montana came to lunch

Yesterday’s lunch had been planned for a month!  That’s what you have to do when five busy women want to get together for an afternoon by the lake.

The weather cooperated, with sun and clouds alternating above our heads.  The shrimp was fabulous.



Shrimp with sweet chili sauce and homemade slaw with a touch of coconut.  Be still my heart.

And the drinks were pretty tasty, too.

IMG_3570We caught up with each other’s lives, with talk of grandchildren and travel and weddings and house remodeling.

It had been quite a year.  No less than three new babies are expected between now and October.

Later in August we’ll do it again, perhaps wearing housedresses over our bathing suits and spending an afternoon on the dock and in the lake and on the porch.

The sun was out this morning and the sky is blue!  It is the first true summer morning I’ve experienced since arriving two weeks ago.  I was up at five, thinking the clock said six.


But there are cakes to bake and a cheese sauce to make and scales to practice on the violin and music to organize, plus time on the treadmill and a shower…which all have to take place before 10:30.

So it’s a good thing I was up early, gazing happily at a cloud-free blue sky and smiling at the mountains!



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it seemed like a good idea at the time

IMG_3557The Funny Grandson delights in discovering how things are made.  After two years of successful jam-making, he asked me if I knew how to make shredded wheat (I discovered later on that it was his favorite cereal and his parents frequently ran out of it, much to his frustration).

What better solution than to have Grandma whip up a batch whenever she visits?

(For the record, I don’t know how to make shredded wheat, but I’d bet someone on Pinterest knows).

So what does this have to do with ice cream, you ask?  Well, I had the brilliant idea of making our own ice cream this summer, something I was sure would delight the FG no end.  So I read a zillion reviews and, after drooling over the $400 Cuisinart with its own compressor, decided to go with the popular $29.99 Hamilton Beach 4-qt electric ice cream maker.

I had it shipped to the lake a couple of weeks ago so it would arrive when I did.  I bought lots of cream and a gallon of milk and a bag of ice and–eventually– rock salt (it took trips to FOUR stores to find rock salt!) and special plastic containers just the right size to store ice cream in the freezer.  On Thursday I was ready to practice, having not made ice cream in about 40 years.  But after I opened up the box I discovered the canister was badly dented.  It would have to go back to Amazon.

Dancing Mandolin Player offered her Cuisinart, a snazzy looking little machine that makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream while sitting prettily on the kitchen counter.  It needs no rock salt or ice; you freeze the “bowl” overnight, pour in the ingredients and let it do its thing for 20 minutes.

Sounds like a plan!  I put the bowl in the freezer and planned to make ice cream the next day.  I would test a vanilla recipe and chop frozen peaches to add to it.  Oh, the excitement!

Then Son #1 called to say hello and in the midst of the conversation asked if I would have almond milk here at the lake for the FG’s visit next week.  They are staying away from dairy products to see if that helps FG’s sensitive stomach.

I feel his pain.  I don’t drink milk either.  And I much prefer the “dairy custard soft ice cream” to the real scooped-from-the-tub ice cream if I’m going to treat myself to a cone.

I have read–okay, a long time ago–that heating milk changes the “lactose” factor somehow.  I wonder if that would help in the future ice cream making process.

I’ll plan to make some fruit sorbets, too.  And will google ideas for almond milk ice cream (it should be possible, right?).  And then there’s frozen yogurt to experiment with.

So today I’m heading back to town.  The Hamilton Beach machine will be shipped back, the rock salt will be returned and I will stock up on almond milk and strawberries (for that sorbet).

Grandma Has A New Plan.





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happy father’s day

1973 Ben and Grandpa001

My father with his first grandchild, 1973.

I had the very best father anyone could have had.

I was so lucky.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there.  May your sons and daughters appreciate everything you’ve done for them and may your day be filled with love.


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Can you spot the geese?  There were about twenty adults and babies on the beach yesterday afternoon.  I can’t imagine what they were finding to eat, but they seemed to enjoy the pit stop before plopping back into the lake

I bought this for Son #1 at the Pantry yesterday.


Nothing says “your mother loves you” more than a giant cookie.

It rained really hard this morning.  Yesterday I made a crock pot full of Texas beans and baked two lemonade cakes.  If this lousy weather continues, I’m going to run out of freezer space!



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purple soup and the pie hut

I must be back in Idaho if I am having lunch at the Pie Hut.

Be still my heart.


Today’s special: sweet potato soup.

So why is sweet potato soup purple, you ask?  I have no idea.  Are there purple sweet potatoes in this world?  I know there are gold ones.

Ah, something to google…

The white topping is coconut milk and lime.  Lovely, isn’t it?

I also indulged with half a turkey sandwich and—oh, bliss!—a slice of lemon meringue pie.

Pie!!!  Pie!!!  Pie!!!


When not cooking or sitting in the Pie Hut looking at pie, I am slowly cleaning up the beach.  There is lots of firewood for this summer’s campfires.  The Funny Grandson has asked if we can have s’mores again (the kid doesn’t forget anything) and because I am Grandma I said, “Of course.”

The ingredients are sitting on a counter in the mud room.  The s’mores and I are waiting for a campfire and the guys who will sit around it and tell me that my marshmallows are on fire (I like them that way).

Ah, summer…

We are supposed to have nice sunny weather on Sunday and from that day on…so I say, bring on the sun!  I’m ready to party.


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anne with an “e”


I watched all seven episodes of season 1 on Netflix this week.  What a wonderful production!  I cannot recommend it enough.   I don’t know how long we’ll have to wait for season 2, but I hope it won’t be a year.   Banjo Man is equally as entranced.

I never read the “Anne of Green Gables” books and now I think I will.

The sun came out yesterday, so I moved some chairs down to the beach and spent a couple of hours soaking up the sunshine.  It might hit 70 today, which is even better.  Hurray!

When not reading by the lake or unpacking, I’m cooking.  Yesterday was this:

IMG_3536I also made 13 quarts of lasagna sauce, so guess what I’ll be assembling this morning.  Son #1 loves lasagna and I will have it here waiting for him when he arrives in two weeks.

Must.  Feed.  Boys.

Also on today’s agenda is a trip to the dump, an errand at the hardware store (batteries!) and a search for my tomato stakes (where oh where did Banjo Man store them?) so I can act like a gardener.

There are also several guitars to tune, along with unpacking music books.

I’d better get busy.


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no pants, no dill, no sun

Let’s address the “no pants” situation first, shall we?  Just so you don’t think I’m walking around the house in my underwear…yet.  For some insane reason I didn’t put my leggings or jeans in my suitcases and instead packed them in the boxes I mailed to myself.  Yesterday, after unpacking both suitcases, I was pretty surprised to realize I only had one pair of long pants and those were the blue leggings I wore on the plane.

I have a pair of shorts and a pair of exercise capris, but it is **cold** here right now.  My old white legs need to be covered.

My boxes should arrive on Tuesday.  This will be very exciting, as the temps are not supposed to rise any time soon.  Hint:  think October.  People around here wear long pants in October.

I woke up at 7, which is much better than waking up at 4 AM and means that I am finally operating on Pacific Daylight Time.  I hope this means I will stay up later than 7 PM tonight.  After downing a mug of coffee, I put on my now-baggy blue leggings, t-shirt and 12-year old gray Walmart zippered hoodie and went to town.

This is not a fashion statement you want to emulate.  Just sayin’.

First stop:  the Farmers Market.  I bought tomatoes here, but they had no dill plants.  The young woman who sold me my cherry tomato plants wore gloves, a winter coat and a wool stocking cap.  Note:  none of the plant vendors had dill.  Maybe it’s one of those plants you have to start from seed yourself?  (Does anyone know?)


Aren’t these peonies beautiful?  I didn’t splurge and buy them, but now I wish I had.

IMG_3535Then I hustled over to the Dollar Store and to Walmart.  I will absolutely not bore you with my search for rock salt for my new old-fashioned ice cream maker, but it got to the point where I was not leaving town without finding it.  No matter how long it took or how many stores I had to drive to.

I want to practice making ice cream before the Funny Grandson arrives.  Those hot summer days are right around the corner, right?  RIGHT?????

Pinterest has several hundred (if not thousands) of recipes.  I’ll start with vanilla and move on to huckleberry or blueberry.  Will keep you posted.

I splurged on new beach towels, but stayed clear of the bakery sections in both grocery stores.  Somehow I have lost my new favorite bathing suit from last year and I don’t know if the other two in the drawer are going to fit.

Do you sense a theme here?  Have I become a person who can’t keep track of her clothes?  What does this mean?

Maybe I don’t want to know.





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groceries and giggles

Tuesday evening found me spending 4 hours in the Chicago Midway airport.

I don’t recommend it.

But in one of the gift shops I spotted this book.  Hilarious, right?  I didn’t buy it, but hope to find it in the local library when the Funny Grandson is here.IMG_3524

I roamed around and eventually stopped here for pizza.



I don’t recommend this either.

The plane to Spokane held at least 10 parents with small children, but because it was a late flight (we departed Midway at 9:30 PM) they fell asleep and it turned out to be a very quiet 4-hour flight.  I was at my hotel by 12:15 or so, which was 3 AM RI time, so I staggered to my room to meet My French Friend Janou!  She had volunteered to pick me up and take me back to the lake.  We planned to go to Costco Wednesday morning and load up on paper plates, pork roasts, burger and sausages.

But first we had breakfast there at the Hampton Inn and, despite a strange encounter with a furious young man over the waffle maker, enjoyed coffee and waffles while catching up on each other’s lives.



My cart in Costco.

Here’s someone who is serious about stocking up.


Here we are loading our purchases into MFFJanou’s truck.  She took advantage of a sale on bed pillows.


After Costco  we went to a quilt shop that MFFJ had seen the day before and thought I would like.  And I did!  They had a huge display of sewing machines, including the Janome 9400, the one that I’m thinking about purchasing in the fall.  I actually sat down and sewed a little on it.  Truthfully?  It was huge and complicated and scary.

The temperature was 92 in Spokane yesterday, but today here at the lake it’s cool and cloudy.  I’ve been washing the outdoor tables and chairs and getting the deck and porch ready for summer.  Later on I might make meatballs…or take a nap.

It’s going to take a while to unpack the suitcases.  But I’m not in any hurry.  It feels good to putter and clean and look at the lake.

I keep sitting down and staring at the mountains.  I’ll carry a chair or two down to the dock later, rain or shine.

It’s good to be at the lake at last.




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leavin’ on a jet plane

Remember that song from Peter, Paul & Mary?  How I loved it.

Anyway…back to the present…that’s what is happening later on today.  I’m leaving on a jet plane for the lake, for the mountains, for the music and the food and the fun and the friends, not necessarily in that order.

And there is so much family time ahead.  I need to get out there early and get ready for the Funny Grandson, who has informed his parents that this summer he will learn how to kayak and he will jump off the dock.

I need to get to the lake and start making–and freezing–casseroles.  Lasagna has been requested.  And meatballs.

Banjo Man and I have agreed that our cross-country, 3000-mile road trips are over.  Ten years of “on the road again” fun are well-documented with photos and blog posts and family stories.  We had a wonderful time.  We had…the time of our lives (and the musical references keep comin’!).

But it’s time to be practical.  And realistic.   We are not getting any younger.  And the trip to the lake isn’t getting any shorter.

So I’m off to the lake today, and My French Friend Janou will meet me in Spokane where we will spend the night and head back to the lake the next morning.

As the song says, “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.”





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We have leaks, so it’s time to think about replacing our 27 year old kitchen plumbing, and that means under the sink, along with the actual sink and the faucet.

So we went to the fancy plumbing store Saturday morning.   We have affordable choices, thank goodness.

Do we stick with stainless steel? I love this one with the 70/30 split.


I like the low separator, too.

And then there’s the gorgeous cast iron sink.


It’s beautiful, but if we went with a large open sink like this one, I would have to use a dishpan.  And I hate dishpans.


And faucets?  High and swoopy or lower and straight?

I love the high, swoopy one but it is too tall for my kitchen and would look silly.

Which is sad. But true.

One must be realistic.

Banjo Man’s number one consideration was in which sink would it be easier to wash the crock pot.  I kid you not.

Which ones would you pick?

We also went to Home Depot to price countertops (I don’t think we’ll be doing that particular remodel though) and then to a Chinese restaurant for fried dumplings and the lunch specials.

All in all, a pretty successful trip…and this was after our 2 1/2 mile beach walk, too.

And now I am packing, because the lake awaits.  Three more days until summer begins!


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