Saturday, December 24, 2011

Grandma Vandlen's Flying Kitten!

Meet Miss Minny!

The kids were playing with Miss Minny and you would not believe  how she leaped in the air and was practically flying. We were all laughing so hard!
 Here she is playing.
 Getting warmed up!
 I tried to capture it. Caught her almost out of the pic.
 Caught her on the way down.
 Heading towards her toy.
 There she is! Awesome pic right?!!!!
 She was really high this time. Did not get all of her in this shot though.
Miss Minny under the Christmas tree.

Animals sure are entertaining!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Wonderful Present

I received a wonderful present from my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law.
I have always wanted one of these runner sleds for my porch to decorate at Christmas time.

I bought the arrangement at Hobby Lobby and then I had some ribbon and I made the bow all by myself! Wowser! It actually turned out pretty good.

Thanks Mom and Dad for the sled!

Sleds originally were an important transportation tool that facilitated the movement of goods and people on frozen surfaces where wheels often did not work. Early petitions were made to the British to allow sliding on Beacon Hill. Later, sleds were used to transport heavy cannon in the early years of the Revolution to oust the British from Boston.
Like many work activities, sleds became used for recreational purposes.

The Flexible Flyer Sled, the iconic toy of films such as "A Christmas Story," was the brainchild of a Pennsylvania Quaker farm implements manufacturer named Samuel Leeds Allen. Allen worked with his father, John C. Allen, from a crafts barn on "Ivystone," his working farm. The inspiration for the sled came from his love of sledding and his experiences at Westtown Boarding School and Friends' Select School in the late 1850s. Sledding, or "coasting," was a popular winter pastime during the 1800s. S.L. Allen's children served as testers for each new sled design.

Allen's Motivation

  • S.L. Allen had a practical reason to design sleds, in that he wanted to provide work for his employees at the manufacturing facility. Farm equipment was a seasonal business: it sold well when farmers were not actively involved in working their farms, during the winter months. The summer and fall months left Allen workers waiting for new projects. He did not want his employees to leave for occupations with a full-year employment.

Early Sled Prototypes

  • Allen gave each sled design a unique name, including the sleds that failed to go into widespread production. During the mid-1880s, Allen designed three early sleds, the "Phantom," "Fleetwing" and the "Aeriel." The models, which held six to eight adults, never went into commercial production, but they established the design principles that would guide the creation of the Flexible Flyer.

Fairy Coaster Sleds

  • The "Fairy Coaster" was manufactured in 1888, but not in significant numbers. This sled was offered in two different models, the deluxe and the basic, the difference between the two being the deluxe's fabric padded seat and the selling price of each. The deluxe model "Fairy Coaster" sold for a pricey $50 in 1888.

Flexible Flyer Sleds

  • The "Flexible Flyer" was patented February 14, 1889. Its features included a pair of steel runners with a bendable spot halfway down the slide. The first sleds did not sell well against the competition from the "Swift Glider," "Storm King," "Safety" and the "Lightning Glider" sleds. Allen manufactured no sleds for the next few years. When the "Flyer" was manufactured again, sales figures increased greatly.

Sales Challenges

  • Allen felt that sled production during the summer months would provide a "bridge" product to keep his workers busy. His sales force disagreed and, during the first few years of production, they were difficult to sell because salesmen were marketing the sleds in the same manner, and to the same retail farm implement locations, as the company farm machinery. Allen changed that by marketing the sleds to the toy departments of Wanamaker's and R.H. Macy Company department stores. By 1915, nearly 2,000 sleds were sold in one day, with an expected total that year of 120,000.

Company Changes

  • Sledding experienced a decline in popularity, and in 1968, the Allen Company was sold to Leisure Group of Los Angeles, California, which continued to manufacture the sleds from Medina, Ohio. A group of investors, including some employees, purchased the sled manufacturing operations in 1973 and continued to make the sleds under the "Blazon Flexible Flyer" name. These sleds are still sold today.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First Annual Girls Weekend!

My friends from Cadillac came down for a girls weekend this past weekend! We had so much fun and it is always nice to get together. I love spending time with my friends. The Spoonies are who I went to school with and played softball with. They are family to me. This family is so loving and kind and always accepts anyone. They love you for who you are. Their hearts are so ginormous! Full of compassion, commitment, kind, loving, responsible, funny, the kind of people who will always be there for you! 
As you may know in one of my earlier posts, almost two years ago I have reconnected with my Buddy, Sandy. We were in the same grade and were great friends in HS. We also were on the Varsity Softball team our Freshman year together and in our Senior year, we were captains on the team.
I love this family and they mean the world to me!!!!!! 

Back to details on the weekend.

Some of you might recognize who this person is. His name is Bill Gaither from the Gaither Vocal Band. My friend Sandy is a great fan and I can see why. I have seen them on TV and have heard them on the radio but it is awesome in person!
Sandy got tickets for her and I to go to this concert in Grand Rapids at the Van Andel Arena. There were several people there. The Martins, Phelps, Lowry, and some others I cannot remember all the names right now. It is always nice to worship God and this was a great concert.
Sandy got the tickets and then we decided to make it a fun girls weekend and you will see in the next few pictures and story of how much fun we had!

 We went to Rivertown Crossings Mall in Grandville, MI and had so much fun shopping!
Annie, Janny, and Sandy (The Spoonies) shopping for some shoes.
I wonder if these shoes are comfy?

 We went back to the hotel after shopping and relaxed about an hour before we headed out to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. The Spoonies Cousin (Marsha-the one in gray) lives close to the area we were at, so she happened to stop by and visit and went out to dinner with us.

A few of us rode in a Taxi to Kobe and some rode with Marsha. We divided up because we already called a taxi and thought we better keep it. So, Sandy, Janny and I rode in this taxi and the guy did not know where he was going. So, Shelly (me), aka the GPS had to give directions. LOL
 Here are the girls at Kobe before our Chef arrived to entertain us.
Billy, Annie, Janny, Sandy, Marsha
 Here I am in the picture now. We had a nice girl from the table next to us take our picture!

 We had drinks!
 Great Chef with great cooking skills!
 The very delicious Shrimp, with veggies and fried rice and noodles.
Mouth watering just looking at it!
 Sandy and I

Now the next few pictures are when we were heading back to the hotel. The Spoonies Cousin, Marsha, gave us a ride back in her car. You will see how we actually had one too many passengers but made it and had a blast back to the hotel. Oh the joys!
 The Spoonies!
Janny, Annie, Sandy
My Family!
This is one side of the back seat.
 Okay, other side of the back seat.
Billy and Janny
The awesome driver!
 Crazy front passenger-yepper, that is me!
 Oh wait! I think I can all you girls in one picture!
Yep!!!! Thanks to Billy scooting in closer. LOL
BTW-I met a couple new people. It was nice to meet Billy and get to know her and also Marsha. These young ladies are a lot of fun too!
Can't wait until we do this again next year!
We had so much fun!

I know I will see them before the next years shopping trip which is great!

Friends come into your life for a reason, and it is either for a moment in time, a season or a lifetime. I am happy to say that these great girls are there for the long haul!

Love ya ladies!
aka-the adopted Sister. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ladies Christmas Brunch

Amanda and I had a lovely time at the Ladies Christmas Brunch of one of my great friends Church, Karen. She is awesome! Love her!

Here are a few highlights of the fun! We had a nice brunch, played some games, names were drawn for a gift and then there was a little singing and fun.

 Kaitlyn and her Mama-Karen
 Carol and Karen-Sisters
Both are a lot of fun!
 Nicole (aka Colie) and her Mama-Karen
Karen was blessed with twin girls.
 Karen and I
Friends since 1982
Friends for 29 years! Wowsah!
I am truly blessed!

Amanda and Colie

We had lots of fun! Very nice thing to do for the ladies.

What fun it was to watch these girls perform. They all blend really well together when they sing.

Jesus is the reason for the season!