We celebrated my sister's birthday last night...had a wonderful time. I have been trying to get them to eat with us at Fox Valley for years and we just never made it happen. This year, Alison mentioned going so I got us all together to go for her birthday. Mom and Alison, who aren't big seafood eaters, trusted my judgement on Fox Valley's famous crab cakes and ordered steak and cake. Dad loves crab cakes so I knew he would love them. Well, they all cleaned their plates. Alison was even trying to get to the sauce on my plate! If you haven't been to Fox Valley, I highly recommend it. A great date place since it's a tad pricey. Everything you put in your mouth makes your eyes roll back in your head. It is that good. I went with one of my best friends right before I had surgery as my "last meal" and I think I ate enough for three people. I have had just a crab cake since and did very well with it so that is what I ordered last night. Delish. Anyway, I will now get off my shameless plug soapbox.
We all came back to our house to open presents and play some Wii. Alison brought her controllers so we could easily play with four people. Dad wanted to watch so mom, Alison, Mark and I started a game of bowling. I have done well with bowling until last night and I stank! Mom was hysterical. She never really learned the technique but it didn't matter since SHE BEAT ALL OF US! I wish I had a video of her bowling. I came in 2nd, Mark 3rd (so he still has yet to beat me) and the birthday girl was last. Dad took Alison's place in the 2nd game and mom was determined to beat him! She is so competitive but won't admit it. I did better the 2nd game and actually won, mom came in 2nd and I don't remember who came in last. We had so much fun! Alison and I decided to play tennis and she smoked me. Twice. We had some good matches though. One lasted forever. We are pretty evenly matched. Wish we could play more often!
I am so blessed to have my family so close. Mark's family isn't too far away either and I wish we saw them more than we do. I don't know what I would do without our families. I hear so many sad stories of estranged families and I am so thankful we both have parents and siblings that are such a huge part of our lives.
I know I talked about moving in my last post...and I still want to! We are trying hard to get our house ready to put on the market. It still needs so much work but Mark and dad have worked hard to get it to where it is now. New floors, paint and light fixtures have already brought it into the 21st century! We just got vinyl siding and new windows and it has really added a lot of curb appeal. Still have tons to do, though. Hoping the housing market will pick back up. I want to live on some land which means moving north of town. We will be closer to both our families so I am hoping we can make that happen in the next couple of years. I really want a garden--I love fresh vegetables and I would love to spend summers canning veggies and fruit preserves to enjoy throughout the year. I inherited that from my grandmother. We canned many jars of tomatoes when I was growing up. I miss those days! I gave Alison my last jar of pear preserves I made last year and she proclaimed them as liquid gold. Made me feel like a million dollars! I made four jars of peach preserves earlier this week and it really got me in the mood to can some more stuff. The pears on our (neighbor's) pear tree are ready so I think I will tackle that soon!
But for now, time to relax and enjoy my Saturday...hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend!