Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Update

The first half of July was busy, but the last few weeks have been a mix of crazy and calm.  Last week, Kylen was gone from 8:30 am to 4 pm, Mon-Fri,. at a robot camp.  I used the quiet hours to catch up on letter-writing, research curriculum for next year, finish a digital photography book, and  declutter our bedroom closet.  It was a very productive week!!  AND, I really enjoyed extra time alone with God.  :-)

We've managed to have a few fun play dates and get-togethers with friends/family.  As for school?  Not much!!!  Kylen has been taking violin lessons for almost two months and is finally learning to play a song this week.  I've been feeling like the pace should be picked up.  Maybe now they will move faster!  We've been reading God's World News, and I am occasionally having Kylen do physical writing to keep his penmanship up, usually in his journal.  He reads, listens to me read, works on his stories, watches Andy Griffith episodes, goes to the park with his grandpa one day/week for tennis and chess, and . . . oh!  I've been having him help me cook more!

One thing we don't get much of that a lot of homeschoolers around here do is spend time in the water.  Seems like it's pretty popular for mom's to pack up the kids several days each week and hang out at a lake, river, pool, or water park.  I feel kinda bad Kylen is missing out on something so basic to summer, but I know we do things with him other parents don't do or don't have time for.  So I guess it all works out in the end.  I think we all need to remind ourselves that we can't do it all.  We have to pick and choose what works for our family, given our limitations.  It may be financial, it may be health, it may be other things, but everyone deals with limitations.  It's part of life!  It's one of the many reasons heaven will be so sweet!!!!!  No limitations!!  With my physical limitations and being unable to drive, it's just not practical for us to be in the water a lot during summer.  Ain't happening!  And I need to keep telling myself it's OK!  :-)

Health wise, I still haven't started my new medication.  I'm starting to get a little stiff, but I'm still dealing with the allergic reaction I had weeks ago.  It's better but not gone.  I may try to start my new med. tomorrow.  Prayers are appreciated!  I never know how the side effects will go.

Wow, just one more month until school kicks in!  Hard to believe!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bless the Lord ~ Matt Redman

This song was part of the slideshow at Grandma's memorial service.  We were singing it for a couple days afterward.  :-)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Grandma's Funeral

Beginning with the viewing on Friday evening and ending with a reception Saturday evening to welcome my cousin's spouse into the family, I think Grandma would have been very happy to see her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many other relatives and acquaintances gathered together sharing smiles, tears, and memories.

Most of her children and grandchildren played a part.  My cousin put together a slideshow,  I did a painting for the program, and my uncle hosted a spaghetti dinner after the viewing.  Many spoke at the service; the pallbearers were grandchildren.  We had lunch in a reserved room at the same buffet as Grandma's 80th birthday celebration had been.  Then, we went home to change for three games of laser tag (in memory of the Christmas we all played together while staying at Grandma's).  We ate pizza and veggies in the Laser Quest party rooms and headed to our house for the reception.  I don't think our living and dining room have ever been so crowded!  It was a beautiful couple of days despite the sad occasion, and my aunt deserves a medal for organizing it all.  We thank the Lord for turning a normally somber event into a very positive experience.

Beautiful Flowers in Pink, Grandma's Favorite Color

My Aunt and Uncle Preparing Spaghetti


The Program

The Memorial Service

Greg and Kylen

The Pallbearers

Graveside Service

The Gravestone

More than 30 of us at Laser Quest!  We filled the place!

The Cake for My Cousin and His Wife

Congrats, David and Chloe!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cucumber and Onion Salad

I got this recipe from my mom at some point, but we didn't start making it until this summer.  Not much of a kid pleaser, but Greg and I love it!

2 English cukes, about 1 ft. long
1 onion, cut into fourths and thinly sliced
White sugar
Rice vinegar
Pickle juice
Sour cream
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 cup ranch

On the bottom of the dish with an airtight lid, make a single layer of cucumber slices.  Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Scatter a layer of onion on top, and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat until cuke and onion are used up.  Add a small amount of rice vinegar and pickle juice.  Put the lid on and shake well to distribute the juices.  Drain liquid.  In a separate bowl, mix about four spoonfuls of sour cream, dill, and ranch.  Add to cucumber mixture.  Stir until well mixed.  Cover and chill to blend flavors.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The 4th

July 4th was a gloriously beautiful day.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  We spent the evening at a friend's house, ate dinner outside, shot fireworks, and visited LOTS.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The Table
Their dog appeared to be guarding the lightsticks!  Lol!
Smoke Bomb in the Stump
Their VERY creative son had an elaborate system of chalk paths on the driveway, including a spot designated for fireworks!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fab Snack

I always wanted to like Trisquits, but it's been hard finding combos that taste good.  Over the last few years, I've developed a taste for cheese/fruit/cracker combinations and have done a little experimenting.  Found a winner!  Original Trisquits, cheddar cheese, apple, and honey.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Milford's Restaurant

The night before Greg's aunt left, we said our goodbyes at Milford's, where we often meet Greg's parents for dinner.  NOW I understand why they like it so much!  Aunt Ioana commented on how European it feels.  We like to eat in the back room, which has a more cheery atmosphere than the main room.  There are lots of antiques and old photographs lining the walls, and many of their menu items have unusual flavor combinations.  Here is something I always look forward to:

No, I haven't begun hitting the bottle . . . not that kind of bottle anyway!  This is grape juice!  And it's the best tasting grape juice I've ever had!

The decor . . .

And there was much eating . . .

And much conversation . . . and merriment . . . in celebration of Aunt Ioana!  It was a real pleasure getting to know her better during her visit.  She may not make another trip back to the states, but I hope she does!  If not, we may have to make a trip to Europe!

Greg and Aunt Ioana

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Beauty In Green

Mt. Spokane

The bugs were minimal on Mt. Spokane when we took Greg's aunt.  Once again, there was very little wind.  I guess last time we went it was just the wrong time of year!

I'm hoping we can go back soon.  Kylen really enjoyed it.

Our Path
Their Path

Wooden Tiles

The House

The View

Chip or Dale?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greg and His Dad


Sausage and White Bean Soup

We had a couple of rainy days recently, and I decided to look up white bean recipes.  This is one that sounded good, and it was!

2 tbsp olive oil or margarine
1 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage, in the casing - (five large links)
2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto ham, minced
2 med. onions, diced
2 med. carrots, diced
2 med. celery stalks, diced
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced

4 (15.8 oz) cans great Northern or other white beans, drained
2-3 cans chicken broth
Heat oil in large, deep saute pan or soup kettle over med.-high.  When hot, add sausages; cook, turning once or twice, until well-browned on all sides, about 5 min.  (Sausages won't be fully cooked.)  Remove, slice about 1/4-in. thick when cool enough to handle.

Add prosciutto, veggies, and thyme to skillet; cook, stirring often until well browned, 8-10 minutes. Toward end, add minced garlic and cook a few minutes.  In small bowl, mash three cans of beans with fork into a chunky puree.  Add broth, all beans, and sausage.  Cover and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to med.-low and simmer, partially covered, to blend flavors, 20 minutes.  Let rest 10 min.  Serve with bread and butter.

Octo Camo

Here's a neat video about octopus camo!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Anthony's Restaurant

We met at restaurants several times with Greg's parents and Aunt Ioana (pronounced you-on-uh) while she was visiting.  There are various reasons for this, but the result was that we got very well fed while introducing her to some of our favorite places!  Anthony's has a wonderful view of the falls, seasonal specials, and outside dining.  It can be hit and miss in the entree department, but their huckleberry slump is always exceptional.  On this particular trip, we tried a new appetizer: deep-fried asparagus with two dipping sauces.  It was so good, I ordered a second plate all to myself!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Riverfront Park

We took Greg's aunt to see Riverfront Park: the falls, carousel, IMAX, and gondola.  I have zero interest in trains, but the Rocky Mountain Express was excellent - spectacular cinematography.  I wouldn't mind seeing it again!  Always wanted to get a picture with those metal statues.  :-)  They represent Bloomsday, the largest timed road running race in the world.