Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red, White, and Blue Shortcake

Here's our traditional Fourth of July dessert:
It's a fun, summery treat: split scones covered with sliced, sweetened strawberries, fresh blueberries, and whipped cream. My scones are very good (my sister K's and her mother-in-law's are better), but you could use biscuits (with 2 Tbsp sugar in the dough), pound cake, or Angel food cake instead. We all top our own, since some of us don't like strawberries or whipped cream (can you imagine?).

Happy Independence Day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Berry Good Time

While on my doggie walk this muggy morning, I discovered that the raspberries have ripened. When I got home I invited Marianna and Rebecca to join me on a picking expedition. Still in pj's, they hopped on their bikes (Becca shares a trail-gator with me) and rode to the berry patch in the woods.

It was early enough to feel like a bit of an adventure, and the pickings were great. :-) We doled out treats for everyone.

Our morning jaunt reminded me of the "pajama rides" we took back when there were just a few young children in our family. Inspired by an article in Family Fun magazine, we'd try things like picking out our Christmas tree while the kids wore boots and pj's (and carried a thermos of hot chocolate).

Even though we kept having young children, the bigger ones got too old to enjoy appearing in public wearing pajamas, and the rides petered out. This morning was a treat for me. (A hot, sticky, sweaty, treat--no pictures were taken of the leader of this expedition!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grandparent Time

Len's parents live close by. They're inside the beltway, and we're outside, so timing and traffic must always be considered, but they're near nonetheless.

When our family was young, Len's mom did most of our babysitting. (Yes, we're quite fortunate, and yes, I've always recognized that!) Now our sitters are usually homegrown, but the children still enjoy time with their grandparents.

Lauren and the boys attended different high schools, but both are closer to the grandparents than to us. Almost every week, Grammy picks up our teens, who then spend the night before being chauffeured back to school in the morning. The weekend call of, "What do you want for dinner?" is part of the ritual. Oh yes, Grammy loves to spoil cater to her grandchildren. ;-)

Now and then the younger ones get to go for "special time" at their grandparents' house. This morning I drove Rebecca in for her turn. I don't have the whole itinerary, but she has confided some of it to me: trips to the book store, the ice cream store, and maybe the park. Breakfast will inevitably include homemade waffle ice cream sandwiches. Really.

There's nothing like time spent together to build a bond. What a blessing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dibble Dabble

I'm not the best summer mom. I take my children to the pool, but not often enough and not always with enthusiasm.

Yet we had a fabulous afternoon at the pool yesterday! I taught the kids how to play "Dibble Dabble", a game from my long ago childhood. It requires deep water, which is not always available. When the lifeguards closed the diving boards for a while, I grabbed Daniel, Joe, two boys they had just met, and Marianna. Here's how to play:

  1. "It" puts a Popsicle/craft stick between his toes, jumps to the bottom, and releases the stick.
  2. "It" surfaces and gets out of the way as quickly as possible.
  3. Everyone else is standing on the side, searching the water.
  4. Whoever sees the stick (down in the water or on the surface) jumps in, grabs it, and shouts, "Dibble Dabble!" Now she is "It."
Simple, eh? Eventually there were almost 10 kids playing.
There's not much else to know:

  1. No jumping until "It" is out of the way.
  2. No jumping in unless you see the stick.
  3. Everyone who sees the stick is welcome to jump in and try to grab it.
  4. "It" is allowed to jump for the stick, too, which is an incentive to get out of the water quickly.
  5. No pushing people in! That's obvious, but when it happened yesterday, I made the perpetrator sit out a round.
Yes, I played, too. It is so much fun, and being bigger and older is neither an advantage or disadvantage. I couldn't play long because a certain five-year-old needed my time in the 3' section.

Speaking of Becca, she forgot to bring her life jacket to the pool yesterday, and I purposely didn't remind her. Although it made her feel more comfortable in the water, the vest was starting to hold back her progress.

Yesterday she started really swimming! There's a lot more to work on--right now she's at the energetic-just-past-dog-paddle stage. She'll make a big leap forward when she's truly comfortable putting her face in the water (we're working on it).

So we all had fun. We stayed through four swim sessions, twice as long as I had planned. I can't go today because David has a medical checkup, but I'm eager for another great pool day soon.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Home Alone--Not

Total elapsed time in my empty nest: 28 minutes. Barely enough time to get off the internet. ;-)

Empty Nest

My children range in age from five through nineteen, yet I find myself home alone:
  1. Lauren drove to Richmond for the weekend,
  2. David is working at the bike shop,
  3. Daniel is teaching tae kwon do,
  4. Joseph and Len are vacationing (vet conference for Len) in Utah,
  5. Marianna is shopping with Grammy, and
  6. Rebecca just left for a swimming pool play date.
What to do with all this freedom?

It unfolded rather than being planned, so I have no great expectations. I'll enjoy a relaxing lunch and catch up in the kitchen (dishes, gyros for the freezer, biscuit mix, coffeecake and sausage casserole prep for tomorrow, etc.) while listening to a recorded book.

Dull for some, but homey and satisfying enough for me. Besides, Daniel will return soon, and this historic event will be merely a memory. ;-)