Our Newest Tradition

Grandma Kc wrote this on April 23rd, 2014 12 Replies

It was a wonderful Easter weekend! I have to admit I was a little bit apprehensive at first about having Amara spend the night with us Saturday night and then having dinner ready on Sunday but I was so wrong! Jenna had told me to put Amara to work and so I had planned the meal based on the things she could do to help. I have never had a big meal like that be so low stress. Having Amara in the kitchen took a huge load off me and we just had fun!

But let me back up a bit. I picked Amara up from art on Saturday afternoon. Her parents had suggested that the two of us go to an Open House in that same neighborhood because the interior of the house is designed like a castle. They thought we would have fun and we probably would have but as I was leaving to go get Amara the girls across the street were outside playing with their hose and wanted to know if Amara could come join them. I told them I would be right back with her. When I got to art, I let Amara decide which she wanted to do — open house or the girls. There was no question — playing with the girls trumped an Open House even if it is a castle!

She ran in the house to give Grampy a quick hug and kiss, drop her bag and change into her swimsuit — oh and grab the water balloons from the garage! And she was off! She came back shivering about an hour later and was easily convinced to take a nice warm bubble bath!

Amara had fun decorating Easter basket cupcakes

On our drive home I had told her about some of the projects I had ready for her so when she got out of the tub she was anxious to get started frosting and decorating the cupcakes I had baked for her. Grampy was anxious to help taste test the jellybeans! Decorating cupcakes was followed by pizza and a movie – Frozen. I knew she would bring it. She’d only watched it 5 times already! She knew every word to every song – she sang most of them to us. There were many songs.

Sunday morning Amara got up and made orange and yellow Jell-O to fill the Easter giggler trays I had gotten. We had left over “grass” from the cupcakes and she used it to cover the fact that the largest platter Grandma had was from the Christmas china! The green coconut covered the gold star quite nicely! She alternated orange and yellow letters to spell out Happy Easter!

Then she had an idea! She wanted to make special flowers for each of us. She knew I had all kinds of sprinkles, but did I have marshmallows and toothpicks? Of course! (Whew!) So she sat down and made a marshmallow flower for each of us to eat. She had gotten the idea from an issue of her American Girl Doll magazine! One of the best parts was when she did the math to determine how many marshmallows she needed to get out of the bag. I just love that she challenges herself to figure these things out and explains them to me as she does it!

Once the flowers were done, she proudly made the entire corn soufflé. She read the directions and measured everything into the bowl and did all of the stirring. The only thing I did was hold the bowl while she scraped it into the pan. It was wonderful having such a great helper! On the other hand, maybe I was the helper!

Amara made Easter giggler eggs and decorated the plate with the flowers she made.

She had fun doing the math to find out how many bunny rabbit rolls would go on each baking sheet, too. If there were going to be 18 bunnies and we had 2 cookie sheets, how many rows, how many in each row… She was so proud of her bunny rabbit rolls and how big they got before she could give them eyes and get them ready for the oven. She even suggested we give them tails!

Easter Bunny Rolls made by Amara

I had made the cheesy potato casserole the day before and I was responsible for the ham but the rest of the meal was pretty much all Amara. It was a wonderful Easter and we have decided that it should be a new tradition for Amara and me to cook Easter dinner together every year!

Amara on Easter

I love starting new traditions!

Troubled Toes

Grandma Kc wrote this on April 18th, 2014 14 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

My sister Judy and I always wanted to have a swimming pool. We certainly had plenty of room for one. There were at least two springs on the farm. One was hidden under the back porch. They found out about it when Judy put her foot through a crack in the cement floor. Pieces of cement started to fall in and we heard it splash into the well below!

There was another well out behind the barn. It had an opening that was maybe 12 inches across. We made up our minds one hot summer that we could turn it into a swimming pool. We got a shovel and a trowel and started to try to widen it. On a hot, humid summer day in Michigan, this project did not last long and we gave up the idea.

When we both started skating competitively, it meant attending events out of town. It also meant staying in a hotel/motel! We would have to be at the rink very early in the morning, which wouldn’t allow for driving there in the morning. I remember us talking mom into staying at one of the motels that had a big outdoor pool – it even had a diving board!

We had never been in a real swimming pool before and I think Judy and I spent hours in there that night. We finally went back to the room because my feet were hurting. We were thoroughly water logged and our fingers and toes looked like plumped up prunes. The bottom of the pool had been very rough and I had managed to peel a layer of skin off the bottom of my big toes. I started to panic when they started bleeding. I think the sight of blood was the only thing that made us get out of the pool when we did.

Judy’s toes were fine but mine sure weren’t. There was no way I was going to skate the next day. I was lucky to be able to get my shoes on and walk. I was in big trouble; fees had been paid; costumes had been made. We wore socks in the pool after that.

Kc practicing her figures

I’m not sure what competition I was practicing for in this newspaper clipping and it isn’t the best of quality but notice my hair is short. I wonder if I cut it short because I couldn’t get my long hair under a swimming cap and they were always required. Or, it may just have been to avoid more hair dryer torture.

Don’t Drink the Kool-aid

Grandma Kc wrote this on April 11th, 2014 22 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

I was probably 8 years old the summer that I joined the softball team. It wasn’t a team like the one you think of today, partly because our town was so small. This was one of the summer activity held at The Wright Street Park, which was just down the street from our house. I think anyone could play which was good because I wasn’t one of the best players.

I could actually throw and catch OK. I remember the excitement of getting my very own mitt. I think it was a catcher’s mitt and it was beautiful golden leather. I may have slept with it. I loved the way it smelled and I was so proud of my mitt. I also had my own bat, which was good, as I needed a lot of help with my batting. I had a very bad habit of throwing my bat. I thought of it as “follow through” and when my bat hit the ball I just let go and let the bat keep going! I do remember Daddy telling me I was going to hurt someone although I never did.

Old Round ThermosSummers in Michigan were hot and humid and we would bring things to drink with us. My mom had just gotten a big round Thermos so I thought it would be great to make Kool-aid and take it with me. I could even share it with my friends. This was over 50 years ago, long before they had presweetened Kool-aid and I can even remember the dented metal measuring cup that I used.

I packed up my Thermos, my glove and my bat and went to play softball – I was very excited about the fact I was bringing Kool-aid to share. I guess I thought that anyone who wanted to could drink out of the white cap that also doubled as a cup. We did that back then. I remember being really warm and sticky and taking the first big gulp of my Kool-aid and immediately spitting it out! I’d made it with salt. I was so humiliated and even worse, I was thirsty!

I’ve always wondered where my mother was while I was making this Kool-aid. I’ve also wondered why she had a huge canister of salt sitting next to the flour canister. Furthermore, where was the sugar?

I really did have the original “Don’t Drink the Kool-aid moment”.

Bowling for Babies

Grandma Kc wrote this on April 8th, 2014 18 Replies

One of the best parts of living only one mile from Amara’s house is that it means we get to do a lot more little things together – the just stuff things, the everyday things. The last couple of weeks we have done lots of things.

One of those things was picking Amara up after school one afternoon so that Mommy could chaperone the 7th and 8th grade dance. It was a Friday and we had made plans to go have yogurt with one of her classmates and his Grandma. His Grandma is the same Grandma that volunteers with me every other Friday to sell fruit pops for the PTA. Selling fruit pops = extra hugs!

Another day she and her Mommy took me to the eye doctor so that I could have my eyes checked and dilated and not have to drive. While I ended up ordering contacts, again there was still a lot of craziness going on as the three of us tried on glasses for one another!

I also went with Jenna to pick Amara up after school last Thursday and the three of us headed to the new Farmers Market. On our way there, Amara told us she thought she might want to be a teacher. I love asking her questions, “What grade?” “Well, not the upper grades because they don’t really enjoy learning and not the lower grades but maybe 5th grade. I think 5th grade would probably be perfect.” How she knows that since she is only in the 4th grade I am not sure. That morning we had gone to the 5th grade class presentation of “The American Revolution — A Musical” at her school. She was very impressed with those 5th graders, as we all were, so that may be why she thinks they would be the perfect age to teach.

Meanwhile back to our trip to the Farmers Market. We had perfect weather and I had perfect company! An aloe plant she saw had her very intrigued so she bought it with her own money. She told her Mommy it was so she could use it on her after the Jog-a-thon next year! Mommy didn’t get nearly the sunburn this year but Amara is going to be prepared just in case!

Sunday afternoon Amara and I went Bowling for Babies. We have friends who have worked hard for the last 7 years to raise funds for the March of Dimes, ever since the very early birth of their daughter Shea. While Amara has heard me talk about Shea and the March of Dimes before I wanted to make sure she remembered what is was really all about. So on our way there I asked her. She sounded so mature and so sweet as she explained that they work to help care for babies that are born to soon. Pretty good answer! I love that girl!

March of Dimes Water Bottle that Amara won in the raffleWe had a blast bowling. I have no pictures to share and I wish I did! Amara’s bowling style could only be described as unique and inventive! But who cares, we were having fun! She bought raffle tickets and dined on french fries between frames! She kept going back to look at the raffle prizes again and again. She had her eye on a purple March of Dimes water bottle. She wanted it so bad! SO bad that I even bought more raffle tickets. And guess what? It was the first prize they drew and she won! She was beyond excited! It was filled with all sorts of wonderful gift certificates and we had to call Mommy and Daddy to tell them before we could leave the parking lot!

On our way home, as she admired her new purple water bottle she asked me “Why do they call it the March of Dimes, Grandma?” I had to be honest that I wasn’t sure but that I remembered when I was a little girl that they actually collected dimes so maybe that was where they got their name. I told her we would have to look it up on our computers and discuss it later. Grandma has since done her reading and I am ready for her questions! These are some of the everyday things I’ve enjoyed recently because I am so nearby. I really am very lucky!

Shea's Baby Brigade Logo

Shea’s Baby Brigade will be walking for the March of Dimes on April 27th, 2014 and would welcome your support. Please click their image above if you would like to make a donation.

Burnt Offerings

Grandma Kc wrote this on April 4th, 2014 24 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

I don’t really remember what occasion first took my sister Judy and me to the skating rink but I know whatever it was we both came home begging to go back. From there it went to begging for group lessons, which quickly led to private lessons and some of my favorite childhood memories. I think I was in 3rd grade when it all started.

Pink foam spongy rollerSometimes the competitions were far away but sometimes they were at The Stadium, the rink where we skated. It was one of those competitions that led to my worst skating memory. It wasn’t the skating that was the nightmare but what led up to it. Competitions always meant that you had to look your best. Costumes were important but so was your hair. At the time my very straight hair was long and often in a ponytail for practice. For competition, it needed to be curled. My mom would put it in “spongies”. They were pretty comfortable to sleep in but since my hair was so long, I would often wake up with my hair still wet at the ends.

Old fashioned hairdryerSo she got a hairdryer similar to this one only hers was blue and looked more like the old-fashioned carryon luggage. The plan was she would wash my hair, put it in rollers, put the dryer cap on my head and put me to bed for the night. I thought this was going to be a good idea. It was going to solve all the problems – and then it got hot. Really hot! I remember yelling for my mom and her coming in and telling me, “just change positions and it will be fine”. It wasn’t fine it was hot! It was so hot that the next morning when she went to take those foam rollers out of my hair she found two of them had melted and she couldn’t get them out! If I hadn’t been so panicked I probably would have said, “I told you so” but you didn’t do that with my mom.

She went looking for the shears to cut them out. I was not going to let that happen so I stood there and carefully pulled each strand of hair out of the melted plastic mess. It hurt and I know there were a few tears but I got them both out. I had scalp burns, too that took at least a week to heal and it would hurt to brush my hair. I don’t remember what my hair looked like afterwards but it had to be better than having one side short and the other side long.

Newspaper clipping of Ernie our skating instructor with Judy and me.

Newspaper clipping of Ernie our instructor with Judy and me.

I don’t remember anything else about that day but I do remember being very bitter.
She really should have listened to me!