Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Treats!

We had 13 trick or treaters this year---one more than last year. My favorites were a tiny little boy and girl. He must have been about 2 and was in a giraffe costume. His sister was about 3 and had a Cinderella costume with tiny little plastic heels. They were at the door by themselves while the parents waited at the bottom of the stairs. I was a nervous wreck watching them walk back down the stairs. About half way, the parents came and scooped them up. So cute. And here are some of my personal favorite cuties!!
 That little turtle is Evie. She won't be moving slowly for much longer!

This little pumpkin/jack-o-lantern is Travis. In a way, he reminds me of Peter Pan!
 Trick or treating big kid style! Straight from Charlotte---peace loving Elizabeth and Grease loving Victoria!
 Dig those crazy glasses!!
 Actually, I believe Elizabeth is wearing the sheets and pillowcases off her bed!!! She's really in to tie-dyed peace signs!!

I love little kids in Halloween costumes. Funny, I hated Halloween when my girls were little. I wasn't one of those good creative costume types of mom. I made my girls do things like----wear a black trash bag with white gloves and be a California raisin---or put on one of their dad's suits and go as a businessman (we did pencil on a mustache)---or put on their dad's fishing vest, hat and carry a fishing pole---simple, yet effective. Finally my friends felt sorry for me. One year, Karolyn made convict costumes for Steph and her friends. Another, Nancy Anderson made a cowgirl costume for Mindy. That time, she made the costumes and I did the embellishing with glitter glue.

I was happy when Sandy and Stephanie were old enough to figure out their own costumes---and Mindy's! My favorite was when they dressed her up as a Smurf! I guess I actually started liking Halloween when I didn't have to deal with the costumes anymore. I actually dressed up to hand out candy for a few years. I haven't done that in quite awhile. It's hardly worth it for 13 trick-or-treaters!

Until next Halloween...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Browsing D.C.

On Saturday, I played hooky and wandered around the city. Our hotel was 3/4 of a mile from the White House. It was a beautiful day, so I walked on over.
The front of the White House. When we were here in 2010, we visited, but only saw the back. The whole area around the White House is beautiful. Across the street is President's Square---a very nice little park surrounded with pretty old homes. 

 These look like palaces. I'm not really sure what they are.

 So fall is gorgeous all over the United States. I love the combination of so many colors.
I don't know what this miniature black grass is, but I want some!
 You know I have my own issues with squirrels. But I couldn't resist getting a few shots.
They are so tame, they actually pose! They are not one bit afraid.
I haven't seen black squirrels since Sandy and Greg lived in Pennsylvania. When you see them on white snow, it's a little eerie. 
 I just had to get a shot of this little fellow eating an acorn.
He totally "cracked" me up!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Trip

We spent the weekend in Washington, D.C. at a Catholic conference. It's sort of like a retreat. We went on a pilgrimage to the largest Catholic church in the United States---Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. 
 The Church is two thirds the size of St. Peter's at the Vatican. There are 110 chapels within---all bearing a different name. Very interesting tour.
 All of the artwork is murals of mosaics. You cannot capture the immense size in these photos.
 This is one of my favorites. The Church is devoted to the Blessed Mother. Those 110 chapels each bear a different name for Mary. There's even one chapel dedicated to anyone that has the name Mary, or any derivative there of. That includes me---I got a special blessing for that. (My middle name is Marie).
 Looking out from the Church, you see Catholic University across the street. Below is another view.

We stayed at the historic Mayflower Hotel. It's a beautiful place. While there, I had an odd thing happen. I decided to wear my Jerusalem Cross stick pin. As I was putting it on, I dropped the back. I looked all around and found this up against the baseboard right below the mirror where I was putting on the pin.
I knew this didn't look right. I told Butch that I thought it was a little metal piece, so I must have somehow lost the casing and this part popped out. He was on his hands and knees with his flashlight app on his phone looking all around. He asked if I looked in my pocket---which I had. Then, I checked my top pocket and there it was.
What are the odds that I would lose something and find something that almost worked? Crazy. But it also makes me wonder about my mind that I can convince myself of just about anything, no matter how far fetched!
After wearing this pin several times, I found out that the black part is part of the packaging. What an idiot!!

I have just a few more things to report, but I'll save that for tomorrow!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Few Things

The trees in Nashville are gorgeous! Too bad we have all those electrical wires to detract from the view! I plan to scrapbook this for just that reason. 50 or 100 years from now, the trees might still be gorgeous, but I think people will be amazed that this was how we got our power.
I passed this beautiful old building on my way from downtown. I had never noticed it before---it's not on my usual route. Then I noticed this on the front:
 Who knew? I thought this was just some far out religious group that only celebrities belonged to! On second thought, we do have a lot of celebrities in Music City.
 These are the Halloween eggs I made this year. I remember seeing them on some blog, but didn't keep it. I never really thought I would make them. Then I needed a project for my day group. I started with plastic Easter eggs---any color. Then we paper mached strips of book print. After they dried, we painted them with watered down acrylic paint so the print would show through. I put a little too much water n the purple ones. Add ribbon and a stick on Halloween icon. Pile them up in a little bowl.
 When we were in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago, Stephanie sent this gift of chocolates for Mitchell.
 This is what he found when he opened it up. Perfect for a "sweet" 16 birthday. Clever, Steph!
 And here is that 16 year old boy. He is well over 6ft. He's so sweet---his gift from Steph was perfect.
 Another family member converted!! Actually, Macs are what Mitchell's new school uses. He likes it.
Mindy texted this to us last week after sending us a picture of the fire engine red camaro she rented for the week. She's living "high."
Just me out running errands.

Tomorrow a few pictures from our trip to D.C. I'd planned to blog from there, but forgot my camera cord. Later...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's all in the details...

There are so many little things that I love in Sandy's house. They are the kinds of things, that I would never have thought about.
 I think the gingerbread trim on the stair risers is so darn cute.
 Unfortunately, this window seat looks over the neighbors driveway and garage. Still, it's a bright and sunny spot.
 I don't think I've ever seen wainscoting on the upper hallway walls before. It's a nice touch to break up all that wall space.
 These tiny little ceramic tiles are all the rage these days. I like that some of them are clear. It's a cool look.
 And here is the restaurant size refrigerator. Each side is equal to a regular size refrigerator.
 Basically, it's a gigantic side-by-side. She doesn't have the freezer side filled yet. The refrigerator side allows them to keep ALL of their cases of drinks inside. The only drawback I see is that Sandy is going to have to allow an entire day to clean it out!!
 Even the mailboxes are cute.
And this is really cool. I've never seen this before. Basically, you sweep your crumbs up to it, flip the switch and it's a vacuum. It's part of the central vac system.

They have a million light switches and haven't even begun to figure them all out yet. Of course, it's only been three weeks. I think they've done a fabulous job getting so much done.

We're all going to Charlotte for Thanksgiving. It'll be wild and crazy, but so much fun. I can't wait! I'm sure this little vacuum "thingy" will get a lot of use then.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Did IT!

This morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I made a monumental decision. After two years of taking off my shoes, I've decided to go ahead and walk on the white carpet in my bedroom. Here's the story:

If you recall, when I replaced my carpeting a couple of years ago, we went with white again---even though it drove me nuts the first time around (15 years). Any other color just didn't look right. Plus, you think in the bedroom it just wouldn't get so much wear. That's wrong.

Right away, I started out requesting that everyone take off their shoes when they walk in there. Pretty much everyone ignored me. Then I demanded that everyone take off their shoes. Well, except for Margarita (my cleaning lady)----we have that communication problem. So, everyone else was supposed to take off their shoes. I took mine off 100% of the time. I'd say Butch took his off, maybe, 50% of the time. Then it happened. A couple of months ago, I lit in to him about 2 small spots on the carpet. I got them out, but you know how that goes. Spots just don't stay gone. After a little while, they "come up" again. It bothers me really bad. I know I'm over the top about some things. It's just my OCD tendencies. But I made the decision to NOT let this get to me anymore. If the carpet looks like crap, we'll just replace it. Done. So, I did it. I walked on the carpet twice today. The first time was easy because my shoes were new. This evening was a little harder. I went back to the door mat and wiped them off really good. Then I walked on it. It didn't feel good. I guess I don't really have it under control yet. I'm trying.

In the meantime, I thought I posted this recipe a while ago. Somehow I typed it up, but didn't publish the post. My favorite cake of all time---hands down:

Oatmeal Cake
Pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water over 1 cup oatmeal and 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

1 cup white sugar and 1 cup of brown
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Mix and bake in an oblong pan at 350 for 35 minutes.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk (beaten)
3/4 cup cream
Stirring constantly, cook on medium until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 1 cup coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Let cool and spread on cooled cake.

Monday, October 22, 2012

More Photos of Sandy's House

 I forgot to include Victoria and Elizabeth's bathroom. It's really cute---this picture does not do it justice.
 Sandy and Greg's bedroom is huge. There's plenty of room for a lounge chair and table.
 The master bath.

 The rec room. Sandy didn't really want the pool table, but the boys won out. There's a wet bar with a refrigerator and microwave.

 This is actually a large walk-in closet in the rec room. They turned it in to a playroom for the girls.

 This is the downstairs bathroom.
This is the old dining room furniture. It's on the way out as it is dwarfed in their big dining room.
 The family room.

 The screened porch.The floor is really pretty. I think it's a stained teak.
 Looking out in to the yard from the porch.

 The backyard is nice and big, but there is hardly any grass. We think the previous owners were gardeners since there are so many plant beds.

Last, but not least, is the living room. I have a rug in the attic that just might be perfect in here.

That's it for all the rooms. Tomorrow, I'll show you some of the awesome details.