Down Time on Vacation? Ha!

Hello, Everyone! I know it’s been some time since I’ve posted here. Sorry about that. I really thought that vacation time meant that I would have some down time to think and breathe and blog. Ha! Not family vacations! Instead there was time spent with Grandkids watching movies, making s’mores and apple roses, and general hanging out.

We drove a lot too. My friend from New Mexico moved to the Seattle area so Son drove me to the Seattle home so I could meet and spend some time with her. It’s about a two-hour drive from the mountain cabin. It took almost four hours to get there. Lots of traffic, but also several (as in more than two) traffic accidents that blocked lanes and further slowed driving progress.

We also toured some of the surrounding towns. Bellingham has this amazing hardware store that seems to have everything. Aisles are narrow and packed with stuff. Lotsa stuff. Just look at this list. I mean I could look in that store for DAYS! Yes, I geek out at hardware stores, office supply stores, and bookstores. Probably at auto parts stores too, although I know squat about cars parts.

Anywho, down time on this particular vacation was pretty non-existent.

Snow and Suzy’s Big Adventure

It snowed this morning. Great big flakes that stuck to the ground. For a little while. It’s still there on the east side of the house where the dog pen is. I thought it would last all day but it warmed up after lunch and the snow turned to just wet. A short hike was suggested.

Now, Grandma does not hike much. Behind the house is a steep climb to what I’ve been told is a beautiful trail. I wouldn’t know. When we got here a couple of days ago, we started a family hike. Straight up the side of that hill. I started the climb trying to catch up with Hubs and Grandkids who were walking the dogs. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I didn’t make it to the top before everyone started descending. Dogs got crazy and the next thing I knew, I was making my way down the hill with Max, while he was agitated and acting up. How did that happen? I certainly don’t know!

Back to today. Son assured me that the trail a couple of miles down the road was a flatter hike and just as beautiful. He delivered on that assurance.

Beautiful hike through a river canyon. Suzy (her bum towards the camera) is losing her eyesight. She found her way through rocks and over fallen branches. And grinned the whole time. Could not get a picture of that sadly. Portia was the first to find the water. Does she even know how cold that water is? And Max, well he loves to be moving moving.

Stretching the definition of gravy and Hanging out

Remember I told you that my Son is a great cook?

Today’s entry into the Great Gravy Showdown was a stretch but, because it used the same method as gravy making, we allowed it. That and if we would have disqualified it, we would likely be on our own for dinner. LOL.

Yesterday’s chicken, local small batch andouille sausage medallions, onion, carrots, and possibly some secret ingredients were simmered in a Cajun-spiced roux that was thinned with rich chicken broth to make a glorious gravy. Rice and sourdough bread were perfect accompaniments. We’re stuffed. Well, at least the adults are. Seems like kids can always stuff one more thing into their bellies.

And after dinner, we are hanging out. My DIL is immersed in clay slab work, creating some very cool chess pieces. Hollow cylinder bases that we’ll embellish with designs to represent chess pieces. Granddaughter is playing with dogs, making sure they don’t lick her in the face. We found out the first day that she has an allergy to dogs, especially dog spit. Crazy right? Son and Grandson are playing a quite animated video game. Hubs is playing Pokémon. On my phone. Cos sometimes I miss doing daily research tasks and the like.

This is family. We’re here together yet doing separate things. Laughter, some music playing, relaxing. And all is right in this world.

Split, Peel, Dump and a couple of Rotten Bananas

Have you every played Bananagrams? You word lovers would have a great time with this game! Individual and/or teams. Preconceptions about who would win (First vote was Grandma. Grandma said Grandpa cos he plays a mean game of Words with Friends!) can be dispelled pretty fast.

For those of you who know how to play, bear with me while I share the game with those who don’t know. We first played individually. Six players start by taking 15 letter tiles from the seemingly never-ending, face down stockpile (which is an illusion–it does end, eventually.) When all are ready, one person says SPLIT.

Players turn their tiles over and, as fast as they can, create words with their own tiles, crisscrossing and playing alongside other words. When you have created words with all 15 tiles, you say PEEL. Each player takes a tile. You can rearrange your tiles if you find better or longer words.

During play if you get stuck with one of the many Q tiles (or any other tile you cannot seem to find a place for) and don’t have an I or U to play the Q, you can return it to the big pile and say DUMP. However, you must take three tiles to replace your single dumped tile. See how this could work to your advantage or disadvantage? Play continues. PEEL. PEEL. PEEL. DUMP. PEEL. Heart races and hands fly. And sometimes the brain is left behind trying to keep up with all the tiles you’ve had to add to your own stockpile.

Players hurry to play their tiles while watching the big pile quickly disappearing amidst shouts of PEEL and DUMP.

Until that fateful word-BANANAGRAMS!

Play pauses abruptly. Everyone reviews the words created by the “winner” and, as in Scrabble, challenges can make or break the player. Grandson looks up questionable words and pronounces whether they are acceptable or not. Players whose words are unacceptable are labeled a Rotten Banana and disqualified. Play resumes until another player shouts BANANAGRAMS! and Grandson carefully reviews their words.

Grandma did indeed win the first game. Granddaughter wanted to play teams. Everyone saw through that and she was not allowed to play on Grandma’s team. Grandson and I won a game, then Granddaughter was able to play on Grandma’s team. Grandma and Granddaughter won. The kids stopped playing for the final round. Daddy won. Grandma 3, Daddy 1. And we all had a real good time!

An Amazing Stove and Baked Chicken and Gravy

After a good rest–for the whole morning, I was feeling well enough to join the family and even make baked chicken and, as my DIL put it, “real gravy” for dinner.

Working in the kitchen was wonderful! Look at this amazing stove!

The oven is perfect for baking just about anything and the burner grates sit fairly high off the ample flame which helps with heat distribution to the pan. I would steal this stove in a heartbeat!

Grandson is a bit skeptical of Grandma’s cooking, I think. He loves gravy. But he likes Daddy’s gravy better. Never mind that Daddy made beef gravy and Grandma made chicken gravy, both wonderful. Did I mention that my son is a really good cook? We now have the Great Gravy Throwdown happening right here in this household.