Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Since we moved to Maryland Ed has been encroaching on my kitchen space. He found some loosely inhabited shelves and started putting hammers and nails in them. It has gotten out of control and I decided rather than call it 'encroachment' I should look at is as "sharing." There are plenty of shelves to go around, and since most of the things he does with these tools are for me or for the house in general, it seems good to encourage that by granting of official space. So, he now has a couple of shelves and a drawer and a half to call his own.

In addition to sorting all the loose nails, screws and other hardware, I also made a little drawer with compartments just for pliers, wire cutters and screwdrivers. I cut a few wood dividers that I jammed in with post-it note shims to give order to the drawer.

Ed is so good about fixing things immediately, that I have to be careful not to mention before dinner that something is broken. If I do, we will be eating a cold dinner!  So, thank you Ed for all you do, and here's a drawer especially for you!

Necklace Holder

I love necklaces, and have a lot of them. I have a nice jewelry box (seen to the left under the lamp) where I store them. The sides of the jewelry box swing open to reveal 2 rows of five hooks on each side. This is nice, but it is dark and hard to see the necklace when I'm getting dressed in the morning. I needed more storage, and came up with an new idea for easier access without looking messy.

I bought two 16 x 20 inch shadow boxes at Hobby lobby. They have glass doors with magnetic closures. I put a matted picture in the glass, and screwed hooks inside.

Voila! More necklace storage space! I put a row of 10 hooks in the middle and one row of 9 hooks on the top. That way they are staggered and the top necklaces can hang lower without covering the hooks below them. Ed put a little bead on the door to help open the door and mounted the boxes firmly on the wall so they won't wiggle when the door is open. I'm feeling pretty clever today!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Banjo by the Fire

Karen came over to play the banjo with me yesterday. She's my friend from Common Ground music camp. It was fun to catch up on each other's lives as well as play some music together. I realize how much I have missed playing banjo tunes all the time. Since I've started taking guitar lessons my banjo languishes in the corner much of the time. I love the banjo. We had a good time going over some tunes we learned together, as well as some new ones. We're hoping to to this on a semi-regular basis. She'd like to play the banjo in church worship services. So would I! I imagine if that happened it wouldn't be in an LDS service!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Sloppy Perfectionist

What's wrong with my new necklace? It took me two days to notice. I'm a haphazard perfectionist. I never considered myself a perfectionist because of my slap-dash way of throwing things together. But, occasionally I have been accused of being too picky about details. I have been surprised by this accusation. I am not a perfectionist!

But, on the other hand, can I continue to wear my new necklace after I found out two of the beads don't match? The third and forth turquoise beads down on the right hand side are flat!  The rest are round! You'd think I might have noticed it when I made the necklace! Now, I realize nobody will really notice it, as nobody really stares at your jewelry that closely, but I feel obligated to fix it now because I know it is wrong. But I am not a perfectionist! A true perfectionist would have done it right the first time!

Ravens Walk

Ed and I took a nice long walk along the fire road on Saturday, all decked out in our Ravens gear. Ed was worried that we might not be warm enough, as the temperature was just in the high 30's, but we warmed up nicely after we climbed a couple of hills. It was apparently lucky for the Ravens, as they won the AFC conference championship last night. I guess we'll live to wear purple one more time this season!

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Helen's Bead-Day

Helen had a birthday this week, and celebrated by inviting a few friends over to make necklaces with her. Traci made her a watermelon cake!

We moved the party to the Bush basement, as Helen's kids had been sick this week. It was convenient for Amanda and me, but Helen had to bring over boxes of all her beads.

I did a nice turquoise and tan bead necklace with matching earrings and enjoyed watching what creations everyone else came up with.

Just before midnight we finished up and took a picture of ourselves in our new jewelry. I wonder if a few husbands weren't home wondering what happened to their wives! It was a good opportunity for me to visit with the younger mothers. I learned a few things about potty training! (Mostly that I'm glad I'm not into it anymore!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pink Sky in Morning

I couldn't resist snapping a picture of our pink sunrise today. It was just like cotton candy! We're having lovely weather, with a light, mysterious fog all day yesterday. I feel sorry for our friends in Colorado in Utah. It's been so cold there! We hear you're sending it our way.....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Big Game

We watched the Broncos/Ravens game yesterday. We felt like it was a win/win situation for us. We're Ravens fans, but haven't stopped being Bronco fans despite our 3 years (almost)  in Maryland.

With the score tied 28-28 at halftime, it seemed like our teams both loved us. We took a break to celebrate Amanda's birthday with some leftover birthday cake! Coda did NOT get a piece, although it looks like she wants one.

Miss Carol took a great risk in watching the game with us. We told her if things looked bad for the Ravens we were going upstairs to change into our Broncos gear. Fortunately for her, that never happened. The Ravens will live to play another play-off game! And I will get to wear my team sweat shirt again next week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Horses and Hounds

It's nice to be back to normal after a hectic (but very fun) holidays.  I've been helping out with the horses the past few days. Here I am letting Bali in for dinner. She hates having her picture taken, but she likes her oats enough that she just put up with it till I opened the gate.

Suzanne and I walked the dogs in the morning three days this week. I was super excited because we finally found the "northwest passage." It is a way out of the woods by the cemetery so we don't have to retrace our steps on the way back home. I've been looking for it for months now. Hopefully, we'll be able to use it even in the spring and summer when the vegetation fills in again.

I took a video of Harper and Coda running in the woods. I've been keeping Coda on leash most of the time, as she has a bad habit of chasing a random deer when I least expect it. It is fun watching the dogs run. Harper, for one is like the Energizer bunny. It seems unlikely that she'll ever slow down.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Goodbye Family, Goodbye Christmas!

Crystal, Brittany, John and Abby all left for Salt Lake City this morning. I told Ed I'd drive to the airport with him, but sadly, there was no room for me after we packed all the bags in the car! So, I kissed them goodbye and went back to bed, (It was 5:30 a.m., after all!)

Ed and I cleaned up Christmas today. As wonderful as it is having the house all decorated for the holidays, it is always equally wonderful to put everything away in the basement. The house looks so clean and crisp now!

Coda was also glad to have things back to normal. After we cleared away the boxes and trees, she returned to her perch on the back of the couch, watching for errant deer in our backyard. She, like us, likes to have order in her world!

Last Night

We split up yesterday. Ed went to work, Abby was in DC, Brittany and John went to Harper's Ferry, Crystal and I went shopping (returning) and Amanda stayed home. We had planned on going out to dinner, but we just wanted to be home together, so we ordered pizza and played Farkle and Set together. As you can see from this picture, team Abby/Amanda was victorious, fending off a last minute assault by Brittany.

What a great vacation we had! Now I need a few days of doing nothing to rest up from it!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Baltimore Tour

We started out our day in Baltimore yesterday with a visit to Ft. McHenry. It was cold outside, but we enjoyed the visitors center, despite the fact that the movie wasn't working and we had to watch it on a small TV.

We had lunch at the Lexington Market to get the full Baltimore experience. Note to self: Find a friend to share lunch with next time. It was way too much food!

We stopped by the Walters Art Museum for a few hours. The Dutch rooms are so beautiful.

John found his long lost twin among the Greek Statues. He pointed out that Greeks were all about physical perfection. Hmmm....

Later, we dropped Abby off at Penn Station so she could catch the train to DC. We got home in time for handbell choir, which Brittany and Amanda were able to attend with me as substitutes  We have one more day together. Maybe we'll do nothing at all!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything

We started the day yesterday with my favorite thing, walking the fire road. Poor Coda hadn't been on a walk for two weeks!

We wanted to show Abby how beautiful it is out east. Since she is going to be looking for a job after graduation this summer, we're hoping she chooses to come to the DC area to work.

Amanda, Brittany and Crystal had one more song to record, so we left them home at work while I showed Abby and John beautiful downtown Sykesville. That took about 10 minutes.

We had plenty of time to stop by for a tour of Liberty Dam. Afterwards we came home and recorded Abby singing a Norwegian Christmas carol for our CD.
No visit to Maryland would be complete without stopping at Cold Saturday farm to see the horses and visit with Miss Carol. Abby, it turns out, is a pro with horses, having spent some time wrangling them during summers at Badger Creek.

We had just enough time left in the day to use our Groupon and visit the Symphony of Lights in Columbia. We enjoyed driving through the beautiful light displays and listening to Christmas music.

I took a video of the girls while they were recording What Child is This?  for next year's Christmas CD. I wonder if this will be our last CD. Crystal is starting her new job in Denver in a few weeks, and who knows what next year holds in store for us. In the meantime, watching this video over and over might keep me happy remembering the good times we had making music together as a family.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

More Recording

We slept late and then got up to finish recording a few more songs. We were happy to be able to include Abby on Plant a Santa, which features Ed and Crystal on the vocals. Abby played the shaker like a pro!

It was nice to have Abby here to take some behind the scenes pictures of Whistling Prairie at work. We wore our matching sweatshirts.

Abby also took some publicity shots for next year's album. This was not the winner, but showed that we didn't all get the same vision at the same time! Photos, like music are sometimes hard to get in sync!

New Year's Eve

We were fortunate to have my niece Abby come all the way from Colorado just in time to celebrate the New Year with us! She was fortunate to get here in time to help us get ready for our game night extravaganza!

Abby brought some pretty good Foosball skills with her, propelling her right into the finals with Amanda.
In a strange twist of events, Amanda, despite being only able to walk on one leg, won Foosball, pool (defeating John) and also placed well in ping pong!
Amy came out victorious after playing Zack in an exciting Mario Cart finals.

Amy also did well in ping pong, finally succumbing to Ross's spin ball, coupled with years of experience.

Celeste defeated Cory in the every popular game of pure luck, Dead Man's Dice.

Suzanne and Ify had perfected the star toss by the end of the evening, with Suzanne withstanding the pressure of the finals to take it all!

And in the ultimate game of skill, determination and concentration, Ants in the Pants, John defeated Zack as the hushed crowd watched in awe.

As midnight rolled around we stopped to celebrate with the rest of the East Coast as the ball dropped in Times Square. By the time we went to bed after 2 a.m. we had two thoughts: "Can you Believe it's 2013?" and "I never want to stay up this late again!"