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.

Monday, July 10, 2017

How to get your kids to be cooperative when it's time to go home.

I so wish I had thought of this idea when I was raising my kids.

So any parent knows how hard it is sometimes to rally their kids together when it's time to go home
from a fun place. They can complain or cry or say "it's not fair" etc.

A young Mom of 5 explains what has worked so well for her.

I LOVE this because it not only helps in the moment, but what a skill she is teaching them for life!

Since I can't edit others' videos, of course, 
just go to 3:21.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

He finally did it!

Ever since I met him 19 years ago, Den has had this fear of 
running over something while backing out. 

He always walks around the car before getting inside. And then he 
worries that meanwhile something, or rather someone, has still 
gotten behind his car.

Fast forward to years later when back-up cameras came with 
new cars. He's been wanting one. Yet, he didn't want to buy a new 

He can't help it, he's a minimalist and he's frugal. (which, btw, 
these 2 traits have been a great blessing in our lives.)

Still he kept talking about it, year after year.

Finally I told him to "Please just go buy a new car!" so he can 
have his back-up camera! 

He spent weeks looking at Car Max. Nothing impressed him 

Finally he discovered that Avis Rent a Car was selling the exact car 
he wanted. Only problem, Avis is 200 miles from us. 
(The Avis here does not sell cars.)

So early Monday morning he boarded a train in Fresno...

And rode till he reached Bakersfield.

Then he took a bus to Santa Clarita

Later that evening he came home with his back-up camera car. 

I was at a friend's house 2 miles away when he arrived home, 

so he took pictures of all angles and sent them to me. 

It looks brand new both inside and out.

Ford Escape Titanium
Year of Car: 2017
Car milage: 26,800
still under factory warranty
Savings from buying it used:  30%
200 mile train/bus ticket: $24.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More of our Tyler and Karen visit....

Karen and Tyler arrived here in Clovis to temps near 110'....
for days. 

Here are a few things we came up with to keep the grands cool and comfy. 

Bags of ice made them so happy.

Lots of water and squirt guns

I don't think this is how we intended they use the squirt guns, 
but JuJu didn't seem to mind.

Oh these birds!
(and the prices have more than doubled since I bought them!)
The boys carried these around with them for at least 2 days. 
(The birds repeat what they say, and make other random bird noises
especially when they are pet.)

I had the blue one for over a year and it's been in the clutches of 
many grandchildren with only one battery change so far. 

Violet begged me to buy another one, and I'm glad I did.

Leo proudly helped me cut a few flowers.

We were able to turn frozen fruit into "ice cream." 

The rocket launcher gave them 10 minutes of fun, 
and then it fell apart. 

But I do think it was worth the pictures!

We got to have assorted family members come by. 
They LOVE their Aunts and Uncles.
(Even Uncle Jake who is Tyler's cousin. 
Not exactly an uncle but I'll go with that.)

And the treasure hunt was one of my favorites.

Only problem is, I told them to go hide in the pantry while I hid the 
clues but didn't realized till several minutes later I forgot to turn the 
light on for them in there!

So they stood there in the dark pantry waiting for the hunt to begin.
What kind of a Grandma Honey am I anyway.

The final clue ended up in Grandpa's office.

I LOVED the excitement!
So then the next day Richie wanted to make his own treasure hunt.

I gave him some cards and told him to go for it.

I looked at the only 3 clues, and then I looked at Rich.

That's when he said, 
"I didn't make very many clues 
so I could get to the treasure sooner." 

Of course.

The parents are so cute!
And they really like each other.

We miss them all!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Where's Scarlett?

The McK family, 
McKay, McKenna, Grant, Scarlett, and Annie 
drove 12 hours to Ohio 
to see McKenna's brother and his family

Plus they also met with (below), McKay's cousin Nick 
(son of John and Suzanne), 
and his wife Julia 
with their kids Caleb and Olivia.

I wish Oliva showed in this picture. I can just see the rim of her carrier.
I have not seen them since Christmas Eve. 

But it is fun seeing them in the same picture!

On the way to this lunch,
little Annie could not figure out where her big sister Scarlett was.

I didn't even know Annie could talk!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

God Bless America

Yesterday I dropped a cast iron lid on my kitchen floor. The loud 
noise of it triggered our house alarm and I heard a voice from the 
control panel saying, "Broken glass in dining area." 

I rushed over to the panel where a man over the speaker asked if I 
was okay. I told him it was just a lid that fell, no windows broke. 
We chatted a bit and then he said, "Have a Happy 4th of July 

Oh that's right, the 4th is tomorrow, I thought.

Then later on last night as I was leaving my neighborhood 
bookclub a few of the ladies said to me as I was headed out the 
door, "Happy 4th of July tomorrow!" 

Oh right, I forgot again. I just wasn't feeling it this year. I'd had so 
many other things on my mind. 

Then this morning I got this text from my sister.

Then I realized what was missing. Not the zucchini. But the 
God Bless America. 

I wish I would have told that man at our panel yesterday, 
"God Bless America." 

I wish I would have told the bookclub ladies, 
"God Bless America." 

At church last Sunday a man got up and said it was 39 years ago 
this month that he took the Oath of Allegiance and became an 
American citizen. He said that while things are not perfect here, 
and while some things should definitely be better, it's an 
extraordinary blessing to live here.

Just as I said Merry Christmas to every store clerk I could last 
December, it's time for me to say God Bless America today.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

We miss them.

So when Tyler sent this to me this morning....

I was impressed at how far they had driven in just 6 hours.

Then it hit grand babies are 6 hours away, and going 
several more hours than that.

Yet, how can that be?
They filled our lives up for the past 10 days.

They still have their hand prints on our windows.

I walked into where Leo and Rich slept and saw this.

I think Karen or Tyler left it for them at nights,
 just like I use to do for Tyler.

Signs of them everywhere.
Juliet's booster seat 

The bath toys Grandpa Dennis moved a little 
so he could take a shower this morning.

And the backyard

And the remnants of our water fountain 
that broke apart while they were here.

Richie told me his favorite part of coming was riding these.
(Thanks again to Robin for buying these at a garage sale for $5.)

Even Leo's new pistachio phase left behind.

I woke up early this morning to find this note. 

But not as early as Grandpa Dennis. He is in parenthesis because 
he actually got up with them at 4am to see them off.

Can you tell Rich, Leo, and Juliet 
didn't want to go get their picture taken while here? 

Maybe they just preferred to stay home with Grandma Honey