Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Girls are Here


We fondly call Linda B. and Linda S. “The Girls”.  Everyone thinks we are talking about our daughters, but that’s OK, because we consider them “family” anyway.  We met Linda X Two in Coffeyville, Kansas, we were were all working for back in 2008, and have kept in contact. 

Since then we have met up with them in Florida, Alabama and the latest in Louisiana this last February.  They are workampers working as independent contractors for AGS/Texas Advertising who publish campground maps.  They’ve just started with them, but are doing very well.

The Lindas had a week in between jobs in Arizona and Wyoming, so they are spending it with us in South Fork.  Although they are staying at a campground 2 miles down the road, they spend most of their days with us, which we love.


We went to Creede and drove the 17 mile Bachelor Loop up in the mountains seeing the remains of the silver mines.  It is very interesting. Saw the “cribs” outside of town where the “ladies of the evening” practice their trade…so to speak.


The drive is very pretty with scaffolding from “way back when” used to shore up the sides of the mountain and then we saw the vistas from way up high where you can see for miles….normally.  You will see in these photos that the smoke from the Las Animas, NM, fires have come up this way and creates a haze.

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Jim had opened up the top of the jeep so we could see better from the back seat.  It was nice to be in a “convertible”.

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We stopped at the Creede Cemetery so the girls could look around.  Robert (Bob) Ford is buried here…he’s the one that killed Jessie James.


When we got back to Creede I had to bring The Lindas to visit the CIMG7698Creede Olive Oil Company, as they like to cook vegetarian and I know they would enjoy sampling the olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  Linda B. stayed outside with Jim, but Linda S. and I had a ball checking out all the flavors.  I found a new favorite, Fig Balsamic Vinegar!!!  Oh, my was that intense. My mind raced with all the things I could put it on..grilled fish, fruit salad, my finger…..

Linda S. bought a bottle of Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, two bottles of the 18 year Balsamic Vinegar and an Espresso Balsamic Vinegar. So deep and rich it was.  I bought myself my birthday present (which I do every year) and got the Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and the 18 year Balsamic Vinegar….next time I’ll get the Fig.


Yesterday we had the girls over for a BBQ dinner along with Dawna and Charlie. This is another tradition we do every year with they are camping with us. Jim made some amazing pork ribs and the girls brought over some Morningstar Riblets that we wrapped in foil and put on the grill…they came out good also.  The Lindas brought over a bunch of cut up marinated veggies that we grilled up, so we had quite a spread.  I put some of the Roasted Garlic Olive Oil on halves of pan squash and it was delicious!

We had only one space empty last night in the campground, so hopefully we’ll have a full house for the 4th of July.  We are expecting the Abeyta family to come up today from Espanola and they will be here a week, so more friends to spend time with.  The Abeytas do a lot of dutch oven cooking, so I’m excited for Jim to learn how to use the one I got him for Father’s Day. 

We’ve really been blessed this year with many of our friends coming by to see us.  We are really anticipating the Mossman’s arrival later this month…as we seem to be attached at the hip for the duration….I kid Jim Mossman and say we are going to travel together for the next 15 years….he responds with “oh, I thought it was just till 2015”…big kidder!

Well, The Lindas should be arriving any time now and we are going to travel over Wolf Creek Pass, see the Continental Divide, drive down the twisting and turning road towards Pagosa Springs and stop at Treasure Falls. 

What are you going to do today?

Remember, you are loved.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Several people have emailed me and made comments on the blog asking for the recipes for the Salmon Bisque and Tamale Pie that I wrote about a week or so ago.  I guess I need to remember to put in a recipe any time I show photos of what I’ve cooked.  So here they are.

Salmon Bisque

1/2 pd salmon
1 clove garlic sliced
2 T each olive oil and soy sauce
Marinade for 30 minutes and grill.  Set aside to cool.

1/2 c onion, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
Sauté in olive oil with a bit of butter for flavor

1 can chicken broth
1 can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
pinch of nutmeg
Add and simmer a bit to get bay leaf working

3 c half n half
1/4 pd smoked gouda cheese
grilled salmon broken into pieces
Add and stir gently until warm and cheese melted

This is great with warm bread or biscuits and maybe a salad.  It is very rich and leftovers are just as good the second day.


Tamale Pie Casserole

1 1/2 pd ground beef or turkey (or Morningstar Crumbles)
1 large onions, chopped
1  16 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 small can corn
1 T chili powder
1 corn bread mix (like Jiffy)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat and onions stirring until meat crumbly - drain off fat
Add tomatoes, corn, chili powder, salt and pepper
Cook till thicken
Pour into greased casserole dish
Prepare corn bread according to directions
Pour corn bread over meat and tomato mixture
Leave some space around the edges for juices to bubble
Bake 375* for 25-30 minutes till corn bread baked through

We eat this a lot to soothe our taste for Mexican food. Leftovers heat up well and are delicious.

Remember, you are loved.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Visit from Another Friend-Carolyn

Tuesday we had the pleasure of another friend coming to visit-Carolyn Wilkerson.  We first met Carolyn and her late husband, Keith, in Quartzsite, AZ, back in January, 2008.  We were all attending the gathering of the Escapee RV Club Class of 2007 (graduating from working to fulltime RVing).

Carolyn is camphosting at the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico and needed a couple of days away, so she came up here for a visit with her dog, Joey. We’ve followed each other through Facebook and discussion forums, but haven’t seen each other since 2008.

Some of the campers had pooled their fishes for a couple of weeks and Tuesday night gathered for a fish fry, complete with home fries, hush puppies, cole slaw and beans. 

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Jim, Charley and Rich discuss “life”
We always invite Rich and Terri

Carolyn is a strict vegan so we made up some polenta topped with slices of tomato and soy mozzarella cheese.  Carolyn fixed up some kale with sauté mushrooms and garlic. Oh, it tasted so good!!!


    We all enjoyed the camp fire as it was a bit chilly.

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Unfortunately, Tuesday night it was real cold for Carolyn, around 32 degrees, so she decided to go back early, but she wanted to see Big Meadows and Creede.

So, Wednesday I drove Carolyn up to Big Meadows Campground to show her the changes they had made in the lower loop of the campground and then showed her the other two loops that hadn’t been done yet….big difference!!!!  It sure will be beautiful when it is all finished.

In the afternoon we took Carolyn up to Creede for a look see.  Carolyn and Keith had visited Creede many years ago so it was a treat for Carolyn to see how it had changed.  The buildings are all the same, just the business IN the buildings are different.  Carolyn took us to our favorite pizza place, OMI (Old Miners Inn) for lunch.  Even without cheese Carolyn thought the veggie pizza was very good. 

Afterwards we investigated a new business in town this week, Creede Olive Oil Company, situated right across the street from OMI.  This mom and pop shop import olive oils from all over the world (Spain, Egypt, Italy, etc.) and then infuse/blend in various herbs to create some superb olive oil blends.  My favorite was the Roasted Garlic Olive Oil…I can imagine many recipes that would be good on. 

In addition to olive oil, Creede Olive Oil Company also specializes in balsamic vinegars of various blends and infusions. All the oils and vinegars range in price from $16 - $18.  They have an 18 year old balsamic vinegar that pours thick like ketchup and is sweet and deep in flavor.  I enjoyed just sipping it by itself!!!  I enjoyed their generous policy of tasting everything.  They have disposable little cups to taste with or cubes of bread.  I fell in love with the Chocolate Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar….oh, my!!!!  Like Guy Fieri says, “you could put it on shoe leather and it would taste good”.  This wonderful blend is suggested for meats, fish, vegetables AND ice cream!!  For me, I just want to tilt my head back and pour it in my mouth  LOL!!! 

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In addition to the olive oil and balsamic vinegar they also carry a line of very different pastas shown above right.  Their are also displays of locally made wire wrapped jewelry, exquisite scarves and paintings.  The Creede Olive Oil Company is a fascinating and very different shop.  I highly recommend it any one in the area.  I will be buying more oils and vinegars before we leave the area for sure.

While I was shopping Carolyn, Joey and Jim were enjoying the shade of a tree on the sidewalk.

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Hay, Classmates of 2007, don’t you just love Carolyn’s short haircut?  It is so cute and very becoming.

We got back to the campground about 4 p.m. and wished Carolyn a safe trip back to the Ghost Ranch, with a promise to see each other in Quartzsite in January if not before at The Slabs this winter.

Remember, you are loved.





Monday, June 20, 2011

Father’s Day 2011

We celebrated Father’s Day by going out to breakfast to the Feel Good Coffee Shop here in South Fork.  I splurged and had a latte!   I don’t do that often because I think it is foolish to spend $3 for someone to pour hot milk into my coffee…I rather put an expresso shot into a regular coffee and add creamer myself and get the same affect for a lot less money.

After then Jim went and gave all the restrooms a “lick and a promise” as we use to say….well, maybe not a “lick” in this case LOL.  I put together a tamale pie for our camphost potluck.  I used ground turkey so it was at least a little healthier. 

I had to laugh, Jim spent his Father’s Day washing all the windows in the rig on the outside…what a difference!!! Then, of course, last night it rained a little and rain a little more this morning.  You’re welcome, you’re welcome everybody….you know the old saying if you wash your car or wash your windows it is sure to rain….

We are excited that one of our Escapee RV Club Classmates are coming to visit tomorrow.  We first met Carolyn and her late husband in Quartzsite January, 2008, and have corresponded off and on, but haven’t seen each other since then.  She’s been camphosting in New Mexico this summer and wanted to take a break for a couple of days so she is coming up here to stay in our campground.  I am very anxious to have Carolyn here, as she is a strict vegan.  I bought vegan “butter”, vegan “cheese” and even vegan marinara sauce.  I’m going to fix us a pasta dish one night, but haven’t figured out what to make the second night….maybe a vegan bean burger of some sort.

Business is going well for this time of year as we are ahead of last year’s figures.  We are getting a lot of people driving through checking out campgrounds for 4th of July.  Many want to make reservations, but all our current campgrounds are “first come, first serve”.  I just have to tell them to come as early as possible to assure getting a site for the weekend.  We expect to be full in our campground and mostly full in all the other five campgrounds.  It will definitely be a long weekend for all of us as we have to double and triple check all the restrooms.  You’d be surprise how many people use the toilet paper for fire starters!  Then Jim has three public restrooms on the highway he has to clean and keep an eye on, so it will be a busy weekend for us all.

What are you going to do for the 4th of July?  Are you going to travel somewhere special?

Remember, you are loved.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wantabe Fulltimers

I don’t believe in coincident.  I do believe everything happens for a reason and that sometimes we are brought together with others for a very specific reason.

Such is the case of Brian and Holly just “happened” to stop at our campground one night.  They have been talking about buying an RV and traveling around the country seeing the sights and working on the road. 

Brian Holly Karbo

They didn’t know that there was actually an organized group of people who do that and we are called “workampers”.  And that there is a magazine called “Workampers News” that is published every two months (is that semi-monthly or bi-monthly?) with listings by state of jobs that are available.  I also told them about Escapees RV Club and gave them one of their membership brochures.  I explained about Escapees’ sub-group called the Boomers and how we consider them our “community” or “family” on the road and how we don’t consider it out of place to travel 200 miles out of the way to eat lunch with a fellow Boomer.

We talked for a long time about fulltime RVing and the different things to look out for when considering a job on the road.  I think I’ll get them a copy of Jaimie Hall Bruzenak’s book, Support Your RV Lifestyle, which I consider the best book on subject of workamping on the market today.

We discussed changing your domicile and the many mail forwarding services available around the country.  We sure have so many more choices available to us today compared to when Joe and Kay Peterson started Escapees RV Club back in 1978.

I loooove talking with “newbie” RVers and sharing what I know about this lifestyle.  It’s not a lifestyle for everyone, but for those adventuresome souls who want a little taste of the wild side, unpredictability, who want to do something different, and those who enjoy wandering, it’s a great way to see this beautiful country of ours and live spontaneously.

Remember, you are loved.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Salmon Bisque

Back before we retired and I was still working at the public library, we’d have these potlucks every now and again.  One potluck Emily brought her husband’s Salmon Bisque. It was soooo rich with a different goodness and I never forgot that taste.

Then a couple years ago Jim and I stopped and visited Emily and Randall in Magdalena, NM, where they had moved. They live “off the grid” completely on solar in an adobe house that they bought as a shell and finished themselves.  Their well is 1/4 mile away and piped down to them.  They live a very simple and serene life.  I really admire and respect them.

Emily remembered how much I liked Randall’s salmon bisque so she made it for dinner along with a loaf of homemade wheat bread.  OMG, it was so, so good.  Randall did give me the recipe but I’ve lost it.

The other day I found two single portions of Trader Joe’s salmon in the freezer that really needed to be used.  Being a brisk, cool day a salmon bisque sounded really good.  So I searched the internet and came up with a basic recipe and then Jim and I thought back to Magdalena and remembered a couple of things Randall had that were different.  Namely teriyaki marinade on the salmon before grilling it and adding a can of tomato paste and smoked cheese.

Well, here is the final result and boy was it good.  I added a few shrimp I found in the freezer and along with the grilled salmon, chicken stock and cream it was a real winner.

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Remember, you are loved.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Busy day in the “city”

Last Wednesday I had to go into the big city, Alamosa, for a bone density test and also to get my annual physical and prescriptions renewed.  Happily recent lifestyle changes brought good news on weight lose, much lower blood pressure and test results.

Although my doctor is an OB/GYN specialist, years ago she took me as a patient because I knew her from the library (she is an avid reader and knitter) . As I was leaving I noticed this little bucket on the counter.  Did I get it big enough for you to read?


I laughed so hard!!!!! I had to take a picture and share it with you.

Then I drove to the nursing home to visit my dear girlfriend, Naomi.  It was a beautiful clear day and the wind hadn’t started up yet, so I took her outside in her wheelchair for some sun.  Naomi loves to feel the sun on her back and to breathe fresh air. I walked her around a little bit and then saw if I walked down the street a while Naomi could see the peaks of Mt. Blanca in the distance. She was very, very happy to see the mountain range. I sat on the curb and we watched trees as she described to me all the difference hues of green she saw in the leaves.  It was a nice time together.

Then it was off to do all the shopping.   First the liquor store for more wine - I get to have one glass a day - then Walgreen’s for No Nonsense socks I’ve fallen in love with - then Walmart for sundries - next was local food co-op for my vegetarian things (miso, tempeh, TVP, quinoa, spices sold in bulk) - off to City Market for some meat for Jim for Father’s Day and Morning Star products for me for the month.

Finally at 6:50 p.m. I arrived back at the campground after a 12 hour day, having left at 7 a.m. for my 8:30 appointment.  Big, long  exhausting day.  Glad I only do this once a month.

Remember you are loved!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Veggie Shortcut

Since I have been eliminating meat from my diet, I’ve been buying a whole bunch of vegetables.  Most times I can’t eat them all before something goes bad and I through it away. 

Same thing happened this week, but I got an idea that saved most all the vegetables.  This morning I cut up all the vegetables I had left over and sautéed them in a little olive oil and garlic.  This week I had yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, onion, carrots and kale.  Now I have a shortcut for cooking dinner.


I can take a portion and add it to marinara sauce for a fortified spaghetti dinner, use it by itself with linguini noodles for a dinner, or add stir fry sauce and put the veggies onto of quinoa or brown rice, etc.  So now I have a way to use up all my vegetables every week…in fact, I think I will cook up the vegetables the same day I buy them so that they are at the peak of freshness.

Oh, I’m getting excited about which vegetable combinations to buy each week to create different tastes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Joke - “Sharing in a Marriage”

I have never put a joke on my blog before, but this one made me laugh out loud and that hardly ever happens.  So here it is - enjoy!

The old man placed an order for one hamburger, French fries and a drink.

He unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half, placing one half in front of his wife. He then carefully counted out the French fries, dividing them into two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife. He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them . As he began to eat his few bites of hamburger, the people around them were looking over and whispering.

Obviously they were thinking, 'That poor old couple - all they can afford is one meal for the two of them.'

As the man began to eat his fries a young man came to the table and politely offered to buy another meal for the old couple. The old man said, they were just fine - they were used to sharing everything

People closer to the table noticed the little old lady hadn't eaten a bite.   She sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink.

Again, the young man came over and begged them to let him buy another meal for them.
This time the old woman said 'No, thank you, we are used to sharing

Finally, as the old man finished and was wiping his face neatly with the   napkin, the young man again came over to the little old lady who had yet to   eat a single bite of food and asked 'What is it you are waiting for?'

She answered --

(Wait for it- This is great)




Remember, you are loved.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Forest Service Bear Meeting

It was an actual meeting about bear encounters.  Last year Jim and I had to close down one of our campgrounds because there were two bears who wouldn’t stop coming into the campground to have “lunch” in the dumpster. 

The camp host had done all the recommended things to keep the bears away--talk to each camper about putting away food at night--bars on the dumpster--spray ammonia in the dumpster every day--bright lights--boat horn--etc. They kept coming back so we had to move all the campers and close the campground. 

Because of this the forest service came together and developed a bear protocol with guidelines of what to do when through a series of levels, one through four.  They also gave us after-hour phone numbers to use so we can get in touch with someone if need be.

So last Wednesday to separate forest service districts came together for a meeting to discuss bear encounter protocol.  The forest service put on a good meeting.

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Dale Gomez, Biologist
with forest service
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Jody Fairchild, Recrea-tion Specialist, Jim and Orville Flaugh talking business
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There were 20 camp hosts in attendance
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We learned a log about bears habits

After the meeting we enjoyed a potluck lunch together.  We don’t often have the opportunity to meet with the camp hosts from the Creede district, so this was a real treat.

Because of this meeting, we all felt better equipped to deal with the bears in our areas. More knowledgeable in discussing bears with our campers and feel more confident in knowing what to do if we do have a bear encounter.

Remember, you are loved.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Campers are coming

Finally seeing more RVs traveling down Highway 160 and some of them are stopping and staying in our campgrounds.  We had a good week.

Yesterday I visited our camphosts and picked up deposits and paperwork.  Spent a couple of hours filling out all the other reports I fax in weekly.  Went to the post office with a couple of monthly reports to mail out….post office only opened one hour on Saturdays.

Made shrimp scampi and spaghetti noodles for lunch/dinner.  I had picked up elephant garlic by mistake at the grocery store, but it sure came out nice in the dish…very mild. We used up another bag of our Louisiana shrimp….only one bag to go…UGH!!!  But the scampi came out delicious and we were so full.

Looks like the Colorado Rockies have finally found their bats again as they are making some runs…but today not enough runs to win against the Dodgers….oh, well, there’s another game today.

Charlie n Dawna Ramirez

Around 6 p.m. Jim lite a camp fire and we invited Charlie and Dawna over to enjoy it with us.  We’ve know them since 2007 at Big Meadows.  They have camped up here for over 20 years.  They also come up to Wolf Creek to ski in the winter and Charlie comes up here to bow hunt even.  We talk to each other during the year on our travels and visit them in Oklahoma when we drive through.

Jim made some real popcorn on the stove and even put melted butter on it.  It was so good!!!

Whirley Pop Popcorn PopperYears ago one of Jim’s brothers (Ron?  Don?) gave us a Whirly Pop Popcorn Popper for Christmas.  It is an amazing little invention. Inside there are whirly stirrers that move the popcorn kernels around until they pop. Steam vents keep the popcorn tender and crispy and almost all the kernels pop.  We gave up on microwave popcorn when I realized how much extra stuff is in those versions.  This way we get just a little oil, popcorn and butter….it tasted so good munching away by the camp fire.

Life is so good and we are enjoying it so much.

Remember, you are loved.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sheet Family

We had a family reunion at our campground this week. They use to come to Park Creek Campground every summer back in the 80s but haven’t been back for quite a while. In memory of a deceased child’s upcoming birthday, they decided to gather the family together once again in Park Creek.

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Bernita and Kyle Sheet are parents of ten children, all from various parts of Texas, except one who lives in Alaska and was unable to attend. They range in age from 32 to 15 years old. The family took over four campsites and with spouses and friends there was 17 adults and 5 grandkids.  What a gang!

They pitched a huge tarp in one of the campsites designated as the cook’s shack.  And boy could they cook!!!

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One night they invited Jim and I for dinner.  Bernita knew how to cook for a crowd making up 8 pounds of hamburger into patties.  They cooked them four at a time in three separate grilling baskets, so they were grilling a dozen burgers at a time over a wood fire!

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Along with the burgers they served homemade, deep fried potato chips.  Oh, they were so good!

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The real kicker was dessert!  They mixed up a huge batch of biscuits using a Bisquick-type dough mix.  Then they rolled out the Sheet Family Jun 2011 (20)dough on part of the tablecloth and cut them into biscuits. But then they used their finger to punch a hole in the middle and formed circles of dough.  The photo doesn’t show them real well, but you get the idea.  Oh, my, then they deep fried the circles and  coated them in powdered sugar.  They were the best donuts I’ve ever had.  I ate four of them!

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All during this time some of the guys were tossing rings while the kids batted balls around.

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The littlest members were in a playpen made up of coolers…very clever idea.

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The Sheets stayed with us for about five days enjoying fishing, hiking and a failed attempt at rafting.  Waters were rough and a unseen rock punctured the raft.  Here they come back to the campground laughing their heads off…they still had fun.

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This family are really amazing! They are all very devote Christians and all extremely polite.  Kyle is a family practice doctor.  And the incredible part of that is that Kyle decided to become a medical doctor at the age of 42 and after having eight children!!!  I asked Bernita if she always knew Kyle wanted to be a doctor and she said, “No, not until the medical journals started arriving in the mail”.  Incredible!!!

One of the daughters is also a doctor and her husband is currently a fighter pilot, while one of their son-in-laws was a fighter pilot and just finished his first year in medical school. Another daughter is a senior in college and will join Bernita and Kyle later this month in going to South Africa to provide medical care to tribes for a month.

I asked Bernita what was her child rearing philosophy.  Primary was love of God and making their faith a part of their everyday life.  A close second was discipline and that discipline started at about the age of 10 months old and was very consistent throughout their lives.  Bernita said the older kids were told they had to set an example to the younger kids and that kept them in line.  The younger kids wanted to emulate the older kids so they learned to be polite and behave to copy the older children.

Bernita said nothing keeps a teenager on the straight and narrow then telling them they had to take their three year old sibling along for the night out with their friends!  What a hoot!  The three year old tells all.

The grandkids were introduced to me and each one took their cap off (“daddy said you take your hat off when you meet a lady”), then they extend their hands to shake hands with a good strong grip and say “nice to meet you Miss Bobbie”.  And these twins were 4 years old!!!  I was very impressed. Seems like the politeness and manners are being passed down nicely.

I corralled the gang together to take a group picture.

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Before they left Tuesday we had to take a photo together.

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They had a great time time and we sure enjoyed having them with us for most of a week.  Bernita said they have already decided to come back next summer because they had so much fun.  They certainly will be welcomed. 

Remember, you are loved.