Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Time to Be Thankful

We just got back from Texas as we enjoyed Thanksgiving with our friends and family there.  This year the weather was absolutely lovely, almost close to perfect the whole time we were there, in the 70s and 80s.  It felt great to leave our jackets in our suitcases, and enjoy the sunshine!

Here are some memorable pictures from our trip:

Our favorite airline ever to fly!  The first time I flew Southwest Airlines several years ago, I knew I would never fly another airline again if I could help it.  There is more leg room in the seats, you get to choose where you want to sit as you board the plane, and their customer service is second to none.  If you need to change your flight, there is no fee to do so.  And one of the biggest benefits for me, as I often bring back with me far more than I take, is the fact that two bags fly free, plus your carry-ons - so that adds up to four bags that can fly for free on this airline!  Wow!

Anyway - enough about my plug for Southwest, but I just had to share my enthusiasm for flying with them :)  Traveling is often very difficult, but since we have been flying with Southwest, our travel experiences have been wonderful.

We arrived at my parents home where a flurry of baking had been taking place in anticipation of our arrival.  Mom had been busy in the kitchen all day anticipating our arrival, and had six homemade-all-the-way pumpkin pies that were waiting for us, plus an amazing meal ready just as we walked in the door!

Home cooked meals don't get much better than this!  Mom cooked a lovely ham dinner for us complete with homemade bread, bread and butter pickles, and homemade salad dressing.  Marvelous!

A peek outside showed some of my parents flowers blooming happily away!

Crokinole!  Have you ever heard of this game?  If you haven't, it is one you might want to invest in.  Our family grew up playing this game, and then during some of our moves, the game was lost.  My parents found this game on Amazon, and purchased one for each of us kids for Christmas.  This game was a hot item during our Thanksgiving with my side of the family.  To play the game, you have round checkers that you "click" with your fingers, as you aim to try to hit the bulls-eye in the middle. However, the red pegs sticking up around the center area require a bit of skill to do so, and of course there are a few other rules that make this game a winner, and an incredible time of fun to play. The guys especially love it.

We went to visit my brother, and he pulled out his Crokinole board that was handmade in Canada. It was a really nice one.  We had a lot of fun using his board. Good family times!

We took a drive through one of Texas main cities, and the traffic, as always, was terrible!  After living in the "boonies" for several years now, it is hard to adjust to so much traffic again.  I was glad my husband was driving.

Perhaps if you've been to this city, you will recognize the skyline.

Not to mention the tons of traffic that always congests around downtown.

We had come to spend the day visiting some family and friends, and enjoyed the beautiful views of Texas in the fall. Most of the trees were either changing color or losing their leaves.

A beautiful drive set against the backdrop of the bright blue sky and warm sun.

I love these lovely oak trees, even though they look so small to me now, comparing them with the giant pine trees we have in our area here!

A lovely sunset spread out before us.

One thing I love, as you probably know from visiting this blog, are beautiful sunsets.  This sunset was just gorgeous.

Back at my parent's house, my little niece came to visit us.  She is just 2, and tiny as can be, but more entertaining than a Broadway show!  She knew exactly what she wanted, and even at 2, was busy directing everyone around!  She was very attached to my mother, as Mom has spent a lot of time helping with her on the weekends, and she was really interested in just spending time with Mom.  It took me a little bit to convince her that she could love me too, lol!

At 2, the world is full of incredible discoveries.  Mom and I were busy cooking and our little darling saw the oven gloves that we were using.  Just now, we turned around and found her with the oven gloves on her feet, and she was using them like slippers!  It was a hilarious moment.  She was a joy to have around us as we busied ourselves in the kitchen, getting ready for the big day, plus feeding our entire family that evening with homemade pizza and celebrating one of my sister's 40th birthday too.

We made six huge homemade pizzas for the crowd we were expecting, and amazingly, we still had 2 pizzas left over.  Of course, we didn't just serve pizza, but there were a ton of appetizers and chips too, as well as a huge pile of desserts.  I think I gained 10 pounds just making these pizzas alone, lol!

Ready and waiting for the oven!

All the toppings!

After the pizza was served and the ice cream cake was eaten as we celebrated my sister's 40th birthday, it was time for our annual family tradition of making Paintbrush Sugar Cookies.

Mom and I had prepared three batches of this sugar cookie recipe in anticipation of all those who wanted to try their hand at painting sugar cookies!

Some of the painted creations waiting their turn in the oven.

The final result of some of the cookies - well... those that managed to survive without getting eaten as soon as they came out of the oven!

On Thanksgiving Day, as our family gathered to eat, visit and be thankful, my sister and her husband's dog was very thankful that she had so many people willing to "play ball" with her!

In fact, I think the dogs were the happiest of all of us!  There was so much happy activity for them to keep up with, and so many people to pay them attention, that the smiles on their faces couldn't be missed!

My brother had these lovely flowers planted outside his home.  Their happy faces spoke to me too!

My brother and his wife have a beautiful home that they finished building last year with this huge pond in their backyard.  They stock it with fish, and there is a quaint wooden dock with double benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.

Of course it is inevitable in Texas that a few snakes will show up for the party as well.  In fact, one of the kids found an empty water moccasin snakeskin close to the water.  We know they are there!

As the sun began to set, there was a beautiful glow cast over the pond.

It was beautiful down here on the dock just enjoying the serenity of the water and sunset.

Following Thanksgiving Day, our family traveled to be with my husband's family for the remainder of our trip. A view here of the open Texas road.

Colorful flags blowing in the light south breeze.

The Texas countryside is full of beautiful oak trees, and lots of mesquite trees too.

As we arrived to be with my husband's family, we were just in time to enjoy a "leftover" Thanksgiving lunch with them, and to visit, before the sun began to set.  A bonfire was built as the last rays of the sun dipped over the horizon.

We spent the night with Dan's brother and his wife.  Their sweet gray cat kept us entertained.  Even though our door was closed for the night, she was small enough to slide under the door and jump on the bed to visit us.  LOL!

The next day was a "work day" of sorts at my husband's parents house.  Gypsy - their border collie dog (above) had become an escape artist, and my husband's parents were at their wits end to keep her contained.  So all the family came together to work on a fence that would keep her contained.  While my husband's family worked, we all visited as well, and got some other projects completed around his parent's house that needed taken care of.  It was great to visit with everyone, and get things done for them too.

Amazingly, our visit to Texas passed all too quickly, and it was time for us to head back home.  We had a wonderful flight home with no problems.  All our animals - Annie, Simba, Freddie the fish, and the chickens were well taken care of by friends while we were gone.  It was wonderful to round all the animals up, and get a hot fire built (it was 45 degrees inside the house when we arrived home), and just enjoy the fact that we were home again.  It is so wonderful to visit with family and friends and Texas, but wonderful too to be able to crawl back into your own bed again!

Truly we had a wonderful time, and so much to be thankful for!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a great time! I have never heard of Crokinole! Your niece looks very cute! Glad you had a good trip!


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