Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Never Realized the Return on This Investment!

Fisher Price deserves kudos. At least for the toys they created over 25 years ago. If you look on Ebay or Amazon, they're listed as "Vintage" or "Collectibles". I call them lifesavers. I always felt kids should have books, puzzles, paper and crayons and blocks, bricks or whatever to build and create with. The toys I truly regret buying are the ones that stifled the kids' creativity. Truth be known, they didn't really like them or play with those toys that much either.

Grandma Christensen had her little cardboard box of odd and end toys and blocks that the kids always played with. This grandma has a plastic tub full of Joe's old Construx sets. I am constantly amazed at the hours of entertainment they provide as well as the imagination that my grandkids have when they start creating stuff. I'm sure I broke the bank at Christmas or birthdays when I bought these sets for Joe. I'm sure there was more than once that I considered getting rid of them {perhaps when packing up to move}. I'm sure glad I've kept them around!! For all of our sanity's sake!


I need to look through all the millions of pictures on my computer and find other pictures of their creations to add to this post.

A Day of Preserving - Many Things

Preserved carrots and apples and family memories. Good memories, I hope :-}

The work actually started when Grampa planted his carrot seeds last spring. Then the watering and weeding. He picked some buckets of apples a couple of weeks ago. He dug some of the carrots today {Yeah, well, that's a story for another day}. I got off work at 1pm and that's when our work day actually began. Amber and Scott {with Aspen and Hunter} were here when I got home. Nellie and Krisy and all their boys {and Paisley} got here after the kids got off the bus. Let the fun begin!!!

The beginning of the mess

You'd think Amber starves her kids. They knew how to run the apple peeler/slicer machine {from helping her} and so they volunteered to help. Hunter would get the apple started peeling, stop and put the end of the peeling in his mouth, and eat the peeling as he peeled the apple. The most interesting part of it all was the noises he was making as he was eating. I don't even know how to spell them. Suffice it to say, he sounded like a starving orphan who was eating a meal fit for a king! There were grunts and groans and 'umms' and 'awwws' interpersed with "I love apples. I love the skins. Here Aspen. Here's some skins for you!"  Holy apple peelings!

Hunter and Aspen taking care of the apples - everything but the core, that is!

Our own version of Lady and the Tramp!

Layne likes apple skins, too! If I had only know treats could be so cheap!

And Paisley about pulled herself out of the walker backwards trying to get to the apples!

Poor little lost Aspen. She only wanted to help someone, somewhere. She carried her stool around just hoping to find a spot big enough for her to set it down and help someone make more of this awesome mess!

Nellie, Carter and Colton getting their hands in the process.

Hard work means big appetites! So then it was time for a picnic supper for all. And Spooky Buddies movie.

Garrett, Hunter, Layne, Carter, Tyler, Colton and Aspen in the front

Krisy the carrot peeler, slicer, stuffer - you name it. If you look closely, you can see her orange stained hands. But look at that smile!! 

This doesn't give credit to Amber and all her work. Sorry there was no picture of her peelingand slicing apples, making the pie filling sauce, stirring the apples in the juicer and smushing the cooked apples into sauce. someone a little distracted from the work at hand???? Actually it was Nellie that  instigated this little break but we all sucked into it for a minute or two {or longer for some}.

Ground Zero. Or at least one of the Ground Zero holes. I've always said, when the world ends, I want to be at Ground Zero. I may have changed my mind. Especially if I'm left alive to clean up the aftermath!

The beginning of the end. Sort of.

Nellie, the suds monster. Me the hard worker in the background

The boys are getting tired. Garrett's giving hugs for free.

The look of innocence???? You decide. 

Scott was a trooper. He did Amber's grocery shopping, shopped for tubing for the juicer, washed carrots, peeled Grampa's 'deformed, retarded' carrots and helped in anyway we asked.

Krisy had her orange hands full with a Paisley who didn't see the need for a nap. She only wanted to be in the middle of it all! Uncle This-is-so-Awesome finished up his day with us.

What? No picture of LOML? Hmmm. Well, we've been planning this day for a couple of weeks because I knew LOML had the day off. He even committed to having the carrots picked, washed and ready to go by the time we started our marathon. Then, last night, he informs me he's going fishing all morning. Needless to say, I was a little hurt. Once he got home from fishing, ate a leisurely lunch and after he finally got the carrots picked and washed, he pretty well sequestered himself upstairs most of the afternoon/evening watching the apple pie filling most of the night. I don't know exactly why.....????

Well, it was 2:30am when the last batch came out of the pans. The final count for the night? 58 pints of carrots, 35 pints of applesauce and 21 quarts of apple pie filling. 

It was a killer of a day but it is still fulfilling at the end of the day {or the middle of the morning} to see all the sealed bottles and know we did this! And I'll do it again next year. Oh, wait, there's still carrots and apples left for this year!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Devil's Playground

I can't say too much about this. Rocks are to me as water was to my mother. It initiates an "Oh, shit! I can't take this so I'm going back to the truck!" moment {an excerpt from an experience we had with my mom on a trip to Arizona years and years ago}.  However, it's easier to explain to the boys because of an activity a year or so ago.

One weekend when I had Tyler, Layne, Carter, Colton, and Garrett, they caught me on a weak moment and convinced me to take them and their bikes to the skate park. The skate park is a collection of cement dips and hills and plateaus for skate boarders. Those boys were fearless. When we came home, I told them I lost ten years off my life. When they asked for an explanation as to what that meant, I said, "When we went to the park, I was 55. While we were there, I was scared so bad that someone would crack their head open or break an arm or leg {or two or three or four}, by the time we got home, I was 65!" They just giggled.

So when everyone started climbing all over the rocks at Devil's Playground, they kept yelling at me to "come see". I just told them I was losing another ten years off my life. They just giggled. Again. Here's just some random pictures of everyone having a rock solid good time at Devil's Playground.

Just for the record, I have to admit it was cool seeing how the wind and weather had chiseled out crevices and holes in the rocks over millions of years.

Layne, Garrett and Grampa



Grampa playing King of the Hill

Tyler and Carter were at the top in no time.


Tyler and Carter

A closer look at Tyler and Carter


I think this is Grampa with all the boys

Tyler and Carter in the Dinosaur Egg

Yup. Tyler and Carter

Paisley getting in on the rock climbing {and eating}

Paisley loving it all, with Grampa

Layne and Garrett

Colton up high

Good thing we had our own personal Search and Rescue Commander! Sometimes it's easier to find a way up than finding a way down.



Once I talked myself into going into the rock conglomeration, this was the first thing I saw. Tell me, does this not look like an honest to goodness Nativity Scene?

Uncle "This is So Awesome!"

All the MEN went exploring for a bit Saturday afternoon. Part of them returned in good time. Nathan, Tyler, Carter and Colton, however, didn't return with them. After awhile, and several unresponsive beeps on the 2-way radios, Adam and Grampa went back out on the four wheelers to find them. {A little funny that we sent a party out to find the Search & Rescue Commander}.

Meanwhile, back at camp, time was crawling by with no word from anyone. We called the two boys that were left with the WOMEN together and we had a prayer that everyone would return safely. I walked down the road aways - who knows why - and when I came back, Nellie was talking to S_____ A__ Nathan on the radio. Of course they were fine. They'd just decided to go find another abandoned mine and look around. Grampa and Adam had passed them, but instead of coming back and letting us know that, they went on to look for more antlered deer.

Evidently the road to the mine Uncle Scary took the boys to was pretty harrowing. Nathan's only explanation to us {while trying to suppress an ear-to-ear grin} was, "I just went from Uncle Scary to Uncle This Is So Awesome!" Yeah. The boys were impressed!


Friday, October 19, 2012

A Figment of Imaginations

So, I'm not the Grandma anyone comes to when they want the facts. That's for other Grandmas and Moms and Dads. I love imagining what things would have been years and years ago, what the first people who discovered it thought when they saw it or who built it and why and what feelings they had about the place. Our camping trip with Nellie and Adam out west was no different for me. The fact that we were surrounded by a multitude of old abandoned mines fed my fire, too!

Millions of years ago dinosaurs roamed the world. All around us were piles of fossilized dinosaur poop. Seriously. It's possible. Just imagine....

Sure we were in the desert and there was only one little patch of green around an even smaller spring of water. We were no where near swamp land but this sure looks like a baby crocodile to me. Just because it's not green - it had sharp teeth and it certainly is a distant relative to the crocs and gators. So, it's possible...

At one of the abandoned mines, Carter found an old-fashioned trampoline. It was pretty cool, I didn't get near as scared when Carter and I were jumping and it isn't as dangerous as the ones kids jump on nowadays.

Once upon a time, there was a blue snake who was tired of being blue. Once day he crawled out from under his rock and decided he would do something about it and so he shed his blue skin and became a ... well, we don't really know what color he became because he's gone. Maybe he became a camoflauge snake and he was really right there watching us look at his ugly old blue skin. It's possible...

There were lots of old abandoned mines that we went exploring to. As far as I understood, no one really knew what they actually were mining. I was having fun imagining the dad/husband leaving the family and going to the mine - maybe days or weeks at a time. This particular mine setup was a little more extravagant than the others {most of which were just holes in the side of the mountain or straight down into the ground}. There was obviously at least one woman around this mining operation because there was a three-seater outhouse. They probably fixed meals for the miners in one part of this building as there was the remains of a rusty old cook stove out back. It's possible...

The three-seater outhouse - maximum luxury!

A lot of rocks {I mean treasures} were collected brought back to camp where they were split into pieces. If the rocks glistened in te least little bit, our own personal 'miners' were sure they had discovered crystals or diamonds - at one point I heard rubies mentioned. I wasn't the only one using my imagination but you couldn't convince these boys {especially Carter} anymore than you can convince me those big chunks aren't piles of dinosaur poop!

Checking for precious minerals inside their treasures

Carter examining one of his rocks. He told me that when he

grows up he's going to study rocks or be in Search & Rescue.

So, I guess you could say this whole post has been a figment of your imagination...or mine...or someone's. It's possible, though...Humor me and admit it!

Last but not least, once upon a time, I fell in love with this handsome guy and his dwarf hat.

Imagine that!!!