Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Room With a View

While I don't always have a picture with each blog post, I do think those posts are more fun to do. Lately I've sort of been preoccupied with our family and the new baby, so most of the pictures taken in our house have been of our little ones-- and little ones holding the littlest one. And since I don't like to post pictures of our children online often, I don't have many pictures to post. 

However, in looking back at photos of the past couple of weeks, I came across one with no kiddos.

The helicopter at the hospital

This was the second time my hospital room had a view that included where the helicopters land. During my stay I saw three helicopters come and go. Each time, as the helicopter came in, I found myself praying for the person on board, and each time nobody was on board. I couldn't figure out why they would keep landing helicopters with only some cargo. Then I asked a nurse, and I was told that sometimes they fly out different organs and such that have been donated. That made sense.

Unfortunately, the children weren't visiting when the helicopters were around; they would have been thrilled to see the landing and take-off. As it was, I was thankful to have the change of scenery once in a while to break up the monotony of hospital walls.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our Baby

We finally welcomed our new baby, a beautiful daughter, into our family last week. After my lengthiest hospital stay yet, we finally arrived home on Saturday.

Dear daughter spent some time under the lights for jaundice.

But she finally wore this cute sleeper that Daddy picked out when she came home.

Now that we are home, we are adjusting (and sleeping) relatively well. The other children are as in love as her parents are. Even the former "baby" doesn't seem jealous at all. He picked up on all the baby routines quickly and now instructs me as to what I should do to change diapers, feed her, etc.--all with points and grunts and simple words like her name.

I must add how very, very, very thankful we are to all of those who helped us with childcare. I don't know what we would have done without such kindness being shown to us.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Snack Challenge

While we were on vacation, our children begged my husband and me to do a snack challenge. Based on those Food Network shows, my husband and I had 20 minutes to prepare a snack for our children using the secret ingredient of German chocolate.

We were making a mess all over my parents' kitchen while the kids provided the appropriate commentary. We had a blast. Until one son had a fit that Dad didn't win the snack challenge (and to be honest, he deserved it).

When we returned home, the kids were begging us to let them do snack challenge. Well, we parents had some serious reservations, but I capitulated so long as they worked in two teams and so long as we didn't pick a winner or loser because I knew that would be bad news.

The secret ingredient was oats, and this is what the kids came up with:

Can you guess what this first one was?

Googly-eyed sweet-toothed monster

My husband and I decided this tribute to Cookie Monster had top marks in creativity and presentation. It's downfall?  Well, let's just say the blue stuff tasted like a paste made of oats, blue food coloring and milk.

The second one was a maple-flavored oatmeal topped with whipped cream and streusel topping. Unfortunately, that team put the homemade maple whipped cream on the hot oats way too long before the streusel topping was ready. It basically looked soupy. Presentation points were low.

However, the flavor was really quite delicious.

Messy looking, but delicious

In the end, there were still tears on the part of the Cookie Monster team because nobody was really gobbling up the blue goo, but aside from the tears and total kitchen mess, it was lots of fun.

And we didn't waste the blue goo. After clean-up, I played my own game-- Mom's Makeover. The blue goo was transformed into a blue baked oatmeal of sorts. The outcome? Well, it was no masterpiece, but it was edible and eaten all gone.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A New Arrival

This probably isn't what most of you expected seeing as Labor Day is nearly gone and still no signs of labor, but. . .

Here is our new (to us) van!

Looks like a box, but a pretty blue box

Floor mats my husband and I made with carpet remnants

And we are still expecting the new arrival to our family. I'm not very patient about it. I think it's fitting that the Bible verse we memorized last week was Psalm 27: 14-- "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!"

My husband's family is here to help us when the baby comes (at least until Thursday). My youngest brother-in-law just finished a beautiful blanket for our new baby whenever it does show up. It's so nice that people still bless us with new things, special things, for each baby to have as his or her own.

Thank you, Isaiah!

Now. Back to the waiting.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

_The Hancock News_ Column-- September 2, 2015

 Memories of Grandma's Kitchen

Everybody in my family remembers my grandma as a good cook. No doubt about it, her years of cooking for the lumber camp, her large family, the farmhands, and at the cafeteria at a local grocery store made her one of the best cooks I have ever known.

I can still taste her food more than a decade after her death. I loved her mashed potatoes and gravy, lasagna, and stuffed peppers. To tell the truth, those stuffed peppers are the only ones I’ve ever eaten that I really liked. But wouldn’t you know, I never saw a cookbook in her house.

If there had been a cookbook, maybe it would’ve been stacked on her vinyl-clothed table. Grandma’s kitchen had just enough room for a table up tight against one wall with five chairs and for a path around the table past the stove to the refrigerator. Space was sparse.

Maybe that’s why so many things were piled on her table-- the radio, the mail, a myriad of pills, napkins, and every grandchild’s favorite-- junk food.

Junk food was not something my mother bought often, but that was fine with me because I could find anything I wanted on Grandma’s table. From a bag of barbecue chips to Oreos in the cookie jar to candy corn in the candy dish, every category of non-nutritional food was represented. About three-fourths of the time, a sweet tooth could also be satisfied with a slice of pie or a piece of cake setting out on the table. And that’s not even counting the homemade goodies you could find at Christmas time.

All these treats made a kid want to sit and stay awhile. On a chair wedged between the table and the window, I would sit and nibble on my snack set on a napkin in front of me with a cold glass of spring water (from the dispenser in the refrigerator) or some of Grandma’s perfect sweet tea. As the grown-ups sat around the table sipping strong coffee and chatting, I learned all the gossip I cared to hear about people I didn’t even know.

It seems food and family are a good combination for making memories, and gathering around that table for talk (and the occasional game of Yahtzee with Grandma) certainly made some of my finest childhood memories.


At different stages of my life, Labor Day weekend has meant different things. For the last decade, our family has enjoyed the company of our friends who have invited us over for a day of dove hunting (for my husband). This year, our baby is due Labor Day weekend-- kind of fitting.

But growing up, Labor Day weekend meant nothing to me other than the excitement of my Grandma’s family’s reunion. I loved playing with my faraway cousins, drinking Country Time Lemonade out of a can from an ice-filled cooler, and hunting for the best desserts on the picnic tables. If I was quick enough, I could score a piece of my Grandma’s carrot cake before it was all gone (and it always was gone quickly). Once she even submitted it to the county fair and won second prize. I’ll leave you with that recipe she gave me sometime before she died-- on Labor Day weekend 13 years ago.

Grandma Judy’s Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups Wesson Oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups grated carrots

Cream the oil, sugar and eggs. Then add the flour, cinnamon, and carrots. Bake in a prepared 9 x 13 pan at 350℉ until done (until a toothpick comes out clean).  Cool cake completely and frost with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:

1- 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 stick of margarine or butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Soften cream cheese and butter.  Then beat them together. Add the sugar and beat well. Then add the pecans and spread over cooled cake.