A Family Time Lapse

When I was getting ready for Thanksgiving and the kids coming home, I decided that the pile on the table needed to get sorted.  It’s been sitting on the corner of the table for several months…I had every intention of taking care of it but it never happened.  I think we all do that from time to time…good intentions but poor follow-through.

Well with Thanksgiving and holidays here I decided I really did need to tackle that pile on the table.  Look what I found…It’s the papers from my house when we bought it.  They were asking $33,000 for it.  I don’t remember for sure but I think we offered $20,000.  It was a foreclosure house and needed LOTS of work…like $150,000 worth of work.  I think they counter offered and we paid $22,000 for it.  I don’t remember for sure.  I think that was the number we settled on.


That was really fun to find.

It listed the house as 1,446 square feet.  After the remodel it is closer to 2,400 square feet.

On the same clipboard, I found my notes from when I made all the food for the kids’ celebrations.  I catered all of the events myself.

These were the notes from confirmation for Kelli and Kayla…  I wrote how much I bought and what I would do the next I hosted an event.


My husband, Kramer, and I had five kids in eight years.  Between catering for their confirmation and catering for their graduation parties, I catered nine events with a full meal at each event.  In total, I did nine events because Kelli and Kayla were confirmed on the same day so shared a party.  Being the kids were close in age, I had one almost every year.

These are the notes for Kelli’s graduation party.  We never picked the same food each time.  For Kelli, we roasted a hog.


These are the notes for Karl’s.  He wanted meatballs.  Can you believe I made 600 meatballs??  We made 10 bundt cakes…wow.

These are the notes from Kayla’s.  She made it easy on me and only wanted brats.


I have the notes for the other kids too.  Kalissa graduated early so we had her party between Christmas and New Year.  She wanted the full Christmas meal so we went all out and had ham and potatoes with the whole Christmas meal flare.

Most people would not dream of catering and hosting that many people for a party…me, I loved doing it.  The food part always came naturally to me.

The hard part was our son Buck’s party.  It was at the end of May and terrible storms were to the south of us.  We couldn’t watch the weather developments as the party was outside and back then the only way to get up-to-date weather was from the television.  I remember pulling our daughters Kelli and Kayla aside and telling them to go tidy up the basement as best they could as we could see storms were coming and there were possible tornados.

I will always remember the day as storms did hit south of us.  The storms were EF4 tornados and took out Parkersburg Iowa.

That was my trip down memory lane.  If you ever want to cater something yourself, I have awesome food lists to let you know how much food to make for a crowd.  It’s one of my many-many quirks.  Part of me misses those days…part of me is so glad I’m not doing all of that with all of the kids still living at home.

I kept the papers…who knows, if I’m around when the grandkids start graduation from high school, I’ll be back in the mix of it all and the papers will be really handy to have.

20 thoughts on “A Family Time Lapse”

  1. Was that the same tornado that went through and killed those boys outs? If so it’s the one that came over top of us at the Walmart we were working in at Omaha Ne. It destroyed the garden center but popped over top of the roof- looked like snow coming down on our heads. It headed towards that boys out camp. It was such a sad event. Your memories of your home and all your hard work will go on with your grandchildren. They’ll always remember Grandma- ( and I’ll wish you a Happy Birthday now- the 14th right?) Praying for Gannon to be with you celebrating your special day.

  2. Those lists are amazing Jo, and such wonderful memories – did you keep receipts from the shopping?
    What a difference from then to now, reckon you’d downsize a little. Rising prices are dreadful.
    Glad family is healing, time makes a rapid difference in children’s health, thankfully.
    Cheers, Dot, NZ

  3. You are amazing! I cannot believe you catered all of those. I am sure they were wonderful and made many good memories for all.

  4. Have mercy!! I get nervous when I have to cook for more than my own family of 4. All that cooking you did makes me think that entertaining is your super power, Jo. If I have to cook for more than a dozen and I’m a wreck!

  5. I use a steno notebooks and have a pile since we never seem to have small parties! I make notes for even the smallest planned party. I enjoy sitting down the next morning and making notes what was well rec’d what probably won’t be repeated. How much was needed. One year the boys (3 late teens early 20s at the time) decided to have a pig roast mom kept asking what I needed to make they kept saying they had it covered people were bringing all the “extras”. Well about 100 showed up and 1salad,1 bag of chips and a container of dip. Luckily mom had bought extra pasta and a couple of lg cans of beans(20min to closest grocery store)and hsd had some frozen cookie dough so they saved the party,whew! Middle son is now a chef and has an event catering co and use spreadsheets for his “steno” books.

  6. What a great piece of family history and treasured memories. I’ve kept notebooks of menus from 35 years of brandings and cow works, but I don’t have 100 to feed. You are amazing!

  7. Your papers bring back memories – I did the food for my 3 kids’ grad parties too. Those notes are invaluable! I still make notes for our annual after-the-holidays extended family gathering here in January which usually involves a lunch-into-supper buffet, snacking, and a couple of breakfasts as we have several (up to 20 at times!) sleep over. We will have sleeping bags and air mattresses everywhere and those note are again invaluable.
    AND – the stacks you mentioned? We have those here too! LOL!

  8. Thanks for sharing your memories. I loved reading it. Interesting about your house too. You and your husband did a great job with the renovation. The best time of my life was when my kids were still all at home. I loved it.

  9. Marlene Clausen

    Make copies, laminate them, give them to the kids so they can cater their own parties and you can go as a revered guest!! Just imagine, those lists can be handed down for generations of celebrations (and, hopefully, no tornadoes . . . but it IS Iowa!!).

  10. Ah, your mention of tornadoes during Buck’s party brought back almost 50 year-old memories of 2 graduation parties in our family. One was for my cousin who lived just 4 streets over from where my parents lived but to get there we had to go up to the main E/W street and then over to, and down their street to their house. A bad storm had blown up while my husband, myself and my mom were on the way to the party. As we were just blocks from my cousin’s house, the brunt of the storm came roaring down the main street. Mom wanted to turn around and go back home but my husband pointed out that we were already in it and if we turned around we would just be riding the storm back to her house. It wasn’t a tornado but a pretty bad storm. The other party was my husband’s brother’s graduation and some of the guys outside swore they saw a funnel cloud aloft. Spring in the Midwest!

    Teresa F.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top