Monday, February 4, 2008

The End of The Gathering Place

Dear Friends and Family,
After much thought, we have decided to end our family blog, The Gathering Place. We have found it to much of a burden to keep up with. We appreciate all who have commented and linked us to their blogs.

Alli, however, is going to have her own blog. Please visit her at her new blog address on the sidebar under "Alli's Blog". This is a new blog, not her old one. I have enjoyed blogging and maybe in the future, I'll make another attempt.
God bless ~ Julie

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Apron Strings

Yesterday afternoon, I stumbled across a sewing magazine with instructions on how to make three different kinds of vintage aprons. I had some free time and an urge to sew something so I pulled out my box of vintage fabric scraps and started piecing some colors together! I absolutely fell in love with the first apron pattern (far left in above picture) because it looked so feminine with the ruffled pocket and ruffles on the bottom. A sewing we will go....

Mom helped me dig through my huge pile of mismatched fabrics and, with her excellent eye for color coordination, came up with these three matching fabrics which I love together (probably because they're pink and green :)! I am really happy with how this apron turned out because normally I am terrible when it comes to following unfamilliar sewing directions. :) I absolutely love wearing aprons! Does anyone else or is it just me? There's just something about putting on an apron that makes everyday tasks more enjoyable! This is so silly but this morning I was actually planning today's outfit to match my apron! :)

This afternoon I was inspired after reading about Hannah's recent bread making post! I had always wanted to try making those beautiful artisan breads and thought I'd try my hand at it today.

I found this recipe on Panera Bread's website after Googling "artisan breads". I made their Three Cheese Bread but with two kinds of cheese because we didn't have any Asiago cheese. We're having soup tonight for dinner so I thought that would go nicely with the meal. Next, I really want to try Hannah's recipe for Italian/French bread! Is anyone else starving? :) ~Alli

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Family Visit

Sorry for the lack of blogging these past few days, but we have been delighted with a special visit from Papa and Sheri! They drove all the way up from Georgia on Thursday and stayed with us until Sunday morning. They have been staying with Aunt and Uncle since Sunday morning, and just left this morning for their long trip home. We had such an enjoyable time during their visit! I only took a few pictures, I wish I had taken more!

Papa was Buddy's new best friend during the visit. When Papa and Sheri arrived Thursday afternoon and had settled in, we had Oyster's Rockefeller for dinner! They had brought us TONS of fresh oysters and shrimp to be eaten during their visit, and we wasted no time! Sheri had never had homemade Oyster's Rockefeller before, and I think she really enjoyed it! We were allowed to have 15 each, but no one made it that far. :) On Friday, Aunt Rhonda, Uncle Tony, and the kids drove over to spend the day at our house. I had fun making 2 big pots of Cheesy Chicken Chowder for lunch!
And of course, what goes with soup...or anything for that matter? Ummm...Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake of course! Meredith, you would be so proud! It wasn't crumbly this time. :) Finally! After lunch, we took the girls and Papa over to a little Mennonite store to look around. Papa and Sheri love when we bring them little dried spices and mixes from this store when we visit them in GA so they loved it. For dinner, Papa fried us some King Mackerel fish and leftover oysters. We were stuffed.

Saturday morning, we left at 7:30am for an EARLY breakfast! We ate at a small restaurant close by called The County Seat in downtown Powhatan.

Dad, Eric, Mom, and Philip

Sheri, Papa, and I

Of course, we had to have our picture taken in front of the sign. :) It says "COUNTY SEAT Food and Gathering Place." :) Later that morning, Aunt Rhonda and the kids drove out again to have Papa's famous Low Country Boil! Goodness, it seems like all we did was eat! lol!

For those of you who have never heard of a Boil, let me explain. Shrimp, red potatoes, corn, sausage, onion, celery, etc (we added rutabagas) are boiled in crab boil in a big pot. When it's finished, you're supposed to dump it all on a table with everyone gathered around, and you eat 'till you're full! Since it was too cold outside to dump on the picnic table, we just used pans. :) It was definitely less of a mess but equally as good!

Thanks Papa and Sheri for coming to see us. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed every moment! ~Alli

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's Snowing!!

This morning, we woke up to this peaceful scene of our first "big" snow this year! So far, we have only had dustings of snow and nothing really stuck to the ground. Today, we got about 1 1/2 inches! Eric wasted no time and immediately put on his boots and gloves for snowman making. Philip and I followed shortly, along with a curious Buddy who had never stepped in snow before. :) I, of course, had to grab the camera!!

This is my favorite path to walk on when it snows. It's so peaceful and quiet! You only hear the snow crunching under your feet. :) I love to see the white against the dark colors of the woods and the footprints of the deer that just walked by. A little further down the path, there is a line of evergreen trees that "bow" on both sides of the path when their branches are weighed down with snow and ice. :)

Here is Eric working on his snowman. The snow was perfect packing snow!

I thought this looked funny. :) Growing lettuce and spinach surrounded by snow! Look how green the lettuce is against the snow!

Buddy getting his first taste of snow

Don't you dare!!! You know, he chucked that snowball at my head as soon as I took this picture! Don't let that innocent face fool you. :)

Ta da! Eric and Philip's "ninja" snowman. :) He has a scarf tied around his head and a sword stuck in his back, I mean sheath. :) He looks like he's getting ready to karate-chop me!

I wanted to post a passage from Job that I was reminded of this morning in closing:
"God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
He does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
So that all men He has made may know His work...
stop and consider His wonders."
(Job 37:5-7, 14) ~Alli

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Capitol

Today, Philip and I were invited to join Eli and his friend Daniel to tour the Capitol of Virginia! Eli is a Virginia Capitol Police Officer so he was able to give us the GRAND TOUR of the Capitol and the surrounding historical buildings. I had never visited the Capitol before (isn't that terrible? :), so I thoroughly enjoyed having a behind the scenes look!
Of course, before we left, the moms had to take a parting shot :) (from left to right: Eric, me, Philip, Eli, and Daniel).
Here we are walking downtown from the parking deck. I loved walking through downtown Richmond and seeing all of the old buildings and architecture. It was a perfect day for it too. :)
This was taken near the Capitol. The cathedrial-looking building in the distance is the Old City Hall.
From this spot, the distances from Richmond on the highways are measured. How neat is that?Here is a view of the Capitol from the street. Isn't it huge? We went in the underground passageway(the door to the right) that led to the Capitol itself. Philip was astonished when he saw the whole inside of the passageway was made of marble. :) There was a gift shop, cafeteria (where we ate lunch), and a gallery of various historical paintings.
Eli took us throughout the inside of the Capitol. This is a picture taken at the Capitol 's rotunda. A statue of George Washington stood right in the center and the busts of various presidents lined the walls.
This is a picture of the dome in the rotunda, although I have to say, this picture doesn't really do it justice. :) The archetecture was outstanding!
On the next floor, we saw paintings of all of Virginia's governors. Speaking of govenors, we caught a glimpse of our current governor, Governor Tim Kaine walking in the rotunda! I'm sorry to say, I didn't get my camera out in time. :)
Here is a picture of the Old Senate Chamber.
I thought this was the neatest part! Eli got us into the Senate of Virginia Chamber where we were able to sit in and listen to the senators of Virginia in session. How many times do you get to do that? It was neat to be able to actually see the senators that you hear about all of the time in action! I didn't take a picture while in session because I didn't want to get in trouble. :)
I was the annoying photographer on the tour. :) Thanks guys! Here, we are back outside in front of the Capitol building. We were able to go in the General Assembly Building where we saw the Senators' offices and the Old City Hall.

The Governor's Mansion

Here is another view of the Capitol building from the Governor's Mansion.

Our last stop: The Library of Virginia! Phil liked this place! This picture does not capture the millions of books that are all around! If you are looking for a book, this is the place to go! This library even has shelves of phone books from many years ago up until now. :)
And that was the end of our visit to the Capitol! Philip and I really enjoyed seeing the sights for the first time! I hope I got all of the facts right in my post, there was so much to take in! :) Thanks Eli for taking the time to show us around today, we had a great time! ~Alli