...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Secret and the Fantasy....

Taboos.  Forbidden topics.  Disappointments.  Shame.  Secrets.  Catholicism.  

Last night I ate dinner out with my in-laws, husband and children.  My husband sat at one end of the table and I near the other.  After we ordered our food, my husband gestured to me and said, "that waitress looks like your cousins, Mary Ellen or Patti."  I turned around and looked at a person who actually looked identical to my dad's baby sister.  It's was fascinating!  I couldn't help myself as I stared and stared.  The whole meal I could only focus on that waitress!  My imagination was getting the best of me as I recalled a story from my youth...

My dad was the middle of three children; between two sisters.  Dad's father was a tyrant.  His mother was an angel.  The Tyrant ruled the roost.  I did grow up knowing my grandparents, but I didn't feel loved by them.  My drug-dealing cousin was the favorite.  I am jaded and therefore believe what I heard of my father's life as a child and young man.  

My father was beaten with a leather belt growing up.  I heard that he took beatings for his youngest sister too.  During my youth my mother would literally hold my dad back when he'd get mad at my brother for some stupid thing.  She'd quietly be reminding my dad, as she looked into his eyes, of the pact they made when they got married...he would not beat his children like his father beat him.  

When my dad was in his late teens, he joined the Army.  I don't have anyone I can ask to refresh my details of this story, but Dad either went away to boot camp or was away for duty and when he came back home and asked where his youngest sister was.  My grandfather told my dad she had died.  

My aunt was a young teenager herself.  She must have been promiscuous, which is hard to believe if you knew her as I have.  She has always been one of the sweetest ladies I have known.  She has always appears innocent, level headed and morally sound.  I do not know what her life was like living under that roof, but I am sure other factors played into what happened.  My aunt found herself unmarried and pregnant.  I am sure her mother never disowned her, but her father did and as the tyrant, I can't help but wonder how much he verbally, and possibly physically, would have abused my grandmother.  The tyrant ruled.  My aunt was dead to her parents.  She was disowned and kicked out of the house.  My father found his baby sister living at an aunt and uncle's house.  

A teenage mother had a baby and gave it up for adoption.  As time past, she must have repented her sins and was welcomed back into her home.  
Fifteen years ago or so, my mother received a phone call from a lady named Debbie.  I know that Debbie said she was the daughter my aunt gave up.  Debbie was looking for a connection to her past.  I do not know if she talked with my aunt, but I do know my mom gave her the information she needed.  
As I sat at dinner last night I was trying to guess the age of this mysterious, looked-like-my-aunt, waitress.  I don't know how old my long, lost cousin could be.  Would she be 10 years older than me?    Finally the mystery waitress asked me a question, could she have the empty chair next to me?  I just had to know her name!  

Her name was Abby.  I didn't clearly say my thoughts, I told her she looked like my aunt and she said, "Sorry, I don't have any nieces or nephews."  I restated my comment, "I meant you looked like YOU could be my aunt's daughter!"  "Hm," she said, I don't have any aunts, my mom was adopted."  

Her mom's name is not Debbie.  Still, I wonder...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hosting Pilgrims...

Most Holidays at my in-laws house, includes guests.  

The guests are students from foreign counties who are studying at Indiana University. Back in the mid-1960's my in-laws became involved with a group called Bloomington Worldwide Friendship.  

According to the BWF website: BWF is an all volunteer, non-profit, community-based organization that provides friendship and services to international students studying at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  

I can personally recall about 40 different students I have dined with because of my in-laws over the years.  So my guesstimate is that they have hosted between 80 and 100 students since the mid-1960's.  

The students I can recall have come from all over the world: Trinidad, Turkey, China, Korea, Germany, Japan, Bangladesh. They have been both males and females, undergrads and graduate students, fluent English speakers and not so fluent English speakers.  

I have lots of stories I could share, but the best story I know having to do with a BWF student didn't even happen to me!  For years, my in-laws would receive Christmas cards from a man named Joel.  Unfortunately he did pass away a few years ago.  When my in-laws hosted Joel he was a graduate student and my husband was either an infant or still in the womb.  At one of the holiday dinners my in-laws were getting to know Joel and he them.  My brothers-in-law would have been around the ages of 10 and 16.  Through the conversations, my in-laws were bragging about their sons and said that their oldest played the drums in a local band.  Coincidentally, Joel had a son over seas who was also in a band.  Joel engaged in a conversation with my 16 year old BIL and asked if he ever heard of the band, The Rolling Stones?  Mick Jagger was Joel's son!  A True Story!  I witnessed the Christmas cards over the years and read the bragging of Joel as he'd share his proud moments of his children and grandchildren.  

Yesterday we had three students join us for our meal.  For the first time, I thought this is how the Native Americans must have felt as they shared their knowledge of this lands food treasures with the first Pilgrim's.  Our guests, all from China, were willing to taste the treats my MIL and I created.  I think most of the recipes we served were rather common.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, rolls, gravy and pumpkin pie.  Our less common recipes would be for our sweet potato and spinach casserole and our cranberry jello salad.  To me all these dishes are very tasty.  I enjoyed watching our guest reactions as they tried the different foods.  My MIL and I do both regularly listen to National Public Radio.  If you are a listener too, then you might have heard Susan Stamberg's recipe for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish.  I've heard this recipe for probably the last 10 years and each time I think, 'that sounds strange, but I should try it sometime.'  This year my MIL was so inspired!  It was interesting.  If you try it, I'd try it on turkey...not by itself.  My son described its taste as 'very garlicky strawberries.'  One should note, there isn't any garlic or any strawberries in it!  

Another thought I'd like to push today is that as we all are gathered with family and friends, I hope you will take a few minutes to really listen to one another.  Tell stories, ask questions...share.  Today has been declared as the first annual National Day of Listening.  Check out the link.  Make a promise to yourself to listen to a memory of someone you love by the end of the year.  I know you won't be sorry you have taken this challenge. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In my "free" time...

Once upon a time, I was asked "What do you DO all day long?"  

Our single neighbor, and co-worker of my husband, did not mean anything offensive by his question.  He was just baffled that anyone would want to stay at home with a child.  If memory serves me well, I believe his own mother was a SAHM.  

What do I do all day long?  Well, for the past 8 1/2 years I have helped first graders learn how to read each weekday, school morning.  That means I have half a day to account for.  What do I do?  Hmm...Laundry, grocery shopping, birthday present buying (including wrapping said gifts, picking out cards and mailing them, if necessary), Meal planning, nutrition management and cooking, yard work, afternoon greeter and listener then shuttle service to two teenagers,  hopefully workout (not as high on the list of priorities as it should be), personal maid service to our household...includes cleaning bathrooms, floors, and windows, zookeeper...

Gosh, maybe a better question would be, What don't I do?  I do not sit around and watch TV or eat bonbons during the day and I don't know any other person, SAHM or not, who does!  With the above said, I must add...I love my life.  
I also love to read.  But that is one of those, just-before-bed treats I allow myself.  This past September, the third book in the four book Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini came out.  My son has an even more voracious book appetite than I!  He and I were anxiously awaiting the 19th of September.  We purchased the above book, Brisingr, and easily decided he should be the first to read it.  Oh to be a carefree teen again!  He devoured the book in less than three days.  Seven hundred and fifty pages!  

I will not tell you the details of Brisingr.  But I would describe the series as Lord of the Rings meets StarWars.  I am sure most boys would enjoy this series.  Lots of action, battles, swords, good versus evil mixed with fantasy.  When my children were little we read books out loud nightly.  This is one of those books that has so many made up names in it that my tongue would probably get tired trying to correctly say every word.  The author would cringe if he heard me try to read this out loud.  But, as a read, I would recommend these books.  Book one, Eragon, was written when the author was just 16 years old.  His writing skills have grown with him!  

Last night, only two months after my son finished the book, I finally finished the story.  At midnight my son was standing over me, patiently watching as I read the last few pages.  He's been dying to have someone to chat with about this story!  

I am happy to have this connection with my child/ren.  The last book I read was Twilight, by Stephanie Meyers.  Another good read, but chick flick in a book!  My daughter and I could each picture our own Edward.  Interestingly enough, my Edward looked a lot like the guy in the 22 year milestone photo below!  I'm pretty sure that was not my daughters picture in her mind!  

My next read will be number 2 in the Twilight series, New Moon.  Off to the book store soon!  

What else do I do in my free time?  Well, I have a hard time just sitting down and watching TV.  I enjoy it, but somehow feel unproductive if I can't be multi-tasking.  When I was first married I found I enjoyed cross stitch.  Once I had children, I found reading the patterns made it hard to remain focused.  Something always side-tracked me!  

But, I have always enjoyed the challenge of making a special gift for a new baby!  Just last February, my maid of honor and high school buddy,  adopted a beautiful little boy!  I received her announcement late that month or early in March.  Just last night I finished the bib I cross stitched for Philip!  I am sure my friend thinks I have fallen off the face of the earth!  Moving and doing this kitchen project have not helped with my amount or lack of free time!   
My next project?  I am knitting a scarf for my son.  I am hoping to finish that soon, before the real cold sets in!  

Day 8...While the Drywaller is away, the cat will play!

Gary should be here soon!  

Every morning before any workers arrive, Lily paws at the visqueen.  She really feels she MUST go survey the work.  She loves ladders and happily climbed to the top this morning.  She was happy it was left in the open position!  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Friday nights in the 70's meant homemade pizza.  My dad use to make homemade pizza sauce when I was a kid.  Then my parents would take a can of Pillsbury biscuits and pat them out into little circles.  We, my brother and I, could help add the sauce, cheese and whatever else we wanted to them.  

For my children, Friday nights usually mean homemade pizza and a movie.  When I first went off to college I asked my parents for a few of the recipes they made: Pizza and Spaghetti sauces.  Dad was responsible for the pizza, mom for the spaghetti.  In fact, my mom was not someone who enjoyed being in the kitchen too much.  But, her spaghetti sauce was really fantastic!  Dad seemed to enjoy the kitchen more.  Still, the recipes my parents used were pretty straight forward.  Dad was able to give me his recipe.  My mom had sort of a strange look on her face when I asked for her recipe...she always winged it!  She would take the basics and then add to it each time.  I needed to just watch her once to write down what she did.  Neither of my parent's recipes had anything too special about them, but they both were so good and certainly favorites of mine.  Like my mom, neither of my recipes for these too dishes is written down, exactly.  I have the basics jotted down; someday my kids may want them.  

Unlike my parents, I make my own pizza dough.  I fell in love with the dough at a restaurant in Chicago about a year ago, Geno's East.  Although this is suppose to be a "secret" recipe, thanks to the Internet and lots of sampling on my families part, I have been able to find a version very similar that we enjoy.  Until my own version of the Geno's dough I happily used a recipe in the Disney's FamilyFun Cookbook.  

So, now that I do not have a working oven for at least another four-five weeks, I need to find a creative way to make pizza!  I recalled when my mom would make that delicious spaghetti sauce of hers.  One of the treats of the evening (the sauce cooked for HOURS!) was that when it was done, mom would let us tear off chunks of bread and dip then into a bowl of sauce.  My mom had a secret recipe for her bread too.  We were sworn to secrecy because she didn't want her mom, my grandma- the true baker, to find out what she did.  Grams thought mom made the absolute best bread in the world.  And she did!  But her secret was to take frozen loaves of bread dough and follow the directions on the package.  :)  You'd think Grams would have caught on since her daughter NEVER really liked cooking!  I diverse... my creative way to make pizza...Pizza Fondue.  A simple search on the Internet proved it was NOT an original thought.  Still, I was game for this adventure.  Worst case scenario, we order out.  

In the fondue pot I used a can of Cheddar Cheese soup and added mozzarella Cheese.  Tasty, but it doesn't stay on bread very well.  
On the stove top I made my pizza sauce.  To the sauce I added finely chopped pepperoni and cooked sausage.  
Above is a nice picture of my work and serve area.  I decided to mix both pans together.  My son noted that it turned out more like a queso dip.   It was much easier to dip the bread sticks I bought into this mixture.  My taste-testers decided it was repeatable.  The chef wasn't extremely pleased with the bread though.  Maybe I am spoiled by that recipe I have for dough.  A day later, I bought a loaf of French bread and sliced it very thin...about 1/4 of an inch slices.  I toasted the bread and spread leftover, warm pizza sauce dip on top.  MUCH BETTER!  When the kids got home from school I made up some of these treats for them.  They came back for seconds!  
Last night I decided to try a crock pot recipe.  I cooked a whole chicken with carrots, onion and celery.  Above you can see my creations in progress.  I have been using my computer a lot as a resource.  I am still requesting anyone and everyone to send me their favorite CP recipes!  So far both response I have received with recipes were for pulled pork.  I will definitely be trying that next week!  My MIL happens to LOVE pulled pork.  My other friend who responded is a lot like me when it comes to CP cooking.  Both our CP's are over 20 years old and used mostly to keep things warm.  
After a successful day of CP cooking, here's a picture of our meal!  Chicken in a pot (transferred to an easier to carry dish), green beans, fried apples and Risotto Rice with peas.  We took this meal next door and dined with the in-laws.  It was nice to use their plates and then dishwasher!  My MIL made persimmon pudding the other day so that was our dessert.  YUMMY!  

Not every meal over the next several weeks will be this gourmet.  But I am seriously missing a real kitchen!  I needed to create!  

Living in the BUNKER!

On the first morning of construction, we as a family headed down to the basement, into our makeshift kitchen, to do our morning routine.  Lunches needed to be made, breakfast needed to be eaten, newspaper read, e-mails checked and the cats fed.  My sixteen-year-old said he felt like we were living in a bunker.  Now the basement gets referred to as the Bunker of the Burrow!   Note the non-functioning washer, dryer and dishwasher on the right.  

The counter is sterilized regularly!  Lily needs her shots twice a day and I need her at a height I can easily do that task.  Just to the left of the the two burners is the tiny little bar sink.  Life could be worse.  

Below the Construction: What the?

My husband and son went exploring below the kitchen in the crawl space.  I gave them my camera because they said there was a name signed on the wall.  I think if you look closely you can see it's etched too!  

"Heck" seems like the perfect southern Indiana 1961 name.  I wonder if he was a plumber?  I wonder how old he was?  Cool!  

Day 5,6 & 7...d-r-y-w-a-l-l...

Day Five was last Friday.  Day Six, Monday and Day Seven is today.  The Drywall guy should be here soon.  He's got such a meticulous job to do, that things seem slow moving.  I can see what this craftsman is doing and I appreciate his talent and patience.  

I just wonder if today will be enough time for him?  The good thing is that the tile/floor won't start until this Friday.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twenty-two Year Milestone!

On this day twenty-two years ago, IU lost to Purdue in the annual Old Oaken Bucket football game which was played in West Lafayette that year.  

Two families gathered, one with IU ties and the other with Purdue loyalists.  All afternoon long, the big question was...what's the score?  

My thoughts were very different.  I woke up that morning in the house I had spent the last 10 years growing up in.  My mom, six year old sister and I shared the morning, but it's all a faded dream now.  I was raised in a very traditional Polish, Italian, Catholic family.  Weddings were a huge event!  Four friends, some from school others cousins, arrived late in the morning.  We all dressed at my mom's house.  My photographer was another friend of the family...he'd been a volunteer fireman with my dad and a neighbor for the past 10 years too.  He arrived early and took a lot of candid photos.  Number 16 would make my sister angry!  What six year old wants someone to show her skirt up over her head as her mom pulls up her hose?  Number 99 would bring tears to my eyes...just before Chris and I would leave the reception, very late in the evening, Eileen came to me and buried her head in my lap.  She was crying because she was worried she was losing me as a sister.  After all, my last name did change.  The two of us were huddled in a corner of the hallway.  My photographer found us and captured that moment.  The tears I shed early in the day as my dad's mother came to me just before I walked down the aisle and said, "You look beautiful.  Your dad would be so proud of you."  were long replaced by the happiness that over filled that day.  Just 17 months before my wedding, my dad had suddenly past away.  He was young, just 52.  It was such a shock.  My wedding was really the first joyful event that brought the family together.  Not only did it give my mom something happy to focus on and plan, it allowed the extended family to be involved and heal too.  

Chris and I were barely together that day and night.  We were in the same room, but always  chatting, hugging, dancing, laughing, drinking with our guests.  It was an over-the-top party.  My mom out did herself.  It really was the most perfect day.  I don't mean to slight my brother in all this, but he spent that day with the groom.  Since they arrived at the church when they were suppose to, I figured that were good. 
Since my anniversary always falls near Thanksgiving, it's easy to pause and think of my blessings.  Two years ago my mom passed away on our anniversary.  She was surrounded by family; my sister and I both holding her hands and each other.  I was thankful that my mom's suffering was over and that I could be there for her in that part of her journey.  I was not very thankful that I had lost her on that day.  In this world, when I look at the bigger picture, I am so very thankful that I was able to find my soul mate to share my life.  Ups and downs, tough times financially and better times, births and deaths, simple joys and complex thoughts...I hope my children will be as blessed in their lives.  

It's about time for IU to take on Purdue once again, in West Lafayette...I wonder what the score will be?  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day Four - "It's the Plumber,..."

I was recalling the classic cartoon from The Electric Company today, where the plumber arrives at a house and knocks on the door, and the parrot asks, "Whooo is it?" The plumber replies, "It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink." But the parrot never says anything but "Who is it?" So the plumber becomes increasingly frustrated that no one will let him into the house. After several go-rounds of this, the plumber collapses in a fit of rage. Then an old lady comes home, discovers him lying there, and gasps, "Who is it?" The parrot answers, of course, "It's the plumber. He's come to fix the sink."

That did not happen today!  Although the plumbers did arrive; they worked.  The plumbers moved the sink pipes, the water line for the 'fridge and the laundry room/closet pipes.  Before today, the laundry pipes took a little detour outside, just begging to freeze up.  No longer a concern.   

Have you ever seen the movie, Lethal Weapon 2?  My son commented on the fact that it's nearing the holidays and we have walls of visqueen ...now if Mel Gibson would just show up...the Mel of 20 years ago...

Dave built a temporary wall of visqueen and two-by-fours between the kitchen entry and the rest of the house.  It has a zipper in it!  This should keep the dust down from the drywall guy, and I bet from the tile guys too.  (and Lily out)

Looking into the kitchen from the rest of the house.
  Dave took down the pocket door and built the arched entry.  It looks perfect!  It's just the right touch to tie the original part of the house, which really is everything, to my dream kitchen.  
Where the pocket door used to be!  Poor Lily, stuck on the outside away from the action.  

Tomorrow the drywall guy comes to see the mess.  No Friday night homemade pizza, unless I go next door and use my MIL's oven.   

Needed: Your Favorite...

...Crock Pot Recipes.  

I am on the hunt for good crock pot (CP) recipes.  I have looked on the web and know there are plenty out there, but I'd really like recipes that others have tried and enjoy.  

I am curious about the Lemon Cake in a CP recipe I saw.  I have to try that!  I really need to make main dishes though.  

Any suggestions?  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day three...still the electricians...

Yesterday the electricians had a wiring puzzle to figure out.  What wires go to which outlets or switches.  They needed to come back today to finish up.  The rough wiring is in and so are the canned lights!

Dave was in and out today.  He was managing a lot of unseen stuff happening in the crawl space, attic and in the walls.    
Look closely (above) and you can see the red chalk outline of the island!  The yellow wires are for outlets and the grey wire is for the oven.  Tomorrow the gas line will be put in.  
Lily is pretending to be on the counter of the island.  She really does like all this activity going on.  She gets mad when I make her come with me while the guys are here.  
This is the wall where the bookshelf/TV/desk, counter top and cabinets will be.  The drywall guy will be here on Friday.  I wonder what he'll have to say about all these holes!  
Apparently the puck lights I'll have under the cabinets need to be plugged in and the outlets need to go in cabinets without glass doors.  Walls are marked where the glass cabinet fronts will be for this purpose.  I noticed a few glass cabinet fronts that need to move from one side of the room to the other!  I hate being a stickler, but I don't think I could have lived with them where they were going to be.  
My private worker removed the shutters!  I don't plan on using them in the kitchen again, but they are precious enough to hold on to,  just in case.  I think I might see if I can re-use them in the spare bedroom.   Go IU, but the red and white material needs to go into my scrap material bin.  

Tomorrow the plumber will be here.  We will see if he'll have any surprises for us.  

A Funny from Day Two:  There are mice in the crawl space under the kitchen...imagine that!  Dave mentioned that some of the vines around the house have pushed a vent in and critters can get in that way.  I told Dave, the mice are what the snake eats.  He seemed unsure as to whether or not I was serious.  He doesn't know about Snakey or the Corn Snake we've found here.
Apparently, the mice were coming after some of the guys while they were down below the kitchen working.  Weenies!    I'd much rather have a mouse come towards me in a dark crawl space than a snake.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day two...electricians

This morning Lily has all ready climbed our contractor's ladder.  She was trying to figure out a way to get up to the attic through the laundry room ceiling.  She was surveying Dave, the contractor, when he came in today.  She saw his truck pull in the drive way and then was mad that he stayed outside for five minutes.  The pocket door between the kitchen and the rest of the house was not an original feature of the Burrow.  It is functional right now, but is not included in my final plans either.  Lily sits on this side of the pocket door wanting so desperately to get in and see what the guys are doing.  Periodically she bumps her nose on the door trying to make it open.  

Yesterday the guys cut a hole into the floor of the kitchen so they could have access to the crawl space under there.  The current access door is only big enough for a lanky teenager to squeeze through.  Eventually that access will need to be re-worked.  Lily can hear the electricians in that space and she is wishing she could go explore with them.  Poor kitty!  

Jack...ran and hid the minute the electricians walked through the door.  Fine guard cat he makes.  

Added after 5 pm, Photos from Day Two:  
The florescent lights have been removed and the canned lighting has been wired.  You can see the mark from the old, hanging cabinet too.  

Outlets have to be moved due to cabinets going in and old wires NOT being needed.  There will be three covers on old wires: our reminder of the past.  

Problem:  We go in and out of the carport door enough that we need to have shoes handy.  But, there is not a place to put said shoes.  

Solution:  A shoe shelf is being added into the bottom of the wall!  Our contractor is doing this job himself.  Yes, he's reminding me a little of Ty Pennington!  

The wall of the laundry closet needed to come out a bit too.  Here you can see the new framing and LOTS of wiring.  Tomorrow the shutters need to come down!  

Monday, November 17, 2008

Before and Day One Photos...

The Burrow was built in 1960.  Several updates have happened, but the last one in the kitchen was done about 15 years ago...give or take 5 years.  The stove top had a date on it of 1979.  I couldn't even find a date on the oven...which ran about 50 degrees too hot!  
Patriotic?  French Provencal?  Checkers anyone?  
At noon today.  

View of the pocket door (above).  

I am expecting the work over the next few weeks to go much slower than today's progress.  It's easy to see when things are ripped up and missing versus wiring, duct or plumbing work.  

Remodeling: Kitchen Project...day 1

Today starts our kitchen remodeling job.  
Totally starting over.  

Stay tuned for details, photos, comments.  
11:40am update
NOISY!  But good!  I came home from school and one of the guys said, "You probably don't want to look in there."  Actually I like it!  I am glad to have the room changing.  It looks smaller than I thought it would.  Even though nothing is in it, I am feeling like the past owners are really being let go.  As noisy as it is inside, it's quiet and lightly snowing outside.  No accumulation; too light and the sun is trying to pop out.  

DUSTY, too.  I am thinking I might need to get some sheets to place over some of the furniture.  I can hear the saws or whatever tools are being used for de-construction.  They even sound messy.  

Poor Jack is hiding.  Our guard cat, Lily is a bit freaked out, but very curious. 

More later!  With pictures.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My husband went out to California on business this past week for four days.  On one afternoon he had some free time, so he went to a local motorcycle rental shop and was outfitted.  

He has this grandiose idea that when he retires we are going to travel the country on a Goldwing Honda.  

I was smiling on my end of the phone when he told me his hind end was tired from being on the bike for so long.  My steel trap memory will remember that fact in 20 years!  

Despite being sore, he did have a great afternoon exploring southern California.  What a cool adventure!  

With a lowercase "n"


This was inspired by my sister and my daughter.  
I wonder what they are trying to tell me?  

btw, both of those ladies need to UPDATE their blogs.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks Speed Bump! :)

I must have my dad's warped sense of humor! I'm sure my siblings will enjoy this funny and get the joke with me. I figured out how to make it smaller!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fall Tradition

As the leaves start to change their color, it is time for our annual tradition of heading to our friends vineyard & pumpkin patch.  A tradition that started 8 or 9 years ago.  In past years our families have come together, long time friends and neighbor, the older generation mixed with the younger; parents, children and grandchildren.  
As the time has passed, so have members of this gathering.  This year none of the "parents" were there.  Two were on a trip out west, one has gone to rest and the fourth just wasn't up to the adventure.  
So old gives way to new.  As a red wine lover (specifically Shiraz), I have discovered our friend's new wine.  Sky Dog Red is a fruity wine that doesn't over power ones taste buds.  It's a wonderful anytime wine.  I find myself enjoying it most evenings before dinner, no matter what I am serving.   
Each year I try to capture our growing children on film.  This year they were all in a goofy  mood and didn't want to pose.  They were having fun and that makes a better picture anyway.  From our oldest, who can now legally drive, to their youngest, who was afraid of the mosquitoes and would barely leave his mama's side, they enjoyed each others company.  
A booty of variety!   Our friends sell pumpkins and gourds from their crop out at their
winery.  When we visit their patch it is mostly filled with leftovers...perfect jack-o-lantern pumpkins!  
I always bake seeds on the evening we carve our jack-o-lanterns.  This year I tried a healthier recipe.  Toasted Pumpkin Seeds on the Simply Recipes website.  I missed the buttery taste of my old recipe, but not enough to add any of that sinful ingredient.  The different size and variety pumpkins did offer different seed tastes.  

Since our normal partners on this pumpkin adventure were out of town, we shared our colorful booty with them.  Here's my FIL carving one of their jack-o-lanterns.  

Our adventure of the evening didn't stop with dinner and pumpkin picking though.  This year offered another treat!  Our host has been taking flying lessons.  He has his pilot's license, a plane and his own hanger!  My husband and kids were able to sail over Monroe County and see her beauty from up above.  

If you could enlarge this photo you'd see the speck of a plane in the right-hand quadrant.  It was beautiful to watch the plane soaring from the ground.  The vineyards, clouds and colors brought out the romantic spirit in me!  

Landing between the grape vines.  

Two photos of my baby and her pilot, Bill.  It will be so hard to top this night of memories for my kids.