Tuesday, November 30

The calendar may say November, but boy oh boy,.....the wintry weather has arrived.   It was a cold blustery day as I traveled to Arcola and Amish country with 3 friends (Claire, Donna Rae and Margie) for shopping and High Tea.   We started out in the country at the bakery and then grocery store followed by the cute shops in Arcola.    And also visited the visitor's center where Margie bought a broom (Arcola is the broom capital of the world AND, the original home of Raggedy Ann and Andy).

Claire, Pat, Margie with new broom and Donna Rae

After shopping, we were off to The Flower Patch B & B for High Tea
Claire, Pat, Donna Rae and Margie enjoying a bountiful array of goodies and teas
Our delightful hostess, Lynne with her beautiful almond cake with cherry filling

We arrived back home, unloaded all our packages and it started snowing and the winds were soo strong!  
Met Mark at the door with my stuff and was off to wrap gifts for our Monday Night Friends "Adopt-a-Family."    After that we had supper at CJ's.    I was sooo stuffed from the High Tea, so just had a cup of very good cream of asparagus soup.
"The Wrappers"
Jody, Ruth, Pat, Tamara, Connie, Sue, Brenda and Marsha

Left CJ's and off to the YWCA where I met Mark and we watched Liam and Connor at their swimming lesson along with Anne and Patrick.  
Two little fish

It's good to be home and out of the elements - burrrr.... "Baby it's COLD outside" as the song goes!!!

Monday, November 29

Beautiful day for traveling......we left London around 7:45 eastern time and been cruising along.    I've had my nose in the 3rd book of the Stieg Larsson series "Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest"....it's got me on pins 'n needles!!!

Stopped in Indianapolis for lunch.   And then the clouds rolled in, wind picked up and started raining about an hour from home.   Nasty night here with rain and wind - ugh!   Mark said we should've gone "south"!   Ahhh, but it is good to be home and nice to have the house all decorated (Mark will do a few more things tomorrow - lights in the windows, outside wreath, etc.)

Finished the book!   WOW.....sooo suspenseful right down to the very end!

Philip made us a beautiful chest for our family room.....he and Annette brought from FL to NC and now we have it home!  We love it!  He's quite the handyman and carpenter!   Here it is...

Sunday, November 28

Beautiful sunny Sunday, but 19 in Hickory when we got up this morning.....that's COLD for these folks!    After breakfast, we said our good-byes and had one more picture taken before we were back "on the road again"

Grandma, Grandpa and the boys

We took the back roads thru mountains (Blowing Rock and Boone) and lots of winding, twisting, bending curves We wanted to avoid all the heavy traffic on the interstates and also enjoyed the beautiful scenery.    Our route took us thru NC, TN, VA, and KY.   We stopped around 5:00 as the sun was so blinding....we are in London, KY tonight.

Here are some more cute pics from yesterday...
Brooke and Davis decorating Drew's birthday cookie
Drew and some dinosaur gummi bears

Saturday, November 27

Beautiful crisp sunny day....everyone was busy, busy around here!    Here are some photos of how we spent our Saturday...

Michael blowing leaves and clearing the backyard!
Philip installing shelving in the garage
Annette coming back from her workout
Brooke and Ryan putting lights on the bushes

We all went to 5:15 Mass at St. Aloysius and then home to "eat" again....did the webcam with Anne, Patrick and boys - the cousins sure enjoyed seeing each other!   Wish they could've been with us this past week!
"Our Three Sons"

Celebrated Drew's 11th birthday which is December 1
The birthday boy and his new Julius Peppers jersey
Jerry Nibbles
   Brady, Davis, Drew, Brooke and Michael
Mark, Pat, Ryan, Annette and Philip

Tomorrow, it's back to FL, CA and IL for some of us with a big "Thank You" to the NC folks for a wonderful week of  fun, eating, games, eating, enjoying the super weather, eating and just being together!

Friday, November 27

It's "Black Friday" and most of this houosehold and Daisy are sleeping in.....Leigh (Brooke's sister-in-law)  did venture out, but a bit later and found some good bargains!    Busy household of games going on...here's the guys and Annette playing a big poker game...
Michael, Philip, Annette, Scott (Brooke's brother) and Ryan...
Mark doing his exercises
Mark and his 3 boys enjoying the fire outside
Good game of 6-handed euchre (Annette, Brooke, Michael, Mark, Ryan and Pat)
Mark, Brooke and Pat won 2 out of 3....fun!!!
Brooke and Michael -our hosts for the week!
GREAT job you two!!!

Thanksgiving - 2010

It was a dreary, chilly day outside, but lots of fun, food and warmth indoors!    Brooke's family (parents, brother, sister-in-law and 2 kids) were here and we all played games (have a Wii bowling tournament going on), pool, bean bag toss, sequence, etc.  and ate and ate and ate some more!    Big breakfast then many yummy hors' d'oeuvres thruout the afternoon followed by the turkey feast at 6:30..............what a day!   Here are some highlights:

Mark in fine form at Wii bowling
The boys and their cousins, Caroline and Cooper
Girls working away in the kitchen....Leigh, Judy, Brooke and Annette
Annette, the turkey carver
Brady and Uncle Ryan

Wednesday, November 24

Gorgeous clear sunny day and great to have Ryan here- he arrived at 6:30 AM after flying all night from CA.  Mark and I are in charge of meals today....started off with blueberry pancakes and sausage.  Then the hikers were off to Grandfather Mountain!    What a day to take a hike!    (Ha!)
Ryan, Philip, Drew, Brooke, Mark, Annette and Michael

Davis with the broken pinkie, Brady and Grandma stayed home.....lots of things to do in the kitchen and Brady and I took a nice long walk (Brady was in the stroller).
What a day for a stroll...

 The hikers returned mid afternoon and then some vicious games of bean bag toss went on...had a big dinner of sweeet & sour meatloaf, ranch potatoes, broccoli salad, and rolls.   Lots of desserts,but everyone is  stuffed!
Grandpa and Brady cheering on...

After dinner, Grandpa opened some birthday presents - cute mugs with grandsons (all 5) pictures.
 Drew and Uncle Phil relaxing by the fire after the hot tub

  Last  night, Drew and Brady camped out with us!    Tonight, all 3 boys are sleeping on Daisy!!!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 23

Started out nice and sunny, but then cloudy and cooler in the afternoon followed by misty rain!

But indoors, it was a productive day while the boys were at school.   I started and finished Drew's Carolina Panthers blanket.  Michael got home and he, Philiip and Mark were out and about.   Brooke ran errands, Annette worked out and then we girls got to work making food goodies for the next several days   Brooke and I went shopping for a bit in the late afternoon.

We had delicious shredded pork tacos for supper and Door County Cherry Pie...........so much food in this house and it's not even Thanksgiving yet!!!!   Tummies are groaning.........

Sweet Liam praying before his turkey dinner at school
Little Indian Boy, Brady
The girls trying to hit the mark at Bean Bag Toss
The brothers playing couple against couple

Tomorrow Ryan arrives - yeah!!!

Monday, November 22

Hello from North Carolina.....sunny, breezy 70 degrees today!    We arrived at 1:05.   Brooke spent a big part of the day with Davis at doctor offices and the gist is he has a broken pinky on his right hand (playing football on Saturday).

Davis and his "claw" (his words)
Sweet Brady getting "squeaky" clean
Drew playing Indiana Jones on Wii
And finally...Jerry Nibbles quenching his thirst!

Annette prepared a delicious lasagna dinner and tonight we're just hanging out - Michael is traveling and
will be home tomorrow.

Sunday, November 21

We left Clarksville at 9 on a pretty sunny Sunday!    Heavy traffic and passing thru Nashville, noticed the Opryland Hotel is back in operation after the terrible flooding this past spring.   The Opry Mills Shopping Center is still closed (they have already spent $50 million, but not yet finished.)  We arrived in Crossville at the Spring Lake RV Resort around noonish.   Did some exercises, walked around the lake, had lunch and then John and Heather picked us up and we were off to see Vince and Sandy.   They took us to see their new home under construction and we enjoyed the tour - beautiful setting on Lake Dartmoor.

Back to where Vince and Sandy are currently living for snacks, drinks and lots of good visiting.   Then off to Stoneghenge Country Club where we met Bill and Nancy who just came from the TN Titans football game (they lost). We had a great dinner and just sat and yakked and yakked (we are all long-time boating friends).   All 3 couples just happened to settle in TN fairly close to one another.  
 This is a really beautiful area and really great friends!

John and Heather, Vince and Sandy, Mark and Pat, Nancy and Bill

John and Heather brought us back to Daisy and now all excited about tomorrow and seeing our kids/kiddies!

Saturday, November 20

We left at 8:40 this morning truckin' down the road in Daisy pulling Toad and loaded up with all our stuff!
About 20 minutes after we left, we hit nasty fog (where did THAT come from) and drove in it for an hour!    Finally, ran out of that, but still dreary and chilly.   The farther south we went....tah dah....the sun was shining and the temps rose to 71!    Felt sooo good!   Had lunch at Five Brothers Cafe in Salem (been here before and always good).

We are in Clarksville, TN tonight at the Clarksville Campground - settled in around 4:00 and then left in Toad to check out this city of 129,000.   It is the home of Austin Peay State University (the fastest growing university in TN) and has a record enrollment this year of 10,000+.    It has a very pretty campus with many red brick buildings.   In January of 1999, the city of Clarksville suffered major damage from an F-4 tornado with a big part of the campus buildings damaged and over 130 trees lost.

Clarksville is also the birthplace of Wilma Rudolph and a main highway is named in her honor.   She was the fastest woman runner in the world in the 1960's.    We were impressed with the downtown - neat older buildings with wonderful architecture, new buildings blending in with the old, lovely homes, etc.   We went to 5:30 Mass at Immaculate Conception church and then walked along the Cumberland River - great walking path and it is decorated with tons of ornamental decorations all along the path, trees are full of lights, etc.    Unfortunately, only a small section was lit up - I imagine after Thanksgiving the lights will come on and what a sight it will be!    I'm sure it's a popular place for families to walk around and ooh and aah!

We stopped and got Chinese and brought back to Daisy - our egg rolls, hot and spicy beef and General Tso's chicken were delicious!

Friday, November 19

Bright sunny,windy day....we finished loading up Daisy and Todd.......I ran some errands this afternoon, got a manicure and Anne stopped by with a few more gifts for us to take.

Did the "Sieze the Deal" for supper with a Papa Murphy's pizza - very good ($16 value for $8)!!!

Drew, Davis and Brady................Grandma and Grandpa will soon be on our way!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 18

Woke up to dreary skies, although they said the sun would shine!   But no sun today....chilly and cloudy all day long!    We had a 2-hour breakfast/visit with Paul and Kathy at CJ's....great fun catching up with these good friends.   And then back to all the busyness of the season.    Mark ran errands, I finished decorating the big tree and worked in Daisy.

Picked Connor up from school at 11:00; he had lunch on Daisy while I put more stuff away.   He took a nice long nap and I picked Liam up from school.    The boys were excited to see  Grandma's Christmas pretties and  all my trees (big traditional, snowman, patriotic/nautical, grapevine, and 3 smaller ones).
Connor reading a story to all the snowmen
Watching Grandpa put the angel on top of tree
Silly boys with their Snowman and Santa 

Wednesday, November 17

Started out a pretty day, but then very cloudy, chilly and dreary!   Oh well.....can't have the sun shine every day!    Had a guy come this morning to clean the grout in our ceramic tile in 2 bathrooms, kitchen and dinette.   Really looks great!!!

I ran a few errands and then to Exchange lunch which is always good, but today, had the big turkey feast with all the trimmings!   DEELISH!    Mark put the lights on the big tree and I hung a bunch of ornaments - still more to do tomorrow.   Love this tree with all the special treasures and memories from long ago when the kids were babies, growing up, etc and neat gifts from friends and family over the years!

I made the cereal party mix and white chocolate popcorn today....got a lot of stuff put on Daisy - clothes for NC, clothes for FL (this winter), food, presents, etc.   We'll be ready to roll out of here Saturday morning!

 Made the tortilla soup for supper - simmered in the crockpot all afternoon and just added water, chicken and tomatoes - it was very good!    Be sure to check out the Shore Lunch soups when you
"Shop Menards"!!!

Tuesday, November 16

Nice day for traveling and we left at 8:30 to visit Dad and take him to Stonecroft where his sister, (Aunt Marian) moved about 3 weeks ago.    After being quarantined for that week, Dad was happy to get outta there, enjoy the fresh air and go back to his previous home.

Aunt Marian has a really nice 2-bedroom apartment and after getting the tour and visiting, we went to the dining room for lunch - it was so neat to see all the old friends and staff come up to chat with Dad and tell him how glad they were to see him and how good he looks!    He sure enjoyed it all!

After lunch, we took Dad back to the nursing home and we came on home.    Stopped and picked up Daisy who has been in storage.    Tomorrow, we'll start loading up all our stuff!

I decorated my "snowman tree" tonight (almost need a bigger tree...........lots of snowmen in this house)  

Dad and Aunt Marian

Monday, November 15

Wow...how can it be the middle of November already!     We started out today having breakfast with the Monday morning group then Mark ran errands, I got a haircut and ran my errands (wouldn't we save a LOT of time if we didn't have so darn many errands)???!    Mark grilled out hamburgers for lunch - yum!    Spent the afternoon decorating, wrapping and getting things together for NC.   Was a pretty day.

Tonight, 9 of the Monday Night Friends met at Caffe Italia for delicious dinner - this place is small and neat with the red-checkered table cloths (Christmas music was playing).   Topped off the good pasta and wine with lemon cake and hazlenut gelato - and then felt like rolling out the door!

Sunday, November 14

Sunny Sunday, but chilly!    We went to 9:00 Mass at Epiphany (they did a major renovation/add on and we had heard so much about it - well, it is BEAUTIFUL)!    Stopped for a few groceries at Meijer's and then to Menards for some things including soup!   My sister-in-law, Linda told me about their great soups "Shore Lunch" - I had no idea Mendards carried such a big area of grocery items!    So, anxious to try these soups
at only $2.48 each (just add a few ingredients, water and it's good to go)!

Went home and put away the perishables and then to The Festival of Trees - this is a huge fundraiser our community puts on (17th annual) - lots of beautiful trees (large and small), wreaths, centerpieces, etc.

Mark worked in the yard for a bit raking....I dug back into the Christmas stuff.   House is a mess with boxes, bins, and STUFF everywhere!   Worked at a slower pace than yesterday when I seemed to be the "energizer bunny" all day long.    Anne stopped by - she's been baking a bunch this weekend for big "Relay for Life" sale.  

Busy week coming up finishing  this decorating, visiting Dad, packing up Daisy and getting ready for Thanksgiving in NC!

Saturday, November 13

What a productive, fun day!!!    The weather was icky-poo - blustery winds, rainy and dreary!    Anne and I met at Bergners' at 7:30 and with our Starbucks treats and coupon books in hand, we took off and both of us had very good luck with our shopping!    Today was the Community Day coupon sale and all the $ collected by the various churches, schools, civic organizations (my Exchange club was involved in this) goes directly back to the group selling and makes for a profitble fundraiser.    It's a win-win situation for all - our group got $5 for each coupon book sold and we shoppers got the bargains!!!

Spent the afternoon/evening digging out the Christmas decorations (I have sooooooooooo much stuff) and you probably think I'm crazy, but since we won't be here for Thanksgiving and it takes me several days, decided to get an early start and it will be done when we return from North Carolina on the 29th!   I am scaling down this year; but still takes TIME.    It's fun to sort thru all the treasures and memories of Christmases past.  No lights get turned on.....made good headway today but winding down!    Three days of shopping and then sprucing up the house with holiday decor wears a girl out!!!

Hope your weekend is going well!

Friday - November 12

Eleven of us (Monday morning breakfast bunch) met at McDonalds parking lot at 9:00- the girls went in one van and the guys in another.   We spent the day in Amish country (1.5 hours away) and what fun!    The weather was absolutely fantastic - mid 70's with lots of sunshine.   We girls shopped in downtown Arcola  checking out all the pretties and holiday decorating.   The guys did their thing and we all met at noon for trip out in the country at Elsie's Amish home for her wonderful family-style several courses of
delicious cooking (Crunchy slaw, fried chicken, ham loaf, mashed potatoes/gravy, homemade noodles, green beans, homemade bread w/apple butter
AND...apple pie, creamy peanut butter pie and chocolate cream pie!!!! 

Our big Saturday afternoon meal for Sisters' Weekend was also at Elsie's and I requested her again - she is delightful and a terrific cook, along with her son, Devon (14) who helped out (and fried the chicken).

We had so much fun eating, listening to Elsie share Amish customs, their way of living, etc.    Almost 2 hours later we left stuffed and happy and then stopped at the Homestead Bakery for goodies and onto Beachy's grocery store  where most everything is sold in bulk packages.

Home Sweet Home at 5:30 - big day, but everyone really enjoyed this unique experience!   Sorry
 Darrel and Norma couldn't be with us!

Back:  Mark, Ed, Pat, Ken, Jerry and Marty
Front:  Sigrunn, Donna Rae, Sue and Brenda

Thursday, November 11

Pretty day to honor all the veterans!  Off we went to Geneva....Brenda, Sue, Nadine and myself.   We shopped at Little Traveler and few other shops in the area and then Geneva Commons.   I had great luck finding things, but biggest disappointment was our lunch - none of us were really happy about that as we all love to eat (usually the highlight of our day)!!!

It rained off and on coming home and Mark was waiting for me at the Borders parking lot.   Got the packages transferred and we headed across town to Swinger's to meet friends, Allie and Owen for dinner   We all enjoyed our meals and then listened to Patrick (son-in-law) sing his rendition of Elton John, Phil Collins, Beatles, Neil Diamond and others....fun evening!

Allie and Owen
Patrick provided great entertainment

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the girls shopping trip!

Wednesday, November 10

Today just had to be one of the prettiest - I couldn't get over the beauty of the trees and that luscious burning bush which is so vribrant now!   Had to take a few more pics...

I was out of the house at 8 to hit the big sale day at Kohl's and what fun - bought several baby girl outfits for Birthright (the Sublettians are doing this again this year instead of exchanging gifts - it's so much fun and much appreciated and needed by the gals at Birthright and new mothers.   Stopped at my doctor's office to have my arm checked for the TB...............negative and also I do not have Sarcoidosis!    Since my eye is not bothering me, I will mark that off the "stress/worry" list and wait and see if and any changes occur by next appointment on 12/20.

Mark took our truck in to have tiny crack repaired in windshield - $78!    Yikes, a few years ago, it $45 and before that, $25...

Lunch with Exchange Club and our Santa letter forms are starting to come in!    Yeah....hoping for a big year with these funds going towards prevention of child abuse here in our community.

I made Crescent Chicken Almondine and split with Anne and family, along with banana nut bread and "Razzleberry" pie.....oh my, actually I can't take the credit for this, but that Marie Callendar sure makes good stuff and this pie is fantastic!!!   Liam and Patrick stopped and picked up their supper after school.   I wrrapped a few more gifts.

Good news for our folks.....Mark's Mom's test went well today.   My Dad had dinner in the dining room tonight (the quarantine has been lifted!)   Alleluia - he was very happy to see his meal-time buddies and a change of scenery after being cooped up for ONE week!

My window treatments for the family room came today (woven woods) - Mark installed and they look great!    

Rode our bikes on the trail this afternoon - and here's some of that beauty...

Pretty tree and Mark, the biker 
 Burning bush on fire!!!

Tomorrow I'm off to Geneva for a fun shopping day with 3 friends!

Tuesday, November 9

Pretty, pretty day....71 and all sunshine!    Enjoyed being outdoors washing windows, pulling up the flowers and Mark hung some Christmas lights.    He's having some issues with his back, so wearing a brace.    Still coughing some, but so much better!

We rode our bikes on the trail and had lunch outside at Garlic Press - what a treat for November 9th!    Came home and made some banana /nut bread.   

Dad had another rough afternoon with the flu....just when he's starting to feel better, it comes back.    Nursing home is still on lockdown and will continue for rest of the week.     So, we will not be taking Dad to his doctor appointment on Thursday - he was disappointed as the weather is to be so nice and we were going to have lunch with his sister.   Bummer...bummer!    And Mark's Mom is having tests tomorrow, so wishing her the best and hope to get these parents back to feeling GOOD!

I met the Sublettians for an early supper at Swinger's and FOUR hours later, we walked out the door with lots of laughs and all caught up (well, kind of)?    Especially neat to have Judy with us tonight - hadn't seen her in many months!    Janie....so sorry you couldn't be with us - feel better soon!

Marilyn, Ann, Pat, Kay and Judy