31 October 2013

It's a Boo-tiful Morning!

Happy Halloween!!
It's a Boo-tiful Day!

Busy, busy and no pre-prepared post for today. Shame on me.  Running a bit late.

Instead I have a collection of ghosts and goblins and spirits from Halloween's past.

My kids don't usually read my blog much which is a good thing. Unfortunately for them, some of their friends do read it. I may be in trouble tomorrow.

But this is probably the closest I will get to trick-or-treaters out here in the country.

We've had:

Lala and a Geisha-
Love that Teletubby.

A butterfly.

A pirate and a Raggedy Ann

A devil.
(I won't say anything about playing to type here...)

Another devil and a... rockstar?

Boy has a theme going here..
I believe KISS inspired.

 Also rockstar inspired:

(And that moment where the parenting skills lapsed)
Teenage daughter as Amy Winehouse

At least it is just a Coke bottle in her hand.

Halloween Spiders and...

Halloween cats.

Halloween Hillbillies.

Another Halloween cat.
Plus Pikachu.

 Even some Halloween moms playing with a group selfie in the baño.

Not sure what these girls were- but 
the Halloween cast on Bunny was real.

And to make your Halloween complete, a recipe for dessert tonight.

Severed Halloween fingers:

Red or green food coloring if desired
Sliced almonds
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350°. I line my cookie sheets with Silpat liners.

Separate 1 egg. Set aside the white. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk, remaining egg, and vanilla. Set aside.

In the mixer, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add egg mixture, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, and mix on low speed just until incorporated. You can add the food coloring at this time or leave them "natural".  Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill until firm, at least 20 to 30 minutes.

Take out small chunks of dough at a time, keeping the rest chilled. Roll each piece back and forth with palms into finger shapes, 3 to 4 inches long. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Score each knuckle lightly with the back of a small knife. Transfer fingers to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.

When all fingers are formed, brush lightly with egg white. Position almond nails; push into dough to attach.

Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.

To make the knuckles more creepy just shape them big and uneven. To keep them from puffing out too much roll the fingers extra skinny (skinnier than you want them to look if that makes sense). Try to get them out of the oven before they brown.

(Recipe adapted from here.)

Happy Halloween.

And this morning on my walk I passed 22 of these:

You know what that means, don't you?
Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

29 October 2013

No. 16: Write a letter every day for a week

No.16: Write a letter every day for a week...

Do you love to get mail that isn't a bill?
Me, too.

I've noticed though that the letters that come in the mail are few and far between these days. Although I do admit we have gotten more letter mail here just because people are nice and miss us and don't want to be forgotten.

Isn't that great?

Tools of the trade

Bunny holds the prize for most letters.   Letters from girl friends, letters from traveling friends and even letters from boys.  (Along with roses- she's one lucky little girl.)

And because I don't want to be forgotten- I've been sending out some letters and cards.

So last week my challenge was to send out a letter a day.


I sent a letter to my son.

I sent a letter to my friend Cherrilla.

A letter far far away.

A letter to a neighbor.

Cards with notes to family.

A letter to a care taker.

And a couple of birthday cards with letters inside.

In my effort to keep the USPS afloat, I was a bit of an overachiever.  I did more than seven mailings.

Yay me!

And I have a few more in the works.

But the girlies are doing a cheer competition this weekend and they have been busy and when they are busy, I seem to be busy taking up the slack.

Cheerleaders on Parade.
This weekend they will be competing. 

Also Carlos has been bad, bad, bad.
He is acting out a bit because he does not like being kept on a leash or in the house all the time.  He had a run in with a neighbor and because I like my dog alive and not dead, he has been kept on a short leash- literally.
We walk two to three miles every day but that is not enough to keep him worn out.

Always scavenging food...

And so- to express his displeasure- he ate not one but TWO pans of brownies over the weekend.   And then he peed on a pile of clothes in Bunny's room WHILE I WAS WATCHING HIM.  Talk about deliberately misbehaving.  I swear it is like having a toddler.

So I had a bit of washing to do because when you interrupt a peeing dog---well,   it wasn't just the clothes that got wet. All the bedding was on the floor because I was in the process of changing sheets.

We are trying to come to a compromise.  I let him run on the property as long as he promises to come when called and not cross the street.   So far so good.

So ... more letters to be mailed.

And more challenges to accomplish.

Also, I am working on a repeat performance of No. 8: Make Baby Quilts Again.

Niece Allison is having a baby on Friday. This baby will be a biological half sibling to the twins that were born last Spring.   That's what happens when identical twin mamas have babies.  So, of course, this baby also needs a quilt.

In progress:

Do you think she might be having a girl? 

What will be next?

24 October 2013

Gates and a tiny Follow Up Friday

Ranch Gates, House Gates and Just Gates, but not Bill Gates.
Also, a tiny Follow Up Friday:

Carlos and I walk most every morning.

I always tell him we are "just going to the end of the lane" but then we get going and we end up doing the 2 mile loop or sometimes even the 3 mile loop.

I've been noticing ranch gates/ property gates as we walk.  I am quite sure if I was back in Texas I could see millions of these. But I am not in the country in Texas. I am in the country in Colorado.  So Colorado gates it is.

This is a big important ranching operation.  You can tell by the big important gate sign. And the fragrance of cows that wafts my way at night. It's not even that close but I guess cows are heavy on fragrance.

Massive posts, massive property.

I love this one. Very simple. 

I couldn't really get a good pic but the part I love best is this little vignette at the left side:

A heart address and an iron bee skep complete with iron bees.

Makes me want to go meet the owners. They must be nice people.

While this one doesn't have a sign or post across the top, it does have some impressive stone work. I love that the owners used a most plentiful resource around here (rocks) to make their entry grand. 
(I'm sorry that my photos aren't better. These are taken with my iPad. My good camera needs a little servicing...)

Great stone work supporting some sturdy posts.

Another MASSIVE entrance.  This sign must be twenty feet high. Probably 20-25"diameter posts. I love that they went to all the trouble to impress me.

And this is my most favorite. A little Dr. Seuss, a little Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. Whimsical and an excellent example of recycling. A couple of dead pines arranged just so....

I wonder if they hang a little ornament on that right end at Christmas?

And this is our gate.
No sign. Barely opens and closes. Which is okay because it doesn't go to anything anymore.
It used to be the entrance to a round pen and stall for some long dead horse. The pen posts have fallen over and the stall has been turned into a shed.
Still, I love that you can see where the horse was cribbing.

Maybe we need to spruce it up. We jokingly call this place Mad Deer Cabin. I wanted it to be Mad Deer Lodge but cabin stuck instead.
Possibly a little wooden sign cut from a tree slice, with Mad Deer burned in, hung on the front with a  leather strap?
Or maybe just a wreath to celebrate the upcoming holidays?

And for the tiny Friday Follow Up:

Remember my fall decor with the mum on the front porch?

And then it snowed and  a bunny hopped across the front deck?

Followed by my returning home after the weekend and discovering half the mum gone?

Well, here is the mum this morning.

Umm. Where have all the flowers gone?

I think that bunny is pushing it.

That's all.
Have a wonderful weekend. 

21 October 2013

Back in Town: Observations on Living Two Lives

Back in Town: a few observations about spreading myself around and occupying two places....

Belle and Bunny and I went back to Texas over the weekend for a quick visit.
Carlos stayed in Colorado and went to the kennel.
Obviously one of us got a bum deal!

I had low expectations for my own entertainment since I knew I would be driving Bunny around while she got herself gussied up for Homecoming.
Homecoming in Texas is a whole 'nother ballgame compared to Homecoming in Colorado.

Homecoming in Colorado. 
No mums, no garters. 
Corsages and boutonnières instead.

Look at all those ribbons! 
Just like big Texas hair, 
the bigger the better when it comes to mums.

A garter had to be procured for Bunny's date. This is a big Texas tradition. I figured that would be easy but nooooo.
Michael's craft store would not accept an order over the phone.  Period. No way. "It's against the rules."
A Facebook plea garnered an innocent victim volunteer: a poor friend who had NEVER ordered a mum or garter before. Michael's made her run around the store picking out ribbons and trinkets and while she had NO IDEA what she was doing- the final results were spectacular.

Bunny and date.
With mum and garter.

Both girls insisted on getting their hair done while they were in the "big city".  I was brave and got mine done in Colorado before we left and couldn't be happier. A cut and color for half what I usually pay and I can't tell you how many people told me my hair looked great.
Apparently Texas does not have a corner on the market for "perfect blonde highlights".

I truly did not think I would have time to do any visiting.
Thankfully I was wrong.
I got lunch with one friend, coffee with another and a chance encounter at dinner with yet another.
And I got to see my horse and a couple of barn friends, too.

I got to see Boy and of course, the hubs. The hubs had been in Colorado the week before and I talk to him all the time, so I hadn't really had a chance to miss him.
But Boy.  Haven't seen him in over two months and he isn't much of a phone talker. So it was nice to spend time with my oldest child even though he was possibly not as happy to see me as I was to see him. Sometimes we don't see eye-to-eye.
I did get this photo which totally warms my heart. He pretends to be gruff but he's a softy at heart.

 Me, Clara and Boy.

"Hey cuz. Can I have a bite?
The parents aren't giving me real food yet.
I won't tell."

But best of all, and totally unexpected, I got to spend time with the youngest and oldest members of my family at the same time.   My brother and sister-in-law came into town and there was a big ol' gathering at my parent's house.  This was especially lovely since it was the one year anniversary of my other brother passing away and it was a treat for the remaining ones of us to gather.

Clara and Colby (6 months) with the peeps (1075 months  and 1090 months)

My nephew in Utah had taken my brother's/his uncle's ashes up to Yellowstone and scattered them on Saturday. Brother Paul gets to spend his eternity in Wyoming, a place he never visited but always wanted to go to.  I guess it's true: It's never too late.


And some little observations.

I walked into the Texas house and thought "There is stuff here that I haven't seen or needed in 2 1/2 months. I need to purge."
There will be a major cleansing in December.
The second thing I noticed was that we left a LOT of animals at home for Boy and the hubs to care for.
A lot.
Three cats, one of them very old and needy.
A turtle.
A chinchilla.
A Beta fish that will turn two next month.
Every one was still alive and mostly doing great.
The old cat needed a bath and a good brushing but I am sure they will do better now that they realize he really can't groom himself.
Otherwise all was good.
We can replace that molding on the wall where someone didn't realize that chinchilla's chew.

Ruby says "YUM!"
This used to be my dining room wall. 
Well, it still is, but now it has "character".

Remember the little photo of the bunny footprints in the snow on my Colorado front porch?

Bunny feet prints. Must have been researching his dining options.

Well, while the dog was away, the bunny played. And ate.
That bunny systematically trimmed the flowers off of half of my chrysanthemums on the front porch.  Very neatly. Looks like he used some tiny scissors.

A very neat little bunny- with very sharp teeth.

Food that I was greatly anticipating didn't taste as good as I expected.
Tex-Mex!! Come to mama!
Except- meh- it was okay.   Maybe I wasn't in the mood.

Grimaldi's Pizza- a weekly favorite in Texas- must  have been having an off night.  Either that or Moonlight Pizza here has stolen my heart away.

And I brought back a present for Carlos.  An item of clothing that never in my entire life did I expect I would have a need for.  I went shopping in the "Duck Dynasty" section of my local Academy and purchased a one piece "step in, zip up, go" camo jumpsuit to wear while walking Carlos.
At 7:00 AM  I am incapable of making warm clothing decisions and am very hesitant to actually get out of my nice warm jammies. This outfit "stylishly" solves that problem. Stay in the jammies, cover up and clip on that leash. I will blend into the landscape- no one will even notice if I haven't brushed my hair. (Because I won't have....)

Nope. Not modeling this one...

So....  back in Colorado and pretty happy about it.

I'm working on No.16: Write a letter every day for a week.
First off is a note to the Colorado occasional neighbors. They stopped by while I was away from the cabin and asked Bunny some questions about who cleared our property.

And ....  I will be spending the week traveling back and forth to Colorado Springs.
One of the main reasons I bought the car that I have is that the dealership is less than a mile from my house in Texas.
Unfortunately the "check engine" light is on and it needs to see a Colorado dealer.
That dealer would be over 90 miles and two hours away from my cabin. Hopefully I can run the car in tomorrow morning, get it magically serviced while I kill time in the Springs and then retrieve it and be home by dinner. If not, I will have to come home and then do that trip again once it is repaired.  
Friday I get to go back to the Springs to see the girls cheer for their last football game.
I just drove in from the Springs last night when we came into the airport there.
So maybe I'm not so happy about this little aspect of being back in Colorado.

At least it is a pretty drive....

(OK. Yes, I am happy about being back here. I just walked into my living room and there is a beautiful doe standing about ten feet from my door, grazing away. I just LOVE that. As long as she stays away from my flowers.)

Off to write a letter...

17 October 2013

Follow Up Friday: A Couple of Things

Follow Up Friday: A Couple of Things

I'm traveling this weekend so I thought I would tie up a few loose ends before I left.


First, we had our first real snow here at the cozy cabin in the woods.
It snowed all day but the temp was above freezing so it didn't stick. Then it snowed all night and Yay! the snow stuck.
Carlos and I took a walk and I took a few pictures.
Come along with us:

Almost looks like Christmas!
Think the neighbors would mind
 if I chopped down their tree for 

 Okay. This is just beautiful.  And a little surreal there in the background.

The front yard with one of  the Twin Sisters peaking out of the clouds.
The sun had been up a couple of hours and the snow was going quickly.

Apparently we weren't expecting Winter to visit since we are -Duh!- Texans.   That would explain the flower pot next to the swing. Flowers covered in snow....

 Anyway, it isn't even Halloween yet. We just carved some pumpkins.
(I admit to using the term "we" loosely. I had nothing to do with the pumpkin carving.)

 Fluffy stuff.

I love that a bunny came to the front porch to check out my Fall decorations.

Bunny prints in the snow leading from chair to chair. 
Or is that from the flowers to the pumpkins? 

Even our shed looks lovely surrounded by snow.  Amazing how Mother Nature can make a wood pile look good with a little dressing up. 

And my buddy Carlos (dressed like a true Super Hero) was also sporting a bit of snow.
He thought it was all there to eat. 

Notice the hammock in the background. 
Maybe it is time to do some winterizing? 
Maybe bring the slack line in, also?

And in the time it has taken me to upload the pictures, the snow is almost gone.
Sounds like it is raining outside as the snow melts off the roof.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be back. 

Knitting 2.0:

Not being a total quitter, I decided to try again with the knitting.
You can read about my original attempt here.  Learning to knit is No. 51 on the list.
This time I am using the Fisher Price version of knitting needles-almost like "training needles". 
Big fat needles and big fat yarn.
So far so good. Looks like a project for the airplane while we travel. 

Scarf width. Not two inches wide. 

Y'all may be getting home made scarves for Christmas after all....