Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter and Spring

Can you tell what is going on in this picture? If you guessed Judy taking the garbage out Wednesday morning you'd be correct! The cans are light enough that you can roll one on with each hand as you take them up the driveway. I thought it made a pretty picture in the snow.
To make a nice contrast, I took a picture of this pretty (and aromatic) hyacinth my friend, Karen gave me. We had our banjo afternoon yesterday, and hadn't seen each other for a few months. In between some good chatting we played Christmas Breakdown, the song we chose for the month of December. Better late than never!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Easy as Pie!

I decided to try out my new pie rolling mat on Saturday. It worked great, but did not contain the mess to a small area, as you can see. Since I took the pie crust lesson in Relief Society last fall, I thought I should hone my skills.

We had Ed's friends from work, Stan and Dana over for dinner. They were guinea pigs for my new mini home-made pot pie recipe. The crust was just right, but I need to keep on refining the filling. We had broccoli, carrots and chicken in a poultry gravy. It was good, but needed that secret something to make it great!

We were lucky to have enough leftovers to do it again on Sunday. We invited the Sheppards over, reheated some pies and did it again! The second time it really was easy as pie!

Friday, January 24, 2014

June Auto Do It

June came early for band yesterday for an autoharp lesson. I taught her everything I know in one easy lesson. She took to it like a fish to water. With her beautiful voice she's now got the whole package!

Helen got her inner clave on again with our new song, Day-O (The Banana Boat Song). Unfortunately, she thought the clave was a microphone!

Barb jumped at the chance to play the drum again, after her stellar performance at our Christmas concert.

We had a good time at band, and are letting our hair down a little since the last two sessions have been recording our Christmas songs. It is nice to not be worried about the little details as much as we explore our new music!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Day After

Despite the frigid temperatures, the sun came out to cheer us as we cleaned up after the snowstorm. I cleared the deck so Coda could have a direct line to her outhouse (the backyard).

Ed, despite nursing a sore foot, got out and snowblew the driveway and sidewalks once more.

With Ed home I decided to record my guitar solo for the Christmas album. I'm playing Carol of the Bells. I'm happy to say that after only about 20 tries, I think I finally was happy with the last take! Ed recorded the bass part afterward. I didn't think I could take the pressure of knowing I'd have to follow a steady beat while I recorded!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Warm Bread, Cold Snow

We're hunkering down for a nice snow day today. I tried to get a time lapse picture of snow falling on our deck. It looks like the snow is winding down now with a rather unimpressive total of 5 or six inches.

Ed, however, might be thinking it's pretty impressive. He's out snow-blowing the driveway!

I found this nice package of artisan bread mix in the cupboard. So, I dusted off the bread maker and waited 3 hours while it did its magic! Yum! A bowl of soup and a crust of bread on a cold winters day!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Walking in Deep Needles

In an effort to take off some of the holiday pounds, Suzanne and I have extended our walks this week. The nice thing about it, is the extra mile of the road is covered in pine needles. It is so soft and springy. The rest of the walk is rocky and steep, but this is the most pleasant part of the walk.

Harper likes to roll in deer poop. She runs off leash when we're in the woods, and when she finds a good smell she likes to take it home with her. Sometimes we can get her to swim it off, but with ice on the lake still we didn't have the heart to force the issue. Lucky Suzanne gets to smell it all the way home in her car!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Big Bush Basement Saturday

Saturday night we  had Big Bush Basement Band (B4). We now have 7 kids in the band. They had a great time telling stories. I love Alex's laugh in this picture. Joannie is just biding her time till she got hold of the mike. Then, she couldn't stop telling stories!

They liked Lonesome Pine and Edelweis, but the only one who liked Ring of Fire was Joannie. She was also the only one who had ever heard it! I guess I'll have to try harder when I pick a song next month. Any suggestions?

Wet and Cold Saturday

We had rain all day Saturday. We had a couple of rivers in our back yard! With the temperatures in the 50's you'd think it would have felt balmy, but it was cold enough to not want you to go outside. Fortunately it was too warm to snow. That would have been a couple of feet of snow!

Despite the weather, we decided to be brave and go out for lunch, using our new coupons. Belisimo's of Eldersburg turned out to be a pretty casual place. But they did have a fireplace (okay, it was a space heater) which we cozied up to. The food was good and the company was great!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Towel Warmer

It has been very cold this week, and I've been enjoying my new towel warmer Ed got me for Christmas. We enjoyed having warm towels in some of the hotels in Germany, and thought how nice that would be. Ed not only saw one at BJs and thought I might like it, but he also figured out how to attach it to the wall (it was free standing) and put in a new electrical outlet! He must really love me!

I just got back from a long walk with Suzanne, and am shivering from the sweat cooling on me. Time for a hot bath and a warm towel!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to Basics!

The holidays have ended just in time. Coda and I haven't walked in three weeks! It felt good to be outside again! We had to hurry and walk this morning before the temperature dropped. It's supposed to get into single digits tonight--a real cold day in Baltimore!

I tried out my new fitness equipment. Ed gave me a Garmin GPS watch, which will be great for mapping out my routes. It syncs with MapMyWalk, as well as with the Garmin site. My sister, Barbara had my name this year for Christmas, and she got me a FitBit, which monitors my steps and movement during the day. I took them both out this morning, and they both worked great!

I spent the morning setting up my devices on the computer and syncing them.

I got a new computer for Christmas, with Windows 8 and a touchscreen monitor. Ed spent the weekend setting it up for me.

While Ed was busy in the study I was busy taking down Christmas. The house looks so bare and clean. It's happy and sad at the same time!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy Birthday and Goodbye

We said goodbye to all the girls (and John) last week. Amanda was the last to leave. We celebrated an early birthday with her Thursday night before she left.

She made her own birthday flan, and invited her friends Kim and Ken over to dinner. We made sure not to let the candles melt on the flan and ruin it like we did last time!

Amanda stuffed her car full of musical instruments. It almost felt like saying goodbye to the music, too. She had a harp, violin, and an accordion, as well as a space heater and humidifier.

She left between snowstorms and is now safely ensconced in Duluth, after driving for two days. The temperatures in Duluth are going to plummet down to 30 degrees below zero this week.

We feel like she is a little more prepared for the chilling winter in Minnesota after receiving her new Christmas present--this Loki brand jacket with built in mittens and face shield!

Check it out at!

The coat came highly recommended from my sister, Annette, who is on a mission in Bismark, North Dakota. She says her Loki jacket has been amazing! If it's good enough for Bismark it ought to work in Duluth!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Three Days and Five Skirts

I found a cute and easy skirt pattern on Pinterest. It was called the 20-minute skirt. I thought it would be fun to make skirts for the girls after Christmas.

It turns out that it takes me an hour to make a 20 minute skirt. If you're interested, here is the link:

One problem is that none of the fabrics we chose could be sewn in a tube, as they all had a pattern that had to go up and down, necessitating two side seams. Then, you have to measure over and over....

But, I sewed five skirts in the past three days, one for me and each of the girls and two for Amanda, (because she asked). It was a fun project, and I think they turned out just great. Just do not look closely at the sewing line on the waist band! That's why I'm wearing my shirt tucked out!

Happy New Year!

We had our annual New Year's Eve Party on Tuesday Night. This time we had it almost entirely in the basement for the first time. With only 22 people, it was manageable on one floor. We did go upstairs at midnight to toast the New Year. Then, we went back down to finish all the game ladders. We were, happily, done by 1 a.m. It was fun being with good friends, stuffing ourselves with all the great food and playing games as we ushered in 2014.

The lucky winners winners were:

Ping Pong--Megan Whitlock
Mario Cart--John Nuttall
Pool--Brittany Bush
Tenzi Dice--Lynsey Stephens
2 Player Reactor Game--Dallas Smith
Shoot the Bunny--John Guptill
Foosball--Amanda Bush

Here's a slideshow for any of you that would like to re-live the event!