Monday, April 14, 2014

...late Christmas with Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad came up two weekends ago to enjoy a belated Christmas with us. They were going to come up earlier this year but Dad ended up in the hospital with heart concerns. Unfortunately, he had another angiogram instead of coming up to visit. This time, much to our relief, they made it up. While they were here there were crafts, food, walks, and gifts.

K and Mom made a rag doll together. Mom first made this project with my brother's daughter Hannah who needed to make a hand crafted colonial doll for a school project. So Mom helped both Hannah and her friend make this doll. She must have enjoyed the project because then she decided to do it with my girls (C passed). K loved working on this project with Grandma. She named her doll Charlotte (bonus to anyone who knows where she might have got the name from).

I have a stash of inexpensive books that I keep hidden to give the girls gifts out of when I want a spur of the moment gift (they both have giving and receiving gifts as a love language - one that I don't understand since it isn't my love language). I recently gave K a book on desert biomes. She found a paint with sand art craft in it and decided she really wanted to do one. Yeah for Amazon Prime. I was able to order the sand and have it here before my parents came so that she could do it with my Mom. I got out some maple syrup bottles to use for their art. They had a blast doing it and Mom plans to do it with my sister's daughters when she goes out to visit them.

K thrives on doing things with other people.

I think Dad may have wanted a chance for a bonding moment with K like those that Mom was having. He was perusing a cookbook that I found recently at the thrift store (an awesome cookbook that I had bought as a gift for him and then decided I liked so much I had to buy one for myself) and found a recipe for Cowboy Beans that he wanted to try out with K.

The cookbook in question is Heritage of America Cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens, the description for the book reads "Rich in heritage, historical detail, and lore, this volume includes more than three-hundred regional recipes gathered from people all over the United States." When I first was looking through the cookbook, K (for reasons, I am not sure of) decided to make a recipe from Rhode Island, so now she regularly makes us Corn Chowder. I found a recipe for Apple Cider Syrup, which has turned out to be a life-saver on pancake night (for as long as we've been married, Tim has made pancakes on Sunday night). Kira doesn't like pancakes but she eats them much better with Apple Cider Syrup.

Frying the smoked ham and onions for the Cowboy Beans

While they were visiting, we also celebrated my Dad's birthday. His birthday was on the following week. He looks a lot like his Dad in these photos.

In the photo above, you can see Dad opening his gift. His copy of the Heritage of America Cookbook.

Mom tries to make all her grandchildren pajamas once a year. The girls always look forward to their new pajamas from Grandma.

This year, Mom made all her grandkids stocking hats like the ones that she has crocheted for her and Dad for many, many years.

Then came the most amazing gift. Mom made special dresses for the girls' American Girl Dolls. The dresses are replicas of a day dress from the 1860's. Mom wrote a letter with loads of history about the time period and how the different articles of clothing were worn.

She even crocheted these little vests that they used to wear!! Based on this photo I just looked up, they are called sontags.

For those who are curious, the patterns come from Home Sew Inc and Newark Dressmaker's Supply and is the Little Women pattern.


I took three nice long slow walks with Dad. On Sunday, we were joined by Kira and Mom. I took lots of photos. It was a great opportunity. As you can see we still had lots of snow on the ground but it was melting very rapidly. We got a snowstorm later the following week but that is all gone now. However, the news last night suggested the possibility of accumulating snow again later this week.

My girl's ponytail looks right in place doesn't it?

On the walk, we met a group of women on horseback. They had stopped to let people pet their horses and to answer questions. They were wonderful and we had a mutual admiration party while we admired their horses, they admired Kei and Yuuko. It is always startling to me to take Kei and Yuuko out for walks. I get used to them and don't find them unusual but we get tons of questions about them.

During Mom and Dad's visit, Charis acted the part of a pre-teen. She had a youth group event one evening and the next day, she was very tired. She couldn't sleep after the party because she drank two Mountain Dews while at the party. :)

Hopefully, sometime in the near future, I can tell you more about this past weekend. We all went to Duluth for the Mache Homeschool Convention. I learned a lot about homeschooling through highschool.  I also got to meet and listen to a man whose work I admire (Jim Weiss). We also experienced a fright when C feinted in the bathroom after vomiting. Now the rest of us are ill too. It will be a quiet week in the Howard home. :)


  1. What fun pictures. Love them all. Looks like everyone had a great time as well Melissa. How sweet that your mom makes the grands PJ's once a year. I love that. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  2. What a fun post! Cracking up about the two mountain dews. Such dissipation. I think it's wonderful that you had such a great time with your dad after the heart scare. Hope you all start to feel better soon, poor things.

  3. Dear Melissa, it is good to see you here or maybe I have missed you. I am blogging less. The kiddos are getting so big. I know y'all had a good time and made memories. The dolls take me back to my grown girl. I missed Christmas with her too. The dog shots are great. xo, olive

  4. Your mum's AG dresses are splendid. I am so sorry you have come down with the stomach flu. We went to visit my dad this weekend (haven't seen him since December) and he came down with it. We had to stay in a hotel. Your dogs are growing! Look forward to hearing about the convention and I wish you and your loved ones a blessed Easter.

  5. Your photos are wonderful! I love how your family does projects together; it's a great way to make memories.

    I hope you're all feeling better by now!