summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

adventures in the sunshine of the finger lakes....

Mirielle, Emily, and I...we spent the entire day together, and what a joy it was. I consider it quite an honor that my daughters would spend time with me like that. We visited a few wineries on Seneca Lake, I was the driver, so I didn't taste, but I bought a few bottles.

The Finger Lakes are so beautiful, glacier formed, deep, clean. Seneca Lake is 618 feet deep! We met a couple of older ladies from Illinois, a retired teacher and a retired prison nurse, best friends. They called themselves Thelma and Louise. They gushed about what a beautiful state New York is. I think people really think it's all city, before they experience it.

We stopped for lunch at a brewery, and no, I didn't sample there either. I might be immature and silly sometimes, but I don't drink and drive. :). But I did buy some peanut butter stout to bring home, for some other time. I don't drink much ever, but sometimes a little bit is nice. Peanut butter beer, oh it's good. It's not sweet at all, just has the essence of peanut butter, and I love it.

Today is Evelyn Joy's birthday. Evelyn is twenty today. She is my eleventh child (Evelyn - eleven), and she lives up to her middle name.

With six of the kids who were in Norway with us, Ev next to me.

Evelyn, granddaughter Anya, and Miss Sonja K., in Norway.

Charlotte Claire, Sonja K., Camille, and Evelyn in a meeting in Norway.

Anyway, it's a lovely rainy day, glad I don't have a really good book. We're heading over to Grandma's house for a visit, if I can get the girls out of bed and moving. We're going to get Evelyn a birthday present today, then come home and make a nice dinner, grilled pork chops and steak, and homemade macaroni and cheese.

But now, another cup of coffee sounds good...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


It is STILL summer, despite the Halloween candy aisle in Price-Chopper. I know, the pool floats and water pistols are on clearance, and it's a darned good time to buy a gas grill, but it is STILL SUMMER.

And I refuse to believe that it's waning and winding down as quickly as it is.

Today, I am going on an adventure! A few wineries with Miss Em and Miss Mirielle, two of my favorite daughters, doesn't that sound fun? We live between the gorgeous Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes region, wine country. It's so beautiful, one wouldn't think that New York would have such treasures, one would think: New York = city.

Anyway, this week is lovely, warm and sunny. Tomorrow is Evelyn Joy's 20th birthday, yay! We are getting her a computer/laptop for her birthday, because she is going to college this fall. She is also working full time, she's a busy girl. So we'll celebrate with a nice dinner and shh, perhaps a wine slushy.

Friday night, we're having company! Adrian's mom, sister, and nephew are in town from Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Adrian is married to my daughter Margaret, dad of Wulf)(My daughter Kathryn is married to Adrian's brother, Darius, so Adrian and Darius' mom is two of my girls' mother-in-law). Anyway, we're having dinner on the deck on Friday night.

Then, sometime in the night, Samuel will arrive with the little grandson Grant! Sam has Army Reserve training on all weekend, so we'll have Grant. Grace, Sam's wife, is working two jobs, so she can't come up for the visit. We'll have Grant from Monday-Friday, too, during the days, as Sam has drill.

Then, next week, Sonja comes home from Germany, AND: Kathryn and Darius are coming for a visit from Salem, Oregon!!!! They are expecting a baby, and I can't wait to see how cute Kathryn looks all pregnant!

So with them in town, Sonja home, and Samuel here, it'll be busy here.

Yesterday, Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille went with me on a little shopping trip. We Target-ed, and got a few school supplies. Char found a nice jean jumper, and we got a little gift for Evelyn, as well as a few toys for the present closet. What?! Grandkids have birthdays! I mean, could YOU pass up a Paw Patrol microphone, regular $19.99 for $5 ?

We grocery store-ed, and stocked up on meals for the week. Last night was taco salad, with tomatoes and green pepper from our very own garden, yum. (My girls teased me that I was going to blog about that.). Tonight, pork chops that have been marinating in lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper, since right when we got home from the store. Tomorrow, steak that has been marinating in almost the same thing. There are burgers in the freezer for Thursday, and Friday is pulled pork nachos. (The packages of burger had five dollars off coupons on them!). The taco salad was so good. I browned the burger until it was crispy, before adding taco seasoning.

Anyway. Time to get moving.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

we're back from camping, and....

Our trip to the Adirondacks was great fun. We stopped at the gas station, and I couldn't very well go in and use the bathroom and leave the girls outside with the pup, so into the minimart she came. She was an angel while the girls got slushies.

We were there by ourselves (at the campground) for several hours before Mali got there with Josh and little Lydia. Then Benjamin and Ashley arrived with Anya and Elise, and their border collie Baxter, and their NEW PUPPY, Lila, an English Shepard. The next day, Paul and Jon got there with Suri, then Margaret and Adrian and little Wulf arrived with their dog, a boxer/Lab, Bunny. Then, Emily, Mirielle, and Suzanne came.

(Isn't that cute, with Sunny, Baxter, and the puppy?)

Elise with the puppy, Anya and Lydia and Mali (Lydia's mama), me, hanging out by the water at our campsite, and Camille with little Wulf, one of my sweet grandkids.

Charlotte Claire with cousin Dani, Sunny and Suri sad that Paul was going off fishing in his kayak without them. The nerve. Just action in the campsite, Jon on the beach with the pups and Anya running, and Anya playing on the beach.

Emily under her umbrella during one of the rain showers...

Preparations for celebrating Lydia's birthday (four years old!), a campfire, saying goodbye to the beautiful lake, and Suzanne helping Paul fold up the tent...

We are home. The fourth load of clothes is in the washer, and we are recuperating. The dogs are exhausted. They were so good. We had 20 people, including four grandkids, and FIVE doggies, so it was so much fun. And...bye for now.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

intermittent fasting, keto, and going camping...

So, I did gain three pounds on my Norwegian vacation, and I protested loudly, to no avail. I ate mostly one meal a day, but shh, I did have heavy cream in the coffee, and ice cream those two time didn't count, it was a scoop in my coffee, which melted of course, so I drank it, which was not entirely horrible, but not as satisfying as actually eating ice cream. So I asked that those calories be deducted, but my stubborn body didn't even listen to me.

But, I am only two pounds over what I was when I left, so that's not too terribly bad. I'm back in the game, too. Very low carb, no sugar, except for one square with dinner on Monday night. So I'm down 11 or 12 pounds, and I think I've lost a few inches. I don't feel as bloated, and have a bit more energy, so I like it. Surprisingly, I can go all day without eating, just fine! It makes life easier. I don't have to decide whether I want something or not, just put it off until later. Then when I eat my dinner, I have meat and veggies, and feel full and satisfied. If I want to, of course, I can have lunch, some eggs, or whatever, but I usually don't feel the need.

I know this isn't for everyone, but I think I'm super insulin resistant. I've tried low calorie, and my metabolism tanked. I tried regular Keto, and hit a plateau. So I don't go out of my way to eat extra fat, as in regular Keto, because heaven knows I have enough body fat to last a few years for fuel. I take my magnesium and potassium, and sometimes have a bit of salty water, to replenish electrolytes. I am trying to have half and half only in my first cup of coffee, as I suspect all that heavy cream in Norway may have been an issue.

The idea behind intermittent fasting is to get your insulin levels to drop, to get your body to switch to burning fat instead of sugar. When you aren't eating, your body isn't just going to die. It's going to burn your fat. For some reason, regular calorie cutting decreases metabolism, but intermittent fasting doesn't. And I HOPE it doesn't, I hope I don't find out this is all a big trick, and for the rest of my life, I'll gain ten pounds immediately if I just look at a glass of wine.

Oh how I rant and rave about losing weight. I read success stories, and I think it'll never happen for me. I've tried and tried, have suffered and passed up so many yummy things, you'd think I'd be as skinny as a rail. I have been tempted to feel sorry for poor me, because I'm broken. But: I am not giving up. I want to feel better, have more energy, live to see my kids grow up, be able to keep up with the grandkids (and Paul! He is the Energizer Bunny himself!)

So I decided to give this IF a good try, until Christmas, and see what happens. I will still go on my wine tour next week, and get right back into things the next day. :). (I know what you're thinking, but that's okay. I'm going with some of my daughters, and they are just the BEST days.)

Anyway. Packing for camping. How in the world can we possible NEED so much stuff for THREE DAYS?!!! Laura and Mary and Pa and Ma and baby Carrie didn't need this much stuff in their covered wagon for their entire prairie life!

(from my chair)

And these two, just because...because they're cute. I didn't capture Sunny washing the Orange Guy's face, I didn't get up fast enough. They are just friends, plain and simple. I don't know why it tickles me pink that they like each other so much.

So here I sit, innocently blogging. There are more sleeping bags to throw in the washer, and there's a pasta salad to make. My jet lag has been sweet and advantageous, as I wake up with the sun, and get moving. Well, shh, I lie in bed and scroll through twitter, but still. This fine morning, I've been outside, backwashing and turning on the pool filter, weeding the garden, picked four little grape tomatoes, there are ten now on the counter to go into the pasta salad, and there may be a few green peppers too. I've put the pork in the crock pot, all seasoned and sprinkled with lemon juice, and shh, some of a can of cherry Pepsi I found in the back of the 'fridge. I washed a sleeping bag and hung a different one out to dry on the deck. So I haven't been entirely lazy. I am on my second coffee, this one with no cream, and it's not killing me, but blah.

I have to get our van window taken care of, it's open a few inches and stuck that way, and there are bears in the Adirondacks. We store the food in the van, the window has to be closed.

I also want to get over to visit grandma, Paul's mom. She is turning 90 next week!

And, my suitcase from Norway is still sitting there in the kitchen. I rooted through it, and washed all the stuff that needed washing, most of the clothes in there weren't even worn, I am an overpacker. But it has to be unpacked and put away, so I can overpack for camping.

My huge-0 air mattress is out there on the table, it's the kind you just plug in and inflate. It's really big. It takes up half of the 8 person tent. I am the Princess-and-the Pea, for real. Last year, I couldn't even keep a straight face when I complained that camping is not so comfortable for sleeping, when all the kids sleep just in sleeping bags on yoga mats and foam puzzle floor squares. I have to remember the extension cord so I can plug it into the minivan and inflate it. Paul isn't coming up until Friday, so I have to do all the camping set up myself, with the younger girls.

And if you're still reading this, wow, I am starting to bore even myself. It's a huge form of procrastination. I wish I could do this for money, you know? Get paid for what I like doing...anyway, bye for now.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ah, life in rural New York...

Sunny is happy I'm home. She follows me around. The kitty seems happy to see me too. Suri, well, Suri...she's always happy. She thinks being pet and patted on the head is just heaven. And the Kettler, Mama cat...she's just happy to have a splash of half and half in her bowl every morning again.

It's lovely to be home. Yesterday, I spent most of the day puttering around, cleaning, laundry, unpacking, and also packing. We're going camping the day after tomorrow, for three nights. But you need just as much stuff for three nights as you would for a week, it seems. And now the forecast is calling for rain, ugh. Rain, tents, dogs, small children (the grand kids!), ugh.

Anyway, yesterday I brought Miss Char and Miss Cam over to the school and dropped off their registration papers. Then we returned the overdue library books, but didn't go into the library for refills because I didn't have my library card, oops. (I reconfigured my purse for the Norway trip, didn't need all those cards over there!). We also stopped at the store and got most of what we'll need for camping. We're having steak on Thursday, pulled pork on Friday, burgers and hot dogs on Saturday. I'm also making a pasta salad (it's easy to make, and keeps well in a large zip-lock baggy or two in the cooler). We HAD to get Twizzlers, because apparently they're a camping staple, as well as marshmallows and graham crackers and Hershey bars. Coffee, tortilla chips, sour cream (for with the pulled pork), a tub of bubble gum (what?! It was half price!), chips, almonds, a family sized package of Oreos...

This fine morning, I have a dentist appointment. A filling in a molar, which is no fair. I eat very little sugar, and brush my teeth at LEAST three times a day. I would rather have a baby in a field on a hot day than sit in that dentist chair and hear the whir of the drill. I detest the dentist. Not the man himself, but just the whole thing. How on earth can I keep my mouth open that wide for that long? I have a fear my jaw will lock open. I hate it. And don't give me that "thankful we can have good teeth" rigamarole. I mean, you suffer through the needle poke, and the prodding and the drilling and the packing and the stupid numb face, then you get billed for it. :)

After the appointment, we have to get the pork and some pepperoni, and stop at the Tractor Supply for some dog things, then, hopefully, home and maybe for a swim in the pool. Suzanne has left to go on a hike with her friends, Jonathan is working, Evelyn is working, Sonja is in Germany, it's just the "little" girls and me. Kathryn and I have a phone date for this afternoon, and I talked to Samuel yesterday for a bit on the phone. He is coming to New York in a few weeks for drill, he's in the National Guard. He can commute from here, so we'll see him in the evenings. I think Kathryn will be here then too, as she and her husband are coming for a visit!!! (I can't wait to see her all cute and pregnant!)

This isn't even all the chocolate booty from Norway. We ate a bar after dinner last night (Paul, Suzanne, Char, Cam, me. I had only one square)(We had steak, marinated in fresh squeezed lime juice, rosemary, salt and pepper, then grilled...and local corn on the cob, oh summery yum. I ate only one meal yesterday, so it was a good one...steak and one ear of corn, and the square of chocolate...). We also ate one bag of SMASH, which...yum. It's Bugles dipped in Norwegian chocolate. Camille and I ate it on the plane. I stuck to my diet MOST of the time in Norway...I had ice cream once, plus the day I caved and had one scoop of vanilla in my coffee at the apartment. I ate a little tiny bit of chocolate here and there with my one meal a day, and one afternoon had some sweet potato fries. There are also a few more packages of KvikkLunsj not pictured. But don't worry, we won't eat them all. They're to give away.

And it's time to get moving to go out the door....

Monday, August 12, 2019

home from Norway...what a trip!

I love the pic of three grandkids looking out the window at the train station.

After our transatlantic journey, the wait at JFK in New York city, almost two hours, to claim little Elise's stroller. It turned out a random guy had it, he may have been going to walk out with it, said he found it and put the wheel back on...hmm. So we started the drive home, at ten at night, our jet lag at it's finest. Camille and I were in the van with Ben and Ashley and Anya and little Elise. Ben drove for an hour or so, and started getting sloppy, just too tired. I was on my phone trying to find a hotel, and oh my, I couldn't string two thoughts together. We ended up staying at a nice place, there was a late night check-in discount.

Camille and I had our own room, our own beds, and it was quite enjoyable. A long hot shower, and a good night's sleep...then I got up super early, took a hot bath, then a shower, got a coffee, brought it back to the room, and turned on HGTV, some Flip or Flop, while Cam took a shower.

There was a pretty decent breakfast buffet, and I decided not to fast, because of getting my money's worth and all.

The drive home was actually quite nice, we stopped for iced coffee, which doesn't really exist in Norway. And we talked, and laughed, and the miles flew by. The girls were SO good on the trip. I didn't hear Anya complain at all on that trip.

And, we're home.

And, in three days, we're going camping in the Adirondacks! In tents!