Thursday, October 31, 2013


Noah picked all our pumpkins this year. The large ones were for carving, the smaller for front door decoration and snacks for the squirrels.
Lukas and Noah brought these two large gourds inside, and carefully cleaned and dried them. With markers and pens they set out to draw a design. Noah remarked that this was the first year he had cleaned out his pumpkin, and how hard it was to make it clean. Yet, he persevered and carefully scraped all the innards into a bowl. Now it is up to Mamma to sort out the seeds for roasting.
Lukas brought out a set of LED lights for his pumpkin, whereas Noah remained traditional and opted for a candle.
They had a lot of fun carving, cutting, and carving some more - all while munching on candies. The weather is pretty nasty, so the boys opted for staying home, and greeting any trick or treaters that come to the door rather than canvassing the neighborhood.

Raspberry crepes

This is Noah's sour dough breakfast crepe.. Fresh raspberries and Nutella. .It is NOT too pretty to devour.

My three favorite guys

I caught my family on the couch the other night.... Three guys, three electronic devices.

Chef Noah

While working out at the gym, Noah watched the Food Network. He just had to try one of the recipes, and since we had the ingredients on hand, he handled dessert.
It was Scout night, so Bob and Lukas headed out, and Noah volunteered to make the brownies for upcoming dinner guests. He thought dark chocolate would go well with his raspberry sorbet.  Not wanting to waste any, he licked the pot clean.
So delicious that it was all gone by the time Bob and Lukas returned.

Going fishing...

Although fishing is really big here in Michigan, we have not had a chance yet. This weekend offered an opportunity for a little different fishing, maybe in preparation for lake fishing?
The air vent heating and cooling Noah's room seemed to be very weak. and the boys set out to trouble shot to see if there was anything that could be done to get this room a bit warmer, otherwise Noah was at risk for turning into an icicle. 
The vent cover came off, and with the help of a mirror they soon discovered a large amount of debris in the air duct. Lukas happily engaged his security camera system, and dropped one of his cameras into the air duct to get a better view.  Noah set off to get fishing gear, locating rope, large hooks and even sticky tape to help secure a catch. A few hours later, and a small loot of random things, mostly pencils and stale cereal, they declared defeat. The large culprit, a board book, was wedged in tight and blocked almost all the air flow deep down. 
It is times like this that makes us grateful for being renters, and handed over the situation to the landlord for action.  It would take another five-six hours, cutting holes in duct work, stretching and reaching, pulling and pushing before the book was dislodged, along with a few Matchbox cars and assorted other items. Clearly large gaping holes make good target practice for tossing :-)

DYI home decor

The time has finally come, our curtains in the living room are complete. The panels came from a thrift store, the cornice base is the cardboard box in which our bed frame arrived, and the fabric from Walmart. Bob added some metal brackets for support and then we set out to staple and pin.

Noah could not help it, he had to hide in the box just one last time before it was cut up and re-purposed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A New Scout

Lukas was presented with his Scout badge and kerchief at the Scouts Court of Honor on Monday evening. Lukas and Noah got to see first hand the many different merit badges that one can earn in Scouts and even had a chance to meet a very young, 13 years old, Eagle Scout.

Helping out

On Saturday morning, Lukas and Noah headed out to help a young man on his Eagle Scout project. The sky was grey, the wind blowing, and the rain was falling, yet it would not stop the boys.  Layering sweaters under rain jackets and wearing heavy socks to keep their sneaker clod feet warmer, we drove out to Lake Saint Clair Shore Park. Thankfully, the help needed was minimal and they boys were not too wet and cold when we headed back home to chicken noodle soup and warm sweats.
They are learning the meaning of no bad weather, just bad clothes - and we are realizing what we additional gear we need to buy to keep us warm and toasty as the temperature drops.

Black and White

Our entire family enjoys puzzles, but Noah really likes puzzles and is often the instigator in us putting together another big one. In our new house, we have the luxury of keeping a puzzle out at all times, and Noah quickly capitalized on this advantage and broke out one of his birthday puzzles - a 1000 piece black and white cat scene.

The puzzle was so big that we had to resort to cutting boards to sort and store some pieces temporarily. It did not take Noah long, with some help, to construct the frame. Nor did it take him long to build the pieces that showed the only non black and white part of the puzzle, the gold fish.

The puzzle stayed on the table and some days Noah cajoled Mamma and or Dad or Lukas to help for a bit, other days the puzzle laid abandoned. Although seemingly impossible, Noah was not willing to concede defeat and pack it up, so he persevered.

Slowly but surely, the gaping holes became smaller and smaller and the interest from the family grew as we all began to see the possibility that we could finish this one.

Noah put in the last pieces, and within a few minutes he was ready to pack it up. The coffee table is pretty bare, but we all enjoy being able to put up our feet, place a coffee cup on the table and leave a newspaper half read without fearing that we mess with the puzzle. It may be a while before we break out another one. However, Noah may have a different plan... stay tune!

yes, one piece is missing....:-(


Noah's Cub Scout Troop is selling pumpkins as a fund raiser this year. Noah happily donned his uniform and headed out for a two hour slot of pumpkin selling. He had plenty of time to pick out the perfect pumpkins for our front steps, now if only the critters would leave them alone so we can carve them...


We generally live by the "Saturday is candy day" rule. This does not mean there is no candy in the house, only that it is not for consumption. To remove temptation, to relieve the distraction I typically put the candy basket up on a high shelf.
While I was preoccupied in the dining room, I hear giggles from the kitchen - the kinds that usually indicates mischief.... and my mother's intuition was right. The boys had constructed a robotic arm using a bunch of Lego and all their Mindstorm motors, an a control station to maneuver the arm.
Their first attempt was to simply direct the arm from the stairs on to the fridge where the basket was housed. Pretty easy and in no time they were enjoying Almond Joy rather than a healthy morning apple snack. I promptly moved the candy basket, only to see two boys, a step stool and said robotic arm grabbing once again a few pieces of candy.
My solution to the situation, hide the candy. Although I must admit the boys were pretty cleaver in their attempt and therefore were allowed to keep the treats.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Just barely....

This weekend, we played Scrabbles. The boys wanted to do it in teams and quickly opted to form their team challenging Mamma and Dad. Equipped with a few dictionary we got ready for a fun game. The boys kept asking about the scores right after they had placed tiles, which meant we had yet to place our in the same round. Regardless of that momentary advantage, the boys were lagging behind. To their credit, they did not give up, not even when we managed to place all 7 tiles in one play, which meant we earned an extra 50 points.
We were in no hurry to finish, so we played an extended game, ie we played all weekend.
Maybe we were lulled into a false sense of confidence, maybe we just did not work hard enough to capture every available triple word tile, maybe we got sloppy - but our formidable lead suddenly shrank, and at one point we were even behind!  In the final few rounds, the game became increasingly competitive, where to place a high point single tile, where to get just a few points, even making a word some place on the board. Bob studied the board intently and found TV -Vneck, adding a single V and getting a lot of points - and we were back in the lead, but not by much. Neck and neck, we finished the last rounds and only by the skin of our teeth did these two parents win over their two sons, phew..

Two points still means  we win!

Down the river

Every October, I am grateful for the discovery of America by Columbus, because it offers me another long weekend. The first time I realized there was an October holiday, was when Bob asked me to marry him and we spent a long weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains. At times, this celebration coincides with Lukas' birthday. I am making no statement about the purpose for the holiday, I am simply grateful for a day off, and a day off with pay!

We took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and headed to the local Y to rent a couple of canoes. Since it has been a long time since we canoed, we were not too sure of our stability and left any fancy electronics at home, apart from Bob's phone that fit nicely in an otter case. Bob captured our ride down and up the Clinton River perfectly. I am sure, I would have completely forgotten to paddle had I had my camera in hand....

The boys had fun meeting up for a bit of resupply of candy, and even made a bi-canoe by connecting the two canoes at the front.

The weather was amazing, sunny and cool; the leaves ablaze in shades of red and the river was slow - just about perfect weather for some fun aerobic exercise and exploration in our new home town. Mount Clemens shows its best side from the river.

Monday, October 14, 2013


When the boys were little, I made sure we had special photos taken of each one around birthdays and major milestones.. and then life got in the way and the portraits were no more.  As we were hanging up family photos on the wall, I resolved to change, and once again make sure that we capture our boys on their special days.
Sunday afternoon, gorgeous trees changing leaves, blue water and sun setting behind the trees seemed like the perfect backdrop for an informal photo session with our newest 12 year old.

Turkey burger cooking

As mentioned in the previous blog entry, Lukas was in charge of our dinner on Sunday evening at the Algonac Park.


Noah has several activities that he needs to accomplish in Webelos so that he is ready to move up to Boys Scouts next summer. On Sunday,  we took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather, and headed out to yet another pretty park located on the shipping channel between Canada and the US.
Noah set up his own fire, gathering kindle, lighting  a match and not let it be blown out by the wind, and then feeding his little fire so that it would take off and burn brightly. He was rightfully very proud of his achievement.

Lukas, meanwhile, handled the dinner arrangements on a grill a bit further away. He cooked up his favorite turkey burgers slider style and took great care in basting and flipping.

Noah, who had prepared our desserts at home, happily handled the banana packages filled with caramel and chocolate on 'his' fire. The parents, although keeping a watchful eye on the fires, were able to let the boys take charge - we are certainly entering a new era.