Saturday, March 31, 2012

Heads Carolina II

On Friday, we headed to North Carolina to pack up David and Shylah and move them to Ohio. We got a bit later start than we had planned (hard to believe, I know), so it was mid morning when we crossed the Ohio River.

Although some of us wanted to stop for breakfast, we made our first stop for gas and a quick lunch at Subway. The driver rules. We also needed to charge up our computer and purchase an inverter to plug in to on the road. First world problems, you know. We saw gas priced from 3.69 to 4.20 on the way.

Another bridge.

My traveling companions. Jonathan...


and Shylah's dad, Don. And yes, they all had their computers out during the trip.

Another bridge.

Jon was busy trying to resolve shipping issues for Stewart Seeds. The warm weather has made all the farmers ready to have their seed delivered right now.

West Virginia state capitol building in Charleston, WV.

Fortunately, we had blue skies most of the way. It really is a pretty drive.

Toll booth on the West Virginia turnpike.

It is always fun to go through a tunnel, and to think about what it took to build it. Sure beats going over the mountain..

This photo is for my friend Sarah.

Another tunnel.

Inside the tunnel, dirty windshield and all.

Coming out of the tunnel.

A railroad bridge.

Finally in North Carolina! Jonathan decided he will take a picture of me every time I take a picture of him. He might start his own blog called Hahaha.

Beautiful mountains.

Jon says that's Pilot Mountain there in the distance.

He says it got its name because it was used as a landmark to guide settlers on their journey. Amazing what you can learn from your phone while you're driving through the mountains. I also looked it up, and learned that the Saura Indians knew the mountain as Jomeokee, or 'Pilot' or 'Great Guide.' The town of Pilot Mountain is home to Pilot Mountain State Park, and is best recognized as 'Mt. Pilot' from the Andy Griffith Show. You are welcome for that interesting fun fact.

When we got to Durham, we met David and Shylah for dinner at, where else, B-dubs. Their favorite.

Probably their last time at this one for a while! Luckily, they have B-dubs in Dayton.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mad About the Hodgepodge

A quick Wednesday Hodgepodge, then I'm off to meet with Jennifer for lunch and some wedding planning. We are a month away from the big day, and I'm beginning to get a little stressed. And I know that's desserts spelled backwards, but I gave them up for Lent. Maybe I should have given up being stressed instead!

Be sure to pay Joyce a visit at From This Side of the Pond, and check out the other Hodgepodge participants too!

1. What's the last job you did that required elbow grease?
Cleaning the horse stall? I did that yesterday, and I don't know if it was elbow grease I was using, but there was a bit of an odor to it. Ha! I would imagine I will get the opportunity to use some elbow grease this weekend when we head to North Carolina to move my son and daughter-in-law out of their house to their new one in Ohio. Wish I could wave my magic wand and have it be done!

2. March Madness, aka the men's Division I basketball championship, is nearing an end. What sort of 'madness' has your house seen this month?
We started out the month with a lovely bridal shower for daughter Jennifer, then had these two cuties with us for a whole week. A blessed madness.

But the main kind of March Madness in this family, is the traditional basketball kind, complete with a family bracket challenge.
Son Jonathan tweeted after the last round of games:
"in a family full of fanatics looks like @stewzoo is gonna be the champ." 
That's me, and at the moment, I'm #winning.
Look at me on top of the leader board above my boys and my husband. So proud. :)

3. What's your favorite shop for browsing?
I love to look around in Home Goods. So many neat things to see. Jennifer and I once spent two hours just browsing. I think I may need to make a trip there soon. Isn't this a lovely Easter table?

4. Is there ever a time when giving up makes sense?

5. What's a song you love that contains the name of a city, state or country in its title?
The first one that came to my mind was Heads Carolina Tails California, recorded by Jo Dee Messina, but there are sooo many great ones. Callin' Baton Rouge, by Garth Brooks, Amarillo by Morning, by George Strait, and I can't leave out John Denver's Starwood in Aspen. Love him. I guess country singers like to sing about real places.

6. When did you first begin using a computer?
Isn't it funny how it's hard to remember ever not using a computer? I guess we got our first one when our kids were little... so maybe early 90s? We got it for them, really. Remember Oregon Trail? They loved that game.

7. Did you buy girl scout cookies this year? What's your favorite?
I did not buy any this year. I have found that a whole box of GS cookies can disappear just about as fast as you can open a sleeve of thin mints. I decided to avoid the temptation. My favorites? The delicious Samoas. And did you know that Keebler makes a very similar cookie available in the grocery store year round? Well they do. I know these things.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Last weekend we made a quick trip to the lake, and ate dinner at one of our favorite places in Nashville, Indiana. Now there's a great place to browse. This shop was closed, but they leave all sorts of pretty flowers and containers out on the sidewalk for all to enjoy.

Such a cute little pig.

It made me want to plant pansies at the lake house.

Jim said the deer would probably like them even better then the impatiens we planted last year.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Texas Boys

I made a quick trip to the airport today to take nephews Kevin, Brian, and Connor for their flight back to Texas. We were glad to have them here for a visit with Grandma and Grandpa and the rest of their Greensburg family.

I took a photo of them with Grandma and Grandpa before we left for the airport. Grandma and Grandpa celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last week. Wow! Grandpa says their secret to a long marriage is faith in God and in each other. Grandma says it's listening to the same joke over and over and over. I imagine it is a little of both. Actually, 70 years is a lot of both. They are a blessing to all of us.

Crossing the bridge into Kentucky. Yes, I know I have a very dirty windshield.

Connor took a rest on the curb while his dad and Uncle Kevin got the luggage out.

All ready to go! They will be back at DFW by this afternoon.

And I'm back home again in Indiana. And my windshield doesn't look so bad from the opposite direction!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring for the Hodgepodge

It's springtime on Wednesday, and time for a little Hodgepodge. Enjoy my answers, then click on over to visit Joyce, our hostess, and the other participants.

1. The first day of spring is you enjoy working in the yard? Weeding, raking, mowing, planting-your favorite springtime garden chore? How about your least favorite?
Well let's see now... no. And no, no, no, and no. I don't think I can have a least favorite when I don't have a most favorite. I love beautiful flowers, but I'm just not very good at making it happen. The impatiens we planted at the lake last year were doing well until they all got eaten off by deer. Oh well.

2. What puts a spring in your step?
A beautiful day, great music, the kids coming home, a team victory...

3. Describe a time when you had to spring into action?
Any time company is coming!

4. We're having carrots for dinner...would you prefer yours raw or cooked?
Carrot Souffle! It's the best way to eat carrots, and I'm sharing the recipe. You will love it!
1 lb. baby carrots
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 T. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
salt to taste
Cook carrots in salted water until tender. Drain well. In blender, put eggs, melted butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Blend well. Add carrots and blend well until mixture resembles milk shake. Pour into greased 8x8 glass dish. Bake at 275 for 45 minutes. (Allow more time if you double the recipe.)

5. Do you take the shampoos and other sundries from your hotel room when its time to check out?
I sometimes take them, if it's something I like. My husband usually brings them back from his business trips and we send them with the mission trips to Haiti and other places that might need them.

6. What's the most enjoyable team or club you've belonged to and what was it that made it so?
I have been part of the P.E.O. Sisterhood since 1985, and have enjoyed sharing with women of all ages in an effort to support women, education, and the close bond of sisterhood.
 P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate
the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College; and
motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.

Last week, my sister-in-law hosted the meeting at her house. One of the members gave an interesting program about herbs. I always learn things from my P.E.O. sisters. 

Janet had a beautiful arrangement for her centerpiece. That should put you in a spring mood!

It's always fun to set a pretty table.

Of course, a delicious dessert makes for a nice afternoon too!

 7. Is cloning a sign of progress?
Hmmm, I would like to clone my little dog, and my good ol' horse, but I don't really think it's a good idea for humans.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
In keeping with the spring theme...

I took these photos on Sunday, the 18th of March. It is unusual to have everything in full bloom this early in Indiana, but just beautiful to enjoy. I think spring has officially arrived. I just hope winter doesn't decide to make an appearance after all!

Our little town boasts of the "World Famous Tower Tree" which grows on our courthouse tower. Most folks around here just take it for granted, and give it barely a look while in the downtown area. It's always fun to see a group pile out of their car to look up and take pictures of the little tree.
The local joke is: Do you know how the tree gets its water??
From the spring in the clock. Haha. Get it? The spring in the clock?

Finally, look who has sprung (barely) to the top of the leader board in our family bracket challenge. I may not be there for long, but I'll enjoy my view from the top while it lasts! #marchmadness

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stew to the Zoo

We went to the zoo today to celebrate spring break and 85 degrees on March 20 in Indiana! Wow. Crazy kind of beautiful weather we are having here.

Haleigh took a little nap on the way, so she would be ready to go when we got there.

Matthew, Haleigh, and Ella all ready for a big day at the zoo.

We started out in the Waters building, and had fun at the shark touch exhibit.

We stopped to check out the sea lions.

And Haleigh took a good look at the penguins.

The polar bear was thinking it was still hibernation season.

Darci and the kids all ready for the dolphin show. Haleigh kept saying, "jump!"

A little snack after the show.

Matthew stopped to take a look at the map.

He showed us where we were, and where we were headed next. He loves maps.

The hyacinths smelled sooooo good, and were in full bloom.

These guys greeted us out in the Plains area.

Fabulous sunglasses, dah-ling!

We liked how this giraffe had to spread his legs out to get to the grass.

This one was heading for the hay bag that was hanging in the tree.

Matthew and the giraffes.

We tried to make it look like Matthew was holding the stork.

The cheetahs weren't doing any racing today,

but we took Matthew's picture with Tony Stewart in the winner's circle anyway.

It was fun to see the baby elephant Kalina, with her mom Kubwa. So cute.

We took a break to enjoy the lunch we packed.

Haleigh loves to use her fork.

Ella was hungry too.

After lunch we went back in and visited the Forest exhibit. The tiger was taking a little walk.

And it was cool to see him so close... and thankfully, behind the glass.

The trees and flowers were beautiful.

I'm not sure why I should care about bats, and I still don't want them in my lake house, but we did go in to see the bat exhibit.

I sure don't want to meet a bat as big as Matthew. Not. At. All.

I didn't even really want to take this picture of them all huddled in the corner. Eww.

We got out of the bat house and moved on to see the cute furry bear playing in the water. Cute little teddy bear. Way cuter than the bats.

Moving right along, and headed for the Desert exhibit.

Matthew stopped to take a look at the flamingos and the turtles sunning themselves on a log.

In the Desert, we enjoyed the Grand Cayman iguana, since we are familiar with the famous iguanas living in the parking lot at Villas of the Galleon. I guess if we couldn't be on the beach this week, this was the next best thing. Well, maybe not exactly.

He was hiding behind a rock, and we didn't think he was going to come out, but lo and behold he came walking right toward us.

We think he might be King Tut's cousin.

Ella finally decided she needed a tiny little nap. Not sure this looks very comfortable though.

We made another quick stop at the shark touch tank. Matthew knows the rule about touching with two fingers only.

I think he was explaining it to Haleigh. Or sharing some other interesting shark facts.

The polar bear made one quick pass in the water before going back up to his rock. I didn't get his picture, but these two were hoping he would take another dip.

Haleigh finished the trip to the zoo in the same way she started it, with a little snooze on the way home.