The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘Our Granddaughters Harper and Juniper’

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.

Couple Minutes of Crazy (Fun)

We took our granddaughters sled riding at Pool Hill in Youngsville, PA.

Earlier today I published a blog post about taking our granddaughters sled riding. In that blog post I shared a video that I had taken.

Bob also captured video, using our GoPro camera.

Bob compiled several video clips into one video. I especially love two edits that Bob did with the video. He zoomed in on the girls walking hand in hand up the sledding hill. He added slow motion to two wipeouts, and zoomed in as well.

Sled Riding Fun

We took our granddaughters sled riding this afternoon.

Harper and Juniper Pulling Sleds Up Hill

We went sled riding on Pool Hill in Youngsville, PA.  Our friends, Marge and Neil, who live near Pool Hill, joined us and enjoyed watching the girls sled ride too.

I think the girls had been sledding for about 40 minutes, when they wanted to take a break.  We took a break from sled riding to have hot cocoa and snacks.  Marge and Neil left us at that time to go for a walk.

We had one close call.  The sled that Harper was on got away from her before she was ready.  She rode backwards into the woods.  Bob was closest to Harper.  He ran to her,but wasn’t fast enough.  Harper ended up riding through brush, narrowly missing a couple tree trunks.  It was scary moment for Harper, Bob, Juniper and me.  Thankfully Harper didn’t get one scratch, sprain or broken bone!  She did want to go home right then and there, though.  We talked Harper into taking one more ride.  There is a quote that says “if you fall off a horse, you get back up”.  If you wipe out on a sled, you get back up.  Harper was a brave girl today. 

We had such a good time today.  It was wonderful to spend time with the girls.  The last time we saw the girls was 2 months ago. I had not been seeing anyone, except Bob, since late November.  COVID-19 was rampant in our small community.  It was my decision to self isolate, as I have underlying health issues.  Given my health issues, I feel that I would not do well if I contracted COVID.  The numbers of positive COVID cases have decreased significantly, and I felt safe once again to be with my granddaughters.

Play Date

Our granddaughters enjoying playtime at our house

This is an “on this day” memory from 2017.  Bob and I had a three-hour play date with our granddaughters.  The girls helped Grandpa build a log cabin with Lincoln Logs.  Harper filled the interior of the cabin with Red Rose figurines.  Juniper dressed dolly in a new outfit.  Both girls played games on their Kindle Fire tablets and played with the Fisher Price house and Little People Klip Klop castle.   I read a few books to the girls, at their request.  The girls ate lunch here enjoying ham sandwiches, cheese cubes, and clementines.  We had an enjoyable 3-hour play date with the girls.

I am missing our granddaughters,  We last spent time with the girls in November.  It has been about 2 months since we last saw them.  COVID-19 continues to rage in my community in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  I saw a case comparison today.  Between Nov 7 and Dec 7 there were 415 cases.  Between Dec 7 and today’s date there have been 1,779 cases. More than 4 percent of the county’s population in which I live have been infected.  One month ago the Pennsylvania Department of Health listed two deaths for my county.  The number of deaths showing today are 46.

I am not seeing anyone, except Bob, as COVID-19 continues to rage.  This self-imposed isolation is my decision, as I have underlying health issues.  Given my health issues, I don’t feel that I would do well if I contracted COVID.

I do want to see my granddaughters badly.  I miss the girls so much.  I plan to receive the COVID vaccine as soon as it is available to me.  Meanwhile I will keep an eye on COVID case numbers.  Hopefully the numbers will decrease significantly, and I will feel safe again to be with my granddaughters (even before receiving the vaccine).

Nature Play Area

I have had this blog post in mind for almost two weeks, ever since my granddaughters and I visited our local Audubon Center.  I wanted to share a few photographs of my granddaughters, as it has been a while since I did so in this blog.  Also, I wanted to showcase the Nature Play Area at the Audubon Center.

According to its website the Audubon Community Nature Center “is a 600-acre wetland preserve that includes over five miles of trails, a native tree arboretum, picnic areas, a natural play space, and educational gardens for you to explore daily from dawn until dusk. … The Nature Center itself is home to the Blue Heron Gift Shop and three floors of interactive exhibits, including live animals, which inform and engage visitors of all ages. …  You can visit Liberty, a non-releasable Bald Eagle, in her enclosure near the [Nature Center] building.”

The Audubon Center is located approximately 12 miles from our house at 1600 Riverside Road in Jamestown, NY.  We walk the trails and visit Liberty frequently.  We have visited the Nature Center building, as well, but just a few times.  This blog post, though, is about the nature play area only.

The nature play area is located near the Nature Center building.

In Mar 2016 the nature play area had a tunnel made out of a tree and stepping “stones” made out of trees.

Mar 2016
Our granddaughters climbed through and on the tree tunnel.

Mar 2016
Bob and our granddaughters check out the stepping “stones” made out of trees.

I can’t recall if there was anything else to play on in the nature play area during our visit in March 2016.

During our visit to the Audubon Center on October 7th the girls found three new additions to the nature play area.

The girls had fun pretending they were stuck in this shelter.

The girls are sitting on Tank, a 12-foot and 1,500 pound concrete turtle.

Last fall, Tank the Turtle was created and donated to the Audubon Nature Center by Mike Whitmire of Whitmire Block and Outdoor Living, Starbrick, PA.

Spotted Salamander

The most recent addition to the Nature Play Area is this spotted salamander, which was also created and donated to the Audubon Center by Mike Whitmire of Whitmire Block and Outdoor Living.  The spotted salamander measures roughly 14 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.  The spotted salamander had not yet been named.



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!





Black Friday

We spent several hours with our granddaughters Harper and June on Friday, November 23.

We picked up the girls at their house around 10:30 am. 

We drove to Friendly’s Restaurant in Jamestown NY, where we had an enjoyable lunch. 

Friendly’s Restaurant provides kid’s activity placemats to entertain children, while waiting for food.


Our granddaughters, Bob and I at Friendly’s Restaurant

The girls ordered their usual meal–hot dogs and macaroni and cheese with an ice cream sundae.  Both girls chose Rudy the Reindeer sundaes. 

Rudy the Reindeer Sundae (photo obtained from Friendly’s Restaurant website)

Bob had a fish dinner; I had a BBQ chicken sandwich with fries.  Both of our meals included a small sundae.  Harper didn’t eat her macaroni and cheese, but she ate most of my fries.  Juniper didn’t eat any of her hot dogs.  I asked for a box, and we took home the macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for the girls to share later.  By the way, when we returned home and I had a good look at our restaurant bill, I noticed that Bob and my entrees were reduced by 50%.  Happy Black Friday to us!

After lunch we drove to our house, where the girls played for several hours with toys and on their tablets.  We also watched TV.   I had to chuckle, when June asked me what was in the gray plastic tote.  The tote is the girls’ toy box.  For a while now I have brought out only a few select items for the girls to play with, when they visit.  On this visit, though, I brought out all their toys.  June asked if she could open the tote, when I told her their toys were inside.  I said sure.  When she opened the tote and saw the toys, June’s eyes got big and she said “Wow!”.  There was not one new toy in that tote!

The girls talked with Judy (my brother’s wife), too, via Facebook video chat.  That was a fun call for the girls, as they put on silly faces and hats and played some quick games with Aunt Judy.  

When I finished putting away the girls’ toys, after their Friday visit, I was missing one toy–the baby doll that Harper had been playing with.  I found Harper’s baby on Wednesday morning.

Lost baby found

I found Harper’s baby in one of my kitchen drawers.





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