Monday, July 28, 2008

Too Long Away

My time away from blogging ended up being a little longer than I had originally thought it would be. It has been such a busy week and I have simply not had the time to spend on the computer. I don't know how I can constantly convince myself that there will be more free time ahead for me, but somehow my mind actually believes that.

As I said in my last post, we were blessed to have our son and DIL's ten children spend four days with us. Although there is not a moment of rest, we had so much fun with them. Our DIL is very well organized and the children have regular schedules for everything. This actually makes things much easier. I have not spent so much time in my kitchen in many weeks. Breakfast is served, followed by snack at 10:30, lunch at noon, mid afternoon snack at 3:30 and dinner at 6 p.m. The dishes are hardly cleaned before it is time to think about that next food preparation. The three year old would ask each night as we tucked him in bed, what was for breakfast the next morning. That was the last thing I wanted to think about at night but I couldn't help but think how excited he must get at the thought of his next meal.

The children are wonderful help and each wants to do their own share of whatever it is we are doing. I showed the girls how to make a great monkey bread and that was such a hit that we made it three more times while they were here. EVERYONE wanted to help with that project and I must say that too many cooks did NOT spoil the soup.
We did all sorts of wonderful things together. Grandpa took the boys to pick blueberries one afternoon while the girls stayed home to sew during nap time for the little ones. We made wonderful blueberry muffins and a delicious blueberry coffee cake once the men brought us their harvest.
The girls have been wanting to make harvest aprons for working in their garden and collecting the chicken eggs. I think they did a great job on the project and they were thrilled with them. The aprons are generally worn long except when they have an item to wrap up inside of the apron. At that point they gather up the apron by stringing ribbon through buttonholes on the bottom and securing at the waist.
We picked some corn in the garden and it was great fun to peel it for cooking. It was also fun to play with the corn silk. Green hair anyone?
And how could someone not enjoy getting up to a face like this each morning?

I had a day to clean up, wash bedding and pack up for a trip to Paso Robles -- about three hours north from us. My brother and his wife want to eventually retire up in that area and have just purchased a home there. My sister, her husband, my husband and I went up to see their new place and spend a few days up in the area.
They were having the Mid-state fair while we were there so we all attended it one afternoon. It was fun, but I must say that our local county fair is much better with many more folks entering their items for competition. We did watch some of the livestock events which was fun. Alan Jack*son was performing last evening and I would have begged to see him if we weren't returning home that day. One event was where a horse rider had to separate one calf from a small herd and keep it apart from the others for a certain period of time. The horses were simply amazing in their actions to keep the calf separated. I'm sure the rider had something to do with the success as well, but the agility of the large animal was so interesting.
We stayed at a wonderful hotel in town and enjoyed some delicious meals at local restaurants. The hotel provided us with transportation to and from dinners -- a carriage ride. Chester delivered us in style but we always chose to walk home afterwards. I am not sure that Chester could have carried us all after we had feasted. Plus....we needed to walk back.
My sister thanking Chester for getting us to dinner safely.
The night before we left I was up sewing into the wee hours of the morning. Our granddaughter turned eight and so wanted me to make her some dresses for her birthday. Since I didn't have much free time while they were staying with us, I had to do an all-nighter to get them done in time for the party yesterday.
I found these darling labels at a quilt shop in Paso Robles. I couldn't pass them up.
Ms. H opening her gift.
Today was a day of wheelchair adjustments, banking, shopping and lunch out with my mother. It is amazing how the time goes by so quickly when we have so many errands to run. We are always amazed when we look at our watches.
That was my week and this week will be busy again as we are trying to get my FIL's home ready to put on the market. We have had several months to sort through boxes of letters, photos and what not. Now we have to get serious about it and get it listed. It would be nice to see a quick sell on it but with the market the way it is, I am certainly not counting on that.
I apologize for this post being all over the place and hope that I have not put everyone to sleep reading it. Guess that is what happens when you don't post very often. Now I am going to check to see what everyone else has been up to for the past week.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Random Week

I am sure that most everyone has a week where nothing seems to be in sync. This has been my week. I just seem to have been pulled in a million different directions and end up feeling as though a decent job was not done on any of it. My mind was in so many places.

Our week started off with very sad news from our friends whom we just visited in Colorado Springs. He was diagnosed with lung cancer. News like that always hits like a ton of bricks. They have had such a difficult year and now they receive this news. Please keep them in your prayers. My thoughts have been with them since we heard the news and it is difficult to focus on much else.

We traveled to Lompoc, CA. on Wednesday to attend a Little League tournament game that our grandson's team played. It was such an exciting game as they came back in the last inning to win the championship with a three run home run. It was a chilly game as the fog had rolled in and the winds were really blowing. I was glad to have had a blanket in the car.

Coming home along the beach with a full moon was a delightful part of the trip. I loved how the moon was shinning on the ocean.

Lompoc is about two and a half hours from us and the drive is beautiful. The area is well known for growing seeds for companies such a s Bur*pee. There are fields of flowers that will produce the seeds that they use in their packets. This is one of marigolds. You can see the fog coming in behind the mountains. This is also an area where they grow a lot of pinot noir grapes for wines.

Thursday I took six more of the grandchildren to see the American G*irl movie. It was such a great movie and each one of them loved it. Afterwards we went for lunch at the local pizza parlor. I know that I enjoyed the day as much as they did.

I have managed to get a few hours of sewing time in this week. There was a great looking quilt in one of the magazines this month and I thought it would be perfect for this fall. I managed to get it pieced and ready for a backing and quilting.

As I mentioned before, our quilt guild is very generous with providing quilts to our community. There is a Veteran's home currently being built and the guild is providing a patriotic quilt for each bed. At the last meeting I picked up a packet with a quilt pattern and fabrics to work on one. It is now pinned, layered and ready for the quilting. It would not be my choice of fabrics or pattern, but it will fit the need perfectly. I need to remember "scrappy."

We have a busy weekend ahead for us. Our son and DIL are in Hawaii for their anniversary and their ten children will come tomorrow morning and stay until Tuesday when their parents get back. I have been busy setting up the inflatable beds and sleeping bags as well as grocery shopping for their arrival. It will be busy but delightful at the same time. So if I do not check in on blogs for the next few days, I am sure that everyone will understand. Right?

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Birds are Running My Life

I am convinced that the birds are trying to take over my life.

We have a pair of cockatiels in a small aviary (large cage) in the back yard. They dote on each other all day long. Last week when I was tending to them, I apparently did not latch the door completely. Needless to say, the female managed to "fly the coop." I could hear them calling to each other as she flew freely about the yard landing in the very tops of the biggest trees. There was no way to catch her and her mate was so forlorn looking. This went on for four days. Finally she flew off and we heard nothing from her. This week as I was sitting in my sewing room within view of the aviary, a shadow passed in my vision. I looked over and, sure enough, she had flown home. I immediately went out and she jumped onto my finger and wanted back in the cage. Life is now back to normal. Perhaps she just needed a break from him.

Our nights really cool down here so each morning when we wake up we open the doors and windows to let the cool air fill the house. Tuesday was no different. However, when I went to close everything up to keep the cool air inside I found a female oriole sitting on the floor of the sunroom. I figured that it would be no problem as I could just encourage her to fly right back through the double doors. Who was I kidding? She took off flying - not outside, but right up to the high ceilings. Why do they always want to fly upwards? Naturally, I was trying to get out the door to go to my monthly quilt guild meeting so I was not in the mood for chasing orioles around the house. She managed to run out of steam eventually and dropped behind some blocks that are set in one of the high windows. I got a ladder, retrieved her, placed her on the feeder and CLOSED the doors. She sat there for a spell and then flew off. I assume she was none the worse for the adventure.

Caught at last.

A few feathers short on top of the head and a little stunned, but seemed fine after sitting a spell.

The quilt guild meeting this month had a wonderful speaker, Karen Combs. Not only is
she a charming gal, she is a very accomplished quilter. Her works are very three dimensional. She brought many samples of her beautiful quilts along with her and I would like to share a couple of photos of them. The look that she accomplishes by using diamond shapes and color shades is just amazing. It really makes me want to try one of them. She is doing Celtic quilts as well using just three block designs and changing their directions within the quilt. Those too, are stunning.

I love the tumbling blocks on the quilt below.

I had a wonderful day yesterday going to lunch and a movie with my eleven year old granddaughter. We went to see the American Girl, Kit Kittridge, movie. It was such a wonderful, wholesome, good morals movie and I highly recommend it to anyone with young girls. Bring a tissue because there are a couple of very touching parts in it. I do hope that the company will keep producing movies like this one about the other American Girl dolls.

Am I weird or has anyone else ever had a thought about what they would do if they saw a plane crash close to them? It has always been somewhere in my mind and I have no idea why. This week I came pretty close to experiencing it for real. I was leaving my mother's house and saw this crazy small plane towing a large banner right in front of me. It was so low that the banner was actually touching the trees. In my mind I was thinking that the banner was going to pull that plane down. The next morning I picked up the paper and saw where the plane had crash landed and flipped just a couple of blocks further up the road from where I saw it. Apparently, it had lost power and what I witnessed was it's descent into a more open area than the residential one. The pilot, I am glad to say, was able to walk away from the plane. Pretty crazy event though.

Lastly, I have to share what two of my granddaughters made for me this week. I always enjoy having the girls over for sewing and they love it as much as I do. The two girls spent the night at each other's home and sewed this all by themselves. They are six and seven years old and I think they did a great job with no pattern and a great imagination. They told me that I cannot eat that delicious looking cookie pocket. Too bad! Thank you Ms. M&M.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Post Holiday

The week has been so busy with festivities and company. All of the activity is so much fun, however, it certainly can fill the time that I would normally spend with the computer. Hmmm. I do realize that I am not alone in this dilemma as I read of so many fellow bloggers taking breaks from blogging at this time of the year.

Our July 4th holiday was absolutely perfect. We always have a big family get together for games, great food and evening fireworks for the little ones. The firework show is very low key with sparklers, worms and fountains but the kids love it. This year we had around one hundred family members who attended and many laughs were shared. One would think that we never see each other and yet we all live close by and see each other often. We are blessed with a family that gets along well with one another and cousins who have best friends who are other cousins.

The afternoon starts off with a sand volleyball game. That gets the competition rolling. We had perfect weather and fun was had by all. This year my husband cooked tri tips and brats on the big Santa Maria BBQ while we set up all of the side dishes that my DILs brought. Everything was delicious.

Waiting in line for your turn at sparklers is always the highlight.

A few of the red, white and blue flowers from the yard for the centerpiece.

By the end of the evening everyone was exhausted and ready to head off. Several of the group went on to watch the public fireworks display, but we were ready for bed.

Sometimes you need a good place to rest and grab a few chips to snack on.

Even our old dog needs a little TLC while resting.

This is our rescued tortoise, Cooper. As you can see, he apparently was munched on by some animal as he is missing a part of his shell covering his hind foot. He loves a party and will instantly come out when people are around to see him. The kids love the big tortoises. They are well fed when the little ones arrive.

Our son and DIL were down for a few days with the youngest grandchild. It is always fun to have them here and catch up on their busy lives. The baby has started to eat solids and it is always such fun to watch the faces when they eat. You would think they were eating some horrid food with the espressions they make. They do, however, keep opening their mouth for more.

This is the highchair that his daddy, aunt and uncles all used.

With the house quiet again, I have had a chance to get into my sewing room and work on a few projects. There was lots of mending to do but also a little fun stuff. I finished my small quilt for the Four Season's Summer Quilt Swap and will get that in the mail later this week.

I received my class brochure for the Road to California Quilt show next January. There are so many wonderful classes to take and I find that I want to take them all. I will have to limit which ones I take because the days overlap. It is a fabulous show with incredible quilts.

And now....the continuing saga of my whirlpool tub. As I wrote before, the Aq*uatic company decided to replace my defective tub after months of fighting with them. The new tub was delivered last Wednesday when they picked up the old one. The plumbers arrived on Thursday, uncrated it, water tested it outdoors and installed it. It works perfectly EXCEPT the company sent the wrong color. It is white instead of biscuit like the toilet and sinks. Of course everyone whom I need to speak with is out of town this week. What would I expect???? Do you think they could finally get it right? This is definitely a company that I would NEVER do business with again. On a positive note, we do have a tub that is working until something is done about getting the correct one installed.

My tortoise eggs are coming along nicely. I candled them over the weekend and it appears that I will have seven hatchlings from seven eggs. They should be out sometime around the beginning of August.

The fires in California sound numerous. We have been lucky enough to have most of them north of us which frees us from the smoke and ash. I know how awful it is to breathe that air and I really feel sorry for the folks with fires in their area. I have to hand it to the brave firefighters who do an incredible job fighting them. To imagine over 1400 fires all burning at one time is almost too much to fathom.

I hope that everyone will have a great week.