Thursday, December 24, 2009

The sixth name on our prayer list...

My online friend Mary Ellen lost her son a few months ago.

She has written an incredible and heart wrenching post.

Please say a prayer for them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Christmas Present

Isn't this the best thing you've seen? My very artistic friend Laura is married to Michael, a very talented man. She had the idea, the vision, and he ran with it.

Must. Have. Must. Have. Must. Have.

So I got one. (they have more....)

And I asked for it unfinished, so I could stain it to match our existing woodwork.

I did, and it does.


It didn't look very happy on those western beige walls. Not that a prayer list, by rights, would always be happy, but just hung there, washed out, sad, lonely.

Not anymore...

A little bit of red makes everything happy!

And I didn't stop there.





Looking downstairs...

Learning room...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aussie Annie has done it again!

Look at her wonderful idea combining Saints and tree decorations!


This great YouTube video features some incredible skill and showmanship. It’s halftime at an Army-Navy basketball game. These colleges are fierce rivals. What could bring both sides to a standing ovation?

What about a team of girls jumping rope? The Firecrackers are a team of elementary and junior high girls from Ohio. And they’ve taken jumping rope to the extreme. Their skills have made them a sensation at sporting events. They’ve jumped in the Macy’s Day parade. They even had a spot on The Late Show with David Letterman.

The Firecrackers practice for two hours a day, five days a week. That’s on top of keeping their grades up. And each girl must pass an etiquette class to make the team. After watching this, you’ll see that they deserve every ovation they get.

HT: Kim Komando

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Friday Night Rocked

I got together with my sister and niece last Friday for a girls night.

While I was driving to meet them for dinner, they hit the blackjack tables.

We are a very....talkative?, so while playing my sister mentions to the dealer how she wished she had tickets to that night's SOLD OUT concert.

The dealer walks over to the pit boss, who walks over and hands my sister FRONT ROW TICKETS.

I was never a big Poison fan back in the day. I liked a few of the songs, but was not a follower. I saw Bret and CeCe once in Sturgis, as they were riding down Main Street.

The band broke up a long time ago and Bret Michaels has been out on his own. He's had a reality show on VH1 the last few years. Consequently, I had a pre-conceived opinion about him.

I was wrong.

His concert was so clean - I would have taken my kids. In fact, I saw many mother-daughter groups there. I even saw Grandmothers with their granddaughters ( I know because they go to my church!).

No swear words, suggestive poses, etc. Just great music.

Here's the playlist: Talk Dirty to Me, Knocking on Heaven's Door, Sweet Home Alabama, Your Momma Don't Dance (and Your Daddy Don't Rock-n-Roll), Something to Believe In, Unskinny Bop, Fallen Angel, Nothin' But a Good Time, Every Rose has its Thorn, and then a few cuts off his new CD.

After he had played the first few songs, he stopped and started talking about the tragedy at Ft. Hood, which had just happened the day before. He said he was not going to get on a soapbox and start discussing politics, but he wanted to dedicate the next song to all our men and women in the Armed Forces. He asked if there were any in attendance, and a few stood up. We all clapped and cheered. He told them that we believe in them and what they are doing, and told them to believe in all of us. Then he started singing Something to Believe In. It was phenomenal.

Great show, great venue, great seats.

I would have taken my kids!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hi, I'm Government Healthcare ...

Great spoof!!

HT: Rachel

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Why me?

Why does the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms IP address continue to show up on my "stats" as a lurker??

From the official Senate website....
Terrance Gainer
Terrance W. Gainer

The Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, elected by the members, serves as the protocol and chief law enforcement officer and is the principal administrative manager for most support services in the United States Senate.

When the first Congress convened in 1789, the Office of Doorkeeper was established to address the single most pressing problem confronting the Senate at its birth - its inability to keep a majority of members in the Capitol long enough to organize and begin the business of government.

A doorkeeper was also necessary to control access to the Senate sessions, which were private for the first six years. Later, when the sessions were open to the public, the doorkeeper was responsible for maintaining order on the floor of the Senate and in the galleries. The title of Sergeant at Arms was added in 1798 to reflect the expanded administrative duties of the position.

The protocol responsibilities include escorting the President and other heads of state or official guests of the Senate who are attending official functions in the Capitol; making arrangements for funerals of senators who die in office; assisting in plans for the inauguration of the President and organizing the swearing-in and orientation programs for newly elected senators. The Sergeant at Arms leads the senators from the Senate to the House chamber for joint sessions of Congress, to the presidential inaugural platform, or wherever the Senate may go as a body. As executive officer, the Sergeant at Arms has custody of the Senate gavel.

As chief law enforcement officer of the Senate, the Sergeant at Arms is charged with maintaining security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings, as well as protection of the members themselves. The Sergeant at Arms serves as the executive officer of the Senate for enforcement of all rules of the Committee on Rules and Administration regulating the Senate Wing of the Capitol and the Senate Office Buildings and has responsibility for and immediate supervision of the Senate floor, chamber and galleries. The Sergeant at Arms is authorized to arrest and detain any person violating Senate rules, including the President of the United States.

The Sergeant at Arms is the largest in size of staff and budget in the Senate. It is responsible for all Senate computers and technology support services, recording and photographic services, printing and graphics services, and telecommunications services. The Sergeant at Arms also provides assistance to all Senate offices with their staffing, mailing, purchasing and financial needs. The Sergeant at Arms offices responsible for providing these and other services include Capitol Facilities, the Operations Division, Customer Relations, Financial Operations, Human Resources, and Information Security. The Sergeant at Arms also shares responsibility for the U.S. Capitol Police, the Capitol Guide Service, the Senate Page Program, the Senate Office of Education and Training and the Capitol Switchboard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review: 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family

I received this book several months ago in exchange for an honest review, and finally found time to read it.


It is geared towards families with older kids, but it is still a great "what can happen during the teenage years" prep book for families with younger children. Rebecca Hagelin has an easy to read writing style, drawing you into the book.

Each chapter or day discusses a different aspect of ways to keep your family together, ways to remind your kids of what and who are important. Headings include Understand How Marketers Target Your Children, Battle the Culture, Not Your Child, and Vow To Be The Paren (Not Your Child's Best Friend). The chapters are filled with solid, common sense advice, advice that is virtually ignored in today's "me-me-me" society.

If you want your family to survive the teen years, you need this book!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yes, we are!

Got Ducks?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vikings 30 Packers 23

What a GREAT game!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Loveliness Fairs Return!!!


The first 2009-2010 Living Lives of Loveliness fair is up!

This is a combined fair, a hodge podge of beautiful ideas. Back to School Traditions, the Loveliness of Autumn or the Loveliness of Spring, depending on where you live.

I love fall in Minnesota. It is my favorite season ~ crisp air, the lingering smell of campfires, roasting marshmallows for s'mores, brisk walks, falling leaves, and the colors. I love the contrast of dark tree bark with green or yellow leaves, right next to birch trees and their stark white bark, the orange and red and magenta leaves, and the slate blue sky. It's the one season when the colors outside the windows are echoed inside our home.

What are traditions? To me, they are memories of time spent with people you love doing things you love. Some traditions may be new, some may only last a few years, some for decades.

As a child I participated in some great traditions. Occasionally we would spend the night at my paternal grandparent's, and Grandma would get out the pennies and bingo cards. We'd sit at her kitchen table and play bingo for hours, and then walk to the corner store and buy lunch bags filled with candy. This is the same Grandma who let me eat all the chocolate I wanted the day we moved into our newly built house. I was 6. I was very sick all. night. long. I did not learn my lesson about eating too much chocolate.

When we spent the night at our maternal grandparent's we had to be careful if we sat down on the couch. Grandma had it covered in plastic, and if you didn't sit down just fight you slid off and landed on the floor. Ask me how I know. We didn't play bingo over there, instead we would get in the car and Grandpa would fall asleep while driving and Grandma would yell at him to wake up. Then we'd go eat ice cream sundaes at Farrell's.

Our beginning school year tradition, after the obligatory first day picture, was attending our parish Fall Festival. Bingo and cakewalks. It just doesn't get any better! ( And can I just say how dreadful I look in some of those pictures? I mean, a first grader with blue cat-eye glasses? Mom, what were you thinking? No wonder I didn't wear them for the first few months, prompting a phone call from the teacher about my squinting....)

For the last 5 years we've homeschooled, and have had many traditions before each of our official yearly starts. Due to circumstances, we needed a new tradition this year. So, we went to the public school orientation-meet-the-teacher-get-your-locker-smile-for-the-class-picture-day, then we hit the Crab Leg buffet the night before public school started.


I love crab legs.

My son wanted to try mussels. He ate 11 of them. On the 12th one he said he didn't like them.

We went home, got in our jammies, huddled under a blanket on the couch and I read-aloud a few chapters of "The Horse and His Boy". Then we ate popcorn and s'mores. It was a bittersweet evening.

Old traditions are full of memories, but new starts can become traditions in time.

And now on to our fair....

Andrea at Running with Perseverance talks about Apple Picking Time.

Laura's post is about School Daze!

Jodie wrote a post about Autumn and the Fruits of Our Harvest.

Erin says Hooray for October!

Renee has some great thoughts on Autumn in our Homes.

My friend Melissa sent me this comment: My only tradition at this point is to take photos of the kids by the schoolroom door. I hang them up on the door with their name printed below. It's like a welcome sign to my students. We also do measurements on a height board I created (a 2x4 that can be removed if we ever moved). We review the chore cards that hang below the photos on the door. Afterwards we talk about the schoolroom, what's new, look through our books, etc. Of course we always begin with a prayer and the pledge before starting assignments. Lunchtime I breakout the lunch trays and a special meal which they love. Later we have a fun snack that has a school activity purpose, such as pretzel letters/#s stuck together with PB. Precautionary: I print on the back of the photo their info in case something happens to one of them and the police need a quick photo.

Caroline had this comment to make: I begin the year with the Novena to the Holy Spirit, which is my only "tradition"! Before we begin, we take a trip to Staples for new notebooks and coloring pencils. Since we usually begin the year sort of gradually (starting with two subjects, such as math and reading, and slowly adding in others), we don't have a single "kick-off" day, so I am like Chari, meandering through the summer doing some things, and then just kind of gradually ramping up the program in the fall. My kids want us to have something cool to do, though! They want to go to the park on the first day of school!

My very dear friend Laura wrote a beautiful post about their First Day of School!

Now my friend Annie is from "down under", so she writes that Spring has Sprung!

Sarah is amazing. She wrote not one, not two, but three planning posts for our fair. Thank you Sarah! Here are September, October, and November.

Lindsay wrote about What Autumn Leaves Behind.

Cheryl's post is titled Over and Over. Very fitting!

Last but certainly not least, Maryan wrote about Oktoberfest!

There you have it ~ the first Loveliness Fair of the 2009-2010 season.


Wait...there's more!!

Sarah has written about School Rhythm. I think we can all relate....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Living Lives of Loveliness Fairs

I'm hosting the first one, focusing on "Your Beginning School Year Traditions".

I'd like to receive all the submissions by Sunday, September 20. Then I can get the fair up on my blog Monday the 21st or Tuesday the 22nd at the latest.

You don't have to have a blog to do this - you can email your entry.

Remember....Your Beginning School Year matter when you start...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

With heavy heart

This has been a sad afternoon.

A very dear online friend, who I will finally meet this Christmas, lost her young son today.

Colleen's baby Bryce died in his sleep this afternoon.

Wrapping the Mitchell family in prayers...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

For Laura

because she asked...

next to the front door.... doesn't EVERYONE have a steer skull?

the only flower garden on the property....home of the BEE or SPIDER...

panoramic view....

the picture above shows two of the vegetable gardens...these are tomatoes, peppers, peas, raspberries, zucchini and strawberries

Looks like some weird zucchini growing...

the largest vegetable garden....corn, peas, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes

garlic and onions in the rock garden

potatoes, peas and beans in the fenced garden....and a boat....

From my garden to yours with love!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What I've been doing...

Thinking about politics

and religion

recovering from a nasty bee sting / spider bite /allergic reaction / infections

resulting in three days of hospital trips for IV medication delivery

reading several books (Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; Life Without Summer; The Housewife and the Actor; Mastering French Cooking; Meat & Potatoes Catholicism; The End of the name a few)

next up....Laura has asked for garden/property pictures..... this'll be good

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Go Vikings!!!!!

Favre said yes!

Maybe this is the year we make it to the Super Bowl and WIN!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another Blessing!

My friend Laura is pregnant with number seven!

I'll clarify my crazymama friend Laura, and not my joyfulnoise friend Laura. Although, if she was expecting I'd be happy too! So many of my blogging friends are pregnant or just had new babies...Laura, Regina, Jaime, Margaret and Katherine, to name a few.

God is good!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meat and Potatoes Catholicism

I ordered Meat and Potatoes Catholicism through the Catholic Company reviewer program.

At 235 pages, it's a quick and easy read. He writes as if you are sitting at a table engaged in a conversation.

Fr. Classen gets right to the basics of the Catholic faith. Chapters discuss topics such as What is the Church, God in Scripture, The Rite of Baptism, Examination of Conscience, Transubstantiaion, The Rite of Confirmation, The vocation of parent, and Holy Orders, to name a few. Each topic is written in a clear and easy to understand manner.

A very good book for those needing to know more about the Catholic faith, written in a language we can all understand.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Where were you .....

…when 911 happened? I had just pulled into the parking lot at work when I heard the news on the radio. I raced inside and told my co-workers what had happened. We hooked up a TV and watched the news all day.

….when Kennedy was shot? My mom says I was sleeping in my crib.

….when Elvis died? My mom and I were driving to Har-Mar mall and heard the news on the radio. She cried.

….when Princess Diana died? In Wisconsin at a friend's campground/resort.

….when OJ Simpson verdict came down? In the auditorium at college. Administration thought it was a good idea to broadcast the decision for all the students. The vast majority of the student body was black, and many of those students jumped up clapping their hands.

….when Michael Jackson died? did he die?

….when John Lennon died? On my way to Afton to go skiing and heard it on the radio.

….when Waco Branch Davidian cult complex burned down? I don't know

….when Challenger space shuttle blew up(1986)? I was working at Rosedale and hear it on the news. You could have heard a pin drop in there.

….when JFK Jr.s plane went down? I don't know

HT: Paula

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My new favorite video!

Big Brother is here!

I've just started reading a new blog, and she posts some amazing items. The one I just read is scary, especially because it is true.

Here's an excerpt:

From the official White House blog, entitled "Facts Are Stubborn Things":

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"

Yes, that's right, fellow citizens. The president is so concerned about the "truth" regarding his policies that he wants you to report dissent directly to the White House.

Can you imagine if President Bush had posted a notice on the White House blog asking Americans to report on their fellow citizens, passing along "fishy" e-mails and links that they got with "disinformation" about his policies?

This isn't about trying to answer critics. This is about knowing who the opposition is, what they're saying, and how to silence them. A completely unconstitutional abuse of executive power by a man who believes that the president's powers are unlimited...certainly not restrained by that outdated document, the American constitution.

You can read the rest here.

HT: Thoughts from a Conservative Mom

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our Learning Room

We are blessed to have an unused family room that has been turned into a Learning Room. We do most of our table lessons here during the summer. We move to the kitchen in the winter months. Hey, it gets cold here!

Back on Valentine's Day I received the beautiful handmade bookcases from my husband and his father. I am in a constant state of purging, as I have been told I won't be receiving anymore....

Here are the maps and language arts ideas. You can even see the postcards received from our 4Real exchange!
Here are the bookcases. Ignore the TV on the floor, it is going to a friend next week.

Here is our sometime reading area with a view of three of our six gardens.

Yes, six.

Please don't ask me why we have six smaller gardens instead of one large garden. I don't make those decisions.

The other end of the reading couch with views of the patio, fire pit, cornfield, creek, and bear path.

Yes, that is a treadmill.

Yes, I use it.

Half marathon, here I come!!!

Another view of our nature wonderland...

After Jennifer's breathtaking post, I had to rearrange our art supplies.

I love the colored pencils and markers in glass jars on the windowsill. When the sun hits them at the right angle the room feels like it is in the middle of a rainbow. I'm working on the rest of our craft supplies.

I really thought when I received the bookcases that there wouldn't be any other storage-type furniture in the room.

I thought wrong.

Hope you enjoyed your tour!