The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Our Daughter Stacey’

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

There was a light dusting of snow on the ground on Christmas Eve morning. That was the extent of our White Christmas, as the temperature for both Christmas Eve and Christmas were well above freezing. It also rained on Christmas Eve for most of the day.

Our Christmas Tree

Sometime after I took this picture the pre-lit lights on the top half of our 4-foot Christmas tree stopped working. There didn’t appear to be any reason for the bulbs not to work. The fuse was good. Bob checked individual bulbs, as best as he could, for any bad bulbs or bulbs not seated properly. On Christmas Eve day we took off the ornaments on the top half of our Christmas tree, and Bob pulled the top half of the tree from the base.  He still wasn’t able to figure out why the bulbs wouldn’t light on the top half of the tree.  We removed the light string completely from the top of the tree.  He inserted a bulb contained in a plastic bag fastened to the string of lights. That bulb blew out immediately! It was then that Bob decided to remove the bottom string of lights as well.  Afterward we put the ornaments on the Christmas tree and placed it back on the end table in front of the living room windows.  So, on Christmas Eve, the only light on the Christmas tree was the star at the very top of the tree.  We will buy strings of lights, or possibly a new Christmas tree, next year.

We spent a few daytime hours on Christmas Eve with Stacey and our granddaughters at their home in Oil City, PA.  

Harper and Juniper had spent the previous night at “Big Grandma” Chris and Jay’s house.  We picked up the girls there at 1:00 pm.  The four of us arrived in Oil City around 2:00 pm.  We kept the visit casual.   For food we snacked on pizza, chicken wing dip and chips, breaded mozzarella cheese sticks, and beef franks in a blanket.   We exchanged gifts with each other.

Our granddaughters liked their Triceratops and Brontosaurus night lights. The soft silicone night lights change between a variety of colors
and giggle when they are touched.

Sometime after our gift exchange, Juniper asked if I wanted to go outside and watch her hit a ball. That activity allowed us to talk about sports. I asked Juniper if she would be interested in playing ball at school. Juniper said no, that she likes to come home from school immediately.

I LOVE this picture of our granddaughters and me!
Stacey, our granddaughters, Bob and I on Christmas Eve day

Stacey and the girls baked Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. We took home a dozen cookies, which we ate in their entirety before the end of the day. It is a good thing we opted to take only a dozen cookies! We left for home around 4:30 pm. We enjoyed our visit with Stacey and our granddaughters very much.

Bob and I spent Christmas, just the two of us. We liked the Christmas gifts that we got from each other.  I gave Bob a golf club and a gift card for a local golf course, baking utensils for his pizza oven, and a Type C Micro SD card reader.  Bob gave me a hardback copy of The Bowser Family History, a Ninja smoothie maker, USB flash drives with a carrying case, and a battery backup for my electronic devices.

For Christmas dinner Bob prepared a spatchcocked turkey that he grilled on the pellet grill. 

Bob splatcocked a turkey for our Christmas dinner.

The turkey was delicious!  Accompanying the turkey was mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli and cauliflower, and cranberry sauce. 

For dessert we each had a slice of the frozen peanut pie that
“Big Grandma” Chris had brought to us the other day.  

It was a quiet, but nice, Christmas. We didn’t mind spending the day just the two of us.

I hope all of my readers had as good a Christmas as we did.

Christmas 2018

We celebrated Christmas three times.

Christmas celebration #1 was held on Sunday at my brother and sister-in-law’s home.  We left our home in Warren PA at 10:30 am en route Jim and Judy’s house. Jim and Judy live about an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh. We arrived at Jim and Judy’s house at 1:00 pm.  We thought we were the last to arrive.  But that was not the case.  While we were filling our plates, Judy’s brother Donald and his wife Gina arrived.  Others who came to Christmas dinner, in addition to Jim and Judy, Donald and Gina and Bob and I, were our nephew Michael, his wife Kailey and their three children; our nephew Jared, his wife Sara and their two children; Sara’s parents; and Judy’s mother.  Our niece Emily and her husband Dan and their daughter, who live in Minnesota, were not able to join us this year.  Christmas dinner included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, sweet potatoes, pickled eggs, and corn.  Dessert included pumpkin pie, chocolate dream pie, cookies and a gingerbread cake.  We departed Jim and Judy’s house at 3:30 pm, as gifts were being opened.  Bob and I did not participate in the gift exchange; however, Judy made sure I didn’t leave empty handed. 

Judy made this wooden sign for me. Great job, Judy, and THANK YOU!

We returned home at 6:00 pm.  It was good to see my brother and his family and the others.  We had a very good visit with everyone.

Christmas celebration #2 was held on Monday at Stacey’s house.  We left home at 1:30 pm and arrived at Stacey’s house about 15 minutes later.  Chris (Stacey’s mother) and Jay arrived a short time later.  Our dinner included roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and, for dessert, apple pie, ambrosia, and brownies.  Harper and Juniper received a surprise visit from Santa Claus.

Santa Claus is showing our granddaughters that their names are on his nice list.

Santa Claus brought the girls early Christmas presents.

Harper and Juniper with Santa Claus

Stacey, Chris, Jay and I knew Santa Claus would be stopping by.  Nevertheless Santa Claus took Stacey and me by surprise.  We expected Santa to come to the front door.  Instead he came to the back door.  We heard bells and “ho-ho-ho” a short while before he made an appearance.  At first we didn’t know what we were hearing.  To me the noise sounded like it was coming from a radio.  Stacey and I got up from the table (we were finishing up dinner) and walked into the kitchen.  We were looking out the kitchen window, when Santa’s face appeared.  He startled us!

After dinner we opened gifts.  Everyone was happy with their gifts.

I took a few pictures, after we opened our gifts.

“Big Grandma” Chris and her granddaughters

“Big Grandma” Chris, Grandma Linda, and our granddaughters

Stacey and her daughters

While we were at Stacey’s house, it snowed. 

Snow fell on Christmas Eve!

It stayed cold through Christmas Day, so we had a white Christmas.

Christmas celebration #3 was at our home on Christmas Day, with only Bob and I in attendance.  Bob and I opened our Christmas gifts to each other in the morning.  We are happy with our respective gifts.  I prepared Christmas dinner, which we ate around 2:00 pm.  Christmas dinner included baked ham, baked potato, whole berry cranberry sauce, cauliflower and broccoli medley and, for dessert, pumpkin pie.  The ham was a spiral ham.  We have lots of ham leftovers!

’Twas a very merry Christmas for Bob and me. We spent the Christmas holiday with the people who mean the most to us.  We are so blessed!





Halloween 2016

Many Head Start, Preschool and Elementary age children near where I live participated in Halloween parades on Friday, October 28.  Our granddaughters attend Head Start, and Bob and I went to their school to watch their Halloween parade.

The beginning of our granddaughters’ Head Start Halloween Parade

Juniper, as Batman

Harper, as Scooby-Doo

Trick or treat night in our town was on Halloween from 6:00-8:00 pm.  Stacey, Harper, Juniper and I went trick or treating at many houses on several streets in our neighborhood.

Another Halloween is in the books!

Fourth of July Festivities

Our hometown of Warren, PA throws a big party for the 4th of July holiday. Festivities began this year on Saturday, July 2.   We didn’t participate in all of the 4th of July festivities.  I will share with you the events in which we did participate.

We rode to Betts Park on the afternoon of July 3.  We arrived there close to 2:00 pm and stayed for about an hour. We saw the Budweiser Clydesdales and the Birds of Prey exhibit.

Budweiser Clydesdales

The Clydesdale horses pulled the Budweiser wagon through the parking lot a few times.

The Tamarack Wildlife Center Birds of Prey exhibit included three owls and two hawks.

This is Jasper, an Eastern Screech-Owl.  Jasper was found injured in the middle of a country road near Albion, PA and brought to the Center for medical care. With damage to one eye and ear, he was not able to be released and required surgical removal of an eye.

This is Willow, an Eastern Screech-Owl.  Willow and her family of three owlets were rescued from a city park in Erie, PA when the tree limb holding their nest was cut down. Her story received coverage in local newspapers and television. The owlets survived with no permanent damage and were released on Presque Isle once grown; their mother, however, suffered a wing fracture that would prevent her return to the wild.

This is “Spirit” the white Red-tailed Hawk.
Spirit is not releasable due to injuries he suffered when caught in a leg hold trap.

This is Sophia, a Barred Owl.  After being hit by a car, Sophia was brought to Tamarack to be treated for a broken wing. She healed well enough to have limited flight.  However, because the break occurred near Sophia’s elbow, she is now unable to fully extend her wing, and cannot fly well enough to survive in the wild.

This is Alice, a Cooper’s Hawk.
Alice was found on a farm in Cochranton,
unable to fly because her wrist bones had been severely damaged.

We saw the Betts Park fireworks display from the grounds of the Warren Manor Nursing Home, with friends visiting a family member who is a patient there.  The nursing home provided hot dogs, chips and pop for patients and their guests at a reasonable cost of $2.00 for all.  Three types of cookies were passed around to everyone as well.  I thought it quite nice that the nursing home does this for its patients.


On Independence Day we watched a parade and attended a picnic.

The parade was in downtown Warren and marked its 69th year.  We watched the parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, at the southwest corner of Hickory Street Bridge, across from Kwik Fill.  We watched the parade with our friends Paul, Debbie, Scott and Donna.  Our daughter and granddaughters were IN the parade. Harper and June rode their tricycles in the parade. The girls rode behind the Lather Salon van, until they couldn’t ride any longer.

Harper and June tuckered out just before reaching the Hickory Street Bridge.  They rode their tricycles a long, long way.

Harper and June rode rest of the way in the parade in the back of the Lather Salon van.

The parade began at 11:00 am and ended around 1:45 pm.  The following slideshow contains about half of the photographs that I took, while watching the parade.  The slideshow is about 8 1/2 minutes long.  I hope that you find it enjoyable!

At 3:30 pm we went to our friends’ house for a picnic, which was attended by ten additional friends as well as family and other friends of our hosts. We sat around a campfire, enjoying each others’ company, as well as hot dogs and a variety of dishes brought to share. It was a comfortable and relaxing couple of hours and a great end to a wonderful 4th of July holiday.

Our Christmas

Our Christmas began on Wednesday, December 23.  We celebrated Christmas with my stepdaughter and two granddaughters on that day.  Stacey and the girls arrived at 2:00 pm. We ate Christmas dinner: turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and for dessert pumpkin pie, chocolate pudding and chocolate chip cookies.  After dinner, and after the kitchen had been cleaned up, we exchanged Christmas gifts.  Our granddaughters left around 4:15 pm, when their paternal grandmother picked up the girls to take them to church.  Stacey left about an hour later.

It was just Bob and me for Christmas Day.   Bob and I decided not to exchange gifts this year, opting to make our Eureka Springs vacation in September our Christmas present to each other.  We didn’t have a white Christmas.  It wasn’t even a chilly Christmas, as the temperature rose into the 50s.  In the afternoon Bob and I went for a long walk at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Jamestown, NY.  We walked three trails.  The orange trail is 1 mile in length; the yellow trail is 2 miles in length; and the blue trail is .5 miles in length. We didn’t follow each trail individually, so we didn’t walk the entire 3 ½ miles in trail. It would be reasonable, though, to say we walked more than 2 miles, probably close to 3 miles!

Bob and I on one of the trails at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary

We ate Christmas dinner at Variety Buffet, a local Chinese restaurant that we have eaten at the past couple Christmases.

Bob and I celebrated Christmas with my brother and family at his house the day after Christmas.  We left Warren at 10:00 am and arrived in Cadogan around 12:30 pm. Our nephew, Jared, and his wife Sara and their daughter Kyla had arrived earlier in the day.  I had plenty of Kyla time (and time with Sara and Jared) before the arrival of Judy’s brother, Donald, and his wife Gina and Judy’s mother, Lois, and our nephew, Michael, and his wife Kailey and their children Kaleb and Anna.

We ate dinner at 3:00 pm.

Our Christmas dinner included ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, Amish noodles, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce. For dessert we had a choice of pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, and brownies. Dinner was served buffet style, with us taking our filled plates into the living room and den to eat. Dinner was delicious.

Gift opening commenced at 4:00 pm.

The last activity before we departed for home was a sock exchange, in which Judy, Gina, Lois, Sara, Kailey and I participated. Each of us filled a pair of fuzzy socks with stocking stuffers, the contents of which were not to exceed $20.00. We sat in a circle holding the socks that we brought. Jared read a Christmas story that I found on the Internet. Every time the word RIGHT was read, everyone passed her gift to the right. Every time the word LEFT was read, gifts were passed to the left. Each person kept the gift held at the end of the story. I give kudos to my sister-in-law, Judy, for suggesting the sock exchange.  We had the best time passing around our socks!

Bob and I left for home around 6:15 pm and returned home around 9:00 pm. It was an enjoyable day. Too bad that our niece, Emily, and her husband Dan and their daughter Elise couldn’t be there with us.  Emily, Dan and Elise live about a 1.000 miles away–a bit too far for a day’s drive!

I put together the following collage of some of the photographs that I took, while at my brother’s house.

 (top row) l-r: Lois and her great granddaughter; Michael and his family
(middle row) l-r: My brother and sister-in-law with their grandchildren; Donald and Gina
(bottom row) l-r: Emily and her family; Jared and his family

There is one picture included in the collage that I didn’t take. I downloaded one of Emily’s Facebook pictures. Dan, Emily and Elise were not with us in person. They were, though, with us in spirit!


It is now the last day of the year 2015.   Happy New Year to each and every one of you.  Here are my wishes for you in the new year:

“Great beginning for January…
Love for February…
Peace for March…
No worries for April…
Fun for May…
Joy for June and July…
Achievements for August…
Harmony for September…
Good fortune for October and November…
Happiness for December…”

~Author Unknown


The word dexterity comes to mind, when I think back on the time I spent with our granddaughters this past Wednesday (August 5th).

Stacey and the girls arrived here around 1:00 pm. I fed them lunch – sliced turkey, cheese, applesauce and goldfish crackers. After lunch, we went to the playground…to a new-to-us playground. Actually we went to two new-to-us playgrounds.

It amazes me each week that we go to a playground the improvement I see in each girl’s dexterity. I never had the opportunity to watch children grow, as I never had the pleasure of having children of my own (Stacey is my stepdaughter).  I didn’t live near enough to my niece or nephews to afford me the opportunity to watch them grow either.  I am very happy to be given this opportunity I have now with my granddaughters to watch them grow.

Our first playground destination was at Island Park in Youngsville. For the first time Harper and June swung in a regular swing, not in a baby swing.  The playground had swings low to the ground that were rounded, not flat across.  Another first …  I saw Harper and June use their hands and legs to go up and down a spiral climber. Their arms are still too short to reach the climber, so I have to carry them from the playground platform to the climber, when they want to climb down from there.  In addition to swinging, sliding and climbing the girls had fun playing in the Brokenstraw Creek.

We stopped for a short time at the Hilltop Park playground, also located in Youngsville, on our way back home. The highlight of that playground was a slightly swinging balance beam that the girls enjoyed walking across. After a couple tries, holding onto my hand, June was able to walk across the beam without holding on to anything. Harper gained confidence to walk across the beam without holding my hand.  However, she held onto the bars on either side of the beam, as she walked across it. If we return to this playground (or find another playground with a balance beam), I am certain that Harper will walk across it without having to hold onto anything like her sister.

The girls had lots of fun at both playgrounds.  Here are three photographs and a short video from our afternoon playground fun.

Harper enjoyed swinging on her stomach.

This video shows Harper swinging and going up and down the spiral climber at the Island Park playground.  The video also shows June swinging at the Hilltop Park playground.

Do you see Harper’s pride at being able to go up and down the spiral climber?

At the Island Park, there is a pavilion with a deck
that overlooks the Brokenstraw Creek.

We walked underneath the deck to the creek below.

Harper and June had a good time playing in the creek.

Stacey and I both preferred the Island Park playground. The playground equipment at Island Park was close together. At the Hilltop Park playground the equipment was spread out. The Hilltop Park playground was better suited also to kindergarten and elementary school age children. The Island Park playground was geared for younger children.

Independence Day at Home

Our July 4th activities began shortly before 11:00 am, when we met my stepdaughter Stacey, our twin granddaughters, and Chris (Stacey’s mother) to watch Warren’s 4th of July parade. We met at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Carver Street, at the start of the parade.

Harper and June did not stay in those chairs for very long.

The parade lasted 2 hours, and I spent most of that time sitting on the ground, cross legged, with Harper on one knee and June on the other. Stacey, Chris and Bob stood for the duration of the parade.

See the man and boy who are wearing patriotic hats?

That man, his wife and son were already at this parade location, when we arrived.  They moved their chairs over to allow room for Harper and June’s chairs.  Harper and June pushed their chairs back because they didn’t want to sit at the front, alone, beside strangers. I sat down where the chairs had been.  Harper and June liked that seating arrangement.

Brett Fallon

A highlight of Warren’s 4th of July parade is the candy that is tossed (and handed) to the children.  The older children in this picture went out of their way to make sure Harper and June got candy.

Neither Harper nor June like loud noises.  June is even more sensitive to loud noise.  The fire trucks hit their sirens in the parade.  You could count on June holding her hands to her ears, whenever that happened.

Harper and June liked the Zem Zem Hornets and their Go-Karts.

This was the first year Bob and I saw the parade with Harper and June. The girls liked the parade, and I am so happy that we were able to share the experience with them.


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