Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Weekend in Pittsburg!

It was a trip to Pittsburg for Mike and I!  It's become an annual event to go to a USA city, watch a football game and enjoy a fun weekend away from home!  Last year we had John and Damien & John and Kathy and us.  We went to Dallas, TX, and had a total blast!!!  We toured the city and watched the Dallas Cowboys game!  We knew then that this is something we wanted to continue!

When we planned our trip this year, it was just John and Kathy and us that went.  The Smucker family is going through cancer treatments for Damien.  We missed them a lot!!!  Hopefully, they will be able to join us next year!!!  :) 

This time the men planned a fun trip to Pittsburg.  A trip that wasn't so far.  A trip that we could drive to and no need to buy plane tickets, rent a car, and travel as many miles.  A three day outing and not five.  Although Texas is going to be hard to beat, it was a very fun outing!!! 

We ate so much food and bread!!!  We started out by John and Kathy picking Mike and I up at home and went straight to Panera Bread.  A coffee and bagel was ordered for all of us.  John's introduced us to their favorite bagel from Panera, Cinnamon Crunch, and now we are hooked!  They are so good!  I like bagels and I know this is going to create a hunger for bagels in a whole new way. 

We traveled the four plus hour drive to Pittsburg.  By now, the children were awake at home and Lena picked them up for the weekend!  THANK YOU, LENA!!! 

We started out with touring the city by going on the Incline.  It's a train car like track that takes you straight up the mountain side.  From there we could get a great view of the city!

 Viewing the "Point" and the football stadium.

For lunch, Kathy told us that Pittsburg is known for their certain foods!  Who wants to get regular food that we can eat at home if we have other Pittsburg famous options?!!!  She told us about the "Pittsburg Sandwich" and we went to the market circle in town searching!  Show enough, we found the restaurant Primanti Brothers.  These sandwiches were so good Mike had them a couple times through out the weekend.  Thick slices of bread with a cheeseburger, then hot French fries, then topped with a handful of coleslaw and tomatoes.  They made hundreds of these!  The restaurant was packed out and the employees were working 100 miles an hour.  What a business!  What a sandwich!!!  A real highlight for us!!!  We also enjoyed their fried dill pickle spears!  So good!

Then we took a "Just Ducky Tour" through Pittsburg.  This was a ride on a bus/boat.  It drove us around the city telling us history and details of the city.  Then it went to the river and drove into the water!!!  The wheels stop working and a boat propeller went into action.  They used these years ago.  We drove down the river and then came back to the roads.  Interesting.
 See us?  Ready for the tour.
 This was the river and looking at the football stadium.

When we were on the incline lookout, we looked at some restaurants along the way.  There was this one very nice restaurant!  We knew we would want to eat our dinner there that night.  We asked for reservations but the only available time was at 5 or 9 PM.  Restaurants with this upscale class get reservations far out ahead.  We gave our number in case of a cancelation but we didn't think we wanted to wait till 9 to eat.  We did though.  We waited and went at 9 PM and it was worth it!!!  Delicious food!!!  Outstanding view of the city at night time!!!  Great dessert!!!
 Chicken (for me) ... leg of lamb (for Mike).
 The city at night.
We were tired and ready to relax at the motel!  The next morning, we went to church with Jesse.  Jesse, John & Kathy's son, is in college here in Pittsburg.  He ate dinner with us last night and then we went with him to church Sunday morning.  We loved the singing and message!!!  We were taught about the creation and teachings from Genesis.  We grabbed some lunch and then headed for the Steelers football game!  The day was sunny and not too cold!
Here we are ready to find our seats!
 We got there in good time and enjoyed the sunshine on our faces till game time. 

 Here come the players!
 The game was exciting.  Even for someone like me that does not understand all the details and plays!  I do know when they get a touch down though!!!  :)  The place went wild!  After the winning game against the Colts, some players met in the center to pray.  So neat!!!

More city buildings!

We ate frozen yogurt, pretzels and cheese late at night.  I guess this is OK but sure wouldn't want this style for every day!  ;)  With lots of walking, we were again ready for rest!

Monday, we went for another bagel from Panera!  :)  Then we visited Senator John Heitz History Center.  This was a museum of Pittsburg history.  We walked around viewing many stories and learned some new things!  Mike loved this!  Here's a picture of him behind a goalie set up at the museum.
We spent a few hours in the museum and then went for lunch, again, before heading home.  Mike voted to have his third Pittsburg Sandwich, but we chose to go with another Pittsburg fav!  Subs at Jimmy John's!  Fresh cut meat with fresh cut veggies.
The drive home went fast as we chatted and laughed, sipping Starbucks.  The kids were home from school before we were but they didn't mind staying here till we got home!  Thank you so much Lena for caring for the kids all weekend!!! 
Time with hubby is like recharging our marriage.  We love to get away on date nights, sometimes on full weekend getaways like this one, or even if it's just sharing a cup of coffee after supper.  Spending time together is a real life tool that keeps moms and dads communicating.  It keeps us laughing.  Full attention on each other!  Thanks so much for the fun weekend Hun!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I keep trying ...

... to blog!  I used to think that if mom's really want something done (like getting the laundry folded the same day it was washed, the cleaning done or scrapbooking caught up), stay up late and do it!!!  I changed my mind on this thought when I became a mom!  :)))  By late evening, I am ready to sleep or relax with the kids and hubby!  Not blog.  Not fold wash.  For sure, not clean and catch up on pasting photo's on a page!!!

I can't count the many times I sat down to blog within the past week but then got interrupted.  I kept thinking I would finally get a chance to type out some words and post some pics, when only to get right back off the chair to do something!  Help with a puzzle.  Stick another load of laundry in the washer and then dryer.  Get supper going.  Trying to blog in between this and that is not my favorite way to type.  I prefer to stick to the post and be done.  Even now, though, the music playing in the living room for Ashlyn is blaring because no one can remember what happened to the Bose remote!  So, here goes!  :)

Last Thursday and Friday the kids did not have school.  "Teachers In Service".  We slept in a bit on Thursday morning and I kept thinking about Sight N Sound.  The kids were never at any Sight and Sound performances and I thought maybe, just maybe, we could go today!?!  I called the theater and they said that if we came for the 11:00 Moses show, we could get discounted tickets.  We rushed to get ready to go and out the door we went!  The kids loved it!!! I did too!!!  Hadassah loved the 'real life' story, the songs and roasted almonds!  She thought of how hard it must have been for Moses' mom to put him into that basket and watch him float out of her life.  At least for that moment.  And how hard it must have been to later take him to live with the princess in the palace!  Matthew also loved the show, the story, not so much all the songs, but he was totally amazed at how their did all the lights, sounds, props, and staging.  As an angel came down from the ceiling in one of the scenes, he was trying hard to see how and where the angel was tied from!  Got to love the kid!!!  I loved the whole performance too and again was reminded that this actually happened.  Sometimes when I read the Bible stories again and again, it seems to become just a story.  But when I remind myself that these were REAL people with REAL feelings and REAL hurts and problems, it brings the story to life in my mind!  I was inspired!  After the wonderful show, we grabbed some lunch at Chickfila and then back home to clean the house and get some work done!

(Again, pics from my not so good phone camera.)

That night, Mike, Ashlyn and I snuck out to say hello to Mike's grandparents.  Daudy King had open heart surgery weeks ago.  Ashlyn loves Mommy King's 'little people' toys. 
 Wonderful people!!!  Daudy is doing well and healing!

With another day of 'no school', the kids helped me clean the shop and then back home to do caramel apples!  We love doing this together and the tastes are great too!!!  We unwrapped a whole bag of caramels and then melted them adding 1 Tb. of water.  Then we dipped our "crispy crimson" apples in the warm caramel and then topped them with other candies.

 Hadassah added chopped peanuts and drizzled chocolate to hers.  Ashlyn put on some chopped up recess candy bar and chocolate. 

 Matthew at first just wanted only caramel.  Later, he decided to add on some chocolate.  You need to work fast when working with warm caramel because when your caramel hardens, you can't get the other candies to stay sticking on the apple.
 Finished project!!!  So yummy!!!

 Saturday, I went for six gallons of already pressed grape juice.  We put the juice in 1/2 gallon jars and then cold packed them for 10 minutes.  We've got a dozen of concord grape juice to add to my fresh pressed juice mom and I did a few weeks ago!  Both juices are good but both have a different taste.  Drinking the already pressed type of juice is the best without adding water and sugar!

I got a call from a friend that used to live in Davis County, Indiana, but now lives in Pa.  She had some relatives come in for the weekend and they were wanting to meet up together.  They came to our house right before lunch.  What a blast to reconnect and see old friends!  We spent a lot of time together years ago, so hearing about their families and lives now was great!  I toured them around town.  We ate soft pretzels.  We went to "The Old Candle Barn" but came out of there really fast!  It's not the kind of store for little children to be roaming around!  Too many burning candles and fragile items!!!  :)  Then we went to Lapp Valley for ice cream!  :)  I know ... not the healthiest choice but they were tourist and so we had to go here!!!  Off to buy some yummy popcorn that is made right in our area!  The best popcorn around!!!  They loved that too!  Then I took them to my mom's house.  Mom and Dad own an old farm house and they wanted to see it.  We laughed and fussed and the time went by way too fast.  They were heading for home that night yet and we had supper plans, so we said our good byes.  Thanks for coming ladies! 

Sunday, we had a good lesson in Sunday School about "The Good Samaritan".  Do we see others around us that are hurting?  Do we reach out to them?  Mike was a great teacher and I hope the teenagers were challenged!  We rested in the afternoon and then went for quick runs.  Supper was being served for all our buddies at JR & Ruthie's!  We love this group of friends and they will ever be dear to our hearts!  Getting together for supper was a blast!  JR made gourmet burgers on the grill.  It went so well with Ruthie's to die for creamy potato soup!  We ladies added the salad and desserts to the menu!  Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pasta salad, brownie dessert, pumpkin gems and so on!!!  Everything was far out delicious!  Thanks JR and Ruthie!  The guys played a game of Acquire while the ladies sat and chatted and tried to keep the kids from ripping apart Ruthie's beautiful home!  :) 

It was back to school for the kids on Monday but I was out of the house soon after they got on the bus!  We had planned a sister's day to Ikea!!!  I love going to this place and seeing all the home furnishings.  I strolled through the displays trying to remember some organizing ways for our upcoming remodel job on our home.  The other ladies went so fast!  Mom and I did end up paying first and waiting for the others but that gave us a chance to talk about where we wanted to eat lunch.  Mom suggested "Cheesecake Factory" and I looked at how far it was from Ikea.  Only minutes down the road!!!  We were all super excited!  This restaurant is amazing and every single one of us ladies love to eat there!  We ordered our food and ate with much satisfaction!!!  Then we got a few pieces of cheesecake.  You just have to at this place!!!  Delicious!!!  The day out was again a great time with sisters!!!  Thanks for the fun time ladies!!!

I got back home the same time the kids got home from school.  I cleaned out lunches and then got ready for another outing.  We had a dinner with all the church ladies!  Again, it was a night of laughing, eating and time with friends!

My calendar was open for yesterday and that was relaxing!  Ashlyn and I spent time together!  Then after school, we went to Hadassah's volleyball game.  She again played well and her serves were fast, hard and with power!  She is so good!!!  They lost the first game but won the next two!!!  Good job girls!!!

 The rain is coming down outside today.  It's the perfect day to clean up the house a bit, put the grape juice on the canning shelves, do laundry and organize the toy room down stairs!!!  It needs it!  :/  I love the sun shiny days the best but a rainy day now and then is fun!  Hadassah LOVES rainy days!  After closing my long post here and then getting to some house chores, I hope to sit and read more of my book!  "The Go Giver".  It came off of Mike's book shelf and I am really enjoying it!!!

Be blessed on this dreary day.  May God's light still shine through your windows and hearts!!!

We are loving FALL!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October fun and memories.

Our October has been keeping us stepping!  Literally!  We all upped our running priority a bit!  Mike put his bike to the side and is getting into running more during the colder months.  Last night, Mike told the two oldest that they need to both go for a jog.  They groaned but knew it would be good for them after their very lazy Sunday afternoon.  They came back and then I went for the same run.  Mike and Ashlyn went for a walk to in hopes that it would make Mike feel better!!!  He came home from the mountains on Saturday night with a major head cold!
Our October is also filled with fun events!  We went to Weavertown's School Sale and Ashlyn begged for a $1.  I said "no" because she wanted to win a fish and I didn't think our household needed a fish at this present moment.  Hadassah said this morning that our momma cat is not fat anymore.  Yep, four baby kittens were born this morning.  :)  Moments later, she came in all smiles holding and juggling this bag around!!!  It had a gold fish inside!  I asked how and where she got this fish?!?  She said so sweetly, "I used Meg's dollar."  Oh boy!  I gave Jody a dollar back to give to Megan and because she was so proud of her win and prize, we now have a fish bowl on the kitchen counter.  Is this right?  Should've I stuck to my word?  How am I supposed to respond to that?  Make a major scene or keep the fish?  They only last for so long anyway.  Yikes!  :/ 
While we were at the school sale, Mike texted me some pics of Matthew.  He went with Mike to the mountains to help build the new family cabin and to go hunting with Mike.  It ended up that the work he did, he enjoyed!  When it was time to go hunting, Mike was on the couch not feeling well, so Matthew bundled up and went with Dad hunting!  No dead deer but thanks Dad for letting Matthew go with you!

 I got to have a mentoring session with the photographer that took our family pics a few weeks ago.  We met at the local coffee shop and talked about our cameras and how I can improve on taking better photo's.  The whole two hours was fun and even though I am not looking to pursue any business in photography, I did learn how to shot in manual and some other new tips!  Thanks Di!  Here's what I got to sip on while we talked ... "Crème Brulee Latte!"

Even though it's pumpkin season, I opted to make a batch of chocolate whoopies the other day.  Mike likes chocolate whoopies better and these turned out way better than my pumpkin whoopies anyway!  Look who helped me! 

I took the plunge and bought my second new camera lens last week.  After getting some advice from Di, I bought a 50 MM, 1.8 Cannon Lens.  It does great for close ups and gives clear pictures.  Well, I have to practice on the clear pictures with shooting in manual!  I am trying!  :) 

Ashlyn loves to color right now and spends a lot time at her little table that I moved into the living room.  This small white and tan table is great for her and her crayons!  She does pretty good too!

I practiced my lens on Ginger.  She was laying on the couch the other afternoon soaking in the sun from the picture window.  Ginger is such a good dog!  We love her so much.

I should have taken a picture of Ashlyn's creation but I didn't even think about it at the time.  She loves to make tents out of blankets and chairs.  She got the folding chairs out of the front closet and lined them up.  Then she threw on some blankets and called it her tent.  I adore her blue eyes and that is what I captured during her creative tent making! 

This is Matthew.  Glued.  I am being challenged to get this kid off the electronics and into books!  He loves the computer and all the games it has to offer.  He could play and be on the computer for hours if I would allow it!  I wish so bad that I would not have to constantly tell him "no". Sometimes I feel like that's what I do a lot.  I wonder how other parents keep computer time to a minimum?.  I also wonder how I can get this boy into books?  He was all excited and into some history a few weeks ago.  Mike took the time to go buy some books that he used to have in his one room school house learning years.  Matthew was excited to have these books that "daddy" used to read and Mike even showed him some of his favorite stories.  You know what?  The books are still on his night stand in his room.  Mike told Hadassah and Matthew that if they both read a book (he assigned them both a book) and then write a book report about it, he would give them both $50.  Again, Matthew was excited about he challenge but I have yet to see him get into the book!  Sigh!!!

October is going by quickly and so when I wanted to cook some pumpkin the other day, I was sad to not be able to find my most favorite kitchen tool of all times!  Pampered Chef has the best serregated vegetable peeler ever!  I do not know where I left this tiny tool but I must have misplaced it because after an extensive search, it was still not found!  I finally ordered a second one and I was so happy to have it arrive!  It peels cucumbers and apples and veggies, whatever, in ease!  No other peeler works as good as this one!!!  Also, I love this Starbucks Bright Sky Blend Coffee right now.  It's smooth.  It's not bold and that's why I like it so well!  I don't like a bold coffee.  It's my waker upper in the mornings!  :)

October is bringing on a new adventure for us with this volleyball team that Hadassah is on.  I know that when I was in middle school, we didn't have this much fun and action!  I am enjoying it though and Hadassah is playing well!  She had a tournament on Friday night that involved four different schools.  It was raining outside but the boys still played soccer.  The girls played volleyball in the gymnasium and we sat on the bleachers cheering!  Mike met us there and cheered too!  Just one thing, I could not believe it when Matthew said four miles from our arrival, that he forgot his shoes!  What?  Sireously?  What now?  It's too far to go back home.  We wouldn't have the time anyway if it were close.  He walked around all evening without shoes.  Wet.  Cold.  Wet.  Did I mention it was raining outside?  Boys.  Gotta love them.   

Mike and Matthew left for the cabin at 9:30 Friday night.  We stopped for this movie on the way home from volleyball.  I've been wanting to watch it and heard it's funny.  After some warm showers and getting snuggled into blankets, we watched "Mom's Night Out."  I liked it.  It's true that being a mom is one of the toughest and hardest jobs ever!  Ever!  But full of blessings and kisses and hugs and kisses and hugs and laughter!  If you are a mom that needs a fun laugh, watch the movie!  :)

October is only half way gone.  We have another two weeks of O-C-T-O-B-E-R and it will be busy.  More volleyball games.  More weekend getaways.  More family time!

I love fall time!