Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boo Hoo,

this wonderful holiday weekend is over. The weather was absolutely beautiful. Friday when DH came home from work, he decided that the pond wasn't going to clear up and needed to be drained and cleaned. Although I knew that he was right, it's so much work for him and takes a lot of water to refill it. So just after dinner he started to drain the water into the canoe we unhappily inherited when his brother died. Soon he was ankle-deep in crud, and knee deep in water trying to catch fish in a skimmer net. He quickly discovered it was faster to catch them by hand. It was pretty close to being dark when he finished cleaning the pond and starting to refill it. The fish stayed in the canoe overnight, and he filtered the water overnight.

Saturday morning we just sort of had a lazy breakfast, and talked about our plans for the rest of the weekend. Late Friday evening we had decided to have a family cookout on Saturday. Rod took the grocery list and headed for the local butcher shop while I showered. We did just a simple and easy meal plan. Burgers, Paul's homemade sweet sausage, and his homemade smoked kielbassa. Chips and the fixings completed our menu. Then after lunch we headed for Bubby's baseball game at Miracle Field. The game ended in a tie, as always since every kid gets to bat until they get a hit, and nobody is ever out. Every child scores a run, and a homerun ends each of the innings by emptying the bases. After the game, we headed home and Rod pumped the water from the canoe into the pond, and started to catch the fish to return them to their newly cleaned home. He finished before the kids arrived, emptied the canoe and flipped it over (I have two granddaughters who looovee to play in water). The twins arrived first and started to make the burgers. Mary arrived next with fruit salad and dessert, an assortment of cheesecake from Costco, and Kristin arrived with beverages. George had brought a "hard cider" which I thought was pretty good. We had decided to bring my mom out, and the twins surprised her by showing up since she hadn't answered her phone. We all had a wonderful time, and watched the kids play in the yard before everyone headed home to watch the hockey game. Yeah Pens!!

Sunday AM, Rod left early to pick up a truckload of landscape timbers at our local Home Depot. We needed 50, they had only 12 and they were in horrible shape. So, he headed for Cranberry (about 15 miles away) and found them there. Today's project was to built raised boxes at the end of the back deck. We have one on the side that is my herb garden. Due to our age and the cost of water, we have decided to plant a small garden in these new boxes instead of doing the large garden that we have done in the past. I worked on my Disney blocks and buttonholed the 10 that were done. I used the invisible thread with a light creme bottom thread from Superior Threads, and they look pretty good. I also started 8 new blocks. It was really warm, and so we borrowed Pat's truck and headed to the hardware store for bolts and then to the garden center for a truckload of mushroom compost. Rod waited until the sun had moved to the other side of the deck before he started working on the boxes. We ordered pizza for dinner, and had a campfire with Mary's family in the evening. The first s'mores of the summer and mmm they were good. Mom was taken to the emergency room after a nosebleed. It was her second of the day and she had a headache, so they had her checked out just to be sure. All tests were negative, and she was taken back to the home. Rod took a couple of Aleve and we headed to bed.

Monday, Rod finished the second box and we made another trip to the garden center for another truckload of compost. He picked up the few plants we had decided to buy and also two hanging strawberry baskets. His sister Kathy was celebrating her 60th birthday at a party given by her girls, and we decideded of the baskets would be a great gift for her. The second was for us, and they already had strawberries on them. We gave the one with the ripe berries to Kathy and she was tickled. After the party, we came home and planted our mini garden of 9 tomato plants, 6 hills of golden zucchini and one pack each of green and yellow string beans. We weeded the herb bed and planted the basil plant we bought. We discovered that the sage had died, so we need to replace it. It was a beautiful evening to sit on the deck and relax, and that's just what we did! I sat and marveled out loud about how when we moved in here the only back porch was two concrete blocks. That started a "Remember This" session for us which covered all 34 years. It started with the first garden tractor we bought used, on through the snowstorm when I got stuck in the snow trying to get to the house while I was verry pregnant, and up to watching the kids catch lightening bugs. It was a perfect ending to a great weekend, and I hope there's a lot more like this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Softball Day

Today is Tuesday, and it's another softball day. Today Krissy plays. When she announce that she wanted to play softball, I think we were all a little apprehensive. She had tried soccer, and certainly didn't like it. I remember the one game when no one could find her, and she was in front of the crowd, seated on her pink soccer ball and rooting for her team. She didn't stick with dance or gymnastics, but she seems to have found her game. She loves softball, and is a really good hitter. She gets so upset when some of the girls don't know that you're supposed to throw the ball to a base when you get it instead of standing there watching the opposing team run the bases. Here she is playing shortstop, her favorite position. You can see how seriously she takes this game. The girl in background is Krissy's best friend, Ally. Kris used to be the same height as Ally, but has suddenly gotten a lot taller.

Here's Krissy at bat. Last game, she hit the ball so soundly that when Mr. Al, one of her coaches and Ally's dad, got hit with the ball, it knocked him down. But he dropped the ball (on purpose, I'm sure) and Krissy had a good hit instead of an out. She says hitting is her favorite part.

Here's a photo of Krissy and Ally making a play. Baseball has always been one of my favorite sports, and I love watching my grandkids play. Have a great day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

If You Build It . . . . .

They will come. Do you remember this line from Field of Dreams? Here in Western PA, we now have our own Field of Dreams. As many of you know, my grandson has spina bifida, and uses a walker for mobility. A few months ago, when his sister signed up for softball, DD Mary had the heartbreaking task of informing Bubby that he couldn't play baseball. But that has changed!!! Pittsburgh Pirate Charities has funded "Miracle Field" for the Miracle League of Southwestern PA http://www.miracleleagueofsouthwesternpa.com/. Saturday was the opening day of this league, and my grandson played in the exhibition inning as well as the first game. And he had the very first RBI in this new league.

This is Bubby in the dugout awaiting the start of the game.

This is Bubby at the bat. He was so happy to have his first hit.

And he's running to first after that first hit.

And then runs the bases.

And finally in the field with his angel in the field, his daddy and biggest fan.

There were so many family members in the stands that when Bubby was announced and the cheer went up, Pirate broadcaster Steve Blass said that Bubby was a "crowd favorite" and Greg Brown, fellow broadcaster, replied that it appears James is a top vote-getter in the all star voting. A huge thank you to all that made this miracle happen for my grandson, and all the other "special" players in this league

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Week in Review

I guess I'll look back on this past week starting with Saturday. Our Mother's Day celebration was great. The turkey breast that Rod and I smoked was better than expected. We brined it in the frig overnight on Friday, used a dry rub inside the breast, mixed the rub with canola oil and made a paste which went under the skin and on the skin. It seasoned the meat, and made the skin really crispy. We also did some picnic beans using turkey sausage. Mary did two pans of mac and cheese using pioneer woman's recipe (if you haven't checked out Pioneer woman's website, you should do so. Mary uses a lot of her recipes, and all are wonderful. Kris brought a salad with romaine, red pepper, tomato, avocado and sunflower seeds, with a cilantro pesto dressing, and it was great. The twins made a brownie trifle and used sugar free pudding for me!!! Sunday morning Rod cooked me breakfast - a sausage muffin sandwich using the turkey sausage we made from a recipe emailed me by dlife.com. With multi-grain muffins, omega-3 eggs, and fat free cheese, it was truly a healthy alternative to fast food. I got really nice gifts including a lariat, pins and a dining book for disney from Mary's family; a beautiful green glass hummingbird feeder and flowers planted by the twins; a gift certificate to Kristin's fav hair salon (which I look forward to using) from Kris's family, and from Rod, a huge cast iron skillet (for use in cooking only), a new windchime for the deck, and a beautiful lily pond light for the pond (it's solar powered). I loved my Mother's day.

Tuesday Krissy had a softball game. It's her first year, and they only play three innings. There are only three teams, and George's brother's daughter plays on one of them, so lots of times it's really a family thing. Pat got subs (we call them hoagies here in western PA), Mary brought chips and we had a picnic at the ballpark. Krissy struck out the first time up, but got a nice hit each time after that. All my grandkids, and all the grandpuppies were there and we had a great night.

And then there was last night. Mary and Krissy went to the local custard stand for ice cream and placed an order for Rod and I for burgers, fries, onion rings, and milkshakes. Rod met her there on his way home from work, and didn't have to wait long for our food. Mary's family ordered steak salads from a favorite pizza spot to eat after Bubby and Jim got home from Bubby's therapy. We ate our dinner, I got a shower and Rod put my fabric for the Disney quilt in the washer. And we all sat down to watch the Peguins game. It was game 7, and we all wanted them to win but felt there was such a slight chance. Go Pens!!! They won the game with a final score of 6 to 2. And now to the finals.

Today they are calling for strong storms, so I doubt that I'll be cooking outside. I'm thinking maybe some lasagne rolls with prociutto inside. Sound good to you? Have a great rest of the week.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm Starting Over

Yes, I've decided to start over with the Disney signature quilt. I'm not happy with what I have so far, so I've been doing a lot of thinking (and the fire department didn't show up to check out the smoke). I've decided to use bleached muslin for the center of all the blocks. By prewashing, it will make the fabric more acceptable of the autographs. And here's what I've decided on for the borders of each block.

What I'm planning is to use a 6-1/2" square of the bleached muslin and use 2-1/2" strip of the colors for the borders. I figure that I can use one color on each side and it may sort of resemble a log cabin type block. This weekend I have bandanas to make for the kennel, but I'm hoping to use the blocks that I made and haven't buttonhole-stitched to practice on. I don't like the black stitching on the other blocks, so I'll try zig zag stitching with invisible thread or light grey. And I'll try all 5 buttonhole stitches that are on my new sewing machine.

We're having our Mother's Day dinner on Saturday evening. Rod is smoking a turkey breast and we're making kicked-up baked beans. Mary is bringing homemade mac and cheese, Kristin is bringing a salad (and she makes some great salads), and the twins are providing desserts. We'll bring my mom out, and have a great family evening. Hope your Mother's Day is a very happy one.

Friday, May 1, 2009

End of the Week

Well, here it is, the end of another week and the beginning of a new month. I told you before that we were planning a trip to Disney World for December to celebrate our 35th anniversary. I had planned to make a signature quilt, and had planned to use my embroidery machine to make those blocks. Last Saturday, I got out the machine and all the stuff to go with it. Plugged in a card, and OH NO, it wouldn't read the card. Tried another card -- Same result. I don't know why - maybe I had them close to a magnet, but I didn't think so. So, after steaming, pounding the table and being just plain mad, I started to think of another alternative. DD Mary said that my appliqued character quilts are special, and so why not do an applique block for the characters to sign. I decided to do only head shots, as they would be less complicated. So far I have a list of 44, and hoping to make 48. Block are 6-1/2" square, and I hope to add a border to each block to keep characters from signing into the seam allowance.

Here are the first four blocks that are nearly finished. I'm starting to look for Disney fabrics online to make my borders with. I have Toy Story, Lion King, Pooh and I have a Princess fabric. If you have any Disney FQ's that you would like to swap, let me know. Have a great weekend.