Friday, November 28, 2008

Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls with boughs of holly.....

Cross another fund raiser off the list.

This past week end we converged upon

the school to gym for our annual wreath

making day.

Red Bows were added.

Hangers were added.

To all 600 Christmas Wreaths.

Hey..... where did all my help go?????

Finally the 600 wreaths and 300 feet of garland was finished for another year.

So get ready to deck your halls as the Christmas Season is here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No ducks for Thanksgiving

There will be no duck for Thanksgiving at our house.
Hallelujah, I can just feed them now?
Instead of trying to catch a duck for Thanksgiving dinner?

It was a beautiful fall afternoon on Monday.
A perfect day to stop and feed the ducks at the lake.

My camera on my phone took a funky picture of Krista.
The leaning tower of Krista.
We won't have many more nice afternoons like this.
Before the snow and wind arrive for winter.

With the holidays upon us and winter knocking on the door....
I say good bye to abnormally warm fall afternoons.
(Unless it really is global warming.)

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Channeling Grandma Hall

I've been thinking about Grandma Hall and Grandad Pipe a lot lately.  I guess I always do around the holidays.  Sister's Two comment about not remembering them coming to the house really struck me.  I am so lucky --- I got the version that wasn't in a wheel chair sitting around waiting to die.  I got the vibrant one that baked three times a week and played games with you no matter what.  She even let you cheat.  Not that I ever did of course.  She made blarney stones for St. Patrick's Day, and divinity and fudge for Christmas.  She grew amazing flowers and always had a fresh boquet.  She died carnations two colors.  She made everything look effortless and she loved all of us unconditionally.
She was the epitome of domestication.  She had a regular routine.  Shopping was done on Friday, baking was done three times a week, spaghetti was made for her favorite grandkid on Wednesdays.  You get the idea.  Now me, I've already established that the only thing domestic about me is that I live in a house.  That's even debateable --- judging by the cobwebs in the guest bedroom where the mouse picture in the last post was taken!
Thinking about Grandma made me think about my childhood favorite cookie that she baked:  applesauce cookies.  I've only had them once since I graduated from high school.  When I worked at Cedar Canyon, we had a cookie exchange and Mary came home from Peru to make them for me.  Missy was six weeks old and she put her in a front-loading pouch and proceeded to make umpteen dozen cookies for me.
Mary is having her annual cookie exchange the first Saturday in December.  This is the fourth or fifth year that she has done this and we are really looking forward to it.  We missed it last year because of the weather.  Mardell always does the baking, because as I've established, I am not the least bit domestic. I decided to channel Grandmother Hall and give it a try tonight.  I stopped by Mom's this morning (I'm up six points on you Sister Two)  and picked up Grandma's original recipe.  I braved the grocery store and picked up all of the necessary ingredients.  Who knew that cloves were so danged expensive?  
I made lasagna this evening and decided to bake afterwards.  That I've done several times with huge success, so I figured adding on some cookies would be no big deal ... and to the average person it wouldn't be.  I didn't bake growing up.  Oh sure, I made a cake and brownies here and there, but I didn't bake.  That would have cut into my time spent outdoors running around like a banshee, playing kickball and generally terrorizing my sisters and the smaller neighborhood children who were their friends.  
Besides, who needed to bake when you could bike over to Grandma's and raid the cookie jar?  She was always good for an ice cold Coke as well.  Taking her recipe in hand, I cautiously began.  I am a literal cook .... I follow the recipe to a T.  Everything is measured ... I don't guess at anything.  Let's just say that Grandma's recipe leaves a lot to be desired.  It's more like an ingredient list.  I was sure that twisting her wedding ring around on my finger would channel her and I would miraculously instinctively know what to do.  
I know I've seen somebody on the Food Network cream butter and sugar before.  Um, Grandma, just when do you add the spices?  How hot should the oven be and how long should I bake them?  Frost with powder sugar frosting ... okay.  Is that the stuff I used to mix up at the donut shop?
Thank gosh Mardell was a home ec. teacher in a previous life!  I'm sure she is still snickering.  But she's doing it with a mouth full of cookie while she does it!
I don't recall Grandma's kitchen looking like a tornado had ripped through it when she baked!  I have to admit that they were easy to make and every bit as good as I remember.  I'm sure they aren't nearly as good as Grandma's and I wish I knew where my animal coffe can was to store them in!
Oh, and Mom .... Mardell is going to drop a couple off for you sometime today.  (That's worth another four or five points, Sister Two!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just in time for Thanksgiving

About five months ago we discovered that our oven didn't work consistently. Some days it would heat, other times it would only get warm. This is not good when you have a hankering for cardboard pizza. Lucky for me, my cardboard pizzas fit in my toaster oven (which was the sole reason for buying it in the first place).

We suspected that our friend and his army were responsible for chewing on electrical wires.

And yes, Dani, those are cobwebs. I decorated for Halloween.

At any rate, we debated about buying a new stove, but since we don't do much cooking at home we kept putting it off. That is, we didn't do much cooking at home until Sister Two turned me on to Pioneer Woman's blog with the pictorial recipes. Now I'm baking apple turnovers and lasagna all the time. It worked in the toaster oven, but somehow we didn't think  a Cornish hen was on the menu for Thanksgiving, so it was high time to bite the bullet and go buy one so that we could actually cook a turkey!

So last Saturday after we got home from the ball game we stopped in and purchased it. I was so disappointed to learn that they no longer make almond color. We could have bought a cobalt blue one and I was tempted, but who's going to want a blue stove in ten years? So we settled for boring old white.  I didn't even want to try to keep a stainless steel one polished. 

The front right burner can either be a small burner or a large burner, which is a nice feature.
It also has the power boil capability, which I tested last night when I made macaroni and cheese.  Kraft style.

Now we need to buy a white refrigerator to match. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flashback Friday

Can you believe it is November and still this nice? 
I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving. 

We are having our Thanksgiving dinner at school today, so that's our focus for this week's flashback.

I can remember Thanksgivings as a kid.  Mom always hosted the entire family and the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would all come spend the day.  For the week before, lots of scrubbing and cleaning took place.  Lots of bitching and moaning took place, too.    But we all forgave Mom for that.

The crystal would be washed and dried so that it was sparkling.  
The china gleamed.
You could see yourself in the polished silver. 
The tablecloths would be starched and pressed. 
Butter would be placed on the table.
You'll never live that one down, Mom!

Pies would be baked.
320 pounds of potatoes would be peeled.  Usually by yours truly and Sister Two.  Sister Three never had to do anything because she was the baby of the family. But at least there are pictures of me.

I hate peeling potatoes.  I could never do it right, but boy, I sure had plenty of practice!  I never even ate any mashed potatoes.  I could never figure out why everyone got so excited about mashed potatoes.  We had them all the time, but we only had sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving.  Now there's something to get excited about!  That's my favorite part of Thanksgiving.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to spend one more holiday with Grandma Hall and Grandad Pipe?  Grandma looks like she'd been hitting the wine bottle, but I don't recall Mom serving wine at Thanksgiving.  It was always coffee, ice tea and ice water.

As soon as the meal was over, the cousins would all pour out of the house and either go play kickball at the local elementary school playground or else ride our bikes to the cemetary.  That only happened if the older cousins could ditch the younger kids.  We usually got in trouble for it, but it was always worth it!

So what are your favorite Thanksgiving memories?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Basketball Season Has Started

Basketball season has started!
Krista's first game was on Saturday.
They played Sioux County, which is a scrappy little team.
I thought I was going to have to take Krista into the locker room and teach her how to throw an elbow!
Krista played hard.

She is very task-oriented.  She has the play in her head and by gosh, she is going to execute the play exactly as it was mapped out by the coach.  Never mind if she is wide open.
It's always nice to win the first game of the season.

I'm glad that we went up.
Aunt Sue and Mardell had a marvelous visit.

Dani enjoyed the snack bar.

They had the best dill pickles.
And the best beef jerkey.
And let's not forget the skittles!

They were just a little sour.
Dad even tried them, but he didn't make the same faces.  Those must have come from Sister Two's side.
Afterwards, we met Taylor and Alyssa at Ken and Dale's for lunch.

We saw even more family there .... Dick and Barb were there as well as Gary.
I swear if you want to see someone in Alliance, all you have to do is go to Ken and Dale's.  I don't think I've ever been there without seeing someone I know .... which is saying a lot because I don't know many people!
Taylor had to leave early, so Froglegs took advantage and moved in on Alyssa.

Katie threatened to break my really cool camera.

Or wait, was it my head that she threatened to break?!

All in all, it was a great day and I'm really glad that basketball season has started!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Last night I was giving a co-worker a ride home from work and I missed the turn for her apartment. We were waiting at the red light to make a left turn when another car hit a man walking across the street. We stayed with him and held his hand until the ambulance came. His name was Carl. He was just saying that his feet hurt, then somebody walking by stepped on his foot a minute later. I tried calling the hospitals to see what happened to him, to see whether or not he made it, but they couldn't tell me anything because I didn't know his last name. I've been trying to google around to see if there was any info about him in the news, but I haven't been able to find anything out. I hope he is OK.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Little Known Story About Sister Two

Not many folks realize that Sister Two was abducted at a very young age and raised by Indians.  An obscure tribe, the Ohanpis, thundered through our farmstead and swept her up and onto the back of one of their mustangs.  Dad searched high and lo throughout Oklahoma and California for her to no avail. 


Then one day, just as quickly as they had swept her up, they returned her on the night of the fourth rising of the Moon of the Horse.  This was really no surprise to her siblings, but everyone rejoiced and a big celebration was held at the city park on that day and every year after.

She was full of stories about her adventures. Sister Three was especially jealous of her native dress and spent hours fingering the beads and symbolic patches.

She assured us that they were very good to her and taught her valuable lessons that she has applied to her life.  They gave her an Indian name ---- She Who Can't Say No.

She regaled us with tales every evening around a camp fire and shared a delicacy involving graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars. 


For years everyone assumed that Dad was a master gardener ... and he was.  But what no one ever knew was that Sister Two related her planting knowledge that she had garnered from the Ohanpis.  She always insisted that Dad place rusty nails and banana skins at the bottom of his tomato plants.  She claimed that this provided the iron the plants needed to thrive and the banana skins decomposed and made the tomatoes extra sweet.  She dotted green pepper blossoms with honey because this caused more bees to pollinate the plants, so therefore it increased the yield.  

She also did the same thing with zucchini and we're all still trying to figure out why --- it wasn't long before people locked their car doors when they saw Dad coming.

Her knowledge of plants and berries came in handy when her eldest progeny had a tie-dye birthday party.  Now she is teaching her youngest about horsemanship.  It's a good thing the Ohanpis were astute horsemen.  

Perhaps if we're really lucky Sister Two will regale us with a tale or two.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday

This week's Flashback Friday topic was a no-brainer.  Which is good, because my brain is fried this week.  You have no idea how happy I am that it is Friday!

November 11 holds significance for our family.  Besides being Armistice Day, a new generation decided that would be a good day for a wedding.

Grandma Hall and Grandad Pipe started the string.

I think that this is their 50th anniversary, so the date must have worked for them.

Grandma Lou and Grandad Jiggs followed suit.

And once again, the date worked for them.  Here is their 50th wedding anniversary.
I even honored the occasion with a dress.  Black, no less.

Mom and Dad chose the 11th of November to exchange their nuptials.

Dad died before they could make it to their 50th.

Jen and Mark were married on the 11th as well.
I wore a dress to that celebration too, but that horse has been beat to death.