Wednesday 31 October 2012

Sandy Shmandy!

We survived Hurricane Sandy and didn't even lose power, unbelievable!
We all slept in the basement just in case anything fell on the roof and luckily it didn't.  Although I can't say the same thing for the shed.

Pretty sure the leaf catcher isn't going to work like that.

The tree limb went right through the floor.
And then there was the tree limb on the power line.

Other than that, all was well.  But if you've seen any pictures of the eastern shore, NJ or NY, oh my.  I have nothing to complain about.  Continued prayers.

As for Deep Creek Lake in western MD, snow, snow, snow!  In some places, over 2 feet.  My mil received an email about the neighborhood - trees down all over the place and no electricity for about a week, if not longer.  I don't think they've been able to clear the road near the house, who knows when.  But I bet it looks pretty!

Monday 29 October 2012

Preparing for Sandy's Visit - hope it's short!

So far, Hurricane Sandy has messed up my Snoopy Halloween flag! 
I took down my ghosts, I didn't want them floating off somewhere and Mr. Spider is safe inside.

This was the front lawn before DH did the leaves yesterday afternoon...

and after he finished.  Even with all the wind we've been getting, it's still not as bad as the before picture - but who knows what we'll see when it's all over with.
We've got the bathtub filled with water so we can use the toilet even without power, and I was baking today before the power goes out - pumpkin donuts, zucchini bread and cookies.  Oh, and the most important thing, we bought batteries last night for my stitching light!  Nathan has declared it pajama day, at least for him.

We don't have a generator, but might be able to get one tomorrow morning.  We've always managed fine without one, but this storm looks really bad and we just don't know how long we may be without power.  Hopefully the new house will have one built in with it and having gas will help too.  Looks like we might be having a family camping party in the basement tonight, wouldn't want a tree falling on our heads with all that wind blowing out there!

So please say a prayer for those of us here on the east coast, I know I will be.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Pinterest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares Winner!

I'm still baking pumpkin goodies, here's the latest -  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares.



*My take on the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares?  Another yum!  I didn't line the pan with foil and it turned out just fine.  I think the only thing I'd change with this recipe is to use mini chocolate chips.  The bigger ones seems to clump together.  Not that that's a bad thing, but I wanted to taste the pumpkin.  The batter test was good and the squares were nice and moist.

*Others take on the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares?  Football team approved!  The few leftovers brought home didn't last very long.

  *Would I make it again?  Yes!  I think it would be a great thing to bring for a Halloween gathering we're going to.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

My Dad's Narrative on my Non-Stitching Weekend!

Be prepared, my Dad's quite the "talker"!  But in a good way - right, Dad??

     Saturday morning Astrid fixed her home made sugared pumpkin doughnuts which we savoured with freshly brewed coffee (just father and daughter on the sofa) with the fireplace aglow, whereas 0ma was entertained by Nathan in the parlour whilst Garrett and Griffin munching happily away in the breakfast room. 
     At ten o'clock we sent sail for Cumberland, first to the antique shop where Astrid bought a few things and exchanged views with the owner like old friends. 
The boys had headed to the beautiful toy shop next door which has all manner of lovely toys, most of which you would not find at WalMart. 
Thence, a few doors up to the Antique Emporium, which once was Lazarus, the expensive dress store, where all the aisles were checked out thoroughly on the two and a half floors, when Margaret, the owner, asked if we should like to see her workshop upstairs, which is a rare privilege as not many are invited. Margaret designs the most unusual Alice in Wonderland type furniture with eclectic designs, and of course pictures were taken.
      By this time it was gone noon and I suggested returning home for a bite to eat whereupon, Astrid said it was easier to buy lunch in town. By popular assent McDonald's was given the boot, and instead we munched on potato chips, cashews, a packet of salt free SALTINES all enjoyed on the hoof, but do we know how to live! If I never went to McDonald's again it wouldn't be a hardship. 
     Thence to the Book Store where kittens are placed for adoption in spacious cages and always an interesting place, where we spent half an hour as Astrid perused for British needlepoint magazines and we "kids" played with the kittens. Across the street was an animal rescue thrift store just opened, and whilst not up to the standards of Lake Havasu and Phoenix it wasn't bad, in place of the camera shop which had served the city since the 1930's but gone the way of the Dodo thanks to digital photography.
     We had parked by the City Hall walking in abundance, but it was a lovely day and the exercise was good. Thence to the Cumberland Swap Meet at the approach to the Narrows at North End, in what was an old furniture warehouse. I hadn't been there for at least a year and flabbergasted how much had been added and a virtual treasure trove waiting to be explored. In the area by the the cash register I happened to look on a shelf and there stood a beautiful porcelain piece of a little boy and girl with a puppy which took my attention inasmuch it was only $15.00. The hallmark showed two downward placed crossed arrows, but decided to leave well enough alone, inasmuch my darling daughter decided I have enough in the way of such things, but this is America and what is enough for some ain't so for others. Notwithstanding, age gave way to the wisdom of youth!
     Thence drove across to the other side of town seeking a vantage point for fall pictures, which involved walking up steep steps to an old church and there we were fortunate to enjoy a goodly overlook to get some halfway decent snaps. 
Back down again to the car and then through the Narrows as Astrid wanted some snaps of the cliffs from below, thereafter taking the fork towards Pennsylvania returning home via the rural route to La Vale for additional scenic views. Turning into the cemetery on a hill which sits above the railway track with sweeping views. Here we invested fifteen minutes walking about and observed  many of the single graves in that area had the name and birth date of the intended departed but not their departure date! Yikes, talk about invoking the ever fickle finger of fate, especially as many of the "tenants" awaiting to take up residence were younger than yours truly! It is a pleasant cemetery BUT everywhere the most hideous and cheap plastic flowers.
     Arrived home for a much needed cuppa but my mind was constantly thinking of the porcelain piece so bravely left behind, and checking the hallmark on line learned 'twas from Germany. The actual value was of no interest as I like something because I like it, but hated the thought of it being snapped up by some Philistine without appreciation. Decided enough was enough, whereupon Astrid volunteered to drive me back as we hadn't checked out the basement and she is a chip off the old block!       
      However, I first had to stuff the chicken quickly and pop it in the oven to get food on the table upon our return, and with bated breath hoped the piece would still be there, upon our return, which it was! I couldn't make payment quickly enough and hold it in my hot little hands!!! We proceeded to the basement which was positively mind boggling as to what there is within and also how inexpensive everything is. Coming out we met a chap who works at the Antique Emporium and he greeted us like old friends, having met Astrid before, who said there were more bargains at the swap meet than any other place he has been to. Thus, I shall include it more often as a port of call with the hours from 7.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in search of classy Christmas Tree ornaments as once Halloween is gone they will be much sought after.
     Stopped at the Fruit Bowl as without the kids Astrid had time to check out all the old fashioned baking ingredients you never find in regular stores, whereupon she bought a lot and by the time we returned home it was gone 4.30 p.m. and I was beginning to feel my years.
     Well, Ulrike loved the porcelain piece, and like Astrid thought bigger than I had described and 'tis in perfect condition, all the flowers are 100% without chips or marks, as are the hands and feet, also the little dog's ears. However, it is extremely delicate and my biggest concern was getting it safely packed and stored out of harm's way. Rooted out a stout box in the laundry room, bubble wrap in the garage and all is well that ends well, and later will gift wrap it with Christmasy sheets of the more upmarket catalogues, as the illustrations therein are perfect. In my rush to get it wrapped I forgot to photograph yon piece, but when I do in December you will be impressed.
     At 6.00 p.m. we sat down to a delightful chicken meal (all three kids loved the stuffing and the bird did not die in vain) mashed potatoes, cauliflower and gravy. Thanksgiving will be soon enough for the real McCoy! Everyone opted for Apfelkuchen but me, and I went with Astrid's sinful rum birthday cake!! Set up the camera and tripod for a family picture, and everyone changed into colourful garb as I do dislike the drab colours favoured nowadays and the day was saved with the remote - more on that below. Hand the kids the remote and they will endure lots and lots of pictures, and lots and lots were taken!!
     Tidying up the big room Friday morning I plumped up the cushions when lo and behold there was the remote control under the middle one! Must have put it there when the tripod was last used, and realized after clipping it back on the camera strap it is impossible to come loose. This incredible little gadget has to be about twenty years old and has worked with every Canon camera from the old kind to digital, and is a veritable godsend for family groups. Thus, the all the grandchildren have been trained liked royalty to pose for that perfect family picture with moderate dress standards required!
    With photographs taken and and the occasion recorded for posterity we all changed and by 7.30 p.m. the fire pit was ablaze, with Ulrike watching
happily with Tenny from the breakfast room. Astrid made some burnt offering on some disgusting looking branches, assuring me they were fine, and we were lucky indeed with the weather as it rained for ten minutes beforehand and whereupon, the sky cleared. Smores has been promised but somehow never delivered!! Stayed outside until 9.00 p.m. and by then enough was enough, and after Ulrike had gone to bed, enjoyed a shandy with my favourite daughter in the living area, the gas logs flickered as we put the world to rights.
     Ye gods, did the calves of my legs ache Sunday morning from our Saturday excursions, but I felt better when Astrid also complained about the same condition! After French Toast 'a la pumpkin' and coffee, which is not my forte, ventured forth with the twins and we cleared all the area of leaves from the house to the garage, whereupon I lost count how many tarps they heaved over the edge. However, the brief rain previously did the trick as it kept the leaves damp and easier to rake and remove, but even with the three of us working like navvies it took over an hour.   
     Entering the breakfast room we found Astrid and Nathan had started on the Halloween House, which is much the same as the traditional Gingerbread House. A lot of work but the boys did it between them after Astrid had made the various coloured icing. I sat chatting with Astrid in the big room until 10.30 p.m. with the lamps lit and logs ablaze. We truly crammed a lot into the weekend.      
     By 1.30 p.m. we had lunch, the Buick was loaded and family pictures of Astrid and the boys taken before they headed home, which is a requirement in this family. What a weekend and we haven't had this activity in years, but must have walked miles and miles in Cumberland on Saturday. All too soon they were heading down the drive and the old folks and their Pekinese are once again alone on their hill, but memories are made from times like this and we have photographs in abundance. Ain't life grand?

 On a sad note, this morning, one of their friends collapsed at home and died.  Please keep Kay, their daughters, and grandchildren in your prayers.  Jay will be missed terribly, and even though we know he's in heaven, it's still hard on the family.
So hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, and enjoy life!

Monday 22 October 2012

October TUSAL and Hermitting

Not too much to add, I've been working slowing on my TOT Fairy. 

Hermitting this past weekend was a little difficult.  The boys and I went to visit my parents in western MD to celebrate Dad's belated birthday and to see the beautiful fall colours.  This took up most of our time...
Maryland and USA flag
Just walked ran across the bridge
Cemetery outside Cumberland
Ghoul in the woods!
That's what you have to wear for a rum cake
Sweet Halloween Treats!
Making friends
Colours of Cumberland
The Narrows (Lover's Leap)
Oma's chapel
Love my Mama!
What is it with boys and fire?
Roasting ghosts!
Halloween House
Saying goodbye to Oma
Bye, Opa
Last pic on our way home

 I might have an additional post about our weekend tomorrow, my Dad wrote to his friends about it and told them he couldn't believe everything we did!

Tuesday 16 October 2012

More Mouse Trouble and fun...

Silly Mouse, he came back and teased the cats.  Thought he was a goner, but he made another get away!

I hope they're not planning their next play date.
Mothers Tea at school - what a wonderful morning! 
We even got to play dress up.

Open house at the local FD = fun for Nathan!

Saturday 13 October 2012

Mouse Trouble (No, not YOU Mouse!)

Take that!

Oh, two of you... never mind!

*Bully mouse was not harmed after these pictures - he made a get-a-way under the dishwasher.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Pinterest Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Winner!

Time for more pumpkin goodies.
Here we have Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, although last week DH said he'd had enough of pumpkins.  Good thing I didn't listen to him!

I made the dough this morning and stuck it in the fridge before heading to school to volunteer.  I took it out when I got home a couple of hours later and viola...
The recipe said to scoop about 2 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll it into a ball - do you know how much that is?!  So I used my handy dandy cookie scoop instead, it worked great.
It made quite a big batch, enough to bring to the football dinner and some to stay home.

*My take on the Pumpkin Snickerdoodles?  Yum!  I'd never made any type of snickerdoodles before and I'm so glad this was my first.  Batter test was good and the cookies nice and soft.

*Others take on the Pumpkin Snickerdoodles?  Once again, the football team liked them, some loved them!  One boy took the last five and told Griffin that I could make him more for his birthday!  Nathan liked them too and was happy when I told him we had more at home.  DH liked them, even after being told they were pumpkin.

  *Would I make it again?  Oh, yes!  I don't think I'd do anything different except continue to use my scoop.  I hope they freeze well, I need to bring some to my parents when we see them!

A friend posted this on fb - Kahlua Pumpkin Cheesecake Martini - and it sounds wonderful!  Today I found the vodka so I'm set for the weekend.  
But I must remember, drinking + stitching = frogging!

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Fall Festival Fun and Still Beading

But first Nathan had soccer that morning.  It was picture day and I could already tell I wasn't going to be happy with the photographer's photo - other teams and people in the background.  Really?!  Griffin's football picture has a person running on the track right behind him.  Guess I have to take my own for him too!  

I was lucky to have some girl time this past weekend with Hannah, one of my nieces.  Living with all boys is fine, but I love spending time with the girls too!  Her sisters had other things to do and she wanted to come over to visit - anytime you want, my dear!

So after soccer, we headed over to the local festival, Highland Days.

For those who know me, you know I love Halloween and anything scary!  They had a haunted house set-up and if you didn't want to be too scared, you could carry a flashlight/torch with you so they knew not to scare you as much.  Both of them wanted to go and also a friend of Nathan's that we saw there.  They all had their lights of choice and off we went.  It was supposed to last about seven minutes and I think we were out of there within two!  DH had left already, otherwise I would have gone in by myself.  Oh well, maybe I'll take the gmen with me next year!

It was super kid friendly - they got to play games, paint rocks, decorate pumpkins, go on a hay ride...

...see a beautiful owl, a cool falcon, precious kitties, and a bee hive.

Turned out to be a wonderful day and that night the gmen headed off to their Homecoming dance - originally they had dates but have come to find out that girls are trouble.   I tried to warn them!

I'm still beading, but it's going slow.  Finished up the moon, but I don't really like the brown outline. 
Here's a tip, don't bother stitching while waiting for your son at PT when your youngest is driving you crazy!  Thankfully not too much frogging this time.