Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My 'Vacant' House, Tuesday Treasures and Louis Dean Playing on the Roof - Again!

I've been busy cleaning the house in preparation of the Christmas Decorating which may begin as early as tomorrow! I took pictures of several rooms without ANY seasonal decorations especially for Carole at Carole's Chatter!

I started in the den and worked my way through the house!

Maybe this year I will actually finish the Christmas puzzle I've been working on since last Christmas!

The scene is set for adding the decorations!

The foyer feels empty.

No wreaths or extra debris.

Tomorrow I will rearrange that cream rocker and Louis Dean will be putting up the big tree on Thanksgiving afternoon.

I am already playing Christmas music!
This much was all done on Friday.

This morning I cleaned up the kitchen and took out any extra debris.

It will soon be transformed into a Christmas Kitchen!

To add to the ambiance, I baked up three sheets of fruitcake cookies.
They look like jewels!

The dining room is all ready for embellishing!

I had to stop working inside and went out to check on Louis Dean.
He was playing up on the roof! Again!
Our turbo vent had been wailing and he went up to replace it and then decided to blow off all the true debris from the roof and gutters!
Once he was safely down, I went off to do my Tuesday Treasures!

I made a pretty nice haul!

My best buy was the napkin rings......Lenox - brand new and in the box! Less than $5 and each box had the original tag of $30 on it! The Santa candle holders were also new in the box as was the angel tree topper. My favorite, though, was the American Atelier salad plates.... 7 for less than $5!
Plus I bought a stack of great tins for this year's batch of Texas Trash!

I stopped by and visited Reaoma before coming home.
What with my dental work and recovery and going to the ranch - it had been a few weeks since I had seen her. I would appreciate any prayers on her behalf. She still has a great attitude but her life is hard now. I have to remind myself of what a great and grand life she has lived. Reaoma is probably one of the most interesting friends I have ever had. She has lived a really BIG life and it hurts me to see her suffer so now. 

Louis Dean cooked a ham today while I was gone.
We are to take one for Thanksgiving in Fort Worth. However, he thinks this one was a bit overcooked so he is thawing a second ham and will cook it tomorrow while he bakes the dinner rolls.
Overcooked or not - it tastes delicious and that's what we are going to eat for a rather late dinner tonight!

But first - it's Wine Time on the driveway!!!
Like old times!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday With my Older Grands!

  I was up early Saturday morning baking brownies before Louis Dean even thought about waking up.
The coffee was on and the brownies were smelling good - I added a 'secret ingredient to them - crushed potato chips!  I enjoyed the very last day of my fall decorations. I carried my coffee and sipped as I walked through each room admiring this last day of my most favorite season. My plans were to start taking it all down that evening when I got home - and so I did.

But first, I had ball games to go to and grandchildren to see!

My first stop was at Faith's Basketball game!
This is my first born grandson, Sam! He's 15!

Faith is 13 and quite the basketball player.
I mean, she is REALLY good!
Faith is #21!

After her game, it was on to University of Texas at Arlington stadium for Levi's game.

It was the Championship game!
Levi is 11.

I love how these kids are each other's #1 Fans!

It was a cold and windy day and we were high up in the stadium!
That is a huge football field!

My daughter in law, Leigh Ann, brought food in for us to eat lunch before the game started.
That's my son, Jesse, on the far left and Faith, Sam, Linda - the other grandmother - and me!

Did I mention it was COLD and WINDY??
Linda and Leigh Ann both thought ahead and brought blankets for all of us!
You can see me at the end all covered up in one!

Beautiful Leigh Ann and Handsome Jesse!
They make such a great couple!

We cheered and yelled and cheered some more!

And the Mustangs WON!!!!!

I loved watching all their excitement!!!

I got back home after 5:00.
Louis Dean had been left 'Home Alone' and cooked pinto beans in the pressure cooker after making a run to the grocery store for Thanksgiving food.

The beans were good and the pressure cooker didn't blow up!
Last year our old one bit the dust and he went out and bought THREE new ones all in different sizes!

I made cornbread to go with the beans.

This is a real good recipe and Louis Dean loves my cornbread.
So much so that this morning I got up and made him another batch....
plus I made two batches of the dry ingredients, labeled them and put them in the pantry for the next time he gets hungry for cornbread - which is fairly often!

I hit the ground running as soon as we got home from the ranch and, after running around for two days, I bit the dust and was in bed last night before 9:30! I stayed in bed until after 9:00 this morning.
We watched Fellowship Live on TV and Louis Dean has had the entire day off.
I have been steadily packing up all of fall all day long! Literally.
Tubs are piled high on the back deck and the walkway is covered with black and white trash bags filled with debris. Our house looks a bit vacant now.
That won't last long.
Tomorrow Louis Dean will help me put it all in the storage building and I will clean the house up before opening up the Christmas House - that's what we call the Christmas storage building which used to be Amber's play house.

I'm up a bit later tonight than I have been lately. I was beginning to wonder if I was losing my Night Owl habits!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thanksgiving Lunch With Mother and Fruitcake Cookies!

The Nursing Home hosted a Thanksgiving Lunch for the residents today and they could each invite two guests. While Mother and Lillian normally eat in their room instead of going to the dining area, Mother made an exception today and she really did enjoy herself!

Mother didn't realize we were coming - Deanie issued the invitations -  so when we arrived, she didn't have her make up on. She fixed that pretty quick!
Mother is hearing well with the new hearing aids. Lillian puts them in for her. She does a lot of things for Mother and they seem to be getting along nicely.

Louis Dean was Mr. Personality in the dining room chatting everybody up!

 I used to go to Fort Worth every Friday, pick Mother up at the hair salon and take her out to lunch.
Every single Friday we would take a string of selfies and then she would look at them and pick out the one for me to post on Facebook. It was like old times doing that together again this afternoon!

Mother is a People Person and we have been surprised that she stays in her room so much.
We are going to start bringing lunch in on a Friday soon and then take her to the dining room for the activity that week. Sometimes it's a musician and other times they have a party theme going.

The lunch menu today was the Traditional Thanksgiving Feast and we were all members of the 'Clean Plate Club!' The home did a really good job! The owners were all in attendance and visited at every table. This home is amazingly clean and always smells nice. Today I caught the distinctive aroma of Claire Burke's Applejack!!! The floors were all shiny and clean and everything looked nice!
I need to remember to bring a Christmas Wreath and hanger for Mother's door when I go pick her up next week for Thanksgiving at Nita's.

Mother got a special treat today.
Our sister, Shari, who lives in Alabama sent Mother a Thanksgiving Greeting.
She mailed it to my address and I delivered it to Mother at the lunch and read it to her.

She was touched by it and said 'Thank You' several times.

So now I say, "Thank you, Shari! That was so sweet of you! It meant a lot to Mother."

After lunch Louis Dean gave a mini concert for Mother and Lillian.

I think they had a good time.

I know how much Louis Dean loves an audience!       
He played for about 45 minutes - everything from Pretty Paper to The Baggage Car Ahead to Legend of the Rebel Soldier to Grandpa, Tell me 'Bout the Good Old Days.

We left in time to get home before traffic.
I opened up the house to the 81 degree weather and turn the attic fan on.
It just doesn't seem right to be sweating in the middle of November.
I carried my ice tea out to the kitchen pond and sat there looking up at the pecan trees - alas, no pecans! - and down at the leaf strewn deck. Fall is falling - in more ways than one.
It will be time to pack it away all too soon. This favorite season of mine never lasts long enough for me.

So! In keeping the holidays in mind, I decided to make my fruitcake cookie dough! I like to prepare it ahead of time and keep it in Ziploc bags in the fridge to bake up fresh batches as I need them. The dough last a very long time!

The Recipe!!!
My Aunt Irene gave me this Hood County Cookbook published in 1985.
It is my favorite!
I have baked them every single year since.
Can you see where I put in today's date?
It's getting pretty crowded on that page.

The Candied Fruit! 3 pounds of it!
2 pounds when I have a pound of pecans to add to it.

The Dough!
You need a strong arm to mix the fruit and batter together.
I asked Louis Dean to do this for me.

The Secret Ingredient!
Spiced Rum!!

We are sitting in the gazebo as I write tonight.
Still warm - in the 70's now.
The temps are supposed to drop throughout the day tomorrow and remain in the 60's during the coming week for highs and lows in the 40's.
That will be perfect Christmas decorating weather!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Back to Our City Home and Happy 81st Birthday to my Louis Dean!!!

Our short visit to the ranch is done and it was time to go home.
We have a routine for our arrivals and departures.
Within one hour of saying 'It's time to go,' I can have the camper cleaned and packed up and ready to leave. I set the things out and Louis Dean loads them into the truck and we are pretty much a done deal. Practice makes perfect and we are getting this down pat!

I made one last visit to the goats with watermelon rinds I had cut up this morning.
All three goats received a share as well as the peacocks......but only Thumper got his picture taken!
We said our goodbyes to Dean and Sherry and Grandson Robert.
I can't tell you what a blessing Dean and Sherry are to us.
Can you imagine having a place like this to keep our camper and put down roots?
Their hospitality is amazing.
We pay for the utilities we use - at least we hope we do.
They are so gracious it's hard to get them to let us pay our own way.
Dean has been amazing in doing ALL the plumbing for our bathroom as Louis Dean became so overwhelmed with it all that his son stepped in and rescued his dad!
Having this 'Country Home' is a dream come true for me and I love to see father and son enjoy being together. And I enjoy both of them!

Our drive away from the ranch is always a bit melancholy......
This is the cotton field we picked earlier this fall.
Louis Dean says they have sowed it with winter rye grass.
My goal has long been to be here on the ranch every single month of the year.
I made it in 2017 except for the month of August.
We will be back here in just two weeks so I can claim 11 out of 12 months!

We left earlier than we even planned and arrived home shortly after 3:00 - or closing bell - according to Louis Dean!

He was surprised to find a gift fruit basket from his daughter, Annell and family, for his 81st birthday! 

He also opened this one of a kind birthday card from our friend, Sharon, in Florida!
We frame and display all her beautiful handcrafted cards and this one is going in his music room!
Thank you, Sharon!!! You are such an artist!

As in our departure from the camper - so is our arrival at home.
Louis Dean unloads and I put up!
Laundry started and I went out to open up the gazebo and check the garden.

The pepper plants were loaded!!!

Marigolds were happily blooming along!
I am going to plant a lot more of these next year!

I pulled up the 'dead' lights around the back pond.
Pretty soon we will be stringing up new ones.

I bet you didn't spy this sweet teeny tiny rose from the pond pic.
I found this small rose bush in the trash a few years ago when I was walking in the neighborhood and brought it home and planted it.
It has continued to bloom its teeny tiny rose buds ever since!!!

My herb garden continues to thrive....

Sweet yellow mums......

After we were unloaded and unpacked.....
we took a glass of wine to the gazebo.

Happy Birthday to my Louis Dean!!!!
My card to him......

I cannot tell you how much I love this man!
My years with him have been the happiest of my life.
When we married - he told me he would always put me FIRST!
I promised him the very same thing!
I think that must be the key to a successful marriage.....put one another first....above all others.
This was a whole new thing for me.....a husband who believed in me and 'had my back.'
I will never forget this one moment that lives on in my mind...
We were walking across Sam's parking lot in Irving and I was fretting about something.
Truth be told - I thought Louis Dean was too good to be true! I was waiting 'for the other shoe to drop.' He was holding my hand and pulled me to a stop - looked me in the eye and said - 'Remember, Linda! I am ALWAYS on YOUR side!!'

Be still, my heart!!!
Writing here tonight.....from my heart.....
Happy Birthday, Louis Dean!!!