My 70th Birthday Marathon ~ Visiting & Gifts

1 (1)After letting Nate and Abby know that the afternoon was a family baby shower, decorations had to be changed.

1 (2)The birthday banner (designed by Kristen) was moved to another part of our garage.

1 (3)Cerwin’s mother demonstrates her great sense of humor.

1 (4)And before long the decorations had changed.

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1a (4)In the kitchen Lydia was putting the finishing touches on the crème brulee cup cakes.

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1bGuests began arriving about 2:00 p.m. This is Abby’s other grandparents – our son-in-law, Mark’s parents.

We were pleased that they were able to come as they live an hour and a half away, and he had a recent hospital experience.

1a (6)Abby’s mom, sisters, sisters-in-law, and mother-in-law set up the food table.

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1a (6a)Nate and Abby used cowboy boots in their birth announcement, so there were cowboy boot candies.  Pink and blue were used as they do not plan to learn the sex of their baby until it is born.

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1cBefore long our garage filled with members of Cerwin’s and my family, and I soon learned that it was a bit more than a baby shower.

1dThe invitation said, that this is a baby shower for Nate and Abby, a time to visit Diane and her family – and since it was my 70th birthday, please give Mom a birthday hug. 🙂

1ddWatching Nate and Abby open gifts.

1e (1)A few people did more than give me a hug! This unique birdhouse was from my sister and her husband.

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1fCerwin’s mother wanted a closer look. Elizabeth helped me describe it to her because of her poor eyesight.

1g (1)Melita (Nathaniel’s sister),Chris and Jenna.

Diane did an amazing job of making three scrapbooks from our family cruise in 2012 and brought them along to Pennsylvania.

1g (2)Amy and Abby (pregnant relatives). Amy is my sister’s daughter. Abby is due in early May and Amy in early June.

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1ggOpening cards and gifts.


A few fun photos from the afternoon – from Deb’s camera

1hCousins – Jana and Diana, and Elizabeth in the background.

a (28)Bryson and Deb. (Are they cousins once removed since he is the son of her cousin.?)

1hhI love this picture that Deb took of our mothers.

a (24)Cerwin’s mother and her great-grandson Bryson.

a (25)Oh, the treasure of family generations.


After everyone left I surveyed my gifts, and thought you may like to see them too.

a (30)There were gift cards and certificates, the bird house, food, perfume, and a few other things. And I bet you think that black thing is a camera lens.

a (32)It’s a coffee cup – from Roy and Deb.

a (34)I also wanted to show you this homemade scrubby – made by Jill (a friend from Maine). It is cloth on one side…

a (33)…and scrubby on the other side.

a (31)Another close up of the bird house. Where do people get these creative ideas?


Oh, what a fun afternoon.

Conclusion to Cousins’ Week

Making breakfast on Friday morning.

8-16 (1)What do you think Jared is dropping chocolate chips on to?

8-16 (2)You were right if you guessed pancakes.

8-16 (3)Jesse wanted to make his own.

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8-16 (5)Supper was pizza from Two Cousins – appropriate for Cousins’ week 🙂 – to which the older cousins were invited. Josiah came after I took the picture. Nate is in NYC on a two-week mission trip, Josh was not available due to a prior commitment, and Jana and her mom are visiting friends in Finland.

After supper each of the children went home.

DSC_5785The skunks had one more opportunity to feast at the critter mix box, and tonight it included pizza crust.

8-19-13 (1)Jere and Kristen’s boys came back on Sunday so Jere and Josh could visit a friend who is ill and lives near Penn State. They were here until this evening.

8-19-13 (2)Last night Ian helped me clean the patio – which needs done every few weeks. It was especially dirty this week after putting out “critter mix” almost every night last week.

The skunks were a bit puzzled by the lack of food last night. (We saw a few walking around the patio like they were searching for something.) They had to go back to digging for grubs. 🙂

8-20-13 (1)Today Gloria and Diana came to help label and mail the individual Highway News for TFC. Ian also helped as did Lois and Harold Keller.

It seems quiet here tonight. Jere came for the boys late this afternoon. They will soon leave for the Harrisburg Airport to welcome Kristen and Jana back from Finland.

So life will go back to normal – whatever normal is for us.

Cousins’ Week – Thursday

The field camera caught some of us looking for bugs.

M2E88L240-240R379B320Jared is looking for bugs for the Eco Dome Habitat he assembled.

M2E76L224-224R406B328The camera even caught me looking for ants and bugs.

M2E75L223-223R407B328The critter mix area was a great place to find ants.

M2E71L215-215R408B331Ian just returned from Middle School orientation with his Dad.

2 (1)This was Diana’s supper.

2 (2)Buttered noodles are a favorite of our grandchildren.

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2 (5)After supper they made their last batch of critter mix.

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2 (18)The skunks are going to wonder what happened when we stop feeding them. 🙂

2 (8)Playing Kan Jam

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2 (17)Jesse putting one of the cans away.

2 (19)Evening water fun with the beach ball sprinkler.

2 (20)This was the end of the line for the beach ball and hop scotch sprinkler as both split a seam on this evening.

2 (21)   I felt like I got my money’s worth out of the hopscotch, as I got it on sale in 2012 – for $6.00 – so this was its second season of Cousins’ Week. I think someone gave us the beach ball.

2 (22)  So they resorted to the good old-fashioned water hose for some wet fun.

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M2E18L4-4R350B300Since the field camera again captured many skunks, I will just post this one with three of them. (You can barely see the dark skunk on the right.)

It was another great day at our house.

Cousins’ Week – Wednesday Evening

After horse-riding lessons, we came home and began to prepare supper.

DSC_5527This was Jared’s supper – and he had chosen corn-on-the-cob.


DSC_5533He also wanted to make ham on the grill.

DSC_5536After supper Ian and Gloria posed with their magic rocks.



DSC_5545Then it was time to get wet with water balloons.


DSC_5553…and the hopscotch sprinkler.








DSC_5620…and the sprinkling beach ball.



DSC_5638  It was Duck Dynasty night, and this is how these four looked as they joined us in the living room.

DSC_5633There was some fresh critter mix in the box, so the skunks were well-fed again on this night.


DSC_5642Grandma and the children were all exhausted by bedtime.

Cousins’ Days – Riding Horse

When I took Gloria to Abby’s place to ride horse, Abby asked if I wanted to bring the boys back in two hours so she and Gloria could give them rides.

DSC_5342That made two boys – Ian and Jared – very happy.

Jesse didn’t think he wanted to ride horse.

DSC_5345Abby and Dusty (quarter horse) gave Jared rides. Gloria and General (appaloosa) gave rides to Ian.

DSC_5353Abby is our only married grandchild. She and Nathaniel live about a mile and a half from our place. You can see our wood lot to the left of Abby’s head.


DSC_5355After Ian and Jared became comfortable, Gloria and Abby made them go faster – to the boys delight.

DSC_5359After awhile Jesse was ready to ride behind Jared.

DSC_5370Then he wanted to go fast!



DSC_5379Changing horses.




DSC_5406Next they learned to ride alone – without Abby or Gloria holding the reins.



DSC_5415And Jesse was ready to be in the saddle alone – if Gloria held the rope.

They each came a long way in one hour.

DSC_5430The boys wanted to see Gloria and Abby race.

DSC_5447Then Jared raced with Gloria and General

DSC_5454Ian’s turn to race General.


DSC_5435Jesse getting a turn on Dusty.



DSC_5466“Look Grandma, I am only using one hand!”

DSC_5472They wanted to ride some more.



DSC_5479Jesse watched them from a nearby tree.

DSC_5418Gloria wanted one more ride before we went home.

DSC_5420She showed the boys how to canter.

DSC_5496Jesse’s final ride.

DSC_5498Removing Dusty’s saddle.

DSC_5506Cleaning out his hooves.

DSC_5510Gloria preparing to remove General’s saddle.


DSC_5516Teaching the boys how to store saddles until the next ride.

DSC_5517Gloria cleaning General’s hooves.

DSC_5519Taking the horses to their pasture.


DSC_5522So ended the horse rides on Cousins’ Week.

Thanks, Abby and Gloria. That was so nice of you to think about the boys.

More Activities During Cousins’ Week

Before supper on Tuesday, Ian and Gloria followed directions by adding a few more rocks to their magic rocks..

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1 (3)Supper was a doggie roast and the yellow watermelon (that Gloria was preparing in yesterday’s blog).

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1 (5)We invited the older cousins for this meal. Josiah is the only one who could come in time for the doggie roast. Jordan and Jenna came later. When Josiah roasted his hot dogs, Jesse wanted to roast another one.

1 (6)When Josiah thought it was easier to stand and hold the doggie fork with his foot, Jesse decided to try that too. 🙂

1 (7)After supper it was time for their evening shower.

1 (8)This time they used the sprinkling beach ball.

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M2E41L18-19R350B300We had fun looking at the field camera on Wednesday morning – to see what came to eat the critter mix. The first animal was a neighborhood cat. There is a second cat walking away just over the back of the one that is eating.

There were hundreds of pictures. I will show you just a few.

M2E18L4-4R350B300Next there was a skunk. Notice the second skunk coming from the right.

M2E18L4-4R350B300Two skunks.

M2E18L4-4R350B300Two skunks and a cat.

M2E18L4-4R350B300Three skunks. (the third one is slightly hidden on the left).

M2E18L4-4R350B300   I like the white pattern on these two.

M2E18L4-5R350B300These two are really black.

I wonder how many skunks there were? I can see at least five different ones by their color patterns – and think there may have been more.

M2E36L115-115R398B310The cat came back at daylight – after the skunks went to bed.

2 (1)Jared was glad that his volcano was dry enough to paint.

2 (2)Gloria decorated another gift bag.

2 (3)Jesse is making clay “pizza.”

3Jared is excited to experiment with his volcano.

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4 (3)The more baking powder he added to the vinegar, the more it “erupted.”

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4 (5)   I took Diana to work at noon.

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4 (7)Then I took Gloria to her cousin Abby’s for horse riding lessons. She is riding General, Abby’s Appaloosa.

To be continued.

Cousins’ Day – Tuesday

Cerwin realized in the morning that he forgot to set the field camera, so there weren’t any pictures of what came to the critter mix during the night.

1 (2)However, there was a skunk enjoying the food when we got up – even though it was pouring rain.

1 (1)It had been a rainy night, so it didn’t appear that there was a lot more action than this skunk.

1 (3)Ian was in charge of breakfast – scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheese.

He custom-made every order.

1 (4)Jesse was in charge of clean up.

1 (5)Then it was craft time. Jesse and Gloria are cutting patterns for the spin art machine.

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1 (11)Duct taping salsa jars to use for storage or vases.

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1 (14)Diana doing paint-by-number.

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1 (16)Decorating gift bags.

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1 (22)Jesse working on assembling another kit.

1 (23)Jared painted his globe and moon.

1 (24)Then it was time to experiment with the new crayon maker.

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3While Ian waited for his crayons to melt, Gloria decided that it was time to clean up.

The children love our new light-weight sweeper – which is perfect for quick cleanups.

4 (1)Jared began working on his volcano, because it would have to dry overnight.

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4 (3)I was impressed with this project, and loved the “plaster.”

5It came on a roll that had to be cut in pieces and dipped in water.

6 (1)Then he wrapped the wet pieces over the string to make a really cute volcano. We will show you the experiment tomorrow after it has dried.

6 (2)Gloria prepared supper. Her choice for dessert was yellow watermelon.

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6 (4)It was delicious.

To be continued…

The Official Start to Cousins’ Week

These three woke up in a silly mood on Monday morning.

DSC_5001However, that is nothing new.

DSC_5003They could hardly wait to pick up their cousins Diana and Gloria and go to A.C. Moore for crafts.

DSC_5011We were hungry by the time we finished shopping, so stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.


DSC_5023When we finished eating, we went to the grocery store to get food items we needed for the week.

They each choose a breakfast and supper menu.

DSC_5024After getting the groceries and crafts unpacked, and taking Diana to her job at G & G Feed & Supply, the other four started to work on their first craft.

DSC_5027Gloria and Ian were “digging” for jewels.


DSC_5030Jared was on a dinosaur dig.


DSC_5032Jesse was assembling an Angry Birds kit. The directions were easy enough for a six-year-old to understand. I just had to show him what steps 1, 2, and 3 meant.

DSC_5039Jared pretending to be thinking about the dinosaur he just found during his “dig.”


DSC_5045Jesse playing with his assembled kit.

DSC_5046The object of the game is to “sling shot” the bird into the pig and knock him off of his tower of blocks.

DSC_5047Or if you want the game to be more challenging, you can place the pig tower on top of the cardboard box.

DSC_5048Gloria and Ian eventually uncovered their hidden treasures.



DSC_5055Then they needed something in which to hold their treasures. I had purchased a pack of white gift bags, so for this craft we cut the top off of four, and they proceeded to decorate them with duct tape.




DSC_5064Ian was in charge of supper so asked Grandpa to help him grill hamburgers.


DSC_5074After supper they made a “critter” mix to see what we could attract to the patio – in sight of the field camera. If you are thinking that Jesse has a new hairdo, it’s because the girls were styling his hair.


DSC_5076The critter mix: peanuts, marshmallows, bird seed, chocolate chips, and peanut butter.

DSC_5080This is how they get bedtime showers at grandpa and grandma’s house. 🙂








DSC_5187After they put their wet clothing in the washing machine and got into dry clothing, they watched a video – while grandma RESTED.