Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The twinses are here

Look who arrived to stay with us for a whole week ....

while their parents climb Mt Whitney, AGAIN.
(the highest mountain in the US, I might add) 

First things first.
Shortly after they arrived I had them unpack  

kind of like one would do after arriving to summer camp

and organize their outfits into the closet 

I then explained that we were all going to my eye appt.
I thought I better warn them it was located at the hospital.

Their eyes got very big, so I assured them all was well, 
that was just where my eye doctor's office was.

Their eyes were still big and looking worried Jonas asked
"Will we see any dead people?"
I assured them we would not. 

Glad we got that cleared up.

They were patient little waiters. 
So after my appt we took them to Sweet Tomatoes.

We literally had not been there in years, 

and they did not remember it at all.

They were thrown off by the name.
What child is attracted by "sweet tomatoes?"

But once they began eating, 
Jonas said several times, "I love this place!"

He even said, "I need to tell my Dad about this place!"
I didn't heart to tell him his Dad does NOT like eating here. 

After all that food for lunch, we were not home 15 minutes and Jonas announced, "My appetite is coming back."

Good thing I got the fridge and freezer stocked for our 8 year olds.
It's going to be a great week!

But then again, they've always liked to eat.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


We got to have the 3 grand girl sisters move in with us last week 
while their parents went on a little mini vacation. 

Big sisters come in handy for all sorts of things....

Like, Elora teaching Violet how to make her letters. 

Or putting lotion on Violet's itchy arm.

It became much more competitive outside with the squirt guns!

It's just not in Cami's nature to have a squirt gun fight.

And sometimes it just became too much for Violet 

and she needed to just go inside and practice being a Mom.

and then eat lunch by herself. 
(She told me she needed to get the baby to sleep first.)

Elora has grown up caring for Cami, 
since they are just 2 years apart. 
She is always tender and sweet and patient with her. 

Elora knowing just what to order for Cami's dinner.

I often think of Cami as I read these words hanging in our home.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

14 years later and look what she's accomplished

14 years ago we went to Fresno State to watch Erin graduate from 
college. Elora was just 6 months old

And last week, 14 years later....Erin got her Masters. 

Her baby Elora has grown a little 
since the last time her Mom graduated.

Erin's parents led this very special ceremony in her home, 

So personal and quaint and perfect.

Friends and family filled their home.

This wasn't a posed picture of Violet. 
Just happened to catch her getting friendly with the cupcakes.

Lots and lots of sparking apple cider

Elora has not only grown up a little in 14 years, 
but she babysits often for Megan (on the left there).

Megan says Elora is the only babysitter 
who can get all 4 of her kids to bed. 
Yep, Elora can be magical like that.

Congratulations Erin!
We had NO doubt you could do this.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

TV has changed since 1957

Father Knows Best from the 1950s was my Mom's favorite 
program back then. She liked it because according to her, every 
episode taught a lesson.

I was especially struck by this 2 minute clip from 1957. 
Not the best video, but the audio is fine, and that's the important 
part here. (Dennis just said the video quality is terrible. Close your eyes then, but listen to it.)

I especially like what she said about husbands at the end. We sure 
aren't going to hear that on TV these 60 years later!
I don't think many women today know what power they have. 

To set the scene: 
A young pregnant wife has many hesitations about becoming a 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Just 3 or 4 words

When I am out and about, I often see young families struggling 
with their children. 

They usually look tired, and distracted.

I want to reach out to them in some way, but I usually don't know 
quite what to say. 

So I will smile. 

Or like I did with one frustrated Dad we saw at a restaurant 
recently. It was obvious he was really trying but his 2 toddlers were 
having none of it.  I leaned over to him as we were walking out the 
door and said, "You're a really good Dad." 

But yesterday I learned of something I could have said that 
sums it up better perhaps.

I got it from this article that was somehow sent to my in box 
yesterday. Next time I will say: "It's worth it." 

Or maybe I will even say, "It's all worth it." 

Whenever I have my grandkids and their parents come for any 
extended period of time I'm reminded how exhausting it is to be 
parents of very young children. 

There is nothing quite like that kind of tired. 

And it's not like the parents can get a good night rest before going 
through it all over again the next day. 

They parent round the clock, 
no matter how they slept, 
no matter how they feel. 
Thank you Leo for taking this picture of Mommy and little sister.
When you grow a little taller maybe you could include their heads.

I also happened upon this yesterday by Jeffrey Holland. He was 
talking specifically to parents:
”...You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth 
is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to 
find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of 
salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and 
better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may 
sometimes feel that to be...”

Friday, July 14, 2017

This was my kind of fun!

Don't watch the video below before I explain, 
or you may think we have no class. 

Okay, so I learned something last month. 

If you want the little grandkids to get excited about dinner....just 
throw on any table cloth, use whatever paper plates. 
But bring out the Dollar Store goblets

 and serve Sparkling Cider in them left over from Christmas.  

AND have your 5 1/2 year old grandson tell Alexa to 
"play dinner restaurant music." 

(SO thankful to Kris and Mike for giving Alexa to us last Christmas. 
We continue to find new uses for her.)

It was SO exciting to me, 
watching the kids get all happy about this. 

The prep and excitement getting ready each evening 
was as fun as experiencing it.

It was such a hit, we did this 3 of the 10 nights they were here.

First night, it was Chinese food.

Second "special restaurant" night was Italian.
Alexa was so good about playing Italian music at Richie's request!

I think there was also salad with this dinner, but we were having 
too much fun to get the pictures right. 
(The meatballs I bought premade in the frozen section of the grocery store. 
Thanks for that idea Karen.)

And our 3rd special restaurant night was Mexican. 

I ask Karen to make this Qunioa Black Bean Burrito Bowl 
whenever they come to visit. LOVE it.

Picture off the recipe site

Complete with Mexican Restaurant music. Alexa is very diverse.

Okay, now you can watch my video.
I never said we were perfect.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

My Mom's recipes

So I came across some of my Mom's recipes from her little box 
where she originally kept them all.

This one stood out first to me. Not sure who she was writing it to, 
or for, but I still make this about once a month.
(She must have written this in the 1960s since Johnny was born in 1956.)

I made this for years just like she wrote here,
but over the years I've made some changes that we like even better:

1. I wrap the packets just ONCE in foil, lower the oven temp to 475' and bake all the packets on a
cookies sheet for 30 min. Perfect.
2. I use salt and Montreal Steak seasoning (or pepper), plus a T of butter on top.
3. Den likes it best when I put a big spoonful or 2 of Cream of Chicken or Mushroom soup on top
before baking.
4. Sometimes I add other vegetable as well...whatever I have on hand...sliced peppers, squash,
broccoli, etc

This next one I would vote was Mom's favorite. She loved this over 
vanilla ice-cream. I've never even tasted it since I never liked 
chocolate, but I know she's had many requests for this recipe.

This recipe was obviously originated back in the day when we believed margarine was better for us 
than butter. Since then, we have learned it's best not to mess with mother nature. 

And I cannot think of my childhood without thinking of Mom's 
enchiladas. I can still picture her making these on Saturday 
afternoon so we'd have them to eat after church the next day. And 
then years later she would often surprise all her married children by 
delivering some to each of our homes.

Of all the pictures I took, WHY did I not take one of Mom standing 
on my porch with her enchiladas. 

Important note: I just realized she gave no baking instructions. Bake at 400' uncovered for 15-20 minutes. 
And I think they are better with the green onions. Also, my personal favorite Enchilada sauce 
with this is La Victoria red mild and my least favorite is Las Palmas.

I didn't realize until finding this recipe that it originally came from my Dad's sister Leonie!

Another chocolate recipe I didn't like, but I think my siblings did. 
(I went through a phase thinking I was adopted.)
I'd often see a pan of these in our kitchen growing up.

This was a good one she would make for family potlucks:

I found this next one in her little recipe box, too. I don't know if she 
ever made it since it was cut from a magazine, but I gave it a try a 
few days ago. I loved the idea of just mixing this all together and 
baking it the oven for 2 hours. (I didn't have any yogurt or cucumber and it needed 1/2 t salt.)

I never would have thought to mix lentils and split peas but I liked this combo,
and ate it for lunch 3 days in a row.

I just tried this one last night since I had a head of red lettuce. I really like this dressing! I didn't have
the almonds or mandarin oranges so I just made the traditional salad. But I will definitely be making
this dressing again. (I used rice vinegar because that's what I had.) I think I will make this for our
next neighborhood bookclub but this time with the nuts.