Thursday, July 30, 2009

Her First Official "Mess"

Because sweet Miss Ava Claire is now doing this . . . .

. . . .she made her first official "mess" at Poppa and Mia's house! Isn't this the sweetest thing?

And tell me, how is it possible for a Poppa and Mia to think messing up the house is so cute? Tht's what becoming a grandparent does to you! When I was the mama and not the Mia - I didn't find this so sweet. It's one of the things I love about being a grandmother - I'm much more relaxed. I guess I have learned what is really important and what is not.

After we played we skyped with cousin Tyler in Peru and Mia got to read her favorite grandgirl and her favorite grandboy a story. What fun!

I love how Ava Claire has her little hand on Tyler as she listens. And I love how she has peaches in her eyebrow!

I just can't get enough of those two.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Things I Am Loving Right Now

I truly love summer. We had a cool spring and a slow start to the summer, but now we are up in the 100's and I love it. I love, love, love the hot and dry summer climate we have here in the desert land.

I have been walking almost every day. I have found it to be a great stress reliever and I am to the point where I almost crave it at the end of every day. Chuck and Jess walk too and we wait until about 9 p.m. when the air has just a hint of coolness in it. I love when we finish our walk that we have a pitcher of Crystal Light waiting for us. We are going to try all the flavors this summer. Last night we had strawberry/tangerine - a real winner.

I love my new summer nightgown. I love changing into it at the end of the day knowing that the remaining time before bed is all mine. I love that it is sleeveless, loose, and very soft cotton. I love wearing it on the patio at dusk, while I read a chapter or two of whatever book I am reading.

I love my summer reading. Lately I have read these books and have enjoyed them all. I have found a small second-hand bookstore and I love finding bargains there. My last good deal was Twenty-One Wishes by Debbie Macomber. I got the hardback for $2.00 I think that was a very good deal.

I love knitting. I have been working on Tyler's monkey for Christmas. The monkey is done (except for his eyes and eyebrows) and I am now working on the pajama's. They are the Union one-piece pajamas with the drop down drawers in the back. They are knit with sock weight yarn on #1 dpn's. This whole project has been challenging but I have learned so much.

Here are some more projects I have been working on. I love finished projects.

Here is some yarn waiting in line for the next few projects I have planned. I love having yarn waiting in line.

I love to have one hard project and one simple project going at the same time. Here is my next hard project. A little something just for me. However, I have been looking at the directions and have to remind myself to take a deep breath and don't look to far ahead. I find that if you knit one row at a time, it somehow all goes together like it is supposed to.

I love that we finally got high speed internet in our house. No more trekking over to the church when we want to skype with our kids in Peru. Last night we were able to talk to Michelle while we were working in the kitchen making dinner. Somehow it seemed more like she was there with us. I LOVE that I don't have the hassles of dial-up anymore! Here is a funny story that happened when we were skyping on Saturday. Michelle and Tyler were sitting on their bed and we were chatting away when someone knocked on her door. Michelle jumped up and asked if I would watch Tyler while she answered the door! I said sure. (Their apartment is small and she could see him the whole time). So Poppa, Mia and Tyler were "talking" about all kinds of things when I saw Tyler look away and saw the computer sliding back. Suddenly everything went black and we lost our connection. I was quite worried because as many times as I tried to call them back it wouldn't go through and I was sure Tyler had knocked the computer off the bed and broke it. About a half an hour later Michelle finally called me back. Sweet Tyler was sitting beside her softly hiccoughing, binky in his mouth, and a LARGE goose-egg on his little forehead. Apparently he had spied a large bowl of popcorn on the floor and decided to dive for it. Mia isn't a very good internet babysitter.

I haven't shared a picture of my little boyfriend in a while. I love this picture. I don't love so much how fast he is growing up without me, but then again this post is about things I love, not things I don't love. I'll save that for another post. :)

I love taking trips with my husband and we are planning a trip very soon to Boston to attend our daughter Tara's graduation from Grad School. She is the first of our daughters to achieve this honor and she has worked hard for it. I am so proud that she has finally accomplished this dream she has held in her heart. And she did it all on her how with no financial help from her parents. Way to go Tara!

I love having my youngest daughter Jess home for the summer. It won't be long before she will be moving back into the dorm again. I will miss her.

I love that my decluttering project is finished! We had a huge yard sale last weekend and did pretty good. Every drawer, cupboard, and closet in my house has been cleaned. It feels so good! We have been taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class in Sunday School this summer and we are putting our earnings into our $1000 emergency fund. Yay us!

I love my new blog template and I love blogging. I know that people seem to be slowing down in the blogging world, some say it's because of Facebook. I think it's because people are enjoying their summer days - as they should be. I myself have struggled a bit to stay in the blogging groove. Sometimes life gets in the way and I find myself struggling to stay on top of things. But sometimes we just need to be nice to ourselves and learn when not to feel pressured. I have found that to be truth for me - my 50th year of life hasn't been all that kind to me. I have been forced to deal with some difficult issues that I would never, ever have chosen to deal with. So I am learning to be nice to myself. And not making myself feel bad if I haven't posted something in a while is one of the ways I'm doing that. But I love knowing my blog is here, waiting for me, waiting for new words, new thoughts, new ideas.

Wow - I didn't realize this post would be so long. Thanks for hearing me out. What about you? What things are you loving right now?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

DIY Rootbeer

So Becky's post today had a great DIY wedding gift idea. And she encouraged us all to go visit her friends Kimba at A Soft Place to Land and maybe even take part in her DIY party.

I've been meaning to share my homemade Rootbeer recipe with you all since some of you were asking about it.

So Voila'! I'm going to combine the two.

Actually, I should first confess that this rootbeer recipe is not my own. A couple of good friends from church shared it with me. And I also have to say that it is so GOOD!!!! And COLD!!!!

So, here is what you do.

You start with a 5 gallon thermal container.
One important thing to remember is that once you make root beer in this container - that's all it's good for anymore because forever more after anything else you put in there will have a vague root beer flavor. And I don't know about you but I don't think I would like my water or tea to have a vague root beer taste. Root beer flavor must be strong!

So, the next step is sugar. Lots of sugar. This almost stopped me from making it because I couldn't imagine drinking this much sugar. But then I figured once a year is okay.

Add 5 pounds of sugar to your container. Yes, you heard me right. Five pounds of sugar.

Okay, have you recovered? Next you add a whole 2 ounce bottle of Root Beer concentrate. You can buy it at the grocery store with the vanilla and almond extract bottles.
My camera didn't focus to well on this one - sorry!

Then you add water until the container is 3/4's of the way full and stir it until that 5 pounds of sugar dissolves.

Now comes the fun part. You need to add about 7-8 pounds of dry ice. I don't understand what dry ice really is or why it does what it does to root beer but I'm telling you - it's like magic. Be sure to have the kids around for this part - you will really impress them.
Be very careful not to touch the dry ice with your hands - it will burn you. It's that cold. So we wore some oven mitts to work with it and that worked just fine. Your concoction will smoke and sound like it's boiling! It's really crazy. I topped if off with a little more water but by this time it's hard to see what you really have going on because of all the smoke. Or steam, Or whatever it is.

Now just put the lid on and wait about 10 minutes. Because in about 10 minutes you will have the COLDEST rootbeer ever. The dry ice not only makes it cold but it also carbonates it. Weird, I know.

We drank all five gallons that day. And I've tried not to think about the sugar ever since. But I would do it again. Oh yes I would!

Sweet Ava Claire


I love Wednesday afternoons because I get to spend time with my sweet grandgirl before church.  Last night Ava was having so much fun as she is wanting to walk so bad.  She looks a bit like a drunken sailor as we try to help her take a few steps – her legs struggle to make it all work.   But her determination is strong and it won’t be long before we can’t keep up with her.  I got out Tyler’s Christmas present that he wasn’t able to take to Peru with him and converted it from a riding toy to a walker.  Ava loved it!  And she especially loved being clapped for by her adoring audience!  Tell me, is there anything sweeter in the whole wide world than a baby in a diaper and t-shirt accessorized by sparkling beads? 

Jess and I decided to get a video of the whole thing.  I don’t remember Jess laying on her side to take this video, but I’m not sure how else it turned out sideways!


And this sideways video shows her excellent verbal skills.


Thanks for indulging this grandmother.  And I hope your neck doesn’t hurt too bad!

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July - 2009

We hosted a 4th of July picnic at our home this year and invited all my family over.  It was a perfect evening for eating outside.  It was also a perfect evening for a water balloon fight.

I tried a new feature this year – homemade root beer.  It was surprisingly easy and tasted just like the kind you buy in frosted mugs at the root beer place.  And trust me – even though it looks like witch’s brew – it was really good.  In fact we managed to drink 5 gallons of it!

We had a girls area and a boys area for the kids to eat their dinner.

The adults got chairs.

We especially enjoyed our little star spangled girl – Miss Ava Claire.

A water balloon fight was a feature of the evening.  Even though the kids became a little over-powered by some of the adults – all had a fun time.

And no matter what anyone says – you will never convince me that boys and girls are not different in every way imaginable. 

While the boys were doing this:

The girls were doing this:


And most of the adults decided to forego the water ball fight and instead participated in a game of Bocce Ball .

The 4th of July – what a fun day to celebrate God, country and family.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bird Attack


This is what happens every time we go outside these days.  We have about a dozen blackbird nests in our front and back yards.  Anytime we go outside anymore we get dive bombed.  These parent birds are so brave that they actually taunt the cat by hopping within just feet of her, trying to distract her from the nests.  Sadly, this morning it appeared that the cat was enjoying a breakfast of baby bird.  Hopefully, all those baby blackbirds will safely fly the coop soon so we can have our yard back again.