Breakin’ and Eatin’

March 21, 2011

Gunny, Nikki and Jay were here last week for their spring break.  Unfortunately, Dilly is the only one who doesn’t get a spring break, in fact that week is especially busy at the stores she manages, so it is even more important that she be there.

But, even though we missed Dilly, we were glad to get to spend some time with Gunny and the kids.  The guys did alot of shooting and Nikki and I did alot of shopping.  And we all, did alot of eating!

One of their first nights here, we had peanut butter pie.  They all really liked it, but especially Jay.  The way I know that is that he said, “Will you teach Nikki to make this?”  Ha ha.  I replied, “No, but I’ll teach both of you to make it.”

I decided we would make a pie for when Linda and Doug would be coming over.  One of my “student chefs” was enthusiastic and one was less interested in the “making” and more interested in the “eating”.  I think it’s pretty easy to tell which is which.

Nikki loves to cook, especially when it’s something that tastes so good!

Jay showed up, I think just to make sure Nikki was getting the job done.

But when his true commitment to the project was questioned by Nana, he made an effort to “help”.

Probably fortunately for the success of the project, Jay’s interest soon wandered and Nikki could get back to work without “help”.

Our plan was to save it for the next evening when Doug and Linda were going to come over to visit.  So when a complication arose and they couldn’t come until the next night, it meant the peanut butter pie had to remain untouched in the freezer for two days.  That took great restraint on the part of all of us.

But it was worth waiting for.  Nikki made an absolutely perfect peanut butter pie.

I told Jay that he had better start paying more attention to cooking, because there will probably come a time that he will live on his own and wish he knew how.  I said that I could picture him and Nikki both out of college and living in their own apartments and him calling her and saying, (in a pitiful voice, of course) “Can I come over to eat tonight?  I’m tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

We all laughed at that picture, but I was only half-kidding. I believe it’s wise for everyone to know the basics of cooking and, of course, how to make peanut butter pie.

Now THAT’S a welcome!

September 23, 2010

When we arrived at DD’s house in Chicago on Saturday, her girls had been busy decorating the driveway with a welcome for us!

Just looking at that driveway makes me smile. I can picture all the love and energy (not to mention all the chalk!) that went into its decoration.  Thank you Coco, Lulu and Mimi.

Grandchildren are the best.

Hats and Tea

June 19, 2010

On the day of our Tea Room visit, the girls put on their dresses and the hats.  And, of course, I wanted pictures.

Mimi “stylin'”!

“Auntie Linda” went to the tea room with us and, luckily, took some pictures too.  She got this one that I really like of Mimi before we left our house.

Lulu did wear shoes to the tea room, just not for this picture!

Coco is 12 and becoming quite a young lady.

“Which of these things is not like the other?”  (Do they still play that game on Sesame Street?)  Maybe I should have made hats for Linda and me too.  But I think there may be a very fine line between paper hats being cute on children and maybe a little silly on retirees.

All three of the girls chose hot chocolate to drink and were delighted to find out that they still got their own individual tea pot even though they weren’t drinking tea!

Mimi was given a very pretty, tiny little tea cup and was very careful with it.  And she was okay with me doing the pouring for her.  I was very proud of how ladylike she and her sisters behaved.

I was glad Linda went with us — she really helped make it a party.  And I see from this picture what the server meant when she asked if we were sisters.  We do look somewhat alike!  I guess that comes from all those years we’ve been hangin’ around together!

Each of the children got a dessert plate that looked like this.  Mimi proceeded to use her little demitasse spoon to scrape the frosting off the cute little cake — eating the frosting and leaving the poor little cake “naked”.

But, she didn’t let it go to waste …

… she got a “to go” bag and took it home to Papa.  He agreed to eat it only after she assured him that she didn’t lick the frosting off.

We had a great time. But I had figured once the event was over, we would just throw the hats away (saving whatever was re-usable).  So, I was surprised when the girls said they wanted to take their hats home with them.  They certainly aren’t designed to be long-lasting, so I have no idea how long it will be before they totally fall apart, but I was delighted that they liked them well enough to go to the trouble.

Score one for Nana!

Hat-making on a wing and a prayer!

June 18, 2010

Coco, Lulu and Mimi are visiting this week and I wanted to take them to my favorite tea room.  So, I thought it might add to the fun of it if I made them hats to wear for the occasion.

First, we went out and found a sun dress that they each liked to wear to the tea room.  Then we would try to make the hats coordinate with their dresses.

I made the hats out of wrapping paper.  They chose which two papers to use, and which ribbon and flowers to add to their hat.

Mimi was my guinea pig.  I cut a piece from each of the two papers to makes the hat.  (I learned after hers to also trim them into a round shape first thing.  With hers, I had to deal with alot of extra paper that I trimmed off as I went.)

Because Mimi’s was the first I had made in a long time, it was very much trial and error.

I needed Hubby to help me by holding the paper down over the crown of their head while I used the masking tape to make the “bowl” of the hat.   (By the third one I decided to try scotch tape because it was a challenge to cover the masking tape with ribbon so that it didn’t show.  I would definitely use scotch tape next time.  It was sturdy enough to do the job.)

My solution to all the extra paper I was dealing with on this one is that I rolled the edge and hot glued it down.  My answer to not getting the masking tape totally covered was …

… lots of flowers, a bow and a butter fly.

After dealing with all that paper on the first one, I got smart and used two pencils and a piece of string to make circles of paper to use on the other two.  It made life alot easier.  Here is the beginning of Coco’s.

One thing I learned from Mimi’s was to make the bowl of the hat deeper on the other two so that they would stay on better.

Coco’s completed.

Coco loved the big, black rose (which was actually an old pin I had worn on a suit), so we added the butterfly on it to “lighten it up”.

Ah, the beginning of the last hat, Lulu’s.  This one profited from the “experimenting” I had done on the other two.  Two big pre-cut circles of paper and a deep crown of the hat held with scotch tape!  BTW, I put a glue dot between the two papers in each case, right in the middle, so that they didn’t try to come apart while I was working with them.

It bugged me that I couldn’t make the crown of the hats smooth.  So on Lulu’s I suggested flowers all over the crown.  I really liked the way that turned out!

As a finishing touch, I put a dot of the hot glue every few inches around the edge of Coco and Lulu’s hats to hold the two pieces of paper together.

Tomorrow the girls in their hats and dresses for a visit to the tea room.

I need 28 hours in a day!

June 15, 2010

I started to say, “I need 26 hours in a day!” and then I thought, “What would I do with the extra hours?” and my answer to myself (I do that alot) was, “Sleep!”.  So as long as we are adding extra sleep time, let’s not skimp!

DD’s three girls are here this week and, as much as I enjoy them, they are the reason I would love to have some extra sleep.  I am exhausted!

We picked them up Sunday afternoon, and the speed of our lives immediately increased dramatically.  Yesterday morning, the girls and I shopped for sun dresses for them to wear to the tea room, then they swam and played on the slip and slide and Papa took them for boat rides.  Later we went to Cinema Grille to see Karate Kid and eat dinner with our friends Linda and Doug.  When we got home from there, Coco, Mimi and I went shopping for some extra “stuff” to help us make hats for them to wear to the tea room.  (Lulu had chosen to stay home with Papa.  When we got back from shopping Hubby told me that Lulu had gotten lonesome, and he was here!  Let’s face it, he’s just not as much fun as the rest of us!)

Today, we all go to the science museum first, but then we make hats (Papa is thankful he’s not necessary for this activity).

Hectic, but I wouldn’t miss these times for the world.

Pictures of hat-making to come!

Fun times go fast!

March 24, 2010


Nikki and Jay were here last week for their spring break, and we had a great time.  We went to Cinema Grille twice! (Alice in Wonderland received good reviews from all of us — Diary of a Wimpy Kid, not so much, but I thought it was cute!  Although, it was typical middle school humor, i.e., gross at times.)

    Hubby and Jay went to the gym every day.

    And Nikki and I went to the gym one day too.

    But then we thought, “Hmmm.  There has to be a way to get our exercise without sweating!”

    Soooo, we came up with a brilliant solution — we got our exercise the rest of the week by shopping! … and getting haircuts and …

   … making cake balls!  I made the balls — she dipped and decorated them.  Didn’t she do a great job?

      At the end of dinner one night, something we talked about reminded Hubby of a couple of  harmonicas he had in the back of a drawer, so he got them out to give to Nikki and Jay.  But while Nikki finished eating, Hubby and Jay teamed up to “serenade” her on the harmonicas.  (Well, when I really think about it, it was more like “dueling banjoes” than a serenade!)

   We all laughed alot.

   But even though Hubby got out the harmonicas as a joke, Jay immediately began to produce some actual music with his!  Hubby has never had music lessons and doesn’t like to sing, but he has always been musical.  He can whistle beautifully and has always been able to sit down at a piano and play or play a tune on a harmonica.  And as fast as Jay took to the harmonica, I would guess he has inherited some of that same ability.

   I took this on the morning we were leaving to take them back for the “hand-off” to Gunny in St. Louis.  They had just gotten up, can you tell?  While Hubby packed the car, I suggested the three of us take a short walk just to give our legs a good stretch before beginning that long ride in the car.

   We walked part way around the lake and there were signs of spring everywhere …

   When we crossed a bridge, we looked down and saw tiny fish passing underneath.

   A couple of ducks were on a roof top, probably looking for a good place to build a nest.  (Oh oh, I think they’re looking toward our house.  There is a spot near our front door where, even when we try to discourage it, a mama duck makes a nest every year!)

   As soon as we returned, it was time for them to go home.   

Just one short week out of a whole year that we spend with just the two of them.  I hope we have given them some good memories, because they have definitely given us many!

Time really does fly when you’re having fun — especially with two people you love very much.

A Grandparenting Paradox

March 16, 2010


When grandchildren come to stay for a while, it feels a little like Hubby and I are trying to jump on a moving train!  Life suddenly gets hectic and moves at a much faster pace.  So, we have to “run” to get “up to speed”.

Nikki (16) and Jay (15) are here for their spring break and we are busy.  It brings back memories from when we had teenage children at home — never enough hours in the day.  Things that you just don’t get to do, because there just isn’t enough time

So on the one hand, all this activity makes me feel like there is a plug in my side that holds in my energy reserves and that it has suddenly been removed and all of my energy has drained out!  (We sleep like the dead!) 

But on the other hand, having teenagers in the house brings us a different, fresh energy that is exciting.  “What’s for dinner?”  “Do I have time to get a haircut?”  “We want to work out.  Can we go to the gym?”  “Yeah, I’ve wanted to see that movie!  It’s at Cinema Grille?  All the better!”  . . . cell phones, texting, hair issues, teen fashion, favorite food requests.  Whewww.

We’ll get our old energy back after they leave and we get back to our routine. 

But during this week they are here, we’ll just enjoy living in the aura of young, fun energy that fills every corner of our space right now.

We love you Nikki and Jay!

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