Tag Archive for grandson

A Mini-Vacation with a Few of Our Kids

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A few months ago Travel Man and I took a little vacation to Illinois with our two middle kiddos, one daughter-in-law to be, and our grandson.  This was quite a mix of travelers, and it was grandson Evan’s first time flying in a long time. We were on our way to visit my Grandpa and my Mom.  The smartest thing Travel Man planned for this trip was getting the kids their own hotel room.  They got to play cards and board games at night (yes they did travel with Settlers of Catan, and Phase 10), and we go to enjoy the peace and quiet.  Oh what an adventure we all had together.

My top ten list of fun and sometime humorous experiences went like this-

1. We took up two rows of seats on the airplane.  This required the inevitable discussion of who would have a window seat and who would have an aisle seat.


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2. Even though we were in the air flying we still heard this question, “Are we almost there yet?”  which came from the grandson. On our flight to Illinois we had one stop with no plane change.  So that question was unavoidable.

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3. We are all from Southern California and we traveled to the chilly (I mean freezing) Midwest region.  (We must have been nuts!)  Who ordered the 30 degree weather, and light snow flurries at the end of March?  It was a little blustery on a couple of days.

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4. Evan got to make his first snow angel in the snow near Lake Michigan.  He had so much fun.  He also found it necessary to step in or dig in each and every pile of snow he encountered.  Never mind the fact that the snow pile might be a little black with dirt or asphalt mixed in.11647350_10204559991694178_1914139083_n

Freezing our buns off at Lake Michigan!!

Freezing our buns off at Lake Michigan!!

5. My Mom took us on the “family tour” of all of the places she lived growing up, the house I grew up in, my grade school, and various other meaningful landmarks. The church in the background in the top picture here is the church where my grandparents met.  It is also the church where my parents were introduced to one another at a wedding reception.  A small world. After our excursion on this chilly afternoon Evan proclaimed, “Well that was certainly an interesting family education.” (Evanism 101)


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6. Eating a Chicago style deep dish pizza at Giordano’s. This was probably the yummiest dinner on our trip. There’s nothing like a Chicago deep dish pie!  Evan’s quite the pepperoni aficionado, and he told us the Chicago pizza was on his top five list!

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7. The Sky Deck at the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).  Evan and I did not take the jaunt out on the Sky Deck.  We were too chicken to look straight down at the street!  We did get to take in all of the great views of the city from the 103rd floor, and Evan got to see Soldier’s Field first hand.

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Feet only. Looking straight down from the Sky Deck.

8. Seeing the bean in Millennium Park.  This is a work of art that is nicknamed “The Bean.”  The actual name of this piece of art is Cloud Gate.  You can get some truly cool reflection pictures while standing under or near the giant “Bean”.



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9.  Hearing Evan exclaim, “Grandma I think my eyes are frozen”.  On our chilly day in downtown Chicago.  He was layered with a sweatshirt, beanie, scarf, and hood from his sweatshirts, and he just could not keep his little face warm.  These are some of my favorite pictures of Evan invading the “Windy City”.

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10.  Getting to see five generations of my family around my Grandpa’s dining room table. That is a view that was priceless.  We miss my Grandma dearly, and this was one of those moments when you count your blessings, and are thankful for all of the good things in your life.




Travelling with the kids was really a treat for us.  Joking, laughing, getting out of the hotel on time, etc, etc.  We were lucky to have our experienced “Travel Man” with us.  He always, always makes sure the travel can go as smoothly as possible, and we always have a great time wherever the destination may be.  We’re looking forward to more mini-vacations like this one soon.  One of these days granddaughter Madison will get to go along for the adventures.  For the time being we enjoy keeping the travel/road-trips as a special treat for Evan.

**Photo credits to Travel Man (aka Tom), my daughter Hilary, and daughter-in-law to be Erica.  Thanks everyone for your contributions.

Angels Baseball with the Boys

Travel Man and I squeezed in some time on Tuesday night to see and Angels game. Yay!!  With his crazy travel schedule we have had to learn not to plan our outings too far ahead, as his travel plans can change in a moments notice.  So we are learning to be more spontaneous than we normally would.  But it’s working.  We took our oldest son, Bryan to the game, and grandson, Evan.

The Angels were playing an interleague game with the San Francisco Giants, with CJ Wilson pitching.  We love baseball, so it’s always a treat to get to see a game live.  And Evan is getting into baseball more and more each year.  First inning, Albert Pujols hits a three-run homer.  A great at bat, and Evan is on cloud nine because he got to see Pujols hit a homer while he was at the game.  He knows who most of the position players are, and gets lots of questions about the game answered by his Uncle Bryan.  He’s like a sponge this year soaking in all of the baseball details.

Before the game Evan got a mini bat for a souvenir.  He told the employee at the counter that he could only spend $10, because that was Grandma’s budget.  When Evan gets back to his seat he tells me, “Grandma, we only spent $5, so we’re in your budget!”  Just too funny for me.  I was laughing for 5 minutes along with some “Grandma’s” sitting a few rows behind us.

Evan got lots of treats; churros, red vines ( I tried to call these red licorice, but got corrected), peanuts, a soda, a soft pretzel.  Not the usual Grandma meals, but hey we were at the ballpark.  Funny thing is he told his mother last night that we never fed him dinner! 

The first inning was so exciting, 4 runs scored, and 4 runs scored in the 4th inning, more excitement!  Right after the seventh inning stretch we get on the jumbotron!!  Evan had the funniest delayed reaction.  Bryan and I are pointing to the jumbotron telling Evan to look, and he was just in awe.  Then he got excited and started jumping up and down.  Just too funny because Evan had been dancing all night when they had the “dance cams” going in the stadium trying to get on the jumbotron, and then he did.  The 8th inning we score 3 more runs.  The Angels won this game 12-5.  Lots of offense, and fun times with Evan too.

Evan’s getting lots of lessons in reading the baseball stats from all of us.  Bryan is teaching him to read the stats in the newspaper.  Great way to teach a little reading, and the numbers and percentages.  If you have a sponge like Evan who likes sports this is a wonderful way to soak up some knowledge.

It’s always a treat when we get to spend time with any of the kids and with Evan along too.  Bryan is a baseball aficionado, and so knowledgeable about the game it’s always a treat to get to watch a game with him and learn something new.

Travel Man will be back on the road today to South America, so I’m thankful we got to have a trip to the baseball park while he was home.  It’s always a treat.

What’s your favorite summertime adventure?


My Domestic Goddess Status – Just an Update

It is almost the end of April, and it has been just about a year since I quit my job in the Corporate arena!  My how time flies!!  I was crowned by my beloved Travel Man as the Domestic Goddess of our household shortly after I decided to stay at home for a while.  Little did I know how much I would love this title.  If you follow my stories you know I left my job a year ago to pursue other interests.  Here’s a link to my post from last April about my life change-Our Girls Vision Luncheon.

In the past year I have had the opportunity to spend time with my grandson, do lots and lots of baking, do a little bit of sewing ( I want to get more of this done soon!), start and finish some little home improvement projects,  take a few trips with Travel Man, try some new recipes, add to our list of family favorite recipes, read more books, and generally have the luxury to just come and go as I please.  This has all been so personally rewarding for me.  Getting to discover what I love to do again, and who knew that I had a passion for writing.  I always felt that I had some stories to tell that people would relate to, but I did not realize how much I would enjoy sharing them.

My Domestic Goddess title was given to me by my loving husband.  It is because of his encouragement and support that I am able to do what I want to do.  Thanks Travel Man for all that you do.

One of my biggest perils in my new-found title is getting side tracked when I am working on things around the house.  Does this happen to anyone else?  I have had a few discussions with my sister, who works from home, about this, and she tells me the same thing I am already feeling.  If you don’t stay focused on the task at hand you get sidetracked to some other task, and then you have to re-focus to get back to the task at hand.  Was that statement too confusing, it made my head spin just typing it.  That’s why I am really focusing on my lists everyday.  To stay away from the “side tracks”.

Also, I have had the good fortune to just pack my bags and take a few short trips with Travel Man.  We went to Reno to visit my parents, and last year I was able to take a long road trip with him from Franklin, Kentucky to home.  Lots and lots of fun being on the road with someone who travels for a living.

For awhile Travel Man’s days off were falling during the week, so our “weekends” would be happening on a Tuesday/Wednesday timeframe. No worries for us, we are just able to do what we want to when he is home. Sometimes at Disneyland, maybe out to dinner, a visit to the parentals, some time with the grandson, and hopefully a dinner together with the twenty-somethings.

This has been a great year of re-discovery for me.  A big hug and thank you to all of my family for your loving support and guidance.  I’m looking forward to more and more new discoveries in this next year, and hope to share the stories with each and every one of you.

A Tooth Fairy Pillow

My grandson, Evan, is six years old which means he is now losing his little baby teeth.  I found this cute little tooth fairy pillow on Martha’s Stewart’s craft page.  I thought what a great idea for him to have a little pillow to call his own.  The best part about this little pillow (other than the fact that I was making it for my favorite grandson) was I had all the scraps in my sewing closet to make it for free.  I didn’t have to do anything except put in my time and love.

I found the scrap of green first, because I wanted to make the pillow a really bright color.  Then I had to do some digging to find the white felt for the toothy. 

The process of putting the pillow together went like this:

  1. Print out the template for the tooth on some card stock, and cut out 1 piece from the felt.
  2. Cut two pieces of a 9-by-9 inch squares from the fabric you are using.
  3. Trace the cute little face on the felt.
  4. Embroider the little face on the felt with black embroidery thread.  A french knot was used for the eyes, and the back-stitch for the mouth.
  5. Then I chose to use an alternate color thread to sew the little toothy, by hand, to the front side of the pillow.  I used a back-stitch for this portion also.  Remember to leave an opening at the top of the tooth for the tooth fairy!
  6. Once the tooth is sewn on the pillow, place the two squares for the pillow, right sides together, and stitch with a ¼” seam.  Leave an opening at the bottom for turning, and stuffing.
  7. Turn the pillow right side out, and stuff with batting.  I stuffed my fairly firmly so it would hold up for a six-year-old boy.
  8. Once the pillow is completely stuffed to your satisfaction, sew the opening closed.
  9. Give the gift of love to your favorite toothless wonder.
  10. This is a great little project if you are looking for something simple and quick to sew.

The finished product.

Now on a Grandma note; Evan loved his pillow.  Although being the boy that he is when I gave it to him he decided to see if it would fly across the room like a boomerang!  Boys will be boys.  His mother told me she is not quite sure how the mechanics of the pillow will work for the tooth fairy’s sake.  We’ll update you on that front when Evan has his next tooth fairy visit.

Dusting off My Breadmaker

All of you have that certain small appliance sitting on your shelf collecting dust.  My shelf is pretty big, and sometimes I forgot to look in the back of the shelf to see what is there.  You know the second row of the shelf all the way in the back.   A few weeks ago, I looked back there and was reminded that I have a bread maker.  And it had quite a layer of dust on it.  So I pulled it off of the shelf, cleaned it all up, and actually found the recipe book that came with the bread maker.  I could not believe that one!  Travel Man had to replace the plug for me and then I was all set to go.

The bread maker is the easiest way to make bread known to man.  Throw your ingredients in, in the correct order of course, and voila a beautiful loaf of bread.  I had not made bread in a long, long time and everyone loved it, especially Evan.  He keeps asking me when I’ll be making more.  I made him his own personal loaf for Valentine’s Day.  He kissed the loaf of bread when I gave it to him.  Evan likes to have peanut butter sandwiches, and he told his Mom he could only eat them on the bread from Grandma now.  Too funny!

For this loaf of plain white bread the ingredients are:

  • 1 c. Water                          
  • 2¾ c. Bread Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Dry Milk
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1½ Tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine
  • 2 Tsp. Active Dry Yeast

The first thing you put in the pan is the water.  Then mix the dry ingredients, except for the yeast, in a separate bowl  and add on top of the water.  Spread the dry ingredients in the pan evenly, and make a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients for the yeast.  Measure the yeast and put it into the little well.  Cut your butter into four small pieces, and place them on top of the dry ingredients in your pan.  Put the pan into your bread maker, and turn it on.

For my bread maker it was set to basic bread with a medium color crust.  Total bake time start to finish is 3 hours and 10 minutes.  Once the bread is done you just pop it out of the pan, and cool for 15-20 minutes before eating.  Then just slice, butter and enjoy.

I have made six or seven loaves of bread in the last couple of weeks.  Travel Man and I enjoyed some audacious french toast made with this bread for breakfast.  Since we have all gotten back on our calorie counting recently I will only be making bread once a week now.  Otherwise we just eat way too much.  My next experiment with the bread maker will be to make homemade pizza dough for our wood grilled pizzas.  Updates on that in a week or so.

Happy bread baking everyone!

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