Friday, November 30, 2007

Grandma's Christmas Stockings

Grandma and Grandpa and Me. I am glad that I now weigh 15 pounds so Grandma couldn't possibly stick me in one of those stockings hanging on the banister rail. Actually Grandma was really nice to me. While Grandpa held me Grandma let me use her finger as a lollipop. Hmmmmmm----very tasty!
I just love sticking things in my mouth. I can almost put my whole hand in my mouth. I also like to stick my little stuffed monkey in my mouth.

Marine Corps Ball November 10

These are photos of our daughter Jeanine at the Marine Corps Ball in Washington D.C. Jeanine is the girl in the the vivid blue dress standing next to the Marine Corps birthday cake. Jeanine attended the ball with six of her classmates from American University who are also in the Public Affairs Masters Program at American University in Washington D.C.

Jeanine had fun dressing up for the event. It was deja vu for Jeanine for she wore the dress she wore to the Hayfield Secondary prom her junior year in high school in 1997. Jack and I were duly impressed that she could still fit into the dress after ten years! From these photos it looks like the gang of girls had fun at the Marine Ball. Semper Fi!

Little Slugger Learns to Sit Up

Mommy puts me on the floor to practice my sit ups. I can sit for a second or two after Mommy gets me into the sitting position with my legs spread outward. Learning to sit is a lot of work but I'm beginning to get the hang of it. Grandma calls this Slugger Sit Up Practice.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grandpa's Little Ho Ho Ho Boy

Jack Aidan is sitting in the baby rocker that belonged to his maternal great grandmother, Theresa Gariety, who was born in 1902. That rocker is a true antique! A lot of Garietys have rocked in this chair and now Baby Jack is learning to rock in the chair. Go Jack. You rock!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Is A Coming!

Jack Aidan came this afternoon to check out the Christmas decorations in our home.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Did You Survive Thanksgiving Weekend?

Thanksgiving is over. The marathon of cooking and eating is behind us now. Did you survive the marathon? We did. We also survived some very strange weather on Thanksgiving Day. First it was unseasonably warm---in the high 70's. Then mid afternoon the wind started blowing really hard and many of the fall leaves came tumbling down. The weeping cherry tree in the side yard lost its top leaves but kept the leaves on the lower branches. And our beautiful red burning bushes lost all their leaves! The Bradford pear trees and the Japanese maple still have their leaves. After the wind came the colder weather from the Midwest. Jack and I are glad that we raked up leaves before the holiday. Of course we will have more to rake after the rest of the trees lose their leaves. It is interesting how in one metropolitan area like northern Virginia there are so many micro climates. We had the opportunity this weekend to drive along the George Washington Memorial Highway south of Alexandria and we noticed that the trees along the Potomac River were at their peak of color. What a beautiful sight. Later the same day we drove along the Fairfax County Parkway and all the trees were bare except for the brown leaves of the tall oak trees. These oak trees will hold on to their leaves till spring comes in March.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

See Baby Jack's Little Hands

See Baby Jack's little hands.
Those little hands surprised me Saturday afternoon when Jack and I went to visit our darling grandson and his Mom and Dad. Alright, we both admit it. We were both suffering from baby withdrawal since we spent a whole week without our little guy due to the fact that Jack Aidan spent Thanksgiving Week on the Cape. So soon as we could we hightailed it to Baby Jack's house. Then when I grabbed my little baby he gave me a happy smile and proceeded to grab my eyeglasses right off my nose and was ready to drop them on the floor. Wow, what a surprise! When I gained my senses I held Jack with one arm and grabbed my glasses in midair. Just in time to avoid having a pair of broken glasses. So let me just say that those little hands are not only cute but fast.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How Do You Handle The Holiday Rush?

Well, the official holiday rush begins with Thanksgiving. Every woman responsible for a Thanksgiving dinner is preparing her food shopping list and even checking it twice before heading to the store. Tomorrow we get our turkey and the various other food items. In the past several years I have started a new tradition for the holidays. I decorate the home for Christmas the week before Thanksgiving. Why not. Every store and shopping center in the nation is decorated so why not get into the mood early by decorating early. I actually got in the mood in September in Disneyworld when I saw all the lights going up in MGM Studios. I don't know why I didn't think of this when I was working fulltime. Cooking the turkey dinner on Thursday, shopping on black Friday and decorating the house on Saturday and Sunday always left me exhausted and cranky on Monday morning.This is my new schedule for beginning the holiday season.

I decorate the house the weekend before Thanksgiving while thinking and planning my Thanksgiving menu. Thanksgiving week goes like this: Monday bring home all the groceries and the guest of honor, the turkey. Tuesday start preparing some dishes ahead of time and make my pie dough. Wednesday do more cooking and bake the pies and pumpkin bread and cornbread. Thursday we watch Macys' Thanksgiving Day Parade while preparing the meal. Friday we eat leftovers. Don't ask me why because I can't explain it but to me everything tastes better reheated in the microwave on Friday. When not eating on Friday we are usually working on our Christmas cards while listening to Christmas carols on the stereo. This is a great day to address and sign them and begin your holiday letter if you include one in your card. You can get a lot done in one day and then you can mail them early to everyone on your holiday list. Experience taught me this. One year I was sending out cards after Christmas! Bummer. I've also learned over time to avoid shopping on Black Friday. Too many cars on the road, no place to park at the mall and too many people in the checkout lines can kill your Christmas spirit. Another great thing to do on Black Friday is bake a batch of Christmas cookies. The kids in the family will enjoy doing this with you and you can eat them or freeze them for later. As for the Christmas shopping.....early Sunday mornings seems to be a good time to do it. Of course, we don't buy much these days. As your children get older they really do appreciate getting money for Christmas and then going out to buy what they really want. And my husband and I buy each other the strangest things for Christmas. One year we bought a snowblower. Another year we bought picture frames. You get the picture. We opt for practical gifts and we don't need surprises at our age. If anyone has some good ideas for handling the holiday rush, please leave me a comment. And have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

English Cottage Pie

Most folks have heard of or tasted or made an Irish shepherd's pie. Well, for English Cottage Pie instead of using browned ground beef you use leftover beef roast. Sandra told us that the English tradition is to serve roast beef and root vegetables for Sunday dinner. Then Monday which was traditionally wash day you took the leftover Sunday roast dinner to make an easy supper for laborious wash day. Sandra's version of this traditional dish went something like this:
English Cottage Pie
Layer in a baking casserole shredded roast beef.
Place cooked vegetables over the meat.
Sandra had sauteed onions.
Then a layer of mashed cooked carrots which give great fall color.
Then well seasoned mashed potatoes on top.
Sandra used a fork to make a design in the potatoes.
Bake casserole till it is well heated thru. (At 350 degrees for 45 minutes)
Serve the pie with reheated beef gravy from the Sunday dinner.

Grandma's House

Take A Look Below
Mommy took me to Grandma's house Monday. See my souvenir bib from New Jersey. That says it all. Grandpa is the best thing at Grandma's house. Grandpa gives me rides on his knees and upswings in the air. And he takes me for strolls around the house to view the fall trees and birds outside. He reads me stories. He is learning to be a great grandpa. I like him a lot. Sometimes he calls me his little slugger because I like to wear baseball uniforms. In the bottom photo I am wearing my brand new sweatshirt from Gene and Sandra Barr. It has Valley Forge written on the front. The sweatshirt is a little big which means two things: I can layer it over other shirts for winter and I won't outgrow it next week.

Now grandma is another story. Last week she tried to stick me in a pumpkin for Halloween. I hope she doesn't make me ride a turkey for Thanksgiving or stick me in a Christmas stocking for Christmas. You never know with Grandma. She has already labeled me her Thing One from Cat in the Hat.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Jersey Weekend-The Epilogue

Believe it or not we actually had time this weekend to drive by some famous places in the city of Philadelphia. Top photo is the childhood home of Grace Kelly who became the Princess of Monaco. You can see the white front door thru the trees. It was a very traditional house with a big lawn. I learned that the Kelly family still owns the house. And yes, in Philly there is a Kelly Avenue. Gene showed us his childhood row house in Philly and the Roman Catholic High School he graduated from in 1964. Gee, time does fly. Gene's high school was the first Catholic High School in the city of Philadelphia. It was founded in the 1880's. We waved to William Penn on his city perch as we were coming and going to the Ben Franklin Bridge that takes you across the Delaware River to New Jersey. We learned that at one time no building could be taller than the building holding Penn at the top. Similar to Washington D.C. in that no building downtown can be taller than the Washington Monument. But in Philly that rule was overruled because now there is quite a skyline of skyscrapers. And a new skyscraper is going up. It will be the Com cast Building. And every city has its native sons. For Philly it is Ben Franklin and William Penn. I guess the native daughter would be Betsy Ross. Hm mm....I should someday do a blog about that! And as we drove down #95 towards home we could see the Philly Sports Complex which includes the stadium where the Eagles play. Yesterday the Eagles beat the Redskins! The second photo is a pic of my favorite dish of the weekend. Portabelo mushrooms in Stilton cream sauce in puff pastry. I think I could have downed at least five of those appetizers! Sandra is such a great cook. She could put Martha Stewart to shame because she does not have a staff of 100's to help her. She does it all herself from finding these delicious recipes to shopping for the special ingredients to preparing all the food from scratch. Sandra also creates lists and prepares much of the food in advance so she can spend time with her guests. Harry, the yellow cat in the previous blog, knows Sandra's entertaining routines so he is always sitting by the door to the fridge or by the door to the crimson dining room.
I had to coax Harry to the bay window to have his photo taken. Obviously he wasn't interested in this activity and refused to pose for my camera. Each time we crossed the bridge and entered PA we had to pay a road toll.
Each time we crossed back over the bridge to NJ we didn't have to pay a road toll. Apparently the local insiders' joke is this: You have to pay a toll to leave the state of New Jersey.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Harry Please Look At The Camera!

Harry, please look at the camera!

Photos of Smithville

Photos of Victorian Pittman Grove

Photos of Valley Forge National Monument

Gene and Sandra: Incredible Hosts

Weekend Luncheons

Twin Bays Cafe in Phoenixville
Asian Pork Wrap With Salad
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Old Smithville Inn in Smithville
Italian Style Primerib
Mashed Potatoes
Lettuce Salad
Glass of Red Wine

A Weekend of Gourmet Meals

Thursday Night
Swiss Raclette Dinner Cooked At Table
(Over 25 meats, cheeses, veggies, pickled relishes cooked by a raclette)
Raspberry Sherry Trifle
Hazelnut Coffee
Friday Morning
Warm Croissants, Toasted Pumpkin Bread, Assorted Jellies
Orange Juice and Coffee
Friday Night
Sauteed Portobellos With Stilton Creme in Puff Pastry
English Cottage Pie With Gravy
Brussels Sprouts With Smoked Apple Bacon
Apple Walnut English Toffee Pudding With Creme Anglaise
Saturday Morning
Toasted Wegman Bagels With Three Cream Cheeses
(Smoked Salmon, Strawberry and Chive)
Saturday Night
5-Course Dinner For Six
Zucchini Vichyssoise
Trio of Lasagnas
(Turkey Marinara, 5 Cheese & Smoked Ham, Wild Mushroom)
Baracciole With Garlic Beans and Roasted New Potatoes
Tiramisu and Coffee
Sunday Brunch
Roasted Fresh Pineapple With Yogurt and Oatmeal Flakes
Baked Gratin
(Leeks, Onions, Bacon and St. Andre Cheese)
Warm Rhubarb Cobbler
Red Fruit Juice

Weekend Roadtrip to NJ

We went to New Jersey this weekend to visit with old friends. What a wonderful time we had. I will be posting several blogs about this weekend. This blog will be the prologue. Both going and returning we had wonderful weather. Normally the fall foliage display peaks around the second week of October. This year because of the warm dry fall it seems like the foliage peaked this weekend which was great for our roadtrip to the pine barrens of New Jersey. We took route 15 north thru VA and Maryland and switched to Maryland state route 30 in Thurmont which is in the Catoctin Mountains near Camp David. We stopped at the Cozy Restaurant and Inn in Thurmont to visit the very small but informative Camp David Museum. We stopped again in Lancaster, PA to have lunch and to take a look at the Central Market where Amish and Mennonite farmers sell their produce. Our New Jersey hosts took us to see Valley Forge on Friday and
the historic New Jersey towns of Pittman Grove and Smithville on Saturday. Today the weather was beautiful and the fall foliage was gorgeous as we headed home down interstate 95. Now 200 miles and 4 hours later we are back home in Haymarket.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Wedding Anniversary

November 5, 2005 Jennifer and Terry exchanged their wedding vows in the Wedding Pavilion at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. Happy Second Wedding Anniversary! What a great day. What a great couple. And what a wonderful family you have become with Baby Jack.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Viola Gariety Luthman

Viola Gariety Luthman was born on November 2, 1905. This is my father's sister. This week she celebrated her 102'nd birthday! Happy Birthday, Aunt Viola! I love this sepia photo of Aunt Viola as a young flapper girl of the 1920's. On May 4, 1927 Aunt Viola married Wilbur Luthman. Aunt Viola and Uncle Wilbur had 12 children: Irene, Ruth, Rita, Wilbur,Eileen, Kenneth, Mary Jane, Norma Jean, Robert, Alvin, Carol Ann and Larry.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Baby Photographer

I know this woman. She is the baby photographer. She is always snapping my picture. I like her. She is my mommy. Doesn't she have pretty hair? I'm learning to grab that hair with my two hands. I'm getting pretty good at it too. Britney, that's how you can handle the paparazzi.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Must Be Over

QUESTION: What do animals think on November 1'st?

ANSWER: Halloween must be over because folks are giving us their used pumpkins.