Friday, December 16, 2011

Poems to My Grandchildren

 I have been writing poems to my grandchildren since they were born:  Here is the one I just finished to my newest grandchild:
Durham at almost 4 months

Baby Boy Durham
Robert Durham Fowler
born August 1, 2011
By MIMI, Bea Skeens

Baby Boy Durham
A wonder,
A joy
Precious gift created
At his health we rejoice!

Getting to know him
Right after the birth
We all want to help
We’re there with presents

His frowns and his smiles
He cries
And we “love” him
In sharing the blessing
A sacrament partaking

Their worry, their efforts
Their struggle to please him
We walk him
We bounce him
We talk all about him

How he is growing
So happy and peaceful!
Oh, he still cries
But for a good reason

He brings us all joy
With his smiles and his “talking”
We share him and hold him
And never want to leave him!


Caroline was born and they lived with us for almost a year.  It was such a joy to have them with us, never a burden!  The end of the poem refers knowing that they would be leaving us to their own home,
This Christmas at my house.

By, Mimi Bea Skeens
June 2010

Seeing her world
Her eyes are so bright
Sleeping and waking
A constant delight

I read about brain cells
And help her to learn
I stick out my tongue
And talk with intent

But mostly I snuggle
And love and adore
As much as I can
‘cause soon she’ll be gone 


When Lauren was born we lived and both were working in St. Simons Island, and didn't plan to come and see her right away.  We figured her Mama's family would be all around her and helping out and we didn't want to be in the way.  A week after she was born my son called and asked us to come.  "When are you going to come and see her?"  We realized that he needed us there, so we went right away.
Isn't she beautiful??
Baby Girl Lauren
by Mimi - Bea Skeens April 2007

How do you feel with a baby
Not your own?
So far away
On the day she was born?

Rejoice at the news
She’s healthy and whole
The mother is fine
We can’t ask for more

When will we see her
And hold her and woo her?
Let’s wait, there’s no hurry
We don’t want to be a bother

But then there’s a phone call—
“Come now, you must see her!
She’s growing, she’s changing
The wonder, the glory
We just need to share her!”

So we went just this weekend
And we looked and we cherished
A small bundle of joy
A family in the making

So how do you feel
With a baby in your arms?
She’s mine, she’s mine!
All cozy and warm!


Andrew was my first so I have several poems to him.  Do all grandparents know that the first grandchild has a special place in our hearts?  He is almost 8 and we continue to share a unique bond.  I wrote the first poem when he was about 6 months and the second when he was 1 1/2. I wrote the second one in both Spanish and English when I was int writing Spanish poems too.  (It is harder for me.)
Walking on the marsh looking for fiddler crabs when 2 years old

Crabbing at the SSI pier last year

To BABY Andrew
October 2004
Bea Skeens (Mimi)

Playing with my grandson is where I want to be
As I look into his eyes that say, “I love you Mimi.”
Talking incessantly in a language just for me
I listen and I smile and pretend that I agree
Together we search and learn and explore
The meaning eternal of our wonderful world

Sticks for my Grandson         Bea Skeens, April 8, 2006
         (Andrew, 15 months)
Let’s go outside
I want to be...
Take little steps
Just you and me.

I follow him
What should we do?
He wants to feel
It’s all so new.

He gets a stick
One hand and the other
It feels so real
Let’s get another.

My grandson and I
Discover the world
One stick at a time
We love, share, and learn.

Mi nieto y Yo         Bea Skeens, April 8, 2006
         (Andrew, 15 meses)
Vamos afuera
Su manito me da
Por aquí y por allá
Conmigo está

Un palito y otro
Asombrado de todo
Para mí y para ti
Lo mío y lo tuyo

Mi nieto y yo
Descubriendo el mundo
Tocando, sintiendo,
Mirando, disfrutando.

Cada momento
Lo cuento
Cada mirada
Me acuerdo...

Merry Christmas - Christmas letter 2011

 I'm sharing with you a jpeg of my 2011 Christmas letter. (If you want to know who to make a picture from a WORD document, ask me!)  
When everyone was here last weekend, we put all the kids in front of the tree and took about 20 pictures with 3 cameras.  They were so good!  
The picture of Don and I was taken in Las Vegas
The picture of the whole family was taken shortly after Durham was born at Brian and Mary's house with Brian's camera timer.  It is the best we could do.  Here you can see everyone.

When I was working I usually finished my Christmas cards and letters by the first week in December.  Now that I am retired, I am too busy...
Also, it took me a long time to write the poem, but I wanted it to be perfect!  I still am not happy with the stanza about myself but I am pleased with the rest.  I hope you like it.  Write me a comment.  
Then I had to figure out how to print it.  I ended up going to Office Depot with my flash drive and they printed it.  (Faith, I told them of a 25% discount on their website and they honored me at the store!)  I got pretty envelopes to go with it.  I sent them all out yesterday!!
I feel so good about it!  Now to finish my Christmas shopping...

Have a blessed Christmas

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How can I be: Like the Christmas Tree? - a poem




The Christmas Season has me all worn out

I pause to dream, what’s it all about?
I light the tree and look around…
The glistening of the silver tinsel
The sparkle of the lights so bright
The stories in each ornament
The fragrance the pine gives at night.
Then the angel on the top starts blinking,
And with a start, I get to thinking…
My lights and colors come alive
Every time I say a kind word
And give His Love away.
Jesus, grow strong and brave in me.
Become my words, my force, my will,
For in my life I want to shine
The one and only Jesus Christ.
Then the Spirit in others may
Abide and shine in the same way.
Friends, let Him grow in you to be
Your light and Lord for all to see.

               By Bea Skeens. 2003

Helps with Menu Planning Requested by Angie

My youngest daughter just started back to work after having her first baby and asked for some help with meal planning.  I have been working on some suggestions but it is hard because I never did much planning for meals myself in all my working years.  Meals were usually a last minute quick thing.  Here is what I have come up with so far.  Please write comments or suggestions ASAP and I will add them to the post.  I have Pinterest board with cooking ideas and a 3-ring binder with recipes collected from family and friends throughout the years and now from cooking shows and the Internet.  Planning ahead is the key so here is what I have so far.

Goals are to make meal times easier by being prepared:  

  • Look at recipes that you have or like; search cookbooks and Pinterest
  • Crock Pot meals from Pinterest are a great idea, especially if you can bag the ingredients and then freeze them all in a bag so that it’s easy to take out and prepare. 
  •  Make a monthly/ weekly list of probable meals; you can change it (don't feel bound by it) and you will have some left over for the next month.  But make sure that you use up your food in the freezer and have everything labeled plus a date.
  • Make a list of ingredients and set a day to buy everything and sort it for the week/month.
1.  Ground Meat Ideas: beef, deer, turkey…
  • Meatloaf – make 3 loaves for four servings; There are many recipes to make meatloaf.  For variety, use different ingredients.
  • Picadillo – use Cristi’s Cuban recipe
    • Or At the last minute brown ground round with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and any other spice, until just cooked and immediately serve on top of rice.
  • Cook the ground meat as above, cool and put in containers or freezer bags for servings for 2 for: Spaguetti sauce, mock lasagna, tacos, quick shepherd’s pie and more.
2. Meat for stew or soup – cut your meat (I like to buy eye of round roast)and separate for 4 servings and freeze in a bag with sliced onions, and green peppers  or buy bag of the pre-cut vegetables and put the amount that you want in the bag.  Take out the night before to put in the crock pot in the morning.

3.  Pork and mushrooms - Slice and put in bag with mushrooms (or use canned mushrooms) use packaged pork gravy, mushroom soup, sesame seeds, serve on top of large noodles. 

4.  Soups - hearty with lots of vegetables and meat

5.  Pork steaks: Shake ‘n Bake with baked potatoes (precooked in microwave)

6. Chicken/Turkey for the yummy easy recipes -  Buy the precooked chicken at BJ’s so good!  Or buy frozen, pre-cooked, sliced chicken and use as needed
  • Buy package of chicken/ turkey breasts and cook in the crock pot (put some herbs and spices as preferred) then divide and freeze
  • Make like the pork  with mushrooms
  • Chicken vegetable soup – crock pot soups or use cans of soup and add more meat and vegetables

7.  Chili

8.  Roasts:  can be done in the oven or in the croc pot – use different seasonings for different flavors and vary the meat and sides.

9.  Brown rice, quinoa, barley or bulgur: cook with chicken/beef bullion and onion and/or garlic powder or “Sazón Goya” or “sofrito” for yellow rice, (or other) then  freeze in 2 servings bags or containers

10.  Pasta: is an easy side with parmesan (or other cheese and olive oil

11.  Sweet potatoes cook it in the microwave until almost done and then in a 400 oven (no need to preheat) for 10 minutes tastes like baked!

12.  Cuban black beans

13.  Snacks: fruits and rabbit food; Granola (I have the best granola recipe -from my brother-in-law, John - that I am making this week.  I will put it on my next post - with a picture!); prepare baggies with snacks to take to work and for night snacking. 

14.  Of course you will plan special meals too!!
What do you think?  I know that it is not complete so, send me your ideas.

Adding Some Sparkle to my Christmas Wreaths

I love decorating for Christmas but it is so overwhelming!

I keep telling myself that I am retired so there is no hurry to get everything up and pretty.  Pinterest has me doing all sorts of new crafty things and taking pictures of them to share!  I have always done crafts but never took pictures of them to share.  I got this done because the family is coming this weekend so I have to clean up the craft room again!

Our sweet previous owners of our house left us the wreaths for our windows.  This would be our third year using them and I wanted something different without spending money.  I saw this in the Pottery  Barn magazine and wanted something like it. 

The wreaths are in plastic bags and hang on nails in the attic.  Every year I have put the same newspaper back inside the bow and it has kept them like new.
First I took the newspaper out of the bow, then straighten out the greenery and use the glue gun.

I had some Christmas balls left over from the hanging balls that I did for the inside.  (see previous post)
I used the glue gun and turned the bows to the side to give them personality.  I have seven windows and did not want to buy more balls so it's just a touch of sparkle that can be seen from the street.
They look happy hanging up outside!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Awesome Grand Canyon

During Thanksgiving week we went on a one-week escape to Las Vegas.   We went on a one day tour of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  The long drive was worth it!  What an awesome sight.  Words nor pictures can describe it!  The pictures are good memories but the colors and depth must be seen.  We used “Grand Canyon Tours” but there are many other tour companies with other choices including overnight trips with hiking down to the bottom of the canyon.  We're glad we took the time to go!  It gave us a break from the strip and was perfect for us. 

Escape to Las Vegas

See my glitter shirt?  Watching Donnie and Marie

 We went to Las Vegas for 4 days 9 years ago with a tour of Hoover Dam and we have always wanted to go back.  Thanks to our children who gave us gift money to go for our 40th wedding anniversary, we started to make plans.  We knew that we wanted to see some shows, the Grand Canyon and do some slots. 
We thought that Thanksgiving Week would be a good week to go to with hotel prices low and not too crowded.  The kids were all with the in-laws and didn’t need us.  Well, we got good prices but it was so crowded!  We should have gone the week before or after.  My only other complaint was the smoke in the casinos.  Otherwise we had a great time! Read my other post about the wonderful side trip to the Grand Canyon

First we looked at hotels. We remembered the Bellagio and wanted to stay there but the price was 3 times as much as the Mirage, our second choice. I spent a lot of time looking at prices and I found that when we joined M- Life (free), we got a discount on the room.  That was the best deal!  They gave us a room at the end of the hall but it was quiet.  I didn’t like the long walk but everything is a long walk in Las Vegas!  When we got to the hotel we got the M-Life card that we plugged it in to the slots and received “credits”.  It was fun to see how we went up to 28 credits.  (It takes thousands to go to the next level up.) When I left the card in one of the machines by mistake, they gave me another one and a lanyard to attach to it.  That is why there is a whole punched on the corner! 
See the buffalo on the corner?
We were tempted by the tables and watched but decided that we didn’t want to loose money.  If the slots were any indication, we were not on a lucky streak!  We found the games confusing.  I asked if anyone gave lessons, but no. We’d sit at the slots when walking the strip to rest our feet.  We did a little of the poker lots and but didn’t like it – because we lost too quickly.  At the Mirage we found a machine that had a buffalo that made a noise when you won, and that gave bonus spins.  That became our favorite.  We’d start with $5.  We each played until we lost the spin then the other person played. Once we got to $36 and stopped at $20 and cashed it.  Another time we got to $23 and cashed it at $10.  Mostly we would only win back to the $5 or up to $9 and then back down until we used it all up.  Sharing the spins made it fun!

The Mirage has a “Secret Garden” with dolphins and lions.  The trainers were entertaining and we got so close to the dolphins!  We recommend it.
We walked to most of the hotels on the strip to see the lobby and what attractions some of them had.  They were so pretty!   
Treasure Island Hotel

Venetian - gondola outside ride - new ice rink show

My Ceasar - at Ceasar's Palace

MGM Grand -Lion Habitat - feeding them by hand!

Excalibur Hotel

Our favorite hotel display was the Bellagio.  In the Paris we rode to the top of the Eiffel Tower (tickets 2 for one).  The Venetian Gondola Ride with a singing gondolier was great! The Reef at the Mandalay Bay had very active octopus and jellyfish.  I chickened out on riding the roller coaster at the New York.  People who got off said it was good but I just didn’t want to get “sick.”  I guess my days for roller coasters are over…   
We found the shuttle to the Rio, and discovered that some of the hotels have walkways or shops that connect them.  It’s much better than walking on the street.  We took a taxi one time.  The busses were cheap burt crowded and the monorail was good but cost $5 each way.  We recommend good walking shoes.  I was dressed up except for the shoes! (I mean nice pants and tops – no dresses!)  We didn’t go to the night clubs where maybe the people were dressed up?!

For shows we enjoyed Donnie and Marie, David Copperfield, and the Circ de Soleil of the Beatles.  I picked up several souvenir glasses that people left behind.  (It reminded me of collecting the team cups at the football games!)

 We loved the buffet.  It is really the cheapest way to eat.  We usually had breakfast and another meal and were not hungry, and I only gained 2 pounds.  Some the dinner prices ($10 more) start at 3 others at 4 pm.  We started with the buffet at the Mirage until we discovered the ones in other hotels were also good and had atmosphere.  Our favorite was the Pairs.  I recommend the crème Brulee there.  I ate 2 of them! There as in some of the hotels you can buy a pass for the buffets but we didn’t know about it right away.  Check it out when you go.
The New York Hotel

Display in the Bellagio

Other things:  Get the little books for coupons at the hotels and monorail– not the stuff the people give out on the street.
We did not plan transportation to the hotel in advance because we read that there were shuttle busses and there were several to choose from.
We booked shows in advance but none were sold out so only buy in advance if they give you an upgrade online.
We did not take our computer but the hotel printed our plane tickets free and since neither of us have a smart phone, we did without email for a week!  There are booths that you can pay to access the internet.
Write me your questions and comments.  We would like to go back.  There is so much to see and do!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friends in Retirement

We really haven't made any new friends since we moved here.  We love to spending time with our kids and we are busy with our personal projects.  I love talking to my mom and sisters on the phone but we live too far away.  I am friends with the teachers with whom I taught school but we don't have much  time to get together.  We want to make new friends but haven't taken time to become involved in activities where we can meet new people.  We love that whenever we go to St. Simons we get together with our friends there.  In September, we went to Chatanooga to see some friends who retired and moved there.  It was great and I remember my exhilaration when I was sharing with her about some little thing, and her reaction, and the fun we had.  It was a feeling that I hadn't had in a long time and I haven't stopped thinking about it.  What made me feel that way?  I love my retired life, but am I missing something? 

We like our house and our neighborhood.  All the neighbors have been very friendly and we greet each other when we are outside.  We have some special neighbors across the street.  We have been wanting to have them come over for dinner and they finally came.  Since we bought the house and moved from St. Simons, these neighbors have been great to us!  They are like family.  They get our mail and newspaper when we're not here and they are interested in what we do.  They are about 10 years older than we are and their health is not the best but they are so excited about life and whenever we talk to them they always lift us up!  On our first Halloween here, we took Lauren and Andrew over to Trick or Treat and they were so excited!  They love kids but they have one unmarried son and no grandchildren.  Because of this, I have been taking the grandkids over to their house.  They love Caroline but she is scared of them.  Each time Caroline does better with them.  Last time Willette was so happy because Caroline held her hand when we were walking to see the neighbor's dog.  When we were talking during dinner, I realized how precious our relationship is.  We talked and shared.  They ate our fish and grits and Cuban black beans with relish and praised us for our projects around the house and things that we do.  They are like our cheerleaders.  She even called me that next day to thank us for having them.   Thank you, Chuck and Willette for all you are for us.  We love you! 
Our house last Christmas - first snow.

Andrew and Don harvesting potatoes in our garden.  The fence keeps out the deer

 The toilet room in the guest bathroom.  I used our old records to decorate it.  Lime green paint on the walls.
The dining room table that Don made from Heart Pine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week of sewing and crafting - Getting ready for the Holidays!

This week I have been relaxing. crafting, and preparing for our upcoming trip.  I haven't even seen the grandkids all week.  I have been watching lots of my recorded TV shows.  One of the shows that I like to watch is Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer.  I have been enjoying my everyday life! 

  I have read some blogs where people get too busy and regimented after retirement.  The only thing on my weekly schedule right now is Yoga on Mondays.  I have put off joining the Bridge group.  (I may have to join the beginners, and don't want to.)  Well, anyways, I'm not in a hurry to get busy.  I'm already filled!!

When I knew that I would have a few days straight for projects, I decided on doing one of the things love - sewing and crafting.  One of the things that keeps me from doing more crafts is having to put everything away before I'm done.  I knew that guest room/ craft room would be open this week so I can leave everything out until I get tired of it.  Now that I'm retired I can work on my crafts anytime.  I have so many things on Pinterest that I want to make!  I prefer sewing things that are simple and that I can complete in one day.  So, before I start anything, I make sure that I find any shortcuts and ways to make the project easier, that way I can make the best use of my time.  

These are some pictures of things that I made this week (with the inspiration of Pinterest.) 
First I made the window treatment with some Christmas fabric and ornaments from Hobby Lobby on sale.  It was fun!

This is the window where we eat.  It took me about an hour to hang the ornaments!

I sewed the fabric and pinned the ornaments  to the fabric using random ribbon I already had.  Original pin:
I ironed some doilies and sewed them to my pillows that I had made this Summer.  My daughter said they were too plain.  They are so much better!
My niece Faith is making lots of crafts.  She had a tutorial on making these fabric flowers.  I tried it.  The first one is on the left.  The last one is on the right.   Read her blog the life of Faith.  the link is on the sidebar.  She is selling her beautiful crafts on ETSY:

Fabric flowers on the pillows.  What do you think?

 Ever since I saw this Christmas tree skirt on Pinterest (see bottom of post), I have been wanting to make it.  I have wanted a new tree skirt for the last 3 Christmases but haven't found one I liked for the right amount of money.  Actually, I didn't like the last one I bought.  My other 2 tree skirts were small and I made them around 30 years ago (before I started to work) when I was a stay at home Mom.  They are still up in the attic in one of the Christmas boxes.  
  First I read the tutorial and see what I needed.  I have been frequenting the Goodwill store on Senior Day especially looking for fabric and crafts and baby items.  A few weeks ago I bought some cream colored fabric and a roll of yards and yards of this Christmas fabric.  I ripped a 3 inch strip to see what it would look like.  I made the ruffles wider than the tutorial but the circle 4 1/2 feet like it says. 
Round and round until the center.  I'm glad that I bought the long sticks of glue for the glue gun.
When I got to the middle, I did the center by folding it to the back.  I did not make ties because I'll just bring it together in the back.

 The color looks blue but it's green and silvery.
What do you think?  I can't wait to put it on the tree!
I'll post a picture when I get it under the tree!!  Do you think it will look as pretty as the one below?
This is the original pin with the picture.  and the link for the blog with the tutorial.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pictures of fun projects with the kids

These are the Halloween projects that I completed with the kids with the inspiration of Pinterest and other pictures...

We're making the wreath at my house.  Lauren didn't want to help at first but then she made some of the eyes.  When I bought the wreath at the Goodwill, it was white.  I spray painted it black.  I had the feather thing but too short.  I bought the eyes at the Dollar Store.  Does the yellow yarn complete it?
The finished Wreath hanging up in their house

Andrew drew and colored this at my house.  We finished it and is hanging at their house. I used yarn that I had to hang the creatures and wrapped a wire hanger (made into a circle) with the same yarn.
We made the mummies with the hot dogs for dinner one night at their house.
I did not make this - but this is Lauren with her new button dress (the buttons crafts on Pinterest)...  Look at the boots!
I can't leave out my sweet grandson Durham.  His mama, Angie, has been doing the picture in the basket each month as shown on Pinterest.  He is now 3 months!  The shirt from Etsy.