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

Sunday, October 31, 2021

life seems to be a beach....


Mr. Handsome, relaxing...reading the ingredients in his no sugar energy drink...
It was a bit cloudy, but simply gorgeous....the white sands, the warm water, so nice.

We stopped for barbecue on the way home, no offense, but it was a little hole-in-the-wall place, but oh dear it was good!

Mr Handsome again...we ordered brisket, and ribs, and some Mac and cheese for grandma.  It did not disappoint.

Those palm trees!
The sky cleared up nicely as we left...we went for a walk along the main drag in Clearwater, found a Starbucks, iced coffee, mmm.

It's always a nice drive over that causeway near Tampa.

It's still gorgeous's nice to be here, but shh, I am missing the kids now....

Last evening, we went out to dinner with Paul's cousin and her husband, after visiting them for a bit first...they have a lovely home...all opened up to the pool area...

Grandma...92 years old, and still living by herself!
Isn't their house nice?!

We went to dinner, I had steak and chicken, and a garden salad, and a baked potato, so yummy, and it's such a treat to not have to cook!

Ah well...Happy does NOT seem like Halloween, here in Florida.  I miss seeing the grandkids all dressed up, but you can't be everywhere, and this is where I am, right?  Have a good, cozy evening!

Friday, October 29, 2021

woo hoo, florida!!!!

 The day started too early, with a shower, a hair wash, traveling clothes, feeding the pups, letting them out and in, and coffee, then the airport.  We left at 7:30.  Well.  We waited in line forever and a day, which was actually less than an hour, to check one bag, because only one lady was working behind the airline counter.  Upstairs to security, I have PreCheck, best $85 I ever spent...waltz right through without removing shoes, jacket, liquids, or's more than paid for itself, as I've flown to Cali twice, Florida four or five times, and Salem a few times, since I've gotten it.  

Then on to the gate, it's almost time to board!  Except...the flight is delayed.  It was delayed in fits and starts, half hour at a time....then we finally boarded at almost one o'clock.  We should have landed in Florida before then, but what can you do?  Three hours, and boom, we are in Florida!  Yay...except...there are no flag guys, whatever they're called, to guide the plane from it's parking spot on the runway.  They are busy with another flight.  The airline is clearly way understaffed....we wait for over an hour on the runway...finally the captain turned off the seatbelt sign to let people use the bathroom, then we buckled back up to ride in the plane like 50 feet to near the airport, where the busy flag guys finally got to our plane...we got off that plane at like five o'clock...then the luggage took a while...but the rental car, can I just give a shout out to Alamo?  They do it right.  I'm not getting one single penny to say how nice it was, we simply picked whatever midsized car we wanted (a Toyota, although I voted for the Kia Soul), drove it to the booth where we quickly gave the card info and I.D., and bam, we were on the road.  

We stopped at Publix (I love Florida, and I love Publix!) for some salad stuff, coffee, and cream, and seltzer.  Then Five Guys for burgers, they gave us way way too many fries...

We brought a burger for Grandma too, and oh it was so nice to get that hug!  

I'm tired now, all showered up and in bed, Paul is still talking to his's so nice to be here...tomorrow, we might go to the pool...not sure...good night!

(I will say that although it was a long tiring day, I made a few friends, a nice speech pathologist and her husband, from Haiti, lived in NYC, then moved to central NY nice.  Then a labor and delivery nurse, trying to get her four mile power walk in, in the airport, and this other lady who looks just like Calli on Gray's Anatomy, I dropped my ticket when I was on the toilet, it flew right into the next stall, so I reached down and grabbed it and she shrieked, I apologized, then we laughed about it later, and of course I kept seeing her all, the creepy hand lady...)

So it was a good day, and I hope I got oil in my lamp, I worked hard on practicing thankfulness when it got long and tiring, there was one guy on the plane who just started making rude comments to the fight attendant, no, not nice, just ugly, it is NOT her fault!  We are lucky we get to fly at all, and we get to go to Florida!!!!

Goodnight, and maybe tomorrow I'll get some pictures!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

cookies and covid tests...

You cannot blame us for sneaking off to Starbucks, just Camille and I....shh, it seems so cheap when it's just two people ha.  

Miss Cam and I headed over to school to pick up Miss Char, for their tests, which they passed.

We were right in the neighborhood of the nice thrift store, so of course we took a quick gander before returning Miss Char to school.  (She found a nice leather jacket, Camille found a nice sweater, and I found a Matchbox Rocky Robot toy....)

Home, ah home, time to make cookies!  One triple batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, make a few with no chocolate chips and just sprinkles for Camille, then dang, they seemed flat, so I added some whole oats to the rest of the dough, and they seem nicer.

Afternoon coffee...Peet's medium Big Bang, with a bit of Dunkin Pumpkin Spice, with warm foam with a dash of sugar-free white chocolate pumpkin syrup in it, just a dash...then another dash of cinnamon and sugar on top, REAL SUGAR, but again, just a dash...
Dinner is in the crock pot, salsa chicken with taco seasoning, we'll have it on tortilla shells with Mexican cheese, red/green/yellow peppers...

I supposed I should start packing, as we're going to Florida in the mornin'.  Yay!!!  But shh, it's SO hard to leave the rest of the family, especially with the huge0 weekend they'll be having at the conference...I would be out there helping!  Ah well, there's a time and place for everything.  When you have sixteen kids, you have to realize that you cannot always be with all of them, right?  Sometimes, you aren't with ANY of them...but we need this time together, Paul and I, and we need to see Grandma...she's 92 now, still sharp as a tack, but also, well, she's getting old.  She called me today, thought we were coming today, she even wrote it on her calendar.  For tomorrow, she wrote, YAY.  So every time I think of seeing her, I think YAY, I do love her, and haven't seen her since January.  

Yes, I should go pack...oh, wait, our new draperies are up.  I'll take a picture some other time, I am sitting here with my feetsies up...they look okay, but not great, they blend too much with the wall color, but oh well...   

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

...and next....

 Sometimes it seems like I'm so busy, but I'm really not, not like days-gone-by-busy.  No, now I can drink an entire cup of coffee in one sitting, without it getting cold, without playing the Where In The Heck Is My Coffee game.  I can think a thought without being interrupted, mostly, and I can sit on the throne for as long as I please, with no banging on the door, and without the fear of what children are capable of during just a two minute pee.  (Once, long ago, I was in the bathroom, and there was banging on the door.  Knock, knock, knock.  I finally cracked open the door to see who wasn't answering me while I asked who was there, and it was Aaron, all of maybe 15 months old, holding a knife.  Yes, a sharp knife.  After safely and strategically prying the knife from his pudgy little hands, I investigated:  the ROCKING HORSE was in front of the knife drawer, which was open.  There were angels watching over that child.  (and it's not like I was lounging on the couch reading a book, not watching my children, I was absolutely hurrying in the bathroom....)

Anyway.  Yesterday, in the pouring rain, Mariel and I picked up more pumpkins, and lots of apples, for the conference this weekend.  We had time in between doing that and our appointment to pick up hay bales, so we stopped in and visited Joseph for a bit, he lives in a little house in town.  It was a very pleasant visit, we were soaking wet, and his house was warm and dry:)

Today, after Miss Cam finishes her school work, we are going to Aldi quick, just for a few groceries.  There is beef in the crock pot, with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, onion and garlic, and some gravy packets.  There'll be mashed potatoes, and roasted Brussel sprouts...I told Emily, Abigail, and Mariel that I'd make them dinner tonight because they are so busy this week doing prep for the upcoming weekend.  

Tomorrow morning, I have to pick Miss Char up from school, and bring her and Camille to be Covid tested before the weekend, since there'll be so many kids there, all must be either vaccinated or tested.  Oh, and I have to pick Jonathan up from the airport tonight a bit after eleven, which believe me, I remembered this morning at 5:30 when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep.    Evelyn is flying in tomorrow but Mariel is getting her after work.  I will only see Ev for a little bit, as we are leaving for Florida on Friday morning.  I do have to pack still....ugh.  You know that feeling of wearing fall clothes, sweaters and sweatpants and long sleeves, then putting on some shorts and a tank top...pasty and doughy are words that come to mind.  Pale, too.  It's not going to be all that warm in Florida, dang it, but some sunshine will be nice.   We are heading back home on Tuesday, the weather will get hot again about then...

Here's the latest report, out of context as it might be.  2 unvaccinated, 12 vaccinated are hospitalized.  
This does not make me happy, does not make me gloat, I do not like to see that anyone is hospitalized.  It's a horrible sickness, and for the life of me, I'll never understand why they were messing around doing gain-of-function research, why this was unleashed in the first place.  I'll never understand why so many early treatments have been dissed, and practically outlawed.  There are many many things that don't add up, and the censorship these days is certainly real.  

But, at the end of the day, there's not much I can do about these things, but I do pray for those who lead us, and for myself, and my friends and family...God knows all the things that are going on, He has allowed them to happen, and His word is still true:  all things work together for the good for those who love Him, and called according to His purpose...(Rom.8v28).  

I've been thinking a lot about working out my salvation with fear and trembling.  There's a lot written about having a name you are alive, but being dead inside, about being a white -washed tomb.   To have a good reputation, to look good on the's sickening to me.  There is so much to work on!  We are full of sin, but we don't have to stay mired in it, led around by it!  When we're faithful in the hidden, say NO to those thoughts about other people, judging, ect., then we get oil in our lamps.  I am very thankful that God has had such mercy...have a really good day!

Monday, October 25, 2021


 It started out innocently enough, and stupid me, I underestimated it.  I'll just go to sleep, and it'll go away. Well HA.  It did NOT go away, no, instead it brewed into a MONSTER.  It was hands down, the WORST migraine that I've ever had.  

Pain levels though are hard to judge.  Each migraine might feel like the worst, when one is in the throes of it.  I didn't actually throw up, but I certainly almost did.  It throbbed and stabbed and hurt and ached and I couldn't even move my baby finger without having such intense pain.  Now we've already established that I am a huge drama queen, but this...oh dear.  I took ibuprofen, and I took acetaminophen, then an hour later, I took some more. 

Ever so thankfully, I didn't HAVE to get up, so when the pain started to recede, I fell to sleep, and oh dear, that blissful absence-of-horrible-pain feeling...not that it totally went away, but after that intensity earlier, I'll take it.  

I didn't sleep long, because I had a scavenger hunt date with Abigail.  We had five places to go, and I didn't feel too awful, considering.  We had lists of things to get for the big youth conference this weekend, almost 600 kids, our Canadian friends finally able to come to things.  We bought marshmallows  (500!) and graham crackers, ping pong balls, lengths of rope, and markers for games.  

Mariel and I did some shopping on Saturday, too.  Empty shelves in Walmart, sadness.
We bought 60 big pumpkins, and 20 little ones.  We're picking up 500 apples tomorrow.  The kids are having pizza on Friday, we've had to order from several places, ordering as many as they can make.  It's a lot of kids!  They'll be going four wheeling, ziplining, some will go to a recording studio to record a song.  There will be a massive scavenger hunt, plenty of good meals and snacks (a waffle party!), as well as encouraging meetings.  

I can help out with things this week, but Paul and I are going to Florida for the weekend, which I am both happy and sad about.  I cannot wait to see my mother-in-law, she is an absolute gem, such a spunky but sweet lady, and I am looking forward to some down time with Paul, and a trip to the beach, ahhhh.  I am also bummed about not helping more this weekend, although there is plenty of help.  (Evelyn is flying from Seattle to attend this conference!)

The visit with Sam and Grace and little ones was fantastic.  We didn't see Samuel much, as he was at Army drill, or playing Army.  It got real though, he was forced to be vaccinated.  I am not going to say anything else about it, but rrrr.  Oh, you have freedom to choose, but if you don't, you're in big trouble.  Dishonorable discharge,  (or LESS than honorable...)...the works!  After eight years of service, too...

Camille with Ruth...
Twins, me with Ruth...
Little sweetie!

Elise had a birthday party, this is out in their barn for piƱata time.  Benjamin, Ashley in the background, and little Lydia taking a whack at it.
Margaret took a turn!
Ben holding Tennyson while Elise opened presents.
Ashley made pretty cup cakes!  Elise's face!
We had a party yesterday for the activity club kids, Wulf was spooky!
Jonathan had an outing out in Oregon, four-wheeling in the sand!
Anya and Elise are 8 and 4 now!

Here I am holding Tennyson, with my sister Cheryl, at the a.c. party.  It was beach themed, so I was a sand witch....Cheryl was some sort of sea-lady....she's so much fun, and such a good sport.  Tennyson didn't know what to think...

Ah well.  So much to do, but I'm thankful for the busy life.  I bought new curtains, and actually new curtain rods too.  I do not like draperies, curtains, window coverings, just little valances, simple things, so that you can see outside, and the house is bright and light.  But I started thinking about heating bills, and decided to try some insulated curtains in the living room.  We have like 98 cent curtain rods, and decided to go ahead and splurge on black cafe rods, because the curtains hang through the grommets, and well, they'll look so much better...they were less than six dollars each, as I had a 15% off the total purchase at Ollies coupon.  (I had too much fun in there, oh dear!)

I am thankful to be feeling better.  I still feel washed out, worn out, and blah, that after-migraine feeling, yet also jubilant and euphoric, because the pain has dissipated.  It's a humbling feeling to be so broken down, to realize how frail we really are.  I prayed for those who live in chronic pain, and for those in nursing homes, and for the homeless, and for the cold and tired and hungry.  As much as I don't like to suffer, it truly does make me think about things.  

In prospective, we have absolutely nothing to complain about.  If we are inside a dwelling right now, and we've had supper, we're good.  

All right, off I go...I was just face timing with Kathryn and little Achilles and baby Rhys.  Jonathan is out in Salem, he went to a football game with Darius, to watch the Saints play...not my thing, but they were pretty darned excited....

Jon will be back a bit before midnight on Wednesday, then the kids all have to be Covid tested on Thursday, before the conference, just to be safe....Evelyn will be flying in on Thursday, I get to see her just a bit because we're leaving Friday morning...

Friday, October 22, 2021

thank God it's FRIDAY, FRIDAY...

 ...that used to be a song, ha.  But what a day it was!  Looking back on the day from my chair in the evening, how it seemed to fly.  I was getting ready for my visitors, my dear son Samuel, and Grace, and little Grant and new lil Ruth, they'll be here soon!  

Abigail called me and invited me to go along with her to get an oil change, and stop at the thrift store.  I laughed my head off, because I had a date with three daughters this afternoon after school to do exactly the same thing!  Camille was still doing school work, so I went off with Abigail.  She is starting a new business, to do bookkeeping for small companies...

She dropped me off, then I went off with Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Camille...the oil change took forever and a day.  

This exact same van was there when I was there with Abigail, then back in line when I came back in the truck with the girls, now why two times in one day in the same vehicle?  I really wanted to know, but not quite curious enough to actually rap on his window and ask.

We didn't find much at the thrift store, but we did have too much fun...

Sonja just tried this on right over her clothes....oh dear.

Camille has been wanting a teapot.  She has a little cup and saucer, from the thrift store, and today she found a tea pot.  I tried to diss it, $4.99, for a little silver pot...well.  Well.  Turns out it's a nice little tea pot, not worth a fortune or anything, but a nice one, Sheffield by Community, real silver plating.  It's actually quite pretty...she says the sugar bowl was there too, so guess where we're going in the morning?

Maybe not though.  It's Elise's birthday party tomorrow...I've got her gift all bagged up and ready to go...a little play dough set with a stove that makes it like a dough cake is rising, with a decorating set to make cute little cakes, a dress, and leggings.  The whole fam is invited over here for spaghetti and meatballs tomorrow night, I have five pounds of ground beef in the fridge, and all the fixings for the meal...I should make some brownies or something, too.

Sunday is a Halloween party, focusing on the activity club kids, but we're all going, and maybe dressing up.....I usually can't resist, but get it together ahead of time, ha.

Last night's pot pie was pretty darn good, if I don't say so myself.  How could it NOT be, five pounds of boneless chicken breast, in two pies?  I cubed it all up, doused it in pepper and rosemary, then put it in the 'fridge for a while.  I chopped potatoes, celery, carrots...
The chicken:  dredged in flour, browned in olive oil, then add chicken broth...simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally, then add the veggies.  I did thicken it up with flour, cornstarch, and cold water.  I let it cool for a bit before pouring into the crusts, last time it was so boiling hot it was hard to put at top crust on.
Before going into the oven...

All that crust is not healthy, nope.  But, butter pie crust, so flaky and mmmm....(if I ever wonder, lament, or complain about how I can't seem to lose weight, remind me of the pie....)

Tonight, we had dinner after our little outing, my TWO outings.  I hadn't had anything all day except for two cups of coffee, so I was roaring hungry.  I had picked up two pizza doughs when I was with Abigail, at Walmart, so the girls made a few pizzas.  I cut up some leftover pork chops from Wednesday night's dinner, browned them in olive oil, added some cauliflower rice that I had steamed in the microwave, and some honey, butter, cayenne pepper, and ginger, stirred it all up, andmmm, not too bad for a mostly low carb dinner, which was brekky, lunch and dinner altogether.  I did follow it with some chocolate, and some chocolate covered cashews...if you see these in Aldi, do not buy them.  The combination of salty cashews with chocolate is just irresistible, and again, when I start lamenting, well, there you have it.  My body has adjusted to one meal a day, and anything beyond that, or some carbs, and boom, more fat on my poor hips.  

It's quiet in here as we all wait for Sam and Grace to arrive.  Sonja is so busy these days in nursing school that it's not even funny.  Jonathan is out in Oregon visiting Kathryn, I had to get up at four in the morning on Wednesday to drive him to the airport, and yes, I did climb back into bed at 5:30, yes I did.  

Ah well, it's been a good day.  Wulf and Tennyson visited last evening, so there were toys all over this morning.  Why put them all away when Grant is coming?  I don't mind...I like toys. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2021

a wonderful day, and a before and after!!!


Miss Charlotte Claire...I thought her hair was fine, but...

The new cut is sweet!

This critter, so high strung, yet so able to laze around all day.  She NEEDS to be in our room at night or she whines, Miss Sunny.  She NEEDS to be in our bed, at my feet, or she whines.  We've been hoodwinked and misled, and have inadvertently created a monster.  A cute monster, but.  We have finally put our collective foot down, and no more couch, only the leather couch for them.  There are guitars and a ukulele (in their cases) up and down the couch, looks lovely, but they have to learn not to get up on it...we are going to get them new doggie beds too, try to teach them some new tricks.  :)

Suzanne is coming over for a visit today, and I am going later to buy some pumpkins for the fall youth conference here....35 pumpkins.  I have to get the oil changed in the truck, and am thinking to make chicken pot pies for dinner.  

Yesterday afternoon, I went to talk to the Apple Lady, Mary, who lives down near the river, about buying out her stock of pumpkins, she is fine with it.  Then on to pick up Char from school for her new haircut, then quick into Aldi for a few things, armed this time with a meal plan.  Then into another grocery store just for one thing, ha, ended up at the service desk, ended well, but I can't seem to hurry!

We had to get dinner into the oven quickly, because Camille and I were leaving to do some cabin cleaning/bedding collection to get ready for the upcoming conference at church.  Pork chops into the oven, with acorn squash, and stuffing.  It was a good dinner, even if I ate it in Abigail's car.

Have you read Proverbs 31?  
"Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts in her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
all the days of her life.
She seeks work and flax and willingly works with her hands.  She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household...She considers a field and buys it, from her profits she plants a vineyard.  She girls herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.  She perceives that her merchandise is good.  And her lamp does not go out by night.  She stretches out her hands to the distaff.  And her hand holds the spindle.  She extends her hand to the poor.  yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of snow for her household.  For all her household is clothed with scarlet. (v. 10-22). The rest is good too..."Strength and honor are her clothing.  She shall rejoice in time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.  She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness...(25-28)
(and then of course, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised...v. 30)

This is for all of us, concerning  spiritual growth, as we go through our days, getting oil in our vessels through the trials of life.  But in the natural, there is a storing up too, and I always find that autumn brings out the squirrel in me.  There are only six of us here on the regular, but the older ones are a part of many of our dinners.  I am aware of hoarding, and don't want to do that, I think of the verses in Matthew about storing up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy...(6:19)...

So I am working on finding the middle ground.  Inflation, supply chain, scarcities, empty shelves...those things are scary, especially when you have mouths to feed.  I am such a Mama Bear, too, I think of my grown kids, and the little grandchildren, and would want enough to help them out finding a balance between being led by fear, and being greedy, and being prepared for winter and the predicted shortages. 

So I've stocked up a bit on pasta, just six pounds (used to be two meals around here, now is at least six!), some tomato sauces, crackers, ect.  Ha, I ordered some of these things from Target, and added in three rolls of wrapping paper just to get that out of the way, and it was a decent price...they sent them in individual huge boxes.  ugh.  what a waste!  

Anyway, there were only 3 large packages of toilet paper on the shelf in the grocery store yesterday, and they were on sale for $8.88 for I think 20 rolls...I had to really think about how much we have, not totally sure, but my conscience wouldn't let me just buy one if we don't need one, because of those who might REALLY need it and won't be able to get it.  

Ah well, time to get making that pie crust...

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

....and, home sweet home!


These two are coming this weekend from Virginia, can't wait!!!!
Miss Sonja K., all ready for a day of nursing school!  

Just the wax burner lantern!
The diced potatoes, tossed in rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper, with broccoli...mmm.  I didn't take a pic of the chicken, but it was quite good.

Tonight, not sure if I'm going to grill pork chops or have some leftovers...we don't LOVE pork, but right now it's the cheapest.  The chops are marinating in vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper, they'll be pretty good.

Camille and I went to Target this morning.   We had a few other errands, so we were out anyway...we didn't get much, because there ISN'T much, but we used the $5 off of $25 Good and Gather brand to stock up on chocolate chips, and seltzers.  

Here's something interesting:

All I've wanted in this whole Covid debacle is truth.  Have you heard that the unvaccinated are spreaders?  They are hospitalized more?  These numbers don't back that up.  Numbers don't lie.
(18 hospitalized, 12 VAX-ED, 6 UN-VAX-ED). 

That being said, I am really working on not being worked up about it all.  I have friends who tend to trust the government, and believe all they are told, and I still love them.  

Tonight is Activity Club, we are playing on the play ground, then with play dough.  :)

Monday, October 18, 2021

no, thank you!!!!

 ...I do not want to leave this charming little place and head home!  Okay, I do miss Paul, and my kids, and the pups, but this has been so absolutely nice!

Just a tiny taste of a dark coffee stout, it was not bad but did evoke coffee grounds.  There was a blueberry wheat beer, oh yum.

Is there anything, besides the sun, better than the moon shining on a lake?
Some afternoon charcuterie, that's me over there under the blanket...
That wood stove cranks up and warms the place up!

We did just two wine tastings yesterday, then Em chose one beer flight which I helped her sample.  I have to be oh so careful, and I was, and I was thankful that I felt fine.  I grilled chicken for the curry Emily was making last night, it was a late dinner, so we had evening popcorn, played some Scrabble.  

Having been so busy for so many years, I just cherish these quiet times.  We are gearing up for a big weekend, a youth gathering for almost 600 kids, and Emily and Lorraine are the head cooks/meal planners/food purchasers.  So they've been planning and going to zoom meetings here, it's been super nice because Lorraine lives in Ohio, we are halfway between our two homes here.

Samuel and Grace are visiting this coming weekend, but Sam will be at Army Reserves drill, and Grace will be at my house with Grant and Ruth.  Yay!!!!

So now comes the dreaded packing up and heading home...ugh.  :)

Sunday, October 17, 2021

here on vacation.... western NY state, over near Pennyslvania...we actually drove into Pennsylvania yesterday to get a few bottles of wine for our afternoon charcuterie...and had a tasting while we were there.  My body cannot tolerate much alcohol, but one tasting is was so much fun, with these three girls...

My daughter Mariel, friend Lorraine, and Emily...

Marie, Darlene, me, Emily, Abigail, Mariel, Lorraine...we went out to dinner:  good food, good friends, too much fun.

It was a cozy place, and had some Christmas-y touches.

We're staying in such a nice airbnb!  3 bedrooms upstairs, one down, two bathrooms, a woodturning stove in the living room, plenty of comfy places to sit, a huge wrap around porch, and it's right on the lake.  The girls went swimming yesterday, I didn't because I had a headache, which eventually went away, phew.  And yes, it started before I had that wine tasting, I woke up with it.  By late afternoon it was gone, and that's a wonderful feeling.

We spent so much time on the porch yesterday, afternoon charcuterie!

Getting up in the morning is pure joy when you know you're going to have the best coffee with the best girls!

Today is chilly, so we are gathering in the living room instead of the porch.  I have a warm blanket, and my feet up on the ottoman, and some good hot coffee.  On Thursday, I stopped at a local coffee roaster, right up near the prison.  You are supposed to order ahead of time, but I asked him if he had any available, and he roasted some up right there for me, and oh my goody good goodness, it's delectable.  I told him I was going away for the weekend with some friends, and was bringing the coffee, so he offered to grind it for me too, so nice.

Anyway, I am super thankful to be here, it's been lovely...