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

Monday, January 29, 2024

one a sparkly Monday morning...

 Fresh snow covered the mud and brown, just enough to brighten up the world as I drove to the pool this fine morning.  Being in the water is always worth the mental battle to actually pack the backpack and go out the door, never regret going.  I am super thankful we have such a place less than ten minutes from here.  

Yesterday we had lunch at my brother's house, with lots of our friends. 

That's my sister in blue, and my brother is sixth from the back on the left, his wife next to me, in the pink. Paul is all the way down the table on the right, with the dark hat on.  We had good food and good fun, and the hours flew by, but not without more plans being hatched to get together again soon.  We have a weekend reserved for a place on one of the Finger Lakes, just the girls.  :)

I brought chocolate chip cookies, and lemon cookies.  If you're ever in a pinch and want to make cookies fast, if you have cake mix, you're in luck.  I've made lemon poppyseed cookies with plain yellow cake mix before and they were really good, just add two eggs, half cup of oil, lemon extract, and the poppyseeds.  Yesterday I used lemon cake mix, added lemon extract, the two eggs and half cup of oil, 350 for eight minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar when hot, and I think they were good.  I didn't have one.  I have to stay away from cookies.  That doesn't mean I never eat anything "bad", because I had some chocolate yesterday.  I also devoured the coconut almonds from Trader Joe's, that Emily got me for Christmas, they are too good.  I'm just so stuck in a rut with weight loss, I can't start eating cookies again!

Anyway.  I made a big batch of meatballs yesterday morning, roasted them in the oven until they were brown and crunchy on the outside, then added them to a crockpot of crushed tomatoes, sauce, and diced tomatoes, with basil and Italian seasoning.  That feeling that dinner is taken care of, can't beat it.

This afternoon, I have to go pick Miss Charlotte Claire up from school for an appointment, then we're stopping at the grocery store.  We're having a couple of people over for dinner, Jonathan invited them.  We're thinking to have taco salad, which we just had the other day, but it's a good meal for large groups, and it's always good.  

I've been in some interesting battles lately.  The silliest one is the cat:  Orange Guy has been waking me up MEOWING, every SINGLE morning.  This morning, it was 6:05, which is not a huge-0 deal, I get up at 6:30-ish anyway, but still.  Sometimes it's 3:30 or four a.m., and I cannot get back to sleep.  The easy fix is:  last one up, put him outside.  But sometimes it's just too cold, and too mean.  It just grates on me, that after all these years of being tired, getting up with kids and babies, I'm losing sleep over a cat.  

The more interesting trials though, are thoughts.  I start down the poor me train, not even over anything specific, but once you start, it's clear, no one really likes me.  Then the guilt, others have it so much worse, I have NOTHING to complain about, stop it.  It's true, I don't have anything to complain about.  But feelings are complicated, and they're real, and we each get to decide what thoughts we let take up permanent residence in our heads.  If we wallow, and give in, then there's a good chance we'll get bitter, offended, and build walls in our hearts.  

Sometimes it's good to just talk to people and clear things up, or take a walk or a drive with no distractions, and think about things.  Peace comes, for me, when I decide to be thankful to God for the people around me, and let things go. 

Anyway.  Time to get ready...have a good day!

Saturday, January 27, 2024

dark, damp, and chilly...with some fog

The weather here is absolutely fantastic.  I actually love it.  It's like fake movie scenery, driving along the country roads, with the dark outline of the naked trees shrouded in fog.  The bleakness is comforting.  It makes me long for coffee and a good book.  BTW, I picked up "A Patchwork Planet", Anne Tyler, from the thrift store recently, thought I had already read it...but nope.  I relished it.  Devoured, enjoyed, delighted in it.  

This fine morning, I vacuumed and cleaned up, because I'm quite obsessed with the new floors.  I like keeping them all clean and nice.  Then it was time to go out to the mentor's weekend and help Emily in the kitchen.  She had to plan and purchase food for 240 people, four meals and an afternoon snack.  I helped her do lunch, with some of the younger ones.  They are hilarious, so gung ho to do things.  

I only last a few hours on my feet and have to take a break, so I went to Kathryn's house for a visit.  Margaret was there with her little ones too. 

This is what happened when Kathryn asked Who wants to see Jamie's tooth?
They're all so cute.

Home...we're home...I made a roast with red skinned potatoes, carrots, and onions, in a nice gravy, then a keto-ish pumpkin bread with raisins.  (keto-ish because I used a teaspoon of molasses, and another one or two of honey, then a bit of golden monk fruit sweetener, for a total of  less than a quarter cup in all, for sweetener.  I also used almond flour.)  It's a recipe from chocolatecovderedkatie. 

I also added some raisins, hence "keto-ish".    It's pretty good.  The roast was in for half hour at 450, then to 325 for an hour with the potatoes and carrots in, with the lid on, which was perfect so I could bake the bread at the same time.   But shh, I overcooked the was still delicious, but it should have come out earlier.  Oh well. 

The triple batch of chocolate chip cookies I made yesterday...why?  I haven't the foggiest.  I just wanted something to do.  I have not even tasted one bite, not even the dough.  Before you admire my virtue, know this:  I am a Cookie Monster, and I love cookies.  I already know these are good.  I just do.  So I don't eat them.  Does that make sense?

Ah well...I'm tired enough.  That cat woke me up at dawn, on a Saturday!  He walks around MEOWING.  Over and over, meowing and meowing until someone, ME, gets up and lets him out.  Suri sees what's going on and runs out the door too, which means someone, ME, has to stand there and wait until she's done galavanting around the yard.  Wide awake, I stumble back to the warm bed, and wish, hope, dream...of falling back into that blissful sleep.  This fine morning though, it was 6:30...not too early for SOME of you, but I had teenaged girls here having laugh attacks at 2:15 am.  :), way too late to attempt to get back to sleep...ugh.

Ah well, there are worse things.  I'm tired now, and heading to bed...

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

um, no thank you?

 I forget how old I am sometimes.  This fine rainy winter day, I went out and about all by my lonesome.  We needed:  butter, cream, garlic powder, flour, sugar.  I also had to get some coffee for Emily for a mentors' weekend, so I went to BJ's for that.  I wandered, dawdled, and lolly-gagged.  I found a pillow I didn't know I needed, marked down to $9.98, a big foam wedge/headboard pillow, I cannot wait to get it out and try it.  I got a three pack of large bottles of Dove body wash for $7.48, a four-pack of butter, a package of burger, and a big box of hand warmers for Paul for ice fishing and hunting.  

As I rounded an aisle,  an old man sank down onto the display sectional couch, and sighed loudly.  Ahhhh. "Comfy, eh?  You're not going to want to get up."  "Oh, it's so nice, try it!  Sit down, it's so comfortable!"  um...I'll take your word for it.  Actually, I said, "Oh, I couldn't, I'd never get up."  Then I realized it wasn't really an OLD man, he was no older than I am.   Did he think I would really sit down on the couch with him?  awkward!  Anyway.

Aldi next, where a nice lady gave me her cart and waved away the quarter.  Apparently there's extra karma  when you pay for the cart then give it away.  

I saw a lady who gets my Bad Mom Award.   She gave her two small children the squishy pets, whatever they're called, Valentines's gimmicks, to play with in the cart.  I saw her a few times, it's a small store, and she kept telling her kids that they could only play with them in the store, they had to put them back before they checked out because they weren't buying them.  So you can play with the toys and get them all drool-y then put them back?  who knew?  

No surprise, they cried when she took them away.  I actually sided with the kids.  The mom did get points for saying what she meant and meaning what she said, but it was kind of mean.  AND kind of mean for those who bought those "new" toys, maybe?  

But then who knows what kind of day she's had, or what's going on in her life.  

In Aldi I got a cheese pizza because it was under five bucks, red potatoes, cajun cheese curds for Paul, bacon, cream, flour, sugar, some boxed stuffing, and some shelves for inside a cabinet.  

Home...ahh, home.  Camille had made chocolate Macarons with chocolate fluff middles. 

They weren't gray, just the lighting.
She made a bunch of them, I just grabbed three for the picture.  I didn't have one but they said they were delicious.   I did try this pie though...just a tiny bit.
I've been wanting to make apple pie.  It's not beautiful, but oh dear, so yum.  I also made two chicken pot pies, mmm, and a no sugar added pumpkin, although it does have some honey and a tiny bit of stevia, and monk fruit.  

Tonight's dinner was the pizza, and taco salad with red onions, cilantro, fresh salsa, ect.  

This morning, I didn't go to the pool. I was up and ready, but I had something in my eye, I know, lame, but it was watering and getting red, and watering more.  I don't know what the issue was, but it went on for half the morning.  I didn't want to go and look like I had pinkeye, and plus, my nose was running from the eye watering, and not in the pool!  I hate when I miss it, and dang, for something like that.  

I kept myself occupied though, I took everything out of the pantry and cleaned it.  The dog food bag had ripped, or some-doggy ripped it, so it was a big and thorough job.  It's good to get an idea of exactly what's in there, and to weed through some open boxes and get things organized better.  

I'm telling you, I don't get bored.  All those years of not being able to do anything without fifty interruptions, I just revel in taking my time and puttering around.  When the kids were plentiful and underfoot, one of my priorities was clean floors.  Way back when, the living room was carpeted, so it was vacuumed every day.  The kitchen/dining room was swept multiple times a day, and mopped and spot cleaned so there wasn't any sticky.  Sixteen kids, and I have always hated  sticky.  Crumbs too, no walking in crumbs, nope.  My house was far from spotless, some of the kids rooms were actual hurricanes at times, some bordered on pig styes.  They didn't eat in their rooms though, it was just toys and clothes.  But anyway.  The floors had to be clean, and oh my goodness, it was painstakingly difficult to accomplish anything.  

I turned into a shover.  I wanted things neat and clean, so I shoved things wherever they fit, got them put away, then the cupboards and closets got messy and I couldn't find things.  

When we went out and about, the kids were clean and neat and pretty well behaved, so you can't have everything, you can't DO everything, at least I couldn't.

Oh I ramble on....have a really good night.  

Saturday, January 20, 2024

snow globe Saturday...


She's the smart pup today...

I'm thinking to mosey out to the kitchen and bake some low sugar almond flour molasses cookies.  Dinner tonight?  Not even sure yet.  I've been puttering around putting things back, vacuuming and dusting, there is no end to the dust...
Fast forward to after dinner:  I made Thai coconut lime chicken soup with some rice.  It's actually pretty good.  Then the low carb cookies, they didn't come out the same as last time, but still taste good.

Lemon cookies because I'm going to a friend's house tonight, and we're celebrating Emily's birthday.  She likes lemon.  I decided to do a summer themed plate, and bring some raspberries and blueberries with the cookies.  

Jon, Oscar, was below zero up in the Adirondacks, they're not staying another night...heading home now.
Boys.  They just have to do crazy things.  
Rhys in the snow!

Margaret posted this picture, Adrian sent it to her...crazy.  

Emily is picking me up to go to the little celebration, so thankful.  It has snowed here ALL DAY LONG.  It wasn't even showing on the radar, and we were supposed to get just a few inches.  But sometimes those bands of lake effect snow coming off Ontario just settle in and douse us in big fluffy flakes that add up to knee deep snow.  

Ah well....have a good evening, and stay warm!

Friday, January 19, 2024

and finally, the happy news!

 Sonja K. is engaged!  

I didn't want to spoil it for her before she got the pictures done (strykingphotography, excellent pics, Susan!).   Sonja and Oscar met a few years ago, he is one of Jonathan's friends, from Norway.  I won't tell their whole story, but they are pretty happy, don't you think?  He'll be moving to the U.S. :)

Our floors are in!  The trim is not,  but soon.  I love the wide planks, and I love the warmth.  They seem to hide a lot of dust, because there still is a lot of dust.  I haven't gotten everything back in order yet, but I'm working on it. 

Pretty nice though, right?  
Same floor, different lighting.  The nice thing is there are no transitions between the rooms!  It's all one stretch of flooring, and I love love love it.  Once I get things really cleaned up, I'll take a few more pictures, even if no one really cares, ha.  

This fine morning, I brought Evelyn to the airport, for a work trip/visit to Phoenix to see Aaron and Riley. Then Camille and I went to Target for chicken, some hangers, beef jerky, and some chips.   Then into Price Chopper for a salad kit for Sonja for her work dinner, and to redeem the rain checks I had for strip steak for $5.99 a pound. 

Home...we drove through a few fluttering flurries, but no white-outs.  It's cold though, and tomorrow will be colder.  Fittingly, Paul's going ice fishing.  Jonathan went camping.  Camping in the Adirondacks, with Oscar and their friend Matt.  BRRR.  In a lean to, not a camper, btw. Jon: "We want to practice building our own shelter, and scout it out for bear hunting."  Charlotte Claire and Camille are in Ottowa for the weekend...everyone is enjoying winter, I guess.

I am too.  I really am.  The crispy cold, the coziness, the blankets, the evening tea, the comfort food...tonight it was only Paul and I for dinner, so we had those steaks, pan-seared with butter and rosemary, lots of freshly ground salt and pepper, oh so good.  I really like the bagged salads mixes, we shared an Asian salad with lots of crunchy cabbage, sliced almonds and little wonton strips, I don't eat dressing on mine, just salt and pepper, and usually a few craisins.  Then Paul came out with a Norwegian chocolate bar, hazelnut, and oh dear, a few squares of that...six.  Six squares, it's so good.  

We watched a few episodes of "Reacher", now he's gathering up his gear for tomorrow.  I used to go ice fishing with him. thank you.  It's nice to be outside, but when you've had enough, you still have to stay outside.  So I'll stay here with Sonja, and organize some more cabinets. 

  It's almost addictive, to throw away the stuff you don't need.  Oscar fixed one of our broken cabinets, and we sorted through a bunch of water bottles that no one uses anymore.  We each have one or two, so these are the extras from years past.  I bagged some nicer ones to donate, and the others to throw away.  Paul got the bags mixed up and threw away the nice ones, he already went to the dump.  oops.  Anyway, now there's an empty cabinet!  What shall I put in it?  I'd like to have one of those kitchens with the sparklingly empty countertops, but getting the air fryer out every time?  It's hard enough to lug out the kitchen aid, and the toaster?  We keep it out.  Then there's the tea kettle for coffee water, and the coffee grinder and espresso machine, those stay out because they are used all day long here.  

It does make me more cautious about buying things, do we really need it?  It's sickening, really, to throw things into the landfills so willy-nilly.  That's one reason I really like the thrift store, getting a second use out of it, then sometimes donating it back, especially toys and books.   

I wish I had bought lots of apples today, maybe I'll go visit the apple lady down the road, tomorrow,  and see if she still has any in storage.  I just feel like making apple pie... and maybe a pot pie...mmmm.  Have a really nice night.

Thursday, January 18, 2024


 The kitchen flooring is almost done.  The downstairs hallway is halfway done.  We still need the trim, and the stairs are a project for another day, but hopefully not in the too distant future.  (We're ripping off the carpet, and instead of replacing it, we'll sand and stain some tread/boards, then water based polyurethane matte finish, then just paint the risers white).  

I want to wait until it's all done and back in order to show how nice it is, but here's one from right now:

We've cleaned and dusted and wiped things down, but there is still so much dust, have to wait until it's finished to really clean up.   

Cartoons with grandpa!
Waffle bowls with whipped cream for breakfast, these two had a sleepover!  They slept on the futon in the living room and I slept on the couch across from them.  It was midnight when they finally settled in, but they are so cute.  They woke up at 8:20, not too bad.  (The waffle bowls:  I bought the waffle bowl iron/maker at the thrift store recently for three dollars, it looked like it had never been used.  The boys were delighted.)

Today has been an absolute delight.  I stayed home and organized things.  You cannot tell, the place is still topsy turvy, as the floor isn't quite done yet, but I cleaned out the two junk drawers, the spice cabinet/medicine cupboard (the winner was a 2012 script for Camille, a cough med, do NOT know how that survived all the clean outs ha).  The cupboard that stores the coffee, tea, peanut butter, nuts, ect., also got a nice clean out, as well as the lower cabinets where all the pesky storage containers are.  

Now I'm tired.  :). But, I still have to make dinner.  We're having fajitas, so it won't be too hard.  Charlotte Claire and Camille are both doing school work, and Jonathan is home from work now, working on the kitchen floor.  I shall finish my afternoon coffee and get busy on dinner in just a few minutes.  My comfy chair is extra comfy right now...

Today is Emily Anne's birthday.  I became a mother 39 years ago, on a freezing cold day in January.  Emily was absolutely perfect.  Her birth, well...not so perfect, although it ended well enough, a beautiful healthy baby girl, the most beautiful baby ever born.  She was transverse, so after signing all the papers for a possible c-section, into the OR/Delivery room I went, and was put to sleep for a mid-forceps delivery.   I will be kind, and not go into details of the...never mind.  But the healing up was rough.  These days, no doctor would attempt that, would they?

Anyway.  I woke up briefly to Paul crying happy tears, and I asked what time it was.  Then I asked him if it was better than shooting a deer.  Then I woke up again and I was in a room, looking at my inky fingers from the fingerprinting they do, is that still done?  Paul was holding her, saying, "We have a girl first, a baby girl!"  I said, "FIRST?  I am NOT doing that again!"  Well.  um.

Emily grew up way too fast.  She could read when she was four, and Paul told her she couldn't turn five, she had to stay four on every birthday.  She didn't listen.  

Her idea of a good birthday is probably staying home and not having to go anyplace in the evening.  But I am going to get her something, and stop over sometime.  Her house is warm and cozy, a perfect place for a winter visit.  

Ah well, as with every sit in the comfy chair, it must end sometime, and it's time to get up and move again.    There's dinner to be made and it won't make itself.  (Paul is cleaning up the scrap linoleum and taking care of the flooring's been a very busy few days here at our big dusty house!).   Have a good evening, stay warm!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

no complaints here...

 ...yet I am full of them, to the brim.  We watch HGTV, usually only when we travel for some reason, never turn it on here at home, but never mind the tangent.  HGTV:  they fix the dumpy issues in no time flat, instant gratification.  REAL LIFE:  ha.  Yesterday, the living room flooring was ripped up and the new was being put down, as we moved furniture from place to place.  The kitchen floor was not clear enough, all the tile was gone, and we had wasted elbow grease cleaning up dust...only to have to chisel and scrape more of the old glue yesterday (can't complain, I didn't do any scraping!). It was determined we needed underlayment over that floor because some of the remnants of glue and cement won't come off, Paul went  off to Home Depot to spend more money.  

We are doing all the same flooring in the kitchen, living room, hallway...hoping to avoid the ugly thresholds, you know, where there's an edge piece between the rooms, mostly where two different floors meet up.  Well, turns out we might need to do that because the floor height is different, and we don't want any cracked planking.  So I'm not complaining.  It's awful, we get something so wonderful as new flooring, but wah wah wah, it's not going to be exactly how I wanted, and HGTV-ZILLA appears.  

The living room is still a dump.  I vacuumed the whole couch on Sunday, then it got covered with dust again.  Same with the kitchen counters, stove, ect.   We did cover all the plants and some other things with plastic sheeting, but we didn't bother hanging it in the doorways again, as they were going back and forth with boxes of flooring, ect.  So dust, and more dust.

I think that part is done, but I am not cleaning everything up until the flooring is all down.  That's when I'll take the pictures too.  It's not like I will be just sitting around all day though.  I'm going out and about with my sister, then I'll try to get the living room into some semblance of order, because Wulf and Tennyson are coming over to spend the night.  I'm thinking we'll have a sleepover right in the living room.  I have ribs that have to be cooked, so I'm thinking instant pot, and I also have steak I bought on Saturday that HAS to be cooked, poor me, right?  The kitchen was way too dusty and messy to cook on Saturday, and we were too tired too.  Yesterday afternoon, we ended up going to Costco and getting a chicken.

Cam with Jamie, Charlotte Claire, Kathryn in the background...we did have a hot dog there too, so no one was very hungry for dinner.  I just had some of the rotisserie chicken, some peanuts (Costco/Kirkland Virginia peanuts are too good), celery, carrots, and cucumbers, and some of those cookies I made the day before.  

So tonight, there shall be dinner, I hope.  I'll be cooking and cleaning and vacuuming and sorting and wanting everything all back together lickety-split.  I will have tons of energy, and I'll be happy and smiling.  :)

Last night was one of those hollowed-out nights.  I fell asleep nicely, which doesn't always happen, but I was very tired.  Then I woke up.  I tossed and turned, one arm fell asleep when everything else was comfy, so I had to roll over, my hip started aching, the whole shebang.  I went to the bathroom, got back in bed, got comfy, nope.  3:30, 5:30....wide awake.  Then, as usual, around 6:30 or so, I fell asleep. I woke up at 7:03, because Paul had started working, and he works from our room.  Being on a zoom call snoring in bed is not my favorite, so up I got.  I looked in the mirror, and who is this hag?  

I did buy some Oil of Olay yesterday in Costco.  $9.97 for two.  But, it's not scented, and that's a rip off, because I want to take that cap off and sniff, and smell my mother.  It didn't make me look younger, by the way.  

Time to get up and get moving.  It's been so nice to sit here in my comfy chair, ignoring the jumble of furniture in the wrong places, procrastinating and assuring myself that it's better to do it all later when the flooring is done.  The trim has to be done too, not sure when it'll get done, last time we did the floor we never put it in the living room.  This time for sure ha.  (and it didn't kill me to not have it!  although it bothered me immensely at times)

 The view from my chair...lovely.  But, patience is a virtue, and seeking it brings peace to me, and to those around me.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and HGTV shows weren't either, we're just victims to good editing and time-lapse.  Yes, I will be thankful today, and it will be a good day.  

Sunday, January 14, 2024

living in dust...


Plastic sheeting to keep the dust in the kitchen might have worked better if the dogs hadn't decided they wanted to investigate every few minutes, going back and forth....

Jonathan has a work ethic like you wouldn't believe.  
Charlotte Claire and Camille pitched in a little...Camille helped bring up some boxes of flooring tonight too.

Today we took a break.  I vacuumed the couch and cleaned up more dust.  We went to church, then had NO ONE over after.  Emily jokingly asked what was for dinner, so I said, "Depression soup to match the decor."  

We ordered pizza and wings last night, just Paul and Jon and me.  It wasn't such a hard day for me, because they did most of the work, but I was here helping move things and sweep things up, ect.  I couldn't really make dinner with the kitchen like that, and I didn't really feel like it.  (The girls were with friends, but came home with their friend Amanda when I got home with the pizza...Camille made donuts for them...) Jon though, he didn't keep his dust mask on because it fogged up his glasses, and he was wheezing by evening.  It was NOT fun.  He's much better now, but jeepers, don't do that again.

Tomorrow is New Flooring Day, yay!  Darius is coming over to help install it.  I'm excited.

I did not make dinner today either.  We had leftover wings, so I had a few of those for lunch, then made some mostly sugar free cookies for dinner :'

2 cups almond flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt. 

2+tsp cinnamon, 2+ tsp ginger, nutmeg, allspice, caramom

  mix it all up

Separate bowl, 1/4 c butter

1 egg

1/2 cup sweetener (I used like a tablespoon of honey, some brown sugar swerve, golden monk fruit for a total of about 1/3 cup

1 tablespoon of molasses....beat the butter, add sugars, add egg, add molasses, mix in dry ingredients, roll in balls, bake in 350 oven for eight minutes, let set to harden up a bit.  They're chewy and spicy and not too shabby.  

For dinner, I had cookies, a sugar free greek yogurt, an orange, and some cherries.  :)

The kids made their own stuff (Camille had pierogis), leftover wings, leftover pizza, ect. school tomorrow, might not go to the pool as it's going to be FREEZING out, and we're doing the have a good night!

Saturday, January 13, 2024


 A home is more than a house, but when the house is home, it's treasured.  Home.  It's the people who make the house a home, and I am compelled to make my home a good place to be.  I'm not a super cleaner, or a good organizer, or even a good cook.  But I want people to feel welcome here.  My kids grow up and leave home, one by one, and make their own homes, as it should be of course, but...they can always come here for a visit.

Growing up in the same house from the time I was a toddler to when I got married and moved out, I still have dreams of home.  Going there through the years to visit my parents, it was a safe place, a good place, but it's someone else's house now, as my parents have both passed away.  Sometimes I dream that we move from this house, and I wonder with longing why?  What happened to the house with the blue countertops?  I loved that place!

It's no mansion.  We (when I say we, I mean Paul and my brothers...I was busy taking care of five small children in our mobile home, raised them mostly by myself that year, while picking out carpeting and sinks and light fixtures and paint colors...but SO exciting!)  built it ourselves, and there are things we never even finished, and we built it to be big and functional. 

We have two and a half acres on a country road, extremely thankful we could raise our kids out here.  I'm thankful for our house.  Sometimes driving by other houses, I wonder if I'd actually like to live there, and so far, no.  Yes, I'd like new countertops and a built in pool and a fantastic new hot tub that works and isn't directly under the metal roof snow fall area, and a new vanity in the bathroom and a new water system to totally eliminate the iron water, and and and.  But.  When does it end?  There will always be something else, and while it's nice to have a nice place to live, there has to be contentment with what we have, too.

We have the plastic sheeting hung now, and all the kitchen stuff here in the living room and the laundry room, and Paul is out there pounding and scraping and hammering up that tile.  Jonathan is helping today too, but he's out procuring a tool to help.  Hopefully it all gets done today, and we can get the new flooring down tomorrow.  

Anyway, my childhood home:  green carpeting, paneled walls, a garage with wood metal runner sleds hanging in there, real Indian snowshoes and lacrosse sticks, metal trash cans with metal lids that could also be used as shields in pine-cone throwing games or hose wars, a tiny kitchen with gorgeous cherry cabinets, brown plaid furniture with hexagonal end tables complete with metal eagles, shag carpet in my room, beautiful hardwood flooring upstairs, a good closet for hide and seek, a warm heat register in the bathroom to sit in front of after playing outside, plenty of bread bags to line our boots with, jars of Tang in the cupboard (orange juice?  what's that?), margarine in reusable plastic cups or bowls in green, orange, golden yellow, ABC soup, Spam, Zagnut bars, Marathon Bars, Malo cups, Jujyfruits, chocolate babies, Sugar Daddies, Freakies cereal, canned fruit cocktail, the Sear's Christmas Wish book, the 25 inch colored tv with the wood frame, the black rotary phone with the short cord, Earth shoes, mood rings...

Ah well...

We have the room taped off with plastic sheets, but the dogs think that means to go in and out, leaving the plastic gaping open behind them, non stop, like little two year olds.  There are concrete dust footprints all over the living room, but this floor is coming up too.  They just don't know what their humans are up to.  

Have a good day, and maybe next time I post, there will be better pictures!

Friday, January 12, 2024

it's really happening!

Rhys and Achilles
Jamie and Sunny...

We went to the play space yesterday, it's a county subsidized play area for kids, a former blockbuster building.  It's a huge carpeted room, with little areas for play:  a grocery store with carts, registers, groceries...a restaurant area, a sensory area with kinetic sand, play dough, with foam cement blocks, building blocks, ect., toy power tools and hard hats, farm toys, dollhouse, camping area with toy grill and tent, baby area with foam mats and baby toys, a ship with a slide and fishing has nice bathrooms, a snack area, and everyone walks around in their socks to keep the floors cleaner.  It only costs ten bucks for a family, and that includes a second visit for free.  The kids really like it, and it's easy to keep an eye on them because it's big and open, bright and airy.

 Paul has started ripping up the tile.  It's super dusty in here, and we've not hung the plastic up to keep it out of the living room yet.  He just wanted to "see what we're dealing with." Dust, that's what we're dealing with.   Tomorrow, the real work begins.  I planned to get the tables out, the coats covered or removed from the entryway, the odds and ends taken off the counters, and we will, but haven't yet.  blah.  dust.  I think we need to rent a tile remover, because the tile itself will come up with the sledge hammer and tools, but the cement underneath is stubborn and thick.  Oh, it's going to be a big job.  

This fine morning, I was up before the birds.  Margaret started back to work, and had some important meetings today, so Camille and I drove up and watched the kids for a bit, then took Wulf and Tenny with us to Target.  Wulf wanted to make a deal when we got there:  I buy him a toy, or he wasn't getting out of the car.  (We went there not long ago, and found some really fun after-Christmas deals, and he remembered getting his Dino mask, ect.).  I told him my deal:  go in with us and have lots of fun, or we drive him back home.  He reluctantly got out of the car.  I did let them pick out yo-yos, then found a really cool science set marked down from $19.99 to $5.99, so I took it off the shelf and handed it to him.  He was beyond thrilled.  

We got chicken and popcorn and some pretzels, then headed to Aldi.  Tennyson wanted to go in, Wulf and Camille stayed in the car.  

The science kit was actually really cool, we made a volcano.
Tennyson likes to weigh things.

We got oranges and grapes, five 8-packs of pumpkin seltzer, it was marked down to 37 cents.  I don't LOVE it, but it's good, and I enjoy seltzer.  We got cheese and milk and sausages, and bagels, which Tennyson picked out.  

Home...ahh, home.  I made bacon and eggs and sausages and cut up some oranges, toasted the bagels, and we had brekky/lunch.  I had planned to make some cookies, I really want to try keto molasses cookies, and was going to make some regular molasses too, but the day got away from me.  We played and puttered around, and I made dinner:  chicken breast cut into strips, marinated in lime juice, dried and rolled in the baking powder/cornstarch/flour mixture with salt and pepper, and roasted in a 400 degree oven, in some olive and canola oil on parchment paper.  It gets nice and crispy, and we had it in tortillas (fajitas), with peppers, onions, fresh salsa, ect.  We also had rice.   Margaret came after work and had dinner with us, then packed up the kids and went home.  

It's quiet here now, the kids aren't home, Sonja is working, and Paul is working now too.  So it's just me and the pups and the kitties.   (we've paused the project until tomorrow, moved most of the furniture from the kitchen)

Ah well, I don't have much to say tonight.  I'm tired, but happy tired, it was a good day, a good week.  My hip is behaving, but my lower back, not so much, so leaning over - ugh.   ha, I'm old.  Oh dear me, my hip is acting up.  As if I'm ninety.  I was talking to a grandpa at the play place yesterday, about how it doesn't seem like our kids were as rambunctious and defiant as the grandchildren seem to be.  He says we just don't remember, and we were young then so it wasn't such a big deal.  There were a lot of grandparents there, one grandma in particular really struggled...her grandson fell from a bench, and it took her a good few minutes to amble over there, then to pick him up, and I commiserated with her from across the room, sent her some I feel your pain vibes.  It is a whole different ball game, chasing toddlers when you're older.  

If I could have a redo in life, I'd take better care of myself.  I would find better coping mechanisms when I was tired and couldn't get a nap, better than a stack of cookies or two.  I had a mindset that I was already fat, what did it matter?  I feel sorry for my old self.  I didn't have any hope, in that sense.  

Ah well...have a really good night and take care of yourselves.  

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

comfort food...

 Sunday:  chicken drums, mashed potatoes, stuffing...the drums were actually really good.  I marinated them in lime juice, then drained, dried, and rolled in baking powder, corn starch, flour with salt and pepper, then oven roasted with olive oil and canola oil on the parchment...I flipped them a few times so they got crispy, then made a sauce with butter, brown sugar and Frank's Hot sauce.

Monday:  Burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, fries, onion rings.

Tuesday:  chicken breast, cubed up, dredged in that baking powder/flour/corn starch mixture, browned up in oil, until crispy and done...this took a while, 6+ pounds of chicken so several batches...then stir fried peppers, onions, broccoli, and basmati rice.  I made an orange sauce with butter, orange marmalade, ginger, and some orange stir fry sauce. 

Tonight:  there is bread rising in the oven, I have to go punch it down and make it into two loaves for a second rising.  The beef stew is half done and simmering on the stove, waiting patiently for the carrots and potatoes, so I had better not sit here too long.

I went to the pool this morning, then to breakfast with the other pool people.  Scrambled eggs, hash browns with onions, rye toast...lots of hot coffee.  Going out to brekky, meh, I can scramble eggs at home, but having that coffee served and topped off a few times, I appreciate that.  The company was nice too.

I've been sorting and cleaning, and getting ready for the new floors.  We might start the demo this weekend.  There are other fun and exciting things afoot, but I am not yet at liberty to divulge.  :)

Some random pictures: 

Tennyson loves the dogs.  

Darius with sleepy Rhys, Ten with his mamma and dad, Marge and Adrian...
Auntie Evelyn with sleeping Jamison
Auntie Sonja with baby Blythe (and Miss Char)
Achilles going out to play.

It's snowing out again.  We've had some windy weather here, some schools were closed, and some trees fell, some without power, some without internet.  

Winter.  I do love the cozy feeling of being inside with some warm white fairy lights on, the fake fireplace humming and glowing, a nice hot coffee.  January just goes on and on, doesn't it?  I am thankful for the days though, they are good days.  

I need to get those carrots and potatoes peeled and chopped, and tend to the bread...have a really good day.