Sunday, November 29, 2015

Where Did the Time Go?

It has been a flurry of fun activities over our Thanksgiving Break this year.  The girls had a half day of school on Wednesday, and we started it off with J's guitar home just an hour or so before JP's sister and husband arrived from NC.  The girls had a great time with their Aunt & Uncle, although they missed seeing their cousins.

We feasted on Thursday.  I was proud that much of what we ate came from Poplar Ridge:  the sweet potatoes, the mashed potatoes, the corn, and the applesauce.  I baked a sweet potato cheesecake, which was delicious (and the recipe is definitely a keeper.)

On Friday evening, after left over turkey for lunch (sandwiches) and dinner (tortilla soup), another of JP's sisters and her husband arrived.  We stayed up too late talking around the dinner table, but (as always) had a good time together.

One sister left early Saturday morning.  After another huge breakfast, I also had to leave.  I drove about 2 3/4 hours to OH to attend my Grandma's 100th Birthday party!  Both of my brothers were there, along with all of my cousins on my Mom's side except for one.  I was so happy to see them all, as it has been a REALLY long time since we've all been together.  (I was also happy that I recognized almost everyone - except for one cousin-in-law.  I also surprised myself by being astonishingly social, which is not my normal condition in these situations.)

My Grandma is in the middle with her 2 younger siblings.

Can you believe that this beautiful lady is 100 years old?

JP's other sister hung around until mid afternoon with JP and the girls in my absence.

After the 2 3/4 hour drive home in the dark and the rain, I was ready to take a day off today.  I didn't cook, but I did fold several baskets full of sheets & towels.

Tomorrow morning, I must get up early as deer season starts at 6:39 AM.  And that, my friends, will end the Thanksgiving Break for 2015.

Onward and upward to Christmas and double-digits Birthday for my baby girl!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Where's the Bear? #53

The bear is a bit sore from raking leaves, so he's planning to sit in the hot tub for a while.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lucky 13

My oldest daughter officially became a teenager yesterday (although she's had the classic teenage angst going on for awhile already.)  I've actually noticed some signs of emotional maturity in her lately.  None too soon, either, as they had a bomb threat at her school earlier this week - evacuated everyone.  This is the second time since she's been there!

This is one of a multitude of selfies that I find on my phone at random times.

It's funny - she's been listening to Enya a lot recently (a vast departure from her fave punk groups with strange names like "Panic! At the Disco", "Black Veil Brides", and "Fall Out Boy.")  Enya was playing in the delivery room when she was born 13 years ago.

She has decided that she didn't want to have a party this year, just a quiet celebration with family at home.  She did, however, request a Red Velvet Cake.  She changed her mind when our "Cook's Country" magazine arrived 2 days ago and she saw the recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake.  This is a layer of Red Velvet Cake, topped with a layer of White Chocolate Cheesecake, topped with another layer of Red Velvet.  All of this is slathered with Cream Cheese frosting, and then Red Velvet crumbs are pressed into the sides of the cake.  It looks delicious!

The cakes have just come out of the oven, and in 10 minutes I can turn them out of the pans to finish cooling.  I'll only have 3 or 4 more steps to complete today in order to put this thing together!

It's becoming increasingly harder to find gifts for this child.  Gone are the days when a couple of books, a game and a Barbie made her beam with delight.  Now her gift list reads like the electronics department at Target:  iPod Touch, Lap top, mini fridge (?).  Sigh.

Happy, happy Birthday, my dear, sweet J Bird!  You are the light of my life and the reason I have grey hair...but I wouldn't have it any other way.  There is only one J Bird, and you make every day an adventure.  I love you Sweetie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Where's the Bear? #52

The bear has been helping to gather the eggs lately.

Monday, November 16, 2015

November Sunshine

After the 40+ MPH wind gusts last week, the weather this weekend was calm, warm and sunny.  In other words, it was gorgeous, and it was hard to stay inside!

I was a bit (a LOT) discouraged that all of the leaves that I spent so much time putting on the garden beds mostly blew off with the high winds.  Our friend, K, brought us 2 more pick-up loads of leaves from town as well.  I spent several hours out there, running over piles of leaves with the lawn mower, and re-depositing them on the garden beds.  JP came out later and helped by roto-tilling a couple of beds that were so full of weeds that I felt overwhelmed when ever I even entertained the THOUGHT of weeding them.  I got filthy, but finished chopping up leaves, and got all the beds covered except for the 2 that still have Fall peas growing in them.

I even harvested L's herbs (parsley and sage), and hung them to dry in the basement.

On Sunday afternoon, we took a long walk around the property.  We had the most fun down by the creek, where we discovered oodles of Milkweed pods.  These were fun to drop in the stream and watch them sail away like little boats.  The girls found the seeds irresistible, and threw handfuls of them into the air like snow.

I found the seeds and pods absolutely riveting just to look at.

I'm happy to say that after 6 years of searching, we have finally found a climbing tree on our property!  We all tried it out, except for JP, who had to take pictures.

I'll close with a picture of my Christmas Cactus, which has exploded with color just a few weeks early for Christmas.  I think it is enjoying the sunshine too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Where's the Bear? #51

The bear is raking leaves this week.  He'll be busy for awhile!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Things You Don't See Every Day Take 3

Partridges in Pennsylvania?
Wikipedia says they are indigenous to Europe, Asia, Africa & the Middle East!

Skeletons in the back seat.

Redneck Leaf Rides

Kitties in a Kooler
So, just a jumble of thoughts today:

I saw a partridge cross the road on my way to PT on Friday morning...had to Google "game birds" to figure out what it was!

We had a pleasant weekend.  L and I checked out the annual craft fair at the Elementary School.  We also dropped off my mini skeleton, Freddy Jones-Bones, at Mrs. M's house.  Being the illustrious Kindergarten teacher that she is, she is doing human science this week using props!

JP mowed for what he HOPES is the last time this year, and blew all the leaves on to several piles in the process.  We gathered these up for the garden, and all of us took rides in the bucket of the tractor!

We decided to tear down the incredibly messy Kitty Kastle made of straw bales this Fall.  JP made the kitties a new warm spot in a cooler.  There is a swinging cat door at the end to the left, and the "picture window" has 2 layers of plexiglass for when it's really cold.  There's also an electric warming pad inside.  They seem to like it!

We have a 4 day school week next week for Veteran's Day...hooray!