Thursday, June 30, 2011

Campfire Dinner

I am so excited for tonight's dinner.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres is cooking our dinner over the campfire. I love having our dinners outside gathered around the roaring campfire with the stars twinkling in the sky. Tonight's menu is Campfire Steak, Potatoes, Onions, Artichoke Hearts and for dinner....what else? SMORES! mmmmmmmm!  We have all been working hard all day so that tonight we can just kick back and enjoy the evening. It is supposed to be a brilliantly clear sky so maybe we will be lucky and see a falling star or two. It is a good way to celebrate the end of the month. I cannot even believe that tomorrow is July 1st.  1/3 of the summer is already over! To say that it literally flew right by still isn't descriptive enough. It feels like school ended only yesterday - yet it is almost time for the big fireworks celebration. I hope July sticks around for a long while. I am not done enjoying my summer and want it to last as long as possible. I am grasping onto each and every day, holding a little piece in my heart, knowing it is the last summer before my next little girl heads off to college. I think I will cook an exceptionally perfect smore for her tonight. My ingredients for perfect smores....
Summer Days
Happy Childhood Memories
Unending Love
one gooey sticky melty toasty delicious marshmallow
mmmm Just Perfect!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not a Single Ray was wasted

Today was one of those days you dream about all winter long. One of those perfect summer days where the weather is perfect and just being outside fills you with a complete sense of happiness. We had temperatures right around 74* all day long with a nice cool steady breeze. The sun was shining and not a cloud in the sky. It was glorious. My son and I headed out the door at 7:40am for his cross country practice.  He has practice 3 mornings a week and of course I am his faithful dedicated chauffeur.  His practices last a little over an hour so instead of driving home and then back again to pick him up, I walk on my own while he practices with the team.  I have been getting faster and faster during my hour walk and today I covered a little over 4 miles. I have to say - I was quite proud of myself. When I started walking at the beginning of the month, I was really huffing and puffing and hardly covered any ground. Now I am clipping along at a good pace and feel a lot more energized and am in much better shape. I have been taking a different doggie companion each time and the doggies are loving the long morning walks.  Today Lola got to come with me and she was a very good doodle doggie.  Her tail was wagging our whole walk together. Once I got home, the weather just was calling me...."COME OUTSIDE RENEE"......."COME ENJOY THE DAY!" I couldn't resist.  Perfect days don't come along all that often so I grabbed my book that I have been waiting to read since last November and  headed out the door. Mr. Yesteryear Acres set up the perfect place for me to spend the day:
I decided I would sit on my lovely cushioned chair, feel the cool breeze, delight in the warm sun, and read - without feeling guilty.
And so I sat. And Read. And sipped my fresh squeezed lemonade. Every once in a while the feelings of "I should be doing something...I cannot just sit here and enjoy myself" would creep up, but I pushed that to the back of my mind and was determined to enjoy. I was going to enjoy all the beauty that surrounded me and the tranquility of life.
I have to was heavenly. I ended up reading my entire book. Cover to cover.
And even though it might look like I was all alone with no one to share in my glorious day....don't worry....
My little doggie Scooter was happy to make sure we soaked in every last ray of sunshine and happiness together.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4 1/2 years later

Today was an exciting day for my son.....HIS BRACES CAME OFF!!!!!! Just about 4 1/2 years ago this little boy needed braces
The orthodontist was particularly enthusiastic about the double rows of teeth
Little did this happy boy realize that it was going to take YEARS before his teeth would finally be straight.  See how excited he is to get his braces on?
He came home that night ready for his perfectly straight smile to appear
Years passed and all that time he has not had
Corn on the Cob
Caramel Apples
Chewing Gum
Whole Apples
Peanut Brittle
Blow Pops
Caramel Popcorn Balls
And other assorted, crunchy, chewy, or hard delicious edibles.
He has been longing to bite into an apple for years.
This morning he jumped out of bed and said
AND no more rubber bands!!!!!!
He couldn't wait! Getting them off was AWESOME!  He was so excited especially when he found out that I had chewing gum AND apples waiting for him in the kitchen.
He is so glad to be done with the braces! Me too!  No more, "Don't forget your rubber bands". No more trips to the orthodontist! No more notes to the school asking permission for him to miss his study hall so I can take him to his appointment. No more broken brackets. NO MORE BRACES! YES!
Dinner tonight???
And maybe a smile or two!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy...YES !

Guess who REALLY REALLY missed my son while we were gone? If you guessed Mr. Yesteryear Acres - you would be partially correct because of course Mr. Yesteryear Acres missed him. But even more than Mr. Yesteryear Acres ...THE DOGGIES missed him the most! The very first thing my son did was to ask the doggies if they wanted to go
play ..."F E T C H".
They said "Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy...YES!"
The Doggies adore him.
And he adores the doggies.
The ever so clever...Up in the Air Throw
The ever so clever "PSYCH" (non) Throw
Playing Fetch with the orange dummy is the very best fun ever!
 Doggie Good Times!!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mommy Sunday

I haven't seen my mom to just hang out in way too long.  We love spending time together and we have both been extremely busy lately and haven't been able to make the time.  My mom emailed me this morning and asked if I would drive into town to go shopping and have lunch. I emailed her back right away and said that I couldn't come. I was really too busy, I had tons of work, and was really super far behind from being gone that past few days. I also didn't want to drive 45 minutes into town and then another 45 minutes back, especially after driving 8.5 hours yesterday. She said she understood but just missed me.  After I got her email, I thought, Wow - I miss her too.  Then I just can't be too busy for your mom. I know a lot of people who would do anything in the whole entire world just to be able to drive 45 minutes to spend the day with their mom. So - I changed my plans for the day. I reorganized all I had to do and pushed some things to my list for tomorrow and out the door I went. I was there a little after 12:00 noon and spent the whole day with her.  We were really lucky because there was an art festival going on so we walked up an down all the craft tents and got to see lots of wonderful art, jewelry, woodworking, and other crafty items. We didn't buy anything but the "window" shopping was a lot of fun.  We had much to catch up on and talked about everything. The best part of the day was just being together.  I think we both smiled all day long.   When you think about it - All the millions of things on the never-ending "To Do" list are just a million little things to cross off. Once you cross one item off - another appears to take its place. Spending time with the people you love is the most important and most rewarding "To Do" in life. I am glad I got the chance "To Do" that today. Nothing beats a Mommy Sunday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It Doesn't Matter

I had such a good time being with my sister and her family.  The weather wasn't great - the mosquitoes were ravenous - but the love of a family trumps anything Mother Nature can throw our way.
Right before bed one night I went into my daughter's room and said,
"It doesn't matter where you go, it doesn't matter what the weather holds, the thing that makes a great vacation is who you are with. Thank you for making this such a fun weekend getaway."
I said the same thing to my sister and then went into my son's room and said the same thing again.  A few minutes later my son came into my room and said, "It doesn't matter where you go, it doesn't matter what the weather holds, it doesn't matter who you are with....the thing that makes a great vacation is what food you get to eat!"
Needless to say, my son had the time of his life.  My brother-in-law did almost ALL the cooking the entire time we were there. He made gigantic man breakfasts, man lunches and man dinners. Everything was made from scratch.  My son was in heaven. For real FOOD HEAVEN!  My brother in-law is Irish - and well - let's just say we had our fair share of potatoes.  Now before I share our bountiful feast, let me remind you - we were gone exactly 2 1/2 days.  You might want to sit down, get a cup of coffee and get comfortable. My brother-in-law knows how to make some fantastic feasts!
We had:
Irish Dinner - (ground beef, mashed potatoes and cabbage)

Man Soup - (Ham, Potato and Cabbage )

Man Breakfast (Ham Steak, Fried Egg, Potato Pancakes, Onions, Bacon, Bagels)

Corned Beef Dinner (Corned Beef, Buttered Parsley New Potatoes, Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Sunflower Bread)

Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Baked Potatoes

Fresh Picked Asparagus

Mashed Potatoes

Fried Rice

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Maggies' Famous French Toast

Potato Pancakes

Corned Beef Hash

Omelets, fried eggs, soft boiled eggs, hard boiled eggs, and egg salad

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Lentil Soup

Broccoli Soup

Oh yes - and please lets not forget the
Cherry Pie
Ice Cream
Fresh Strawberries
Homemade Whipped Cream
Blueberry Cobbler
Fresh made caramels
and fudge
The feasting was non-stop. I am at least TWICE as fluffy as I was before I arrived!!!! Everything was so good. How could you say no?
As we pulled out of the driveway to head back home, my son rolled down the window and yelled....."BRENDAN!!!  I WILL MISS YOUR COOKING!!!!!!!" Thankfully his uncle sent home a big care package for my son. I don't think he would have survived the trip home without it. Poor boy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Last Day....Good to the Last Drop

Tomorrow morning we head back home so we made the most of our last day together.  The weather still didn't cooperate but of course we didn't let that stop us.  Our labradoodle Olive decided she would hang out with us on the dock rather than perform her polar bear imitation by swimming in the icy water.
Yes it was cold enough for a blanket
But blanket snuggles are always the best!
Olive and one of our double doodles watching Austin who was brave enough to go swimming
Olive was wondering if he would ever come back
Last night festivities has to include sparklers
And no night is complete without smores!
I happen to be an expert smore maker
This is what my brother-in-law calls
"The Picture of a Lifetime"
I don't know about that but you can clearly see....
all was right with the world.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

To Kayak.....To Swim

This morning we were greeted by rain, mosquitoes and some more rain.  We had great plans to walk all the way around the lake for our big adventure today but the gigantic mosquitoes and the drizzling rain quickly made us change our plans.  Instead we decided to kayak across the lake and at least keep our bodies safe from the ravenous man-eating mosquitoes. My daughter decided to get an even better work out and chose to swim across the lake AND back.
Heading out for our big adventure
The water is C O L D!
As in Freezing!
My Little Mermaid doesn't mind
Just Keep Swimming....Just Keep Swimming....
Notice the rain gear....complete with sweatshirts. It is not a warm day yet my daughter is outswimming our kayaking skills.
My sister was the only one brave enough to accompany us on our journey
Heading back
Celebrating a job well done with my sister's Canadian Fruit Punch!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dog Diary Day by Olive

This morning bright and early I took my son and daughter for a quick impromptu trip to Northern Michigan. Our chocolate labradoodle Olive came with us.  Here is her Diary:
OH boy OH boy!!!!  Why are we waking up when it is dark outside.  Why is the alarm going off at 4:30am?  Why is my bestest boy Austin getting dressed?  We are going outside?  We are going outside!!!!!!  Oh boy.  What is all that stuff in the car? OH Noooooo!  Austin is leaving me!!!! Wait a minute....he is calling me! He is calling me to come with him!!!!!!  I am jumping in the car. Lucky dog. Lucky Dog.  I am going for a ride. Yea! Yea! Yea!
Okay....why are we still in the car?  We have been in the car for HOURS.  I think I am bored.  I am going to chew my froggie some more.
Still in the car.
Still in the car.
HEY WE ARE STOPPING. YEA!!!!  I have to pee!!! Let's go run around!!!!  BACK TO THE CAR??????
Still in the car.
Still in the car.
I just love listening to those great ole radio classic stories on the radio.  Father really DOES know best!
We are STOPPING! OH BOY!  Look at the woods!  Look at the LAKE!  This is SO much FUN!  Oh....someone is running out to greet me.  Austin says she is my Aunt. She looks really happy that I am here and is scratching me behind my ears and hugging everyone. She is really nice.  She has other people with her and they all love me too!
Did someone say "W A L K!?" YEA!!!!  Look at all the trees! Look at all the squirrels! Oooooh SAND! I have never been on sand before.  OH MY GOODNESS! I have never seen such a big lake before!!!!!
OH BOY!  Let's play catch!!!!!
Brrrrr!  This water is C O L D!!!
I am getting to be a very good swimmer!!!!
This is the best doggie day ever!!!
I wonder what we will do tomorrow?????

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


"Moooooooooooooooom!!!!!!!! MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM! COME HERE!!!!!!!! OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!" That is one of the first things I hear this morning. My son is yelling for me in a horrified slight panicky voice. What goes through my mind? The puppies, the dogs, my son, Mr. Yesteryear Acres, my daughter, the house....What horrible thing is happening????  I run to the kitchen and there is my son sitting with the SADDEST look on his face.  He is looking into his bowl of cereal.  I asked him what was wrong. He said, " I ACCIDENTALLY POURED the FRESH SQUEEZED LEMONADE into my bowl of CEREAL!!!!" Yep. There in his frosted mini wheats - was a big bowl full of lemonade. I have to say - it didn't look very appetizing.  My son said in his saddest voice, "I haven't even had a GLASS of your lemonade yet!!!!" Of course I said, "well now you have a bowlful!"  For a split second I wanted to be a bit mad about it.  I mean I sat there and squeezed enough lemons to make an entire gallon of fresh squeezed lemonade.  I even went as far as to boil a simple syrup the day before to ensure it was just the most delicious homemade lemonade ever. And of course it was YUMMY! I clearly marked the gallon with "FRESH SQUEEZED LEMONADE....MADE WITH LOVE" right on the jug.  Now granted, I did wash and clean an empty milk jug and if one were to haphazardly grab the very first gallon in the refrigerator, they might grab the lemonade BUT it was clearly marked in large black letters. My son just looked at me with sad little puppy dog eyes - and then in his sadness, in his lowest moment of the morning, in his pitiful bowl of frosted mini wheats ala lemonade .....I laughed. I laughed and laughed and then my daughter ran out and she started cracking up and then we laughed even harder. My son ended up pouring the lemonade out of the bowl and into a glass and drank it.  He wasn't going to waste one drop of the lemonade.  Then he poured some milk into his lemon soaked mini wheats and ate his breakfast.  For all of you son does not recommend lemon milk mini wheats.  Just stick with the original recipe of milk in the cereal bowl. It is MUCH better that way!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Meatloaf Curse

Yesterday in honor of Father's Day - of course I had to make "Man Food" for dinner.  Man food makes Mr. Yesteryear Acres happy. Man food makes my son happy.  Man food has to have at least one of the following characteristics:
Fart Inducing
Full of Nitrates
Sometimes Man Food will have all of the listed requirements - such as Smoked Sausage and Sauerkraut.  Sometimes just one requirement, such as calf brain or calf liver - will be sufficient to call the dish an official "Man Food".  Last night I made homemade honey oatmeal bread, meatloaf, gravy (from scratch), mashed potatoes, corn and for dessert my daughter made her ever so delectable apple pie.  Perfect.  Man food menu complete! We had a super busy day so we had things scheduled down to the minute. The last time I made meatloaf was late last summer.  We had a lot of extra zucchini and tomatoes and other veggies from the garden so I ended up grating all the fresh veggies into the meatloaf and it was DELICIOUS. I was really proud of myself.  I made 2 loaves and everyone loved dinner.  The next morning when I walked into the kitchen, what was sitting on the stove? THE leftover MEATLOAF! ACK!  Mr. Yesteryear Acres practically cried! No meatloaf sandwiches! No meatloaf for breakfast! No meatloaf!!!!  It was a devastating blow.  Given the horrors of me forgetting to put the meatloaf into the refrigerator last time - I made sure to have my list ready for the Father's Day main event. I wanted no mistakes.  I ended up making the meatloaf and getting it into the pans about an hour too early.  No problem! I wrapped up the loaves and stuck them in the refrigerator.  My daughter had just put the apple pie in the oven and it was due to come out in exactly one hour. Perfect! Pie out...meatloaf in.  In the meantime, we prepared all the other yummy food.  My daughter and I were just finishing up the most delicious perfectly whipped mashed potatoes. I decided to add some heavy whipping cream to the potatoes to make sure they were manly enough.  Of course I am sure you can figure out where this story is headed.  I am sure you know exactly what I saw in the refrigerator when I opened it. I am positive you know EXACTLY what was staring me in the face....THE MEATLOAF!  I forgot to put the meatloaf in the oven!!!! ACK! Thank goodness we have a warming drawer!!!  The mashed potatoes went right into the warming drawer, the gravy was turned down to low, the corn was on simmer and sadly the hot steaming loaf of honey oatmeal bread got to cool off a bit.  Even though dinner was delayed by a good hour - it was worth it.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres loved his Father's Day dinner....and yes...the leftovers made it safely to the refrigerator!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Father's Strength and Love

When I was younger I didn't get to experience the joy of being loved by my father. It is a very odd thing to grow up as a little girl all the while knowing your dad really doesn't love you.  He doesn't even really like you. My sister and I never experienced what it was like to run into the arms of our dad and have him lift us up and swing us around. We never had anyone to teach us to play catch. We missed out on so much. As children, we missed having a father's love. All through my childhood, I longed for that but even then, I could never know just how vital a father is to raising strong happy well grounded children. I truly believe Fathers are the foundation of childhood. I am not taking anything away from motherhood. Believe me - I know how much mommies mean! But fathers bring a sense of strength, safety, confidence, self esteem and courage that is so important. What I lacked for in childhood - we have more than made up for in raising our children. My husband is a wonderful father.  When we brought home our first child - we were just a bundle of nerves. How could we ever change the diaper? How would we ever figure out how to bathe someone that little?  We soon had everything figured out and loved every second of parenthood.  As our daughter got older, it was clear that Mr. Yesteryear Acres and I had different methods of parenting.  While we have never had one disagreement on important issues in how to raise our children, in the very early years - I was the nervous new mom - and he was the happy - let me throw our daughter up into the air and catch her while she giggles with joy Daddy. I used to cringe and close my eyes, and then one day I read this article about how important it was for children to have 2 parents - and how incredibly awesome it was if both parents, had a little different approach to parenting.  Dads served a super important purpose.  Roughhousing, playing horsie, being tough - all teaches children valuable lessons. The proverbial "Rubbing some dirt into a cut" once in a while - really isn't that bad of a thing. I came to appreciate and respect and adore the ways Mr. Yesteryear Acres interacted with our children. And the more I adored him and his ways - the more he adored showering our children with love. I know in my heart that the reason my 3 children are so well grounded, have such hard work ethics, and strong moral compasses is that they grew up with a father that respects hard work, honors the truth and leads by example. It seems the older my children get, the more they lean on their father. They go to him when times are tough and he picks them up and brushes them off and they are more prepared than ever for what lies ahead. He is truly the glue that holds our family together with the greatest of strength. Raising our children with Mr. Yesteryear Acres has been my greatest joy in life. Happy Father's Day Mr. Yesteryear Acres. Thank you for all that you do and for all that you are. I love you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Up On The Roof

Yesterday's forecast called for only a 30% chance of showers. 30%.  As in way less than half.  That means you have a really good chance of having a lovely day right? OH wrong! Not here in good ole Rainforest of the Midwest.  We had the worst storms blow through here last night.  They were awful. I think it was even worse than the tornadoes we had earlier in the year.  We sat plastered to the windows and watched Nature's fury unleash itself upon our poor house and yard.  Our creek flooded in minutes and turned into furiously rushing rapids. Trees uprooted themselves. Branches fell everywhere. My neighbor's property and our property really got hit hard.  Our beautiful heavy wooden furniture:
Got blown all over the place and some of the arms broke off. We got the bad end of that storm. This morning we couldn't believe how much damage was done. Mr. Yesteryear Acres spent most of the day up on the roof. He is the little spot next to the chimney.

We had slate literally rip off our roof and land all over the yard. That meant that the our bedroom ceiling that was FINALLY plastered, spackled and ready to be painted....was now a wet soggy mess as the rains poured in. *sigh* Back to square one. Tomorrow's forecast calls for a 50% chance of severe strong thunderstorms. I am thinking we should just call that 100% and be ready for another round.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I wonder if I will be able to move my legs tomorrow

This morning both my son and my daughter came with me to the Arboretum to keep me company on my walk. I thought we would have a nice little stroll and chat and laugh and admire the lovely trees and flowers. WRONG! How about a very fast paced, "Come ON mom" brisk walk/run and "Let's WALK the ENTIRE PARK!" type experience. Oh my gosh.  I. Am. Tired! What started out as a little mild jaunt turned into an expedition. Well at least an expedition for me - for my son and daughter it was a mild workout I am sure.  I was willing to walk the entire 3 mile trail. Very willing.  But then they added the "OH let's walk around the entire lake!" and "OH let's climb ALL those stairs and go to the top of the observation tower!" and "We HAVE to go walk around the Japanese Garden!"  I put my foot down when my son wanted to add an extra few laps around the parking lot.  He was serious.  He was like, "Don't you want to be less jiggly? Don't you want to commit to the walk?" I let him know that the 4.25 miles that we already walked made me feel quite committed enough. He was welcome to walk around the parking lot, but I was crawling to the car!!!!
It was a beautiful day:
The Arboretum is a lovely place to take a walk -
and of course the best part is they allow dogs which makes it extra enjoyable
Here is my view of the walk
Notice that my view never changes....
I just fall further behind
The view from the top of the observation tower
Proof that I did not in fact die on the way up the stairs
I know I am lucky to have such awesome company!
Oh joy - let's add some more miles to our walk!
Isn't that better?
And finally.....
PLEASE can't we walk around the parking lot? Can't we go add the swamp? We didn't even see the Rare Tree collection!
I promised I would go back again tomorrow. I am hoping that we stick to a normal walk.....but something tells me I better bring more water!