Sunday, November 30, 2014

Number 47: Tyler State Park

We did something a little different for Thanksgiving this year and traveled just the two of us.  It was our 29th wedding anniversary on the 29th and seemed too special, only happening once, not to celebrate.  Breck and I hit the road with 6 state parks, a train ride, and reservations at a cute B&B in Jefferson, Texas on our list for the long weekend.  The first stop was Tyler State Park.

The road into the park was stunning in its own right with amazing fall color.

I miss the North Eastern autumn leaves, so this park was a real treat.

There are a lot of Shortleaf and Loblolly Pines in the park, but Blackjack Oak, Sweetgum, Post Oak, and Dogwood,  punch in the color.

Of the 16 miles of trails and we chose the one that loops around the lake called Lake Shore Trail.

Not too long a hike at 2.1 miles, but it gave us a great flavor of what Tyler has to offer.

Can you believe the color?

Most of my years in Texas have been spent in the Houston area where fall means brown.

With a few exceptions like the Bradford Pear, the leaves just dry up and fall off.

Bench with a perfect view of the lake on the Lake Shore Trail
If I had known that North Eastern Texas had the reds, oranges, golds, and rusts I would have made this trip years ago.

We may need to make this a new fall tradition.

I could get behind that completely.

To see more of our park trips click on the Texas State Park Adventures tab.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It Takes a Village, a Dicken's Village.

Of all the decorations that I bring out at Christmas my Dicken's Village is among my favorite.

Sometimes it goes on the mantle, sometimes on the sofa table in the hall.

This year I put it in the kitchen.  Maybe a bit odd, but I really like it there.

I am sure to see it and appreciate it every morning when I make my coffee.

And when I have guests and family visit over the holiday we are sure to gather in the kitchen and then it can be seen by everyone.

I am even considering adding a new piece to my collection this year, maybe the horse drawn carriage.

All of my pieces were given to me by my grandmother.

She started my collection 26 or 27 years ago, but must not have had much faith in my loving it.

Each year I opened a new building and found notes like these taped to the boxes.

I never returned a single one.  And back to my kitchen . . . doesn't the village look great?

Love it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Treats for the Coworkers

This year I made up some treat bags of sweet and salty snacks for the wonderful people on my hallway at work.

Such a simple thing, but it made me very happy to do and it was fun to pass them out.  I made up cards to attach to the bags, each one with a different joke.

Yes, they are corny, but they made people laugh.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Another Great Soup

I lovingly refer to this time of year as Soup Season.  There are not many more meals, if any, I would rather eat on a cold night than soup.  I have a few go-to recipes like Baked Potato  and Chicken Tortilla, but I tried something new this past week that was good enough for me to bring left overs to work to share.

It's Cauliflower Chowder and definitely makes my fall favorites list.

It tastes a lot like my Baked Potato Soup, but much healthier made with broth instead of cream.  I enjoyed my first steamy bowl on the porch with the fabulous fall color in the background.

I stuck close to the recipe, but omitted the parsley and reduced the milk to 1/2 cup.  So good.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Friends are a Choice

Family is family, there is no doubt, but friends are family too. 3 1/2 years ago my friend Diane shared my joy at my oldest son's wedding.  I was so happy to have her there.

Rehearsal Dinner May 28, 2011
This weekend I had the pleasure of sitting next to her as we watched her oldest son marry his bride.

Rehearsal dinner November 14, 2014
Our families have shared so many special moments over the last 19 years, from Disney vacations to Caribbean cruises, and I know there are many more to come.  I could not ask for a better friend.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In the Mood

What better way to enjoy the first cold front of the season than with a little quilting.  Two more blocks down and only 14 to go.

H4 Pie Sale
H9 Snowflake Mels
Click here to see how the blocks have all come together.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ahead of the Game

So you would think on a day like today

with a clear blue sky and the leaves changing from the deep greens of summer to the rich jewel tones of fall

that I would just sit back, watch the squirrels run back and forth collecting acorns, and take in a little football on tv.

Nope.  I am enjoying the view and the football, but I am also (gasp) decorating for Christmas.

I KNOW!  It's not even Thanksgiving yet.

I'm truly not skipping a holiday, but I am under a bit of a crunch.

Next weekend I have a wedding to attend, the following weekend is a Texans' home game in Houston, and the following weekend is a big trip around the north eastern part of Texas for Thanksgiving.

Why does this matter since Christmas is still a month away at this point?  Because our annual Cookie Exchange Party is December 15th and the house needs to be decked out from room to room, cookies need to be baked, presents need to be bought, wrapped, and shipped . . . you get the picture.

So please forgive me for getting ahead of the game by taking care of a little cheer on the screened porch.