Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Day at Grandma's

Yesterday we enjoyed a rare "day at Grandma's." It was so lovely, and beautiful, and fun! First we admired all the flowers blooming in Grandma's garden:

And then all the flower arrangements scattered throughout the house and outside:

The children played with the dollhouse:

And mom and I visited her studio and looked at all the new paintings:

Auntie C joined us for lunch on the patio:

Rachel and Andrew played beauty parlor with Great-Grandma's beauty case:

All the children enjoyed ice lollies!
Everyone got their hair done:

And of course we had to have afternoon tea with plenty of knitting and stories to go around:

The children, meanwhile, relaxed on the hammock:
Mommy continued with her knitting. I'm knitting a hat for myself. Funny thing in summer, but the colors are very "ice-cream-ish":
Grandma discovered a great big caterpillar:
And then sent us home with a beautiful bouquet from the garden:

Michael arrived home yesterday and we were all glad to have him back! It was a long week, in a way, with all our colds and being stuck inside much of the time. The week's definately ending better than it started!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More on the Berries

Two weeks ago, just after our first berry walk, I was talking with my neighbor while our children played together. Imagine my surprise when she informed she had a mulberry tree out back and loved to eat them!

"Oh," I said, "I love berries too!" "Well come on," she said, "Let's go get some now." Off we went to the back yard where we all stood under her mulberry tree picking the berries and popping them in our mouths.

Later, my neighbor insisted that we go over and pick more mulberries while they were away for the weekend. We did just that and came home with about 4 cups:

We turned the berries into lemon-mulberry muffins and gave some to our neighbors:

Then, with our neighbors gone again, we went back on Monday. Mommy didn't stop to think what would happen to bare feet under the mulberry tree:

But, we came home with plenty of berries for dessert:

We did walk down to the woods to check the progress of the black rasberries. They are beginning to ripen! Just the first berry on each stalk, but enough to remind ourselves how WONDERFUL black rasberries really are!

Someone else knows about the black rasberries though. The grass was all trampled in front of each berry spot. I couldn't figure out if it was done by people, or maybe deer. Anyway, I suppose I do need to share. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Knitting

I haven't posted any knitting in a really long time. I have been knitting, althought not as frequently. But, I just knit the same pattern over and over again (baby cardigan) so it's not so much fun to post.

However, friends gave us some old yarn on Saturday and I couldn't resist the colors nor the size: big, chunky "rug" yarn. The kids and I sat on my bed all Sunday afternoon and this hat materialized. Andrew learned to braid, and to turn skeins into balls. Rachel knitted a doll scarf which is her first completed piece of knitting, and very well done too!

I found a price on some of the yarn -- 37cents! Wonder how long ago that was!

There are some lovely pinks and a bit of chocolate brown that are calling me to be made into a hat for myself. We'll see. I do like this hat pattern as it goes so fast!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A New Week

After a weekend full of colds, fevers, runny noses, sore throats and extreme allergic reactions, it's nice to begin a new week. The colds aren't all the way gone, but we're on the mend, and James especially is much better.

Michael's away this week, so it's just me and the kids and Emily when she's around. I think the lingering colds and fevers will keep us close to home, which is ideal anyway, just not always as much fun for the calendar.

Here's a picture of a nice summer meal I had on Saturday evening: spinach nectarine salad with a strawberry smoothie:

Sunday I was home sick with the two preschoolers. And what to entertain them but a dish of rice to play in. We have a bag of play rice for such occassions, but I'm not really keen on having it out. It makes such a mess! But, since the house was a wreck and dirty already, it didn't matter.

Our first fun project of the week is making scrapbooks. The three older kids are each making their own. They had a lot of fun cutting, pasting, and sticking on stickers. Once again, David insisted on sitting on my lap while I fielded the million and one questions about how to do this and that, and helped with the cutting and pasting.

Rachel is really getting into it!

We'll see what the rest of the week brings. We were off to check on the berries this afternoon and I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Teapots and Flowers

Yesterday I stopped at one garage sale on the way home from food shopping. Look what I found! A pink teapot, just perfect for my green with pink kitchen. There was even a pink creamer and sugar in a slightly different shade, but still very lovely. It made me feel like I was charity shopping again back in Scotland.

Michael and I went out to dinner with old friends last night. There are many connections we have with Dr. and Mrs. B, the first being that I was Dr. B's secretary for a number of years before we were married. Dr. B is newly retired and it was fun to hear him beginning to learn to enjoy slowing down and doing fun things.

Just before we sat down to dinner Dr. B excused himself and went out to his car. He came back with a little plastic box with two corsages inside -- one for Mrs. B and one for me. How sweet! There was no occassion in mind, he must have just thought it would be a nice idea. I tell you what, retirement must be having a good effect!

So we spent the evening talking about current events in our circles, reminiscing about the B's growing up years, watching Dr. B mix salt and pepper into his pat(s) of butter and spreading it on his corn.

Dr. B used to be a fanatic about sweet corn. In the summer he would take off in the car around lunchtime, stopping by the office to first ask, "How many ears?" He'd come back from a farm stand laden with a dozen ears of corn, a huge Decker melon (cantaloupe), a few tomatoes and cucumbers.

A pot of water would be put on to boil and the corn husked. Cucumbers were sliced and set in a bit of vinegar and salt and pepper. The tomatoes sliced and arranged on a plate and the melon cut in huge wedges. This was all Dr. B's doing -- no one else came into the kitchen while he was working.

Then we'd all sit down to a meal of real simplicity, but terrific flavor and abundance. I think my record one day was 5 ears of corn (mind you the kernels were tiny, tender things, not like the huge grocery-store variety). These meals took Dr. B back to the farm and his growing up years. And the meals became memories for me in my growing up years.

Last night Dr. B was eating over-cooked corn from the cafeteria line, but I'm sure to him it was finally better than nothing. He was also eating steamed broccoli, something in former years you couldn't pay him to touch. How time changes things. For me it was another night to add to my collection of memories. Maybe someday I'll stop by that farm stand and cook a meal like I remember.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The People at the Party

It was really, really wonderful to have just about the entire family present for the reunion this past weekend. We were honoring Grandma L., and the picture below represents all of her offspring and their spouses, except for Michael's brother Micah who was unable to attend.

We posed for this picture after the memorial service:

There was an engagement over the weekend! Daniel (one of Michael's brothers) popped the question to his girlfriend, Crystal, and she said "yes."

Michael's Dad and his sister Loreda:
It was really fun to have all of Michael's cousins present. One cousin he hadn't seen in 30 years! We had a great time catching up and getting acquainted. Here is Michael with 3 of his 5 siblings, and 2 of his 4 cousins:

Sunday the weather was a bit warm so many of us congregated around the house:
We had sparklers for the kids on Saturday night. What fun! James kept his hat and glasses on all night! What a kid!
Baby Cakes was desparate to try a sparkler, and then a little shy. But he had fun:

It was really fun to have all my childrens' cousins present! Andrew thought it was totally cool to have a big boy cousin (Ethan):
My mom joined us on Sunday and brought an extra guest: Mr. Hummer. She found this wounded humming bird in her driveway and began caring for it. She took him everywhere -- the dentist, work, church, etc. because she had to feed him frequently. He was adorable, and mom could hold him in her hands. She finally found an exotic bird lady who was happy to take him.

The kids had lots of fun playing with the "kid toys" that were provided:

More cousins enjoying the bubbles:
The weather was perfect Saturday evening and we all enjoyed eating outdoors:

More fun outside:
Rachel had so much fun having her cousin, Kyleigh, with us. It brought back so many memories of me and my cousin and the fun we had growing up. It made me so happy to watch them playing together.

And here is a picture of the lovely lady we were honoring:
Michael's Dad gave a beautiful eulogy:
David enjoyed himself -- the glasses were a hit!
More cousins and relatives mingling on the back patio:

Aunt Loreda and Kyleigh enjoying conversation:

Nicole (Michael's sister), her husband Joe, and Stella stayed with us for the weekend. We loved being able to see Stella! (Oh, and you too, Nicole and Joe)

Stella is very charming:
Pizza night, Friday night, with cousins and aunts and uncles all around:
Father's Day with Dad L. It was amazing to have both our fathers in town and at our house on Father's Day!

The last of our guests flew home yesterday and the house is back to looking like it normally does (lived in). We are grateful for all the good memories, and for the incredible blessing of strength to actually do something like this. God is good!
Some photos are courtesy of Wendee and Daniel -- hope you guys don't mind!