"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, July 31, 2006

The (Not So) Great Escape

Once again my youngest has made his escape! This time through a bedroom window ... popped the screen right off and scampered out into our partially fenced backyard. Where was "Mommy" ... well I was taking a wee nap on the couch ... not quite asleep ... with one ear listening for little stirring sounds. When the house gets too quiet, I begin to worry. The morning of his escape, he got up early ... around 5:00 ... so I put him in my bed and pulled out trundle for myself. But never really getting back to sleep, I got up and had my morning's coffee. So, thus, the need for the little nap. People, he's ten years old and has been wearing me down since birth! I try hard as I might to outsmart the little fellow, but he's got some determination!! By the time I discovered the escape route, I fetched the neighborhood police officer to put out an APB. And, of course, after doing so, the little fellow turns up in my garage. Thank goodness I dress him in shockingly bright colors to help spot him while we're out and about. I'm thinking of investing in one of those doggy wire fences and buying two collars ... one for my dog, and one for my son (no joke)! So far, I've got every door double locked. I've even put a bedroom button type lock on the laundryroom door (backwards) so he can't undo the button. He's noticed me using a pin-key to open it, and you can bet, before too long, he'll have that figured out too. My new home will be wired top to bottom with bells and buzzers from a security company; even the windows!! That way I can at least listen for chimes when a window or door opens. How does barb-wire sound around the backyard play area? ... again no kidding?
(For those out of the loop, my son has Down syndrome)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Treetop Lullaby

What a rush today ... I sat for over an hour alone in the woods at my property just listening to the wind in the treetops! Off in the distance was the echo of a ghost train from bygone days, signaling its crossing over the prairie. A windchime sang from a distant neighbor's yard ... rich in tone, not the tinkly sounds given off by a dimestore variety ... but the tonal bass sounds of perhaps a seashore foghorn on a distant shore. The warmth of the sun perfumed the air with pine scent and wild flowers. If only I had my hammock to swing effortlessly from the gentle breeze, now that would have been a perfect afternoon.

When dh and I bought our land, it took months for me to feel comfortable traipsing through the overgrowth. Now I walk exploring with out dread fear of snakes and buzzing bees. The grasshoppers were out in force with their clicking sound as they bounded from bush to bush. My beautiful raspberries that were left on the canes have withered into the most delicious wild "candy" ... a sweet treat to munch on during my little visits. Still looking at the ripening of the huckleberries ... there are loads of them ... soon, very soon.

Back to reality ... I now hear the freeway sounds from the summer traffic. Once winter sets in, the prairie will be quieter at night. But for now, the city buzzes with manmade sounds.

Take me away to my trees once again to hear the Lord's whispering voice. Deep inside, I've always enjoyed being alone with God. From the young age of seven, I would ride my bicycle to church on Sunday mornings to attend the 6:30 mass. My family would still be sleeping ... but I needed my quiet time with my Father, in His house. They would go to church later, but if they only knew what they missed out on by not getting up early before the world was awake.

It's late and church will come early enough. Have a blessed Sunday rich in the Lord.

Mrs. Mac
Photo by "Me" 7/29/06

Saturday, July 29, 2006

God's Orchestration

Isn't is amazing how bored the human race can get at times? We are always longing for a change, whether it's in our wardrobe, food, weather, car, etc; you name it, we like change! God in his infinite wisdom even gave us the four seasons to help break up the monotony of sameness. Towards the end of winter, we long for spring, then we have summer's heat and we long for crisp fall days with colorful crunchy leaves to rake up, those nice walks in the park wearing a sweater, and the smell of slow cooked stews and pies wafting through the home making us feel cozy and loved. Winter brings a time for rest; very little yardwork, if any, relaxing by the fireplace with an afgan ... sipping hot cider ... enjoying a novel. The busyness of the holidays to make family memories to carry us into old age! Seasons of the earth, and seasons of life ... God's perfect plan is awesome! Thank goodness His love for us never changes. My very favorite season is autumn!! Care to share about yours?

Out and About

Today found me running errands: Post office, phone store, library, park, Wendy's for lunch, siding showroom, carpet showroom, gas station, and Wallyworld (Walmart) for a gas powered weed wacker and groceries; I just love shopping for such extreme items there. Besides all this, there was laundry to do, pick up the house, and try to get a problem with the county building permit hammered out with the general contractor and the engineering firm. Yes, the same firm that drug their feet getting my house plans stamped with their ever so needed approval! For dinner tonight we had a sampler platter that consisted of California roll sushi, Italian bruschetta, finger sized deli sammies (sandwiches)... don't ask ... but it was delicious! I spoke with dh and our oldest son, Patrick on the phone ... a highlight of the day. It's late and I'm a wee bit tired. I hope to have something more creative to write about tomorrow. Sweet dreams!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The "Serious" Photographer

This morning I came across this photo taken in 1975 in my high school photography lab science class. Yes, a lab science ... imagine that! We had to do real photography back then with darkrooms, film, chemicals, and excursions; this was a year long class. We even had to make a camera from an oatmeal box! My 35mm camera went everywhere I went. Having my own car made it easy to drive down to the beach and catch some nature pics at least once a week. Several of these beach outings included the loan (probably without permission) of my mom's extensive (and expensive) sea shell collection. I was brave and even set up the tri-pod at the water's edge (foolish thing to do). But to capture a colorful shell with the seafoam lapping over it required the risk (so I thought). Well, all was well until I misjudged a wave and just about lost everything ... that's camera, tri-pod, and even a few expensive shells bobbing out to sea. Fortunately, I reclaimed the shells, my composure, and didn't get too wet. Obviously, I saved the camera first. Mom never knew a thing :) Digital cameras are a wonderful invention, but to get a real feel for photography, nothing beats film. My camera was stolen during a home burgulary and since dh owned the same make and model, never replaced my own. Mom was kind enough to leave her 35mm with loads of lenses last month, so today I'm going to unpack her camera bag and begin shooting film once again. Stay tooned for the results.

Photo of "Me" taking a fellow student's portrait in high school, 1975

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Window Friends"

"He's leaving on a jet plane, can't wait for him to get back again" ... Gone with the wind! My dh left this morning after a nice long visit. This time I actually cried a bit before he left. So now I'm back to my "window friends", as Anne Shirley would call her reflection in the window that she'd talk to :). In a way, blog friends are "window friends" ... but hardly just in my imagination (I hope so at least). I'm a little weary of the friend making process. So far, since the move, I've actually made friends with a newlywed couple two doors down. I'm probably old enough to be their mom, but because we both have young kids at home, I feel more like a friend than their mother. Dh has many friends in town, so I've inherited them and their wives as friends ... so far a good thing. But for now, I'm going to be taking the "making new friends" role very slowly, as I've got so much on my plate, God would be stretching me a bit too thin with any major assignments :)

Little Joys

The "face of an angel" pointing to heaven. This little photo of Nathan was taken on the day we purchased our property. There's always been something about the peaceful look, the "rainbow" and that little finger pointing up to the One we give thanks to. Just thought I'd share a snapshot of a joyful moment.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Good Boy

Today little Nathan was a good boy during the special needs Sunday school program at church. Dh liked the service too, as well as Elizabeth and Ryan (her intended) and daughter Ann. Now I just need to do a little more checking into how things are run corporately before committing to making this our home church. Just because the Lord asks us to tithe, doesn't mean we should do so without making sure there's some type of good accountability with church funds and that their doctrine is sound as well.

It's blazing hot and we're stiffling inside the house! We took a short little trip out to Kellog and enjoyed the air conditioned car for a few hours. My poor plants on the porch are just barely hanging in there. They take up the afternoon heat and have been baking the past few days. I should move them to the backpatio to help revive them. Even someone with a green thumb has limits in this heat :)

Tonight dh and I are meeting with friends for dinner. I'm starting to feel separation pangs as he leaves on Tuesday :(

May the Good Lord bless you and send a little cooler weather our way.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pieced Together, Quilted By God

With dh home this week and having the start of putting down some roots, life in our new town is one that is rich in blessings. Yesterday started off with a little glimpse of, hopefully, what our lives will encompass once my man's up here full time. I think the little wait will be worthwhile. Not wanting to put too much into this ideal dream, as I know only the Lord knows what is in store for us, but it gives me hope that living up here is going to work out fine this side of heaven.

Our aunt and uncle from Spokane joined us for dinner along with daughter, Elizabeth, and her intended at a nice casual lakefront diner. We enjoyed the evening dining al fresco with a view of a small private marina. Sitting there with the family and sharing stories from a recent family reunion was yet another reminder of how blessed we are to have a rich heritage and how lives are so intertwined and pieced together. Our little gathering was a quilt square that belongs in a much larger quilt being fashioned by our Maker. Our memories were shared and will again be reshared and added to when our daughter starts her own family. Having just returned from the reunion, our uncle brought us copies of everything that was put together and distributed to those in attendance. There was even a cd cookbook that I'm anxious to open and view. We'll have to start saving our pennies so we can attend the next reunion in two more years.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Time With Dad

Little Nathan snuggling with dh this morning :)

And trying on Dad's cool hat and glasses :)

Playing House

Last night dh's flight got in a bit later than expected (11:00 PM). But I piled the kids in the car anyway and headed off to the airport to greet him. His suitcase was just under the 50 lb limit due to all the goodies he brought from Trader Joe's :) Today we can start playing house again, go on long walks, clean out the garage, pick wild berries ... and he can be in charge of the youngins part of the time to give this 'ol gal a break! I can also drag him around town and show him the neat stuff he's buying for the new house (wink), meet with the builder and let him have the last say about the placement of the home on the lot (would never live with myself If I messed that one up). Then we can choose a night to go out on a date. Sounds like the makings of a great day!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Small Town Advantages to Raising Teens

I'll try my best to give the facts without the gossip. Living in a small town has certain advantages to raising your kids. Especially when your neighbor is a police officer ... not that being married to one has been any easier on the youngins ... but it's helpful!

Fact 1: Steamy car windows a block from home Saturday evening.

Fact 2: Car resembles a daughter's boyfriend's car.

Fact 3: A neighbor drops a dime to the PD on a suspicious car (with my permission :).

Fact 4: Guess which officer daughter had to sit next to in church Sunday?

I'll leave the details up to your imagination (but keep it clean).

A good night's rest for a stressed out mom ... priceless!

Sunday, Church, and Rest

We finally made it out to a new church with some neighbors this morning. It reminded me of the congregation we were attending before moving. Similar style, non-denomination, but quite a bit larger. They even have a special needs Sunday school program at the 9:30 service. I'll take Nathan to that next weekend along with my girls and dh. We're finally making a few connections and starting to put down some roots in our new town. It's beginning to feel like home again. To be honest, I haven't missed one thing (Except Trader Joe's market) since we moved (and Dh brings me treats from TJ's each time he comes up). Elizabeth watched Nathan today and I was able to take a long nap ... then drove out to the property to pick some more berries. We dined on BLT's for dinner ... Well, it was a nice relaxing day ... and must count our blessings, especially considering the termoil going on in the world. With that my thoughts turn towards my son in the Army hoping and praying that he stays safe and in the Lord's hands along with all those that are serving. Please Lord, give wisdom to the leaders of our nation.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Preserving History Through Family Recipies

Have you ever dined on a meal prepared from an old family recipe? The connection to the past with the present is one that is almost 3-D. You have memories, tastes, and sights all blended together for a little trip down memory lane. Preserving our heritage through cooking is one way to allow the memory of a loved one remain close in our hearts and recall a special time when "Grandma Donna", or "Aunt Florence" were still alive. Today's youngsters often miss out on such a rich family heritage by our fast paced world. Take some time to recreate a special dish and share the experience and memories of your family. Can you imagine if our children's only memories of food when they are older is of a burger and fries at McDonald's? ... or a skillet dinner from the freezer. Do you remember how much better farm fresh food tastes compared with grocery fare today? Homemade pickles were an everyday treat at Grandma's house ... even made from watermelon rind! My dad is still the king of homemade icecream. Grandma Donna's Jewish Apple Cake conjures up sights and scents from her tiny aqua blue kitchen. Aunt Lottie's farm fresh corn and roast beef dinner ... served in the grown up's dining room with a lace tablecloth ... yummy. Do you get the connection? Somewhere, packed away for the time being are my grandmother's cookbook and dh's grandmother's recipe box. This fall or winter when it's cold outside, I'm hoping to warm things up by unpacking a kitchen box filled with my family's heritage books.

Recipe: (Grandma Donna's) Jewish Apple Cake
Ingredients: 1/2 lb butter, 1/2 C sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 3 C flour, 1 egg, 6 green apples, lemon zest,
1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Directions: Cream butter, sugar and vanilla, add beaten egg and flour. Mix well and divide dough in half. Press half the dough in a 13x9 rectangular pan to form lining. Peel and slice apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar, and a little lemon zest. Spread the apple mixture into prepared pan. Press remaining dough on wax paper to form a 13x9 inch top. After placing on the top, bake in a preheated 300 degree F oven for about one hour.
Serves 15
PS the recipe doesn't say how much sugar to mix in with the apples ... use your taster ... probably up to a 1/2 cup.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Scented Geranium Part II (Plants by Mail)

About a week ago I posted about ordering some scented geraniums thru the internet. As you can see from the photos, they finally arrived yesterday by UPS. This being the first time ordering plants by mail, I was a bit skeptical about the condition they would arrive in. All survived and seem to be doing well. My favorite two are the peppermint and rose scents. I feel as though they are some type of adopted childern needing a mother's nurture (lol). Plans have already been made for taking care of them in the winter months by having a few indoor planter boxes in the foyer. It's funny the way God has hardwired his female creation with the desire to take care of everybody and everything including plants. I suppose if it was left up to the menfolk the children (and house plants) would look like little raggamuffins running around not caring if socks or shirts matched pants. And good thing we women are not to be the hunters as we'd all starve from not wanting to shoot "Bambi's mother" for dinner.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The 100 MPH Haircut

This morning, I finally mustered up the strength to give Nathan a full body spa treatment. The to do list included: a good soaking in the tub, finger and toe nails trimmed, ear's cleaned, and the dreaded spinning child wild haircut. I honestly am thinking of investing in one of those special tables with a little harness used by dog groomers. Hair cuts are always put off until there's not much face left showing on the boy. Baths alone are a chore, but to triple stack the deck and tackle all three jobs at once is an olympic sport in our home. Now I must go clean up the mess. Tub to clean ... nail clippings to pick up ... hair to vacuum. Dh returns Monday night ... He may get a bill for this job or at least take me out for a nice dinner

P.S. After "treatment" photo. And whilst I was cleaning up the mess, the little Gypsy took off on his bike down the middle of the road ... just learned how to open the garage last week ... must dash off to hardware store now to buy an extra lock!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Eclectic Design ... (Translation: I Can't Make Up My Mind)

How many types of metal hardware does the world have to offer. There's oiled bronze, brushed nickle, chrome, antique brass, polished brass, lacquered brass, copper, stainless (what am I forgetting?). How in the heck does one make such a choice when trying to pull off designing a home? To start with, I have an heirloom dining room light (from my grandparent's home) with antique metal brass trim, a milky white glass shade, and amber prisms. My kitchen appliances will be painted white with titanium handles (this is ok as I've seen lots of stainless mixed in country kitchen designs). The hardware to my bedroom set is oiled bronze ... which I'm now leaning towards for the rest of the fixtures. The last house had shiny laquered brass ... don't want that again. Thank goodness for the eclectic design catagory. Most of our furnishings were bought separately and don't belong to a "set" ... This we did on purpose as if we've just been collecting over the years (which we have). Then there's the little cast iron wood stove that I can have painted. Don't forget the door knobs and faucets too. This has to be narrowed down soon as I have an appointment later today with the indoor/outdoor lighting company. Let's see, my hair appointment is at 10:00 AM ... should I have her put in some copper highlights?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Little Copper Roof

This past weekend, I've done a lot of exploration on the www. My vision is blurry today from using an interactive paint program through Benjamin Moore paints. To use, you choose a sample house style as close to your's as possible, then you can try different siding, trim and accent colors to you little heart's desire. Since our house plans are somewhere between country and craftsman, and because the predominate design for our area is craftsman in a forest setting, we're (I'm) leaning toward the richer, earthier colors and hope to include a copper topped roof section on a front bay window. It should be great to see how it changes color over the next few years, from a shinny new penny look, to warm shades of brown, and finally a lovely verdigris.

I know I posted about not needing air conditioning (until you need it) ... today we could have used it!! ... must make note definately get AC installed in new home.

I went to the property today and to see the progress of a nearby home that is being built. They just poured the cement basement today. Hopefully with any luck, we will have an easy time digging our basement ... would hate to hit lots of rock ... as this will add to the cost of the home.
Thinking positive about this coming week!

PS ... I just found this post that I wrote two weeks ago and saved as a draft. Since I'm a bit busy today, I'll share "My Little Copper Roof" story.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pockets Of Time

There is still a hush in my home this morning. I've already bathed, read the newspaper, realized I missed a great historical re-enactment at a mission in Cataldo yesterday, and am still savoring my last few sips of coffee before my youngest, Nathan, makes his way out of bed. My "real" life, of course, is being his mommy ... even though I feel much too old at times to keep up with him. But my other life, the one that recharges my batteries, is somewhere over the rainbow in little pockets of time. I guess this means daydreams to some ... but some days it's what gets me through the trenches of motherhood. Of course, I have my life that encompasses eternity with our Heavenly Father, but for the nitty-gritty part of life, dreams get me through the day. In my mind's eye, I am envisioning an hour glass with just about five or ten minutes left before reality wakes me. Best be getting along here folks ... wouldn't want to have to borrow against my next dose of dreaming.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Of Berry Picking and Woodland Fairies

The berries yesterday were easy to pick ... I ventured out about 4:30 PM to my secret locale armed with a clean bucket, camera, gloves, and a long sleeved shirt. Best I can tell, we have thimble berries, wine (black capped) raspberries, and some type of very tall huckleberry bush. The smaller huckleberry bushes are loaded, but are not quite ripe ... a different variety. All I know is that they all taste good. I spread them out on a cookie sheet to freeze in a single layer ... later they will go in a zip lock bag or freezer container for longer storage.

About 9:00 PM, the kids and I, along with our northwood friends, traipsed on a little jaunt through some 100 acres of wooded forest, meadowland, natural springs and even crossed a creek. The whole time I'm a nervous ninny thinking every strange sound is a wild animal ... or snake! But no wild beasts were spied tonight. The moon was nearly full and cast a haunting glow in the clearings. The meadows were full of knee high white daiseys and singing insects. Our clamorous noise dashed all hope of seeing any deer. Little Nathan kept up like a trouper. Thank goodness for his laser light shoes that blink with every step! He was so wound up at bedtime, I had to help him along into slumberland with a little dose of Benedryl (ssshhh) ... OK, I know without the little sleepy medicine, he'd have been up til dawn ... (FYI ... only used on rare occassions .. especially when MOM is tired :-) This will be a night of sweet dreams.

Update: 7/9/06 Tonight for dinner I made a wonderful wild berry bbq sauce to go on some grilled pork chops ... who cares that we have purple stained mouths :) It was worth it!
Photos of berries and fairy haunt by "Me" 7/8/06

Friday, July 07, 2006

The "Green" Light - Digging In The Dirt

OK ... for the past two months I've been vexed. Mostly caused by a delay in the homebuilding process by the engineering department. What they do is important ... but when they promise something back in one to two weeks, and here we sit eight weeks later after making only a few footing adjustments for them, you have to wonder what sort of calendar they work from. Needless to say ... I got a call from them yesterday that they had finished! So off I went traipsing through the property along with the builder, a shovel , and a spraycan of bright orange marking paint. It was rather fun to stake out the corners of the home and help make an elevation map so we can move the house around on the map a bit before we commit to the actual location. As an added bonus, there were tons of wild raspberries to snack on. I'm sure a few plants will survive the excavation ... there are enough to fill the freezer over the next few weeks. Also ... another plus, I spied some wild huckleberry bushes scattered throughout the two acres (shhhh ... must be kept a top secret location ... or else they will be gone by some berrypicker with huckleberry fever). ... Monday it's off the the cabinet maker to put in the order ... the fun of making a zillion detail choices now begins!
Photo of improvised building site marker (tree limb)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dinner Date for Two

Boy, I haven't posted this much in a long spell. But tonight I had a very nice dinner with my oldest son. I suggested we eat before six PM and take advantage of the early bird special at a local favorite hangout of mine. A nice little restaurant at a riverside resort that has the best view and you can't beat the steak dinner for $7.99. Patrick made a special fuss about wearing a suit (even had it cleaned and pressed for our date). I think he's really enjoying his time away from Army life in general and will be glad to finish up his time. We had a great "date."

Scented Geranium

This afternoon, my dear son, Patrick, took little Nathan to the playland at McDonald's for a special brother bonding outing. Free time doesn't come my way very often, so I went exploring at the local supermarket (one I'd never been to). I was actually looking for a scenic Northern Idaho calendar that is to be out in July (containing some photos we submitted) and on sale at this market ... but none were to be found today. On the way out, I got a whiff of a scented geranium; one of my favorite plants. There on the sidewalk in front of the store was a whole display of "Mosquito" plants for sale. These were actually citronella scented geraniums ... and since they are a bit hard to find, I made a purchase. Having one on my front porch with its wonderful perfumed leaves giving off their fragrance reminds me of my old home and is comforting.

Bayview Daze

Saturday evening the kids and I drove over to Bayview to check out their Independence weekend celebrations. The little quiet town of quaint float houses and boat docks was one old fashioned Americana festival. We arrived about 7 PM and stayed for the lighted boat parade and their beautiful fireworks display that was out over the water.

My son, Patrick, with family friends.

Ann with her beau, Jay.

Elizabeth with a bike "prop"

Little Nathan became a bit skitterish when the folks next to us set off a few fireworks, but later sat on my lap with fingers in ears to watch the aerial show. All, in all, we had a great evening celebrating our country's freedom. The only one missing was DH. It was a rare day to have all of my children home and will surely be treasured in the banks of my memories for years to come. Sweet dreams.