Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lost And Found

I was absolutely positive that I had started a little white baby hat months ago. I had made myself a "starter kit." Sometimes I find out with short notice that a daughter is in need of a baby hat for a friend. So I figured if I had one already cast on and ready to knit, I'd be ahead of the game. And a white hat—a gender neutral color. I was totally ready.

Until I wasn't. When I found out that the next baby is due in a few weeks, I was feeling smug because I knew there was my "starter kit," ready for me to pick up and finish. When I went to get it, I couldn't find it. No white baby hat. I did some serious searching through my knitting stuff.

Then I did some deeper digging through more obscure places I might have stashed it. I actually pulled out every bag I had with a work-in-progress (or a yarn/pattern combo) in it and opened them all. I even wrote down what was in each bag...pattern name, yarn color, needle size...and made a list so that I would know what was here. No white baby hat. I looked through the empty project bags, hoping I had mixed up the empties with the work-in-progress ones. I did find a pair of prescription sunglasses that I had "lost" at the Georgia knitting retreat back in the spring. Kind of made the search worthwhile. But still, no white baby hat.

After I looked through purses and suitcases, I pulled those bags out again and lined them up in the floor with every one of them open so that I could see them all at once. No white baby hat. I waited a week, thinking it would miraculously appear. That does happen sometime.

Then I waited one more week (I didn't want to give up too quickly) before deciding that maybe I hallucinated about casting on the little hat. Maybe I only thought that would be a brilliant idea but I never really did it. So I did give up and ordered white yarn. And although, there's plenty of yarn here, I didn't have any white. That was actually the color requested for this baby. I knew I needed to start this little hat.

The new white yarn arrived this week and I cast on yesterday. Took this quick little project to the library knitting group yesterday and worked on a few rounds there. One of the younger knitters finished her first sock while we were knitting. I promised her that I would look through my stash of yarn here at home and bring her some sock yarn for another pair. I have plenty enough to share. So when I came home, I headed straight to my yarn bins, before I forgot, to see what Holly might like.

And you know what I found, don't you? Yep. There is was. Right smack in front of me. There was ONE bin on the cubbies where I store yarn that didn't have yarn in it. It held some random bags. The cute gray and red bag on top had the pre-started white baby hat. Why that bin was never pulled out, I can't tell you. The second white hat will not go to waste, though. I always am needing one more baby gift.

But REALLY? I had told Daddy-O while I looked that the sure way to find that hat was to buy the yarn again. I was joking. And then, maybe I wasn't.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Feeding The Farmer

More than once I've been asked "What do you do on the farm?" And my standard reply is, "I feed the farmer." No, I don't drive a tractor. I don't help fix fences. I have manned the gate in the cattle pen when Daddy-O was cutting cows, but that was ages ago. There are many women, including some of our neighbors, who are handy with the farm equipment. I'm just not one of them.

So I thought before I lost the right to say I feed the farmer (and my place on the farm,) I'd better get something on the table. I was gone for nearly two weeks. Then he was busy all weekend helping with the 4H livestock show. The kitchen here has been "resting." It was time to crank up the oven again.

This is a favorite pasta dish that we haven't had in a while. Sometimes I look back through the recipe index on my blog and find recipes that have slipped out of the regular rotation. This one's back to stay.


3 cups (9 oz.)  uncooked bowtie or penne pasta (measure--don't use more than it says)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained (with basil, garlic & oregano this time)
2 cups Alfredo pasta sauce (I used Classico Four Cheese)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
2 handfuls baby spinach

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with PAM. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat tomatoes to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for  6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is partially evaporated.

Put Alfredo sauce into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 90-seconds. Stir in shredded cheese. Heat another 30-seconds and stir until cheese melts. 

Stir in spinach into hot tomatoes just to wilt it and then mix the tomato-spinach mixture into the alfredo sauce.

Put pasta in the baking dish and pour sauce over it. Stir gently to mix it all.

Bake uncovered, about 30 minutes, or until hot in center.

This is an all-time favorite for supper. It's also a great dish to take to someone. It's a simple dish. No strong flavors. It falls in the comfort food category. I have taken it baked and ready to eat. And I have taken it ready for them to bake, so that it's hot when they want to eat. Take this, along with a salad and maybe a dessert and they'll love you forever. 

It still makes me smile when I remember a friend who stopped me at church a couple of weeks after I had dropped this meal off at their house after he'd had been sick. He gave me a hug and told me, "If I wasn't already married, I'd marry you!" He was totally teasing me (his grandchildren are the age of my daughters,) but I'm pretty sure he liked the pasta.

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. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Today is Little Sister's 6th birthday. That's her sweet baby face you see on the blog title at the top of the page, but she's a baby no more. We celebrated a few days ago (so it wasn't on a school night) with their family. For years, in that household there have been beautiful cakes, baked by bakers who have been successful in television competitions. Wonderfully delicious, gorgeous cakes. But this year Little Sister asked her daddy to bake her birthday cake. Her daddy is not known for his baking. This was the third cake he's ever made—all using this same recipe.

It was the first time I've been around to taste one of his cakes. And let me tell you, it was absolutely delicious. Little Sister, with a smile big enough to light up New York, announced, "This is the BEST birthday cake ever!" So it's not about the perfect decorations. It's about having it baked by someone who loves you. When she was here for our "camp" she asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday (she likes to plan ahead) and then told me, "My daddy will bake you a caramel cake." I might take up Little Sister's offer.

The cake recipe came from my Aunt Betty. It's just a good basic yellow cake. My mother used it for years to bake birthday cakes for us, but usually with chocolate frosting. So if caramel isn't your thing, hang onto the cake recipe and frost it however you want to. I've used it with strawberries and whipped cream for strawberry shortcake. You can bake it in a 9x13-inch pan (my mother's choice) or cupcakes, as well as layers. Just about as easy as cake mix, but with a homemade taste.

Birthday cake baked with love by her daddy.


2 cups self-rising flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat until well mixed.  This can be baked in layers or 13x9x2 pan. (Greased and floured, of course; or use baking spray.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched.


2/3 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

In a saucepan over low heat add butter--melt. Add brown sugar--stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk--stir and cook while you bring it to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar while stirring--keep stirring until thick enough to use as frosting.

(I used a wire whisk to add in the powdered sugar until it got thick and then I switched to a heavy spoon.  This frosting hardens, so ice your cake quickly.) 

If you are a newer reader, let me tell you that this blog exists because of Little Sister. When she was born and her mommy went back to work, I kept her every day, for nearly a year. I started this blog a few months after she was born to provide a record of our time together and to provide a creative outlet for me while most of my days were spent with a tiny baby who wasn't much of a conversationalist.

The blog has evolved over the years and will continue to do so, I'm sure. Life changes and demands that we change with it. Thank you, dear readers, for letting me share with you some of the things that I enjoy.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Do You Want To Make A Tutu?

"Do you want to make a tutu?" If you've seen the movie Frozen, you know what tune to sing that to. You likely know it even if you haven't seen the movie. (If you are truly clueless, you can google "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?") This was our project for the last day of camp. And then we watched the movie that night.

This is a fun, quick project if you have little girls in your life. It requires no sewing. Just a little time and patience and a pair of scissors. I will pass along one HUGE tip, though. Use the glitter tulle at your own risk. (Although it's adorably cute!) I thought it was a glittery fabric. Not. It's just glitter sprinkled over the tulle. Which promptly fell off all over my kitchen. I will say that it made a beautiful tutu. But even Little Sister said, "It's too shattery!" Because each strip is added individually, after camp I swapped out all of the glittering strips with a plain blue tulle. Easy fix! The new blue matches the ribbon better anyway.

A trip to a big box craft store should provide all you need for about $10. I used two spools of 6-inch tulle. The plain tulle had 25 yards per spool and the glitter tulle had 10 yards. And I bought one spool of 1-1/2 inch wide double-face satin ribbon. That's it. I needed every inch of these 35 yards for this child who wears a 5/6. For a larger child, the 50 yards from two spools of plain tulle would be better.

The hardest part is cutting the tulle into lengths. And it isn't hard at all. I did this like I cut yarn to make fringe for a knitted scarf. Knitters, you know how to do this. Non-knitters, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that you don't have to measure and cut a gazillion strips. I just wrapped the tulle around a box instead of measuring lots of strips.

Find a box of the appropriate size. A 12-ounce box of Cheerios was perfect for us. When I measured the box all the way around—bottom, up the front, over the top, down the back to the bottom—it was just about double Little Sister's waist-to-knee measurement.

Her waist-to-knee measured about 13 inches. So I doubled that (remember we are folding the tulle in half) and added another inch for the knot. That meant I needed strips that were about 27-inches long. (13+13+1) The 12-inch tall Cheerio box, measured all the way around, was about 29 inches. Close enough for this project!

I started my wrap at the bottom of the box. I wrapped the entire 25-yard spool around the length of the box. Just keep wrapping and wrapping. If you can't find a box the right size, cut a piece of cardboard to size.

Then cut through all of the wraps at the bottom of the box. Only at the bottom! There you go. The entire spool is now cut into equal lengths in a couple of minutes.

I pulled off an extra long length of ribbon from the spool. I cut it to size after we were done. To make the ribbon easier to work with, I tied one end to a chair leg to anchor it while we worked.

All that's left is to fasten the strips to the ribbon. You could just tie them on, but I did it like I add fringe to a knitted scarf. This method makes both ends hang down the same way.

Fold a single strip in half. Put the folded end under the ribbon, letting the folded part stick up beyond the ribbon enough to slip your fingers through that loop.

Reach through the loop and over the ribbon, grab the ends of the tulle and pull them through the loop. Snug it up on the ribbon.

When you've added a whole bunch of strips, push them together to make the skirt full and try it on. Add more strips if needed. The tulle strips can be bunched up tighter or spread out a little further apart to make it work for you. Slide all of the strips to the center of the ribbon. Then tie the ribbon around the child's waist, making a big bow.

You are the designer here. Use one color. Use two colors like we did. Or, use a whole rainbow! Using the ribbon made this super easy. But elastic would be fine, too, if you know enough sewing to join the elastic. (Cut the elastic 1-inch less than the waist measurement.)

I must admit that Little Sister got tired of knotting the strips on, but she did enough to understand how we made it. I finished up while she played with the dollhouse, and she was delighted to put it on and dance for us all. Our very own fairy princess! This was a perfect ending to Camp Mimi. I'm already looking forward to next summer's camp.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Our Camp Cafe

One of our camp days was Cafe Day. Little Sister, Jessica and I got dressed up and we went to lunch in the city. The food there is always good. But the food in our own "cafe" was just as good. Little Sister had made a menu for her own cafe at her house before she came. Her mommy printed out menus for her pretend cafe. But at Camp Mimi, we made the cafe come to life.

We made one of her entrees for dinner on our last camp night. Little Sister and her entire family love salmon patties. When my own girls were little, this was one of the few recipes that both of them loved. It was always a hit with them. And it still is for this new crop of little girls.

There are many ways to make salmon patties, but this is how I do it. It's easy. It's reliable. The only downside is frying them makes a bit of a mess. So this is an occasional treat for us.

Jessica discovered that her friends were more likely to eat "salmon cakes" than "salmon patties." Whatever you call them, they're delicious.


1 (14-3/4-oz) can pink salmon*, skin & bones removed
2/3 cup Bisquick
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 egg
oil for frying

Drain salmon and remove skin and bones. (At least, I like to do this.) Stir in Bisquick, egg and onion. Drop large spoonfuls into hot oil and flatten slightly. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels

Makes 8-10 patties

*If you are careful when you tip the salmon out of the can, you can find the backbone all in one piece and take it out easily. You can also use 2 smaller cans of boneless, skinless salmon. That's what both of my daughters do to keep from putting their hands in the salmon!

Looking Back At Camp Mimi


This is one tired Mimi checking in. I have sorted most of the toys, packed up the craft supplies, and swept up most of the glitter. Camp Mimi was a big success. Little Sister was sad to see the last day come, but it was time for her to go home because her school starts this week.

We tried to make it as camp-like as possible. I attended summer camps growing up and I took 4-Hers to camp for years as part of my job. And daughter Jessica worked one summer as counselor at a girls camp in northern Minnesota. So we had a good idea was what was essential to include.

One thing I was sure to include was "cabin clean-up." That turned out to be easy. Cleaning your "cabin" was much more fun than making your bed. She never complained about her cabin cleaning.

One of the 4H camp directors had a theory of what made for happy campers—"Feed them plenty of good food and let them swim, and the rest will take care of itself." We made sure to include both of those things.

As long as we were at the lake for a one night stay, a little fishing was in order. But there were no nibbles. She asked Daddy-O, "Why do the fish not like me?"


 All camps include crafts. Little Sister loved this part of our camp. I did, too.  I love her painting of the pier at the lake, complete with ladder and the chairs and red umbrella.

One afternoon was devoted to baking. She loves to spend time in the kitchen. We made pumpkin bread (her favorite.) We enjoyed one loaf that night. We packaged one loaf for her to take home to her family. And one loaf is in the freezer.

There was plenty of time for playing and plenty of opportunities to be a helper. She had not played checkers at home because she has a two-year-old sister who wants to play also—by grabbing her share of the checkers from the board. At camp, she could actually play an entire game undisturbed.

Every morning started with "opening the box" to find out what the plan for the day was. Each of our days had a theme. We had Learning Day, Play Day, Kindess Day, Cafe Day and Frozen Day. On Play Day, the box held bubble mix. On Cafe Day, she got a can of pumpkin for baking. On Frozen day she found the video Frozen and supplies for making a glittery blue tutu. (I'll tell you how to do this later.) I didn't tell her ahead of time what any of our plans were. That turned out to be genius because I needed to adjust my plans a few times. She never knew she had missed something that was on the list.

And you can't have camp without a camp T-shirt. Thanks to our artist daughter Jessica who designed our logo and speedy online printing, the camper and the entire staff got a shirt that will be a reminder of a fun week at the farm.