...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Ultimate Ninja Birthday Party...

Bryan (the Dad) giving instruction as only a true Ninja can do.
A brood of Ninjas!
It was one eleven-year-old boy's dream to have a Ninja party for his birthday. Lucky for him his mom -- and especially his dad -- were only too happy to give it to him. Thus started a collaboration of relatives from Georgia to New York to see a boy's dream come to fruition.

First, there were calls, instant messages and emails back and forth to decipher what exactly should be included. What should be on the menu. What games could kids with a wide range in ages play?

Party boy getting some refreshment.
The 'Sushi'
As the birthday boy's celebration day fell during the annual visit to the grandparents, it had to be decided where it would be held. With construction still underway in the Bell home, Grandma Jollie was asked to host. The Jollie household always made for an instant party with the usual brood of children that live there. Then came the pooling of items to make this as 'Ninja' as possible.

Food, of course, had to be the choice of the guest of honor. Sushi? Shushi? This family loves sushi but not all guests would. However Elijah's mom found the perfect alternative -- candy sushi! Other alternatives and input resulted in the menu of Pizza (easiest on all the planners), sushi candy (to double as a craft), and Ninja cupcakes (it was hard to not make them look like mummies, lol).

The real sushi was handled in a dinner out with other adults on another day.

Other fun accents included, black table cloths, red plates, 'sushi' condiments of soy sauce & wasabi (green icing and chocolate), chopsticks, origami, and red takeout boxes for each participant to take home his/her goodies in.
Homemade Pinata

But the highlight was the life-size Ninja pinata home-made by Elijah's dad.  That, along with masks for all participants, made this party a hit.

Hide and seek Ninja-style and opening of gifts only added to the fun and celebratory atmosphere.
I am not sure if anyone counted how many guests were in attendance. As some came others left and there was a constant flow of new faces to join the party. We planned on 15 kids and ran short...at least 10 parents also attended and the kids ranges in age from a few months to 18 years.

A warm gift from the Jollies.
EVERYONE enjoyed the party.
The little Ninja scribe (aka Asher)
Everyone seemed to have a great time, especially one very special eleven-year-old (and maybe his dad).

Thank you Mallory...

...who proves girls like to Ninjas too!
When asked by his grandmothers' if this was his best birthday party, Elijah answered, "So far!" As this was only the second party with extended family and friends he has ever had, he is now waiting to see if any can top this one!  

Kudos to his Mom and Dad who went over the top to make an eleven year old boy's dream of a Ninja Party come alive! 

Guess Bryan's work was done...as he appears to be texting here.

And so ends a wonderful day of fun with family and friends who wanted to make Elijah Bell's 11th birthday celebration a memory maker!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Autumn leaves.....

Things are a bit backwards this year...today we raked leaves...a LOT of leaves. Leaves that came down AFTER our first heavy snow last month.

Jim started yesterday with the front yard and it looked so nice to see a 'clean' green lawn, that I started on the back, then Jim came out to help....

I had to capture what looked like a MASSACRE of my bushes.

Sequel to Day of the Triffids???
I quickly grabbed my camera and ran to the side of the house where I could still hear the snip, snip, snip of the shears...  I wanted to snap photos of my burning bushes before they were disseminated...

Can  you see Jim Scissorhands hiding there???

Phew! He decided to leave the burning bushes to my skillful trimming.
As I slowly went back to my raking, I caught a glimpse of a sign of hope tucked away in our beautiful maple that lost quite a few limbs in the last snowstorm. (In October!!!)

A seedling sprouting in the moss on the tree in what appears to be a heart in the bark!

Hate to say that little sprout won't make through the winter, but it was interesting to see new growth in the midst of all the dying leaves and plants around the yard.

Amazing too, that the grass is still green! It's November! We have already had two killing frosts and heavy snow!

How come we didn't have leaves when we had kids to jump in them? Not to mention rake them. One son was a landscaper for Pete's sake and took away other people's leaves...we could have used him today or at least his power blower!

Too bad there's no little Bell boys to jump in those piles...

By nightfall the leaves were gone and these two country folk were heading in for dinner and to soak their sore muscles in an effort to fend off the rigor mortis that was trying to creep in...

Note to viewer: Yes those are snow shovels leaning against the house. We had snow in October!!! Heavy, wet, snow that brought down tree limbs and caused power outages for days all around us. Just 30 minutes from us, people got 12"!!!

Then two weeks later....we are raking the leaves that finally came down.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Halloween to Remember

Asher trying out the new wig.

This year with Bryan's family visiting, we went to Aunt Lynn's house in Kingston to experience a REAL Halloween. She gets over a hundred kids, where the folks in the mountains of Georgia and here in Glasco get zero.

First things first...the pumpkin carving. Actually this followed the decorating of the front porch...as we were pressed for time with the kids expected at 4 p.m. The first photo depicts Elijah's reaction after reaching into a pumpkin that was out in subfreezing temperatures over night.

Bryan puts a few finishing touches on the porch...

Elijah's masterpiece.                  

Witch Barbie Pumpkin? Really?
A neighbor's attempt at making the best of it...
The neighbor's pumpkin didn't exactly fit into our theme...

   But Aunt Lynn's creative hand did.
 The apprentice Grim Reaper awaiting the arrival of his victims...

In search of his master/trainer/father...
(yes, that is snow on the ground! from our Octsnowber storm.)

The Master sneaks up behind his young student.

The rest of the motley crew...

 Awaiting our first guests...

the Grim Reaper Greeters...

 Soon the big kitties arrive...

Later after darkness fell and 157 kids had been treated and teased

...it was Elijah's turn to trick or treat (his first time!).


Friday, October 28, 2011

Beyond Organic...

Yesterday I met Jordan Rubin in a face-to-face meeting with about 20 other interested parties to hear about his new line of organic food.

I first was introduced to Jordan through his book, The Maker's Diet. His story intrigued me because it combined healthy eating with Biblical teaching. He then published, The Great Physician's Rx for Health and Wellness which went even further in helping us gain great health through God's intended ways of living.

I often thought, as I researched organic food and natural ways to prevent disease through diet, how come somebody didn't go back to following biblical principles for farming, cooking and eating. After all the Creator did give specific instructions and most of them had a great benefit if followed. Now Jordan Rubin has done just that. He has read the Bible extensively. He pulled out every scripture he could find on what mankind was supposed to eat and how it was to be prepared. Then he did the same with every scripture on health and well-being -- physically, mentally and spiritually. And repeated this with every scripture on what the Bible says about farming, raising livestock, what was eaten, and what was burned up as a sacrifice to God, never to be eaten by mankind. Guess what? Even the humane treatment of animals and the slaughter of animals is covered in the Bible with specific instructions on how to drain the blood so it doesn't pool in the body and hold the toxins in the meat!

Jordan decided to first start a farm to raise his own animals for food to provide the best for his family, following Biblical principles. As God increased his vision, he expanded to provide for others of us that want to protect our health through diet. Thus, Beyond Organic was founded.

Beyond Organic is so unique (by today's standards) in its entire process of growing and processing the livestock to the purest standard. It attempts to return our food supply to what it used to be just a short time ago. It combines the process of crop rotation and livestock rotation to work together to give you a high quality, sustainable and healthy product for our consumption. This food is carefully grown without pesticides, hormones, or chemical fertilizers. All the animals are "green-fed" and not just grain or grass fed.

Some, including me, are somewhat skeptical at what is basically a Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) method of selling his products. Jordan agrees this style of marketing in the wrong hands has been abused. However he decided the only way consumers could appreciate what went into his products was to have it explained through trained "Mission Marketers" that could tell much more than a label about the cheese, water, beef and other products that are produced.

He also offers water from the purest springs that he has searched the country for and is now passing it on to you. He assures us that it is the closest to pure water you will find. He has kept the price to match a bottle of Fuji water that some believe to be one of the better waters available today.

So today I learned that Beyond Organic is just that -- organic that is beyond any organic you will find in Whole Foods or your local Co-op. Right now Jordan is the ONLY ONE doing anything like this. If you wish to learn more about Beyond Organic food, or wish to purchase it, I encourage you to view the link above and follow the instructions to learn more.

I am currently ordering samples of the products so I can host a "Tasting" in the near future. Let me know if you would be interested in attending.

Please check out the website and contact me about how you can get the products for free or at reduced prices, or if you wish to have more information. Feel free to contact me through my Facebook Page (JoAnn Muller Bell) or email (jbell1-at-hvc.rr.com).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Family Reunion Part 1

Yesterday was a reunion of sorts for the Bell Family.

Jim's sister, Cathy was up from Virginia with her friend, Christine. We got together with them at our house. Jim and Cathy's brother Doug and his wife, Bridget joined us. It has been at least a couple years since we all were gathered and while it was great to catch up, this visit was bittersweet.

The first clue was the blue bandage Doug was sporting. As Doug always has his hand in something, whether it be at home or on the job, fixing or tinkering, it's not unusual to hear of some "event" that has occurred. We've been with him through his botched rotator cuff surgery. Through his first marriage, the births of his children, his stint in the US Army and then his marriage to Bridget and other life changing but normal events. Then there are the others like this one -- not so normal.

He had been working on his stepson's car late one night and suddenly his hand was pulled into the cooling fan on the radiator and caught in the serpentine belt almost completely severing his thumb  from his hand. Julian tried to help release him while Bridget called 911. The ambulance took him to Albany Med (an hour away) and they were able to re-attach his thumb. That happened in August.

As we sat in our backyard on an unusually warm October day, we continued sharing family updates when Cathy, dropped her bombshell.

Last March, she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This was a disease we were all too familiar with...

Margaret (Mom) Bell had struggled with MS most of her adult life. And while it is not an inherited disease it does have hereditary traits. It's one of those diseases that can lie dormant in one's body, unless something triggers it to "blossom". Fortunately for Cathy, hers developed later in life than her mother and at a time when there are drugs to fight it.

The first clue to Cathy that something was wrong, was a rectangular box that showed up in her vision in one eye. In that box everything appeared blurry or more opaque than the rest of her vision. A skilled eye doctor had his suspicions and sent Cathy for further testing. She was put on strong steroids for several weeks. This helped with restoring her vision. She then went for a CAT scan and lesions were found on on her brain indicating and confirming MS. So now she is on one of two drugs to keep the MS from developing further. Thankfully a spinal tap reveled no MS on her spine.

While we are all shocked at Cathy's announcement. We are grateful for the times we live in that such a disease can be controlled and if not reversed, or arrested from further development or, at the very least, slow down its progress.

We decided to end the day on an uplifting note by taking everyone to the Walkway over the Hudson and dinner at Hideaway on the Hudson.

The Bells are all motorheads (did you catch those clues in the photos above?)!:

So everyone "started their engines" and we headed to Poughkeepsie to walk over the Hudson...

I felt sorry for Jim who was driving my blue Ford Focus while his brother and sister drove large, loud, intimidating vehicles. After all Jim used to drag-race in his earlier years, but he kept my little Focus just a tad over the speed limit while the other two took turns passing each other on the way down. We did maintain a firm lead though!

While our "fun"  didn't erase the "cloud" hanging over our heads, it did clear the air for some great share-time.

We had fun swapping childhood memories, catching up on each others lives and initiating Christine into the many "Bell Thing" habits this family does.

On the way home Jim stated his mixed emotions of being happy and sad at the same time. Later he wondered how to have more time with his brother and sister.

Sometimes those bumps in life are wake up calls to what's really important around us.

The Bells are learning how important family relationships are and how short time is on this earth.

A lesson the Mullers have learned well through the years...as a matter of fact, this blog is titled part one because just two weeks from now the Mullers will be hold their bi-annual family reunion. A tradition we have had since our mom's death in 1999.

We have learned no matter how busy our lives get it is vitally important to maintain Important relationships, especially between family. To maintain such relationships one has to make the effort to reach out and contact the others and it shouldn't be one-sided. All parties should be open to reaching out, calling, hosting, visiting and welcoming those that are important to them.

Looking down on Route 9.

Mid-Hudson Bridge from the back deck of Hideaways.
 We have learned to maximize the opportunities given and participate in the lives of others.

Some learn the lesson too late, when those they love have passed away, or when the kids are grown and gone, or when sickness makes the times together inconvenient, if not impossible. Who haven't you heard from lately...Give 'em a call TODAY!

(Click on any photo to enlarge.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Flooding...OH MY!

Sunrise the morning before Hurricane Irene.
"Red sky in morning, sailors take warning!"

One might think we were in the end times...all this in one week in NY! I have now experienced three earthquakes in my lifetime in New York State.

Now I can say I have experienced a Hurricane (Irene) also in NY state. Topped off with torrential rains from Tropical Storm Lee.

The earthquake earlier in the week was a strong 5.8, but no damage was done around here.

The hurricanes brought major tree damage and destructive flooding happened all around us.

Thankfully we were spared.

We were concerned about trees coming down, but with prayer and the authority of JC, we watched limbs come down in our yard and one tree come down in our neighbor's yard without any damage.

Damage was minor in our little hamlet:

Our neighbors up the road.
Next door neighbor, Mr. Allen

We really expected Mr. Allen's tree to come down on his house. Fortunately, only a few limbs did and Central Hudson's tree cutters took more down, but left a good part of the tree.

Down by the Hudson River in Glasco, you can see the water was up on the cement blocks on Ciarlante's building.

If you double click on this photo you can see the seaweed and grass stuck in the fence.

No visible damage to the beloved conveyor, but the pier was underwater at some point.

The Saugerties Beach was under water twice, once with Irene and then Lee.

All in all, minor compared to others in our county and in neighboring counties who were not so fortunate...

Bushkill Creek in West Shokan on Watson Hollow Rd.
Gill Farms in Hurley

The Strand in down town Kingston, NY
Boiceville, NY

Bushkill Creek

We drove to Palenville one week after Hurricane Irene and the water was way down, but evidence of how high the water was is evident.

Kaaterskill Creek in Palenville

These photos give the juxtaposition of one area:

Beautiful falls on one side...

 A careful eye spots something amiss...

When you look to the other side you see, things are not quiet as serene as they appeared...

Oh my!!!
This is the bridge on Manorville Road in West Saugerties where it meets Ralph Vedder Road.