Archive for the ‘Life and Family’ category

The Aftermath of a Holiday Weekend

September 8, 2022

This past weekend we welcomed my daughter’s family to celebrate the last holiday of summer.

There were eight humans and one dog in our home. We spent much of the weekend talking over noisy youngsters and cautiously walking to avoid stepping on a child, toy, or dog. In between times, we ate. We played cornhole. We watched a movie with the kids. We read picture books. We played tea party. We ran around outside. And we ate some more. We enjoyed the first Wisconsin Badger game together with our newest Badger fan. And we wished his sisters well as they anticipated the first day of school. After we said our goodbyes, there was the cleanup – laundry, putting toys away, putting the furniture back in place, and exhaustion.

This brings me to my blog today. Having a Monday holiday and weekend guests totally threw me off my schedule. This morning, I suddenly realized it was my posting day. My brain is still trying to catch up with the days of the week. So, this is it, my friends. Now it’s time to look at my calendar to see what else I’ve missed.

Until next Thursday, enjoy every day to its fullest!  

Leftover Vacation Memories

August 18, 2022

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. So, instead of telling you more about our big family vacation, I’ll show you memories with photos.


Kid Activities


Adult Activities

The long Trip Home

Alas, the GPS rerouted us to a place we didn’t want to go. After rerouting ourselves, we still had many miles to go through Sunday evening traffic. Luckily, a tired and weary crew made it home safely to dream about our fantastic family vacation.

If anyone in your family has an obsession with the ocean, tide pools, and ocean creatures, here is a book you must see.

The Tide Pool Waits written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Amy Hevron, Neal Porter Books, 2022.

The Story of a Family Vacation

August 11, 2022

The story begins in the mid-1980s. My father, who was an only child, wanted me, my brother, two sisters, and our families to remain close. It was challenging since we lived in different states. To make this happen, my father and mother decided to rent a house on Hilton Head Island and invite everyone to join them for a week’s vacation. Each family oversaw an evening meal during the week. Dinner was a time when everyone – young and old – came together at the table for conversation and lots of laughter. For fourteen summers, our family spent quality time together. Our families grew, and we remained close. As the years passed, it became too difficult for our parents to travel. The summer of 2001 was our last Hilton Head family vacation.

Sadly, our parents are now gone. Over the years, we have all reminisced about our summers together and toyed with the idea of doing it again. Finally, my daughter took charge. For almost a year, she planned. She polled family members, searched for a rental home, and asked for input. The cost of the rental home was equally divided among each family member. Only my niece and her husband were unable to come. On July 9th, twenty-four family members converged on the home of choice. The epic family vacation began.

The Family: 17 Adults, and 7 Children, coming from CO, FL, MA, NH, TX, IL, and Germany

That evening, for the first time in twenty-one years, we gathered around an enormous dining room table for fried grouper and red snapper. My brother, sisters, and I, now the older generation, said a blessing and gave a special toast to our parents.

Gathering before dinner.

The dinner table.

More pictures of our week together.


Kid Activities

Adult Activities

Our week passed quickly, filled with conversation, noise, laughter, and more noise. Cousins met cousins and made new friends. Adults reconnected and caught up with each other. Hopefully, this family tradition will continue so the younger generation remains as close as we have. It would be a great tribute to our parents. A special shout-out goes to our daughter for making our vacation a truly memorable one.

Our Family Photo

One of my favorite picture books that reminds me of our time together.

The Relatives Came written by Cynthia Ryland and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 1993

Sick Day!

April 28, 2022

I’m calling in sick today. My grandchildren gifted me with their colds. I have major brain fog. Sorry, no blog today!

Stay healthy.

I’ll be back next week!

The Cake Fiasco

January 20, 2022

My husband is a cake person. Several months ago he bought a cake mix to have on hand when his sweet tooth came calling. Last Sunday, he decided he needed cake. I was fine with that as long as he made it. I looked at the ingredients to see what was needed. Water. Three eggs. Seven tablespoons of butter and the cake mix. WHAT? Water? Butter? I asked what kind of cake mix he bought. He answered that it looked like the one I usually buy. No, not really. To help, I greased and floured the cake pan, preheated the oven, and headed to the office to write a book review.

Shouting between kitchen and office began.

Husband: What bowl do I use?

Me: The mixing bowl in the bottom cabinet.

Husband:  Do I melt the butter and stir it in the cake mix?

Me:  Did you read the directions?

Husband:  What spoon do I use to make sure the butter gets mixed in?


Husband:  Where’s the mixer?

Me:  In the pantry where it always is.

Husband: This batter doesn’t look right.

Me:  Did you follow all the directions?

Husband: Yes. It’s ready to put into the pan.

Me:  Do it.

Husband:  How do I set the timer?

Me:  I’m coming.

After that, it was quiet for a while. Until…

Husband:  The oven is off!

A fuse blew. We reset everything, hoping the cake would survive.

About 20 minutes later, I heard the timer go off. The next thing I heard was a crash and my husband loudly expressing himself.

Me:  What happened? I yelled, running to the kitchen.   

My husband put the grip side of the oven mitt on wrong. The cake pan slipped out of his hands.

Grip Side
Slip Side

I looked at the mess. My only reaction was to laugh at the cake fiasco. I laughed so hard I cried.

Later that evening, we enjoyed a plate of crumby cake hidden beneath ice cream and fruit.

Clearly, from the events of the day, my husband conveniently forgot everything he was able to do in the kitchen before we were married. A smart move on his part.

Do you have a taste for cake? Check out these yummy books.

Every Cake Has A Story written by Christina Tosi and illustrated by Emily Balsley, Dial Books, 2021

Eat the Cake written by M.H. Clark and illustrated by Jana Glatt, Compendium Publishing & Communications, 2020.

Please note: Next week’s blog will be posted on Friday, January 28 to celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

The Aftermath of the Holidays

January 6, 2022

We had a delightful holiday with my daughter, son-in-law, and family. The four little ones were a sight to behold as they opened their gift from Santa. Ahh…, to be young and innocent again.

The holiday season is over, and I’m in the process of putting Christmas away. That joyful anticipation and laughter have come and gone. Now it’s time to pack up and pick up – glitter, stray ornament hooks, tree needles….

The Catch-All Pack-Up Room

Holiday memories still danced in our heads the week after Christmas until…

the aftermath.

My daughter’s babysitter was responsible enough to get a COVID test before coming to babysit at the beginning of New Year’s week. It was negative. Perfect! Unfortunately, on New Year’s Eve day she called to say her new test was positive for the Omicron variant. BAM!  

So, what do you do when your family suddenly has to quarantine? No work. No school. Test. Wait. CABIN FEVER!

My daughter put her imagination to work to keep everyone happy and entertained. Together, they created the house below. All they had to do was open, enter, and read the stash of library books inside or just play.

The COVID House

As days passed, four of the six family members came down with symptoms. All are vaccinated except the two youngest. The symptoms are on the mild to moderate side, and they’re slowly on the mend. It’s not the way you want to begin a new year.

Be safe everyone!

It’s the Holiday Season

December 9, 2021

No matter what holiday you celebrate, there is anticipation surrounding it – especially when children are involved. Sometimes holidays can be stressful, but I still have child-like anticipation for the Christmas season. It’s a time for making new memories and looking back at old ones that fill my heart with happiness.

What I like about December…


Decorating with natural materials.

A Sneaky Elf

The Boston Pops Holiday Concert

Holiday Baking

Swedish Limpa Bread

Decorating the Tree

Unique Ornaments

More Snowy Days

The Reason for the Season

What do you like about December?

Halloween Trick? Or Treat?

November 4, 2021

A Treat

As you know, last weekend was Halloween. Every year my daughter and her growing family come to visit us to celebrate Halloween. We bake pumpkin cookies. We read Halloween books. We have a Halloween Scavenger Hunt. We dress up and go trick-or-treating. And we finish the day off with a dinner of mummy hot dogs and mac and cheese. It’s a treat for everyone!

A Trick

This year was a bit different. It began the Tuesday evening before Halloween when a nor’easter hit New England. We had winds and rain where we live, but the nor’easter slammed the South Shore of Massachusetts where my daughter and family live. Trees fell, electrical lines were down, and nearly half a million people lost power. School was called off and, being thoughtful parents, we invited my daughter and family to come to our house and stay warm until their power returned. For the next five nights, we had six extra people in our house. Oh my, what a trick the storm and electrical company played on all of us!

We endured. Our family made the best of the circumstances. Take a look!

Halloween Games
Pumpkin Cookie Treats on a disappearing plate!

Jack O’ Lanterns

Joan Jett, Madonna, Britney Spears, The Blues Brothers, and Elvis entertained us!

(Picture provided by Willie Nelson and his groupie.)

And after a few wild and crazy days, there were always books to read before bedtime.

It was a Halloween worth remembering! I hope yours was, too!

A Family Derby Day!

May 6, 2021

It’s always special when we’re able to get together with family – especially now that we’re all vaccinated. It’s even more fun when we can dress up with hats for ladies and bow ties for gentlemen and enjoy the Kentucky Derby together. A mint julep for the adults in the crowd helps, too!

Welcome! Choose a hat. Choose a bow tie.

Making adjustments.




A horse race inside. A turkey trot outside.

If you love horses, you will love this book.

The True Story of ZIPPY CHIPPY: The Little Horse That Couldn’t written by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Dave Szalay, NorthSouth Books, 2020.

Girl. Girl. Girl… Boy?

April 1, 2021

Many years ago, a boy was born into our family. It was a day to celebrate.

Over the years more babies arrived – a girl, another girl, and another girl. Through the years, those girls kept coming. Fourteen girls dominated the family tree. Then two years ago a baby boy arrived! An anomaly? A miracle? Was the universe playing with our expectations?

Last week, we welcomed a new baby into our family. Lo and behold! Another boy!!!

This may be a sign we are eking out a new pattern in our family tree. If so, the boys have a long way to go to catch up to those fourteen girls!

Welcome, Samuel!

Don’t forget. Today is…

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