Sunday, August 28, 2016

Kidding Around (Sorry, I Couldn't Resist!)

Daddy-O was busy all weekend with the 4H Junior Livestock Show. As a member of the cattlemen's association that puts on the show, he worked for days. I was still trying to get things back on track at home after 10 days away, but I couldn't resist stopping by the show barn for an hour or so to see what was going on. I was there during the goat show. 100 goats were entered this year. I missed the beef cows, dairy cows, the chickens and the rabbits. Daddy-O auctioned off the chickens after that judging. Yes, he's also an auctioneer.

I sat through many dance recitals and choral programs and community theater productions as my girls pursued their interests as they were growing up. I have many friends whose children were athletes and they never missed a ballgame. And there are the band parents, who work hard keeping high school bands funded and active.

But you might not think about the parents and grandparents who sit through cattle shows and goat shows and rabbit shows. This is a family endeavor, as the children learn about raising their animals, learn showmanship skills, learn breed characteristics and learn how to groom the animals for show. It's serious business.

The goat judge came from a neighboring state. He put the kids (both human and goat) through their paces and then patiently explained how and why he chose the winners. That's how these 4Hers learn.

I watched some very nervous 6, 7, and 8-year-olds, lined up to enter the show ring, getting words of encouragement from parents and siblings. But you could see the anxiety on their faces. To march into the ring with an animal that might or might not behave well with the whole world watching is no easy task. It's like any other performance—music, dance, gymnastics—but with the added element of an animal with a mind of its own. Even though these animals are well trained, there is always the possibility of something unexpected happening. And for some unlucky youngster, it always does.

Photo courtesy of Daddy-O

Remember, we all are dependent on farming for our food. Ever see the bumper sticker that says, "No Farmers No Food"? Think about it.  It makes me happy to see that so many young people want to learn about farming. I know not all of them will go into farming as adults, but I hope some of them do. We like to eat and we need farmers to do that.

Don't be like the child who was asked what we would do without farmers and replied, "We would just buy our food at the store."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

School Daze

I feel Mary Poppin-ish when I'm at Mommy's house. (But Mary Poppins without her magic bag.) We sing and dance. We play. I write "silly stories" for Little Sister to practice her sight word reading. I just help out wherever I'm needed. To be honest, I do a lot of reading books, playing with little folks, and wiping hands and faces. On my last day here, Little Sister insisted that we do ballet. She and Baby Girl and I sat in the floor and Little Sister led us through her ballet class exercises. It is possible that I will not be able to move today.

I also do the high school pick up in the afternoons. Schools here started three weeks ago. At least the car lines have settled down by now. Mommy gets to skip this for a few days. One less time a day to get the little ones in and out of car seats.

Now that Little Sister is in kindergarten full-time, Mommy is packing lunch for her every day. Big Sister packs her own lunches. Since I was here a little longer than most visits, I baked banana bread for lunch treats. They love this recipe. This time I used 5-inch loaf pans. Small slices will be easier to pack. And 2 or 3 loaves can go into the freezer to stretch out the Mimi-baked goodies. Assuming Baby Girl doesn't get her wish to eat it three times a day.

Pinterest has raised the bar for school lunches these days. More planning for good nutrition. Visually appealing. Both good things. But I'm glad I'm the grandmama and not the mama who is not doing this every day! It looks like it won't be long before Baby Girl can be in charge of baking for school lunches. And I'll be out of a job.

This recipe has been posted here several times before. But it is so good and so easy. Not much more trouble than a mix of some sort (and I do use those sometimes) and you know exactly what is in this. No preservatives. No chemicals with long names. Just five basic ingredients. You'll feel good about sending this in your child's lunch. Or, baking it for yourself. Or, to give to a neighbor. It's really good for breakfast with a cup of coffee.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat. Alternately add flour and bananas (start and end with the flour.) Stir in nuts if using. Pour into greased 9-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from pan and cool on a rack. Wrap in foil and let the loaf "ripen" for a day before slicing. (Have no clue why this makes it better, but trust me, it does. It is much more moist.)

This can also be baked in smaller pans by adjusting baking time. Keep a close watch to see when it's browned and check with a toothpick.

      Two 8-inch loaf pans—Bake for about 50-55 minutes. 
      Four 5-inch baking pans—Reduce baking time to about 40-45 minutes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Just A Blur

I have been the "extra hands" here for over a week at Mommy's house. I thought I would do one more helpful thing while Mommy had gone to take Little Sister to ballet class. It's almost time for Baby Girl to start her preschool and the teachers need a photo of Baby Girl. I thought while just the two of us were home alone, getting a picture would be easy. Not.

You see how helpful my pictures were. This child is perpetual motion. Never still. Just a blur.  She is a busy bee. (Have to share—instead of "honey bees," she calls them "honey buns.")

Good luck, Mommy. I give up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fire Alarm Pajamas

I need better pajamas. Last weekend Daddy-O came down to visit while I'm doing an extended grandmother stay here at Mommy's. I spent Saturday night with him at a nearby hotel. By 8:30, I was tucked in bed and, to be honest, had fallen asleep while watching the Olympics. About 15 minutes later, I was rudely awakened by an obnoxious noise.

It took me a minute to realize it was the fire alarm. We put on shoes and grabbed our phones and remembered to take the room key cards. We stumbled out into the hall as others were exiting their rooms.

The lady in the room just down from us looked at the motley crew from the 4th floor and said, "This is just sad. It's not even nine o'clock and we're all in our pajamas." About the time we started down the exit stairs, the alarm stopped and people turned around and headed back up.

Then it sounded again. We decided to just walk on down the stairs to check out what happened. Turned out that a children's birthday party was happening in the breakfast area and they had lit a sparkler candle on the cake that set off the alarm. What a memorable party! (It would have been more memorable if the fire truck had actually shown up, but the hotel desk got that cancelled quickly.)

Since we were already downstairs, in our pajamas no less, we bought ice cream from the snack bar at the desk. It was all good. We were happy it was a false alarm. We were happy it wasn't 2:00 AM. We were happy they sold Ben & Jerry's in the lobby.

The lady who was first down the steps was the one we met when they turned around to come back up. She looked amazingly put-together for an emergency exit. And there I was in an old T-shirt and pj pants. Of course, if I get new emergency fire alarm appropriate pajamas, that's probably not the ones I would be wearing when the next alarm goes off.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Five O'Clock Hour...Ouch

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

After our restful few days at the lake, where life was slow and quiet, I drove down the next day to stay with Mommy and her girls, where life is anything BUT slow and quiet. I forget how loud and busy and chaotic a house with three girls can be. I'm here while J-Daddy is away. Another set of adult hands is useful this week.

Tonight the most helpful thing I did was to take Baby Girl upstairs to her room while Mommy cooked supper. Little Sister stayed downstairs. Sometimes separation is a good thing. Did you ever call the 5:00-6:00 pm time slot "the arsenic hour?" Or, perhaps the "witching hour?" (Or, did you have an even more descriptive name for it? And it might start at 6:00 pm at your house.) That is when everything breaks loose because the little ones are hungry and tired and cranky. And the mommy is tired and cranky. The grandmother is running out of patience, too. 

But the upstairs/downstairs approach worked last night. Peace was restored and Mommy made a delicious dinner. This is a recipe she has used before. It's a good one that I'll make at home. I love good meatloaf. This was the first time I've had turkey meatloaf, but it surely won't be the last time.

While Mommy cooked, I read a zillion story books to Baby Girl and watched her play and dance. Little Sister chose to take some books to her favorite big chair downstairs. I'm pretty sure Mommy enjoyed an hour in the kitchen without a little one wrapped around her leg and a slightly bigger one hanging on her other leg and no one crying, "Make her stop! No! That's mine!" It's funny....after supper, those two little ones were happy to see each other and played beautifully together until bedtime. It was just that hour before supper. Maybe I should just call it the "unhappy hour." But it's on the clock and the clock hands have to pass over five and six, too, like they do all the other numbers.

I have no clue how Mommy does it every night. I know I did it night after night all those years ago, but goodness, I do not remember how. I think it's just a matter of hanging in there, knowing it does get easier when you pass the terrible twos. Mommy often says, "The days are long but the years are short."

       (recipe from Chew Out Loud)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/4 lbs. ground turkey (a 1-lb package works, too)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
1 large egg
3/4 cup barbecue sauce combined with 1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack on lower middle position.

In a skillet, heat oil on medium high. Cook onion and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, 1/4 cup of the barbecue/ketchup mixture, salt and pepper. Add the onion and garlic. Mix thoroughly.

In a 9x13-inch pan, use your hands to shape meatloaf mixture into a rectangle, about 8x4 inches. (Line the pan with foil for easy clean-up.) Reserve 2 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce mixture. Brush remaining sauce on top and sides of meatloaf.

Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes, until the internal temp reaches at least 165 degrees. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of sauce and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4

I generally like the ground turkey that is not the breast meat. I find that it has better flavor, texture and appearance than the ground white turkey.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More Being, Less Doing

This past weekend, we were human beings, not human doings. 

These photos are here to remind me that we do have 
a few days like this every now and then.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Slow And Steady

This has been a very busy summer. Lots of family in and out here, more lake time than usual, extra church duties, Camp Mimi lasted a week. All good things. Knitting really took a backseat. But I did manage to sneak in a few stitches most days. A row or two here and there early in the morning. A half row while little ones napped. Maybe a few stitches before bedtime. I knitted between the big parts of each day.

And all of a sudden, I realized I was done. I had finished a large shawl in four weeks. So what if other knitters made theirs in less than two weeks? (Yes. I had a hard time not comparing my speed to theirs as they posted pictures on Ravelry and Instagram.) It's not cool enough to wear it yet anyway. Mine is done in plenty of time for fall weather.

I'm glad I didn't wait to start "until I had time" to make this. All of those little bits of knitting added up. Is there something you've been wanting to do? Waiting to do? Then start. Now. It will take however long it takes. But if you don't start, you'll never finish.

Pattern:  Talisman by Curious Handmade
Size:  Large
Yarn:  Periwinkle Sheep - Merino Silk
Colorway:  Memories Of Summer
Needle:  Size 6

A dear friend of mine told me years and years ago, "Honey, dripping water wears away rock." She was telling me how she got her husband to do things. She said her nudging was so gentle that he never knew she was making him do what she wanted. 

But her thinking applies to many things. It's the persistence. The steady pace. Just keep at it and you'll get there.