Not necessarily the best photo ever but this was taken by the younger stepgranddaughter -Sierra -with her cellphone tonight at the fireworks in State College at Penn State. (Sierra and her brother Shane live in Tennessee now with their maternal grandparents and are here in Pennsylvania visiting with us and their mother too for the next week or two I believe.
I spent the bulk of the day cooking for our supper. Fixed a new recipe I got from our church organist -that she had made for a funeral dinner I attended last week and I really loved it. She called early this morning to give me the recipe and although it took me a while to get all my supplies in order to fix this dish, it was really quite simple -just frozen hash brown (cubed) potatoes, a can of cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese and crushed cornflakes on top with butter drizzled over it and bake it.
Then I fixed a dish of chicken breasts (bone-in) that I coated with good old Hellman's mayo and then put the chicken in a big ziplock bag filled with crushed cereal, shook the bag to coat the meat and baked that. The recipe called for crushed corn flakes but I decided to experiment a tad. I took 4 cups of this cereal Mandy got -a generic type in a bag and I think it is called "Apple zingers" or something like that. Looks like cheerios but they are colored -some orange, some green and supposed to have sort of an apple taste -and put them in the ziplock bag and crushed them with the rolling pin. Plus, I put about a teaspoon of lime juice in with the mayonnaise too. May sound a bit strange but the mayonnaise keeps the chicken from drying out, holds the topping somewhat in place and actually, the chicken did taste very good, if I must say so myself.
And finally, I made a chocolate layer cake -from scratch, no less -and this cake as peanut butter chips and chocolate chips baked into it. Iced the cake then too with a frosting of creamed cheese, melted peanut butter and milk chocolate chip and powdered sugar and it's a cake to die for! I don't usually make layer cakes -they usually tend to go wonky on me when I take them out of the pans -but this one today -well, it came out just right! And Mandy told me coming back from State College tonight that she wants me to make that cake again -gave it a big, big thumbs up, she did.
Oh, and to round our supper out, we also had baked beans and Bill grilled a package of hot dogs too!
My son got in from his last run last night, so he was here for supper and we also had Bill's Dad, his sister, her little boy and her baby girl here for supper too. I confess though that after eating -and yes, I did eat pretty darned good but only a reasonable portion of each item -I think the combination of being on my feet most of the day, cooking, plus the humidity factors in the air today -kind of gray, looked like rain all day and a bit coolish -settled into my back and legs too so by 6:30 tonight, my back and legs were aching and I felt almost like I'd been run down by a steam roller too then. So I hit my bed and took a nap till Mandy woke me up around 8 p.m. to get moving so we could go to State College for the fireworks.
Mandy had told Maya earlier this afternoon that if it didn't rain -and if she was good -(there's a dreamer in my daughter, ya know) that we would try to go see the fireworks tonight. Now, Maya had never seen fireworks before as the past couple of years, we hadn't gone over there -mainly because we didn't know how she would react and then the past two years, with Kurtis, it was just too much of a hassle.
So we started over the mountain and Maya was in the back seat of the van with her sister, Sierra and her dad, Kurtis and Shane, the stepgrandson, sat in the middle seat with Mandy driving and me as "co-pilot" in front. Most of the drive over, Maya was bubbling away, jabbering about going to "go see the fireworkers" but we still weren't sure how she would react to them.
We were also very worried how Kurtis would do because he is the one who really has a lot of sensory issues, the least little thing might terrify him and he'd be engulfed in screaming and tears. He fell asleep on the ride over and slept the entire way through all the fireworks - flashing and small noises as well as big boomers too! Incredibe, considering there are times when all you have to do is walk past his playpen when he's asleep and have a floorboard creak and he'll be up screaming and wailing till the cows come home. But the fireworks -slept as sound as sound could be! A big relief there with that for all of us though.
When we got to State College, we just pulled up on the road heading into Mt. Nittany Community Hospital and since there were people pulled off and parked there along the road -on both sides -and Mandy found a very nice parking spot there too -we just sat there by the van or in my case, inside the van, and watched the great display!
From the first one that Maya saw, she was totally enthralled and throughout the entire show, we could hear her oohing and aahing and even making comments about the fireworkers being "magical! Yes, Baby, they sure were! She was sitting on the ground by the van, between her Dad and brother, Shane, and it was so great to see her, to hear her and know that she was totally enjoying the sights tonight. When the big fireworks that kind of look like a big umbrella thing raining down from the sky would go off, she kept asking her Dad if she could "go ride the fireworkers?" Had to keep explaining to her that these are not rides -just something pretty -and noisy -to watch in the sky.
Next week, the nearby town of Philipsburg will be having their annual "Heritage Days" Celebration from Wednesday through Saturday. Wednesday is Children's Day which Mandy had planned to take the kids to that but then, got a call yesterday that the people who own the local restaurant near here were in need of some extra help that day for a couple of hours so she said she would come in an work -forgetting all about that it would be Children's Day that day. But, next Saturday, they will have a parade there and our school band will be marching in it which means we will have to take Kate -the 16-year-old -in to participate in that and after the parade, they will have fireworks there too so Maya will get to see and enjoy them again and we'll find out for sure how well Kurtis will tolerate that activity. No, I doubt we will be lucky enough that he will sleep through all of that activity next week!
Here's a couple pictures too of the kids, playing out in the back yard today.
Here's Kurtis -and if you look closely (click to enlarge) at his right cheek, you can still see the residue of the shiner he got last Saturday when he fell down the steps of the deck on my cousin's house.
Here's Maya with her big brother, Shane, who she hadn't seen since the end of January when they moved from here down to Tennessee. When she saw him last night, she ran to him immediately, throwing her arms around him and saying "Oh, Shane, Shane!" She's really an adoring little sister to her big brother, for sure!
Here's Kurtis -probably trying to put his mechanic genes to work to figure out how to take this truck apart. If there is a gene for mechanical aptitude, he should come by it quite honestly since his Dad is an auto mechanic as is his maternal grandfather too plus, Uncle Clate loved to take cars and trucks apart when he was little and still does enjoy doing that even today.
Apparently, Maya was a bit on the unhappy side here -don't know what her issue was as Mandy snapped this shot. Could be it was after she'd seen her Dad bathe the kittens for the fleas they seem to have and then, she took one of the black-stripe tiger kitties out and put it in her swimming pool. Just about put Mandy into cardiac arrest when she pulled that stunt!
And, just to keep you a little bit up-to-date too on the kittens, here they are -this morning -all getting ready to settle in for breakfast, courtesy of Mama Jorge! They are running all over the house now, finding new hiding places too on a daily basis so not only do we get confused looking for them but so does Jorge! So darned cute at this age to watch them explore, then playing with each other, attacking my legs while I was trying to cook today too!
Hope you all had a Fourth of July Celebration that was as good for you as ours here was for me!