Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hangin' with Friends for the Holidays

It was great to have a few days off around Christmas this year. Ryan and I managed to catch up with several friends over the past week. It has been lots of fun.
This is Greggie and Bo and Mandy at Buffalo Wild Wings last Sunday after the Colts game.
My friend Mandy.....don't you just love her cute little dimples?!?!?!?
Ryan and Greg with their designated driver :-)

OK I just realized these are out of chronological order, but I have had a hard time with these pictures, so you'll just have to deal with it...............

Anyway, this is Nick, Ryan and Jamie in Indy Saturday night. We went down there to spend some time with a bunch of people, and stayed at Nick and Ashley's.
Ryan and I both thought the other one brought the bottle of wine for me, so TeShannah, Ashley and me all had to take a quick trip to the liquor store. I was definitely taking advantage of not having to be the DD for anyone, and not being on call for a I HAD to get my bottle of wine!!!!!!

I'm pretty sure the guys in the liquor store were ticked when we walked in at about 11:57. They closed at midnight. TeShannah had to buy "Sunday beer" for Matt, so she's trying to scoop up two thirty packs of Busch and a bottle of something for herself, and out go the lights. I took that as our queue to get up to the cash register. They weren't exactly friendly....and didn't find it humerous at all that TeShannah had just broken one of the packs of beer she was carrying. Give the poor girl a break....I mean, she WAS carrying 60 Busches!!!!!!! We all thought it was really funny.
Back at Nick and Ashley's, TeShannah and Ryan posed for a quick photo.
This is our good friend, Jamie. He works at the prison at Grissom, and is considering a job in Afghanistan to help train their guards at their prisons. I am really worried about him taking this job, but he is pretty pumped about it. Saturday was the first I've heard of any of this, so hopefully he won't be leaving any time soon, if he even goes at all. It was fun hanging out with him. It seems like we hardly ever see him, and he lives closer than most of our friends!!!

On Christmas Eve,Ryan and I partook in our annual tradition of opening one gift. After that, a few friends came over to play some games. We played the Mexican Train Game and Apples to Apples. Here's Cindy with her stocking right before she opened it. I LOVE making stockings.....I think I gave away at least ten this year.This is Remmy. He belongs to our neighbor, Marcus. He is a big fat English bulldog. Looks mean as hell, but he's actually just a big pussy cat. He came over to get some Christmas goodies too.
Remmy was thrilled to wear these reindeer antlers for our entertainment on Christmas Eve.
This is Marcus, Cindy, Ryan and me. Marcus lives right next door to us, and Cindy used to live across the street. Now, she lives just down the road from Ryan's parents. We really miss having her in West Middleton with us, but we have amnaged to keep in touch pretty well.

After spending a little time at home, Clint called us and asked if we would come meet him at The Kozy. By that time, Cousin Aaron had come over, so we all hopped in the car and drove up to the bar to see Clint. I was really surprised by how many people were out partying on Christmas Eve. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone. I ran into several people I hadn't seen in a long time, so that made for a wonderful start to Christmas.
next blog entry: family photos from Christmas.....but not today. The computers here at work have gremlins :-)

Christmas lights at We Care Park

Mom and I took a little cruise through We Care Park just before Christmas. It was awesome!!! I can't believe the amount of lights these people put out. It's really an awesome thing that our community does this. Aside from the We Care auction, and raising money here at the park, I think it is very heart warming to know we have a community willing to open up and decorate their yards for us to gawk at. Personally, it would drive me insane having people trucking through my alley for two months through the winter. BUT, it is all in the spirit of Christmas, so who can blame them? Thank God there are still people out there with enough Christmas spirit left to do this for us.

Even though it is a short ride, it is absolutely amazing. There is Christmas music playing over several loud speakers. I always roll my windows down and crank the heat up on high so I can listen. They have a path so that people can also walk through the park if they want to....another thing that would drive me insane......but, I'm sure glad they do it!!!! It blows Highland Park's display out of the water!!!
Mom loves these little displays with moving figures inside them. She says they remind her of Christmas when she was a kid. They used to have these displays set up in most of the store windows in Germany for the holidays. She also said that most people don't decorate the outside of their homes at Christmas in Germany, only the inside. The outdoor decorations are more for businesses and advertising. I thought that was interesting.
It's always good to spend some quality time with Mom around Christmas. I feel like we have made up for a lot of lost time over the last few years. We do things together that we might have done when I was a kid if she had been able. Now, I take her to do all the things I wish we could have done together when I was younger........better late than never, right?

Whammer Ale

Well, Ryan cracked the Whammer Ale this past Saturday for Dad's birthday. I think it turned out alright myself. Even though I'm not a big beer drinker, I thought it tasted pretty good. I was proud of him.

The only thing Ryan was hoping for was that it was drinkable.....mission accomplished!!!! He kept one case out of the two they brewed. I'm pretty sure most of the guys in the family who wanted to try it got to. Except for Brent.....sorry "B" you missed out!!!!

I got Ryan a recipe book for 101 different kinds of beer. Any requests??? We just might be able to brew up some original brews once we perfect our craft. This is fun!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Brewin' Again

This past Sunday was another fun day for Ryan and Matt!! They started the next step of their brewing process. They started out by cleaning the bottles they would soon be filling. They had to mix up some kind of cleansing concauction so soak the bottles in first.
Matt is preparing to rinse the bottles.
Here, Matt is rinsing the bottles in the cleanser, and next they will go on the bottle tree.
This is the bottle tree. It is used to let the bottles drip dry so there is no residue or lint from using anything else.
This is the glorious Ale Pail that has been sitting in the garage for two weeks. It has a small valve on the top that has been letting carbon dioxide escape while the fermentation process was happening.

Be careful if you ever get into my just might drown........................

This was an exciting part of the day.........after two weeks, we were finally able to open the bucket and see what had been going on in there all this time!!! ......and this is what we found!!!!! eewwwwww......looks nasty to me!!!!!

I thought it smelled awful, but Ryan and Matt thought it was awesome. It burned my nose and my eyes.

They siphoned the beer from the first bucket into this bucket to get rid of some of that junk floating around in there. Then, they siphoned it a second time for the same reason.

After they sucked all the brew out, this is what was left. It stunk. But, once again, the boys thought it was awesome!!!!This is the second siphoning run. After this, they added the sugars to carbonate it.
TeShannah and I prowled in and out of the garage all day. Every once in awhile, we decided to help a little. TeShannah handed the boys the bottles when they were ready to fill.........
This is Matt's ginormous hand squeezed into a normal man-size glove, filling the bottles. The tube the beer flows through has a valve on the end that blocks the flow unless there is pressure on it. So, when you push, the beer flows. When you let up, it stops.Once each bottle was filled, we had to cap it.
This is the tool that is used to hold and compress the caps. It holds them with a little magnet.
You just set the cap on top of the bottle and compress each side. It's that simple.
I even got my hands in on that part. The deal is, I have to drink the beer I capped.........we'll see :-)
I thought I had to push real hard....that's what I'm doing here. But really, I could have broken the bottle doing it that way. Luckily, we only lost one bottle out of two cases because of that.
TA DA!!!!!!!!!!
So there you have it.....the first official West Middleton Whammer Ale will be ready to drink on December 22nd. I'll let you know how they did!!!!!

Santa Claus is Coming to West Middleton

Saturday morning, Santa Claus came through West Middleton. He always comes to visit us on the fire truck for the Harrison Township Fire Department. They drive him around and he throws candy to everyone. He even threw a bone to Mickey who was out on his leash when they went by.....Good ol' Santa!!!
My tree is officially up now. It took me longer this year to get motivated to put it up for some reason. Now that it's up, I wish I would have done it sooner. I love sitting in front of it at night with Ryan. We just cuddle up on the couch with the puppies and stare at it. It seems a little silly, but I really look forward to that every night.
Of course, the puppies are in the holiday spirit too!!! Delilah has been sporting this sweet little Christmas dress for almost a month now....She loves it!!!
Jerry is always in good spirits, but especially at Christmas......see...............
He's gonna sing you a Christmas song now :-)
They were all such good puppies when I was taking their pictures the other day. I know they think I'm crazy, but as long as I talk in a real high pitched voice, and kinda fast, they think they're doing something to make me really happy, so they get's a win win really.
"MERRY WOOF WOOF" from Franklin Blue!!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Photo contest

Hey everyone!!!! Just wanted to ask you all a favor. Go to this link: and please vote for my picture called "Trowing Fire." It was chosen to be in a coffee table book that I will receive in a few weeks. It's copyrighted, so I thought that was cool.
I think this website prints almost all the pictures they receive, because they come out with a new book pretty often. Regardless, it will be cool to have something that I did in print.
Thanks in advance for your votes. If I win some cash......thanks!!!! :-)