Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Halloween in the neighborhood

We have some strange neighbors :) But this one will have to remain anonymous.
And then we have some normal neighbors who were enjoying a nice night for trick or treating. Aren't they cute! I'm not sure how many kids (and some parents) came by tonight, but probably not more than fifty. I gave out small packages of pretzels and bite size candy bars. We have quite a bit left though.

Now if we could just send you all some of the candy that we've got left. I started a Pilates class this week at Total Fitness and Wellness. I'm still doing low impact aerobics with Ginger and the gang and I try to walk a few miles a week but it's going to take more than that to work off all the Halloween goodies.
Here's Beamer checking out the new cat in the neighborhood!

Nature's Own Halloween Decor

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Riding the Back Roads

Yes, we did get out on the motorcycle this weekend! We waited until today so at least the sun would be shining but it was still only about 50 degrees when we headed out. I dug deep in my drawer to find my "cuddle-duds" and a turtleneck sweater to put on under my jeans and coat. With the gloves, boots and full helmet that I usually wear, it wasn't too bad. Having Dennis sitting in front of me blocks most of the wind and the windshield and the "lowers" (wind deflectors) keep most of wind off of him. Of course, he probably wouldn't admit it if he was cold anyway! Some of you might know that we used to trapshoot quite a bit. We did that it all kinds of weather and many times on cold, windy days. Riding on the bike is much more pleasant than struggling with a heavy shotgun while shivering in bulky clothing and is so much more relaxing! So we were determined to take advantage of another pretty fall day and ride somewhere.We didn't go far, only over to the Ohio River and the little town of Bethlehem, Indiana. I've heard this is a popular place to mail Christmas cards and there isn't much there other than the post office. I guess we missed their big fall festival last weekend. Then we drove over to New Washington. There we stopped at A Step Back and tried their Sunday brunch.This is an old school building turned into a museum and gathering place. It made a nice stop to warm up and have lunch - though it was much more food than we needed! It reminded me of the old schoolhouse in Smolan, Kansas that my sister and I stopped at back in August. See my post in the August archives for photos. I think the food at The Hickory Tree was better but it was more of a Sunday dinner than a brunch.

It always amazes me the interesting places that we can find by just driving some of the back roads. We came across a pretty farm with a sign that read Spring Hill Farm Camp. They have a website so if you have a moment, check it out. It looks like a neat place especially for folks with disabilities. I little farther down the road we came across a large fenced area with several buffalo grazing. I would imagine they are being raised for their meat as it is more and more popular in stores and restaurants around here.

That was pretty much it for the day today. We did make a trip to Target and Dick's Sporting Goods with a stop at B & N's house to check on the kitties. They went to St. Louis for the weekend, B & N that is! And the kitties were quite comfortable on the bed.

Yesterday we drove (in the car) up to Indy to check out Stouts RV. We've been dreaming of the possibility of trading up from our little travel trailer to a motor home. But at this time, I think it will remain just that, a dream! At least we had a nice drive in the car and had great Italian food at Johnny Carino's before heading home.

Hope you all have a good week. I'm trying a new pilates class tomorrow so hope I'm not too sore to blog !!

Don't let the ghosts and goblins get you!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Projects for a Dreary Day

The rain has finally come to our neck of the woods. We've had several dreary damp days but I don't think anyone is complaining. I think we've had over nine inches but spread out over several days and the parched ground absorbed most of it.
Today I've been working on my Christmas quilt. I've completed piecing the body and now I'm working on the twenty-four appliqued blocks that go around the outside. Speedy quilting or piecing is not my thing. I read some other quilter's blogs and it seems like they can get projects together so fast. Maybe I'm not organized enough, or maybe I get side-tracked or most probably a combination of the two! I guess I've got too many interests. Here's a photo of what I do have done. I hope I can get this done before Christmas!

Another project for the day - Chocolate Chip Cookies. I felt like baking today too. This recipe was given to me by a friend in Wisconsin. Somehow they never taste as good as hers but of course I always have to vary the recipe a little and that always doesn't work out. These turned out okay and my theory is that anything with chocolate is successful.
1 cup butter (not margarine or shortening)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 T. ground flax seed
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
16 oz. chocolate (I used a combination of chopped semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate bars and milk chocolate chips)
1-1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
These seemed to not spread out as much as I thought they should so it works better if you flatten with the bottom of a glass before baking. I think the additon of the whole wheat flour must have something to do with that. The oat flour though makes gives them an interesting crispy texture. The batter is really thick and made me glad that I used my new Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer. Let me know if you try this version and how they turn out.

Halloween is next week and I decided it was time to decorate one of my pumpkins with this cute black cat that I've had for a couple of weeks. Much easier than making jack'o lanterns.
Well, here I am side-tracked on another project. Guess I should get back to the first one! But I'll probably multi-task and watch The Office too. I even might try to read a chapter or two of Garden Spells during commercials! (I'm loving this book!)
Until next time! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Last Weekend ?

After a couple of stormy days here in Southern Indiana, we were again blessed with a beautiful fall weekend perfect for motorcycle riding. Will it be the last? I hardly think so, unless the snow starts flying ! We were lucky to get some significant rain this past week and also lucky to miss the tornados and high winds that hit some nearby areas of the county.

Our Saturday riding partners are increasing! We now have a "gang" ! We are a pretty threatening looking bunch aren't we. Thanks for joining in on the fun everyone. We enjoyed the company!

Our destination was The Dock Restaurant in Leavenworth. Our adventure of the day included a pleasant lunch on the patio and a stop at Turtle Run Winery for a little wine tasting for some. Now I know, some of you are thinking "didn't they do a bourbon tasting at Maker's Mark last weekend?" I admit to that, but trust me this is not a theme! Though when I think back, we have been to Huber Winery and French Lick Winery all since we got the bike - hmm maybe there is a theme here. One thing these wineries have in common is that they are located near some of the most scenic roads for motorcycle riding. And one thing all of our driver's have in common is responsibility when it comes to wine or bourbon tasting. So please don't worry about that!
The bugs were out in full force too. Sometimes it's nice to share your special windshield cleaner with your friends!

Today we took advantage of another beautiful day for a ride to the north. Near Seymour there are several pumpkin farms. I missed the photo of the great big pumpkins still resting in the fields but managed to get one of this quaint little stand.

This past year has gone so fast. It seems are to believe that one year ago today our little girl got married. We were lucky to have pretty fall day then too, though it was several degrees cooler. Congratulations B & N !
I just checked the weather for next weekend and we may have to bundle up a little more, but my guess is, we'll be riding somewhere! Stay tuned to see where we end up. Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On the Road - to the Mall !!

Many of you know I love to shop. I'm not a power shopper but I do enjoy a good day at the mall. The best malls near here are about 30 minutes away over in Louisville so I don't go over there just on a whim. I don't go near as often as I used to. Moving to our new home a couple of years ago made me realize that we have too much stuff anyway. But I do enjoy having a shopping partner and usually my friend C or daughter B can be easily convinced to ride along and don't get me wrong, having a shopping companion is truly one of my favorite things. However, sometimes it is just as enjoyable to venture out on y0ur own, when you can set your own timetable, skip lunch or graze in the food court, spend as little or as much time making a decision as you wish, and just browse an interesting display. Plus, Dennis was out of town today, so I really had no itinerary or time frame !

So here are my purchases for today. A new pair of jeans (Nine West, on sale and best of all, one size down - I think they run big), a top to wear with the new jeans (on sale also), SHOES (yes honey, I need another pair), exercise pants, and Yankee Candles ( I had a coupon !)
After the mall, I stopped at Whole Foods . I wish we had one of these great grocery stores on the Indiana side of the river. I probably would buy more there if it were closer. Today, I made the mistake of not eating lunch, so I wanted to stuff my cart ( and my mouth at the sample tables !) They have great bulk foods there so I picked up some roasted mixed nuts for my absent husband. I also bought low fat Bear Naked granola, a Spinach-Tomato Amy's pizza for my supper (yummy - I almost ate it all !), other miscellaneous but boring stuff, and this beautiful mini fruit tart for my dessert. Their bakery is awesome, as is the deli, the meat department, the fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers and the selection of cheeses.
Tomorrow night is dinner with my book club. When we first began a few years ago, we read a book almost every month, but lately, everyone's schedules are so full that we decided to just meet and enjoy the companionship and conversation and maybe we'll read a book every season or so. Our current selection is Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. I hope we aren't planning on discussing it until next month because I haven't started it yet. I'm still trying to finish The House of Spirits Isabel Allende. I might be able to do that tonight when I get done here. Has anyone else read either of these? You might have noticed the I-35 Book Club blog on my sidebar. This was just started by my neice and I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you check it out. So far, all I've done is purchase the book but haven't started that one either. I guess my blogging hobby is beginning to take away from my reading time.

Thanks for stopping by. Come shopping with me sometime!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Pretty Fall Weekend in Kentuckiana

Our good weather is still holding here in Southern Indiana. It has finally turned a little cooler and we've had to start wearing jackets and gloves when riding the motorcycle. But we certainly can't complain about the beautiful fall days we've had unless it's too wish we could get a little rain.

Our road trip this weekend was a short jaunt down to the Bardstown, Kentucky area and a trip on to the Maker's Mark Distillery. We've been down there before, usually with visitors from out of state, but this is the first time we've driven the bike down through Louisville and into the Kentucky countryside. This is a shot of downtown Louisville as we crossed the Ohio on the Second street bridge. Once we made it past the city traffic, it was a very pleasant ride to Bardstown and Loretto. There must have been a fall festival in Bardstown and as we made a quick stop there we saw this aspiring young country singer performing on the corner. He was pretty good. You can barely make out his name on his little home made sign but I think it is Grant Bennett. Bardstown is a nice little town with lots of history and architecture. Of course there's the neat little shops that I like too, but we didn't stop to explore:(We enjoyed the hills and curves out to the distillery and joined in on one of the tours once we got there. As you can see, the landscaping and buildings on the grounds are very attractive but you have to imagine the aroma of Kentucky bourbon that fills the air. The tour concludes with a tasting both of the bourbon and the chocolate bourbon balls. The bourbon ball was definitely more pleasing to my palate ! Sorry Maker's Mark.
No photos of the ride home or the stop for dinner at one of our favorite New Albany restaurants, Strattos. As you can tell in the photo above, the leaves still have not changed much around here. The late summer has played havoc with the fall colors.

Today we attended our annual subdivision picnic. This is only our second year in this house so we are still getting to know our neighbors. There are a lot of little kids around and they were enjoying the inflatable jumping "thing", the hay ride, bonfire and the face painting. The rest of us were just enjoying all the yummy food!

My contributions to the food tonight included chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and this Cranberry Broccoli Slaw. My sister made this for Christmas dinner one time and I keep forgetting to write the recipe down. I was going to try to just "wing it" but did find a similar recipe online at another blog. Here is the link to the recipe if you are interested.
That is all for this weekend. Just one final photo of Beamer enjoying himself in the sun on the patio table. We don't let him outside very often but when we do he has been pretty good about only staying on the deck. But lately, he's gotten braver and sometimes tries to sneak down the deck stairs when I'm not looking. As you can see, his size makes him pretty easy to catch!
Have a Beamer relaxing in the sun kind of week!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Art of Life

One of the best juried art fairs is held every year in Old Louisville. It is the St. James Court Art Show. It has been held every year since 1957 in one of the most interesting residential areas of Louisville, Kentucky. This is probably the third time that we've been down there since we've lived in this area. Luckily, Dennis is a willing companion for these events (most of the time :) With our late summer 90 degree weather, we got an early start to miss the most of the crowd and the worst of the heat.

There is such a variety of art forms that is impossible to give you an idea of everything there. I did find a couple of presents and also purchased the poster for this year's show. If you go to this link you can find a picture of it on down the page. I hope to get it framed and hang in my sewing room/office somewhere.

St. James Court is known for it's park and fountain surrounded by beautiful old restored homes. Every time we go down here we think we should come back some day when there's not an art fair going on to be able to get a better perspective of the architecture.

As you can see, some of the art is not what the average person would buy to place in their homes. But it is so much fun to enjoy the talent of so many artists on a pretty "fall" day in a pleasant location.

A weekend on the road with us would not be complete without some type of motorcycle excursion. This time it was a trip to Alton. Now many of you may automatically think of little Alton, Kansas and there's probably a couple of you who will think of Alton, Illinois but Alton, Indiana was our destination on Saturday. All of these towns are interesting in their own right and would make a good destination for a motorcycle ride. Alton, Indiana sets on the banks of the Ohio River. I should take the time do some research on the history of the area but I'm sure at one time it must have been a flourishing river town.

Our friends following us on their bike probably think Dennis was crazy for taking us down some of these back roads but we sometimes find that more interesting than speeding around on the interstate highways. (I like to think that it is safer too!)

To go right along with the Alton theme, we found this store in Leavonworth, Indiana. I bet there is a few of you who will remember the Stephenson Store in Alton, Kansas where Dennis' mom worked as a young woman. We browsed through here long enough to cool off, get a cold drink, use their restroom and concluded that the eclectic collection of inventory must have been similar to their sister store in Alton, Ks.

One more ride for the weekend included a trip through an Amish community to the east of here. I didn't realize that there was one so close to us and we will have to go back when some of the interesting little shops are open. I could have taken a photo of this family in their buggy after they had passed us. It would have made a better picture if I had taken it as we passed them but they were waving and smiling so nicely I didn't want to offend them by putting a camera in front of my face! There's kind of a nice contrast though with M & R's motorcycle on one side of the highway and the buggy on the other.

So here is the post for our adventures of the weekend. As to the title this time I think we covered portions of the "art of life" pretty well with good weather and appreciation of the talents of others in the company of a patient spouse; riding through scenic little known parts of the country with good friends; and good food and the pleasant company of friends and new acquaintances (this was a wonderful party at A & T's beautiful home Saturday evening that I didn't even mention yet!). As I look back over the past few weeks of my entries here, I think we've done pretty good at an "artful life" ! I hope you all had a good weekend too!

I have one complaint though! I am really beginning to enjoy coming up with this blog entry every few days and I don't mind letting you know what silliness we've been up to on the bike or whatever, but I would like to hear from some of you too! My thanks to the few of you who have sent comments, but please let me hear from a few more. I think there are some lurker friends and relatives out there and I would love to know what you've been up to also. Okay - that is my rant for the day. Thanks for reading - even if you don't comment!

I hope you all had a great weekend too.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Is it really October?

Happy October ! Fall is probably my favorite time of year. But where is it? Here it is the 4th of October and it is 90 degrees outside. Crazy mother nature. I guess I'll just have to pretend like it is and decorate for the season anyway! This is a photo of my front door - the mums should open up bronze/orange.
I was in the mood to bake today. So I baked Gingersnaps. Back when son J was in high school, this was his favorite cookie. I'm not sure if they still are ( my guess is that anything his bride bakes is his favorite !) but he'll probably tell me to send them his way anyway. I've sort of given up on my experiments to make cookie recipes healthier. They just don't taste the same do they? But I did replace half the flour with whole wheat flour and added about 1/8 cup ground flax seed. They look a little different but do taste pretty good. Now where's the apple cider?
More domestic things today. I've been working on this Christmas lap quilt called All Wrapped Up and have ten of the blocks done, but not sewn together yet. I bought the kit at Among Friends Quilt Shop . Click here for a picture of what it is supposed to look like when I get done. I probably should have taken the class to keep me motivated. The table topper below is one of my first quilt projects I actually completed about 4 years ago. It is always such a good feeling to actually get something finished. Like most quilters, I have lots of UFO's (in quilt language that's unfinished objects) and my table in the basement usually has at least two or three spread out. Here is a photo of my sewing center in the basement. I didn't take a picture of the table in the other room because it was so messy! My sewing machine is a Husqvarna Viking Designer II. I really enjoy this machine but it has more functions than I can actually use. Maybe someday I'll take the time to figure out all the specialty stitches. I did take a class in free motion quilting this summer and I hope to be able to feel like I'm proficient enough to do it on something someday.
Here's my view from my sewing machine. When we finished the basement in this house we made the office/bedroom/sewing room so I could see the television while sewing. It works pretty good, I just need to spend more time there and I could get some of those UFO's done! Note the entertainment center and speaker cabinets. My much talented husband made these last winter from quarter sawn oak. Aren't they great? I am so lucky!!

Now back to sewing.....