Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wish I could Call my Mom and Dad Today and Say, "Thank You."

There is a tendency among children, even as adults, to blame Mom and Dad (especially Mom) for all the things wrong in their lives. What adult children often forget is that the way they treat their mothers is the example they are giving their children for how to treat them later. 

So the question is.....How do you want your children to treat you when they are grown up and leave home? Will they blame you? Will they ignore you? Will they return your phone calls? Will they invite you over? Treating parents with love and respect is no guarantee that your children will treat you that way, but it sure increases the chances. Besides, it also keeps the 4th Commandment.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Fun: Snowman Building and Sledding

Well, Larry and I have been out playing in the snow for the weekend and we are both ready for a glass of wine and a nap. Anya and Bianca came for a sleepover and we spent two days in the snow sledding, slogging (It's deep walking up the hill!), and snowman-building. They also went with us to the nursing home where I take Communion and all the residents were charmed. They love to see the little one!

Bianca (the three year old) told us she wanted to "stay until Spring" but, of course, Mommy put the nix on that. We took the two girls home in the afternoon and visited for awhile. When we got up to go Bianca started to cry. Nice to be popular with our grandchildren! I assured Bianca she could come back sometime this week and next time we'll bake cookies because we didn't get around to doing that with all our other activities: making shell necklaces with our treasures from the Florida beaches, sledding, building a snowman, making snow ice cream, playing "go fish" and other card games, doing puzzles, and watching saint movies with popcorn.

What a great weekend! I hope yours was as much fun.

Bianca (in front) didn't want to sled yesterday, but today was lots warmer.
She kept wanting to take another ride down. We must have gone a dozen.

Even Paka braved the slopes today for two runs!

We decided our snowman looked like Olaf from Frozen.

making (and eating) snow ice cream - yummy!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Escape from Winter

Goodness this has been a hard winter. And so we decided to escape for just a little while and drove down to Florida to camp on St. Edward Island near Apalachicola. What a glorious place! The state park on the east end offers large campsites and decent bathhouse facilities. We spent the week biking, hiking, shelling, and eating. Did I mention eating? My favorite places were Cafe con Leche in Apalachicola for their fabulous coffee. ( I think she said it was Muddy Creek.) Omigosh, best coffee I ever drank. We had to go back a second day just for the coffee although the breakfast sandwiches (arepas) made on a cornmeal version of an english muffin were also good.

My favorite dinner place was Caroline's River Inn on the water. We went the day before Valentine's Day since we'd be traveling home the next day. Larry was tired of seafood after a week so he ordered steak, but I ordered stuffed scallops which was an arrangement of large scallops top and bottom with a crabcake between them all in a flaky pastry with a delicious cream sauce. I could have ordered that every day for a week. I traded some with Larry for a little steak, but I definitely had the better dinner. I can't wait to go back next year. And the waitress said their breakfasts are wonderful so that will definitely be on the menu as well. Good place to go after Mass! Although the little church in town, St. Patrick's only had a daily Mass on Monday and Tuesday. Next closest Masses were in Panama City and Tallahassee both an hour and half away. That was the only big drawback to the location since we like to go to daily Mass.

Well, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so here are some of our pictures from our winter escape. I have more on my phone but haven't figured out to get them off yet. I'm too dumb for the smart phone. LOL!

The beach in the early morning. We're off to collect shells.

This doesn't do justice to the beautiful sunset!

A sidewalk in Apalachicola. What a charming little town!

Love those pine trees. Here I am on Carabelle Beach.

Everywhere we went we saw mountains of oyster shells. 
We also saw the oystermen out in the Bay with their long tongs.

Carabelle lighthouse: passed up the chance to climb to the top. 
Went on a hike instead.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Tradition of the Jesse Tree

An apple for Adam & Eve
One of my favorite Advent traditions is the Jesse Tree. We generally set up our tree the first week of Advent and add the lights, but leave them unlit (except when I feel like I need to remind myself that the people in darkness have seen a great light). Then we add symbols of Old Testament and New Testament characters. Sometimes I also put on symbols for the special saints that grace the December calendar like St. Nicholas.

Baby "Noses"
We've already put on a "disco ball" to represent creation, apples for Adam and Eve, sheep and a little sheaf of "wheat" for Cain and Abel, a picture of Noah's ark and a white bird for the dove, a stack of wood and a (butter) knife for Abraham and Isaac, a ladder (from the doll house) for Jacob, a colorful folk doll for Joseph and his many colored coat, a baby doll in a basket for Moses (or "Noses" as my three-year-old granddaughter insists), and today a lily for Mary on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

My oldest child's favorite Jesse tree "ornament" (It tickles her funny bone). is the grey dolphin puppet who masquerades as the whale in the Jonah story. By the time we are ready to "decorate" the tree a few days before Christmas, it will already be filled with wonderful symbols of our faith journey gathered from around the house. I love using everyday objects that we see all year in this special way during Advent.

When grandchildren are here for our Advent wreath lighting (all too infrequently I'm sorry to say) we let them add the figures to the tree and we tell the stories of the characters. My Jesse tree box still has a crown for David, a lion for Daniel, a necklace for Esther, a gleaner's basket for Ruth, and a golden rose for Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. John the Baptist will get a bee representing his wild honey and Joseph will be represented by a plastic hammer from a child's workbench. And we'll top the tree with the star of Bethlehem.

The Jesse tree makes Advent waiting a wonderful journey through salvation history. How I love it! What a Church we have that offers us so many traditions that help us grow in our faith.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bad Bee Season!

Who'd have thought it. With plenty of rain this spring we thought this would be a great honey-producing season. But something went wrong and many local beekeepers got little or no honey at all. That's us. Every time we checked to see if we had frames of 90% capped honey -- no dice! We blamed the poor bees, but since many beekeepers are in the same boat, it had to be something else.

We should have guessed that bees coming to the hummingbird feeder was a sign there wasn't enough nectar out there for gathering. Why would a sensible bee choose weak sugar water over the sweetness from clover or other wildflowers?

At any rate, our three hives thrived in terms of producing bees, but were non-starters in the honey production department. We had NO frames for the honey harvest and now are feeding the bees to make sure they have enough to eat in the coming fall and winter. That's important since they don't have the stores necessary to get them through.

Oh well, maybe next season will be better.

In the meantime, here's the Beekeepers' Lament. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Our Latest Adventure....

was hosting ten and eleven-year-old girls from New York City through the Fresh Air Fund. What an adventure! Here are some photos from our week and for more of our fun adventures see here and here and here. The girls made friends with two of our little granddaughters and two of my grand-nieces who are their age. Everyone agreed we should do it again next year!

A visit to the Rte 11 potato chip factory -- They weren't cooking, but nobody complained -- too busy munching!

Wading in the Shenandoah and skipping & throwing rocks - big splashes!

Not as many restaurants as the big city, but country pizza got good ratings!

Bet you didn't know there are dinosaurs in Shenandoah County!

Making some new friends. (Actually, these geese were less than friendly!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cousins' Camp Part II

The girls slept late this morning so we must have worn them out yesterday. We started the morning with a good breakfast and then off to Mass. Larry had to count poor box and thrift store money for our parish Outreach group so the girls and I went out to the playground. After Larry finished we were off to one of our favorite places -- the Shenandoah River and the "scary bridge." Our grandkids love to skip (or throw) rocks in the river and then walk across the suspension bridge. So that's what we did.

getting ready for wading in the river

If you can't skip a rock, the next best thing is...

...a big splash!

Now that rock ought to really make a geyser!

Next destination is around the corner: The Scary Bridge!

Anya was afraid going across and was happy to get to the stairs on the other side.

A quick walk up and down and then back across the bridge.

Not so scary now. Every few steps she stopped to jump up and down and give a little body shake.
We met some critters on our outing.

A butterfly adopted Larry.

Is this fuzzy fella predicting a cold winter?

Our next outing was the Route 11 potato chip factory. They were doing a massive order for Costco -- sixty pallets of boxes. Wow!

Who wouldn't love a potato that makes such a yummy chip!

The second floor is where they add the flavors. They were making lightly salted today.

Talk about "loving" your potato chips -- barbecued for Lauren!

Marianna preferred sour cream and chives. "They're Mommy's favorite."

Home to swim before heading in to meet Lauren's mom in Centreville.

Finally mastering the doggie paddle and swimming in the deep end!

Two little mermaids cooling off.

And Lauren's working on her back dive.

Last stop: dinner at Glory Days Grill with Lauren's family. Anya kept begging for "just one more night" of cousins' camp, but Lauren has to get ready for swim team divisionals where she's hoping to break the team record in freestyle (two win an Ipod). Good luck, Lauren! Now we need a boys cousins' camp. How about it Brendan, Ryan, and Sean?