“no days off”


We all woke up this morning at 6 and couldn’t sleep anymore!  We don’t know why!

To break up the day we decided to go out together to first and foremost get chicken feed, and then do a little shopping, and have lunch.  I bought Sarah a cute dress, Seth some stylish sweatpants, myself some earrings, a vase, a liquid measuring cup for baking, and a couple of shirts, and Grace a brown bandana for her hair.  The tacos at Moe’s have gotten smaller but lunch was filling and delicious.  We listened to happy music on the way home.

David and Caleb are away at camp this week and Rich is on a business trip until Wednesday.

Grace went out for tea with a friend when we got home and we are having quiet time now because this evening is Seth’s first football practice for the season AND Sarah is doing cheerleading for the first time!  She’s nervously excited.

I am watching the Waltons and filling out their sports forms.  Mondays are always a “catch up on laundry” day and we’ll have chicken patties and veggies for dinner before we leave for practice later.


My shirt says “no days off” and I wear it when I’m in a humorous mood because I didn’t buy it because I work out daily in the gym, I bought it because I’m a mom. And while it’s true that my current stage in life (“motherhood”) allows for almost no days off, I cannot complain as I constantly count my blessings, the first of which is that I get to be mom of these seven children of ours.  There are many busy and even chaotic moments in each day, but there are also many peaceful and quiet ones to recharge, like right now, while I’m blogging and watching TV……….or reading, petting the cats, scrapbooking, baking, walking, or taking off for a morning of shopping with the kids.

life is good and I’m glad I can flop on the couch in between laundry, cleaning, and dishes!

Happy Monday!


raspberry vinegar


“I’m so proud of my vinegar.”  ~Things I Never Thought I Would Say

Joanna gave me this cookbook.  I don’t remember when she gave it to me but it was published in 2012 and I simply LOVE it…the photography is luscious and lovely…and the theme, SUMMER, makes it an obvious month of July choice to pull from the shelf and look through, slowly, out on the porch in the breeze.  Yes, I persue it often at this time of year but I’ve never really tried a recipe until two weeks ago.

On Friday the 13th I found a recipe that excited me.  The date was important, as I knew with that date I wouldn’t forget “WHEN” I started the vinegar.  Friday the 13th is easy to remember.


I’ve been picking cups and cups of wild raspberries, which are like gems, priceless gems, and the unusually generous amount this year gave me the freedom to easily sacrifice one and a half cups to make some raspberry infused vinegar.  The only downfall for me was having to wait the 2 weeks.

However, in typical busy mom fashion, after a couple days of being impatient about waiting, I completely forgot about it until today….two weeks later.


I know the bottle isn’t very beautiful.  I couldn’t even find a mason jar.   But the bottle is BPA free, so………


Right away, I reduced some of it in a pan on the stove in order to drizzle over cantaloupe. And while it was delicious, it looked rather like blood.

The cookbook suggests drizzling it over vanilla ice cream.  Can’t wait!


what are the odds?!


Rich and I and the boys were binge watching one of our favorite shows on Netflix and when I finally turned it off and back to the TV there was a cooking show on and the chef was plating chicken from the grill RIGHT ON TO A beautiful COBALT FIESTA HANDLED CAKE PLATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I screamed, “Rich!RICH!  Take a picture, take a picture, quick!”  (I didn’t have my phone on me).  And he did!!



Collectors are always trying to spy fiestaware on movies and television and this was a particularly surprising and fun sighting!

our family happenings


I picked 8 cups of raspberries the other day from the side of the road!!  I made a raspberry ripple tea cake with some of them and froze the rest.


The library book sale was a few days after I came back from my trip.  Sarah was the only one who would agree go with me.  But then, as we were browsing, Jacob called my cell phone.  He had gotten home from work and wanted to join us at the library.  It really blessed my heart to have my oldest and my youngest children with me at my favorite place in town.  I ended up with a big box of books for myself and the kids and Jacob bought……ONE BOOK.


“Mom,” said Ethan and Tessa, “The sky is really cool we thought you might want to take a picture of it.”  Another heart-blessing.  Yes indeedy.


Then I turned around and took a photo of Grace and her friend who were right behind me enjoying the evening sky.


I took the children to the batting cages and mini golf.  This is Grace, Caleb, and Sarah, with Dave and Seth in the background.  David won the course out of all of them and Caleb came in last.


Seth got done with regular season Little League and then was picked for the All-Star team.  After their wins, the coach treated them to ice cream downtown.


Rich and I relaxed on blankets under a pine tree.  I had to get up to run up the hill to the house, to retrieve my camera with the zoom lens:


Because there was a big heron perched in the tall dead pine tree.


We took the kids to the little league fields for batting practice.


I love this photo of Seth so much.


We took them to a huge used bookstore about an hour from home.  They were delighted with the cats.


We went out for ice cream that same day.  (This was during the super hot days we had recently.)


Aren’t they just the dearest and cutest?  Right behind Seth is Jacob’s girlfriend, Brittnee.  I had braided all three girls’ hair in two french braids that morning before we left.  (Jacob and Ethan didn’t come with us).  And as you can see, Caleb is taller than Grace now.



One day at home Seth painted himself with mud.


And naturally had to swim in the pond to get clean again.


I had to run errands downtown and the kids played at the park.  Aren’t they beautiful?


After their second-to-last game of the season, Seth was given a game ball for his good playing.  We absolutely adore watching our boys play, and getting to know the other parents.  I love how sports build community.  In winning this game, the boys made it to the Championship game.  They lost that one, but it had been the first time in about 10 years that our town made it that far for this age group.


Another photo to treasure and hold close to my heart of memories…….Seth loves his Dad so much, and Rich loves his little Scrapper/Tiger/Sethie.


Dear Jacob and Brittnee.  They light up our family with joy.



MORE BERRIES from up the road!!!  I remember this was on the 4th of July.  I can remember that because I eventually had to laugh when I realized we were both wearing green when we should have been wearing red, white, or blue.


Seth did all the grilling on the 4th of July.  (Just kidding).


Pretty Girlies.  Sarah, Grace, Erinn, and Brittnee (their boyfriends were playing basketball on the driveway and they sat on the bench to watch).


That morning when my cat matched my coffee cup.


Relaxing with my girls.  🙂  We talked and flopped on the bed and looked at photos and baby books.


Seth finally got tired.


I made the boys match socks.


Later on that day, they found me in the laundry room to show me the turtle that Seth stepped on and found outside.  Look at its claws!!


Sarah in a tree by the river at a baseball game.


I was watching the kids swim when the chickens came over to me to say hello.


My niece Abbie graduated from HS and I took this photo of Dave and my mom at her party.


My brother Nate and his wife are about to have a baby girl!!


On Sunday morning, Grace had Sarah put her hair in a braid.


When she was done, Grace had her do it over because she had accidentally left a chunk of hair out.  So after she braided it over again, she realized she had left the chunk out AGAIN and started crying……..but Grace let it stay that way that time.


During Seth’s last baseball game that same afternoon.


Ethan went camping with his girlfriend’s family and Tessa sent me this photo of him.


Sarah’s raspberry teacake remains…..she had two pieces for breakfast.


Rich and I took Jacob and Michael downtown for ice cream and Jacob was going through the 1,000 items stuffed in his wallet.  We were laughing and laughing but you can’t tell Rich was happy by this photo because he actually wasn’t that happy….he was in pain.



Every single solitary photo in this post so far was taken with a heavy heart because we knew that Rich was going to have surgery soon for his neck.  He has been living with a very damaged disc for several years and we finally decided to get it surgically repaired (replaced).  We were all nervous and concerned for him but having him in pain all the time made us sad, too.   He had the surgery on Tuesday of this week (just 2 days ago!!!)  This was the waiting room where I sat and waited for him to be done.


And here he is after a very successful repair!!  The doctor only had to replace one disc and it went “textbook perfect” in his own words.  In order to replace the disc, the doctor had to make an incision on Rich’s neck in the front.  Before the surgery, he marked the incision site with a purple marker and accidentaly marked Rich’s chin as well.  This bothered the nurse and after I took the photo she scrubbed it off.


After a six hour recovery, he was cleared to go home!


This was taken yesterday by our daughter Grace.  We went on a short walk.  Rich already felt and looked like a new man.  He is so happy after living with chronic neck/shoulder pain for two years.


We spent a lazy day, as Ethan was gone to Vermont to get Seth, David, and Caleb from wrestling camp (they were there from Sunday-Wednesday)   My sister had Sarah for two days.  So we watched TV, read books, and took naps together on the couch.  It was marvelous.




And an egg (dyed with berry juice).


After dinner last night they helped me pick another 6 cups!




Rich and the kids are waiting for me to finish this.  We are going downtown to the coffee shop and the park.  Rich has the rest of this week plus all next week to recover from surgery.  He’s doing great and my heart is light and happy.