Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Balsamic Steak Sauce

Ingredients:
3/4 C Balsamic Vinegar
2/3 C ketchup
1/4 C honey
2 sliced shallots (used onions)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp allspice
salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Simmer until thickened, about 15 min. Strain if desired.

I found this on Food Network  - Porterhouse with Balsamic Steak Sauce

For more yummy eats click the tab under the header. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Alive and well!

I realize I have not blogged in quite a bit of time. We are alive and well, and have fully lived week 2 and 3 since becoming stationary here in Northern California.

Our cell reception for Verizon is terrible here. This means my phone and our jet pack are  not working. In other words, we have no reliable source of Internet. We're looking to resolve this issue this week.

We have been busy. We have pictures we'll share when we can. Mostly we're living each day fully present, running errands, doing yard work and housework, visiting with both sides of our family and helping out as we can.

I'll update as I can get the laptop to go online.

This is my first post via my phone.  I'm happy that though I get no cell service, this seems to be my only device that reliably picks up the campground WiFi  signal.

Let's see if this will work!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Oregon Interlude

In the midst of our time here in NorCal....we made a trip Eugene, OR.

Michael had a few VA appointments.  All our girls were out of town (Mexico trip and pastoral conference).

Michael & boys played Good Samaritan 
It turned out to be a mini-family reunion. My brother and his wife, Heather, are home from Timor.  Mom had received some health news which we were able to discuss together.  This is so much easier than trying to talk via email/skype etc.

Unfortunately, it was a rough week for Mom. We girls were going out to breakfast and she had a big seizure. It was so violent she fractured her ankle.  We stayed up a couple of extra days to spend time helping out and loving on her.

We also got to love on Bella before they left for Anaheim, CA. 

The only other picture I took all week is this one of a rousing game of Dominion. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wedding Fever

Yes, it's Wedding Season in our humble home again. This is Stacia hamming it up. She knows when a family member is getting married, and you receive a REAL LETTER....it means you're in the wedding party. 

THIS is Stacia really excited as she read the invite. 

First a Flower Girl, then a Junior Bridesmaid and this time she'll be a BRIDESMAID for Arielle. 

Yes, we have wedding fever. CoRielle have set a wedding date of 17 December 2016. We have found a venue, they've selected colors and a theme, they've invited friends and family to be in the wedding party, chosen a pastor (Um - Michael is thrilled) and they've found a "nearly sure" photographer.  Things are moving along.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Town and Country Adventures

These Gherkins rock. They school in the a.m., help out at Mom G's in the afternoon, and always have the energy to clean up the dinner dishes and build a fire back at the Caboose.  Michael and I feel our age. Seriously, even my elbow aches and I can't lift my Bible. Seems I have more to learn about how to properly swing an axe.

We knew it was coming after the pace of last week. Monday was a hard day for Michael, as was this morning. We simply need to take things at a pace we can handle...slow and steady.

Monday afternoon we took Mom G to the doctor (a beautiful 13 mile drive through the Redwoods), unfortunately severe motion sickness dampens my enthusiasm  a tad bit. ::wink::  Michael and Mom G visited and I ran in with her shopping list. I had talked with the park management earlier in the day and they agreed to let us use the lounge/kitchen past the normal hour so we could have dinner in the lounge. Mom can't climb into the Caboose and it was too cool to eat outside for her.  The lounge has a big pool table and we enjoyed visiting while the boys sharpened their skills. I considered it a personal success when we tempted her at dinner with salmon, salad, asparagus, french bread and quinoa.

A highlight of the trips to town is CELL SERVICE - and a chance to receive and respond to text messages....I continue to search for spots up here in the woods where our mifi may work.  I'm wondering if a cell extender may help - or may not if there is no signal to extend. As for my phone - it continues to say I'm roaming - though Straight Talk says on their website they have no roaming - what is going on? I need to find time to call them.

Today, we visited with a park neighbor, Jim. He's amazing. He's older than Mom G - he didn't tell us how old he is, but at least 88....travels around in a trailer....teaches...he's a retired pastor. We enjoyed a touch of  church at the picnic table. I also made a few calls for a wedding location. Arielle and Cory have set their date at 17 December 2016.

We headed over to Mom G's to continue our project of reclaiming the yard from the evil Cork Elm trees/roots/sprouts, blackberry vines etc ... The boys continued working on the dead apple tree, Stacia moved a woodpile from the back porch to the upper garage, I spruced up inside and did some laundry,  Stacia and I continued cleaning the back porch and she hauled brush to the brush pile, and together we cut a huge pile of  cork elm sprouts, trees and roots down to burning size. Alex and Nolan took turns feeding the fire....I impaled my bum on an apple branch - a fact the kids noted with great humor.

We worked in a visit with Mom G and it was time to head across the river to make dinner.  I didn't have the energy to walk down the bank to the river - but it's too pretty not to at least take a picture or two.


I nearly cried and cheered when the pastor of the church we visited Sunday called to talk to Michael. He asked why we were here and where we were living on Sunday.  It's always interesting to watch reactions when we say we live in a trailer in an RV Park. ::snort::  We'd simply told him we were here to help Mom G and we weren't sure how long we'd be here, but it would be months. He called to tell Michael if there is yard work to do, when we figure out what needs to be done, the church has a team of men that would like to help. WOW.....we may not take them up on it, as we aren't sure if we should go to Mom G's church or continue in town....and we don't want to be guilty of using a church....but just the offer meant so much today.

Michael tells me we are now 8 feet from reaching the fence.....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday - Rest

Sunday - church day, town day, a day of rest.

A day with cell reception (out of the Redwoods) and therefore, TEXTS from family and kids.

We looked online, chose a church and attended. It was good. It wasn't The Rivers - and it's most likely unfair for us to compare each church to The Rivers.

We were determined to truly rest - and to feel like RVers.... After lunch - where it turns out I have no fortune- we headed to Point Saint George.

Write your own? 

Our Who-ville impersonations
Better
 
  

Being RVers - tourists
 I realized at church today  Stacia is going into 6th grade and "could" go to youth group. Sixth-Twelfth graders - not going to happen as she is a young and innocent 6th grader. She's 10 (11 in two months) - not going to have her in a small group with 17 and 18 yos.....this is the problem with letting them start school before they are 8 or 9. ::snort:: 

Contemplating 
 Air field is across from the ocean

We stopped for groceries. I can't find a local grocery solution I like. The kids stayed at home, while Michael and I took groceries to Mom G. We visited for a bit (we have different political views and she seems genuinely concerned about how we'll vote this cycle), brought a box down and then came home.

We rounded out the day visiting with neighbors in the Park who have Beagles. Mr. is a mechanic with over 20 years of experience. He was a wealth of info as we continue our search for a new home.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

We're not in Idaho - Week 1 in Cresecent City

We looked forward to spending the summer in Idaho as Camp Hosts. This would allow us to see how many hours Michael could realistically work.  It would also give us "free rent," and allow us to build up a buffer in our budget.

We are not in Idaho.  In May, we accompanied Mom G  to a doctor's appointment where it was confirmed it was time to have more hands on the ground if Mom G were to have her wish of continuing to live in her home. We don't have a lot of extra moolah in the budget (understatement ::snort::), but we have time and the freedom to live where we need to live. This is a huge benefit of living full time in an RV. No one else is in a position to move down here.  We talked to an "RV Resort" (not sure what makes a park a resort) across the river from Mom G's. They have blocked out a site for us until the end of 2016 and will extend as needed.  Mom G has voiced she would like help with her "projects," that she knows the house needs to be "in order" because we're all worrying about it, and that Michael can "do what he needs to do" outside.

We are excited to be here. I was not prepared for the emotions.  Our year of traveling is certainly not going as planned. ::snort:: BUT we know this is where we need to be. There were also feelings of hoplessness when we were reminded how big the job is...and feelings of joy as we watch Stacia build a relationship with Mom G, and the boys willingly pitch in to help...for the past twenty years we have kept up with family as best as possible, helped out financially when we were aware of needs - but we have not been able to be a daily presence in our parent's lives. We are happy to be in a season where we can be a presence.

I want to be very careful about what I write about our days. We love and honor Mom G.  She is 87 years old (rapidly closing in on 88), and only recently quit driving. She lives alone in a home 13 miles from town. She has great neighbors - but the house and the property are a lot to keep up - for anyone.  She is in the process of sorting through things - and she lives in the same home her parents lived in. This is not an easy task. Each item is full of memories of days past...and her memory is SHARP. I wish mine were as sharp. My kids joke that I can't even remember who gave me what for last mother's day.  I digress. The stories she tells are priceless - this is a precious time. It is also a hard time - emotionally and physically. We're going to have to figure out how to pace ourselves and how to prioritize.

I filled the first few days inside the house with Mom G. We concentrated on daily upkeep things...dishes, laundry, changing beds, bringing in mail, rounding up garbage, cleaning the fridge and recycling. We visited the doctor, the bank, the pharmacy and the grocery store.  Michael and the boys began tackling the  yard....after a trip to town to buy yard tools and supplies. They  began with a tree that was threatening to pull down a power line (and several more were discovered), mowing,  and washing Mom G's car so it is a step closer to selling.

Where there's a mower, there must be an Alex....


More trees in power lines

I begged Michael NOT to climb the ladder - with his balance issues this would be a recipe for disaster - I can't face the idea of him out of commission. Nolan was a champ and rose to the occassion.....and Michael is looking for an opportunity to have help with a couple of the bigger trees Mom G wants taken care of....because they are beyond us....we're good but....


Work is interspersed with Patrick McManus around the fire at night....and the kids made it to the river twice this week. That's pretty sad as the river is only steps away; we need to figure out how to get them down there more often because we love their help, but we want them to make fond memories on the river too. 

Day three Michael decided to tackle a gnarly, big, dead tree which has fallen over. We sort of thought it would be a one day job. We've spent two and a half days on it and are about half done.  We're reclaiming the  yard....berries and a really NASTY thing called Cork Elm have grown up around the tree and are taking over the lawn. Stacia and I first came outside when Mom G was napping...then we decided to help...because this is a job where you see big progress right away.

THIS was the point where I thought we were about to reach the neighbor's fence.  Michael says it's still 15 feet ahead. 

We made some finds as we cut back into the brush - but this was the best! We put it to use. 

We made three big piles - Cork Elm (for buring - and here is Alex tending the little burn stove), thorn things and dead apple wood. 


We drug out big pieces to cut and stack, and we're thinking we'll need to rent a chipper or eco-dumpster, if they have those here. We'll get some quotes and see - right now we're doing what is cost effective - eventually we'll need to begin to look at ways to make it less labor intensive. LOL 


Saturday the kids worked from 0800-1300 and then we sent them to the river. Michael and I continued a few more hours. We haven't made the progress we hoped for - but we've made a small dent and we've realized this is going to be a sustained effort, and doesn't have to be accomplished in a week.

 Mom G also got 35 Walmart bags labeled and ready for us to drop at ST. Vinnie's. I've worked out a routine to entice Mom G to eat with little goodies...watermelon, muffins, banana, Chicken Divan, Veggie Pot Pie. Alas, she doesn't like hummus either. I am still the only hummus eater around.  Stacia and I  love the stories of Mom's childhood, and we've moved boxes and bags to where Mom G would like them. We will find a routine which takes into account fun and relationships, one focused a bit less on tasks....it will be a great summer, fall, winter.....

Wildflowers from the park - and yes, they are fine with her picking them for me. 

There are woodpeckers outside the kids' bunkroom window

Creator and Guardian of the fire (no white gas, Don). 

I wanted to see what would happen, so I threw a handful of popcorn into the fire. I envisioned them popping OUT of the fire. They popped and burned. Oh well. 

Thus ends Week 1 of our Crescent City adventure. It's not Idaho, but we do have the benefit of visiting with Mom G and accomplishing a worthwhile task. We're exhausted. We got started, continued summer school, had a home cooked dinner every night and enjoyed lots of time around the campfire. We know where we need to adjust for balance over the long haul. It's important for us to remember this is not a two week visit - this is our life for as long as it needs to be. We don't need to put all of life on hold to accomplish the goals.

By the way - somewhere in here is #WYFF.....

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Hot Travel Day

We've enjoyed our unexpected two nights at Deerwood RV Park.  Yuuki and I walked around and around the park to get our miles in.  We went 2.5  miles yesterday and I'd hoped for the same or more today. At 1.1 I felt a tug on the leash, looked back (Yuuki is typically raging out front) and Yuuki was laying on the pavement. Ok....guess it's meant to be a light day. I understand. The gentleman behind us had  a good laugh out of the situation. Being elderly himself, he commiserated with Yuuki.
Pretty walking path 

We were buttoned up and ready to go when Michael got home from his early morning VA appointment. 
Space 75 - a nice spot to call home
 Michael decided we needed a break in Cave Junction. It was past lunch time. Yuuki couldn't go inside and we took turns waiting with her under a shade tree. It was 93 degrees in this part of the state today! HOT....Yuuki likes DQ.

On the walk back to the Caboose, our water hating dog plunged into a fountain alongside the sidewalk.  We carried her the rest of the way. 

We've arrived, paid for a month (reserved for the rest of the year),  met the hosts and a couple of fellow campers, set up camp, and went across the river for an evening visit with Mom G.

Note - if you need to reach us in this season email, Facebook messages and blog comments may be best. My phone has not had a signal (though it downloaded an app this a.m.). If you need to call or text us try Michael or Nolan's numbers. We can also give you the number for the campground if you need it.  And if it doesn't seem to frivolous praying for good cell signal for the mifi and my phone would be great. LOL

Friday, June 03, 2016

#WYFF - Family Happenings

I confess up front - I'm fudging.....these pictures are from 2 June - which isn't Friday and so maybe this should be #WYFT  - it's still a glimpse of our week. LOL 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KRISTA! We missed seeing her today, but know she is enjoying her classes  in Lynchburg. 

We began the day thinking this was our last day in Oregon. Michael had a VA appointment bright and early. Armitage Park is VERY convenient for those with appointments at the VA clinic.  Things went swimmingly well at the clinic. We stopped and checked into scheduling his MRI. They suggested 9 June - but we NEED to get down to CA and Mom G - so we scheduled for the same day as one of his other appointments towards the end of June.  He has 2 days of appointments scheduled that week. 

JaRissa are on the LAST leg of their journey. It's a long way from TX to AK (we've done it a couple of times), and it makes me smile to think of all they'll experience in the next couple of days. They were able to get an upgrade! Score. 
#TheArcticGherkins
You may remember Mom's phone went into Sahalie Falls? We had her meet us at Walmart. Verizon was not going to allow her to upgrade (odd as she'd had this phone 2 years), and the price of a new phone was more than mom wanted to pay. She likes the phones Krista and I have ($79 Samsung Galaxy Core Prime from Walmart). I helped her get everything she needed for the phone, and we parted ways planning to meet again in the afternoon or at dinner time.

Feeling very productive, we headed back to The Caboose, picked up the kids, and went for lunch with Bre and Bella  at The Daily Bagel.  We scheduled a farewell dinner with CoRielle, my folks and Lorri for the evening; but BreZaak had plans.

As we enjoyed lunch and Bella cuddles (no photos - busy cuddling), Michael received a phone call. We have one "last" unscheduled issue on his claim requiring "further development." We had been warned they were busy, and the wait times for appointments were long. They scheduled him for Sunday at 0830.  It became apparent we'd not be leaving on Friday.  We couldn't extend at Armitage, but Deerwood RV Park was happy to have us back. It's more money, further away from where we need to be, but the staff is so friendly, and we are happy to have a spot.

Next on my agenda was LAUNDRY and lending Mom phone assistance. Michael and Dad headed off to get the oil changed.  According to the odometer, we put around 5,000 miles on the van during the month of May - definitely time for an oil change.  Mom and I got her set up with Straight Talk (1/2 the price of Verizon per month), switched phone numbers and attempted laundry. 

I had to leave to get dinner finished.  Everyone showed up and the fun began. 

 Cory takes S'mores seriously


Just as we thought the evening was winding down, Michael brought out Patrick McManus. Several around the fire had never heard of him. It was a nice way to end the evening.



Since this IS #WYFF - Friday we moved across town, visited with Mom and Dad, played games, and had dinner at BreZaak's. We came home and watched, "Tangled", a nice ending to a week filled with fun and the unexpected as well.


#WYFF is sponsored by Fulltime FamiliesView more of our Friday exploits by clicking the #WYFF tab above.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Great Olympia Hand Off

Driving to Olympia provided the opportunity to see another State Capitol - though we didn't tour....
WA sate capitol building 
It also gave us the opportunity to see Josiah! The purpose of the trip was to complete the great Olympia Hand-Off. After a quick lunch at a very difficult to find Denny's (even with GPS and an I-phone), we passed JaRissa and the Grandpets off to Josiah. He took them into Seattle for the night. They will fly out the day after to being their new lives in Alaska.
Switching suitcases, again!
Lassie
Bleeker
 

We got home and Michael crashed. It was a long-time coming, and I wasn't surprised. The kids and I enjoyed a walk along the McKenzie River. We love the Armitage Campground. 

Stacia is becoming an architect of unique buildings...sand lighthouses and now....

Rock tower


Another transition day....I hate saying goodbye to the Gherkins....but we say HELLO much more often as retirees!!!!