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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Break

means making a HUGE pot of corned beef and cabbage for my family!  I got a new pot at IKEA last December.  It’s the biggest pot I’ve ever owned and I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to fit in all the cabbage at the end.  But no worries…it all (barely) managed to fit and we enjoyed a delicious St. Patrick’s day meal with all 6 of us at home!  YAY!

075 March 17

Everyone home again for a few days.  As always, there was lots of laughter and lots of eating that took place. I love having everyone home! 

076 March 18

With spring comes the annual question “Which bikes still work?”  As you can see…we have several to choose from!

077 March 19

Right now, there is a working bike for each of us that live here.  But when Caleb and Cameron take their bikes back to Iowa City…we might have a problem.

And finally, with the spring, comes spring rains.  A necessary part of life.  And with the lack of snow this year, the moisture is MUCH needed around here!

078 March 20

Monday, March 26, 2012

Signs of Spring

As I mentioned yesterday, the beautiful weather and flowering daffodils are signs that spring is here (and many of us are hoping that it is here to stay…we will have to wait and see on that one).  But even indoors, there are signs of the new life that comes each spring.

074 March 16

This plant was given to me by some friends when my dad died last May.  It was a beautiful flowering outdoor plant.  It literally bloomed all summer long.  When fall hit, I decided to try to keep it over the winter and see what would happen.  But I waited one day too late to bring it in, and the frost got it.  It was withered and shriveled and dead, with only a few green areas remaining.  I ALMOST threw it out, and then decided to wait til spring and see what happened.  I pruned away the frost bitten parts, a little at a time, and faithfully watered it all winter.  It did gradually green up, and now…little new shoots are reaching out for sunlight.  I am SO happy, and can’t WAIT to see those pretty yellow flowers on here again! 

This plant is very much an example of how I feel all winter long.  Frost bitten, withered and left for dead (well…not THAT extreme, LOL)  But I do just really suffer through winter….just hanging on for dear life til that warm sunshine starts appearing (and I’m SO extremely thankful with how early that warm sunshine hit this year!)  That first warm day, I just want to stand and turn my face to the sun and soak it all in…kind of like these sprouts did on this plant. 

I’m so thankful to God for the promise of spring and new life, after a long (or short!) winter.  I’m thankful for the promise of new life…eternal life…when I’ve made it through the season that is my life here on earth.  That promise of new life…eternal life…waiting for me is what keeps me turning toward the SON and soaking Him all in.  Waiting for that eternal life He has earned for me by giving up His life for me.  Because He loves me and He KNEW how much I need that eternal spring that is waiting for me!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Did you make your brooms stand up?

A couple of weeks ago there were all kinds of stories going around about the way the planets were aligned perfectly so that brooms would stand up by themselves.  Well, it really has nothing to do with the way the planets are aligned …it’s all about gravity and balance…but I still had to try it.  And it worked!  And guess what?  It still works now! 

068 March 10

Rachel has been playing organ for church.  She is improving each time.  I hope she enjoys it as much as we do.  I LOVE hearing her practice those good ole Lutheran hymns here at home, and then belting them out on the organ at church!  We recently asked her if she wanted her own copy of the organist accompaniment book.  We told her that if she intended to keep up with organ playing, we’d get it for her.  She said yes!  Here it is, in front of the piano, with Ron’s Martin Luther Bobble Head.  (It was a gift…)

069 March 11

And here is what I’ve been doing that has kept me from keeping up with the blog recently.

070 March 12

I’ve been trying to get a head start on Rachel’s graduation scrapbook.  I’ve got most of her non-digital pictures scanned in, and I’ve created a folder where I’ve copied the pages from Caleb and Cameron’s books that I can use as is (or at least with minimal tweaks).  AND I have her first five pages created.  Feels good to have a start on this project.  Now….to keep at it so I don’t have to be cramming them out at this time next year!


071 March 13

is another reason that I haven’t been keeping up so well with the blog….it’s just been TOO stinking beautiful outside!  Look at those AWESOME temps!  And this was before spring even hit!  I’m LOVING it!  Things are greening up and

072 March 14

my daffodils are in full bloom (actually, by now, they are almost done!)  They were beautiful this year! 

And, of course, there are kids activities keeping me busy as well.  Ethan’s middle school band had a college professor from Wartburg come and listen and critique and give wonderfully helpful tips to the kids.  But he also said (and this isn’t a direct quote, but it’s close) “This is, hands down, the BEST band I have heard in this middle school!”  Which is pretty cool, ‘cause he’s been coming to do this at our school for many, many years!  Our MS band really is super this year!

073 March 15

So…there you have it…some of the reasons you haven’t heard from me in a little while!  I’m sure there will be other times where I run WAY behind, but I’ll just keep plugging away!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Musical Mayhem

I love music.  Especially when it is produced by my children!  Cameron came home Friday night for spring break.  Very shortly, the guitar came out, and he asked Rachel to play piano.  What fun it is to listen to them try to figure things out and make music together!

067 March 9

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Leopards and Avocados

The prompt for a photo of the day for Wednesday was “Something you wore”.  These are some of my favorite shoes EVER…comfy AND cute!

065 March 7

and they go with all KINDS of clothing! 

This last summer, either Ron or I mentioned to a friend that we have tried a few times to start an avocado plant from an avocado pit, and we haven’t been able to get one to sprout.  On Thursday, she brought me one she had started!  (Of course, it will take 10-15 years for it to produce a fruit, and I’ll never keep it alive that long, but hey…it’s cool for now!)  I THINK, from research I’ve done, that I need to cut it back (almost in half) and see if that will help it leaf out a little more.

066 March 8

Make (beer?) while the sun shines…

Isn’t that how the saying goes?  It was definitely Ron’s interpretation of the old saying. 

We had unseasonably warm weather on Tuesday.  Sunny and just beautiful.  Ron decided to spend a bit of time on the deck, brewing his latest (2) batches of beer.  I think his favorite moment (well…favorite moment after tasting the homebrew for the first time!) is this moment…

064 March 6

…the dumping in and the stirring of the hops.  I think the quote went something like this… “I have to get my nose in there to smell the hops!”

Watch his blog (These are the Beers of my Life) in a few weeks for a review of how this brew turned out!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Ethan Show

For 3 days in a row, Ethan was the focus of my photo of the day!  He’s such a photogenic kid, isn’t he?


061 March 2

I needed a picture of Ethan to use for his confirmation invitation, so I made him sit in a chair and smile.  Look at those dimples!  Isn’t he handsome?? 

062 March 3

On Saturday, the middle school jazz band had their contest.  They sure wowed the crowd!  They sounded absolutely wonderful!  I was more than impressed with our group of kids, and a huge shout out to Mr. Johnson, our band director!  He has worked SO hard with those kids this year, and done a great job with them!

063 March 4

Can you guess what Ethan did on Sunday?  The 7th and 8th graders are working hard on their upcoming performance of “Oliver”.  On Sunday, Ethan and his friend went to the middle school to help paint.  I’m rather curious to see if any paint actually got on the SET or if it all ended up on my KID!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Smile

I’ve seen a couple of lists of ideas for photo of the day pictures.  I w0n’t use them every day, because there are so many days where there is something that I NEED to photograph to remember.  But….I was stumped for March 1 (after missing February 29, evidently.  I can’t find a picture for that day!) 

So I turned to the list.  “A Smile” was the item for the day.

060 March 1

Rachel made this in preschool, and we hung it on our bedroom wall.  It makes me smile every single time I see it.  Seriously. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just found a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  They stayed soft (my favorite kind of cookie!) and moist until they were all gone.  (This is the recipe that I have used a couple of times on that yummy Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownie Dessert. ) 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2 1/4 c flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 c butter
    1/4 c sugar
    3/4 c brown sugar
    2 eggs
    12 oz chocolate chips
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 (3 1/2-4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding

    Beat butter, both sugars, vanilla and pudding mix until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour and baking soda. Add chips. Drop onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes. Check them after 5 or 6 minutes, because you only want them to be lightly browned.

    Cool and EAT!059 Feb 28

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Always running behind…

do you ever feel that way?  Every week, I look at the calendar and think, “Ok…this is a busy week, but next week things will slow down a little.”  Ha…who am I trying to kid? 

So, I decided not to stress about blogging.  When I have a free night I’ll try to write a post or two, but I’m not going to worry about it too much.  If I have to make a post with several photo of the day photos, that’s just what I’ll do.  (I do really want to try to keep that up, but I am finding it a challenge to find something to photograph every day.  I think I have missed a day or two in the last week or so.)

SO….photo of the day for February 24th…

055 Feb 24

Rachel had a jazz band festival at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.  Ron and Ethan and I drove down to Iowa City to pick up Caleb and Cameron after their classes, and we took them with us to the Jazz Band summit.  The jazz band sounded super, and we had a good time listening to them (never mind that her 3 brothers got her I trouble with a judge for making her laugh and not pay attention).  After the band was finished, we went to The Airliner in Iowa City, for a birthday dinner for Cameron.  He and Caleb shared this “Airbus”. It was a wonderful family dinner, and great to have everyone all together again for a short while!

056 Feb 25

On the 25th, Rachel had individual speech in Riceville (yes, another weekend spent on the road!)  She did a fantastic 6 minute speech on Billy Joel, complete with some piano playing.  Unfortunately for parents, photos aren’t allowed during the performances, so…I took a picture of Rachel and Katelyn … my 2 girls.  Love them!

057 Feb 26

On Sunday afternoon, Ron and I went to the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center for Beers to You.  MUCH thought and preparation went into the planning of this afternoon (on Ron’s part!) We arrived at 3 pm for a presentation by Bob Cannon, brewmaster from the Sam Adams brewery in Boston.  He gave a great presentation, and Ron got his picture taken with him.  Then, Ron pulled out his sheet that he had highlighted and circled and starred, to help him organize which beers he wanted to sample.  He was also really happy to have the chance to cast his vote for a homebrew contest!  He happily sampled from 4-7! It was a really enjoyable afternoon (even though they ran out of the goodie bags we were supposed to get to bring home!)  He was gathering data for later entry on his own blog, These Are The Beers Of My Life.  (Stop by and check it out if you have a chance!)

And finally (for now) on Monday, we went to Decorah for the Dorian Honor Band concert.  Beautiful, beautiful music for the evening.  It ended with a Bible Study with our LCMS students who are attending Luther.  A late night, but a good one!

058 Feb 27

My daughter is one of these.  You can play “Where’s Rachel?” and see if you can spot her…


Can you see her now?


What about now?


Yep…there she is!