Lifes a Beach, at the Beach in Galveston, Texas

The pilot and I have been planning to spend a weekend at the beach all summer and somehow the summer is over and we never made it. We didn’t have a weekend, but we had a Saturday a few weekends back and we capitalized on the opportunity with a quick day trip to Galveston(KGLS), Scholes Field in Texas. To ensure that it was an extra special trip we brought along some of our friends, the Woods.

We hopped in the plane first thing Saturday morning and headed out. It is always a little intimidating to come over the water to land. Even though we have done it a number of times I still get nervous and have to distract myself with something (this time it was finally finishing my birthday thank you notes from April–a little late I know) so that I don’t think about the fact that there is nothing below us to put JJ (our plane) down on. My pilot always tells me the plane doesn’t know if there is land or water underneath us, but I still get anxious. Our trip to the Bahamas in 2010 was over water for more than 300 miles!

We came into runway 17 from over the ocean and as usual I was super anxious but the Pilot set her down beautifully. The crew car, which is usually available was just checked out. Most small airports have a crew car that you can borrow for up to 2 hours, but someone beat us to it, so we called a cab. With no plans in mind, we asked the cab driver for a lunch recommendation and he took us to Gaidos Seafood Resturant on the waterfront.  The food was WONDERFUL! We had a soup sampler, which consisted of three of their soups in smaller portions and the fresh catch of the day special and they were well worth the flight. There was even a little shell store in the front of the restaurant. I like rocks, in fact I love them, so after our detour through the shop, we headed down to the beach. Here’s a picture of Mallory, one of my volleyball girls, and I in front of Gaido’s.

The pilot and I made sure to bring an ice chest for the fresh seafood that we always get anytime we are near fresh seafood. Since we took a cab instead of renting a car, we got to take the cooler with us everywhere. The pilot even took it into the water with him so that it could enjoy the beach with us.

It was wonderful to feel the sand and water on our feet.  I made the pilot walk down the beach with me until we made it to the ice cream stand. Unfortunately, Mallory (one of the girls on the volleyball team I coach) and I had something a little different in mind than the package of dip-n-dots that we ended up with but it was the idea that counted. Here is a picture of Mallory’s mom and I at the dip n dots stand.

The pilot even joined in the fun and had a package of Banana Split to go with my Cookies and Cream. He is not a big ice cream eater, but always joins in when I get some.

In an effort to get the full effect of ice cream on the beach and relaxation,  we sat on the boardwalk and people watched while we ate. There was a large canopy to keep you in the shade right on the boardwalk.

The Boardwalk was really beautiful. The city has really spent some money to make the boardwalk really easy to navigate. It had to be rebuilt after the hurricane a few years ago that tore it down. I even found out that the entire airport was under water when the hurricane came through.

As the good tourists we were being, we made sure to hit a few of the little souvenir shops before we headed to the fish market to finally fill up the ice crest that we had carried around all day. There are several shops on the boardwalk to choose from that sell t-shirts, swim suits and any kind of trinket you can think of.

Seafood does not get any fresher than straight from the boat and Katie’s Seafood Market is the best. Their fish were beautiful, the shrimp was caught that morning and the crabs were still angry about being pulled from the water. Blue crabs are cooked live, so you have to bring them home alive. The Pilot “let” me pick out the blue crabs; I am not sure if he knew I would love it or he didn’t want the crabs to pinch him. Here’s a picture of Katie’s Seafood Market and me holding a live crab!

You know that the seafood is fresh when the employees are literally waiting for the boat at the door. It is great fun that the boats literally pull up to unload and then you get to take it home. It really does spoil you though. Fresh seafood is just amazing.

The shrimp and fish was a sight to see. They had all sizes and head on and head removed shrimp.

After filling up the ice chest with blue crabs, gulf shrimp and a flounder, the pilot, the Woods and I were exhausted so we took the cab back to the airport and started our flight home. I promised him I would stay up and keep him awake during the flight. I am usually reading a book or sleeping, but sometimes I try and stay awake and keep him company. I did forget that we take off over the water before turning around to head home. It’s a short amount of time over the water, but it still makes me nervous.

I most prefer the turn to home. Here are a couple of pictures from the air.

It was a wonderful day trip; especially because I finally got my relaxing day on the beach. We enjoyed the food, the shopping, the fresh fish and the walk on the beach. Having a small plane gives us a lot of flexibility. If we were to try and day trip this with driving, it would be impossible. I would recommend Galveston as a fun spot to get away if you ever get the chance.

-Morgan

Our redhead turns 2

On August 16th our little Runway celebrated his second birthday.  As he does every day, our little man went to the office, and as they do for every employee at the pilot’s work, they had a little celebration for his big day.  Aunt Jenny and Aunt Jessica, who work at the pilot’s work, made him a Happy Birthday hat that he proudly wore for at least 2 minutes. It helps that he got a toy from Grandma for encouragement. The toy is a kong, and while they say indestructible, they usually last him a week.

Two minutes were about all we got before he could not keep himself away from his cake. Once he noticed it, his attention was lost to eating it!

After the presents Runway got to have a little puppycake with his “shop family.” The puppy version of a cake is specifically made for dogs and is safe to eat. We weren’t sure if he would like it, but he had no trouble devouring it.

Runway would NOT have been happy to share his puppy treats, but we thought he (and all of his shop family) would be happier if he got his own and we had a few people cakes, with strawberry frosting, Runway’s favorite, of course for everyone else.

Our little man got a special treat: his own chair at the table to “blow out” his candle. The whole gang gathered around and even sang him happy birthday while he patiently waited to dig in.

As the song progressed he o0ched closer and closer and about the point when they were singing his name he just could not wait any longer. It is a good thing the pilot was paying attention because he dug in before the candle was blown out.

Our little man got to sit at the table with everyone else and eat all three of his little cakes. He even got to eat a little but of the strawberry icing he loves so much.

Our little man had a wonderful “big day.” Since he is our “child” we spoil him a little. We had one person mention one time that they wouldn’t mind coming back as one of our dogs one day.

Just Peachy Peach Pie Recipe

On our recent trip to Fredericksburg, Texas, the pilot bought me two kinds of peaches. One type were larger and easy to peel and eat. We ate all of those as they were VERY good. The other batch of peaches were much smaller. One of the fruit stands we went to had a 1/2 bushel of small peaches(very affordable) so we decided to cook with them.

I love peaches and ate as many of them as I could before they started getting soft. The larger peaches really smelled like peaches, they were ripe and ready to eat. The half bushel on the other hand, were a little less ripe which gave us a few extra days. When I first smelled them, there wasn’t much fruit smell to them. When I put them down, the lady at the fruit stand tossed me one and said to try it. Much to my surprise, they were full of flavor. Yum.

There are two parts to this recipe. The first part is a homemade crust and the second part is the filling. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Here’s how to make the crust.

 

Crust Ingredients:

1 & 1/3 cup of flour

1/2 teaspoon on Salt

1/2 cup of shortening

2 to 3 tablespoons of water

 

Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter and cut in the shortening. Sprinkle with the water 1 teaspoon at a time as you stir it with a fork until the dough is a firm ball. Use your hands and squish the dough into a flat circle. Flour your cabinet so that it will not stick and then roll it with a rolling pin to about 1/8″ thick (making sure it stays round). You will then put it in a pie plate. Next is the filling.

 

Filling Ingredients:

1/3 Cup of Flour

1 cup of white sugar

2 cups of washed, peeled and sectioned peaches

(It is easiest if you peel them then cut one wedge slice out, after the first wedge you can just make the second cut against the seed and they will fall into the bowl.)

1/2 stick of butter

 

Mix the  flour and sugar together and then put them over the pealed peaches. Mix the flour, sugar and peaches together in a bowl. I found out why a 1/2 bushel of small peaches was so cheap, it took me an hour to peal and cut enough peaches for one pie. The small ones are worth it though, they tend to taste better.

Make sure all the peaches are well coated with the flour sugar mixture. Then you will dump the filling mixture into the crust.

Mound it up a bit in the center as the peaches will cook down. Cut up the 1/2 stick of butter into little squares, I usually slice them and then cut the slices into fourths. and sprinkle them on top. They will stick together so I usually put them on as I cut them.

As you can see, some of mine still stick together. The pie is ready to go in the oven (325 degrees) for 45 minutes. BEFORE you put it in, set it on a cookie sheet, in case it boils over, so that it wont run all over the oven. After about 25 minutes cover up the crust with either tinfoil or a crust cover (found at your local kitchen store and pictured on the pie below).

Cook for the remaining 20 minutes. Pull it out and let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving if you don’t mind if the filling runs. If you want pretty pieces you will want the pie to cool completely before serving.

With the fresh peaches the pilot gave the pie higher than usual marks. He rated it a 9.5 out of 10. Fresh fruit is really high on our list of good things to eat. Fresh peach pie tops the charts. If you give this recipe a try, post a comment on what you would rate it. I would love to know!

-Morgan

A Peachy Flight

The pilot is trying to help me take advantage of the last couple of days of summer. My job mimics the school schedule so before I am too busy we are taking a few extended day trips. One of the nicest parts about having a plane is the fact that we can just grab our stuff, throw it in the plane and we can be some place hours away (by car) in a short time…the plane has really extended the range on our trips.

When the pilot is trying to do something really sweet for me, he can be wonderfully thoughtful when it comes to trip destinations. I love fruit. I really love fresh fruit. When the pilot and I were dating, one of his brothers tried to get him interested in a fruit and vegetable supplement; he explained to his brother that I made sure he ate more than enough fruit so it was unneeded. We usually eat fresh fruit with at least one meal a day.

Of all the fruits, I love peaches the most. The season is so short, especially with the lack of rain and heat in Texas that we have experienced these last few years. So, as an extra special trip for me, even though impractical, the pilot and I went to Fredericksburg, Texas  (Airport Identifier T82), the PEACH Capital of Texas.

It helps that T82 (Fredericksburg’s Airport) is also in the Hundred Dollar Hamburger, a book, or website, of Airports with good close by places to eat. They call it the $100 hamburger because it takes $100 worth of airplane gas to fly there and eat a hamburger. The Airport Diner in Fredericksberg is actually right on the field so we park the plane and walk over to the restaurant and sit down. Very convenient.

After the pilot did a quick fill up in Georgetown, Texas (GTU). We were on our way. One interesting thing that I didn’t know until we started flying was the gas for the airplane is actually in the wings. Our airplane has 4 tanks and can go about 800 miles on a full set of tanks.

The pilot is really good about letting me read or sleep or just take it easy in the right seat. So far I have learned to set the squawk code on the transponder, which tells air traffic control who we are, and enter the destination airport into the gps (and most importantly change the XM radio station). Eventually I need to take the pinch hitter course, but so far I am happy to have no responsibilities. The pinch hitter course would give me the basics to land in the unlikely event that something happened to the pilot. Its a very basic, here is how to land the plane training.

The runway into T82 is beautiful. With all of the farm land in the surrounding arenas it is a beautiful place to land.

 

We got up and flew in first thing in the morning so that we could have breakfast at the Airport Diner as soon as it opens at 8am. The food is always wonderful and it is a fun little place with booths and retro bar stools with good home-style food. It is fun to get there early and sit by the windows to watch all the other planes come in. There are a number of patrons who drive over, but by the number of people that came in it is definitely a morning airplane fly in location.

One of the days when we head to Fredericksberg we are going to stay at the Hanger Hotel, thus far we have been making it a day trip or staying at a bed and breakfast, but every time we go we agree that “next time” we will actually stay at the hotel. It is on the airport field as well.

To make sure that we can get around to all of the peach stands and the wildflower farm we rented a car at the Gillespie County Airport building. The pilot loves tea and they make homemade everyday and have the cups and ice ready and waiting.

The pilot took me to all of my favorite fruit stands…as usual the Behrends Orchards outdid themselves with quality product and variety. They are one of the only orchards that still have local peaches later in the season each year, which was especially impressive considering the drouth from last year. Many of the stands had peaches from out of town, since they were out.

I love orchards where I can pick peaches myself, it does not get much fresher than that so we took the little mile drive off the road to the U-Pick orchard, but they were already out of peaches for this season. We also stopped at the roadside stand, they had a really nice variety and large peaches. There is one fruit and vegetable stand that is well out of town, that always has the main ingredient for one of my favorite holiday foods, cream peas. Wild Boar Farms always has a wonderful variety of vegetables; so we also picked up a few squash and a cantaloupe for eating later.

After hitting all of the orchards, the pilot took me to the Wildseed Farms. Even though it is currently too hot to plant anything at home I love to stroll through their gardens and look at all of the different types of butterflys.

They have absolutely beautiful zinnias and the mix of colors and just looking at them makes you smile, they are so cheery and bright. They were filled with butterflies. At first, I saw a few, but as I looked closer, there were hundreds of them. They must have been in flower heaven like I was!

The pilot is really patient as I like to walk all through each of the rows in the garden. When he gets tired of strolling around with me I can always find him on the closet bench or leaning against a fence somewhere. He is a really good sport about looking at all of the plant and posing for all the photos I like to take.

After an hour at the Wildseed farms, we were hot and ready for a little shade and stroll through downtown. I love the old, homey feeling of downtown. We hit a few leather shops and the paper store. The pilot fell in love with a pair of alligator boots in one of the boots stores. I love walking down the main street. It is very touristy.

We didn’t want to stay too long as I do not enjoy the turbulence that mounts as it day warms up, so we made sure to go by my favorite shop the Handmade Candle Shop before we left. I already have about 10 of them, but I really like to go watch her work. She makes the process look so effortless and the candles are truly beautiful. After one of our trips to see her we came home and tried to make some little candles ourselves, BUT all we did was make a huge mess and a lot of trash. She talks with you and explains what she is doing, but now we know she makes it look much easier than it really is.

After a quick trip back to the terminal to return the car, the pilot and I hopped back into the plane to make the quick trip home. Even though it is a short ride the pilot always flight plans above the clouds so that I don’t have to contend with the bumps. I have learned a lot about weather and flying. Usually, once you get above the clouds, the ride in the plane is much better.

Fredericksberg, T82, was a wonderful morning trip that was close enough to get us home in time for lunch and an afternoon nap. The people there are always so friendly andwe will make that trip again soon.

 

Runway, The Office Dog

Our little man has a number of responsibilities, or blessings depending on how you look at it. Every morning our little red headed pup gets up early and heads to work with the pilot.  Runway visits everyone and then assumes his position as greeter at the front door. Most days he spends more time napping then meeting the customers, but a number of people come by the shop to see him. Normally, I like to write more, but these pictures probably speak louder than words. :)

Runway enjoys his chair in the sun.

Runway is learning to be an office greeter, he can even balance the business card while you shake his paw.

He also serves as entertainment for all of the employees when they need a break from the seriousness of the day. They dress him up and teach him new tricks, Runway LOVES treats and will behave wonderfully if he thinks there is a treat in his future.

Secretary runway is ready for dictation, as long as you come to his office (the chair by the front door).

Tom Cruise has nothing on Runway, who just need a pair of tightie whities to complete the outfit.

Runway loves burgers, and hopes that if In and Out Burger comes to Austin he might be considered for a job.

Runway brings a light-hearted friendly atmosphere to the printing company. The employees are a tight knit group and he is happy to serve as the “family dog.”  He does not like to be alone so it is wonderful that he has made himself welcome.

Venison Stuffed Squash Recipe

The garden has FINALLY taken off.  This year I thought I would grow everything from seed but with a late start and the SUPER hot weather it was a disaster. I love the garden, the fresh dirt on my bare feet (even though it drives the pilot crazy when I track it inside on our light colored carpet).  As a little girl my grandpa and I always had a garden together and every time I am out there pulling weeds I think of all the wonderful stories he used to tell me while we worked.

As usual, despite my best efforts, one of the Zucchini squash got away from us! I am sure it must be the pilots fault, I think he hides them from me so that I have no other choice but to make him stuffed squash. My favorite thing to do with an extra large squash is to stuff them with a venison meatloaf stuffing. It can be made with both zucchini or yellow squash depending on which one you prefer. Traditionally I do not make them unless I have large squash because it makes a great stuffing to squash ratio. One of my favorite parts about this recipe is the simplicity of it, yet savory flavor it offers.

Here’s how its done!

Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients needed:

Squash, 1 Chub pack of Ground Venison (you can substitute ground beef or turkey if you would prefer), 1 large bell pepper (the bells from my garden are small so I use 2 or 3), a small onion, 4-6 mushrooms, 2-3 small potatoes (I use red potatoes but pealed Irish potatoes work as well), 2 cups of bread crumbs, 1 egg, salt, pepper, 1 medium garlic clove, 1 can of tomato paste and 1 can of tomato sauce.

 

Wash the squash and cut it in half long ways. Use a spoon (I like to use a grapefruit spoon) to empty out the seeds, and make room for the stuffing. Although they are a little messy, the gooey seed makes for a great food fight, it sticks nicely. I have learned, however, that I usually get stuck cleaning it up and that tends to take the fun out it.

Remove the large seeds first and discard them. After the seeds are removed hollow out both ends and put what’s left over in a bowl to use for the stuffing. Make sure to leave some of the meat of the squash in the skin (see the picture).

In a saute pan,brown the ground meat and season it with a little salt and pepper. When the meat is browned, drain the fat and set it aside. Next, you will saute the onions, potatoes and bell peppers in a little bit of olive oil or butter. When the onions are almost clear add chopped mushrooms and the squash you scooped out and saute the vegetables together. I would say about 3-4 minutes to tenderize the mushrooms and squash mixture.

Add the vegetables to the meat in a bowl and combine the first cup of bread crumbs, an egg, and half the can of tomato sauce and the tomato paste. The second cup of bread crumbs will only be added if needed to make it thick enough to hold together in the squash.

Mix it all together. If it is too thick, you may have to add a little more tomato sauce to hold it together, if its too thin add some of the bread crumbs. I like it to be fluid, yet not runny.

Stuff the mixture in the squash halves. Although I know it is MUCH more sanitary to use a spoon, I like to mix and stuff with my hands; I feel like a do a much better job of getting it really mixed up.  MAKE SURE TO WASH YOUR HANDS  THOROUGHLY AFTER! I recommend that you use dish washing soap, it does a much better job of getting the sticky raw egg off your hands. Add 1/4 cup of water to the can of tomato sauce, then pour it over the top of the squash in the pan.

Cover with tinfoil and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncover it and bake it for another 30-40 minutes until the squash begins to wrinkle a little. Slice and serve.

The Pilot loves this recipe. We much prefer venison to hamburger bought in the store, it is a whole lot leaner and the more we eat the more often we get to go out to the country to get more. Almost all of this comes from our garden and there are at least a few zucchini squash that I miss when I am picking the garden. This recipe makes perfect use of those larger squash that do not work as well in other recipes. Enjoy! A large squash easily feeds 4 and the pilot gives this meal an 8.5. I like to serve it with a fresh fruit salad and garlic bread.

 

 

 

 

The Big Page Contest for Archivers and Scrapfest 2012

Tonight all the pages for the Scrapfest 2012 Big Page Contest are due.

The Big Page contest from Archivers for Scrapfest 2012.

The contest seemed made for the Pilot and I as the premise of the design was to use 10s to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Scrapfest. Since we got married on October 10th, 2010 (10-10-10) we designed and executed 2 pages about our wedding for judging. The pilot and I waited YEARS to get married so that we could get married on that day.  In college I was number 10 on the volleyball team, it has always been my lucky number and I figured if we got married on a day full of 10s we were bound to have a blessed wedding and a life full of “lucky 10″ moments. So far, almost 2 years in, the 10s have stayed good to us.

For the contest, we decided on 2 very different approaches to the design. The first page was VERY CLEAN. Traditionally when I do pages, I fill every available spot with photos. I have this habit of taking a TON of photos and I struggle to choose only a few.  The pages allow me to relive the wonderful moments in my life and as a result it is a painful process to leave great photos off the pages. For the page we picked ONLY ONE of our favorite wedding photos and really emphasized the beauty of the photo, the event and the two of us. It took me almost as long to choose the photos as it did to do the page.

The page is a specialty white paper. My mother and I butted heads about the fact that my dress was white (she thought it should be cream because it was a fall wedding and I really wanted WHITE).  When others look at the page they wouldn’t know the significance of the white, but it is a special touch for me. My mom ended up really happy with the white in the end. The pilot and I choose not to have a wedding party so we tried to bring in our hunter and olive color scheme in in non traditional ways…as a result I put a green paper frame for the photo. Although I desaturated the photo for the page the Pilot wore an olive green shirt under his khaki suit and a hunter, khaki and olive tie and I had my nails painted green and a “tattoo” sewn on the back of my dress.

For the first time I used white glitter thickers, they are letter stickers that are either foam or chipboard that are “thicker” than a traditional sticker. We described the event as “classy redneck.”  In honor of that idea I used the White on White a reflection of the “classy” half. The glitter on the letters really helped them POP.

The flowers are a Martha Stewart Crafts design made with the flower punches that Archiver’s demoed at Scrapfest 2011 attached with pop dots. Although it is almost time to make another trip, this was the first time I took the time to try them again, I now understand the need for the mat. I thought I could just make them on the cutting mat that I have on the table but it was NOT spongy enough to allow the petals to curl.

The other page brought in a little of the REDNECK half.

The page includes our invitation, in the envelope under the photo on the left and a couple of framed photos from the event. Although you cannot see it from the photo, our wedding resembles a Pantone swatch book (looks like a book of the paint swatches you would see at home depot-printers use them to choose colors for inks). Since both the Pilot and I work in printing it was a fitting and COOL way to do an invite, it has 10 pages. From the photos you can tell that we had a little bit of a non-traditional wedding. Even though we were engaged for almost 4 years before we got around to getting married we jokingly called the event our shotgun wedding because guests were encouraged to bring their guns, and ammo, to shoot skeet in their black tie attire. It was fun to watch people come from their cars in their fancy cloths with their gun cases in one hand and ammo boxes in the other.

In a nod to my mothers wish for cream, we used a cream lace ribbon and ribbon tape as well as some paper ribbons, green brads, and a sticker set with a shotgun and shells. We used a different set of thickers on this page, they almost look filled with green glitter. Who knew that shotguns could be “pretty.”

The pilot sweetly drove me to Archivers to drop them off about 8:30 tonight; nothing like waiting until the last minute…But I am really happy with the way they both turned out.

 

Desert Sleding in White Sands

The pilot flew out to Alamogordo, New Mexico (KALM) to meet up with mom and I on our scrap trip. It was a good excuse for him to get a few hours of flight time in and it was wonderful to see him on my extended vacation. Usually the pilot brings my father as well, I am really excited that he came even though my dad could not make the trip fit in his schedule. The pilot is really wonderful about trying to tie flights into things that I really enjoy.

The pilot is not much for sitting around all day (which is what I usually do on the scrap trips) so it was important that we have activities scheduled for the couple of days that he visited. It is wonderful that the pilot comes, we would never enjoy the beautiful places and all they have to offer without his encouragement. It is only a 16 mile trip down the mountain from Cloudcroft to pick him up but it is important to know that those 16 miles take like 45 minutes because it is such a steep incline and the road is so windy.

On a Saturday morning the pilot, mom, Runway and my parents dog Avery loaded up in the car at 5:45am and made the trek down the mountain. We wanted to make sure that we made it to White Sands National Monument when it opened at 7am.

With the dogs we wanted to make sure that we got the park before it got hot. Avery, my parents lab, is old and does not do well in the heat. We were blessed, the house that we rented had sleds, otherwise we would have had to wait until the gift shop opened at 8 to rent them.

That early in the morning there were a few other people in the park, but it really felt like we had the place to ourselves. We picked a sand “mountain” and we climbed up and sled down until we were all too tired to go any more. Runway went up and down with EVERYONE. We thought after we got him tired that we would be able to convince him to sit on a sled and go down, but even when he was exhausted we could not get him to go down with us as a family.

We tried out both kinds of sleds, the red disk and the blue sleds that were more rectangular shaped.

It was a lot easier to get speed on the blue sleds and they were a lot easier to control. We had such an exceptional time climbing up and sledding down the hill. We even convinced my mother to go down the mountain. The pilot had to convince her, I tried and she was not budging but the pilot can sell water to a drowning person and had no issue convincing her to go down with him the first time and then a number of times after that.

The three of us had a really good time, BUT I think the dogs enjoyed it the most. The two of them ran up and down and up and down the mountain. Our little man, runway,  ran and ran and ran until he was so tired he could not go any longer, it was the first time we have EVER been able to totally wear him out. I think he ate his body weight in sand so that probably weighed him down a little.

We spent about an hour sledding and hiking around. Then we drove the 16 mile loop that the park makes before heading to the gift shop.I have a love for ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS so the pilot always tries to stop and find me an ornament to add to the tree. We have a really good time talking about our trips in December when we put the tree up and then again in Mid-January when we finally get around to taking it down. Although I am trying to give it up he treated me to a Dr. Pepper and chips to share with the dogs. The pilot love to pick up a t-shirt from the places that we go, the iSled shirt will be his reminder of all our fun.

On the trip back up the mountain, we stopped at a small  Cherry Festival in High Rolls, New Mexico. I cannot help myself when it comes to fresh fruit. I am not sure what I expected a cherry festival to be like but it was a wonderful little arts and crafts fair. The pilot bought me a new apron and matching tortilla warmer that forest animals on them.

We even made it back to the house before lunch. While it was warming up at the base of the mountain, we enjoyed the cool air at 8500 feet of elevation.

 

The 7th Annual Scrap Trip

Every year, well for the the last 7 years, my mom and I load up and head to the mountains for some mother-daughter time and a whole lot of scrapbooking.  I have a wonderful scrap room at home, but I know that the only way I am going to get in some solid scrap time is to load up the car and get away. With laundry or dishes or just household stuff that comes up it never works out to devote time to just scrapping….as a result, my mother and I load up the car with everything we might possibly need and we head for the mountains where it is cooler. As you can tell I do not waste any space in the car, if  there is a spot I bring one more, just in case, thing that I might get to on the trip.

There is an art to the car loading and Mom and I usually fill every space available in the car which usually takes a lot of help from the pilot and my dad, pictured above. Every year I promise myself I am going to be more organized and take less but it has yet to happen…In the time I should spend organizing I usually scrap, what can I say, I cannot help myself.

Every year, until this year, we have stayed in a house in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The mountains are so much cooler in a time that the Texas heat is so brutal. The pilot usually comes out for the weekend and we can go to the Horse Races at Ruidoso Downs, the Lavender Springs Farm in Arabela, and we love the pottery at Pinon Pottery. There is also a Walmart and Walgreens in town for anything we forget. This year, however, we ended up in Cloudcroft, Ruidoso was on fire.

From Austin the drive takes us about 12 hours, Mom and I stop frequently to look at plants along the road, picnic, visit the bathrooms and to check out fruit stands all along the way.

There are some really wonderful little spots that we love to stop out to break up the trip. The Runyan Ranch on the Penasco River has a really cute little petting zoo and WONDERFUL fresh cherries and we really like the little store and Elk Dogs at the Old Apple Barn in High Rolls.

When we arrive we unload and set up shop, me on the floor and mom usually at the dining room table, although this year we brought a table so we would have a place to eat. I love to be able to spread out across the floor and be able to make and leave a mess for days while I work.

On a typical day we try to get up with the sun to get a chance to see the deer, elk or other animals in the forest. I should probably mention that we usually stay in houses that are in the mountains on the edge of the National Forrest and we bring corn to attract the animals. Then we have a cup of coffee or hot tea on the porch in our sweats. Both of us try to soak up as much of the cool weather as possible. Then we get dressed and take the dogs for a hike, we usually try to walk for an hour or so.  I take a bag on our walks, there are always fun things in the forest that I like to bring home, pine cones, really different leaves and dried plants, and even tree bark.

When we get home we have breakfast and then we spend the rest of the day scrapping away. We move VERY little other than to occasionally help each other with our projects. We have different scrap styles so we RARELY work on projects together, but we spend a lot of time bouncing ideas off of each other. Unless the pilot comes out we only leave the house to go for supplies or to go to town and return emails and phone calls. Meals happen whenever one of us takes a break and cooks something.

 

We are there to SCRAP SO THAT IS WHAT WE DO. Occasionally I need a break and I read a book or two. Some days we work well into the night working away and others we quit early, but we really get an opportunity to enjoy each other and occasionally shoo a hummingbird out of the house.

I love all the scrapping I get done, but the time I get to spend with my mother is invaluable. I highly recommend the getting away to scrap.

Is it possible to be too BIG?

When the pilot and I first got engaged I bought an 18X18 Martha Stewart brown scrapbook. I love photos and with 3 photographers (my friends shot it) I knew there would be tons of photos so I thought BIGGER IS BETTER…I had absolutely no idea how challenging it would be to do a book that large. The book itself was a little daunting…Just thinking about the pages kept me from working on it for a while.

 

Since I bought it, the book and all of the supplemental material has been discontinued.  As a result, I was limited to the 40 spreads in the book…and no plastic sheet covers. Thank goodness the Pilot is a Printer for his day job so at least I could get some white paper in 18X18 to build the pages on. One of the toughest things that I never considered is there is no way to cut paper 18X18. All the cutters are designed for paper that is 12X12 but the only way to get paper large enough to cover a whole area is to splice 12X12 pieces together. I cut them and then taped the backs together and then tried to cover the spliced areas with photos and ribbons.

The size did, however, allow me to include a huge number of the wedding photos and it made it easy to take parts of the pages for what I like to call “Secondary Coverage,” A couple of photos that are part of a larger ever. The book actually turned out really well.

Page 1 was really simple…

I took apart the  multi-page Pantone Swatch-Book style invitation and was able to showcase all of the pages accr0ss the spread.

And I was able to showcase all of the the ceremony highlights on one page.

For such a momentous occasion it is wonderful to do such a memorable book, BUT it will be a one of a kind for me.