Thursday, March 29, 2018

Preparing for Good Friday......It's all About Louis Dean!

We had our work cut out for us today!

We opted to do all our shopping at Walmart so we could do it in one fell swoop.
Or pretty much, anyway.
We filled two buggies and it was a real workout loading them all and then unloading them to check out, not to mention unloading them when we got home and then putting everything away!
I made two little stops on our way home.
One was for Mexican cookies at a bakery up on Irving Blvd. 
The other was at the Dollar Store for Marshmallow Easter Peeps.

I thought this would be a fun dessert to serve!

This gave us time to rest up a bit between the buying of the groceries and the dealing with the groceries.

We went right to work! 
Louis Dean trimmed up the brisket and put it on to cook in the roaster.
The fat was put in a bag in the freezer to take down to our grand dogs when we go back to the ranch next week.

The weather was beautiful today and promises to be so tomorrow, as well.

I baked a sour cream pound cake from Summer's recipe to be topped with sliced sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

I set up the appetizer table and prepped the veggies.

The dining room and den tables have been set.
Louis Dean and I will be sitting outside at the table on the deck with the quads and Rayne on the bench table.

I will have cloths and place mats and pretty plates for outside as well as in.

I'm grateful for the good weather and will not complain about the mosquitoes that are already here! 
We will fog before everyone arrives!

The brisket is smelling so good!!!

Louis Dean decided we should sample a bite or two......
verdict was to turn the roaster down low and let it cook several more hours.

I thought today would be much harder than it actually was!
Step by step, task by task.....everything fell into place!
There won't be a whole lot I have to do tomorrow and that means I will be relaxed and can enjoy the dinner with all the friends and family who can share it with us.

I told Louis Dean how much I enjoy us doing things like this together.
It is wonderful that he feels the same way!

I have lingered a little while so I could close out this journey entry with a pic of the Easter Bread!

Finally! It is out of the oven and it smells heavenly!
We made two batches which means 24 Easter Nests.
Tomorrow night I will send each guest to our Good Friday Dinner home with one for their Easter morning breakfast.
I've been baking these for over 30 years but Louis Dean has taken up the task and he is a much better baker than I! That's why this post is.....

All about Louis Dean!!!!
He's my HERO!!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Cleaning up the Gardens!

Today was another work day but this time we went to the back yard!

My herb garden is alive and well with the odd strands of ground cover creeping over the top.
I forget what that stuff is called but it has pretty little bluish purple flowers and grows like crazy.
I bought ONE plants years and years ago and it has multiplied itself over and over and over!

Louis Dean's garden area is completely grown over with weeds but they are the kind that pull up easily! Thank goodness. That part of the yard was not on my agenda for today but when he asked me if I was game to help him, I couldn't refuse. He drops everything anytime I ask him for help.

We got a bonus!
All these onions and more were in amongst the weeds!
I have plenty for a potato salad I'm going to be making for a gathering at Nita's on Saturday.
For lunch we had sandwiches and a fresh green onion that tasted just like spring!

This is the ground cover I was talking about!
It's everywhere! But only here in the back yard.

Dianthus is wonderful about coming back each year.
Not all of them do but some!
These live in our first fire pit that we couldn't bring ourselves to put on the curb.
Instead we filled it with potting soil and planted these pretty things.
They just keep coming back!

Our chives are looking healthy and I was happy to see these other perennials come back.
I forget the names of things but Louis Dean especially loves whatever they are!

Our back pond is gurgling away as I sit inside the sewing room at my desk writing.
I love the overgrown English garden look!
The only fly in the buttermilk is that pesky Seven Sister Rose bush back there that sends out such long spikes of thorny growth and precious few roses. Louis Dean ordered this online and I do not think it is a REAL bonafide Seven Sister Rose bush!

I don't think that big bush is a red tipped photinia like I thought I had planted but whatever it is seems to be healthy and growing well!

It was a good day to work outside and pull weeds.
While it never poured down rain, the air stayed wet all day long.
The weeds came up easily and we ended up getting soaking wet by the time it was all done.
Actually, it wasn't ALL done. We just had to stop because we got too tired.

This was our movie of the day and my first time to see it!
It was a really good story and I love Jimmy Stewart!
Filmed in 1965! I guess they don't make westerns anymore, do they?

In other news......

Dean posted this on his Facebook page this morning.
I am missing the country.

This is Dean's garden area.......
pretty wet but the ducks are happy.
Is that an egg I see?

I managed to clean up the gazebo tonight before I started writing my journal post.
Tomorrow will be a grocery shopping, cooking and baking day.
Good Friday is coming........

Hard Working Monday and Tuesday's Treasures!

Louis Dean was so tired from all that work down at the Ranch that he said he was looking forward to not having anything to do except digging. I think he forgot that digging is hard work, too!

I can't count the MILES and MILES of digging he has done here since we married in 2005.

He's dug trenches and laid out French drains all over the place.
He's dug all of the flower beds around here several times over.

We both worked all day long in the front yard concentrating on the flower beds across the front and the area under the den windows. We will do the rest in April when we get back from the ranch.

While we need a new driveway and front porch, we are pacing our spending and plan to hire it all done in 2019. There was a time - just a couple short years ago - when we talked about the concrete work we need and Louis Dean insisted HE could do it! I have patiently waited until he's now agreeable to pay someone else to do the work! It helped that Nita and Mike had their driveway done this year and highly recommended their contractor.

So since I am the Queen of Cover Up - 
I'm using rugs to cover the broken uneven places on the porch!

And we are using the rug Nita gave us on the driveway.
It was like old times sitting out there with our wine and enjoying the last light of the day.
We continued to sit and talk while the night settled down around us.
If we had stayed out much longer, we would have been tempted to do a Whataburger run!
Instead, we went inside and decided to eat something light while we watched a Downton Abbey.
He ate cereal - a bowl full of two kinds since we were using up what we had. His was frosted flakes and frosted mini wheat's. I opted for a glass of milk and crumbled up saltine crackers.
Comfort food.....for us, anyway.

We worked so hard all day that I thought we would sleep like babies Monday night.
He did. I didn't. I couldn't believe it!
Finally at 1:00 this morning I got up and played my word games and then read some and finally went to sleep some time after 2 AM.

Then I thought I would surely sleep late.
I didn't.
I was up by 9:00. It was raining - we knew the rain was coming which is why we planned our yard work for Monday. I went out in the rain to take the last of our trash to the curb and made coffee before Louis Dean got up. There is something wonderful about waking up to the fragrance of a fresh pot of coffee!

Since it was Tuesday and since Ruth Ann was back from her farm and since I was back from the ranch - we decided to have an old fashioned Tuesday Treasure Day together!
Roy has retired and she has been keeping him pretty busy and Louis Dean was exhausted so both of our guys were absolutely THRILLED for us to go off and leave them alone!
Neither one of them called to check up on us and we were gone over 6 hours!
Louis Dean finally called right before I came home to ask me to pick up some more milk.

Our first stop was for me to get my hair cut!
I told Yulisa I needed a pixie that would look good while I was feeding the chickens!
I just hate for the wind to blow hair in my face so a simple solution is to keep it short!

I am always amazed at how good she can make me look!
From there we walked right next door to Lovely Nails and had our nails done!

Friday was Ruth Ann's birthday so we celebrated today!

Lunch at the Olive Garden!
Our favorite place!

It was a leisurely sort of day and we lingered long over our meal.
We both wanted to visit Reaoma so we headed that direction and stopped at Years to Your Health for herbs and spices.

The vanilla bean was rather pricey at nearly $7 but the other spices were very reasonable.
Lavender for tea, parsley and dill for Dilly Bits, nutmeg for carrots and cookies and the vanilla bean to put in a big canister of sugar.

We visited Reaoma for about an hour.
I played some Elvis Presley songs on my phone. Next I played Glen Campbell and George Jones.
She really perked up when she heard the music and I was happy my new phone played it  loud and clear.

The last thing we did today is usually the first thing we do - hit up the thrift stores!

I just knew I would find some nice baskets!
 Now that I have the baker's rack up at the ranch - I want to use baskets to store my cooking things.

I love this bread basket with the fake breads.
Long years ago - back in the 1970's - I would bake bread and then decoupage it!
As in spray it with clear acrylic or coat it in a glaze. I tied ribbon or jute around it and hung a display of decorated  bread on my dining room wall. 
One Sunday after church I had a family over for lunch.
As we sat around visiting I looked up at the wall behind them and noticed bugs crawling all over the place. Hundreds of those little weevils had infested every piece of the bread that I thought I had sealed so well.
Now I buy faux breads.
When I picked up that round loaf, I expected it to be hard.
It wasn't! It feels somewhat like a rubber toy!
The lady who checked me out gave a start when she picked it up and said it felt freaky!!

I bought these two small pillows for $0.75 for both.
They looked too sweet to leave them in the store.

On my way to check out I saw this Chico's white t on the end of a rack.
$1.99 less 30% was a no brainer!
I had a candle warmer thing in my bathroom and Louis Dean knocked it off one day when he was working on my commode.
This one was brand new still in the box and I have put it on my chest of drawers in the bedroom.
It would not be safe in the bathroom!

It was after 6:00 when I got home tonight.
The rain has been steady all day long and continues even now.
There is a lot of thunder and lightning to go with it tonight.

Our guest room has been the most neglected room in the house this winter.
I haven't given it a good cleaning since Christmas.
When Louis Dean got the flu he stayed in there for weeks!
Finally! Tonight I opened the door and started working on it.
I stripped the bed and gathered up all the paper towels that were behind the bed, under the bed and on the bed! Louis Dean doesn't use tissues. he uses paper towels!
While I didn't get the room done - I made a lot of headway and can finish it tomorrow.

Good Friday is coming and I have a lot to do!
Hopefully between the rains in the forecast for Wednesday, I can spruce up the gazebo and clean up the decks and patios. Everything is growing like crazy in the back! Ground cover, ferns, herbs, perennials - it looks awesome!

Thursday we will shop for groceries and bake our Easter Breads and maybe the brisket for Friday.
I'll prep the vegetable dishes, bake a cake and touch up the house.

Friday we will finish the food, vacuum the house and clean the bathrooms.
I'm expected about 2 dozen people and IF the weather clears up as it is expected to and I can use the table on the upper deck and the bench table for the quads - I will have a place for everyone to sit and eat. Each place setting will be complete with chargers, stemmed glasses, cloth napkins and napkin rings.

I don't get nervous or anxious when we host our special dinners. A house full of people all eating and talking and laughing is one of my favorite things in all the world.
I don't remember ever having a party that wasn't as much fun for me as it was for my guests!

THIS Good Friday Gathering is extra special!

Rayne and Sabrina flew back from Puerto Rico last Thursday!!!

It's SO good to see them all together again!!
Don't they look great??

I don't think I have updated about Summer lately.
She has had some good news.
The diagnosis is pinched nerves.
Seriously, we are surprised no other doctor thought about this.
The injury from September 2016 took 6 months before the doctors figured out it was a birth defect in her spine that gristle or whatever it was that had grown up around the hole in her spine finally gave way and ruptured. There was some substantial nerve damage done during that time and thankfully it has been diagnosed and Summer had injections last Friday. Unfortunately, that threw her into a real spiral of pain that will slowly improve once the medicine kicks in.
It's been a very long hard road for my Sweet Summer Dee and I am praying and hoping she feels better soon. She's been pretty much in bed since Friday.
The good news is that she flies back to Puerto Rico for a nice long visit a day or two after Sabrina and Rayne leave. I think this will be so good for her!

Preparing our hearts for Easter......

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Our Saturday and Sunday........

I have a wall!!! At least a piece of a wall!
 The camper and the new room are being joined together at the seams!

I hung my first piece of decoration on it before we left Saturday afternoon.
The wall went up Saturday morning - after I had given up all hope.

The good food was Friday's night celebratory dinner!
Celebrating the brand new shiny red tractor!

Saturday we had our morning routine of coffee and reading minus the extra stupor time.
Louis Dean went out and put up the wall while I prepared the camper for us to go home.
I left the pantry full and made mental notes - of which I most assuredly will forget - of what staples we have on hand for when we return. Tuna, jams, soups, noodles, spices, chili, seasonings, pancake mix, syrup, oatmeal, Hamburger Helpers - they were on sale at Read's for 10 for $10! Coffee, tea, flavored water, Diet Coke, wine - we left our wine for when we get back. Box wine lasts a long time!
Louis Dean filled all our water bottles - the two gallon ones we keep for handy use - from the big 5 gallon bottles. The camper has clean sheets on the beds and the floors were vacuumed.

We closed the door at the north end where we park the truck and 'locked' it.
That means Louis Dean let me out and then he turned the board he has hammered up at an angle that will prevent the door from opening.
On our next trip down we will put in a regular locking door thingy.
It already has a door knob so I think that counts for something.

Dean had gone to work and Sherry was doing tractor stuff.
It was time to say our goodbyes......

It's always more fun to arrive in the country than it is to leave but we have some good things to look forward to. And Louis Dean was really tired. He needs to come home and rest his brain. 

We went the back roads and stopped in Hubbard at The Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.
We sat out on the patio seating and admired this pretty house across the street while we ate our cones.
I'm grateful for my life and for the blessing of having a city home and a place in the country.
But that doesn't stop me from admiring and dreaming about what it would be like to have a place like this!

We got home around 5:00 Saturday afternoon after stopping in Hillsboro for some bakery items at the Country Czech Bakery and then at the Leggs Hanes Bali outlet for some unmentionables.
We have our return routine down pat. He unloads. I put up.
I started the laundry and opened the mail. 
Once the truck was empty, Louis Dean disappeared into the bathroom for an hour or more while he sat in a hot soaking bath. We rejoined in the den and watched a Bull before I took my shower and made a batch of fruitcake cookies.
The whole reason we came home early was those cookies.

Today we celebrated a very special lady's birthday at the Ridglea Country Club
I went from one type of country to another!

Beautiful Lily and her sweet granddaughter.......

Lily loves my Fruitcake Cookies so I knew that would be the perfect gift from us.

We drove over to Nita and Mike's and rode with them as I didn't have a phone so I could bot use my Waze direction helper.

I had no camera or phone but I did bring my iPad!
This is our dear Joni and her mother, Lily.
What a blessing Lily has been to so many and we are grateful to be a part of her life.

Lily was Nita's Mother-in-Love.......not mother in law .....for many years.
We are so grateful that we remain 'Family'.....

Leah ( Nita's beautiful daughter), Lily and Nita.

It was a wonderful time of celebrating! Lily is 93 years old and she told Louis Dean, 
"We will have to do this again when I am 100!"
Yes, we WILL!!!

We left Fort Worth and headed to Lowes to buy shrubs, bedding plants, mulch and potting soil.
We have some work to do to get ready for our Good Friday Gathering.

My next stop was at AT&T to get a new phone.

It didn't take long!
I am back in business!!!
However, I am going to be very careful with this one! 
At least for the next 30 months!!

Louis Dean took a glass of wine out this evening - after I gave him a really good hair cut! - and surveyed what we need to do over the next few days.

It felt good to sit out on the driveway and talk about the gardens and landscaping plans, menus for Good Friday and just chat a bit.
He said, "I love it when we do this."
So do I.
He got sleepy and came in and went to bed.
That's what men do.
I don't fault them for it.
Women - on the other hand - do what I have done since he went off to bed.
I finished the last load of laundry and folded and put up what stays here and packed up what goes to the camper. I prepared coffee for in the morning and then turned out all the thousand points of light that I keep in this house! I picked up this and that as I went through the rooms before settling down in here in the sewing room to finish this post which I started while he was soaking in the tub tonight....again.

So this is the first pic I took while we were sitting in the gazebo.......

and yet it made a video of it!

and so I just took this pic of my blogging spot tonight.......

and it made a video of it, too!!

I guess I need to figure out my new phone.........