Downsizing, our way


With 36 years of marriage under our belts, my husband and I are in the process of downsizing and we  just moved to an apartment. That brought back memories of the first time we lived in an apartment back when we were newlyweds.

Bob was active duty in the Navy at that time and we lived in Jacksonville, Florida.  After living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from the age of 12 until 21 when I got married, Florida was beautiful, but the heat was a shock to my system. But, it didn’t take me long to adjust to the warm weather and soon I came to love warmer, more balmy temps.

That first apartment was just a basic apartment.  One bedroom, big walk-in closet, one bath.  Small dining room, small kitchen and medium-sized living room. It was on the first floor.  We had a small cement patio that looked out onto a pond that was surrounded by grass and bordered on one side with trees.  It was a nice view, especially in the fall with the color on the trees. Ducks wandered freely around the apartment complex and it was fun to look out the window and see the ducks swimming or waddling around the grounds.

I loved walking to the pool in the summer months.  And every night after dinner we went for a nice stroll.

One thing that apartment didn’t have was all the “stuff” we have since accumulated over 36 years.

The Navy saw to it that we moved a “few” more times and over the years we bought or rented several houses. With each move, we acquired more and more “stuff.”  Each new house offered a new corner here and a new corner there to be able to add stuff that we thought was necessary at the time.  Our houses grew as we went from being a couple to a family of four.

The last house we owned had five bedrooms and three bathrooms.  Soooo….after being married for 36 years, we had a house filled with lots of “stuff.”

But, now was the right time to downsize.  At first it was hard to put things in the “get rid of” stack.  Gradually it got easier and easier.  Now, I love finding stuff to get rid of.  Feels good.  Makes you feel as if you have lost a few pounds.

First, we create a  “get rid of” stack.  Then we start breaking that stack down into categories.  They get marked as either “Donate,” “Sell” or “Throw away.”

The big step is to actually get rid of the stuff.

We pack up the stuff marked for donation and bring it to whichever organization we chose and bring it there.  Next, we take the stuff marked to throw away to the dump and then we try to sell the other items.  If it doesn’t sell after a certain period of time, it becomes a “donate” item and we donate it.  In the end, the stuff I thought I wanted is  gone and it makes me feel good.

The first time we got rid of stuff I felt as if I wanted to skip through the house.  It’s so rewarding to look around the house and there is no clutter.

And now, we will settle into our new apartment, with less “stuff.”




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Creative Kids

I love that my grandchildren both are creative.  My granddaughter seems to be especially creative.  All you have to do is leave supplies out, crayons, washable markers, paper, scissors, tape, glue, etc. and they will create!

Today, my granddaughter has spent a good portion of the day creating paper houses for her toys, stuffed animals and dolls.  She has been drawing the pieces and then cutting them out and taping them together.  I love it.

Earlier today, both kids were creating puppets from brown paper lunch bags.  I just love the ideas they come up with.

After making puppets, they colored some more bags and then pretended it was Halloween and went around the house with their Trick or Treat bags and took turns being the one who gave out the treats and then the one who said, “Trick or Treat.”  The one who was giving out the treats just grabbed whatever toy or stuffed animal was nearby and put it in the bag.

I love to plan fun things for them to do, but also love to just let them go and think up their own fun.  That really is the best!


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I recently completed a six week continuing education course, “Teaching Preschool,” and earned a certificate.  Loved the class.  It was packed with information that will come in handy as I plan things to do with my grandchildren over the summer.

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About a week ago we used air dry clay and created Easter eggs, baskets, and bunnies.  Today the kids are painting their clay creations.  They love to paint and always do such a great job with their creations.

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Easter Art Project

I love how my grandchildren colored and decorated these pictures for Easter–such bright, vibrant colors!  I just handed them the pictures and the supplies and they did all the rest on their own.



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This and That


Well, there has been a little bit of a gap between posts.  I’m trying to get back on track with all my blogs.  Time sort of has a way of flying by and all of a sudden you realize how long it’s been since you’ve seen some friends and family, especially the ones that live far away.  You blink twice and kids are grown.  And it’s no different for me with my blogs–I blink twice and next thing I know, I haven’t posted in a long time.  I was going to school for a while and that ate up a lot of my time and on it goes—life.

Anyway, I’m trying to get better with my blogging.  I recently posted to my other sites and now I am getting caught up with this one.

I see that one of my posts here was that Norah had a birthday and she was just turning two in the post.  Well, now our little granddaughter is 4!  And her little brother, Eric,  is already 2  1/2!  Talk about time flying!

I have been the full-time day care for both kids for about 2 years now.  Since I taught at daycare centers before, I dusted off my memory, pulled out some lesson plan books and started taking care of the kids.  They are 18 months apart, and are on two different developmental levels, which made it a little challenging at first to plan activities.  But now that Eric has caught up to Norah quite a bit, it is a lot easier.

I use workbooks with the kids to help teach basic concepts such as the alphabet, numbers, counting opposites, same and different, and so on. We also are creating our own alphabet, numbers, color and shapes books.  We go over the concept–the letter, number color or shape of the day and then add the page to their books.

We read books, sing songs, use  flannel boards for songs and stories, and do all sorts of art projects and some science.  I think our most interesting science projects are when we find bugs, birds and squirrels outside to study.  They also love to look for interesting rocks, flowers, pine cones, acorns and other gifts from nature to study and bring home for their nature boxes.

Some of my favorite art projects to do are when we create pictures for holidays/special occasions/seasonal.  I love to give them a variety of textures and objects to paint with  and use for gluing projects.  We use items such as sand and rice mixed with paint, noodles, buttons, ribbons, glitter, even favorite snack foods such fish and animal shaped cookies and crackers, pictures.  And they get plenty of time to do their own creating with paint, coloring, Play Doh, blocks.

I love to watch them at free play when they make up their own games and their imaginations seem to have no end.

We do some cooking and they love that.  So do I.  I always loved to cook and bake with my own kids, and now I get to share that fun with my grandchildren.

And we go outside.  There are very few things that keep us inside.  Unless we get a torrential downpour/storm, extreme cold or extreme heat, we go outside.  We jump in puddles and piles of leaves.  We look for worms and other bugs and draw “chalk pavement pictures” in the driveway.  They ride their bikes, swing and play in the sandbox.  We build snowmen, make snow angels and go sledding in winter and splash in the pool in summer.  We have a red wagon built for two and sometimes I pull them in it and we explore the neighborhood.  We wave to neighbors, watch the small wildlife and are thrilled when the horses at the neighborhood horse farm are outside.

So, in other words–I keep them busy!


In other news, we moved recently.  It was hard at first trying to downsize, and get rid of things I didn’t think I could get rid of. But finally I got the hang of learning to throw things away, donate or sell and it wasn’t as painful as I thought!  Getting used to a smaller space was hard at first, too–but now I like it!


We’ve done some traveling over the last couple of years.  I had slacked off with my travel blog, too, so all of our trip journals aren’t posted there.  But, I did add a couple of posts recently.  Our most recent trip was a one day trip to two places I have had on my Maryland travel bucket list for a while.  We saw Gunpowder Falls State Park and a small city near Baltimore called Havre de Grace.  I just posted some pictures on my travel blog, Maryland Skis Travel.

You see, I have a goal of one day seeing all 50 states. I’m not counting just driving through a state on my way somewhere else.  I want to actually see each state.  I want to explore each state’s landmarks, some of the cities, the parks, and so on.  Every state has something to offer for visitors to see.

I’m not sure I will meet that goal–but I plan to try!

I decided to start by exploring “my own backyard” — Maryland.  Then we will move on to our bordering states.  Of course I have seen bits and pieces of some other states.  But now I want to really get moving with this goal and see them all!



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I love a productive weekend

I stayed busy this weekend.  Not stressful busy, but the good kind of busy, where you actually are able to check things off your list.  At first it didn’t feel as if I got much done, but when I sat down and made a list of what I finished instead of what needs to be done, I found out that the list actually was quite long.  I feel like there was a good balance between the “have to do” list such as housework and the “want to do” list such as the organizing I did.

Soon, I will be taking care of both grandchildren full-time, and our empty nest required some additional baby proofing–the grandchildren are 2 and 9 months, and we needed more than the “just stopping by” baby proofing.

So, I spent a lot of the weekend re-organizing and organizing, baby proofing and so on, so that the house will be ready for 2 little ones on a daily basis.  I used to teach day care kids years ago–my classroom had kids 18 months – 2-years-old and so it won’t be the first time for me to do this.  I’m preparing some lessons, flannel board stories, art projects, etc.  I’m looking forward to the teaching part and spending this time with my grandchildren.

But, now that the weekend is coming to a close, it feels good to reflect back and realize that I was more productive than I thought!  I love a productive weekend!

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