Monday, December 30, 2019


I seem to already be preparing for two birthday celebrations on Wednesday.  Jacob woke up in time to have dropped torte for breakfast.

No one noticed the expiration date on the can of whipped cream, even those who had this for dessert after dinner tonight.  Whew!

If you are wondering why the cupcakes aren't frosted, it's because these are so good they don't need frosting.

Carolyn watched the birdies at the feeder.  She decided to bundle up and take her camera outside.  When all the birds suddenly scattered, she saw the reason.  Papa thinks this is a Cooper's hawk.

Jacob, the most-favored grandchild these days, accepted my offer to take him to the tramp place this afternoon.

He got a 3-hour pass.  I dropped him off and went back to the chapel to vacuum, a responsibility I now share since we are back in our ward.

I arrived back at the tramp place in time to watch him do fancy stuff on the trampoline.  He's great, and he had a fun time.

This morning, to my dismay, I realized that the roast beef I bought last week was actually Black Forest ham.  It's hard to make French Dip from ham, maybe you knew that.  But as we discussed options for dinner tonight, I suggested grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise and my mustard.  Big hit.

Julia did not have ham, but she was creative.

I saw my first cyclops war at dinner tonight.  One of the many things I love about Dave is that he is a good dad.

Matt did not have a torte for breakfast, but he did have it for dessert.  He liked it, which is good, because his is one of the birthdays we will celebrate.  There will be plenty left for Wednesday, no worries.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Favorite Grandchild

Of course the day began with bagels.  I make the dough the night before and it rises in the fridge.  The request last night was for all Everything.  Unfortunately, there were no Asiago Cheese left in the freezer this morning.  Sorry about that, Mel.

Dave came up the stairs just as I put the almond milk in my chocolate tea.  This is what he calls a metric splash.  I call it, "I'm still afraid of almond milk."

After church, we all worked toward lunch.  Mel made our fake naan.

Carolyn made another lemon meringue pie.

I was helping with what I now know is the lemon curd.  It wasn't thickening.  Dave stepped in and solved all the problems.

Finally it was time for lunch!

Butter chicken is one of my favorite meals.  It's been so long since I've made it that I had to use the recipe.

I know what real naan is, but this is delicious and easy and no naan was left.

Mel confessed that a paper clip from my hymnal slipped into the keyboard.  After lunch I showed a few onlookers how to pull out the key cover.  We retrieved not one errant paper clip, but two.  Then we listened to Melanie play hymns all afternoon.  Bliss.

Today was bitter cold.  This did not keep kids inside the house.

They were fascinated with the ice.

Jacob brought me this amazing chunk of ice.  I used a filter to demonstrate its coolness.  Papa took a minute to explain crystals to us.

Dave played the guitar and then posted a clip online.  I love listening to his gentle music, which included a hymn or two.

Caper movies have been on the schedule this week.  I generally don't watch movies, but I did recommend a DS9 heist, which several of us enjoyed.  This is one of my favorite scenes from any Star Trek episode anywhere.  My peeps laughed without me saying one word. In case you missed this one, they are on their way to rob a casino.

Finally it was time for the pie.  Or so I thought.

As I was about to sit down, I saw Jacob slip on my shoes and hustle out the back door.  I followed him out (without shoes).  If I don't tell you what he's doing, you'll never guess.  He's catching snowflakes on  glass slides on a very cold platter.  He'd been watching for flakes and when they appeared, out he went.

Dave quickly examined the snowflake under Papa's new microscope.

We were all very amazed and impressed.

Cause it was cold.

Then we had pie.
If you are thinking this is skimpy, we had to cut ten slices.  We would have cut 11, but Mel was napping.  You snooze, you lose.

Julie found a peppermint spoon hiding among the treats.

Will and Annika joined us.

I am not going to tell you what Jacob did for me that caused me to give him favorite grandchild status, but I was very grateful.  Very. I thanked him and said he could have anything he wanted.  He asked for a game of pool.  I was way in the zone but still lost.

Then Julia and I played a few games.  Neither one of us was anywhere close to the zone, but we still had a great time.

I nearly beat Matt.  Almost.  It might happen.  Maybe tomorrow. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Now What?

After tears, fears and negotiations, the appointed hour arrived when I had agreed to taste Dave's new and improved chocolate tea with almond milk.

Oh, I liked it.  A lot!  This will mean a new routine and a requirement that I always have room in the fridge for almond milk.  I'm not certain I'm up to this big of a change in my life.

Dave's family spent the day in Tooele visiting members of Carolyn's family.  Ben and I ate sukiyaki leftovers.  Two words come to mind:  delicious, and quiet.

At 5:57 pm, Mel texted to ask if I could have my emergency meal of sweet and sour meatballs ready in one hour.

This is a tasty meal, easy to prepare because it came from my freezer.

Someone asked about edamame.  Papa retrieved the bags from the downstairs freezer, and that turned out to be a nice touch.

While everyone else watched a movie, I played pool with Matt.  I know I'm not going to win, but I play anyway.

We had a blast.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Living the Dream

Dave has tweaked his chocolate tea by adding almond milk.  He's asked me to try it, but the truth is -- I'm afraid of almond milk.  I have promised to taste it tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes.

We had a great breakfast with hot bagels from the oven and bacon off the griddle.  I cooked perfect eggs.

After breakfast I completed several errands.  Julia accompanied me on the last trip.  On the way home she told me she wanted edamame. This is a new treat for her.

Mel has played the piano a lot during this vacation.  She has a beautiful touch.

Dave has not played the guitar as much as I would have preferred, but I certainly enjoyed it today,

Lots of pool happens.  I am having so much fun!  During this game, Nathan asked me if he could stay in his pajamas all day long.  I suggested he make it a goal.  It was already after 12, so I figured he was well on his way to success.

Everyone was excited when Dave joined us.

Julia played the first game with him.

Nate and Matt played an online game together.  I love it when this happens.  So does Nate.

Carolyn and Melanie accompanied Papa to buy the ingredients for sukiyaki.  Other essential items were purchased, it appears.

Jacob stayed in the kitchen for almost two hours and helped Papa chop.

Sukiyaki is one of Ben's specialties.  I assure you, it is very delicious.  It has long been a tradition in our family to eat this meal during the Christmas holidays.

Julia couldn't resist heading outside in the back to play in the snow.

She's making snow balls in this photo.  By this time Jacob had joined her.

He's stockpiling snowballs, too.  You can guess what happened next.

It always takes a few minutes for the family to gather for a meal.  I can't ever figure out why this is true, but it is.

I had my egg cracked.

In no time, it was ready to eat.  I love this meal.

The fact is, we all love this meal, and almost everyone cracks an egg.

The noodles did not cooperate today.

Dave dished up most of the bowls.

When the meal is special, people tend to linger and talk.  It's my favorite part of our gatherings.

Matt's been really good this week about sitting on the stool next to me so I don't have to.  We are one chair short.  Well, that's not exactly true.  We have plenty of chairs.  We are one space short.

Once the dishes were done, it was pool for the rest of the day.  Nathan was up to the challenge.  Notice, he's still in pajamas.

Matt offered to beat me.  I accepted the challenge, but that's exactly what happened.  He did tell me I'd do better if I held the cue stick closer to the ball.  He was right.

He broke for the second game and got three balls in the three side pockets.  It was pretty exciting!  Two were solids, one was a stripe.  For the record, that made me stripes.

By this time everyone else had left to see the lights in Spanish Fork.  Jacob and I played pool for the next 90 minutes.  Did I win one game?  Nope.  Did I have a blast?  Yes, for sure.  Jacob taught me to hold the cue stick level.

Pretty soon the rest of the family was home.  This was a fun day, quiet, and yet not quiet at all.

Thank you, Julie. You're Welcome, Louie.

Did I really want to start this last post of Steve's visit with another picture of my groupies watching Star Trek?  I sure did.  We'...