Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homestead Heritage Village

It's been quite a summer! Between moving Mom here and taking care of Dan during his recuperation after having both knees replaced, summer has sort of passed me by. That's okay, though, since I was more than happy to be there for both of them. But now it's FALL, my very favorite time of year, and I have been feeling a great need to get out with my camera to somewhere beautiful.

I had heard about Homestead Heritage Village, just north of Waco, some time ago, and was again reminded of it this week, by a friend who had been there recently. So I set out late this morning to explore it. (Dan's new knee wasn't quite up to an activity like this yet.) What a wonderful place! I'll be going back as often as I can. It's open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It has a working gristmill with a store that sells its flours; a forge, where blacksmiths work; a pottery workshop; a fiber crafts building, for carding wool, combing cotton, beating flax, spinning, weaving, and knitting; a woodworking shop; a gift shop; and a cafe/bakery. They offer classes to the public in the various crafts. 

The weekend after Thanksgiving they hold a big craft fair with demonstrations, live bluegrass and gospel music, food, and hands-on activities - for adults and children. 



This waterwheel powers the mill

The mill store, where they sell flours and baking mixes, as well as homemade jams and jellies.
I had lunch here, and it was very good. I was sorely tempted to have a dessert, as they looked absolutely wonderful - but I didn't.
A class, framed by one of the large looms

This woven piece, still attached to a loom, was in process.

Some completed woven scarves

A class was going on while I was there, and a man was working on this piece. He used a grape leaf to make the impression.


This very tall chest was made in the wood shop and is now displayed in the gift shop. 

This is the top of the chest shown above. You can only see the top from the upper story of the shop, but even this "unseen" portion was beautifully crafted.

These are scented soaps. They slice bars from the long slabs.


On fair days, they offer horse-drawn hay wagon rides, but on non-fair days, they only have a few animals in a petting zoo area, such as this llama, who seems to have a severe under bite ;-)

 Although the Thanksgiving Fair would be a lot of fun to attend, I really enjoyed going on a day like this. There were not many people there (except in the cafe/bakery), and it was so peaceful and quiet.

Lunch at the Dead Fish Grill

On Wednesday I picked Mom up and took her to lunch at The Dead Fish Grill. Now before you judge it too harshly, based upon it's rather "stinky" name, let me tell you that it's a very nice restaurant, located right on the shore of Lake Belton, near the dam. Mom ordered the fried catfish, and said it was wonderful. Must have been, since she ate all of it, and she's not usually a big eater!

I tried to get a picture with my iPhone, but had trouble because of the bright background, so Mom's image is a little too dark. But you can see that it was a lovely day to be at the lake. This restaurant is only about 5 minutes from Stoney Brook, where Mom is living.

Annual Temple Literacy Council Celebration

On Saturday Dan and I, along with my student, Hidetaka, and his wife and baby girl, attended the Literacy Council's annual celebration and awards brunch, at the library.

The Chisolm Trail Chorus (Sweet Adelines) gave a great performance for us.

Hidetaka's little one is such a doll! She was enchanted with the singing, and couldn't resist adding her own little dance routine, nearly stealing the show from the singers. Here's one of her down-low moves.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Catching Up

We haven't done anything too exciting recently, therefore the lack of blog posts! But here's a quick summary of Life With the Judds.

Part of the reason for our inactivity is Dan's on-going recuperation from knee surgery, his home health care, and his physical therapy. He's doing great, although he is impatient with his progress this time around. I'm pretty sure he's doing every bit as well as he did the first time, but having both surgeries in a matter of three months makes it feel like he's been healing forever. His physical therapist has completed her work with him. We are just waiting for her supervisor to come to the house and officially release him from home health care; until then he is confined to the house except for going to church or medical appointments. Once he's released, he'll still be dependent upon me for driving, since he won't be able to get behind the wheel until he sees his doctor in a little over two weeks from now.

Mom is settling in pretty well now. We have all of her stuff unpacked and put away, and her pictures hung on the wall. She's ordered a small, round, drop-leaf dining table and a pretty little wooden kitchen utility cart, with a drawer and cupboards. The utility cart will add to her counter space so she can keep her toaster and other things out all the time. She has met with her new primary care physician, and likes her (she's the same doctor Dan and I see). Her permanent Texas ID card has arrived in the mail, and she's opened a local bank account. She's finding it pretty convenient to use Stoney Brook's bus for trips to Walmart and the grocery store. The only thing we still need to take care of is driving to Austin to meet with a fellow at the Senior Resource Center to see about making application for the Veterans' Aid and Attendance pension, which we believe she will qualify for, based upon my Dad's service in the military during war time. If she does, indeed, qualify it will help with her living expenses at Stoney Brook.

Since yesterday was Labor Day, I thought we should have a last summer-time feast. Mom came to the house, and we had a meal of grilled brats, home-made potato salad, watermelon, baked beans, corn on the cob, and, for dessert, peach pie with peach ice cream. We were all complaining that we ate too much, but . . . it's the last holiday meal until Thanksgiving.

The weather here hasn't turned fall-like yet. We're still seeing temperatures at or around 100 degrees mid-day. But the lawns are beginning to lose their green color, and our oak tree is showing signs of seasonal change, so maybe cooler temperatures are on their way.

My art class teacher took the month of August and the first week of September off, in order to travel to Peru on vacation. To keep in practice, I set myself a goal of drawing my first portrait. I struggled awhile about what to do, and then decided to try drawing one based upon a photo of Clara that Kelsey took a long time ago. It was always one of my favorites. 

I found I had time to try one of Robert, during our August break, as well. Again, I drew it from a photo taken by Kelsey.  I'm not perfectly satisfied with this one yet, but my teacher will help me tweak it when we get back to class. I'm pretty sure I'll need to add some background shading, for one thing.

My little Bible Bees are so precious! Two of them have earned their Bible Bees T-Shirts:

These two have memorized 11 Bible verses and have been in attendance nearly every week. Jayme (the little girl) has also memorized the books of the Old Testament and a series of facts about the Bible. Both are learning the fruit of the Spirit. This week we had five happy, eager Bible Bees in attendance, all making progress toward goals and earning awards.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How NOT to Move to the Front of the Line

FINALLY! Mom has been here the required 30 days, and we had all of her paperwork in place to get her Texas ID. She's been waiting for this day, because she couldn't even open a bank account without ID, and she had let her NM drivers license expire before she moved.

The DPS opens at 8:00 a.m., so I suggested that we get there by 7:30 so we could be in the front of the line. Silly me! We did, indeed, get there by 7:30 - maybe a little before 7:30, actually - but there were between 40 and 45 people ahead of us, waiting for the doors to open. By the time they opened, there were another 25 people behind us in line.

Mom waited in the car and I held her place in line. When I was near the door, she came and joined me. Once inside we took our number and looked for a place to sit down. A nice lady offered to let Mom have her chair. As Mom started to navigate the row, another woman tried to move out of her way, but, instead, ended up accidentally tripping her, and Mom fell down. A young man jumped up and helped break her fall. I was so grateful to him, because she could have hit her head, but didn't. She was wearing a bracelet, which got shoved up her arm and peeled a large patch of skin back, but she didn't break or sprain anything. Since she takes coumadin, we knew we needed to control the bleeding. An off-duty fireman/EMT quickly came to her aid. The DPS provided a small first aid kit, which had some bandage material in it. Someone else had some tape. Besides the EMT, there was a doctor from Scott and White (I think someone said she was a surgeon) and a phlebotomist there. So we had lots of attention and help from several good Samaritans.

Once she was bandaged up, we sat down to get our breath - and to wait for our number to come up. But one of the clerks came and took all of Mom's paperwork while we stayed in our seats, did most of the processing, and then came to get her for her picture. That's one way to move to the front of a long line, but not a way that I'd suggest!

Our Good Samaritan - an off-duty fireman and EMT - who came to Mom's aid. 
We ended up going to the Urgent Care clinic. The doctor there repositioned the skin over the spot and used an adhesive glue to seal the edges, then re-bandaged it. Poor Mom. She was really shaken up (and so was I), but was relieved to finally have a Texas ID in her possession. Mom will be seeing Stoney Brook's house doctor tomorrow to follow up, but as of this evening she tells me she's doing fine.

Keeping Up With Clara

Clara has been waiting all summer - and so have we - for a visit to Grandma's and Grandpa's! Finally we found a couple of days that were free on both families' calendars. I drove to Somerville on Sunday afternoon and met Kelsey and Clara there. Somerville is about half way for both of us, so it has become convenient for our kid-exchanges.

It was a short visit, but we tried to fit in all the fun we could.

Sunday evening Clara kept herself occupied with the Legos from Grandma's toy box. She just got back from a big California vacation which included a visit to Lego Land, so there seemed to be a renewed interest in them.

On Monday morning Grandpa's physical therapist (for his new knee), Kimberly, came to the house. Clara enjoy meeting Kimberly and loved watching her take Grandpa's blood pressure, temperature and oxygen count, and then put him through his exercise routine. She even joined in for a few of the exercises.

Monday afternoon we baked cookies and put them in little baggies, which Clara decorated with stickers, and took them over to Nanny's (my Mom's) new home at Stoney Brook. While we were there, we walked around with Nanny, and Clara handed out cookies to all of Nanny's new friends. Clara loved Stoney Brook. She thought it was beautiful and said she wants to move in. She was especially impressed with the concept of someone doing all of the cleaning, cooking and laundry for the residents. (Of course, I think Clara has someone doing most of that for her already - right Kelsey?)

After dinner on Monday, Grandpa started teaching Clara how to play chess. She did a good job of catching onto how the pieces move, and said she was excited to have another lesson sometime soon. 

Tuesday was shopping day. We bought a new school dress and, since there were end-of-season sales going on for the summer clothes, we got a pretty summer sun-dress, too. It was big enough that it should be fine for next summer as well as for the remaining summer days this year.

We also went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a few things, including a set of bathroom fixtures for Clara's dollhouse. 

In between everything else, we did a lot of art projects, including some paintings and a magazine collage. I was really happy to have some original art work from Clara and have already framed it  so I can display it in the house. 

This is Clara's Water Series . . . Jellyfish, Sunset at the Beach, and Fish Bowl

And we worked a puzzle. Clara was eager to put the edge pieces together, but lost interest as we worked on the interior ones. However, she found one thing fascinating about this particular puzzle. It was made by the Yankee Candle Co., and some of the pieces were shaped like little candle jars, and had scratch-n-sniff scents on them! Not only that, but near the center was a large jar shape formed from several pieces. When we finished the puzzle, Clara had fun removing all of the "jars."

 Somewhere in all of the busy-ness of these two days, we also took a trip to Kiddo Kingdom to play on the bouncy houses. I didn't think Clara would have much fun there, since she didn't have a friend (or brother) to play with, and since she is getting older, but she told me, "I make friends anywhere, Grandma!" And so she did! She ran and bounced and made friends for about an hour and a half.

Tuesday night we made up a batch of home-made strawberry ice cream - Clara chopped up and mashed up the strawberries and helped measure everything - and had it for an evening dessert. Yum!

On Wednesday I drove her back to Somerville, where Kelsey and Robert met us. We all had lunch together before saying our good-byes. (Robert's lunch of choice: a Frito sandwich! Ha!)