Sunday, July 31, 2011

Aqua Gym!!!!

My big beautiful flower of happiness today is all about AQUA GYM! Oh my gosh the people here make exercising SO fun. Honestly! FUN! I normally somewhat dread exercising. I do it because I must. I do it so that I can stay fit. I do it because if I don't ---- I will be quite fluffy and not in the cute way. Here on vacation, I cannot wait to "exercise". We have done SO many activities and not a single one feels like it could actually be called "exercise". My favorite is Aqua Gym. It is an hour of total enjoyment out in the ocean. The instructors have HUGE speakers facing the ocean and put on latin reggaeton music and infuse the aerobics with dancing and water fun. My daughters and I are smiling and laughing the entire time we are working out. Today we had 3 instructors all doing the latest latin dance moves and aerobic moves out on the beach while we did them in the ocean. Then everyone was in the ocean and it was beyond fun. We were actually crying from laughing so hard. I think my abdominal muscles got the biggest work out! My favorite instructor's name is "Coca Cola" and he has SO much energy and dances and smiles and laughs and makes the entire hour fly by. I actually can't wait until tomorrow so I can exercise some more!!! That is something I thought I would never say!!!! Yea Aqua Gym!!!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Towel Fun

In my bouquet of happiness today my special happiness flower is an appreciation for all the hard work the cleaning staff do to make our room wonderful. It is so nice to have someone make our beds and give us clean towels. I know how much work goes into keeping one bedroom and one shower clean at home so I can't imagine having to clean room after room after room every single day. It is easy to take a nice clean room for granted but if you stop to think about just how hard the cleaning staff work to make your room so nice and neat - it is definitely something to truly appreciate. The staff here leave the most adorable towel animals on our bed each day. We have had a swan, a crab, 2 love birds - all ready to greet us when we come in our room. Today we went to a towel folding demonstration and there is really a lot of work that goes into each towel arrangement. They have to use both hands, their teeth, chin and then twisting, bending, folding - it is actually quite a production. They even use fresh picked flowers for each towel. The towel basket full of fresh picked flowers is really beautiful. To show the person who cleans our room how much we appreciate all her thoughtful touches, we learned how to make a towel swan and made one for her. I have to say our towel swan looks pretty good! We put our cute swan right in the middle of the bed with a note that says "Mucho Gracias!" We hope she likes it!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rainforest Goodness

To say that I am grateful for my week here in paradise with my 2 girls would be an understatement. I am beyond grateful and this week is something I will never forget. I am grateful for every day and all that goes with having a week's vacation time. Of course it is easy to be thankful for the big picture - tropical vacation, time with my 2 daughters, sunshine and ocean. But I am also thankful for every little flower in my bouquet of happiness. Today my happiness flower is the shower in my room. OH MY GOODNESS. Literally - the best shower of my life! My 2 daughters agree. We have to take at least 2 showers a day! First the shower is huge. It has beautiful tile walls and a half glass door so there is this big open area to step into before you get to the actual shower part. Then the best part - the shower head - It is HUGE! It is a gigantic rainforest shower head. It has to be at least 18 inches in diameter. They have it installed way up high and the water pressure is amazing. When you turn on the shower, an entire rainforest of warm water cascades all around you. It just soaks you in goodness. I think I took at least 15 minutes for my turn and the water was so warm and it felt wonderful. We want to take the shower home with us. We think about taking our next shower all day. It is that good. So thank you dear rainforest shower. I can't wait until it is my turn again!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fruit Fantastic

I love fresh fruit. Love love love it. To have a table full of freshly prepared fruit is like heaven to me. I. Am. In. Heaven. This morning when we walked into the breakfast area - I jumped up and down with joy when I saw the bountiful exotic fruit table that lay before me. The person in charge of the fruit couldn't have smiled any bigger when I expressed my joy over her beautiful fruit. She was quite pleased with my enthusiastic appreciation. She had different juicers in operation behind her and we had no less than 10 different types of fresh squeezed juice to choose from. Banana Juice. Papaya Juice. Watermelon Juice. Passion Fruit Juice. Orange Juice. Pineapple Juice. Grapefruit Juice. All fresh squeezed. All for us to enjoy. I have never seen so many fresh squeezed juices in my entire life! It was a dream come true! And if that weren't enough....there was an entire table of tropical fruits to eat along with the delicious juices. Fresh Mango - all in slivers just right for eating with a spoon. They were just picked and SO fresh and SO delicious! We had Sapote, Papaya, Pineapple, Sour Sop, Passion Fruit - all grown on the island. We even had fresh picked sugar cane! Definitely fruit heaven!!!! This very well may be the greatest fruit fantastic day of my life!!! Fruit-a-licious!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


My daughters and I left this morning at 4:30am and are now happily sitting in paradise! The sun is shining and the brilliant blue ocean is smiling at us. Our trip here was long and we were so tired on the first flight. All 3 of us kept falling asleep and then would jerk awake every time our heads fell over. We tried everything to get a few minutes of sleep but couldn't find a comfortable position. Right as the plane was landing I noticed.....that the headrests of the seats moved! Oh my gosh! We could have moved the headrests to keep our heads from rolling off! We all cracked up over the fact that for 3 hours - we never even noticed! Oh well - next time we will for sure check for that lovely feature. The very first thing we did when we arrived at our destination was to run into the ocean. Ahhhhhh. Paradise!!! We are here for the next week and the forecast calls for smiles, happiness, gratefulness, and most importantly - togetherness. Hope your week is equally as special!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

5 is my favorite number!

YEA! YEA YEA! My daughter is home and last night I got to set the table for FIVE people. Ahhhh HAPPINESS! She hasn't been home in so long and it is the best thing in the whole world to have her home. My family is complete. Today we did a little special family activity all together and when I went out to load the car, I was wondering who put a chair in the back.  I literally thought, "Hmmm why is there a car seat back there?" Then I realized it was our own car seat in the upright position! We usually have the back row of our SUV recessed so there is just seating for 4 people and we have the extra trunk space.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres put up one of the seats in the back row and it has been so long since we have had the chairs up - I didn't even recognize it.  Once I figured it out - yep - I just grinned from ear to ear.  Seating for five.  Place sets for five. Outings for five. Five. Five. Five. I think we all had smiles on from the moment we woke up and we are still smiling. Our doggies are even smiling. They really missed her.  Our hearts feel full. Our house is full. My happiness meter is definitely full! Happy Five Day!

Monday, July 25, 2011


So here I sit at the airport......waiting and waiting and waiting. Don't the people in charge of airlines realize it isn't nice to post arrival times and then change them, and then change them again, and then change them again again? When I left home, my older daughter's flight was on time. I drove to the airport full of smiles and happiness. My daughter has not been home for the longest time and we have everything ready at home for the big welcome. I practically ran through the airport so I could be the first one standing at the gate ready to greet her. After standing at the waiting area with no signs of my daughter, I checked the arrival board. DELAYED. Ack! Noooooo! Every time I check the new arrival time, it is 15 minutes later than the last posted time. *sigh*. I have now been waiting almost 90 minutes and still no sweet daughter. The latest posted time is another 30 minutes from now. The waiting is torturous! I can't wait to see her! I can't wait to hug her! I can't wait to have her home! I can't wait to set my table for FIVE people tonight. Okay. 28 more minutes. I can do this. While I wait, I am filled with warmth watching all the other families greet their loved ones. There is nothing as heartwarming as watching families reunite. Little kids running to their daddies, husbands hugging wives, brothers greeting sisters. You can just feel the love all around. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, "Love Actually". Love actually is all around. I just can't wait for mine to arrive!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And watered again

Oh boy! Flooding rains! Gravel drives disappearing! Garden erosion! Electric outages! Hot Steamroom Weather! Doesn't that sound joyous? I bet you were wishing you were here. I bet you wish you could have hot sticky drooling muggy doggies plastered to your legs. I bet you wish you could have your garden plants wash away and huge rivers of water rushing in the rows where the corn once stood. Upside ------ we have class 4 rapids in our backyard.  We could open up a white water rafting company!  We could camp out along a rushing river!  We could do tubing trips! Downside - our "creek" is only about 1/2 mile long so I am thinking the rafting trips might be a little bit on the quick side for most people. Upside - I don't have to water the garden today. Downside - there doesn't appear to be anything left in the garden to water. Upside - while the electric was out, everyone took showers outside in the torrential downpour because we had no water.  Downside - everyone took showers outside in the torrential downpour because we had no water. Upside - I no longer wonder what it would be like to vacation in Kochi. Downside - I actually never wondered what it would be like to vacation in Kochi. Upside - we made it through yet another monsoon filled subtropical day. Downside - tomorrow...more of the same. Oh please Mother Nature - send a little breeze our way.  We would ever so much appreciate it. Signed, The Midwest, Eastern Seaboard, North Eastern States, Southern States, and everywhere else where people rejoice when the temperatures fall to 90* and think - wow 90* is such a relief!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Well at least the tomatoes are watered

Today's blog comes to you from the exotic location of...... dark, hot and stuffy. Once again, we here at Yesteryear Acres have NO electricity. Ah joy. Ah double joy because it is 97* outside. No matter how many times I try - the darn air conditioners do not work without electricity. Neither does the TV, internet, computer, refrigerator or good ole water. We have well water - so no electricity - no water. It is definitely double torture. We had a severe storm blow through here this afternoon and it dumped 2.3 inches of rain in 15 minutes! It was POURING. Everything flooded pretty quickly with that much rain. I was sure to let Mr. Yesteryear Acres know right away that I watered the garden. Even the tomato plants. I did a good job too considering I watered the entire 3 acre garden in 15 minutes! Man I am just that good! The electric went out about 5 minutes into the storm. Last I heard - 1500 people are without electricity and no word on when it will be restored. There is another line of storms headed straight towards us so my guess is that it will be awhile before our pioneer day is over. I would like to say that a day without air-conditioning makes me more grateful for having air-conditioning but that just isn't true. I am REALLY grateful for air-conditioning! I never take it for granted. Days like these only make me MISS my air-conditioning. Our doggies miss it too! My only hope is that maybe just maybe this line of storms will push out this oppressive heat and make tomorrow a nicer day. I haven't much enjoyed the suffocating heat this week and would gladly trade a day of electricity for a week of nicer weather. Fingers crossed for better weather!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Weekend to Go!

Oooooh!  This is the last weekend before my older daughter comes home!!!  One weekend to go!!!  I haven't even really talked to her since the beginning of June. She has been so busy and I really miss her texts and her emails and her voice! I cannot wait to see her!  I have been faithfully playing my part in the Where's Waldo picture search but haven't had much luck.  Thankfully my mid-mom friend took pictures to hold me over. She was on the Naval Academy yard for the week doing some training and she actually was able to snap a few photos of my daughter for me. I am super grateful.  Up until now - this is the only photo I could find of my daughter:
I am fairly certain that she is the one standing in the khaki's on the left hand side of the picture.  I mean it looks like her and for the past 2 weeks, I have smiled every time I look at the picture all the while thinking it is her but with my luck when my daughter comes home next week - she will let me know that NO - once again - I have NOT found her.  We shall see.  My money is on that I did indeed find my Waldo! I searched through 3000 pictures just to find that one picture of her.Then my mid-mom friend came to the rescue! She sent me these pictures which are for SURE my Waldo!
Here she is with all her Plebes
You know you really really really love someone when you treasure a picture where your beloved one is a brown dot in a sea of white.  I smiled from ear to ear when I saw my little brown dot! My friend said that as soon as she took this picture - they were off. My daughter set the pace at a nice walking speed.......with her plebes running behind trying to catch up.
And finally - one last picture - just for her mommy. Awwwww. I can't wait for Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


That is all I can say about today. M E L T E D! It is wicked hot outside. I agreed to take my son out for the morning to run all his various errands. He has been saving quite a list of things he wanted to do and last week I said we would go on Thursday. I never thought to check the weather. I mean it is only running errands right? Well we started out a little later than I had hoped and by the time we walked out the door at 9:30am - it was already 90+ degrees. As we were walking to the car, Mr. Yesteryear Acres said that he needed the SUV because he had to help his dad today.  That left my son and I with the small car that has pitiful air conditioning. Oh how I missed my SUV!  Even with the air blasting on full power, the sweat was rolling down.  Both my son and I looked like we had gone swimming before we even got to the first store. Other than completely melting - we had a nice time together.  He is a lot of fun to be with and he is a very upbeat happy person.  He is also really thoughtful and bought a big ice tea for me about midway through our erranding.  He is always thinking of how to make the day nicer. We almost got everything done. Around 1:30pm, I called it quits.  Yep - I just couldn't get in and out of the car again to face the oppressive heat.  The only thing left on the list was the one errand I wanted to run.  By that time, I thought - who needs cereal?!?! and we headed on home.  The best part of my day.... all the thanks I got from my son. He is super grateful that I went with him and for that - it was a day well spent!  Even if we did melt!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Best Walking Reward

This morning at 7:30am sharp, my daughter and I begrudgingly headed out the door for our walk. Each step to the car was filled with hesitation and dread. It already felt like it was well into the 90's and the air was thick with humidity. It took everything we had to open the door to the hot car and pile in for our devoted Wednesday exercise routine. We couldn't really say much as my son was also with us and the cross country team had to run 6 miles while my daughter and I only had to walk. Still - ugh. We didn't want to go. We are usually really really good about the walking and are very upbeat. We congratulate each other along the way and say in our best British accents, "Well Done You!"  This morning - nothing.  We ended up making deals along the way.  How about if we only walk to the bridge? How about if we just walk in the shady parts of the woods? How about if we just walk 1/2 hour out - and then no matter how far we have walked, we turn around and walk 1/2 hour back.  We decided to do the 30 minutes out at a leisurely pace and then return back to the car. Even with our modified workout - it was H O T!  Our poor doggies tongue was hanging out of his mouth by about 12 inches! So as we approached the 30 minute mark.....I couldn't stop.  I couldn't cheat myself out of the full 4 mile walk.  My daughter agreed.  We would finish the entire 4 mile circuit. As soon as we made it to the 2 mile mark and started walking back - right out of the woods a mommy deer appeared with her 2 spotted little fawns.  The fawns were having the best time playing in the open field.  They were clearly playing tag.  One fawn would run to the other fawn and nudge it and then take off in the other direction and then the other fawn would chase after it. My daughter and I just stood in silence watching the baby deer play with the biggest smiles on our faces. We both agreed we have been given the best reward ever for not giving up on our walk.  We would have missed the deer if we had turned around early and we were so glad we kept on walking.  The baby deer reminded me of our little puppies romping all over the yard. They were so cute! The 2 baby deer were completely unaware of our presence and were playing with all their little deer hearts. The mommy deer kept her eye on us but could see we meant no harm.  She let her babies play and we watched until they ended the game and headed back into the woods.  It was the best walking reward ever!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Girls Week!

Summer Vacation days are something to be treasured. When your children are younger – it feels like you have all the time in the world to spend happy summer days together. Summer days go on forever and there simply is no end in sight. Once your children are older and you look back – I promise you – those carefree summer days will have flown by in an instant. No matter how many times it is repeated – the truth never changes – children grow up in a blink in an eye. My older daughter is coming home at the end of this month from the Naval Academy. She has exactly 3 weeks before she has to report back to duty. This is her last true summer vacation.  The last one. Next May she will be commissioned as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps and carefree summer fun days will be a thing of the past.  My younger daughter leaves for college just one day after my older daughter has to go back to the Naval Academy.  My 2 girls… Gone. Oh I will be so sad. Really sad. I will miss them. The house won’t feel the same without them here. This small window of time will be the last time my 2 girls and I will be together during the summer – for a long, long, long time. It is our last summer vacation. Mr. Yesteryear Acres, being the bestest most loving person EVER – is making our last summer days together something we will never ever forget. Next week my two daughters and I are going away together for an entire week! I am SO excited!!!!  Mr. Yesteryear Acres knows how much I am going to miss my girls and to have a whole week with nothing but girl time means the world to me. I have never gone somewhere with just my girls and I cannot wait! We are having a Girls Week – full of food, fun and sun!!!  Not only will I treasure this vacation – I will treasure Mr. Yesteryear Acres thoughtfulness in making this dream come true. Get ready girls……7 days until the fun begins!!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

All about the Eyes

Ginger's little puppies are doing really well.  I still marvel at the fact we have 12 little babies to love.  Ginger is enjoying all her extra food goodies and has enough milk for all her little ones to get their fill.  She is a really good mommy!!!!! All 12 are just about the same size and are growing nicely. Their little eyes are opening this week and they are cuter than ever. 
They are so snuggly!
Here are the sweet little girls
And the whole gang
They are too cute aren't they???
Speaking of eyes....when I took my younger daughter to the eye doctor last week, there were some concerns with her eyes.  She saw a specialist today - and everything is 100% A-Okay! That was a big relief! Just another reason why we all love to eat carrots. Happy eyes everywhere!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Apples

Farewell my perfect summer weather! The next 7 days are supposed to be well into the upper 90's with high humidity. *sigh* Oh how I loved every single minute of the perfect carefree weather this past week. Hopefully the delightful summertime goodness will be back soon! In preparation for the upcoming HHH (Hazy Hot and Humid) we started early this morning in the hopes of getting some work done before we all melted. First on our list was to pick all the summer apples. They are ripe and ready for picking and with the heatwave - we needed to get them all in before it was too late.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres used his handy dandy apple picker that was his grandpa's.  It is perfect for getting the apples way up in the top of the tree.  My daughter and I got all the apples we could reach, and believe it or not, our doodle doggies picked up and retrieved all the apples that fell to the ground and brought them to us so we could put them in the basket. Times like these, I am really glad that Mr. Yesteryear Acres and my son trained our doggies to have soft mouths for retrieving.  They didn't put a single mark on the apples and saved my back. After all the apples were picked my son and Mr. Yesteryear Acres headed out to the field. They had a bunch of bush hogging work to do along with removing some fallen trees from our last storm.  The boys definitely got the worst end of the deal today. It is so hot and muggy outside.  My daughter and I ended up peeling all the apples.  I worked on a big stockpot of homemade applesauce and my daughter made a gigantic casserole dish of apple crisp. The house smells SO good!!!! I can't wait for dessert. Hopefully tonight we will all have a bit of free time so we can sit, cool off and fill our bellies with yummy apple goodness! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Love Summer

Oh how I love summer time!!!!  We have been soaking up every second of summer time happiness this week. I love sitting out on our dock reading a book. I love swimming in our pond. I love having all day to spend with the kids. I love watching them play together and having so much fun together. I love how summer makes us all feel like kids again.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres even takes time out of his day to enjoy the happy summertime fun.  Yesterday his cannonballs off the dock were epic.  He is the master of diving. We all spent hours in the pond having a blast only to be followed by a full evening of outdoor fun. We have had campfire dinners every single night this week. Mr. Yesteryear Acres can make the most delicious meals over an open campfire.  His steaks are mouthwatering, his pork chops are heavenly. Mmmm. I can't wait to see what he has planned for tonight! We have stayed outside enjoying the sunsets and the big orange moon rising until late into the evening every single night. We have had lots of company too.  We have one mommy deer with 2 little twin babies and another mommy with a teeny tiny baby. They have been visiting the pond for some cool drinks at night. We also have our lovely geese family, a rabbit family, a nest of mockingbirds and one hummingbird that has been visiting us every night out by the pond. With a forest full of lightening bugs and beautiful clear starry nights - I give thanks every night for such a glorious day. Thank you summertime!!!! You rejuvenate my very soul!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good Day for Swimming Lessons

Another picture perfect beautiful day!!!!  Low humidity, bright sunshine, cool breeze...ahhhhhh.....summer happiness! This afternoon we decided that our labradoodle Olive needed swimming lessons. I know, I know - most people sign their children up for swimming lessons during the summer, but here at Yesteryear Acres - we give the doggies swimming lessons.  Our pond is 20 feet deep and has very low visibility.  If you dive about 3 feet under the surface, you are completely invisible.  Water safety is very important around here.  Olive has been inching closer and closer to the water each day. It all started with a bit of lapping the water at the shore and has progressed to thinking it is alot of fun to chase bullfrogs into the pond. The other day she got about chest deep and the look on her face was pure panic.  The look on my son's face was pure panic as well.  Olive was just about 3 inches from a sharp drop off and I knew right then, it was a priority to make sure Olive knows how to swim. She follows my son everywhere and is always running around the pond while he mows and works.  I know my son could never stand by if his dog were in trouble and I also know they would both be in a panic mode which is a recipe for disaster. He agreed that both he and Olive should brush up on some swimming skills.  Today Olive made huge progress and by the end of the day, she swam the width of the pond twice.  The second time Olive was swimming like a pro.  My son also did a great job brushing up on his swimming skills as he couldn't be shown up by a doggie. I feel much better about both of them running around the pond.  Tomorrow we are going to work on a bit more refining - but for now - it is all going swimmingly! Before too long my biggest concern will be getting Olive out of the water.  We have several doggies that would swim from sunrise to sunset if they could! Guess we have one more swimming doodle to be proud of!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Birthday Sun Check!

Yea!!!!  Mother Nature gave us the most glorious day ever!!!!! The weather could not have been more beautiful. Today was my son's birthday adventure day. We left early this morning and rented a pontoon boat for fishing and fun. 
Welcome to our home....
Yes, I was first to be captain
Homemade Subs and a Jones Cream Soda
The perfect birthday lunch on the seas
Excellent fishing!
The Birthday Boy's first catch of the day
Mr. Yesteryear Acres and the Birthday Boy
Mr. Yesteryear Acres - doing what he loves
Mr. Yesteryear Acres - being with who he loves
The birthday tubing adventure
Way Fun!
Happy Birthday Dear Son!
We love you!
Time to go home
Captain Yesteryear Acres
The morning boating trip was just the best time ever. The hardest part was saying goodbye to the boat.  We all wanted to stay for hours and hours but the doggies can't be alone for very long so we had to squeeze every ounce of fun into a short time.  We all decided we would like to do something like this again sometime.  The birthday boy said it was his best birthday yet!
Happy Birthday!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bright and Shiny Happy Dishwasher!

First we need to start with the facts....
Fact #1 - we live in an old brick house that was built in 1823.
Fact #2 -Nothing in the house is straight or square.
Fact #3- All the interior walls are solid brick and then covered with plaster. Our foundation is 39" thick.
Fact #4 - Back in 1823....there were no allowances for indoor plumbing, electric or......dishwashers
Fact #5.....Mr. Yesteryear Acres is a perfectionist.
Final Fact - Fact 1-4 are in complete contrast of Fact #5.
So as you know - we needed to replace our mean evil dishwasher with a new bright and shiny happy dishwasher. Smiles were everywhere when the new dishwasher arrived. Hurray!  Yippee!!!  New Dishwasher Day!!!!!! "Dear, sweet, lovable, Mr. Yesteryear Acres - how long do you think it will take to remove the old dishwasher and replace it with the new one?" His answer...."Shouldn't take too long".  Okay for most people "shouldn't take too long" means what? An hour? 2 hours? Here at Yesteryear Acres - no matter what Mr. Yesteryear Acres estimate is on how long something will take - it is wrong. It is wrong by a LONG LONG shot. For instance - how long will it take to build the dock by the pond? Answer - 2 days.  Actual time to completion - 3 weeks. How long will it take to restore our living room back to its original 1823 condition? Answer - one week. Actual time to completion....4 months.  How long will it take to completely restore our bedroom? Answer - 3 weeks.  Actual time to completion.....the world might never know. We are in year 2 of the bedroom restoration project. Don't worry though - we only have about "one week" left until it is done. (translation - 6 more months). SO when asked how long it would take to put the new dishwasher in....well we all knew it would DEFINITELY take longer than "not too long". Yes.  We were right. The problem is that Mr. Yesteryear Acres does EVERYTHING to perfection. He never cuts corners. He never does something quickly. He never jumps in without thinking. He must do things in a methodical and orderly fashion. He must have every little detail exactly and precisely perfect. He is really hardworking and very dedicated and in the end, things are more beautiful than you can ever imagine but getting there....ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is a long long long process. So when yesterday Mr. Yesteryear Acres just needed to level the was torturous.  He had his 2 foot level, his 4 foot level, his 6 foot level.  We leveled it from front to back, from side to side, from corner to corner. Everytime he asked me to look at the bubble - I said, "It looks straight to me!"  I mean the bubble was in between the 2 lines!!!!  Well Mr. Yesteryear Acres likes the bubble to be EXACTLY in the middle. Not encroaching on one line or the other. Argh. We. Were. There. Forever.  5 hours later - TA DA!!! NEW DISHWASHER!  We loaded it with dishes and ran a full load and OH MY GOSH!!!!  CLEAN DISHES CAME OUT!!!!  It is a beautiful thing.  I can open the door!  I can close the door!! I can have my dishes cleaned!!!  It is a miracle of modern technology. Happiness is filling my kitchen. And you can bet your bottom dollar - that dishwasher is LEVEL!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Evil Mean Dishwasher

It began about a year ago when the notion that my dishwasher hated me crept into my mind. It all started with a seemingly innocent broken soap dispenser latch. I would pour the liquid soap in, close the lid and "POP" the lid would spring back open. Mr. Yesteryear Acres would use just one finger, press just so, and voila! The lid stayed closed. Every day was the same. Soap in, lid closed...."POP"!!!! Lid OPEN. Mr. Yesteryear Acres - one finger - ah voila, Lid Closed.  The dishwasher of course remained. Okay. I didn't take it personally.  Then the cutlery basket corroded and all my knives would fall straight through.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres assured me it was my loading technique but that simply wasn't true. There were HOLES in the bottom of the basket.  It took a while but Mr. Yesteryear Acres finally agreed that the cutlery basket was unusable and yes,he still had to come into the house to close the soap lid. This went on for months. And still the dishwasher remained. We looked into replacing the dishwasher dispenser - and the only way to replace it order an entire new door! The door cost almost as much as the dishwasher. ARGH! I hated the dishwasher soap dispenser. Each day the dishes looked less and less clean.  What once were beautiful sparkly glasses were now white and opaque looking.  Half the dishes were clean enough to place into the cabinet, half needed rewashed and yet ---- the dishwasher remained. It got to the point that every single mug, glass, bowl, fork, knife, spoon had to be closely inspected to see if they had in fact been cleaned. For some reason, the same amount of peanut butter that was on the knife going into the wash cycle, remained after it was supposedly "clean".  Then about two months ago, I went to open the dishwasher door when "BAM" the entire spring/rope system that held the door gave way and the entire dishwasher door came crashing to the floor. It almost broke my wrist. The door is seriously heavy.  We put DANGER! WARNING! ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! signs all over the dishwasher.And yes....the dishwasher remained. In order to open the door to the dishwasher, you now needed both hands, a back brace, and a fork lift. Same thing to close it. Major biceps needed.  Then two weeks ago I was sitting on the floor sorting through some bills. (The doggies like it when I am hanging around with them on the floor so I sit there instead of at the table.)  So anyway, I am sitting sorting through paperwork when "CRASH" the door OPENS UP in the middle of the wash cycle and hits me in the leg! It is at this point, I know the dishwasher is evil. It hates me.  It is out to get me. I bet right now you are thinking - wow - I bet THAT was enough to get a new dishwasher. ummmm NOPE!  This only prompted Mr. Yesteryear Acres to prop up a stool against the dishwasher door, with a dishtowel on the stool, and a cutting block on the dishtowel all wedged under the dishwasher handle in order to keep the door closed. *sigh* Still the dishwasher remained. Day after day of door wedging, fork lifting, back breaking, non cleaning dishwasher. Today - the swan song. The door opened on Mr. Yesteryear Acres. During the wash cycle. And FLOODED the kitchen. Oh...the dishwasher isn't so nice now IS IT???? And still the dishwasher the yard....upside down.....ready for the junk yard trip tomorrow!!!!! GOOD RIDDENS!!!!!!
(Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2....."Just how long does it take Mr. Perfect, aka Mr. Yesteryear Acres, to install a new dishwasher?" You won't want to miss it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Birthday Rain Check

Oh the plans I had for today! The big ideas. The family party. The awesome birthday celebration from sunrise to sunset. Oh the plans that Mother Nature had instead!!!!! Torrential downpours. Tree limbs crashing. Neighbor's flag planting itself in our yard. Hurrumph! Grrrrr! My son didn't quite get the birthday celebration I had hoped for. We started out bright and early and it was already HOT HOT HOT as we sweated through our workout.  My son ran several miles for the cross country team practice and I melted through 4 miles of walking. We were so hot and tired when we got home we just plopped onto the kitchen floor.  I recovered quickly and got busy making a big man birthday breakfast. Homemade wild maine blueberry pancakes, ham steak, toast, eggs, potato pancakes - a feast fit for a king. He loved every bite. I think that breakfast was just about the only thing that did go as planned. The rest of the day - not so much. No trap and skeet. No fishing. No campfire dinner. *sigh*  We did get to play some board games inside and are planning on having a nice birthday dinner tonight - just not the campfire dinner he had hoped for.  Don't worry dear son of mine.....Thursday, I have an AWESOME day planned!!!  You are going to be so surprised and we will definitely celebrate your birthday in style. Birthday rain check shall be fulfilled in just 2 more days! It will even be better than our original birthday plans.  And don't worry - we will still have your big campfire dinner another night. Happy 15th Birthday to my boy.....all 6 feet 4 inches of you!!!!!  WE LOVE YOU!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Puppy after Puppy after Puppy

Oh my goodness - we have the cutest pile of puppies ever!!!! Our very small standard poodle Ginger is the mommy and our awesome white imported golden retriever McGyver is the daddy of the cutest little McGyver Doodles. Typically in a standard size goldendoodle litter - we usually have somewhere between 8-10 puppies. In our medium size goldendoodle litters we have 5-7 puppies.  The mommy doggies of our medium size doodles are much smaller so they really don't have as much room to carry a big litter as they themselves aren't really that big. Can you imagine our surprise when puppy after puppy after puppy started arriving? When Ginger got to number 8 - we were all really happy.  When she delivered number 9 - we couldn't believe it. This was the largest medium goldendoodle litter ever. 9 beautiful healthy happy puppies. Yea! Then about an hour later....number 10 arrived. 10?! 10!!!! YEA!  We have a lot of people on the McGyver Doodle waiting list so this is awesome. Ginger also has do I put this delicately........10 places at the milk bar. 10 puppies. 10 spots at the milk bar. Happiness! Wow! All the puppies are doing great and nursing and Ginger is resting and all is well............when number ELEVEN popped out.  We all just stared at Ginger and wondered how in the world she carried all those puppies. While we were marveling at number 11.....yep - number 12 arrived! A DOZEN PUPPIES!  Now we have had litters before with 12, 13 and even 14 puppies - but those puppies were born from mommies that were MUCH bigger than Ginger.  How in the world Ginger fit 12 babies in her tummy is a miracle. Every single puppy is the right weight, no runts, all are taking turns nursing and Ginger is taking really good care of them.
Aren't they cute?
I am so excited to have sweet little puppies again! 12 times the happiness!!!
Weekly picture updates will be posted so everyone can watch the little cuties grow. Way to go Ginger!!!! You are so getting the biggest portion of fresh cooked Chicken and Rice for dinner tonight. You deserve it!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Doodles can go to College .....Can't they?

My daughter had the very fun task of opening all her packages and labeling all her things for college. Of course here at Yesteryear Acres - she had lots of help.
Elmo supervised the entire process
He made sure every item was labeled properly.
He also gave great emotional support and lots of kisses
At one point he wondered.......
Doodles can go to College, Can't They?!
Olive had the exact same thought
They both promised they would study hard and be very good college doggies.
We didn't have the heart to tell them that Doodles aren't allowed at college
EVEN if they help pack
Even if they use spiral notebooks as pillows
and even if they are very well behaved adorable doodles - they can't go to college.....but maybe just maybe they can visit!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shop....till you drop

Today was College Shopping Day. The all important, all encompassing, all consuming, all expensive day dedicated to the pursuit of bringing home the list upon lists of all the things my daughter deems necessary to survive in college. I never realized just how much stuff was needed! My older daughter headed off to the Naval Academy and we sent her with......a toothbrush. My younger daughter is going to a civilian college and OH MY GOODNESS - the list of things needed is almost endless. I didn't realize how much we missed by having our first go to a military school. We missed spending 10 solid hours of  nothing but shopping!  First Aid kits, sewing kits, bowls, notebooks, calendars, corkboards, towels, sheets, ziplock bags, containers, shower essentials. The list goes on and on.  Luckily my mom went along with us so that we could tackle the job together. When we arrived at our first store, and my mom said, "Now everyone get their own cart, because we will need at least 3" I thought - that is ridiculous.  Who needs 3 carts?  I pushed a cart because it seemed important to my mom.  Well by the end of our first adventure, all 3 carts were full and we almost needed a traffic director to help us get to the checkout lanes. We were determined to get all the college shopping done in just one day and we were successful.  College lists - DONE!  We had just one item we couldn't find - a sleep mask - but other than that, we tackled the list and checked off each item one by one until the day was finished.  We were there until the stores closed. Now the only thing on my list is to put my feet up and collapse!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mr. Yesteryear Acres - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Happy Birthday to my sweetie Mr. Yesteryear Acres. Today marks 51 years of celebrations. Mr. Yesteryear Acres is without a doubt the hardest working man I know. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. He doesn't believe in shortcuts, always gives 100%, never shies away from duty, lives a life of honor and is truly a compassionate individual. I could not ask for a better father to my children or best friend for me. We all spent our day making sure Mr. Yesteryear Acres had an awesome birthday.  His day started with a little fishing back at the pond followed by a big birthday breakfast. My daughter and I made peppered bacon, fresh baked bread, homemade potato pancakes and sunny side up eggs. Everything turned out birthday breakfast perfect!  His birthday dinner will be equally delicious. We are making a Venison Wellington complete with a Morel mushroom pate.  The whole house smells delicious! My daughter has baked a spice cake from scratch with a brown sugar caramel icing.  We even have 51 candles decorating her masterpiece.  We have everything planned down to the smallest detail. I can tell Mr. Yesteryear Acres is having a great birthday. He has been smiling non-stop and is happy being at home surrounded by love. After all the perfect birthday recipe is a simple one. Family. Love. Togetherness.
Happy Birthday Mr. Yesteryear Acres. Your love is what makes our house a home. We love you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where's Waldo

When my older daughter set off for the Naval Academy 3 summers ago - the time apart was almost unbearable.  I thought about her every second of every day and missed her with all my heart and soul. I spent a good deal of time that summer playing "Where's Waldo" except "Waldo" was my daughter.  In a sea of 1200+ midshipman all dressed in white, the "Where's Waldo" game can be tough. I searched every photo that was posted online in the hopes of getting just one glimpse of my daughter. Every now and then I would get lucky and find her and that just meant the world to me. I would jump up and down with glee and then look at the photo many times throughout the week.  I just wanted to see her. To know she was okay.  To be near her - even if it were only through a picture.  It was something to do to pass the time - and it made the time apart more bearable.  At the end of the summer when I was finally able to see my daughter, I showed her all the pictures I had saved to my computer. It was only then that I found out - half of the photos I so treasured - were not pictures of her. I know. I know. HOW could a mom not recognize her own daughter? Well - it my defense - they all get the exact same haircut, wear the exact same clothes, have the exact same expression of despair and have a dixie cup hat on their head obscuring a good portion of the photo. We all got a good laugh at my "treasured" photos from the summer.  Well here it is 3 whole years later - and nothing much has changed.  I find myself searching through thousands of pictures that are posted with the hope that I might be able to get one glimpse of my daughter hard at work.  This summer she trained at Quantico with the Marine Corps and now is hard at work training the new incoming plebe class.  Lucky for me - she is MUCH easier to spot this year.  She isn't in the whiteworks plebe uniform and finding the detailers is a much easier job.
See how hard my job was 3 years ago?
My daughter is in the last row, closest to the detailer
I know that seems like an easy one - but I looked through hundreds of photos just like this picture. It is a very good "Where's Waldo" game!
Here she is again as a plebe. Every time I found her - it felt like Christmas!
My "Where's Waldo" skills are much improved this summer.  I looked through over 3000 pictures of I-Day and I was rewarded with......
I was so excited to find her.  Ahhhh a mom's love. Who else would pour through thousands of pictures for a ponytail picture?
Eventually I was rewarded with this picture:

And then my good midmom friend sent me this one

And finally
One last picture to hold me through the week. My Where's Waldo fix has been quenched......well at least until new pictures are posted!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Good Ole Summertime!

We really enjoyed our 4th of July celebration. The weather was fantastic. The food was delicious and our new flavor of homemade ice cream "Pistachio Vanilla Rocky Road" is SCRUMPTIOUS.  It is a must have! It marked the perfect end to a perfect day.

Mouthwatering good!
We ate every bite and licked the plate clean!
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade....of course!
Mr. Yesteryear Acres - Master of the campfire cookout!
Elmo really wants to go fishing
PLEASE can we go catch some fish?
Yes we can!
Our doggies are expert fisher doggies!
Olive is particularly good at pointing out the hot fishing spots
Mr. Yesteryear Acres wants to do this again on his birthday Thursday
And there we stayed
Until the moon lit the way back home

Monday, July 4, 2011

HAPPY 4th!!!!

Happy 4th of July!!!! Happy Fireworks Day! Happy Cookout Day! Happy Birthday to America Day! Happy I am Proud to be an American Day! Happy Red, White and Blue Day! Happy I live at Yesteryear Acres Day! We are all busy getting ready for our awesome 4th of July celebration this evening.  I started the day out with a nice 4 mile walk with my daughter, my son, our labradoodle Elmo, our labradoodle Olive, and our Double Doodle Trixie.  The weather was relatively cool this morning and the doggies just loved the morning hike.  After we got back home and cleaned up - the real work began.  First up - homemade potato buns. They are rising in the oven right this moment and it already smells heavenly.  Next my daughter made Red Velvet 4th of July celebration cupcakes.  She decorated the top to look like fireworks.  Not only are the beautiful - but SUPER yummy too!!!  Then came the most important task of the day.  The never to be missed, must have, essential, critical piece to our 4th of July celebration.....Homemade Ice Cream! We are making 4 gallons of our heavenly ice cream.  I mean you need the 4th of July happiness to last all week long don't you?!? First batch was homemade Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.  That one is my son's favorite.  Second batch - Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Chunk. Mmmmmm.  That one is EVERYONE'S favorite! Last batch is a Pistachio Vanilla Rocky Road. Again - one word - mmmmmmm!  The last batch is still cranking away and should be done in the next half hour or so.  We are definitely ready for the evening's festivities. Mr. Yesteryear Acres is making his world famous hamburgers.  He gets the outside all caramelized crispy. Oh my gosh. They are so salty crispy juicy delicious!  Of course they will go right on top of the homemade potato buns. We also have some caramelized onions for the burgers.  4th of July Hamburgers have to be perfect.  We are planning on having a cookout, fireworks, and lots of fun.  The only thing missing is my older daughter.  She is busy training the incoming Plebes at the Naval Academy and will miss our 4th of July celebration. Days like this make me miss her all the more!  If you get a chance to read this dear daughter - don't worry - your daddy has a new flavor of ice cream he is waiting to try when you come home. You are going to make Honey Caramel Ice Cream. We will do 4th of July...Part II!  We love you!  We are proud of you! Happy 4th of July to all our friends, family, puppy families, puppies, doggies, doodles and to those you love!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

S'more Genius

Little did I know son is an evil S'more Genius.  We all know my weakness for S'mores. Heavenly gooey marshmallow goodness bathed in melted milk chocolate.  I cannot resist.  I have been making a concerted effort to be "less fluffy."  I am doing rather well and have been making real progress.  The other night - I was completely powerless. Try as I might - I could not resist the call of the S'more.  I made one perfectly delicious s'more and savored every bite.  I was happy. I was content. One great awesome perfect s'more and all was right with the world. Then the unthinkable happened.  My son asked, "What would happen if you put a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on the graham cracker and made your s'more with that?" I said, "Don't!" "Stop!" "You can DO that!!!" But he didn't listen.  He made a Reese's Peanut butter cup S'more. I could smell the mouth watering goodness.  Mr. Yesteryear Acres then decided that he too had to try this new S'more recipe.  Every bite elicited an "Mmmmmmmmmmmm! OH MY GOSHHHHHHHHHH! THIS IS SOOOOOOO GOOD!"  Then my daughter made one.  Her reaction - exactly the same.  They were all literally oooohing and ahhhhing and mmmmmmmm.  What could I do? Deny my son's evil genius for creating a new s'more recipe? Of course not.  Of course I had to make one for myself. OH MY GOSH! You just don't know.  Have you ever had Fluffer Nutter sandwiches?  You know - the marshmallow fluff/peanut butter sandwiches on squishy white bread?  Well this is one step further in greatness.  The chocolate melts and the peanut butter melts and the marshmallows are all gooey and the cracker is all crunchy and before you know it - the entire Reese's S'more is GONE! And all you can think is, "I must have another one!!!!" Tonight everyone is asking for another campfire. I know what they are thinking. I know what they are planning.  I am already hearing that you have to CELEBRATE the 4th of July. I know what is coming.  How can I be LESS fluffy if I am eating marshmallow fluffy goodness? I will do myself to limit myself to one.  I am thinking I am doomed to fail.  My mouth is already watering at the mere thought! Is it campfire time yet???

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Movie Night

Our mission watch one entire movie with no stops, pauses, breaks, delays, interruptions or any other type of postponement.  Seems like a relatively easy mission. Most families probably accomplish that mission weekly but here at Yesteryear Acres - it just doesn't happen. We just have so many things to do and so much work to get done, that movie watching always takes a back seat.  Tonight however - our mission is set.  We are all on board. Everybody is pitching in so that hopefully all our work will be done for the day by the time it gets dark.  We have the blankets on the floor, we have the doggies ready for the evening theater, my daughter made a homemade loaf of Italian Herb bread and is busy making grilled cheese sandwiches.  I think....I think.....this may just work!  I am on popcorn duty so our plan is in full swing. I have a feeling that even though we are all ready for the big movie night, someone......I am not naming names....but someone (whose initials are Mr. Yesteryear Acres) will come in for the movie.  He will take a shower and be all clean for the movie. He will sit down for the movie. He will have a doggie to snuggle with for the movie. He will watch the opening credits for the movie. And then he will fall asleep before the first scene is over. Of course he will deny he is sleeping. Even though he will be snoring. Even though we will all hear him snoring. Even though he will wake up the dogs with his snoring. Even though I won't be able to hear the dialogue through his snoring....Mr. Yesteryear Acres will be WIDE awake, happily enjoying Movie Night. Oh well - more popcorn for me!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just ONE more blackberry....

Last night I decided I needed to take a pre-dinner walk. I knew that the campfire dinner was going to be delicious so I was going to take a proactive approach to the caloric intake that awaited me. I mean no one - I mean NO one can resist perfectly roasted toasted marshmallows! I have no willpower against the awesome forces of S'mores.  As I was walking around our woods, my stomach was growling. REALLY growling.  The steak was almost ready to go onto the campfire, the big baked potatoes were almost done and the roasted artichoke hearts smelled so good - the woods were filled with heavenly aromas. It was almost too much to bear.  My determination to be less fluffy kept my feet moving.  One foot in front of the other. Step by Step..........OH my!  Look at that!  FRESH RIPE BLACKBERRIES! mmmmmmm.  They were so deep purple. SO delicious looking and I was SO hungry.  I picked just a few and popped them into my mouth. HEAVENLY.  I think they might be the sweetest blackberries we have had in a while.  I decided I would grab a handful with each pass through the woods.  If I walk from my house, around the garden, around the pond and through the path in our woods - it is about 1.5 miles. I decided I would do one complete circuit and then finish with some smaller loops around the woods and reward myself with some delicious blackberries.  Excellent plan! My first time through was perfect.  Blackberries right on the edge of the trail. Pick, pick, pick, eat, eat, eat, eat. Excellent.  My next pass through the woods - well most of the ripe blackberries were now picked and only red ones were right on the trail. So I stretched WAY into the plants to pick some more. Pick, sticker, pick, sticker, OUCH!, eat, eat, eat. Still pretty good! So I am down to my last pass through the woods.  My hunger is growing. My tummy is growling. Where are all the blackberries now? WAY in the back. Not anywhere close to the nicely mowed trail. I just want ONE more handful. Just ONE more.  And so I did what I should NOT have done.  I should not have said flippantly to myself "Oh I will just step on TOP of the poison ivy. I will just tip toe AROUND the poison ivy. I will just hold down that gigantic poison ivy leaf with my shoe as I stretch and reach for the blackberries." YES. DUMB. YES. REALLY DUMB. Especially since I was wearing shorts and crocs and no socks. So this morning as I was ankles were really itching. I seem to have a red rash around my ankles. I wonder, just wonder......what could it be?????