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

Thursday, September 30, 2021

how to while away the hours....

 1.  Vacuum then mop the floors.  Don't pick all the toys first, just to make it fun to move them around while you work.

2.  Cut up five pounds of chicken breast, and start that crockpot up, full of butter chicken.

3.  Make a batch of chocolate cookies, some with sprinkles (for Camille who doesn't like chocolate chips), and some with chocolate chips.

4.  Start the dough for homemade naan bread to go with that butter chicken. (it's rising now)

5.  Listen to Camille practice her violin, and talk to her about her school work.  (She's reading the Harry Potter books again, she's almost done with the fifth one, and she started a week ago Saturday.)

6.  Let the cats in, then out, then in, then out, give them cat food, then a little bit of cream when you make a coffee, let the dogs out, then in, a few more times and you're good.  Feed those pups, too, then pet them A LOT.

When the weather starts to cool, they snuggle more...

Molly is coming over with Lydia and Ophelia in a little while, the Margaret and Adrian are coming with Wulf and Tennyson.  Paul and I are babysitting the boys tonight so Marg and Adrian can go to a meeting.  But first we'll all have dinner, which smells wonderful by the way.

Margaret came over yesterday with the little guys, she works from home so she worked from here for the afternoon.  When she finished up, we went to return a hairbrush Camille had ordered online, which was a knock-off, and it's beyond me how this matters, but there is apparently a special hairbrush for curly hair.  When the kids were all growing up, we were lucky if we could find the hairbrush, but whatever.  We also went to Marshall's, where I bought some socks, and one small Christmas gift.  Then, mmm, coffee, because it was Coffee Day, so it was one dollar from Simple Roast, a little local place.

I did clean out a closet yesterday, the game closet, because there's no reason, on God's green earth, for us to have the amount of games we had in that closet.  Yes, we keep some games for the grandchildren, and some in case the kids to want to play in the winter, but how many versions of The Game of Life does one family need?  I kept several versions of Monopoly, and of course Candyland, and some matching games, and some puzzles, but I did donate several puzzles, and lots of games.  I threw some things away, and organized what was left, and wow, I like it.  It does feel so fantastic to downsize things.  I'm walking around the house, opening the closet doors and admiring.  

Here's a fun thing:  The last two bags of dog chow I've purchase, I've ordered from's cheap by the big bag, I don't have to lug it around the store, ect., AND, it comes in a big box, nice for playing in!  Not me, ha, the grandkids!   I do like getting things in the mail!  Since the dog food is over $35, it's free shipping, and if there is something small you want, you can add it on, so I ordered a can organizer, to see if it really helps.  If so, I'll get another few.  

Am I turning into a boring old lady?  hmmm.  

While I was cleaning out a closet, I found a curtain, new in the package, that I had bought for $2.  Why not hang it in the pantry doorway?  Well, said Charlotte, it looks nice if you like the college student look.  It's better than being greeted by all those canned goods though, right?  The ones I didn't throw away...
Summer went by too fast, and now it's chilly.  I like sweaters, and pumpkins, and crunchy leaves, but there is nothing in this world like sitting on the pool deck and just baking in the sun, then getting into that pool...

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

oh beautiful, for spacious skies...


(Beautiful, right?  See how they get along? )

And these two sloths...Sunny thinks she's a tiny kitty, on the back the couch like that...

She is just cute.

And those spacious skies, not bad for New York State!
The car does need a wash, but look at that view...

Camille and I took a quick trip to the thrift store today to donate several bags of goodies, as I cleaned out the hall closet today.  Paul is wondering what has gotten into me, he said, "Well, I know you're not pregnant...", and shh, I think he was hoping I would say, BUT I AM, ha.   I just am keeping busy, and enjoying having things in order.  The hall closet:  how many old towels do we need?  Lunchboxes?  Hangers?  Clothes that fit Camille 6 years ago?

Anyway.  We went to the thrift store and into Aldi really quickly for lemon juice, as Paul was clean out, and he drinks it in his water everyday. 

There are meatballs in the oven, and water for pasta bubbling, and a pot of sauce too.  It's activity club night, so I don't have much time...we are going to paint, play on the playground, and have cookies and milk...

Monday, September 27, 2021

I don't know why...

 Well you know, a long time ago, I had a lot of kids.  They weren't in age order in this pic, but obviously size order.  From littlest:  Camille, Charlotte Claire, Jonathan, Sonja K., Evelyn, Suzanne, Mariel, Kathryn, Margaret, Abigail, Molly Rose, Emily, Aaron, Joseph, Samuel, Benjamin...see how many years between Jon and his brothers?  Samuel is 9 years older than Jon!  

I've been in a sorting and organizing mood, and I know ME, and when ME says it's time to sort and organize, ME does it, because it doesn't happen very often!  I cleaned out the pantry yesterday, threw out some canned goods from 2015.  The bad part is that it was hard for me!  It's almost assuring that there'll be a time I wish I kept them!  (For example, I didn't buy this really nice mini blender the other day, reduced from $40 to $10, super nice, but we just didn't NEED it.  That very afternoon, Sonja K. was using our mini blender and said I think there's something wrong with this, it isn't working right.  She wasn't with me when I deliberated about that nice little blender, either.).   

When I downsize, ditch things, donate bags of stuff to the thrift store, I feel good.  I like getting rid of things, and having more emptiness, and more order to the things remaining.  But each item that gets the axe is mourned.  Okay, not exactly MOURNED, but it's not easy to get rid of those star shaped cookie molds, or the heart shaped ones either, even though they were all still in the packages after...hmm, ten, fifteen years?  How many cupboard purges have they survived?  Oh, did I mention I cleaned out several cupboards too?  

I know, I know, you're thinking where's the after pic?  But ha, this IS the after pic!  You should've seen it before!  It's not the spiffiest pantry, the shelves are plywood...I think I need to rethink the whole concept, and put this stuff in the cupboards, I don't know.  But these days I have a bit more time, and I can totally do that if I want to.

The laundry room also received some attention today.  It's all nice and organized in there, and I love it.   

When Miss Char got home from school, we went on a little adventure, with Camille.  Char wanted to get a new book, so we went to the bookstore.  If I were rich, I would buy so many books, but alas, I'm thankful for the library.  

We also went to Aldi for the makings for paninis, as yours truly had no dinner plans, oops.  I also found ground beef, 5 pound packages, for $7.49, which is $1.50 a pound, half price.  Shh, I bought four.  I made some chili for those of us who don't want to eat paninis, and froze a bit.  

The girls were going over to Emily's for a girls gathering, so I sent some grapes, raspberries, and milk chocolate dipped cookies, and mini Reese's cups, which we also chose in Aldi.

Our pies turned out good the other night!  I did have a slice, hot out of the oven, and I wish it wasn't so good!  It was tangy, and not overly sweet, but the crust buttery and flaky, so extremely good!

So technology is amazing these days.  Evelyn is in Seattle, Washington, and Kathryn lives in Salem, Oregon.  Today I face timed with both of them at the same time.  It was so cool!

It was a nice little visit!

We coated the pool deck with water sealer this past weekend...
And Emily and Mariel climbed Mt. Algonquin in the Adirondacks!
All these good things, then there's this:  our governor mandating vaccines for the health care professionals, and firing all the ones who won't/can't get it.  She says they're replaceable.  The big hospital in the city has closed 22 of their 35 operating rooms, and is bracing dear daughter works in the cancer center, already perpetually short staffed,'s awful, they're losing nurses.  What on earth are those cancer patients going to do?  The wait time in the ER at this huge state run hospital is already running eight hours.  This is NOT because of Covid, but because of vaccine mandates.  (Can we stop and consider for one hot minute that maybe, just maybe some of these nurses know what they're about?  Maybe they HAD Covid!  They were rock stars last year, heroes!  Now, they're replaceable.  I don't know where our new gov thinks she's going to find all these extra nurses, just waiting in the wings for her to beckon them...

So ugh to all of that!  But, here we are, and if anyone out there still thinks the government cares about you and your best interests, and not just the power and the money, well I rather envy you.   

It's a good thing that God is bigger than the boogie man!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

pumpkin spice and everything nice!

 ...and apples, and pie!

Camille, Sonja K., me, Charlotte Claire..

Trying out something different than Birkenstocks...
Miss Char...

Char says she would totally drive this.
Country girls.

We bought a gallon of freshly pressed cider, some honey from the bees on this farm, hot cinnamon apple donuts, and of course we picked apples.  Jonamac and a few Cortland for pies, and to eat:  Empire, a few McIntosh, some Honeycrisp, and some Snapdragons.  MMM!

The girls made pizza for dinner, I made a few burgers for Paul and I.  Then after dinner, we went out for ice cream, because well, winter is coming, and soft ice cream season will be commencing, wah.  I've behaved myself most of the season, so I decided I was going to have one, and it didn't disappoint.  I almost wish it was awful, ha.

Camille and her sprinkles...this is a small! 

It is a beautiful day, and I got up bright and early, because the cat was meowing, it's always something!  I had to get up anyways, because Jonathan needed to go into the city to get his passport renewed, and I was going with him.  It was a lovely drive through the countryside.

Home, ah home...I cleaned and vacuumed my car, and helped the girls put some things away from the yard.  They cleaned off the pool deck, all prepped to seal the wood.  Again, such a nice day.   

Friday, September 24, 2021

what are we doing today?

 Apples!  We're going to pick some apples!  When Miss Char got home from school the other day and there were pumpkin pies baking, she said that she wants to help make pies next time.  She's 15 years old, and shh, not always enthusiastic about things, so of course, we are going to make this happen!  

She got up this morning, got ready, left for school, then lo and behold, a call from the superintendent:  a water main break at the school, so virtual school today.  Virtual school, no fair!  Those poor mamas who are also teachers and have their own children home from school today!  Back in the day, it would just be a free day off!  But it was still fun and exciting to have the bus bring Charlotte Claire back home, after a half hour ride. 

Once way back when, it was terribly snowy out there, low visibility, windy...several kids got on the bus, the bus got to the end of the road, then school was cancelled, the buses were struggling, so it turned around and brought them back home, so much fun.  I wish I could have saved us all the trouble of getting up and getting ready, but still, it was fun, and back then, no virtual.

Our pot pies were mmmm good, not beautiful but so fragrant and flaky and filling, very satisfying.

I sent a few heaping slices over to Emily and Mariel, along with the last slices of pumpkin pie.

The state reservation system for camping is opens for reservations 9 months ahead of time, so you have to figure out so long in advance when you'd like to go camping.  I did reserve one of our favorite parks for a long weekend in June, a nice site on the beach.  Then I found out it was already a scheduled youth weekend for the kids, but oh well, Paul and I can still go with the pups.

Here's what has been encouraging me lately:  our kingdom is not of this earth.  Imagine if it was!  I do find myself getting caught up in it all.  There has to be a balance between having your head in the sand, and being stressed out about all the injustice.  It's comforting to know that at the end of the day, God knows all of what's going on, and that "all things work together for the good for those who love God, and are called according to His purpose..." (Rom 8.28).   And this we heard in a meeting recently: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father's house there are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14 1-2).   

Thursday, September 23, 2021

on that cold cold wet day....


Dr. Seuss, of course, from The Cat in The Hat.
Suri and Sunny remind me of those two, but they actually DON'T wish they had something to do, they're just like me, they like doing nothing.

Here in the country, we have well water and a septic tank.  This is not the worst thing, I actually like our water, although it's very iron-y.  (Yes, we have a water softener system).  But the septic tank needs to be pumped every year.   It's a huge tank, and a big system, because we built a big house and the system size is based on number of bedrooms.   So, the guy is on his way over, in the pouring fun fun, on this rainy dark day...

Dinner was good last night, just in case you are wondering:

Pork chops aren't my absolute favorite, but I find that if I marinate them, they're better.  These were soaked in vinegar, salt and pepper for several hours, and came out so tender.  Not my favorite, but they are inexpensive, and nutritious, and if you make them right, it's a good dinner.

Sunny seems to know that someone is coming over, she's on the alert, and her barker is getting ready to go off. 

She kindly alerted me to a flock (gaggle?  group?  oh, I looked it up, it's either flock or rafter) of turkeys, at least a dozen of them, giggling and gobbling down the driveway...BARK.

Oh dear, never a dull moment.  Evelyn is now in Seattle, where she is helping a family there dealing with some sickness, Jonathan is renewing his passport and making plans for next year:  a year in Germany with a youth group.  Sonja is in nursing school, bracing herself as it gets busier and her clinical starts.  Charlotte Claire is in "real" school, gets on that bus all by her lonesome every morning, and loves it.  Camille loves her homeschooling, she hasn't gotten bored yet.  Abigail is spending the week in Conneticut, for work, Emily and Mariel are going on an Adirondack hike this weekend.  Samuel and Grace are mourning the sudden accidental loss of their cat, she fell from the cat tree and a toy fell on her, she died instantly, so sad.  

I vacuumed and mopped this morning, washed up the dishes and bleached the sink.  Yesterday, I made pie crust for today's pot pies for dinner, chicken pot pie again, because why not?  I have all the ingredients...and it's so nice to change into the fall/winter cold weather cooking patterns, but by spring, I'll be chomping to start grilling again.  We actually do grill in the winter sometimes, but you know what I mean, all the barbecued chicken, burgers, hot dogs...we are so spoiled, getting sick of things.  Sometimes when I make taco salad for the second time in a week, and one of the kids whines about it, I remind them that there are people in this world who eat rice and beans every day, if they ARE LUCKY.  There are people who dig out of trash to eat, and there are people who have nothing.

I've tried to raise my kids not to waste food.  Take what you'll eat, and eat what you take.  You can always get more if you want it.   I stopped short of MAKING them finish their food, I'd encourage it, and remind them not to waste, but if they didn't have to clean their plates.  When the older kids were little, I was definitely more rules-y, but I toned it down a lot through the years, you live and learn.  

The septic tank guy is still out there, he'll be coming in for the payment in a few minutes, why do I mini-dread it?  I like talking to people but I also hate talking to people ha.  I'm in my sweatpants and an around-the-house shirt, as opposed to a BYE-BYE shirt, but I'll be darned if I change my clothes for a five minute interaction.  It's not like I'm going to Target or something.

Ah well, have a really really good day, thankfulness is always a good place to start...

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

my inheritance...


This rolling pin is my most treasured earthly possession.  It was my father's mother's, so paternal grandmother's.  She died when I was 3 or 4.  She had 12 children (only 2 of my father's siblings are still alive), but somehow my mother ended up with her rolling pin.  My memories of my mother using this, and her saying it was  seasoned....oh dear, my heart.
Pumpkin pie, ready to go into the oven...
Here's another one, only this one is sugar free.  (it has a bit of stevia in it), and I know, the crust is bad bad bad too, but oh well.
It just seemed like a pie making day!  It's in the oven now, and smells heavenly.

Here's something interesting:

But shh, I won't go on one of my rants today, although I'll mention that I saw a study out of Ottowa mentioning that 32 out of approximately 32,000 people who were vaccinated were hospitalized for heart issues, serious myopericarditis...

Again, I'm not saying I'm against vaccination, I just think the other side of the story needs to be told.   

But right now, pumpkin pie!  It doesn't look as beautiful as it smells, I stabbed them too many times to see if they were done.  This one is sugar free:

...and both of them:
Smother them with homemade whipped cream, and they'll be fine.

Suri is suspicious of my phone pointed at her.  She is such a good dog, but she is a total trash monster.   She can get the laundry room door open, knock down the trash can (the new one, with the locking top), get the top right off the can, and have a feast.  Last night, we put the can right outside on the deck, chancing that the raccoons are as savvy as Suri, but it stayed safe.  She's hungry, she says.  She is so cute, how can you get mad at that face?  (We know Sunny's not the culprit, because being the spoiled brat that she is, she sleeps in our room). (What??!!!  She misses us in the night if she's not in there!  Whine, whine, whine...)

Anyway.  Dinner is in the oven!  I marinated some pork chops in vinegar, salt and cracked pepper, then rolled them in olive oil, and onto a pan... then cubed up some russet potatoes and an acorn squash from our garden, salt and pepper, olive oil, and on a pan in the oven.  It's starting to smell even better in here, if that's possible.

Life is more than good food and good smells and getting the floors cleaned, but those things are so comforting and nice.  It's rainy today, and I totally love it.  Dark, gloomy, breezy, mmm.  I mean, afternoon coffee on a dark rainy day, with dinner IN the oven, wowza.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

places and places and places...

 Today, we went out and about, Miss Camille Anaya and I.  The library to drop off some books, then  Kohl's, to pay a small balance, and look around just a little bit.  Well, we had 30% off, and found a few good things:  Boots, shorts, two dresses, a pair of slippers, and some snazzy sunnies for Cam, a skirt and a shirt for me, some cute little plates, and a fountain pen with ink, all for fifty dollars.

Then to Target, for some stock-up things like pasta sauce, crushed tomatoes, pasta, chicken, chicken stock, hair stuff...then to the grocery store for peanut butter, Peter Pan for a dollar a jar, yes, we got 12.  See, I love peanut butter, but it has to be fresh, and preferably, Peter Pan.  :).  Then to Walmart because Char needs a compass for math, and we forgot to look while in Target.  We found nary a compass in Walmart, but we did get some paint supplies for activity club, and some gum.  Then, to the bank, the gas station, and home, ahhh home.    

Lydia is coming over and going to Activity club with me, so we'll have her here for dinner.  She visited yesterday, and started setting up "little things" at the table, which are Calico Critters and Lil Woodeez.  I'm glad she's coming back over!

Little Ophelia...
Miss Lydia Eleanor...

So now I need to move it move it...

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monday sun day...


Some fun pics from the Parade of Homes...of course it was fun, I went with four of my daughters.

Wulf, so cute and sweet...
I visited them at their house on Saturday, and shh, I love being a grandma!

The weekend flew by too quickly, and this happened:
Sonja, Charlotte Claire on the deck, Paul in the back, putting that cover on for the winter...

And then I look out the window this morning, and ugh, no clear blue water shimmering so invitingly, nope.  We are hunkering down.  The Dismal Forebodings time of year has arrived.

Winter is beautiful, but I am a teeny bit afraid of her.  

Yesterday afternoon, I was fully planning to grill burgers and coneys.  (Coneys:  white spicy hot dog, from here in central NY state, Hoffmans).   But as the afternoon wore on, it seemed less like grilling weather, and more like a meatball day!   Crumbled crackers, bread crumbs, minced onions, garlic, salt and pepper, ground beef, four eggs...and two pans of meatballs, went into the oven.  Sauce was soon simmering on the stove, and a pan of pasta made, then a spaghetti squash from the garden, for me.  Emily and Mariel joined us, along with Margaret, Adrian, Wulf, and Tennyson.  (Sunny has quickly learned that under the high chair is the place to be, as Ten-Ten has realized how fun it is to drop things for Sunny)
Jonathan came back from his camping/hiking in the Adirondacks trip, and joined us (Paul and I, Sonja, Char, Cam)

This fine morning, I've cleaned up some messes over near the door, as one Labrador scarfed down her brekky too fast, then I heard that yakking sound...ugh.  I've put some laundry in, and done some push ups and lifted my weights, (I'm trying!).  

Anyway, it's sad when the pool cover goes on.  So many things are sad, like when you drive through the countryside and see swing sets that have seen better days, sagging play houses with weeds growing up around them, old basketball hoops that are no longer used...