To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You had Megi...

 but we had this!

Oh man, it was awesome! It started Tuesday morning with drenching rain and straight line winds up to 60 mph. The winds continued into Wednesday evening so it's no wonder Lake Michigan was stirred up into such a tempest. We weren't the only ones who had to go see what she looked like because the beach was crowded with people happily braving the stinging sand and water spray, each of them enjoying Mother Nature while trying to capture images of her in one of her petulant moments. "They" said we hadn't had a storm like this since 1998, of which I have vivid memories of being transfixed in front of a plate glass window as I watched that storm move across the woods straight towards me (someone wisely suggested I step away from the window), but still, I didn't think this one was as bad. It certainly was spectacular though. If you look closely at the top photo you will see a man standing outside a door on the right side of the lighthouse, just below the catwalk. That's the place I would have liked to be watching the waves from. That and from the windows up top.

And you know what? These weren't the big ones. Those were breaking further out. Drat! Why am I not a surfer?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Apple Crisp

From this:

To this:

in exactly 2 hours and that includes baking time. That's how good it is. I've tried to improve on the recipe over the years, but it all comes down to the same two things. Is it easy, and is it delicious? Yes and yes, so why bother with changes? And you only need look at the pictures to see proof. The littles were over for the evening along with their mom and B. I knew this was a favorite dish and since I had apples in the house...

Apple Crisp

8-10 apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite size chunks
1 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c white sugar
1 c flour
1 c brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 c oatmeal
1/2 c butter, softened (don't melt or your crisp won't be crumbles)

Place apples chunks in 9x13 dish. Mix 1 T flour, cinnamon and white sugar together and sprinkle over apples. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 1 c flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and softened butter using a pastry blender until it's mixed, but still crumbly. Spread over apples and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let cool until you can't take it anymore and then devour.

I would love to hear if you make this and how well you liked it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Ahhh, what a delightful weekend. It's always a good weekend when tasks get crossed off the chore list. I was able to have the windows open most of the weekend and that's always a bonus.

Friday was a scramble to get the gutters cleaned out and all the leaves up before the rain. I love the tidy look of the yard when it's raked and trimmed, but it's Autumn so once I finished I sat on the front step to watch many more leaves doing their slow back and forth dance as they fell from on high. Aric stopped by for a visit. Okay, he really came over so I could sew rank bars on his cover, but still, it was a visit and that's always good. I still had time to meet up with B and a friend for a quick drink as well.

I found puff balls sleeping under my awning lately. I assumed birds stayed up until dark, but they're tucked under here by 6 every night.

Saturday was spent in the pleasant company of my brother as we ran new electric wires in the cellar and added another outlet. It started, as all things with homeownership do, with a simple request to expose my laundry chute. The previous owner (oh, how I love him! not) covered the opening to the chute with conduit so I could never toss clothes down without them getting hung up, literally. Aaaaand, since we were going to expose the chute, well, we might as well run new wires to the light fixtures, and while we're at it, could we please put in another outlet because, really, can you ever have too many outlets? I thought my request was a simple hour task, two at the most. Unh uh. It took us all day Saturday and part of Sunday morning to finish. But it's done, and I love it, and I went right upstairs to toss laundry down the chute. Then I ran downstairs to see how it landed in the basket. Call me wierd, but it was new and I had to try it, you know, just to see if it worked.

Got together with several friends in the evening and played the most ridiculous game, ever. I can't remember the name of this game, but other than the action cards, the game was really dumb. But the action cards, oh my. At one point, Regina is required to keep her hand on the floor at all times, Jill draws a card that requires everyone to stand when anyone else does, so Regina now has to stand with one hand on the floor. And, according to a prior card, Jill also has to laugh whenever anyone else does. Marilyn has to stand in the shape of an X, which meant we all had to stand (with Regina's hand on the floor). I had to say a line and then put my head down on the table. I was laughing so hard my nose was running, which of course meant Jill had to laugh with me. Regina offered to go get me a tissue, but she couldn't pick her hand up off the floor. Yeah, and then Brent draws a card, walks away, out the front door and closes it behind him all the while saying, "wah, wah, wah....", which leads to more bouts of laughter (cue Jill's laughter) and more runny noses. And poor Charlie walks in to the middle of this absurd scene. Gah, it was ridiculous, I tell you.

But! We made delicious food as we always do when this group of friends gets together. This was new for me. Gingersnap crust, lemon cheesecake and raspberry topping. I need to tweak it a bit, but it was pretty darned good. Really darned good, in fact.

Sunday brought fabulous weather! After we finished up the electrical work and I sent my brother on his way, I cleaned the basement, put a new door sweep on the front door (another item off my list), and installed tilt-drawers on the kitchen sink. Really now, it was far too nice to continue working inside so I wandered out to the yard and took the rain barrel down, cleaned it and put it away for the winter. The garage got swept, cleaned out and organized too. I did a little more work on winterizing the gardens and spied these pretties around the corner. Such a delicious scent. Tropicana is the name. They are currently gracing the window sill in my kitchen.

And then, I went back inside and finished purging in my bedroom. My goal was to completely empty one dresser and get it out of there. Finally! It's empty. Many clothes were donated and out-of-season items are now stored elsewhere, jewelry was sorted and some was donated, but I still have a lot of my mother's jewelry that I just don't know what to do with. I don't wear much jewelry so I put it in a box in the attic to figure out later. I know that's not how one is supposed to purge, but I just can't toss her jewelry. She loved it, even if I don't. I just realized that most of the jewelry I kept to wear is my grandmother's. I guess I like her style (she said as she shrugged her shoulders).

Finally, one of the highlights of Autumn for me is the changing of the bed linens from cotton to flannel. Oh, heavenly delight! I love the weight and how flannel drapes around me when I snuggle in.

Can I just say that I slept very soundly last night. It was still warm enough to sleep with the window open and it felt wonderful to have all those tasks completed. What a way to start my week.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mother Nature

I love it when she gives me a 'wow' moment. I stepped outside before dawn this morning to see just how cold it had gotten in the night. I walked toward the garage to peek at the backyard. No frost, good. I turned  to walk down the driveway to check the front yard and, Wow....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hmm Hm Hmmm Hmm

Hi. I went to the woods and water again for the weekend. Bet you aren't too surprised. Aww, yes, it was beautiful. Thanks for asking.
I'm never lonely in the woods. There always seems to be a tree nymph close by to keep me company.
Oh my beautiful Autumn. Could you be any more spectacular? It's no wonder you remain my favorite.
Let me explain about this guy/girl...and his/her buddies. We paddled the Crystal River on Sunday. It's a very beautiful, shallow and clear river. Might I say, crystal clear? The salmon were running and the crazy things just get a bit more crazy as we paddle by. I know they're trying to figure out how to jump in our boats to go for a ride with us. It's nuts, and because of that, you do hear the occassional yelp from the ladies as we paddle downstream. But, come on! They run into our boats, splash us with their tails as we go by, and bump underneath. And they're big! You can hardly blame us for yelping, and laughing immediately after.