Friday, August 23, 2013

Our Traditional August Outing

Late in August, just before school starts, my daughter comes over to our house to go canoeing with her kids.  It's tradition.  We get the canoe out and connect the trailer to the car or truck.  This year we took the car.  We found life jackets for everyone.  We have to get new ones before next year.  The boys are growing so much, they will need an adult size before too long.  Princeton has a boat launch in a city park less than a mile from our house.  When we drove into the park, there was a couple fishing nearby.  They had just caught a walleye.  That surprised me.  I thought all anyone caught in the Fox River were Catfish.

They unloaded the canoe and put it into the water.  Notice I said "they" because it's kind of heavy so I took pictures instead.  No one noticed that I didn't help.

Poor Sam was stuck with the orange floatation device because we didn't have a vest to fit him and Jack was poured into his little vest.  The boys have had swimming lessons and are pretty comfortable in the water, but by the looks of that water, I wouldn't want to fall in it or eat the walleye I saw that couple catch.

They are off.  Sam in front, Jack on the floor, Sarah and Mike.

After they left, I drove the car with the empty trailer to the next boat launch down the road.  After I got there, I just sat by myself and relaxed.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.   I took pictures of the minnows swimming near the shore.  I took pictures of the foliage and some frogs.

If you look carefully, there are little minnows swimming around.

Wild grapes and green acorns in the Oak tree.  I could see the green casings on the ground.  Something, probably squirrels, are eating them before they are ripe.

Then there are lots and lots of frogs jumping all around.  These frogs blend in with the grass and can't be seen until they jump.

Pretty soon I could hear voices.  I could hear them a long time before I could see them.  They were chattering about what they were seeing.  I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I could hear the excitement in their voices.

Taking a little break before the final push.  Can you see Jack peeking around Sam?


 Sam finally spotted me, he was afraid they paddled past the landing point. 

The little trip is over.  Time to pack up the canoe and head home.  The boys couldn't wait to tell me about the Bald Eagle they saw.  It was sitting on a branch a short distance from them.  Then when it took off it was huge.  Jack said it's wing span was wider than Papa is tall.  Mike and I are going to make the trip again soon.  I hope I can get some photos of that eagle.  I was so jealous.

Fun Times and More Good Memories

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where Has Summer Gone?

Fall mums starting to bloom.

Hydrangea beginning to bloom.

Where has the summer gone?  The Fall flowers are beginning to bloom, and I can't believe school is starting soon.   My middle grandchild Sam reminded me that he hadn't spent the night for a long time or gotten his birthday present from us.  We wanted to remedy that situation, so Monday afternoon we went to Berlin and picked up Sam.  As a typical nine year old boy, he packed a brown grocery bag, grabbed his pillow and was out the door.  We didn't realize until bedtime that he hadn't packed clean underwear or a toothbrush, but he had three stuffed animals and a bunch of legos.  Priorities are important at that age.  He is a really good eater so it doesn't matter what I make him to eat.  He says I am the best cook of anyone and whatever it is he says "this is the best (blank) ever".  I actually made the Baked Chimichangas that my husband had shared on facebook several times.  I think he shared the recipe again as a reminder to me that he would like to try them.  Of course, I modify every recipe but they were pretty good.  I think you could put diced tomatoes, ripe olives, onion or anything else in the mixture and it would be wonderful.  They are baked and not fried as most chimichangas are, so they aren't as high in calories.

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
8 oz. pepperjack cheese, shredded (I used Mexican blend cheese)
1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded (I used browned ground beef)
8 flour tortillas (Don't use the extra large ones or you will have too much tortilla to fold and they will be dry).  I tried all sizes and I liked the small to medium size best.
cooking spray
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions, for garnish
sour cream

Stir together cream cheese, pepperjack cheese and taco seasoning.
Fold in chicken.
Divide among flour tortillas.
Tuck in sides, and roll up each tortilla.
Lay seam side down in a sprayed 9x13" baking dish.
Spray tops of the tortillas with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Turn the chimichangas over, and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, and salsa.

After supper, Sam enjoyed relaxing away from his brother and sister.  He talked to great grandpa and played Minecraft with Papa.  I allowed him to stay up a little too late, but eventually we all went to sleep.  In the morning after breakfast, we arranged for Dylan (second grandchild)  to go with us to Oshkosh. Sam got to choose where to have lunch and where to get a birthday gift.  He chose Buffalo Wild Wings as his favorite place to eat.  Both the boys had eight boneless wings and a drink.

After having two daughters,  I'm not used to being out with young boys.  They talk in a language I don't understand and get amused at the strangest things.  When we finally finished our meals, large drinks and a bathroom break, we were off to the next stop.  I had not heard of this place...

House of Heroes

Super heros are not something I know anything about.  Who knew there was a store full of comic books and stuff related to this.  I did recognize Sheldon and Raj from the Big Bang Theory which is one of my favorite shows.

We found a place to sit down and waited and waited and waited.  Some things were a little frightening, but we didn't interfere.

There was such a big decision to make.  Sam had to decide what he wanted to buy for under $40 and Dylan had to decide if he wanted anything from this store.  Dylan will be twelve on Sunday the 25th, so I might as well get his gift today as well.

More than an hour later and another trip to the bathroom for them, a decision was made.  Sam ended up with two hardcover books and Dylan a small Ironman paperback.  Dylan wanted to go to Target next because there was something there that he would rather have.  We all went in and after hemming and hawing, we finally got a Xbox point card and a Skylander Giant.  Thank goodness I didn't try to buy these gifts on my own because I would have missed the mark entirely.  At this age, no more surprise gifts, we want them to get what they want.

We returned the boys home and went home ourselves.  It was a very nice day for all of us.  Then to top it off, there was a beautiful full moon.  I hope the boys remember this day, because we sure will.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Forming a Lifetime Friendship

For any of you who know my daughter Heather and how she spent last week entertaining the French Fries (as she calls them), you will already know what this blog will be about.

In April of 2012, my grandson Dylan was in fifth grade and ten years old.  His elementary school had an exchange program called French Adventure.  In this program several young French kids came to visit and were paired up with families for a couple weeks.  They went to school and spent all the rest of their time with the family.  Dylan was paired up with a boy named Leo.  They became great friends from the beginning.  Leo fit into my daughters family as if he had known them for all of his life.

Leo and Dylan the first day they met.

After Leo went home, he would call regularly and email.  Through him, they also became friends with the rest of his family.  Then in August of 2012, Dylan, my daughter and son in law traveled to France to spend time with Leo and his family.  They had a wonderful time and plans were made for them to visit Wisconsin this year.  Everything was set for Leo, his sister Margaux and their parents to visit in August.  Then during the winter, Leo's dad got a new job and wasn't able to get time off.  So Leo and his sister traveled alone to Chicago on August 11th, and Heather and Bret picked them up.  They were very tired on the way home to Berlin Wisconsin because there is a seven hour time difference.  They recovered quickly and the next week the kids were shown what life is like in small town Wisconsin.  They come from a large city, so this was a new experience for Margaux.  Leo had experienced some of it the year before.  They went to the Dells for a couple days, went tubing on the Wolf River, got a couple airplane rides from our son in law, went shopping and generally had a fun time.  They mostly ate bacon cheeseburgers and were very put out that we would call our fried potato sticks...French fries.  They were not their idea of real French fries.  They like American candy though.  They brought back the Original Cow Pies that are made in Baraboo, WI for their dad.

They were sad to go home so soon, but Sunday Heather and Dylan took them back to Chicago for the trip home.  Plans are already in the works for another visit next summer.

Dylan, Ewan, Heather, Leo and Margaux

Getting an airplane ride from Bret.
Enjoying the water park.
Driving the go-carts.
Climbing the rock wall.
Riding a four wheeler
Getting ready to go tubing on the Wolf River.
Kids playing in the water is universal.

A Wonderful Memory for Everyone.