An Aunt Nancy Day Celebration

My oldest daughter never married but has been a doting aunt to four girls, two boys and countless dogs and cats.  All but two of the kids are in their twenties now but she’s still in the center of the lives of my youngest daughter’s children.  A few years ago she commented that there is a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day – but no Aunt’s Day.  That’s when my youngest daughter started Aunt Nancy Day.  Each year in November, we have a little celebration that may or may not include  youngest daughter’s two children (13 and 9), depending on the event.  (This niece and nephew call Nancy “Uncle Chester” just to be perverse.

Aunt Nancy/Uncle Chester and the kids

This year’s celebration was something we didn’t think the children would enjoy:

You are cordially invited to an Aunt Nancy/Uncle Chester Day celebration on Wednesday, November 14. Lunch will be provided en route to Columbus, Ohio where you will be granted an exclusive tour of the Thurber House. (OK, it’s just the normal self-guided tour that anybody can do, but PRETEND it’s exclusive.) Get out your copy of MY LIFE AND HARD TIMES and bone up.

Since my two daughters and I are great admirers of humorist/cartoonist James Thurber, it was ideal for us.  We had lunch at a Cracker Barrel and then drove for an hour and half to Columbus, Ohio, listening to recordings of some of Thurber’s funniest stories.

The Thurber house was built in 1873 and is an example of Victorian architecture.

The Thurbers lived there from 1913-1917 and the house and furnishings were restored aided by the recollections of Thurber’s younger brother.  This sideboard had been in the Thurber dining room.

My favorite room was the one that James Thurber used at the time and the old typewriter he used when he wrote for The New Yorker.

Had to stop and admire the quilt on the old iron bed.

I took a picture of my girls on the staircase from which he heard the ghost circling the dining room table in “The Night the Ghost Got In”…

And one of the front door which the police broke down after a call about the ghost.

There are many beautiful fireplaces in the house with gorgeous tile.

Thurber fans will love seeing the house, the furnishings and all of the memorabilia.  There is no charge for the self-guided tour.  Here is their website:

On the way back, we stopped in downtown Columbus for some exotic ice cream at Jeni’s.  I chose a dip each of Bangkok Peanut and Queen City Cayenne Chocolate.  Liked the Cayenne Chocolate the best – unique flavors.

My daughter gave Nancy a gift card to Hobby Lobby from her kids, two dogs and two cats,  and I gave her one to JoAnn’s from my dog, Rusty.  Another Aunt Nancy Day is over.

It Was a Very Good Year – 2003-2012 – The Finale

On July 13, 2012, my two daughters surprised me with a big box of wrapped gifts, informing me it was exactly 80 days until my 80th birthday and I would be able to unwrap one gift a day.  The gift items would commemorate a year in my life in some way.  This is what I received this week to wind up 80 days of special, unique, commemorative, handmade and nostalgic gifts.

2003 – 2003 was the year my youngest granddaughter was born.  The gift is a wonderful fold-out picture book with photos of my granddaughter along with her handwritten notes of greetings and love.  Precious.

2004 – My youngest daughter knitted a pair of socks for me from a 2004 pattern in the most beautiful fall colors.

2005 – A 2005 CD of Andy Griffith singing all of my favorite hymns.  In addition to the music, there are personal notes and comments by Andy.  This is perfect for me since I’ve been a fan of Andy Griffith since his early monologue days.

2006 – A 2006 edition of Keith Olbermann’s book, The Worst Person in the World.

2007 – A packet of 2007 5-inch Lynette Jensen’s Thimbleberries squares – Warm and Cozy

2008 – Three Topps’ trading cards to commemorate the election of Barack Obama.

2009 – A 2009 Philadelphia Mint collection commemorating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Penny.

2010 – A pin commemorating the USA medals won in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

2011 – My youngest daughter knitted a Drachenschwanze (dragon’s tail) scarf from a 2011 pattern.

2012 – Two pins popular in 2012 – “Keep calm and quilt on”, a take on the WWII British slogan and a pin for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

All 80 years have been covered and it all ended with a Grand Finale gift.  My oldest daughter made up a charm necklace for me that I call a “Meme Necklace” because it tells so much about my interests and in a way is a summary of the 80 gifts.

There are charms for Cincinnati, Ohio, and my Libra astrology sign; a small dog running with a paper in its mouth for all of the pets I’ve had; charms for some of my favorite things – a unicorn, forget-me-nots, vintage jewelry, a scotty, a Dutch shoe, a harness horse, the Cincinnati Reds, Abraham Lincoln; charms to commemorate cooking – a mixer, a slice of pie, a 1st place ribbon; needle and thread (quilting and sewing); charms for favorite vacation spots – St. Louis Arch (my youngest son’s home), an Amish buggy (Holmes County OH Amish country); a covered bridge (Vermont); Cincinnati’s Coney Island and river boat; a Hershey’s Kiss to represent chocolate and my mother’s homemade fudge; and a typewriter symbolizing a long secretarial career.

It has been an amazing 80 days with every day a reminder of 80 amazing years.

All of my posts on this wonderful celebration are listed in Family – My 80th Birthday in my index on the right hand side of the page.

My youngest daughter has links to all of her knitted projects here:

The Birthday Angels Strike Again

When I got up early, I looked outside to see the tree in my front yard holding 80 balloons.  My two daughters had gotten together at 11 PM last night after I went to bed and taking the dog with them so he wouldn’t bark, hung 80 balloons in my decorative pear tree.

They also put up a sign announcing my 80th birthday.  Now, any of the neighbors who might have wondered about the age of the old woman who walks her dog 3 times a day up and down the street will know.   The 80th birthday is off to a good start.

The Birthday Angels

The End of a Perfect Day

My 79th birthday was such a lovely day – lunch with my two daughters, phone calls from my two sons and my best friend, gifts at my youngest daughter’s house with her family plus her renowned white cake with caramel frosting and watching one of my favorite movies, Breaking Away. 

Everything worked out so well this year – the gifts were simply overwhelming.  My youngest daughter saved all of her gifts for the big day:  flowers, her hand-knitted gifts of placemats, dishcloths, a spectacular long scarf in variegated yarn, and an I-Pod Nano MP-3 player with all of my favorite songs and albums already downloaded for my listening pleasure.

Twelve-year-old grandson Jellyfish picked out a wonderful Scottie cookie jar and paid for it out of his own allowance. Eight-year-old granddaughter Dolphin drew one of her special pictures and cut/folded a 3-dimensional dog, probably a Scottie in answer to her brother’s cookie jar.

My youngest son and his family in St. Louis sent a box full of beautiful dish towels and pot holders – I love anything for the kitchen.

In addition to her daily countdown gifts, my oldest daughter gave me a vintage Jadeite bowl, candle holder, thermometer and glasses; a Scottie covered dish; a crocheted doily in fall colors; and a big stack of fabric samples.

Darlene, my blogger friend in Columbus, Ohio, sent a box jam-packed with wonderful things – quilt binding clips, a sewing kit, cupcake liners, Post-Its, two pieces of fabric, a book, a crocheted doily and a beautiful framed cross-stitch picture.

I came home at 10 PM to another piece of cake and then spent three hours trying to get to sleep – it’s hard to let go of a perfect day.

79th Birthday Countdown – Day 6

My oldest daughter, who lives with me, loves to celebrate birthdays.  This is what I found on my kitchen table on Friday morning.

One of her many talents is making jewelry.  And, of course, she knows I love horses.  There are tiny horse head and horse shoe charms on the bracelet.

Today is my 79th birthday and this is the last of the countdown gifts.  It’s been so much fun coming out to the kitchen at 6 AM and finding a new treasure.

Countdown Day #1

Countdown Day #2

Countdown Day #3

Countdown Day #4

Countdown Day #5

79th Birthday Countdown – Day 5

My oldest daughter, who lives with me, loves to celebrate birthdays.  This is what I found on my kitchen table on Thursday morning.

This is one of her hand-crocheted doilies in the most delicious colors – the picture doesn’t do it justice.


Last evening, I was telling my daughter that I had been disappointed not to find a mini-quilt rack on our recent trip to Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio.  I have been seeing them in displays at quilt shows and in quilt shops, but there were never any for sale.  She suddenly left the room and returned with exactly the rack I wanted – she had managed to sneak it out of a shop and into the car while we were in Amish Country.  It’s designed to hold up to a 12×15 inch piece, just the right size for a mini-quilt that I’m already planning in my mind.

Countdown Day #1

Countdown Day #2

Countdown Day #3

Countdown Day #4

Happy 77th – to me!


Actually, my birthday isn’t until Wednesday, but my two daughters and I like to celebrate birthdays the entire weekend before the big day.  So, on Friday evening my oldest daughter showed up for her usual weekend visit with flowers and two pints of gelato – let the fun begin!

When I went to the kitchen on Saturday morning I found a gift on the table to think about until my daughter got up for breakfast.


It was two towels, hand-embroidered redwork with horses – I’m sure they’re harness horses.


We met my youngest daughter and her two children for lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant and did some shopping in the afternoon.

On Sunday morning, on the kitchen table was the most gorgeous box that was shaped like a book – and I wondered if it might be a book or a box with something wonderful in it.


It was indeed a box with some amazing contents:  An 1883 autograph book that belonged to a woman living in Cozaddale, Ohio – a small town close to where we live.  Each page was filled with sentimental verses in the most elegant handwriting.  Did everyone write that beautifully in the 1880s?  In addition, there was a handwritten list by the woman’s daughter identifying the people who had contributed to the book.  Then, my daughter had taken it further by finding census records for the people and information on Cozaddale, as well as locating a book written in 1960 about the founder.

And the day had just begun.  At lunchtime, my youngest daughter, her husband and children came for dinner, after which there were more gifts including a Garrison Keiller CD, a Minnesota State Fair book, microwave steamer dishes, a big brass alarm clock with an alarm I can actually hear, a new garden flag and a set of solar lights for the front yard,

flaglts…a candle, a Jadite hen covered dish, mini loaf pans, a drop cookie maker, embroidered pillow cases and embroidered redwork panels for me to use to make a quilt.

The grandchildren, known here as Jellyfish (10) and Dolphin (6), made their own special gifts.  They each made molded, fragrant soap and they made decorated boxes to hold the soap.  Dolphin also made a horse light catcher and Jellyfish worked with his mother in assembling a book of his photographs of my “favorite things” – family members, of course, and all kinds of neat things that are in my house.


As usual, the youngest daughter brought her renowned Best of Show White Cake with Caramel Frosting.  After cake and gifts, the girls, the grandchildren and I took a drive to – where else? – Cozaddale – a pretty drive on a late September day.

I was sorry to see everything end – and I don’t think it could all have been done in less than a weekend.