Journey 282: Annabelle’s Fun Farm

What a fun adventure I had this evening, shared with my mom, my sister Linda, her granddaughter London and my granddaughter Aubrey. We joined Grace Baptist Church for an outing to Annabelle’s Fun Farm, located in Welch, OK. Anytime the little girls can hang out together is a great event for them. Tonight’s journey, however, included some firsts for all of us. 

Here is our evening, captured in pics: 

 

The girls loved that we got to travel by bus to the farm. I have to say it was nice for the adults too. We didn’t have to drive and could sit back and enjoy the ride.

 
It was the perfect fall evening for being outdoors. Annabelle’s was a beautiful, colorful farm with all kinds of activities for families. 

  

First stop, The Barnyard. 

 

   

Cute barn-style swing and slide set. Note the giant minion in the background, made from large round bales of hay. 

  
  
The Corn Shed. This playhouse filled with dried corn kernels was a clever idea. The girls returned to play inside over and over again. 

 

The train ride wound through part of the property, offering views across farmland.  

  
 

Giant rocking chair!

   
The must-have bounce house. The girls love these air filled fun houses. 

 

Called The Hayride, I was grateful the bales of hay traditionally used for seating had been replaced with wooden benches and stairs led into the trailer for easy access. 
 

Love spending time with these girls!

 

Everyone on The Hayride got to select a pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch. My favorite pic of the evening!

 

Stunning sunset. The girls marveled at the sunflowers.  

 

The corn maze beckoned. I’ve always wanted to do a corn maze. I was determined to walk it with my little group. A first experience for all of us!

 
This was so fun! We wandered around for quite a while, trying different paths, laughing as we looped past previous spots. We got lost. We found our way out at last, by exiting through the entrance…but at least we got out! The girls began to think we’d be in the maze until next Thursday. 

 

We finished up our evening by roasting hotdogs and making S’mores. What a grand time we had. The bus ride home was much quieter than the trip to the farm. We had two very happy and very tired little girls and three happy and tired adults. I’m so glad my mom invited us to join her on this adventure. Annabelle’s Fun Farm is exactly that, fun. I can check “Walk through a corn maze” off my list. And I’m thankful for London and Aubrey, who are always willing to experience new things. Those young ladies are amazing! 

  
  
  

Journey 222: BPT Sandwich

Several members of my family garden. While I focus on flowers, grasses and herbs in my garden, my mom includes vegetables in hers. She’s especially adept at raising tomato plants, which under her care produce enormous amounts of a variety of tomatoes. 

  
I love that, because she shares with me and the rest of the family! It’s hard to beat a sun ripened tomato freshly picked and juicy with flavor. This afternoon I was gifted with another bag of tomatoes and green peppers from my generous mom. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get bacon and a loaf of wheat bread. Dinner tonight was going to be a bacon and tomato sandwich!

As I was preparing my simple summer time meal, I had a fresh idea! Instead of the traditional BLT, bacon, lettuce & tomato, I opted for something different. I created a BPT sandwich…bacon, pepper, tomato…using a green pepper, thinly sliced, in place of the lettuce. 

It was awesome! The combination was rich in flavor and the green pepper added a satisfying crispness. I like it better than the usual BLT. 

I am inspired. I am thinking of all kinds of sandwich combos to try, with bacon and tomato as the basics. BAT…bacon, avocado, tomato, BBT…bacon, basil (fresh from my garden), tomato, and BMT…bacon, mushroom, tomato. Thinking of using fresh basil created the idea of a BC sandwich….bacon, caprese….which would include sliced mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and tomato, seasoned with salt and a dap of olive oil. 

I’m excited to try all of these, and see what else inspires me. With the summer heat making cooking prohibitive, what a simple but delicious way to use produce from the garden. Keep the tomatoes, coming mom. And thank you!

  

Day 331: Thanksgiving Dinner OUT

Thanksgiving 2014 at GC

Today’s first was about what didn’t happen! For the first time, a small but cheerful group of us, family and friends, ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant….Golden Corral in Joplin. Which meant, I didn’t cook today and even better, I didn’t clean up a destroyed kitchen either! I really don’t mind cooking big dinners, especially for family gatherings around the holidays. It was nice, though, this afternoon, to leave the restaurant and not face a mountain of dirty pots, pans and dishes. I actually got to take a wee nap instead, and that was sweet indeed.

My police officer son was on duty today. He and fellow officers had a potluck dinner at the police station and his lovely bride Megan joined him there for dinner. Daughter Elissa spent the day with her fiancé Josh and his family. Tomorrow is a big day for them! With the family dynamics changed, I opted for dinner out. I knew Golden Corral would be open and their buffet would not only have all the traditional fare but many other entrees and sides to choose from.

Thanksgiving 2014 at GC Walter

Our little gathering today included my mom and stepdad, my sister Linda, daughter Adriel, her friend Nate, Greg and Dave. This year I invited others who might want to hang out with us, if they didn’t have any place else to be. Most had somewhere to go, but the invitation went out and everyone was free to join in or not….no obligation! Dave is the awesome Zumba instructor for my mom and me. Over this year he has become a friend and now, he’s practically family. After spending a boisterous couple of hours with us, he knows stuff! He was a welcome addition, as was Nate.

Thanksgiving 2014 at GC mom Dave Linda

I found it fun to be at Golden Corral. I knew it must be an okay place to be when I arrived at 10:45 am and there were lines out both sets of doors. Because our group stood in line together and passed the time chatting and laughing, it didn’t seem to take long before we were being seated. The restaurant was full. It could be said that I had lunch with hundreds of strangers, yet it was a festive atmosphere. I spoke to people in the buffet lines and smiled and discussed the marvelous selection of food. At our table, our group laughed a great deal. Dave and Nate learned some of our family stories and shared some of their own, and discovered that my mom loves Golden Corral fudge!

Thanksgiving 2014 at GC Nate Adriel Greg

It was a great day. Gratitude is so important to me. Thanksgiving is a wonderful day to be reminded of all that I have to be thankful for, and yet I daily choose to make thankfulness the foundation for everything else in my life. It is so much more than living with the “glass half full”, it is an awareness that gratitude for what I have makes what I do have, enough. And it opens the door to so many other wonderful possibilities and opportunities.

One of my favorite quotes is by John Milton and it says, “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” I love that. I desire that my heart be so full of gratitude that it can’t be contained, flowing upward, to my Source, the Creator of all, and outward, touching everything and everyone in my world. So be it.

gratitude in your heart