Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

Today is the 44th birthday of our firstborn!

Many years ago I remember asking my father how it felt to be turning 70. He replied it wasn't as hard as having a daughter (me) nearing 40. I TOTALLY get that, now!

Jeff is a loving husband to Caroline and a proud father to son, Cole, ...

and his daughters Jordyn, Lauren. Katelyn, and Allison.

To step back from his hectic world of husband, father and high school history teacher, Jeff enjoys a nice walk with Caroline, an end-of-the-school-year fishing trip, playing his guitar, and experimenting with his camera.  Following are some of his photographs from the last few years.


Guard tower at Alcatraz.

San Francisco Clock Tower.

Scenes from Israel.

A California fireworks display.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.

Palm Springs Sunset.

"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them - the Lord, who remains faithful forever." -- Psalm 146:5-6

Happy birthday to a fine son who is dearly loved!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Greetings everyone! May you have a blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Back-tracking - Our California Trip - The End!

Well, Christmas is nearly here so I guess I better finish up our November trip to California!

I mentioned earlier about the pumpkin pie tasting ramekins. Well these are little cups made with scraps of pie crust and pie filling that did not fit into the pie crusts. They've become such a family tradition! This is breakfast on Thanksgiving morning and Jeremy introduced Maddie to this yummy treat. She loved it!

We gathered at Jeff and Caroline's for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Two of My Three Sons!

22 gathered around their kitchen and dining room. It was a lovely day! Since we moved away, Jeff and Caroline have made it a new tradition to invite friends who also do not have family nearby to share in the holiday meals. They are known for their hospitality!

 That's the turkey under that bright orange beach towel. Jeremy roasted a 25.9 lb. turkey at their house and then wrapped it up for the transport. It was delicious - herb crusted, very moist and juicy. Actually when we take the turkey out of the oven, we wrap it up, or as I say "put it to bed" - wrap in foil and cover with a couple of large heavy beach towels. This keeps it very hot and lets juices go into the meat while gravy and other last minute things are prepared. As an aside, Rachel Ray showed how to do this in one of her programs in November. We've been doing it for years!!! Try it!

Our California Family!

"Thanksgiving" dinner with my sibs, Kathy, Steve, Joel, Nan and Luke was at a great little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant that Joel and Nan enjoy. Food was delicious and as always, it was a great time with lots of laughter.

Maddie's 1st birthday party was on Saturday following Thanksgiving. Jeremy and Renee hosted both of their families for the event. Maddie, however was sick with a 102 temperature the night before and was pretty clingy to Mom and her "blankie". Considering how she felt, she was quite a sweet little girl. Jeremy grilled chicken for tacos, complete with all the trimmings for 22 people! Delicioso!!

Great family shots from the day.

After her birthday cupcake, she was whisked off to bed. A visit to doctor the next day revealed she had a double ear infection. Poor little thing!

Our last day we had lunch with Rich's cousin Marlene and her husband Frank.

Then we had a last visit with Mom. She's a amazing lady, who is working hard at adjusting to her new living arrangement in an assisted living facility.  It's always so hard to say good-bye to her.

We spent several wonderful nights with my sister Kathy. We enjoyed her warm hospitality and some wonderful dinners out. What a treat to have such fabulous food! This is just one of the displays in her courtyard. It truly sums up what a wonderful trip we had. We truly gathered with grateful hearts! Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cookies - Again!

Saturday morning the girls came to decorate their Christmas cookies. We had such a good time!

Audrey's favorite color is STILL yellow, so every year she mixes the yellow frosting.

Isabel. As an aside, there was an open mike at her school on Friday during lunchtime and she got up to sing "Jingle Bells" in front of the entire school! Way to go, Isabel! Would she sing it for us??? NO!!

Brett and Esther came to join in the fun. It was a sugary, sprinkley, wonderland of sweet!

Moira, little Miss Perfectionist! She really got creative in decorating her cookies. She's always been a girl who loves patterns. She spelled out her nickname "Mo" in red hots on one cookie.

I've been on a peppermint bark kick! Found a recipe for Peppermint Bark Popcorn that sounded yummy! Love it.
Here's the recipe from

Peppermint Bark Popcorn
16-20 cups popped popcorn (fresh popped is best, NOT microwave which has that funky yellow color)
1 lb. almond bark
1 6-ounce box of candy canes (Bob's is best), crushed
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used 1 cup)

Crush the candy canes in a ziploc bag. Pop the corn. I put in 200 degree oven to keep warm.

Melt almond bark in a double boiler. Stir until completely melted. Quickly add peppermint extract. This is where is gets tricky - it will seize very fast so quickly stir and pour over popcorn. Blend. (I used my hands - it was hot). Add crushed candy canes. Stir, stir, to blend all. Pour out on wax paper- or foil-lined baking sheets.

Melt chocolate chips in double boiler. I added 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. Let set. When hardened, package in bags or gift boxes. Yum!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back-tracking - Our California Trip - Part 3

Oaks Christian School has a lovely tradition the day before Thanksgiving, Grandparents Day. We went four years ago with Cole. This year we were able to go with him (a senior), Jordyn (a sophomore), and Lauren (8th grade). We started off with a continental breakfast with other high school grandparents, followed by a program with various choral groups. We then met Cole and Jordyn and they escorted us to some of their classrooms. The format was repeated for the middle school, where we met Lauren. We also visited Jeff's history class, where he was conducting class with students who did not have grandparents visiting. Such a lovely day!

Jordyn, Cole, Jeff, Lauren

One thing I really enjoy on this campus is the many wonderful quotes painted on walls of the buildings. This one is over the entrance to the History Department. Interesting side note ... the main building of the high school was once an aerospace company. During the Cold War there was an underground vault for top secret communications. The History Department is now located in that area. Isn't that appropriate?!!!

This is the quote that is inscribed over the door to Jeff's classroom.

Rich - always the teacher! At Jeff's podium.

A view of one of the Jeff's classroom walls. Another side note ... see the sign "Jeff Dewey for Judge"??? There was a man running for judge in Wichita in 2008 and when Jeff saw this campaign sign while visiting here he called the other Jeff Dewey's office to see if they could meet (which wasn't possible), but they gave him two of the signs. We have one in our garage.

I LOVE this! Next to the "No Limit" hang one of my Dad's rod and reel, net, and his fishing cap. I knew Jeff had the rod and reel, but the cap and net were a big surprise. It's historic and profound! Dad would have been so proud!

A great surprise was when we bumped into Barbara and Tony. She was the cafeteria manager at Rich's school, now retired several years. They were "grandparents" for some neighbor kids and we saw them at both the high school and middle school. Very fun, indeed!

Favored teachers!

We loved going to Jordyn's photography classroom, where she showed us her photography portfolio.  Great work! She has a great "eye", just like her Dad.

This is a view of the soccer fields. Wouldn't you love to go to school with a view like this??? The Pacific Ocean is beyond the mountains!

The Olympic-size swimming pool. Lauren was on the middle school swim team.

The building at the rear is the middle school. Another side note ... this building housed another aerospace company. In 1977 I was secretary for the engineering department which was located in the corner behind the tress. Oaks purchased this building a few years ago and converted it to a wonderful middle school. They have wonderful athletic fields, to the right of the photo.

So after our time at the high school we met Lauren at the middle school.

She proudly pointed out the award for her soccer team. They were the first Class "B" team to take a championship in their division.

Looks like two students, but don't be fooled. Lauren and a favorite teacher.

After lunch with the girls, we went back "home" to Jeremy and Renee's. She was waiting for me to get back so we could bake together. She had already baked two pumpkin pies and was working on two apple pies. We would bake four more pumpkin, plus little "tasting" pumpkin ramekins. That a lot of pie, but between the Dewey and Lord families, we would eat it during the Thanksgiving weekend! She also made two batches of the most WONDERFUL dinner rolls. No kneading, so light and fluffy that they about flew out of the pan. You can find the recipe here:

Another GREAT DAY with our kiddos!