The Grange Encampment and Fair – My Walking Vacation

 Every Year I attend Grange Fair. I consider it my vacation. It has been a tradition in our family.  My parents started tenting before I was a year old. The earliest I remember is tenting in North 2. We were there until I was a teenager. I think I was around 16 when we moved to a tent closer to the grounds. Then my parents bought a motor home and we camped near the Grand stand. I was married with children and grandchildren by that time. So you can see how attending Grange Fair has become a tradition. 

 

My mother and dad kept their motor home camping place until it got to hard for them. I still tried to get them there after I was taking care of them. Even though they couldn’t enjoy it the same way; they still enjoyed. My mother in the wheel chair and my dad on the scooter.  Here is a picture of my parents enjoying their first great great grandchild.  A tent can be seen in the background. 

 


 

 It is amazing to me how Grange Fair has grown over the years. I remember going to the playground by myself when I was little. I remember going to see the cows, goats, sheep and pigs. And of course watching the parade.  But the grounds were much smaller then.

 

Each year there is an art show at the fair. I entered my artwork from the time I was barely a teenager. It was fun winning ribbons and sometimes cash. As I got older the prizes I won paid for the tickets for my family and gave me some extra cash. I was so pleased one year to receive a best of show ribbon.

 

My participation in the art show has fallen off the past 20 or so years; because they started requiring entrance forms ahead of time and also I didn’t have as much time.

 

My mother was a Granger and she would help decorate floats for the parade and sometimes ride on them.  She remember she portrayed Betsy Ross sewing the American flag on one.

 

The Grange Fair has grown so much since the late 40’s when my parents started to attend.  I am amazed at how large it has become.  It started with a picnic and camping out in tents.  Then camper spaces were added and much more room for concessions.  

 

When there were so many people trying to get camper spaces; they made space farther out from the fair grounds, called the overflow, where people could park campers without electricity or water hookups. 

 

When they started hosting horse shows they added a horse barn.  The horse shows became so popular that they built another barn. Now there is talk of the possibility of building a third barn.

 

What is Grange?

The Grange Movement: Patrons of Husbandry

Oliver Hudson Kelley was an employee of the Department of Agriculture in the 1860s. He made an official trip through the South and was astounded by the lack of sound agricultural practices he encountered. Joining with other interested individuals in 1867, Kelley formed the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, a fraternal organization complete with its own secret rituals. Local affiliates were known as “granges” and the members as “grangers.” In its early years, the Grange was devoted to educational events and social gatherings.

Growth was slow in the early years, but the attraction of social events was considerable. Farm life in the 19th century was marked by a tedium and isolation that usually was relieved only by church functions and the weekly trips to town for supplies.

Following the Panic of 1873, the Grange spread rapidly throughout the farm belt, since farmers in all areas were plagued by low prices for their products, growing indebtedness and discriminatory treatment by the railroads. These concerns helped to transform the Grange into a political force.

National Grange

Grange influence was particularly strong in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, where political pressure yielded a series of “Granger laws” designed to give legislative assistance to the farmers. Those laws received an initial blessing from the Supreme Court in Munn v. Illinois (1876), but a later counteroffensive by the railroads brought the Wabash case (1886), which wiped out those gains.

During the 1870s, the Grangers advocated programs such as the following:

  • Cooperative purchasing voentures as a means to obtain lower prices on farm equipment and supplies
  • Pooling of savings as an alternative to dependence on corrupt banks, an early form of credit union
  • Cooperative grain elevators to hold non-perishable crops until the optimal times to sell
  • Cooperative purchasing ventures as a means to obtain lower prices on farm equipment and supplies
  • Pooling of savings as an alternative to dependence on corrupt banks, an early form of credit union
  • Cooperative grain elevators to hold non-perishable crops until the optimal times to sell
  • An abortive effort to manufacture farm equipment; this venture depleted the Granger organization’s funds and was instrumental in its decline.

A major shortcoming of the movement was the failure to address what was probably the root cause of many farm ills—overproduction. There were too many farmers and too much productive land; the advent of new, mechanized equipment only exacerbated the difficulties. A few perceptive individuals recognized that flooding the market with produce only depressed prices further. Mary Elizabeth Lease of Kansas, one of the nation’s first female attorneys, traveled to grange halls and urged the farmers to “raise less corn and more hell.” Such pleas went largely unheeded, since most farmers preferred to blame the politicians, judges and bankers for their plight

The Grange as a political force peaked around 1875, then gradually declined. New organizations with more potent messages emerged, including the Greenback Party of the 1870s, the Farmers’ Alliances of the 1880s and the Populist Party of the 1890s.

The Grange had played an important role by demonstrating that farmers were capable of organizing and advocating a political agenda. After witnessing the eclipse of its advocacy efforts by other groups, the Grange reverted to its original educational and social events. These have sustained the organization to the present day.

For more please visit:

http://www.u-s-history.com/pag…

 

I remember attending Logan Grange in Pleasant Gap with my mother when I was young.  I participated in some of the programs and sang some, too.  Though I didn’t always appreciate going (all the pomp and circumstance was a bit much for me); there are some fond memories, too.

 

History of Grange Fair

https://www.grangefair.com/his…

THE GREAT GRANGE FAIR

The Grange Fair began in 1874 when Leonard Rhone urged his Progress Grange to join their sister subordinate Granges in having a pic-nik to which they would invite their neighbors and introduce the Grange Organization and the benefits of membership in such a faternity. Since then, it’s grown into a real family tradition with some campers going back generation after generation.

Some “tenters” from long ago enjoying the Granger’s Pic-nik.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the size of the Fair has grown to include 1,000 tents, 1,500 RV’s, hundreds of concessions, over 7,000 exhibit items, amusement rides, livestock, tractor pulling and much more! Come to Centre Hall, PA and find out why so many folks wrap up every summer at Grange Park with the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair.

We feature numerous exhibits, some sale items and some competition exhibits featuring the most talented artists, craftsmen, cooks, and bakers around.

We also host the top names in entertainment! The best part is, concerts are included in the price of admission!

 

_________

The size of the fair, at this point, is why I called it my walking vacation.  My daughter’s motor home was in the overflow.  It took almost a half hour to walk to the grounds.  You could catch a tram and save on your legs; but you may have to wait 15 minutes; and because they go the whole way around; it may take you just as long to get to the grounds.

 

My son’s camper is in a much better location.  It is near the grandstand and the fair grounds.

 

 

 

This year marked the 143rd year of the Centre Hall Grange Encampment and Fair.  It was hard on my body; but I attended in keeping with the family tradition.  Here is a picture of my granddaughters and my great grandbabies.

 

 

Some people love the camping, some go to see the animals, some go to see the people, some go for the delicious food, (My year old great granddaughter, Isabella thinks Grange Fair hamburgs are the best)

 

Some people like the gambling or the rides.

 

Some like to take in the shows, the parade, talent shows, or the king and queen contests, some like to shop, some like the tractor and truck pulls, some like the horse shows; but all like the varied experience that Grange Fair offers.

 

 

Even though the 143rd Grange Fair was hard on my body; when the 144th rolls around, Lord willing, I will be there.  Why?  It’s tradition.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about Grange Encampment and Fair and my walking vacation.  If you are ever in the vacinity of Centre Hall, PA in the latter part of August, just look for the signs and come on in.

 

At your service,

Jeannie

 

 

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What do Humans Have in Common With Fruits and Vegetables?

We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for our health. Beyond that, and sinking our teeth into them to enjoy the flavor, we don’t really consider them being good for much of anything else.

 

 

But just for fun…

 

Let’s explore what people have in common with fruits and vegetables.

 

 

 

 

Things people have in common with fruits and vegetables.

 

Generically speaking

 

  • We grow from a fertilized seed.

  • We need food and water to live.

  • We come in all shapes and sizes.

  • We come in many different colors.

  • We are capable of bearing fruit.

  • We need the sun and rain for survival.

  • We drown from too much water; and we dry up from too much sun.

  • We can succumb to diseases, contact skin conditions; or be bit by insects, etc.

  • We are dependent on God and nature for our survival.

 

Comparatively speaking

 

(You may have to use your imagination a bit here)

 

We have a body…

Plants have a stem and trees have a trunk.

 

 

We have arms, legs, hands and feet…

Fruit trees have branches, plants have leaves, and they both have roots.

 

We are from many different nationalities and cultures…

Some fruit grow on trees, some on bushes; and some vegetables have edible leaves, some bear fruit; and the roots are the edible part, in others.

 

We are individuals and have different needs and desires…

Plant species vary.  Some may need direct sunlight; others require shade.  Some need an abundance of water to survive; others require very little.  They also have preferences for different kinds of soil.  Some like sandy soil, some prefer clay (for the minerals); others do well in loam; while some may like a more acid soil.

 

Individually speaking.

 

Potatoes:

 

 

We have eyes.

 

 

Potatoes have eyes.

 

We have skin.  Potatoes have skin.

 

  • Some of us have skin close to the color of a white potato.

  • Some of us have skin close to the color of a red potato.

 

We grow old and wrinkled before we die.

Potatoes grow old and wrinkled before they sprout and rot.

 

 

 

 

Corn:

 

 

 

We have ears.  Corn has ears.

 

We have hair.  Corn has silk.

 

 

We have clothing.  Corn has husks.

 

We have teeth.  Corn has grains. (Stretch your imagination)

 

 

 

Apples:

 

We have belly buttons.  Apples have something that looks like a belly button.

 

 

 

We have skin.  Apples have skin.

 

Some of us tend to be more round.  Apples are round.

 

 

 

Grapes:

 

 

Some of us are more comfortable clustering in a group.  Grapes grow in clusters.

 

We come in different colors.  Grapes can be purple, green and red.

 

We have different personalities.  Grapes may be sweet, sour, or bitter.

 

 

Bananas:

 

Some of our skins are yellow, brown, or black.  Banana skin can be yellow, brown or black.

 

Some of us have freckles.  Bananas sometimes have freckles.

 

Some of us are tall and thin.  Bananas are long and narrow.

 

Some of us like to be part of the group.  Bananas grow in clusters.  (or hands)

 

Sometimes we are “green” when learning a new task.  Bananas are green when they are new, too.

 

 

Nutritional Content in Bananas – Surprising!

 

 

Broccoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We cluster together.  Broccoli clusters together

 

We are sometimes lumpy.  Broccoli is lumpy

 

 

Onions

 

 

Sometimes we have strong odors.  Onions have a strong odor.

 

 

 

Their odor is so strong they make us cry when we cut them up.

 

We have faces. Sometimes onions have faces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumbers

 

Some of us are tall and thin.  Cucumbers are long and thin.

 

We have skin.  Cucumbers have peels.

 

We like to cut up sometimes.  But sometimes we cut up cucumbers.

 

 

 

Tomatoes

 

Our body is made up of 50 to 70% water. Tomatoes are 93.5 % water.  (They have us beat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an elevator or other close space; we are sandwiched together.  And who doesn’t enjoy a fresh tomato sandwich.  Yummy.

 

 

 

 

Eating tomatoes, cucumbers and other high water content fruits and vegetables can help hydrate us and flush out impurities.  Don’t forget to drink lots of water too.

 

Our Body Needs Water

 

I could go on and on.  There are many other fruits and vegetables that we could compare.  I will let them to your imagination.  Perhaps you would like to come up with your own, and let the readers know how you would compare them with humans.  Please feel free to use the comment section below for comments and questions that are relevant to this post.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

This post was “just for fun” to give you a little chuckle.  It is vitally important, however, to get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.  I hope this has encouraged you to remember to include them in your diet.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Come again soon.  I love company and my door is always open.

 

At your service,

Jeannie

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Enjoy Outdoor Living

It’s spring!

 

The long, cold winter is over. It’s time to start enjoying outdoor living. Once again, there are leaves on the trees. Spring flowers are dotting the landscape with bursts of color. The grass is green and growing.

 

I can almost hear some of you saying, “Yes the grass is green and growing; but that means I have to mow again”.

 

Unfortunately mowing the lawn does intrude on enjoying the spring and summer weather; unless you love to do it. (my dad used to love to mow) If you have some extra money laying around; you could pay someone to mow for you. If you still have children at home you could resort to forced labor to get the chore done.

 

Mowing:

 

I don’t share my dad’s love of mowing. But neither do I like to look at an unkempt lawn; especially after the neighbor mows, revealing a startling demarcation line that shows me I need to mow NOW!

 

I don’t have a lot of money laying around to hire someone; nor do I still have children at home to force the chore upon. I am also reasonably able bodied, despite my age. Eventually I run out of excuses and JUST GO MOW!

 

I have an old push mower that sometimes decides it isn’t going to mow when I want to. The rebellious machine decides it isn’t going to start. I fill it with gas, check the oil, clean out the old grass, and push that little gas button a few more times. Then start yanking on that coiled string again. (Pulling that string over and over, is the bane of my existence)

 

All this TLC sometimes convinces “the mule” to start, and other times causes it to “flood” and become more rebellious. In which case; I revert to my parenting days, and just walk away for a while.

 

After my mower (the mule) sits in the corner (of the shed) for about a half hour or so; thinking over how it has behaved; it usually takes pity on my already hassled and tired body, and starts! Half of the chore of mowing is over. The dreaded mower start has been completed. Now I begin the hot, sweaty and dirty job of actually cutting the grass. But, just look at part of the finished product!  Doesn’t it look nice?

 

 

 

Gardening:

 

I do like to garden, in spite of the tole it takes on my body. There is something about planting and watching the vegetables grow that appeals to my creative nature. I love being able to walk to the garden and pick fresh vegetables to bring in and prepare, or give away if there is extra.

 

This year I plan to plant most of the vegetables I did last year. Lettuce, onions, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, swiss chard and/or green beans or some kind of squash. Maybe I will add cucumbers this year. They tend to take up room in my garden plot that I don’t have to spare. Also they produce so many cukes that I can’t use them before they get bad.

 

I usually plant around the middle of May; so it is time I should be preparing the soil. I already bought some plants. Some of the tender vegetable plants are more frost resistant. I’ve learned that pepper plants freeze easily; so I will buy the plants later and plant later to prevent freezing. Here is my garden from last year.

 

 

Some people prefer container gardening.  Even though I tend to think this is the way I should go; I have been putting off the change for years.  If you are interested in this kind of gardening.  It requires an initial investment of money and time; but should pay of in convenience in the long run.  Here is a relatively cheap container garden I found at Amazon if you are a member of Amazon Prime:

 

 

Decorating with flowers:

 

Growing flowers is another hobby I enjoy. The colorful blooms brighten my day when I walk outside. I like to plant impatience along the side of my house. They fill out and bloom all summer long. I hate to see them go when the winter frosts start.

 

 

I also started a little above ground perennial garden. It should get better each year. I will make changes as I need to. Some perennials spread so much that they threaten to overtake the whole bed. In that case; I have to find them a new home.  The picture below has some annuals (petunias) and pots to fill in for the first year.

 

 

I love to decorate the front of my house with potted flowers. They are so beautiful. My favorites are petunias. They bloom all summer long.

 

 

Home Improvement:

 

Each year after the weather improves, I like to complete a home improvement project, or two, before frost comes back on the scene. Last summer I painted my shutters and hired a contractor to build a front porch.

 

 

 

I also painted my old porch swing. It was very porous and I soon found that trying to paint with spray paint was a waste of time and money. It just wouldn’t cover.  I had to get out the brush and fill the cracks with several coats of enamel paint. I asked the contractor hang my newly painted swing for me. If you don’t want to go to the trouble, work and expense to paint an old swing; but would like a porch swing; here is an alternative:

 

 

I love swinging on the porch swing with my great granddaughter, Isabella. She is nine months old. We take turns saying “Whee” over and over again. I just bought it a new cushion; so now it is the best dressed swing around!

 

 

BREAKFAST AT THE BISTRO

 

I enjoy drinking a morning cup of coffee or eating a meal outside on a beautiful day. I find a bistro table and two chairs just right for one or two people to enjoy this summer pleasure. They are compact, beautiful, and will withstand the weather. This is a relatively inexpensive one I found at Amazon. Isn’t it pretty?

 

 

Or if you are a member of Amazon Prime

 

 

Picnic Time:

 

In July I host a “get together” with friends who used to help with the care of my parents. If you like to have picnics or reunions; you will need a larger picnic table or two. They may also come in handy for displaying yard sale goods.

 

If you enjoy having yard sales; it is a great way of getting rid of your “junk” that may be another person’s treasure. I found a couple tables at Amazon that may fit your need:

 

 

Please take note that the second table is sold alone; and doesn’t include the chairs as the picture shows.

 

Swimming

 

Some people enjoy cooling themselves in a pool of water on a hot summer day. I am one of them. There is a couple of options to enjoy this summer pleasure. You can pack up and head off for the nearest beach or swimming pool; or you can buy a pool of your own to enjoy the pleasure without leaving your property.

 

Pool parties are a lot of fun; if you like to entertain. You don’t have to go to the expense of an in ground pool. There are many options for cheaper above ground models that come with everything you need to get started.  This bargain is also for members of Amazon Prime.

 

 

In this post I have given you some examples of how I enjoy outdoor living; and presented you with some investments you can make to enjoy it more.

 

What are your spring and summer pastimes? How do you enjoy outdoor living? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

 

Please feel free to use the comment section to contribute to this discussion, or for any questions you may have about this post.

 

Thanks for visiting. I hope you come back soon. I love company, and my door is always open.

 

At your service,

Jeannie

 

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Trip to Paris, France and Kaiserslautern, Germany – With Pictures

As per my previous post: “Return to USA From my Trip to France and Germany”, I have recently returned from a trip to Paris, France and Kaiserslautern, Germany. I took many pictures during my trip, and will be sharing a few with you in this post.

 

 

The Trip

 

We flew first to Paris, France, where we visited the Eiffel Tower; or Tour Eiffel, as it is called there.

 

It was indeed something to behold. If you go to Paris, you won’t want to miss this one.

 

The view was spectacular and you can’t really see all of the beauty and splendor in the pictures I took; but here are a few.

 

There were several floors inside the Eiffel Tower, and boutiques and shops for the avid shopper. You could buy a souvenir from your visit, or almost anything else you might want from the varied shops.

 

 

 

 

From the Tour Eiffel; we walked back to the parking garage, and my daughter in law once again braved the Paris traffic. They mostly drive small cars there, which lend themselves to weaving in and out of traffic at will. Or they drive motor bikes or bicycles, that they bravely weave among the vehicles.

 

We passed a bicycle taxi cab (I believe they are called Rickshaws). I thought the person driving must have strong leg muscles with all that peddling. 🙂 Sorry I didn’t get a picture.

 

We squeezed the five of us back into the compact rental car that was supposed to be a station wagon, and my daughter in law drove the five hour drive from Paris France to Kaiserslautern, Germany.

 

We arrived at a little after 9 pm; and it sure was good to stretch out on an air mattress and get some rest, after our cramped five hour car ride. 🙂

 

In the morning, I got to meet my great grandchildren twins, Alana and Xavier. They are eight months old and adorable! And I renewed my acquaintance with sweet three year old William; the twins big brother. Great Grandma can’t help but share a couple pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

The next day was a laid back visiting day. We just relaxed and settled in. My granddaughter’s husband is stationed in Kaiserslautern for another year yet. I am thankful for their hospitality, and for their willingness to share their house, and their beautiful family for a week.

 

Thank you Chris and Eva.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Yabadoo

 

The day after, we visited an indoor children’s play park called “Yabadoo”. It was a birthday party for one of William’s friends. I took many pictures, but I will share just a few.

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what you call this; but it was a lot of fun for the children. It is made of a rubbery like material; such as you might imagine an air balloon would be made of. The children climb up it and then slide down; or they can sit on the top. This is the birthday girl climbing up.

 

 

 

I kept watching the kids and it looked like fun; so I decided to give it a try. The first time I didn’t make it all the way up; but the second time, I did (with a little hand up, at the top). I felt like I had conquered old age when I got to the top. But then I had to be brave enough to slide down. I managed to slide down safely obviously, or I wouldn’t be here writing this.

 

 

 

My daughter in law made it to the top too.  And my son gave it the best effort.  He got close, too.

 

As we came in, and as we left, we were greeted by this very cute Kangaroo.

 

 

Currency

 

My daughter in law and granddaughter went to the Commissary one day, and exchanged our American dollars for European Euros. This is the currency we needed to spend in Germany. The dollar is a coin; and there is a two dollar coin. The exchange rate in Germany (right now) is such that for $100 US dollars I received 90 Euros.

 

 

 

Beethoven Haus

 

On Saturday, we took a two hour drive to Bonn, to visit the Beethoven Haus; which was the house where composer, Ludwig van Beethoven was born and raised. The museum was interesting; but it would have been more so if I could have read the German writings. 🙂

 

 

 

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the museum; but I took some outside in the garden area.

 

 

Coming in and leaving the Beethoven Haus; we passed a wall with some beautiful murals. I was very impressed with them and took a couple pictures.

 

 

I would like to share the twins mode of transportation while walking to and from Beethoven Haus. They just love the coziness; and are interested in everything they see.

 

 

 

 

Lunch at the Commissary

 

On Sunday we went to the commissary for lunch. It was, more or less, a pizza buffet. There were several different kinds of pizza, a salad bar, some other foods, and a place to make your own sundae. Yummy. Here is Alana enjoying her cucumber and baby rattle dinner.

 

 

 

 

Smiling Donkey

 

As we traveled through town, I kept seeing this smiling donkey ; and I fell in love with him. I think you will agree that he has a winning smile. He’s somewhat of a town mascot according to my granddaughter. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Castle Nanstein

 

We also visited Castle Nanstein; the castle of the last chevalier, Franz von Sickingen. It is a castle ruin; but there is still a lot of the original structure to explore.The first documented mention was in the year 1253. From the 13th to the 15th century it was an Imperial Castle. Franz von Sickingen was sole proprietor from 1518 to 1523; when he was injured during a seige of the palace. He died, May 7, 1523.

 

 

 

Reconstruction to a Renaissance castle by the descendants of Sickingen took place in 1543.

 

 

Capture by the elector of Palatinate; partly detonated the facility in 1668. Further detonation of the castle occurred through french troops in 1689. From 1869 there have been attempts to renovate the ruin in parts.

 

 

 

 

It was interesting to see how they used the rock formations as part of their construction. And how beautiful the rocks are.

 

 

 

The arches and the architecture speak of medieval times. It is very quaint and beautiful.  It takes you back in history, in your minds eye, as you imagine the lives of people who lived here and worked within these walls.

 

 

 

I’m thinking that the following pictures might be the dungeon. It was damp and cold, and without the modern electricity would have been very dark, also.

 

I imagined prisoners from medieval times, as they were drug down into this miserable place, possibly in chains, and with just the clothes on their backs. The misery and suffering they must have gone through, was more than I could ever imagine. It sent cold chills up my spine.

 

The view from the castle was beautiful. I took pictures; but the beauty cannot be captured as well in photos, as when it is seen with the naked eye.

 

 

 

 

Return Home

 

Wednesday, we left at 2am for the 5 hour drive back to Paris. After the return of the rental car; we were to wait for a flight; but we lost our seats on that flight. We ended up taking a later flight to Miami, FL, and then on to Philadelphia. We had a night’s layover there and then on to State College, PA and home.

 

 

It was great to see State College, PA

 

It was beautiful taking off from Miami late at night.  Looking down on the city lights was like looking at a piece of black velvet with jewels on it.  I didn’t get pictures; but I did take a couple leaving Philadelphia.

 

 

 The camera doesn’t show the true extent of the beauty.

 

The traveling exhausted me; but overall my trip was an experience I will never forget. I must give thanks to my son and daughter in law (who works at State College airport) for making this opportunity possible.

 

Thank you, Chris and Barb, for including me. 🙂

 

 

I trust you enjoyed going along with me, through pictures, on my travels to Paris, France and Kaiserslautern, Germany. And this proud great grandma hopes you enjoyed seeing pictures of the twins and William.

 

I hope this post also sparks in you a desire to get out of your comfort zone, stretch your horizons, and do something new and different.

 

You are never too old to try new things, experience new places, and learn and grow. Maybe you can still climb a tower and slide down, like I did at Yabadoo.

 

Or maybe it is some other kind of tower you need to conquer, or a mountain you need to climb, or just a circumstance you need to look at in a new and different way.

 

Don’t be afraid to stretch the boundaries of your comfort zones; you never know to what heights it can lead; and what thrill it holds when conquered.

 

 

At your service,

Jeannie

 

 

Stretch your boundaries with learning for free:


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Return to USA From Trip to France and Germany

I just got home to USA yesterday, from a trip to France and Germany with my son and daughter in law.  I thought I would give you a little outline of the trip and then write more and share pictures in another post next week.

 

 

 

 

We drove to Williamsport, PA and caught a plane to Philadelphia.  From there we flew to Paris, France.  We were all tired; but we rented a car and my daughter in law drove through the busy Paris streets.  She is much braver than me.  The traffic is crazy there.  Cars just weave in and out, and so do people on motorcycles and bicycles.

 

 

 

The GPS was different on the rental car and we had a little trouble understanding it to find the Eiffel Tower.  I liked the architecture as we drove through the streets.  There were many windows and little balconies with intricate wrought iron railings. We parked and walked to the Tour Eiffel.  It was very unusual, and very tall.  🙂  I took pictures that I will share with you in the next post; so be sure to check back next week for the next installment of my adventures in France and Germany.

 

Kaiserslautern, Germany

Later that day we drove the rental car to Kaiserslautern, Germany.  It was about a 5 hour drive.  We got to my Grandaughter’s house about 9pm their time.

 

Twins were in bed

I didn’t get to see the 8 month old twins that are my great-grandchilden, or their big brother 3 year old William until morning; because they were in bed.

 

Getting settled in and resting

The house my granddaughter and her husband (who is in the service) live in was very large; and my son and daughter in law slept in one room on the third floor and I slept in another.  Their children slept in the lower level.  We were all very tired and settled in pretty quickly to get some sleep.  I slept on an air mattress; but it was pretty comfortable and I was glad to be able to stretch out after the cramped 5 hour drive from Paris.

 

Meeting the twins and visiting

The next day we just visited and met the twins, Alana and Xavier.  And I renewed my acquaintance with 3 year old William.  The twins were adorable and so is William.  I can’t wait to share their pictures; but I haven’t downloaded them from my phone yet.

 

Birthday party at Yabadoo

I will be glad to write in more detail what we did and share some pictures; but for now I will just tell you what we visited.  We went to a birthday party at a place called Yabadoo; which is a children’s indoor play park.  The birthday party for a friend of William’s.  They have some things that are different from children’s parks in the USA.  I will be showing you pictures of some of what was there, also.

 

Ludwig van Beethoven house

Another day we went to see the home where Ludwig Van Beethoven was born and raised.  It had a lot of history there, and was interesting; but a lot was written in French and we didn’t understand.  Still it was interesting seeing the history and the pictures.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside; but I have some of the outside of the house and the garden.

 

Nanstein Castle

We went to Nanstein castle ruins the day before we left for home.  It was fun to explore all the different rooms and look at the rock formations, etc.  And the views from the ruins were awesome.  Even though it isn’t all there anymore; there is enough left of the castle to spark your imagination of medevial times.  I got lots of pictures and will be sharing some them with you in the next post.

 

Smiling donkey statue

There is a smiling donkey statue that I fell in love with.  I will show you a picture of his wonderful smile.  I wanted to go see some other sites nearby; but there just wasn’t time.

 

Heading home

 

Paris, France to Miami, FL

We drove back to the DeGaulle airport in Paris.  We left at 2am Wednesday morning; their time.  After driving the 5 hours back to Paris, we found there wasn’t any more seats on our flight, so we had to change our plans and wait for another flight that went to Miami, FL.  It was a very long flight and though the accommodations were business class and pretty nice, I was uncomfortable a lot of the flight.

 

Miami to Philadelphia, PA

Then after a three hour wait in Miami; we took a flight to Philadelphia that was not as long; and I was happy to have a window seat.  It was beautiful taking off at night.  The ground looked like a black piece of material with sewed on jewels, as we ascended.  I tried to take pictures but forgot to take off the flash so they didn’t turn out.

 

Philadelphia, PA

When we got to Philadelphia; we had to wait til morning for a flight to State College.  We rented two small rooms at the airport and got about 5 hours rest.  Then we took off for State College airport in the morning.  That flight was only about 45 minutes to an hour long.  It was so good to see State College; which is really close to home.  I have some pictures of that flight.  I had a window seat in it also.

 

Philadelphia to State College, PA

It was good for me to go see other countries and I enjoyed meeting my great grandchildren twins; but it was wonderful to come home.  There’s no place like home.

 

There’s no place like home.

 

 

Thanks for reading.  Please feel free to use the comment section below.  Stop back next week for the sequel and more pictures and details.  I love company and my door is always open.

 

At your service,

Jeannie

 

 

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5 Step Process for Choosing and Implementing the Best Hobbies For You

Hello my fellow retirees and other friends.

 

Knit, Wool, Knitting, Hand Labor

Hobbies

What interests you? What do you like to do? What sparks your joy? What things make your life worth living? Everyone has interests and things that make them happy. We just need to search them out and do them. Usually we call these interests “hobbies”; although they may reach further or be known by some other name. I have come up with a 5 step process for choosing and implementing a great hobby.

 

Our interests change over time. We may not be interested in doing the same things we enjoyed when we were younger; or we may not be physically able to pursue the same things. As we live, grow and experience, our interests will naturally evolve with us. There are times in our life, that an experience has a profound impact on us, and changes many aspects of our personality. A religious experience would be one example of this. Also being exposed to a life very different from ours; such as observing how people live in other countries; may also have a profound effect on us. I could come up with other examples; but I think you get the idea.

White Male, 3D Model, Isolated, 3D

 

During the time I was caring for my parents; I put many of my interests aside to care for them.
I am now trying to seek out and remember what things interest me. I am asking myself anew:
What do I like to do? What makes me happy? What consumes me while I’m involved in it. What brings me contentment and fulfillment?

 

When I was younger, married with children, I used my spare time on artwork, sewing, crafts, etc. Even when there wasn’t a lot of time to squeeze in the things I liked to do; I felt it was important not to lose touch with those things that made me feel fulfilled, vibrant and alive or, even just content and peaceful.

 

Background, Scrapbooking, Paper, Heart

 

When the Lord came into my life and heart, it had a profound effect on my life. Ever since, I have been growing in my faith, and changing as the Lord leads me. I was doing a lot of gospel singing at gospel concerts and nursing homes, etc.; but I limited most of those activities to have more time to take care of my parent’s needs.

 

But still, while caring for them, I pursued what I felt the Lord calling me to do.  I took mail order classes, working mostly nights on my lessons. I now hold an Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in ministry. I serve as Associate Pastor at my church, and speak at other functions when asked. The reason I am telling you this is so you will understand how we grow and change, and how our interests adapt to the changes that occur in our life.

 

Here are 5 steps for choosing and implementing the best hobbies for you.

 

1.  DECIDE you want to pursue a hobby:

 

If you have been so busy you haven’t had time for hobbies while making a living. Now is the time to get back in touch with those things that interest you, and decide what you would enjoy doing, now that you have the time to pursue those interests.

 

2.  DETERMINE what your interests are.

 

If we have put that part of our life on hold for some time, figuring out what we love to do may be a challenge. In my case, I am looking back at some of the things I used to do; and deciding if I still have an interest in those things. I am pursuing one of my interests just by writing this post. I have always loved to write, share and help others to find a way to live life to it’s fullest.

 

Everyone’s interests will be different. If you have always been physical; then you can still pursue hobbies with a physical nature; but you may have to adapt them to current physical condition. If you enjoy crafts, you may have to change to different ones because of failing eyesight or arthritis, etc. If you are a musician, you may have some problems playing the way you used to; but there are always alternatives.

 

Music, Notes, Melody, Sound

 

Music is a wonderful hobby. If you play an instrument or sing; you can enjoy your hobby and give others joy from listening. It has also been found that music is very helpful in reaching out to people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It really does have a soothing effect and certain songs can bring back memories of younger days and happier times.

 

If music is an interest of yours; but you don’t play an instrument. It’s never to late to learn. You could take piano or guitar lessons. Or just buy a harmonica and see what you can do with it.  If you know others that play or sing, perhaps you would rather just go listen.

 

 

If we have been avid readers, our failing eyesight may have made that pursuit difficult or impossible. My mother loved to read until Macular Degeneration stole that joy.  She enjoyed others reading to her, and she liked help to do the crossword puzzles she loved. If your hobby was reading, and your eyesight is declining, there are android devices that will read for you; such as Kindle. You can still read the books you love; without straining your eyes. These devices are great for anyone; because you can listen to them while doing other things.

 

 

Some of us enjoy solving puzzles.  Some examples are: crossword puzzles, sudoku, jig saw puzzles or Rubix Cubes. If this is something you like, there are many free apps for your phone or android device.  There are also puzzles you can solve for free on the internet.

 

If you are artistic, you may enjoy taking up painting or sketching. You could take some lessons, or just get some supplies and start. People who are artistic usually like things like dance, music, crafts. If you like dance, you could take some courses in ball room dancing, or just put on some music and flow with it. There are many different crafts that may peak your interest. Many women enjoy sewing, quilting, crocheting, needlework, and knitting.  There are people who find joy in taking articles destined for the trash and making something beautiful or useful from them. Some enjoy using artificial flowers, lace, ribbon, etc. to make various articles beautiful. Or you can buy a craft kit and just follow the directions.

 

 

I like to draw and sometimes burn those drawings into wood. This is called wood burning. Sometimes after wood burning, I paint with water colors and cover with clear coat to protect. I used to sell them. People would commission me to draw their pets, or people close to them. I also kept an inventory for people to buy for gifts, etc. Here is one I did many years ago with the draw, paint and clear coat method.

 

Collie wood burning 1978

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a hobby I may want to get back into. Here are some I did more recently. They are simply drawn and wood burnt. I can also add wood shapes with glue.

 

Faith Hope Love Wood Burning

 

 

 

 

Faith wood burning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this is something you would like to try; perhaps you could start with a kit. They come with a wood burner, and plaques on which drawings are already stamped. The wood burners included aren’t usually the best quality; but they are good enough to practice with.  New wood burners have a habit of cutting to deeply. If you are having that problem; either lighten your touch or sand of some of the sharpness with sandpaper.
Here is a kit I found on Amazon:

 

 

If you have an interest in writing; perhaps you would like to try your hand writing on the web. If you search, you will find places on the web where you will be able to write about things that interest you. Or you could build your own website, and write until your heart’s content. If you wish to learn how, you can start with a starter membership at Wealthy Affiliate, 7 free lessons and two free websites. And the best part is it is free!!

 

 

If you have always been a housekeeper, you may have interests such as, cooking, organizing, home decorating, coupon clipping, etc. Or if you have children, you may have a lot of helpful hints for other parents. The list could go on and on. Maybe you would be interested in writing about your interests? Or maybe some of the things you like to do could translate into extra income.

 

Now for men (and some women too), your interests may be more in line with hunting, fishing, playing golf or tennis or watching football on TV. Some men are born mechanics and enjoy working on vehicles (or collecting and restoring antique cars). Others may have a knack for carpentry or cabinet making and enjoy building and creating things out of wood.

 

3.  CHOOSE one or two to try:

 

Hopefully the ideas I wrote about in this post served to get your creative juices flowing. You are the only one who can decide what your interests are and what ones you would like to build a hobby around. We all have a creative nature. If you really think about the things you have enjoyed in the past, or something you have always wanted to do; but didn’t have time for you will come up with at least a few ideas.

 

Startup, Start Up, Growth Hacking, Start

4.  START to do one of the choices you made.

 

It is important to dream, research, think and plan; but without action, we will never know for sure what hobbies will be the best ones for us, or how much joy and purpose they may add to our lives. With some of the ideas, you may need to do some training; but you can choose to enjoy the journey while working toward something. Sometimes the learning itself can be almost as enjoyable as the hobby itself. It isn’t even as important to know for sure what we want to do, as it is to do something. Start something. The rest will just happen as a result of the motion. It’s like dominoes that someone has arranged close together in an intricate pattern. All you have to do is touch the first domino. All you have to do is start something, to open up a new more exciting life for yourself.

 

5.  ENJOY!!

 

Pursuing hobbies or interests is very fulfilling. You will find pride and joy in creating something with your own hands. You may make new friends as you take some classes to learn more about new hobby or interest. It is a wonderful feeling to pursue and capture your dreams! We are never to old to learn new things. We are not to old to dream, plan, set goals and achieve! As long as we have breath, we can learn, grow, change, develop and conquer our fears. No matter what it is we try; isn’t it better than sitting mindlessly in front of a television? The TV may entertain us; but it is passive entertainment. There is no achievement on our part. We were made to dream, plan, create and enjoy what we have achieved. Enjoy your hobbies! Enjoy your life!

 

Thanks for reading. I trust this post has sparked your interest to pursue and capture a hobby or two that you will enjoy. Let’s live life to it’s fullest; not just exist! Follow these five steps to a more fulfilled and interesting life. 1. DECIDE 2. DETERMINE 3. CHOOSE 4. START 5. ENJOY!

 

If you would like to read about one of my hobbies, check this out:

 

Decorating Your Artificial Tree for Each Holiday

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you come back again soon. Remember, my door is always open. I love company. This site was created for retirees; but I hope the content is such that anyone who stops by can benefit from. New content is added weekly for you, my readers, to learn from and enjoy.

 

At your service,

Jeannie

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Decorating Your Artificial Tree for Each Holiday

Hi friends.

 

The Christmas and New Year Holidays are over; but if you have an artificial tree, you can leave it up

all year round. There are many ideas for decorating your artificial tree for each holiday during the

remainder of the year.

 

In this post, I will give you some examples of how I have decorated my tree for each holiday in 2016.

You may think of other holidays you want to include and that’s just fine.  Have fun with it.

 

You may be thinking, “Oh this sounds like too much work” or “I don’t have the time”. But it is actually

rather fun and doesn’t take much time. Since you aren’t putting the tree up. and taking it down, it is

pretty easy. Some of the decorations may be left on the tree, and the new decorations added.  For

instance, if I have angels on my tree from Christmas, I can let them on for Valentine’s Day. Then

just add hearts, lace, or any other appropriate decorations for the Valentine’s Day Tree.

 

The first thing you need is an artificial tree that already has lights on. Preferably not one that is overly

large. You can put it in an out of the way corner, so it doesn’t interfere with your everyday life.

 

Yet there it is! A thing of beauty for you to enjoy all year long.

 

I bought my tree several years ago.  I think I paid around $35 for it.  I was tired of cleaning up pine

needles, and I loved the fiber-optic lights. If you don’t have one, shop around until you get a good buy.

Or you can buy a second hand tree for much cheaper. Just make sure it is in good condition.

 

This is the tree I started with. A basic artificial tree. Mine has fiber-optic lights that twinkle and also

regular lights that were already on it when I purchased the tree.

 

 

 

If your tree doesn’t have any lights, that’s okay.

 

Just add your own.

 

You will only have to put them on once anyway.

 

 

The wonderful thing about decorating your tree all year long is; you don’t have to put the lights

on and take them off; and you don’t have to get the tree out before Christmas, and put it away

after.  No more trips to the garage, or attic for the tree.

It is already there; so you just decorate!

 

Of course, the first tree we will be decorating is our Christmas Tree.

Christmas tree 2015

Here is mine from 2015/2016

 

After Christmas is over, simply survey your tree to see what decorations can stay for Valentine’s Day,

and what must go. Hearts are always beautiful for Valentine’s Day. Red, white, silver and pink are good

colors. Angels or cherubs are also fit into the Valentine’s Day theme.  Maybe you don’t have any hearts

(which I didn’t). Any dollar store will have cheap decorations close to the season.

 

I picked out some glittery hearts. Then I went home and used red craft foam to make more. Get creative,

if you have the time. Use scraps of ribbon, pieces of lace, valentine cutouts, etc. For impact, hearts

can be cut with pinking sheers. Then glue a small red heart to a larger white heart and back with an

even larger red heart. Experiment. You will be surprised at what you come up with.  If you just start

doing something creative it will fuel your creative side, and you may amaze yourself and others with

something beautiful!  Best of all, it will be something you created!

 

Valentine’s Day Tree

This is my Valentine’s Day Tree.

 

 

Note:

You can use your Christmas hooks to hang decorations. If they have a

string, simply hook on that.  If not, poke a hole to put the hook in.

It is easier to use the metal hooks than the little strings.

 

Oh my, Valentine’s Day is over already. You can let the decorations on for

the rest of the month, if you want. The next holiday I decorated for was

St. Patrick’s Day. There is a Dollar Tree Store in my area (everything a

dollar or less); but any Dollar Store will sell cheap decorations.

I found some shamrock at Dollar Tree.

 

 

Shamrock, Green, Clover, Irish

You can make your own by drawing 3 hearts with

their points together and putting a stem on.

Then cut them out of green craft foam or

felt (backed with cardboard).

 

I found a cute leprechaun hat that I used for the tree top.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Tree

Here is a picture of my St. Patrick’s Day Tree.

 

 

The next holiday I decorated for was Easter. Good color choices for Easter are pastels: pink, purple,

yellow, orange, blue, etc. I found a little pink stuffed lamb to use for a tree topper. Ideas for Easter

could be: lambs, chicks, eggs, bunnies, baskets, ribbons, etc. I used mostly plastic eggs and some chicks

on this tree.  The crosses and angels were already on from Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

 

Easter Tree

This is my Easter Tree.

 

 

Your Easter Tree decorations can stay on all through April, if you like. When May comes, I think of

spring flowers. I used some large flowers I found at Dollar Tree. I filled in with smaller flowers.

I also found some large sparkly butterflies. I really liked my Spring Flower & Butterfly Tree.

I left it up until near the end of June.

 

Butterfly and Flower Tree

Here is my Spring Flower

& Butterfly Tree.

 

 

At the end of June or the first of July, you can decorate for Independence Day. I found some red,

white and blue bows and a big one for a tree topper at the Dollar Tree. You could go with red white

and blue flowers, or streamers that look like fireworks.

 

4th of July Tree

Here is my Fourth of July Tree.

(Or Independence Day Tree)

 

Oh my. Is it August already?

 

I found August a little more difficult to find a theme; but I went with sunflowers and I loved my

Sunflower Tree so much I left it up right through September,October and November.

(Or maybe I just got too busy)

In September I added some autumn leaves around the bottom of the tree.

 

Here is my Sunflower Tree:

 

If you want, you could make an Autumn Leaf Tree for September.

It could have acorns or pine cones, too

Leaf, Autumn, Leaves, Forest, Red Leaf

Ribbons and bows of autumn colors would be nice.

Colors for autumn: brown, orange, red, yellow and green.

Autumn, Decoration, Fall, Food, Fresh

October could be a Halloween tree. Ghosts, pumpkins, black cats, apples, etc.

October colors are similar to Autumn; but black and orange are the main

ones used. Next year; perhaps I will have a black cat and pumpkin tree.

 

Cat, Black, Animal, Grass, Concerns

Your October Decorations could remain on the tree into November, or you could let your pumpkins

or orange and black ribbons on and add turkeys and/or cornucopias for a Thanksgiving Tree.

Or make your own pumpkin, turkey or cornucopia cut outs from craft foam and write something

you are thankful for on each one.

 

When the family comes for dinner, they can join in the fun

by adding their decoration with their own personal thanks message.

 

Oh My! It’s the end of November before you know what happened!

It’s time to put the fall decorations away and bring the Christmas

decorations back out. We are starting all over again.

But didn’t we have fun? I know I certainly did!

 

My Christmas Tree for 2016/2017

 

 

What will the decorations cost?

I am on a fixed income and can not afford to spend a lot for decorating. If you use the same decorations

over again, just varying slightly so your tree doesn’t look quite the same as it did the year before;

your cost will be a one time investment. Or if you have time, you could make a lot of your decorations.

I didn’t have much time; so I went to the Dollar Store. 🙂

 

I think I paid around four to eight dollars for each holiday;

but I will use them again this year and next, etc.

 

NOTE:

When each holiday ends, pack up your decorations into a box

and label with the holiday name, ie:  Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.

They will be ready and waiting for you when that holiday arrives the next year.

In conclusion:

I had a lot of fun throughout 2015, decorating my tree for each holiday, and I have every intention of

doing the same this year.  My Christmas tree is still up; but it will soon be turning into my Valentine’s

Day Tree. And I will be enjoying my tree all year long in 2016.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas for decorating your own Christmas tree for each holiday

all year round. It is so much fun.  Your visitors and family will love looking at the different holiday trees.

There are so many variations you can come up with. The possibilities are endless.

 

If you do this every year and have some ideas to pass on; or you have any comments or questions about

the contents of this post, please use the comments section below.

 

I love comments and I will answer them all.

Your thoughts are important to me and I would like to know if there

are others doing something similar with their artificial trees.

 

Thanks for visiting. I love company! Come back again soon.

New content will be added weekly.

 

Please check out my other posts in the menu section.

 

If you are interested in health, I have created 3 categories;

Physical Health, Mental Health and Spiritual Health.

There are articles of interest under each category.

 

This post is the start of a new category called “Just for Fun”. I will be creating some interesting posts

for crafts, jokes, poetry, etc. for under this new category. Check back in a few weeks for new content.

 

Stop back whenever you like. My door is always open!

 

At your service,

Jeannie