Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Blog

Some of you FCCers may remember Larry and Patty Longard. They are now living in the cities and have a beautiful little girl, Maya. Larry has a wealth of information about books, children's books in particular. For all you moms, and dads, out there that love to read to their kiddos check out Larry's blog.

Apparently Larry's blog was featured in the St.Paul Pioneer Press. This is big time people.

One Year of Children's Books

Lots of good reviews.

Fair Wrap-Up

The Polk County Fair is over for another year. I was actually pretty sad Sunday evening when we were driving home for the last time. We all had so very much fun and learned so many new things that only made us more excited for the upcoming years.

Here are some photos to help explain some of our adventures.

Isaiah posing proudly by his terrarium and treasure chest. He earned a Cloverbud ribbon and certificate.

Mama, Isaiah, Anna and Papa at the Cloverbud/Explorer building enjoying Isaiah's achievements.

Isaiah and Lamby at the Little Britches Rodeo. Isaiah was walking a somewhat stubborn Lamby around the arena. Afterwards, a judge asked Isaiah some pertinent questions regarding the care of his sheep and what was done to prepare Lamby for the show. Isaiah did a super job answering the questions.

Finally, my mom took a photo of me sitting next to the blue/green/cream-colored washcloth I made. It's in the cabinet behind me next to the crocheted gnome. I have never seen one of those before, amazing.

We learned a lot and are anticipating next year's fair already. I think we are all still making up for lost sleep but the fun was worth it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Apple Bread

The results are in ...... my washcloth received a 2nd place ribbon and the apple bread I entered at the fair received a 1st place ribbon. I am pretty excited.

Isaiah had his conference judging on his two Cloverbud projects on Thursday and he did very well. He earned himself a certificate and a Cloverbud ribbon. He really enjoyed the process and having his entries on display.

Today Matthew and I are going to the Quality Meat Auction this evening and tomorrow Isaiah shows Lamby at the Little Britches Rodeo. We'll be busy the rest of the weekend but I'm hoping I'll have some photos on Monday about all our fun experiences.

In the meantime, here's the recipe I received from my neighbor, Michelle, that got me a blue ribbon.

Apple Bread

1/2 C. butter
2 eggs
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
2 C. chopped apples (I used Granny Smith)

2 Tbs. soft butter
3 Tbs. flour
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon

Blend butter, eggs and sugar. Add soda, salt and vanilla; beat. Mix in flour. Add apples; mix. Place in greased bread pan. Mix topping together until crumbly and sprinkle on top of bread.

Bake @ 325 for 55-65 minutes.

There you have it, super simple but really tasty.

More on the fair and Isaiah's entries coming soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Life

This buck has been our dinner (and breakfast and lunch) companion for the last week. He has not found a home on our walls as of yet. Am I the only wife in the world that has a deer head on her dining room table? Is this an odd thing? If this is a bit out of the ordinary feel free to keep your comments to yourself..... sigh

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fair Project #2

Isaiah finished up his terrarium the other day and these are the results.

He wanted to do a dinosaur's environment. Pretty clever of him, I thought. We used a clear 2-liter soda bottle and I cut the bottom off for him. He added layers to his terrarium. First rocks, then sand, next moss and finally the soil. He added a little jade plant and a palm. To make the habitat authentic looking Isaiah added a little Triceratops.

We had some brown book binding tape that looked very nice with the ensemble.

Anna wanted to get in on the action and boy did she dig in. She was a major mess but I believe she enjoyed herself so, it's all good. Anna is very proud of her terrarium in a sand bucket. I will not be correcting her on the technicalities of what a terrarium really is.

(click on the photo to see a close up of the Triceratops)

Papa assisting Anna with her "project".

Anna is very proud of herself. Please, click on the photo to really get a feel for the dirt that was ground into her arms, clothes and fingernails. It was a two bath night.

Not the Point

I'm entering some projects at the fair as well. My grandma taught me to crochet earlier this spring so, I'm making a washcloth to enter in the knit/crochet category. I'm not too nervous about this.

For some reason, however, I'm having a little panic attack over my other entry. I'm entering my version of Apple Bread into the quick breads category. I just stuck it into the oven and am sweating and having a hard time breathing. I've had enough panic attacks to know what this is. Seriously, what's the deal? I've made this bread tons of times and everyone who's ever tasted it has loved it. I know this is not the point of entering things at the fair. I know this, really I do. I'm just doing this for fun and to cross another item off of my life's to-do list. I have always wanted to enter things at my local county fair. This year is the year. I was excited now all of sudden I'm having a little meltdown.

Kristi, Kelli, do you ladies know the food judges? If you do, just tell me that they are nice. I really don't care if I get a ribbon. I'm just so stinking nervous. I don't even know why.

We drop our entries off tomorrow morning at that point it's out of our hands, literally. I'm really going to feel better at that point.

I shall try to refrain from throwing my bread at the fair entry takers and saying, "Here, you can have it. I can't take this anymore!" I don't think that would make a very good impression.

Thisisfun, thisisfun, thisisfun, thisisfun.

Is it Sunday yet?

Prayer Request

I have a prayer request I'd like to let you all know about. My mom was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy this past weekend. If I understand correctly, Bell's is a viral thing that needs to run it's course and this may last from 3-6 months.

She's on a few medications to help this clear up quicker. Mom has said nothing hurts her and she doesn't "feel" sick in anyway. Mostly, her eye is bothersome as she's unable to close her left eyelid. She has salve to keep her eye hydrated and she's to tape it closed at bedtime. Also, eating or drinking is challenging due to the paralysis on that side. I believe it's much like having Novocaine at the dentist. She doesn't taste anything on that side of her mouth either.

My mom's name is Barbara and if you've a chance I would appreciate prayer that the virus could run it's course quickly. Mom seems to be in great spirits over the whole thing and, as I mentioned, she doesn't feel sick nor is she uncomfortable. I think this is just a bothersome thing that probably makes her family more upset than it does herself.

Thank you, blog friends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We went down to Matthew's folks' farm last weekend. The big boys (Matthew, his dad, his brother and their friend Eric) needed to plan out their New Mexico elk hunt they are going on in September. I think it was just a fun excuse to go down to Oakridge Farm. Eric couldn't make it down due to the fact that he volunteers to fight fires all over the country and is out in California putting out some flames. His nickname is Sparky. Our good friend Chris came down, however, to help out building two huge sliding doors Opa needed on his machine "shed".

We did a bunch of fun stuff, we always do.

On Saturday Isaiah, Anna, Matt's sister-in-law Becca, Oma and I went into town to visit Nana. (Matt's grandma) Oma treated us all to a McDonald's lunch and then we went swimming back at Opa and Oma's in the wading pool.

Sunday was spent finishing up the two massive doors and of course a visit with Tony-the-Pony, Eeyore (the donkey) and the other horses and sheep. Anna, Opa, Matilda and I sat in the front of the truck on the way down to the pasture. Tony-the-Pony just about kissed Papa on the nose. Isaiah sat on Tony and got to know the Angus cows, he also helped feed some. Anna also had some fun sitting on Tony.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fair Project

The Polk County Fair starts this week, Thursday. We are busy finishing up the projects we've chosen to take to the fair.

Isaiah stained his woodworking project last week and will be adding the paint details today. He chose a wood project kit at a craft store, a treasure chest.

All the wood pieces and hardware came in the kit. He just had to follow the directions and nail all the pieces in place. He sanded the project and stained the inside and outside. Isaiah said he felt pretty grown-up being able to work with all the tools and stain the wood himself.

Isaiah is also entering a terrarium and will be showing Lamby in the Little Britches Rodeo on Sunday. Should prove to be a fun and exciting time for all.

Dust Eating

Photographic proof that there was some eating of dust done on the go-carts.




Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Matilda the Brave...... or not

My dear ol' puppy dog Matilda can be a very, very brave and ferocious canine. There is a little "family" of bees that fly around our front stoop and have made a home somewhere under the threshold of our front door. They haven't bothered anyone yet and Matthew regularly sprays to keep them away.

Matilda did NOT authorize their location of residence and is not going to stand for this utter lack of regard for her opinion. She often asks to go outside only to stand guard of the pesky intruders. Matilda will fearlessly wait quietly for just the right moment and then....SNAP..... kills the pesky bees in one foul swoop of her ferocious jaws. I have seen her do this on many occasions. I do not have photo documentation of this, however, as I do not want to be close enough to the receiving end of an accidental miss. I can't imagine the bees enjoy being stalked, caught and bit by Matilda and so if she does happen to let an angry bee go I want to be far away. Please know that I am entirely truthful on this matter and am very thankful Matilda is doing what she can to control the bee population attempting to invade our home.

On the complete opposite side of this dear doggy's personality she is a major wimp. Usually this only occurs while it rains. It could be misting or full force tornado warnings and she reacts the same. I've heard of dogs that are afraid of thunder and strong winds, but mist? She will not go outside if it's raining, misting or the shingles are being blown off the roof. She doesn't even lay down in her favorite spots. Nope, not Matilda. She has special precipitation hiding spots. I now know of four. They include:

1. behind the entertainment system
2. on the landing of the stairs
3. under the utility sink in the laundry room

and today's new spot......

4. the bathroom, as far under the toilet as she could fit

I'm really impressed actually. Being that we've only had our dear Matilda for about 7.5 months we do not know her history and where she came from or who took care of her. Somebody did a remarkable job teaching her the all the safe locations during a storm. I do not know why she feels it necessary to hide in the bathroom while it's merely sprinkling outside though. There's no thunder or lightning at this time.

I guess it's better to be safe than sorry though so, I allow her to hide. We used to try to comfort and reassure her when we first noticed this behavior. No use. Matilda will not come out and only peeks out from under wherever she's hiding when all forms of precipitation have stopped.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Conover, WI

Last Saturday my sister, Sally, and I went on a little road trip. Matthew was going to be doing some farm work and house projects that would not go very smoothly with two kiddos "helping" so off we went up north.

My mom and dad are spending the week up north in Conover, WI and we went up to visit for a couple nights. We left Saturday morning and came home Monday. We had a great little mini-vacation and, although we wished Matthew was with us, had a fun time.

We spent lots of time fishing, playing checkers and going for bike and boat rides. On Sunday we went down to Eagle River and walked around town a bit and went go-carting. I don't have the photos of the the go-carting adventure as those photos are all on my mom's camera and my folks aren't home yet. You can just imagine everyone eating my dust.

Around the lake and down the road is a bar called Bauer's Dam. (it's right by the dam, clever huh?) Isaiah and I biked there on Sunday night and I got him a Kiddie Cocktail and he played a couple video games. As a souvenir he got a fishing cap. We had a great time.

I played my first full game of checkers and smoked Sally. Isaiah and Anna took turns on the paddle boat with me too.

Sunday night while on the pier Dad, Isaiah and I had a little visitor eyeing us. A muskrat swam past the pier while Isaiah was fishing and the little critter kept peeking up out of the water. He was pretty cute.

Isaiah spent nearly every waking moment fishing with either Gramps or Grammy. Anna too loves to fish. Anna seems to enjoy playing with the fish after they are out of the water, however. We "rescued" a few and threw them back in.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Fish Remembered

Isaiah experienced another of life's difficulties.

He needed to say goodbye to one of his fish, Cutie. He took it very well. I'm proud of him really.

Following is the story of Cutie:

Last weekend Matthew, my mom, my sister and I took the kids to the carnival at Hudson's Booster Days. At the carnival was the Toss a Ping Pong Win a Goldfish booth. Matthew showed Isaiah a surefire way to never get the little ball in the miniature fishbowl. We were doing good with only three balls left in Isaiah's turn when Auntie Sally stepped in and showed Isaiah a sure fire way to get a ball in the bowl. (thank you Auntie Sally....)

Sure enough with his last three balls Isaiah ended up getting two of those ping pongs into a fish bowl. You know what that means...yep....we brought home two goldfish.

(note: we had no fish housing, food, fake aquatic plants or aerators, while you do win a fish you do not win any accessories for said fish)

In an effort to ease the fish into their new life in the lap of luxury (they had previously been living in a Ziplock) Auntie Sally and I ran to Walmart and purchased the new fish set up.

We drove the fish and their gear back to our house later in the day and set them up. They both seemed to be doing fine and enjoying their new digs.

To prepare Isaiah for the inevitable Matthew talked with him about the timeline of a fish's life. Basically, Matthew said you're doing good if your fish stick around for two days.

After the conversation regarding the life and death of goldfish Isaiah pondered the time specified by Matthew. Isaiah then asked if today (Friday) counted as the first day. You see Isaiah was trying to figure out if the fish were going to be dead on Saturday or Sunday. We assured him "Day 1" would be Saturday. Friday was just going to be a bonus day since that's the day the fish were won.'

Are you following this?

Anyhow, both fish (Cutie and Fred) have been doing splendidly all week.

Until this morning.

Cutie was looking a tad green around the gills, literally.

Well, at 1:15pm today (Wednesday) Cutie passed away.

With a few tears in Isaiah's eyes he went out and dug a little hole for his fish friend.

I told him to come back to the house when he was ready and I would bring out Cutie and attend the services he had planned.

Isaiah came in and said he was ready. He grabbed a baseball cap (he NEVER wears caps, not even while playing baseball) and we went to the little hole in the hill Isaiah had prepared for Cutie.

I had the honor of placing the fish in his final resting spot. Isaiah assured me he was going to cover him up, by hand thankyouverymuch.

I assumed we were done and was greatly taken aback when Isaiah said, "We'll say some words now."

"Of course."

At this point Isaiah whipped off his hat (which happened to be his Hudson Booster hat, very appropriate) and placed it over his heart. I was unsure what to do so I improvised and just put my hand on my heart.

Isaiah said, "We are gathered here today to say goodbye to Cutie. He is the fish what I won at the carnival. He was a good fish and I'm glad I won him. Lord I ask that he have a nice journey to your place. Amen."

I think I said Amen as well although I'm unsure as I was really trying to keep a straight face. It is widely known that grief can sometimes cause inappropriate behaviour like laughing at a funeral. I don't think Isaiah would have understood so I did my best.

At this point Isaiah replaced his hat back on his head. I told him it was a nice service and that I enjoyed having Cutie as part of our family.

(note: I had previously told Isaiah to wear some nice clothes today since it's Matthew's birthday and we were going to celebrate at my parent's house later in the day)

I thought I'd tell Isaiah I thought he looked nice.

Knowing I thought he was dressed up for Matthew's birthday Isaiah said, "I wore this for the funeral."

"Of course. You still look nice."

I offered a time to play a video game in hopes of cheering him up. It did. He's playing his new Indiana Jones Lego game. I think we'll get through this.

Goodbye Cutie, it's been a swell 5 days.

Dessert Dilemma

When asked what dessert Matthew wanted for his birthday he did not have a typical answer and list a few of his favorites. No.

My dear Matthew said something more along the lines of this, "How about something like a strudel, with cream, chocolate, raspberries...maybe some almonds."

Okay? I don't have anything like that in my dessert repertoire so I thought maybe I could find a recipe online.

I found an Almond Chocolate Strudel recipe and showed Matthew the great find. Nope. There was no cream or raspberries.

After much thought I decided I'd just have to invent something. Matthew also likes plain ol' yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting so here's what I did: I mixed up some yellow butter cake batter and made cupcakes.

These are not just any ordinary yellow cake with chocolate frosting cupcakes mind you. These are for my dear husband's birthday. So, after mixing up the batter I put about a tablespoon of batter in each cupcake liner. I then plopped in two raspberries a piece. I baked the cupcakes for however long the box indicated.

After the little guys cooled I made little holes in the top and piped in some whipped cream.

To top it off I piped chocolate frosting on top and more whipped cream along the edge of the cupcake. In the middles, on the chocolate part I put a raspberry.

I know it's not a strudel and there are no nuts but I almost got all the requested ingredients in there. I tasted one and they are pretty good.

Love ya Matthew, hope you like 'em.

ps. If you don't happen to like them, maybe don't mention that particular piece of information today.... I'm just saying.

Happy Birthday Matthew!!

Happy Birthday Matthew, I love you!

I know Isaiah wasn't up yet while we ate breakfast with Anna so I thought you'd enjoy seeing a photo of you and your boy.

Have a great day, after all you only turn 33 once.

Love ya,

Monday, July 7, 2008

Milltown to Luck

Yesterday we needed something to do. We needed to explore something or discover something. We decided to go for a little ride on the Gandy Dancer Trail. This trail runs along an old train bed that went up to Superior. The trail isn't that long now but it goes through our county and Burnett county to the north of us.

A person over the age of 16 needs to purchase a trail pass, either a daily pass or an annual pass. Matthew nor I had a pass so we went to the trail head in St. Croix Falls at the Polk County Information Center and got all legal. We knew Isaiah wouldn't be able to make a really long trip, this being his first. Knowing this we decided to pick two towns with very minimal miles between them. We decided upon the section of the trail between Milltown and Luck. I believe they state the mileage between the two towns as 3.7, it came out a little more than that in actuality.

What we did was drive up to Milltown and park near a section of the trail that was accessible from the road. We unloaded all of our gear and started up the trail. Being that it was an old railway bed there were some nice trees along both sides of the trail, this helped with the shade.

This section of the trail crossed over a few roads, mostly little used country roads but at one point we had to cross over Hwy.46 where it splits from Hwy.35. I make Isaiah get off his bike and walk when we cross roads, we all do that. Matthew was the road crossing instructor and would tell Isaiah and I when to cross. It really wasn't bad but we were just being careful.

We initially had a lunch packed in a cooler that Matthew strapped to a little rack on the back of his bike. Had it just been us we'd have just munched our lunch and continued on our way. Being that the kids were hot we decided to take a little break at the Wren Cafe in Luck. They had really yummy food, organic and all natural. This cafe cost a bit more than we wanted to spend, since we had a FREE lunch in the cooler, but we were making use of the air conditioning for the kids. Oh well. There's also a restaurant in Luck called the Main Dish that has pretty good hometown food. We ate there for breakfast once and will probably go back there next time. It's cheaper.

We will also try other stretches of the trail occasionally, I know there is a nice looking park in Centuria that is also along the trail. That would be a nice town to stop in with a picnic lunch, next time.

The last photo of Anna shows her sans helmet and front flap of trailer. She normally wears a helmet in the trailer but since we weren't riding on a road and it was hot I thought she'd catch more breeze on the way home without the helmet. She seemed more comfortable this way.

I'm sure we'll be doing more summer rides on the trail and exploring different sections. Matthew and I are both looking forward to the fall rides, however. We are thinking the kids may enjoy it a bit more when it's not 83 degrees. All in all it was lots of fun and we are all looking forward to doing this again.

As a bonus when we were about 20 yards away from our truck at the end of our ride two fawns walked out onto the trail in front of us. The camera was behind Anna in the trailer so I wasn't able to shoot a picture without spooking them so I'll let you imagine the sight. We all stopped on our bikes and just watched the fawns try to decide it they should cross the trail or turn around and go back from where they came. After much deliberation they stomped at us a few times and then turned around from whence they came. It was a fun little treat to see the babies up close.


Have you ever noticed that not all towns have their fireworks display on the 4th of July? I suppose I can understand the point if you think of it as a way to draw folks in for the other events that may be happening but, I don't like it! Call me crazy.

As a result of this breech in etiquette ( 5 points if you know what movie that phrase is from) my fam. and I went to the beautiful town of Amery for their 4th of July fireworks that are ON the 4th of July. Their display was amazing. It was finale after finale in my opinion. The show was so long that my kiddos couldn't even make it through the whole show. We had to leave early, after 50 minutes, they just couldn't make it and we had a bit of a hike back to the car. We never even saw the real finale. I can only imagine. Next year, I know we'll make it next year.

Also, before the display they played the Star Spangled Banner and we all stood and could see a flag hanging from an extended firetruck ladder. So, Amery had 4th of July fireworks ON the 4th of July, an American flag AND the national anthem. This just doesn't seem to happen anymore.

Besides all the patriotic wonder of the night guess who I saw? It's crazy really..... Can you guess?

I saw KRISTI and KELLI ! Kelli and I ran to each other like you see in dream sequences in movies but, I won't get into that part. How cool!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Sprinkle Fun

We had some sprinkler time this week. Earlier the temperature was a bit warmer. Yesterday the kiddos didn't spend as much time running through the water. I still heard lots of screams and giggles but high 70s just don't compare to low 90s.

Isaiah and Anna had to go "warm up" on the swing set in between sprinkler runs. Don't worry Grammy, nobody's lips were turning blue.

Matilda, on the other hand, stayed warm and dry and just watched.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Just so You Know

I purchased some individual chocolate milk containers for Anna's birthday party last week. I thought since we rarely have real chocolate milk it may be a treat if one of the children's beverage choices be chocolate milk.

It was a hit and most of the kiddos at the party chose a chocolate milk. I have a few left over and I just noticed a warning on the one of the bottles that I'm really feeling bad about. I'm wondering if I should alert the parents and let them know what the warning said. Nobody has called though and said their children were sick so I may just let it go.

This is what the warning said: WARNING - Contains Milk

Ya Know You're in the Country when...

. . . you read the paper and find the majority of OWI incidents are on folks riding ATVs.