Monday, April 26, 2010

A Noisy Project Started Today

We've stripped all the carpet from the upstairs. After seven years of grandchildren (ours) and dogs (not ours) demolishing the carpet: wetting on, vomiting on, coloring with permanent markers, etc. we decided it was time for a cleaner alternative. Let's hear it for wooden floors! (Tip: permanent marker can be removed from hardwood with toothpaste and a soft brush.)

Ten or 15 years ago (or even a few years ago) we would have worked this project ourselves. I helped lay flooring and a deck in our old house and Larry did our family room and office a few years ago here. But the number of projects is getting out of hand for the limited crew at Camp Kreitzer. So Larry pulled up the carpet and hauled it to the dump, but we hired a professional to lay the floor. Chip arrived this morning to start and is already almost halfway done with the master bedroom. When he's finished we'll buy a few area rugs for noise control and enjoy the easier cleaning and less dust. Camp Kreitzer is definitely getting a new look in the sleeping area. Here are a few photos in progress.  And, by the way, if you live in the Shenandoah Country or thereabouts, we heartily recommend Chip who is a real craftsman at what he does. He tiled our bathroom floors (Why would anyone want wall to wall carpet in a bathroom?) and did a first-rate job. We feel really blessed to have found him!

The underflooring is exposed and ready for the doctor. 

It helps to have the necessary tools.

The unfinished section of the master bedroom after a morning's work.

How it's going to look when it's done.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Cleaning at Camp Kreitzer

When most people talk about spring cleaning they mean taking down and washing all the curtains,  washing the windows, moving all the furniture and cleaning behind and under, etc. Well, at Camp Kreitzer we are sprucing up the outside. Our first big project was taking down the old tree house. I don't have a photo of it because we never let anyone play there from the time we moved in (May 2002). It was dangerous from the start. But after the winter snows it was hanging by a few nails and we had visions of it dropping on the kids' heads like Dorothy's house on the Wicked Witch of the East. So Larry pulled out the last remaining supports and down it came. Then it was break it up and drag it off time.

The pictures below are from the "almost over" stage of the project with just remnants of the roof and walls along with the ladder to load up and cart off to the dump. Then on to the next project. It never ends. Anybody want to vent their frustrations by whacking down bamboo or pulling weeds? Camp Kreitzer is understaffed and overworked. And we haven't even thought about opening the pool and cleaning the deck. That's next month's project.

Springtime Visitors and Birthday Fun

I love visits from the grandchildren which keeps me on my toes thinking of fun ways to keep them entertained and cheerful. A never-failing activity is baking, and when birthdays are coming we have a special reason to don our aprons and wash our hands (the first two rules of the cook) and get busy.

April is a big birthday month among the Kreitzer clan, but late March begins the season so we have been doing plenty of baking. Here's the result. These birthday cupcakes were spring flowers. I took some closeup pictures but somehow they disappeared from my camera. Must have been a bad battery or I erased them by mistake. But if you look closely you can get the idea. I have a little cupcake book that has loads of ideas. Ryan liked the snowman so I saved a few cupcakes and he and Lauren each made one.

The most recent birthday we celebrated was Uncle Chris who was a good sport as you can see from the happy birthday prince(ss) crown. He got cherry dream bars for his "cake." I only had one egg and it was the only recipe I could find that fit the limitation. Nobody complained.

If you want to celebrate your birthday at Camp Kreitzer we love to party!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let's Go Ride a Swing, Higher Than Anything....

     The first thing Larry built when we moved to the Valley was swings for little visitors and they've been flying ever since. We know spring is in full swing when the swings are full of little ones. Whether they can pump on their own or need a push, they love our little playground with swings, a teeter-totter, a jungle gym, and a trampoline. The kids keep saying we need a merry-go-round as well, but those are hard to find these days. I guess it's the liability. When we were in Texas in February we went to a playground with one and Larry was the motor for quite a while spinning it around. The kids had a blast. So if you see a merry-go-round, Camp Kreitzer's in the market for one.


Spring Flowers Abound at and Around Camp Kreitzer!

I love the Spring Flowers and here's a sample from our neighborhood.






Brr...That Ice Cream is Cold!

Lots of firsts this month: first trip to Katie's Custard for the season, first jump on the trampoline (which survived a close call from a falling pine tree during the big snows), first bonfire and cookout. We're really looking forward to the first campout of the season, but it may be awhile because we are babysitting all week.

Daughter Jamie hurt her knee about two months ago and has been hobbling around on crutches, visiting doctors, and being pretty much laid up. Grandaughter Marianna has been coming every week day and was here for our first trip to Katie's Custard. One trip was all it took for her to start saying "Katie's" often. So I guess we'll have to reward that addition to her vocabulary with another trip. The photo on the left shows the brrrrr look. We asked her if the ice cream was cold and she tensed her body and shook and said, "BRRRRRR...." But that didn't keep her from enthusiastic licking.

As for that first campout, maybe we'll take Marianna along. She can join in the first (short) hike of the season. Maybe we can coax a few other grandkids along. (Actually it's the parents who have to be coaxed because of the kids' schedules! The kids can't wait!) 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You Should Have Seen the One That Got Away!

On the way home from Austin in March we stopped in Athens, TX at a fishery. We were planning to hike the nature trail which we did, but on the way to the trail we came on the fishing pond. After a quick lesson in casting we tried our luck in the pond. I was a great caster, but didn't get much more than a nibble. Larry caught two. The first was little and I forgot to take a picture before we unhooked it and threw it back. His second catch was a 3 1/2  pound shark (really a catfish) who wasn't at all happy. Larry got a certificate for it being his "first fish" but actually it was his second. The first one wasn't worth mentioning. But then there was the one who nibbled on my bait and got away....