Monday, October 31, 2011

Getting Our Halloween On!

My friend Beth does Halloween up right.

She and her family love to throw Halloween parties and go all out.
No simple jack-0-lantern and a bowl of candy here. 

There is something really cool to look at everywhere you look.  
This year she added these white painted gourds that she bedazzled with black crystals.  
Very cool.

Her daughter, Harriet, had fun hosting several of her friends this past weekend.
Can you guess who Allison dressed up as?

Amy Farrah Fowler, neurobiologist, from The Big Bang Theory.

Although Ben wasn't dressed up he did enjoy helping with some of the 
"Minute to Win It" type games that they had lined up for the kids to play.
It was a rainy night so they were playing the games in the garage.

After dinner, the adults were inside watching the final game of the World Series.

Pretty exciting stuff, huh?  

It was a fun evening in a very creepy place!
Thanks Beth!

Operation Brick Beautification Begins!

Bright and squirrelly Saturday morning Operation Brick Beautification was in full swing.

It started with delivery companies calling to telling me they were on their way, 
or in one case, in my driveway, ready to deliver literally tons of materials. 

There were 5 pallets of brick.
Numerous pallets of concrete, mortar, cement block.

10 tons of sand.
The crew had been over on Thursday to get the new walls staked out and supplies ordered.

As soon as the dumpster hit the ground these guys were busy filling it up. 

It was no time before all of the old brick was down.

The area on the left, behind the diagonal wall is going to be excavated 
to enlarge and square up our patio.

The stairs are going to be excavated out more too. 
The old stairs were much too narrow.

The demolition is going very quickly.  
The crew actually started a few days ahead of schedule 
so they are looking very good to finish at or before Thanksgiving.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

WWII Quilt Exhibit

My woman's service club met for a social outing at the art museum a few days ago.
One of the current exhibits is a collection of WWII quilts.
 There are quilts made from all manner of materials, from parachute silk, window banners, military patches, and the most haunting - concentration camp uniforms.  

This is a small quilt, a wall hanging really, that "Thank you Russian/Red Army for the liberation of Auschwitz, 1945".  The fabric patches in the center are made from the camp clothing.  

There are several articles from WWII, including instructions on how to plant a victory garden, to the blue, thin Airmail stationary, and this Rosie the Riveter doll.

This quilt was made by a woman who traded her cigarette rations for military patches.  
Very cool quilt.

This is one of several fund-raising quilts that were on display. 

This exhibit will only be here about another week and then it will be on to another museum.  
Definitely worth a trip to our wonderful art museum.

Brick Beautification Time

So, when we purchased this home almost 20 years ago it was most definitely a fixer-upper.

We spent the first 18 years renovating the inside, one tedious task at a time.

We have hated the brick wall that runs across the back of our patio.
It has needed repair for a long time.  

Crumbling brick, cracks galore. 
All of the ice and snow from last year has forced our hand 
about getting this wall replacement done.

Cracks have become huge.
Bricks are shifting (leaning toward the house in some cases). 

So, we made the decision to hire a mason to come in and get to work on this overdue project.

Not a moment too soon.

Watch for the development of this renovation.
It is the first (and biggest step) to get the outside looking as finished as the inside. 

The best part: they promise to be done by Thanksgiving.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Losing a Car or Gaining Driveway?

When I married hubs I not only gained a husband, I gained a 1965 Mustang.

 It did run when he bought it. 

 He loved this car.
As our family grew, our house renovation took over our time and resources.

The thoughts of Mustang renovation moved to the back burner.  
It has been stationery in the driveway for several years. 

Our upcoming brick wall renovation required that we move the Mustang.  
It was time to consider passing this along to someone who had the time to 
lovingly restore this antique car. 

Enter my friend's 18 year old son.
When I called my friend to talk about needing to get rid of the car she told me 
that her son had asked for a car to restore for his upcoming birthday.

Timing is everything.
This is one happy young man.
My friend tells me that he has hardly left it's side since he got it home.
I am glad that he loves it.
So is hubs.  

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't glad to have the car gone, 
but it is a little weird not to see it parked on the driveway. 

Seems like the end of an era.   

Dad's Garden, Part 10

Dad's garden is transitioning into fall.  
The bright, vibrant greens have been replaced with dustier greens, golds, and orange.

As the tomatoes fade away the marigolds that helped keep them 
healthy over the summer have come into their glory.  

 They are easily the bright spot in the garden.  

The okra plants stand at attention but their lush, fuzzy foliage has fallen away.

 The summer veggies are being replaced with the cool weather loving plants.
Dad's leaf lettuce is delicate and vibrant green 
and surprisingly hardy.  

Dad's greens mix is wonderful.  
He plants turnip greens, mustard greens, tender greens, and kale together.  
Yummy combination.

The last planting of the lima beans is still producing but probably 
won't last the first hard frost.

The sweet potatoes have been dug and are aging on the porch.  
Just waiting for some butter and cinnamon.  

The fall garden isn't the flashiest time of the year, 
but the produce that comes out of it is warming comfort food.  
Give me a dinner with a sweet potato, greens, and a hot piece of cornbread any day!
Seriously good eating!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hubs, the Patient Plumber

So last week I did something really dumb.  
I was cleaning up after breakfast and poured out the contents of a skillet 
in which I had cooked sausage.
Big mistake.
It took a day but the drained clogged up, but good!

After trying to plunge away the clog by myself I had to fess up to the hubs that 
I needed his help.
Dang it.
We worked on getting the clog to push on through for a while and then he decided to 
take apart the drain and see where the clog was.
And there he found it...
A wad of sausage grease sitting in the p-trap.

I have to hand it to my hubs.
He never got angry or fussed at me.  
He just cleared the clog and got it all back together for me.

Reason #89534 why I love my hubs.
He can unclog a sink without getting angry or feeling the need to lecture.
Thanks sweetie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Teens... Gotta Love 'Em

In Milwaukee over fall break we all made a trip to one of the lovely city parks
 to take some family pictures. 
The foliage colors were amazing!
While my in-laws were arriving I got the grandkids together to snap a few pictures.
I asked them to group up and to touch at least two others in the group.
This is what I got.

So I told them that I needed to see their faces.
This is what I got.

I then told them that I needed everyone to face me.
This is what I got.

What I have is four cousins that enjoy goofing off together.
And some cute photos.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Girl Power

I love this picture of my daughter and my mother in law.

It's not perfect - there are some hair issues and the lighting isn't perfect
but I love the love in this picture.  

My MIL loves her grandchildren very much but since
Allison is her only granddaughter I think they have a special bond.

It's a girl thing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

All Tied Up

Over fall break we went to visit hub's family.  
Bruce made the mistake of falling asleep in my in-laws living room while 
Allison was working with yarn.  
Pretty soon she was reenacting a scene from Gulliver's Travels.  

Hubs can sleep through anything! 
He didn't wake up at all while he was being tied down by this very cute Lilliputian.

Burrito heaven

Bruce has told the kids that there are a few food rules, 
the first and most important is to never eat anything larger than your head.

When we get the opportunity to hit our favorite burrito place, Chipotle, 
this rule can be hard to follow.  
These are some bubba-sized burritos.
 We don't have a Chipotle at home, so when we go out of town I usually fire up 
the iPhone app and find one that is nearby.
Yep, we are that strange and Chipotle is that good.

The boy has no problem snarfing down his burrito. 
Heck, he barely came up for air!
This is normal right?

I like Chipotle so much that I have actually emailed them to tell them 
about our town and see what our chances are for getting one.  
Unfortunately there are no plans to in the near future.  

Oh well, a girl can dream.