Monday, October 3, 2016

September 2016

It's been another eventful month!  

The apples needed to be picked and the littles were already asking when I would make caramel apples again.  Since their pictures were part of the Caramel apple recipe in the Celebrations book (page 63), they have had a private contract with me for a lifetime (mine, not theirs) supply of Caramel Apples.  

Our Italian plum tree also gave us an amazing harvest.  I recruited help from the littles to remove the pits after I sliced them in half.  

I figured out really quickly that this Miss M is a quick worker.  She realized that laying the plums in trays could be a challenge and raced me and always beat me in filling the trays for the dehydrator. 

Miss N is very capable of peeling apples with the peeler.  We made pots of applesauce together.

This year we had our first grape harvest.  We had very little grapes but they were sweet.
Next year we'll be on the ball and do some pruning and hopefully, we'll have bigger grapes! 

On the day before school started, I baked up cinnamon buns and delivered them before the kids went to bed. 

They are all in school!  


I have enlisted the help from Mom this year to help me help the Moms.  

We have done a few days of baking for school lunches.

One day we did Bev's ham and cheese pinwheels.

On another day we made pizza pretzels which will be posted on MGCC soon. 

There were a few weeks of outdoor BMX left and so we joined the family and brought along a picnic. 

On one lovely sunny day, we pulled out onions and let them dry off before storing them away.  

We went to our church kickoff and got a kick out of watching the kids enjoy the bouncy castles!

They thought it was very funny that they were coming out of the caterpillars bum!

This fella goes to part time kindergarten Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

He came over one Tuesday to help harvest apples....

and helped with gathering eggs.  

PS... we are looking for a part time egg collector.  It would be so great for a mom with kids in school or someone semi-retired that wants to have some cash in their pocket.

I love how he is concentrating on doing the pattern.   
The side with the bumps go to the top, and then the side with the bumps go to the side.
He can do it! 

apples and more apples.

The second tree now needs to be picked.
I'll get right on that.

Early September we all go to the MCC sale and everyone enjoyed Wareneki and Farmer Sausage. 

This year, MGCC donated a cooking class that was auctioned off for $600.


It seems to me that this Abraham Darby rose is pinker in summer and oranger in autumn.  =)

This summer when we built onto the back of barn 1, the manure storage had to be moved as well.  

I walk around the farm and found that at the end of the retaining wall, there was a slope that  needed some stairs.

A few days later, I went for my walk and was surprised to find him hard at work, moving pieces of the old barn foundation into place. 

I now have stairs for my walking path!

What a guy!

We babysat one evening.

He was delighted to find the letters that match his name! 

And then...

we went to see the play.

What an amazing experience to have all ten of us MGCC girls and 8 husbands together in Shipshewana, Indiana and Sugar Creek, Ohio. 

What an amazing time we had together.
The area was just so beautiful.  

What seemed unusual when we first arrived,
seemed completely normal and expected when we left a week later. 

I love these dear friends. 

We were guests of Bluegate Theatre.  Their Inns are so beautiful.  I would recommend them in a heartbeat.  The atmosphere is so peaceful.  Inspirational music plays throughout the hotel as well as all the stores in that area.  

We saw the play! 

It was very funny and we laughed a lot.

We are not those girls but they were inspired by us.

We were treated to the most amazing dinners. 

At both venues we had opportunity to eat dinner and share our story.   Here is the table we sat at.  We sat with these ladies that had come quite a distance to see the cooking show and have dinner with us.  The room was full and we mingled!

We had a lot of fun at the cooking show and were so grateful for the opportunity to tell our story.

Blue Gate generously donated the proceeds of the cooking show and the Dinner package to Music Mission Kiev. 

How often do we get a chance to have a flip card like this on a table at a restaurant?

We toured the area in Shipshewana.

Such a simple lifestyle that we loved to see.

On Sunday morning we opted out of church since that was our only free day.

We found this house church yard full of buggies and a Dad with his little girl getting something from their buggy. 

On Tuesday afternoon after our book signings were finished in Shipshewana we went to Sugar Creek where our events were organized starting on Wednesday.  

We signed lots of books for people we had never met.  

There were a few people that felt that they knew us and we were so delighted to chat with them and this dear lady named Marilyn blessed us all. 

Again, Bluegate Theatre treated us with such kindness and hospitality.

Their generosity was overwhelming.
It was a once in a lifetime experience that we won't soon forget.

On Saturday 5 of us and our husbands drove back to the Chicago airport.  Kathy and Julie  had left earlier in the week,  Greg and Ellen were travelling to the Detroit airport and Charlotte and Betty and their husbands took the long road home by car.  

When we checked in the day before going home,  my most wonderful husband told me that I was going home, first class.   

And what you see is the face of someone flying home first class for the first time in her life! 

I hope you all have a most wonderful October! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tofino Family Vacation August 2016

I'm not even going to try to post anything else that happened in August because the main thing really was our family vacation to Tofino.

Terry and I boarded the ferry at Tsawwassen on August 7 at 8:30.  We didn't book our ferry early enough so our whole family couldn't travel on the same ferry.  We let the two families go from Horseshoe Bay together and we met them there on the Vancouver Island side at Nanaimo.  

Because of that... we had a very lovely and quiet last breakfast together before meeting our family!

As soon as we spotted these familiar bikes we pulled in behind and followed the long and windy road to Tofino British Columbia.  

It was not a race to get there and that was good because those corners seemed to go and go and go! 

We got to our Bella Pacifica Campground which is on Mackenzie Beach  mid afternoon and the kids literally all ran into the ocean with their clothes on!  

We set up camp and my flowers from Richard and Dorothy from the book launch graced our picnic table.  It was the perfect arrangement to take along!

We explored when the tide was out. 

The wagon and the buckets were always along. 

 This was not a tropical style ocean vacation.  Camping on the west coast of Vancouver Island is most often a bit chilly with the winds and the rain. 

No one cared!  

Everyone was happy and relaxed! 

The family hole ball game.  

The summer Olympics in Rio had nothing on fun compared to these contestants. 

T and B brought along their kayaks and the kids spent lots of time taking turns in them exploring the coast. 

We brought along the boys Tonka toys from the early 80's.  

Lots of fun with these toys in the sand that never ended.  

We were glad that our trailer had an outdoor shower for the end of the day before the kids went to the real showers. 

If you want mini bouquets while on vacation, take along children! 

If you want lots of appreciation while camping, take along leftover Paska from the freezer and ... children!

Somehow... the guys got into whittling spoons, knives, daggers, and what not all.

They had a good business set up and had no lack of buyers of their wares. 

The product reviews were always complimentary. 

Sometimes, I was just in the right spot at the right time.  I saw them coming up from the beach one day through the trees.  

We had campfires every night.  

I love to read and so I bought books for all the kids so that they would have something great to read too.  The book that was loved the most was The Boys Book of Adventure!  It got dragged around a lot! 

The kids enjoyed sitting around eating their breakfast.  Rules were really loose as long as they ate!

We brought along a chef for our breakfasts!

He had made sure that we would buy a Camp Chef Grill for the trip and was it ever a good investment. 

Every morning the eggs were cracked and I just showed up when the "breakfast is ready" call was made.

We had rain one day and so we all hopped on our bikes and rode the 15 minutes into Tofino. 

This one....
she rides like the wind! 

I of course, ride as fast as the guy in front of me decides!

Every once in awhile we would stop and count heads. 

We rode around Tofino town and had no problems with crowds. 
We did find a little ice cream joint that sold us cones that even they called tiny for a big cone price.
We did our part to support the local economy. 

We found a really skookum spot on the beach to find shells at low tide. 

Lots of "very special" and "one of a kind" shells were toted off to the campsite. 

We found some things that were left to enjoy another day at the ocean. 

The vegetation was just so beyond beautiful to me. 

We did some little hikes up through trails that could be accessed during low tide. 

I was always hollering... "get back"

And then... Barnacle Bob showed up at our campsite and try as we might, we couldn't lose him after that. 

It's not nice to call people a kook but this guy really was.

It was amazing how often we had the whole beach to ourselves. 

Beach games.

Beach digging....

almost to China. 

We were excited for the wiener roast on the beach. 

Mackenzie Beach allows fires and so we planned an evening to watch the sun set and roast hot dogs. 

The fog started to come in as it often did and it was just beautiful.  

I could understand easily, how the kids could eat dinner and then come back for snacks within an hour. 

We continued to enjoy the family summer Olympics! 

This was the sunset on the Wiener Roast on the beach evening.  

We all brought along lots of Smores ingredients so there was enough for everyone. 

Once it was dark enough, the kids ran around with sparklers. 

While the kids ran around with sparklers, the adults kept making their Smores. 

Grandpa has an app on his phone that tells you which stars you are looking at in the dark. It was a huge hit with the kids. 

Then there was the day that the big boys decided to build a grand canyon. 

Everyone got into it, digging and  hauling water. 

We brought our little binoculars along and watched for whales. 

What are those long tail type things found on beaches?  They used one to skip rope. 

Not to blow our own horn, but we did have the best food in the campsite. 

Pizza dough made in the morning and then topped after we were done at the beach for the day.
Three ovens! 
Lots of pizza! 
Happy tummy's!

The beautiful bouquet came along and graced our new campsite.  

 This beach is beyond beautiful and so long!  We never did even begin to attempt to walk one end to the other. 

The campsites are very wooded and can be quite dark even in the middle of the day. 

We went to two and got a couple of skim boards when we saw that the beach was just perfect for them. 

They are used to skim across the water as the waves go out. 

My beach boy had it mastered first.

We found one of the warm spots to sit was on the rocks.  Now I know why sea lions are often seen sleeping on the rocks during the day. 

We almost always had dinner late after the sun would go down. 
No one was anxious to leave the beach and it was cozy around the fire in the evenings. 
The kids went to bed late and  some even slept in! 

Those boxes of Jello instant cheesecake?  
Quite delicious with thawed strawberries. 

Again, breakfast. 
I'm taking you around and around just like our days were.
Breakfast, snacks, sunset, dinner, sleep repeat!

On the day we were having pulled pork which we had smoked at home, I got up before the rest of the crew and mixed up buns for the pulled pork sandwiches. 

They don't make those trailer ovens just for the fun of it. 

Bea taught the girls how to finger knit.  

There were meters of scarves produced.  

We decided to go to the rain forest walk through the old growth forest.  
It took two truck loads but we all got there. 

There were strict instructions to stay on the board walk at all times. 

that is all fine and dandy unless you take a step back while taking a picture and end up on your tailbone.

This was the moment the trip became painful for me.  

Nothing broken but quite sore.
It's much better now.

The trees were almost beyond what I could have imagined.

 See him pointing to the sign?  
It says to be very careful on the boardwalks! 


I rode the trip back to camp with a new group!

Always counting heads.

The beach is a never ending playground for new games. 

This day was a monster truck track day!

I kept talking about making doughnuts one night.

When I made them, they were enjoyed!

Most mornings started quiet and slow.

While breakfast was cooking the kids would just hang out and color or paint.

This was me babysitting the kite! 

And for the record...
this was me on the beach staying warm. 

The skim boarding continued. 

The fog came in almost every morning and every evening. 

It was chilly but oh so beautiful. 

This is how the mornings would often begin.

They would come one by one and we would invite them in until the trailer got too full and then they were all ushered back outside. 

We didn't eat bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns every morning.

We ate pancakes too! 

There was one day that I was trying to gain some brownie points.

I wanted us to take a family picture on the beach for our Christmas photo.

I started early in the morning with my efforts. 

They can be a little bit sassy when I ask for a family photo.

In the end, I got my wish and everyone got cleaned up and we met down at the beach before dinner.  

The fog that we wanted and was always there when we didn't want it, left us to squint in the sunshine. 

The picture was taken anyways and is now with our family photographer getting polished for the Christmas card. 

Photo's are not always what they seem.    This scene had a Grammie in the background hollering. 

One afternoon seemed particularly sunshiny so I got to work and made some  Rollkuchen to take down to the beach. 

It was a good plan, enjoyed by all!

Ok.. you get the message. 

Sometimes I sat close enough to listen to conversations and pretending I wasn't listening while they chatted about life and their own memories.  

We noticed that the family behind us was doing their traditional vacation selfie.
I offered to take it for them but then it is not a selfie!  

So we did photo bombing in a strange Grammie kind of way. 

This was the campground road from site to site.
You can see how very little light would make it into the sites.  
They supply electricity for which we were very thankful.  

This was the walk down to the beach.  Wagons tended to topple on the rough trail.

They ended up having a rope pull while the wagon was slowly let down the trail. 
It looks like she has the hard job and it was not easy but what you can't see is how he has the wagon rope taut.  

This was the scene that we picked for our family photo.

This was the fog that I had ordered for the photo.  ;)

There was the day that we needed a coffee table and Little Oh rolled one over for us. 

Typical foggy beach scene.

He wears his letter with pride. 

He starts kindergarten next week!  
OYE!  Not the baby!!!

She didn't forget all her ballerina over summer. 

On our last day at Long Beach we all agreed that we needed to watch the sunset once more. 

So we did.

There were more than a few dinners that we ate after 9 PM.

We loved that routine and the sunsets were always worth the wait. 

On the morning we left, we woke to sunny skies.  Tofino reacted to our departure with a heat wave!

The ended up having a record high that day. 
Too funny!

On the journey home, we stopped at Cathedral Grove.

It is an amazing forest of old growth Douglas Fir Trees. 
I did a panorama shot and even that can

Some of the kids couldn't wake up from their dose of Gravol.

We all made it onto the same ferry home and we watched our last sunset together. 

This is when I realized that they are growing up very fast.

This vacation with our family was an investment of spending time together.

When we were close to docking at Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver, we watched the full moon rise over the city. 

Eleven nights and twelve days of spending time with our family!

It was precious and I came home feeling incredibly blessed and thankful!

Thank you for coming along with me on this trip in review!  

all for now...
with love,