Sunday, September 28, 2014

What I've been thinking about

I've decided that no matter how wonderful a couple's life is together, 
no matter how great their marriage is, 
having small children is lots of hard work, and sleep deprivation and challenge.

I got to have a front row view into some of it this past month, when first the McKs came for an 
11 day visit, and then Karen and Tyler also came for another 11 day visit.
And I am in awe!

I am in awe over what young parents go through day in and day out, and over again. 
No matter how tired they get.
I had forgotten how truly hard and challenging this season of life was. 
It brought me back to a day when my first two were toddlers. I was sitting on the front porch one
afternoon thinking….this is so hard! The joy like none I had ever known, YES….
but hand in hand came all the work and severe sleep deprivation. 
I know, I keep mentioning sleep deprivation.
 I'd also been reading a book this past month called, “This is How We Grow” by Christine
Hibbert. It's a memoir of loss and motherhood. The author's sister and brother in law die and she
and her husband get custody of their 2 nephews, along with the 4 they already have. It's in detail
the depths of struggle they go through to make this new life of 6 kids work.
Page 302 she writes, 
“…comfort is overrated. If we choose to grow, we choose discomfort. Growth is after all, 
by definition, an uncomfortable stretching to something greater.”

On page 347, this same author shares this quote from an unknown person: 
"Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and 
discouraged men who kept on working.

My mother, who raised 8 kids, had written on the inside cover of one of her journals: 
"There is no progression ease to ease." 

I told Karen one day as teething Leo was clinging and reaching for her continually all day long
that my friend Darlene and I have discussed how we both MISS being needed THAT MUCH by
one little person. NEVER since has anyone NEEDED us that much. And never will they again.

To me, this is on the front line of what life is all about. 

And I have no doubt, my grandchildren are all living in GOOD homes.
What peace this brings to me and Grandpa Dennis.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Odd moments from the past 2 weeks of family

Some of these pictures I really like. Some are baffling to me. 

Like this one of cousins Violet and Richie.

 I had to think for a bit to figure out why Grandma Susan 
was behind the plant in the corner. 
(Then I remembered was Susan looking out at our back yard right before I snapped this picture.
But there is something about it that just makes me LAUGH.)

Or this picture. I have no idea what's going on 
here with Erin and Karen. 
I only hope this is not how they really feel about our family gatherings.

Or this one….who took this picture anyway? Brock?

Richie was so proud of his new skill.
I like his focus here.

I do love this one of Brock, Cami, and Erin.

Leo doesn't look like Prince George 
but in this one picture he sort of does.

No one agrees with me. Or cares. 

Leo is exactly one day older than George.

 And what is going on here?
(and don't worry, I did get permission to show this)

They are still beautiful when bored?…hungry?…tired?….listening?...not sure what they are here….

Maybe they just needed to eat?

I did NOT like the goodbyes.
If we could only figure out a way to live in California and Washington at the same time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The contagious Granola

I don't know what it is about this granola but my family loves 
it. Dennis eats it every single day for breakfast and for a 
bedtime snack.  

And who ever stays with us lately, wants it everyday too. 
Crazy. Like it's contagious or something.

So I make it about once a week.

Here are the ingredients:

Pay no attention that the bottle of canola oil says high heat.
Any canola oil will work for this. Or probably other vegetable oils as well. 

While this recipe is definitely not mine, 
I've had many recipe requests for this so here it is:

Rebecca’s Almond Granola
12 C. oatmeal (old-fashioned)
2 C. brown sugar
2 C. coconut
1 tsp. salt
2 C. nuts chopped (we like cashews, pecans, almonds, and walnuts)
1 1/2 C. canola oil
2/3 C. water
3 tsp. almond flavoring
Mix oats and brown sugar in large bowl. In separate bowl mix coconut, salt, nuts, oil, water, and flavoring. Add 
coconut mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until oats no longer look dry. Spread on two large rimmed baking sheets. Bake @ 250° for 1 1/2 hours, switching and stirring pans every 30 minutes.

*The only change I made, is, I just use 2 t of the almond flavoring rather than 3 t. I've never tried it with 3 t, but it 
works so well with 2 t, that I've just kept that going. 

Please note: The pictures below show it made with parchment paper. I discovered that is totally 
unnecessary so I don't bother with it anymore. 

I so LOVE karen's hair, btw.

 The night before's popcorn kept RIch and Leo 

busy while we cooked….

….Until….Rich fell back in his chair and landed on the floor. 

Poor baby.

Back to work Karen went, 

dividing the granola over 2 cookie sheets.

We've discovered the parchment paper is unnecessary. 

The last batch I made I didn't use it, and it was just as good. 

Bake for 90 minutes, 

stirring, and changing out pans every 30 minutes.
(in other words the top tray gets switched to the bottom and visa versa)

And there you have it. It makes A LOT.

If you stay with us, 

we'll have some granola waiting for you.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tyler's Ham Fried Rice

This is Tyler's special recipe that he got from his father in law, 
who used to be a chef. We all really enjoyed this last night. 

It's a mixture of lots of good things like brown rice, carrots, 
onions, eggs, ham, soy sauce and an entire package of peas. 
A meal in itself. The recipe is on Tyler's blog.

 He made it in my Ninja cooker, but at home he uses his wok. 
Or you could use a large frying pan.

Rich and Leo loved it too, and they are at ages, well….
let's just say they don't like everything…
but they do LOVE their Daddy's rice.

The only changes Tyler made in the recipe was 
he used safflower oil instead of peanut oil, and 6 eggs instead of 4.

 Formal diners we are not. We're going on 11 days of paper plates.

And it made enough that we had leftovers for lunch!

We are savoring our time together 
which is soon coming to a close. 
Less than 2 days and they will fly away back to Washington.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Karen's Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Does this not look good?!
So it's not our picture, but it's what Karen made 
for us yesterday for dinner.

I loved it so much that I hid away the tiny bit of leftovers so I could have more later.

Karen made this for us last year when we were in Portland 
and I loved it so much I asked if she would make it while here.  
And our very sweet girl said YES of course!

The only difference she made to the recipe is 
omitting the lettuce... and she used chicken broth in the quinoa 
instead of just water. 

And I had a little chicken left over from our potato bar 
a few days ago, so I added that to the toppings. 
(We didn't need the chicken but Dennis thinks it's not dinner without meat. So it made him happy.)

Thank you Karen for another wonderful meal!

Then after church today Karen put some of the leftover toppings 
from last night, over her tuna sandwich. She also sprinkled some 
celery salt over that….and it was DELISH….

 I know, because I tried the same thing.

Next up, Tyler's meal. He's cooking as I write this.

Do I have a great life or what.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Have you tried a potato bar lately?…and Karen's salad dressing

Potato Bar was name of the day for our family gathering last night.
Amy requested it and it's so easy.

green onions
yellow and red peppers
chinese noodles
sour cream

For Amy's favorite punch recipe go here.

 I like a meal where everyone can make it the way they want.  

And maybe even come back for some more Chinese Noodles.

Karen made a salad dressing I LOVE and want to make it again.

Karens Balsamic Vinegarette from Food Network

1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic
1 T chopped garlic
1/2 salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/8 t dijon mustard

Laurynn had water polo, and Austin had to work, but we did get to have Kylie and Macie with us.
They are seriously such sweet hearts. If you know them at all, you know this.

Chandler found his own way to party. I'll tell you something about Chandler. No matter what is going
on, now matter who is there, he is happy and helpful and never complains about anything. 
Now wouldn't you think he would make a great husband someday?

I heard Richie, age 3, tell his cousin Jonas, age 5, "Squirrels run up trees." 
and Jonas responded, "I know that." 

Leo's thinking seriously about something. He does lots of thinking.

 Richie meant to call my Dad "Great Grandpa" but he said "Big Grandpa" instead. 
Richie LOVES him.

Just 45 minutes before our party, Logan was having this done.
(some sort of growth removed from his head.

So he came with a headache, but he still came. And we were happy to have him.
Nice how they didn't have to shave his head for the surgery.
Our family has become so big that we will have part 2 of this party 
next week with the rest of our local family.