Wild & Wonderful West Virginia

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Definitely a "GUY" post...are you listening Matt?

You will never believe what we found yesterday while driving around Wheeling.....

YEP...CABELA'S!! Ladies, if you have never shopped in a Cabela's or a Bass Pro Shop store with the man in your life, you simply don't know what you are missing. I was amazed when I walked in the front door and this is what I saw:

This place is huge. And....you don't' just shop there. It is a store, restaurant, museum, convention center and a shooting range. I don't know how long we were there, but let me tell you it was awesome. I have been thinking about my BIL Matt. How are we going to entertain HIM when he gets to come? Macy Kate and Darla are easy...lots of cool things for the girls, but unless your a huge sports or civil war fan there isn't much for the guys. Well, now I have the answer! Darla and I can enjoy coffee and fudge at the Powder Horn Grill while the guys wish....(I mean shop)and then we can leisurely stroll through the "exhibits" with Macy Kate:

Don was in heaven and quickly started his Christmas wish list.

Speaking of Christmas wish list, in the Pittsburgh Paper today guess what I found? An advertisment for "The Lion King" on Broadway - coming to Pittsburgh! YIPPEE!

So I quickly started making my Christmas list! The show starts in January and tickets go on sale at 9:00 tomorrow morning. I will be on the phone first thing to get Don and I tickets for Valentines Day. What a romantic way to spend the evening, huh? The first year Don and I were married he bought me "Beauty and Beast" Broadway tickets for Valentines Day. We saw the show in Birmingham, Alabama, and ever since I have wanted to see every single Disney Broadway play. We love the miniature version of the Lion King Broadway at the Animal Kingdom, so we got chills just watching the video trailer on the Pittsburgh Arts website this morning. All this Disney discussion started us thinking about our WDW trip in December. Then...Don says "What would Christmas be without seeing a Christmas Play". We always enjoyed "A Christmas Carol" at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival when we lived in Alabama. Well, since we were shopping for play tickets Don took a look at the holiday plays and found a great play based on my mother's all time favorite Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life". So, we bought tickets and this is what Don and I will be doing the weekend of Thanksgiving. Our tickets are for Saturday night after Thanksgiving at 8:00. We will have dinner in Downtown Pittsburgh and catch the play entitled "This Wonderful Life" at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Can you tell I am excited?

Back to the reason for my trip to Wheeling. I wanted to purchase some gas firelogs for the master bedroom fireplace. I am dissapointed to report that the fireplace store "Fireplace and Fixins" was simply to expensive for my taste. So, I ended up back in Lowe's and purchased a nice set of logs for a 1/4th of the price! I plan to call my plumber in the morning and see if I can set up an appointment to get these things installed. It was 48 degrees this morning at 10:00 a.m.! Will post pictures of the fireplace when it is finished.

I am going back to my craftroom now (although I have tax studing to get done sometime today as well) and see if I can finish what I started. Don't you hate when you get ready to paint a project and realize you don't have the color paint you need? ARRGGHHH Oh well, when Rick at One-Stroke gets to work tomorrow he will be packing me a box full of EVERY COLOR paint and sending it my way. Now I will have NO excuse not to get some painting done! Ta Ta for now!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Deer, Dear (me) and Dinner Guests!

Just a quick blog for all of you that send me emails wondering when I am going to blog again! Ha Ha Ha Last Sunday while Don I were enjoying the patio the deer came to visit. It was starting to get dark and my camera while on the night setting doesn't take very clear pictures, but you get the idea:

There are four of five of them that call our backyard home. They really love the birdseed and of course - the chestnuts!

Don's Squadron Commander Ben and his wife Pam had dinner with us on Tuesday night. Don snapped a quick picture of me in the kitchen fixing ribs, baked beans, fried corn, coleslaw and texas toast:

After dinner we went to the patio and enjoyed the view, the dogs and the great company!

Lilo really liked Pam's lap!

Well, its Saturday morning and time to get ready for another road trip adventure! I will blog and let you know what we did today. Gotta hurry and get home so we can catch the Alabama v. Florida State game AND the Auburn vs. Florida game! Gotta love college football when you get two great games like that to watch in one night!! Congrats to the University of Southern Florida who beat West Virginia last night. Now the pain of them beating Auburn doesn't hurt as bad. Have a great Saturday!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

General Custer, Switzerland, Antiques and lots of Chestnuts!

What a great Saturday Don and I had! Went to Holmes County, Ohio (yes, again!) but this time we drove a different route and ran into New Rumley, Ohio, the birth place of General Custer! You never know what you might find when you just get the car and drive! We were very excited to run into the town of Berlin, Ohio. Just outside of town we came across these road signs inviting us to turn and go a couple of miles to "Little Switzerland" where the Guggisberg Baby Swiss Cheese Factory is located. We found a great little restaurant called "Chalet in the Valley". It was like being in Switzerland with authentic German/Austrian food. The waitresses were so cute!

I had great german brauts, sauerkraut, potatoes and green beans. Don had the schnitzel...veal with REAL spaetzle, which I realized I don't like! I love spaetzle made at home from a box that you buy at the commissary. The homemade ones tasted more like homemade play dough...it was the consistency I think. Oh well, Don enjoyed it and that is all that mattered.

Across the street from the restaurant is the cheese factory/gift shop and the cutest little ice cream stand!

Don and I reminisced over lunch about his trip to Switzerland to attend "Swiss Raid Commando" the year we were married. He went the last day of September of 1999 and pinned on Major the next day..October 1st! We were so proud. Man, time flies when your having fun, huh?

We stopped at an Amish Flea Market in Walnut Creek, Ohio and found the cutest birdhouses made out of antique pots/pans/spoons, etc. Some were made from big pots and others from smaller sauce pans. Neat stuff!

I also stopped at a local craft store and found the greatest yard pumpkins made from sheet metal. Unfortunately, they were much more than I was willing to pay for them ($159 each!), but I love the look! Maybe I can make a pattern and cut some out of plywood. Wouldn't be the same, but would still look great in my yard:

Okay...finally the Chestnuts! WE are up to our ears in chestnuts! The tree is so loaded with them that the branches are touching the ground.

They are very hard to harvest because you have to have leather gloves in order to touch them...they hurt...BAD!

We have read up on how to harvest and keep the nuts, but other than the old "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" idea, we have no idea what do with them! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. My friend Doriann in Georgia used to get chestnuts every year from Williams Sonoma for her dressing at Thanksgiving. Hey Doriann, maybe you could email me your recipe and I will try it this year. I might even share some West Virginia chestnuts in return!

Today we attended church at Weirton First Baptist with our neighbors. After church they treated us to lunch at the Williams Country Club. The church was small, quaint and everyone was very friendly. I was delighted to learn they have a quilting club on Thursdays and a scrapbooking club on Fridays. Sounds like my kinda church! The food at the country club is awesome and the club itself is beautiful. We can actually see it from our back porch and it is just as elegant in person.

Well, Don is enjoying NFL and getting ready to fire up the grill for dinner. I still have studying to do. Tomorrow is my first test at tax school. Have a great week and I will post some art this week - I promise!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Halloween Treat Boxes and more Pumpkins!

I spent the day in my studio...FINALLY! It is so unorganized in there that I didn't get much accomplished. It sure was better than watching Auburn get beat by Mississippi State 14-19 though! War Eagle?!?!

I bought these cute little four inch or so paper mache boxes and thought they would make cute treat boxes. I painted them for my neighbor's grandchildren for Halloween. I will fill them with tissue paper, candy and maybe some cash:

I cut the spiders out with my "Cricut" machine and attached them with pop dots.

I also painted a couple more pumpkins. My daughter Heidi has asked me to paint her some, so I thought she might like these:

Well not much else to report from chilly West Virginia. Think I will catch the rest of the Alabama game in hopes to catch a glimpse of my nephew, Carl Tyler, who is on their cheerleading team. ROLL TIDE, ROLL!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Vacancy! Canned Tomatoes and finally...Some ART!

There is finally a vacancy in the guest suite at the Richeys! We have had family since the week after we moved in, and I am now so spoiled by having extra help around the house. I am keeping busy this week so the boredom doesn't set in.

My neighbor taught me how to can tomatoes from her garden. We put up 20 quarts and I really had a great time learning how to do it!

My tax classes are going fine and I love the course. When I complete the course, I will be invited to do tax returns in January and February for H&R Block as a first year tax professional for the 2007 tax year. There are four of us in the class and I have learned lots of things after just the first week.

Today I went to Michael's to paint with my friend Lynda. Lynda was a classmate of mine at Certification and she is also the Event Coordinator at Michael's. We painted pumpkins, and I can't wait to finish painting the rest of mine. Here is what I accomplished at the store today:

Do you like pineapple upside down cake? Don's grandmother has the greatest recipe that Don's mom showed me how to make while she was here. It turned out great and was SO EASY!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a cast iron skillet melt 1/4 cup of butter and stir in 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. (stir together and smooth across bottom of skillet). Put pineapple rings on top of brown sugar mixture. (I put a pecan half in the middle of each ring, and I remember my Mom used to put a cherry!) Mix one cup of flour, 1 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 2/3 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup of pineapple juice. Pour this mixture over the pineapple rings and bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and cake springs back. Dump cake on a serving plate when it comes out of the oven!

This weekend is "Pajama/Paint Weekend" at my house, so I am headed to my studio! The weather is very cool here....lower 60's during the day and down to 44 degrees tonight! I MISS THE SOUTHERN WEATHER!

Friday, September 7, 2007


Today is Don's father's birthday and last week was my Dad's birthday. Happy Birthday to them both!!

Don took us all to dinner last night to "DJ's Grille" for his Dad's birthday. They sang Happy Birthday to Jay and brought him a piece of strawberry shortcake. Lots of fun!

Worked on my Fall display in the yard, it is still a work in progress, but the neighbors are really "gawking" at it! Still looking for corn stalks and indian corn, plus I want more mums. Hopefully this weekend I can get some.

Don's Mom and I went to the fleamarket last Sunday and I was able to find this star to go over the front door. Don thinks I should paint it so it won't blend in so well. Not sure yet what I want to do. I do love the ivy cut back so you can see the great masonry work in the brick:

Not much else to report from WV. The weather is great, although it has been quite warm this week...in the upper 80's. Rain is predicted for the weekend and next week the highs are in the low 70's. Should feel more like Fall in a couple of weeks.

I am going to enjoy the rest of the day with my inlaws, as they are going home on Sunday. Pam and I want to make Jay a pineapple upside down cake for his birthday. That is his favorite, and my dad's as well so I recall!

I start "TAX SCHOOL" next week with H&R Block...

wish me luck!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Richey Weekend at the Strip and a new driveway!

What a busy week it has been around here. We are having lots of fun with Don's parents. Don took us to Primanti Brothers last Friday so his parents could try the local flare. They really enjoyed the sandwich and loved the fried zucchini.

Saturday we spent the day in downtown Pittsburgh in the Strip District shopping for seafood, cheese, fresh bread, etc. It was almost like being in a foreign country! Here are some pictures:

We have been watching a local television channel about things made and sold in Pittsburgh. One of the items that caught our eye was Red Ribbon Cherry soda. We finally found some at Wholey's Grocery Store in the strip and Don bought us some...yummy!

We had so much fun on the Strip that yesterday Don's Mom and I went back and spent two hours shopping in a fantastic used book store, a local chocolate shop that has candy from all over the world (including our favorite Kinder Eggs), an awesome Greek restaurant, a art studio with art made from Pittsburgh steel, and the local pottery. We also found this great jazz statue on our way back to the interstate. It is on Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh:

While we have been having all this fun, our contractor has worked hard on the driveway! It looks great and we can't wait to start using it this weekend.

This man has worked so hard getting this done for us. Every inch of grass was removed by hand. He leveled the ground with a sickel. He hauled every yard of concrete down the driveway in a wheel barrow. And he smoothed the concrete by hand with a rake and a trowel. Not one piece of electric or gas powered machinery was used! Don's father's back was breaking just watching this guy hunched over for two whole days smoothing concrete.

Today is mani/pedi day for the Richey girls. I will also make and post some pictures of my Fall display that Don's Mom and I worked hard on earlier this week. Have a great Thursday!