Archive for the ‘Life and Family’ category

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?

Me:  READ THE DIRECTIONS!

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…

Snow

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.

Enter!

Feast!

Enjoy!

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…

Halloween – Change of Plans

November 5, 2020

Each year, our granddaughters come to our house to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood. This year, there was a change of plans due to COVID-19. Instead of trick-or-treating, we decided to go on a Halloween Hunt in our yard. With a list of clues and hidden treat bags, disappointment quickly changed to smiles and laughter.

Some sample clues. 

FACE THE HOUSE.

LOOK RIGHT.

GO TO THE FIRST BIG ROCK.

COUNT THREE MORE BIG ROCKS.

LOOK FOR A WITCH HAT.

PICK UP YOUR TREAT.

WE’RE GOING ON A HALLOWEEN HUNT!

READ THE NEXT CLUE.

TWEET LIKE A BIRD.

GO TO THE BIRDBATH IN THE BACKYARD.

 LOOK FOR THE GOURD.

PICK UP YOUR TREAT.

 WE’RE GOING ON A HALLOWEEN HUNT!

READ THE NEXT CLUE.

Distributor of the clues and treats in the snowy yard.

The Halloween Hunt Crew

LAST CLUE:

GO TO THE FRONT DOOR OF MIMI AND POPPY’S HOUSE.

RING THE DOORBELL.

SAY,

“TRICK-OR-TREAT!”

YOUR CHEESY MUMMY DINNER IS WAITING FOR YOU!

Dinner menu:  Mummy Hot Dogs, Mac and Cheese, Beastly Beans, Ghostly Treats

Pumpkin Gallery

Halloween jokes and trivia were part of our dinner conversation. Before the girls went to bed, we turned off  the lights. With glow sticks in hand, the girls danced their wild Halloween dance!

Halloween Success!

Behind the Scene Superheroes

October 1, 2020

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, each day is a challenge for numerous reasons. As a retired educator and grandparent to three active girls, I worry about the education of our young children.

How often have we heard that too much screen time is not healthy for our children? Quality versus quantity does make a difference, but how much should a five-year-old be exposed to the screen in a remote school versus an in-school learning situation? What about socialization?

Parents have a huge job – working, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and creating a healthy family environment. With the arrival of the pandemic, a new job has been added to the family dynamics – teaching. Along came the need for remote learning workspaces, guidance to keep young children on task, and help with completing assigned work. Because of social distancing on buses, some parents now have to get their kids to and from school on in-school days.

At-home Projects
Workspaces
Lunches
Backpacks and Masks
Drop Off/Pick Up

I’ve seen my daughter and son-in-law stressed not only with work but also by the new rules for my twin granddaughters’ kindergarten in the hybrid learning situation. I’ve seen my youngest granddaughter thrilled to go back to preschool only to have it closed until further notice because a teacher was exposed to COVID-19. I’ve seen the endless emails that pop up daily that parents must read and follow.

My twin granddaughters are in two different kindergarten classrooms. That means double emails Other parents with children in different schools have different rules and different starting times. The list is endless. It takes a superhero to handle it all!

Our superheroes are parents, extended family, and teachers who have families of their own to deal with. I want to applaud all those who strive to help children to be the best they can be – especially during this pandemic. All is not well with the world right now, but with hope, our superheroes will make the world a better place for our children!

Postscript:

Please don’t ask me how my granddaughters and I fared on the first day of remote learning. I think I flunked kindergarten!

Be gone COVID-19! Let the school doors open and stay open – full time.

A Race to the Finish Line

September 17, 2020

As of September tenth, my summer blog break ended with a review of Janet Halfmann’s A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch! The week before that I popped in early with a review of Artie Bennett’s The True Story of Zippy Chippy:  The Little Horse that Couldn’t to coincide with the  Kentucky Derby the following Saturday. Artie Bennett’s book was a perfect segue into the Kentucky Derby Party hosted by my daughter. Originally, it was for her colleagues, but it was postponed when COVID-19 changed the normalcy of our lives.

When the derby was moved to Labor Day Weekend, my daughter decided to have the party she had planned, keeping the invitees within her bubble. That meant her immediate family and Mimi and Poppy. That’s what my husband and I are called.

Enter the Derby Hall – Hats and Bow Ties of Your Choice

Even Doris Chose Her Hat

We usually stay one night when we visit, but because it was also Labor Day Weekend, we stayed three nights. It’s a good thing Ben Franklin wasn’t there to remind us that “fish and visitors stink after three days.”

We didn’t stink like fish. It was more like Kentucky bourbon! Almost every recipe had bourbon in it. We had a wonderful weekend filled with fun and food all planned and made by my daughter with a little help from my granddaughters and me. Derby Day was fabulous! It was a perfect day to relax and escape the worries the world has handed us.

Food for All

A recent birthday made me another year older. 2020 has not been my most favorite year, but I am thankful for my family bubble and our Zoom meetings with other family and friends spread across the country. I hope that a viable vaccine is found soon for everyone’s sake. My wish is that we all learn to live, love, and support one another and make our race to the finish line a success!


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