S’more Love, S’more Fun, S’more Forever

July 8,2014 by Nama

We had the pleasure of celebrating these two cutes on Sunday.

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J.J. and Margit will say “I do” to their Happily Ever After on the Thirtieth of August.

We Celebrated in camp style at J’s childhood home.  It stormed, it rained, it was humid and there were bugs.  It was absolutely perfect as family and a few friends came together to reflect on love, commitment, family and forever.

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i offered to put together a S’more Bar as the sweet treats of the day. Continue reading

Wisdom from My Man + Recipe + North Woods Pictures

First the good stuff…
My Man jotted a little thought on Facebook last evening and i had to move it over here for posterity.   He is wise, he is a man of so few words i wish to capture most of  what he says and put it in a safe box, knowing someday someone will read and learn from Tim’s years of seeking his Lord.  Here Tim talks about Goals, Gold and God.
Ahh- but the trick is to know that our goal and God’s goal for us are the same goal.  There is inherent danger in believing the financial success or achieving our own “personal” goals is in some way evidence that we are aligned with God’s vision for us.  Poverty and prison may be God’s perfect path for some.  We need to be ever so mindful that pursuit of our own goals is not inhibiting God’s refinement in our hearts. That is where the true gold lies.  by Tim Fischer/Pappa/My Man
This is also good stuff, not quite as profound, but good.  You can google a million recipes and variations on anything you might want to learn to cook for your family.  The problem i see with a blind google is this, you don’t know what you will end up with until you have tried the recipe.  i won’t say my recipes are The Best, i will say they are my family’s favorites, they are tried, you will succeed with them and usually they are easy and affordable.  i live a life of extreme dichotomy.  i want old fashioned fat filled comfort food for breakfast, by dinner time i want light, healthy, fitness promoting fare.  This recipe comes from my love affair with midwest church potluck casseroles, one of the many that  contains Campbell’s magic in a can.

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Nama’s Tater Tot Hotdish

tator-tot-hotdish-family-dinner.jpg //namafish.com

Ingredients needed:

1 pound ground beef (you could substitute turkey or chicken)

salt, pepper

onion powder,  you could use minced fresh onion (My Man is not having that)

garlic powder   (i use fresh crushed garlic)

seasoning salt

4 cups frozen mixed vegetables (any that your family enjoys), mine like corn, green beans, carrots and green peas. This is heavy on the veggies for nutrition.

2 (19 ounce) cans cream soup , you may use family favorites, i use reduced fat celery or chicken.

1 (32 ounce) package frozen potato rounds/Tater Tots/Tater Puffs….you know what i’m talking about.

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Brown 1 pound ground meat in skillet, season with 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp.  black pepper, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder ( or 1 tsp. crushed garlic) .  Drain excess fat.


Mix together in large bowl:  Browned meat, frozen vegetables and cream soup.

Notice the creased back edge of this bowl, our Tylor (now 26) sat in the bowl one evening after the popcorn was all gone, making himself comfortable while finishing the movie Balto,  he was such a happy little guy in his little nest.  i treasure all the little gingerbread crumbs that remain along this family path we walk.

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Spray a 9×13 pan with aerosol olive oil, spread meat/veggie mixture evenly in pan.  i often double or triple the recipe and freeze a couple.  This was a meal for tonight, a meal for the freezer and a meal to share with a new mamma and daddy.

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Top the meat mixture with the potato things.

My clan likes the Tots alot so i waste a whole bunch of time and line them up standing on end, i really really am ridiculous enough to do this everytime i make the casserole.  You may say “just dump a bunch on, pile them up, you get lots-a- tots that way!”  The problem…they don’t all get a crisp top surface, and that crispy top really makes or breaks the tot deliciousness.  The image shows the other more reasonable options, long aligning or random dump.  Once you have your top covered in tots sprinkle ever so lightly with seasoning salt.

Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, bubbly and the Tater Tots are slightly crispy brown on top, 45min-1 hour.

Now a few more fun vacation pictures.  i am pretty sure from tater tots to tadpoles is not an ideal transition, but here goes.

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There were thousands of these guys our first evening at the beach.


Finley loved them.

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She wanted to get closer and learned to say  “Tadpole”.

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Blessing caught them.

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A Grandma, a Nama, an Aunty, Finney and a “tadpole” that had turned into a frog. (in Grandma Linda’s hand) Grandma Linda is more fun with frogs than Nama, and is anyone else concerned about the “caution” shed in the background ?

We shared 4 of our vacation days with Tiffany’s parents and sister.  One of my favorite experiences as a grandma is sharing the grandbabies with the other set of grandparents.  Double the fun to see others treasuring our little jewels as much as we do.

Make New Friends but Keep the Old

Blessing and i shared a very sweet adventure today.  We joined a local homeschool group to tour our local International Friendship Garden.

I gave Blessing the camera and told her it was her job to get lots of cool pictures.

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Friend’s Feet.

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That was thoughtful of her to capture my chicken wings, they are her favorite source of hysterical entertainment when we are driving down the highway, it could drive a mother to wear long sleeves on a 90 degree day.

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How cool is this? Blessing didn’t want to get close enough to snap a picture, she thinks actually is terrified of spiders but one of the other moms encouraged her and she got this.

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Sweet friend’s pretty little face.

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Apartments nearby + artistic frame of tree branches.

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Chinese Pond.

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Friends on bridge. (i took this)

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Off to the bandshell for some improv, Stone Soup was “performed” for the mammas. (and this)

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Our tour guide was a dear friend of many years,  such fun to see her in her element.

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Pretty Poppies.

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Few things delight my mamma heart like watching Blessing be a Friend.  She has no inhibitions and loves EVERYONE she meets. (clearly Blessing did not take this, off my cell phone)

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Some friends we  had met before or known for sometime, some we met today…

You couldn’t tell the silver from the gold, such a rich opportunity to grow and learn together in our own little village.


We are up to this again, cuz it is so yummy.

i must go whip up a French Silk Pie for our Birthday Boys.  i might share my simple recipe if someone asks nicely.



Blessed~Taste of Liberia

june 6, 2014 by nama 

i often grieve all that we do not know about Blessing’s beginning months.

Blessing came home when she was 15 months old.  As we treasure our Grandbabies, three of whom have passed their 15 month birthdays, i am constantly reminded of all we missed, all Blessing missed in those crucial first months of her development.  One very precious gift we have is a set of  images shared with us by a young lady who served as a short term missionary in Blessing’s orphanage months before we traveled to Liberia to bring Blessing home.

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That little tiny bundle being held with the thick tuft of hair on her bald little head is our Blessing.

When i traveled to the orphanage in 2005, i was told that Blessing was referred to as Frisky~O by the nannies.

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  We did not see the “Frisky~O” in our Blessing until months after she had come home, apparently the transition was so traumatic she was “shut down” for a long period of time before we saw the Blessing we now know and adore.  I am guessing that big boy got her bite of mango.

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As it turns out, our big girl Blessing is obsessed with mango.

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She loves to peel them and eat the entire thing skewered on this long grill fork.  I don’t even bother asking.

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Apparently the counter is too high to work on and that trash can right behind the chair doesn’t work either. It is so much easier to treasure the “blessing” in all of this when i reflect on our little tiny Blessing in Liberia fighting for another bite of mango, how thankful i am that she is making mango mess in our kitchen.

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I am so thankful for all the tiny peices to Blessing’s story we are allowed to know.  His plan is perfect, knowing our girl knew the sweetness of mango as a little tiny is one perfect gift he has granted.

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Is this as creepy to you as it to me?

 1 plastic baggie, 1 eaten clean mango pit, fill with warm water and leave on kitchen counter till it “Grows more yummy fruit mamma!”.

Cuz i know you have been wondering how to do that.

Intentional, because it won’t just happen

Mostly i am tired and worn and look the part.

IMG_5068That is why 95% of me is cropped out of this image.  i look like a tired old Nama.  i am just not secure enough for that nonsense.

When i am tired, my default mood is C. R. A. B. B. Y.  i am a mess.  Is that normal or did i get an extra dose of ” not nice lady”?

If i run on instinct and feeling alone, most hours out of your average day or week are not going to be pretty.  i have to be intentional in my choices, i have to purpose each day to do the best rather than alot of  good.

i purpose to do what matters most.  To do what has proven to bring worthy results.  To just be stinkin kind.  To give more than i require.  To think of others for just a moment before i spout my need.  To find a gem to treasure in the gravel pit of everydayness.

Yesterday i slugged to the kitchen and baked this,

Best Banana Bread Ever

Because Kaydra’s Cody is moving out of our little neighborhood very soon and it is his favorite and i had brown bananas and it would be good to have for the grandbabies who will be here the next two day.

Capture.JPG banana bread Here is a pin for you, i am trying hard to make our time together fun and easy for you.

Everyday  most days i read all or part of these daily thoughts.  They are filled with sound old wisdom, i can count on them.  They bring me back to Truth and Hope and the things that are worthy of  intentional commitment.

Streams in the Desert

My Utmost for His Highest

Charles Spurgeon

Daily Light on the Daily Path

We have our California Jewels without Mamma and Daddy for the rest of the week.


Pappa filled some buckets with water last night so they would warm overnight.  We could have run to Walmart and grabbed a kiddie pool.  We are intentionally choosing to treasure what we already have been blessed with + when you are tired and nearing crabby it isn’t wise to add one more thing to the list, at least it is not wise in our neck of the woods.  Buckets work just fine, right?


We are all a bit weary from the parade of fun, the baby girls have fevers.


We are going to step over this, yes that is a swing in our kitchen.


We are going to leave this sit right there for later play.


We are ignoring this until a day when the babies aren’t here.  We only have THIS moment, that is truth whether they live in California or our basement bedroom.


We are going to laugh.  (Kingston was teasing Aunty Kaydra.)


We are going to work together.  (Blessing got both babies ready for bed all by herself because “I can just tell you are tired, Mamma.”)


And we will snuggle.

Because these things last.  i do not do well in disorder but i can not allow the clatter of the urgent and ever undone to crowd out the important.  i must intentionally say no over and over to create room for saying yes to the best.

Say yes to your  intentional BEST today.  Say no to something that “needs” to be done so you can say yes to something that must be done.


This little guy was exploring Nama and Pappa’s house last night. Several times he said,   ” Nama, i member this!”  Kingston is a young three year old, he has been to our home a generous handful of time.  Nama and Pappa’s is a long trip from California.  But he remembers, he is being affected by our choices.  We are imprinting those around us whether we are intentional about it or not.  (the paci is because Daddy is in California and Mamma is in Milwaukee and Nama and Pappa are pushovers.)  Sorry Travis and Melissa, but not all that sorry.

Read something of value today.  Stop the rat race long enough to reflect on what you want to remember about today.  Make time to invest in another life.  Build a relationship.  Share a story of hope.  Decide what things matter most and do those things intentionally and with all of your heart.

I am going to snuggle those big brown eyes while his sissy sleeps.  In 48 hours he will be on a plane headed back to California with his mamma.  If we want him to care what we have to say 15 years from now, we will have to prove to him we care and are worthy of his time by sharing legos, and tigers and Toy Story now.

Blog Business: i am not apologizing for the poor iphone pictures.  The phone is what i could reach at the moment and that was good enough for me.

Are you tired of my “why the little i?” links yet ?

You should really try that Banana Bread, it is good.  Our Cody has eaten most of a loaf.