Saturday, June 27, 2015

Family Reunion Part 1

My parents and brother’s family were able to come to my sister’s house for a four day family reunion this year.  We were so excited as this was the first time that we all had been together as a complete family with all of our children.  It was really fun to see how the kids all played together so well and of course, great to visit with everyone.  Debbie was an amazing host and planned a well organized time for everyone.  

We started off with a Norwegian treat, scrolls.  Scrolls are made from a sweet batter, that is cooked on a special iron and then rolled into a trumpet shape.  It is crunchy like a cracker and sooo good!

it is one of the Norwegian traditions that I remember from when I was a girl.  When my mother’s family got together, they would make scrolls.  I don’t remember helping, as I was young, but I do remember eating them.  Throughout my childhood, my mother would sometimes make them for our family as well, but I never learned myself how to make them.  So this was an opportunity to learn how to make them from my mother, so I can now carry on the tradition with my family.  

Making scrolls is not as big of a job as perogy making, however it does take time.  So Michelle, Malaya, Rosie, Hannah, Cece, Debbie, Grandma and I all helped out and took turns learning how to make scrolls.  Making the batter is the easy part, but learning how hot to have the iron, how much batter to put on the iron, how to close the iron, when to flip the iron, and then finally how to roll the hot scroll into the right shape all take a bit of practice.  We all enjoyed it and in the end we learned how to make a beautiful Norwegian scroll!   Thanks Mom, it is a memory I will treasure.  Oh, and I should mention that everyone enjoyed munching on them after dinner that night. Good, Yummy, Norwegian Fun!!!

That afternoon we decided to go and explore the local Anderson Museum and hunt through some antique shops.  The museum was really well done and the kids enjoyed climbing into the hot air balloon basket and pretending to take off.  It was really interesting to learn some of Anderson’s history.

The antique shops were full of unique items and we all had fun looking for a special treasure.  The kids ran around exploring and getting excited over the different things they found.  

Debbie had arranged for us to take some family pictures in a beautiful park nearby.  So we all got dressed up and posed for all the pictures.   The promise of ice cream at the end for all the good little boys and girls…oh and mommies and daddies too, made it a little easier.

Pass the Perogies Please!

A special part of our time in South Carolina included a family reunion.  My parents flew to my brother’s house in Virginia, then they all drove down to South Carolina.  In anticipation of their visit, Debbie and I decided to make perogies.  Perogies are a special treat for us all as it is hard to find them in the South and of course you are not able to purchase them in Panama.  Making perogies every spring has become a tradition in our home for the last 7 years.  It is a special time of bringing together our family and friends, sharing in the work, fun and reward of making perogies.  It all started when I was at my Aunt Debby’s house Fort St. John, Canada one year.  She had made perogies and were they delicious!  Her family heritage is Ukrainian and so she knew how to make them well.  I fell in love with the idea of making them for my family one day and so she gave me her recipe.  It wasn’t until we were living in Belize and we couldn’t buy perogies that I finally decided to start a tradition.  My kids look forward every year to making them now and it is a cherished time.  This year we did not make them before we left Panama knowing that we would get to make them with my sister’s family. 

 And so the work began:  

First step - the day before make a wonderful mixture of mashed potatoes, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese and butter.

Second step - make the dough and let it rest (I always get that job)

Third step - roll the doll (Casey is my dough roller, thankfully for him, he gets to use a Kitchen Aid pasta roller)

Fourth step - Cut the dough into the right size circles (Caleb was our dough cutter this time)

Fifth step - Carry the circles to the other counter (Annika was our little runner, and did we ever keep her busy)

Sixth Step - Place the right amount of filling onto the circles (Hannah filled all the perogies for us)

Seventh Step - Close the perogies (This is the job that I usually do because if they are not closed right….you have a mess!)

Eighth Step - Carry the perogies to the stove (Judah was our runner on this step)

Ninth Step - Boil the perogies (This is a big job and Elijah did such a great job manning the boiling pots)

Tenth Step - Coat the perogies with melted butter and place on cookie sheets.  Take the cookie sheets to the empty freezer and then after they are frozen, put them in ziplock bags and place them back in the freezer.  (Malaya and Rosie were amazing on this step.  It was a lot of work as well, but they enjoyed it, especially getting to coat the perogies in butter!)

Eleventh Step - Fry the bacon and onions.  Grate the cheese (if you like) and get the sour cream.  EAT THE PEROGIES!!!!  (This of course is done by all, especially all the hard little workers.  And the reward is always worth the effort!  So when my brother, his family, and my parents came we celebrated with a special perogy meal together. Yummy!  They all enjoyed the fruits of our labour, and Debbie has some more in the freezer for a rainy day in the future.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Water, Water, everywhere...

     Since we are visiting South Carolina in the summer, we decided it was time to enjoy some of the water attractions in the area.  The first outing we chose was to Debbie's favorite river.  The river had some small rapids that you can float down.  It was a sunny beautiful day perfect for playing in the water.

We brought lots of tubes, food, and kids.  A recipe for a fun filled afternoon.  The kids played, swam, floated and splashed all afternoon.  They loved the rapids.

The next water adventure was the waterpark at Myrtle Beach.  We all piled into the R.V. and enjoyed a long ride to the park.  The kids enjoyed a book to help pass the time.

Finally after a 5 1/2 hour drive we arrived.  The kids were so excited to go play at the waterpark.  They raced around the waterpark going on slide after slide.  

Judah loved the lazy river and jumped in it at every opportunity he could find. He also went on his share of waterslides.

 Hannah’s favorite ride was the Arooba Tooba.  It was like being sucked down a drain on a tube, it was my favorite ride a well.  

Malaya raced around the park with lots of energy and the high fast slide was her favorite.  She also loved jumping on a very unique trampoline that was in the R.V. park that we had stayed at.

 Caleb loved the Arooba Tooba as well and we had fun going down together, he also liked racing down the fast high slides with Malaya.  

Casey went on some waterslides and then was free to lie in the shade and take a nap accompanied by Jeff.  

Of course, I loved every minute of being in the water, as you know I am a water baby, and I played just as hard as all the kids.  

The cousins all had fun teaming up with each other to go on rides and run around the park.  It was a very rewarding two days and we left tired and content.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

More adventures in SC

The days in South Carolina have been filled with fun and outings.  Saturday afternoon found us at the local skating rink for a few hours of skating.  There was even a practice corner for beginners, so Judah enjoyed that as it was his first time on skates.

We all got some exercise, had a few laughs and bumps along the way and enjoyed skating with our cousins!

I am loving the weather here and am enjoying the neighborhood where Debbie lives.  When I can, I get out for a quick walk and take in all the old homes and big trees in the area.  They are so very picturesque.
On a particularly sunny afternoon, we pulled out the Slip and Slide and the children were thrilled to splash in the water for a while.  Finishing off their playtime with a nice big freezie.

One of the things that Casey is consistent with when he visits South Carolina is to go to the famous Jockey Lot and look for whatever treasure he may find.  As I had never gone with him, I figured it was time to change that.  So we all headed off to the Jockey Lot one bright morning.

We enjoyed the cinnamon and sugar mini donuts and the famous roasted peanuts.  The roasters used for the peanuts are over one hundred years old.  Jeff tells me that is why they taste so good!

 Malaya found the rabbits and Caleb found a unique method of transportation among the stalls of interesting things to see and buy.  I purchased some honeyed pecans and were they ever good!  My treasure for the day however was an old cast iron frying pan for $2...and Casey found an old coffee tin.  Satisfied with our treasures and as much sun rays as we could handle, we decided to head home.

And of course what sister visit would be complete without a day of shopping!  So Debbie, the older girls and I, all headed to the mall to experience some consumerism.  It was fun to shop with them all and have some treats together...cake pops from Starbucks...yum!  Oh, and I found a shirt for Hannah, (although she didn't buy it).  It said, "I leave homework to the last day because I'll be older and therefore wiser."

So in the midst of laundry, cooking, sweeping, and whatever else taking care of  9 children and 4 adults takes, we are managing to get in lots of fun as well.

Our thoughts, are of course with those in Panama, whom we miss and also the friends and family that we have yet to see!