We are so blessed to have the Nguyen family as friends, really adopted family. They came from Gilbert for the week during their fall school break. I was so glad Amanda came along too. We know the kids very well but never had a prolonged chance to get to know their mom. The kids worked most of the day helping me clean, it was nice to have a reason they wanted to help clean. We weren't even sure the Nguyens were coming because Ronald cheated on a test Thursday for school. He didn't get expelled but learned a lesson, our kids also learned the seriousness of cheating. Amelia had a breakdown Friday when she heard the news, they might not come. Amelia accompanied me to the airport at 10:20 pm. So many girl squeals...OMG!!
My kids took their fall break a week early so they could play with their friends. The younger kids did have to complete math lessons and some worksheets for our bi-monthly submission. Amanda went with me to take the little girls to gymnastics. We stopped at the Asian Grocery for Vietnamese pancakes Rose wanted to make for us. All was right in the world for 5 days! Rose and I worked most of the day making beef Pho broth. I planned to use a detailed recipe but Rose stepped in and showed me all the shortcuts. I bought way too many bones and meat so we used three pots to get it all cooked up...all for a gallon of broth. It was an all-day dish but the result was phenomenal. The sister missionaries came over for dinner, talk about a coincidence. They were not sure about our strange meal but tried it and loved it! We had enough broth for Ronald to eat for the rest of the week. That kid is picky about his Asian food.
Wednesday Justin had a tire on his truck crap out. The tire just disintegrated a mile before he turned onto the freeway. It took some figuring to get the jack properly working and the spare installed. He limped back home and worked for a while in our home office. The rest of us illegally squeezed into my van for a trip to Albertson's Park in downtown Boise. Amanda treated us to Starbucks on the way. All us non-coffee bibers slurped down vanilla frappuccinos. Mia got carsick riding in the truck with Chloe watching things on the phone. The park was absolutely gorgeous! So many stunning fall colors competiting for our attention. Amanda (aka Rose) and Evelyn took several hundred selfies! I think Rose out-shot me photo wise. The boys brought along play swords to have an epic battle around the park. Justin joined us towards the end as he was nearby ordering a new tire. We enjoyed lunch at the Boise Fry Company. Rose, Evelyn and I walked over to check out the Capitol Building before the parking meter ran out of time. I worked on editing photos the rest of the afternoon.
Thursday we had a lazy day until the late afternoon when we headed to the Pumpkin Patch. Josie was thrilled! She busily scampered here and there, me following in her wake. My favorite part was the sunflower and zinnia patch. So pretty. The boys went off adventuring, first to the dragon maze. Amelia and Chloe were also off on various adventures. Amanda took Chloe's phone because Chloe didn't take good enough photos of her in the flower patch. In order to keep track of Chloe, Amanda called Mia over 20 times on Mia's phone. Evelyn adores Amanda now, Amanda applied professional makeup each day they were here. The little girls got cute nail paint and the full spa treatment. Amanda promised to send Evelyn all of her extra make up! Amanda was impressed that Evelyn can perfectly reapply lipstick without a mirror. Those two went off on adventures until 5:30. Josie got to bowl, ride a fancy side, and go down the zipline. I experienced bees calmly eating honey off my hand! Amanda gave all the kids $20 dollar bills to spend at the Pumpkin Patch. Josie was thrilled to spend $5 on a pony ride. She was so cute sitting up on the pony stroking it's mane and singing to her pony. We all grouped back together for the pig race and dog show. The kids recognized the dog show company from a Disney+ show "All Star Stunt Dogs." Before the show all the kids were hoping Crazy Confetti would be part of the show. Indeed Crazy Confetti was in our little local pumpkin patch show. The rest of the evening the kids talked about meeting a celebrity, made them crazy happy! The little kids all bought cute dog visors for $5 as a souvenir. Justin met up with us before the dog show. We went through the mini-corn maze...no time for getting lost in a huge maze for hours with kids, am I right?! Yes. For dinner we ate the best corn dogs ever! Yum. We lasted another hour until the kids got cold. That was a very fun day.
Friday we drove out to Cabalo's Orchard to pick apples! We had two wagons and 5 bushel baskets for the lot of us. I think we went a little overboard with the apples. I like apples but what does one do with 104# of apples? The thought was daunting. Josie and the boys used apple pickers to grab the yummy fruit from the higher branches. Evelyn and Rose took photos, I took photos! Ha. We lost the two older girls, off picking apples from the other end of the orchard. By far my favorite apples were the wine-sap apples, a delicious tart, juicy apple. I don't really like bland apples like Golden Delicious and Red Delicious, which the orchard mostly grew. Still...fresh off the tree is hard to beat! In their pumpkin patch I found a mushroom shaped pumpkin we just had to get for our porch. At the front market we added in two gallons on fresh cider and lots of cute decorative gourds. What a haul! Amanda and I used the rest of the evening to wash then peel/core apples for apple sauce and apple butter. Our house smelled so good! I made a few more batches of apple sauce then canned the butter and sauce on Saturday and Sunday. We ended up with 16 quarts of apple sauce and 8 of apple butter. Over the next few days I dried several batches of apple chips in our large dehydrator. We're down to the last couple pounds of apples to eat and enjoy. Amanda treated us all to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Yum.
Saturday was a happy and sad day. Everett and Mia cried off and on all day because our guests were leaving. It's fun to say hello and hard to say see ya later. We headed to the airport around 3 with a very packed van, no one wanted to stay behind. There were lots of tears and hugs at the curb, Mia and Everett donned masks to walk the Nguyens to their ticket counter. The rest of our day felt bland and sad. The kids were up past 1 am most nights chatting and playing. I encountered Mia on Friday night trying to wash eyeliner off her face...we ended up using a pad because that was the largest sponge item in the kid bathroom. So much laughter and silliness from those two cute girls. Evelyn made 5-6 love letters for Rose with gifts wrapped up in hand-decorated paper. She was delighted to mail a box with apple butter, her letters, and some items Ronald left.
Sunday was a red-letter day! We finally got to meet with the entire ward for the first time...after 7 months in the area. It was nice to at least know the Ostlers!