Good-bye Winter Village!

Good-bye Winter Village and Helloooo Spring!

Some call them Christmas Villages but when they’re left up past the Christmas season and they are in our house they soon become called ‘Winter Villages’.

I really don’t mind that they stay up longer than Christmas do you? Seriously they are kind of a nice addition to our kitchen decor and they are displayed out of our way so it’s a win win! I think I l leave them up maybe a week or month longer than they should just because maybe I’m can? For some reason every year once I get the houses up one or more of the bulbs in the buildings seem to give me trouble. So I have to jump back up on the countertop and hopefully keep my balance by hanging onto one of the cupboards as I reach out to grab the house. I stare at the bulb like it’s going to give me an answer or something why it wasn’t working and then I find out that it either it came loose or just had enough and quit working. Whatever the case, once I see that most of them are working that’s the way they stay until they come down again. My theory is that some of the town folk went to bed early 🙂

But now that it’s Spring outside and I’ve seen about a hundred (OK maybe only about 20) robins! I think it’s safe to say that Spring is actually just around the corner and it’s time to get this Winter Village back into the boxes and put up something a little bit lighter and more like summer for the next couple of months!

Good-bye village for another year!


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Sorry Sister Mary Amelia!

One thing leads to another…  

I went to a Catholic school for my elementary education and even though I might not have remembered everything that I had heard from the nuns, I do remember that you are not supposed to worship idols or in this case a new appliances!  

Well, having that said I’m thinking that I might be having one strike against me on this one. See we’ve had so much trouble with our refrigerator freezing just about everything you can imagine,  along with the stove only having a couple of the top burners working (if even that!), so we finally bit the bullet and ordered a new refrigerator and stove a couple of months ago.

And do I like them? Heck ya!! When we first got the refrigerator I went out and bought a whole grocery bag full of lettuce just because I could! OK so was that a little obsessive? I suppose so, but no way to test it out then to give it your all right? I also bought quite a few cream cheeses but I’m sure that I’ll be using these guys up soon so they don’t count 🙂

Now for the stove. LOVE IT! But to be honest I had to figure out the differences between how our old stove worked and this new one. See we went from electric to gas. And when I asked the appliance store guy how to turn the burners on while he was installing it, I soon realized that he honestly shouldn’t be playing any poker soon! He looked at me like I was an Alien or something and wondering why I would be allowed to use any type of an appliance, especially one that has an open flame!     Whatever.

Now when we had to take the old stove out and get the area ready for the new gas one, we went to using a hot plate for our cooking.  And how did I like the hot plate? Not so good. OK it was absolutely terrible!! Do you know that they make hot plates that have a safety shut off to them so they won’t get too hot? Well obviously I didn’t when I bought the one that we had and when it took me over 15 minutes to just to get to a  halfway boil point for water to cook pasta one night – well the next day I threw the hot plate and the pasta in the garbage! They should be called a warming plate – NOT a hot plate!! So much for the Catholic patience.  Guess how long it takes me to boil water now with our new stove? Maybe a minute or two. SHAZAM!

Now that we have the new stove in, I also bought a new hood for on top of it. Normally people love having their microwave and hood above their stove, but with our cupboards being lower than normal it just didn’t work for me. I kept getting my Jethro kettles almost stuck on top of the stove when canning. Just not cool and refer back to the patience comment above .

So with the difference in where the hood goes we now will need a new backsplash – and if we’re doing that I’ve always wanted the cupboards painted so I might as well get that done also!  And for our floors in the kitchen? Well we’re not digging them anymore either so maybe in a year or two we’ll need to switch them out too. Yup it’s a good thing that we got the refrigerator and stove on sale 🙂


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ARUBA 2019!

ARUBA – One Happy Island!

I never take it for granted when we’re able to go on any trips, and once again I couldn’t believe that we could be so lucky to be able to head some place warm this winter. It just seems like it has been a very lonnngggg winter and I am so ready to get away!

With all the snow, this is the amount of plows out one day just trying to keep the roads open

OK, so this is how the weather looked the week before we left. It’s a picture of the trees behind our house. Looks cold and let me tell you that it is!! Blizzard warnings were out the week before we left and the wind chill temperature were between 50 & 60 degrees below 0. WHAT!! It was time to get out of the Midwest and head for warmer grounds.

And that’s exactly what we did! Our flights went well even though the Chicago connection had us running through the airport – we made all our flights and that’s all that really matters! We were heading to Aruba!! 

When we get to the hotel it’s pretty much the same routine – it was time to check it out! Since we’ve stayed at this hotel chain quite a few times over the years, we new that it was going to be good. Well with the first look when we were standing in the lobby, we knew that we were right! It was going to be a good week – A VERY good week!

I soon realized that Aruba has the most beautiful beaches that I’ve ever seen in any of our travels. And the warm temperatures of 85 to 90 °F every day with a breeze made the wait to get out of the cold weather all worth it!  We laughed more than once about the weather because every day it is exactly like the day before! Kind of like the movie Groundhog Day but without the snow and work stuff 🙂  The best job to ever have is to be a Weather person in Aruba. With 10 inches of rain or less a year and every day sunny & breezy, seriously how can you call the weather wrong?

When we booked our trip we didn’t know that the island was going to have a Mardi Gras parade the next day, and we were ready to join in the fun! Now the front desk clerk said that the parade started at 10:00 am and goes to 7:00 pm – but don’t go downtown until at least  2:00. OK, it sounded a little odd to go down so late, but then we found out that everything, and I mean everything slows down on the island. So we found some good food and then in a cab we all went and we were off on our first excursion – downtown Aruba to the Mardi Gras parade! And guess what? With there being 15 to 20 groups each year participating in the parade, hundreds of people are in each group, and with this being it’s 65th year of the parade – it was absolutely unbelievable! The costumes, the amount of people, and just the whole afternoon! And with most of the locals waiting for the parade since the very early hours of the day, let’s just say it was a Party! Now did it come by around 2:00 where we were standing? Nope, it finally started to come through around 3:00 🙂  With the music so loud that you could feel your clothes actually moving off your chest, and everyone dancing and having a great time, what a fun thing to see and be a part of!

Like I mentioned earlier, our beach was one of the most beautiful beaches that I’ve ever seen on our vacations. It was so white that it felt almost cool when you walked on it barefoot. And as far as you could walk out into the ocean, you had this white powdery sand under your feet. It was absolutely perfect!

Other things that we did on our vacation was to go on a submarine tour. Now normally I’m one of those tourists that hook a snorkel mask over my face after you spit on the glass and head to deeper water to check out the fish and coral. But honestly this gig was so much better! You ride a boat out to the submarine meeting place and once your’e on the submarine you find your spot for the next hour. We saw tons of fish and how often do you get to park the submarine you’re riding on the bottom of the sea at 135 feet! For me before Aruba? Never! 

The rest of the time was spent hanging out at the pools or beachor watching the shows that they had every night. It’s unbelievable how talented the people are in those shows!

One day we saw some a bunch of people carrying concha shells by us and after talking to them they said the beach wasn’t far from our hotel. So of course we wanted to check it out! After taking a short walk on the boardwalk along the beach,and passing by the many aloe vera plants that the island is known for

we ended up on a beach that was literally covered with shells! One of the locals told us that when the tide turns with the hurricane season it washes up all these shells on this beach. OK, I think ‘beach’ isn’t the best description for this. It looked like the whole area was made from lava rock or maybe it was dead coral reef – extremely sharp and with only geckos and small animals living in the crevices. Even though it was kind of an extreme from our beach, it was still pretty cool!

We knew that this great vacation was about to end, and we found ourselves once again on the plane heading back to Iowa. Now we were hoping that the all the snow would be all gone once we got home.

Was it?

Hummm.. not so much!







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Happy Birthday William!

It’s William’s Birthday! Whooohooo Happy Birthday!!

It’s hard to believe that he’s 25 already! I know the saying that everyone says, ‘just where did that time go’? But that is exactly what I’m feeling about now. These past couple of years just seem to have flown by! It’s kinda scary isn’t it? I mean will the next 25 years go just as fast? I guess time will tell. 

So what will our plans be for William’s birthday? With Kyle home this week from New York 🙂 we had plans on all going down to William’s and Jude’s  apartment and spending the weekend with everyone before Kyle had to fly back home again. So with a huge pan of lasagna, some salad, french bread, home made caramel pecan turtles, cinnamon rolls, and a birthday turtle cheese cake all ready to go to the kids, our plans had changed. With another storm blowing in and the word Blizzard was used more than about 30 times an hour I swear – we weren’t able to spend as much time as we wanted before we had to head back to the farm. Which meant that we couldn’t spend the weekend with the kids which was a total bummer! But because William was taking Kyle to the airport on Sunday morning, they were able to hang out together on Saturday which was nice. And did we get the blizzard that they were talking about? Yes we did! We made it back to the farm just as it was turning from rain to snow and also before the winds started to pick up. Man, can’t they be wrong just once this year about the forecast! 

My most favorite guys in the whole world!

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Baby it’s cold outside!

This past week in Iowa was almost unbearable! OK I know that this Arctic Blast has moved across all the states – but Holy Smokes was Iowa cold! 

Seriously on the way to work the other day I went from air temperature – 33 to -32 and I honestly thought to myself ‘Oh Thank Goodness, it’s warming up! ‘ Now I don’t know about you, but – 32 with windchills at -53 degrees isn’t really a heat wave! 

And the worst part about it was that in the midst of it all they called off all the county trucks so there was going to be no snowplows on the country roads to get the open. Not good! Well Daryl took the truck one morning and made a path, and then he drove me to work because we both needed the truck that day and there was no way the car was going to make it.

But the good news was that later in the day Daryl started to dig out the road from the East and our neighbor also worked on clearing the road,  and by the end of the day there was a pretty good path made. You just hoped that you weren’t going to meet someone else on the path otherwise I’m pretty sure you were going to be stuck!

This is the path to the West. Not as bad as going East, but with the ditches full it fills up the road pretty fast! 

There was a lot of talk this past week of what you should and shouldn’t do with this extreme weather and the one thing was to turn your thermostat up to at least 70 degrees so your furnace wasn’t going to work so hard. OK, now this sounds like a pretty good idea! With having a large farm house, we don’t normally turn it up that high, but if we’re supposed to .. who am I to argue! And man oh man is it nice in the mornings! Normally when I get out of the shower it can be pretty cold, but lately? It’s nice! I don’t think I’ll be smiling as much once our heating bill comes for the month, so for now I’m going to just enjoy it! 

So with extra bedding down for the cattle, letting our dogs come in as much as we can, and extra fuel additives to keep our gas tanks from freezing, we buckled down for the week and just tried not to have our nostrils freeze shut! 

How many days until Spring?

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Working with steam

Even though it was a Saturday, when Daryl got out of bed this morning at 5:15 am I also got up. There was a lot of stuff that I wanted to do, and I’m trying to be more of a morning person – so out of the warm bed I got.  

We didn’t get too much snow last night, but we did get enough to cover the ground which is still OK. If the weather turns really cold without any snow on the ground the cold goes too far down in the ground and then your water pipes start to freeze. It doesn’t make anyone happy when that happens. People or the cows! 

So like I said I got up early to get something done. After stripping the bed and cleaning up our bedroom, I decided to ‘help’ Daryl with his side of the closet. So I took everything out of the closet, sorted it by color and like items, moved some of his stuff to storage for the summer and got his pants and shorts in order. It looks good even if I say so myself! 

Next on the list was to clean both William’s bedroom that I use now for a storage room for my soap supplies and also Kyle’s bedroom. To be honest I still had Christmas paper strewed on the floor from wrapping Christmas gifts and I had more boxes that I think Staples has in their store in William’s room. So out they went! 

Then I moved on to my scrapbook room. Whew it was a mess! But with a little love and some time I’m back in business. Not a minute too soon because Ma’s birthday is this week and I better get a nice card made for her. 

After organizing some tax papers, getting 5 loads of laundry done, and the sidewalks all shoveled and swept, it was time to KonMari my socks. I’ve been putting this off because I don’t think that I would want to get rid of any of them. So as I’m going through them I’m thinking – only get rid of ones that you don’t love. OK, so I think I got rid of maybe 3 socks and kept around 20 pairs. Well maybe I just love all ! 

I was on a roll so I put some homemade beef and barley soup on the stove for dinner and with some bananas on the counter I also made some banana bread. While I had the oven going I quick threw in some sugar cookies for dessert and then got all my dishes cleaned up.

Now it’s noon, so I sure hope that I can get as much done after dinner as I got done before! I’m kinda guessing that I’ll run out of steam, but I guess time will tell.  

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You just never know

Usually when the weatherman forecasts ‘Heavy Snow, Blizzard Conditions’, and ‘Whiteouts’.. they are usually call it right. Well until yesterday.

Now we’ve been very lucky so far with the weather. I mean it’s almost February and no real snow storms yet. OK sure it snowed early in the season, but honestly if there isn’t ice in the yard and I can get back and forth to work, I’m calling it a successful winter so far! I checked on the cows yesterday when I got home from work and it almost seemed like they knew the weather was going to change. Either that or they were just wondering why I was taking a picture of them… again! 

So the weather report was looking grim yesterday and some schools even called off the classes before the day started. Crazy! But when it started to snow and the visibility wasn’t the greatest, I guess it was probably a good call after all. But then the weather just kind of fizzled out. Now granted we did get some snow and with no real idea how much snow we actually got – some places was quite a bit where the wind blew it in and other places the snow was only a couple of inches. Well my best guess? Maybe 6 to 8 inches. Not bad and from the original forecast it could have been much worse! 


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New Years Resolutions

With every new year it seems like I try out a new fad – you know the latest and greatest thing that will make your life so much better. And every year I know that this new fad that I’m about to try might only last a week or two, well it was at least I gave it a shot right? 

So this year is not different. I’ve found something new that I’m really excited for! I love organizational things, and when I stumbled across this idea all I can say is that I was very interested! 

First things first. I ordered the book to do some homework on the philosophy. And to my amazement I even read the whole book. Good start. Yea I know kind of a shocked me too that I read the whole thing! I wanted to learn more so I found some shows on Netflix that this author did on the subject and I watched everything that I could on Youtube. OK.. I was ready! 

This organizational tool is called the KonMari method. This is the method that you take all of one thing – example would be all your shirts,  you gather them all up from your house and then you only keep the ones that make you happy. You don’t keep the ones that you ‘should’ wear but don’t or the ones that you got for a gift but never seem to wear them either. There are stages to how you go about decluttering your house for the categories and you are supposed to do this all at once. Well the all at once thing isn’t going to happen, but I did jump in today and got started. I started with our everyday clothes. I mean seriously there are only two people that live in our home anymore and we do not need this many shirts! But to be honest I found out that most of them were mine!  After only keeping the ones that ‘make you happy’ this is the before picture (it is one of the drawers that you have to push the clothes down to  get it closed) and this is the after picture. Kind of awesome right? So after this drawer was done I did the sweatshirt drawer and pants drawer with the same amount of luck. I was also able to get a couple more areas done this afternoon which is good because I have a lot of stuff to go through!  I’ve got a huge donation pile started and had quite a fire going today with the items that couldn’t be donated. What a great feeling to get rid of some of this stuff! 

The other part to my 2019  resolution was that I’m planning a weeks worth of meals out and working harder on having more diversified meals. I looked at all the plans available out of the web that you can join but decided to do it on my own. So with a lot of time spent on Allrecipes website, I had my list ready for this past week. And how did the week turn out? Well to name a few of the recipes that I made was a homemade lasagna, chicken and dumplings, stuffed mushrooms, fried mash potatoes cakes, maid rites, and beef stroganoff to name a few. There is a lesson that I need to learn though, for the lasagna (which was awesome by the way but it took around 2 1/2 hours to make the sauce and then bake!) the recipe honestly didn’t jump up at me to think that we would have so many leftovers. But it was so filling that we each only ate one piece and the rest was frozen for later. Gotta figure how much these recipes are making a little better! 

This week starts soap making again. I’m hoping to come up with new designs and fragrances so I’m really looking forward to the next month or two to see if my ideas work. I’ll keep you posted 🙂 

Posted in Baking, Projects completed | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

It’s amazing that it’s 2019 already isn’t it? When I think how fast the year went I feel two ways about it. The first way is that it almost went by in a blink of the eye, but then when I remember everything that we had done I can’t believe we got it all done in a year! 

So even though the Holidays have come and gone and we’re into January already, I hated to see the lights turned off for another year. I mean our farm really lit up the country side! But it was time and Daryl and William took down the lights Saturday afternoon. It’s always a sad day when the lights get turned off I think and honestly it’s pretty dark and boring outside now!

But seriously how lucky our family has been this year!  From hosting both our families at the farm for get togethers during the year, to being able spend quite a bit of time together – it was definitely a good year! 

And nothing seems to be busier than around Christmas time does it? Our busy time started the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I had a Christmas Open House in our local town for my soap. Yup, still making soap 🙂 And even though I’ve done this Open House once before, it’s still pretty scary. I mean I had a great turnout last year, what would it be like this year? Well with the help from our kids, Daryl, and my niece,  we were able to get everything done just in time. And how did it all turn out? Even better than I had hoped for. Crazy right? I would never have guessed that I would have two years of a successful sales. I couldn’t be more happy and grateful at the same time. I started to work on getting ready for this Open House about 3 months ago and now it’s time to start planning again for the next sales coming up the end of May. 

Next up? Well St. Nicolas Day of course! I love celebrating this day with our family and this year was no exception. We celebrated St. Nicolas day along with Ma’s Christmas at our farm a couple of weeks before Christmas. We set the tables for 63 people and with a lot of laughter and loud noise the only time it was actually quiet was when the special guest of St. Nicolas showed up for all the kids to let him know what they wanted for Christmas. Other than that? Well you can about imagine all the noise and fun it was! The day ended up with a Christmas exchange and of course more food. How I explained it to one of the ‘new’ guys (niece’s boyfriend) is that don’t be offended if no one is listening to you when you’re talking. It seems like there’s more conversations going on than people listening to them and you just have to go with the flow. He kinda gave me this little uncomfortable smirk and slowly walked into the crowd. I think he did OK because at the end of the day he was still hanging out  🙂 

We did have a challenge this year and it was how we were going to get our family together for Christmas. There has been some changes in some of their jobs this past year which means that there are some vacation time challenges that we had to overcome. So it was decided. We were going to fly everyone to New York and spend it as a family at Kyle & Kelcie’s place. With all the tickets purchased ahead of time, I was just praying that we wouldn’t get into a situation where we would get snowed in at Iowa. But guess what? The weather cooperated and those sleepless nights were for nothing! Whew! 

So what did we all do in New York? Well here’s a snapshot of what our days looked like while we were there:

First things first. Guess who was the Mystery Reader at the Elementary School in New York. ME!! SHAZAM!!  We landed around noon on Friday and after a quick lunch, we headed to the school to meet the teachers and around 23 1st and 2nd graders who immediately knew that we were Kyle’s parents. Maybe we look a little more Mid-western that I thought. After gathering them all around in a circle I started to read to the kids the story of Home Alone. Most of the kids knew the story so they were at least one or two pages ahead of me all the time. I’ve never done anything like this before and it was a hoot! Then when I got done, they said now lets have Kyle’s dad read. I wish I could have seen the look between Daryl and I. I’m guessing it was a look of surprise that there was a second book and that now Daryl was up. See he wasn’t planning on reading but he was a good sport and did a great job! 

After school was over and eating Italian food at a local restaurant, we waited for William and Jude to fly in around midnight so we could all be together for the next couple of days. I have to be honest, I was up for around 24 hours at this point so I laid down and when I woke up everyone was just walking in the door from the airport. Nice. We all knew that tomorrow was going to be a busy day so it wasn’t long and we were all packed for the train ride into town for the morning and hit the bed for a quick sleep. 

Now I’ve never taken the train before to New York, but because I love riding trains there was no complaints from me when it was taking an hour and a half before we ended up at Grand Central Terminal. Kyle always has said that it was very pretty at Christmas at the terminal and boy he was right! Garland and lights decorated the walls and with it built in 1913 you can about imagine how cool it looked! On a ‘normal’ day there are estimated 750,000 people visiting it and on Holidays it’s around a million. Now that’s a lot of people!  But because it’s so big, it wasn’t as crowded as you would think and after a couple of selfies (yup I’m one of those Moms) we were off to our hotel to drop our bags for the afternoon. 

We had a couple of rooms booked at the hotel just down from Times Square so we dropped off our bags and grabbed some deli pizza quick for dinner from one of the small shops that line the streets and then started walking to see what was uptown. 

The stores all had some unbelievable window displays and how can you go to New York at Christmas and not stop into Macy’s? Now I’ve been in a Macy’s store, before but honestly nothing ever like this one. There were more lighted garland and decorations that I think our whole town in Iowa has! I took a quick picture or two and it seriously doesn’t do it justice. There was a lot of people in there and with every little department there was a Macy’s salesclerk or two helping.  Well it was pretty packed so we didn’t stay too long. I didn’t want to buy anything anyway but just wanted to check it out. 

With Kyle and Kelcie leading the way, we headed to Bryant Park to watch the skaters and also take a walk through the Winter Village to see all the local gift & specialty food shops. Bryant Park is known as Manhattan’s Town Square and was also beautiful. As I walked by all the little vendor shops I couldn’t stop thinking how many bars of soap I could sell if I was a vendor. But then almost just as fast I thought how many bars of soap would I have to sell just to pay the rent!! 

Our next destination was the Main Branch of the New York Library. It’s kinda weird to think to go to a Library when you’re in New York,  but I definitely suggest taking the time to go there! The library is the second largest public library in the US (behind the Library of Congress) and the third largest in the world. It was completed around 1911 and not only is the Library full of unbelievable carvings and extravagant lighting and fixtures, it also houses the original Winnie the Pooh collection in the Children’s section. See if you didn’t know, Christopher Robin was an actual boy growing up in London and Pooh was purchased at Harrods department store in London on August 21, 1921 for his birthday. The bear at the time was called Edward which was the proper name for Teddy. The rest of the toys in the collection were also given as gifts to Christopher between 1920 & 1928. Even though these toys were almost a hundred years old, you can still tell how much they were loved and played with.

If you’re at the Library you’ll also have to check out the iconic Lions in the front of it. They have been named Patience and Fortitude and stand very majestic outside the entrance. The only thing during our whole trip that was not so cool also happened at the Library. See while we were in the building William had someone try to slip their hand behind his hand hooked in his pocket to get to his wallet. When he knew that someone was trying to pick pocket him he quickly made it known to this guy and just as fast the guy turned away and made it through the crowd and disappeared. William said he wished he would have grabbed the guys hand and held on to him to have someone in security check out his backpack. But I’m glad he didn’t. Who knows what else this guy had in his backpack other than probably a lot of other people’s wallets. I’m just glad that it all turned out OK and no one lost any of their stuff during the trip! 

After checking out the testing of the New Years Eve ball Off we went to the Rockefeller Center. If you do not like crowds – my suggestion is to not go to the Rockefeller Center on an evening right before Christmas. I’ll I can say is Thank Goodness for cell phones because we got separated and when we found out that we were almost right beside each other in the crowd we had the worst time catching up each other. The tree was absolutely stunning  and it’s something that’s probably on everyone’s bucket list. I’m also thinking that it’s come a long way since the first tree in 1931 when construction workers decorated a small tree during the Depression. 

Off to supper to meet up with Kelcie’s brother from New York and then to the Broadway show ‘Beautiful’ the Carole King Musical. Very Very Cool! and just crazy how good some people can sing! 

After a full day to the Hotel we went and with all the walking that we did today and not as much sleep as we probably should have gotten the night before, the beds felt  really good and I know that Daryl and I were asleep almost as our heads hit the pillows. 

We put our luggage into storage at the hotel and we were off again the next morning. We stopped by the tree and it was a lot more manageable to get around this time! Because there is a lot to do all in that one area, we were just steps away from Radio City where our next stop was. We went to see the Holiday Show with the Rocketts and what a show this was! It’s so hard to explain but the whole theater was part of the show and during the show depending on what was going on the whole ceiling was lit up to make you think that you were in the show. There was even drones way up high for a 3D effect and with camels and other animals on stage, let’s just say it was a sensory overload!!

A quick stop at a street vendor to pick up some roasted chestnuts because it is Christmas and everything. But the only thing about the chestnuts were that they tasted terrible and were very expensive. I wanted to buy them to check them out and now that I’ve done that I don’t think they’ll be on my list again.

With our plan to head back to the kids place for the next couple of days, we needed to head back to get our luggage, grab some cabs, and try to catch the next train to Poughkeepsie. Did we make it on time? Nope. There was too much traffic to get the train station and even the cab driver told us that we just might as well get out and walk to the station. I think that’s kinda funny for some reason. But we didn’t have a long wait for the next train and in no time we were back at the apartment playing the new Jackbox game and having a drink or two of the local beer.

We opened a few gifts that night, held the family pajama exchange and watched some Christmas movies as we ate the local ice cream – Stewart’s Ice Cream. How can you go wrong with an ice cream company that started back in 1923 making deliveries to Albany and other local towns literally in a Model T and has now grown to have their own specialty stores in a lot of locations? I’m not an ice cream connoisseur – but I think Daryl might be,  and he gives it defiantly a thumbs up! 

The next morning was Christmas Eve and just like a Hallmark movie, there was a fresh coat of snow outside which made it seem almost like it was all planned. Some fresh NY bagels (which by the way are absolutely the BEST!) were on the breakfast menu and then it was time to exchange gifts. With the kids all in New York it was a little bit of a challenge to get all the gifts mailed or brought with us, so I was nervous that I might have missed something. Thank goodness everything went off without a hitch and we had a lot of fun just sitting around on the floor opening gifts. 

We wanted to get to church for Christmas so what we thought was plenty of time to get a seat at the Catholic church of Christ the King was not soon enough. I don’t know how many people it held, but it did hold a lot! After church Kelcie and Kyle made the Christmas meal of ham (pretty much a staple at any of our family Holidays) and a lot of other great food! They worked hard to make our time in New York a great one and they definitely accomplished it! 

Christmas wouldn’t also be complete unless we had the annual Euchre card game. The boys won and that’s about all I’ll say about that. Another year with their scorecard and picture on our refrigerator 🙁 It was going to be an early flight out tomorrow so once we all get our bags packed, we were able to watch the traditional Christmas Carol Movie. And to make sure that it IS the right one from the 1951 movie, Daryl has his own DVD that was brought along. 

The next morning came way too early and by 4 am on Christmas morning we found ourselves saying Merry Christmas and good bye to the kids as we headed back to the airport to return the rental car and to catch our flights. 

What a Christmas this was and it’s one that will go down in the books as a great adventure for our family! 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours! 


Posted in Family, Places to visit | 2 Comments

August 28 – Happy Birthday Kyle!

Today is Kyle’s birthday (August 28) and with everyone’s busy schedule we almost didn’t get together to send our Birthday wishes to New York! 

William was traveling for work but luckily he had his laptop with him so he logged in, Jude was at their home so she logged in, Kyle and Kelcie just came home from a show so they got on their computer, and Daryl was called to help chase in cattle that got out because of all the floods that we’ve been having. But luckily he made it just back in time! Perfect!  

So now that everyone was all on, it was time to blow out the candles. Yes I know it’s kinda corny to do this, but we started it a couple of years ago, and if you know me it’s always about traditions! But once again I never have the right candles in my cupboards for the years on the cake. I have NO idea why, but it’s definitely a challenge for me! So I thought I’d be sneaky this year and worked on the # 9 to make it into a three. I guess I didn’t fool anyone, and if they only knew that this was the best of the 3 nines that I did surgery on, they would have really given me a hard time. Oh yeah, because the nine had to be upside down to make the three, I only could light the other candle on the cake. I tried to dig the wick out of the candle, but that’s when I broke one in half earlier. Maybe that’s how they figured it out? I mean otherwise I think it looks pretty good – don’t you? 

And because the cake resides at our house, I decided that this cake was going to be a rice crispy cake. I needed something that wasn’t going into an oven, and honestly can you ever go wrong with Rice Krispies?

After the candles were blown out and a Birthday song was sang, we spent the rest of the time catching up with everyone’s schedule. I know sometimes that it’s hard to get everyone together these busy days, but it’s sure nice when you can. Even if it is on Skype! 

Best wishes and Happy Birthday! 

Posted in Family | 1 Comment