Friday, April 27, 2012

 Wow, it doesn't take long to get behind again!  Just busy. 
 Here are two pictures from this past Valentine's Day.  This is the sixth year that we've gone to the W--- family tea.  The "little" girls' table is getting smaller each year! 
 And here's the "big" girls' table.  With the girls getting older, many have moved, gotten jobs, or gone off to college.  As usual, my daughters had a wonderful time.  Thank you, Rachel, Rebekah, and Hannah!
 Allen and I were bored one day and experimented with a soft pretzel and bacon.  It was wonderfully delicious!  (Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.)
 In March, we celebrated Maggie's 22nd birthday.  Birthdays are an emotional time for her. She cried all day on the 3rd realizing it's been 7 years that she's had to deal with her arm/hand pain.  Then she wiped away her tears and enjoyed her special day. 
 As usual, Meemaw and Grandad came over for dinner and cake.
  We gave Maggie a unicyle for her birthday gift.  She's almost got it nailed.  Riding a unicyle is a lot harder than it looks!  I think we need to take her to the park with the smooth parking lot so she can practice. 
 Two things that made Maggie smile from ear to ear: When she went to therapy she was given balloons, a t-shirt, and two homemade pies. Then she went to acupuncture, and Dr. Hebron and her hubby had a beautiful gift for her as well! Maggie felt so loved! Thank you all for your thoughtfulness and for making my baby smile.   
 This week we have been helping Lizzie babysit little Clara while her Mom performs with her orchestra.  Clara is a bundle of energy...but she also enjoys spending a lot of time sitting and reading. 

Usually when Lizzie, Ruthie and I knock on the door for violin lessons, Clara always asks, "Anna?" (she pronounces it like a short "o" as in "ohnna") who babysits her on Thursday nights during choir practice.  So we are glad that this week she has forgotten all about beloved Anna!  She called me Mom...because that is what she heard Lizzie and Ruthie call me:-)
One of the exciting things about babysitting for Adina is that she prepares a fantastic meal for lunch everyday!  Since she is a wonderful cook, and knows how to cook dairyfree and eggfree, this is a real treat for Lizzie.  Of course, since we help...we always taste-test everything.  Then I ask for the recipe.

Yesterday's lunch was a Thai pork and eggplant dish that was just delicious. (The above picture shows my version.) I immediately stopped by the farmer's market for fresh eggplant and made it when I got home.  It doesn't look like much but even Allen said the eggplant was delicious.  Yesterday Adina made an italian pork roast baked in coconut I have that ready to make on Saturday! 

Our commissary has been selling the freshest brussel sprouts this spring.
We have enjoyed grilling them on the grill.  No bitterness whatsoever!
We have also enjoyed the fresh fruit.  I bought this fruit in March...and the watermelon was sweet!
Allen is always busy doing one thing or another, so he has started his own blog.  As soon as he gets a few posts going, I will add his blog on the lefthand column.  This picture shows him soldering some project.  He's also working on a weather balloon for his ham radio club.
On April 23rd, Mike and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary.  I forgot to take a picture of these flowers until they were old, but the sunflowers were just gorgeous.  Our friends, Lynn and Al, invited us over for dinner.  What a wonderful time we much that I forgot to take a picture!  We always feel so loved after an evening with them.  Thanks, Lynn and Al. 
Sarah gave us a generous gift card for a meal at the local Texas Roadhouse.  We both had the Fort Worth ribeye!  Mike and I haven't had steaks for years...and now we've had them twice in a month! (Last month we had them at Mom and Dad's home.) 
We went on a Monday night since the line is sometimes 2 hours long.  We didn't have to wait at all (thanks to Sarah's online seating reservation).  I love the ambience in there...cacti all over, busts of deer, antelope, buffalo, longhorns, etc.  We even spent 10 minutes talking to some friends we haven't seen in awhile.  Thanks so much, Sarah.  We will remember this evening for a long time.
I found this picture of Sarah and Ruthie at the farmer's market buying Sarah's three chickens.  Sarah wants her own fresh chicken she bought 3 layers.
We have been seeing 2 rafters of turkeys on our dirt road.  Large turkeys!  Probably  7 or 8 of them.  But we are never quick enough with the camera!  This was the best we could do.  (And did you know a bunch of turkeys is called a rafter?  I had to look it up!)
Finally found a picture of Abigail!  Natalie cut her bangs...and it makes her look much older.  This past Thursday night, my parents invited our extended family over for corned beef and potatoes...a family favorite.  Well, not many people could make we got the leftovers!  Thanks, Dad. 
And this is for Anna...since this cat looks like Ranger...and has the same attitude!

Anna says she doesn't miss us anymore, so I guess she has settled in.  The nights are cooler in Uganda.  Anna says she is really enjoying herself.  She also says Uganda is much safer than southeast Asia.  They are able to eat raw veggies.  The missionaries even use the water to brush their teeth...but Anna isn't that brave.  We enjoy hearing from Anna everyday.

My children are at church for play practice, so it's nice and quiet here...just what I needed to blog.  Tomorrow will be busy for us with painting upstairs. 

Enjoy your weekend.  Many blessings ~ Kathie

Sunday, April 15, 2012

 Anna, look! We're painting!  It's soooo slow...and we're a little disheartened, but we are painting. 
 Maggie calls some of us "paint-challenged"...whatever that means.
 Don't you love her french-braided hair?!  Lizzie did it.
 Don't just stand there with that caulk!  Start caulking!
 Anna ~ Ruthie borrowed your painting dress.  Hope you don't mind:-)
 Maggie is documenting this historic event in our lives.  Don't  you love her gouchos?!  I made them for Anna for camp 10 years ago.  Since Maggie is older than Anna, I guess they're called "hand-me-ups."

Mike ~ If you are reading this, you may stop now and click on another window.  ~ Kathie
 Today we used up a lot of paint...but not painting.  I tipped over the paint bucket twice!  That is why we're painting before we install wood flooring. 
 Both times I tipped the bucket with the vacuum cleaner cord.  The second time wasn't entirely my fault...once it became clear I'm not smart about cords, Allen shouldn't have put the paint in my way!  Anyway, we got a good laugh out of it.
 I've been enjoying knitting again.  I knitted these 5 washcloths.  Unfortunately, I am not good at picking up my knitting for 15 minutes at a time.  I tend to make mistakes when I return.  Each one of these washcloths has a mistake in it.  Oh well. 
 Today we came home from church to find a large bee swarm.  As soon as Sarah and I got out of the car, she could hear the loud buzzing/humming.  Then we saw the swarm. 
So I turned right around and drove the 45 minutes back to church to get Allen.  He was able to successfully return the queen to the hive...and everyone else followed.  He enlarged the hive and now all the crowded bees are happy.

This same thing happened last year...only the bees landed high in a tree.  This year they stayed nice and close to the ground.  Thank you, bees!

Maggie, Allen, Lizzie, and Ruthie all stayed at church for the long afternoon for play practice.  Fortunately this is the last Sunday before next week's performance. 

We hear from Anna everyday.  She is starting to fit in...and she loves the children.  Today was her first Ugandan church service.  Kevin preached in English, so that was nice for her to hear. Afterwards they went out to dinner.  Anna ate...looking again at email...I'll cut and paste here:

We went to lunch at a Ugandan restaurant and I got beef with green cooking bananas (served like mashed potatoes), white sweet potatoes and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce tasted just like it did at Ghana cafe!

Well, I want to walk the dog since we will be getting hit with near-90 degree temps tomorrow.  Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, April 13, 2012

 One of Anna's favorite places on earth is her treefort.  Hurricane Irene smashed it last year, but Anna is rebuilding.  It's slow when you're depending on freecycle and Grandaddy for recycled materials.
  I especially like the view from her back porch.

 Anna enjoys burning cooking lunch on her firepit.  Her specialty that day was kielbasa (see the lefthand corner of the grate) and canned chili.  We call her Chez Char Anna! 

I am just teasing.  We enjoy teasing Anna about cooking.  She is my only daughter who does not enjoy cooking and collecting bazillions of recipes to try.  Our recent family joke is this:

Our family has been painting the entire upstairs in anticipation of getting wood flooring.  Anna especially has been faithful at caulking, caulking, and caulking.  Maggie says this is going to happen in Uganda:

Missionary:  "Well, Anna, I hear you can really cook!"
Anna:  "Cook?! mean caulk!  I can definitely caulk!"
 Anna was pleased to have her siblings help her install a few walls.  As usual, Ranger did not want to come home that day.  The resident mice and snake keep him happy:-)

 I found this large bowl at the thrift shop for $1.  It was in rough shape...until I sanded it down and coated it with mineral oil. I like the way it turned out.  (I also like projects that take one afternoon!)
 Mike was hoping to get off crutches at his last appt, but the doc said one more month.  We will all be happy when he can walk again!
 I miss Anna's sewing projects.  I had gotten used to coming home every afternoon and enjoying her creations.  Isn't this adorable?!
 Our friend, Rebekah, bought a new hammered dulcimer.  She's already played a song for special music.
 I like the King of Kings on the cross in the middle of the dulcimer.  I've always wanted to play this instrument.  Someday...!
 Maggie and I were coming home late one night when something dashed across the road.  Since it was pitch black outside, Maggie took a chance and took this picture.  After we saw the picture downloaded, we realized it was a cat.  This past week we saw an albino deer!  I hope to capture him on camera.
This broccoli is from my garden.  I pulled it out on February 28th.  There is a story about this broccoli:  I planted all three last fall, but the turkeys nibbled on them until only stalks remained.  It looked funny seeing the stalks in the garden but I left them there, all winter.  Imagine my surprise when I looked out and saw these three large broccoli!  And they were much sweeter than the average broccoli.  I may have to try that again next winter.

The twins just walked in the door so I had to get a picture...tonight they had their last drivers' ed class.  They both passed their tests with flying colors (Lizzie got 100% and Allen missed one question, so he got 98%).  Lizzie took 30 cupcakes for the class.  So glad that is over!

Look at our family picture on the top lefthand column.  See the twins on the right?  That picture was taken 4 years ago when Lizzie was a 1/2" taller than Allen.  Now look at them!
I'm thankful tomorrow is Saturday.  I'm hoping to get lots of sewing done and a little painting upstairs.  We need some rain so I can burn the burnpile.  We are 6" short.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. ~ Psalm 34:3