Friday, July 27, 2007

This Week's Family Celebrations: July 22 - 28

Happy birthday to my cousin's son, Xander, who turned four on Wednesday!

This Week's News

This week has been hot, hot, hot! Actually, it's been this way all summer. We never did have our cooling beginning-of-summer rains, so things are really parched around here. My laptop is having problems connecting to the Internet. I took it to the library last Saturday to try to connect to the library's hot spot. That didn't work. When I got it home, the wireless card seemed to work fine, but the network connection was gone. A long call to my ISP tech person didn't help. I called my husband's nephew, who helps us with so many of our computer issues. He worked on it for an hour and a half, and finally got a connection, but it failed about five minutes after he left.

I called our ISP tech person again today. I think we have it partially figured out; but I need help figuring out how to reconfigure the rest of the settings, and I couldn't get back through to tech support.

Missy was at church camp all this week. While there, she received a text message from one of her friends informing her that the little sister of another friend had passed away on Monday. You can see Maddie's obituary here. I felt so badly that I wasn't there when Missy heard the news, and of course, I feel badly for Maddie's family.

It's just kind of been a rotten week, and I'm glad it's almost over.

Friday, July 20, 2007

This Week's Family Celebrations: July 15 - 21

Happy Anniversary to Norm's Aunt Carol and Uncle Ray, who celebrated their 44th anniversary on Wednesday, July 18th.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Peach Dessert

This recipe was shared with me by a girlfriend years ago. I'm not sure where she found it, but we both agreed it was scrumptious! It's a family-pleaser, too!


  • 32-oz. can of sliced peaches, drained
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground cloves
  • dash of salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick (1/4 #) butter or margarine
1. Heat oven to 350° F. Mix filling ingredients well and put in bottom of a 9" square oiled glass pan.

2. Mix dry topping ingredients. Mix vanilla, egg, and butter and then add to the dry topping ingredients, using a shortening cutter, until the mixture is damp, but crumbly. Crumble this topping over the filling.

3. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Topping will be crunchy-looking but bubbly. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping. Wrap leftovers in pan well with plastic wrap before refrigerating, or dessert may crystallize and be difficult to serve when cold.

This favorite goes well with my spaghetti dinner.

My Spaghetti Recipe

My kids really love my spaghetti recipe. The last time we went to a buffet house, my son got a plate of spaghetti and after a couple of bites, put it aside. "It doesn't taste good at all, Mom. It's not like yours." My daughter went to Tomato Street with some family friends several years ago and tried their spaghetti. She told the family she was with that her mom's was much better. High praise from some picky eaters!

So I'm not Italian at all, and can't say I spend hours simmering my sauce or use fresh-from-the garden ingredients. I don't even use meatballs, but instead use ground beef. Despite all this, it's a family favorite, and easy to make into dinner for a crowd.

  • Cooked spaghetti noodles, drained (when I throw the dried ones into boiling water, I grab a bunch big enough to fit within the circle of my thumb and index finger...about quarter-sized)
  • 1 # ground beef
  • 1/2 c. diced onion (I prefer Walla Walla Sweets, but any will do)
  • a couple cloves of garlic, pressed (or use garlic salt with the spices, instead)
  • 1 15-oz. can of stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15-oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 6-oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 small (8 oz.?) can of sliced mushrooms, drained; or a few fresh ones, sliced
  • 1 small can of sliced olives, drained
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • basil
  • seasoning salt (like Lawry's); omit if using garlic salt instead
1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with onion and garlic. Chop up meat into very small chunks. Drain meat into colander to remove excess grease, wipe out skillet with paper towel, and return meat to pan.

2. Add canned ingredients and mix well. Generously sprinkle entire sauce with the spices and seasoning (or garlic) salt. Mix well. Let simmer for a few minutes (about 10).

3. Add drained cooked noodles to sauce. Mix well. Serve with a tossed green salad and/or cut green beans (fresh or canned), and garlic toast. Sprinkle spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese if desired. A favorite ending to this meal is Peach Dessert, served with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

Friday, July 13, 2007

This Week's Family Celebrations & Memorials: July 8 - 14

Happy Birthday to Norm's Aunt Carol on July 8, and his niece Jennie on July 10.

We received news earlier this week that my granduncle, Lloyd Jack Robbins, had passed away in Florida on July 12.

Sizzlin' Hot!

The last few days it's been in the 100s here in Spokane. Today, we had humidity, overcast skies, and strong winds. Later in the afternoon, there were lightning strikes and downpours here and there. It cooled down 20 degrees in 2 hours...from 102 at 5 PM to 82 at 7 PM. I went out and filled my garbage can with small twigs and cones from the trees in our yard while talking to a friend on the phone. She was also talking from her front yard, and we both remarked on how good it felt outdoors in the 80s!

My dad e-mailed me earlier today and sent me the weather report from Colville - 108! Sheesh! It is supposed to be 103 tomorrow, with another chance of storms, then cool down into the 90s next week.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Fourth of July Photos

My parents stopped by last night, and Dad gave me a CD of photos he had taken at our Fourth of July barbecue. He is the only one that does not appear in the slideshow below:

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Projects: Wall, Porch, House Painting

I'm very excited because next weekend, Norm, his brother, and his nephew will begin rebuilding our front porch! This weekend, he's finishing up the retaining wall he built around the back end of the shed next to the driveway of the duplex that was recently built. This is to prevent a vehicle from running into our shed and storage area, as the driveway is pretty narrow and about four feet above our property level. We also purchased the rest of the paint we'll need for the house. Right now my digital camera is unusable; I'm hoping to get a replacement next week so that I can document the work as it is done and post it here for you all to see. It's a tremendous amount a work, and I know that Norm and the others will do a quality job!

Further Updates on My Father-In-Law

Norm talked to his dad the other day, and he's feeling much better...especially since he's allowed to sleep. While in the hospital, he had been woken by nurses every two hours to get his vitals checked, and it wore him out so badly, he couldn't even keep food down. He has spent the last few days sleeping and eating, and it has helped tremendously! He will have to keep it easy for about six months to help prevent more clots.

Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts sent his way!

This Week's Family Celebrations

Happy Birthday to two of my cousins--brothers Ted (July 3rd) and Karl (July 7th)--ages 21 and 23 this year!

Happy 5th Anniversary to Norm's niece and nephew-in-law, Jennie & Nathan, on July 6th (their online family photo album can be found in the right-hand menu)!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Another Update on My Father-In-Law

We were away from home most of the day with the holiday celebrations, but received phone messages and e-mails notifying us that Norm's dad was discharged from the hospital today. He's still pretty tired and in some pain, so he could continue to use your thoughts and prayers. Thank you to all of you who've been doing so!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Wave Your Flag Cake

I'll be making this dessert today in preparation for the annual Robbins Fourth of July Picnic held at my parents' log house north of Colville. There's usually a small crowd attending: my daughter and her boyfriend, my son, my sister and her children, her birth daughter and her adoptive family, family friends, and a small crowd of my folks' church friends. Loren is usually in charge of the grill (burgers or hot dogs), and everyone brings a dish or two. Dad makes his famous baked beans (a Robbins Robbins Family Reunions in Michigan, you could find dishes and dishes of baked beans on the table!), and supervises the s'mores makings. Laurie often brings her delicious cold three-bean dish. There's always potato salad, chips, and soft drinks. Janet usually brings a peanut butter pie! Pete helps Dad set up the tables, and Mom puts out the red-white-and-blue tablecloths, dishes, tableware, and condiments. While things are being prepared, the little boys will play with Grandpa's train layout. Then Dad will gather anyone around to say a prayer of gratitude for the good food, good company, and our freedoms. We'll dig in, enjoy each other, and go home to watch fireworks in the evening!

Wave Your Flag Cake

(image and recipe from Kraft Foods)

  • 1 qt. fresh strawberries (about 4 cups), divided
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 8-serving pkg. or 2 4-serving pkg. of red Jell-o (I prefer strawberry flavor)
  • ice cubes
  • 1 12-oz. pound cake (or I use Sara Lee 10.5 oz. pound cake, and slice it very thin), cut into 10 slices
  • 1 1/3 c. fresh blueberries, divided
  • 2 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 8-oz. tub of whipped topping (store brand is fine)
Wash and hull strawberries. Slice one cup, set aside. Halve remaining strawberries, set aside.

Stir boiling water into Jell-o dry mix for two minutes until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to Jell-o; stir until ice is melted. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites).

Meanwhile, line bottom of 13x9-inch dish with cake slices. Add sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries to thickened gelatin; stir gently. Spoon over cake slices.
Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with wire whisk or electric mixer until well blended; gently stir in whipped topping. Spread over Jell-o. Arrange strawberry halves on whipped topping for "stripes" of "flag." Arrange remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on whipped topping for "stars." Store leftover cake in refrigerator (hmm...there's rarely any leftovers at our picnic!).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Another Update on My Father-In-Law

Yesterday evening, we had a message from Norm's brother that he had called Norm's dad in the hospital and talked with him, and that his dad said he would like to hear from Norm. So Norm called his dad and talked with him for a little while. Norm was a little shook up afterwards; said his dad sounded just terrible; he couldn't remember Norm's brother calling him; and was confused and kept calling Norm by his brother's name at first. I reminded him that his dad is doped up on pain killers, has some oxygen deprivation (which is why he is on oxygen); has lost track of time; and is fighting some pain after he has had the painkillers reduced. Still, I know it is hard to see (or hear) a parent in a weakened state. It reminds us of our mortality, and how fragile life really is.

Norm then talked to his mother for a while. The doctors are fairly convinced that if his dad didn't have pneumonia, then he has had at least a severe infection. He won't be released from the hospital tomorrow as first expected, because of this infection. It will be a few more days. This has been really hard on Norm's mom, so please continue to keep both his parents in your thoughts and prayers...thanks!