Month: July 2018

Finnish books

Finnish books

For a non-Finnish speaker, Finnish books in English are a little hard to come by! Here are a few of the Finnish books we have in English that we display in June when we celebrate Juhannus: This story takes one of the tales from The Kalevala 

Father’s Day books

Father’s Day books

“I had a father who read to me.” I had a father who read to me, too, and I loved that! Those are some of my sweetest childhood memories of my dad! I know that Father’s Day was over a month ago, but I have 

The cousins are coming!

The cousins are coming!

This painting, “The Fairy Tale” by Walter Firle, reminds me of this moment when Lane’s mom was reading a goodnight story to these little cousins who are now all grown up!

Part of the joy of summer (or any time of year!) is when aunts and uncles and cousins get to come visit, or we get to go visit cousins. I noticed that this joy began years ago: when we visited Lane’s cousins this month–who are now grown up with families of their own who are beginning to have children having families of their own–there is that same feeling of joy in getting to see cousins. These are sweet friendships that last and last.

This is a tradition I recommend: getting together with cousins to nurture those wonderful relationships!

“The cousins are coming!”

We love the first line of a song our children heard growing up, “Cousins” by Tom Chapin. It describes the chaos that can ensue when families get together:

Cousins
by John Forster & Tom Chapin
© 1990 Limousine Music Co. & The Last Music Co. (ASCAP)
The cousins are coming!
They pulled into the driveway like a frigate dropping sail.
And out came Butch and Mike and Bill and Ben and Baby Gail.
Uncle Hugh looked hassled but Aunt Bess was all aglow.
“Hello!” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Hi.” “Yo!”
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
Blow up the air mattresses, hide the breakable toys.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
We sat in the basement playing cards, all quiet and discreet
‘Til Mikey peeked at Billy’s hand and Billy said, “You cheat!”
“I don’t!” “You do!” “Did not!” “He did!” Then we heard Grandpa say,
“I’ve had about enough of this, I’m taking the cards away.”
Then Butchie went and fell on a rake and bled all over the floor.
They stitched him up and gave him a shot and Butchie was back for more.
He ate a hero sandwich and he drank a quart of punch.
Then he disobeyed the Doctor and went swimming after lunch.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
Blow up the air mattresses, hide the breakable toys.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Late that night we bedded down and began the pillow fight
That broke the big aquarium, the mirror and the light.
We swept the glass and saved the fish and put ’em in the john.
Well, no one knows what happened but next morning they were gone.
And then at breakfast Baby Gail went backward in her chair.
“Mikey pushed me!” “Wasn’t me.” “Was!” “Was not, I swear!”
Then Mikey threw a muffin, hitting Billy on the bean,
‘Twas the most gigantic food fight this world has ever seen.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
Blow up the air mattresses, hide the breakable toys.
Cousins, cousins. Here come the boys.
Then Uncle Hugh said, “Time to go. We gotta get out of here.”
It took them half the afternoon to pack up all their gear.
And when they piled into the car Aunt Bess was full of woe.
“Bye-bye.” “So long.” “See ya.” “Bye.” “Bye-bye.” “Bye.” “Yo!”
Cousins, cousins. There go the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.
My Mom sat down and gave a sigh and said to me, “You know,
I love to see your cousins come, I love to see ’em go.”
Cousins, cousins. There go the boys.
Bedlam, mayhem, noise, noise, noise.

The Relatives Came

We listened to this album (and a bunch of others) on our car trips to and from grandparents and cousins’ homes as we have raised our children.

And here’s a book that joyfully depicts those eagerly anticipated summer family gatherings: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

I was so sad to hear about all the homes that burned this past week in Whiskeytown, CA, the place where my cousins and aunt and uncle and our family would go to water ski in the summer. My uncle had a boat, and it was behind that boat that I overcame my fear and learned to waterski. I was remembering that fear just 3 weeks ago when I stepped into the Echo Reservoir to try open water swimming for the first time. I’m praying for those who are suffering from their losses! Such a tragic time!

Whatever your opportunities, I hope you can enjoy some cousin time of your own with your children!

FINISHED! My experience training for and racing in an Olympic distance triathlon

FINISHED! My experience training for and racing in an Olympic distance triathlon

Sarah and I finished our first Olympic distance triathlon on July 14, 2018. It was a major milestone for us both and came as an answer to lots of hardwork, a little bit of pain, and many sincere prayers. I had a very emotional night 

Pioneer Day place setting prayer

Pioneer Day place setting prayer

We used to have some old pie tins that we had saved to use for Pioneer Day dinners. But at one point I think we (I?) tossed them. When we were setting the table for our special dinner this past week, we really wanted them. 

Blackberry ice cream, chokecherry syrup, Danish rolls, chicha morada, and baking powder biscuits

Blackberry ice cream, chokecherry syrup, Danish rolls, chicha morada, and baking powder biscuits

We love to gather together for a good meal. We had such fun meals this month, including extended family picnics for the 4th of July and a wonderful Pioneer Day dinner with one of Sarah’s good friends from high school.

For Pioneer Day, we had roast pork (cooked in the oven in a Le Creuset Dutch oven, but we could have cooked it outside in a real Dutch oven if we’d wanted…sometimes inside is just more convenent!), boiled new potatoes and carrots (slightly seasoned and tossed together), sliced cantaloupe, grilled and herb-buttered corn on the cob, and homemade baking powder biscuits with currants. And butter and jam.

And homemade chicha morada made by Sarah’s friend’s mom! This is a purple corn drink from Peru that has crisp apple bits in it. It is DELICIOUS. We need to get the recipe.

For dessert we had what Sarah’s friend’s friend called the best ice cream he’d ever eaten: blackberry ice cream (The Pioneer Woman’s recipe–an appropriate source for the day, wouldn’t you agree?). We normally make homemade ice cream in our hand-cranked and electric mixers, but our electric one died last year, and again, we were short on time this year. So we used the Cuisinart electric one that works very well!

To make the grilled corn, you grill it with the corn husks on, and then shuck it after it is cooked. You then baste each cob with herbed butter (mix butter with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, such as thyme and/or basil) and put it back on the grill for a minute or so.

I realized that the recipe we use for baking powder biscuits isn’t here on my blog. We always pull out the Betty Crocker Cookbook, since that is where the recipe is! I wanted to include the online link for future reference, in case we have forgotten the proportions and don’t have our book on hand. We always substitute real butter for the shortening and love to add dried currants (1 cup?)–that’s an English addition that Lane’s mother picked up on when they lived there.

When we were visiting Lane’s grandparent’s home over the 4th of July, I remembered about his grandmother’s amazing buckwheat pancakes with homemade chokecherry syrup. I was able to get the recipe for the syrup from his aunt, as well as a bonus recipe for Danish rolls that we will have to try. I LOVE getting heirloom recipes!

 

Great Quotes: “The single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”

Great Quotes: “The single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”

I was looking for this quote today and found it! Hooray! “A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. 

Quiet

Quiet

I’m really excited about listening to this book this coming month. I’ve really thought a lot about how much I talk and share this year. I have tried to listen more. Sarah and Lane both read and loved this book when they read it some