Monday, October 23, 2017


Mmmm.  Soup!  It's that time of year.

Unfortunately, my grandsons are not big soup fans, so I've been treating myself to some upscale Campbell's soups.  Soup is a great lunch for me ... or a late dinner when the family is having chicken nuggets and fries.  Portobello Mushroom Bisque with Madeira is my favorite so far.  It's hard to find mushroom soup for eating ... and trust me, I've tried them all.  

I broke down yesterday and made Hungarian Mushroom Soup.  A neighbor/friend had me over for such a creamy delish dish a few years ago.  Portland had a restaurant close who made THE best Hungarian mushroom soup ... and they shared their recipe.   I had tried to turn my neighbor on to my new discovery of Campbell's but she did NOT like it at all.  Marge is a bit older than me and at the time, she still loved to cook.  She is having some health issues now so I felt like I owed her the real thing, especially after getting her hopes up about love in a can.

I spent countless time on the internet trying to find the BEST recipe.  Ina Gartner.  Food Network.  Bon Appetit.  New York Times.  Silver Palate.  I finally settled in on the The Moosewood version with a few alterations.  I used half and half instead of milk, 4 ounces more mushrooms (for my convenience as sliced mushrooms come in 8 oz containers and the recipe called for 12 ounces), half the amount of onion and chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.

I had my first bowlful last night for dinner ... she is having hers for lunch today.  Stay tuned.  Next time I think I will add a few wild mushrooms and a few tablespoons of sherry.

Very yummy!  And I forgot to add a plop of sour cream to my bowl!  Mmmm ... I'm looking forward to tonight!

Thursday, October 19, 2017


My favorite sister and her awesome hubby came for a short visit last week.  We text or email or talk several times a week but it was great to have real, in person hugs.  And they hadn't seen the grandkids in person for two years!

I picked them up at the airport about 1pm on Saturday.  We went directly for a late lunch at a favorite vegan restaurant.  I was pleasantly surprised that they serve brunch all day on weekends.  The food is delicious and there is always a bit of a wait.  My daughter works just about a mile from there so we went over for a surprise visit.  They chose a gift for their dog and I bought a get well catnip toy for my friend who was in car accident that morning.  
We mosied over to the infamous local ice cream shop, Salt and Straw.  Which is now branching out into California.  They make the most unusual flavor combinations, some of which sound dreadful but taste so yummy!  Olive oil ice cream?  YES!  Honey with lavender.  Strawberry honey with balsamic vinegar.  And some pretty delicious more traditional flavors.

Saturday evening we weren't really very hungry so I had some cheese, fruit, crackers and wine awaiting in the guest suite for them (we have an awesome amenity of a guest suite with two queen beds, living room, kitchenette and HUGE bathroom, cable TV and wifi .... for just $50/night!),  So convenient to have guests just a building over from me.  And I joined them!

Each morning they would get up and go for a brisk walk then we would meet for coffee about 8:30.  Sunday we went to the Portland Art Museum for a great, short visit.  Janet is a docent at her art museum in Louisville.  They often plan their vacations around visiting art museums.  
I am not into cultural things but they convinced me to accompany them and it was fabulous!  I think I will go at least once a year ... and may take the whole family.  Quite a few youngsters and it was so interesting to hear them ask questions and give their opinions.

We came home and played with the boys (they brought them each a book!).  We took them to see Jesse's farm (they are avid gardeners and avid veggie eaters!)  Sunday evening we went to a newer restaurant with my friend Mary Beth and her boyfriend.  It is called Quaintrelle whose meaning is explained on the wall in the entry ... A woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life's pleasures.  The food was good but not iconic (at those prices it should have been iconic!) and we learned about several new foods!  

Spigarello, more properly called Cavolo Broccolo a Getti di Napoli, is a leafy green that tastes a lot like broccoli. But unlike broccoli, you eat the leaves instead of the flowers.

Monday was coffee, then lunch with the little family (except Braeden who was at school) then walking and hiking and just being with little men in the great sunny outdoors!  Dinner at our local Italian place which was a big hit.  The five of them walked home while I got Deacon ready for bed and reading books.  

Tuesday was coffee, then packing then off to the airport.  So short but very very sweet.  We miss them already ...

Braeden showing Dr. Uncle how to play Minecraft ... he didn't really expect Dr JEH to get it right away ... he's merely a neurosurgeon ...

P.S.  The rains STOPPED and the sun was out for their entire visit

Friday, October 13, 2017


Life sometimes presents big issues for six year old boys.  And great opportunities for Grammas.

Braeden has had a loose front top tooth for MONTHS.  No matter how much he wiggled it (not much ... if hurt!), it would not budge.  Before school picture day the parents bribed him with a new Lego no avail.  They gave him corn on the cob.  Nothing.

Imagine our surprise Tuesday when we came home from school and the tooth that had been horizontal in his mouth for weeks was gone!  Playing on the playground and he fell, popping it right out.  Big trauma as no one could find the tooth.  He was sure the Tooth Fairy would not even bother visiting without the evidence.  The school gave him a little tooth keeper anyway and suggested his parent write a note to the Tooth Fairy, which Momma did.

Unfortunately, the Momma did not have any cash so the Dadda said he would take care of it.  But Dadda fell asleep and forgot!  When I went in to wake Braeden up for school, Deacon (Mr. 3.5) was asleep in front of the door and I had to carefully try to scoot him out of the way without waking him.  Epic fail because Mr. 6.9 began throwing all his stuffed animals off his bed and crying, then pounded his little fist on the floor saying "I just knew it ... she didn't come"

I was befuddled because I couldn't quite understand him and trying to sssshhhhh him so little guy would stay asleep.  Then Mr. 6.9 was mad at Mr. 3.5 for blocking the door so the tooth fairy could not get in!!!

While he sat at the table refusing to eat breakfast, I went in to ask the parents.  They said $2 but the smallest bill I had was a $5.  I folded it as small as it could go and put it in his pillowcase.  Sneakily, I went back to the dining table and said maybe when he got home from school we could take everything OFF his bed, even the sheets.  He went dashing in, took off the pillow case and was AMAZED at the loot.  Then he had to go in and wake the parents (again).

We wanted to take Mr. 3.5 to ride with us to school but he refused.  Once we got to school, him still beaming with excitement, he realized he didn't have a raincoat.  I suggested it was raining so hard they would probably have recess inside.  NOOOoooooo, I have to have my raincoat.  Please, Gramma, can you bring it to me?

I got home and almost didn't bring it, but a promise is a promise.  So back I went.  I looked like death warmed over but had to take it inside to the office ... who said "oh great, they need their raincoats for a field trip and they are just lining up"   For some reason, Mr. 6.9 is "embarrassed" by me (saying good bye at school ... I have to do it BEFORE the door opens so no one else hears) so I mentioned that to the office lady who "got" it.  

The rest of his day was just perfect.  A trip to the Fire Station!  School lunch (Momma/Dadda forgot to pack it!)  And just 18 days til his birthday!.
Super Gramma

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Last week we all went to Sunriver Resort for a week.  Kate and Jesse researched VRBO for weeks and found a great house to rent.  Two bedrooms, each with King bed (mmmm, did I love that), two bathrooms and the boys had a loft with bunkbeds, twin on top, double on bottom.  PLUS an X-box system with bean bag chairs with built in speakers.  That they mainly used to slide down the stairs!

Air hockey, football and foosball in garage. Ping pong table if we wanted to set it up.

They rented a bike with a tag-along for Kate/Braeden and Jesse pulled Deacon in a Burley. I almost rented an adult trike ... but didn't. 

Mr. Ralph and I vacationed at Sunriver at least once a year since 1981.  It's a family oriented neighborhood with 30 miles of paved bike paths.  The Village has recently gotten a facelift but no new restaurants or shops. Well, except a new replacement coffee shop and Starbucks finally horned in!! 

One day they canoed for FOUR hours. Had a picnic and other stops along the way. I enjoyed some time in the bookstore, worked on our puzzle and did a LOT of HOA work. 

We spent four hours at the High Desert Museum as rain was predicted. It is the best natural (and cultural) museum I've ever visited.  It opened in 1982 and they just keep adding to it, both indoors and outdoors.  Loads of hands on things for the liddles and talks and presentations every half hour.  There is a replica 1904 sawmill and tiny village.  And it works!  It was amazing to see the house (one room) where parents and two youngsters lived ... with one tiny box of toys! 

We drove both cars but the boys went with the parents (and dog!) and I left an hour before them so I could stop and dilly dally along the way.  There's a small town called Sisters with cute little shops and perfect for a pit stop.  It's about 3,000 ft above sea level with astounding mountain views.  Population just over 2,000 and it has a small town feel.

Jesse and I had a 1,000 piece puzzle on the dining table and were about 150 pieces short of finishing.  So we carefully put large sections into the box and brought it home to finish.

For the drive home, Braeden chose to ride with me.  Mainly to use my iPhone to play Minecraft.  But it was nice to have the company and every half hour, he had to take a break and we could talk.  We stopped every hour to stretch our legs then had a most horrendous traffic jam the last 25 miles.

So many people cannot believe that we all live together, in pretty close quarters, and then take a vacation together.  But they invited me and I love the area, so I accepted.  It's almost a four hour drive so I doubt I'd do it on my own.

Me and my odd little family!  We LOVE intergenerational living!