueberries!


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This Sunday my family and I took a road trip to Hammonton, NJ – the blueberry capital of the world. If this little tidbit about Hammonton is news to you, don’t feel bad. I’ve lived in Jersey my whole life and I didn’t know till a few weeks ago! You can even Google it. Apparently, blueberries are very particular about the Ph levels in the soil and Hammonton’s proximity to the Pine Barrens gives the soil just the right quality to produce world class berries.  Who knew, right? Anyway, our excursion this weekend  was because the town was holding their annual blueberry festival, which Is now in its 30th year.

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We were invited to the festival by our friend Vinny, who is a native of Hammonton and whose father happens to be head of the chamber of commerce. He told us about how the town had suffered through a period of closed businesses and rundown neighborhoods but has been on the upswing recently. The blueberry festival is one of the  biggest event each year and draws an incredible number of people.

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Vinny, who my Hubby knows through his work, moonlights as a singer in a cover band called “Stealing Savanah.” Guess who was providing the entertainment at the festival? We’ve been to see the band many times at local bars, but this was Miss Dee’s first chance to catch their act.  They perform a wide range of songs from the 1980s up to today’s hits. She seemed to be impressed.

[Summer Bucket List item #23. Yay me!]

Vinny found a unique use for a traffic cone. Whatever it takes to be heard!

Vinny found a unique use for a traffic cone. Whatever it takes to be heard!

We arrived around noon and after securing a parking spot in a nearby field that some industrious owners had offered at $5 per car, we followed the sound of Vinnys voice to an outdoor stage on wheels topped with a yellow and white awning. There was another large tent beside it with about fifty picnic tables overflowing with people of all ages eating lunch and enjoying the music. There was all kinds of food for sale but we had packed a picnic lunch and after locating some other friends that we knew were in attendance, we settled in to eat and enjoy the music. The day was rather warm but there was enough of a breeze in the shade of the tent to keep it from being unbearable.

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After the band was  finished their set, and we’d said hello to Vinny, we went off to explore the many booths and tents offering up crafts and goodies of all sorts. There were a lot of blueberry items, naturally, both to eat and as decorations.  We even took a moment to check out the blueberry pie eating contest which looked messy and fun, and treated ourselves to some Italian water ice. Hubby saw some Philadelphia Eagles crafts that I had to talk him out of buying and Miss Dee almost bought her brother a marshmallow shooter as a housewarming present but reconsidered. There were tents with beautiful jewelry and fine glass pieces from nearby Weaton Village as well as doll clothes and face painting.

Wow, there are still Eagles items that my Hubby doesn't own!

Wow, there are still Eagles items that my Hubby doesn’t own!

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The festival ran from 11:00 to 4:00 and judging from the crowds, was an outstanding success. Vinny and his dad thanked us for coming and sent us on our way with an entire case of blueberries and a few different baked goods! What a great way to spend our Sunday afternoon. We will have to put it on our calendar for next year. In the meantime, does anyone have any good blueberry recipes?

 

If We Were Having Coffee – 4/24/16

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If we were having coffee…I would welcome you in and offer you a seat. The  weather folks are predicting a lovely day here in southern NJ, in fact it may even warm enough for us to take our coffee out on the porch. Speaking of which, would you like a cup of French roast or perhaps some tea instead? There are some cold beverages as well, if you prefer. No home made baked goods this week, I’m afraid. I will have to get my Hubby working on that.

If we were having coffee… I would ask if you’ve ever had a day where no matter how hard to you tried to get things accomplished, you just seem to end up spinning your wheels? Yesterday was like that for me. All morning I attempted to be productive but ended up with very little to show for it.

I wanted to grid-out a large art project I was working on but I couldn’t find my straight edge (Hubby actually found it later in the very place I thought it was but failed to see it the two times I looked! Duh!) Then I wanted to finish a project that required some tracing paper. Do you think I could find a single sheet?! I had hoped to clean out the downstairs closet but couldn’t get the heavy things out without some help.

Of course it didn’t help that every room I wandered through had odds and ends that needed picking up and putting away. Then, as an added bonus, the cat puked all over so that needed attention as well! By the time twelve o’clock came around  I realized that I’d spent the whole morning wandering around the house accomplishing nothing. Sometimes I feel like my brain just spins in circles instead of a straight line. Is this be something else I can blame on middle age?

If we were having coffee...I would tell you that my frustrating morning ended when I had to get ready to go to my volunteer job at two.  Since this past July, I’ve spent every Tuesday afternoon and every other Saturday, helping out at a non profit thrift store uptown. It is run by a local hospice organization and all the proceeds help to provide hospice and palliative care for people who have no health insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover all the services they need. I am just one of  17 volunteers there. Miss Dee helped too before she started her regular job.

I really enjoy my time there. It puts my obsessive organizational skills to good use and the other ladies I work with are very sweet, especially the manager Sherri. The shop isn’t too large but we have a nice selection of ladies and men’s clothes, accessories and some smaller housewares, all donated by people in the area. It is a very different atmosphere than my regular job. I think that’s part of the appeal but the main thing is that even though my own loved ones have never been in need of hospice care, I’ve seen how important it is to so many other families. It feels good to help.

If we were having coffee..I would appologize for cutting our visit a little short today. Miss Dee is leaving on her senior trip to Disney World on Tuesday and there are still quite a few odds and ends left to be done. She has to have her luggage packed and at school by 4:00 Monday afternoon. They weigh it and have the TSA dogs give it a sniff to avoid any problems at the airport on Tuesday morning. Speaking of which, their flight leaves Philadelphia at nine so they need to be on the bus at school by five! THAT’S 5AM PEOPLE!!! You better believe this one falls under Hubby’s list of parental duties. No one wants me driving a car at that hour! 😳

Thanks so much for stopping by. Don’t forget to visit the rest of the Coffee Share Post hosted by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster!!

The Weekly Smile #8 -Melting My Heart

Last month after Mother Nature dumped a foot of snow on our neighborhood, a family up the street built the biggest snowman I have ever seen. To give you an idea of scale, his arms were old fence post and his nose was a small orange safety cone. The creators also used big stick and branches to give the snowman cool spikey hair. It was certainly a sight to see – twelve foot tall, filling most of the front yard. Everytime I passed him on the way to work it made me smile.

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The weeks went by and the snow slowly started to melt. My snowman friend melted too but each time his face and arms slid out of their location, the builder put them back, restoring his happy grin. He got shorter, and shorter. Even after all the other snow was gone, he lived on, short and flat, still sporting his spikey hair and crazy arms. The effort the builder put into maintaining the snowman’s personality made me smile too.

By last week, he was looking like this….

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This morning, after a weekend of temperatures in the 50s and a day of rain, I drove by and saw that the snowman had finally melted away. All that was left in the center of the yard was a pile of wood and a orange traffic cone.

I missed my frozen friend, of course, but his absence meant that the weather might finally be warming up and for a summer girl like me, that is definitely something to smile about.😊


imageThis post is part of The Weekly Smile brought to you courtesy of Trent’s World. Stop by to check out the rest of the smiles or to leave one of your own!