Friday, December 30, 2011
December 24: We finally got down to making some cookies. Elizabeth and I like those "Danish Butter" cookies, but we forgot to get a tin of them this year. So, we decided to make some Spritz cookies. For anyone that doesn't know what they are, it is a butter cookie that you "squeeze" out of this little metal cylinder. On the bottom of the cylinder is a little metal plate with a shape cut out of it. The dough is squeezed through the shape and pops out onto the cookie tray. We hadn't made these in several years, but they were a tradition around here when we were younger. Dump the store-bought stuff and let's make more Spritz. In fact, we made five batches of them! Some are vanilla-flavored and some were chocolate. We even decorated some of them with star-shaped sprinkles and mini chocolate chips.
We also finished up our present wrapping. Dad was off of work, so I got him to wrap most of my secrets. He and Elizabeth are fabulous wrappers. They make everything beautiful, so I had to take a shot or two of the packages before we ripped all of that paper off. ;)
Mom and Elizabeth also made some "Peanut Butter Doggie Treats" for Buddy and Kay's dogs. We'd been wanting to try making them for ages, and they seemed like a great Christmas present for three pups. Mom got out a bunch of cookie cutters and they made all different shapes, including a cowboy, an airplane, dinosaurs, dog bones and a goat (my personal favorite!). We packed up some "Rum Balls" for Buddy and Kay.
Since no churches around this whole area of the state have Christmas Eve services anymore --- we had our own. We read the Christmas story and sang hymns together. Elizabeth played piano, and we sang a ton! In fact, she and I kept at it and sang 'til our voices were all but gone. I was still a bit gravely sounding the next morning. It was sure fun, though.
December 25: Christmas morning dawned not too bright and early. I got up and made breakfast before everybody was up, so all we had to do was pop it in the oven. We were all tired a bit, so we decided not to dress-up, hence, no pictures of us opening gifts. I did manage to get one of Elizabeth after we were done. She's holding a huge glass "emerald" that I gave her. Long story.
We had some really fun gifts, as everyone seems to have done a wonderful job choosing stuff this year. I was really surprised. I'll have to take some pictures of some of the things unwrapped. I got a really cool mechanical pencil from the Coronation of King George VI, also a book on the Clapham Sect, and a "Bing and Nelson" charm bracelet! Gramma Gail sent presents, and as always, they were wrapped in her special way. Elizabeth and I can always spot her packages --- even if there were a hundred others around them. Aren't they cute? (They're the ones in the red and silver wrapping.) Beatrice even got a new little mouse-toy --- which she liked a lot.
As soon as we were finished with the gifts, it was time to get dressed up and ready to go. We went down to Buddy and Kay's for their Christmas party, and we ended up staying until eight o'clock or so. The weather was great for driving --- no snow and so warm that it was hard to realize it was actually Christmas. Buddy took us up to the barn and we looked at the horses, and it wasn't even cold. They gave us a set of Roy Rogers movies (wonder how they knew we liked that?) that is swell! It's got a bunch of films that we haven't seen yet, but most importantly: The Cowboy and the Senorita uncut version! Wow!
That's most of the Christmas news. We've been trying to stick around here this week. I've been doing some research on various members of the Clapham Sect (Edward James Eliot and Harriot Pitt, in particular), so that's been fun. Bad though, because I stay up late. We still want to make it up to Stan Hywet, but the weather hasn't been good enough on the days that they're open. Maybe tomorrow. With New Year's weekend coming up, it's almost time for our annual Lord of the Rings marathon. All three films back-to-back! Elizabeth and I can't wait. More later.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Tuesday night was a blast! We were up really late, but hardly noticed --- 'til the next day, anyway. Hannah and Claire actually got enough time off to stay until this weekend, so they've had some time to enjoy up here. Mom and I spent all day yesterday making Rum Balls. Funny thing is, we never actually made any with Rum! So, we packed some up and took them up to Keultjeses last evening. We were only going to visit for a little while, but it was ten o'clock before we left. They called Mrs. Furr and she came over, too. It was a ton of fun. I think that Elizabeth and Claire polished off a gallon of hot tea between them. :) We discussed everything possible, and solved the problems of the world.
We made four different varieties of Rum Balls this year. Old Forester Bourbon with pecans and rolled in Cuban coffee; Bailey's and Kahlua with walnuts and rolled in powdered sugar; Frangelico with pecans and rolled in coconut; and Cherry Brandy with walnuts, a brandied cherry in the middle and rolled in sugar. Mom and I made them together while Elizabeth wrapped some presents and worked on "secret stuff". We ended up making twelve dozen!
One more thing to mention: Claire brought us a wonderful present the other night, and I wanted to include a photo of it here. A vintage Christmas ornament that is a red-glass, unsilvered bell --- with the original cardboard topper! What a cool present, huh?! We only have two other round balls that have the paper toppers, so I think it's thrilling. More later.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The downstairs bathroom always gets really decked out with the old-fashioned elves and "pine-cone character" decorations. Mom remembers these from her childhood, so she puts them all out together. These used to be a little easier to come by, but their era seems to be over. We haven't seen them at a garage sale or auction in a year or two. This is one of my favorite spots in the house when decorated.
Other spots in the house are decked out, too. There are Nativity scenes spread around, but this is my favorite one. They even have a little Christmas tree behind. Okay, so it's not exactly authentic, but it's pretty --- besides, there is no way that Mary had blonde hair! The next is my favorite decoration in the house. Well, part of it. This is a piece of plastic mistletoe garland that drapes across the frame of the French doors in the living room. What makes it my favorite decoration is the little piece of matching mistletoe hanging in the center (pictured at left). We got this a couple of years ago, and I've really been thrilled about it ever since. Everybody should have mistletoe, and you know that I've never seen a real piece of it?! So, if you can't have the real thing --- this is second best.
The next thing is another of my favorites, though it's out all year. This is a photo of Dad's parents when they were still in Cuba. It was Christmas Eve of 1949, and the family had a big party. Gramma and Grampa are engaged at that time --- he's twenty-one and she's nineteen. This is one of my favorite pictures, and it's especially nice at Christmas. The little gingerbread people are just cute. Elizabeth like these little statues, so she has six of them around the sink in the kitchen. Dish washing is so much more enjoyable with cute things to look at while you're doing it. Hmmm. I still haven't figured out a way to decorate the washing machine.
Well, more pictures will be coming as I have time to post. We have our Christmas cards almost finished now. Elizabeth finished the drawings on them last night, and we just have to go over them today. I got some more felting done last night, and the little Indian is really starting to look like something. His torso is all shaped and ready for some arms. Sounds painful. He actually looks cute so far --- through the eyes of love. :) More later.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
So, I finally set about putting stuff on the tree last night while the other three worked on Christmas cards. Dad was a good Joe about it and helped me put the bins back in the attic once the tree was finished. These are some pictures of ornaments that I liked. Particularly, the large pink gumdrop.
One of our yearly traditions when decorating for Christmas is to have a box of chocolates while we're working. This year, it was a lovely Whitman's Sampler box. My favorites are maple, chocolate-covered cashews and chocolate truffles. Couldn't resist a nice shot of the candies as they looked before we decorated. :) It's a nice tradition, that's for sure!
After I finished decorating the tree, it was time to sit down and help with the Christmas cards. We bought a bunch of Christmas stamps at the National Stamp Show in August, and we've been collecting vintage cards all year, so we are sending out a bunch. Fifteen of them are in the mailbox today, but we're hoping to finish the rest this afternoon. Elizabeth decided that she should hand decorate each envelope, so that's why it's taking a while. These are some of the envelopes that she finished last night. Amazing, isn't she?!
Well, that's about all the news that I've got for now. It's really foggy here today --- and very dark and grey. More later.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Well, they weren't exactly in the budget at the moment, so I was figuring on waiting 'til Spring. God worked it out in a better way, though, because we got some on Friday! The Wright's are selling their house, so they were having a moving sale last weekend. We trundled out there and guess what?! They were getting rid of Rhianna's Carhartts --- which are practically new looking. So, for twenty little green-backs, I got a pair of overalls! Can't wait to go out and try them.
Somebody broke into our car again. This makes four times in the last two years. You'd think that this junk wouldn't happen in the country. Humanity is so low. I feel like Pa Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie books. Too many people around when you can see the smoke from your neighbor's chimney --- and we can sure see a lot of chimneys.
On a nicer note: We spent yesterday afternoon putting up Christmas decorations. Still have the tree to do today, so I haven't taken any photos yet. Keultjeses are coming next week, so Gramma and Grampa called and they are sending a box with yuca, plantains, sour oranges and all kinds of things! I can't wait. More later.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Mom and I spent a couple hours this afternoon Christmas shopping, so Elizabeth had to stay home by herself. We had success, but I can't say what we got, as she reads this blog sometimes. Keultjeses finally got their scheduling worked out and we have a date for our Christmas dinner. Yay! It wouldn't feel like Christmas if they didn't come over for Cuban dinner. I guess that means that we'll have to clean the dining room out before then. It's full of eBay packing supplies, but we're done selling stuff until the new year.
I started felting another doll the other night. After a lot of debate, I decided that it's going to be an Indian. This little Indian will be sitting cross-legged and making a sign in Indian sign-language. So far, he is two legs that aren't connected to each other. Quite a way to go!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Yesterday, we had to go grocery shopping. We could only put it off so long, but when you run out of butter, milk and Crisco, well, it starts to get serious. Especially when we wanted to make a birthday pie for today.
We were down at Buddy and Kay's house again on Saturday to play some music. The two of us are going to play at one of Buddy's Christmas concerts in a couple weeks along with him and Charlie. That should be pretty fun, but since Buddy won't be home until the day of the concert that is the only rehearsal we'll get --- except for a final run-through before the actual thing.
On Sunday afternoon, Dad and I put the Christmas tree up. It is all ready to decorate (we even got the lights on), but we're having to leave it plain for a couple of days. Oliver thinks that it is his new tree house, so we're giving him a few days to get over the excitement. He's a cute, naughty Bunny!
Well, the pie is practically ready to come out of the oven, so I better get out of here. :) It's a peach pie! More later.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Elizabeth and I are off to Buddy and Kay's today. We're hoping to finish up with that multi-track recorder --- well, Elizabeth and Kay are hoping to finish with it. Buddy and I are going to work on practicing a violin song together. We've been trying to do this for weeks, but by the time we finish everything else it's late at night. So, they're picking us up shortly, and we'll have some daylight hours to practice by!
We've been working on cemetery photos for FindaGrave. We actually went over to Chester Cemetery to take some photo requests. While we were there, we took about 115 pictures. There is an amazing monument for a family named "Swetland". They were pretty rich and quite involved in building up the county. This monument is about twenty feet high, and marks the grave of the wife and their first two baby children who died shortly after birth. Elizabeth was really attracted to it, because one of the babies was a little girl who died when she was nineteen days old. Her name was "Truanna", but her grave is marked with the pet name of "Truannie". Isn't that a cute name?!
Well, got to go for now. They'll be here any time, and I still have stuff to do. More later.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
We ended up with four trays of roll-ups and stuffed shells. That gave us one for tonight, two for tomorrow and one for Friday. Not bad. It even looks like we're going to be blessed with some nice weather for the weekend. This is a great Fall. And you know what?! This is the first Thanksgiving in about five or six years where we haven't had some kind of snow. Several years ago we were actually snowed in!
It doesn't feel like it's already nearing Christmas, but we put on Holiday Inn while we were cooking. That made it seem more like this time of year. I'm ready for some Christmas music, too! So, it should be pretty fun over the next two days --- with plenty to post about. More later.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Saturday dawned less sunny but still decent, so Pop headed out with us to locate some more stones. We uncovered a lot this time --- mostly babies and children. It is actually really sad how many "under tens" are buried out there. It seems that there is some kind of an underground spring or sink-hole under this cemetery, so a bunch of the stones are just falling over and/or sinking into the ground. There are quite a few that are actually tipping over, and you can see that they are actually in pools of standing water.
We've also been making Thanksgiving plans this week. We're going to the Wright's house this year, and so are the Keultjeses!! Yay! That should be a blast, so I can't wait for Thursday. We're taking Waldorf salad, lasagna roll-ups, pumpkin and pumpkin pie. Then, on Friday, we're going down to Kay and Buddy's for the day to practice some music together and work on their multi-track recorder. In that case, we're making two Thanksgiving dinners. So, we'll be cooking on Wednesday --- along with tons of other people, too! Well, got to get going. More later.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
We made it back home a little after noon, so Dad decided to go fishing and the three of us headed down to Buddy and Kay's. Buddy took Mom and me back to the little cemetery. Kay and Elizabeth stayed at the house and talked. We ended up being at the cemetery for several hours and found a bunch of headstones that had fallen over. The grass had grown over most of them, so I "weeded" all of that and we were able to turn them over to read them. The most amazing one was a stone from 1829. When I turned it over there was actually a suction noise! Well, it must have been over for a long time, as it was absolutely perfect --- just like it had been carved yesterday.
Just a few days ago, we went into a cemetery near the house which is quite a large one. They have actually identified six people there that fought in the Revolutionary War. This is a picture of one that we saw. My favorite of all the monuments that we've seen lately is this one for a "Lurena Woodward". It was just beautiful, so here's a picture! We're hoping to head down to Buddy's again tomorrow, so that we can go back to the little cemetery down there. More on that later --- depending on how everything goes.
Yesterday, Elizabeth and I finished another music video. This time it was to Buddy's song The Ten Commandments. We really had a blast with this one, as it gave us a chance to do some fun stuff that you can't usually get away with. The song has a real Jewish sound to it, so we tried to go along with that in the video. All of the mountain shots that we used are of the Mountains of Sinai. It is also our first venture into using .png files in the video editing program. All in all, we were pretty pleased with it.
Last but not least, what in the world has "gummi pizza" got to do with this?! Not much. Mom and Elizabeth found the cutest little candy last week, and I'm sending it to a friend. But before I packed it --- I took a picture. Cute, huh?! More later.
Friday, November 11, 2011
So, what did we do on this extra-special date? Elizabeth and I spent the day dusting books in our bedroom, rearranging the shelves to fit more books on them, and actually shelving that collection of Nancy Drew books that we got at an auction last month. It meant taking down all of the fancy little decorations that were scattered between book collections, but now everything is up in place.
Mom and I are just dying for next week to get here. If there is a day with some nice weather during the week, we're planning on going back to the little cemetery that Buddy found. We want to try and read some of those grave stones, so Mom has been looking up techniques on how to bring the writing "out". Apparently, there is this great method using aluminum foil. You take some of the really cheap, thin foil and lay a piece over the area of the stone that you want to read. Then, you take a soft brush (e.g. makeup brush) and brush the foil into the carving. The foil conforms to the letters and you can read the stone like it was made yesterday. I'm just dying to try this. Hopefully it will work like they say it does.
We watched a good movie the other night: Saboteur. It's a wartime Hitchcock thriller/mystery starring Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane. I wasn't really keen on seeing it, as Mom remembered seeing it years ago and thinking that it was quite boring. I didn't relish sitting through that, but Elizabeth wanted to see the shot of the wrecked Normandie, so we put it on. Wow. It wasn't five minutes before that film was the exact opposite of boring. In fact, it was so thrilling that the two of us were hardly breathing. Amazing! Priscilla Lane's Uncle (in the film) was just a great character.
Well, it's been a long day, and I'm ready to relax. More later.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The amount of mold this year has been awful! Take a look at the side of that basket in the picture here. It's no wonder that we've all been suffering from some allergies. Even Pop. Do you know that we had mushrooms in the sunny parts of our yard all year, not to mention the shady areas, too?!
On Sunday afternoon, we went down to Buddy and Kay's to spend some time just having fun. Buddy and the two of us spent all evening playing music together and discussing some fun plans that we've got for a little music video --- just for the fun of it! Elizabeth and Kay made dinner while Buddy took Mom and me to a cemetery where some of his grandparents are buried. That was one of the "hilliest" cemeteries that I'd ever seen. To walk all the way back to the old part was an actual climb. Up, down and then up again before you got to a very small piece of level ground. They had some really old graves there, though, and one that was actually marked for a soldier in the War of 1812! The cool thing is that Buddy was actually related to the soldier. We didn't find that out until yesterday, though. Cool, huh?!
On the way back to the house, Buddy decided to look for a cemetery that he went to once with his Uncle --- about forty years ago. Amazingly, he found it right away. He's like a live atlas on all those back roads. It's really amazing. This was a smaller cemetery at the edge of a large field. It's fenced in with a really old fence, and somebody is still mowing it. Well, Buddy knew that his great-Grandfather's first wife was in there, so that's who we were looking for. In the end, there are tons of other relatives, too, so we had fun until the Sun was pretty much down. There is a pile of stones that have fallen down. Somebody has been piling them all in the corner, so we're hoping to go over and see if we can look through those before Winter.
I spent last week making slides for a new Sing-Along video to Buddy's song I Don't Believe in Evolution. Elizabeth actually edited them all and finished it in about an hour. If you want to take a look, then check out our YouTube channel: Buddy Davis Fan Club
Saturday, November 5, 2011
He was born Leonard Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 5, 1911. The building where he was born (412 Second St. to be exact) was torn down decades ago, but it's very easy to find the spot today. The King of the Cowboys was born in the middle of what is now the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium --- right over second base! This Ohio boy went on to become the greatest singing cowboy of the silver screen, a founder of the Sons of the Pioneers, and he even married his leading cowgirl, Dale Evans.Today marks Roy Rogers' 100th Birthday. Wow! He was an amazing man and truly deserves his title King of the Cowboys.
Elizabeth has been working like a dog (so, how do dogs "work"?) on a music video tribute for this occasion. We've wanted to make one to Dusty's song, King of the Cowboys, for years --- and this seemed the perfect opportunity. All in all, it took fifty clips from a variety of films to make this montage. Of the fifty clips, thirty-nine of them are in slow motion. I love slow motion! So, we hope that you enjoy this tribute to finest cowboy that ever rode the Silver Screen. Also, if you're interested in more Roy Rogers and Dale Evans movies, check out our YouTube channel: The Cowboy and the Senorita.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
After spending a couple of hours hauling gourds, we all had lunch together. Then, Mom and I got Buddy to take the two of us to some of the nearby cemeteries where his family is buried. They've been working on genealogy, so Mom was hoping to find some more relatives. The second cemetery that we went to was filled with relatives. We even saw Buddy's Grandpa's grave and Buddy's great-Grandparents. I think that the one that thrilled me the most was a lady (no relation to Buddy) who was born in January 1899 and died in March 2002. She actually lived in three centuries. She was born during the reign of Queen Victoria and died after Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee. Isn't that amazing!?
Thanks to Buddy, we found out that TSC was selling the latest issue of Cowboys and Indians magazine. Okay, so I've never heard of that before, and we've never read it, but they featured Roy Rogers on the front cover --- in honor of his 100th birthday on November 11. So, Elizabeth and I went with Mom to the last Farmer's Market of the year yesterday, and we stopped in to get the magazine on the way home. We've now had two major frosts, so it looks like the growing season is finally ended. I can't say that I'll be sorry to see the slower pace of Winter arrive.
We're off to a Reformation Day service this afternoon at the Keultjes' church. After that, we're having dinner with them and just spending some time visiting. Hurray! More later.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Mom and I have gotten so many mini-gourds that I made a little area full of them --- they're cascading out of buckets in front of the biggest Gnome statue. The bottom of the mini-gourd market seems to have dropped out in the last couple weeks, so Mom and I got a ton of them at the auction yesterday. We're planning on taking them down to Buddy and Kay's tomorrow to decorate their front yard and porch. I think that, including some stuff that we're taking them from around here, we'll have the whole back of the truck full! We were down at their house this past weekend, and got some "grapevine" from up in the woods. That should make a pretty cool Winter garland for the garden fence. We also got a really, really cool rock from up there, too. It's big, and it's cool. Totally flat on the bottom, so it stands up like a little monument.
We've been canning this week, too. Mom found a recipe for "Zucchini Salsa". Sounds different, but it tastes amazing. We've already made three and a half batches. More carrot soup coming up this week, not to mention applesauce and pumpkin. Everybody is really getting the "hibernation" mood. Winter is sure coming. I'm still reading the book that is the life story of the book Gone With the Wind. How interesting. I never knew so much about the publishing industry and the logistics of selling rights to a book and movie. I'm afraid that I've been boring everybody around here by repeating most of the facts as I'm reading. More later.