Monday, November 30, 2009

Leaving the month of birthdays

November wins the birthday bonanza in our extended family of 20. We celebrate 6 birthdays during November. Three of those birthday people weren't due to come in November. They were due much later; some much, much later. I think they just wanted to share their month with Grandma.

That's a picture of Toby at a FHE birthday at the park. It was his big day, but he shared his cake with grandma and cousin, Henry. When it got dark, grandpa passed out light sticks and I got misty eyed as all eight of my little firefly grandchildren ran and danced and enjoyed each other.

Henry's birthday was the next day, so we celebrated another birthday at a different park where his mother's friends brought their little ones to play and eat cake. Aunt Emilia also joined us.

Scroll down a bit and you will see birthday pictures of TJ, Emilia, and Julianna as well. I just couldn't leave out these two special boys on this last day of Birthday Month November.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our harvest and giving thanks

Like moms across American I arose early to make the stuffing for the turkey so that it was in the oven in time to meet the 2:00pm dinner deadline. And then as the sun came up, I participated in my own harvest of thanksgiving. The first lemon ever from the Meyer lemon tree would soon be squirted on the green beans.

Then, all the pomegranates from the pomegranate tree.

There was a basket full, just enough for pomegranate salad, Bunker style. Fortunately, I had watched Martha Stewart the day before and learned that the best way to winnow the pomegranates was to cut them in half and then beat the outer shell with a big wooden spoon while the seeds fell into a bowl. It worked! Since we have a golden pomegranate tree straight from Bunkerville, Emilia thought that I had a bowl of corn!

The salad was a hit! As you can see it is almost gone midway through dinner. Best fruit salad ever with diced apples and bananas, chopped walnuts and finally real sweetened whipped cream folded in. . .YUM!

By 9:30am, Emilia had arrived with her apron to give me much hands on help for the next 5 hours. This meant that dinner was ready to serve by 2:00pm as announced. Thanks to Janae for entertaining her boys and washing up afterward.

We loved working in the updated kitchen, especially using that sink which holds a dirty turkey platter lying down flat! All the additional counter space was helpful, too.

Glen and Andrew cleared off the patio so that we might eat outside on a perfect Arizona afternoon of temperatures in the upper 70's. It was lovely! Thank you for creating the big, long table that I had envisioned!

Julianna loved the homemade rolls and real Idaho spud mashed potatoes.

Later, after pies at Eric's home, we watched her demolish her first birthday cake with joyous rapture.
Happy Birthday Sweet Julianna!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Little kitchen remodel, or if you give a mouse a cookie

Birthday Bear arrived at my door the night before my birthday bearing goodies from Mrs. Fields via Glen Jay who had something very nice printed on the card.
(It's on my bulletin board if you want to check it out on your next visit.)

My birthday came this year right in the middle of a kitchen in disarray for two weeks so that it might shed some of it's old age. My friend told me that any remodel is a bit like the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." She was right! Mouse joined Birthday Bear for a cookie so . . .

If you find the perfect sink at Ikea, that means that you will have to reconfigure the cabinet so the sink will fit. It will also need two sheets of underlayment to make it work out.

But that's okay because the counter was a bit low for all the tall people when you put in the wood floor 8 years ago.

If you add two layers of underlayment, then you will have to stain some molding to cover the gap where the bull nose edge on the new counter top will not cover.

It will take a careful mixing of two different stain colors to get just the right match and you will need to borrow a miter saw and your daughter's husband to install the molding.

If you find the perfect Silestone counter top, also at Ikea, price check because it might be $11 less per square foot at Home Depot. They will special order a sample so that you can make sure it is indeed the one that will make you very happy. BUT when you walk down the tile row at Home Depot you just might see the perfect glass tile trim to match your sample which will look fabulous with the amazing sink.

Of course, you can not paint over old wallpaper, so that will require an afternoon of peeling and spraying diluted vinegar water until the old wallpaper is all gone.

You must then go shopping for the perfect paint to go with the wonderful glass tile which you will finally find at Lowe's. Of course, it takes two coats, a base and a glaze to get the wanted effect.

You will also realize that the old switches and switch plates will just not do with new counter tops.

If you are getting new switch plates, they should be brushed nickel so that they look fabulous with the new kitchen faucet which also looks fabulous with the amazing sink that you found at Ikea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little Nate and Big Bird

Sesame Street is celebrating their 40th anniversary today. Somewhere around the 20th anniversary, Nathan became one of their biggest fans. He spotted Bert and Ernie at Target on a shopping trip and could hardly believe his eyes. The purchase of those two characters was almost more joy and happiness than he could handle. This perch on top of his slide was his favorite daily viewing spot with his "friends" in attendance.

Uncle Grant (whose birthday is today - Happy Birthday Grant!) sent the Big Bird cookie jar one year for Christmas. As you can see, Big Nate and Big Bird were great pals. Nathan's love of milk and cookies started young!

(Click on the photo to read what they are up to lately.)

Google has been spotlighting a different character each day for the past few days. Which Sesame Street character is your favorite? Elmo and I are pretty tight!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Shared birthday week

TJ and Emilia both seem to enjoy that we often celebrate their birthdays together. They each had a birthday this week, so family dinner last night centered on them. TJ's favorite food is cheese pizza and the evenings outside have turned quite pleasant, so we made homemade pizzas on the grill. Most everyone in the family was in attendance, so we made 10 pizzas in all. I put all the toppings outside by the grill and everyone took turns creating their own pizza masterpiece. TJ still likes cheese best!

TJ is the most gracious birthday boy - EVER. He expresses his appreciation and loves everyone always. Sally and girls made him a sugar cookie "TJ" which he promptly broke apart and shared with his siblings and cousins. He requested that family members bring canned food for a little food drive he is organizing as part of his birthday. He is such a thoughtful, caring young man. I'm so glad that he is part of my life!

(Please ignore the clutter in the background. We are in the middle of a small kitchen remodel.)

Emilia is also a wonderful birthday girl! She, too, is always thankful and thoughtful. Perhaps those are the special gifts you receive when you are born during the first week of November!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Emilia's birthday visit

Emilia stopped by after work this evening so that we could serve her pie, sing her the birthday song, and give her presents. Ryan had class tonight, so we filled her evening with busy boys.

Those boys also generously helped her blow out her candle. Raymond also gave her a solo rendition of the birthday song.

Emilia brought the birthday card that her sweetie had made for her to share with us. I just had to scan the back for posterity. She is now a bit scared to contemplate her future children. I just think Ryanna needed a bit of eye makeup. Now everyone, take out your engagement picture and do your own cute and paste. That was a bit scary!

Happy Birthday Emilia!

The "27" has come in handy this Fall. Something to do with our "82" Club.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An apple a day

I just wanted everyone to know that I ate an apple minutes ago instead of digging into the grandsons' Halloween booty. The former chocoholic did, however, smuggle out a Twizzler or two after they went to bed on Sunday. Amazing what a 4 and almost 2 year old can drag home in a small plastic Darth Vadar or pumpkin head. I think their stash is going to last awhile much to my surprise. I guess it helps to have it out of sight on the countertop.