Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2011

Now that the children are all grown and comfortable in the kitchen, Thanksgiving has become so much more relaxing and enjoyable for me.  We all split up the parts of the meal and met at Leslie & G's house for dinner.  We had all the usual yummy food: 
Ron & I = roasted turkey & stuffing
Ryan = smoked turkey
Scott = rolls
Becca = spinach dip & hash brown casserole
Leslie = yams, green bean casserole, corn souffle
Mom & Dad = pies
We had way too much food; but, everyone had left overs for the entire weekend.  
We ate early enough to let the family watch the Cowboys play and give me a chance to walk up to our house and grab a nap.
Scott & G trying on the ugly sweaters from Goodwill... 
It is a little scary that G is so comfortable in a woman's sweater...

Leslie made cute turkey shirts for the girls...

After the game, Mom, Dad, and Ryan headed home, Ron went back to our house to watch more football, then the rest of us played some board games before making our plans for Black Friday shopping.
Sweet granddaughters watching a movie...

Our totally tacky shirts... 
I made mine out of foam stickers... unfortunately, most of them fell off before I got home...

Becca came up with the idea of getting tacky Christmas sweaters from Goodwill for everyone to wear.  Scott had a little trouble finding something to fit; so, Leslie cut apart a vest and sewed it onto a long sleeved Tee shirt. He sure did get some strange looks.  The best was when he met a fellow firefighter at Wal-Mart.  The guy kept trying to avert his eyes from Scott's shirt and carry on a normal conversation at the same time.  Scott didn't even notice it, but Becca and I were cracking up just watching him!

We only hit 2 stores: Wal-Mart & Kohl's; but here is the run down of bargains:
Becca, Scott, & Leslie all got new mixers.
Scott bought new Paula Dean cookware, a mini chopper, and a home-made soda machine.
Leslie & I got new crock pots and Bissel 3-in-1 sweepers.
Leslie got new jammies for the girls, new dish towels for the kitchen, and new cookie sheets.  She really needed new muffin pans, but I don't know if she picked those up or not.
Seth got some new XBox games and a marshmallow gun. 
And, I got a small shop vac.

We did a little "barfing" and lots of laughing along the way.  Good times; can't wait for next year.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Highland Games and Scottish Festival - 2011

When we first moved to Texas, we had no idea we were of Scottish descent.  It wasn't after I met a woman in Germany who shared a family record that listed the family of James Veitch the Sheriff, one of our earliest American ancestors, as an immigrant from Scotland.
After we returned from Germany, we discovered that Salado, Texas is home to an annual Scottish Festival.  We quickly turned a yearly trip into a family tradition.
We got out of the habit of going when the kids went off to college, and Scott ended up being deployed overseas.  Then, when everyone moved back home we kept missing it!  This year, I started checking the website in October to make sure we didn't miss it again.  
Not everyone was able to make it.  Ryan's friend, Vince, is home on R&R from his Navy assignment, so he was spending time with him.  Leslie & G were having friends over for the evening, and Leslie wasn't too wild about trying to keep the girls entertained so they decided not to go.  That left Ron, Becca, Seth, his friend Jim, Scott and myself.  We had fun, but missed the rest of the gang.
Over the years, the festival has grown into an event that literally takes over the village of Salado.  There are always many, many clan tents where people can trace their ancestors back to specific clans in Scotland.  Vendors of all sorts set up kiosks to sell tartans, kilts, Celtic jewelry, books, music, food, and other interesting wares associated with Scotland.
 The festivities are usually started with a gathering of the clans on Friday, and a grand parade on Saturday morning.  One year, Scott and his buddy Dan Keck, actually walked in the parade waving our family tartans.  
The Festival is host to competition of all kinds.  There are pipe and drum competitions, Celtic dance competitions, and our favorite, the Highland Games.
 We got to the games a little later than I would have liked, but Saturdays tend to be overbooked these days. We got there just as the sheaf toss was ending.  The object of this event is to toss a burlap bag of hay over a bar using only a pitch fork.  
The second event we watched was the hammer toss.  It has 2 division; one for men, and one for women. The competitors stood in the batter's cage on the local baseball field and threw the hammer.
The competitors are separated from the crowds by fences.  This sign was hanging on the fence, and I couldn't resist taking a picture of it.
 After watching the hammer throw, we wandered through the vendors tents and came across one that was selling traditional Scottish Haggis, meat pies, and deep-fried Scottish eggs.  We have joked every year about trying Haggis.  This was the year we actually tried it.
Ron was first.  The big goof scooped up a rather large "taste" of the stuff and shoved it into his mouth.  He handed the tray to me, but I passed it on to Scott. 
I think Scott's face says it all.  YUCK!!
I decided I might as well try a bite.  It was nasty!  It has a rather rubbery, chewy texture, is heavily spiced, and leaves a disgusting after taste in your mouth. Luckily, there was another vendor nearby that sold funnel cakes. 
We tried to get Seth to try it but he walked away from us.  At least Ron, Scott, Becca and I can now all say, "No thanks; I've already tried it!" Next year, maybe Ryan, G, & Leslie will be with us and we can talk them into trying it.

After our disgusting snack, we walked over to where the dancers had their stage set up.  Unfortunately, we must have just missed it because they were tearing down the stage and the dressing room.  

 But, we watched several wonderful pipe and drum groups perform. They were very impressive.  We got to stand relatively close and I filmed a little bit of two performances, but it is such a pain to add a video that I am going to just settle with the pictures.
After the pipe and drum competition, we wandered through the vendor's stalls.  The shoppers gathered around the vendor's displays are just as entertaining as the competitors.  It is amazing what people will spend their money on! There was one very odd, geeky kind of person we saw who must have spent a small fortune. When we first saw him, he was wearing a sword strapped to his hip.  By the time we had walked through the vendor's area, the same little guy had bought 2 or 3 swords.  When we were about to leave the festival, we saw him wearing a long cape!
  
Anyway, the last event we watched was the caber toss. This older gentleman put everyone else to shame!
 When he first hoisted the caber, he staggered all over the place trying to balance it.  I thought for sure he would drop it, but he flipped that thing end over end beautifully!
 We watched several other competitors try, but no one was nearly as accurate or practiced as he was.
 We also got to see what is under those kilts!  Some are longer, like the one in the picture below. But, some are much shorter.  Thank goodness for boxer briefs!
So, this is "the end" of my post sharing our experiences at the 2011 Highland Games and Scottish Festival.  
Can't wait until next year.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kidisms.... kind of...

The recent hallway game that my class plays while waiting to go into PE or music is telephone.  I whisper a message into the ear of the first students and then he or she passes it on to the next child in line.  The object is to send the message all the way to the end of the line and keep it intact.  So far NONE of the messages have made it to the end of the line without being humorously twisted.   However, even with the twisted messages, the funniest part of the activity is watching their confused faces as they listen intently and try to decipher what was whispered into their ears. Yesterday, I thought I would pee my pants I laughed so hard. I had just sent a message along the line and was standing watching the kids pass it along, when I noticed that Lexie turned to whisper the message into Kaitlyn's ear, but instead of cupping her hands around Kaitlyn's ear, she cupped her hands around Kaitlyn's nose.  Kaitlyn simply stood there with Lexie's hands cupped around her nose! But, when Lexie started whispering, Kaitlyn got the strangest look on her face.  I don't know if it was because Lexie had really bad breath or if she just realized that her nose instead of her ear was cupped.  Lexie was totally oblivious to the fact that she had her hands cupped around Kaitlyn's nose.  I started laughing so hard, and was barely able to tell Lexie that we don't whisper into one anothers' noses!  The silly class hadn't even noticed what was going on until I pointed it out!

Monday, November 7, 2011

New photo for Halloween 2011... Thanks, Leslie!

In my previous post, I mentioned that I somehow neglected to get a picture of Ryan and Scott as Zombie hunting partners Shaun & Ed.  Lucky for me, Leslie had managed to get a good picture of them and sent it to me.
Here are my crazy sons....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween with my CRAZY family...

Having my adult children living so close is such a HUGE blessing.  We have the luxury of turning the simplest holidays into wonderful, fun-filled events.  This year, Halloween was a perfect example of the craziness that seems to happen whenever we get together.
Ron & I ordered Papa John's pizza because we knew the girls were going to take their kids Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood.  We figured we would invite the boys as well, thinking they would just show up for dinner. They actually came prepared to dress in costume!  

Becca provided dessert;  Kitty Litter Cake and Day Old Bathwater Punch.  She recently bought a gross food cookbook and jumped at the chance to try some recipes.
 The bathwater punch would have looked cute with a rubber ducky floating in it.  Becca said it is supposed to have some after-dinner mints floating to represent bars of soap.
 Scott was Shaun of "Shaun of the Dead" and Ryan was his sidekick, Ed.  Scott had made Ryan an iron on transfer, he raided our shed for a shovel, and he was set. Unfortunately, I somehow missed him when I was taking pictures.
 Seth was the character from the movie "Scream" and his friend, Jim, was a soldier.
 Becca was a piece of candy corn.  Her hair and face are painted white.  Seth thought she was a traffic cone, so I told her to stand in a triangular pose.  I don't think it helped much.
 Maggie didn't want to dress up and was giving Leslie a hard time about it.  So, Leslie told her if she didn't dress up, she wouldn't get to go Trick-or-Treating.  She ended up going as an impromptu Minnie Mouse.
 Ron didn't dress in costume; but, he decorated the house.  The little orange discs on the ground are reflectors compliments of Time Warner (thanks, G!).  I am in the background, near the front door wearing my awesome E-Bay clown costume.
 Because Maggie opted to ditch the Rapunzel dress, Miss Sophie decided to wear it instead of her Sleeping Beauty costume.  She just wasn't wild about the hair, so she just wore her little tiara.
 We took the kids around our neighborhood, and then down onto Leslie's street.  We have a lot of older people living in both of our neighborhoods.  One of Leslie's neighbors passed out old Christmas candy; and, another one passed out Wurther's Originals.  Scott said it is typical old people's candy.
Once it got dark, the crowds started growing.  Several people were impressed with Scott & Ryan's costumes.  And, Becca got at least one compliment on her shirt. Although, we can't decide if it was sincere or rude. We enjoyed the cool weather, lively conversation, ongoing one-liners from old movies or TV shows that my kids are famous for using, and lots of laughs.
So as another Halloween comes to an end, I will admit that the candy collection was pretty impressive.  However, it wasn't nearly as sweet as the precious moments with my family.