Monthly Archives: June 2010

Packing Up

We’re going camping this weekend – just like we do every July 4th weekend.

We’ll pack up and meet my family at a state park where we will all get sunburned, eat way too much chocolate, and laugh so much we cry.

Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?!

It is wonderful!

That is – it’s wonderful – once we get past the “pack up” part and are on the road!

I don’t like packing. There’s a lot of stuff needed when you pack up 7 people for 4 days of camping.

So many things to find – little shampoo bottles for everyone, old towels that can get sandy and dirty (but not so old that they embarrass me!), old shoes, old clothes, and then there’s all the food!

There’s a lot of stuff you can forget.

I decided some time ago that each child would need to be responsible to pack themselves. What they pack is what they live with for the weekend.

If they forget their swimsuit – they don’t go swimming.

If they forget their tennis shoes – they will hike in flip flops.

If they forget their toothbrush – well, um – we’ll just make sure they sleep in another cabin! 🙂

Sound hard core? Maybe – but so far it’s working! They’ve handled the responsibility well. They may have forgotten things, but they figured out how to function without them – and it wasn’t Mom’s fault. 🙂

But still – packing isn’t without it’s stresses. Have you ever noticed that things just “disappear” when you start to pack?

One son lost all the shorts in his dresser – they just disappeared?! Just a month ago he had enough shorts for a week long camp – now he’s down to just 2 pairs?

Is it just me – or does this sound vaguely familiar?

But we’ll keep pushing through. A wonderful weekend with some of my favorite people on earth is well worth it!

So little by little things get crossed off the list and the pile by the door gets bigger.

Oh dear.

That pile by the door – somehow we need to get it all in the mini-van!

Have I mentioned that I really don’t like packing!

Toxic Slumber Party

I didn’t see this one coming.

My friend Cinnamon needed someone to watch her 4 girls overnight Saturday night. One night, all girls, our kids are good friends – no problem. Sounds like a slumber party!

The arrive mid-morning and everything is going smoothly.

The first indication that all was not well was at lunch when I noticed Matt wasn’t at the table. This was odd. He’s a teenage boy – he never misses a meal. I went to find him only to discover he didn’t feel good.

He said he felt like throwing up.

A couple of hours later he did.

One down.

I instruct him to hide out and don’t breath on anyone!

At supper Dagmar tells me her head is just pounding. I tell her maybe she might want to hold off on eating.

Too late.

Two down.

By this time I have all 4 of our guests in the basement with 2 of my healthy kids – watching a movie – as far from my sick children as I can keep them.

I guess we’ll skip our toe nail painting party.

After supper Buddy tells me he doesn’t feel so good. Oh  no – he makes number 3. Great – he’s been playing with our guests all afternoon.

At this point the bathrooms are a pretty hot commodity – and my head is starting to pound.

Somehow we get all the girls bathed, bedded down and all is quiet. Just in time. I become victim number 4.

Sometime after midnight I hear someone in the bathroom – it’s Pedro, the kid who has never thrown up. Ever. Until now.

The count is now five down.

I take stock of the situation. There are now 5 of us vying for 2 bathrooms. Two healthy family members and 4 guests that I really don’t want to send home sick!

Somehow Jan and Angel Girl help me set out some breakfast, we get the well ones ready and sent off to church.

I could just cry. I felt awful – and not just physically! Here I was trying to help a friend out – and now our fun little slumber party is ruined and I send her sweet girls home infested with this toxic flu virus. 🙁

I’m so sorry Cinnamon – really I am! I didn’t see this one coming. Can you disinfect the girls? Make them eat massive amounts of garlic? Tell them to go outside and breath deeply of the fresh air?

But maybe – just in case – you might want to stock up on 7 Up and crackers.

So much for helping a friend out.

Simple Joys

The simple joys of life….


A cold juice box on a warm summer day.


Picking fat juicy mulberries and squishing them in your fingers.


Throwing rocks in the pond and giggling when ……


… they make splashes.

What simple pleasures are you enjoying?

Savor the moments this weekend.

Take time to watch the ripples in the water.

Giggle over something silly.

Find joy.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

chocolate chip cheesecake It’s birthday season again.

Angel Girl begins our round of summer birthdays. It’s been a year of changes for her.

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but I slowly realized that she never played with the Polly Pockets anymore – and the doll house was sitting idle.

I knew she was growing up when she asked for a cheesecake instead of the traditional birthday cake.

No worries – we all love cheesecake. But there was still a hint of sadness that my little girl is growing up.

No more castle cakes, or flower cakes, or Candy Land cakes (my personal favorite!).

She’s  slowly moving into the world of adults.

She picked a chocolate chip cheesecake, and I used two different recipes to create this one.  Since I didn’t have any vanilla wafers, I substitutes graham crackers crumbs in the crust. It tasted great – and since we all know that the crust is just the conduit to hold the cream cheese filling together to get it to your mouth – it was perfect! 🙂
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons baking cocoa
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted


3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate  chips

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9-in. springform pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Combine sugar and flour; beat into cream cheese.

Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add the cream, vanilla and chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared crust. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. (Cheesecake top may crack.)

Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Garnish the cheesecake with mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-14 servings.


I’ve linked this post up with Lisa over at Stop and Smell the Chocolates and at Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

The Sam and Davy Show

It’s become a tradition every June for my nephew Sam to enjoy a week here at the farm while his big brothers are at church camp.

This year his little brother Davy came to join him.

Sam and Buddy are best friends.

I’m not sure what it is about boys and mud – but I’m sure it’s in the jeans (oops – I mean genes!)

Davy and Pedro have become best buddies this week. Maybe it’s because they both love cars and trucks and things with wheels. …or maybe it’s because Davy knows Pedro has the keys to the 4 wheeler and will give him rides! 😉

Pedro has been so patient with the little guy, reading him tractor stories and letting him sit in every vehicle and pretend to drive.

He even pulled out the pedal car and let Davy sit on it while he pushed him around the yard – for hours and hours.

One morning we got out the little Ertyl farm set and filled a Rubbermaid with wheat berries. Davy had a blast filling the wagons with wheat and dumping it back out. He feed the cows and filled the silos. I had wheat berries all over the basement. 🙂

Later that night when we gave him a bath, Dagmar took off his diaper and enough wheat berries to make a loaf of bread came spilling out!  “Uh Oh!”

The little guy even had wheat berries imbedded in his tushy! No wonder he was a little wiggly at supper!

Speaking of supper…

Meal time is where Davy and I bonded. I showed him how to put Bugles on his fingers, laughed when he said, “Oops! I burped Aunt Linna” and let him feed his lettuce to his “Buddy bunny” instead of eating it himself.

I even squirted chocolate sauce on the top of his ice cream cone, let him lick it of and then squirted some more on.

I can do that. I’m the aunt. It’s my job.

I love it!