Friday, August 17, 2012

All Hail the Birthday Princess

I have 4 nephews and 2 nieces, all of whom I adore!  I haven't gotten to see Ryder or Maddex (my oldest sister Holly's boys) in a couple of years because they moved to Colorado, but they are adorable!  I used to see Micah (my brother Josh's son and the oldest nephew) and Colton (my sister Jen's son) fairly often, as they lived in Texas when I did.  I can't believe how big they are both getting!  Jen had her daughter, Riley, only about 4 months before I got married and moved away, so I've only gotten to see her a handful of times, but she is such a sweetie and looks like her mama.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We CAN Do It!

An Experiment with Canning Fresh Produce

Robert and I were lucky enough to house sit for the Fosters again last week.  We did the standard water the plants, feed the dogs, get the mail and keep the place tidy.  It’s a nice break from the “micro urban” surroundings of Champaign, and we get to relax in the country.  I got some writing done, had quiet runs down the country roads, and as payment for our “work,” they let us take home about 3 pounds of banana peppers, 5 pounds of huge tomatoes, about 3 gallon size bags of blackberries, and 2 bell peppers. 

It’s wonderful having fresh from the garden produce.  Robert’s mom has a large garden she harvests for months, and growing up, my mother and grandmother both gardened a great deal, so we both are used to the privilege of growing and eating our own fruits and veggies.  Weeding the garden, no problem.  Picking the produce, no problem.  Processing the produce… new experience.  We decided we wanted to can some of the tomatoes, pickle some of the banana peppers, process the blackberries and make salsa.  Lots to do.  Lots to learn.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Bucket List

So Much to Do, So Little Time

I have a lot of respect for accomplished people; people who have set goals and achieved them.  Examples? People who can speak multiple languages, are experts at certain hobbies, have mastered musical instruments, have several degrees or have accomplished feats of physical strength and endurance.  Yes, Olympic athletes come to mind.  My talented husband also comes to mind.  He is very musically talented (piano, guitar, trombone in high school, a little bass, drums and is teaching himself banjo), and  he is getting his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.  Smarty pants.  We both speak some Spanish, but we’re getting rusty.  I have accomplished cousins, uncles, friends and acquaintances. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Windy City

A few weeks ago I felt like a city mouse in the country.  This past weekend, I felt just the opposite.  Robert and I had our first REAL trip to the wonderful city of Chicago.  The first couple of times we had been there were just trips to and from O’Hare airport, so it didn’t really count since all we really saw of the city was the skyline, my friends’ apartment and inside the airport.  This time, however, we had a great opportunity to really get to know the city.  And we loved it.

We decided it would be good for me to drive there, since Robert had driven there twice before, and I never had.  It wasn’t really any different from driving in say, Houston or Dallas, except that I had no clue where I was most of the time.  We took the long way to our friends’ apartment so that we could see more of the city.  It was a gorgeous day: sunny, 75 degrees and breezy.  We saw the magnificent architecture, shopping centers, the river walk, the lovely aqua blue water and beaches of Lake Michigan and the colorful mix of people from all over the world walking the streets.  Our first impression of the city was a good one.