Posted tagged ‘Family’

It’s National Homemade Bread Day

November 17, 2022

What do we need? We “knead” bread!

There’s nothing like the delicious smell of bread baking in the oven on a chilly day. The thought of it makes my mouth water.

When I think of homemade bread, I think of my mother. She was a master breadmaker. It was always a treat when we came home from school and opened the door to the smell of freshly-baked bread wafting through the house. It was a delicious after-school snack.

Swedish Limpa Bread

Whether it’s a loaf of white, wheat, or rye bread lovingly baked or sweeter bread like banana nut bread, pumpkin bread, or chocolate zucchini bread, homemade bread is a tasty treat that can evoke warm memories of days gone by. It easily satisfies a craving at the same time.

Bread has been around for thousands of years. It’s nourishment that can feed the soul. It can symbolize faith, love, friendship, and much more. The sharing of bread has brought people together for the better.

Celebrate today by breaking bread with family, friends, or a special someone.

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” ~ Poet, Robert Browing

Below is a beautiful picture book told in verse about a Native American Family making a special family recipe that represents their history and traditions.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story written by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, Roaring Brook Press, 2019

Done In

November 3, 2022

This has been a crazy week.

Halloween.

The Family Madrigal from the movie “Encanto.”

More family.

Appointments.

Babysitting.

I’m done in.

Out of time.

Out of energy.

So, I’m taking the day off.

See you next week.

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!  

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.

Nature

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

It’s National Walnut Day!

May 19, 2022

Go nuts!

If you’re a health nut, then walnuts are for you. They are nutritious and delicious. Just a few of these nuts provide you with a whole list of healthful benefits.

Choose walnuts:

Rich in antioxidants and Omega 3s

Good for your gut

Helps with weight control

Good for healthy aging

Boosts brain function

If you’re hungry and need a tasty snack, grab a handful of walnuts to feed your hunger pangs and improve your well-being.

Go nutty today with some fun nut idioms and puns.

Idioms:

Tough nut to crack

Health nut

In a nutshell

From soup to nuts

Nuts about you

You drive me nuts

Get down to the nuts and bolts

A coffee nut

Puns:

Nut-thing lasts forever

Believe it or nut

Down, but nut out

Burn the midnut oil

The writing is on the wal-nut

A true treat on National Walnut Day is the book All from a Walnut by Ammi-Joan Paquette.

This is a beautiful and heartfelt multigenerational story. Grandfather tells Emilia the story of his journey across the ocean carrying only one bag and in his pocket, a walnut. That walnut seed planted many years ago is now a strong tree, towering above Emilia’s mother’s smaller tree. And now, Grandfather patiently teaches Emilia how to plant and care for the walnut she found. With each page turn, this story tugs at your heart as readers revel in the story of family, love, and life.  

The soft light of morning falls upon ripening forests of oak and elm, walnut and hickory, and all Nature is thoughtful and calm. – Author: John Muir

Family Matters

July 29, 2021

A baptism last week. A wedding this week.

Last Friday, we headed to the Midwest. We haven’t traveled on an airplane in over two years because of COVID-19, but when a family wedding celebration is on the horizon, we go! Our destination was not an easy place to get to. We drove our car to the park ‘n ride to catch a bus that took us to the airport. We boarded a plane for a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We then boarded a regional plane for another hour’s flight. Arriving at the small airport, we picked up our rental car and drove another hour and a half to our destination. In all, it took us thirteen hours. We missed the rehearsal dinner, but the Midwest heat and humidity were there to greet us!

Saturday – Wedding Day

The Bride – Our Niece

Parents of the Bride – A Nervous Dad

The Bride and Groom

Father/Daughter Dance

We didn’t get a family photo of my brother and two sisters, but we did play cornhole at the reception. What else do you do in corn country? (Notice the determination on my face.) I lost to a five-year-old!

Me!

Sunday morning, we did a reversal of our Friday travel schedule. I was immediately reminded why flying is not my favorite pastime. Besides delays, cancellations, and turbulence, other problems creep up. On our first flight, all I wanted was a cold glass of ice water. Problem One:  No ice available. Problem Two:  They ran out of water before they got to us! Really?? The second flight had a mechanical glitch that had to be fixed. And so, we waited until it was a go. Twelve and a half hours later, we finally reached home. Even though it was a short visit and there were a few minor problems with our flights, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our family and enjoy a day of celebration! Family matters!

Love Is…

July 22, 2021

This past weekend our youngest grandchild was baptized. He wore a 140-year-old family baptismal gown. I’m sure our Irish relatives were looking down from heaven with happiness and pride.

Including our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, there were thirteen people under one roof for the weekend. Six of those were children – ages five and younger. On Sunday, more people arrived for the baptismal celebration. It was a happy day with a bit of chaos sprinkled in. During all of the goings-on, these two found a quiet space to share a book.

Love is faith, family, and friends!

Thoughts of the 2020 Fiasco

December 17, 2020

2020 began as a promising year, but before we knew it – BAM!

COVID-19 burrowed into every part of our lives.

March of this year COVID rules separated us from family and friends. April: The Easter Bunny came, but the family didn’t. May:  Mother’s Day – another day of COVID rules. June:  Father’s Day – a repeat of Mother’s Day.

Then came a reality check. The pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon.

Boredom took over as my husband and I settled into uninspiring daily tasks. Breakfast conversations revolved around what to have for dinner. Weekly grocery shopping shifted to early morning once every three weeks. COVID words slipped into our vocabulary – social distancing, herd immunity, super spreader, surge. Hairstyles and clothes morphed into “THE COVID LOOK” – not pretty!

Toward the end of June – cabin fever struck! We had to get out!

Wearing masks and carrying a cache of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, we ventured out to see our daughter and family. No hugs. No kisses. But a welcome sight!

By July we formed our family bubble. Hugs and kisses allowed. Masks and social distancing be damned!  In August, September, and October we were on a high with babysitting and family get-togethers. Then…

BAM! A second surge!

Back to stay-at-home rules with no travel between our respective states. In November, my husband and I ate our tiny turkey gobbler in our ultra-quiet dining room. And now it’s December and COVID-19 is once again interfering with our precious family gatherings. Yesterday we did a socially distanced stop & drop and exchanged Christmas gifts at the parking lot where my daughter works. Once again our holiday plans are dinner for two at home. Santa, where are you?

Maybe someday I will get a professional haircut, buy some new clothes, and break out of this house to celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors without all the COVID rules. Maybe someday that vaccine will be available for everyone. Maybe someday we can call our lives normal once again.

Don’t forget to wash your hands!

For those of you who have had to deal with COVID-19 or other illnesses during this year, I send you healing thoughts and prayers. May 2021 bring all of us joy, good health, and happiness – a Christmas miracle!

The last thought…

As some of you may have noticed, there was no post from me last Thursday. Blame it on a busy day and COVID-19 fatigue!

Happy Holidays!

PB Review: THE BOY and the GORILLA

December 3, 2020

The Boy and the Gorilla written by Jackie Azúa Kramer and illustrated by Cindy Derby, Candlewick, 2020.

The Boy and the Gorilla took me by surprise. This touching story written by Jackie Azúa Kramer with illustrations by Cindy Derby brought tears to my eyes. After the death of his mother, a young boy is consumed with grief. Not knowing who to turn to, he finds comfort in a gorilla that happens to appear. The gorilla stays with the boy and patiently answers questions about the loss of his mother. The gorilla offers friendship and empathy as the boy goes through the stages of mourning. When the boy sees his dad is sad, too, he finds the courage to reach out to his dad and tell him how he feels. The two come together to share their grief, and the gorilla fades into the distance. Cindy Derby’s use of soft muted colors with sprinkles of brighter colors perfectly capture the essence of the story. Derby’s art and the simplicity of Jackie Azúa Kramer’s heartrending story are perfect for a child who has loved and lost someone special in their life. This is a beautiful book to have when the need comes.

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.


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