Monday, November 28, 2022

A Pinterest Epic Fail but Still Fun

So Sparky got to spend a little time with her grandson while we were in Texas. She decided to use her crafty skills and spend some quality time with her grandson to make these adorable marshmallow snowmen. Easy, peasy, right? Here are the ingredients:

1. Regular sized marshmallows
2.M&M minis in red and green holiday colors
3. Twizzlers 
4. A tube of black icing
5. Some white frosting (canned is fine, the recipe said
6. Hershey's kisses
7. Pick out a few Reese's Pieces in orange
8. Sterilize a Phillips screwdriver shaft with boiling water. You're gonna poke holes in your marshmallows
9. Candy canes.

OK, here we go.....Break the curved part off the candy cane so you have a straight piece, save the leftovers for eating later. Dip the screwdriver in very hot water and then poke a hole through 3 marshmallows. Stick the candy cane through the three marshmallows but not all the way through the third one (the head). Take your white frosting (Sparky's was buttercream and it was yellow, wrong choice-- and dab it on the marshmallow so you can stick on your red and green M&M's for buttons, and dab a spot on the top of his head to stick on a Hershey's kiss for a hat. Take the black tube icing and dot two eyes. Cut an orange Reese's piece in half and use one half of it for a nose by dabbing some more icing to hold it on the snowman's face. Pull apart your Twizzlers and use single strands to wrap his scarf and tie a knot. Tada!

WHOA! Abrupt halt. STOP! Problem #1. After breaking the candy cane curves off, (Sparky should have bought straight candy canes. They do make those, right?) Our hands were very sticky. Then we started working with the marshmallows. They stuck to our hands like crazy.The hot screwdriver worked like a charm, but Sparky had to keep running over to the stove to dip it in the hot water. A screwdriver? Geez, why not a wooden skewer or something a little easier?...Don't ask...Sparky just follows directions. (SHE DOES?????? asks an incredulous Eldo.) Very funny, haha.

OK, we get the HUGE marshmallows skewered. Problem #2. They barely fit onto the candy cane stick. Sparky bought the biggest, most voluminous marshmallows because there were NO middle, regular sized ones, only the minis, and she knew that wouldn't work, but she thought the giant ones would. Nope. The little Hershey's kiss hat looked ridiculous. So then we decided to cut the whopper marshmallows in half. HA! That was ok, they just got a little squished but onward we went. (Did she mention she HATES to cook? asks Eldo.) Well, this is a CRAFT, not cooking, but times, right?

Time to add the buttons. Dab a little frosting onto the middle marshmallow and stick an M&M button on it. Problem #3. Ever try to use a table knife to dab just a LITTLE frosting? It just smeared. Sparky was not in her own kitchen doing this, so she didn't think about toothpicks to apply frosting till much later.

Next, the
 scarf. Problem #4. Twizzlers are supposed to just pull apart into strings so you can wrap around the marshmallows neck and TIE A KNOT. Sparky thought Twizzlers were Twizzlers. Well, they are not all the same. You have to buy the PULL APART kind, which is the CHERRY kind, not the strawberry kind and although Sparky had strawberry Twizzlers that looked like pull apart ropes, they were not. So she had to sit and cut the Twizzlers lengthwise with a knife which was really slow going. Problem #5. Then we tried to glue the thick ropey piece of Twizzler to the neck, but it promptly fell off.

OK, now add the eyes. Problem #6. The icing in the little tube had some kind of reaction to the marshmallow and it immediately became a big,
 melty blob. It looked like the snowmen had mascara and eyeliner that ran badly and made them look like they had black eyes. Sigh....but grandson was having fun.
At that point, we abandoned trying to make them look like snowmen and went to town creating something a little different.....

All in all, we had fun. We nibbled candy along the way, Sparky got to enjoy doing something with her grandson, and it was quality time spent together. Daughter said, "Mom, why didn't you make those roll out cookies you used to make instead?" You mean, the spice cookie ones where it takes 4 cups of flour you have to work in the dough till your arms fall off, chill the dough, then roll out to a certain thickness, then cut them out with the cookie cutters and the dough sticks to the cutters unless you remember to flour them, and then you bunch up the scraps and re-roll the dough again?...and then you make the homemade buttercream icing? You mean those? Oh, right...Another time, sweetie.... Grandma got tired today.......But there sure are a lot of cute food crafts out there....maybe Rice Krispie reindeer treats for next time.....????
See you next time! But probably not at the crafting table, haha.....Bye for now......

Saturday, November 19, 2022

On the Road TEXAS!

Breaux Bridge, LA., Cajun Palms RV Resort.  Site: 416

We left Elkhart this week on Thursday...We left this (on the left) and temperatures in the twenties....We have a four season rig, they say. It's a Jayco Pinnacle. It's suppose to withstand temperatures in the twenties down into the teens. It has insulated windows. It has heated underneath bays.  However, the water hoses can still freeze unless you have a heat tape hose leading into the rig. those are very expensive. We don't have one so we unhooked our water hose several nights in a row and used water from our onboard water tank. We sure tested all that out while we waited for Eldy's glasses to come in and Sparky's last eye appointments. Temperatures dropped nightly into the twenties and rarely got up past the freezing mark for a few days straight. Sparky enjoyed the snow thoroughly!

Here's what the slide outs looked like partially cleared, from a view on a ladder.

We thought we'd have problems with slide outs not wanting to come in and jacks not wanting to go up, but nope. We had a problem with the hitch mechanism in the truck. It froze partially and we could not get it to connect properly even after three tries, and trying to wiggle the ice out of it. 

To the rescue, Eldy's son, Brian. He got out his mini blowtorch and warmed up the metal hitch levers and then the rig popped right into place onto the hitch! Off we went.....Eldy hopes he doesn't see this again for a VERY long time.
Thursday night we landed in Diamond Caverns RV park in the dark, after over 350 miles of driving. It gets dark EARLY in Kentucky, around 4:30 their time, so we had to unhitch in the dark. Luckily, a nice park employee was on duty till fairly late in the evening, and he guided us into our spot. It's very disconcerting at night driving the RV into a park with trees and picnic tables every which way. We were very glad to have his help. And fortunately, our unhooking went uneventfully well.

Off we went the next morning and drove over 360 miles (Eldy reminds me HE drove, haha--he always does), to one of our favorite corps of engineer parks in Alabama, along the I-65 corridor, Gunter Hill. It's a beautiful campground with huge, spacious long concrete cement pads, nice fire pits and a large picnic area for each site. We scored a site backing up to the river leading to the Alabama Lakes corridor. Once again, we arrived after sunset and rapidly approaching dark. We really need to get better flashlights or one of those headlamp headbands, lol! Here's our view out our living room window the next morning, through the screen.

Those river back in sites are really difficult to get! After seeing how beautiful it was, we decided, hey, let's let Eldy take a break from driving and we will stay two nights. Nope--holiday week...the park was almost completely full so we couldn't nab another night without hooking up and moving to another spot. But isn't this a beautiful site? Such a contrast from Indiana, which by the way, is under a snowstorm advisory once again, and was in the TEENS for the Notre Dame football game today. Yikes!

Site 13 Catoma Loop

So regretfully, off we went again this morning.....Our goal was to drive 425 miles, a long haul for Eldy, but he can do it! to get to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, where we have stayed at the Cajun Palms RV resort before. It's a very nice park but the concrete sites have poor drainage in many sections of the park. The rains drain off the grass edges and run onto the concrete pad. It rained most of the way there on our drive and was coming down hard when we arrived. Ugh. Hooking up in the rain is not fun. The first site we were given was flooded so we had to pick another site. All sites are concrete, they have a large pool/entertainment area, and in the summer time, it's super enjoyable and a very nice park. Staff is friendly and helpful, and since it's a newer park, all sites are 50 amp full hookup, as far as we know. The sites are not all that long however, and our 41 foot rig took up the whole concrete pad with no room to park the truck so we had to park in the spot next to us for one night. Time for Saturday night football and popcorn for a very tired driver!

Tomorrow is Sunday. We have a shorter drive of 261 miles to go to get to Lake Conroe, TX, where Sparky's daughter and grandson live in the area. We will rest our rig and ourselves for the next 2.5 weeks and spend some time visiting with family before heading out farther into Texas with our goal of eventually wintering in Arizona.

We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.....

Some of Eldy's family and his grandchildren


Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Eyes Tell More Than Words Could Ever Say.....

 November, 2022....Site: "mootchdocking" (family has hookups for the RV) in Elkhart, IN

Highs: 60's  Lows: 40's-50's

We-l-l-l-l-l...Sparky had her second cataract removed. It was almost as bad as the first one, (the left eye). It was also a brunescent cataract, having turned brown (like brunette, hence brunescent) and crusty behind the lens. The left eye is still swollen, but coming along, the second eye is not swelling as bad as the first. Two weeks after the first eye, one week after the second eye, and Sparky's far vision is suffering. She is seeing double, separate images when looking a ways ahead, like when we are driving down the road. If there is ONE car approaching, Sparky sees TWO of them--one in the other lane where it's supposed to be, and one coming right for us head on. Hard as she tries to make it one image, both eyes can't seem to bring it together. She can see things all around her, and in the distance, but they are just not crystal clear, just kind of fuzzy and a little blurry. She is using "readers" from the drugstore to read and do things close up. She is grateful to still be able to do her crafts and grateful to be able to at least see things all around her. It's just frustrating to have that double vision. Back to the doctor for another followup checkup. They say wait another two weeks, it should be better by then. If not, then glasses will probably have to try and correct the distance problem. Sigh....So hard to wait it out not knowing if it's going to get any better or not, even with glasses.

We love staying at Eldy's son's house. The rooster crows every morning pretty regularly at 7:45 but we're already up by then anyway. Fresh eggs every day if we want some, still warm in the coop when we collect them!

Eldy is trip planning...We have to decide whether we want to go back to Maine for a third summer or not. Not being beach resort town people, we are thinking a different destination this time for the summer. Stay tuned, it's up in the air right now!

Sparky is getting in the fall crafting mode with the cooler weather...Although her eyes are not functioning well for distance, they are fine with reader glasses for close up work. Her favorites are the ornament series from Ebeneezer Scrooge from the designer of the patterns at MMMCrafts, Larissa Holland. Actually, all the holiday ornaments are a favorite from this designer. Check out the little gingerbread house with a little surprise inside-completely hand sewn all the way through.

Besides crafting, there's always the Pumpkinvine Bike Trail available to hop on about 15 minutes from Brian's house, just a short drive to get on the trail at Abshire Park in Goshen, IN. Sparky got her cholesterol down this past year by a lot of bike riding, so she's going to keep that up. Dietary changes, too?  Not so much. Sparky loves her steak and dairy too much! 

Nothing like being passed on the bike trail by Amish on ELECTRIC bikes! But Sparky loves her traditional Trek bike and so she doesn't mind. The Amish are certainly loosening up their living standards a bit with electric bikes, solar panels, and more colorful clothes. Check out the laundry colors on the line at this Amish farmhouse.

The Pumpkinvine bike trail is beautiful no matter what time of year it is. The scenery changes from farms to horse pastures, to town riding, to county road riding, to heavily forested areas, then back out in the open again. Paved all the way, it's very well maintained, no potholes!

Sparky went out for a long ride today, and if you ride mid to late afternoon, you will see the Amish school kids outside at recess, playing baseball in their bare feet! You can also see a sculpture along the trail, depending on what section you ride.

It's so pretty even with most of the leaves gone....

Eldy took a tour of the MORryde plant. MORryde makes RV steps, the kingpin box for hitches, RV railings, chassis, sliding bay trays, battery trays, suspension systems, the drop down doors that are on the back of the big toy haulers (the ones that have patios on the back) , TV mounts, outdoor kitchens, and lots more. He didn't get any because he was so in awe of the factory and their quality and the cool robots were behind walls. Eldy's brother works in product research and development and led the tour this morning. MORryde uses a lot of robotics and Eldo was so impressed by their facilities, he couldn't stop talking about the plant tour when he got back. They have the latest and greatest equipment coming in, he said. (Eldy's brother was a key designer of the steps that are standard MORryde steps on so many RVs now and has been an integral part of the start of almost every new product). There are some really cool modifications to existing steps and railings, etc. and new products coming from MORryde in the near future.

Sparky stayed back and finished up an ornament request from one of her brothers. Mr. Marley....tada! This pattern is one of the Ebenezer Scrooge series from MMMCrafts mentioned previously.

Then on to a folded star Thanksgiving pot holder pattern from Shabby Fabrics for Sparky's Etsy shop, JeanBeanGifts.

We squeezed in a visit with Eldy's family at a great Mexican restaurant in Elkhart, called El Maguey. Eldy's sister and brother-in-law drove all the way from Kokomo to see us for dinner. It was great to visit with his brother and his wife, Shell, too, who live in this area.

Sparky squeezed in a couple of visits with her best friend, also named Jeannie, (who went RVing with us to Alaska) who has been a good friend for over 40 years. So great to reconnect with family and friends!

With all the doctor, dentist, eye doctor and physical therapy (for Sparky's sciatica) pretty much out of the way for now, we head towards Texas to spend Thanksgiving with Sparky's daughter and grandson. Happy fall, y'all!

American Sycamore Leaf It's HUGE!