Preparing for Family Weekend

The first weekend in August has been designated as “Family Weekend” or as John calls it, “Mandatory Family Fun”.

This is the fifth year of gathering for a weekend of time together and the first year we’ll be meeting at a location other than the lake. Since Sarah graduates this weekend from UNF earning an MHA (Master of Health Administration), our reunion was moved to Jacksonville.


Shopping completed. Boat and fishing gear readied. Bags packed. Bicycles loaded. And the most important job: food prepared. We’re hoping to reduce the amount of time spent cooking by doing some advance preparation.

Ham baked. Lasagna. Mac and cheese. Three types of salsa ready for evenings on the patio overlooking the river.


We’re all looking forward to plenty of good food and drink as well as time in the pool, playing games, watching movies, soaking in the sun, fishing, walking, bike riding, and relaxing. But best of all…spending time together for some family fun.


It’s National Ice Cream Day!

Since today’s National Ice Cream Day, I thought it would be fun to find some new recipes for homemade ice cream. Family get-togethers in the summer usually include pulling out the ice cream maker and whipping up a batch of vanilla ice cream, but maybe it’s time to try something a little different. These recipes should keep us busy for awhile.

I can’t think of anything that sound more refreshing than Lemonade Ice Cream. Click here for the recipe from Your Home Based Mom.

Lemonade Ice Cream

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream made without an ice cream maker? This looks super simple and sounds delicious. Click here for the recipe from Cincyshopper.

Cookies and Cream

Even though this recipe looks like it may be more difficult, Salted Caramel is one of my favorites so it may be worth a try. Click here for the recipe from The Kitchen McCabe.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

While it’s too late to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday (July 8th) with this recipe, maybe Hogwarts fans can start perfecting this recipe for Butterbeer Ice Cream for next sumer. Click here for the recipe from Food in Literature.

Butterbeer Ice Cream

This recipe for Peppermint Ice Cream may make it possible for John to have one of his favorite flavors of ice cream year round since it’s only sold in stores as a “seasonal” item. Click here for Your Home Based Mom’s recipe.

Peppermint Ice Cream

A no cook, no egg recipe for Butterfinger Ice Cream…yum! Click here for the recipe from Livin’ Life Loud.

Butterfinger Ice Cream

Another no cook recipe! This time for Peach Ice Cream from Southern Living. I don’t think there’s a more perfect time of year for Peach Ice Cream. Click here for the recipe.

Peach Ice Cream

Or maybe baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies and making a Hot Fudge Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich would be a better way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day…in any case…let’s eat some ice cream.

Hot Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Happy Father’s Day!

On Father’s Day I’d like to say thank you to both my father and the father of my children. I’m lucky to have been raised by a father who put his family first and taught his children that he would always be there for them. The most important lesson learned: what type of man I should marry. Like my dad, John puts his family first and somehow manages to thrive in a house full of girls.IMG_1276

I thought it might be fun to look at their strengths in terms of some of my favorite dads from TV or the movies.

From Eric Camden 7th Heaven (the character, not the actor)

Nobody’s perfect. No family’s perfect. But your imperfect family loves imperfect you.

From Charles “Pa” Ingalls Little House on the Prairie

Hard work is not just for boys. Mary, Laura, and Cary pulled their weight just like Meghan, Emily, and Sarah (and Dee Ann and Carol Jean).

Steven Keaton Family Ties

Your dad will still love you even if your vote cancels his vote or your political views are completely wrong.

Andy Taylor Andy Griffith Show

Going fishing can make everything alright and what better time to get to know you a little better?

Ward Clever Leave it to Beaver

The perfect example of the dad who kicks your butt and saves your butt in the same day. Something good dads do everyday.

I think both my dad and John have a lot of George Banks in them. You remember Mr. Banks from Father of the Bride who hates to see his little girl grow up and get married to some strange guy. I can’t tell you how glad I am that my dad didn’t go all George Banks when he met John’s parents. I’m sure he was checking them out to make sure they were good enough for his daughter, but if he poked through the medicine cabinet or drawers at least he did so stealthily and to this day we’ve never heard about it. As for John, I think we were lucky he wasn’t caught in this situation. I feel certain he could have been cornered by protective dobermans while snooping on future in-laws.

But like George, they just wanted to make sure that their girls are happy. How can that be a bad thing?

Happy Father’s Day to two great dads!

Reposted from Father’s Day, 2013.


TBT Lesson #52

It’s not easy for siblings to all get together as adults. No longer living in the same town, it takes real effort to meet up with brothers and sisters when working around job schedules and the demands of family.

Here four of five siblings gather for a holiday celebration in the big city of Ocklawaha. John’s dad and aunts pose for a rare group picture: Marian, Johnny, Anne Jo, and Pat. Not the complete crew since Bobby isn’t pictured, but a good start.

IMG_5824TBT Lesson #51: Cherish the times siblings get together. (And take a picture.)

One Last Time

This morning marked the last time I’ll wake up in a house that we’ve called home for 29 years. In May 1986, with a toddler and two dogs, we moved to a house that’s witnessed the growth of our family.

IMG_3023We welcomed two more daughters and a puppy.


We celebrated life’s milestones…birthdays, holidays, graduations and a wedding. The fireplace and oak tree have been the backdrop for too many photos to count.

But last night we slept on a mattress on the floor reminiscent of our life before this house became our home. The bed dismantled and the drawers removed from the dresser ready for the next stop in life’s adventure.

IMG_8705We’ll miss this old house.




Easter Parade

Easter brings a parade of photos, usually with my sister and me wearing matching dresses.


as well as a lot of pictures of baskets, eggs and the Easter Bunny.

Everyone smiling in their Sunday best.

Even an occasional cousin picture taken after a special meal and egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

IMG_7520This year promises to be a day of more photos to add to the Easter Parade as we gather at Emily’s for a special celebration.

Friday the 13th…a day to celebrate

Today’s my best friend’s birthday. I won’t reveal his age, but will say he’s older than me. Now that the cake is in the oven, it’s time recognize John with a Top 10 List.

So here it is, the Top 10 things I love about the birthday boy:

1) He loves the beach.

RSCN02952) He never complains about living in a house full of girls. (Although, he’s been known to put us all in our own rooms for acting up.)

IMG_43913) He cooks! Even when camping.



4) He took good care of his mother and continues to take good care of his family.

5) He’s a good sport, even when playing games that aren’t his favorite.


6) He’s a great fisherman who takes pleasure in helping others catch a big one.

7) He works hard not only at his job but at home as well.


8) He knows how to walk his daughter’s down the aisle.

9) He’s a sailor and a wannabe pirate.


10) He’s put up with me for almost forty years.

Happy happy!



TBT Lesson #39

Yesterday was my brother’s 50 something birthday. We grew up two peas in a pod, only 16 months apart in age.

I’ve kept score for his baseball teams, judged his diving competitions in our pool, kept him awake on the bus ride to school, brought him to Ocala, paved the way into a career in education, served as nurse maid for him and as his family when everyone’s too sick to get out of bed, and have basically been the best big sister he could have asked for.

IMG_5988TBT Lesson #39: You can always depend on your big sister.

And happy birthday, Jeff.

Happy Happy Birthday!

It’s Mom’s birthday!

IMG_4861To the woman who taught us how to work and raise a family, how to schedule, make lists, and stretch a dollar.

IMG_6538To the woman who taught us to embrace adventure.

To the woman who taught us to love our family.

To the woman who taught us that marriage is worth the work and still wonderful after 58 years!


Happy Birthday, Mom!



Showered with Love!

Only two days after Christmas Sarah was showered with gifts.

IMG_5953 copyWith a wedding on Valentine’s Day and a shower so near both Christmas and New Year’s, we celebrated a full year of holidays while showering Sarah with a brunch.

Time with friends from elementary, middle, and high school as well as college…

And lots of family…sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmother, as well as her almost family.

Sarah was lucky to be showered not only with gifts, but with the love of so many family and friends. What a fun day!