Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #32 ~ Dogz In The Hood-ie

Finn, rockin' his new hoodie!
"What up, Dawg?"
"Punk Barker"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Little Summer "Ketchup" ~ Highlights of the Past 2 weeks!

I've gotten a little behind in my blogging...I needed to "ketchup!"

On Friday, July 10, 2009 as we were packing up for a camping trip with a group from our church, my niece, Jennifer was in the hospital, preparing to give birth. They hadn't wanted to find out if it was a boy or girl ahead of time, so I was hoping to find out something before we left. After all, I wasn't going to have a computer with me at the campground...I couldn't even check facebook! Well, as luck would have it, I got a phone call, just as we were going out the was a BOY! His name is Alex Michael, and he weighed in at 8lbs. 9 oz. and was 20" long. I have not yet seen him in person, since I wasn't around to go visit them in the hospital, but I'll go visit soon. Here is a picture of my sister, Sue (who is FINALLY a grandma), my niece Jen and of course, little Alex.

I have a grandson named Alexander James too, so now Sue and I each have a grandson named Alex. Welcome to the "Grandma club" Sue! Congratulations on your sweet little bundle of joy, Jen and Jason! Welcome to the world, baby Alex!

Okay, on to the camping trip. We didn't have far to go, just about 20 miles, in fact. That doesn't mean though, that you don't need a lot of stuff! I snapped this shot of CJ while we were waiting on the side of the road, to meet up with my stepdaughter, Sarah and her husband Brad, who were joining us.

He looks pretty cozy in there, don't you think?

Anyway, we had a great weekend, although it was a little chilly at night. Who would have figured it would drop down into the 50's in mid-July?? For those of you not from Minnesota, even around here that was a bit odd. We also had a couple of showers, the first being while we were eating our supper on Friday night. A friend lent us a tarp to throw over the picnic table, and we finished our meal UNDER it. Ahhh...the joys of camping.

But the real joys of camping, are the little things. Just hanging out with friends on the playground...

A little game of basketball...

Playing "Chubby Bunny." If you've never tried it, you take turns seeing how many marshmallows you can stuff in your mouth and still say "chubby bunny."

It was my friend, Padma against the teens and "tweens."

Here's Padma. Ain't she cute??

And a good friend of Molly's, Hope-Anne...she's also one of the famed "QTPies 7."

But the winner was my Molly...with SEVEN marshmallows! She makes a mother proud, (sniff sniff). Molly neglected to put sunscreen on her face and not enough on the rest of her either, and as she hung out in the pool most of the two days...she ended up much redder than the above picture. Ouch! She was hurtin' for certain, and peeling for the whole next week!

Some of the youngest campers played a rousing game of "Duck, Duck, Grey Duck" or "Duck, Duck, Goose" for those of you who didn't grow up in Minnesota. This was being discussed at the campfire next door, while the kids were playing.

After "chubby bunnying" the older kids decided to play "spoons" on the ground...with plastic spoons...and believe it or not, after that...they all went for a good old-fashioned "Snipe Hunt!"
It's amazing what they can find to entertain themselves with, when the TV, computer and the Wii are not available, isnt' it?

The Saturday night fire was a BLAST!, (if not a litte dangerous at times). See all that black grass around the fire ring?

The fire kept escaping the ring, and it was up to Donnie (Mr.QTpies7) to put them out. It was a good thing we were over in our own little corner of the campground...there was a lot of loud laughter emanating from this group. I cannot go into details, since we've decided that what happens at the campfire...stays at the campfire ;0)

Now, fast-forward to the following weekend...

This past Saturday, was my good friend Lisa's daughter, Kaytlin's grad party. Of course I was one of those enlisted to help out. Another friend, Jody and I went grocery shopping with her on Thursday, Anna I helped her decorate some cakes on Friday, and three of us kept taco ingredients filled during the party on Saturday, although Jody and Anna (more bloggy friends) were pretty much on top of that.

We did some of the set-up for this party the night before, during our monthly Ladies' Night Out, and since my grandson was up way too late with Grandpa and Auntie Molly, he was quite tired and crabby. I made him lay down for a "rest." A few minutes later, this is what I found.

Last, but certainly not least...This past Sunday, was our church picnic. For the past few years, it has been held at the home of one of the families from our church, Chad and Andrea P. They've also added baptism in the river, for those of our congregation who haven't yet been baptized, and choose to publicly proclaim their faith.

Here's a couple of pictures of people enjoying each other's company and the kids waiting for a "hayride." There was no actual hay...but they had a great time anyway. (The following pictures look small, but if you double click on them, you can get the big picture and check out who's in them.)

Some wonderful people donated the food and their time and talents to prepare it...

We enjoyed pork chops, coleslaw, beans, lemonade and rootbeer floats...along with a plethora of desserts brought by everyone to share.

Then it was time to "Gather at the River" Here's the procession going down...

There were 7 or 8 people baptized in the river that day. They said the water was very cold...but none of them got "cold feet" except maybe Pastor Al, who was out there for quite some time...

Thanks, Chad and Andrea, for hosting and everyone else involved in making this a special day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn ~ A Book Review

I've never been one for reading so-called "romance novels." It always seemed to me that they'd be boring. However, when Liz Johnson (who is one of the publicists that I've been receiving books from to review on my blog),contacted me and said she'd like me to review her very first novel, I thought it sounded like a fun opportunity. Wow! This book was definitely NOT boring! It was a very well written story, that was really quite hard to put down.
It's got everything, romance, intrigue, suspense, action and adventure. Congratulations Liz, I wish you well and hope you will keep writing these. I'll buy them! They are available from, Barnes & Noble,,, or
Here is a summary of the story:

Myles Parsons is just another inmate in Kenzie Thorn’s GED course until he kidnaps her, offering only a feeble explanation–that he’s actually FBI Special Agent Myles Borden. Terrified, Kenzie doesn’t want to believe his story of being undercover to protect her. Moreover, she can’t believe that someone might really want her dead.
But just when Myles thinks he has her out of harm’s way, his plans start to fall apart. He attempts to take Kenzie to a safe house—but the stubborn woman won’t go! So together they must uncover the clues that will reveal a most shocking perpetrator. All the while Myles tries to keep his distance from Kenzie … but finds himself falling in love.

Here's a little about Liz, herself:

After graduating from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a degree in public relations, Liz Johnson set out to work in the Christian publishing industry, which was her lifelong dream. In 2006 she got her wish when she accepted a publicity position at a major trade book publisher. While working as a publicist in the industry, she decided to pursue her other dream-being an author. Along the way to having her novel published, she wrote articles for several magazines and worked as a freelance editorial consultant.
Liz lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she enjoys theater, ice skating, volunteering in her church’s bookstore and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nephew and three nieces. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn is her first novel. You can find out more about Liz, by going to her website

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to Make a Big Splash with your Great-Grandson

The Sunday before last, my mom and dad met us at Silver Nickel Farm (which is just a little over 8 miles from our house), for an "antique tractor and old car show." We weren't exactly sure what to expect, but it sounded interesting. As it turned out, my dad actually owns a lot more "antique tractors" himself than they had on display, and the 1963 Ford convertible that my parents drove to the event was one of the oldest cars there too. It wasn't exactly impressive, but it was okay. We had Molly and CJ with us, and they enjoyed petting the animals in the petting zoo, and riding the train around...well, at least CJ enjoyed the train ride. He wouldn't get on it the first time, without Auntie Molly. She pretty much had to be a contortionist to get in the train car...and I wasn't exactly sure we were going to get her and her long legs back OUT of it once they were done.

And after CJ's first ride, we couldn't get him out either...just because he was having such a great time. They had a little "store" there, which was pretty much a garage sale, other than the fact that they also sell organic food products and some Amish-made crafts. They had a few larger used items outside. My mother found this Little Tykes slide for $5 and asked if I thought CJ would like it. I told her yes, and she bought it for him. There was only one problem. We still had all of our karaoke equipment in the van from Friday night, and had no way to get it home...or so I though. Ray came up with this brilliant idea:

It worked! We got some twine from one of the gals that worked there, and tied it to the top of the van. We drove the 8 miles home rather slowly, and after a couple of miles it collapsed and we heard a big boom! It stayed up there though, and had we known it was collapsible, we would have done that in the first place...but we made it home eventually.
Later on that week, the weather got pretty hot. We thought it might be fun to try the slide out in the pool. CJ LOVES his new "water slide." And that's how you make a big splash with your great-grandson:


Monday, July 6, 2009

Adventures in Babysitting Part II~ July 4, 2009

To start the holiday weekend off, we made the 1 hour trip to my hometown for the big Fourth of July parade. Here is a picture of my two nieces, my two nephews and my grandson enjoying the parade and waiting for the "candy throwers."

Liz (3), Katie (6), Tiegen (5), Grayson(3) & Christian (4)

After the parade, we had a picnic lunch and then headed to my sister Connie's house to pick up my niece, Shelby for the weekend. We came home for a couple of hours and the kids played in CJ's wading pool, sliding down the slide into it. Shelby had a great time doing that. Next, we went into P-town for the festivities there. They had kid's games and a "jumpy thing" set up. What fun!

I caught a picture of my grandson, CJ while he was airborne! Shelby is in the back in the red.

Here's the two of them having a blast! It wasn't easy getting Shelby out of there, she loved it!

Later on, we had a pork chop dinner, and there was karaoke. While we were waiting to sing, I asked Shelby if I could take her picture. This is her being dramatic and posing. What a nut!

And finally, on to the fireworks!! Here is Shelby, CJ and "Uncle Grandpa Ray" as we were calling him. He's Uncle to Shelby and Grandpa to it all works out. Ray had been wearing a hat earlier in the day...thus, the hat-hair.

A few shots of the fireworks...they were pretty good, as usual here in P-town! They've been doing this for 8 years here now, and hopefully they'll be able to continue them.

Everything went great with Shelby...until she started telling me that she "needed to throw up"...wonderful! I didn't know whether or not I should believe her...but she wasn't kidding. I had a light blanket over her, and decided the best thing to do, was to let her barf into least I could wash the blanket. Shelby wasn't really sick, she gets acid reflux, which was the cause of her needing to vomit, but I felt sorry for her. I felt her forehead, and she said, "I'm sick, I have a fever." I didn't want to try to carry her down out of the crowded bleachers in the dark, during the fireworks I just held her, bunched up the pukey blanket, and waited for the fireworks to be over. Meanwhile, Ray had no idea what was going on and got some great firework pics.

We did get the kids home and settled in...and eventually, they were asleep. We had to get up early on Sunday and get the two little ones, Molly, her friend, Liz and ourselves all to church by 8 AM.
Ray and I were singing, so Molly and Liz watched Shelby and CJ for a couple of hours in the toddler nursery. They did a pretty good job keeping the two of them occupied. Everything went pretty well...until after church...when I lost Shelby for a few minutes. The big girls walked out of the room, and (since I was talking to a friend in the doorway), I didn't immediately notice that Shelby had followed them. Apparently, they hadn't noticed either. She didn't actually go very far, but since she had taken off her shoes at the top of the stairs, I wasn't sure which way she had gone. Was she downstairs...outside? I enlisted some help from some people who happened to be there in the hallway, and after a few minutes she was found. She was just sitting in a chair in the library...reading a book. As I said, she hadn't gone far at all...but the chair she was in was in the corner of the room, and I couldn't see her without actually stepping into the library! She seems to love to play these little tricks on people.
After church, we did our usual "Chinese" for lunch. Shelby didn't like much of anything they had to offer, but she did enjoy dipping her sugar donut in the ketchup...mmmm...good. While we were eating, I asked her how she liked the fireworks the night before. Her response was, "Boom! throw-up!" I guess that about summed it up for her.
Sunday afternoon, after we'd all taken a nap, Shelby was outside with my daughter, Jessica. She saw the wading pool and decided she'd like to go for another dip...a skinny-dip that is! Before Jess could stop her, she was stripped completely naked and sitting at the top of the slide in the front yard! It's a good thing we live out in the middle of nowhere, and no cars happened to be passing by. I grabbed her, brought her in the house and got her dressed. Shortly after that, we took her home.
On the way to her house, I took a picture of her playing her Hanna Montana guitar. This is Shelby's rock star pose:
While she was sitting behind Ray in the van, she pointed to him and asked, "Is he Christian's dad?" to which I replied, "No, Ray is Christian's Grandpa." Shelby burst out laughing and said, "Oops, my bad!" Can you tell she has older brothers and sisters? All in all, it was good weekend, and Shelby can be a lot of fun...I just probably have a few more gray hairs now, than I had before she came to visit.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 233rd Birthday, America!

I'm pretty sure I won't get a chance to blog tomorrow, so I thought I'd say it today. It should be an interesting, busy weekend. We're going to my home town for the big parade in the morning, and then bringing my 6yr old niece, Shelby home with us for the rest of the weekend. Shelby was born with Down Syndrome, and is quite a character. The other day, her mother said she put on a hat, grabbed her guitar and said, "See ya, I'm going to Mexico, my band is there." And then she came back in and asked her if she'd give her a ride.

We had her last year for the Fourth too...that's when Shelby locked herself in the bathroom at ShopKo, and I had to crawl in after her...while she proceeded to crawl into the next one...

This year, I'll also have my 4 yr old grandson, CJ. Molly is having her friend Liz join us for the weekend as well, so hopefully the big girls can help us keep an eye on the two little ones. After the parade, we're going to come back to P-town for the festivities here. They've got kid's games, a pork chop dinner, karaoke, and then fireworks to top off the weekend. And then, I'll have to try to get all the kids up on Sunday morning to get us all to church by 8AM, because Ray and I are helping lead the worship. Hopefully, Molly and Liz can keep Shelby and CJ entertained while we sing. I'll let y'all know how it all works out. Happy Independence Day!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday #31 ~ An UnBULLievable Birthday!

Something I can cross off of my "bucket list"

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