June 7
     Woke up to a cold, wet morning but went ahead with plans to go early to pick strawberries.  My daughter-in-law was supposed to go, too, but I kept knocking on the bedroom door and got no response.  I finally left without her because I was already late leaving.  I had to drive over to Ligonier to pick up my friend, Star, then we headed to the strawberry farm in New Florence.  It was so cold when we started.  My hands were aching from being wet and cold.  Then it poured on us.  We ran for the car and waited it out without getting too wet.  We each picked about 10 pounds of berries at 85 cents per pound before calling it quits.  We were really having to look for the berries as so many were moldy or rotted from the wet and the next growth wasn't ready to go.  The older couple that owns the farm is branching out.  We saw signs on other fields promising blueberries in July (not that I will need to do that...Mom's husband is promising a bumper crop from his bushes) and raspberries in August.  I may go back again for strawberries and I will definitely go back for raspberries!  Star treated me to breakfast at the local cafe because I drove.  I had biscuits and sausage gravy.  Mm-mmm, just the thing on a cold, rainy morning.
     When I got home I found the house empty and a great big mess.  Nothing new with Matt and his family being home, but it really peeved me today since Megan was graduating tonight and there was so much else to do.  I called Megan and she had them drop her off so she could help me.  She begged me not to say anything to my son and his wife because my daughter-in-law still gets bent out of shape over every little thing and it would probably cause a big family fight.  Megan said she would talk to them about their habit of acting like this is a hotel and I am the maid.  I agreed to let her try it her way.  We'll see.  They cleaned up this time before they left, hopefully they will keep it up.
     I made a cake for after graduation and cleaned the strawberries.  I tried to sneak in a short nap, too, but that didn't work out very well.  The darn phone kept ringing.  By 3:30 I decided I was just too stressed and tired and feeling rushed to try and cook supper on top of getting ready for graduation so I ordered a pizza and everyone was happy.
     Megan had to be at the school by 6:00 even though the ceremony didn't start until 7:00.  Tim and I stayed instead of going home and coming back.  We saved seats in the bleachers for everyone else.  Good thing, because there were already a LOT of people there before us and the stands were filling up fast.  We sure were relieved to see the weather had cleared up during the afternoon and other than being a little cool as the sun set, it was a beautiful night.  Had the weather forced it inside, the kids only had 3 tickets apiece for family to attend.  I'm glad everyone could be there.
     It was 10:00 by the time we all got back to the house.  We had the cake I made (rave reviews) and visited a bit before Matt, Ashlei and Sora had to head for home and everyone else to bed.  I am headed there myself.  It's been a long day.


(different from others I've used)


1 pkg. (18-1/4 oz) white cake mix

1-1/3 cups water

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

2 egg whites

1 egg

1 pkg. (.6 oz) sugar-free strawberry jello

2 cups boiling water

1 pkg. (16 oz) frozen, unsweetened whole strawberries, thawed, drained, and sliced

1 tub (16 oz) frozen, reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed

10 fresh strawberries, halved


In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, applesauce, egg whites and egg; beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.


Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.


In a large bowl, dissolve jello in boiling water.  Stir in strawberries.  Using a sharp knife, make a diamond pattern in the top of the hot cake; immediately pour jello mixture over cake.  Cool on a wire rack.


Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  Spread with whipped topping.  Garnish with fresh strawberries.


**I used orange jello and canned mandarin oranges and it turned out perfectly.  I would imagine you could use just about any fruit/jello combination.



June 8


     Got off to a cold start this morning as the overnight temps dipped into the mid 40s....not that Megan or I was jumping up to get moving this morning.  I was up by 7:30 and she didn't get up until nearly 11:00.  All the excitement of the past few days finally caught up and it felt really good to sleep in a bit and be kind of lazy.  Megan spent some time with her best friend and I worked on laundry, packing up the winter clothes, and playing around on the computer.

     I went to Bible study at the church tonight.  It is only an hour and meets early at 6:00 so I still have the rest of the evening at home.  I enjoy it a lot.  It's a nice group of people and our new pastor is wonderful and a very good teacher.  He makes it interesting and fun.  Afterward all of us went to look at a building that is for sale.  Our little church is just getting started and we are looking for a "home."  Tonight we toured a former VFW building.  It would take a lot of work to make it work for the worship services, but the location and set up are perfect for the youth outreach we'd like to do.  We have some other buildings we'd like to look into, though, so we'll keep it in mind and keep praying. 

     Tim was supposed to go look at the building, too, but a meeting called at the last minute at work kept him from getting home in time.



June 9


     Today was a dark, rainy, miserable day.  I had planned to start on the major cleaning of the house I want to get done before Megan's graduation party on the 19th, but we got up late and then had to go out in the mess (it literally poured ALL day) to get a few things.  My buckets have a habit of disappearing and I discovered we were out of a couple types of cleaner. 

     While we were out, I figured I might as well stop at the Hallmark store and pick up the wedding album and baby album I need for shower gifts this weekend.  By then it was after 12:00 and I could feel my blood sugar was low (shaky hands and that quivery inside feeling) so I told Megan we could eat at Taco Bell if she'd like.  She liked.  Taco Bell has been her favorite restaurant since she was three years old!

     We saw Tim's second oldest sister and her husband at Taco Bell.  I hadn't seen her since Christmas and it was a shock.  She really looked bad.  I knew she'd been in the hospital last week, but not really what she'd been in for.  She can be a bit of a hypochondriac so the family often brushes her trips to the hospital off as nothing serious.  I'm still not sure what it was this time other than related to her diabetes.  She said she will most likely be starting dialysis before the end of summer.  Wow.  No wonder she is not looking well.  I told Tim he should start giving her a call once in a while (those two never have been all that close) because barring anything unforeseen, she will probably be the first of his siblings to pass away.  A depressing thought, but with all seven of them now in their 40s and 50s, it's a real consideration.

     It was 2:30 by the time Megan and I got home and got all the stuff we bought brought into the house.  We were tired and feeling sluggish from the gloomy weather so we decided to hold off on the cleaning.  She went for a nap and I settled on the sofa with the dogs and a new book.

     Tim was late getting home again.  I made spaghetti for supper and we spent the evening watching the CMT Awards and listening to it rain.


June 10


     A beautiful day!  Sunny, warm (but not hot or humid) and breezy.  Perfect.  Megan had to work after lunch today (she has a summer job at Idlewild, the local amusement park), but she did wash up the dirty dishes and pick up the kitchen a bit for me after she finally got up.  How do teenagers sleep so much?  I would be grateful to get 8 hours, but my eyes seem to shoot open after 6.

     Tim had picked up a load of mulch for me on Sunday and the kids unloaded it in the driveway and covered it with a tarp.  I hadn't been able to work on it yet, so today's weather seemed to be a sign.  I got out there around 10:30 or so (waited a bit to let the dew dry up some) and pulled all the weeds out of the area around the deck.  Then spent the afternoon spreading mulch.  It was slow going as I carried it one pitchfork full at a time and I kept taking breaks.  I've been having a lot of pain in my right foot and ankle as well as what I assume to be arthritis inherited from my grandparents in my hips.  I do plan to make an appointment for the foot and ankle since it seems to be in the muscle, but the hips.....  I'll just deal with them.  Last time I went to the doctor because my legs were swelling and hurt when I tried to walk for exercise they sent me for sonograms to make sure there weren't any blockages.  There weren't (and our insurance didn't cover the sonograms) so their big helpful advice was to do something else instead of walking.  Really? 

     Anyway, got the job done and it looks real nice.  I still have enough mulch left over to go around the pool, I think.  We'd wanted to have new mulch out front, too, before the party, but I don't think it's going to happen.  It doesn't look too bad out there, anyway.  Not too many weeds and lots of plant coverage.  By the deck was the worst looking space.  We hadn't put mulch in there for several years and the weeds took over last year, flourishing under the cover of the sunflowers I let grow there.  Tim told me this year he didn't like the sunflowers so I pulled all but a couple of them, too.  Transplanted the biggest ones to other areas so I haven't given them up completely.

     Megan worked until 8:00 so Tim and I had a light supper of salads and cold shrimp.  He wanted to get out and drain water out of the pool so Megan can get into it tomorrow and try to work out the wrinkles.  He had drained it on Sunday while he was cleaning it and he thinks what happened is that while it was empty and we had all that rain, the water got up under the liner and caused the wrinkles.  He started the water last night in the dark without looking.  I'm glad I caught it before it filled up all the way.  When we get this sorted out and get the pool filled, it should be good as new since we had to buy a new pump and filter this year.  There's no shame in it, I guess.  We had our old one for 14 years and the guy at the pool store said they only expect them to last 6-7 years at the most.



June 11


     Another beautiful summer day!  Megan spent most of the day in the pool, minus water, trying to smooth out the wrinkles in the liner.  She didn't meet with much success.  With all the rain we've had the ground under the liner is still so wet that in trying to move the liner, we're making a bigger mess, so......Tim said to give it up and has the water running in now.  He said he'll take care of cleaning the pool this summer since it's going to be such a pain with all the wrinkles.  It's kind of disappointing.  I'm hoping to be able to afford to pay a pool service to close the pool in the fall and reopen it in the spring.  Tim never seems to be able to make the time to take care of it right so it always ends up being a big production.  Tired of it, but don't want to get rid of the pool, which is Tim's solution.

     I spent another day pulling weeds and spreading mulch.  The yard is really beginning to look good.  I used up all but a little of the mulch Tim got on Sunday.  I think we're going to need one more load to finish up.

     With only a week to go until Megan's graduation party it's about all I think about.  Tonight I went and ordered chicken and a cake from Walmart and ordered prints of her sr. pictures to give out at the party.  I also decided on the menu.  I guess all I need now (besides more time) is good weather!

     Relaxing and watching TV again tonight.  Megan is at a friend's.



June 13


     9:30 and we're just settling in for the evening.  Tim's gone to bed, Megan's down the street at her friend's house and as soon as I'm done here I'm curling up with the Nora Roberts book I'm reading.  It's been a good, but busy weekend. 

     Yesterday was very hot and humid, about 90 degrees for the high.  Megan and I left the house at 9:30 AM to drive to North Braddock to pick up Ashlei and Sora.  We dropped Ashlei at her job in Murrysville and headed back to Latrobe to pick up Tim's Aunt Vicki for our niece's bridal shower.  It turned out that she had called after we'd left home to say she wasn't feeling up to going.  They had just recently moved so we chatted with her husband for a few minutes and saw some of the new house.  Rushed from there to pick up Tim's Aunt Peg and make it to the shower on time.  We made it....I forgot about the whole family's tendency to be late. 

     The shower was very nice.  The bride's mother, aunts and cousins put it together with a "garden party" theme.  The prizes for the games and the door prizes were all garden decorations or useful gardening items.  Tabitha got some lovely gifts and everyone had fun.  Especially Sora, who got to run after her older cousin.  She doesn't get to play with other little kids very often and just loves it when she does.

     We made it home just in time for me to clean up a bit and rush back out the door for church.  I wanted to make sure to go since we will be missing it for sure next weekend.  I am so glad I went.  There was an amazing "moment" when we were all singing "How Great Thou Art."  It's my favorite hymn, anyway, so it was a very powerful time.

     Tim and I took Sora back to her parents.  We met them at the restaurant where Ashlei works and had a bit of a snack before heading home.

     Today Tim worked in the yard all day.  He got the pool filled, the chemicals added and the pump up and running.  The new pump is so nice!  It's bigger than the old one so should do a better job cleaning.  It's also very quiet.  We didn't realize how loud the old one had gotten.  Tim also got a load of mulch and spread it around the shrubs out front.  It looks so nice!  He cleaned off the shadynook and powerwashed it, too.  He was one busy guy and I really appreciate it.  It frees me up to focus on getting the house and other things ready for the graduation party.

     Megan worked again today.  She was really dragging when we picked her up.  It was hot and humid again and at some point it poured and she got soaked.  She couldn't wait to get home and shower, though we did stop for ice cream first.

     I went to a baby shower this afternoon.  It was for my friend Helen's daughter.  Helen and Dave are trying to give her a good start and support her as best they can, even though they aren't too excited about the circumstances.....unmarried and the father in jail.  It's too bad, but when it comes to your kids, you do what you have to do.

     Megan and I will get started on the house tomorrow.  We'll also pick up her paycheck (the office closed before she was done today) and pick up the weed whacker.  It's been at the shop for repairs for 2 months!  Tim was just about ready to raise a big stink when they called.

     Well, off to read that book.


** Megan's graduation and her sr. pictures.    

Click here to see all the photos