Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dreaming of Walnut Grove

Since I was sick all weekend, it was pretty much an eat, take medicine, sleep, and watch television weekend. It’s not that I don’t watch television normally, but it is usually more of a background thing, going while I multi-task with household chores. However, this weekend there was no multi-tasking; there was just lying on the couch and watching.

The Gospel Music Channel (GMC) had the movie “Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder” followed immediately by “Beyond the Prairie 2…”. I thoroughly enjoyed these movies, so much so, in fact, that I later pulled out my old book on Laura and started reading it. It had been years since I had read it, and I had forgotten some of the details of this “true story” of Laura and her family.

They sure moved around a lot! Pa’s wanderlust far exceeded my own, and he dragged his little family all over kingdom come. Of course, many of the “little houses” are gone, but there are still a couple of Ingalls’ places to be seen. According to the book, Pa, Ma, Mary, Carrie, and Grace are buried in a prairie graveyard southwest of the town of De Smet, South Dakota. In addition to open prairie, there are actually a couple of homes that you can tour while there, including the “Surveyor’s House” (the first house in which they lived when they moved to De Smet), and the house on Third Street (the last house Pa built for the family). For more information, click here. I would so love to go there!

Of course, Laura and Almanzo ended up near Mansfield, Missouri, and the house that they built is now a museum. Many family artifacts are on display there. For more information, click here. I would love to go there, too! (Possible “bucket list” material?)

But, of course, you can’t think of Laura and Ma and Pa without thinking of Walnut Grove, Minnesota. The book I am reading was published in the 1970’s and I was surprised to read, “The town has grown very little since Laura’s day…” Really? Still? I was intrigued. A quick internet search revealed that the population of Walnut Grove in 2000 was 1,098 people! Amazing! I think there are more people than that in my little neighborhood! Of course, Walnut Grove offers all things Ingalls, and I would love, love, love to go there! (For information, click here.) Will I be able to sweet talk Robert into taking me? I can’t really say. Would my mother like to have another wild adventure with me? I’m not so sure. Maybe I could talk Mandy and Miss Popper into going with old Lolee to visit Walnut Grove! After all, Miss Popper and I WILL be reading the “Little House” books as soon as she is old enough to enjoy them. What a great time we could have! (Miss Popper’s Lolee will buy her one of everything in the gift shop, if Paisley wants her to!) This is definitely on my “bucket list”!

The more I look at Walnut Grove, the more I like this little town. After all, I’m sure there’s some farm land there, it’s not too crowded, and it even has snow! A quick check of homes for sale there show that they are certainly in our price range. (Although I am very fond of moose, and Wyoming definitely has moose. Are there moose in this area? I wonder.) Maybe I could work at the museum (how fun would that be?!). Now, if they just needed a hydrologist or civil engineer…

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finally Finished…And It’s “Plum” Perfect!

Robert finished remodeling the bathroom a couple of weeks ago. That meant that it was time for me (Lori) to do MY part and put in the finishing details. I actually had been looking forward to this part for quite some time. As luck would have it, the whole world (or at least our whole metroplex) has had some kind of bug going around and our whole family (including me) has been sick off and on for this past couple of weeks. Luckily, last week I did have one good day and was able to get the bathroom finished before the next round of being sick hit.

I knew that I wanted a universal tile for the shower because I like to change things around quite often (I also am aching to sell the house in the future and want it to not be too specific). We found this white rectangular tile (universal and great for our budget, too). Robert did a great job (the tile is NOT crooked, the photographer is just inept):

I also knew I wanted a floor tile that had several different colors. The grout came out a little lighter than we wanted, but our crew will have it dark and discolored in no time:

I knew I wanted a more universal wall color than I have had in the past. I found a soft grey paint, and I really liked it because there are a lot of shower curtains, etc., that go with grey, and changing the bathroom d├ęcor won’t be too involved:

I knew I wanted a pedestal sink. This bathroom is quite small and the old honker of a vanity that was original just took up too much space. I think Robert did a good job (although this photographer can’t take a straight picture to save her life):

I was tickled that we saved our little shelves from their previous stint. They are perfect for holding our “fluffing and buffing” stuff, while still looking somewhat stylish:

What I didn’t know was that I would end up with a shower curtain and other accessories that I would have never imagined. My mother-in-law, Lynda, gave me a Kohl’s gift card for Christmas and I thought it would be a great idea to use it for the new bathroom stuff. I was on the hunt for something with grey in it, and I did find a shower curtain with a grey stripe. However, the other colors in the curtain were not colors that I would have thought of on my own, but the longer I looked at it, the more I liked it:

All it needed was a soft, cushy, purple bath rug:

And of course, you have to have some lilac colored hand towels:

Of all of the things in the new bathroom, I am most proud of my do-it-yourself project. I have a large basket that sits on the back of the toilet; it holds my hair dryer, brush, and other fluffing items, and has proven quite useful through the years. It is still like new – the only problem was that the liner was a blue and white stripe material that would not match this purple and green bathroom at all. A couple of years ago I would have never dreamed that I could cut the old liner apart and use the pattern to make a new one, but thanks to Lynda’s encouragement of me learning to sew, I was able to make a new liner and keep my beloved basket in style:

I am so glad that one more project has been checked off the list. Once my antibiotics kick in and I feel better (hopefully tomorrow) I will get started on some clutter busting or something to try to make the rest of the house match that pretty new room!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Early in my career I worked in a library. This was a perfect fit for me because I have always loved books. And, freak that I am, it’s not just the reading that I love. I love the little “crack” sound that the binding on a new book makes when you open it for the first time. While other kids were sniffing glue, I literally had my nose in a book, catching a whiff of the ink. Aahh…invigorating! If I was lucky enough to get a new book with high gloss paper…well, let’s just say it was a feast for all of the senses.

We now pretty much have book cases in every room of our house. A couple of Halloweens ago, a little trick-or-treater peeked through our door, and his eyes opened wide. “Is this the library?” he asked. Yes, that really did happen!

My love of books often conflicts with my love of clutter-busting, but I just can’t give them up. People have asked me why I don’t just check books out of the library. Well, that may work for novels (which I really don’t read that often), but in most cases, if I’m interested in something enough to want to read about it in the first place, I want to go back and revisit that book again and again. Yep, better to just own it!

I know that there are new-fangled gizmos that will store all kinds of books on one little device. While this would save me all kinds of space, I’m thinking that an electronic screen just would not “sniff” the same as a new book. Are the pictures as pretty? Do they even have pictures? If I’m learning about keeping chickens, I want to see them in all of their glory!

Below is a sampling of just a few of my shelves. I still have my Nancy Drew mysteries that I read as a child, as well as a book on Laura Ingalls Wilder (I grew up reading “Little House” and it haunts me today, leaving me dreaming of a log cabin with a loft and hand-made quilts on all of the beds!):

This is just one of a couple of shelves dealing with self-improvement (I need lots of help):

This is my “dreaming” shelf, full of books I’m reading, getting ready for my “someday” hobby farm:

I’m teaching myself to quilt, so that I will be ready to make all those quilts when I get my log cabin or storybook cottage:

I have several shelves devoted to spiritual and moral growth, too (I need to read them 100 times each!):


I’m afraid that when it comes to reading, this sentimental reader will always be old-school. And now that I have the most wonderful grandchild in the world, I am delighted to be able to pass my passion for print along to her. I gave her some “baby” books for Christmas, but I can’t seem to stop buying books for her. I’m getting ready for when she’s a little older. I bought a couple just the other night.

I love this book of poetry because it has a lot of the classics like “Three Little Kittens” and “There Was a Little Girl”:


I bought this book for me as much as I bought it for Miss Popper. The puppy reminds me of Molly-Anna Marie and her muddy paws. There is actually an illustration on the inside depicting a white tile floor with paw prints all over it. We have a white tile floor, and yes, there are usually paw prints all over it:

I look forward to sharing the world with Miss Popper through all of the books that we will read together. Whenever she visits her Lolee, it will be “old-school” time!