Monday, August 28, 2023

I'm So Ready For Fall

I made a batch of sugar cookies last week, and they turned out just the way Jess makes them around the holidays.  She has always been the master baker when it comes to sugar cookies.  The trick is to not cook them that long, so they are soft in the middle rather than crispy.  My brother-in-law came by for a visit last week from Seattle.  It was good to see him, and I made him a hot cup of coffee in the morning when he got here, and a sugar cookie.

For lunch, we picked up a big pizza and some buffalo wings with sauce and coke and came back to the house to eat.  It was a feast.

Although Starbuck's is my favorite coffee, I like to try different kinds, and came across this one, which was pretty good....Don Francisco's coffee.

A snack of Havarti cheese, which is one of my favorite cheeses.  Havarti is a soft Danish milk cheese, and Nel first introduced me to it at her house one day.

Another snack of Gouda cheese with Greek olives.  Gouda is a semi-hard milk cheese originating from the Netherlands.

I made a delicious baked chicken one night with mashed potatoes and gravy and broccoli.

I grew up eating Cheerios, and I still love them to this day.  We would often have this cereal for breakfast when I was a little girl.  And we had it in our household when my kids were growing up.  So, when my son saw this at the store, he had to grab one for me.

I've put a few things out for Fall already, just cause it's my favorite season.  I found this cute bird painting, so I started with that.  It looked like Fall to me with the blues and browns.

Then, I added a few blue velvet pumpkin and the little white house my son gave me when he was a young boy.  And Glade carries an Autumn Spiced Apple candle that has the best scent.

Nel went school shopping with Mia, and found the cutest clothes.  Afterwards, they stopped to get some apple donuts.  She looks happy here with her bundle.

  Doesn't this plaid jumper have "school days" written all over it?  aahh, brings back so many memories.  Turns out, grandma J. got Francesca the same plaid jumper. 

Well, I have to have my orange in Fall too....just because.  I love seeing my glass pumpkin on the kitchen window sill when I wake up early to make my first cup of coffee.

~School days, school days, dear old golden rule days ~ I will forever remember my dad waking me up early and singing that to me on the first day of school every year.  Some things always stick with us, don't they?


Monday, August 21, 2023

A New Hidden Place And A Mermaid Cake

It's not that hard to find pretty pockets of wilderness up here in the mountains.  They are all around, and if you drive slowly and look closely, you will discover them.  I went to a hidden gem last week, and with the help of my son, he showed me how to get there.  I've been here before, but it's been over two years and it's off the beaten path, but now that I know the landmarks, I will return often.  It will be my own special place to go, it's so peaceful and pretty here.

There were pines as tall as you can imagine.

There was a big bush near the water's edge,

and next to it were some yellow flowers.  Maybe the yarrow plant?

 The view from the other side.

There were even picnic benches.

I wanted to take this Christmas tree home and decorate it.

The dandelions were as big as the palm of my hand.

Yellow wildflowers were growing with bees swarming all around them.  I'm allergic to bees, so I tried to keep my distance.

A huge piece of driftwood near the edge of the water.  It makes me wonder what kind of critters hide in there.

Some more pink wildflowers.

Looking up, I thought this view of the mountain slope was so pretty.

My brother-in-law from Seattle is coming up this way, and is going to stop by for a visit.

We've had some Summer rain for a few days, and it's been really nice.

I have to tell you about the story of Mia's cake.  Nel made her a wonderful mermaid cake with buttercream frosting, and the next morning Nel went to check on the cake in the fridge, and there was a big gash taken out of it.  Mia got into the cake! - and it was right in front where it was hard to fix, but thankfully Nel was able to smooth the frosting over and fix it.  This cake looks so yummy, I would have taken a handful too.

And they caught a wee mermaid from the sea.

And then her cousin.

In case you want to make the mermaid cake, here's a little about it.

*It was strawberry with buttercream frosting.

*Blue icing, and the gold is a mixture of brown sugar and gold sprinkles.

*The pearls on the cake were edible candies.

*The mermaid she got from Amazon.


Monday, August 14, 2023

School Is Starting And Looking Back

Well, school is starting up for some, and Jess is back teaching her grade school kids, while Francesca started her school year too.  Mia hasn't started yet, and has a little more time for Summer play.  I have been thinking of my own school days, and remembering back at all the good years I had growing up.  I was talking with my sister the other day, and we don't recall getting that many new school clothes, as our mom made most of our clothes growing up.  I do remember going shopping at J.C. Penney (Pennys) before the school year and getting a new dress, a couple shirts, socks, and shoes for the first week.  There was one particular dress I remember - it was a blue plaid.  My mom always loved my long hair, so it must have been a shock to her when I asked for a pixie hair cut in third grade.

Most of you know that I was a stay-at-home mom for many years.  With a watchful eye, I looked after my children all day, and it was a genuine and very special time in my life.  

Well, I had different jobs now and then when the kids were in school, but they never lasted long.  I did like the teacher's aide job, but I was a substitute, and didn't get the hours I wanted.  But taking care of children came natural to me, and I appreciate all the moments spent with them, but it wasn't always easy.  A tired me with a seven week Nel.

Jess was a feisty little girl....and she had to be.  She was a brave one starting kindergarten at 4 (almost 5).  Here she is the first week.

When Nel was a little older, she had to put her brave pants on as well, when she was teased every day by a bully girl, D, because her mom still walked her to the school bus.  What can I say, I was protective.  One day, Nel finally let her have it, with a few choice words, and she never bothered her again.

Nel and Jess have wonderful memories of school shopping.  We used to go out all day and buy a few clothes, then get a treat and head to the park, and spread out all the clothes on the green grass to see what they got.  I was talking to Jess the other day, and she wanted to have the same experience with Francesca, and when they went shopping for school clothes recently, they had a fun outing.  She bought a maroon corduroy jumper for her first day of school.  Corduroy seems to always say, "school is here!"

So, this poem is for my daughters....and when your kids come home from school and don't say much about it, perhaps something wonderful happened at school that day, or maybe something unpleasant happened, so listen to their hearts and not just their words.

What Did You Do Today?

When children come home
   at the end of the day,
The question they're asked as they
   scurry to play is,
"Tell me, what did you do today?"

And the answer they give makes you
 sigh with dismay,
"Nothing, I did nothing today!"

Perhaps nothing means that I played
 with blocks, or counted
   to 10 with Mrs. Cox.
Maybe I painted a picture of red 
   and blue, or heard a story about a
   mouse that flew.

Maybe I watched the hamster eat today,
 or went outside on the 
   swings to play.
Maybe today was the very first time
   that my scissors followed a very
   straight line.

Maybe I sang a song from beginning to end,
 or played with a
     special brand-new friend.
When you're only 5 and your heart has
 wings, nothing can mean
   so many things!

Monday, August 7, 2023

Kona, Hawaii

I thought I'd share Jess' Hawaii trip with you now rather than later, as school has already started for some, and Summer will be coming to an end soon.  They visited Kona, on the big island of Hawaii.  It was a long flight, but how fun for Francesca to have a window seat.

They had wonderful ocean views at dinner and breakfast.  A cinnamon roll and some Kona coffee.

They visited this Catholic Church, and it had a really cool design with the sides of the church opening up to the outside.

Brian took Francesca out on a Kayak!

Matching dresses at the Luau.

Jess thought this coffee drip contraption was so cool.

She loved this sign.

Brian took this photo of the beautiful rainbow.

This is Akaka Falls on the other side of the island near Hilo.  Jess said it felt like they were in Jurassic Park.

Akaka Falls.  They drove by Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano.

A delightful sign along the way.

What a neat looking twisted tree.  Maybe the Banyan Tree?

They had a fun and memorable trip in Kona, Hawaii.