Thursday, December 31, 2015

Countdown to the New Year

Well, this week has gone by so quickly.  Seems like only yesterday we were waking up to Christmas morning.  The only thing spoiling the holiday spirit is this weather.  High 80's on Christmas and most of the week.  Best that I don't complain, given the recent disasters from rain and tornadoes across the country, and be thankful that we are safe and could enjoy the holiday.

On Wednesday we were expecting company/family visit, so on Tuesday night Rich made up a batch of his homemade Potato Candy.   A recipe that he got from his mother, and one of his favorites.  All you need is a small piece of boiled potato, powdered sugar, and peanut butter......

I've been spending a little more time on face book recently, and over the past couple of months have become reacquainted with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends we have not seen in years.  Christine Benjamin, my niece, and daughter of my older brother Don............called to say she was coming to visit on Wednesday.  Only through face book, did I learn that she was living only a couple of hours away.

She arrived mid morning on Wednesday and the day just flew by.  Just catching up on family, laughing and reminiscing all the things we did over the years was so much fun.  She is the same age as my younger brother, just three years younger than me, so we spent a lot of time together when we were kids, and even into our early 20's before Rich and I left New York State.

I had put on a crock pot of pasta sauce, early that morning.  So just needed to boil the macaroni for some homemade goulash, a Cesar salad and a little Italian bread.   She even got to spend some time with Uncle Rich reading financial charts.  It was early evening  when she left for home.  We look forward to getting together again.

Today - Rich took a break late morning/early afternoon and we made a trip into Sebring. First stop was for breakfast at the Sebring Diner - our usual bacon and eggs!  And as always it was delicious.  From there it was a quick stop at Lowes,  for a few small items that Rich needed, and then to Walmart, where I had hoped to pick up a pair of sandals (OP's) - but except for a pair of bright pink - that had absolutely NONE in my size!  Next stop was at Spray and Pray Reload, where Rich bought his new pistol, a Ruger 9mm, LC9.  He completed his Concealed Carry course about a week ago.  Then we went next door and checked out the Highlands Indoor Gun Range.  

Tomorrow afternoon we, and another couple are headed for Myakka City to visit and have dinner with friends.  Still had a lot of fudge, no bake cookies and potato
candy in the freezer so decided to take some to share tomorrow.

But......I remembered that Diane can not eat peanut butter ( which is in all three of the above!!) so I made up a batch of chocolate/oatmeal cookies so she could enjoy some goodies too!

Had originally planned Shrimp Scampi for New Year's Eve dinner......But the fridge was full of left over Roast Beef, Ham and Goulash.  So we opted for the Roast beef with potatoes and carrots for dinner tonight!  It will be a quiet evening.  Someone across the canal had the fireworks out before 8:00 PM, but then we had a couple of rain showers.  Watched a movie and a had a Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Eggnog......... No champagne tonight - We'll both be having sweet dreams by mid-night.

To all our family and friends we send our best wishes for a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2016.  May it be your best year ever!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to our family and friends.   Today will be a quiet one here at the Donald residence.  Just the two of us this year.   But we still did all the baking and cooking as if we were expecting a crowd.

Was out on face book yesterday and last night and seeing all my nieces and nephews and cousins celebrating with family brought back so many memories.

I miss so much Christmas Eve with all my brothers and sisters and huge gatherings around the table on Christmas Day.

But Santa did come and fill our stockings!   Nothing big under the tree this year.
That present, for both of us, was the new kitchen.
But there were a few things that just did not fit in the stocking.  Rich's Wall Street Sign for his office wall, and my "annual" bottle of Chivas Regal - my absolute favorite Scotch!

Besides the usual stocking gifts of creams and lotions and lots of candy, Rich got a new coffee mug, and I got a new mouse for my computer.

And many thanks to family and friends for their generous gifts.

About mid-morning we got the Christmas Phone Call from Dennis and the family and each of us exchanged greetings with him and Crystal and Dalton and Chauna....... One of these years we are going to make a point of all being together in the same place.

It was well before noon when Rich had his every Christmas morning he has his homemade pumpkin pie.  A piece of pie for Rich is about 1/3 of the whole pie.
And later in the afternoon, before dinner we each had our favorite Christmas drink; Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey with Eggnog.

And Christmas dinner was delicious.  The Ham was perfect as were the scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole and buttery biscuits.

It was a quiet, beautiful Christmas day.  I did send a message to Dennis suggesting that he have Chauna get her selfie stick, and send us a picture of the four of then in front of  the tree!  By the time I asked, both of the kids had left to visit with boyfriend/girlfriend families.....The day's not over yet!!

Another great thing about today is that I found that my niece Christine Benjamin lives just a couple of hours from us, up in Zephryhills.  She's making plans to visit with Rich and I one day next week.  We had some pretty good times when we were younger, but it's been years since we've seen her.  Looking forward to her visit.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

Christmas always seems to sneak up on us........and then there's always that last minute trip for a final gift, a stocking stuffer or one more thing you need for your festive dinner...........

It's always a time, when we miss our family the most; they live so far away.  And always a time to reflect on all the good times and laughter we've shared with good  friends.

Today  was a busy day, with morning chores while Rich was working.  Thankfully the stock market closed at one.  Neighbors Phil and Doreen stopped by to wish us Merry Xmas and drop off a gift and card.  Then we spent most of the afternoon finishing up the baking.  Rich made his pumpkin pies, and I had made chocolate chip cookies, no bake cookies and peanut butter fudge, then did up a batch of biscuits.

Chores done, baking finished it was time to relax with a good beverage.  Rich opted for his daily Budweiser, and I enjoyed a delicious Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Eggnog!  

Christmas Eve dinner was nothing fancy; just some good old fashioned "comfort food".  It was homemade macaroni and cheese and biscuits, with pumpkin pie for dessert!. I had recorded two or three movies - which we didn't watch, because all three we had seen before.   But we did get in about half of a Christmas movie before we called it a night.  

Santa will only make a quick stop here tonight.  Just long enough to fill our stockings.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A few busy days......and our December dining with friends.

It was a really fun week having Miss Ava with us.  And I think she had a pretty good time too.

I do know that she was definitely pampered all week.

 Nathan and Krystal arrived early Sunday afternoon to take her home. So Rich spent a little one on one time with her before they arrived.

Monday was a catch up day; cleaning, laundry etc.  Made a potato salad, and some sloppy joes for dinner and we both enjoyed a Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Eggnog!   Got a call from The Decor Store that they would be doing the kitchen cabinets on Tuesday!!!

Mike Belan, from the Decor Store here in Lake Placid arrived about 9:00 am Tuesday morning, with his helper ( his wife). They did break for lunch for about an hour and a half, but had the job completed before 2:00 pm.   We had contacted a few different places for prices on just some refacing of the kitchen cabinets, and became a little bit discouraged at the cost.  Almost as much as getting new ones and both options costing way more than we were willing to invest.  Our neighbors had The Decor Store reface their kitchen cabinets last year, along with some other bathroom work and told us that the price was very reasonable and that the workmanship was excellent.   And they were right.  The picture in the upper left is what the kitchen looked like before we restarted the remodel. The appliances and counter tops were completed a couple of weeks ago...............
 They replaced ONLY the cabinet doors, and fronts of each drawer.  They were able to match the white  on the doors to the white on the rest of the cabinets.  They look amazing!  And they did this for a "fraction" of what others wanted.  We would highly recommend them!   The cost  left us far enough under budget that we may have shades installed on the sun room sliders!   What a great Christmas Gift to both of us!

And then tonight we met up with Buddy and Diane.  Where? Where else but the Hibachi Buffet in Sebring.  We have made a pact to meet at least once a month. And we've been doing that pretty regularly.  But this month, we missed Nathan and Krystal.  Just returning from their "anniversary" cruise - they were not quite ready to venture away from home yet!  We missed them tonight, but, as usual we solved the problems of the world, tried, with no luck, to figure out WHY people are supporting Hillary Clinton, and we enjoyed a great meal.  

And so Krystal and Nathan - we will let you know the menu for New Year's Day. And let us know what we can contribute.  And hold the 2nd Saturday in January for dinner and show for the six of us.  It's a Buffet with an Elvis Impersonator, and another who does Johnny Cash........... Be prepared to eat , sing along and have fun!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Just a little bragging! So Proud of Grandkids

Thought it was time to share a few recent pictures of what the kids are up to out there in Iowa.  Wish so much we lived closer!

Both Dalton and Chauna are members of the Davenport West Marching Band.  Below are pictures of Dalton with the rest of the Trumpet Players, and Chauna with the Flag Team.

Below, Chauna receives a ribbon for her recent 5 Strikes in a row with her league, and  recently bowled a 191 and a 202 game.   According to her Dad, she's been working very hard, wanting to make the varsity team this year.

Also - both Dalton and Chanua excel you can see!  Dalton, as a Senior, carries almost a 3.9 grade average and is ranked 6th in his class.  Chauna ,as a Junior has a 4.0 grade average and is number 1 in her class.

AND..............when they visit us at the Lake in the summer - they are excellent fisherman/fisherwoman!

As for their academic abilities - that's from their Pa Pa's side.  As for the music and dancing skills - SOMEHOW - they got that from Grandma Do!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Pet Sitting and Holiday Cheer!

Can not believe it's been more than 2 weeks since updating this blog.  Still hoping that Home Decor will call next week to finish the kitchen - but if not, hopefully before the New Year.  

Following our visits to the doctor for our annual check-ups and blood work, Rich had is appointment with the Dermatologist. Results of the three biopsy's that were taken on three different spots on his face...........all came back benign!  Good news.
So.......I've done a little decorating for the holidays.  Tree is up, Ribbons and mini trees on the front porch, and a few mantle and table decorations.  The present under the tree is from Nathan and Krystal..............and yes - Rich saw the chocolate and has pretty much finished that........and thank you both for the lovely candles.

  Except for filling our stockings - Santa won't be leaving us presents under the tree this year.  But, as you know - the kitchen was our early Xmas!

And most of you know that I like my wine.... and my Margaritas....but for the holidays - I like my Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Eggnog. ( Nick and Tonyia got me started on that one!)  I might have to have ONE this weekend.

Another reason that I have not updated this blog in a couple of weeks.....MY CAMERA DIED!  Trip to Walmart to buy a new one,  Didn't come with a mini- USB cord to download the pictures.  Back to Sebring to buy the USB cable....didn't work.  Rich took care of that today when he went to Sebring for his Concealed Carry Permit/Training Class.   (And then he went shopping - wonder what he got me for my stocking!!!!!!)

Tuesday, this past week, was our monthly community meeting, and our annual Xmas Dinner.  This community is really nice.  $25/year are the dues - and that includes a free Xmas Dinner!!!    Again - this all happened during the camera problems - so the pictures of Rich and I  at the dinner were lost!  We shared a table with our friends and neighbors,John and Diane ( picture taken at our house).  And that's fellow neighbors Jim (Feathers) and Jan - that managed to be called in the food line before us!  Dinner ( except the chicken) was very good.  Chicken, Ham, Mashed potato and gravy, green beans, coleslaw, rolls and cake. Rich opted for Iced tea - John, a vodka and coke! and Diane and I a glass of Riesling!  Very lovely night.

And since last Saturday we have had a visitor!   Our good friends Nathan and Krystal have been enjoying their 25th Anniversary Cruise with their 3 daughters and family - and we have been taking care of Miss Ava.  Everyone knows how much we love dogs - so having her here for a week has been a real pleasure.  Here she is.....on the family room couch, where she stays while we eat dinner, and watch TV, in the living room chair, when I'm on the computer, and enjoying the back yard,  down near the water/dock and, where she met Zolfo and Augie ,(John and Diane's dogs).  And she goes to the fence every time we let her out - to see if they are there.   She's having a good time............and so are we.   And we will miss her when Mom and Dad come to get her on Sunday.

All the Christmas presents to NY ( my brother and Rich's brother) have been mailed, as have all the gifts to Dennis and the family in Iowa.  One of these years I would love nothing more than to be able to spend Christmas with the family.  We miss them so much!

As for New Years - we are once again considering our New Years Day get together with friends..........  Until then.........Merry Xmas to all!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

More work in the kitchen..........

We were very surprised on Tuesday afternoon to get a phone call that they were ready with the granite counter tops.  They arrived just after 9:00 am.  Three young men, who worked very hard and did a very nice job.  They finished just after noon, tearing out the old and putting in the new.

We are very pleased so far.  We got the granite at ATand L Granite and Marble in Sebring and picked it out there  a week or so ago.  The service was excellent. Only 5 business days from selection to installation.  And we are very please with the color, exactly what we both wanted.

We still need to finish the installation of the dishwasher and the faucet.  Hoping the plumber can make it tomorrow or the next day!!  Read up on how to use the new appliances and cooked on the new stove last night.  But now that we have no faucet in the was Chinese Take-out tonight.

Mike, from The Decor Store here in Lake Placid was back today and finished all the measurements for the new cabinets doors.  Staying with the white, with a little bigger/decorative door and hidden hardware.  He said there is a pretty good chance we can get it done before XMAS!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our first Christmas Present

Santa came a little early.............Today the re-do of the kitchen began.  The truck with the new appliances arrived about 9:30 this morning, and two of the nicest young men began the job of moving all of the old stuff to the garage and installing all the new.  It was after 1:00 when they finished.  Unfortunately the new dishwasher needs to be hard wired, which means we still have to install an outlet.  But we are very pleased with our choice. Went back and forth on whether to get the french door or the side by side refrigerator.  We were already losing a little interior space with the cabinet depth model, so we opted for the side by side.

                                                               The old......

Putt these on sale on Craig's List and the young man came to pick them up late this afternoon.

The New..........

Tired out!  Went to town to pick up a sandwich at Subway for dinner.

Then across the road to Al and Barbs to get all our frozen food that we had stored in their freezer.

It will probably be another week or so before the cabinets are done. ( Just doing some refacing; staying with the white) and the new counter tops are in.