Saturday, November 28, 2009


Well, Thanksgiving is over and it was, indeed, a lovely gathering. I took on the role of cleaning nazi for a couple days, but then, by about 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, with everything as cleaned and prepped as it could be, I was able to get gussied up and kick back and really enjoy the rest of the day. Everyone arrived all at once at about 4:45 p.m. - about 1/2 before we sat down to eat. I was able to snap a group photo before we all sat down:

The food was fabulous. I just wish that the eating of it, and the conversation and just the whole scene around the table could last longer. It seems to be over so fast. And, due to my little quirk of never being able to eat much while entertaining, the food was really a blur. Though, I did manage to eat plenty, it went down, went by, went away -  way too fast. However, we had leftovers last night - and they were incredible!

Here's a few other photos of my table. I wanted to keep it more simple than last year, but warm and colorful. I think I got that accomplished:

And here's a little pumpkin/turkey guy that Chris put together:

Chris and Eva also made some leaves, and I hung a ribbon, and we asked everyone to write down on a leaf what they were particularly thankful for this year. Then the leaves were hung on the ribbon. We read them aloud while eating dessert (though not at exactly the same time!). Little Maggie was adorable. Eva was not feeling well and wasn't quite herself - she didn't eat much, but still seemed to enjoy herself.

I am SO thankful for my family. They mean so much to me. And my home. I love it so much and fully appreciate the gift and the blessing that it is to live here. And my country. I'm so very thankful to have been born in the time and place that I was. I think we take it for granted so often. And, yes, our country has its faults and problems, but I really do love it here.
So, fast forward to today. Now, I'm feeling sick again. I've developed a cough over the past 24 hours or so and my chest is feeling heavier by the hour. I actually had to get up in the night to take something because it was keeping me awake. Dang! And I was just enjoying feeling my energy return after being sick just a couple weeks ago. Ugh. I could go crawl onto the couch and curl up right now. In fact, I think I will.

It'll all be okay. Many blessings to you...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Time

The holidays are upon us! Hard to believe - but then I'm always saying how I can't believe whatEVER the date on the calendar is. I guess it's just a sign of how old I'm getting. You know, the whole 'time goes faster the older you get'. Well, it does. And it is.

So, here we are on the day before Thanksgiving 2009. Last Friday, Williamsport hosted its second annual holiday parade. We went last year and just about froze our complete patooties (and everything else) off. This year it was a comparatively mild 40-something degrees. What a difference. It definitely hightened our enjoyment of the parade. However, whomever organized it should be fired. The time lags between the different "legs" of the parade were unbelieveable. First, they started a half hour late. Then, when they FINALLY got under way, the first two segments went by and then there was this 1/2 hour long "show" in front of the announcers stand (which, bravo for us, we sat next to) that held everthing up even further. Um, couldn't they have done that BEFORE the parade started - like in the 1/2 hour while we were all WAITing for it to start? It was all too slow and too far apart. The only thing (besides the lovely weather) that made it worth it was Eva's enjoyment of the whole thing. And the fact that Maggie, who was quite unhappy in the restaurant, was sleeping peacefully throughout the entire horn-blowing, engine-revving, band-drumming spectacle. Here's a few pics I snapped...

Yep, love the utter glee on her face. :)

So, the cornbread is baked, the cranberry sauce is gelled and the turkey is on ice. Today is clean up day around here. I'll be re-decorating a little. The dining room table goes under cover out on the deck (because it's raining a little, not because it's pretending to be a narc) and the rental table and chairs come in. The bathroom will get shined up and the kitchen will get scrubbed up. And we'll make it all pretty for our dinner for 12 tomorrow. The dreaded chores of today WILL yield to a great family gathering time tomorrow. So, because of that, I'll suck it up and get going.

May you look around you and find endless things to be thankful for tomorrow - and everyday. And may God, the Giver of all good things, continue to richly bless you and yours.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feeling Digitally Creative

I logged on to check my email this morning and saw a new mini-digi kit from Peppermint Creative and thought to myself, "self, you haven't done a digi page since One Little Word folded up their cyber-tent." I was planning on blogging a little this a.m. anyway, so I purchased the kit and made the page below. Ah, that felt good!

As usual, I have SO many scrapbooking projects swimming around in my head. Looking at scrapbooking and mixed media art magazines before going to sleep only feeds that ever-growing ocean of ideas. It sometimes overwhelms me because, even though I don't work outside of my home, I feel I'll never live long enough to be able to get them all done. And I want to use all my pretty stuffs NOW! So I take a deep breath and remind myself that I'll do the best I can and be thankful that I will probably never enter my scraproom, sit down at my desk and go, "now what?". Sigh.

So, here's the page I made this morning. My dear friend Deborah, who shares the title of "grandma" with me (though she chooses not to use it) took the darling photo on the page.

(Page credits may be found here)

With that, I must skedaddle off of here and finish my grocery list for tomorrow as well as get back to my currant Christmas scrapping project. And, now that it's 2:30 p.m., I'm gonna eat lunch, too.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

A new visitor!

Emily brought up both girls on Friday! It was little Maggie's first visit to our house and we were so thrilled to finally have her here! She was pretty happy about it, too, as she just spent so much time looking all around at all the new surroundings. She was so alert and so happy. How fun!

The occasion was a little birthday celebration for Emily, who just turned 24 last Wednesday. I made the ice cream sandwich cake again, which is becoming a fast favorite. Here's the very simple recipe:

6 - 8 ice cream sandwiches
1 c. whipping cream
2 T. powdered sugar
candy bar of your choice, cooled and chopped roughly

Line your loaf pan with a sheet of waxed paper, with several inches hanging over each edge. Add the sugar to the whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Work quickly now! Line a loaf pan with waxed paper. Then place a layer of sandwiches on the bottom, cutting to fit as needed. Spread half the whipped cream on top. Add a second layer of sandwiches and the remaining whipped cream. Add the chopped candy bar to the top and press in slightly. Fold the waxed paper over the top and stick in the freezer for at least an hour and definitely for longer if you'd like. When it's time to serve, let sit at room temp for a few minutes. You can even (carefully!) run some tepid water along the sides of the loaf pan to loosen the ice cream from the edges. Run a knife carefully along the insides if necessary. The waxed paper should enable the ice cream to pull away from the edges. Invert the "cake" onto a plate and it will pop out of the pan. Remove the waxed paper and slice. You'll get 8 slices. YUM!

While Emily was here she handed me her camera, which is the very same kind I owned previously to my SLR, so I was able to download all her photos for her. And I found some of these gems (and many more!) among her pics:

She looks so dang cute while on her tummy holding up her (not so little) head. Just LOVE the "jowls". I could eat her up. Seriously. I can't believe she 4 months old already...

I love it when the kids used to fix Eva's hair like this. They did it when it was longer. She just looks so darling. And, well, she IS!

My two precious little granddaughters. Look how Maggie's head is almost as big as Eva's. That's the Barlow big-head for ya.
Well, today we are looking forward to a long-awaited music event happening at the Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks out in Milheim, PA (near State College). One of our new very favorite ever bands, Chicken Tractor, will be playing, along with a boatload of other similar type bands. Here's the line-up and description. It's a benefit for Penns Valley Hope Fund, a local organization that assists families facing sudden and unexpected financial and health crises (see their website at:, and the Aaronsburg Area Library. And the super-cool thing is that I actually won 2 tickets for the event. The cover charge is $10 per person, so we'll be saving twenty buckaroos! We'll have to leave church right after the song service, as this place is an hour away and you can't make reservations. And we expect it will be pretty crowded. There's about 10 of us going down. Can't wait. Should be a great time.

And, so, I better eat my breakfast and get ready for church, which is first on our agenda today! Have a blessed day...


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I can't believe my knockout rose is still blooming! In mid-November. Surely, this must be the final one. It's almost been nicer out these last couple weeks than it was most of the summer. Matthew and Martha even took their cathedral game outside on the deck to play. Lovely.

We've all been dealing with various degrees of illness for the past week. It hasn't been anything too severe, but it just keeps hanging on, morphing into something else just when you think it's about over and then going for a few more days. Oy. I'm sooooo tired of feeling like crap. I hope I didn't make a mistake (contagious-wise) by keeping a date with Emily to watch Maggie while she went to a doc's appointment. This time I was able to stay at home with the Mags so I brought my camera. Chris came down to bring me my forgotten breakfast and I got some darling shots of him with her. You can see she's quite the reader now...

What a great way to brighten my day - Maggie time! I sure hope I don't make her sick. That would be bad. Bad Gramma Jan.

I go to bed at night looking at scrapping magazines and then dreaming of all the projects and layouts I want to make. I'm almost done with my first Christmas project. But, again, my illness has slowed me down majorly this week. So, I hope I can get back to it all SOON! I'm so craving some creative time!

Okay, now I'm exhausted. Bye.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November Changes

It's a new month. Things have changed.

The time has changed. It was dark so early today. I don't think I'm ready for that yet! But I'll let it go since the days have been glorious and sunny ever since November has been ushered in. It's getting a tad chilly, too. I had to toss most of my mums. They're done. And there's leaves everywhere. I think it's about time to gather 'em up (coughcoughChriscoughcough). Before the SNOW flies! Ugh. Perish the thought. I'm definitely not ready for that!

The other big change around here is that Matthew and Martha are in da house again. This time, it's on their way out of the state as opposed to last time when it was on their way in to the state. Sigh. It's going to be really hard to see them go (back to AZ). But I'm not going to think about it now. Instead, I'll just enjoy the time we have with them until they depart in March.

I guess there was no other way to discover that AZ, not PA, is where they want to truly settle and put down their roots once and for all, than to actually move here and experience the change. They discovered that, while they do love being near family, they are truly "westerners" and not "easterners". I understand that because my family is all in the midwest and I'm not a "midwesterner". So, fine. What can I say? (I already tried "no!", but that didn't work.) They want to work towards buying a house out there. We informed them that there must be a bedroom in it for us - or a place for us to park a camper - so that when Chris retires (insert me rolling my eyes, here), we can spend the winters there. We'll see.

In other news, I'm into working on Christmas presents at the moment. I may actually get them done before Thanksgiving! What a concept! Here's a sneak peak of my current project:

It's a secret/surprise, though, so I won't give any details here. And I won't tell ya about the other projects I have planned. They'll appear here eventually - but not now. Neener neener. :P

So, Martha's concocting some fabulous veggie calzones with a whole wheat crust and feta cheese and other deeeelicious healthy stuffs. YUM! They're cooking now and we're getting ready to go and consume them. Um, that's a change I can live with! :)