Sunday, November 30, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We got our Christmas present to us today – a new wall behind the TV.  We went to Lowes and picked up the tiles and everything we needed to install them.  Pictures to follow.
We also decided we have had enough turkey for a while.  We’ve had turkey casserole and turkey salad from the leftovers and we still have some to use up.  A visit to Red Lobster was a nice change.

We’ve finished our Christmas decorating.  We walked to CVS this morning and they had some pretty wreaths.
They also had cotton for the “snow” for my mini nativity set.  I’ve had this set for years, it is very small, but also very heavy, it is made of lead.  I’ve searched many places to try to find a stable setting to go with it but everything is just too big.

The tallest of the figurines, one of the three wise men is just two inches tall.  Joseph is about an inch tall.

I also have with us some of my Christmas themed Precious Moments figurines that the kids have given me over the years.  I can’t have the whole collection with me but these bring me great joy.

We took a walk around the resort after dark this evening and found a few festive folks, but not nearly as many as we were expecting.  These three are all what's called a "park model" rather than being an RV.  They sell these to people who want to winter in the resort but either don't own or don't travel by RV.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, November 29, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Kind of a lazy Saturday around here.  We hung some snowflakes on the ends of the icicle lights, I like them.  I didn’t want to use the snowflakes inside because they have glitter on them.
I did end up hanging some red, white and silver balls and some silver snowflakes along the dining room window.

Christmas cards are all addressed and ready to send, so I did get something useful done today.

I think we are almost done with the decorating.  I made a big bow for the front of the coach, but Greg thinks it needs a wreath also.  We still need to get some cotton (for snow) for our mini nativity scene then we are done and can just sit back and enjoy it for a while.  We can draw the blinds, put on some Christmas music and have some holiday potpourri simmering on the stove and we’ll never know it is 80 degrees outside J.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, November 28, 2014 - Christmas Decorations

I made a full recipe of yeast rolls yesterday, but only used half of it for dinner rolls.  The other half I made into cinnamon rolls this morning.  I was thinking about how pretty a picture that pan of rolls would make as they were baking.  However, they smelled so good that as soon as I took them out of the oven we pounced on them like a couple of hungry tigers and the good picture went by the wayside L.
This afternoon we put up icicle lights on the awning – it was 85 degrees, we were sweating before we got the job done.  It’s really hard getting into the Christmas spirit at that temperature but I’m not going to complain.  That is why we are here.

We did go ahead and bring out the rest of the Christmas decorations and over the course of the afternoon we got them all up.  Yes, we still have one of these.  It travels rather nicely tucked in its own little bin under the bed.
I’m still thinking about doing something more with the window, we’ll see how energetic I get.

We’ve done this arrangement with the lighted garland and our favorite ornaments for the last few years, I really like it.

We hung all of our motorcycle themed ornaments up above the TV, but the display lighting Greg has on his cars doesn’t photograph very well, and he was watching “Tora, Tora, Tora” as I was taking pictures, I think Pearl Harbor just got bombed.

This ornament that says “Happiness Served Here” is hanging just above the sink.

A few more Christmas touches around the coach.

I found a couple of bayberry candles when we were in Arlington, VA but I realized this afternoon that I don’t have taper candle holders any longer.  Since that is my favorite Christmas fragrance I’m going to have to go get some holders.  I’ve found the Christmas music maybe that will put me in the spirit.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, November 27, 2014 - Happy Thanksgiving

Tried a new way of cooking the turkey today – in the crock pot.  Since we only have the microwave/convection oven I needed to save it for baking the rolls, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.  The turkey turned out pretty good, the top that was out of the broth was a little drier than I would have liked, probably left it on a little longer than I should have, but I assure you none of it is going to waste.  This recipe is a combination of several I read on Pinterest.  When you cook a turkey in the crock pot the skin doesn’t brown and crisp.  Liquid Bouquet and paprika help give it a browned look.  We discarded the skin when we carved the turkey and it looked great on the platter.

Slow Cooker Turkey
6-7 lb. turkey breast
2 medium or one large onion
¾ c. chicken broth
2 T. olive oil (I added a little Liquid Bouquet but I think you could omit it)
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. parsley
1 T. seasoned salt
1 T. basil
1 T. paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. ground black pepper
Rinse and dry the turkey.  Spray the crock pot with non-stick spray.  Slice the onions and place in the crock pot, add the broth.  Place the turkey in the crock pot.  Rub the olive oil over the turkey.  Mix the herbs and spices together and sprinkle the mix over the turkey, it looks like a lot.  I put some up under the skin also.  Cook on high for about 3 hours until the temperature is 140 degrees.  Turn the heat down to low and cook an additional 2-3 hours until temperature reaches 170 degrees in the thickest part of the breast. 

I even got energetic and made rolls and pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes from scratch.  The stuffing was Stove Top and the cranberry sauce was out of a can, but that was because that’s what we like J.  Add a little bubbly and some candles and we had a very special Thanksgiving supper.

We have so many things to be thankful for and it would be a very long blog if I listed all of them.  We’ve been blessed with 5 fabulous children, 8 wonderful grandchildren and one very special great-grandson.  We have amazing brothers and sisters.  And, we can't forget Mom and Nana and Pap, who were the start of all of this.  We have many fantastic friends back in Indiana and we’ve made some really great new ones in our travels.  We love and miss all of you.  Before you know it we’ll be making our rounds again.

An hour later the leftovers were stored and the dishes were done (for the third time today). 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort


We haven’t done much blog worthy so far this week.  We’ve worked our twelve hours and that’s about it.  After our shift today, we spent some time in the hot tub and we are just relaxing this evening.  Tomorrow I’m trying a new recipe, I’m cooking our turkey in the crock pot.  We’ll be having most of the traditional fixings for Thanksgiving supper.  It will just be the two of us this year, but family and friends will be on our minds and in our hearts – love you all.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, November 23, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We took advantage of Sunday brunch in the courtyard this morning.  They had mimosas J.  A nap after that would have been good but instead I took some laundry to the laundry room that I didn’t want to wash in our coach machines, rugs, etc. I thought Sunday would be a slow day in the laundry room, a lot of other people thought the same thing.
When I got home I wanted to go across the street to the Albertson’s store thinking they might have a Christmas wreath we could put on the front of the coach.  I didn’t want to buy one when we were out on the bike the other day because I would have to hold it coming home and I was afraid most of the stuff would blow off of it if I tried that.  Albertson’s didn’t have anything so I might just try a big bow.  Weather here is still in the mid to high 70s during the day, but I’m trying to get in the Christmas spirit.

While I was gone to the laundry Greg hung a picture for me.  Granddaughter Maddie made this masterpiece for us and I found this frame that fit it perfectly.  We’ve had it sitting on the counter in the bedroom but counter space is limited so this will work out much better.  Once I get my china painting project framed it will go below this picture.
We spent this afternoon listening to a class on line and then taking tests for our food handlers permits.  We both passed the test with 100%.  Now we have to take our test results to the county offices to get our cards.

We’ll be working Monday thru Wednesday this coming week, 10:00 to 2:00.

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

The food services group (where we are workamping) had a mandatory meeting from 9-12 this morning.  It started off with the manager forgetting his keys to let everyone in the building so we stood around outside for half an hour.  It didn’t get much better, pretty much a waste of a Saturday morning.
We headed to Lowe’s after the meeting because that has been the only place we have been able to find the French cleat picture hangers we use in the motor coach.  When we use them pictures and shelves really stay on the wall while we are traveling.  We ended up picking up a few other things also.  Greg got an electrical outlet that has USB ports in it and got it installed this afternoon.

We also picked up a couple of small Christmas decorations – beginning to get in the spirit.  We’ve been contemplating redoing the living room wall behind the TV.  Today we spotted some tile we both like.  It has glass tiles in shades of brown among shiny and matte metal tiles.  It's lighter than just plain glass tiles.  Kind of hard to photograph it laying down, maybe I'll get a better picture when it is on the wall.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, November 21, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Congratulations to the Rensselaer, IN Bombers football team, they will be going to the state championship at Lucas Oil Stadium next weekend.  Son A.J. called and let us know the game was being televised tonight, we were able to get the fourth quarter on the computer.
Yesterday we went shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner.  We decided to have dinner at home rather than participate in the resort pitch-in.  I’m going to try cooking a turkey breast in the crock pot, thanks to Pinterest I have a couple of different recipes to choose from.

This morning we went up to the indoor pool to check out a water exercise class for men and women both.  We’ll give it a try next week.  I took some Christmas ceramic pieces that I need to have fired over to the ceramic/pottery building.  I met the lady who does the china painting classes-made me think about how talented the kid’s great grandmother Nellie Keesling was.  She did such beautiful china painting.  She even managed to coax a couple of decent projects out of me, one I’m going to be framing before too long to put in the bedroom.
We are trying to decide what activities we want to participate in for the next few months.  Yesterday I attended a Functional Fitness class for an hour.  We used two five pounds weights and I was pretty tired after that was over.  Today I went to a Zumba class.  I’ve never been to a Zumba class and I think after a while I will enjoy it but I’m really sore this evening.  I am familiar with some of the Latin dancing steps, but it’s been a while since I’ve done them.  An hour of moving and jumping around about got the best of me – and I’m never going to be able to move like the instructor J.
While I’ve been attending these classes Greg has been taking advantage of his new bicycle.  They will have a new fitness center open on December 1 and he is planning on spending some time there.

I went home after Zumba and Greg had lunch ready so we could eat before we went shopping.  It was all I could do to throw my leg over the motorcycle to get on and we had four stops to make.  We found a farmer’s market that is popular out here called Sprouts.  They specialize in fresh vegetables, organic produce, bulk granolas and nuts – something a little different than the normal grocery we go to.

We stopped at Camping World to get a new awning bracket to replace the one that was broken in the accident earlier in the month.  We finally made contact with the adjuster for the insurance company of the woman that hit us.  Now we have to get an estimate on the damage and send it to her.
Next stop was JoAnn Fabrics to get a rotary cutter, some thread and Christmas themed material so I can try my hand at some simple quilting next week.

Last stop was Harley Davidson.  They have a new tie down kit that fits on the bike for transport that should make it even more secure and easier on the bike than all of the straps we use now.  Also had to pick up a kickstand pad since someone (me) forgot to pick ours up when we went to the NASCAR race.  Greg wanted a Mesa, AZ t-shirt and I spotted a 75% off rack that had a lightweight jacket in just my size, at that rate I didn’t feel too bad about buying it.
Tomorrow morning all of the food service staff people have a mandatory meeting so there will be no sleeping in for my sore muscles.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

This is our last day to work this week – we have our 12 hours in.  Today the pedometer registered 2.73 miles.  We took our bathing suits with us this morning so we could pamper ourselves when we got off.  We spent about half an hour in the spa/hot tub before heading home.
Before we went to work today we got our flu shots, Greg went under protest.  Later this afternoon Greg picked up his bike.  He seems to think it will work out just fine.
I’m going to walk over to the other side of the resort this evening to attend a quilters meeting.  They are going to be discussing what types of classes/projects to schedule.  I’m interested in doing some small things like placemats and table runners for the different holidays.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We worked 10:00 to 2:00 today, workamping here looks like it will work out well for us.  The weather here is a little chilly in the mornings, in the mid to high 40s but it warms up to the 70s pretty quickly.  Couldn’t be more perfect as far as I am concerned.
The bar part of the grill where we work asks people to bring old license plates from their home state so they can be displayed on the back wall.  We still had our Indiana POW/MIA plates we had on the back and front of the pickup truck that we sold when we went on the road.  I think they look pretty good up there.
When Happy Hour started at the grill this evening they had a special rib dinner.  We bought one to split and it was plenty – ½ slab of ribs, roasted red potatoes, green beans, cheesy jalapeño cornbread, watermelon and a blonde brownie.  I forgot to take a picture until we were well into it.  The ribs were very tender.

Arizona, Mesa - Monday, November 17, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Saturday we got our tables set up early for the Patio Sale.  We weren’t real sure about the hours – it started out being 9-12, then it was changed to 8-12, then when we went out for groceries we saw a sign that said 7:30 to 1:00.  The only problem with having a patio, garage, rummage whatever kind of sale you want to call it, in a place like this everyone has limited space so you aren’t going to buy anything you don’t really need.  We did manage to sell about $15 worth of stuff which seems about par for the course after talking to some of our neighbors.
On Sunday we did some heavier cleaning, Greg washed windows and then we used stone cleaner on the floors.  That involved getting down on hands and knees with a rag, Greg started at one end of the coach and I started at the other.  The floor looked pretty good and then we decided to use the stone polish on it also.  Grandkids would love the floors now, they like to slide from one end of the coach to the other in their socks.  Now we would have to worry about them going right out the front window, quite a bit slicker.  Last night I put on my pedometer and we walked until we had mapped out a mile.

We worked this morning.  I didn’t feel like I had to walk that mapped out mile this evening.  I wore the pedometer to work and managed to walk 2.27 miles.
It helped that my first customers were a table of 12 sitting at the very farthest table from the grill.  I was pretty proud of myself, I managed to wait on them and not mess up anything.  I even ended up with some pretty good tips today J.  I was planning on going to line dancing tonight until Greg reminded me that I would miss Dancing with the Stars.  Ok, maybe I’ll go next time.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, November 14, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We are getting ready for a “patio sale” tomorrow.  This is a resort-wide event.  We originally signed up thinking we would try to sell the two foldable RV bicycles we bought last winter which didn’t work out for us.  There is a bicycle shop just outside of the resort so we went over to see if he took bikes on trade.  He was glad to take our bikes in on trade and Greg is getting a refurbished bike that should be much better for him to ride, it was an even trade and we were happy with that.  I’m not going to try anymore, I’ll just walk where I am safer J.
Since we no longer have the bikes to sell and our name is already on the map for people to visit for sales, we decided to gather up some other things we no longer need.  We went through the basement storage boxes and didn’t come up with as much as we probably should have, I’m still holding out on some dishes for entertaining.  I just know as soon as I get rid of them I’m going to wish I had them.

We spent most of the day going through cabinets and came up with more stuff than I thought we would.  We also found several things we had been wondering where we put them.
As we were sitting down to have shrimp salad and fresh baked French bread for supper we noticed the beautiful sunset.  I got up and snapped a couple of pictures.  Good thing I didn’t try to wait until we were done eating because it only lasted a couple of minutes.  The weather was overcast today, but in the mid 70s so very nice.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Just a quiet day around the house today.  Our street was being sealed so we couldn’t get out and do much.  We got two months’ worth of mail yesterday so we went through it and found a few places we still needed to notify of our address change.  I wrote out some post cards for the grandkids while Greg worked on shining up the outside of the coach.

There was a Manager’s Happy Hour planned for this afternoon from 3-5 with free beer, wine and appetizers.  We walked up to the post office about 2:15 and the patio was already almost full and a few were starting to gather in the ballroom.  We decided to stay inside where there was air conditioning so we found a couple of seats in the ballroom.  They served meatballs, chicken wings, egg rolls, vegetable tray and cookies – not cooking supper tonight.  Small musical groups were playing in both the ballroom and patio areas.  As soon as 3:00 hit, people were hitting the bar and grill where we normally work for the free wine and beer, these folks do love to drink, especially when it is free J.  I walked out to get a glass of wine for each of us about 3:30 and things had started to ease up a bit at the bar, but I bet it started up again as soon as those first pitchers of beer were gone.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We had to go to the food services office again this morning to get our employee numbers put in the computer and to get our fingerprint taken.  We’ve had a little problem catching up with the guy who does this.  The time clock reads your fingerprint to clock you in and out.  Now they need to update our time cards to show that we have already worked our hours for this week.  The food services building houses the resort catering service and a café also.  Today was the grand opening for the café.  They had coffee and pastries plus a gentleman with a guitar and a good voice for entertainment.  We had already had breakfast at home, but we had a quick bite and listened to a couple of songs before we left.
We got back to the resort in time to go to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new fiber arts building.  I was interested in this, Greg was being nice by going with me.  They were serving the same kind of pastries that were at the café grand opening, but they had mimosas here.  I’d never had a mimosa so I couldn’t turn that down but we passed on the pastries this time.  Mimosas are pretty yummy.  Pardon the messed up hair, just got off the motorcycle and forgot my hat.
This building is amazing.  One side of it is focused on quilters.  So many pretty things in progress.

They have sewing machines you can use or you can bring your own and work on your project.  This is really nice because most people who live here don’t have large tables in their homes to be able to do this type of project.

We didn’t take pictures in the other side of the building since it was so crowded, it is meant for those working on smaller projects like embroidery, knitting, etc. 
Once we get our work schedule established I would like to sign up for some of the classes for quilting some smaller items like holiday placemats.

We made a quick trip to the grocery and then back to the resort for a wine and cheese open house for new residents.  Planning for this event got a little mixed up, catering had tomorrow as the date they were supposed to have appetizers ready.  So, we had wine but nothing to go with it, then they come up with pastries to go with the wine.  Ok, these pastries are good, but three times in one day is just a bit much J.  We still had a great time at the open house, we met a very nice couple from Washington who have a lot in common with us.  They live on the opposite side of the resort but I think we’ll probably be meeting up with them again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

First off we want to say “thank you” to all veterans.
My favorite veteran and I had to work today, but just 4 hours.
After working 8 hours yesterday these two were our best friends last night.  Today we both felt better than we thought we would.

There was a special recognition program for veterans here today.  The Cactus Grill had an all-American special after the program – hamburgers and cheeseburgers with fries and a small soft drink.  We had so many people come through the line they ran out of French fries (had to sub potato chips) and had to turn back a few because they ran out of hamburgers.  No estimate yet on how many people we had but there was a lot.

When we first come to work at 10:00 we have to make sure all of the tables on the patio are wiped off and the containers for salt, pepper, napkins and silverware are full, there are about 50 tables.  Greg stocks the ice machines while I wrap silverware in napkins.  Today Greg helped man the buffet serving line while I was responsible for keeping the soft drinks coming.  We stopped serving about 1:30 and cleaned up the tables again before we left at 2:00.  We get a free meal each day that we work, we opted for their huge taco salads today as soon as we got off - which means we can have a light supper this evening.
They also had a bake sale today with proceeds going to a local veteran’s organization.  I had intended to take cupcakes with red, white and blue decorations.  I made the icing earlier in the week, I just needed to bake the cupcakes last night and I hate to admit it, but I just didn’t have the energy.  So, after we got home today I made the cupcakes for my veteran.  They don’t have the huge spiral of icing like the ones you get from a bakery, but I didn’t really think we needed that much icing.  I also didn’t ice all 24 of them, some went in the freezer for later.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Monday, November 10, 2014 -Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We are tired!!  This was our first day workamping and we worked 8 hours instead of the 4 hours we would normally work. 
It’s been almost two years now since we retired.  And, even when we were working fulltime, we were both managers who sat on our butts most of the day J.

Today we were on our feet the whole time.  We are working in food service at the Cactus Grill – prepping tables, taking orders, delivering orders and cleaning off tables.  The menu is mostly sandwiches and appetizer type items.  We don’t do any of the cooking.
We enjoyed the people and we actually enjoyed the work, it was just more time on our feet than we were used to.  I’m sure it will be good for us to be up and moving.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - Val Vist Villages RV Resort

We are very proud of grandson Jackson.  He took second place in his class showing his Hampshire barrow, Hammie, during the Junior Purebred Hog Show at the North American Livestock Expo in Louisville, KY.
We got out late this afternoon and walked through part of the resort.  This flowering bush is on the fence behind us.
The orange tree is right next door.  The resort is full of these plus grapefruit trees.

This is the laundry that is closest to us.

The guest services building is quiet today, it’s usually pretty busy.

There are several displays of crafts done by resort residents in the hallway of the guest services building.  This is a display of some of the jewelry projects.

I’m glad we found the library I have several books to exchange.  Looks like they might have some I haven’t read J
This is the area where we will be working starting tomorrow.

This is the Cactus Grill

Lots of flowers and plants on the patio around the grill.

The fire pit and outdoor pool are also in the patio/grill area.  Didn’t get a really good photo of the pool because there were some people out enjoying it.
The indoor pool looked pretty inviting.

As did the huge hot tub spa area

The resort has its own post office.

 This morning we went across the street to the local Albertson’s grocery store to pick up a few things.  Very convenient, within walking distance.