Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mommapalooza Day 2: Trinity Heights

Trinity Heights has a life-size carving of the Last Supper.  It took the carver 7 years to complete. 
It was amazing to see and the detail in the carving was quite neat.
I liked the crucifix that hung above, I thought it was beautiful.
We read about how to obtain plenary indulgences.....
.....before walking outside and seeing the 30 foot tall statue of Mary......
.......and the 33 foot tall statue of Jesus.

Melanie and Kim are having trouble finding the statue of Jesus:
Just kidding, poor girls stood facing the sun while we all gathered to chit-chat.

Then we all turned around and walked away, ready to go to the Palmer candy store and buy treats for ourselves, our children, and our husbands.

Next post: Luciano's where we said good-bye to Rachel, ate delicious food, and tried martinis.

Mommapalooza Day 2

Nine women, including two babies, all met at Suzanne's home in Sioux City last weekend for a fun time.  We came from all over: South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa.

Saturday we all awoke and enjoyed breakfast made by Kristi.  Once we were all ready we began our day of sightseeing around Sioux City.  First we went to the:

Right beside the sign were these huge statues:

Don't look big?  Well, compare them as the group stands in front of the statues for a picture:
Can you name them yet?  If not, L-R is Charity, Kristi, Rhonda, Gina, Tammi (in back), Kim, Melanie, Suzanne (in back), and Rachel

We had fun walking through the center being able to read about Lewis and Clark, and all about their exploration without worrying about what our kids were getting into.

Afterwards we went to an art museum, grabbing a quick bite to eat to stave off hunger till supper.
It provided a good time to sit, visit, and take some pictures of the cute babies.
Here is Rachel with Nathan. He is quite the ham, anytime he saw me with the camera he would smile from ear to ear.  I had to sneak a bit to catch him snuggling on his mama's shoulder.

Here is Lydia with mom Charity.  Lydia is very adorable and always wanted something in her mouth.  Her she is wondering if she can reach whatever is on the table. 
After leaving the art center we went to Trinity Heights where there is a life-size carving of the Last Supper, stopped at Palmer Candy, went to supper at Luciano's before heading back to Suzanne's home for more laughter and games.  Stay tuned for another post and more pictures!

Monday, March 30, 2009


What a fun, relaxing weekend I had.  I left Friday afternoon and drove to Sioux City to meet with other Loopers for a mom's weekend away.  9 of us (and two nursing babies) descended upon Suzanne's house to enjoy each other's company, enjoy good wine, good food, including chocolate, and fun games.

Suzanne's house was large enough to house all of us.  It is a big, wonderful, farm house with lots of character, and for the weekend had a few extra. ;-)

Once we all arrived Friday evening, we enjoyed a delicious French Onion soup made by Gina, bread, and a salad made by Charity.  Lots of different wine was brought and we all enjoyed drinking a glass or two while dining and then playing some fun pencil and paper games Suzanne had for us.  The best part was meeting these wonderful women, who before were known to me only through our email list, blogs, and facebook.  I had met a few before, but now more Loopers were added to my, "met in real life" category.

Here we are around the dining room table:
Left to right: Melanie, Tammi, Charity with daughter Lydia, Kim, and Suzanne......

.....Suzanne, Rachel holding son Nathan, Rhonda, and Gina.

This is Kim.  What a hoot she is.  And she looks nothing like I had pictured her with long brown hair.  Now anytime she writes, I'll picture her correctly.

This is Kristi.  She came late on Friday evening due to other engagements and joined us around the table, but for whatever reason (wine, laughter, conversations, games) I didn't get her picture at the table even though she sat right beside me.
I'll post more pictures of our fun weekend in the days ahead.  Stay tuned!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun, Neat, Cool,

My daughters have been emailing with other homeschool gals around their own age.  One of the girls invited them to read her blog.  They did and they shared with us this cool youtube link she had on her blog.  I'm adding it to mine because I think it is really neat, and I hope you enjoy it. And the mom of this daughter who reads my blog, tell your daughter thanks for sharing such a cool youtube video, our whole family enjoyed it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two More Readers

Even though a child can read, it doesn't mean they will read.  The oldest picked up reading easily and from then on read everything she could get her hands on and still does.  The second child also began reading and did well, but she didn't read for fun like her sister until she read the first of "The Series of Unfortunate Events."  That was the book that hooked her and she too has been reading everything and anything.

Along comes number 3, a boy at that.  He didn't want to read as early as his older sisters.  Even though for the past year he has been able to read, he hasn't really wanted too.  Oh he loves stories, and loves to listen to read alouds or books on tape.  His mind is full of adventures, but he just didn't have the desire to read himself.  I knew that there would be a book that would captivate him and I was waiting to see which it would be.  I suggested "Nate the Great" books, and he did read a couple, but that one wasn't it.  We tried some others, but still nothing, until a few weeks ago.  He began reading a "Magic Tree House" book, and was listening to some of them on tape.  About the same time a mom on my homeschool list shared this link.

I looked at the sight and thought that Nathan would love to be able to have his very own passport and this might give him al little more incentive to keep reading these books.  One day, I printed out the passport onto cardstock and  handed it to him.  I explained that with each book he reads, he can answer questions and if correct, can print out a passport "stamp" to put into his passport.  Just like his dad and I used our passports to go to Germany, and it was stamped, he will go places by reading and get a stamp. That was too cool for him and he right away began cutting out the passport book so we could glue it together and collect his first stamp.

Little sister, also capable of reading, but so far no desire, saw what her brother was doing and asked all about it.  She saw his excitement, the cool passport book and stamps, and high-tailed it to the living room, Magic Tree House book in hand, and began reading.  She sat and read the entire thing throughout the afternoon.  I never saw anyone grab a book so fast.  By late afternoon, she came asking for her own passport and wanted to get her first stamp.

Now they both can't wait for library day in order to get more "Jack and Annie" books (as they refer to them).  It is so fun to have beginning readers who have gone from just looking at the pictures in the books to desiring to read the words and find out what it says on the page.

Because it is true, that once you read, the world is yours to travel.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Today Hannah graduated from the Twinkles.  For those of you who are familiar with Suzuki violin or other instruments you are nodding your heads knowingly.  For the rest of you, who like us, have no clue what this means.  Let me explain.

When you are learning an instrument in the Suzuki method, the first thing that is learned are variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Then the student progresses through the books learning more and more.  But a very important part of Suzuki training is always reviewing and repeating what has been learned.  Hannah began taking violin lessons in the fall of 2008. Last summer she began with a new violin teacher who teaches in the Suzuki method and started at the beginning with the Twinkles.  But she quickly progressed and is currently working through Book 2.

Today was the Statewide Graduation Recitals.  A student has to be a book ahead of where they graduate.  So even though Hannah is done with Book 1, she couldn't graduate from it because she is not done with Book 2.  But she could and she did graduate from the Twinkles.

We drove to the cities and were at Orchestra Hall for the two hour violin recital.  It was quite neat.  First there were 5 upper level violin soloists who were graduating from Book 10.  WOW! These students were great.  We listened to Mozart's Concerto No.4 in D Major, K.218, Vitali's Chaconne in G minor, Bruch's Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 II. Adagio and the student after played the III. Finale: Allegro energico, and Saint-Saens' Concerto No. 3 in B minor II. Molto Moderato e Maestoso.  These soloists had their entire pieces memorized and were accompanied by a pianist.  The girl who played Bruch's Finale is the daughter of the man who was the pianist!

Next those students who graduated from Level 8 all came onto the stage and played together. Then the Level 7 graduates joined the Level 8's and another tune was played by all.  Next Level 6, then Level 5, on down to the Twinkle Level.  Each time there were more students added to the stage and everyone played everything.  So the Level 8 graduates played every song - even the soloists were back on stage all playing the same thing.

By the time the Twinkle graduates came onto the stage it was getting a bit crowded!

It was neat to see that there were different age boys and girls in each level.  There was a young girl who graduated from Level 8 who looked like she was maybe 8 or 10 years old at most.  I was happy to see that Hannah wasn't the only older Twinkle graduate. The Twinkle graduates are all in the front row.  Hannah is in the khaki skirt in the middle.

As the students were led through the Twinkles, the sound was so rich and full.  It had been building with adding the students.  The other really neat thing was all the bow movement was in synch.
This was truly a neat experience and we look forward to Hannah's graduations in the years to come.  She said that by next year she should be able to graduate from Level 1 and Level 2 and possibly 3.  We'll see what the coming year brings.  For now she can relish that she has played on the stage in Orchestra Hall and she also has a neat trophy to remember her day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Memories for Max

I was looking through pictures last night after service while waiting for David to get home from his meeting, and ran across these.  I wanted to share them with EmilyC and Max.  Enjoy!

He loved jumping on our trampoline.

He fit right in line with our family.

Rock on Max! 

Red-eye monsters!  Grrrrr!
The whole gang - he really did look just like one of ours. 
Saying good-bye.  We look forward to seeing you some day in the future!  I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Where to turn

It's cloudy, overcast, and raining.
Our internal clocks haven't adjusted to the mandated time change.
The children are squirrelly, whiny, and pestering each other and me.
I'm fighting my own motivation issues.
It will be a long day. (hopefully not a long week, but right now I'm not too certain.)

Lord, Have Mercy.
Christ, Have Mercy.
Lord, Have Mercy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

My Daddy

Oh, how blest are they whose toils are ended,
Who through death have unto God ascended!
They have arisen
From the cares which keep us still in prison.

We are still as in a dungeon living,
Still oppressed with sorrow and misgiving;
Our undertakings
Are but toils and troubles and heartbreakings.

They meanwhile are in their chambers sleeping,
Quiet and set free from all their weeping;
No cross or sadness
There can hinder their untroubled gladness.

Christ has wiped away their tears forever;
They have that for which we still endeavor.
By them are chanted
Songs that ne'er to mortal ears were granted.

Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us;
Lead us forth and cast this world behind us.
With You, the Anointed,
Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.

Nine years ago today Glen Edward entered eternal glory.  I meanwhile am still as in a dungeon living, but I look forward to that day when Christ will loose my chains, bring me into eternal glory where I will once again see my daddy and worship once again with him our Heavenly Father.  That time will be no more weeping, or good-byes.

This is the last time I saw Dad on this earth, one month prior to his receiving the crown of life. Already that week doctors were running various tests to try to get to answers to his low white blood cell count.  I'll always treasure this memory as well as the phone conversation I had with him two days before his death.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Overnight French Toast

Or as it is listed on the recipe card that my good friend Melanie gave to me, "Make-Ahead French Toast."  Somehow I've renamed it to "overnight french toast" and can't seem to get that out of my head.  (Oh Josh and Katie, this is what I fixed for you that Sunday after church.) For those of you with our church's new cookbook, the recipe can be found on page 52.  For the rest here it is:

Make-Ahead French Toast
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 loaf Texas toast
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
Cinnamon to taste

Mix together melted butter and brown sugar.  Pour into a 9x13 pan.  Layer Texas toast over top of brown sugar mixture (the bread will be lying on an angle in the dish).  Beat eggs, milk and vanilla and cinnamon together.  Pour over the bread.  Cover and chill for 8-12 hours.  Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

To serve, take out pieces and turn upside-down on a plate allowing the gooey brown sugar mixture to be on top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and warmed syrup (optional).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Reward Day 2

Yesterday was our second reward day.  We finished all our schoolwork goals for the month of February - Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!

As our reward we stayed home, lounged in pajamas most of the day, watched two new (to us) movies, played a game, and ate kid friendly food.  What was the best part is that we didn't go anywhere, just stayed at home and hung out together.

The movies were Wall-E and Enchanted.  I'm still not sure what I think of either of them.  Okay movies I guess, but quite weird (Wall-E) and sappy (Enchanted) also.  We played the game Disney Scene-it, which the kids bought with Christmas money from Grandma.  That was fun and it is nice that even the youngest can play this without feeling too left out.

The food was overnight French toast from my friend Melanie for breakfast, hotdogs, onion rings, and baked beans for dinner and homemade pizza for supper.

All in all a nice, relaxing day.  But today it is back to reality and a new set of goals for March.