Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nut Fest!

Aunt Wendy organized almost 90 people for our family reunion official picture.
More family members were able to join us for parts of the day or evening but unfortunately, were not there for the picture!

Photo: My Nut Fest Family!!!

I think I speak for everyone when I say that our family reunion EXCEEDED my expectations!
It was great fun from the pizza party ice breaker at the hotel on Friday night, the morning activities on Saturday of golf for some and the museum for others, the main event on Saturday afternoon and evening, and the after party luncheon at Mom and Dad's on Sunday afternoon.
The Club provided a fantastic space for us to gather and mingle.
Official Nut fest t-shirts provided a uniform of sorts!

Holly's creative genius really made things beautiful! She designed and provided gift bags for our out-of-town guests at the hotel, brought table coverings, centerpieces and fun toys for the kiddos.
Green plastic swag cups with our Nut Fest logo were also her idea. They were great for drinks and used as favors.
Corn Hole outside was enjoyed by the youth,
and an improvised play corner kept the little guys playing happily together.
We devoured 18 feet of fresh submarine sandwich for lunch.
 BBQ pork...
chicken, and hot dogs with all the sides...

made for a tasty dinner.

My cousin Greg prepared and presented a very nice family history of our ancestors and from what county in Ireland they originated.
As a tribute to my late Grandma F., we had a huge game of Bingo that pretty much everybody played!
Next was a Talent Show with jokes, and musical talent. The little girls wowed us with "Let It Go" from the movie "Frozen". We then had story-telling of poignant anecdotes from the past. My cousin, Terry brought a cassette recording of my Great-Grandfather singing "Danny Boy". This, he recorded in a little booth on Coney Island. That man could sing! Counting his recorded voice, there were six generations present.
I think that most of the grandchildren attended  (and those who had to work wished they could have been there!).
We had not only my mother's family but also my father's family in attendance. One set of folks found out that they and folks from the other side of the family, regularly shop in the same grocery store in New Jersey!
There is no doubt that it is a very small world! My Aunts and Uncles and cousins came from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Florida,West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. Three different parties drove over 800 miles to be with us. Our goal while planning this was to get together to enjoy a HAPPY occasion, with all the participants standing vertically in the room!

We ended the evening with a home video that someone had the foresight to record of my Grandmother F. giving a kiss to each and every member of the family, including every child that attended her 80 th birthday party about twenty years ago in Ohio.Who could have thought to record all 10 minutes of that? It is so beautiful to see. The caption underneath read "With each Kiss, a Blessing"
At 10 pm, all of our relatives helped us to pick up, put the tables and chairs away, and clean the building.
That all became part of the fun!
For lunch the next day, before folks had to leave us and get on the road, we had lunch at Mom and Dad's, and ate up most all of the leftover food. It was an absolute pleasure to work with my whole extended family on this wonderful Family Reunion. Many thanks to everyone (including so many out-of-town folks) who donated their time, talent and treasure to make it possible for everyone to enjoy a weekend of family time together!

A New Deck

Last September, our good friends built a nice deck around one end of their above ground pool.
Soon after they completed it, the swimming season came to a close.
This year they are really enjoying it and so are we!
My family also grew up with an above ground pool. Dad built a large deck from the house and it went out to the pool in a couple of levels to create the illusion of an inground pool. Two different neighboring families each had their own such pools and decks. The kids all swam together in one pool or the other, or all three in the same day! It made for a great summer.
 Decks are a wonderful place to sunbathe and a place to  leave one's pool toys readily accessible. They definitely add more fun because a group can hang out there. It is important to note that the above deck is well secured with a locking mechanism that they are strict about using to prevent unattended access to the pool, for safety.
Congratulations to our friends on this wonderful home improvement and thanks for inviting us to enjoy it with you!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Museum Tour

Larry was in charge of organizing an Historic Walking Tour of our downtown area for the out of town guests for our family reunion. He was well prepared but a light rain changed our plans. We improvised with a more than adequate substitute by taking our guests to a tour of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. A quick phone call made before we left allowed our  group of 17 to tour with a group discount.

This fine  Museum continues to improve! We saw the Patsy Cline exhibit and a large collection of "pie safes" (food cabinets) from the Valley. The "entertaining at Glen Burnie in the fifties" exhibit was spectacular. The best part was  experiencing these beautiful things with my cousins that I hadn't seen in decades!
These are the only two pictures that I took, I was so busy enjoying everything. To our delight, our tickets were for the Gardens as well as the newly redecorated House on the property and the Museum. I was pleased to share this with our guests and loved visiting with them in such lovely surroundings.

Pony Party

Juby was invited to a fabulous pony party at a deluxe stable by one of her friends in our homeschool group.
We were delighted to be invited and were not going to miss it!
Since all the girls arrived by car pool, I don't think their mothers realized what fancy accommodations were involved here! Their daughters were headed to a five star resort in a nearby town known for its fox hunting horses and stables.

While the girls were grooming the ponies and riding in a ring with professional equestrians, I shopped downtown. I arrived back in time for a delicious lunch of grilled chicken, Angus burgers, salad and fruit.
This was a dream Birthday Party and I hope that the girls never forget it!
Thank you, M. and C. for inviting us!

Food Bank

Our homeschool group volunteered to set up and disburse 5 pallets of food to hungry folks and families over two days in June.
Our teen-aged boys and girls and even small kids helped to carry cases of food into a church in the next town.
The kids had a blast setting up the foods into" like" groups. it was like playing  a giant game of "Store".

A very nice of assortment of food was available for the next morning's give away to the poor.
I could not believe that from start to finish, including setting up the tables, carrying everything in and unpacking it in an orderly way, we were driving away in fifty minutes. Now that is some awesome teamwork!
The next morning, we began at 7:30 am by setting up boxed "lots". Each chair and the box on the ground in front of it constituted one lot. 80 different recipients came to the church and do so each month on the same Friday to collect one, two or three lots of groceries depending on how big their household is.
We loaded the groceries and wheeled them out to the cars- none of them late model, I can assure you.
Many of the poor folks were crippled in some way and needed help with lifting. The adults could
not have done this job without the kids. They were a huge help. It was good for them to see how grateful the people were to get some food for their tables and pantries. This was a wonderfully satisfying service project that allowed the kids to make a real difference locally. Besides all that, it was fun!

Work Camp Tools

Each Parish Church going to work camp, and that is about 50 of them, has to provide the tools used for the projects for the week. Our family was able to donate the use of 12 tools or so. Each tool is marked with an elaborate coding system so that at the end of the week, each family gets its own tools back!
Sam had to gather ours up and he drove the truck with John and I to deliver and mark them.
Our parish code is blue, black, yellow tape in a row. Every tool from our parish will be marked as such. In fact, many of our tools are already marked that way since the code doesn't change from year to year. I think this is ingenious and I never would have thought of it myself.

Potty Party

Patience is on the Potty Train and doing very well!
Following the tradition started by my mother, she received a new package of underwear for her efforts.
She LOVES them!
Have potty, will travel, in the front seat!

Welcome Home, April

We brought April home since Natalie has less time to help out at the barn where she was living and soon will be moving.
Tori has been able to jump on her to ride and give Juby some supervision on her.

It isn't ideal riding April here because the grass is such a temptation to her. She wants to eat it. Most riding rings have special footing with no grass present.

Taking care of a pony is harder than it looks but it is fun to watch! I am not sure how long Juby and I will be able to keep April here after my adult horsewomen move out, but one day at a time, we will see!