Family time


This past weekend my oldest daughter, See See, flew in to visit with us. My middle child announced he would also be popping over.  The kids and I drove to my hometown to see Mom and Dad and to meet up with all of my kids. We had quite the weekend only missing one child and daughter-in-law. As usual Osama invited everyone over for a delicious meal on Saturday and Gigi and Papa were able to make it out to the house to join in. img_2560

I met with a dear friend who I have known since elementary school and catching up was so exciting. She picked up several books for herself and other friends who requested them. She was very kind and also encouraged me to get my life story published.

The next day Mom hosted brunch and the girls helped her out. All of the kids showed up and of course it was chaotic and full of interesting moments! Ben made the mistake of taking a rest on the floor!

The little ones had fun with aunties and uncles

It was soon time for some to depart and last hugs were exchanged

An old friend stopped by for her signed copy of the book

And then we headed back to the beautiful Palouse!img_2634Finally, a selfie of me and my girl

The power of two

People talk about twins and most of us have probably heard about the unique bond that they share. I never really knew much about this until I became the mommom to twin Grandbabies.  They are like all children in that they are adorable, innocent and leave you awestruck! But there is of course something different and inexplicable. IMG_9214

The way they play and communicate through a simple gesture or one word is so much fun to watch and to decipher.  At this point they refer to each other as brother in nickname form. They fight like all siblings do and then all is forgotten within a short time.

The main thing that shouldn’t surprise me but always does is their personalities. They are total opposites and it is easy to tell them apart by their smile and facial expressions. Recently one of the boys smiled and looked just like his brother and I remarked “Wow you look so much like your brother” and I was shocked with the realization that they do indeed look just alike. To us they are so different in every way.IMG_9221

Becoming a parent was life changing for me and now being a Grama is double the fun!





Family affair

img_1076.jpgBoxes, bags, chairs and remnants were piled into the trunk along with plastic containers and bits of brownies and crackers. Clean up from the shower was underway and the next big adventure would be a trip to the Oregon coast. My oldest son continued my mom and dad’s tradition of taking us to Lincoln city each year of my childhood. Last year he paid for rooms at our usual hotel and then started planning for a trip this summer. He and his younger siblings looked over houses for rent and the older siblings all pitched in to make this trip possible! A fb group was formed and the back and forth banter continued between everyone for months leading up to the final day when we met Fattima, Ben and Mude at the Country Mercantile, a stop that has always been made with Mom and Dad.img_8787Osama picked up chocolate covered nuts for mom and Carmel corn for Dad. We all had snacks and then the three car caravan switched passengers and we were on our way!

Meanwhile Mom and Dad gave in and agreed to fly to Portland where they would meet up with Saleeha and her fiance, Edison. They found that the trip missed certain traditions but in the end they arrived relaxed and sat on the deck in agreeable beach weather!img_20180721_171155690_hdr

Nine hours later and several stops at various locations for bathroom breaks and we arrived at the house that had been rented months before. A glorious view upon entry was just what I had wanted and as usual the kids delivered! Everyone settled in, selecting rooms while others put supplies into kitchen cupboards.

The following day was spent on the beach where the little boys enjoyed digging, building and watching.

img_8856                                       While the older kids had a kite competition

Yusuf and Alicia arrived and joined in the fun

Each morning and every night a couple was assigned to make a meal and another to clean up. Mom and Dad arrived to eat our morning meal and stayed until evening when they returned to their room at a favorite hotel. Siblings had hoped for a cooking competition and were disappointed when that fell threw but you can be sure that will be part of the planning for next year!thumbnail_IMG_8998Of course the usual games and even new ones were played well into the night and siblings, sister-in-laws and new additions all jumped in with the crowd!

Shopping, a visit to the aquarium and more time spent on the beach were all part of our experience. The main themes appeared to be; playing games, flying kites and competing in every way possible! It was pure family time and everyone had fun watching babies!

Aquarium with the kids

Shopping and whale watching

Four days later it was time to head home and we started our little trek back to the real world.

Happy birthday Heme!

Another year has passed and it is hard to believe my youngest is now 15! This weekend we went to the lake where we have celebrated most of Heme’s birthdays for the past 9 years. There have been weddings, graduations and kids moving in and out of the family home and this special young man turning 15 put an emphasis on all that has transpired. We also decided to do some work to get the house opened up for the season.IMG_8123.JPG

Grama carefully pressed layers of ice cream one flavor on top of another and then topped it off with Chocolate chip mint, perfect for a lake dessert! The birthday boy requested Grampa’s spaghetti along with garlic bread and salad.

Spending time at the lake is relaxing! When the house was built some 25 years ago, Mom insisted that every room have a good view of the lake! Having a lake house means relaxation, fun in the water and family time.

But of course with that comes a great deal of work as well. Mom and Dad are very active but it is not prudent for them to be standing on unsteady ground, picking up rocks, logs and wood or pruning the many blackberry bushes that line the stairs! Mom loves to do her gardening but has agreed that it needs to be less upkeep. She has slowly given in and this year gave up her lilies replacing them with ground cover. We were the lucky recipients of these lake plants along with Osama, Yusuf and Fattima. IMG_8027

A few hours of pruning was needed along the stairs which is comprised of two separate sections. Everyone told me to sit and relax but this has been my job for the past few years. The idea is to get the bushes and plants trimmed back far enough that they do not get in the way until summer ends. I took several breaks and finally finished my portion of the stairs, but I was too tired to take photos of the end result! Let’s just say it was totally clear.

The boys brought the kayak down to the lawn. They mowed, weed wacked and picked up any trash or debri that had come in with the high water.

Then it was time to prune some bushes that grow wild and crazy often entering the porch.   IMG_8060 (1)

We took a break for some water fun until the kids were tired and wanted to head up to the house for sandwiches.

The kids played dominoes, we ate a light dinner and turned in early!


The next day Osama surprised us and showed up early in the morning with the three kids in tow and a box of Heme’s favorite donuts in hand. The little ones brought an extra ray of sunshine to our celebration. IMG_8130


After dinner the cake was served and one little cutie sat waiting for Daddy to feed her! As soon as he spooned up some cake she beamed with a huge smile!

It was a weekend full of family and fun times and we all worked hard!



Being at the lake brings back memories both good and bad but we move forward and try to reclaim our place in this world. Sounds of laughter, games being played at the dining room table and the feeling of freedom is a welcome reminder that we are truly home.


The past few months have been spent working on my book, sticking to the usual routine and spending a great deal of time with Osama, Jacki and the precious ones. They have made several visits to our home and we have been there as well.

In January Jacki surprised Osama with a night out for his birthday and a sleep away at a posh hotel. We were called upon to spend the night and watch our three adorable babies. It was great fun and we were thrilled to be a part of the surprise. The kids were here this past weekend as well and as usual it was lovely chaos!

One of the favorite activities at ma’s house is a ride around in the desk chair.

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     Chair for watching t.v

Aunts love to play dress up!

Princess Alayna enjoys a quiet moment


Blessings Love Family Blessings Love Family Blessings Love Family Blessings 



Grama Elva’s Swedish meatballs


                  Great grandparents                                                 Grampa Adolph

Grampa Adolph worked in the brickyard in the small town of Troy, Idaho. He was a quiet man who barely spoke and when he did he had a broken accent. His parents had emigrated from Sweden and while his older siblings were born there, he was born in America.

He married Elva Sodestrom and they had three girls who were raised in a loving but strict household. My mother was the eldest of these girls and has always treasured her Swedish heritage. Elva was a feisty little lady who made the best cinnamon rolls, maple bars and sweets. She left an indelible impression that has never faded.

My mother never forgot her Swedish roots and continued with the tradition of making these special meatballs. She would make large batches for family reunions and when she came to Saudi she enlisted the kids help in rolling and frying them.

As you will see these meatballs are not low-fat! I am sure you can alter this recipe to make it less fatty which I have tried a few times. I am posting the original recipe not a low fat version!


2 pounds ground beef

1 cup finely chopped onions

2 eggs slightly beaten

1  cup milk

1 cup fine bread crumbs

1 1/2  tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. nutmeg


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

4 beef bouillon cubes

3 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups light cream or half and half

Butter for frying meatballs


Soften breadcrumbs in milk

Mix ground beef, breadcrumbs and all other meatball ingredients until well combined

Roll ground beef mixture into 1 inch balls

Place a small amount of butter in a large saute pan and brown meatballs on all sides. Fry until thoroughly cooked. You will have to work in batches with this larger recipe. When cooked, remove to a baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix water and bouillon cubes on medium heat until dissolved, set aside. Melt 1/2 cup butter and add flour, mix until smooth and bubbly. Add milk, cream and bouillon to flour mixture and stir until smooth and thickened. Pour sauce over meatballs and bake in oven an additional 30 minutes.

My mother’s original directions are listed below. I changed them a bit to suit my needs.


Family time plus one

Another week has come and gone. I love writing my family time posts. It has become a fun thing to do and a reminder to be grateful for everyone and everything. As most of you know last week was spent with Osama and Jacki waiting for Alayna and then supporting them in their household the rest of the week.

Day one-waiting for Alayana

Meeting Alayna and a trip to the hospital

Alayna comes home

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I bought the boys a little couch to watch t.v.

Jacki came home early from the hospital, she and baby are doing well. She is such a strong woman, wife and mother who puts her family first. I am very proud of her!

The weekend was full of helpers which can also be chaotic so now it’s time for the little family to start making their own routine with new baby. I am so proud of my son, he is a wonderful husband and father. He is there taking care of Jacki every step of the way, making sure she is comfortable. He changes diapers, gives baths and reads to the boys. He is there in every way and that means everything!

Back home to the Palouse


Family time

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Family time for our large group is not a special time that is set aside for anything in particular. Having a large family means every moment is basically family time. College kids coming and going, people dropping in for a quick bite to eat or taking me out to get groceries. I value this time and it makes me so happy to have these drop in visits.

It has been brought to my attention by wonderful  people who have entered our family, that there might be 5 or 6 conversations taking place all at once, and while everyone in the family unit follows what is going on, others can be a little lost. It takes time and eventually they come to understand our unique way of communicating!


Little brother hugging his big sister

The younger kids had no school Thursday or Friday and so that time was spent going to various appointments and making our way to Spokane for my skin check. We stopped over to pick up a special custom birthday cake that Yusuf ordered for Grama who celebrated her 83rd birthday on the weekend. thumbnail_IMG_3512

We took the cake and drove a few miles to Osama and Jacki’s house and spent time with the precious boys. Jacki is doing well but very tired and ready!

Mom and Dad arrived, we surprised mom with the cake, they visited for a bit and then took the cake for a celebration the next day at the lake. We said our goodbyes and headed back to our little town. Both boys waved and sweetly spoke the words Byyyyyeeeee



The next morning I took Heme to get on the bus for a cross country meet, we followed awhile later. The little town we went to is nearby and sits in a valley. The landscape was amazing.

Heme had a good run and did his best which for me is always what I hope for. We jumped in the car and drove two hours to the lake. Mom and Dad do not really need anything and so we hate to burden them with more stuff that they will not use. So in the past few years we bring lotion, chocolate, nuts, basically items that they really like and use. We helped put away the kayak, tied up the dock and made sure everything was up from the lawn. Mom made hot dogs, salad and we sat and ate.

The cake from Mom’s favorite place was taken out and served.

We kissed and hugged, got in the car and drove through the Palouse back to our sleepy college town where the gentle touch of Fall can be seen everywhere.



Story time


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Two cute little twin boys each grabbed a colorful book and climbed up onto the recliner. They sat happily, looking at fuzzy bears, shapes and colors. Pages came to life with stories of trucks that beep and geese that honk.

Then they both decided one of the books was more interesting, it had textured pages and lots of bright colors. Both boys were crying and the book finally fell down onto the floor.  They looked at each other feeling quite sad that it had come to a fight. They decided to share and got back to reading.

What adorable and special little guys! I love these boys!


They lived happily ever afterIMG_2924



Watch dog

While visiting the kids over Spring break we also had the pleasure of seeing our special Clementine! She is older now and although she was excited to have company she was very calm and well behaved. She waited by the bedroom door each morning hoping someone would wake up and sit with her instead of impatiently jumping and blocking the bathroom door. She shook hands, gave high fives and rolled over, then stood waiting for a treat. She looked at me with her big eyes, but waited before jumping onto the couch, plopping her paws over and watching for her friend the cat to appear. It was great fun to see her and how she has grown! Miss you Clementine!