Monday, May 24, 2010

Project Life

I still love taking the photos for this project. Even though I am way behind on journaling. I need to take my cue from Kim, who just started this year-she does her journaling every week! Gotta catch up! But at least I share the photos here. These are in totally random order from before I went down to Florida up until I just got back. Post a comment and make an ole bloggers heart happy! LOL!

Jo and I spent a whole week organizing all The Doodle's classroom supplies and putting them into color coordinated boxes. "Pink" is the color for classroom supplies.
Each trip to Tampa MUST include a visit to Val's Basket Warehouse on Gunn. I spent some of my favorite dollars there and kept my fingers crossed about getting it all home in my suitcase. Silk plants weigh next to nothing!
This a "bar-sized" order of the little neck clams from Z Grille in downtown St. Petersburg. All I can say is...sublime! These were SO good. Dianne, Kim and I went the second night I was in town for Happy Hour. See they do bar-sized food and drinks at a discount until 7pm and we don't like paying full price! Those blasted clams were so good on the first night that we decided we needed to go back the very next night to try them again. Only this time we had two orders! Heaven in a coconut curry sauce with toasted sourdough bread! In fact we were so in love with them we went back two more times before I left! My goodness, but they were good.
Before I left for Florida I had to do some planting and re-potting of plants on the front and back porches. I am really trying to jump start my green thumb. I think I'm gonna ask Kim if I can try to grow peonies on the side of the house.
Charles and I found this great state park, Hills Creek, that has boat rentals & launches, picnic areas, camp sites, cabins and Yurts to rent, hiking, a lake with "beach front" swimming and more. It is just outside of Wellsboro and is the prettiest park. We cannot wait to head back.
Funny Stacey picking me up at the airport standing with the other "drivers".
The sun is out and is getting warm, so Minnie Mae finds her spot in the sun and is just luxuriating!
The cute place cards and goody buckets that we made for the Hello Sunshine Crop at The Doodle.
Stacey and I stumbled across this open area by our Tampa house that was just full of buzzards. It was just like "The Birds" only with buzzards. VERY creepy!! They were all over...tree tops, around trees, across the street... In all our years of living in Florida neither of us had seen such a thing!
On Friday morning I didn't have to be at Whim So Doodle until the afternoon, so I had my chauffeur, Bob, drop me off at Bay Walk and I wanted to do some shopping. Poor Bay Walk. There are no shops left there, so I headed to find some lunch. I stopped at Starbucks and had a sandwich and coffee. I sat outside and quickly noticed that there was a man playing saxophone right near me. It was so cool, sipping on my iced coffee enjoying songs like "Girl from Ipanema" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again". What a great downtown!
Another great supper out! We ate at the Cantina next door to the Doodle and I had THE most delicious corn on the cob. The girls (except Shirley) thought that I was crazy for ordering corn on the cob, but when they saw it grilled and covered in Spanish cheese and herbs they were not laughing any more!
I am the game guru! I know this about myself. I love to play games. And at most crops I can inflict game playing on the croppers under the guise of "winning a prize"! But I can always count on Barbra and Karen to really get into my game playing! This is one of the reasons why I love them and really look forward to them being at the crops!
This is one happy dog. Ginger loves being in the sun and this day she and mommy were enjoying the new chaise cushions!

I want to leave y'all with these photos. It is going on one year since we moved up here and I discovered these photos the other month when finishing up the Flat Stanley project. These are photos of the old truck next door as I saw it through the seasons...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A story from Charles

While I am here in sunny Florida, Charles is having to mind all the critters on his own. He usually does a great job, not counting the time he lost Ginger for 2 days! So a few nights ago he called me to share a particularlly funny story about walking the dogs that I thought y'all might enjoy too!

As Charles is driving up the driveway coming home from work, he notices a new dog wandering around the street. He seems friendly, so Charles stops to say "hi". It was a very friendly dog and he pats it for awhile, but with no collar on it, he cannot notify any owner so he says 'bye and drives up to the house. He changes and get the girls ready to go outside and normally we just open the door and walk down the steps for a quick potty. Usually no leashes. This is the time that I have to remind folks that Ginger is our epileptic dog who is medicated heavily every day to keep her seizures at bay, so normal dog behavior is rare to see in Ginger. So, out Charles and the girls go on the porch and they discover that the lost dog is now up on our porch. I guess it followed Charles all the way home! Ginger sees the dog (a very large, Lab-esque dog) and takes off after it. Charles described Ginger as going bezerk! She chases the dog off our porch and half way down the driveway until she conks out and decides to rest in the driveway. Kiwi, seeing that Ginger gave up, runs past Ginger and as Charles says, "finishes off the job" and runs that poor, lost dog down into the street, up the neighbor's yard and into the woods. Charles flies by the "resting" Ginger to try to stop Kiwi from going too far into the woods. He finally finds her and the other dog, appologizes to the dog, scoops Kiwi up and heads back to retrive Ginger. He heads up the driveway and Ginger is not where he left her. He looks around and spots her nearby...chewing on something. He gets closer, calls her name and she turns around with part of a dead bird in her mouth! Gross!!!

So for all of y'all who think that the funny adventures only happen to you go!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Adventures with me and my brown thumb

You know, I've never been accused of having a green thumb. In fact, my thumb color tends more on the brown side. My dad was a genius gardener! He grew things like orchids and bromeliads. He grew strawberries and avocados. He build an orchid house and knew that if he put fish guts around the avocado tree it would create the biggest and tastiest fruit anyone had ever known! He had seedling and saplings and a fruit picker on a pole. Me? I have gardening gloves that I can never find. A perpetually unopened bag of soil. And really nice Fiskars gardening shears that we left in the storage closet at the Florida house. That's all. It seems pointless for me to have anything else. My idea of gardening is what I can grow in a container on the porch. My theory on plant buying is that I stick to annuals. An annual is defined as: "...a plant that usually germinates, flowers and dies in one year." I figure they are destined to die anyway, so if I kill them a little premature then it's not as bad as killing a perennial. You familiar with Pothos? It is a perennial. The easiest thing to keep alive on this planet. They are even recommended for people with "black thumbs". Sad to say, but I have been responsible for many a Pothos death. I have no earthly idea how I got to be so bad at this. One of my greatest disappointments in my life is that I killed a precious plant put into my possession-a cutting from my Great Aunt Ada's key lime tree. (I am hanging my head in shame.) Her tree was glorious! It bore fruit all the time that kept us all in a constant stream of key limeade and key lime pies! Each of us kids got a cutting from that tree that my Dad nurtured as a sapling and passed onto us to grow into a tree. I believe that Sisterdear and BrotherDoug have both been successful at this, not me...
Now when Charles and I moved to Pennsylvania, I thought, "Oh! There are some really cool plants up there that I would love to grow." I LOVE lilacs, hydrangeas and peonies. Three more green things that under my care would suffer and die! So I stuck to the annuals. In the fall I purchased mums. These were fantastic! When I bought them they were in full flower and available in tons of colors. You could just plop the ugly container into a pretty one at home and that was it. I didn't even have to re-pot it. Then when it's season was over, it knew it, I knew it. It wasn't a tearful good-bye. Winter, now that was super easy! A Christmas tree. Hey! It's dead already, I am way ahead on that game. Just have to keep the dead tree green for about a month. I got this one-sugar in the water-check! But now it is spring. A beautiful time for most folks, but for us plant growing challenged people it is torture! We see all the beautiful spring displays of plants who need good homes. I even bought a few early on thinking that I was safe as long as it is an annual. I brought those plants home (a pothos was in the bunch) and put them on the front porch only-didn't yet want to commit to the back porch! I did all the right stuff. Re-potted them into bigger containers. Watered and fertilized with Miracle Grow. Rotated them for even sun exposure. Found the right spot to make the partial shade-ers happy and the full sun-ers happy. Removed dead leaves. Watched for bugs. Heck! I would even talk to them when I was out on the porch. All good stuff. But then...our area was put under a freeze warning. I didn't know...I just didn't know. I went to bed a happy plant owner and woke up to shriveled up, wilted, brown and very unhappy plants. I quickly apologized and brought them all into the house. It was too late. I lost some good plants that day.
I didn't buy more plants until I was sure that the really cold weather was gone. No, it's not what I would call warm up here yet, but everyone has their spring plants out for sale, in the ground and on their porches so I assumed it was safe. I bought pansies, pink cosmos, a fern, some yellow flowers and some purple flowers. All so pretty! I kept them in their original pots-not wanting to get too attached. Then last weekend I finally transferred them to pretty pots, found homes for them on both the front and back porch and was feeling pretty happy with plant life! That was until this morning. I hopped on the computer and the little Weather Channel desktop icon thingey was making it's thunderstorm noise and blinking. Bad news... As I read the "weather alert" a lump was forming in my throat. "A freeze warning is issued when sub-freezing temperatures are forecast to threaten outdoor plants. Those with agricultural or gardening interests in the warned area are advised to harvest or protect tender vegetation. Potted plants normally left outdoors should be covered of brought inside." Curse my brown thumb! A better gardener would have known sooner! My dad would have put plastic tarps on the plants in the ground and would have had those plants in last night. Once again I rushed outside and while carting my plants inside to warmer digs, I was apologizing and begging them not to die. Those plants need your prayers, folks!
Inside my house I have 100% given up on indoor plants. All the greenery and floral in my house comes from Val's Basket Warehouse in Tampa. If this round of plants die, I have to ask myself one horrible would it look to put silk plants outside?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

There's Something About Spring-Day Six

This was the last day of the crop which always starts off feeling sad. Everybody knows we are gonna say good bye today. Stacey and I made these really, really yummy sausage, egg and cheese breakfast "muffins". I got the idea of turning a traditional Bisquick "impossible pie" into a muffin and the croppers were my Guinna pigs! We also served up creamsicle smoothies to go along with the muffins. Creamsicle smoothies are orange juice, orange pieces, vanilla fro yo and ice. You could add protein powder and/or milk if you wanted too. This had to be my favorite breakfast. Easy and yummy!
Immediately after we cleaned up from breakfast I had to start on lunch. I was making a Martha Stewart cupcake recipe and it required whipping cream into stiff peaks and my mixer was me,Stacey and Kim. Well, mostly Stacey. We were making flour less chocolate cupcakes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Of course I forced more games on everyone, but they got to win some cool prizes, so I didn't feel too bad! What I did feel bad about was some of the PA girls had only been there for Saturday and today was Sunday so that side of the room was kind-of quite. I should have pushed all those tables closer so that the "OG" PA girls were closer to the FL girls. BUT, the FL girls were loud enough that I think it was OK!
It was time for us to all work on our make-n-take. I had made a cute frame that I was calling "earth friendly" 'cause it used some elements from my yard and lots of recycled ideas. I forgot the sticks, so I still owe everybody those sticks! But the frames turned out so cute. I sure hope everyone was happy with them. They learned some new tricks and techniques.
I really didn't have a set ending time, I just knew that #1-there was no supper included so most people would be leaving before supper and #2-Stacey and I were still responsible for clean up, so I didn't want to be there until midnight! We were tuckered out! Kim and Dianne were hosting a cocktail party in their room after it was all over so with the help of some good friends the heavy clean-up was done in no time and the room looked sad and lonely very quickly!
Everyone said their good-byes and I got even more presents! Can you imagine? All weekend long the presents just flowed in! I should do this more often just for the gifts alone! Thank you to each of you for such fun and lovely treats! You spoil me!
Stacey and I scrubbed, moped, wiped down, threw away, closed up, put away, swept...did all that we needed to do from the "close up" list provided by the Annex folks. We were so exhausted that we had to sit on the comfy couches for about 20 minutes before we could go to the After Party!
Boy-oh-boy what a fun After Party though! Kim and Dianne had hit up the BiLo for some great treats and put out a fantastic spread. I personally like the bath-towels-as-table clothes-look! It's all in the details! Oh! And since they couldn't take all their booze home, we had to help them out and lighten their load! It was only right! It was great fun, squeezed into their sitting room, laughing with each other, recalling fun memories and telling stories. I am very happy that my old Florida friends got to hang out with my new Pennsylvania friends. I see that some of them are now even friends on FB...too cool! I love these women and am so happy that they all came up to visit me and crop in the PA wilds! I wanted to pack them all up and take them back to the house with me and not let them fly home...

Friday, May 7, 2010


Today I had to go for a drug screen test for my new job. I've never had to do this before, so I didn't even know if it was blood or urine! That's how silly I am! The list of places to go included Elmira and Corning-places I am very familiar with and places like Sayre and Towanda. I did a MapQuest and found that Towanda is 45 minutes from my house where Elmira is about 40. I figured since I have never been to Towanda, today was the day! I made my appointment, grabbed my paperwork and Kiwi and off we went! Normally going to give a urine sample would not be considered an adventure, buy I am far from normal!
What I knew about Towanda before this afternoon was limited to a street sign. When you get to the end of our road (Mainesburg Road) we turn left to get to town, Wellsboro, work, etc. To us, everything is left. There is the sign though that points right that says "Troy/Towanda". We have ventured right a few times and headed to Troy which is about 20-25 minutes from us. We've been for supper, to check out their Main Street, antiquing and when the Mansfield Video King closed down, the next closest was in Troy. Charles and I have been to Troy maybe a dozen times. Troy is charming. Troy's main drag is T-shaped unlike a traditional "Main Street". They have a few cool shops & restaurants to visit there and in my brain because I see that "Troy/Towanda" sign I thought that Troy and Towanda were close and/or similar in size and charm. I was wrong. Oh so wrong!
My directions were simple, take 6 all the way into town and make a left into the hospital. Easy. When I got into this part of Towanda I was shocked that it was like a mini city. Burger King. Dunkin' Donuts! Dry Cleaner. Hotels. Your basic city stuff. But with not only a hospital, but a Dunkin' Donuts I was thinking, "What a hip town".
My visit with the hospital was an in and out kind of deal. Small town means not a lot of waiting! Gotta love it! So here Kiwi and I were sitting in the parking lot deciding what to do. Turn right to go home or turn left and see what was down the road a piece. Knowing that I had promised Kiwi a good walk of some sort, we turned left. What a great decision! Left took us to a whole other part of Towanda. Main Street, Towanda. Let me describe it as best I can...

Coming into town, on either side of the street are these giant, old Victoria-era homes. These are all big, rambling things that sit high up off the road. There are steep steps from the sidewalk that lead up the vast front porches. Most of them wrap around porches. Being an old movie buff these homes reminded me of so many old movies, but especially Meet Me in St. Louis where the horse and buggy pulled up to the stand in front of the house. Of course, these streets are all tree-lined with decades-old trees canopying the street, and with spring that means bright new leaves and flowering trees. Every lawn was green, trimmed and beautiful! I don't know if they have some kind of "Main Street Ordinance" that they all have to follow, but their yards were ALL well kept.
Once I passed these houses the downtown opened up. There were three to four-storied buildings on either side of the street. Each building is old-very old. They each have a slightly different facade, but they are all about the same height. I spotted the movie theatre and noticed the sign at the top that read, "Hale's Opera House 1886". Amazing! It appears that they are keeping the charm of the area, by not allowing new building facades. This a great thing. There are small alleys between some of the buildings. They are cobblestone with bits of green growing through and closed in with black iron gates. Some side doors were open which revealed the entrances to the above apartments. It looked like only some of the above floors were being used as apartments. But how cool would that be? Living on Main Street, in old Victorian store buildings. *Sigh*
Kiwi poked her head into one store that looked exactly like Vandergelder's Hay and Feed from Hello Dolly with it's main & lower floor for shopping! Too cool! There were tons of great stores-antiques, hardware, a Ben Franklin, two theatres (both movie and stage), a florist with a vintage delivery truck sitting out front, book store, pubs and great places to eat. There was a diner there called "The Red Rose" which was built in the 20's and proclaimed "ladies welcome".
While walking down a side street I was greeted by a group of people setting up some tents and stuff and I asked what was going on. "First Friday!" the lady told me. I am familiar with downtown St. Petersburg's First Friday. It is a massive party/pub crawl. Lots of fun, but very urban. I asked her to tell me more. The Towanda First Friday is sidewalk sales from the merchants, strolling minstrels, live, outdoor music, games for the kids sponsored by the YMCA, a giant pinewood derby for the Boy Scouts, food, games, etc. Right up my alley! She said they have them the first Friday of every month and guess who is going back soon?

Now let me try to explain the topography of this area. Imagine that Main Street is level and if you went off Main Street one block to the left, you'd be on a river front green way and if you went one block right you'd go up steep streets into neighborhoods. Kiwi and I walked along the green way and drove through the neighborhoods. The green way was made alongside the old train tracks and has the Victorian (like) black lamp posts running all along it. The walkway is dotted with benches and little covered gazebo-like structures. It is a beautiful spot to watch the river flow past with the mountains in the background. The police station was located just off the river and even that building was charming! When we drove up into those neighborhoods, you couldn't spit without hitting a Victorian-era house.
These were smaller than the giant ones on Main Street, but still HUGE! Every 4th house was Victorian and every 4th one of those was "gingerbread". Kiwi thought that I had gone nuts because of the many times I gasped while driving those streets!
One of the first things I noticed about the downtown part of Main Street was the lamp posts. I'm gonna say that they were replicas, but I couldn't be sure. But each and EVERY lamp post that lined both sides of Main Street and the green way along the river had these banners hanging from them. All I can say is that these banners were so amazing-each one of them said, "Bradford County, Hometown Heros". Under those words was the photo of a service man or woman and under that was their military branch, what war they served in and what city they came from. I had such a sense of community pride in their men and women in service-from the Civil War to Afghanistan-it was inspiring! What a way for a city to honor their servicemen and women.

Today I fell in love with a town...cannot wait to go back. Make sure that if you are planning a visit with Charles and I that you make us take you to Towanda!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

There's Something About Spring Crop-Day Five

Bright and early Saturday morning we all met back up at the Fire Annex. I was pretty excited about Saturday 'cause some of my new, local, scrapbooking friends were due to come and crop. We rush in the front door a little late...sleep was just too good...and once again Stacey brewed the coffee and I got breakfast started. This morning we were having blueberry pancakes and bacon. Stacey had wisely convinced me to get the pre-cooked bacon and what a find that is. All we had to do was put it in a pan and pop it into the oven for a few minutes. I had a big batch of pancakes waiting to grill up as the girls arrived so they would have hot, fresh cakes. And is was very good, 'cause they all came in nice and staggered so I didn't have too many waiting.
Once again we played a few games, got some of the girls working on their 6x6 card set for their make-n-take and gave out prizes. Miss Dianne won the scarf that Stacey knit and she was one happy girl! She wore it the rest of the day and I think the next day too. It was pink, so she was REALLY happy.
After breakfast all of the Florida girls wanted to walk around Wellsboro a bit and see "the sights". We all recommended different places for them to eat and they broke up in smaller groups and took off. They ALL went shopping, that is for sure. One of my favorite stories from their excursions was when Miss Barbara and Julie went into CVS for some cold meds, when checking out Barbara mentioned that they were in town visiting from Florida. Without out missing a beat the lady behind the counter asked, "Oh are you here with the scrapbooking event?" Tee hee! Looks like we were the talk of the town! Love it!
One of the groups took my advice and hit the Wellsboro Diner for lunch. This is the diner that I rave about their pies! I believe that they really enjoyed lunch and the walk around town. The weather was "Chamber of Commerce" weather and tons of trees were blooming with different colors, so LOTS of flower photos were taken. The diner. Flowers at a church. Downtown Wellsboro.

We posed for a group shot and then had an afternoon snack of pretzels and cheesy mustard dip and sherbet floats. Hey! I don't care that they just ate or that we were gonna eat again shortly! I had a feeding schedule that I had to stick to!
More door prizes! Johnny Cash came on the I-pod player and I just had to shake it a bit! (Karen knows what I mean!) More games. Much more cropping. Then supper! This was the first time ever that we did sit down dinner with appetizers too boot! Stacey and I set the tables, put out glasses of water and had all the plates lined up when we called everyone to supper. They sat down and we served them. I loved it! This was the first time that I rented a hall that had real plates, glasses and silver so it was kind-of cool. The yummy supper of Dijon chicken, roasted veggies and twice baked potatoes. Since we had stuffed them silly, we held off on dessert and went back to cropping. I have to tell you that one of my favorite parts of the crop is when I am in the kitchen and I listen to the laughter and fun in the other room. That fills my heart with joy. To me that makes me feel like the event is a success when ladies are chatting and laughing amongst themselves.
Pictionary was pretty popular at this crop. Even though some people had won prizes, they still wanted to play and even asked to play more. At one point in the game when we were deciding who was the next drawer, and since she is just a hoot-and-a-half the whole room started chanting "Barbara! Barbara! Barbara!" This is Miss Barbara drawing the word "fang".
Time to eat again and Stacey and I rolled out a whole mess of dark chocolate fondue with trays of great dippers like brownies, cake, strawberries and these GIANT marshmallows we found at Tops. Holey moley was that dessert yummy! Erin and her treats. The chocolate let us crop a little longer and no one really wanted to leave, but we knew we had to be back here tomorrow for more fun, so we headed out between 12:30pm and 1am. What a spectacular day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm a nice person...honest!

When I first moved up here I was fascinated by the sweet, kind, helpful, pleasant dispositions of most everyone we met up here. Mostly I was shocked at the salespeople. The first time in Weis the lady was so nice and chatty that I had to call Stacey about it. And I'm sure we can all remember that hug I got from the nice satellite installer. So it was with much shock that this afternoon I got the worst customer service from a cashier at Weis than I can remember in a long, long time! It started when I rolled my buggy up to her line. The store was slow and the cashiers were hanging out in front of the lines to let people know they were open. So I pick her line, she glances at my rather full buggy and rolls her eyes. I should have moved on to another line... I start to unload my cart and get zero greeting. Zip. I know that I have a number of things that were on special so I keep those until last so I can make sure they ring up correctly. I get to the pay stand and watch the dog Snuggies ring up at $9.99. I tell her, "Those were marked down to .99" She looks up and me, stares at me for a full beat and shouts to a nearby cashier, "Are these pet things only .99? She says that they are .99" The other cashier who is not busy, walks over and asks, "Did it have a 'PC' in it?" "Yes," she replies. The other cashier says, "Well her Weis Card should have discounted it." Realizing that she didn't ask for my card before she started ringing up she looks at me and says, "Where is your Weis Card?" I blink and say that it is at home. Full beat stare again. "Well, if it says 'PC' and you don't have a Weis Card then there is no way you are gonna get that price." I'm thinking, is she really talking to me like this? I say that I DO have the card, just not on me. The 2nd cashier offers to go look up the number and the 1st cashier picks up the Snuggy, leans against the counter and fans herself with the box. "At least it makes a good fan," she says over her shoulder to me. "I'm not gonna keep ringing up the rest of your stuff because I don't want to have to void this one out and then have to add it back in if she comes back with your number." I am just standing there seething at this woman. She knows that I am not feeling any love towards her and it seems to me she could care less. The 2nd cashier comes back after some more Sunggy fanning with my card number written on it. "Let's see if this works," she mutters as she types the number in the system. It does. "Looks like it took your discount off." Then she rings the rest of my stuff up. As I watch, she just flings-literally flings-the items into the bags. She is not trying to keep cold food together. Not trying to keep fragile things separate. She is just flinging and tossing the bag up onto the back counter for me to put in my buggy. Bread was given no special treatment! Bread, for goodness sakes! Once she is totally done ringing everything through she turns to me, hands me the paper with my Weis Card number written on it and says, "You should really hold on to this because you saved over $25 today." (Pet Sunggies are normally $9.99, and today they were .99, even being no mathmagician I can see that $18 of that savings is all Snuggy!) Now that seems like a nice thing to say, helping me save money and all, but it was the way she said it. Kind-of like she was talking down to me. Scolding me for leaving my card at home. Then...then...she delivered the poor customer service coup de gras. She said, "You'll also get to take an additional 5% off today because it's Senior Day." I guess I must have dropped my mouth open or gasped a little, 'cause she said, "You ARE over 55 aren't you?" Now, I'm a nice person...honest! But when this...this...lady tries to burn me with the "Senior Discount" blow I lost my mind! If I was a cartoon steam would have been pouring out of my ears! I chuckled a little and said, "Really?" "Really?!" She says, "Oh...sorry." Tells me my total and hands me my receipt quietly as I roll away.
I know her name. I know the Weis' phone number. AND I have flying monkeys and I'm not afraid to use them!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

There's Something About Spring Crop-Day Four

We woke up on day four to frost on the ground. Stacey made sure to take photos of it, just in case that was the closest she'd get to snow. When we got to the Fire Annex, I was really glad that I had picked an easy breakfast for the first day. Stacey made coffee while I pulled together yogurt & granola parfaits with fresh fruit. Oh! I have failed to mention that the blackberries up here are close to heaven! They are so yummy and I had a big 'ole bowl of them. I have no idea if my friends are just nice or they really do enjoy the food I put together for them, but when they come up and tell me how good breakfast was and asked were I got the good yogurt from, I kind-of suspect they are just being nice. I hard is scooping stuff into bowls? But, I am glad they enjoyed it!
The croppers started to arrive and set up their spaces right away. Everyone was loving their tote bags I made/had made for them. Each tote was monogramed and had three frayed fabric flowers stitched on them. I explained about the door prizes and how our weekend games would work. My notion was that I wanted everyone to walk away from the crop with not only a door prize, but one that they wanted to win. I had such a fun time picking out the door prizes and I kind-of had people in mind when I was shopping. This was one of my favorite door prizes-"Girl's Night In". It had a romantic move, a bag of popcorn, Italian soda, tissues, chocolate and a mud facial. Too fun!

After "cooking" breakfast, starting lunch and organizing the kitchen my favorite two parts of hosting a crop was next-socializing and playing games! I walked around and got to see what everyone was working on, chatted with everyone and then pulled out this new game-Apples to Apples. THAT is one fun game! All I can say is that the Florida girls have requested that we play it at Whim So Doodle's crop coming up in about a week! We also played a round of Pictionary later in the afternoon that was a very popular choice. It doesn't happen too many times to get requests to play games over, but Dianne and Kim asked if we could play this one again! Ruth drawing "stomach". Yep! That's a stomach!

Lunch was also super easy since we had cooked the "butt" the day before and all I had to do was warm it in the crock pot. Thankfully the Fire Annex had a giant crock pot for it all to fit in. I had also made my mom's macaroni salad. It has some ingredients that are fairly odd to macaroni salad (Cheez Whiz, vinegar, flour, sugar...) but it is so yummy and I love to make it-reminds me of mom whenever I make it! When we were dishing up lunch Dianne poked her head into the kitchen to request a plate with no macaroni salad on it 'cause she wasn't a fan of pasta salads. I told her what any good lunch lady would-try everything once! I scooped a tiny bit on her plate, only to have her come back a few minutes later with a sheepish grin on her face asking for more! THAT is Lunch Lady heaven right there, folks!
We played more games and passed out prizes. I introduced everyone to the card make-n-take and told them it was a "self-guided" make-n-take. They all got to make 4 6x6 cards with fun patterned papers and QuicKutz embellishments. After awhile it was time to get gussied up for our dinner at Timeless Destinations. We all walked the couple of short blocks to the restaurant which is located on Main Street. This meant that it was a cute walk and with our cool evening air and flowering trees, it was a beautiful walk! Our long table was in a smaller dining room with beautiful log walls and unique hanging lamps. Our waitress was a doll and the food was fantastic. I had arranged a special menu for our group and there were a number of yummy choices. In fact, it was hard for most of us to pick one. It was great fun to sit around the table together and just chat and get to know everyone. Most of us had a cocktail and we ALL had dessert! Again there were some great options, and for once, I didn't pick the best one. The best one was the chocolate cake thing-ey. It was sin on a plate! Thankfully it was too much for one person to eat and I sat next to some generous ladies! Ooooh, but it was good!

Back to the crop room and back to work! Everybody was working on some great stuff. I brought my Project Life to do some journaling in, but I only got one card done. I love to talk too much! I got the game Encore going and this happens to be my all-time favorite board game. You get to SING! We were in two teams and I was the impartial judge. That was a tough job 'cause things started to get ugly! And I do mean ugly! lol Stacey reminded me that I have probally retired that game for a reason! Gave out more door prizes and had old fashioned candies and hot cheeze balls for a late night snack. We all stayed until about midnight with the promise to be back bright and early!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

There's Something About Spring Crop-Day Three

Day three! What a day! This is the day that all the rest of the Florida girls arrived! First up was Sisterdear and Julie. They flew in on an earlier flight than the rest so Stacey and I headed up to Elmira to pick them up first. The four of us headed to downtown Corning and went to lunch and did some power shopping while waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive around 3pm. We ate at a favorite deli and had the best tomato & Swiss soup. We found a great vintage textile shop that had tons of great "finds". I'm gonna have to go back there when I have more time to browse. Stacey discovered this shop that only sold black & white cookies. They were in all different flavors like peanut butter & jelly and lemon & raspberry. Very yummy!
I got a text from Dianne while in one store telling us that their plane had to return to the gate for some maintenance. Didn't sound good, so we thought we had a bit more time to shop. Nope! Their plane landed just as we were leaving the knit shop Stacey had been hunting for. Thankfully the airport is just a couple of minutes away and they were not waiting for us too long.

Dianne had found out that we have a Hobby Lobby right near the airport and asked if we could make a stop off before heading back to PA. Being the obliging host that I am, I said "yes" and into the van and my car we hopped! Big thanks to the company Charles works for, Woodhouse for letting us borrow the van for the weekend. We descended upon Hobby Lobby like locust on a crop. We all headed straight to the scrapbooking section, which is many, many aisles of fun stuff. We had buggies and coupons and there was no stopping us! We managed to make the employee's eyes roll a few times at our goofiness and I even helped some women out with a stamping emergency. Kim scolded me for not handing out a business card to them. What business would that be? Lurking in craft stores and offering free customer service?! The funniest moment in the store happened when I asked the cashier where the nearest liquor store was. Her reaction was priceless... Stunned expression followed by, "I've never been asked that question before!" It took the stock guy to get us there!
For the ride home I had created these PA BINGO cards for the girls to play. There were things on there like, "Police Car" (a rare sight), "Red Barn", "Deer", "Road Kill", "Big Blue Factory"...but there were rules! Like if your card said both "Deer" and "Road Kill" and what you spotted was a dead deer, you could only stamp one spot! It was too funny. Of course there were those who even though they picked their own card from a stack swore that the game was rigged OR my favorite (Miss Barbara!) who said she was cheated at the game because my car windows were dirty! Geesh! (Side note: Turns out later it was her glasses that were dirty!!)

We arrived at my house just a little before dusk and I had a party all waiting. I took everyone on the 25 cent tour of the house while Stacey heated everything up and got the food ready. I just loved that everyone said that the house "looked like Jen". Also it was funny when they started taking photos of my scrap area!'s big and pretty organized! My only defense's my JOB!
We sat around the table eating yummies and getting to know the one and only PA scrapper that could come-Julie (N). She was such a trooper sitting through all our craziness, in fact, I think she was enjoying herself. Some of the yummy appetizers included this tomato & mozzarella topped bread and the very popular sticky BBQ wings with blue cheese dip. Dianne said that the wings were good, but mostly a vehicle for the dip. Funny lady! Julie (W) really loved hanging out with my critters!

There were a number of cocktails served and after feasting on appetizers the girls were too full to think about supper, so I suggested pie at Eddie's, the diner by our house. How can I describe Eddie's? This is a local diner that when you go there everyone knows everybody. It is like an extended family dinner when you go there. Its about an hour 'till closing and in walks a large group of semi-rowdy women with their eyes on pie! There were two other couples in the diner at the time and I just wonder what they thought of us! After we ordered one of the wives came over to the table to say "hi" and to ask us if we were from a TOPS meeting. In fact, she told us that it was her husband who wondered that! What a nerd! In case you are wondering "TOPS" means "Take Off Pounds Sensibly". Here we are, everyone of us with a piece of pie in front of us and over half of the table is skinny girls, so TOPS?! Dude, really?!! Dianne and Miss Barbara cracking up at something.

After the diner everyone was looking mighty tuckered so we got them over to the Canyon Motel to check in while Stacey and I headed over to the Fire Annex to set up the room. I had Rent A Center deliver a set of living room furniture so that there would be a cozy spot to relax in and Sisterdear set up that area for us complete with trees and reading material. It was so cute! The hall also had these room dividers that allowed us to partition off the lounge/bar area and the dining area from the crop zone. It really made the room cozy. The tables were round and maybe not a croppers favorite table shape, but oh, boy were those easy to move around! No heavy lifting, only rolling! I was a fan of the round table!
Back home around midnight and it took no time for us all to fall asleep. Except Sisterdear who kept hearing mysterious noises in her room and around the house. Hummm...