It occurs to me as I start this post that today’s Throwback Thursday picture may not, in fact, be all that interesting to you.  Sorry if that’s the case but I’m running with it anyway.  It’s already scanned and PicMonkeyed and I’m here with a half hour to kill before I need my morning shower so it’s happening whether you like it or not.

In the interest (gotta get “interest” in this post somewhere amiright?) let me present an ultra exciting picture  . . . of the living room in my childhood house.

Ta da!

First House Living Room PM RW

Wow.  I know, right?  E.X.C.I.T.I.N.G.

This is currently relevant to me for a few reasons.

One.  The desk on the far left and the curio cabinet in the bottom left corner are going to my sister.  This is mostly relevant because as I type this I’ve been discussing with mom and dad how to get those pieces the two hours to my sister’s house.  We are all scheduled to head that way for my niece’s 8th birthday this weekend (don’t forget I prescheduled these Throwback Thursday posts so don’t bother wishing the tike Happy Birthday because it was months ago.  If all goes well I’ll have done a quick birthday recap on the blog already and if I’m not too lazy I’ll go back and link it here.  Is the “here” in a different color and underlined?  If so- GO ME!  If not – well, I suck and my niece had a birthday.)  so it seems like a good time to formulate a plan on how to get the furniture there.

Two.  Above the desk is an old style metal world map.  I recently ran across a similar piece at the local consignment store and came *this close* to shelling out $50 for it.  My folks no longer have this map to pass on to me and I like to have pieces around the home that remind me of something.  My only hesitation was (aside from the price) I have no place to hang it.  I already have a pile of art that needs a home, some with much more sentimental value than a metal map.  So I passed.  Still, for some reason, I always liked that map.

Here’s what I find so interesting about this picture.

The decor, obviously.  Dark maroon carpeting?  Drop ceiling?  Paneled wall?  Wallpapered wall?  Fake flower arrangements in those rusty brown tones you only see in old photographs?  Yes please!  Fun stuff.

Also, there are encyclopedias on the bookshelf.  ACTUAL ENCYCLOPEDIAS!!  Does Wikipedia know these used to exist?

The furniture piece on the right is a credenza . . . I just learned the other day that my Father-in-Law doesn’t know what a credenza is.  If he’s reading this post, now he does.

Supposedly my dad built the bookshelves and closet you see at the back . . . and was told under penalty of death they had better be done right.  I think they look nice, don’t you?  Dad also painted the fall scene that is hanging above the credenza although you can’t really see it here.

The last interesting thing to note was that this room was an add-on and for years took in water like a toddler sucks up juice.  That’s a lot of water for all you folks without kids.  As a kid myself I recall it was kinda fun to walk around barefoot on the squishy carpet after a torrential downpour.  I’d imagine the folks thought it was less fun.

And that’s all I’ve got today!  Since I have about four months of these Throwback Thursday posts prescheduled, I’m going to take a break and start scheduling some Random Picture of the Day posts for a while.  See you on the flip side.  Did I really just type that?

– Joanna

Question of the Day – So tell me, have you liked the Throwback Thursday series?  Be honest, I can take it.  Try not to judge the whole series on one boring photograph though mmmm K?

WHY am I still calling my Grandpa “Gramps” on this blog of mine?  I have no idea.  So for my Throwback Thursday post this week, I shared an old picture of my Grandpa and a few facts about him, including tales of an old rusty desk he worked at in the basement.

I managed to find some pictures of that desk!  These were taken when my Grandma entered a care facility and we cleaned out her house.  Grandpa had passed away quite a few years before that but his desk remained largely untouched.

Here’s his desk, rust and peeling laminate and all.

Gramps Desk 5 RW

And a few close ups of the shelf contents.

Gramps Desk 1 RW

Gramps Desk 3 RW

Gramps Desk 2 RW

Gramps Desk 4 RW

The husband was proud Grandpa loved himself some Pabst, even if it was the non-alcoholic kind.  Personally, I only remember Grandpa drinking O’douls beer.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Do you have sentimental items you’ve kept from loved ones that have passed away?

I have no idea why I titled this Throwback Thursday post “Gramps” . . . I don’t recall ever calling my grandpa that.  He was always just Grandpa (insert last name here which is my maiden name which unless we went to grade school together – Hi Mavis! – is totally irrelevant.)

So here’s my Grandpa.

Grandpa PM RW

I have a pretty sweet picture of him in his uniform from his Navy days, but I don’t have the time right now to dig through the external hard drive looking for the scan.  I like this pic of Grandpa mostly for the cool old car.  That makes, what, three Throwback Thursday car posts now?  I also like the fact that people dressed better back in the day.  We weren’t all running around in jeans or yoga pants all the time.  The Husband often comments he longs for the days when people wore hats everyday.   And not baseball hats or even gentleman farmer hats.  Hats like fedora’s.  I can get behind that.

At the job I loved before Sweetey was born, all my coworkers wore suits each day to work.  There is something so traditional and fabulous about coming to work and seeing all your friends in suits.  There was something also pretty fabulous about seeing said suited men cleaning the bathrooms when it was their day too, but we can talk about that some other day.

But I’ve segued, this post is about Grandpa.

So, Grandpa.  I spent more time with my family on mom’s side than dad’s side so I didn’t know Grandpa as well as I could have.  He loved to play cards and we played Gin Rummy a lot, sitting on the creamy colored and creaky rusted old two seater swing on his front porch.  He also loved postage stamps!  I went through a phase where I wanted to have something in common with Grandpa and collected stamps for awhile there too.  To this day if I see a cool stamp on an envelope I cut it off and toss it into a wooden box and think of him.  Grandpa used to work on his stamps in his basement on an old metal desk with floor laminate curling up on the open shelves.  I wish I could have taken that desk for my garage, just for sentiment, but when we cleaned out my grandparents house I had no place to put it.  Besides, an old metal desk is an awfully large item to hold onto just for sentiments sake.  So I think it stayed with the house.

I did keep many of the contents of that desk though and I have them boxed neatly into a plastic bin.  It’s odd to think of every material possession and link to years of memories I have of Grandpa being stored into one modest bin.  Although I have no memories linked to the wooden gavel I found.  Why did Grandpa have a wooden gavel???  I guess this will always remain a mystery.

– Joanna

Oh!  One more quick thing.  My poodle, The Snoops, came into my life the day after my grandfather passed away.

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite memory of your grandfather?  

Rural King is awesome.  It is literally astounding the variety of items you can find there.  I mean, the potato chip selection alone is worth the trip!  Yes, that’s a link to previous post I wrote.  Go read it if you don’t recall or are new here.  Or read it again just because.  Go on, scoot scoot.  But come on back because I’m not done.

I’m really thinking this might be a regular series.  We sure go to Rural King often enough to make it a regular series.  Okay, it’s decided.  From now on every time I go to Rural King I’m taking pictures for you; pictures of whatever I find of interest that day.

I can’t believe I didn’t notice this before but there are chicken foot prints painted on the concrete when you walk in.  Either calling or mocking (boock boock boock boock).  In other news Sweetey Petey does an excellent chicken impression these days.

Chicken Feet RW

More chickens.  And ducks.  This time in lawn ornament form.  My now duck obsessed husband seriously wanted the duck statue.  I threatened him with bodily harm, because, well, they’re ugly.  I have standards people.

Rural King Chx Statue RW

Chicken travel cups.   The Husband is actually in the market for a new travel cup but I didn’t quite get the joke.  It’s supposed to be funny right?

Rural King Mug 2 RW

I mean King of the Roost?  No.  Cock of the Walk is a classic but King of the Roost I just don’t get.

Rural King Mug 1 RW

More lawn decorations.  It got me thinking I might do something whimsical outside for the kids to enjoy, but not exactly like this.  Because, well, they’re ugly.

Flower RW

The best part of this trip was the clothing!  Camo overalls but with white ruffles for girls.  My daughter will wear this over my dead body because this may have been the ugliest thing in the store.

Outfit 3 RW

Wait, no.  This may have been the ugliest thing in the store.  No, no, the camo is worse I think.  Hard to decide, really.  There are both so very very bad.

Outfit 1 RW

All the clothes weren’t bad, though.  I’d let my daughter wear this one (after I cut the lace off the top of course.)

Outfit 2 RW

Possibly the most controversial item I found was a drunk Smurfette lounging sluttily in a cocktail glass.  Ummmmm aren’t Smurfs supposed to be for kids?  Smurfette – stop with the come hither stare, stop hiking that dress above your knees and join AA already!!!!

Rural King Smurf RW

It wasn’t all bad this trip.  Petey got to pet a bunny so that was totally cool.

Rural King Bunny RW

See you next time we walk through Rural King!

– Joanna

P.S.  Congrats to a friend who just had her baby!  You know who you are and he is absolutely beautiful!  On a selfish note I’m excited to have another new mom friend I can chat with in the middle of the night because babies don’t sleep.  That whole “sleeping like a baby” cliche is false.  False advertisement I say!

Question of the Day:  What, of all these items, would you be willing to buy?

Beet pizza dough.  I promise it tastes better than it sounds.

Beet Pizza RW

The point here is not to make your pizza taste like beets, but to add some vegetably goodness to a meal often packed with gooey fatty cheese.  I LOVE cheese, but it’s not exactly considered a healthy staple.

It’s been a long while since I’ve made this, but I’m certain the recipe came from Never Homemaker.  Go ahead and click on over for the recipe if you want to make your own.

If you want some other fun alternatives to traditional pizza, check out my pizza posts!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza the recipe is way at the bottom so keep scrolling down till you get there mmmmm K?

Quinoa Crust Pizzathis is one of my favorites!

For a fun alternative way to eat beets, check out my one and only beet post!

Salted and Sauteed Beet Peels – take a slicer and curl those beets, then saute them till lightly crispy.  SO GOOD!  You’ll want to try this recipe.

– Joanna

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite pizza toppings?

This will probably be The Husband’s least favorite Throwback Thursday post.  You see, he’s not a huge fan of snakes.  His fear isn’t to the level of Indiana Jones, although anybody lowered into a cavern full of snakes would probably suddenly find themselves petrified of them hard core so maybe that’s a bad example.

I don’t mind snakes so much.  Granted I wouldn’t want to share a bed with one and I don’t live in a climate ripe with Rattlesnakes and Copperheads and whatever other poisonous reptiles slither around in the U S of A so I don’t have much experience to base a fear upon.

So in the spirit of not being afraid of snakes, I’d like to present a picture of me kissing one.

Snake Kiss PM RW

A dead one, but still.  It was alive at one point so it counts.  This was at a job I had post college and I cannot for the life of me recall why my coworker had a real live dead snake at her desk.  Maybe to instill fear?  Don’t mess with the accountant?  I dunno.  Clearly it didn’t work on me.  I also have a stuffed snake on my lap in this picture and I’m pretty sure I still have that fellow floating around the house somewhere.  Hidden of course, so as not to freak out The Husband (ideas for the next first of April are suddenly floating around in my mommy brain right now…)

I do have a few quick snake stories.  At the first house we rented when we moved to town, I left the house one morning to go to work and there was a zebra striped black and white snake curled around the Jeep’s front driver’s side tire.  I went back inside the house to tell The Husband and when I came back out it had slithered away.  Despite a few brief internet searches I’ve never been able to locate the name of that snake.  It sure was pretty though.

My second snake story is creepier.  It was sometime last year and I found a baby snake slithering along the baseboard of the fireplace room.  That’s right . . . INSIDE THE HOUSE.  The Husband was not pleased.  Not pleased at all.  It was only five inches long and very thin but a five inch snake INSIDE THE HOUSE was plenty big enough to panic my manly man of a husband.  My first instinct was to grab the first object I could find to stop it, which turned out to be a dull kitchen knife.  The dull kitchen knife was enough to hold the snake in its place but not enough to inflict damage.  I quickly decided I wanted to inflict damage lest I release him outside and he slither back into the house and bring all his brothers and sisters with him.  So I instructed The Husband to bring me a sharper knife and . . . animal lovers and squeamish people may want to click away now . . . I sawed that tiny little sucker in half.  Which took longer than I thought it would.  Snakes, even five inch ones, are tough and wily little buggers.

The Husband conferred with a neighbor the next day who seemed surprised at our intruder and commented he’d been there 20 years and only seen this happen once before.  I guess that makes us lucky?  Pretty sure The Husband wouldn’t agree with that statement.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Snakes.  Yay or nay?  Any snake run-ins to share?

And no, I’m not referring to this blog despite the fact I tweeted a while back that I was giving up blogging.

Only two of you cared by the way.

My official internet besties are Aly and Ann.  Your BFF bracelets will be arriving shortly.  Unless you’d prefer necklaces.

The tragic end is for the bug.  The Bubble Bug.  I posted a pic of him awhile ago but if you don’t want to click over, here it is again.

Bubble RW

He’s cute no?  No.  Not anymore.  I accidentally ran over him with the car.  Whoooooops.

Bug Destruction RW

In memory of the good times we’ve shared . . . Bubble Bug, you will be missed.  (Despite the fact you made a really annoying sound and often got clogged up creating a gigantic bubble butt and got stuck on the paver patio all the freaking time and I had to remove your wings because the bubbles would hit them and pop before they even took off.  Still, we shall miss you.) 

Pete and the Bug RW

Pete and his Bug RW

Bubble Bug Miss You RW

Pete Pushes Bug Button RW

Bug Wand RW

Pete picks up the bug RW

Bubble Bug Bubbles RW

Bug Close Up RW

Bug RW

In other news I’m thinking of upgrading the bug to something even cooler.  Like a Bubble Mower!  (It’s all terrain so the paver patio would be no problem and apparently it has frustration-free packaging.  I don’t know what that is, but it sounds awesome.  Now if only they made frustration-free children . . .)

Bubble Mower R

Get the boy started mowing the lawn early.  The Husband can thank me later.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What do you think . . . bug or mower?

Since this week’s Throwback Thursday post was all about our destroyer, Sadie, it’s only fair that today’s Random Picture of the Day post be all about The Snoops.

There’s a reason The Snoops loves my husband so much.  Mike had just gotten Sadie when we first met and I often brought The Snoops with me on our dates.  While we were dining or going to the movies, the pooches would chill out together at Mike’s apartment.  What I didn’t realize back then was that every time I stepped away to use the restroom, Mike would sneak the poodle a snack.  Mike quickly became one of her favorite people!  The way to a girl’s heart is through her dog, right?  It sure turned out that way.  The Snoops hasn’t always liked my gentleman friends so I took it as an excellent sign she was so infatuated with Mike.  Heh.  Little did I know.

Our neighbor across the way has adopted a similar attitude and is the local favorite for pretty much all the dogs.  He’s less covert about it though, and everybody knows when they see him he will have a pocket full of treats.

Here’s Don bribing The Snoops for her affection.

Snoops Gets a Snack RW

Works every time.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Well, it’s five o’clock in the morning in January and I’m sitting in bed writing you all this blog post.  While it’s not unusual for me to be up at five (I like my ME time and early morning is the only time I get it) it is unusual that I’m getting to blog in bed.  You see The Husband was up just before four to leave for a conference (his first extended stay away from Sweetey Petey I might add – let’s give the man some daddy points) and I had promised I would make him breakfast.  I might be a morning person, but The Husband definitely is not.  Making breakfast led to emptying the dishwasher which led to folding last nights laundry which led to a shower which led to me still being wide awake and needing something to do.  Hence the blogging in bed.

Can I just interrupt this exciting play by play to say I am really enjoying blogging in advance.  In a normal situation I would never ever admit The Husband was out of town.  And while I’m not the type of blogger interested in regurgitating my daily schedule for you all, for some reason writing these Throwback Thursday posts in advance like this has somehow felt like journaling.

So here I am, sitting in bed writing you all this blog post.  I chose a picture of Sadie (The Destroyer) for today’s topic since, as I’m sitting in bed writing you all this blog post, I’m listening to her stomach gurgle.  And gurgle.  And gurgle some more.

Sadie Pup PM RW

This pic was taken in the car, probably on the road to visiting the in-laws before Sweetey Petey came along as we board her when we travel these days.  She rode in the back but LOVED poking her head between the seats to see what was going on.  And often times she rested her head on Mike’s shoulder, which even I must admit, was pretty dang cute.

Sadie hasn’t been looking quite this happy these days.  It’s the stomach gurgling.  Over a month ago we went through a bout with her where she was throwing up every morning just before we all woke up (well, as we all woke up because you can’t sleep through that – yikes.)  Her stomach was gurgling and she was emitting bad smells, you know, from the rear end.  Lovely.  Just lovely.

After a few weeks of this she started refusing her food in the mornings.  Not eating is very un-Sadie like.  This dog will eat anything, whether it’s actually food or not.

Early one morning I finally had enough and did some googling.  Dr Veterinarian Google to the rescue.  A pet forum I landed on had an entire thread with dogs having this exact same problem.  According to tons of pet owners, it was very common and easily fixable.  Supposedly it was an acid build up in the stomach issue and a few corrective measures would solve the problem.  One, feed the dog a small snack right before bed so her stomach wouldn’t be empty.  Two, feed the dog a probiotic.  Easy peasy.

Sadie flat out refused the probiotic supplement, but did consent to a bite of food before bedtime.

Problem solved!

For about a week.  Then it all started up again.  I was tired.  The Husband was tired.  The Spot-Bot was tired.

Sadie typically has an iron stomach and calling the vet is not usually our first course of action.  She gets into things and causes trouble and if we called the vet at every stomach gurgle we’d have to take a second mortgage out on the house.

The not eating her food, however, had me concerned.  So I broke down and called the vet and explained the situation.  Her first response was, naturally, you need to bring Sadie in.  I politely and as compassionately as possible explained that we had just replaced our furnace and did not have room for a ginormous vet bill in the budget.

For a frame of reference, the carpet eating incident from years ago cost us close to $900 and was a complete waste of money (and pain for Sadie) because when the vet performed the surgery to remove the carpet strands they claimed to have seen in her intestines on the x-ray, they discovered Sadie had already upchucked it all and there was, in fact, NO CARPET LEFT TO REMOVE.  Fabulous.  So you can see our hesitation is based on years of expensive years with similar outcomes.

Our vet assured me that there would be no costly obligation and there was much she could tell from a simple and cheap office visit.  Fine.  Great.  I convinced Mike to take off work early, drive the half hour back home, pick up the dog and drive the half hour back to the vet which is, ironically, very close to his work.

$350 later we had a diagnosis of “sore tummy.”

Seriously.  “Sore tummy.”

Despite Mike’s protests over doing x-rays on an almost ten year old Labrador, they were done anyway.  He did manage to refuse the suggestion of a costly blood panel because she just had one at her last checkup which wasn’t even two months prior.

We were given (I mean sold of course) a carton of canned food and nausea pills, told to give them to her for three days and to try over the counter Pepcid if this happens again   Fine.  Great.  Gave her the soft food, gave her the nausea meds.  All was well until yesterday (my yesterday, not your yesterday) when Sadie refused her breakfast and started with the stomach gurgling again.  Did I mention she threw up?  She did.  Of course Mike was at work so that was fun for me.  Mike gave her the soft food for dinner last night and a Pepcid.

This morning?  This morning I’m sitting in bed writing you all this blog post and listening to Sadie’s stomach gurgle.

Sigh.  The Husband had better bring me back something good from this conference he’s attending and that’s all I have left to say about that.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  How far would you go for your pets?  Does their age make a difference to you?  I have a crazy wonderful animal loving friend who spent something like ten thousand dollars on medical treatments for her dog’s rare blood condition.  The dog lived another year and change (maybe close to two??) and my friend had to take a second job to pay off her credit card bills.  Was it worth it?  Where is your limit?

I’d like to wish Aly from Fudging Ahead a BIG congratulations on her pregnancy!!

Aly’s beautiful baby boy is due soon and I wanted to do something special for her.  After all, she threw me an amazing virtual baby shower.

Since she already gave me a shower and I know I couldn’t duplicate its awesomeness, I decided to go a different route.  I’ve decided to let her pick her own shower gift.  I know from personal experience sometimes you later regret putting items on your registry or you receive too many of the same item.  Sometimes you have a favorite item but you don’t receive it and sometimes it’s the surprise gifts that are truly the best of all.  So I’m providing a mix of all these options and giving Aly the choice to pick which gift she’d like best.

My twist?  Pandas!  I know Aly and her husband love Pandas so most of the gifts she can pick from have a Panda theme.  I may have even created a Panda Pinterest board in preparation for this very moment.

Let’s begin the parade of pandas! (Oh and clicking on the pictures will take you to each product page for more details.) 

Baby Panda Onesie


Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Board Book

Panda Bear Panda Bear Book

Panda Art Print

Panda Art

Curious Panda Art Print (from one of my favorite artists – I have four of her prints in Baby Charwee’s nursery)

Parn Panda

Pandas and Popsicles Art Print (I realize this is a little funky, but Aly does have a food blog so I’m adding it)

Pandas and Popsicles

Panda Abstract Animal Art

Panda Art Print

Panda Minky Blanket

Panda Minky Blanket

Panda Bear Night Light

Panda Bear Nightlight

Panda Crib Shoes

Panda Crib Shoes

Baby Einstein Panda Toy

Panda Toy

Crochet Panda Hat

Panda Hat

Panda Plates and Bowls (I found these at the grocery store last week)

Panda Plates RW

Swaddle Sack (not a panda but my FAVORITE baby essential ever so it makes the list)


Crib Sheets (also not pandas but super cute and the brand I use and love)

Crib Sheet Yellow

Crib Sheet Gray

So Aly, what’s it gonna be???

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Which present should Aly pick??  Help her decide!