Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 Grandma Camp Finale!!

Jackie and the kids spent the night -- because we had to GET UP BEFORE 6:00 AM to drive to Princeton, Illinois to catch the train into Chicago.
 
To save time -- we'd all laid out our clothes the night before. The kids were quickly READY TO GO...
The Amtrak depot in Princeton, Illinois is very old school...
Warren was especially delighted with his new back pack.
One of the few pictures I have of the four of us. Thanks, Amtrak, for the cute cardboard hats!!
HERE COMES THE ILLINOIS ZEPHYR..!!
We'd picked up a bag breakfast at McD's...to eat on the train...
Of course, some Bananagrams...
 I told Warren we could explore the train...so we walked back through five cars....
Until we found the CAFE CAR..!! Such a thrill, eh?
The four of us played another game of Bananagrams...
THANK YOU, AMTRAK... Really. Well done!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Princeton Library Treasure Hunt

We have this new thing we're doing -- TMBC has a Featherweight sewing day on Friday. Turns out, getting together once a week just isn't enough anymore. To continue our group therapy, we needed to include our sewing machines...and some quilting projects...

It happened a coupla times last year...and it was SO GREAT...then Jackie was coming home for a visit...and why don't we do it two weeks in a row?? Then, well, before you know it -- we decided to just do it every Friday. For awhile.

Why NOT??
My sister Ronda (left) can easily join us...Jackie was in town (on the right)
It hit me that THE FOUR GRANDMAS who would be taking Lilly to see Hamilton in January would be in the same room, and we should take a picture...WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY...and maybe I could ramp up a treasure hunt for the kids, to announce our pre-Hamilton Chicago train trip!!

The kids knew I had one big FINALE EVENT planned for Grandma Camp...and Lilly was always asking for hints or clues...but I knew anything I said would give it away...

So, I had Emily drop them off at the library that afternoon. Our Sewing Day was winding down...and I had hidden TWO gifts in the library. A train for Warren, and a bust of Alexander Hamilton for Lilly.

Here was their clue:

When the Army marched off the battlefield at Yorktown, what were they carrying?

She immediately squealed, "Betsy Ross's FLAG..!!""

So -- that's what they were looking for!!  
Warren quickly found his new train/bank -- wrapped in a small American Flag...
But Lilly had to search...and search...
There are basically four small rooms in our library...and she had to check out every one...
I'd wrapped her flag around the little stick...and put it on a higher shelf...(it shouldn't be TOO easy, right?)
So, once they had their two gifts in hand, I told them what the adventure was...
A TRAIN RIDE TO CHICAGO...and a visit to the PrivateBank theater.  Basically, a trial run of our January Hamilton trip...
Lilly, with her four Grandmas...Sandy, Jackie, me, and Linda.  WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GREAT TIME..!!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Grandma Camp Snack Hack

Grandma Camp is winding down. It's been a wonderful summer with the kids. I only lost my temper and patience once or twice (each day, that is)...but the kids forgave me. Because Lilly is 8 and Warren is 4 -- they are VERY EASY TO PLEASE.

It just doesn't take much to delight them.  A simple picnic in the park will do just fine!!

 The other day, I was packing our usual stuff -- the big cooler for water...sunscreen, etc...

WHEN IT DAWNED ON ME!!
This is the cooler we always take for our ice water.
I could just stick a few Gogurts in the ice water!!
And some string cheese, too!!
When I showed Lilly what I was doing, she said, "You've created a hack, Grandma. Actually -- it's a Snack Hack."
It'll be enough of a snack to tide them over until lunchtime.
Because figuring out all this equipment can wear a kid out...
I had some errands to run, so Ross took them to another park...
Lilly loves to watch "hacks" on YouTube. Hacking used to mean getting into other people's computer data...but now, it's more like how to MacGuyver your life...things like -- how would you cut a cake if you had no silverware? (dental floss?)..

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MMWI:  233.0

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Helen Farro's Potato Salad

One of the reasons I am willing to suffer the Iowa HEAT and HUMIDITY is what it does for the garden.  My two favorite the hot weather crops are plentiful now.  Sweet corn and tomatoes...YUMMO...
There is nothing better than sweetcorn...and warm, fresh picked juicy ripe tomatoes...
Along with fresh eggs from our own chickens -- I am on my way to one of my favorite summer dishes...
Making the PERFECT hard boiled egg is a part of Grandma Camp.
Since she was three years old, Lilly has always loved slicing the eggs for this dish...
My mother-in-law, Helen Farro's green bean potato salad:
Helen's cooking was never so much about a recipe -- as it was about techniques or flavor. But here's the basic idea:

2 cups of cubed boiled, peeled potatoes
2 cups of chopped raw tomatoes
2 cups of cooked (crisp) green beans
1 cup of diced hard boiled eggs
1/2 c. sliced black olives
1/2 c. sliced green olives
1/2 c. chopped green onions

Dress it with your favorite vinaigrette...I like olive oil and Balsamic vinegar (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar)...with some minced garlic and oregano.

The salad is best if it sits for an hour or so before serving. And it is GREAT the next day!!

Friday, August 18, 2017

How will you know me?

THIS year, as Becky and I were discussing the possibilities for our fall visit, we heard from another roommate, who would love to be a part of our little reunion. Betsy lives in Minneapolis, and we haven't seen her for about 20 years. It just has never worked out for her to join us...

Although we'd love to have her...there are some logistics involved, and she would probably fly -- so we need to pick an airport, and a date, of course.  I got right on it...

I suggested we go to a lakeside "resort" north of Chicago (it is a motel with a lake view and an indoor pool).  It's near Becky's house -- Bets could fly into O'Hare.  Hey -- I MIGHT TAKE THE TRAIN into the city!! It could work...(I've done it twice now, I'm nearly an expert...)

In the middle of these back and forth email negotiations, Betsy says, "it's been so long since I've seen you, how will I recognize you?"

I told her not to worry -- I haven't changed much.  But I sent a recent picture, just in case...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

College Roommate Reunion

Every Fall, I look forward to a few road trips. John and I usually do a Wisconsin Cheese Tour...and I always get together with my old college chum Becky -- who lives in Chicago. We usually try to split the distance...so we meet in some quaint Illinois town...
I love a good road trip!!
Especially if it starts off with some Bacon Pizza from Casey's!
Who could forget the Tinker Cottage in Rockford, Illinois?
Or the Barbed Wire Museum in DeKalb!!
Usually, we find the city park and sit there for a couple of hours...
It is always thrilling to realize how quickly you can get down to business -- and REALLY SHARE YOUR LIFE -- with a friend you've had for 40 years...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Photos on Fabric

I wanted to figure out how to print photos on fabric -- thinking it would be a GREAT addition to the leftover Splendid Sampler quilt I'm working on. If I could incorporate some Hamilton pictures -- or photos of Lilly wearing some of her Hamilton garb -- well, that would make it extra special for her, right?

And I DID IT!!

The key is butcher wrapping paper.

On your computer, choose a photo and pull it up on the screen to be printed. Set your printer preferences and layout.

1. Iron a piece of white cotton fabric to the WAXED side of the butcher paper.
2. Cut your fabric/paper piece down to exactly 8.5 x 11.
3. Put it in the printer FABRIC SIDE DOWN (your printer may be different).
4. Push "Print"

I thought the quality of the photo was excellent.
Lilly will be DELIGHTED to have this picture of Lin-Manuel Miranda in her quilt!
And how can she forget the day she went to the Hamilton Sisters luncheon?
But then the wheels came off the bus...

A single drop of water got on the Lilly picture...see that spot on her left shoulder?  HOLY COW -- it won't be washable!!  If I put these pictures into the quilt, the first time it is laundered, the ink will rinse away...possibly staining other parts of the quilt as it goes...

Ugh.

Time to move on to Plan B...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Final Grandma Camp Adventure!!

When the TMBC came to Princeton for our Featherweight Friday...OF COURSE, Lilly stopped by to sing a Hamilton song for her honorary Grandmothers.

So I decided this was the PERFECT moment to tell Lilly and Warren about their surprise.  Hummm maybe it could be a library scavenger hunt?

Wednesday (tomorrow) My cousin Jackie is joining me for the last Grandma Camp Adventure.  We're taking the kids on Amtrak into Chicago for a day trip. We'll get on a real Amtrak train in Princeton, Illinois at 8:30 AM -- and arrive in Chicago by 10:30. We'll eat lunch at the Beef and Brandy restaurant -- then walk across the street to see the Private Bank Theater...

We'll take the 5:30 train home...

It's basically a summer trial run for our January 3 HAMILTON adventure.

I had a gift for each child to depict THEIR part of the adventure.


For Lilly, an Alexander Hamilton bookend...and for Warren, of course -- A TRAIN BANK!!
I hid both things somewhere in the library -- and then gave Lilly this clue:

When the rag tag Army in need of a shower defeated the global Super Power --they emerged from the quagmire -- carrying what?

Of course, Lilly yelled, "Betsy Ross's FLAG..!!"

So I told them that's what they were looking for...and Lilly had to let Warren go first...
He found the first flag...wrapped around his new train bank...
But Lilly's was not so easy...
She looked in ever stack...
Finally, she saw the flag, which was all rolled up -- sitting on top of her new Alexander Hamilton bust...
SHE WAS SO DELIGHTED...
This is the only picture I got of the two kids, with their gifts...ugh...
I explained exactly what the trip would be. A trial run for our actual JANUARY HAMILTON EVENT..

Hey -- this whole idea of giving a Christmas Present in June -- so she has something to look forward to -- has been AWESOME!
Lilly and her four Grandma's will go to Chicago in JANUARY. We are all excited!!
In the meantime -- there's one final Grandma Camp Adventure!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Library Fetherweight Day

You already know how, after I purchased my first Singer Featherweight, many of my friends and cousins also bought them....and my three sisters currently own 8 of them...

So, getting a friendly little group of fellow-Featherweight owners together for a sewing day has become, for me, a new happy place!!

Last week,  cousin Jackie was visiting from North Carolina -- so -- I booked the back room of the Princeton Library for a Friday Sew-A-Thon...
My sister Ronda joined the TMBC:  Ronda, Sandy, me, Linda K., Linda P, and Jackie.
We set up two ironing stations.

LP brought her mini-iron...
Sandy and Ronda had some machine issues...which we group-fixed...
I demo'd my new coffee Carafe. (it keeps coffee HOT for 12 hours!)
LP was working on one of her DOZENS of Row by Row panels!!
Well, you the the idea. It was a ton of fun -- and we got a lot done. (half-way to a poem, right?) We laughed so hard we peed (that is a pretty low bar nowadays)...

Hey -- LET'S DO IT AGAIN NEXT WEEK!!  My sister Deb is going to be in town.  She is ALWAYS sewing a bunch of stuff...I'll keep you posted.
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MMWI:  235.4