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Grandchildren update

One of the local grandchildren has a bad cold and unfortunately Rob and I seem to have caught it. We were commenting that if toddlers had ebola it would spread like wildfire.

It's been a while since I have posted much about the grandchildren so I thought I would do a little update. Drew, who is seven and in second grade called Rob one night and said a few phrases in French and sang a French song for us. His class was studying different cultures around the world and he wanted to share what he had been learning with us.


Maddie, who is two, had a hard fall at church a few weeks ago and badly sprained her knee. She spent several days lying on the couch with her leg propped on a pillow. She is normally a very active little girl so her parents knew she was really in quite a bit of pain. Thankfully she is back to normal now.


Ryan is three now and he, his dad, and Rob all went camping for one night recently. They had a beautiful weekend for it and all three of the guys enjoyed hiking, cooking over the open fire, and hanging out together.


He also loves music and he was thrilled one morning when Aunt Nora and little Della came by and Nora played the piano for him.


Avery is fifteen months old and is learning to communicate. She will repeat nearly anything you say to her and gets very frustrated if you can't tell what she's trying to say. She will often take me by the hand and lead me to what she wants to play with. She loves animals and enjoys playing with some animal magnets that we have. She also likes to toss all of her books behind the rocking chair and then sit back there and look at them.


Little Della is nine months old and is crawling and trying to pull herself up around the furniture now. She too has found her voice and can be quite vocal at times. Nora made her this cute little costume for Halloween. They had a dress up time at our local Farmer's Market this weekend so she got to try it out.



We are truly blessed by each of these children and are thankful for them and their parents.

Some fall favorites

Each fall we look forward to driving up to the North Carolina mountains to enjoy the changing scenery and to purchase some of our fall favorites. One of our favorite things to buy are the large heads of mountain cabbage. We eat coleslaw all year long and I have quite a few different recipes that we enjoy. Here are links to a few of them:

Ginger Bacon Slaw

Ray's Coleslaw

Mennonite Girls Cole Slaw
My son-in-law who does not care for mayonnaise liked this one. It also keeps very well.

We also enjoy cabbage soup, bierocks, and cabbage rolls. I tried something new when I made cabbage rolls and thought I would share the tip here in case it might be of help to someone else. I removed a few outer leaves from a head of cabbage that we purchased recently and steamed them for a couple of minutes in the microwave, cooled them, and then froze them. I removed them from the freezer a few days ago and used them to make cabbage rolls and they worked just fine. I like to use fairly lean ground beef in the cabbage rolls and I don't always have any on hand so it was good to know that the cabbage leaves freeze well and can be used at a later time. You can also prepare the cabbage rolls and freeze them to cook at a later time.


Here's an idea for one of our more recent fall favorites. Did you know that if you mix peanuts and candy corn and eat them together it tastes like a Payday candy bar? It's really a good combination.


I was also surprised when I went to purchase a bag of candy corn that there are quite a few flavors to choose from now. One of the most unusual that I saw was Carmel Macchiato. Have you tried any unusual flavors of candy corn? Do you have any favorite cabbage recipes?


My poor neglected blog

I haven't intentionally given up blogging, it just seems that way. :) I've been keeping busy with a variety of projects and have decided that if I am going to keep blogging I need to focus on short posts with fewer pictures until I get back into the habit again. I have written numerous blog posts in my mind for the last few weeks and now it's time to write them here in the computer.

One blog-worthy event occurred a couple of weeks ago when we were able to have a blog friend here in our home for a visit. Several years ago our friend Betty, who lives here in town, told me that her sister, Deb, had a blog that I might enjoy reading. I began reading her blog, Mountain Musings, at that time and have really enjoyed it. She is a quilter and a gardener and often writes about her family and their travels. Her two daughters have their own businesses and post on the blog from time to time as well. Her son is building a house at the moment and some recent posts have described some of that process. I had met Deb briefly when she visited here in town a while back and have wanted to invite her to our house to get to know her better. It worked out so that Deb and Betty could come for supper when she was here recently.

Deb and Betty's mother, Mildred, is a basket maker. She crafts beautiful, unique baskets. I have always admired some of the baskets she makes with potato mashers for a handle and I was able to purchase one from her a few weeks ago.


When Deb came for dinner she brought us a gift of some of the hand made soaps that her daughter Hannah makes. I have been using the Lavender soap and have enjoyed the fragrance and the fact that it is not drying to my skin. Don't tell my grandson Drew but I ordered him a bar of "Dirt" scented soap for Christmas. Deb has information on her blog about ordering Pleasant View Soaps and Granny's Baskets in case you are interested.


We had a nice evening and it was fun to get to spend time together instead of just commenting back and forth on our blogs or by email.


Deb wrote about her visit to our home on her blog if you would like to read about it from her perspective.

Our last day out west

Shortly after we left our motel in Williams we felt as though we were driving through the Grand Canyon. The views were spectacular. Places to stop were few and far between so we were thankful we had water and snacks in the car. We would drive for miles and only see a few scrawny cattle and an occasional trailer or hogan. We stopped in one small town which had a trading post with this hogan outside:


When we first started planning our trip we wrote to Rob's cousin Glenn for advice since he had lived in Arizona for several years and knows the area quite well. He gave us lots of useful information and suggested that we might want to stop at the Cameron Trading Post. I had looked it up online and thought it might be a nice place to stop for lunch, so that was our goal. As we drove along through vast areas of desert we kept thinking we will soon be coming to a town called Cameron. Our anticipation grew as our GPS told us we were nearing our destination. We soon realized that the Cameron Trading Post was the main attraction. There was little else there but a lot of road construction and a dry river bed. The Trading Post itself was very nice. There are several buildings including an ice cream shop, post office, and an art gallery as well as the main building which contains the restaurant.

We browsed around the gift shop and saw many lovely things but most were too pricey for our budget. They had lovely baskets, such as this one which cost $2000.


They also had beautiful wool rugs. There was even a woman who was there demonstrating how the rugs are made:


Since the area is so isolated they also had a grocery section. If we had been travelling home by car instead of by plane I would have been very tempted to purchase a bag of this flour:


We decided to try the traditional Navajo Taco which is prepared with a base of fry bread instead of a tortilla. I had hoped they might have some other more traditional vegetables which I have read about but they didn't appear on the menu. The taco was good, and pretty large. We split one and this was my portion:


Here is a view inside the restaurant:


For most of the rest of our travel time in Arizona the landscape was still desert-like with low growing shrubs and few trees. It was still interesting to us how the topography changed in appearance as we drove along.





Almost immediately after we entered Colorado we noticed a lot more greenery and many more trees.



Our destination for the night was Durango, Colorado. As we were planning our trip one interesting place I had read about in Durango was the Bar D Ranch which features chuckwagon suppers. I couldn't find any information on line about the times for the supper. After we checked into our hotel Rob called the ranch and was told that if we headed out there right away we could make it. When we arrived we found we were the last people to register. As we entered the property the cowboys were in a little cabin greeting people and singing.


There were also a couple of gift shops. Shortly after we arrived everyone was asked to go to their assigned tables and we were given directions as to how to proceed through the food lines. We were impressed at how efficiently the food was served. The food itself was not outstanding, but the evening was a fun experience. You could choose between steak, chicken, or steak and chicken and pay accordingly. We chose the chicken.


Throughout the meal the staff, including the cowboys replenished beverages and were very helpful to older folks and children who needed assistance. After a while seconds were offered to those who wanted them and then everyone took their trays to the back and cleared and cleaned the tables.

The cowboys then came out and began their program. They sang quite a few western type songs and some patriotic songs and told some stories and a few poems. The entire program was very family friendly and it was a very nice way to end our travels.


The next morning we headed on our last leg of our trip and arrived at our friends' home in the afternoon in time to repack, rest, and spend one last evening with them. We had planned to take them out to dinner but they had prepared a special meal to celebrate my birthday which was later that week.

After a good night's rest we said our farewells and drove to the airport to drop off our rental car and to catch our flight back home. We were very thankful for the opportunity to make the trip, to visit with special friends, and to see more of the beauty the Lord has created for us to enjoy.

Next post: Family reunion


Our trip to Arizona part two

We left our friends in Phoenix and headed toward the little town of Williams, Arizona, which is on Route 66. We arrived late in the afternoon and took a stroll down the Main Street. Just a short distance from our hotel was a grocery store, a quilt shop, and an old fashioned Dairy Queen. We felt compelled to check out the Dairy Queen for old times sake. :)

Before we began our trip out West we had purchased an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. People over the age of 62 can purchase this pass for $10 per couple. It is good for a lifetime. Younger people can purchase a yearly pass for $80. The pass is good at many of the parks for all the occupants of the vehicle.

The next morning we headed towards the Grand Canyon. Our first stop was in the town of Tusayan where we watched a very informative IMAX presentation about the canyon and got some general information. The IMAX movie had many scenes taken from a helicopter which really helped you to sense the immensity of the canyon. As we entered the park we began seeing a few elk. Apparently they are used to people because they would stop in the road, much to the delight of onlookers.


We parked our car and walked to a visitor center to catch a shuttle bus to ride around to some places in the Canyon. The buses come about every 20 minutes and stop at many places in the canyon. It was extremely hot the day we were visiting so we opted for one of the shorter routes.

The views were breath-taking and it's hard to describe how immense the canyon is. We continually thought about how only something as cataclysmic as a universal flood could have created the canyon. We had no desire to trek down into the canyon, especially in the month of July. I think it would be much wiser to hike there when the temperatures are cooler. There were many visitors from all over the United States and other countries. Rob enjoyed speaking German with a family from Switzerland who were kind enough to take our picture.






That evening after our trek to the canyon we returned to Williams and took another stroll down Main Street (Route 66) and ate supper at Rod's Steak House which has been a fixture in Williams for many years. We enjoyed our dinner and the "steer" motifs which were throughout the restaurant.


In my next post I will describe our final travel day out west.


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