Friday, March 30, 2012

Things That Happen at Night

It seems like there are certain things that always happen in the middle of the night....

1. Thunderstorms - the loud, booming, jump out of bed kind of boomers that wake up your kids and leave you cuddling in closer to your husband.  Can you tell that I don't like thunderstorms?

2. Smoke Detector Batteries Get Low - That beeping NEVER happens during the day.  It waits until everyone is asleep and then starts the beeping.  There are so many in our house, that you have to stand next to each one before you are sure that it is the one that is beeping.  Why don't they ever start beeping during the day?????

What else is guaranteed to happen after everyone else is tucked in for the night? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

13 Years

Happy 13 Years of marriage to the Love of My Life!

Who knew 14 Years ago, that night would turn into all this?

I am So Blessed!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Some Things I Accomplished Today

I had an entire day at home today.  After sitting on the sofa, sipping my coffee, IMing with my cousin and watching Kelly Ripa, I thought it was high time I get busy and accomplish something.  I just want to make sure that those of you that think SAHMs eat bon bons all day, realize that our life is MUCH more than that! 
  • Nine loads of laundry - All the organizing and cleaning experts say to do one load of laundry per day, but I personally like to do it all in one day....Then I am set for a few days.

  • Baked some chocolate chip/m&m bars for the school pre-concert dinner tomorrow night.....and licked the beater clean! Nothing better than cookie batter and no one here to see you lick it clean!

  • Watched 3 episodes of GLEE so now I am all caught up for the new only took me 6 months to watch 2 1/2 seasons!  Can't wait to watch it in real time!

  • Vacuumed the living room, swept the kitchen, and emptied the dishwasher....yeah, I decided to really go overboard today!

  • Played some online scrabble. Don't judge me, it is a must. Every. Single. Day.

  • Entertained a friend with a gourmet plate of cheese, sausage and crackers.....ok, maybe not gourmet, unless Market Pantry monterrey jack cheese and Toasted Buttercrisp crackers are gourmet.
  • Drank some HAPPY CAMPER wine...It makes you HaPpY! :)

For real, I have had some crazy busy days, and today was an actual day at home with not much on my "To Do" list and I took advantage of it.  Was there other stuff I could have done?  YES! But, don't we all just need a day?  I did enough to not feel like I wasted the day, but still enjoyed myself! That makes for a good Monday!  I am gonna close it out by watching the new FOOTLOOSE movie.  Yep,a good day!

Book Review: Crooked Letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin


By Tom Franklin

Published October 5, 2010


This atmospheric drama is set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.
More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.

When this book came out, it received a lot of praise and excellent reviews.  I wasn't sure I would be interested because it was a "mystery", but after seeing multiple reviews, I decided I had wanted to read it.  This book is a mystery novel, but I also thought it was so much more than that.  We didn't have to read all the gory details about the murders that happened in this story, which I appreciated.    The author took time to develop the characters, the setting and the history of the area.  As I began to read this and the author was describing the area of Tupelo, Mississippi, I was driving through there on my way home from Florida.  As I read about the area, I saw first hand what the author was describing.  He didn't leave anything out.

I read this book with two other friends and we all loved it.  We had a great discussion as this book has lots of topics to discuss.  The author did such an amazing job giving the character's depth and we could imagine each one of them.  We learned to love and hate them as well as feel sorry for them.  I have to admit that I was rooting for Larry all along.  I didn't want to believe that he was responsible for the horrific murders, but you will have to read the book to find out if I was right.

This book is a page-turner and has several twists and moments that will shock you.  I was interested from page one all the way to the end. 

One of my favorite passages from the book was from page 236,

"Maybe Larry was wrong about the word friend, maybe he'd been shoved away from everybody for so long all he was was a sponge for the wrongs other people did.  Maybe, after all this time, he'd started to believe their version of him. But no more."

If you are looking for a rich story, with mystery, murder, and family relationships this should be your next read.  With it being set in the deep south during the 1960's you can also get a bit of the history from that era.  The author really puts his characters into that setting and gives you a clear picture of the times.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scenes From Our Week - Week 25, A Cheer Up Gift, Flowers and a Bookshelf

I had gotten the idea on PINTEREST to send someone a "Cheer Up" package with everything being yellow.  So, I changed it a bit and sent a "Happy Spring" package to my niece who is in PA School.  I found some neat yellow items on sale at and the rest I got at Target.  It was fun putting the package together and she was sure excited to get it!

Package included:
Peeps, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, Crystal Light, Yellow Nail Polish,
Yellow flowered dishwashing gloves, A yellow flower dish scrubber, and Lemon Drops. 

My amaryllis is blooming and is just gorgeous.  Thank goodness my mom "wintered" it for me so I could enjoy the blooms again this spring!

Reagan took this photo of me before I went out with Pat for dinner.  I was excited to be wearing my new boots. 

I've been wanting Pat to build me a shelf for all my cookbooks.  I had been keeping them in baskets in various spots in the kitchen and I really wanted to clear up some space and have them all in one spot. So, I finally got my wish......



Pat built this shelf right on from the kitchen cupboards.  Sherwin Williams matched up our stain perfectly and you would never know that shelf wasn't supposed to be there.  I just love it and it has freed up a lot of space and makes it so much easier to get to my cookbooks.  And we have a little workstation where the kids can do homework or work on the computer, if needed.  I just think Pat did an awesome job! 

We are absolutely loving this warm weather here in Iowa.  We hope it is here to stay!  We are also gearing up for the Easter season with Palm Sunday next week and then Easter.  A lot of school and church things coming up!  Stay tuned...............

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It Is Well

One of my favorite hymns is "It Is Well With My Soul".  The other day I noticed on my friend, Keri's blog  CREATIVE GENIUS ART that she had some new art work.  When I saw this piece, I knew I had to get it.

For a mere $25, she framed and shipped it my way.  I haven't found the most perfect spot for it yet, but I am thinking on the piano.  I love it and it makes me happy when I see it.  Thanks Keri for sharing your talent!

Keri has created some amazing window art as well as other pieces.  Check out her work at

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review: The Good Wife's Guide by Darlene Schacht


By: Darlene Schacht

Published January 13, 2012


In The Good Wife's Guide author Darlene Schacht encourages women to joyfully serve their families. In doing so she offers reasons for achieving a well-managed home backed by scripture and gleaned from experience. As well she provides readers with detailed cleaning and organizing schedules for practical application.

The Good Wife's Guide encourages women to make faith and family their first priorities from a place of sacrificial love. It reminds women that they were created with a specific purpose in mind, which is that of being a help meet. In supporting our husbands and living in unity we reflect God's blueprint for marriage.

I became interested in the book because the idea of the book came about because of an article the author came across titled "The Good Wife's Guide" supposedly published in 1955 by Housekeeping Monthly.  I had seen that same article because my husband brought it home and thought I should read through it.  Ha!  Anyway, we had a good laugh over it.  Then I saw this book and I was curious about what Schacht was going to say about the wife's role in the home and the Biblical piece to it as well. 

We have all heard of the Proverbs 31 women and how it seems impossible to achieve at that level.  Then in Ephesians 5:22-24, we are told, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” This is where a lot of women stop reading and get upset.  I agree, those are some serious expectations for us, but if you go on reading, you will find that God asks husbands to give of themselves as Christ gave of himself to the Church.  The husbands have a much larger responsibility for loving, caring, and sacrificing for us in the same way Christ did all that for the church.  So, if my husband is going to love me like that, I will be happy to love him back by serving and caring for him.

Schacht goes into all this in more in her ebook.  She does talk about how to keep your home and children presentable for your husband.  She suggests removing the stress of the day and having a relaxed atmosphere for when your husband comes home from work.  As much as this may sound absurd to some of you, I have found it to be very helpful.  When supper is ready and kids are not running crazy around the house, we have such a lovely meal and conversation.  Everyone is in a good mood.  But, if I am stressed and lay it all on him as soon as he walks in the door and the kids are loud and running around, supper and the rest of the evening are guaranteed to be stressful.  I am fortunate that I have a husband who is my "help meet" as well.  If I am gone in the evening, he will do the dishes, help the kids with homework, etc.  I don't have to worry about the list of things that I still need to do.  If he sees it needs to be done, he does it.  That is the kind of marriage I think everyone should have and what God expected for us.  There are times when we need to give and when we need to take.  God wants us to serve and care for our spouses as well as bring out the best in each other and this book reminded me of that.

Schacht closes out her book with chapters related to housekeeping.  She offers schedules and tips for keeping your home in tip top shape.  I appreciated her clear steps and ways to stay ahead of the mess.

Overall, I really liked this book.  It helped me see my relationship with my husband in a new light and even though I am not putting all of her suggestions into practice, quite a few have worked for me.

THE GOOD WIFE'S GUIDE is available on Amazon as an ebook, HERE for $4.95.  You can also learn more about the author and follow her blog at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Birds of Spring

We live in town, but at the edge of town, with a cornfield in our backyard.  Luckily, we still get quite a few birds on our feeders.  With our early spring like weather, I have been enjoying the windows being open and hearing the birds singing.  One of my favorites is the Cardinal's song. 

We have both a male and female cardinal who are hanging out at our feeders and it is so fun to watch them and listen to them sing to each other. 

I enjoy watching the Robins dig up worms and bugs from the yard.  I am hoping for another nest in our yard this year!

Our feeders are also full of house sparrows.  They aren't the prettiest bird, but they are so much fun to watch as they play and eat at the feeders.

I don't know if I will ever attract the birds that my parents have at their farm.....bluebirds, blue jays, wrens, orioles, woodpeckers, indigo buntings, scarlet tanagers, and finches.  But, I will definitely keep the ones that visit with full bellies!

Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away, all the same, knowing she has wings.   
Victor Hugo

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thought for the Day

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." 
Anne Bradstreet

If it wasn't for the cold of winter, we wouldn't notice the change of the grass turning to green, the smell of spring in the air, and the buds appearing on the trees.  If we hadn't gone through the struggles in our life, we wouldn't be so thankful for the blessings we have now.  

Sometimes we are tested with adversity in order to be renewed and reminded.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Winner of I See Me! Personalized Book

True Random Number Generator11
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Andrea is the winner of the I See Me! Personalized Children's Book. 

Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned for more giveaways!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scenes From Our Week - Week 24

After coming home from Minnesota, I gave Reagan these hair curlers we had found in a shop.  They are called  Curl Upand are heart-shaped sponges that you roll your wet hair into.  Then you just sleep in them and wake up in the morning with gorgeous curls.  Well, Reagan's hair is so fine, by 2AM, they had all fallen out and she didn't have many curls in her hair in the morning.  I have yet to try them out in my hair.  But, I thought she looked so cute with these curls in her hair when she went off to bed!

On Wednesdays, my friend, April and I run an after school program at our church called JAMS (Jesus And Music Serves).  We usually get about 24 kids from Kindergarten through 6th Grade.  This week, we had a donation of money to purchase pizza for our snack.  The kids were super excited and posed for this picture.  I am so proud of all that our church members do to help us continue this program.  These are some awesome kids who come each week to hear that Jesus Loves Each of Them and learn about ways they can share that love with others.  We couldn't provide this program without the support of many volunteers who help with snack and carrying out the programs, to those who provide financially for our needs, to those who pray for the children, and to the parents who allow their children to come.  Each one of them are a blessing!

Wednesday was kind of a busy and overwhelming day for our family as we started the morning by having our beloved cat, Buddy put down.  You can read more about that, HERE.  Since the kids wanted to have a funeral for Buddy on Wednesday, we needed a quick and easy supper.  So, I pulled out all our cereal boxes (yes, we have a bunch) and got out the milk and some banana bread I had made and layed it all on the table.  The kids were so excited and kept saying how fun it was to have cereal for supper.  We will definitely have to do that again!

After our funeral for Buddy, we stayed outside, playing and hanging out since it was such a gorgeous evening.  We were blessed by the amazing sunset that played out before us. 

Friday night was our school carnival.  Reagan was excited about getting her face painted and getting a pink puppy balloon.  What a fun night.  Our PTO did an awesome job finding new and fun ways to have fun and we had a great time!

We were blessed with some amazing summer-like weather this week.  I know it won't last and we will likely go back to some cooler temperatures before summer arrives, but until then I am enjoying every minute I open, flip flops on, and sitting on the porch soaking up the sun!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Flower Pictures

Every year I attend the Como Conservatory Flower Show in Minneapolis with family.  This year, the Winter Flower Show was still going on and it was just a glorious as the years before.  When you open the door to the sunken garden room, the smell of Stargazer Lilies and all the other beautiful flowers envelopes you and takes you away from the winter blahs....for as long as you are willing to stay in there.  Below I am sharing some of the photos I took from this year's show.  Soon, our own gardens will be full of the beauty and smell of summer flowers, but until then.....Enjoy!

This cute little bird is one of many that live at the Como Conservatory in the Tropical Room.  He was so cute and had such vibrant colors, I had to get a photo of him. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Scenes From Our Week - Week 23

I had an absolutely amazing weekend.  I had 4 days to get back on track after returning from Florida before I left for my annual weekend in Minnesota with my mom for her birthday.  We meet up with my mom's sister, Susan and her daughters and just had a blast the whole weekend.

We started the weekend by wedding dress shopping.  My cousin, Gayle is planning to get married next year and this was her first dress trying on session.

Aunt Susie, my mom and I were so excited to see Gayle in some wedding dresses.  We all had our favorites but, nothing really jumped out at Gayle.  At least she was able to decide the styles she liked and didn't like.   It was so fun to be a part of it!

By the time the wedding dress session was done we were starving and thirsty.  We headed to CRAVE at the Mall of America for dinner.  I was anxious to knock one of my 40 By 40 items off my list....eating Sushi!  So with a Crave Martini and support from family, I tried several kinds of sushi.  Don't ask me to name them, but I tried traditional rolls as well as sashimi and all were delicious.   

It really wasn't as bad as I had feared all these years.  Adding the soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger helped too.  It was such a fun evening and I am so glad I stepped out of my box and tried it! Thanks cousin Melanie for sharing your sushi with me!
Gayle, Susan, Melanie, Mom, and me

We started off our Saturday at the Como Zoo and Conservatory in St Paul, Minnesota.  We love their flower show and walking through all their rooms.  No matter the temperature, you feel like you are in summer.  It was still their Winter Garden Show and as always, it was gorgeous.  Check in tomorrow for photos of flowers. 
Melanie and I

Mother and Daughters

My mom and I

After the flower garden we went in search of lunch.  One of the things I LOVE about this weekend is all the wonderful food we eat.  We don't usually go to the "usual" places and I love finding neat places to try.  We found this lovely little place called THE BARBARY FIG on Grand Ave in St. Paul.  They serve Mediterranean cuisine and it was delish!  Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Spinach and Artichoke Gyro

Dessert, don't remember what it was called....but like Baklava with lavender and honey....sooo good.

This sign was in a shop window on Grand Ave.  The other window said Peep Hole for Girls.  A great way to get people curious about their new shop.  Inside the peep hole, it said "Shame on you! Stay tuned!"

Then we went to the Mall of America and shopped for the rest of the day and then enjoying some delicious food at Kokomo Island.

Sunday, after 1 less hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings and sad hearts knowing our time together was almost over, we headed to UPTOWN CAFETERIA AND SUPPORT GROUP in Minneapolis for breakfast.  The best part was the Bloody Mary bar!

Check out my bloody mary!

Sunday was my mom's birthday and even though we took advantage of it all weekend, Sunday was her real special day.  The waitress brought mom a stick of cotton candy to go along with some delicious banana cream pie....note all the spoons....of course we shared!  So fun!

We had so many laughs together and added more memories to our memory bank.  I can't wait to do it again next year!

And....while Mom was away, the kids got to play.....

They took advanage of this crazy, warm weather to play outside.  The bats and gloves were brought out and so were the bikes!

They even got the kites out and did some kite flying!

I think we are sticking close to home for awhile know.  Who needs to go anywhere with the Ah.Maz.Ing Iowa weather?!?!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Our cat, Buddy, needed to be put down this morning.  Buddy has been sick for a couple months and test results showed that he had feline leukemia.  There was nothing that could be done and he was pretty sick.

 Buddy came into Pat's life 16 years ago as a stray and has been here ever since (except for 1 month when Buddy ran away).  Buddy was a very loving cat and became "best buds" with my cat, Baxter when I came into the picture nearly 14 years ago.  Buddy and Pat were the best of friends and wherever Pat was, Buddy was usually close behind.  Buddy loved to get outside everyday and lay in the sun and roll in the dirt.  He was also a lap cat and could easily be found laying on someone's lap each night.  Every time we would play a board game on the floor, Buddy was always right there, trying to lay on the board.  Buddy LOVED turkey, tuna, and chicken.  Whenever Pat would bring home KFC, Buddy would soon be right next to the table trying any way to get at the chicken on our plates.  As soon as the bones would go in the trash, Buddy was trying to get at them and most times he was successful.  One time, we had McDonald's for supper and Patrick wasn't paying attention and Buddy jumped up and grabbed one of Patrick's nuggets.  Patrick said, "Dad, Buddy stole my nugget!" That is still one of our favorite sayings!

Buddy was a great cat and gave us lots of love and laughter over the years.  He will be deeply missed by all of us as well as Baxter.  Baxter will definitely have some lonely days ahead without Buddy.  Tonight we will have a little ceremony at Buddy's grave in our back yard and probably share some memories of Buddy.  The kids each wrote a note to Buddy to place in the box.  We also put a foil ball in the box, one of Buddy's favorite toys.  We can only hope, that he is in heaven, sitting on Grandpa Bill's lap like he used to do so many years ago.