Monthly Archives: October 2009

It’s Hard To Say Goodbye

It’s hard to say goodbye…. even if it is just for the Winter.  My son, Wade and I closed our “Mt. Retreat” for the winter.  We would love to keep it open much longer in the season,  but the risk of the plumbing breaking,  because of freezing temperatures,  is too great.  My son-in-law, Scott (who just passed away) and my daughter Emily, have been our “official closers” for the last 13 years and they have always preformed a magnificent job, no broken plumbing  and no mouse droppings on counters in the Spring.

Being out of the closing loop for so many years, it took Wade and I almost two days to get everything bucked up tightly.  Remembering the exact sequence is important.  For instance, you can’t drain the water heaters until the interior is completed.  Every thing inside is bagged in plastic or draped with old sheets.  Closing properly in the Fall insures an easy opening in the Spring.


Winters here on the “Mountain” are hard, so we put up boards on the end of the porch to advert the snow.  Looks like the making of a hut the kids came up with… doesn’t it.   The wind blows from this angle and so the wood really does help.


The stairs have to be sealed every year and still the hard winters have turned them gray.


The futon couch frames are covered and the BQ is taken in for the winter.    The trailer is small… so this 60 foot porch come in mighty handy for feeding the gang and bedding down lots of grands in sleeping bags.


The last chore of the day is putting the coverings over the porch windows and putting down the end flaps.  Emily called and ask,  “Are the flaps down yet?”  When I said, “Yes,”  we both cried.  Perhaps she will have the courage to help us next year… but this year it was too much for her….without Scott.


We bid our farewell to the “Valley” and headed for home in the late afternoon.


We took the scenic way home over Woolf Creek Pass.  It snowed here the week before but most had melted off.  At this altitude,  the air is cool and clean…. so refreshing.


The top of the world.  This photo was taken a few weeks ago.  What a view.


This was the same view as we came across the top for the last time this year.

Goodbye Tabby… We love you.

Till Later


Insightful Nana

P.S.  Where is your “Place of Peace”?

Easy Apple Crisp Recipe – Oatmeal And Brown Sugar Crunch

This easy apple crisp recipe with it’s oatmeal and brown sugar topping is a favorite of our family.  Fall is in the air and the apples are ripe and crisp… so it’s a natural dessert for a chilly evening.  I add a bit of lemon zest to the apple crunch, which is a tasty enhancement to the mild Golden Delicious apples.


The ingredients for the Oatmeal Apple Crisp is:   7  Large Golden Delicious Apples  (I like Golden Delicious because they have a great flavor and the apple slices hold their shape and don’t turn to sauce while baking.)….  1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar….. 1 1/2 C. Oatmeal (Use the quick  oats) …. 1 C. Flour…. 1 C. Butter  (2 sticks).  1 tsp. of Ground Cinnamon.  1 Sm. to Med. Lemon.  Opps…. forgot to put the cinnamon in the photo.


Place 1 Cup Flour and 2 Sticks of butter into  a large bowl.   Begin cutting the butter and flour together is a pastry cutter or two knives.


Add 1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar to the mix and continue cutting.


Add 1 1/2 Cup Oatmeal to the mixture and continue cutting.


Add 1 tsp. Cinnamon to the mixture and toss together.


Zest the skin of one Lemon.  (You can purchase a lemon zester or use the zester side of a metal grater.)


Quarter and core 7 large Golden Delicious apples. (Place them in a bowl of cold water and add a bit of lemon juice.  It will keep the apples from turning brown before you have a chance to slice the apples and put them in a pan.) applecrisp3

Slice the apples into a 9 x 13 pan or glass dish.  If the Apples are very large, you can use a 10 x 14 pan or glass baking dish.  If you want a bit more cinnamon flavor.  Sprinkle a little over the top of the apples.  Sprinkle the lemon zest over the top of the apples.

Apply the oatmeal and brown sugar topping over the slices apples.  I like a lot of crunch on my apple crisp so I use the entire recipe…. but use your judgment for your particular taste.


Pop your apple crisp into a 350 oven for 35 minutes. ( Check and see if the oatmeal topping is brown and the apples are bubbling before removing from the oven.)   I found that it took another 10 minutes because my apples were very large and I used the larger pan.


Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or half and half.  Apple crisp tastes great at room temperature too.  (Makes a great breakfast the next day.  You know….. oatmeal and fruit?)

If you want to see me in action preparing this luscious apple dessert click on the video.

Enjoy this recipe… and have a wonderful fall day.


Insightful Nana

P.S.  When you make the apple crisp oatmeal crunch topping, double the recipe and save it in the fridge.   You can have this easy apple crisp recipe  made in a flash when unexpected guests or family drop by.

What To Do At A Sleepover?

What to do at a sleepover?  Well, my grands have no problem finding things to do when I say. “Sure, you can stay for a sleep over.”   First of all, having cousins around is just the best.   Second of all… they get to stay up late.  I hear them bantering  about in the kitchen in the late hours of the evening, fixing this and that to eat.  I just let them be…. because…. these old bones are at rest on the couch…. too weak and tired to move.

A craft room, left over from my days as a craft designer is filled with plenty of pencils, scrapbook paper and stickers to keep them busy for days.  They come up with all kinds of creative cards to take home to their folks and siblings.   Actually, their creativity and imagination is astounding.


Best of all is the “hut.”  Remember the “hut?”  Wait long enough… and a hut is guaranteed  to appear.  Again, creative imagination and genius at work.

I’ve decided that kids are over programed with pre-organized entertainment.  When left alone… and encouraged… they can find things to do to entertain themselves… even at a sleep over.  Of course, we have our traditions … root beer floats is a big one and  scrambled eggs for breakfast is another.  (They all love my scrambled eggs… I make the best.)  On occasion, we go to the Dollar Store… but for the most part… it’s, “Entertain yourselves kids.”

I love to be surrounded by my grands.  There are 15 of them, and they usually come to sleepover in groups… according to age.  However, the older kids are beginning to come  two by two or individually… which is really nice… because I can really tune in to them and find out what going what’s important in their lives.

What to do at a sleepover?  Let them be… and watch the fun begin.

Till Later,


Insightful Nana

P.S.  My kids limit the sleepovers their children have at friends’ homes…. so they always welcome the respite when the grands sleep over at Nana’s house.

Keep Documents Safe – Important Personal Documents

Keep documents safe.  Your personal documents may not survive an emergency disaster that comes unexpectedly.  You may find that you don’t have time to gather them up at the time of the disaster.  No matter where you live, no one is immune from the possibility of become a victim of flood, fire, or earthquake.
Your priceless possessions, such as your family photos, baby pictures, wedding albums, scrapbooks and other keepsakes, are the irreplaceable documents that cannot be recovered.


Birth certificates, passports, insurance papers can eventually be restored to you but the headache of replacing them is time consuming and can be very costly.

The following are the items that you should protect.

1.  Wills.  In most cases you need the original for a will be legally binding.  You should made several copies since no state or city office keeps a record of wills.
2.  Trust documents
3.  Birth and Death Certificates
4.  Titles and Deeds
5.  Licenses such as vehicle, professional, marriage etc.
6.  Legal and financial documents
7.  Business files
8.  Personal and Family Records
9.  Personal family photos and keepsakes
10.  Account Numbers
11.  Household inventory.  This is a especially valuable in case of fire.
12.  Key, jewelry
13. Cash.  During a major emergency check and credit cards often are ineffective.

Placing your documents and valuables in a fire-proof, waterproof safe provides the best protection.  However, if you can’t afford a safe, make sure your personal documents are enclosed in heavy plastic, placed on a high shelf and the family is aware of its location.

Keeping copies of vital documents such as birth certificates and insurance papers and some cash should be kept with your 72 hours kit or in a location that is quickly accessible if you have to leave your home quickly.

Bottom Line:  Advance preparation is your only insurance policy against disappointment and heartache.  Make sure you protect your personal documents and valuables in the best manner you can afford.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  I’m in the process of duplicating my important personal documents.  I’m making copies on my copying machine of those docs. that will not require originals.  For instance,  insurance documents.  Births Certificates, Death Certificate and Marriages licenses should be originals.  I will have to get them from the county of origination.   I don’t presently have a safe so I will be wrapping them in plastic.  Keeping documents safe is important to me.

I’m Back

I’m back…. I told you I would be.  My thoughts and emotions, the past couple of months, have certainly bounced up and down.  It’s hard to see my daughter and her 4 children grieve.  Their life is on a roller coaster of emotions which I’m sure will continue for  awhile.   This will be a year of “firsts”…. the first Thanksgiving…the first Christmas… the first Easter… without their husband and father.

On the other hand…. they seem to being doing remarkably well considering Scott has only been gone for 2 months.   The kids are in school and enjoying it.  They all have great supportive teachers.  Emily is moving forward getting their finances, home and routine stabilized.

The support from family, friends and neighbors has been astounding.  We live in an area where love and consideration certainly abounds… and we’re all grateful for that.

For your information… I just posted in two categories.  Check out the free Halloween printables and the Halloween invitations.  They are free for you to download immediately.

Thanks for your patience….

I’m back and will be changing other categories soon.


Insightful Nana

Halloween Printable Coloring Pages

Halloween printable coloring pages  can keep your young kids busy for a long time.  I bring them out after Sunday dinner and it keeps the grands occupied for an hour or so.  The kids love ’em.    It  give all their parents a little break so the”old”  folks can visit with each other in peace.  I love them because it keeps the “chasing through the house” down a bit.  So…. we all win.


These free Halloween printables are my gift to you and your kids or grands to enjoy.  Print out only one… or  print them all.   I have included pre colored  copies for those who don’t want to color them but want a showing of Halloween without the work..  Just hang them on the fridge or window.

Here ya go!   Just click on the links below and they will download to your computer immediately.

Halloween Pumpkins Black and White

Halloween Pumpkins Pre-colored

Halloween Witch Black and White

Halloween Witch Pre-colored

Halloween Mummy Black and White

Halloween Mummy Pre-colored

Give these fun printables a try.  Happy Halloween!



Insightful Nana

P.S.  My sister Sheila gives copies of these Halloween printable coloring pages to a neighbor down the street that has a pre-school in her home.  Who could you share them with?

Halloween Party With Family And Friends

Hosting a Halloween party with family and friends can be so much fun…. especially if everyone wears a costume. I’m not much for a spooky Halloween party with scary things. My Halloween party scene is pretty mellow. It consists of the first fire in the grate… chili on the stove… cold cider in the fridge…fresh donuts on the platter and of course… all my grands dancing around, showing off their costumes.


The kids love our family Halloween party because they can run around my neighborhood in a flash, collecting extra goodies before settling down by the fire and sorting out their candy into categories. We live in a pretty safe area… which is nice on such occasions.

Are you having a Hallowen party for family or friends? If you are… you will need a Halloween party invitation. I’ve designed a couple for you. Simply run them off on card stock, or matte photo paper. They fit nicely in a standard small envelope so it’s it’s easy for you… no fan fare.

This is my early Halloween treat for  you.  I know… you would probably prefer chocolate… but downloading it from my computer to yours  is beyond my tech. savvy.

Click here for your Halloween party invitation download. (without the initials of course)

Hope you have a wonderful Fall and Halloween season.

Till Later,


Insightful Nana

P.S.  If you’re having a Halloween party with family only… make sure an take lots of photos.  My grands love to look at all the old photo from previous years.  In fact… those are pretty much the only ones they’re interested in.