Formal Night

Dinner on the Queen Elizabeth is either informal - jackets required for the gents; cocktail attire for the ladies - or formal - tux/suit for the menfolk and evening wear for the women. 

It was a bit intimidating on our first cruise (formal is not my usual thing) but I’ve acquired several formal outfits that I find comfortable. AND they serve the really delicious, fancy food on formal nights so it’s worth making the effort. 

Tomorrow we’re in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, our first port of call. Hopefully, I’ll have more pictures to share. 


Eight Months of Planning

We started planning this trip last March - still can’t believe it’s finally time to goooooo.

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Friday and boarded the Queen Elizabeth - no lines at check in! - Saturday morning. By 11:30 we were eating lunch in the Lido Buffet and before 1:00 we were on our balcony, watching the world float by.

  The Harmony of the Seas - lower right corner - is currently the largest passenger ship afloat. She’s huge! The purple thing on her aft deck is an 9-10 deck water slide.

Tonight, we passed up our scheduled dinner seating to sit on the pool deck, drink mimosas, and watch Queen Liz head out to sea.

Tomorrow is a sea day and Monday we put into our first port, Ocho Rios, Jamaica 🇯🇲. 


Adobe Field Trip

I was bummed when I missed out on driving for the first of Leia’s fourth grade field trips - paperwork didn’t get processed in time - but I got another chance this week.

Leia’s teacher called this the ”highlight of 4th grade” and I think she might be right. The docents at Olivas Adobe in Ventura were awesome and the kids loved the hands-on demos . . . like grinding corn 

to make masa 

that they rolled into balls 

and then flattened into tortillas to be cooked over an open flame grill in the courtyard. 

 The women made 500 tortillas every day when the ranch was at its peak.

Leia didn’t like the taste of the finished tortillas but I did! Yummmmmm.

 Adobe storeroom

We got to tour the interior of the 2-story adobe ranch house - the kids were fascinated that the original family had 21!! children - and everyone got to try their hand at cattle roping  (Leia caught hers by the buttocks!)

but the highlight of the day was the “semi-authentic adobe brick making” in the semi-authentic and very cool mud pit. 

Some of the girls were hesitant to climb in the pit, but not Leia! She loved it.

The official objective was to get enough mud from the pit to fill a brick mold

which was then removed so the “adobe” could dry in the sun. 

But the kids were more interested in squishing through the mud

and seeing how much they could get on themselves.

Nobody fell in, which was a miracle, and they all hosed off very nicely. All in all, a very fun day. 


Shoo Fly

My quilty finishes continue with an oldie but goodie -

I started this in June 2014 as a block-a-day quilt-along on Aunt Marti’s 52Quilts blog. I was pretty new to quilting back then and these blocks show it. Not exactly square . . .

 On our bed.

But with the aid of a square-up ruler - and a good teacher - I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out. 

Plus I have enough of the “reverse” blocks to make a second quilt. I’d originally planned to use these in the same project but it just looked like a hot mess. 

 Hot mess. Tore it down and started over. 

Now I’ll have two new quilts AND two fewer UFO’s* in my collection. Win-win!

* UFO = Unfinished Fabric Object. 


The Story of Two Bulbs

Mid-November(ish), Marie brought me two amaryllis bulbs for the holidays. I “planted” both on top of a glass container filled with water so the little girls could watch them grow.

One bulb immediately went nuts - you could almost see it growing, it sprouted up so fast.

By Christmas, it was two feet tall and had produced three stalks and NINE gorgeously gigantic, deep crimson flowers. 

The other bulb? Kinda sad. By Christmas we had . . . nothing. I thought it was hopeless but rather than give up, I planted the poor thing in a pot of soil for the new year. And was rewarded with this -

So tiny. And so beautiful. This is my inspiration for the new year - keep trying until you find the right growing conditions. Never give up.


Little Big Girl

Sweet Jaclyn went to the doctor for her 18-month check-up. Mom says Jac got three shots and didn’t even cry.

She is 75th percentile for height and just below 50th percentile for weight. 

Long and lean, that’s my big girl. 



One of the gifts I was most excited about was this elephant playhouse we got Jaclyn. 

It’s big enough for Leanne and Leia to use also, which is fortunate since Jac needed encouragement before she’d crawl through the nose tunnel. Big hit!

Leia's dad sent me these pics tonight. 

Snap Circuit mad scientist at work (plus she’s wearing the pj's and using the flower light we got her. Happy grandma.)

Quilt top #6 was finished in time for Christmas - she liked it! Marie chose the backing fabric from my stash today, so this will hopefully go to Debbie for quilting sometime this week.

Aaaaaaand quilt #7 is on the design wall. This rag quilt is for a friend who’s had the fabric for almost 15 years. Hoping to have it completed before we ring in the new year.