The Tent House

When we were at Grandma’s house for a week,
we wanted something simple to entertain the kids, preferably outside.
Grandma suggested making a tent for them,
I had noticed one along the road just a few days before,
so combining our ideas, the tent house came to life.

tent (1)

Mom has a 3 stranded wash line so they hung the sheets over the lines
and clothes pins worked great to hold it together.
They even used an extra sheet and added a porch.

We thought we were building it for all the kids,
but the two hippies kind of moved in and took over.
They hauled all kinds of paraphernalia from one house
or the other, and filled the tent!

tent (2)

The other kids stopped in to take tour of the place.
One tent dweller willingly hopped off her chair to open the door,
the other happily stayed right where she was.

tent (3)

Their vehicle was usually parked close by
so the walk was not a one strenuous when they left home.

tent (4)

After awhile they announced, “It’s time for you kids to leave now!”

tent (5)

“These guys are a little strange!” he thinks.
But they don’t mind being thought of as strange,
life is good.

tent (6)

Whew, back to relaxing now that the visitors have all gone home.

tent (7)

Eventually they ventured out to find some food.
This picture sums up their relationship quite well.
One does something strange, while the other watches with interest.

tent (9)

Unknown to them, when the hippies are away, the mice will play.
While they were out getting food and playing some games,
two visitors sneaked in and took over the tent house.

tent (8)

These two are the best of friends
and quite enjoy their time together
when we are at Grandma’s house.

Build your gang a tent house,
it creates hours of fun.

Back to School

And it is back to school again …
Early mornings.
Packing lunches.
Pushing them along in the morning.
Doing all the work alone all day.
After school snacks.
Homework. (I hope not!)
Listening to their adventures.
Early to bed. (pushing then too)
A routine again after being lazy all summer.

It’s all good I suppose,
but this is one of the first years I wasn’t quite ready for it.
It feels like we’ve barely begun our summer
and now it’s over already.

B T School (2)

Do you ever look at your children and think,
“What in the world just happened?
Wasn’t this child just a baby yesterday?”

And then my brain screams,
“I am not old enough for this!”

B T School (5)

Ready for 7th grade.
How can that be?
She wanted to be sure and get her book on the picture.
She will read anything! Anything.
Her dad suggested his old favorites and she’s happy to oblige.

B T School (1)
And 4th grade?
Where has time gone?
She loves school, but she thrives for her afternoon
at home when her creative mind is unrestrained.
She’ll probably come home and climb a tree
because she had to sit all day.

B T School (4)
I think both girls were a teeny tiny bit worried about leaving this one.
They like to baby her a bit too much.

B T School (6)
Mr. D was not very happy.
He wanted to go to Kindergarten now,
not wait until this winter.

B T School (7)

B T School (8)

And Sam entertains by chasing his tail.

B T School (10)

Madison gets one more squeeze in.

B T School (12)
Reagan’s room has the theme of Adventures in Odyssey.

B T School (14)

B T School (17)

We’re thankful Miss Katie is back for another year.

B T School (15)

B T School (16)
And Madison’s room is playing scrabble for the year.

I am so thankful for the blessing of a Christian school,
teachers with a caring heart for the kids,
and that this Mom doesn’t have to push a year
of schooling into her children.

Life of Late

The mind whirls, the brain spins,
yet nothing intelligent comes forth.
Is that anything new?
I would like to think so,
but then again, I wouldn’t know
because it seems this brain has taken
a siesta from it’s body as of late.

Funerals attended.
A week in Indiana.
Good times with family and friends.
A health crisis with Mom.
A wedding.
Back home.
Calling hours of a friend’s Mom.
A bridal shower.

And in between all that,
there is all the usual here at home.
I felt the lawn tickling my knees
while tomatoes call to me through their rotten spots.
Zucchini the size of pumpkins crawl from the garden,
begging for attention. I am deaf to their cries.
Girls continue to grow, with no concern for what they will wear.
Photos cry from their spot, hidden away in Lightroom.
People continue to send wedding invitations,
all pretty and pleasing to the eye.
I gaze longingly and wish to attend, relax amid the beauty,
and maybe take a nap while I’m there.
Children continue to roam freely,
building towers of toilet paper rolls, while chewing 5 pieces of gum.

These are the days, they say.
You will miss this some day, they say.
Until then, here’s a few of my Project 365 photos of what’s been happening.

8-6
I did attend to the zucchini’s cries one day
and chopped it into relish.

8-8
This my friends, is the newest leg killer in town.
It is out to get you, just begging to be climbed.
Not hard at all, just a few 200+ steps.
5 days later the legs were still swearing on the way downstairs.

8-9
“How many pieces of popcorn can you catch with your mouth?”

8-10
“I think I can, I think I can!”
And he did.

8-11
Watching Grandpa’s new Tv in their tent!

8-13
Visiting Grandma in the hospital after her heart attack.

8-14
We were reminded to cherish each day with our loved ones.

8-16
My quiet traveling companion.

8-17
There was no time to drink coffee that morning,
but whooo could resist drinking with this guy.

8-18
We celebrated the pretty bride to be.

8-19
And one last shopping trip with this gang.
All the school supplies are collected and waiting for next week.

School and next week should never be in the same sentence,
especially when it feels like it is still July the 4th.

Caramel Mocha Ice Cream

I love ice cream.
Ice cream desserts full of caramel,
coffee, pecans and all good things like this,
just makes it even better.

Mocha Caramel Ice Cream (1)

I could eat a whole boat load of dessert like this if I had no self-control.
As it is, I have very little self-control around it.
I waffle between letting the kids eat a bunch
so there is less for me to sneak
or hoarding it away in little bowls and telling the kids it’s almost all gone.

This batch really is almost all.
I and I alone know where the last little bit is hidden.

One thing about making this dessert, it is time-consuming.
Each layer needs to be frozen well before adding another layer.
I actually made this over a few days time,
when I had a minute I would get it out and add another layer.

{Actual recipe at the bottom}

Mocha dessert (1)

Start off by layering graham crackers on a cookie sheet.
Melt butter and brown sugar and stir in pecans.

Mocha dessert (2)

Pour that mixture over the crackers and bake 10 minutes

Mocha dessert (3)

This is how it looked when it came out.
Not sure how to keep that bottom from getting too brown.
I might spread everything out a bit more next time.

Mocha dessert (4)

After it cooled, I chopped it all up with this little stomper thing.
Next time I would chop it into even smaller pieces.
It was good but some of the pieces were a bit large.

Chop it well and put 1/2 of it in a 9×13 pan.

Mocha dessert (5)

Now, here’s a part I missed a picture of.
I couldn’t find caramel ice cream to save my life
so I bought vanilla and a bottle of caramel.
I put about half of the ice cream on top of the crumbs,
dumped a large amount of caramel on it and finished off
with the rest of the ice cream.
It worked, but I’m still going to look for caramel ice cream.

Now freeze it solid before trying to add anything else.
This stuff cannot be rushed or you’ll end up with
Caramel Mocha Soup.
Don’t ask me how I know.

Mocha dessert (6)

An entire jar of hot fudge is next.
Me, the great disliker of all things chocolate,
didn’t quite scrape the jar clean before throwing it away.
I know, I hear the cries of outrage already.

Mocha dessert (7)

Follow that with the rest of the crumbs.
Freeze again!

Mocha dessert (8)

Now let’s stop and take a moment in honor of
the most loveliest food in the world.
Coffee Ice Cream, ahh, how I love thee.

Coffee ice cream is the next layer
and I read a trick that worked marvelously.
Thaw it just a bit, tip it over and then let it slide out.
If it doesn’t slide out, just rip the carton, that works too.
Now slice the ice cream and layer it on top of the crumbs.
(I sliced the first layer of ice cream too,
just didn’t take a picture)

Mocha dessert (9)

It was getting pretty soft until I was done
so I smooth it around with a spoon after layering the slices.
Or I tried. Now you may lick the spoon.
Freeze again.

Mocha dessert (10)

Next is the Cool Whip mixed with instant coffee.
As you can see, my bowl was too small.
I couldn’t even put all the Cool whip on
because it was oozing out the sides of the lid.
I have a pan that is just a bit bigger than 9×13
that I will use next time.

Mocha Caramel Ice Cream (2)
Eat and be happy! Oh, so happy!
Your taste buds will thank you.

~~~

Caramel Mocha Ice Cream

10 graham crackers
1  c butter
1 c brown sugar – packed
1 c pecans

Arrange crackers on a cookie sheet.
Melt butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil.
Cook 2 minutes.
Stir in pecans. Pour over crackers.
Bake 10 minute @ 350*. Cool and then crumble.
Spread 1/2 in a 9×13 pan.

1 quart caramel ice cream
Slice and place over crumbled crackers. – freeze.

1 jar hot fudge
Spread over ice cream and sprinkle rest of crumbs on top.
-freeze

1 quart coffee ice cream
Slice and place on crumbs. – freeze.

1 box Cool Whip.
1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tsp hot water.
Mix coffee and Cool whip and then spread on ice cream.
– freeze.

Get out of freezer 10-20 minutes before serving.

Wild Weeks of Summer

Sometimes summer life gets so crazy,
you just long for those boring days of winter.
Did I just say that?
No, I’m not wishing for winter by any means,
just a little less on my agenda
and a little longer summer.

This summer has just been knock-me-out busy!
I am not one that does well with this kind of life,
so after a few weeks of constantly running,
I am getting snappy, as my family can attest to.
Don’t stop in until I’ve had a few days to recuperate.

7-21
Once upon a time, a long time ago,
we manged to hit the beach for a day.
Cousins and friends and all kinds of good fun.

7-23
We stick Madison in her happy corner
any time we are home for a bit.
She is now taking donations for a Kitchen Aid.
I don’t know why she thinks she wants one,
we have a perfectly good Bosch.

Life takes unfair and unexpected twists sometimes
and we got the call one evening that Eric’s uncle had passed away.
7-25
Since we were heading West for this,
we made a pit stop at Mom’s to drop off the kids and help with corn day.
There were 3! Yes 3! trucks beds full of corn.
We thought we would never get done.
500 some bags later we finally did.

8-4 (3)
On the way home from MO, in the blazing heat,
something quit on the truck.
Thank you Jesus for Auto Zone and brothers that stop to help!

The day we arrived home,
our future brother-in-law’s Dad passed away.
One’s family should never be left to grieve alone,
so we made plans to head south.
We had a few days at home between trips to smash some things in.
8-4 (4)

Such as, tormenting small sisters.

7-29
Hitting the library.

7-30
A Dr visit for some out of control poison ivy!

7-31
The south gave us a warm welcome indeed
after many hours of sitting.

8-4 (5)
We may or may not have made more than one a pit stop here
in the 42 hours we were gone.

8-4 (6)
And these guys solved the worlds problems
while we drove and stopped and drove and waited,
stopped, drove, stopped and drove.
Suffice to say, until all the traffic jams were conquered on the way home,
the “two round fleshy parts that form the lower rear area of a human trunk”
were quite numb!

Thankfully Grandma was stopping in for the night
and rounded up the tribe before we got home.
8-4 (7)
Of course she brings things like chocolate cupcakes for kids.

8-4 (8)
She says it was quite good.
I will let her be the judge of that.

8-4 (9)
Mom also brought gorgeous flowers from the wedding they attended.
They were begging to be photographed.

8-4 (10)
Little One came by for a sniff test.
She said, “Deese smell nummy!”

8-4 (11)

So what do her hair remind you of? :)
This morning the horns would have been quite appropriate.

8-4 (12)
Late at night, she ate popcorn to put off bedtime.
Of course the entire bag got dumped and I made her sweep it up.
That turned out to be quite a lot of fun she thought,
much more fun than sleeping.

Quote of the day:

7-28
“Oh my word, Mom, look!
A Mommy ice cube is gonna pop out a baby ice cube!”

In the Whirlwind of Life

Roses

Sometimes life feels like a merry-go-round,
the wheel spins and away we go,
whirling around with no way to stop, no way to get off.
We’re along for the ride whether we want to or not.

Scenery flies past our eyes, too many things happening,
swirling together, moving too swiftly.
We hold on tightly, fighting to stay in the game,
but swiftly losing ground.
And then, at what feels like our last second,
we look up.

We look up because up is seemingly
the only thing not spinning in our world.

And when we look,
we see a hand reaching down for ours,
to hold strong, to steady our world,
to calm the storm spinning out of control.
We reach and grasp that hand, clinging tightly.

He grips our outstretched hand and peace returns.
Though the world spins on around us,
a calm reigns,
knowing with our hand tucked in his,
come what may,
He is our steady rock, holding us strong.

Roses 2

Tonight, especially to those fighting the whirlwind of grief,
may Jesus be your strong tower!

Revving up Memories

Childhood memories …
Are there certain things you see or do that sparks a memory?
Maybe something you eat or hear?
Something triggers in there and you start thinking about
all the fun you had doing that when you were a kid.

One weekend in June we were in Indiana to see the family.
The ladies (and all the kids) were off doing their things,
and the guys (with not a child in sight) were off doing theirs.
No, we’re not bitter or anything but let’s just say
maybe next time they can see how that maxi van rides.

Anyway, getting back on track.
We both arrived home about the same time
and there on the back of their truck was a little dirt bike.

bike (2)

When we were kids we practically lived on
a dirt bike, 3 wheeler, jeep or something like this.
Someone asked Tris when he learned to ride.
“Um, I don’t know. When I learned to walk!”
That’s about when I was thinking too.
I don’t remember learning to ride a dirt bike
or drive a jeep. They were just part of our life.

bike (1)
(I may or may not have been begging for the first ride)

Now backing up a bit.
The guys were in town and found
a bike on Craig’s list, looked it up,
combined their cash and bought it.
On the way home they stopped to check out another one
that was leaning against a tree with a “For Sale” sign.
“We don’t have the cash right now, but we’ll be back!”
And they were.

bike (3)

They came home and dropped off one,
asked Grandma for some cash and were off to buy one more.

bike (4)

So now 3 guys are part owners of one bike
and Grandma is the proud owner of the 2nd one.

bike (5)

Sat. afternoon and evening were pretty much a race track.
If you didn’t know how to ride before, you quickly learned.

bike (6)
There were races on the road and laps around Grandma’s house.

bike (7)
If you weren’t old enough to learn, you hopped on with someone for a ride.

bike (8)

Sometimes the little bikes were on overload.

bike (12)

They made a few rounds and stopped for the next guy to take a turn.

bike (10)
On Sunday Tyson and his boys brought the two they have.
Now there were four, which meant much less time wasted waiting in line.

bike (13)

bike (15)

Since I grew up riding, I thought my girls should learn also.
They loved it.
Problem is, now they have a short lists of “needs.”

bike (17)

That Sunday was Father’s Day.
Since the guys took care of the dishes on Mother’s Day,
the ladies were generous and offered to do them for their day.

The guys looked out the door and almost offered to wash the dishes.
Kids of all sizes were waiting to start the bikes.

bike (18)
But since it was Father’s day and all,
these guys went out and took the first ride.

bike (19)

It was just a little bit like watching a circus.

bike (20)

Madison said, “This is like watching all those little
cars in the parade that go in circles!”

bike (22)

They stopped to line up for a race.

bike (23)

There may have been some cheating involved
since the smallest bike was the first one off the line.

bike (26)

They were kind enough to come back after awhile
and give their kids a push start.

bike (27)

Eric decided Dakota is quite old enough to learn to ride.
And so he did!

bike (28)

bike (29)

He was one proud little guy.
Only problem was, he learned on Sunday afternoon,
just a few hours before we were ready to leave for home.
Now it’s not just 2 begging, it’s 3.
(or maybe 4)

bike (30)

Grandma generally has a nice looking lawn.
After that weekend, it was more of packed yard/race track.
We hope it recovered.

~~~

Dirt bike riding wasn’t the only thing we did that weekend.
It was just the only thing we did after we bought them.

bike (31)

They had a lot of rain and the creek was just perfect for playing.
We spent hours playing in this creek when we were kids.
Now when we go back, my kids always hope for a little rain
to make the creek just right for a good splash.

bike (33)

This gang created a body dam to stop the water …

bike (32)

… from filling these guy’s bathtub.
One of them yelled,
“We don’t need a bath tonight since we took one in here!”

bike (34)

We also filled up on ice cream that weekend.

Ice cream was pretty much a staple growing up.
We had home made ice cream parties with the cousins.
We ate it before bedtime, for dessert, a snack and just about any time.

When Tim bought an ice cream machine from a restaurant
going out of business, we had it up and running in no time.
Grandma bought every kind of cone, candy and cookie crumble
you can imagine to pile on it and the kids
thought they were in ice cream heaven.

~~~
Suffice to say, a weekend at Grandma’s is never dull.
Lots of memories for the next generation, coming up!