Monday, September 28, 2009

Blankets Galore

I have a very messy sewing room. It is actually a study room for Michael, and an extra bedroom for guests or when we have a full house of Hodgpeople.

So this month I have been trying to get rid of the larger items that take up space. I have been making blankets. Using up the thick Minky fabric stash that I have been collecting, the floor of the closet is becoming visible now.

Here are a couple of the blankets. Minky is sooooo soft. I love it. The car/map one is just fleece.

...But like I said, I have a boatload of it and I need to keep making these things till I have a stash of finished blankies, instead of a stash of fabric.

Here is a flannel rag quilt that I made for the cute little new great-nephew. My mom and dad used to make these for everyone and really can't anymore, so I thought I'd make them for the new family additions. I really should complete another one for little Ashley before I go to Utah this weekend.
"Get busy you say."

This is a picture of another mess that I plan on cleaning up today and tomorrow. My Young Women at Church made these lunch bags out of oil cloth kind of as a back-to-school activity. But.... you guessed it, we didn't have time to finish them, so I was elected to to the task.  I guess I was the only one who could've. So I'd better get back to my room.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


What a beautiful thing it is to see your beautiful daughter being a sweet mother to her beautiful daughter!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Toys at Hodgman's House

Lani Soelberg had a really fun house.  I was only about 5 years old but, this I knew, I wanted to have a fun house too. I believed the only way to achieve this goal was to talk Sam and Joyce (my parents)  into purchasing a trampoline for our back yard.  The Washburn's had one too and even though Paula was my sister Camille's age, I also loved playing at their house.
Well, my parents were not to be talked into such a scary and dangerous toy. It was okay for other people to have one, but we weren't "other people" and so we didn't have to have one too.
Several more of my friends received "tramps" as I grew older, but the Kelly's were never to attain such a treasure.
I vowed that I would someday be a fun mom and buy my own children an exciting, enjoyable, never-get-sick-of toy that would grace our yard.

In the 2 or 3 decades between my desire and my parental right to follow my dream, trampolines changed immensely. They were now usually 14 feet round instead of rectangular and the jumper/jumpee tended to be led to the middle of the tramp as they jumped. The spring wasn't quite as tight so the bounce didn't bounce quite as high as the "old ones". They were actually now designed for the backyard play area instead of a gymnastics or diving gym. In essence, they were actually now quite more safe.

So in 1987 (as far as I can tell) I finally achieved my lifelong dream. I bought my children a trampoline.
We researched them out and located one in Salt Lake City. We didn't want to pay shipping costs, so we packed it into our standard size van on one of our western cross country excursions and schlugged it all the way back to Portland, Oregon.

Look how happy my cute little boys were!
This old picture shows Jonathan (7 yrs) and David (5 yrs).  Leeding's house in background across the street, and the side yard was now repurposed for fun instead of a garden.

The entire neighborhood loved the Hodgman's tramp. Here is Kathryn (1 yr), Jan Leeding, and Kelsey Leeding.
Scott (Leeding's dad) used to "jump" each individual kid to try and get them as high as they could fly. The kids would play "break the egg", and "duck, duck, goose".
The best advantage to the tramp (and Leeding's new pool) was long hard night sleep for everyone. I believe that's when Jan got to start sleeping through the night?

We moved across town to NW Portland in 1990 and our trusty tramp came along with us.

We now had room for both a larger play area and a garden. I'm standing on the sandbox lid in this pix of watering on the sabbath.
The kids all learned more and more tricks on the trampoline.

Jonathan usually spotted himself by never taking his eyes off the tramp. Good trick!

David had a little reckless abandon in his approach. WoooHooo!!!!!

Kathryn is 6 years old and never tired of doing this. You go girl!!!!!

Then of course fearless Stephanie. (very high, but you'll notice no flip) This was a preview of things to come, as she became our little gymnast, double fronts and backs, and eventually a bit of a diver.

Still in the Portland house. Michael getting in on the fun.
The kids would sleep on the tramp in sleeping bags during the summer. They would use it for a fort underneath (no jumping today please). It was a gathering spot for young and old. Snow angels were made on it. Fireworks were lit on it, causing it's first little cauterized holes thanks to Jonathan and his buddies.

Here it sits all erect near all the play things on NW Joseph Ct.
(Sometime I'll show more of this yard, but for now I'm nearly done with this scanning stuff.)

Again we moved, and again we disassembled the trampoline and brought it along to our new house in Northern California.

Michael playing under the trees and near the tramp. We didn't duplicate the sand pile in this new place and sometimes I regret that Michael missed out on the digging, tunneling, flooding, erecting, etc. that the other kids got to be a part of. Sorry Buddy.

The tramp was more than once, a source of trouble. Michael (and Gregory or Scotty) used to duct tape his feet onto a non-trucked skateboard and slide along his kiddie picnic table.... while jumping on the tramp.  NOT A GOOD IDEA.
Stephanie and friends once put dishsoap and water on the surface and slid as far as they could go without falling off, or into the springs, or breaking their necks. Again...NOT A GOOD IDEA.
One day the kids were bringing the tramp over to the pool on the brick surrounding area so they could jump into the pool all wet and crazy. You bet I stopped them.  NOT A GOOD IDEA.
Jumping off the roof of the house onto the tramp is also NOT A GOOD IDEA.
I did allow them to jump from the tree or swing from a rope on the tree to the tramp below. I'm not sure how good idea that was, but somehow I let them do it.
After about 13 years, Kathryn and her friend Katy Mac were jumping one day and the tramp ripped. A non-repairable 2 foot gash. So.... we replaced the tramp with one that they were now selling at Costco.
It cost us 2/3 as much as the first one, and was not as sturdy around the edges where it attaches to the springs, but it has lasted us another 9 years.

The other day Michael, who is now 6'2" and a slight 165 lbs., was goofing around on this old toy of ours and it ripped away from the springs in one place.
After thinking about it for a few days, I said with tears in my eyes, "We don't need a trampoline anymore." It seems silly to keep it for the grandkids to use a few times a year. Some of their parents may be like mine and not feel comfortable with them using a trampoline anyway.
So, I am preparing to say goodbye to an inanimate object and am so sad that this stage in my life is gone.
Perhaps wanting this toy for so many years and then being able to enjoy it vicariously through my own children, I never considered that it would be over one day.
Kinda ridiculous, huh?

.........and I just got home from my last Back-To-School Night. That's pretty sad too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Backyard FUN

When we moved to this house in California in 1994, we saw in the back yard not only a pool, but several beautiful BIG trees that looked as if they would love to have a nice tree house built in their sturdy limbs.

After a couple of years David, 14 y/o in the photo above, and Dad planned and built the double decker edifice that would be the fort, hideout, clubhouse, jump off (to the trampoline) place, and whatever the imaginations of my clever little offspring 
could muster up.
Jonathan in the meantime built a new fence on the same side of the yard, while the little girls helped where they could and played as the work progressed.
 Here is a close up of the completed treehouse. Pretty fancy heh?
This was a sturdy tree house, and after a couple of years, a bottom deck was added so that it was easier to climb up into the house. Now it was a three story playhouse. Here you see the complete structure that would have lasted for 20 more years, except... check out the trees that surround the house. Yes, they died. Got eaten by red beetles like many Monterey Pines do on the "peninsula". So in 2005 we took down the trees and of course the well made tree house that they were supposed to protect and outlive. 


and After.

The yard looks looked empty without them, but now after a few years, we seem to be used to the blankness, and don't even notice the hole that is left by their demise.  We've even put a little fig tree, garden, and trampoline (which is a subject I'll tackle later and what led me onto this treehouse topic in the first place). We do still notice the hole that is left in our hearts for those times missed in the treehouse, the cute little children that once graced the branches of the pines, the grandchildren who will never have the joy of playing in them and innocent days that we'll never have again.
Such great memories.

Some New Toys

Grandma (Gramvi - pronounced Grammy or however you want to say it) has a few fun toys at her house. We need to decide what to keep by way of books and crayons (that's "Crowns" to you Kathryn), as well as organize them in the front bedroom closet for easy access.
So that's my housekeeping goal of the week.
               Organize my toys and kiddie activities.
Check back later to find out if I really did this.
Here is a picture of Ellery in our newest toy purchase. Michael, Austin and John held a physics class figuring out how best to place this cute little swing in our sorry looking walnut tree.
I think it was worth it. Don't you?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yes, I cook!

So, apparently I don't often blog about the food that is prepared in my kitchen.
As I looked at all my labels from past posts, I thought to myself, "Self, it appears as though you aren't a cook, by looking at the # of posts you have on the subject."
So I just want it to be on record that I do spend my fair share of time in the kitchen and do enjoy cooking up to date food and keeping myself in on all the great foods that are out there.
I don't like eating or preparing the same kind of food everyday, week, or even month, so I tend to get in a rut once in a while about what to prepare for the fam.
So last night I photographed some of the food that has come out of my kitchen this week. The top picture is from my freezer and is some great Raspberry Jam that Mr. Michael is downing very quickly, much to the Hubby's shagrin. Next here above is a pork roast slow cooking for dinner tomorrow night. I have to take it to an older couple so I thought I'd cook it and refrigerate it so I can take off the fat and also have it ready by mid afternoon and not be rushed.  I think I'll also make some bread sticks from a "Queen of the Castle" recipe I found online a few months ago. My family loves these, and I have been using my breadmaker again after years of wondering if I should just give it away. Thanks Lynn.
The other thing I have again in my freezer is ice cream. This time I made a custard vanilla type with real vanilla beans and it tastes yummy. I think it was a little thick, so I would use less eggs next time (Pioneer Woman said use 8 -9 eggs and I used 7. I think I could've gotten by with 5 or 6.) I've made a blackberry ice cream last month and of course "Kelly Brown Ice Cream" a couple of weeks ago. This is a burnt sugar based ice cream that you either love or hate, and I am in the "Love" category. M Michael is in the "Yuck, really??" category. The Hubby thinks it tastes like coffee (I don't) and David and Katz like it well enough. Kara had it for the first time and she is on board. I'm not sure about Austin. He is being polite.
Anyway, in closing.
       1.  I love food
       2.  I make food
       3.  I read more food blogs than any other type
       4.  I have a very daring palate
       5.  I just don't write about it very often and pretty much never bring out the camera to show how to dump baking soda into flour.
How's that?

(It looks like blogger updated and I am going to have another learning curve to conquer. Can't even find the spell check.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Trois Celebration

Last week I traveled to Colorado to celebrate yet again the wedding of my sister Camille's youngest son. I was also able to see many members of my fantastic extended family, attend a grand-nieces blessing ceremony, and stay with my cute parents.
This is little Ashley Jean who was given a name and blessing by her father Brett who is my older brothers youngest son. Just the next day she was admitted to the hospital in Provo and then flown to Primary Children's Medical Center for bacterial meningitis. She is fighting for recovery and we are praying for her health.
I don't know much about her prognosis, so I'm just hoping and praying for her parents to be strong and her extended damage to be as minimal as possible. She is off the respirator and hopefully out of ICU now. Such a tiny, cute little body to be fighting such a mean infection.
Here are 2 of my grandchildren with 2 of Steve's (my bro). The 2 sets of sisters are close to same ages.
My 2 kiddles who were able to make it to Grand Junction. David, Kara, Lexy, & Lena drove all the way and stayed in Los Vegas on the way. Stephanie came with a cousin from Salt Lake City.
The party was in Camille and Brad's front yard and she decorated it sooo cute. Red and yellow lanterns all around, red flags with yellow hearts, red flags accompanying the guests up the driveway. White lights and lit up twig globes hanging in trees finished off the celebratory atmosphere.
Dane and Aimee (Daimee) dancing at the party.
Lexy thinks brides are THE BEST thing since ..... marshmallows? Look at L's expression. Can it get any better than this?

Lena just wants another piece of watermelon. Greenriver, Utah grows the BEST melons. Don't you just love how the green and red cups are so in focus and the cute little toddler is completely out of focus. I think I took 42 pictures of this and they all suck. Sorry.
My Dad took me on a trip around the west valley looking for peaches. We found plenty, and had a beautiful drive. Thanks, Dad.