Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Of Pumpkin Carving and Such

Boy.  This may be the longest "break" I've taken in awhile.  Sorry about that.

We had Trunk or Treating at church on Sunday, which meant I had to get costumes finished and practice makeup Saturday afternoon.  I put the velcro on Bean's Elsa, made the witch-kitty hat to Lil's specifications ("Where do you want the ears? How big do you want them?  Please make me a template.") and we were ready for Sunday.

She is really pleased with the cape, I think she'd wear it all the time if I'd let her. 

She likes being fierce.  ;o)

Because Lil got makeup, Bean needed some too.  ;o)  If you look, Elsa has lovely cat-eyes so I tried to do something like that for Beanie.  I have to say, eye makeup is a great tear deterrent.  :oP  Bean started to tear up over something or other in church and I told her her eye makeup would run.  She stopped immediately. ;oP

Lil decided she wanted to be a tuxedo cat.  So, I looked up tuxedo kitty faces for her, she saw this one was the most common and wanted to go for it.  The only face paint we had in the house were pencils, which I find are a bit tough to color a full face.  I wound up at Michael's and picked up a tube of black (I had a pancake thingy of white I was able to moisten and apply) and applied it using a makeup sponge. It was SO much easier than trying to color her face with the pencil. :o)

Back in October of 2007, when Bitty was just a wee Little Bit, Pop started the tradition of pumpkin carving.  Bit was so little she wanted nothing to do with the scooping of guts.  :o)  She no longer has that problem.;o)

We headed over to N&P's after religious ed (don't get me started on trying to teach a bunch of kindergarteners after they'd trunk or treated and eaten candy...Gr.) and brought our wedding pumpkins with us.

Uncle Glen must have reminded us no fewer than four times to "get the big pumpkin by the sign", so we were sure to stop and get the big pumpkin as we left.  Next to the sign, that pumpkin didn't look that big.  Then, we picked it up.  OMWord!!!!!  That thing is HUGE!!!!!! Check out Beanie next to it!

I knew El was going to want an Elsa pumpkin (poor 'Punzel, tossed aside for another woman), so I told Pop he should try to find one he thought he could carve.  He found one, and the ginormous pumpkin was perfect for it!

This little trash can is full of the giant pumpkin's innards.  I've the seeds in the fridge, ready to be roasted tomorrow.  Mm. :o)

Here's another view of just how massive that pumpkin is. 

Pop finds the patterns, and generally, I cut them out and trace them onto the pumpkin.  I got to skip out on cutting duties this year because I was out picking up lunch. Yay!  But, tracing duty was still on me.  Spoot. 

Instead of tracing this year, I simply colored in and left it for Pop to cut around the outline.  Because there wasn't much roundness there, this one wasn't that difficult to trace.

Pop also found the bat-kitty for Bitty. He knows his girls. :o)  B traced this one on and cut it. 

I'd say the boys did a might fine job.  That Pop is becoming quite the pumpkin carver. :o)

Hee hee!  Just for fun!

They now grace our front stoop (along with the other pumpkins we acquired) and are surely scaring off any boogeymen who might come along. :oP

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Sparklies:

1. 
I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself. I cut the pieces and pieced them together Saturday night (as I was waiting for B to finish his final) This is part of the quilt Grandma and I are making and I wanted to try out this block.  I used some fat quarters I already had on hand and learned quite a bit as I went along.  Grandma told me a friend of hers once said, "As you sew so shall ye rip".  Yup.  I did lots and LOTS of seam ripping.  Eek.  But, I learned along the way.  They're far from perfect, but for first attempts, I'm beyond pleased!  I'll be turning them into pot holders as soon as I finish another project I'm working on...(which you'll see if you follow my IG account).

2. 
This is an actual block from our quilt.  We're making it in blue and white.  I'm beyond excited!  As with card making, the cutting part is stinky and time-consuming.  It's the piecing part that's so much fun, watching it all come together! :o) 

3.  That other project?  I'm trying to make a table runner from three blocks of this pattern.  I actually managed to make a leaf tonight! :o) Playing with fabric is WAY too much fun! Alas, I only have time for one fun thing, so the cards and reading have taken a backseat for the time being.  I'd love to have the runner finished before Christmas...;oP

4.  Bean loves school so very much.  I couldn't be happier!  She's making friends and having the best time!

5.  I'm still taking tons of photos of CW, but posting them on IG @rndwbrg.  I still want to post here, but it's nice to have another outlet.  Autumn is absolutely stunning over there this year. :o)


No milestones.  I DO hate pumpkin carving and all those other fun family activities we do are done sans Han.  :sigh:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oh My Goodness!!

Excuse me while I squeal for just a moment...

Mom and GF's book is on Amazon!!!!!! 

Okay, squeal and squee-ing over, you can find their book here.  So fun! 

I've not yet read it, but am dying to.  Mom is taking copies with her for GF to autograph (ha! I love it!) and I'll get my copy then.  I'm really looking forward to reading it!

This weekend was a fun-filled, busy weekend with lots of photos I need to share.  You can see some on my Instagram (here) and with any luck I'll have the time to sit and post soon.

I have about ten million projects in the works (shocking, I know):

*cards for card sets to sell at the flea market with Dani
*Christmas cards for a stamp-a-stack I'd like to host
*piecing together fabric (which requires cutting first...ugh) for an autumn table runner


And, so much more.  Going all cliche here, there really isn't enough time in the day...

***************************
Sparklies:

1.  Pumpkin carving Sunday with Nana and Pop.
2.  Bean was one of seven Elsas at church yesterday--two were sisters. Ha!
3.  Trunk or treat is always fun.
4.  That glorious golden autumn light and the cool temps that come part and parcel. 
5.  The smell of autumn.  There's truly nothing quite like it. 
6.  Finding snatches of time to get some crafting in.

 No milestones.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

GF


This is a happy man--look at what arrived in the mail! :o)

Now for mine to arrive...;o)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baking Day

First, thank you all so much for your words of support.  It's good to know I'm not losing my mind and that the staff writer was out of line with her *ahem* writing.  Oy.

Now, on to the regularly scheduled scheduled post.

We are not big breakfast eaters in this house.  We all like to piddle and fiddle fart in the morning and taking the time to actually cook and eat a hot brekky just doesn't fit in with our plans.  Brekkies typically consist of a slice of toast with some protein butter of some variety and a yogurt and fresh fruit, or some equally carbolicious toasted item with said butter and yogurt and fruit.

For me, mornings mean coffee and waking up and not getting out of bed any earlier than necessary, and since the girlies won't always eat the eggs I prepare, I no longer go out of my way to make them.  Once bitten twice shy, I guess.

So, we have sammiches and leftovers and toast and toaster waffles and even *gasp*(!) toaster strudels.  O.o  I know, I know!!!! Rachael of the homemade goodness and lack of processed foods feeding such things to her children!  That most important meal of the day!  Where's the protein??

Uuuuuugh!

Sometimes (okay, often) I feel guilty my girls are eating the same thing pretty much every day and I feel the need to mix it up a bit.

Tuesday morning I pulled three cups of shredded zucchini out of the freezer (there are still plenty more in there, no worries--that was the zucchini that just kept right on giving) and decided we needed to make zucchini muffins.  

They have zucchini in them, so they're good for you, right?

 Right?!?

Yes, of course they are!  We won't talk about the sugar and chocolate chips that are liberally distributed throughout the muffins and instead discuss the vegetable that is in there.  Because, you can totally taste it.

Of course you can.  ;o)

As always happens when I'm preparing to cook anything in the house, I had at least one helper (the second being at school and unable to help).  She decided we should use the IKEA cupcake pan (which looks remarkably like a popover pan) and since I happened to be out of paper liners for the cupcake/muffin pan, I was happy to oblige.

The problem is, the papers don't want to snug down in the hole the way they do on a muffin pan.

It's taller and the papers hang out up high.

She managed to poke them down in there, but it wasn't a good scene when I was trying to put in the batter.

We found that if the liners were just left hanging out up high,

the weight of the batter would snug them on down into the hole.

Brilliant!

I spent 36 years of my life baking without a cookie scoop.  I'm now wondering how I managed.

Seriously.

The thing has changed my life when it comes to putting batter in muffin cups and let's not get started on how easy it is to scoop and plop drop cookies.  Man I love that thing!

Not content to stick with just one type of breakfast food, I decided we should try pin I had just pinned for pumpkin pie cupcakes.  I've decided they're really pumpkin pie bites, and they're actually quite delightful.

I doubled the recipe (I know! Who doubles a recipe they've never tried??  But, in my defense, I didn't want to deal with a half a can of evaporated milk leftover and just hanging out in the fridge, waiting for someone to knock over and spill everywhere) and I'm not sorry in the least.

There is 1/2 cup of brown sugar in the entire batch.  That's it.  And, pumpkin.  Lots and lots of pumpkin.  Two cans' worth.  And eggs.  And milk!  See, breakfast food, right??

My assistant had trouble with an exploding egg (didn't know her own strength) and needed to change clothes and didn't seem to hear (or want to hear) when I told her it was no longer sleeveless shirt weather...

She's a mighty fine helper and we had the batter mixing in no time while the muffins baked.

Doesn't everyone where their pearl jewelry while they work in the kitchen?

The muffins came out perfectly in the IKEA pan, but I decided to use a traditional muffin tin for the pumpkin pie bites.  The recipe calls for greasing the pan instead of using paper liners and I was good with that.

I have no photos of them, because they are uuuuuuugly. But, they're tasty.  So very tasty.  There's a hint of sweetness, and I added a little extra cinnamon (because I'm a rebel like that) and they're soft and almost fudgy.  They're truly like a small bite of pumpkin pie with a bit of flour to firm them up a bit.  It's definitely a recipe I'll be making again.  :o)  I might even take photos of them. ;oP

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Sparklies:

1.  We are now the family that have our teeth cleaned four times a year. 
Somebody want to tell me when this girl grew up? :o(
Why, you may ask?

Because my dear friend Tammy is in dental hygiene school and needs patients.  So, we see her every six months and we see our dentist every six months, and between them all, the scraping of calculus is kept to a minimum. ;oP

2. 
 Georgie porgy is quite the healthy, happy and contented kitty these days.  Hallelujah!  We have him on an entirely wet food diet these days and he's slimming down and seems to have no problems at all with his urine output.  Because you wanted to know that.

3. 
This just hurts to look at.  Ow.  I found her watching TV like this.  Seriously??

4.
Found this today.  It's not He, but I use very little, and it was SOOOOO much cheaper than Tide typically is.  It smells great, and so far the clothes look good and I haven't over suds my machine.

5.  Hokies football at home on a Thursday night.  Woooooohoooooo!!!  Please please please please please let us look okay...:oS


No milestones.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

GF's Book and Dealing with Insensitivity

Not a photo I took.  I tea-leafed it from another site, but it is, in fact, GF. Y'all know I take better photos than this...:oS
I'm not sure where I want this post to go.  I have a feeling it's going to ramble all over the place, and for that, I apologize.  You see, Lissie and GF collaborated and wrote a book about his life in WWII juxtaposed against his brother's experiences across the ocean and I want to talk about that. 

In fact, this is the book! 

A few years ago, Mom wrote up his stories and "published" them for the family as Christmas gifts, and those stories were delightful, amusing, and informative.  It really helped me to understand what GF experienced during the war as a member of the motor pool, driving generals hither and yon.  Many stories I had heard before, but there were new ones as well, and I was grateful for GF's excellent memory (one Liss and I have both inherited). 

Well, Lissie took those stories and interwove them with the letters Uncle Richard sent home and to GF, and his experience in the European theater was far different from GF's back home.  He was there for the D Day landing in Normandy and watched a friend's head be blown off.  I can't even imagine...

I'm anxious to get my hands on a copy of the book, as it's only just been published.  Lissie is going to somehow get a copy to me--hopefully soon *ahem* Liss--and I truly can't wait!  There's nothing like a good first person narrative to help put things in perspective, such as life on the front lines versus life back home.

Now's where this post takes a rather strange turn...

GF's local paper wrote an article about him and the book and I'm happy they did so.  He's 95.  He's a part of a dying generation, the greatest generation, and I think it's important for their stories to be told and remembered.

As I got to the end of the piece, I found this:
"Nabbe and his wife had two more daughters, after Susan (who died in 2012), Melissa (who wrote the books) and Robin Taylor, who lives in Lebanon and now oversees his dad. There are five granddaughters and 14 great grandchildren plus one that drowned."

Does anyone else see anything there that might be cause for some concern?

Yeah.

I was reading the piece, and I got to that, and it was so jarring I actually felt my ears ring.  Holy hell.  The lack of sensitivity there absolutely floored me. 

Y'all know I'm willing to give a pass to a lot of the more um, "thoughtless" things folks say, because I know they're struggling for something to say, and they want to connect and let me know they're sorry.

This?  This has no place in that for me.  WHO WRITES LIKE THAT??!??!???  WTF??????

Either say, "There are five granddaughters and 15 great grandchildren, one of whom was tragically lost in an accident in 2007".  Or, better yet, "There are five granddaughters and 15 great grandchildren." 

Why does Hannah's death need to be mentioned at all?  It adds absolutely nothing to the article and I KNOW GF didn't say that.  No way in Hell.  The man still tears up at the mention of her passing. 

I realize the writer was trying to add a bit of a personal/human touch to the story, but come on.  If you're going to do so, do so with some tact and sensitivity.  Gr.

No passes given here.  None. 

You know, to this day I still struggle when asked "How many children do you have?" or "Are these your only two?"

I still have to consider the situation and how much I want to get into before I answer.  It all really depends.  Some days the answer is a simple, "I have three girls."  Sometimes I'll say, "Two."  Yes, it hurts to not acknowledge Hannah, but by the same token, I often just don't have the energy to get into it.  Yes, I'm open and honest in my loss, and y'all know I have no problem talking about her.  But, there are times when it's just not necessarily the best answer.  :sigh:

So, back to this staff writer...I'm going have to find some way to contact them and let them know this was not the best way to write about a loss.  "...plus one that drowned."  As the mother of that "plus one", I would like to see a bit more sensitivity employed so the next mother of a "plus one" doesn't feel as jarred as I did. 

I truly don't get that bent about much, but there is a better way, and I need that to be pointed out.  I'll be kind and polite, but I feel I must prevent another person from experiencing what I did.

And, once again, loss sucks. 

Just sayin'...

**************************
Sparklies:

1.  Bean and I did bunches of baking today.  We now have chocolate zucchini muffins and pumpkin pie cupcakes for brekky.  :o)  I'll try and post about the cupcakes sometime this week.

2.  Fall.  Glorious glorious autumn.

3.  Going to dinner with Sarah and Bridget and Cathy tonight.  :o)

4.  The reminder of how far we've come with Lil and her little defiant self from so long ago...I had forgotten those early days of her toddler and preschool self.  I'm happy to be where we are, that's for sure!

5.  Getting enough sleep.  I fell asleep on the couch at 9:15 last night, awoke and trundled off to bed at 10:00.  I slept through the alarm (something I never do!) and got up after almost nine hours sleep!


No milestones.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Wedding

Saturday afternoon, cousin Jeremy and his beautiful bride were married.  It was a whirlwind weekend for our family because although we started with just one flower girl, we wound up with two
At the rehearsal Friday evening, we mentioned the fear of Bean not walking and our solution and it was agreed it was a grand idea.  So, Bean walked down the aisle with the toss bouquet, holding the ring bearer Caleb's hand, and Lil brought up the rear with the basket of leaves.

Rehearsal went later than anticipated because folks were still flying in from Texas and arriving (one fellow came in from Japan!), so the little kids became running dervishes throughout the grounds, having a ball.

The rehearsal dinner was held at Hanover Tavern, but Bean didn't  have an opportunity to enjoy much of it.

She had had a long day and hadn't napped, so by the time she was forced to sit still at 8:00, she was toast.  She told B she was cold, he snuggled around her, and that was that. 

They brought out rolls, and I was worried she might be hungry later so I suggested B awaken her to see if she wanted some bread.

She did, but this was the result.  :oP



Poor baby!  She was so blitzed. She kept dropping the roll and B would pick it up and put it on her plate.  She would nod awake long enough to pick it back up and did manage to finish it.

We laid her down and she never even stirred.

She was sound asleep.

That would be drool.  :oP

We sat her up and she still slept.  Moved her to the car and took off shoes and socks--still slept.  Came home and moved her to bed?  Slept the entire time.  She's never slept that hard!

The rest of us enjoyed a delicious dinner (Lil ate off the "adult" menu and had the salmon) and then they passed out the bridal party gifts.  Lil was pretty chuffed with hers. :o)


She is in love with her goodies.

As soon as she was settled in the van, she put on her sleep mask.  :oP  She's also used it the past two nights.  I want one!

Yesterday we raced up in time for me to get the girls dressed and do their hair and before we knew it, it was time to head outside. 

I peeked in and snapped a quick pic.  I couldn't help myself.  That guy is a bridesman.  He's Alana's really good friend and she wanted him to be on her side.  No worries, Jeremy had his sister, Karen, as a groomswoman.  :o)  It was wonderful! 

I'm sure you can't tell, but the girl second from left is pregnant and due around Thanksgiving!!  She was SO tiny!

Alana did all the decorations herself (with some helper elves, of course!) and they were gorgeous. :o)

The girls were asked to help pass out programs and they were more than up to the task.


(Can you stand how gorgeous the grounds are??)

Ah, this is Caleb, the ring bearer.  He's six.  More on him in a bit.

I begin to think I really messed up getting married in June.  I was so anxious to get married and start the next phase of my life, I just couldn't wait for autumn. Now I wish I could have waited, because this was the most beautiful wedding I've ever attended.

Look at this!  Earth tones are my favorite.  I love maroon and orange (it was such a delightfully "Hokie" wedding! Jeremy got his undergrad from Tech, and he and Alana both got degrees from Texas A&M so the maroon was doubly appropriate).  I love the golden sunlight of autumn.  I love the glorious temps and weather. 

I really don't believe the day could have been any more perfect.  :o) 

Oh, that podium?  Uncle Glen made that Friday morning to have it ready for the rehearsal that evening.  Turns out there were no podiums on-site! :oS Isn't it beautiful?

Can you see how gorgeous the weather was?  B and I were talking Friday morning about how our two favorite times of year to take outdoor photos are October and April because the light is coming in at an angle and is all golden and beautiful.


This was truly the most joyful and joyous wedding I've ever attended.  The music was delightful (the bridal party walked into this) and still makes a little teary to think about.  Karen escorted in Uncle Glen and they might or might not have skipped a bit along the way.  :o) All the bridal party entered smiling and laughing and Alana...Alana was stunning--so happy and radiant.  Truly.

Aw man, I'm tearing up even now just remembering.

The officiant was a friend from Texas and she opened with this!  Oh man!  It was perfect! :o)

Lil was so good.  She was very serious and somber and quite into everything that was happening.

Bean, weeeeellllll...

She pulled up her dress (just the top layer of tulle, thank goodness!). 

Her ribbon came untied so she twiddled and fiddled with that.

Boy the flowers she was carrying were lovely.

At one point, Lil tried to tie the ribbon (B and I had both hoped she would) and Bean about started a brawl! I gave Lil a warning evil death glare and she dropped the ribbons and a crisis was averted. :oP

Karen read a excerpt from "Les Mis" and started tearing up which made me tear up.  Actually, there were LOTS of tears yesterday.  Tears of joy, yes, but tears nonetheless.

Mr. and Mrs. D.  :oD  They stopped by Uncle Glen and Aunt Terri and gave hugs.  More tears. 

Meanwhile, Alana's stepmama swooped in to tie up the ribbons--thank goodness!

They walked out to this and I kept expecting someone with a trombone or flute to pop up (here you go for reference).  As soon as Alana and Jeremy reached this point, the girls and Caleb were supposed to head out.

Well, Caleb headed out and Lil grabbed Bean (because Lily is a ruler follower!) and Bean raced to catch up.

 Whew!  She made it!

The reception was lovely with more of Alana's decorating.  How gorgeous is this mantle and the wreath?  Her work. :o) 

There was a really fun party afterwards (including cornhole!) and lots and lots and lots of dancing.  Caleb came over to Lil and said, "Come on!" and that was that.  He about danced her feet off! 

Bean danced with Lydie, Miles searched in vain for someone other than Lydie to dance with, and when she wasn't dancing with Caleb (he was quite the gentleman, lots of dips and spins and twirls.  I'd be surprised if the photographers got anyone other than those two dancing. ;oP) Lil danced with Joss. 

Weddings are loads more fun with cousins around! :o)

Kelsey headed off to college in August and was in town for the wedding.  It was so good to see her!  :o) 

I can say, with all honesty, it was the BEST wedding I've ever attended--including my own!  :o)  I can also say, with all honesty, that I'm so happy to be comfortably ensconced in my marriage.  I was sitting there looking at this newly married couple and truly grateful we're not just starting out, trying to figure it all out.

I also realized I didn't have thing in common with the young folks there.  When did I get to be "old"?!?  B and I discussed it on the way home Friday night--we have more in common with our parents' generation than with the millennials who were there.  Man.  While I couldn't wait to get home and to bed (dude, we didn't leave the rehearsal until 10:00, which is my bedtime! ;oP) they were deciding whether or not to go out.  Wha...?  Bed.  Bed is a blessed thing. 

Is it having children that does it?  Is it I just can't relate to these younger folks, even though, really, we have at most 8 years on Jeremy?  There really is a divide between us Gen Xers and the Millennials.  Who knew that could make such a difference?

But, I digress...The wedding was delightful and I'm so happy we could be there to share in the joy and happiness that surrounded them. :o)

***********************
Sparklies:

1. See above! :o)

2.  It's FINALLY autumn!!!!!!!  The windows are tossed wide open, the cool breeze is nipping at my nose, and I'm in long sleeves and jeans.  Hooray!

3.  A low-key Sunday after two very busy days.

4.  A gorgeous walk through CW with B Friday morning. :o)

5.  My sweet girlies who were so wonderful all day yesterday.


Milestone:
It's odd to have a family event and for Han not to be there.  Even after all this time.