Wedding Weekend


Hello all– We had kids come and stay a few days for a wedding weekend.  Our niece Alyssa and her Nick were married on Saturday and it was such a thoughtful, beautiful time together. So happy for them in their new life together–God Bless.   Here’s the highlights:

My favorite part of the wedding was 91 year old Grandpa Stu giving a blessing in the ceremony and a wonderful prayer before the wedding meal.  Here he’s chatting with the bride & groom.  And Micah, Jodi, Ani and Brian at the reception.
     

And after the wedding there were sunny days with Lois and her parents around the house –and at Grandma Lo’s pool.
     

Nothing better than time with the family– from the beautiful celebration to the  low key times around the house talking and eating together.

Maple Pecan Banana Muffins


Good Morning– Isn’t it nice to have help in the kitchen??  Had one of my favorite kitchen helpers with me yesterday morning to mix together these happy muffins.  They are sweet and tender– just like little Lois!  And we all sat around the coffee table for breakfast to munch muffins and drink coffee, while we watched the World Cup this morning!

MAPLE PECAN BANANA MUFFINS
2 bananas, thoroughly smashed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1  3/4 cups four
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Plus more chopped pecans, to top the muffins

Smash the banana with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and maple syrup.  Then mix in the flour, baking power, salt and cinnamon.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins that have been lined with muffin papers. Sprinkle the extra pecans on top on top of the muffins.  Drop them into a 350 degree for 18 to 20 minutes.  What a smell when you lift them from the oven!

Actually, Lois likes tasting the batter as much as mixing it!

Grammy Camp 2018

Hello friends– We’re just through with this year’s Grammy Camp– and it was tons of exhausting fun!   How can 4 small girls strike so much joy in one old grandma??  I took a big bunch of photos– but I’ll just send you my favorites of our 4 day together.  (And then give you the list of all we did– for any of you Grammy’s out there who are planning your own Grammy Camp!)

With this crew, arts & crafts are always popular!!  We painted t-shirts and painted favorite animals on canvas, made Fathers Day cards and cut and pasted monsters together,  and there was daily lunch bag decorating while Grandma made sandwiches.

     

 

      

 

Grandpa Larry drove us all out to Irvine Regional Park for a day at the zoo and the Nature Center, a picnic and a little tree climbing.

      

     

There were lots of other things to keep up busy.  There were daily picnics and playgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

There were good times in the kitchen– a Brownie Bake Off, mixing up homemade ice cream and a Make Your Own Pizza Night!

     

Early on we had a scavenger hunt at the library and stocked up on bedtime reading.
     

One evening we set out at dusk for a flashlight hike.

We spend a sunny afternoon decorating sugar cookies and then eating them up at a tea party.
     

And followed clues all over the house & yard on a treasure hunt to find the treasure– bubble gloves.
     

We headed out to the backyard for our Wacky Water Day– splashes and squeals and water balloons.

So at Grammy Camp there are just TWO rules!

#1. Eat an ice cream every day
#2. No Grumping!!

And for activities:
Bible Stories at Breakfast every morning

Cooking– homemade ice cream (later made into sundaes),A Brownie Bake Off (brownies later delivered to the Great Grandparents, Make Your Own Pizza night, decorate sugar cookies

Library Scavenger Hunt (find a book with a mouse on the cover, a book by Dr. Seuss, a book about an amazing girl…)  and check out the books for reading at home.

Art & Crafts– Paint your t-shirt,  decorate your lunch bag, monster collages, paint a favorite animal, Fathers Day Cards– (describing Dad on one side, making his portrait on the other).

Daily picnics/playgrounds and the Splashpad at Lemon Park

Movie & popcorn night (Paddington Bear 2)

UNO championship (involves M&Ms!)

Flashlight Hike around the neighborhood before bed

Bedtime stories (of course!)

Irvine Regional Park –picnic, zoo, nature center, train ride, tree climbing

Ice Cream Sandwich Race- beat Grandma around the block!

Tea Party with Martinelli’s and cookies we decorated

Wacky Water Day (water balloons, water bag toss, squirters)

Slide show of Grammy Camp photos the last night before bed.


So very glad, so thankful to have our grand-girls, so bright and full of fun.  And a Big Thanks to Larry for all the grandfathering he did for those girls along the way.  Can’t wait for Grammy Camp 2019!!

Good Times in San Francisco


Hi there friends– Happily home from a week in San Francisco.  Our Laurel was out in SF from Wisconsin so I headed up for a sweet time with my 2 girls together in the same city!  — and stayed the week to watch Little Lois.  Here’s the best parts:

Spent a morning wandering through Golden Gate Park and ended up at the Beach Chalet outdoor tables for a picnic-ish lunch.

     

And we had a day out at the Presidio, a former military installation, first established by the Spanish in 1776– strolled through the Officers Club, now with a Presidio Museum– And ended up at Native Burger for lunch (notice the small hand reaching for my burger–I didn’t notice it when I took the photo!)

     

     

But the real highlight of the week was watching Little Lois while her Mom was away.  We hit a couple library story times and a few playgrounds, baked biscuits and read so many stories.
     

     
So grateful to spend a “Girls Weekend” with Ani, Laurel and Lois (and of course, you too Brian!!)  Can’t wait to see you all again!

Beautiful Kyoto


Hello to you all– If you’ve been reading along here, you’ve seen our recent travels with Brian, Ani & their Little Lois. Finally our last stop– Beautiful Kyoto.  We took the Bullet Train south from Tokyo, past towns and rice fields to spend some days in this lovely old capitol of Japan.

Our Air Bnb In Kyoto was a traditional older house, with sliding walls and mat flooring.  The beds were rolled out on the floor and the table down low as well.  Loved the woodwork and detailed hardware.

     

This first evening we arrived we took a walk through our neighborhood–narrow lanes with kids playing ball and riding bikes and ended up by a local temple.

     

The next morning, we took a subway uptown to a large city park, nestled into a bustling shopping area.  We noticed many young women dressed in traditional Japanese outfits and later walked past stores that rented these clothes to tourists for the day of picture taking!!

     

     

One evening we trekked up the hill to a Shinto Shrine, following trails of archways partway up a mountain.  The sun was setting and it was a peaceful end to a busy day.

     

We spent an afternoon in the bustling indoor market (with a whole lot of other tourists), browsing over stalls of food, treats and souvenirs–and sampling a few snacks ourselves.

     

And one sunny morning, we strolled through the park and into the complex of ancient buildings that were the Emperor’s palace in the days when Kyoto was the capitol city of Japan.

      

Our last afternoon we studied our way through the Kyoto Train Museum.  Brian, an big fan of public transportation, led the way.  Lois favorite was the Thomas the Train tracks!

     

And don’t you agree that sampling new foods is one of the best bits of traveling??  Our first evening we wandered into a small neighborhood shop with just 8 seats around a small kitchen, where we watched our proprietor prepare the one meal choice for that evening.
     

Another dinner was at the local skewer shop– tables on platforms, sit on the floor to dig into small plates of all kinds of things cooked on skewers.

     

Our fanciest lunch was on a top floor of a tall downtown building– at a restaurant where you cook your own meal over a grill in the center of the table–veggies, mushrooms, different cuts of beef.
     

We ate at a crazy automated sushi place, where you ordered on a screen and a little conveyor belt brought dishes to your table.  Then you fed the plates down a slot on the table and for every 5 plates, you could play a little game on the screen to win a prize!  (There were lots of families with kids eating here!)
     

Our last morning we “yelped” a German-Japanese Bakery near our little house.  It was a wonderland of baked goods (my favorite kind of place!)

    

And one last photo–heading through the train station on our way to the airport and our flights home…

Ani and Brian–thanks thanks again for inviting us along on this marvelous adventure!!  You two and that Little Lois are the best kind of travel buddies.  Let’s do it again!!

Cream Biscuits

Good Morning!  I had a breakfast helper today– the “Mix it up” girl Lois (that is her only cooking vocabulary to date).  We made biscuits for breakfast– tender in the middle and a little crispy around the edges. They’re not the prettiest biscuits, but so delicious!  And then we sat down to eat them together with plenty of jam.

     

CREAM BISCUITS
2 cups flour
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking power
1/3 cup cold butter (2/3 of a stick)
1 cup whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Cut the butter into smallish pieces and then with a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in the whipping cream until you have a stiff ball of dough.  Flatten the dough onto the counter and cutout circles with a large cookie cutter (or like my grandma with a drinking glass).

Set the cut biscuits (about 6 large biscuits) onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set them into a 400 degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes until they are nicely browned.  Serve hot with honey or jam!!  yummm!

P.S. They’d be perfect “shortcakes” to serve with strawberries and cream.

Big City Travels– Tokyo

Hello there– On with our saga of travels with Ani & Brian!! We stayed a few days in bustling, efficient Tokyo  –checked in to our Air BnB, a sleek modern small home, just 8 feet wide, but equipped with tech conveniences that made it a great little place to stay.  Here’s our pint sized traveler Lois coming out the front door.

Our first morning we wandered down some shopping streets to a complex of temples crowded with  Japanese visitors enjoying the sunny day out.

     

With the help of the super subway system and Brian’s navigation, we touristed around town– from the city of views of City Hall to the alleys of food stands surrounding the famous fish market and for a Sunday stroll through a huge city park.

     

     

     
bottom 2 photos:  famous “egg on a stick stand” and my favorite– ginger octopus/shrimp on a stick!  –from the food stands by the fish market.

There were a couple favorite shopping stops. Near our Air Bnb was a long street of kitchen/restaurant supply stores!!  Loved that.  And downtown, the nine story Muji store– super designed housewares, clothing, stationery and a stylish cafe.

     

     

To complete the trip, we found a couple of wonderful Ramen places, a department store with a whole floor of food venders and a roof top park to picnic with your purchases,  and an old style  restaurant where you sit on the floor around a large grill and cook seafood pancakes.

     

     

     

From Tokyo, we boarded the bullet train south to Kyoto, passing Mount Fuji out our window along the way.  From amazing Tokyo to beautiful Kyoto…