Tuesday, July 31, 2012

31st Annual Grilled Cheese Day!

     31 years ago, my very awesome Mother-in-love started "grilled cheese day" with her niece and nephew. It was a fun way to get a chance to get together with them and, um, eat grilled cheese. 31 years later, their children, her grandchildren, great grandchildren and d-i-l (me) all get together to visit and, um, still eat grilled cheese. It is so nice to catch up with people and especially with the young people that are heading to high school and college. I'm so thankful for g.c.d. and look forward to it every year. This year we had the privilege of hosting! Unfortunately, I didn't get many pics, because I was busying being at g.c.d., which is a good thing.
    Matt attended, FOR THE FIRST TIME! In honor of this auspicious occasion, he made a sign.

I picked some flowers from the garden.

Our cousins are fantastic pianists and they gave our old piano a real treat by playing it! Here is Vlad with a sweet cousin, Miss K.

I made a special dessert! Faux grilled cheese! I toasted pound cake in a skillet and frosted between 2 slices!

It was yummy!
I <3 grilled cheese day!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Random drive on a Saturday

Today started off with some errands, like the post office, refilling my Quinoa supply, a garage sale, donut shop.We were having a hard time because the donut place was closed for vacation, the garage sale wasn't set up and it started raining. So, I decided it was a good day for a detour. How about a drive along the coast of Lake Erie? Anyone up for a trip to finally see Train-o-Rama? We hit the road for Marblehead!

Actual water, thrilling!

We ran into a giant on the way!
We visited the lighthouse on Marblehead.

We visited the lighthouse on Marblehead.

We got our feet wet! (Can't see video? click for link.)

The sky was huge and the waves were perfect! (can't see this video either? Geez, click here)

     We made a stop at a great barn sale. I even swapped phone numbers with the lady who owns the barn. She will call me to pick tomatoes when the old farmer down the road has some ripe ones, I taught her how to make soap! Who says people aren't friendly anymore? 
        We eventually made our way to East Harbor State Park. Guess who threw swim suits and towels into the van this morning? This Mama! We hit the waves and had a blast! One wave hit me and flung my hat into the air, which delighted the Hoffbros! We love some good wave action. Plus, the water was warm as bath water. This day only needed one more thing to make it perfect...

Ice cream from a local stand, shaped like the food it serves! Twist cones all around! Choc/vanilla for the 'rents, orange sherbet/ vanilla for the Hoffbros. Bliss! They gave Wolf a replacement after he dropped his. He always drops his and goes apoplectic. It's his thing.
     A quick stop at Bergman's orchard stand for sweet corn and red haven peaches. And their own sweet-hot pickles. A drive home with some ultimate music followed. When we got home, we discovered a new movie in the mailbox, so we watched it. Finally, all 3 of my offspring have been treated to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. The circle is complete.
In the words of William S. Preston, Esquire and "Ted" Theodore Logan,
"Be excellent to each other and Party on!"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekending in the Mohican Valley


    Weekending sounds so fancy! We were not fancying it up this weekend however, we were keeping it real with a good old-fashioned camping trip. We headed out Friday after work with a van full of supplies. The Ingall's had less in their covered wagon when they headed for the prairie! We got to a long time family favorite, Camp Toodik (yes, the name makes for lots of jokes. We get a picture of the sign just because of it every time we go.) We went there with my Dad back in the days before he was so ill. He loved it there, for good reason. It is about an hour and 45 minute drive and you are in beautiful Amish farm country (Amish country = young girls selling homemade hand pies in many flavors!). Mohican State Park has one of my favorite hikes which includes a covered bridge, waterfall and giant hydro-electric dam. The campground is right on the river, is beautifully wooded, is a family place (aka no beer pong is tolerated), and has the cleanest flush toilets (not outhouse! :) of any campground, EVER. We got there with time to set up camp and spent the evening honing our Olympic grade marshmallow roasting skills before bed.

Creepy night time photos...

    We spent some time in the tent reading aloud from The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It is fun to read about blizzards during a very hot summer! We are enjoying reading the Little House series and learning so much from them, both historically, technically (the descriptions of machines and procedures are fairly in-depth and help to make this more interesting for boys as well as girls) and philosophically. Also, as a spiritual but not traditionally religious family, their devotion to the bible and God has opened up a lot of great conversations for us. It was really nice to read together by the lantern's light with a soundtrack of crickets and bullfrogs totally rocking out around us.

We woke up on Saturday at 6 a.m. to a view of the river with sunbeams peeking through the trees.

and hot coffee. YES! It was 6 a.m., after all. And marshmallows, because, well, why wouldn't you?
Wolfie wanted to take a picture of his "new home".
     We were excited that Grandma and Grandpa could come and spend a day with us. While waiting for them, we walked around the entrance of the camp, where the seasonal campers live. It was Christmas in July, so they had decorated for a contest. This site had a tree festooned with beer cans! "Tastefully" done?
"Oh black and tan-enbaum", 

     We took a 10 mile canoe trip together, which The Grand Hoff's made easy work of, but Matt capsized our canoe once, which felt good because it was getting pretty warm on the river. The trip in the school bus to the livery took us through beautiful rolling farms in the foothills of the Appalachians. 

There were several dogs on the bus and later in canoes and in the river, which was a lot of fun to see! The trip ended only a few campsites from our own, which is another great feature of this campground.  Then it was time for a dip in the pool!
 After that, we drove to nearby Shreve and dined at Des Dutch Essenhaus, so, o.k., we "weekended" a little. On the drive, we stopped at a favorite farm's produce stand.

     We picked up sweet corn, of course. But, there was an Amish boy and girl selling bakery! Hand pies! Wolf spoke with the girl, and I had confirmation that he had soaked up some of our lessons on the Amish, as I heard him tell her,  "You're Amish? Well, I'm English." The little boy even introduced us to his horse. We returned to the campsite for some more campfire with the GrandHoffs before they started the trek back home. We had some more reading and a peaceful night's sleep, probably courtesy of 10 miles worth of the Lake Fork branch of the Mohican River.
     In the morning, we had Sweet corn and blueberry and cherry pies for breakfast! Delicious! Our neighbor was cooking for four teenaged boys. He had sausage, gravy, a huge pan of eggs, waffles (from his wafflemaker!) with syrup warmed in a crock pot! He actually had to force those boys to get up and eat!!!!!! I don't know how he packed all that stuff, but I do know that those boys had NO idea how good they had it! We enjoyed their breakfasty smells, but really enjoyed cooking on our fire and some memorably good food!

 We spent a little time sightseeing in the area and stopped for ice cream before hitting the road towards home. We just had to bring a little bit of the weekend home, so we stopped for another dozen ears of that sweet corn to enjoy at home.
     Today, we are still reminiscing about our trip. Vlad has drawn our campsite on the front sidewalk!

     We had a wonderful weekend and I had a good test of my new homemade bug repellent. No bug bites! I followed Amanda Soule's recipe for "bug away" found in her fantastic book, "The Rhythm of the Family".

Friday, July 20, 2012

And now for something completely different...

Goodbye scorching heat, hello short little thunderstorm.
p.s. Thank you!

We decided this leaf really looked like a bird. Vladdie found it, naturally.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A slice of cake, er, life.

shan's birthday cake
This is the cake I made for my birthday. Note the expansive use of butter cream frosting. Shut up, it was my birthday, I can have cake with double frosting if I wanna.
super doily by Mom (2)
Check out this vintage wrapping paper my Mom sent! It was a very vintage day, as you see that my boys got me the Little House cookbook (we have been reading the series together). My mom-in-love got me a beautiful galvanized watering can and wash basin and antique serving dish. And I'm actually rather vintage too, or as the unrefined refer to me-- old as dirt.
super doily by Mom (3)
Inside the paper was an exquisite crocheted doily made by my Mom! I heart doilies, especially pastel ones made lovingly and elaborately.
super doily by Mom (1)
Just had to don the doily.
look at all these fireworks from grandpa
Wolf looks over a bunch of fireworks from Grandpa Jay.
fire time
Hot fire pit acion!
fireworks, actual size (1)
Fireworks! Actual size!
fireworks, actual size (2)
Ultimate shot! Looks like fire is going through him!
nex mini-fig
Vlad loves mixing media. Here he is working with taditional legos and hero factory. He calls it "Nex mini-fig". This kid builds all day!
Yesterday, Olivia was beating him up, and he says to Jas, "Jassy, you borned a savage baby!"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Sweet Old Summertime

 We have been so busy lately, not doing much other than enjoying the Summertime. Lots of time on the porch, at the picnic table, and finding water, whether it be a creek, Great Lake, wading pool or sprinkler. I have so many pics to post from our insanely fun birthday bonanzas, the 4th, etc... But it is too nice out and I have some irresistible birthday yarn beckoning me to my spot on the porch, so it will wait. But here is a tiny slice of our lives right now.
First Annual Tomele Bowl-off at Mahall's. Check out their balls!

Those sir, are some high -waisted pants.
Wolf enjoys the serenity of Hemlock creek

Uncle Cameron teaches Vlad some tricks on the log.

This gigantic bag is strictly parade swag! Yes, this is road candy from the parade,  about 5 pounds, no lie! Insanity!

Pre-firework glow  stick yahmulke

Ian and his glow-stick halo

Our city only fired about 2 fireworks before tech difficulties shut them down and it was cancelled. boo.

Vlad can not get enough of Uncle Cameron's tricks.

me, without flash. I'm cool.

with flash, I'm a dork.

Ultimate mini-golfing at Sweetie's golf land!

He actually won, for a change :p

Serious about mini-golf. I definitely need a side holster for my club.

Bring it, mini-golf!

icecream novelty aftermath.

Birthday beach bash!

Who invited the man with the yellow hat and curious george?

Stealing Granny's hat at the sprayground.