Thursday, November 19, 2015

Backpack project

Every year at back-to-school time the kids and I help to put together backpacks for local families who register at St. Vincent de Paul:

(We found this old-school walker by the side of the road on
the trip in, with a "free" sign.  Perfect!!!!!!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bunny and Tiva

Bunny is very much enjoying her twice-monthly horse lessons with Kendra and Tiva:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


This summer we had a lot of volunteer sunflowers.  Funny story, most of them came from our old orchard:  We had to take out our hazelnut orchard last year because of the blight (frowny face) and the process was to first, knock down all the trees and put them in piles, and second, burn those piles.  Of course we hired all this out!!  Anyway, the piles had to sit there for months to dry, and when it was finally time to burn, the process for that was to start a few piles on fire and then grab limbs from the other piles to add to the fires.  Long story short: squirrels made their homes in the piles, and only some of the piles were lit on fire, so the remaining piles all had sunflower seeds squirreled (ha ha) away in them.  Hence, lots of volunteers.

Marcus sent Bunny and I out to transplant a lot of them in the spring, and miraculously they lived and gave us lots of joy all summer and fall.

Here is a picture of one:

My camera has this neat automatic feature that adds artistic touches randomly.  Here's a few of the artistic shots from the picture above:

This was a different flower, but I thought it was a pretty shot as well:

I wish I knew how to do this kind of art on purpose, but oh well.  ;o)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Foodie Friday--Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon

Welcome back, Foodie Friday!  

This week I will feature "Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon."  I clipped this recipe from a magazine like Woman's Day or Family Circle.  Marcus doesn't eat salmon, so the rest of us enjoy this when he is on a trip.  It is very easy--something I can do with Marcus is gone, without much prep work.  And it is delicious!  The kids love the sweet sauce and they always gobble it all up.

Goes well with EASY oven-roasted potatoes and cauliflower.
Bonus pic: pickled summer veggies.  Yum!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Birthright Potluck

My wonderful husband is on the board of the local Birthright chapter.  Birthright is an organization that helps women with unplanned pregnancies by providing loving counseling and support in the way of clothing and care.  The work that Marcus does with Birthright is very important to him, as it is a concrete way that he can help to reduce abortions in our community.

The potluck was at another board member's home in town.  It was an older home with a HUGE beautiful yard!  I didn't take pictures of all the landscaping, but it was lovely.  The owners said they had a private well so they could keep everything watered all summer without paying an arm and a leg.  That's convenient!

The hostess is a grandmother so she had a
highchair all ready for Celeste.

Grammae is on the the Birthright board
as  well.   :o)

cousin Paul's wedding

Also in August was Marcus' cousin Paul's wedding to a LOVELY young woman, Kristin.

They chose a park setting and I heard they rented all the cabins for any partiers who wanted to stay all night.  (that was not us)

To tell the truth…I was kinda dreading this afternoon.  Sedric is SUCH a handful right now, at just over 3 years old.  Celeste is a sweetheart but at this point, she was crawling and I knew it would be hard to keep her off the ground.  And Gemma is still…Gemma.  ;o)  We considered just sending Marcus and a few older kids, but Marcus said he really wanted all of us to go.  I said "fine" and braced myself for a hard evening.

Guess what?  I was wrong!!  (There is a first time for everything.)  The evening was very enjoyable, and Paul and Kristin thought of many, many nice touches that made all the kids feel welcome.  The ceremony was short (they had a private Catholic ceremony in the morning) so the kids didn't have to sit still for long.  We all had a great time and would've loved to be one of the cabin-dwellers if we had planned for it!!

before the ceremony
silly face

short walk to the lodge for the reception

We found a nice spot in the far corner of
the lodge, because of all the kids.
View from the lodge.  The blue tent, and all the lower field,
was set up for kids!!!!  The adults could watch from any point
up at the lodge.  It was perfect!!!  (Marcus is standing by the flag.)

Not only did Paul & Kristin have a play area set up, but they also had a separate buffet for kids…and it was open immediately after the ceremony!!!  This was an awesome idea.  The buffet had crustless sandwiches, juice, string cheese, candy, and all sorts of other goodies that kids would love.  So thoughtful!  The kids ate and then ran off to play so the adults could eat in peace.  Fabulous!

This car ramp was a BIG hit.  ;o)

The lodge was open on one side, and filled with picnic benches.

We all thought this picture was pretty funny.  ;o)
What a great wedding!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

peach pie season

 Peach pie season came EARLY this year, maybe because of the super-hot, dry summer? 

We barely got some Veterans before they were done.  Of course, we made a lot of peach pies:

I like Veterans because they are free-stone, easy-peel, and
very very sweet!!!

BBQ with Aunt Chris and cousin Kelly

The same weekend as Marcus' party, there was a memorial fundraiser in honor of Marcus' Uncle Pat who died the previous fall of liver cancer.  His wife, Aunt Chris, flew out from Louisville, along with one of her sons, Kelly, from California.

We didn't go to the fundraiser in Vernonia (Pat's boyhood town) but we did have a get-together at grammae & papa's side of the Randall home:

It was nice to use the new patio on grammae & papa's side!

(yes, that is a nasty bruise on her forehead) :oP

Aunt Chris in pink, cousin Kelly in the white shirt, Uncle
Jeff (Steve and Pat's brother) in the navy shirt

Gemma LOVES cute boys!!!  (even if they are
related to her!)  ;o)
Kelly with all his Curl cousins.  :o)

Marcus' surprise 40th birthday party

Right after picking up the kids from Camp Howard…Marcus had a surprise 40th birthday party!!!

Well, the PARTY was a surprise…turning 40 was no surprise.  ;o)

It was a beautiful evening.  Guests came to the house while
Marcus and I were gone in Portland, picking up the kids.

Because I was not there to get dinner ready, Papa manned the
grill.  I had bought pre-made sides from New Seasons, which
the guests set out.  Desserts were from Decadent Creations, via
Lisa (it was a thank-you for watching her kids!).
Fr. Juan was in charge of decorations.  :o)  I gave him free
rein from our party supplies bin!  And he supplied lots of
balloons.  :o)
Old Man

Lots of fun, lots of presents, and lots of love for Marcus.