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

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

the winter's menu:

 ...venison.  He got a deer!  I am excited for him, but shh, not for me.  I don't much like the gamey taste of venison, but with meat prices, and since we now HAVE this meat, well, we will see.  It's hanging in the tree in the yard, that's what you do, apparently.  He's going to process it himself, but not on the kitchen table this time.  He's going to set up a place in the utility room.   

I think the whole thing is rather gruesome, but this picture is okay:

Sunny is VERY interested.   And Paul is very happy.   

Yesterday, I went out and about with Kathryn.  Target was having a sale, buy one get one half off toy sale, plus there was a $5 off coupon.  So I found a nice tow for Rhys for Christmas, a sink that takes batteries and really runs water.  We had one here for a while, and it's a fun toy.  Then I had to find another toy to get the 50% I chose the toy Target cash register.  Shh, it's regular price is $29.99.  Anyway.  Achilles wanted to play with it in the cart.  He really really liked it.  He played with it in his car seat on the way home.  When we got here, he was holding tight.  I told Kathryn It's fine.  Just let him have it.  His birthday is coming up in December anyway.  They have been playing and playing with it at home.  

Here's the thing though:  when I went through the register, I told the cashier the toys were on sale, and the details, she said it would come off with my card...then she proceeded to tap some buttons on the screen, and I had no glasses on.  I didn't look at my receipt until we had the three little ones buckled in, and all the stuff put away.  Long story short, she had taken the five dollars off each toy, then half off each toy.  I reasoned that I was not going back in, because why get her in trouble?  And, I didn't feel like it.  And, how many times have I NOT gone back when it was a mistake where I was overcharged?  plenty.  I am too lazy to haggle for a buck here and there.

Anyway.  It was fun.  

In random order, here's Ophelia and baby Denzel
Sunny playing with the wind-up chick
Rhys admiring Minnie Mouse
Camille and Charlotte on a hike this past weekend
Woutar (Jon's friend from the Netherlands), and Jonathan, holding baby Blythe.
Wulf, Grant, Achilles, Darius holding Jamison, Samuel
Tenny in the best toy ever.
Grandpa with Ruth and Rhys, two year old cousins
The moon....
Sunny chasing the laser pointer on the deck

I have to leave in a little while to pick up Miss Charlotte Claire from school, she has a dr.'s appointment today.  Then we're (Sonja, Char, Cam, me)  heading up to Oswego to hand out candy and watch little babies so their big siblings can go trick or treating.  

Ah well...there's too much going on to blog right now.  I had some quiet moments this morning, but chose to vacuum and clean and do some laundry.  So bye for now, have a nice spooky Halloween night!

Saturday, October 28, 2023 doesn't get old...

 Savoring the silence here, home all alone with the doggies and the kitties.  Everyone else is somewhere else, and here I am.  I got up this morning, and visited with Miss Sonja when she got in the door from her night shift.  She ate a snack, then went to bed.  I enjoyed the quiet, washed dishes, did some laundry, perused the internet, then went out the door.  

My first stop was the thrift store.  I found two brand new looking baby sleepers, and a cute little autumn top, a lovely sweater for me (I just LOVE it!).  I also bought a pair of Doc Marten sneaker boots, look brand new.  

Then, the craft store, all by myself, which was wonderful.  I mean, if someone is interested in it, by all means, come to the craft store with me, but having to hurry, meh.  

So I got to look around.  I had talked to Tennyson on the phone earlier, and told him when he comes to my house, he can paint.  So I got some watercolors, and more paper.  I also got a few little Halloween things for the kids, like glow-in-the-dark worms and a light up pumpkin necklace for 70% off.  There was a 50% off any one item coupon, and 30% off any other full priced items, so it was quite reasonable.  

The Christmas stuff was out, and oooh, so tempting...but at only 40% off, nah.  I don't need ANY of it anyway.  But it's fun.

My last stop was Aldi, for lasagna fixings.  The family is coming over tomorrow, and I'm kind of excited to be making more fall/wintery food.  I haven't boiled lasagna noodles in years, I've always just made it the day before with lots of extra water and sauce, it turns out fantastic.  Now they make no-boil noodles, in fact it was all they had at Aldi.  So I can just put it together tomorrow, so I don't have to clear a big space in the refrigerator.  

I bought Italian bread to make garlic bread, and stuff for a salad.  I also bought one steak for tonight, because the kids are gone for the weekend, and it'll only be Paul and I...when he gets in from hunting.  (he did get a deer the other day, but sadly it was nearing the end of the day, and that deer ran and ran, and he couldn't find it...then it started getting dark, so he had to give it up for the coyotes...)

Tonight, I'll pan fry the steak, which has been coming to room temp with some seasonings, ( I actually used Everything But The Bagel with jalapeño, it's so good, we'll see how it is on a sirloin...)(and yes, steak when the kids are gone, ha...), I have sweet potatoes sliced into fries and soaking in cold water, I'll oven fry them with some Buffalo sauce, and we'll have some salads.   I haven't eaten anything yet today, so I'm pretty excited about dinner.

Yesterday was mostly a stay-at-home day.  Three daughters came to visit with eight grandchildren.   

I do love being Grandma.  This is baby Denzel, Molly and Josh's baby.
Kathryn holding her Jamison (the big lunker there) and little Blythe, Margaret and Adrian's baby girl.
Rhys with her favorite book, 26 Princesses.
Opheila and Tennyson, cousins and frenemies.  :)

There were some fights yesterday, but they're learning to get along.  I do love having them all over.  It's crazy but so much fun.  

In the afternoon, I went out to our church to help out with the youth weekend food.  120 pizzas to assemble (plus some gluten free ones)  and pans of chicken tenders to oven fry, then douse in various sauces.  I lasted two and a half hours, then decided to throw in the towel.  There was a good crew there, and I was able to leave.  My knees start to lock up when I stand too long, and my hip gets iffy.  I WANT to help, and I WANT to do all the things, but I have to learn my limits.  By the way, it was great fun, and I'm glad I am able to help at least some.

When the sun is coming up and I'm already up, yay!
Somebody's sad.  She misses Paul when he's not here.  She keeps looking out the window, resting her head on the back of the futon like a lost soul.  Do you like what she's done with her Cookie Monster?  She still plays with it, all ripped up and unstuffed.  

My day has gone by too fast. I washed the thrift store clothes, vacuumed and mopped the floor.  I washed my bedding yesterday, and my top comforter today.  I vacuumed my room too.  Now I have to get out of my comfy chair, feed the dogs, and start dinner.  

Life is interesting.  There are horrible shocking things happening in the world, and there are good things too.  Today, for example, a sweet and kind grandma was shopping with a little girls for a Halloween costume.  They very obviously didn't have a big budget, but the grandma was so uplifting and encouraging , heaping praise on that little girl.  You are so beautiful, you are going to look so nice in this!  The child didn't want to choose, she wanted to just buy all the options, it was clear that wasn't going to happen, but oh dear, it was sweet to see.  

I also get tickled pink about the Aldi Car Do-Gooders.  So magnanimous:  here ma'am, no, keep your quarter!  We all love to do something for others sometimes.  But you do have to watch your Cart Karma, you cannot get a quarter back if you got the cart for free, no sir.  

Also, the cashier in the craft store was as nice as can be.  She complimented my hair, of all things.  But she was sunny and kind, and very helpful, made the craft store experience even better.

There are also trials in life.  Things we cannot wrap our minds around, things that are too sad for words.  Things we have absolutely no idea how to handle, or how we're going to make it through.  It is beyond me how anyone can even fathom getting through these things without faith that God sends exactly what we need, lovingly, in hope that we trust Him, and get saved in our troubles.  

Have a good Saturday evening...

Thursday, October 26, 2023

seriously BIG plans, and pies, pies, pies....

 The big plans involve pies, too.  We are:  having Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  Camille and I were swimming around in the sunshine in Arizona, and I was prattling on about how we could possible make it work, to just invite the family over...we have barbecues and gatherings here all year long, but a sit down feast, it's tight.  But I thought about it, then that very same day, actually within the hour, I talked to Evelyn on the phone about something, and she said I also wanted to talk to you about Thanksgiving...she had the same idea!  To just make it work.

We will have between 18 and 22 adults, 8 children, and four babies.  It'll take planning and strategy, and there will be some chaos.  We're thinking to plan the meal and have the guests come just an hour or so before we plan to eat, as actually cooking with that many people here may be challenging.  

Last year the small families had dinner together, Ben and Ashley went to some close friends' place, and we had dinner at Emily's with just the singles, and Molly and Josh and family.  It was nice, but we thought we'd try this.  If it's too crazy, we can do something different next year.

Yesterday, Miss Camille and I set out towards Target to get the chicken for the pot pies.  Of course that meant dawdling and meandering, and some browsing.  She found jean shorts and a cute little summer top, this is when to buy them!  We looked at the toys, there was one 25% coupon off a toy, I chose a Little Woodeez family for my collection.  (for the grandkids, of course, ha).  We looked at the Hearth and Hand stuff, Magnolia stuff, that we admire but don't buy.  I did buy three mugs on clearance though, shh.  We got our chicken stock, and chicken breast, and some lunch meat and a bag of ice, and home we went.  

Jonathan went to the stand down the road for apples, I made one big nice apple pie.  My pies aren't much to look at, but oh my it was good. 

Camille made up the pumpkin filling, she also made four double batches of crust in the food processor, I tossed them with ice water and made the crusts to put in the refrigerator to chill.  I cubed up about seven pounds of chicken breast, browned it up, added onion powder, salt and pepper, and some Everything But The Bagel seasoning with jalapeños, then two things of chicken stock, two bags of frozen mixed veggies, and three peeled cubed potatoes.  I thickened it up with cornstarch, and it was more than enough.  

Again, I don't make an attractive pie, but with rosemary, flaked salt, and coarse ground pepper on top, oh my it was good...there were three of these chicken pot pies. (the leftover filling was bagged up and frozen, one of these days I can simply make the crusts and have enough for a nice big pot pie)

My excuse for this pumpkin pie, which was absolutely delicious, is that I wasn't careful when testing it for doneness...we were in a hurry, had to put those pot pies in so we could eat!  These autumn days, getting darker earlier, it seemed so late, although it really wasn't.  

The boys who were here last night.  Wouter, Jon, Oskar, and Linus.  (There was one more who took the pic, and went on the trip with them, but he went home to Norway for a conference, Victor).  

One of the boys, Oskar, brought us some chocolate bars!  Norwegian chocolate is the best!

Now this fine morning, I have things to do and places to go.  It's a big weekend for the kids, it's Fall Camp, a few hundred young people getting together for encouragement and fun and activities, and good food.  Emily is heading up the kitchen, I have a few things to go shop for this morning for her, and I'll be helping out for a few hours Friday evening.  Her theme is Warm and Cozy:). 

The days do fill up, and I am thankful for that.  
Orange Guy is all settled in next to my computer, he likes to help me blog.  Cats are very smart, they know how to keep warm.  

Have a really nice day!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

another big day!

Yesterday started out as a medium sized day, but as we went to Costco, after vacuuming and cleaning up the house...brought home some Costco hot dogs and pizza slices for lunch, and a few chickens for dinner....along with the other things we didn't know we needed...

Camille really needed a new coat.  Has anyone noticed there are way less options for shopping these days?
I mean, K-Mart, Sears, all those mall stores...we do have a big mall in the big city, but it's not the safest place anymore, we just don't go there.  
Jamie, Achilles, Rhys...(she fell in a stony parking lot the day before, poor girl)...

Some lucky trick-or-treaters will get these...I'm going to Margaret and Adrian's house to help pass out candy, so I can see the grandkids dressed up.  

Maeve Louise
Ruth Eleanor
With Grant

Anyway...Grace was here with her three little ones, as we pulled into the driveway.  One small child had an accident, one small child stepped in dog stuff, there were popsicles to put in the freezer, and other exciting details.  Babies needed feeding, and children needed feeding.  We got settled in, and had a cozy afternoon with coffee for us...and popsicles for the kids.  Camille made cupcakes for Activity Club, as we were celebrating Elise's birthday, six years old.

(Activity Club was too much fun.  We set up a play vet clinic, and they each got a dr. kit from the dollar store, in a little party favor bag with mini packs of M&M's and fruit snacks...they put bandaids on their stuffed animals, and there was a real puppy there too...

He was the life of the party, Mr. Remington.  He loves the kids, loves people.

Maeve and Denzel, cousins, and a happy grandma.

This fine day, I'm going to the pool, then to the store, then making three pot pies, an apple pie, and a pumpkin pie.  Jonathan is back from a trip across the country with four of his European friends.  They started out a few weeks ago, drove south, then west, then north, then back east.  They are all going to be here for dinner tonight.  So I have to get moving, have to clean up the house too.  I feel a day late and a dollar short...doesn't help that I had a coffee on the way to Activity Club last evening, ugh.  I could NOT fall asleep, then when I did, oh no, it was that should I get up to use the bathroom, or ignore it and have an awful night...I got up.  I had to fall asleep all over again, it was two o'clock.  I woke up at six, and had to get up at 6:30, so just stayed up.  

Anyway.  Sonja is home from work, so goodbye for now!

Sunday, October 22, 2023

sweet sweet summertime...


Vanilla custard from Culver's...but hey, I was supposed to have one when I was here in August and never got to it.  :)
Oh yes, my happy place, in the sun.  I had to whole pool to myself for a little while.  It was coldish, but the sun and 85 degree weather made it excellently pleasant.  I got in and moved and swam and it was amazing.  

(Yeah, we went to the dreaded Z-Hills Wallyworld.  It's overstimulating, people walk the wrong way, and there are a lot of rascals (the riding wheelchairs).  But, we wanted some Greek yogurts, and bananas.  Shh, we may have gotten a bag of peanut butter cups.)
Walmart is that-a-way.  Right across the parking lot.  (A few people joined me out there)
That's Lowe's back there.
The Lowe's parking lot.  Truly and seriously.  But the trees planted around it do help fool one into thinking it's just a tropical paradise.

We have been Accidental Slobs.  One of us took a shower without tucking in the shower curtain and flooded the bathroom.  One of us spilled a Diet Coke because of a computer cord entanglement.  The ice bucket leaked and water dripped off the counter all over.  One of us spilled Chik-Fil-A sauce all over the bed.   The toilet hasn't been flushing well, but the desk lady said it's been an ongoing issue.   

This fine morning, we visited Grandma early.  She isn't doing the greatest.  She's tired.  She doesn't want to eat much, and isn't interested in much.  It's rather sad, it's more than that, it's profoundly sad.  We went over to see her again in the afternoon and went to the dining room for dinner with her.  She ate a few fries, and that's it.  We brought her a chocolate milk shake from Culver's but she didn't want it.  :(

Mariel and I stopped at Five Guys and got burgers with no buns, and cajun fries.  Now we're settled into our nice comfy hotel room again, ahh.  Tomorrow it's time to pack up the suitcase, head toward the airport, return the spiffy rental car, and wait in the line for security.   

We're going back to autumn, and it's okay.  I hate saying goodbye to grandma though...

Saturday, October 21, 2023

here we are, back in summertime...

 Walking out of the airport in Florida is always a delight.  There's a tropical scent.  Warmth.  It's not like we're deep into winter in New York yet, in fact it's been delightful fall weather.  But Florida, I love the visits.  

We landed in Tampa at 8:30, and by 11:30, we were showered and in our comfy beds.  We had our dinner on the plane:  some popcorn, pumpkin muffins, and some nuts.  We considered stopping for something else to eat on the way to the hotel, but ugh, who wants to eat late at night then sleep?  Well, me, duh.  But we didn't.  

The airport experience was frustrating.  We had to go all the way down to baggage claim, then back up to the car rentals, on a second tram, it took a while.  It's always fun to get into a different car, but Mariel did fine.  I was the navigator, and we got here with no issues.  

This morning, I woke up at 6 ish with the usual contemplation:  should I ignore that I have to pee, or just get up and go?  Getting up means being wide awake, but ignoring is no fun...I got up.  But what do you know, I actually fell back to sleep!  It was wonderful!  

The top of the clouds.  A woman in my water aerobics class has never been on a plane.  I was astounded.  This is the fifth flight I've taken just this year!  But I realized how absolutely awesome it is that we can see what the top sides of the clouds look like...and to get to Florida in less than three hours, wowza.

Well, I'm thinking about coffee, and about getting out of this bed and starting my day, and about why don't I have four big fluffy pillows on my bed at home...have a really good day!

Friday, October 20, 2023

I'm leaving autumn to visit summer...


The of my favorite things, it's a wax warmer, so cozy.  (under twenty bucks at Walmart, at least when I got it a few years ago...there's a pumpkin spice melt in there now, mmm)...and a lazy doggy.
Turkeys in the back yard..
A playground yesterday with Achilles and Rhys and Kathryn (and baby Jamison, he was in the stroller)
Love the shoes?  Shh, I got them at the thrift store, Gymboree, brand new:  $2.24.  

In twenty minutes, I'll scoop up my backpack

(what?!  You don't pop popcorn before a trip to eat on the plane?!  There's also beef jerky, dark chocolate covered açaí, chili lime cashews, smokehouse almonds, and a few Keto caramel bars.  Oh, and some almost Keto pumpkin spice muffins...I made them last night, almond flour and coconut flour, but instead of the half cup of fake sugar (Swerve, ect.), I used 1/4 cup of honey.  I haven't heard good things about artificial sweeteners, and don't really like them either, even monk fruit.  It tastes ewww.  I don't love the almond flour constancy, am thinking to put it in the food processor next time to smooth it out.)

(We're flying Breeze Airlines...we flew it once's a budget airline but with newer planes, nice comfy seats, but no snacks...and Mariel worked all day, so I told her I'd bring some dinner...sort of dinner...we're flying out of a small airport, no good choices there to buy after security)

anyways, I interrupted myself.  I will scoop up my backpack, and head out the door.  Before that happens, I have to change out of my comfy sweatpants and my spiffy new Walmart shirt I bought yesterday for $8, I really like it.  I will put on my Traveling Dress.  I am a creature of habit, and I like traveling in a big comfy dress with pockets.   I will wear my Birkenstocks, because even here in autumn in New York, I am still wearing them...they'll be fine in Florida.

I also baked cookies for Grandma, they just cooled off enough to bag them up and put a small container of them in the suitcase.  I feel like I didn't pack well, I just did threw some things in the bag, and I'm going to get there and wonder what I was thinking...but we're only going to Florida, there's a Walmart there if I need anything, right?

Ah well, I've used up every single minute...Sonja woke up, so kindly, to bring us to the airport...Paul is going to, so one of them can drive Mariel's car home, she is heading there from work...she's very tired because she worked last night...she said I don't make the rules of tiredness...she only slept a few hours...night shifts are challenging, I guess.  

Off I go....see you in Florida!!!