Thursday, August 28, 2008
The husband's parents are coming to visit on Saturday!
And BBQ ribs are on the menu for Saturday night-- yum!
My Mom, Aunt and Uncle are coming on Monday!
And I'm baking a birthday cake for Auntie. Happy Birthday!
Whether you go far or stay home this weekend, I hope you enjoy your time with loved ones.
See you next week!
Summer is a time of harvesting and putting away things for the winter, to preserve a little bit of memory in each jar, so that when you open it, you remember the day you picked the contents, prepared and canned it.
Summer is a time for stocking up on firewood, to cut and chop each log and know that you will be warm and toasty when there is a cold blanket of snow on the ground.
Summer is a time to run around barefoot and feel the warm earth between your toes, to feel the grass tickling your skin as you roll round and round down the hill.
But suddenly, without warning, it's cooler when it is supposed to still be hot. So now, I fret that I haven't done enough this summer. We haven't stocked enough wood, we are still harvesting our garden and I am still canning our memories. The grass is going to sleep and turning brown and the trees are quickly shedding their leaves, and all day today, a cool breeze blew through the windows which caused me to think about thicker blankets on the beds.
Too soon, it feels like fall. Too soon.
And I feel strange, empty almost. I putter around the house feeling like I should be doing something, but nothing comes to mind.
Too soon, summer is coming to an end, and I feel wholly unprepared.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My sister was here with her family last week and it was an absolute joy to have them here! We got caught up on all our family news and just spent time with each other. Our kids played together wonderfully, except when it came to whose turn it was to hold the kitten next.
My sister and I both have weak spots for kittens and she was amazed at how tolerant this kitten was at being held by the kids. It accepted be carried every which way; upside down, by the neck, in the middle and being smothered by loving chubby arms. Her husband on the other hand, didn't really want to bring home another cat and would have preferred an orange one, but he was finally convinced when he saw the girls dressing the kitten in doll clothes and not making a fuss about it.
So while my girls are sad to see the kitten go, I am happy that she will be loved by my sister and her family. And the girls can see the kitten whenever my sister and I talk on the videophone and when we go down to visit.
It never fails to amaze me when I go through the garden and pick the goodies that are ready. To see food that *I* grew and nourishes my family. Finally, I am getting enough tomatoes to start canning them and I hope I'll have enough to last through the winter. The potatoes were from store-bought potatoes that sprouted and just for fun, I planted them, not really expecting anything. They all grew and I am so excited! I'll definitely be planting more potatoes next year!
I also made and canned a batch of pear butter from the pears in our yard. The deer have eaten all the pears from the bottom branches before I could get to them, so I was only able to pick about 20 that were ripe. It was just enough for one batch. Still some pears left, so I hope there will be enough for another batch, otherwise, I'll be eating the pear butter slowly.
I am already dreaming of next year's garden!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I keep a blank cookbook and when I find a recipe that my family likes and is an absolute winner, I'll write it down and add it to my personal cookbook. (I was going to post a photo of my cookbook, but my computer is ignoring my requests at the moment! grr..)
My grandmother took a lot of her recipes to the grave and my mom can't remember how to make some of those meals she grew up on. My husband's aunt tried to write down some of his grandmother's recipes while she was alive and after her death, she gave us all copies of her recipes. Food really brings people together and it can really add to the spirit of the gathering.
There is a recipe I want that my grandmother used to make, a modified "poor-man's" version because she could not afford many of the ingredients it called for. It ended up that her recipe tasted better than the original. I cannot get a copy and I don't even know where to begin to try and make my own. I am taking this lesson and turning it into something positive-- writing down my own stuff so that when my kids grow up, they'll always have access to "mom's" cookbook.
If I'm lucky to see them grow up and move out on their own, I'd like to give all 4 of my kids their own copy of Mom's cookbook and then they can add to it on their own. My own mother gave me a "starter kit" when I moved out and I had my own set of pots and pans, basic appliances, bedding and a copy of "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook". A modern-day hope chest. I plan to do the same for my kids one day and give them 2 cookbooks-- their own BH&G Cookbook and Mom's cookbook. Maybe you could do that for your kids, too!
Don't let those family recipes that you have committed to memory be lost because you never wrote them down. Ask your granny how to make that dessert or meal and write it down before she's gone. If you've tasted something great, don't be afraid to ask for the recipe.
If you're going to eat, eat good!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I'm using baby corn, broccoli, carrots, onions (not pictured) and green peppers this time. You can adjust to include any other vegetables you want-- mushrooms, red peppers, sliced celery, bean sprouts, cabbage, chinese chestnuts, bamboo shoots, even cooked cubed potatoes!
While you are chopping up your veggies, get your rice started. I use long grain rice which takes about 20 minutes to cook. You can use brown rice or instant rice, it's your pick.
3/4 c water
1 beef bouillon cube (use chicken if you make chicken stir fry)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
2 garlic, minced
combine and whisk together then set aside.
Add in the vegetables! Stir and cook on med-high heat about 5 minutes.
Pour the sauce you made and cook until the sauce thickens and the smell overpowers you and you can't take it anymore and you just gotta pick out a piece of broccoli and eat it.
Lovingly ladle it onto the rice and serve it with an egg roll. Delish!
Those egg rolls freeze well, so if you make a whole lot like I do, freeze some and then re-heat in the oven at 375* for about 15 minutes or so.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
We have been spoiled by a great little place tucked into a shopping center where we used to live. Run by a brother and sister, they had the best of everything! Great egg rolls, delicious wonton soup, fabulous garlic beef, excellent cashew chicken.... everything we've tried comes out just perfect! Whenever we make a trip back to our old haunts, we always make a point to have a meal there.
What's a girl to do when she has a craving for chinese and doesn't want to drive 2 hours to get it? Well, learn to make her own, of course!
First, I started buying those kits and mixes at the store. Then I started to experiment with recipes I'd find here and there. Now, I make my own sauces and flavorings almost completely from scratch and I dare say they taste better than the chinese place does!
I'll be sharing 2 recipes for chinese food: Egg rolls and Beef stir-fry. Today will be the egg rolls and tomorrow is the Stir-fry.
Don't be afraid to try this. The most difficult part is the prep-work. Chinese food is all about the chopping and cutting and mincing and dicing and slicing. Once you finish chopping and cutting and mincing and dicing and slicing, the easy part comes next: the cooking!
Here we go!
You'll also need Oyster sauce and egg roll wraps. I am amazed my little small town grocery store carries this stuff! Amazed I tell you! Add about 2 tablespoons of the oyster sauce to the pan and stir to combine.
The egg roll wrappers are kept in the fruit and vegetable section of the store, mine keeps it near the tofu and organic stuff. They need to be kept refrigerated or they turn black. Trust me, I know.
This is what it'll look like after getting everything mixed in together and it has cooked down a little bit. Your kitchen will start to smell like a chinese restaurant! Inhale deeply and sample the mixture! Go ahead- I won't tell!
Let it cook about 5 minutes then remove from heat and let it cool until you can handle it with your hands. In the meantime, get a pan of vegetable oil warmed up and ready to fry. You could use peanut oil if you like, but I asked the kindly sister that ran the chinese food place what oil they used and she told me vegetable because they didn't want to risk food allergies with peanut oil. So we use vegetable oil 'cause we like her egg rolls.
When the mixture is cool enough to handle, take a single egg roll wrapper and lay it down like a diamond. Place about 2 tablespoons of mixture in the center.
Fold up the bottom...
Fold over the sides... and dip a finger in a bowl of water and wet the top corner.
Fold down the top corner that has been wetted and then put it aside. Repeat until mixture is gone or wrappers are gone, whichever comes first. I like to use up all the wrappers and then freeze the extra egg rolls for another time. If you used up all the mixture and only have 2 or 3 wrappers left, you can cut it into strips and fry 'em for those crispy strips they use for wonton soup. My kids eat them as fast as I can fry them!
When the oil is ready, fry up the egg rolls, 2 or 3 at a time, turning to cook evenly, until golden brown. Can you hear that sizzle?
Drain cooked egg rolls on wire rack or paper towels. You can serve these with any of those chinese dipping sauces-- hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, or duck sauce. They taste good straight up, too!
Wasn't that easy? I'm telling you, the hardest part is the chopping of the vegetables! I make chinese food often, so investing in a mandolin slicer was worth it for me. You can find them for cheap, as low as $20. Unless you are a professional chef, I don't recommend shelling out big bucks for a mandolin. I also use the mandolin for when I make pickles or for slicing corn off the cob or making potato chips. Be careful, though, those blades are sharp! I've cut myself on them enough to testify to that!
Come back tomorrow for chinese beef stir-fry with mixed vegetables!
Monday, August 18, 2008
I made a batch of peach jam, love it! But the husband can take or leave peaches and the girls love the peaches, but don't like the jam. Hmm... what to do, what to do?
Then, I came across a muffin recipe that uses peach jam in a magazine I was reading. I tried it out the very next day!
I had all the ingredients needed, except for a box of instant vanilla pudding mix. I'm not running to the store for a box of pudding, so I substituted banana pudding. It made 13 muffins and was too good not to share the recipe with you!
I made them again using vanilla pudding, but you know what? We all like it better with the banana flavor. I am now keeping the pantry stocked with banana pudding mix so I can whip these up and use up my peach jam!
Here's the recipe for Peachy Muffin-cakes:
1 1/2 c flour
1 box (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix (we prefer the banana!)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c milk
1/4 c peach jam
Pre-heat oven to 350* and line muffin tin with paper liners or coat with oil.
Whisk together flour, pudding mix, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Alternately add four mixture and milk to bowl, stirring after each addition. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling halfway. Place teaspoon of jam on top of each and press in lightly (be sure to press it in, or it spills out onto the pan!). Bake 20-25 minutes.
These are great as a light breakfast with fruit, or as a snack. If you make these, let me know how you like them!
Being a mountain mama, that means every thing is farther away. I have to drive nearly 30 minutes to get to the closest food store, and it's not much. Surprisingly, though, they have a decent section of "international foods" and I am able to get what I need when I have a craving for chinese or mexican foods. If I want more selection, I have to drive almost an hour to the big town. Because I have to drive farther to get places, we buy in bulk when we can. That includes meat.
We eat a lot of ground beef around here. We like chicken and pork products, but the majority of our meals are beef-- cubed steaks, beef strips, rump roasts, and ground beef. Buying bulk ground beef means I have to either sort it and freeze it or cook it all. I choose to cook it all, then sort it. I'll show you..
This is about 5 pounds of lean ground beef with chopped green peppers and onions and other spices added to it. I like to add basic spices such as garlic, pepper, and parsley because it saves me time when I make meals, and depending on the meal, I'll add other spices for mexican meals or italian meals.
After cooking, I'll sort the beef into small freezer containers. See...
Having cooked meat in the freezer really saves me a lot of time and makes for many quick meals, especially when I don't feel like cooking and I can just throw something together real fast.
- Want tacos? Add cumin, chili powder, cilantro, paprika, and garlic salt and you've got taco meat!
- Lasagna or spaghetti? Add it to the sauce!
- Add a can of cream of mushroom soup, beef broth or bouillon, and sour cream and you've got the makings of poor man's beef stroganoff. Just add cooked pasta or potatoes.
- Got leftover mashed potatoes? Layer ground beef on the bottom of a dish, tomato soup, corn, mashed potatoes, and cheese-- mm! Shepard's pie!
- Make sloppy joes by adding tomato sauce and spices. I usually use ketchup, V-8 juice, Worcestershire sauce and other spices in mine. Sounds weird, but the result is a delicious sandwich!
- Here's a yummy kid-pleaser: Tator Tot Surprise-- your kids can help with this one!
In a square baking dish, add cooked ground beef.
Spread one can of cream of celery soup on top of beef.
Get your kids to layer tator tots on top.
Bake at 450* for 20 minutes or until tator tots are nicely browned. Serve with a salad and vegetable if you like. So tasty! If you make a larger pan then double the meat and use 2 cans of soup.
Come back tomorrow for more good eats!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Anyway, my point is, without a job, the husband isn't bringing in any money. Without money, we are living off our savings and money we get here and there from selling things. Our savings are gone and we are getting to the nitty gritty of things now. Thank goodness we have no credit card debt, after struggling to pay off the many cards we had, and we paid off the van last year and all we have left is the mortgage and payments on an used suv we needed to get in and out of our driveway when it snows.
When we bought the suv, they gave us a payment booklet and we paid the bill every month, late sometimes, but it got paid. Our last payment is next month! Or so we thought. Got a bill in the mail today from the bank with a new and improved statement with the remaining balance. I had to look at it several times before it sank in: our last payment isn't next month-- it's next year. oh no... All this time, we were doing the 'happy dance', thinking we had only one more payment and then we could breathe a little easier and we started to think what we wanted to get next with the extra money we would have had.
Just goes to show you, things don't always work out like you hope and plans can come unraveled right before your eyes.
We had some extra bills come this month-- property tax on the cars and the house, car insurance on the suv, and license tag fees on the cars. Then to top it off, the suv failed inspection because of the two front tires going bald and we need to replace them. We don't drive the suv anymore because of the cost of gas, plus the 6 of us don't fit in it-- it's a 5-seater. And so it just sits there and we planned to sell it after making that last payment. So much for that.
A friend is selling us his log splitter, which would save us hours of work splitting wood the old fashioned way with an axe, and give us more time to do other things, but he won't let us have it until we pay in full, which we understand. If you've been burned by other people, you don't tend to be trusting with others. But now we can't come up with the extra money to buy the splitter because of all the other money-eating stuff that's come up.
sigh.. If it ain't one thing, it's another. When it rains, it pours.
We will be tightening the belt yet another notch and I am going to try selling things on a new (to me) site. I'll keep you all posted, but I'll be busy for the next couple of days working on items to sell.
One more thing, next week will be a special 'food' week for mountain mama! I'll be posting recipes and how-to's and delicious pictures of various foods for you all, starting Monday! Come back and come hungry!
Friday, August 15, 2008
I know it must have been hard for her to do, loving cats the way she does and having to tell a little girl with pleading eyes that we couldn't keep it.
A cute little stray showed up today. Must be between 8 and 10 weeks old. Such a cutie pie!
Wait! What am I saying? We can't have another cat! We already have 5!
How am I supposed to look in those big blue eyes and say, "No"? How am I supposed to ignore those big ears on that little kitten?
Ack! I'm being double-teamed! How do I say no to TWO pairs of pleading blue eyes?
The husband and I repeatedly tell the girls to "put that cat back where you found it!" and they repeatedly bring her back to the back door and play with her.
"Pl e-e-e-ease!!!" is the chorus I am getting from 3 little ones, that fight over who gets to hold it next.
The cat food container is looking decidedly lower than it was this morning and I find the girls have brought some food for the kitten to eat. Oh dear. Now kitten knows we have food to feed her.
We really can't have another cat! Plus, its a girl! If we don't get her spayed, she's gonna make more babies and we can't afford to get her spayed or support more kittens. The local shelter is already over-whelmed with cats and kittens.
Kitten is turning on the charm. She pounced on a leaf in that cute way kittens have and I swear I felt something inside me melt. Ack! Hubby! DO something!
Help! Kittens are my kryptonite and my powers are weakening!
It's all karma-- what I've done as a kid is coming back to haunt me with my own kids!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
He has been so very patient.
During the last month of my pregnancy, I have pretty much cut him off in the hanky-panky department.
It wasn't to be mean or anything. It was just getting uncomfortable with my big belly in the way and being so tired at the end of the day. I mean, I was taking care of 3 children and trying to work in the garden and making jams and jellies on top of cooking and cleaning. Really, bedroom romps had just fallen to the bottom of the priority list.
My husband, my sweet patient husband, has not pushed me in any way. He has not begged or pleaded or demanded that we have some night-time extracurricular activities. But that's not to say he hasn't hinted.
After having the baby, I get a 6-week "get out of jail" card. I have an automatic excuse not to do anything. I've just had a baby for pete's sake! My poor, stretched out coochie needs time to heal! I was having post-partum leakage and it's all just one big, sloppy mess down there!
But now that the baby is officially 6 weeks old... well, can I say the husband is well aware of the time? Now that the post-partum leakage has all but disappeared... can I say the husband definitely knows that? Now that I am back to my perky self... can I say the husband is raring to go?
I am getting lots of hints from the man! I'll be cooking or doing the dishes and he will come up behind me and kiss my neck and [....] and grab my [...]. (I've gotta keep this clean, you know!) I am getting an awful lot of attention from the husband and it's not because I dropped something but rather how I look when I pick it up!
I am showered with tons of compliments from him, such as how nice my hair looks or how I have nice feet or how pretty my smile is when I look at him. I am going to pop if he keeps blowing my bubble and making me feel so pretty and sexy!
The man needs to get laid! And quite frankly, so do I!
And do I need to remind him that's how baby #1, #2, #3 and #4 got here?
Monday, August 11, 2008
For my hearing readers, 'kiss fist' is a sign language slang term. You literally kiss your fist stating that you love something. For example, in sign language: I really 'kiss fist' this book I'm reading.
There is a wonderful series of black and white photos that illustrate signs peppered here and there in the magazine. I was so excited to see them and my husband agrees, it's a great way to help someone understand why a word is signed a certain way. On the cover is a photo illustrating the sign for smoking. There is a photo illustrating the sign for high heels. Just go and see for yourself!
I am so excited to be a part of this magazine. It's brand new and this is only their second issue, and I predict they will go far! Are you still here?? Go! Shoo! Then come back and tell me what you think!
Yes, you read right. Sheets. As in bedsheets. More specifically, Tinkerbell bedsheets. Fairy dust and all.
I washed the sheets off the girl's beds this morning. Before bedtime, I asked Middle which sheets did she want me to put on her bed. She said, "Tinkerbell". Ok, no problem there. Oldest came in and I asked her which sheets she wanted, she also said "Tinkerbell". Ok, I told her, thinking that we had 2 sets (I normally buy 2 sets of everything so there is no fighting and they can't say "no fair!").
After I made Middle's bed, I went to the linen closet and discovered that we only have one set of Tinkerbell sheets. I remembered they were a gift from someone who wouldn't think of buying 2 sets to keep the peace between kids. I told Oldest to pick another set and then the hissy fit began.
I tried to rationalize with her: told her that she can have those sheets the next time.
I tried the firm hand route: sorry, but you'll just have to pick something else.
I tried threatening her with corner time.
I pointed at the crying baby in his swinger and told her to hurry and pick something because I needed to sit down and nurse him and if I walked out of the room, then she would have to sleep on a bare mattress.
"It's not fair! Middle always gets to use that sheet! "
I walked out.
She settled on a different set, but not before making a mess of the linen closet to pull it out.
Thus began my hissy fit.
Friday, August 8, 2008
In the meantime, while we have been busy doing other things, a turtle and a family of frogs have moved in!
Here, Mr. Turtle (or is it Miss?) is checking out his new digs.
The frogs have been busy and there are quite a few tadpoles swimming around in the murky water. Too tiny for me to take pictures with my cheap-o camera. We usually find between 3 and 5 frogs in the pool and the girls are having fun trying to catch them.
We have also discovered a family of toads living under a tarp that we have neglected to put away. (detect a theme of neglected items, do you?) I pulled the tarp out to lay it flat and let dry so we could finally put it away, when the girls spotted them. We counted 4 toads, so we put the tarp back and come Fall, we will put it up, because, surely by then, the toads will have moved on to find a more secure home for the coming winter.What a perfect chance to learn about cold-blooded amphibians and reptiles!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
He has only gained one ounce since his last doctor visit 2 weeks ago and the doctor turns to me and starts asking all sorts of questions about his eating habits: "How often does he eat? When are you nursing him? Are you giving him formula? How much and how often? How are his bowel movements?"
I nurse my baby whenever he wants to be fed. I will drop what I am doing to sit down and whip out the boob so my baby can eat. The few exceptions are when I am in the shower; when I have to do a bowel movement of my own; or when I am typing up the last of a post on this here blog. I have been known to feed the baby while I type with one hand and I have also been known to bring the baby with me into the bathroom if the husband is nowhere to be found and the girls are a little too rowdy for me to trust them with a fragile little baby.
At the appointment 2 weeks ago, the doctor asked me to supplement his feedings with 2 ounces of formula, once a day, after I nurse him. I have done that, and sometimes he finishes it, sometimes he doesn't. That, to me, tells me he is getting enough to eat from me because he is too full to finish the bottle. At the appointment today, he tells me I was supposed to feed him 2 ounces of formula after every feeding. The husband and I both agree that is not what he said. Besides that, he hasn't lost any weight. If he was losing weight then I would be concerned, too!
My Oldest, when she was a newborn, was a slow gainer, too. The first couple of visits to the doctor's office brought the inquisition down on our heads. "Are you feeding this child? You aren't starving her are you?!" Well for pete's sake! Of course I'm not starving her! You think I would bring her in for a check-up if I wasn't properly taking care of her? After about 5 or 6 weeks, she started to gain an ounce here and an ounce there and to look at her now, you would never know she was such a small thing. She eats voraciously and I never have a problem getting her to eat her vegetables or fruits.
While I am grateful for the medicaid we are getting, I am resenting the treatment I am receiving from the doctors; from the rude doctor that broke my water without asking me; to the pediatrician who started talking to another doctor about my baby's file right in front of me, resulting in the other doctor giving me the 'eye'. At least wait until I am out of sight before discussing a patients file with another doctor.
Of the 4 births I had, the third one at home with a midwife was the absolute best and the care I received cannot be compared to any of the other births. After the birth of baby #3 we decided that we didn't want her get all the shots that they give babies and choose to "go natural". I would never deny my children any kind of care if they needed it, but it makes me frustrated when a person judges me and my capabilities by only seeing my child for less than 5 minutes every 2 weeks.
I am going to look for another pediatrician, because frankly, I don't like feeling like a terrible mother.
I'm not a bad mother. I'm not a bad mother. I'm not a bad mother...
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Very Mary, of Very Mary Designs, had a 'Freebie Friday' contest and asked fellow bloggers to spill their guts on the worst party experience, ever! Thankfully, no one actually spilled their guts, but there were plenty of horror stories. The prize was this totally cool, vintage 'Party Encyclopedia' from 1960! Complete with details on how to decorate, recipes for mixed drinks and appetizers and even jokes!!
This was my entry for suckiest party moment:: "Lived at the beach for the summer with 2 other girls. one girl invited a bunch of college kids to our apartment for a party without asking the other roommates. came home to a house full of underaged freshmen students and a small handful of ex-high school classmates. trying to be gracious, I grab a beer and start talking. *sniff sniff* what smells? I look to see brown footprints leading from the front door to the kitchen. I follow footprints to the poopy shoes of a VERY drunk underaged freshman who threw up/pooped outside then stepped in it and brought it into our apartment. Party OVER! Freshman wanted to sleep on my couch along with 20 other people. uh, no? Spent rest of night on knees scrubbing floor with bleach."
I was the runner-up winner, because the first winner didn't claim her prize. Such a nifty book and the husband and I are having fun comparing notes! Thanks Very Mary!!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Daddy and baby napping together. Baby's foot is in Daddy's shirt pocket!
1 month later, and the girls are still asking to hold their "baby brudder" 10 times a day! Oldest just loves holding and rocking him.
Love that baby face! He naps on the couch next to me so I can keep an eye on him.
Such tiny little toes and feet! I can't stand it! I'm always holding his little feet while I'm nursing him. His foot is exactly the length of my middle finger.
Please pay no mind to the stains- I had a moment of insanity and bought a white sofa cover. with 4 kids. four kids. I had an idea from a magazine that had a couch with a white cover on it and the decorator said when it got dirty she just threw it in the wash with bleach. She obviously doesn't have 4 kids. Bleach doesn't work on every stain. I planned to dye it, but I have 4 kids, who has the time?
He is a tummy sleeper. Just like me. He may look like the husband, but he sleeps like me! He may have the husband's toes, fingers, chin and nose, but he sleeps like me! I love how he pulls his legs up and tucks his arms underneath. Makes it easy to see how he was inside my belly.
Happy 1 month birthday, Baby!
Friday, August 1, 2008
The girls had a great time under the bridge. It was fun throwing rocks into the water. Lots of flat rocks-- perfect for skipping stones across the water!
I know with the passage of time, things break down or get worn with use and almost nothing stays the same. That's why pictures are nice. They remind us of the way things were and how we cannot go back to the old days.