Saturday, November 30, 2019

Fort Worth Family Thanksgiving!

Nita and Mike hosts our Family Thanksgivings and they do such a great job!

While Lonnie spends most of Thanksgiving with his wife and her family, 
we were so happy he came over later to join his sisters!

Earlier in the week I moved a trunk out to the gazebo and found it full of old photo albums.

I loved seeing photos of us together....although this one must not have been taken at a good time for me. I can't figure out what year this is .....

....or what year this one was but I was obviously happierat the time.

Our custom is to get together and any and all of our children are invited as well, understanding that everyone can't always make it and there are a few that have standing traditions of their own.
It's all good.
We take a lot of pictures when we get together and I am real glad about that.
These will be treasured in years to come.
Just as I treasure the old photos above.

I will start with Nita and her daughter, Leah.
Nita's son lives in Arizona so he can't always be with us and this was one of those years.
It makes the years he can make it all that more special.

Mike is THE best host!
He's the one supporting all that goes into making this day a success.
I love a man who cleans up.
I remember years when Charlie and Mike single-handedly returned Nita's kitchen to normal.

Deanie had more family represented than anyone and that's the norm.
This is her son with Leah.

Deanie and James.
We all love it when they can come!

Two of Deanie's grandchildren......

This is her first born grandchild.

Charlie's son and daughter.

Deanie's daughter in love and daughter Trish.

I think Deanie has 8 grandchildren and they were ALL here this year!

Now for my family.....
I was happy to have two of my four children there.
There's been a few years when it was just Louis Dean and me.
Ben is my youngest and he always gets a LOT of attention from his aunts.

Summer didn't realize Ben was going to be there and when she saw him, 
 well, her expressions were priceless.

She has such a soft spot in her heart for her baby brother.

I was so happy they got to see each other!

Everyone was glad to see Sabrina and Rayne!

We were really grateful they went the extra mile to be with us because they had Sabrina's family Thanksgiving that evening. That was so nice. It made for a very long day for them and we appreciated them fitting everyone in. Especially since we don't see as much of Sabrina and Rayne now that they live in Puerto Rico.

Son Jesse and his family always spend Thanksgiving in the mountains of New Mexico and I understand how important this week is to them.

Amber and her family spent the holiday with Mike's parents.
Families have to share holidays. That's what we do.
Amber usually hosts a gathering later and is doing that again this year.

There was a lot of love and smiles going around.
Patrick is Leah's handsome husband and a favorite of the cousins.

Louis Dean and Deanie bonded back in 2012 after the quads were born.
Deanie had driven down to be there right after they arrived and stayed for a day or two and when she left, she took Louis Dean with her. He was still working on the camper getting it repaired and ready to bring down later so we could live in it and help Amber and Mike for awhile.
All I can say is - they talked and laughed and joked and BONDED big time.

Ever since then, they have been each other's biggest fan!

I think this was my favorite photo from the whole day.
Leah took it and I love it!

I love this one of Deanie and Lonnie, too!

It was so good to be together.

Now I have an announcement to make.
For the first time ever - Louis Dean made his own plate!
He was pretty proud of himself.
While I usually make it for him - my knee was really hurting.
I turned it wrong in the night and suffered with it all day.
I felt like a dud and didn't take as many pics as I usually do so Nita and Leah lent me theirs.

After the day was done, Louis Dean went to bed in Nita's guest room for a good long nap while I went to Walmart to pick up a few groceries for Lillian.
Her granddaughter picked her up Thanksgiving morning and she went to Weatherford for the day.
She called me when she got back.
When I was shopping I noticed a lot of extra security people, police officers and men in uniform.
Also people were milling around at the end of several isles.....finally I asked someone what was going on. The Walmart employee said, "Lady, you must live under a rock. This is Black Friday and in an hour there will be 10,000 people in here, It's gonna be a ZOO!"
I rushed to the check out without stopping for the pop tarts Lillian had asked for!!

I delivered the groceries, hung her Christmas wreath and visited for a few minutes.
I had brought her sweets and treats as well as pumpkin muffins for the staff.

When I got back to Nita's, I asked if Louis Dean was still asleep.
Mike said, "Well, we think so. We haven't heard a sound."
He was teasing but when I went in to check on him I saw his white sox and touched his foot.
It was ice cold and scared me so bad my heart was lurching.
Turns out, Nita had opened a window and his feet WERE cold.
I shook him awake and it was time to go home!

Today I have been working steady cleaning and decorating. I added the dining room, hall and bathroom to my list of clean rooms. The only ones left to do are the kitchen, bedroom, guest room, sewing room and gazebo - and the front porch.
I intend to get the kitchen and porch done tomorrow.
But before I started this morning - I had coffee and prayer time and then I exercised for 22 minutes to a program I record on PBS.
Thanks to Sandra, aka The Mad Snapper, for encouraging me to do this.
I did feel like a little old lady and exercise really does help.
I'm determined to do the 22 minute workouts every day until my surgery.

It's late and I have been used to going to bed earlier and waking up early.
Not sure that's happening tomorrow....

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Rolls, Pies and Blowing Leaves!! Monday to Wednesday!

These days leading up to Thanksgiving have been busy ones.

Rayne and Summer spent Monday morning with us before they went back to Rowlett in the afternoon. Summer fluffed this wreath up after I thought I'd put in the trash. She can make anything look good! Can you spy Rayne in the wreath?

Since I got up early, I went to bed for a good long nap after they left.
Then I got a second wind.....

and spent the rest of Monday dressing the living room up.
Louis Dean is my knight in shining armor getting all the lights on the tree.
He loves colored lights and I love white ones so we used both!

The living room is looking so cozy!

While it wasn't decorated at this point - we were happy to have the tree UP and LIT!

I've been playing Christmas music for awhile now.
Louis Dean bought this stereo with a 5 CD well as 2 cassette players....for my birthday the first year we were married.....2005. I may be old school but I love it and just hope I can buy another one when this one bites the dust!

I pronounced the room clean and lit the candles.

This is my favorite place to relax these days because I can put my feet up and look at the tree.
We turned all the lights out except for the tree and had a glass of wine to end our Monday.

Tuesday morning I woke up early - again.
As tired as I get these days, I am still excited about decorating and can't wait to get back to it.
I had planned on getting the entire house decorated and then go back and do the trees.
However, since I'm not doing as many trees as I usually do - I decided to go ahead and decorate the big tree mixing in all my memory ornaments.

Summer has gifted me a collection of cardinals and I included them in the big tree along with the oldest ornaments I have......can you see that small bell with just a few spots of blue glitter on it?
That came from my childhood Christmas tree. Mother gave that one and a gold one when I left home.
The blue sequined ball tied with gold ribbon was the first craft I made after I got married.
It's just a Styrofoam ball with sequins and straight pins. I made it in 1964 and have hung it on my tree every year since then. I also hung all my hand painted ones that I have done through the years - including a honey bee for this year!

It's a hodge podge but I love it.

So what was Louis Dean doing while I was hanging ornaments?

He was baking!
He bakes best when no one bothers him so, once again, I took a good long nap.
Oh, MY! It smelled so good when I woke up!

He also made cinnamon rolls! 
He bakes them and I frost them!

It was warm on Tuesday and I had the kitchen French doors open when a little visitor came in.
He went right back out but I set a dish with a chicken carcass in it on the deck....and he found it.
It makes me feel good to feed critters and I am missing my possums!

Today was cooler and cloudy with rain in the forecast.
My hero helped me get all the tubs I had scattered around the back patio packed away in the fall storage area and bring in a few of the Christmas tubs.

Then he went out and started his work.
I admit to being nervous when he got up on the roof and blew out the gutters.
I prayed the entire time he was up there and hovered around the door until he was ready to come down and then I held the ladder for him.

He wanted to get this job done before the rain arrived.

I hope we can keep on doing what we do for a long time.
We do have a yard guy but he comes from time to time and not really scheduled.
We have his phone number but - bottom line - he comes on his own schedule.
We may have to change that or hire someone else when we get 'old.'

I used this opportunity to put my feet up and admire Louis Dean.
Then I went behind him and picked up another basket of pecans!

While he had control of the kitchen on Tuesday - I had the kitchen today!

Three Fireball Pumpkin Pies!
DONE! And followed by a nap.
My knee seems to get worse every day and I am so grateful that my surgery date is already set.
I am able to get up and go again after I rest awhile and that's a good thing.

Next up?
Bourbon Bacon Pecan Pie!

I have to wear two pair of glasses sometimes to read and the recipe calls for half a cup of melted butter - which I had in a bowl in the microwave - and forgot.
I mixed it all up and put it in the oven......
and then I remembered the butter!!!
I jerked it out of the oven, dumped the filling back in the bowl, added the butter and mixed it up again.....and poured it back into the shell and pie tarts I made more filling than I needed so I filled up six little tart pans.

It turned out great!

I taste tested a tiny bite of one of these.
Win! WIN!!!
I did not taste test the pumpkin pies, though, so I will get back to you on these!

It's Thanksgiving Eve and I am counting my blessings.
I've already loaded the car with stuff to take over to Fort Worth in the morning.

Louis Dean and I are watching a Closer and then it's a shower and bed - and I put fresh sheets on this morning! Bliss!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Blessings and Christmas Painting Winner.....

We have been looking forward to Sabrina and Rayne's arrival back in Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday! I opened my eyes this morning before 8:00 and thought, "YES!"
I was up and at 'em getting the guest room all made up and was ready and waiting for Summer to get here and then we were off to the airport!
Our timing was perfect!
We had just parked and was walking in the door where Sabrina and Rayne were waiting at baggage claim for their luggage.

What a happy reunion!!!!

Such a  touching had been 120 days since Summer had seen them in person.
She Facetimes quite a bit and I love how Mummers and Rayne read together everyday. Technology can be a big blessing.

I was so happy to BE there and I had a bucket of pumpkin muffins for her!

She dug right in!
Plus she shared with a couple of security workers and family so I was glad I had enough muffins at home to refill her pail.

Sabrina went home with her mom and Summer and Rayne came over here to our house to spend the day and night. On our way we dropped off some pumpkin muffins with Pam and had a short visit.

Granddad was excited to see her and she was excited to see him.
He had been outside blowing and mowing leaves all morning.
He thought he had blown a breaker (electric mower since we can't keep a small engine running) but after a lot of flipping breakers and locating all the breaker boxes - he discovered it was a faulty extension cord! 

All that blowing off the leaves revealed ripe pecans ready to pick up.
I gave Rayne a pecan picker upper that you can use without even bending over!
Reaoma's husband, Doug, gave me that for Christmas long long years ago.

She decided to crack a few for a snack so I gave her the pecan cracker that Doug gave me the Christmas after the pecan picker upper.

It was such a beautiful day here! 
We sat out on the driveway visiting and shelling pecans and just enjoying being together.

While I got dinner started, Rayne made some cute cheese and crackers pies.

She used whipped cream cheese to stick triangle cuts of cheddar cheese to Trisket crackers.
Then she attached a Chicken Biskit cracker to the back using the cream cheese - thus making it look like a piece of pie. A dab of cream cheese on top finished it off.

We had a good dinner of those chicken cheese enchiladas, re fried beans, salad and a fruit salad using a light dressing of Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar and Blood Orange Olive oil. SO good!

After the dishes were done I went to bed for a good long nap.
Rayne and Summer read together and then they went out to visit in 'Percy' -that's the name of her van.
It was a little like camping and Rayne loves all the nooks and crannies and how comfortable it is out there.

We regrouped later and we got the big Christmas tree set up in the living room.
Summer was so sweet to fluff up and spruce up several wreathes and arrangements for me.

It's been a big day and we looked in the guest room and Rayne had put herself to bed!

Such a sweet little girl.
Most of my house is in Christmas disarray with only a couple of rooms all clean and decorated.
Still, Rayne was standing in the kitchen and looked all around, sighed and said, 
"This just feels like HOME!"

I would like to close with saying Happy Birthday to my first born son, Jesse!

He's up in the mountains this week for Thanksgiving as is their custom.
He and his family go up to a cabin every year and that makes for a perfect place to celebrate his birthday. Summer and I called him tonight on speaker phone and  sang happy birthday to him.

And now for the Christmas painting giveaway.....
there were 259 entries.....and I use random number generator......
and the winner is......#57......
Ginny Hartzler!
I will get this in the mail to you as soon as it's dry!!!

Now I must go out and bring in some lights for the living room tree.
Rayne is an early riser and she and Summer are going to do the lights when they get up.
It's been such a good day!