Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hodge to the Pumpkin Podge

It's Wednesday, and I'm back to blogging for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thanks to our hostess, Joyce, for faithfully providing us with questions each week, and hosting this little link-up. Be sure to click on the button below to visit Joyce and the others. 

Here are her questions and my answers:

1. It's October so let's get this out there first thing...have you jumped on the all-things-pumpkin bandwagon? How so?

No, and I don't even understand all the pumpkin excitement. So. much. excitement. Oh, I'll eat pumpkin cake, pumpkin muffins, or pumpkin pie, if it is served to me (it's dessert, after all), but I would not order it if there were other choices.

I did jump on the pumpkin patch bandwagon (which looked a lot like a mini van) to accompany these two pumpkins (and their mama) to the pumpkin patch.

Noah's big smile was due to a kitty cat that his mama was holding while she took the photo. :)

 2.  "We have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we fancy things are impossible." Francois Duc De la Rochefoucauld  

What's something you once thought impossible, but in hindsight see as more a matter of lack of will?

I can think of things that seem impossible: building a cathedral, running a marathon, cleaning all my closets (lol), but we know, in fact, that they can be done if one just has the will to do them. I'll hold on to the belief that with will, desire, drive, and prayer, anything is possible.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite movies of my childhood, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.

"But the world is full of zanies and fools,
Who don't believe in sensible rules,
And don't believe what sensible people say,
And because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes
Keep building up impossible hopes,
Impossible, things are happening every day."

Thank goodness for all the zanies and fools in the world who dare to imagine what is possible!

And if you have time to watch the clip of the song, here it is, for your enjoyment!

3. The rose is America's National Flower, but every state also has its own (click here to see the list). Are you happy with yours? If you were in charge what would you declare your state's flower? If you're outside the U.S. what bloom would you like to see labeled as your country's national flower?

The state flower of Indiana is the peony. When I was a child, I thought they were rather ordinary. They grew on floppy bushes and were usually filled with ants, who must be attracted to the blooms.

Now, they are one of my favorites. We have two bushes in our yard, which were planted by Jim's grandmother. I like the old fashioned, rustic look to them, and the longevity of the plants themselves.
They also make beautiful wedding bouquets.                 

4. What have you lost interest in recently?

Well, I haven't been a very good blogger recently….

5. In your opinion, who's the best living musician?

So many, but I'm a country girl, so I'll choose Garth Brooks.
We saw him in concert around 1996, and he has always been a favorite of our family. We spent many hours singing along with him in the van.

Here's a good one:

And have you heard his new one, Mom? So good.

6. S'mores-love 'em or no? Ever make them indoors? Last time you sat around an outdoor fire? Are making s'mores and sitting round a fire pit on your autumn bucket list? Do you have an autumn bucket list?

I like s'mores, and mostly I like making them around the fire with friends and family. We have a fire sometimes at the lake, and usually have s'mores supplies on hand. Once, when Jim and I were there with the littles while their parents went to dinner, the kids wanted to make s'mores, so we did. Trouble was, that they all liked to make them, but none liked to eat them. Jim was eating them as fast as they could make them. :)
The last time I had s'mores was this adorable and tasty Mason jar version, made by Becky for Shylah's baby shower. Yum.
My autumn bucket list includes a weekend of leaf raking at the lake, so maybe we can work s'mores into that event. (It's probably more of a things-that-sound-impossible-but-with-enough-will {and manpower}-it-can-be-done item than a bucket list item, but maybe if I write it down here, it will actually happen.) :)

7. Your favorite small town? Why?

Ours, of course, Greensburg, Indiana. Home of the World Famous Tree on the Courthouse Tower.
That's our handsome grandson, Matthew, standing in front of it.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

As I have mentioned before, my friend Ruthann has started chemo again, and I would love to have you add her to your prayers.

Last week, Janet took her to chemo, and I rode along. We were joined by Ruthann's friend, Mel (who appears in an entertaining video concerning her son and a certain tailgate item), and their nurse navigator, Amy. Mel has the same cancer as Ruthann, and has been there as a support, and as a friend, since her diagnosis. Amy is their angel nurse, who answers questions, manages medication, eases their worries, and makes them feel as if they are her only patient. She has a big birthday coming up, and Mel brought gifts and cupcakes, and I brought along crowns.

That's Amy on the left, Ruthann in the center, and Mel on the right.
While chemo is no party, we managed to do a lot of laughing, which is always good medicine.  When I apologized to the nurses for our noise level, they assured me that they are always thankful for laughter in the infusion center.
Ruthann wrote about it on her Caring Bridge site, and called this her Chemo, Cupcakes, and Crowns Crew! If you have a chance to visit her site, you will be blessed. We are so grateful for your prayers.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five on Friday

There is still time, on this beautiful fall Friday, for a small list of things that have been happening 'round here. We'll try for 5 on a Friday.

1. This beautiful watercolor is a picture of my barn, which no longer stands beside our house. I was so sad to see it go, and while I took pictures during the demolition, I haven't been able to put together a post about my barn. I called it my barn, because I was the last person to love it, but this barn, as barns do, had stories tucked away inside tall sliding doors and behind thick weathered beams. I hope to write about the barn someday, and this lovely painting might be the inspiration I need to do it. The painting is extra special to me because it was painted by Mrs. Glore, my elementary school art teacher. Thankfully, I took pictures while the barn was still standing, with the specific thought of having her do a painting. I love how it turned out.

2. Yesterday, we watched Matthew run in his last home cross country meet of the season. It is fun to watch my grandson run at the high school. My high school, my kids' high school, and what will (so soon!) be his high school. The middle school kids run there, and it is great to see so many kids working hard at something hard. And running is hard! I am proud of him every time he finishes a race, no matter his placing. Great job, Matthew!

3.  After the cross country meet, it was time for kindergarten family fun night at Haleigh's elementary school. They started out in their classrooms, then took us to the cafeteria for the program. They entertained us by reciting nursery rhymes. Ella joined in from the back, waiting for the day when it is her turn to be on the stage. In the gym, they led us to some nursery rhyme themed activities, including building a wall for Humpty Dumpty. Andrew built a fine wall. :)

4. Jim had emptied all of the VHS tapes (yes, we still have VHS tapes) out of our TV cabinet when we got a new satellite receiver a few weeks ago. (We even have a DVR now!) Since the old tapes were stacked on the floor, I thought it would be a good time to do some sorting. In the process, I came across these 2 vintage gems. Hmmm…. wonder if they might be worth something some day??

5. It's harvest time around here, and this is the view from my front door of a harvested cornfield with hay bales in the back. I love the sights, sounds, and smells of harvest. I love the bright blue sky and the golden fields, the hum of the combine, and the sweet fragrance of the stalks as they are chopped clean from the straight, ripe rows. Please pray for the safety of our farmers during the harvest. 

Here is one of my favorite farmers beside his #FarmerSelfie at the Indiana State Fair. (Not actual size, you'll notice.) As they say, he is outstanding in his field. :) Lookin' good, Andrew!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Let's Talk Tailgate

It's football season! Yay! Except that the young season is not going quite like I had hoped. The Boilers are going to try out a new quarterback this week, and my Saints… well... we just hope my quarterback is good to go come Sunday. Boiler Up! Who Dat! Hail Mary! Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers. :)

We made the trip to West Lafayette on Saturday for an afternoon game between our Boilers and Virginia Tech. Afternoon games are so nice, since you don't have to leave home at zero dark thirty, and you can enjoy a leisurely tailgate before kickoff. Unfortunately, afternoon games are reserved for teams playing 'big games', which means our team will likely kick at noon from here on out. :(

I didn't take many photos, but Jim started the day by posting our flags on his Facebook page. If you're in or around the R lot before a game, look for the black Purdue train over a Saints flag, and come say hello. We'll be glad to share a burger and a beverage!

Jim found the next group of photos on his phone, with no clue how they got there.
Adam. Not smiling.
And two breakfast club referees that Jim thought needed some help taking a photo. They didn't.
The rest of the group arrived after attending Matthew's cross country meet in Southport. Darci made this awesome cookie to celebrate Jim's birthday (a little late).
The kids in attendance posed for a Boiler Up! photo.
Haleigh, Ella, Abbi, Jovey, Makenna, and Matthew.
The girls gave Grandpa some birthday love...
 and kisses!

At halftime, they honored the 2001 Rose Bowl team, which included many of our favorite Boilermakers. My quarterback couldn't make it to the game, but he had a special message for the crowd, and shared some of his favorite memories from that unforgettable season. Thanks, Drew!
Some of the players on the field on Saturday were Akin Ayodele,  Tim Stratton, John Standeford, Vinny Sutherland, and Craig Terrill. We were fortunate enough to attend the Rose Bowl to watch that game in person. Oh, the memories!
Coach Joe Tiller was there as well. One of the streets around the stadium was named in his honor as part of the celebration.
The Stewarts even got our moment on the jumbotron with the photo of Jim and the girls among the fan photos displayed during the fourth quarter. And no, that wasn't the final score. It got worse. :(
We are fans, though, so through thick or thin, win or lose, we will remain 'ever grateful, ever true.' 
And we'll look cute, too! Boiler Up!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Punctuating the Hodgepodge

I am joining Joyce today, at From This Side of the Pond, for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. It's been a busy summer, and we have been a bit hit or miss on the Hodgepodge, but I'm glad to be back today. Please click on over to visit Joyce and the others. It's always fun to meet new friends on the World Wide Web.

Now, here are her questions, and my answers:

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently?

Our newest grandson, Cayden John, two weeks old. Love.

2. What's something you're 'squirreling away' for later?

You could say I 'squirrel away' books on my Kindle to read later. So many books, so little time.

3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crisp? Cooked? Apples are one of the superfoods for often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favorite recipe? What's your favorite variety?

I love a sweet, tart, crisp apple, especially in the fall, straight from the orchard. I usually take apples to our football tailgates, sliced, with individual cups of caramel for dipping. I sometimes make my own dip by mixing cream cheese and caramel ice cream topping. Yum!

Honeycrisp and Ambrosia are my current favorite varieties, but I'll also be happy with Jonagold or a good Red Delicious.

One of the recipes I like for apples, from the cookbook compiled by my sister-in-law, Carol, for her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Lucy, 17 years ago (my go to cookbook, by the way), is:

Zapped Apples
7-8 apples, peeled and sliced
Dried cranberries (amount desired)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. crushed cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. cornstarch
In large bowl, mix cinnamon, cloves, sugar, and cornstarch.
Add apples and cranberries. Toss well and place in covered casserole.
Cook in microwave on high for 4 minutes.
Fold apple mixture several times to coat with juices.
Return to microwave and cook 4 additional minutes.
Before serving, toss again.

Quick and easy in the microwave, and also easy to make in smaller portions. It works for breakfast, for a snack, or, with chopped nuts and ice cream, for dessert. And I like dessert. :)

4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are-Aspen ColoradoThe Catskills New York, The Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why?

I would love to visit the Green Mountain Byway in Vermont. Our family vacationed in Vermont many summers of my childhood, spending at week at the lake where my paternal grandparents had a cottage. Jim's sister lives in Vermont now, and it would be great to visit her there and see the fall foliage too. On another note, Jim and I honeymooned at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, but it was in July. I imagine it's beautiful in the fall.

Of course, thousands of folks flock to nearby Brown County, Indiana to view the foliage, and we are blessed to have our own little slice of fall foliage heaven at Sweetwater Lake.

5. The topic of legalizing marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalize marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts?

Funny that you ask, Joyce. A friend of mine from out of state recently told about trying some 'brownies' to relieve some of the pain and symptoms of her cancer. It was a good story, and it made me wonder if it might be a help to Ruthann, who has just started chemo again. Janet, Becky, Ruthann, and I had a lively discussion about the possibility of adding 'brownies' to her treatment plan. Not sure it will happen, but we had some laughs at the idea of it. And laughter is the best medicine.
Please keep Ruthann in your prayers as she bravely faces chemo again.

6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress or do you need to always see it from the beginning? How about jumping into a TV series somewhere in the middle? Is that okay?

I guess I would rather watch a movie from the beginning, but I have been known to jump in mid-movie if it looks interesting. As for TV shows, I am okay with starting in the middle, since they usually go to great lengths to 'review' what has happened in previous episodes. That being said, I don't often find a TV series that I just can't miss. Maybe now that we (finally) have a DVR, I'll change my mind about that, but I doubt it. 

7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most?

It's risky to discuss punctuation when posting on a blog in which I am sure to have made an error. :) I try to use proper punctuation, but we all make mistakes. Grace, my friends, grace.

Commas can be tricky, and I probably use too many of them. It is clear that commas have the power to change the meaning of a sentence, as noted below:

As for what bugs me? Save the puppies!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Just for fun, here are a few more photos of our sweet new grandson, Cayden John (and his mommy and daddy, of course). Photos by Cayden's Aunt Jennifer.

The cradle was built by Shylah's paternal grandfather around 30 years ago.
Sweet baby in a basket.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cayden, Cousins, and Coming Home

Before he was even one day old, Cayden had his first test. Hearing screening done, and he passed. :)
Since he was born in a hospital full of Ohio State fans, he had to show some Boilermaker spirit right away!
He had some visitors on the day after he was born. Cousins Ella and Haleigh, and Aunt Darci.
Uncle Andrew, too, who helped Ella hold Baby Cayden.
Andrew sent a Snapchat announcing his new nephew, and his nickname for him. :)

Haleigh also got a turn to hold him.
And Granny got to snuggle half of my half-dozen grandchildren. So blessed.
Ella watched her Uncle David change Baby Cayden's diaper.
Jammies on, and some good-bye snuggles with Cayden and David.
On Thursday, Dr. Park came in and told Shylah that they could go home. Yes, that's the doctor. :)

Daddy David got Cayden dressed to go home.
All snuggled in his Cayden blanket.
Getting buckled into his car seat.
 Ready to roll.
Home sweet home.
 Mackey meets Cayden.
So cute.

 Sweet boy.
Uncle Adam and Aunt Courtney came this morning to meet Cayden and watch the Purdue game. Courtney got him ready with his fancy burp cloth. Even though we weren't playing IU today, it's good to be prepared.
Daddy David and Cayden watching their first game together.
 He's a Boiler Baby.
 Cayden got to watch his first Purdue football victory. Go Boilers!
After the game, Aunt Courtney read him his first story. A Boiler victory, a good book, and big love for little Cayden.