dishes n’ daisies

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I’m posting these photos today because my Aunt Colleen came home from an amazing cross country roadtrip with a bag all the way from West Virginia for me!  Guess what was inside of it?  A fiesta daisy plate!   She gave it to me when I was at her house this weekend and the first thing I did when I got home was tuck it in my collection; just right.

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Thank you, my friend!

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Wild daisies are just coming in bloom here in Connecticut and it’s hard to say which is my favorite; a handful of daisies or a fiestaware daisy plate.

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It was fun to take a few minutes to play with these colorful dishes in the midst of a busy morning.

“I will go pick daisies
and have a happy heart.”

 

family reunion 2016

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On the way to Colleen’s house on Saturday silly Seth said, “Mom, mom, look!”  When I turned around I saw that he had put his sneakers on his bear.   The next time I turned around, Bear had Seth’s shirt on!

This morning when I got up, I found Caleb on the couch with a cat, crying.  “I wish we could move our house and all of our animals to New York!” he confessed.  “You had fun this weekend, didn’t you?” I asked.  He knew I understood and began to feel better again.

We were running early to the reunion so we parked and walked on Main Street in one of the old familiar towns to a small but wonderful bookstore, which was adjacent to a coffee shop.  Once the young ones understood that there would be no “buying” only “looking”, we all had a lovely time browsing.

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On the way to the bookstore David gasped when he saw these backpacks.  He literally gasped.

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Grace was pretty.

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This bookshelf was full of wonderful classic books, and many of them had fresh up-to-date covers.  It was like seeing an old friend in a beautiful new dress.  I carefully pulled them from the shelves to admire them, placing each and every one back with a smile.  I was thrilled to see a copy of Kirstin Lavransdatter on the second to the bottom shelf in the middle (big thick black book with orange things on it).  It’s a book everyone should read (I’ve read it two times and plan to read it again soon).  A++++ literature.

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“If you would kindly please to let me keep upright, sir, perhaps I shouldn’t be sick, and perhaps I could attend more!”  Great Expectations.  Wonderful writing by Charles Dickens.

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Grace in the bookstore chair.

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I want to read the My Struggle books (memoirs written by a Norwegian).

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((CHRISTIE!!!  All of the Master and Commander books!  I smiled and thought of you.))  so so good.

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New covers for the Anne books.  They had a nice feel to them and I wished I could read them all………..

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Meanwhile the boys were playing Pokemon Go.  So annoying.  😉

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We arrived at Colleen and Roger’s house.  Colleen is my Mom’s youngest sister.  She did such an amazing job hosting our first official family reunion.  We had a family meeting, ate lunch, played games, swam, had a bonfire, went for a walk, all the while visiting and bonding again as a big happy family.  I saw my aunts and uncle, my parents, siblings, cousins, and their children.  The younger set had fun discovering and playing with their cousins.

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There were a lot of old photos to look through.

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One of the “minute to win it” games was stacking three golfballs.  Mom won.  Later I played the same game against my cousin Erika.

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This game was to see who could blow a bubble through a hula hoop.

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Nate and Dave got a two hand touch football game going with the kids.

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We walked around Colleen’s vegetable garden.  She had potatoes growing in old tires.

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And a fake snake in the corn to keep out the critters.

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Just outside the garden entrance was a mailbox to hold garden tools and gloves.

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The pool was a very popular place to be.

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As was the chocolate fountain.

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One more game to see who could eat a “fruit by the foot” with no hands!

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(my parents and their puppy)

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Uncle Roger made a sky high bonfire and we had a table of everything to make a s’more of your dreams.

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We walked along the trails by the crick.  The boys skipped rocks and the children waded.

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Dad’s little puppy loved splashing around in the water.

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So did my little Seth.

Somehow 7 hours flew by and it was time for Rich and I to head to our hotel for the night.

We saw a lovely sunset and had full and happy hearts from a wonderful day.

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The good news is that the family now plans on having a reunion every year.

*****

Uncle Brian’s Green Salad

1  16 oz container of cottage cheese
1  small pkg. instant pistachio pudding
1   8 oz container cool whip
1/2  pkg mini-marshmallows
1  small can crushed pineapple

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Let set overnight–mix again just before placing in serving bowl.  May add coconut of other fruits to create your own version of this dessert-type salad.

 

 

short but sweet

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This is why Colleen and I are at home at each other’s houses.  Because we have a touch of the crazy in us, and so do our husbands and children.  Crazy good times happen.

Colleen is my Aunt and we grew up together as next door neighbors on a quiet farm road in New York.  We went to the same school and the same church.  Like all good family, she is a lifelong gift from God.  She and her husband have four girls who are about the same ages as my children and what a fun time it is when we can get together.

The kids really want to be with us most of the time, but once in a while we can convince them to run off to swim or jump on the trampoline or what-have-you.

Rich and I live four hours from our families and honestly, I was feeling quite lonesome and homesick for “my people” the other day.  I am very content being here in Connecticut but there comes a time when a woman just needs to be with her mom….or, an aunt.  To sit and visit, talk about all the memories, relax, forget the housework, and be together again.

Colleen’s visit this week came at just the right time.  Uncle Roger was on a business trip so she came to see us.

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She and the girls arrived yesterday and we sat and talked on the porch, made dinner together, sang hymns, and watched a little TV.  Today we talked on the porch, went downtown to the coffee shop and thrift store, had lunch, visited some more, and then she and the girls left for home again.  It was a short but very sweet visit.

(We missed her daughter, Madelynn.  She was busy doing her summer missionary work with children.  My Jacob isn’t in the pictures, either, because he was sick.)

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Molly’s shirt says, “Bacon:  just another reason why I know Jesus loves me.”

They brought their little chihuahua dog, Reese, with them.  Seth, Sarah, and David could not leave the dog alone, they fell right in love with him.  He was such a good and patient dog.

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(day one)

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(day two)

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Dave was a good boy, talking to Aunt Colleen all about turtles and the fact that on September 27 he has a birthday and wants his parents to get him a tortoise.  “Once you see a tortoise eating a strawberry, you’ll want one, too” he assured us.  He came to the porch with a female garter snake.  He has Aunt Colleen convinced he will be working in a zoo one day.

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Dave was trying hard to get Reese to love him so he put peanut butter on the bottom of a glass.

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My aunt brought me some homemade blueberry jam made from Candy L’s berries, and some bread n butter pickles, too.

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She gave me this pretty painting that she did of “my peaceful place”.  I told her that Rich would be finding me in front of it very often.

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The flowers looked so pretty in the early morning sun as I left to take Grace to her babysitting job this morning at 7 a.m.  On the way home I picked up 2 dozen donuts to go with breakfast.   Okay, I admit they WERE breakfast.

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The children played in the warm earthy pond together just like Colleen and I used to swim in our old pond, too.

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We took Molly downtown with us and bought iced teas and an entire bag of books.  (2 dollars for the books!)

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forever friends

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Meg showed us Reese’s tricks.  He sat, he shook his paw, he rolled, he practiced playing dead.  He did a great job.

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Marissa, Dave, and Meghan

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Today I am extra thankful for all my crazy family!

They are my best friends.

“Should I live a long life, bless me with my true friend to take the journey with me.”

long weekend

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Colleen is my Mom’s baby sister and we are less that two years apart in age.  We grew up in houses by the same dirt road, up on “the hill” in a small NY town.  We grew up, not only as aunt and niece, but as playmates, with nicknames for one another, secret forts, snickerdoodles, sleepovers, arguments, family gatherings, church, school, and so much more.  We shared every event in life together.  We still do.

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Aunt Colleen and Uncle Roger have four daughters and the whole family came to our place for a visit this weekend.  They arrived Friday night and left yesterday.  Our main goal for the visit was to simply be together and let the children play and make memories.  We also cooked four pounds of bacon.

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On Saturday my brother Isaac and his new wife, Cassandra, came over.  My sister Amanda also came, with her husband Jason and their three children.  Years ago, Colleen and I were a part of many huge family reunions, we have great memories of running around with cousins, and it was good to see our own children having fun together…..in total there were fifteen children and nine adults.  (Michael also came, and Jacob’s girlfriend Emily, too.)

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Amanda brought a big salad, Cassandra brought chocolate chip cookies.  We made a bowl of punch and Colleen and I made broccoli salad, apple cake, apple crisp, a big pot of chili, and Ethan grilled hamburgers.  No one went hungry.

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I spy with my little eye; Sherlock the Cat!

 

 

 

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Cassandra, Shanda, Amanda

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Isaac, Shanda, Amanda

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Meghan,  Caleb, and Naomi (with the expressions of youth)

After church on Sunday we followed each other through McDonald’s drive thru and both families spent the same exact total. (!!)

Rich, Roger, Jacob, and Ethan went golfing; it was a beautiful afternoon to be outside.

*****

Then, we had all Monday morning to relax.  We watched several hours of television with the activity of people coming and going, getting food, having conversations, laughing, enjoying each other, and Aunt Colleen crocheting.

 

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Cozy family togetherness….such a blessing.

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Sarah was in heaven, so to speak.  I hardly saw her all weekend because she was so busy with the girls.

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We took one group picture (only one!) with my self timer before they left to go home.  (Rich was at work).

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“Kindred spirits alone do not change with the changing years.”  LM Montgomery

with aunt colleen

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We stayed at Aunt Colleen’s in-law’s house all last week.  The best part about it was Aunt Colleen and Uncle Roger live right next door and we could visit every single day.  Colleen is my Mom’s baby sister, which is how the two of us ended up less than two years apart in age.

These days it is a lot of fun to have our families together for visits.  We can sit and talk while the children hang around us or run around playing.

I pulled in the driveway one evening and found them all sitting in front of the garage, talking and relaxing……it looked like a nice family time,  “pretty as a picture”. ^^

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(Colleen, Roger, and their oldest, Molly.)  I just noticed Sarah is in the picture, on the swings in the background.  She really liked their playset.  It was the first thing she wanted to know about.

Between the two homes, there were five dogs.  My children LOVE animals and enjoyed making new friends with the dogs.  Seth had a great time throwing the tennis ball for Rusty.

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Rusty could play fetch all day long and so could Seth.

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When I aimed my big black camera at Maddie’s dog Jayda, she got nervous and shyly looked away.  We made jokes about how I wasn’t going to “shoot” her, oh but wait…..I guess I was, in a way.  😉

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After we sat and visited for a while we got up to walk the trail.  They keep a walking path nicely mowed.  It leads down through woods to the creek that changes every year in the spring water-rise (and sometimes, flood).  The rocks were plentiful and the children promptly began throwing them.  We were glad that no one got hurt, with six children throwing stones.  Uncle Roger threw the dog’s bike tire into the water and it sunk before she could get it.  Jayda was so funny sitting in the water looking for it, not able to reach.  Roger had to get a stick to bring it back up.  She happily ran off with it when it appeared again.

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(Madelynn, Molly, Seth, Megan with Sarah, Colleen, and Roger.)  A walk wouldn’t be proper without bringing something home from nature; Colleen had bark from a Sycamore tree.  I brought some back with me, too.  Apparently the Sycamore trees shed at this time of year.

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Colleen and I prowled around this very old barn for antiques.  This place is right down the road from her house.  She hadn’t gone antiquing in the local places since the last time we were together (years) so we decided to keep that tradition.  I bought the yoke from Sunday’s blog post at this barn.  The barn was huge, quiet, and warm.  The wood and rafters were beautiful.

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I would have never imagined there were so many old dusty books in the back room.  Books everywhere.  (dreamy)

We both found some book-treasures to take home with us.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Her Life  by Susan Hertog
Pilrim at Tinker Creek  by Annie Dillard
Stillmeadow Cookbook by Gladys Taber
Tomorrow Will be Better by Betty Smith  (she wrote A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)

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We found fiestaware at the next shop.  I bought some one dollar vintage bread plates on a different day, but not when I was with Colleen.  I only took pictures.  It was a little pricey for my mood (on the hunt for amazing deals).

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It was a great week to catch up and visit with Colleen’s family.  Love you all.

“The family is a haven in a heartless world.”  Christopher Lasch

 

 

mom’s night out

It’s good to be home but everyone needs a night out now and then!

My aunt’s 40th birthday was last Friday (the 9th).  I took my daughter Grace and we drove four hours “back home” (where I grew up) so we could meet Colleen and the others at the movies to watch “Mom’s Night Out”.

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There were beautiful tulips in bloom outside the theatre so Mom and I had Grace take a picture of us.  Mom is Colleen’s big sister, they are 17 years apart.

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Colleen has four daughters,  she brought Molly and Maddie to the movie, her two oldest girls.

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Colleen had nieces, sisters, daughters, and friends join her for her birthday movie.

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We sat in our big comfy seats, ate candy and popcorn, laughed and cried……the movie was awesome!

Take yourself and some friends out for a night you will remember.  I would like to see it again, so invite me, ‘K?  xo

PS. I love Trace Adkins.