With Jeffrey back from Alaska (he spent six weeks at Kako Retreat Center), we took everyone out to eat to Souplantation. (Victoria and Lizzie spent four weeks at the camp in June.) Plus we had rarely seen Jason for the past few months as he was immersing himself in coding school to expand his web development skills.
Our homeowners community had a picnic at the clubhouse for the Fourth of July. They had bounce houses and games for the kids. Everyone brought a salad or dessert to share. Joanna made a strawberry-upside-down cake that was right side up because we never flipped it. One popular burger chain is The Habit Burger. They have locations in various states but primarily in California. They catered burgers and fries for our picnic. They even had a veggie burger option.
Last year, we harvested ZERO peaches from our peach tree. We credit an opossum (or some other night-time creature) for eating them all in one night.
However this year, we have had a bountiful harvest! We have picked well over a hundred peaches. Most are quite small…about the size of a quarter or half dollar. A few are larger then a golf ball. The rain probably helped increase the crop.
We’ve made peach cobbler a few times and have eaten quite a few fresh.
Joanna, Victoria, Jeffrey, and Lizzie sang “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.”
Here’s Lizzie playing “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go” which was arranged by Justin.
Lizzie and others worked hard on this arrangement of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”
Lizzie, Joanna, Sarah, Nicole, and Victoria after the Spring Recital.
Today we saw the first tiny avocado on our new tree!
A few months ago (in January), we bought a 10-year-old semi-dwarf avocado tree from Moon Valley Nursery. Over the ensuing months, we became more and more concerned as we watched the foliage gradually turn brown all over. But over the past few weeks, the buds have turned into a lot of new leaves and flowers.
Here are some pictures taken back in March. With the foliage turning brown, we were concerned.
The tiny avocado in the picture is smaller than a pea. We hope to see it grow MUCH bigger!
Dominic, a Scouting enthusiast from Hong Kong, shared some information about Ian Pau’s dad (John Pau) and granddad (John Chiu “Chung-tai” Pau). Clicking the names will take you to FindAGrave.com for each one.
He also said that John Pau was a recipient of the British Empire Medal (Civil Division) in 1946, and eventually became the Assistant Commissioner of the Boy Scouts Association, Hong Kong Branch, in 1948.
Today Tim and all of the boys enjoyed Mom and Dad’s Christmas present to the boys. They went go-kart racing (electric cars) and then ate out. Tim and Jeffrey had raced before but it was the first time for the others. Josiah was just tall enough to race with the adults instead of the juniors. Although we weren’t sure how that would turn out, he did very well considering that it was his very first time driving anything like this.
Here we are getting ready for our first race.
A photo after our second and final race of the day.
After racing, we headed to Claim Jumper Restaurant for lunch/supper. By the time, we got there the time was about 4:00 PM. Jason and Jeffrey got ribs; Josiah got mac and cheese (with soda, fries, and apple slices with caramel sauce).
Justin got a club sandwich; Tim got a veggie wrap.
We got two desserts: Raspberry Cheesecake and the Chocolate Motherlode Cake. We took most of the dessert home.
Today Lizzie’s sisters (and mother) completely surprised her with a belated birthday/tea party. Eight of Lizzie’s friends from church came over for tea, snacks, games, and a generally good time. One of the games that they played was paper telephone which involves drawing and writing messages.
Here is Lizzie at the head of the table.
A lot of food was prepared…fruit, vegetables, scones, cookies, mini-sandwiches, and more.
Today we got over three inches of rain…which is a LOT for Southern California.
Just like last year, we invited friends from church to spend New Year’s eve at our house. However, unlike last year, the weather was cool and wet so we weren’t able to play sports (like flag football) outside.
By far the favorite game of the evening was one called Fruit Bowl. Everyone chooses a fruit name (banana, strawberry, etc.). Everyone sits in a circle except for one person who stands in the center. One person in the circle is chosen to start the game by calling someone else’s fruit name. The person in the middle tries to tag the person who is called before that person calls out someone else’s fruit name. If a person gets tagged before they call out another fruit name, that person becomes the one in the center. Many people literally played this game for hours (at least six or seven hours).
Two Japanese exchange students (who are visiting the United States with a group from their high school for nine days) spent the evening with us.
Everyone had a good time. Some people just sat or stood around and talked. A few watched the movie, National Treasure. Some played other games.
Most people stayed past midnight to ring in the new year and watch the local fireworks show going on all around our house. Here’s a group photo. Tim (the photographer) had ten seconds to get into the picture. Because he was still moving slightly, he’s a bit blurry.
Just as Grandma Stogdill gets ready to leave, we finally got some nice weather…sunny with a high around 70 degrees! We decided to go to Fashion Island, a mall in ritzy Newport Beach. Everyone was able to go except for Joanna who had to work.
We had lunch in the food court. Later Jason and Lizzie bought Starbucks drinks. The mall has a koi pond with quite a few large and colorful fish.
A few posed as mannequins.
The Starbucks was busy.
That evening, Grandma treated us to dinner at Souplantation. Thanks, Grandma! Yummy!
A favorite activity whenever Grandma visits is playing Skip Bo, a card game.