Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Trip...Part 2

"A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely." --Pam Brown

Whew! Where does the time go?  I was going to get more pictures posted right away, but as you can see that did not happen.  I think the quote above is perfect.  We ladies invested in our friendship to keep it from drying out completely and we had a grand old time.
Our Tea.  We had about 7 courses of kidding.  It was all so formal and Suzanne (at the head of the table) schooled us on proper etiquette. Two important words of wisdom: 1. Do not talk when the hostess is talking.  2.  If you leave the table, make sure to put your napkin in the chair and not on the table or your place will be cleared when you come back.  
First course...a scone with homemade whip cream and jam!  Yum.  This was followed by strawberry soup, quiche, stuffed grapes (yes she actually stuffed those little things), muffins, about 7 different finger sandwiches, and dessert.  We kind of rolled out of the place.  Where was the TUMS.
Getting ready to go under the falls and the beginning of our fashion show.

Now with me in the picture.  Are you ready for our fashion show?...

Here we have a cute and fashionable, plastic poncho.  It is a wonderfully bright canary yellow.  On warm days it will open your pores and make you sweat.  It comes with an attached hood perfect for going under Niagara Falls. It is accented with a black tie which can be tied under the chin or just left hanging.  
The shoes are a must have for everyone.  The blue and green sandal are designed with comfort and safety in mind.  These are perfect to set off any outfit.  See how nicely they go with yellow? 

Just me and a break from our fashion show!

Resting and regrouping after our fashion show.

Back to our fashion show...Next up in our fashion show is the blue poncho in this year's new color: plastic bag blue.  The hood adds that special touch.  You can see here that the bow tie add so much to the total look of the outfit.  How divine.

This is a very versatile outfit as you can see.   Wear it with the hood up or down.  Perfect for that boat ride date.    Right on the front of our beautiful poncho is the fashion designer's name: Maid of the Mist... in business since 1846.  

Again here is the latest in practical shoe wear.  Brightly colored, velcro straps which adjust to all widths of feet.  Perfect for that afternoon stroll on wet surfaces.  You'll want to get yours right away!

Just happy ladies.  

Up next in our fashion show are our designer glasses.  They come in designer white so they will go with anything.  These are especially great with 3D movies.  Chic and glamourous, you'll want several pairs of these. 

The wet look is in for this year!  It does great things for the hair, like getting rid of all that poof.  

Looks like I need a little more of the wet look!  I have mega poof hair.  

Fashion show is over.... More serious stuff now!  Neighbors and friends.  

Eating...what we do best!

Jim, showing us how to use a bow and arrow.

He was a great shot.

I loved this background, and the subjects.


I am thankful for friends.

Jim was gracious enough to take these pictures.  He did a wonderful job.

Looking good for old ladies.

Angels for sure.

At Jim's parent's barn.  

Carol and Pat are in a chick(en) coop.  Aren't they crazy...

Sunset and silhouettes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Soap Making...

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul." -Yiddish Proverb

While at the Soapworks store during my trip, I asked the owner how she got into the Soap and Lotion business. She said it was after her husband became ill, that she started exploring making her own soap.   (He husband had some kind of skin condition and was reacting to commercial soaps.)  She explained that if we used the natural soaps, we would see a big different in our skin, especially if we lived in a dry climate.  I was intrigued and decided to investigate to see how hard it would be to make soap.  I remember my Grandma Norcross made her own soap.  So after watching some YouTube videos, I decided it was not too hard at all, and that I would try my hand at making a batch.  I found a simple recipe, and made some.  About an hour later, I had my soap made, and poured into molds.  I made my soap using Olive oil, lye, and water.  This type of soap is known as "Castile" soap.  It now has to cure for 4 weeks before I can use it.  I definitely need to work on getting more uniform shapes, but I was pleased with my first effort.
I used a loaf pan for the mold of these.  

These were poured into PVC pipe.

I have a lot of soap.

10 pounds worth.  
My next project will be to make soap using coconut oil, milk, honey, and scent.  I have rosemary, and lemon balm in my oil so I will have some essential oil to add to the soap for the scent.  Warren thinks we have plenty of soap already, but I want to try different types.  I am certain I will have to give samples of my soap away.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Birthdays, Travel, and Fun...Part 1

"There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it." --Charles Dudley Warner

Where would we be without friends?  How much more wonderful it is to have friends who plan 60th birthday parties revolving around a trip.  The birthday girl is Carol.  Pat had the friend, Suzanne,  who had the house that was centrally located for our travel, and had enough room for 8 ladies.  Kathy got our tickets to "Beauty and the Beast", and our hotel reservations.  Thank you, Suzanne and Kathy!
The Birthday girl, Carol...wishing, and hoping, and dreaming...
So the adventure began.  I traveled with Holly from Roswell, and we met up with Pat and Carol in the Chicago Airport.
Holly and I in the DFW airport eating lunch.
I know it is grainy, but oh well.

Chicago Airport

Holly and Carol...on the tram.
We stayed at Jim and Suzanne Laird's home in Hartstown, PA.  I learned that their son, Luke Laird, is a Country-western song writer who has had several of his songs go to number one on the Country-Western charts.  One was sung by Carrie Underwood. Check him out:  Holly and I slept in his room!!!
Our base of operation...the Laird home.

Suzanne and Jim Laird...what a cute couple with big hearts.
As I was out on a walk the first morning of our stay,  I saw a lot of farmhouses with black buggies in the barns.  My first thought was, "Man, these people must do a lot of carriage rides for tourists."  But then I saw a man working the field in a straw hat, suspenders, and a long beard, and a woman with a bonnet in drab dress hanging out laundry.  It finally dawned on me they were Amish.  Duh! I new I was going to be in Amish country, but I did not realize they were just down the road.
The Barn.

The buggies up close.
Interesting clothesline.  A lot of them are attached to the barn apex.
Amish homestead
The first day we did activities around the town.  Suzanne took us to a park where she told us there were so many Coy fish that the ducks walked on their backs.  She bought each of us a loaf of bread to feed the fish and ducks.  Soon we were not only feeding ducks and coy, but throwing wadded up pieces of bread into the air for the sea gulls to catch.
Here we are with our loaves.
Left to right: Holly, Pat, Carol, Jane, Suzanne, Holli 

My turn to be in the picture.  Me next to Pat...the rest are the same.

Pat feeding the ducks.  Her hair always looks good.  

Carol and Pat throw the bread to the sea gulls.  We were so sore from throwing the bread the next day.

The duck walking on the backs of the Coy fish.

The seagulls

They would kind of stop and wait for you to throw the bread.
After we were out of bread, we went to a soap farm to have lunch and a divine foot treatment.
Now to the Soapworks to get our feet pretty.

Me.  What impressive Hydrangeas!

The lady to the left owns the shop and makes all the lotions and soaps.

Pat shopping.

The Hydrangeas.




Dessert.  Yum my favorite...sugar cookies.

Okay, this is Susanne's sister.  I think her name is Lucy, but I could be wrong.

This is half our group for that day.  There were 14 of us that went to get our feet beautified. 
Here's what I learned by the end of the first day.
1.  Traveling with girlfriends is fun.
2.  There was a whole lot of talking going on.
3.  Leaving on time was not happening.
4.  We ate a lot of desserts.
5.  Our feet felt heavenly after our treatment.
6.  The area was beautiful...and hot.
7.  Susanne's husband was a real trooper to put up with 8 women.
8.  I am glad Susanne's house was big and so was her heart.
9.  I am glad Carol had a 60th birthday.
10.  I am glad Pat talked me into joining them.
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