Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My timeline for craft projects I would like to finish by Christmas..

Maybe I should have titled this my "Wish list". I always seem to put everything off to the last minute, just ask my husband he says I have too many projects going at one time. He is of course right I always have very grand plans of making all kinds of things and then waiting until just a few days are left to actually make the things. This is very stressful for me so I am going to once again make a list kind of like a timeline of what I want to get done and when I would like to get it done. Then I will see how close I can come to actually accomplishing my goal!!

Timeline of Craft projects to get done by Christmas~

End of September 28/29/30 ~ Work on purse for Giveaway on blog ** List on blog on Thursday October 1st **

First week of October 1-9~Work on bedroom curtains for Katie and Dylan **Needs to be done by October 17th**

First week of October 1-9~ Also work on finishing up 3 Stitchers angel projects **Needs to be finished, packaged and mailed by October 30th**

Second Week of October 10-16th~ Work on purses for two very good friends** Would like them done and mailed out by October 15th**

Third week of October 17- 23 ~ Work on Birthday gifts for some friends ** Would like them finished and in the mail by November 1st**

Fourth Week of October 23-30 ~ Work on 3 fall purses for Estsy shop ** Would like them done and in the shop by November 1st**

First Week of November 1-7 ~ Work on at least 3 more purses Christmas/winter themed for Estsy shop ** Would like them done and in the shop by November 10th**

Second Week of November 8-14 ~ Work on Calendar BOM gifts for family and friends ** Would like them all done by November 25th**

Third Week of November 15-21 ~ Work on Christmas Wish BOM ** Would like it to be finished by December 1st**

Remember this is just a very long wish list, if I can get at least half of what I have listed done I would be very happy.

Now I am off to do some embroidery on the purse for the giveaway...


One project finished, many to go....

I finally finished those dishtowels that I had started before our trip to Kentucky. I have just not been in a crafting mood. This is very unusual for me so I am thinking it is because I am just getting OLD!!!!

I sat down last night and hastily made a list of things I want to get done between now and Christmas....the list is very long (will post it later today) and don't know how much I will actually get done but I am going to give it my best shot. I just love to sit down in the evenings while watching TV and embroider but lately my mind just hasn't been on anything but that trip to Kentucky! Every day I think how they (the Army) could have made our trip so much better. I need to quit thinking about it and just get back to living my life...So any prayers for me to do that would be greatly appreciated.

Here is what the dishtowels looked like before being packaged and sent to their new home~

I pray that everyone out there has a very blessed Tuesday, I am off to buy some chicken breasts that are on sale right now. I also am making a short trip to Walmart for some paper products that I didn't know we were in need of...see my mind has wandered so many times I am not on top of things like I usually am.....


Monday, September 28, 2009

A Ft.Knox graduation from a Mom's point of view

**This is a letter that I wrote to explain everthing we went through for our Son's graduation**

To whom it may concern~

I would like to tell you the story of our visit to Ft. Knox for our son’s graduation from Basic Training. Originally he was scheduled for a graduation date of September 18, 2009. We waited a while before we booked our trip, as I know sometimes these dates change. We were supposed to have a family day on Thursday September 17, 2009 and then graduation on Friday. We waited as long as we could and then went ahead and booked our tickets (We were coming from California). We received a new letter from his company of a change in plans dated August 24, 2009. In it it apologizes for the inconvenience we are about to cause…..going on to explain that they have changed the graduation date to Thursday the 17, It also states that As for Family Day you will be able to spend time with your soldier in conjunction with graduation. Okay so we change our plane tickets to arrive one day earlier. This letter also contains the name of a Training NCO SFC Anthony Arnett with his phone number listed and saying if you have any questions to call. Of course I had questions why was it changed?? I called and spoke to SFC Arnett, he explained that a platoon was either deploying or arriving home and they needed the space on Friday for that. I was fine with that, no problem. I also asked him at this time what happens with my son after graduation as he is staying on at Ft. Knox for his AIT. He said he didn’t know but that he would find out for me if I would be able to take him for Friday night and bring him back on Saturday. He said he would let me know Thursday after graduation.

My trip to Louisville, we arrived in Louisville at about 11am on Wednesday the 16th of September. I was so excited to be going to our son’s graduation the following morning!! We woke up very early and got to the base around 8:30 AM got through the gates no problem, got to the field (Brooks Field) for graduation and even found a seat. We watched as our young son marched on the field and listened as the retired General spoke of supporting our young soldiers. It was a beautiful graduation. We were all told that the platoons would go back to their barracks change and then we could sign him out for the day. THIS is where my wonderful experience at FT. Knox goes to HELL in a hand basket very quickly. We drove over to the barracks and joined all the other parents at the back of the barracks. They had some tables set up with the platoon #’s on them 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, our son was in 1st platoon so we got in line and waited, and waited and waited then some people came out and there was a person going to the table for 4th platoon, then one for 3rd platoon, then 2nd platoon and I know you are expecting me to say and one for the 1st well you would be wrong!! They realized that where the table for 1st platoon was set up is where they soldiers would be forming up so they moved the table somewhere else, so the line moved with it kind of by this time all the other platoons had signed their soldiers out and here we were still waiting for someone to come out to help us sign them out. Isn’t Basic training what these people do for a living, don’t they know where to locate the tables, have they never had a graduating class it was a totally unorganized mess!!! You would think this would be why I am writing and all I have to complain about, well once again you would be wrong!! Finally after about 2 hours of waiting we got to sign out our son, I asked if SFC Arnett had found out for us what he said he would find out and I was told he wasn’t there today, and of course no one else knew anything. So we took our son and enjoyed a wonderful day together. We brought him back at the designated time and were told that still no one knows anything, but to come back in the morning. We left to go to our hotel and then next morning (Friday September 18, 2009) we returned. We got there at 7:00 AM. We stood outside the front of his barracks and finally after waiting again for a while I walked in and spoke to someone at the desk. I asked if they knew if we would be able to sign out our son for the day and bring him back on Saturday. I was told that they have no control over this and that I would have to ask his new commander. I was fine with this, just point me in the direction of the new commander….now this is where it gets interesting…They don’t know who his new commander is or where he is going!!!! They think it may be up by the 4 way stop but they aren’t sure…you have got to be kidding me, There is a building about 2 blocks away but yet no one there seems to know where it is. My son already knew he was going to Echo 1/81, Not one person there seemed to care one bit or even said they would help me find whom I needed to talk to. I also asked since they didn’t know where they were going could I just follow them since they were marching over and I was told yes and that they would be coming out from either the left or right side of the barracks. So we waited some more. There were many families waiting out in the front of the barracks but the people in charge had the soldiers lined up in the back of the building, lots of the family’s thought they had already left! I along with many people that day felt that those in charge were getting a big giant laugh at our expense by changing things on a whim. Is this really how the ARMY is run??? We waited and waited we walked around the building to see where our son was lined up but he wasn’t there they had his group go back in the barracks and then they left going a different way than what I was told. I guess they thought we were stupid or something and couldn’t figure out where to go. I seen a large truck filled with Army bags and I told my husband to follow that truck because I am sure it is going to where we need to be. Guess what that truck went right to where my son was standing. This is where we met the nicest most helpful people on the whole base and I don’t think they were even in the army. There were 3 older gentlemen in an office that let us come in and sit down since it was raining outside. They told us they would help find out what was going on. We sat and waited some more. I was told to stay right there and they would let me know where to go and who to talk to. After more hours of waiting we were told to follow this person over to the barracks where our Son was. We walked over seen him in formation and then they all went in side and a person came out to talk to us. He explained that they needed to get their linens issued but that we could come back at 9:00AM Saturday morning and we could check him out for that day and bring him back on Sunday at 6:00PM. Okay this is where I LOST it!! My plane left Saturday afternoon so I had no way of keeping him for more than a few hours on Saturday. I started crying and yes I even yelled at this person who really seemed to not care one bit. He didn’t offer to see if any other arrangements could be made. He just said very insincerely that he was sorry. I could not believe this, I came all the way from California, I was supporting my Son, and now because he needed to get a set of sheets I couldn’t spend the day with him. Why is there not some sort of plan already set up for people who are graduating and staying for AIT at Ft. Knox? He had already graduated from Basic Training and his AIT didn’t start until Monday so why couldn’t we have been able to check him out from Friday until Saturday instead of Saturday to Sunday. Why is that you have people who work on the same base yet they seem to not know what the other people are doing. Why couldn’t this have already been settled before we got there? I have never seen anything more unorganized for a place that supposedly does Basic training and AIT training; maybe you should have these people get together for a staff meeting or something. They seemed to no know one another and since there are soldiers that stay and do their AIT there maybe it would be helpful to know a little about where the soldier is going.

Why was there nothing in place, like this is how we do graduation, we are going to follow this timeline. This is what happens when a soldier stays at Ft. Knox for AIT, and hey how about telling the parents ahead of time.

Some of the other parents and myself were also wondering is this how the Army does everything, even over in Iraq, is it this disorganized??? I am hoping and praying that the Army is more organized there than they are at Ft. Knox.

What really makes me sad is that the one thing that I kept thinking about was my father, William Graser who spent 459 days in a German Prison camp during WWII. He always talked about his captors and one thing always stood out ~ He was there during Christmas and he talked about how the guards were actually kind of compassionate and let them have a tree and they even sang songs together. So for that one night Nazi German Prisoner guards had more compassion for their prisoners than ANY person at Ft. Knox had for the families of graduating soldiers. What a sad thing for Today’s United States Army!

I am not writing this letter to get anyone in trouble, because I know that famous trickle down effect…my son would be the one who pays in the long run. I am writing this letter so maybe you would think about the families of the graduating soldiers and maybe show them a little respect and compassion. Maybe another Mom like me won’t have to go through what turned from a wonderful trip to a trip from HELL!! Maybe that person whom I yelled at would take some time with the next Mom and say “Let’s see what we can do to help you “ is this asking too much???

I am sending this letter to numerous people just to make sure that someone somewhere reads it, I am also posting a copy on my blog. I know blogs aren’t real important but if anyone out there put into any search engine Ft. Knox, Graduation, Families etc.. My blog will pop up and they can learn what really happens at a Ft. Knox graduation.

Sincerely Joann Allen


Monday, September 21, 2009

Matthew's graduation and our trip to Ft. Knox Kentucky

I would be lying if I said we had a wonderful trip. The only good part of the trip was that I got to see my Son. The military personnel of Ft. Knox have a long way to go to even come close to being a little nice....that's enough about that. Let's just sum it up with there were good parts to the trip and bad parts and right now I am going to focus on the GOOD....
I want to thank all of you who kept us in your prayers, I did just fine on the planes and actually kind of liked it :) I know I would not have been able to do it without the support of your prayers, my husband and of course the continuing peace from the Lord. I knew that if I wanted to see my son that I had to get on that plane and I DID IT !!! I even surprised myself that I didn't have a major malfunction right there in the airport.

We got into Louisville at about 11:20AM Wednesday morning, and after picking up our rental care we were on our way to our hotel.
The lobby area of the Hyatt Regency downtown Louisville~(looking down from our floor)

Our hotel room~
The bed area~

Some views from our room~
Day view~

Night view of a different building~

We took a short nap and then went out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants~ Cracker Barrel~

Me inside the Cracker Barrel just to prove that I did go to Louisville I had my picture taken with the plates and things that said Louisville on them :) ~

We don't have those out here in the west so when I have the opportunity to eat there I do. Wonderful service and food.

Thursday morning we headed toward Ft. Knox~

The main visitor entrance~

Then we preceded over to Brooks field for the graduation ceremony~

Some pictures of the graduation~

The entire Charlie company, all 4 platoons~

Matthew is in 1st Platoon ~front row 3rd from the left

Marching in formation coming onto the field~

Parade rest~

Standing at attention~

Taking the oath~

Saluting the colors~

The Color guard~

Marching off the field~

After the graduation they went back to their barracks and changed, then finally after 120 days of not seeing him I got to get a big hug from my Son~

We did some running around on base getting some things done that he needed to do. He got a cell phone so now I can text him and he can call me whenever they allow him the use of it. They let him text a lot more than call which is fine with me...now my phone is like my lifeline to him so I carry it real close by wherever I go.
We also visited the George S. Patton Museum and I took a few pictures with Matthew standing by some of the tanks~

All too soon our time with him came to an end and I had to give him back to the military, it was so hard and I have to be honest I didn't cry when I gave him that last hug but on the way to the airport and in the plane was a different story, every minute in the plane was a minute further away from my baby, he may be a grown man and a soldier but he will always be my baby!!

Here is his new barracks for the next 15 weeks while he is there for AIT~

This is the last picture before he headed inside and we left for the airport~

While we were there we (Roger and I ) did get to see the Louisville Zoo~

Some pictures of our visit~
Me in front of the Louisville Zoo sign~

The Lion~

The Rhino, boy are these things HUGE~

A couple of pictures of the gorillas~

These pictures were kind of hard to take as they were inside behind glass, but I got what I could. My favorite is of the Silver backs face even though it's kind of blurry he was looking right at me and I just loved that look...

We also were able to stop off at Churchill Downs, what a beautiful place~

Then we were back in the air headed back home, what awesome majestic views the Lord provided for our trip back to California~

Clouds under the wing of the airplane~

Once again I want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my wonderful friends out there who kept us in your thoughts and prayers!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Please keep us in your prayers...

Well by the time this has posted and you are reading it we will probably be on our way to the airport. Our plane leaves from Sacramento at 12:25AM on Wednesday morning, so really it's just late Tuesday night. We arrive in Louisville at 11:20AM on Wednesday morning. I would like to ask for prayers especially for our flights, I am very nervous and a little scared to be flying but right now will do ANYTHING to get to see my son even if it is only for a day or two. I will have lots to share when we get back, I am sure there will be tons of pictures I will take of my young soldier. I can't wait to see him....

See you all next week....


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Seems there is lots of hype about today, I took it a little differently I went to my Bible looked up the 9th book of the Old testament the 9th chapter and the 9th verse

1 Samuel chapter 9 verse 9~

"(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he spoke thus: "Come, let us go to the seer"; for he who is now called a prophet was formetly called a seer."

This is my scripture for the day..

Urgent prayer request for my Friend..

I just received an e-mail from my very good friend Bren she is in need of an outpouring of Prayers from all the wonderful prayer warriors out there. I will not go into details but please just lift her and her family up in prayer today. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your prayers in advance, as I know you will all pray for her. I am also praising the Lord and thanking him in advance also for I know his power is far greater than anything we have to go through.

Thanks again,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book review of Max Lucado's book Fearless

Fearless ~ Imagine Your Life Without Fear, by Max Lucado

I read this book this weekend, I enjoy all of Max Lucado’s books and this book did not disappoint. When I first seen the Title “Fearless Imagine your life without fear” I really thought to myself ~ How could Max Lucado a man who would seem to have no money worries know anything about fear concerning the economic condition of the world today. He hasn’t been out of work like my husband was for over 5 months. He didn’t have to use thousands of dollars of hard earned savings just to live for those months. But then I read the book and was greatly impressed with his touching on so many subjects and thoughts that probably most Americans think about all the time. From fear of flying, to the fear of Death or illness or the fear of not mattering. I really liked the chapter on the Fear of not Mattering, haven’t we all felt this way at least once in our lives? Any everyday person could read this book and come away with feeling like it was written just to them. One of the sentences that sent chills down my spine because it is so true in today’s society was in the first chapter it stated, “Ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients were in the 1950’s.”
I would love to live a life Fearless as mentioned in this book, but it is very hard to do. How easy it is to say that we have faith in God or that we Trust in the Lord but we all at some time still have that, even if it’s a small feeling deep in our hearts that make us fearful of things. This book was a very easy book to read and had wonderful scripture references. I enjoyed reading it very much.

This and That....

Well as you can all tell I have not yet put up my giveaway of the fall purse....I had really wanted to get it ready for the first weekend of Sept. obviously I did not make it. I have decided to wait until I return from our trip to Kentucky for Matthew's graduation to finish the purse. I am so sorry that this has to be put on hold but I have just been so busy with everything and have so much more to do I just can't squeeze it in. I also don't want to rush it, I never rush anything that I embroider that's why it always takes so long for me to get things done. I like to take my time and do it to the best of my abilitly. I will also be adding a few little goodies with the giveaway since everyone has had to wait so long...

Here is a little peek at what the purse looks like~

This is what my past few weeks have been like~

I have been making up a folder of all the info we need for our trip. I have printed out every map I think we will need while we are in the Louisville area~

I have our itinerary printed out, I also printed out the map of the zoo and how to get there and so on. I like to be prepared! Can you believe we have to pay $15 a day to park our car at the airport here in Sacramento and then we have to pay $13 a day to park our rental car at our hotel in Louisville!!!!!

I also had ordered my new Amy Knapp planner pages but now don't have the time to sit and write everything in before I go on our trip, I may get some of it done but not all of it ~

All of those pages after I have gone through and written in all the birthdays, anniversaries, etc...go into my planner~

I love the Amy Knapp planners I just wish their shipping time was a little better, I paid an extra $2.00 (so instead of $7.95 I paid $9.95) for USPS priority mail and it still took almost two weeks to get it and then it came Fed ex ground, not too happy with that. Wish I could find somewhere else to purchase it instead of from her site.

I had also recently gotten an advanced copy of the book Fearless~

for a book review and stupid me thought it had to be published on the 18th of this month and then was reading the e-mail again and it is to be published on the 8th!!! Thats today!!!!! So guess what I did this weekend. Yes I read this book, look for the review later today....

I also have a few friends with birthdays coming up this month and I am making some embroidered dish towels, I am making two sets of 7 each...~

I would really like to get these done before we go but we leave one week from today, so don't know how far I will get...

Then of course I want my house as clean as humanly possible before we leave so we can come home to a clean house...but right now looking at our time frame and all that I want to accomplish I think I would be happy with a vacuumed living room and clean kitchen!!!!!

The time has just seemed to sneak up on me, I only have 7 days until we leave I still need to decide on what we are taking clothing wise, and will it fit in our carry on luggage??? We aren't checking anything so don't have to worry about them loosing our stuff plus they want $20 for one piece of checked luggage on one of the arilines and $15 for the other airline...since we are just going for a few days a carry on will be fine. I have not flown for over 20 years so my stomach is just in knots being nervous..I know everyone tells me don't worry, but that is so easy to say and so HARD to do...at least for me.
Roger was asking me last night why do I always wait till the last minute to do things and why do I always want to get so much done...I always do this wait till the last minute and then try and cram everything into just a few days, that's when we both decided for my sanity to put a few things on hold for now, the giveaway purse is unfortunately one of the things, the birthday presents is another...I am sure no one really will be upset but I just hate to put things on hold.
They also changed Matthew's graduation date, it was supposed to be on the 18th at 9AM and now it's going to be on the 17th at 10AM....thankfully we had arranged to be in Louisville on Wednesday morning instead of Thursday or we would have missed it all together.. I called to inquire as to what was going on and at least there was a good reason for it. The place they were going to use for the gradutation is also used for deployment and arrivals of people from overseas and it just happens that there is a platoon coming home on that day and it takes precedents over graduation, I totally agree and am happy to change for that reason..but it did put us in panic mode for a while. They normally have a family day the day before graduation which would have been Thursday but now since he is graduating on Thursday they are combining family day and graduation day so basically the days are just a little fuller now. We still don't know if we can sign Matthew out for the weekend (Friday/Saturday) or not, we would like to take him to the zoo with us if we can but we won't find out till we get there. So as of now we are just going with an attitude of gratefullness and thankfulness that we can see Matthew at all an are hoping and praying that we will get to see him longer. Kind of going to just go with the flow while we are there...
Sorry this has rambled on...guess I better get my behind in gear and get some things done :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Jesus Book

The Jesus Book ~written by Stephen Elkins, Illustrated by Claudine Gevry.
I have read this book and really liked the illustrations, they are very colorful and cute~
I thought all of the stories were very nicely written , they are short and when you are reading to small children sometimes a shorter story is good. This would be a good book for bedtime not too long but the content is wonderful.
One problem I had with the book is that parts of it are written in past tense, there is a "Dear Parents" page in the beginning that explains why it's written like this . I was reading some of the pages to my granddaughter (almost 3 years old) when she was visiting and I read them the way they were written but when I got to the page where it states "The Samaritans said Jesus was the Savior of the World" it just didn't seem right to me, so I said "The Samaritans said Jesus IS the savior of the world" I don't see anything wrong with this book it is very cute and the stories are very well written, I just have a problem with the past tense parts. I would probably not recommend this book only because of that reason.
This book also comes with a CD which my granddaughter just loved, lots of songs, there are 30 of them on the CD and all very fun to sing along with.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My new business card...

Today I played around on the computer and made up a business card. I don't have my Etsy shop open yet, but am hoping to get some things in there pretty soon. I have been asked by quite a few people where I got my purse that I made and I figured it would be nice to have a card to give out if they are interested.
I am still working on the purse for the giveaway, it's coming along very nicely...so look forward to seeing it soon!!
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone....oh my W. W. weigh in was today, only .2 lost but I am counting it all JOY!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall flowers....

I went shopping today at the dollar store for some new fall (fake) flowers. They always seem to have the best selection and the price is just right...

I bought an assortment of colors and styles~

One thing I do when I buy fake flowers is I get out the old handy dandy wire cutters and cut them all apart, then I use florist foam in my containers and push them in where I want them. This way I can use different flowers together.

Here is a picture of cutting them apart~

Here they are all mixed up~

Some of my new containers~

I got these clearance priced at our grocery store. I paid $5 for the large pitcher, $3 for the large copper colored container and then $2 for the medium one and $1 for the small one not a bad deal and I love the colors of them.

Here are the containers filled with beautifully colored fall flowers~Don't laugh at my arrangements I am NOT a florist, I just do the best I can...

This is the fireplace area~

A close up of the fireplace mantle~

I also called today and talked with someone from Ft. Knox about Matthew's graduation, they changed the day and I needed some info. Thankfully Roger had decided to take an extra day off so we would have been getting there a day earlier, now we will be getting there just in time. Two weeks from today and we leave. I have so much to do before we go, haven't flown in over 28 years so I am very nervous( I am even leaving a copy of our will on the kitchen table Just in case!!!) but NOTHING will keep me from seeing my young man!! Please keep all of us in your prayers over the next two weeks and especially Early Wednesday Morning (our plane leaves at 12:25 AM) for me on the airplane!!! I know so many wonderful Godly women who read my blog that will keep us in their prayers.. You are all so great to call my friends. I feel so honored to have the friendships I have made here at my blog. May you all have a wonderful Tuesday...