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Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Blessings

Pantry Box

While at Shaker Village a couple of weeks ago I picked up a little pantry box.  I couldn't resist the perfect size for travel projects in the car or while away.
 I love that this maker signs his work.
It is a single 0 size, and all that is left to collect is the 00 to top off my current tower.

Birthday Boy

Our son celebrated his 16th birthday this month.  Each year I ask him what type of cake he'd like.  I wanted the one he remembered me making dear "old" dad about 8 1/2 years ago.  I told him I could make it all but the iris on top since they only bloom in April.  He was okay with that so onward and upward I went.  Let's just say this was a four hour cake and most of that was the custard style mango butter cream frosting.  There were 8 yolks, one pound of butter, 2 cups of sugar, and one cake mix sacrificed in the process.  I regret using a mix, but the men in the house didn't seem to notice the Vanilla Dome shape--esp. after I lopped off one of the domes.  Next time I listen to my gut and go with the tried and true Perfect White Cake recipe from IAMBaker.  DS16 said he remembered the cake being a lot bigger.  Probably, he was a lot smaller. :-)
Loving the look of a fort to protect our star.  Perfect for a Jr ROTC Cadet.


How many cookie cylinders would you like?
It was National Cat day this week, so I couldn't help but post this.  On of my dad's sweet sisters couldn't make the trip to see Mom, so she very sweetly sent a box of goodies.  Abigail loved the box, and I loved the contents.  I definitely need to get a thank you note out on Monday.
My Dad's youngest Sister and her husband were able to make the trip.  They live several states away, so I rarely get to see them in person.  This was a huge blessing to get to see them.  They spent part of the day with me. I took them to a couple of local places  to antique shop and shop with primitive/colonial style goods made locally.  It is a family business that has been open for over 25 years.  Afterword they had lunch with me--Curried Butternut Squash Soup, Black Pepper Biscuits, Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme.  Okay, enough of that.  I'm now hungry.
My Aunt the Happy Shopper

Oh how I love firkins!

This table is now next to my bedside in its forever home.
I love the Lone Star pattern.
The happy couple in my favorite store.

Trunk or Treat

Each year my church (as do many others) hosts carnival style games in the parking lot.  After each game is played the children receive a couple of pieces of candy.  This year ours was held inside due to very wet weather.  Our family was very happy to help out.  Our son worked the desk for the preschool side, and my DH and I worked a fishing game.  What a blessing to get to reach out the community each year.
Our fantastic Preschool Director and I at the end.  Notice grins of joy.
Abigail very rarely gets on the couch or stays there when we put her there.  What a treat to have her hop up for a few hours while I stitched on National Cat Day!  Do you think she knew?  What a wonderful blessing amongst all the other October ones.
 This little church was originally purchased as a Christmas decoration while we were stationed in Japan. It had always reminded me of the church my father pastored while we lived in upstate New York.  When he passed away in December 2010 I didn't feel like taking it down, so it has lit up every night for the last 5 years.  I told my aunt the story, and she loved it so much she wanted a picture she could frame to help remember Dad.  This was one of them.
Here is my current progress on "A Ghoultide Welcome"  by Paulette Stewart.  I feel so blessed to have figured out how to use iStitch to change the words.  The change allows me to still love the design and share my love for all things autumnal and Thanksgiving.  They fit very well into the space I already had.  I also feel very fortunate one of the Brenda Keyes ladies from a former project fit very well with the verse.    Believe me, there is now a huge sigh of relief.  There is a story behind her, but that will have to wait until later.  There will be a couple of other changes as well, but I will leave those until I get there.  I'm really going to love this piece when I'm done.  I'm just hoping It's before winter begins.
Until next time, count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Run, Judy, Run!

This past weekend was the annual Go Commando 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon.  Last year was my first year running it.  I've been out of the racing scene for a while and didn't know about it until I saw my cousin had signed up for it last year.  Ironically, I'm the one who inspired her to run when I was marathon training 16 years ago.  She now runs very consistently, and I seem to need a race to get motivated-lol.
And we're off!

Team RWB.  Each team runs with an American flag.

There was a smidgen of confusion which participant's medal I had earned.  Fortunately my race bib cleared it up.

I'm still teaching my hubby how to focus the camera, but I do like the anti-age setting.
Here's my cousin who is the one who introduced me to this race last year. 
My faithful roadie--my hubby David

Olympic gold medalist in track, Wilma Rudolph,was from Clarksville and Clarksville is mighty proud of her.  Here she is on the Wilma Rudolph Event Center.
 On our way home we saw the biggest riverboat either one of us had ever seen.  Turns out the American Queen is the largest riverboat in the world.  I took this photo from a red light.  We stopped in and spoke to a sweet 93 year old man.  He said the cruise was from St. Louis to Clarksville with stops in between for sight seeing.  I was still in my race gear, and he shared his daughter had been running the Boston Marathon the year of the bombing.  Fortunately, neither she or her roady husband were at the finish line yet.
 I couldn't help but love these hydraulic smoke stacks.  They remind me of a cross stitch designer, but I can't lay my finger on which one.








The three buses were there to take the passengers from the boat down to Nashville--their last stop before going home.  I guess they were flying, but I didn't ask.



So why in the world do I run without anything chasing me?  The answer is quite simple.  I run cause I'm a runner (didn't say fast), and it allows me to sit on my franny for hours upon end to stitch and other sedentary activities.  I had not been running/training for this race for two months before I ran it on Saturday.  There had been back and upper respiratory issues.  I knew it might be a challenge, and I wasn't disappointed.  I'm grateful I only added 2 1/2 minutes to my last time.  This was a great race where I didn't look at my watch once.  I didn't walk once.  I didn't look at the clock coming into the finish line once.  For me this was huge--well, not the walking but the rest of it.  Coming soon to a blog near you:  The Ugly Sweater 5K in December.  I may not be as fast as I once was, but I'm incredibly blessed to still be able to run on my own two feet.
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Family Fun Day: Destination Shaker Village


 Anytime I take a daytime car trip an hour or more you will find me with my needle and thread.  My husband and I have even joked that roads should be color coded:  perfect for stitching, hang on but you can do it, or time for an eye break.

This past week our school system was out for Fall Break.  We decided to take a fun family trip out to South Union Shaker Village, so my husband took Friday off from work and we hopped into the car and headed to KY.  What I love about the drive is that it mostly travels through beautiful farmland and a few small towns.  One town is Russellville.  Don't blink.  You'll miss it.  The homes are older and stunning--a definite treat for the weary eye.  Soon we arrived at the village, and I couldn't put my needle down :-) while my hubby went into the visitor's center.  Just a few more stitches while I stretch.
We enjoyed walking through the buildings there.  This village is much smaller than the Pleasant Hill Shaker Village.  At Pleasant Hill you may stay in a Shaker style room, eat at the Shaker restaurant, tour many more buildings and enjoy a much richer experience with the varied events they have.  We went a few years ago on the weekend set aside for music.  There are about ten Shaker Sites and museums in the northeastern section of our country.  The quietness and simplicity is a huge draw for my family and I.  One of these days I'd love to visit the villages in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
What is it about white pitchers?  I just love them.

Fall view from one of the windows

Our son was opening just about every closed door he saw.  He said something about secret passageways or bodies.  Bodies?  Clearly this is the world of a nearly 16 year old boy.

Through the Window

Broom corn straw ready from broom making. 

This cistern was fed by the rainwater coming from the roofs of the buildings.  It was fed by a system of downspouts no longer there.  This water was re-purposed for laundry tasks.
The quaint gift shop filled with artisan wares from local people

Here is the selection of sheep the last time we were there.  The selection has diminished for sheep, and now there are less smaller pieces and more larger pieces such as the llamas.

I'm hoping the one on the left is under the tree this Christmas.  I just love the expression on his face.  Don't you?

Here is another love I left behind this trip.  I can just see it decorated with cross stitch.
Family photo with a timer.  The antics of pressing the button and running like a wild woman to get into the picture was worth the price of admission.

My hubby is such a romantic, so of course we had to eat at "my" castle before heading home.
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Friday, October 16, 2015

International Week

I feel incredibly blessed to have a cat who still thinks she's a kitten.  To the right of the picture you will see the spot where Abigail attempted to climb my cross stitch frame like some stairs-lol.  Fortunately I was there to catch it before it hit the floor.  Lesson learned, and now she sits innocently on the foot rest.

This has been my view most nights lately as I stitch.  There is something about her beautiful long tail hanging nearly to the floor as she is peacefully draped next to me.










This has felt like International Week for me.  My cousin on my dad's side has been doing some family ancestry research.  Growing up we rarely lived near any extended family.  I remember hearing my first tidbits of family history when I was in middle school.  My father's father came over on the boat from Germany when he was a baby.  German roots--very cool, but that's really all I knew. Over time I learned my mom's family came over from England in the late 1700s.  In the last year or so I'm finding my dad's mom's side comes from Norway and The Netherlands (one of the Hollands?).

All of this new information has caused me to do some
YouTube research on these areas.  I had liked them already, and now I'm in love.  I've begun doing food research too.  I've decided to make a Netherlands focused meal of split pea soup and dark rye bread for lunch when my aunt and uncle (her hubby) visit next week.  Of course there will be apple strudel and molded cookies to represent both the German and Dutch side of our heritage.

This is a new type of green tea I know I will enjoy.
In the middle of this a doorbell rang unexpectedly.   A package had come all the way from Japan. The outside said tea and crackers.  Knowing the package was coming from Japan I knew it wasn't Lipton and Saltines.   Akiko San was a teenager in the chapel we attended when we were stationed in Japan in the late 1990s.  We tried meeting this past March, but a snowstorm closed the airport.  We are very blessed to call her a friend.  I now have an address.  I just may need to send her some cookies in a month or so.  Though springerle and speculaas never go out of season in my world.



Sweet note with fish flavored crackers.
Yes, I do believe that is a real leaf on the crackers to the left.
Until next time count your many blessing--God's gifts to you.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

We Gather Together

I once was lost . . . 

At the time of the last blog post my decorations seemed to be lost in our bonus room.  Friday, I took some time to dig deep and find them.  I don't put up a lot of decorations, but I do like to put a few things up.  After some head scratching I found them nestled beneath the Christmas decorations.  Normally, I wouldn't have patriotic stuff mixed with decorations for this time of year, but I've got some stitching aunts coming in a couple of weeks, and they want to see all my cross stitch.  So, for now, they're out.  I like to add a little whimsy somewhere in my house.  This time it is the pumpkins dripping down the clock. You may think of them as mice running down the clock or little pumpkin "children" giggling and laughing as they slide down a hill.  A pumpkin roller coaster is another option.  Whatever you choose I hope it causes you to smile as it does me.

This year I learned not to leave wax-wrapped battery operated candles in a very hot unfinished bonus room (no drywall or central heating/AC). They melted and cracked.  The leaking batteries had to be replaced. Fortunately, I had thought to place the batteries safe and sound in a separate plastic bag.  I feeling very blessed their bad sides can still be hidden giving me at least one more year of joy.
My favorite pumpkins are those that don't rot before I'm finished decorating two months later. :-)
I had the house on a stand the other day.  I was surprised at how much stronger my tension was stitching top to bottom.  When I stitched left to right there is a whole lot less daylight peeking through.

PHEW, almost through!  Well, with the house anyway-lol.

The squirrel cushion comes from Hands of Hope Needlework.  You can read about this wonderful organization here.

This berry tote has a new job. Before Friday it held my stitching needs.  I purchased a new blue berry tote that now holds those things. This one will now hold Fall/Thanksgiving/Christmas decorations.


Nothing seems to get past this one.  I took this photo about 15 seconds after I saw her "investigating" the newly filled tote.  Of course, now she is pretending as if it never happened. :-)
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.