Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's a Festival of Trees!

Eric and I attended the local Festival of Trees today, benefitting the local Hospice House. We haven't been in a number of years, and it has grown so much! We saw many beautiful trees and I took pictures of some of my favorites.

This is the Hospice volunteer tree, in honor of the many volunteers that have worked with them this year. I recognized a few names on this tree. I just loved the purple!

All the decorations on this tree were made out of old puzzle pieces! It was so cool! Here's a close-up of a couple of those ornaments:

The detail on the mouse and gingerbread man was outstanding. I liked the little nutcracker on the side, too.All Santa all the time!

With my love of angels, I had to get this angel tree.

I love the tree topper--a halo!!

This is a freedom tree, in honor of our troops in service to our country.

Yes, that's Barbie on the top! Freedom Barbie!

And it just wouldn't be a Washington, DC-area festival without our sports teams getting a nod! Here's the Washington Capitals' tree.

The mighty Redskins!

I just love Christmas. I'm glad it's on its way!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Little Hike, A Little Rain, A Little...Hail?

We took advantage of our day off together to see something in the DC area we had never seen...Roosevelt Island, a little island in the middle of the Potomac River right near Rosslyn, Virginia. The temperature was cool, a little windy, but sunny. So off we went.

It was drizzling when we got there, and then the hail started. Hail??? What??? There was no storm, no anything--just ice clusters falling from the sky.

Looks like rain, doesn't it? Trust me, it was smaller than pea-sized, but it was hail.
After it let up, we decided to head out for our hike. Here's the view from the footbridge over the Potomac going to Roosevelt Island:
Can you see the rainbow over Rosslyn? Our reward for the unexpected hail and rain.
Welcome to Roosevelt Island!
The man of the hour...he has a nice area in Memorial Park, at the center of the island.
The trail was a little muddy and slippery with wet leaves, but a good hike. Here's the family leaving me in the dust, as usual.
The calm but cold Potomac River:
After our hike, we drove to Alexandria and ate lunch at this very good pizza place, Bugsy's.

I of course had the Chicken Caesar salad, in observance of my Weight Watchers lifestyle. But the kids tell me the pizza was awesome!
It was a good day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We had a lovely day. It was the first Thanksgiving dinner we made in our home; every year we go to Eric's parents' house, and last year we went to Disney World. This year Eric was off, but "on call" so we stayed in. Lots of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, gravy, peas...ah....

Here's the table:

We used the china from Eric's parents for our wedding and our wedding flatware. Glasses from a long-ago Christmas present, and napkins to another long-gone tablecloth. Nothing really matched, but it was nice.

Dessert was my much-requested Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Glaze. It's not the holidays without it.

It's not kind to my Weight Watchers lifestyle, but the kids like it, and the small taste I had was so good!

Here's the recipe, courtesy of Bon Apetit magazine in 1992--enjoy!

Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Glaze

2 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 eggs
3 cups white flour
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk


1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or use cooking spray) a 12-cup Bundt pan.

Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl. In separate bowl combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt. With a mixer, mix in dry ingredients and milk alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add to pan and bake for 50-80 minutes, depending on oven. When tester comes out clean, it's done! Place pan on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan.

Meanwhile, add glaze ingredients together and whisk until combined. Drizzle over warm cake. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Bounty

I'm finally getting around to getting pictures up of my few Thanksgiving decorations. There aren't many, but it still feels festive.

At the driveway are my Thanksgiving flag and turkey sign that I bought at a craft show in Texas about 10 years ago.

This is a new addition this year; I bought it at WalMart and he greets you at the front door.

The dining room holds most of the decorations, since that is where we'll be spending most of our Thanksgiving Day...well, there and the kitchen! This is the front table; my leaf dish and a new harvest angel from CVS.

One floor lamp holds another harvest angel from CVS and a cute little turkey made of felt and a small clay pot. This was a gift from a CCD student way back when Nicky was in 1st grade, and one of his classmates made this for me.

The other floor lamp holds another leaf dish and my Beanie Baby turkey.
The magazine stand holds my Pilgrim couple, also from a craft show in Texas, and a cute handmade turkey from a craft show in Florida; this one must be at least 15 years old, if not older.

Here's where the action will take place tomorrow--the table! This is my harvest tablecloth and the centerpiece from Halloween.

This cutie is another Texas craft show purchase. Can you tell I love craft shows?

The sideboard has a cute scarecrow that I bought at WalMart this year--he matches the front door decoration. The cornucopia I bought at Safeway a number of years ago and this is the first year I've used it; I put some of the fake pumpkins and fruit from the table centerpiece in.

Our kitchen table has this lovely was a gift for me for Eric's birthday this year. I cool that I got a gift for HIS birthday! His parents sent this along for me with his present. The sunflowers match our kitchen!

The lone living room decorations are this turkey that I can't remember where I got him, and this cool shiny copper pumpkin from the Safeway floral department this year. Safeway has more than groceries!

I do love the holidays!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Scout is Helpful

It has been a busy Scout weekend. Friday night we did our annual Scouting for Food drive at our local Safeway. We collected 436 pounds of food for our local food pantry!
Here's Nicky on the far right with some other members of our troop getting ready to pass out bags to customers heading into the store.

JJ and his friend John waiting to receive bags on the way out:

It was a successful collection!
Today several Scouts helped our charter organization, the American Legion, with their annual Toys for Tots collection. We unloaded a U-Haul full of toys and lined them up for inventory and distribution.

There were lots of board games!

Now I'm hoping the next point of the Scout Law is: A Scout takes a break!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Scream, You Scream...

Tonight our Boy Scout troop had a fundraiser at our local Maggie Moo's, an cold stone ice creamery. The owner is a troop parent and wanted to offer us the opportunity to raise some money for the troop...we are in desperate need of new tents. It was great to see the boys scooping ice cream, washing dishes, and sweeping floors.

Here's Nicky in action:

No, he really didn't eat all this ice cream!

And JJ...he was mostly washing dishes and re-stocking.

We raised $300 tonight. And had some terrific ice cream!

Thanks, Miss Maggie! (Really our fellow Scout Curtis!)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oh, What a Night

Eric took me out last night for our anniversary celebration. We went into Washington for dinner and a show, although I had no idea what we were doing. After 20 years, he can still surprise me!
We started off at the Capital Grille for a fabulous steak, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, and some champagne. Yummy.

I knew we were going to eat, and where. The next part of the evening was a surprise.
I'm a big fan of musical theater, but Eric...let's just say it's not his thing and leave it at that. So this was a huge deal that he scored us tickets to see the travelling tour of Broadway's Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. What a great show and the music...sometimes I really had to listen to tell whether the actors were singing or lip synching to Four Seasons records. They were terrific! Very enjoyable show.

Since the kids are older now, we decided to stay in DC for the night at the JW Marriott, a VERY nice hotel a couple doors down from the National Theater. We had a room with a view...

Gotta love the Washington Monument.

I had to get this picture of the building next door...harkening back to my former life as a journalist...

After a quick breakfast at the Corner Bakery, we headed back home in time to see JJ off to work.

Thanks, dear, for a wonderful evening!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Gold and Red Have Arrived!

So much orange here this year...the red and gold are in my backyard now!

I do love's getting pretty chilly here, so I'm sure these beautiful leaves will be on the ground soon. But I'm enjoying them for now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

20 Years? But I'm Only 21!

Today is my and Eric's 20th anniversary. I'm not sure how it happened that I've known him more than half my life. And yet it seems like he's always been there.

This is our formal wedding portrait. Ah, to be 26 again...

But I'm so glad the beard is gone!

Happy 20th, dear. Let the ride's been thrilling so far!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, B!

Today is my baby brother's birthday.

And now I'm dead for posting this of him!!!!!!

He's 39 years young today. Happy Birthday, B!