Sunday, May 30, 2010

weekEnd: end of May

It's been a couple weeks since my last blog...  and I was doing so well, too!  Our weather has had it's ups and downs the last week.  Hot & humid days in the extreme with temps over 90.  Then a cool down last night - today's high more than 20 degrees cooler than yesterdays!  MUCH more comfortable with drier air and temps in the 70s.  Sunshine and lovely.

Planted some annuals last week which suffered from lack of careful watering.  Always so sad.  And so predictable.  Sigh.  The weeds in my back gravel patio type area are so hard to kill!

Lots of lasts happening around here!  Jamie had her last All-City Orchestra Concert last week - she officially wore her Moorhead Orchestra hockey jersey for the last time with the other seniors.  Although the orchestra program reached another high participation mark with 744 students, there looked like a lot of seniors at the high school this year - they will be missed!  

Jamie also had her last Wonderful Wednesday youth group meeting - she was honored, gifted with a beautiful study Bible and prayed over.  The end of the school year is in sight as she cleaned out her locker for the last time Friday and received her $10 deposit back!  She has all her beautiful artwork at home now - which we will proudly display at her Open House next Saturday.  

She & I visited Northwestern in St Paul last week for Summer Preparation Days which included workshops for both parents and students.  Jamie got to meet with her advisor and register for fall classes.  She's been invited to participate in the Eagle Scholars program which enables her to take special honors classes!  Pretty exciting for mom, nervous-making for the student.  But when she saw the three special classes she could take in the fall she got a little excited too.

A last word about Jamie (maybe):  she got her tattoo yesterday.  Not a sentence I ever thought I would be typing!  She has been thinking about it and working on it for at least a year, possibly two.  It is her own design and the artist did a great job on it.  

Alex had his last two middle school field trips this week:  one with the orchestra to Minneapolis for a Twin's game in the new ballpark!  (too bad they lost)  They left from school in the afternoon and got back about 1 am.  He got up and went to school the next day for a field trip to our regional science center!  He has his last three days as an 8th grader this week - then on to the high school!

We really ramped up the house preparation for my parents' visit and Jamie's open house.  Mostly cleaning.  If you've ever had a graduate, or been to an open house, you know what I'm talking about.  We take a pretty laid-back approach to these things, but I'm sure things are going to get a little intense around here before the week's over.  No, kids, you ain't seen nothing yet!  I'm so glad my parents can come to visit and celebrate - and help!  

The medical updates:  Jamie's wart is Gone, gone, gone.  (yay!)  Now she has a cold!  Nate had two appointments with Dr Dan (our dentist) with one filling.  Mia got her annual shots and heartworm test plus an unexpected cyst aspiration and she's back on steroids for her allergies (the antihistamine didn't seem to be doing anything).  She's much better.  She did get to ride in the truck twice - exciting!  Alex's teeth look awesome and his next appointment is to talk about retainers which means he must be getting near the end of ortho!  Our medical insurance changes the 1st of June.  ugh.  I hate insurance.

Ashlee's summer job is at Fat Straws - we don't have them here, but Ashlee took Jamie to one last summer and she says they have much the most AWESOME tea & smoothies EVER.  The drinks are "bubble drinks" and are served over black Japanese tapioca - which you suck up in the fat straws.  She is taking not one, but TWO, mission trips this summer!  We're still looking forward to having her here in August - possibly even helping move Jamie in at Northwestern.

Our most recent Favorites:
  • The LOST season & series finale - Kathryn came over to watch with us.  We watched a RIDICULOUS amount of Lost last Sunday night.  I'm still trying to figure out what happened.  The Dancing with the Stars season finale - yay, Nichole!!  And all things Glee!
  • Mary Kay Lip Balm (& Lip Mask) - Satin Lips rocks!!  And I probably shouldn't tell you, but we had a fun Even Complexion Mask party last night - so fun.  I just asked if anyone wanted to do a face mask and got two takers - Jamie AND Jeff!  So fun.  (And what a great product!)
  • Triple Layer Chocolate Mousse Torte - oh what a delicious cake recipe from my friend, Toni!  Let me know I should share this yummy one.
  • Jamie's southern sweet tea!  She found a recipe online just to make us miss her all the more this summer.
We have a new preacher (they generally call them pastors in this part of the country) at the church we've been attending on Sunday mornings.  Well, he's new since the end of January - which is almost not new anymore.  He is preaching through the book of Mark - and I mean really preaching through the book of Mark.  A verse at a time.  We broke into Chapter 2 last Sunday -  it was real milestone!  Our whole family likes him and his preaching.  I was especially moved by last Sunday's sermon.  I thought it was really excellent and I heard the stories about the healing of the paraplegic and calling of Levi the tax collector in a whole new way.  I know I'm probably only halfway through my life, but still it amazes me to hear the scriptures speak in a way I haven't heard before.  This sermon about forgiveness is worth a listen.

We're growing and going and wishing you the same.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

wordless wednesday: siblings

Nate, Jamie & Alex
Senior Honor's Orchestra Concert
May 25, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Iron Man 2 Review

So I went to see Iron Man 2 on my birthday and here are my thoughts . . .

First of all, one MUST remember this is a sequel so it always looses something from the first movie in the series. Despite this, I thought Iron Man 2 was a pretty decent thrill ride.

Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow reprized their roles as Tony Stark and Pepper Potts and do a bang up job. Don Cheadle did a good job as Lt. Col James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Mickey Rourke was awesome as Whiplash, and Scarlett Johansson kicked butt as SHIELD agent, Natasha Romanoff. Oh, and did I mention SAMUEL L. JACKSON, as Nick Fury?!?!?

Was it an "original" script? Um, no. It was a definite retooling of the Iron Man script from before. But Robert Downey Jr. owns the role of Tony Stark and there was enough pyrotechnic and special effects scenes to keep most fans of Iron Man WELL entertained.

My only real complaint was that while watching the movie at The Fargo Theater downtown, the film broke part way through and we had to wait about 20 minutes for the repair and restart of the show.

All in all I would give it a four out of five movie reels.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

weekEnd and menu monday

I think I've been behind on blog posts this (last) week since I posted my Wordless Wednesday picture on Thursday and didn't realize it till Friday!!

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!  Last week was good for employment in our family.  Kathryn now has TWO (2) jobs - one at Strategic Fundraising.  She's raising money for the Republican Party which is both funny and hopeful for some members of our family given her usual political tendencies!  ;-)   Ashlee also got a summer job last week - so congratulations to both our girls!

AP Tests are over for the year.  Yay!  Nate had a rainy, rainy day for his AP US History Exam - which was pretty darn grueling.  Tough way to start your AP career.  Jamie sat for three exams this year, which I believe is a new family record.

It was soooo rainy and cool most of last week that by the end of the week we were ecstatic to see sunshine and temps in the 70's - FINALLY!!  Oh, we all have such spring fever now.  I bought plants for the flower bed on Mother's Day more than a week ago now and they're still not in the ground.  We're not officially frost-free until Memorial Day weekend, but most people are ready to chance it now.  Nate pulled all the dandelions out over the weekend so I'm ready to go.  It took Alex awhile to mow the lawn - his "new" electric mower had a hard time with the very long grass.  He could only take a couple passes at a time in the backyard before he had to empty the bag.  I thought we might have to bale it!  

The boys were busy outside over the weekend - they washed Jamie's (very dirty!) car as well.  Nate's waiting for Jamie to leave for camp to take over and clean out the inside of the car.  I think he's afraid she'll be in such shock she won't be able to drive properly.  Nate got some more practice driving Saturday - picking Kathryn & her laundry up for a visit and taking me to the banks for deposits.  He's going to be a good driver.  Alex rode along with us to stop up at Kathryn's to see her new kitty.  "Pumpkin" has beautiful green eyes and just three legs!  He's so cute and cuddly.  If I liked cats, he would be the one.

We celebrated Jeff's birthday yesterday - with a new quiche recipe (Broccoli & Cheddar - below), Iron Man 2 at the Fargo Theatre and a delicious Triple Chocolate cake from Hornbachers.  I would have made him a rhubarb cobbler, but it didn't have any chocolate in it so that just would not do at all.  What was I thinking??!  Look for an Iron Man 2 review from Jeff this week - in short, we all liked it.  It was a good thing Jamie kept asking me to pass the Milkduds though - my Sunday afternoon nap is a hard habit to break!  We got a little intermission in the middle when SOMETHING happened to the projector that had to be straightened out - the theater treated everyone to a soda or popcorn - nice! Be sure to check out Jeff's summer movie preview.  

I think Jeff liked his gifts.  I had my friend, Marty, make this custom puzzle pen for him.  So nice.  It didn't end up really being a surprise as the pen arrived from California sooner than I expected, Jeff accepted the package and I didn't hide my surprise quickly enough!  *snort!*  We also got him a pair of reading glasses that fold up to fit in a case the size of a large lighter.  We gave him these babies before church so he wouldn't have to pick up the large-print version of the bulletin!  hee.

Favorites for the Week:

  • The Real Simple website, and particularly the Real Simple Daily Thought Newsletter delivered by email.  
  • And another daily email, even as I UNsubscribed to MANY in the last week, I love Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac daily email.  You can also click through to listen to the daily radio program (the email is the program transcript).
  • New recipe:  Cheddar & Broccoli Quiche (below) - so light and delicious. We served with fresh fruit and cinnamon toast. And a surprise that 4 of 5 of us liked it.  Jamie & Alex didn't know they liked quiche. Not Nate's favorite thing.  

2 frozen pie crusts
10 eggs (1 t salt)
1 pint whipping cream
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli florets, steamed
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Steam broccoli until just tender. Drain. In blender,
blend eggs, salt and cream. Divide broccoli and cheese
in both crusts. Pour half of egg mixture in each crust.
Bake @ 350o for 1 hour or until done.

*notes:  I will probably use fresh broccoli next time - I don't like the amount of stems in most frozen bags.  And I didn't use the full 16 oz.  Also, for our family of 5, I will likely cut this recipe in half and just make one next time.  We did finish all of one, though - so two will be nice for company.  (Do you like quiche, dad??)

On The Menu for this week:  Sour Cream Pork Chops, Mushroom Pot Roast, BBQ Quesadillas, Freschetta Pizza Night & Jeff's Unfried Chicken.
Just a day less than three weeks left in school for this year.  Then graduation for Jamie and summer break for the boys!  Alex picked up his application card to be a pollinator for Pioneer last week and Nate sent his card expressing his intent to return this summer so hopefully everyone will be working for at least part of the vacation.

Our weeks remain full and happy. Wish the same for you.  Write when you can.  We think of you often and wish we could be near everyone we hold dear all the same time this side of heaven!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dancing With The Stars S10 Week 8 Quickcap

DWTS Season 10 is closing in on the finale as Week 8 finished this past week. TWO dances were required from the remaining celebrity contenders and while some were able to step up to the challenge, others not so much.

Nicole and Evan still remain the top of the leader board, performing well and dominating the scores, with Erin closing in on them. Chad Ocho received the red light joining Niecy Nash in the bottom two and at the end of week 8 it was Niecy "Jiggly Parts" Nash who given the tap on the shoulder and asked to leave the dance floor. And yes, it was time.

The stand out performance was Nicole and Derick's 50's style Paso Doble which TOTALLY rocked! The next really nice performance was Erin and Maks' 80's Tango.

My prediction is that it will come down to Nicole, Evan, and hopefully Erin in the final three. I think Chad has gone as far as he can go in this competition and should go next.

Despite his somewhat chilly demeanor and his struggle with several of the Latin dances, I think Evan is a strong contender to win this season's DWTS. The audience LOVES their Olympians, especially the ones who win a GOLD. Honestly? I think Nicole is the better dancer and that Evan platued after week 6 so it should be interesting the next two weeks. Does Nicole "Pussycat Doll" have the fan base to get her the mirror ball trophy? Will Evan "The Iceman" pull off winning the glittery ball? Or will ESPN Erin be the surprise victor? (No, she won't. Third place is her best. Just sayin')

Stay tuned to ABC on Monday and Tuesday nights to see all the dancing drama as it unfolds.

Monday, May 10, 2010

menu monday

Planning for another delicious week - and trying to catch up with our E-Mealz plans a little!

The "Shrimp Creole" recipe was not our favorite thing.  Don't know if it was the dish or just the version, but the entire household was less than thrilled.  (crossing that one off the list)

Jeff's crepes yesterday - especially the chicken ones with cheese sauce?  Highest raves across the board!  My boys had NO idea they would love anything so French, ever.  Mother's Day Deliciousness.  However, Jeff forgot how much work they are so we won't likely see a repeat very soon!

For tonight, I'm making "White Chicken 'n Bacon Chili."  Another brand-spanking new one.  I'll let you know.

Also this week:  "Beef & Potato Hash," "Pepperoni Loaf," and "Cheddar Broccoli Quiche."  Wanna try along with us??

2 frozen pie crusts
10 eggs (1 ts salt)
1 pint whipping cream
1 box broccoli florets, steamed  (I'm thinking fresh!!)
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Steam broccoli until just tender.  Drain.  In blender, blend eggs, salt and cream.  Divide broccoli and cheese in both crusts.  Pour half of egg mixture in each crust.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

Because we haven't tried this one before, I'm probably going to cut this one in half and just make one.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Senior Moments

Today is the day! Completing the mailing list and addressing the envelops and finalizing the senior picture for printing.
Of course now she's addressing and I'm blogging and she's wondering what the heck just happened. We shopped for flowers earlier - the open house is my excuse for all the annuals and hanging basket. Can't wait for some mother daughter action in the flower garden!

Nate gave me a lovely rose earlier. (Nobody buys me rose bushes anymore. It's just a lost cause.) Jamie surprised me with the "Cherry Garcia" Ben & Jerry's ice cream in the freezer. Jeff is making crepes - both chicken AND fruit. It's going to be delicious!

Better go before Jamie figures out she's doing all the work!
Posted by Picasa

Summer Sizzle or Drizzle? The Prequel: May Movie Lineup

I picked up the Summer Movie Preview Issue of Entertainment Weekly the other day to peruse and see what Blockbusters, Sleepers, and Duds would be gracing the silver screens this summer. The following is a quick rundown with comments on some of the upcoming summer film fair for feasting that you may or may not want to check out:

Summer kicks off early with these releases:


Iron Man 2 -
Sure to be a HUGELY attended movie since its the follow-up to the mega popular Iron Man starring Robert Downey, Jr. Previews looked chock full of some great action sequences and FX so it should be worth seeing. Just remember this is an ACTION flick and plot/ storyline is always secondary and not essential for the movie to do well. Sequels have notoriously not been up to the high standards of the original, but can still be good. Besides, Samuel L. Jackson is playing Nick Fury and Mickey Rorke is playing Whiplash so Yeah, Baby!! (Um, did I mention Samuel L. Jackson?)

Robin Hood - Russel Crowe takes on the legendary Sherwood Forest Badboy himself with Cate Blanchett playing Lady Marion. This has the possibility of being a good retelling of the classic tale but will have to do well to win me over as I think Kevin Costner's rendition of the role has thus far been my favorite. Still, Russell Crowe was a gritty gladiator so he could bring some real character to the Hood.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Hmm. This film is based on a popular 2003 video game which I never played so whatever. Actually, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the action hero lead and IF there's a decent storyline then with all the expected FX this fantasy adventure is sure to have this movie could be decent. Only time will tell . . .


MacGruber - Based on a SNL sketch lampooning one of my all time favorite TV shows, MacGyver, this could be really funny or painfully awful. Since I've never seen the SNL sketches this film is based upon I have no opinion except GOOD parody is supposed to be the highest form of flattery so let's hope this one is a very flattering.


Sex and the City 2 - The girls are back! The girls are back in TOWWWN! Well, actually their hitting the road to the Middle East and I'm sure ladies everywhere will support Carrie and company no matter what antics they get into. (And yes, I will be a supportive hubby and take Lori to see it. Sigh. The things we do for love.)

Letters to Juliet - This is SUCH the chick flick. I mean, love letters, set in Italy, reuniting long lost lovers, need I say more? (I REALLY don't think I'll be going with Lori to this one. Either Jamie will go with her or we'll see it on dvd.

Just Wright - Queen Latifah in a romantic comedy. Hey, remember when she used to be a street cred rapper? Yeah, neither do I. Anyway, some plot line about Latifah as a physical therapist having to rehab some hunky sports star blah, blah, blah. Don't see this one doing much to rehabilitate Queen Latifah's ailing movie career any.


Shrek Forever After - Let's see . . . this makes it the what? The FOURTH installment in this series?! Oh grrr. Well, its back to Ever After and though I thought the first one was THE best it could be a fun piece of animated entertainment.


Solitary Man, Mother and Child, Holly Rollers, and Babies are among some of the Off the Center of Blockbuster but some could be surprise hits so don't count them all out.

Be sure to check back for the June Summer Movie Preview Post.

Friday, May 7, 2010

weekEnd review

"How does your garden grow?"  Like crazy is how.  Like crazy!  

And sometimes in spite of the weather.  Cool and rainy most of this week.  Even a little snow in the forecast for today, but I think someone was just dreaming - I haven't seen any.  Yet.  The rhubarb is up and going crazy in the backyard.  The flowering trees are TRYING to do their thing.  Just one sunny day - that's all they want.  My flower garden is looking so good - weeds and all.  Can't wait to really get out there. I got new gloves this week - they're SO cool.  And finally, the grass - too wet to cut - will need to be baled!  

Speaking of which, Alex can hardly wait to get out there and try out the new electric mower he brought home this week.  I know I haven't found all the "treasures" that made their way into the house this week.  But I'm counting the number of "clean-up weeks" I have left with kids in the house and it seems manageable.  ;-)

Jamie & Nate had their first AP Tests at Concordia this week.  Nate is taking the AP US History test even as I type - its purported to be the hardest AP test ever in the history of the tests.  At least that's what his sisters tell him.  Jamie took AP Lit yesterday and has two more scheduled for next week.  (Advanced Placement students have the option to take these tests after completing the corresponding high school coursework - certain scores will earn them some college credit for their work.  Even taking the classes with good grades is helpful to have on your high school transcripts.)

Kathryn has been job searching like crazy with her snack bar stint coming to an end.  Did you know some bowling alley jobs are "seasonal" with the league play?  I didn't know that.  The applications are starting to yield some interviews for her - she has one job offer and another interview today.  Strategic Fundraising offered her a position fundraising for the Republican Party!  Today's interview is with a fitness center - at the front desk or in childcare.  

This week's favorites:

  • TV timewasters:  ABC's Dancing with the Stars - what an exciting show this week!!  I love to live through those stars & dancers!   AND  Fox's Glee!  Oh my goodness, how Jeff & I love this show and all the songs we grew up with updated and sung by "teenagers."  What a fun show!  (btw - we watch almost no TV live - we watch most shows online on our own schedule, which also means we're almost always behind the "news!")
  • Amy Grant's "Somewhere Down the Road" CD.  I rarely buy music, but I downloaded this entire album this week and have really been enjoying it. This song (and video on Tangle) - "Better than a Hallelujah" - really caught my attention and heart and led me to the rest of the album.   I even posted the lyrics on Facebook.  I also especially like "Oh How the Years Go By," "Overnight," and "Unafraid."  She also updated "Arms of Love" which is one of my Amy favorites anyway.  AND she did her own version of "I Can Only Imagine" with "Sing the Wondrous Love of Jesus" which got me in spite of myself. 
  • London Broil from our E-Mealz menu for the week.  Oh it was a yummy dinner with potatoes and peas.  SEVEN new recipes are WAY too many so we're "banking" about half for later.  Nice that the shopping list is so easy to adjust!  And of course, Jeff's Skillet Lasagna remains at the top of our list for favorite dinners.  ;-)
 I don't know WHO scheduled all the appointments for the kids in ONE WEEK, but don't be doing that to me again, please.  We had six (6!) doctor, ortho, etc appointments this week.  We made it to everything pretty much on time, but it was a little crazy-making.  I am SO glad to be working from home!!

I look at my family garden at least a couple times every week now and realize just how it's grown!  The young adults are out-numbering us and numbering our days with "kids" at home.  I'm so proud of how they're growing - mostly in spite of me and the weather.  What a privilege to have them.  

How is your garden growing, dear friends?  We send our love and affection and care for you in thoughts and prayers every day.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

wordless wednesday: cleanup week find!

Only Alex could come home from school with an electric mower complete with "works perfectly" sign & mint condition owner's manual!  A neighbor down the street had just put it out on the birm for "clean up week."  

He even came out to give Alex an impromptu lesson on electric mower charging and operation.  He said there is nothing wrong with it - they just bought a new one and didn't need this one anymore!  What a perfect find for the boy who struggled with our old gas-powered mower all last summer.

"Clean-Up Week" is one of our favorite times of the Moorhead-Fargo calendar year - my boys are always inspired to do a little more "just riding around" on their bikes in early May.  But I worry most about Alex.  He pretty much always shifts my junk balance back to neutral with the stuff he brings home and has been known to regularly bring stuff back in from our own curb.  I slowed my average driving speed significantly this year for fear he would give himself whiplash watching for treasures between home, church, school and store.

Monday, May 3, 2010

monday memory: reading

What a sweet privilege to have taught my children to read and love reading.  I have photos and pictures in my mind of them reading at all ages - to themselves and to each other.  I have pictures of people I love who love them reading to them - one at a time and all piled up together on the couch. 

I'm so proud of how smart they are!  Each of their literary abilities and accomplishments far exceed my own.  They are each their own kind of writer.  I'm astounded at the number of poems this household has already produced. Stories, letters and journal entries abound.

My mom and the bookmobile taught me to read and love reading.  I don't remember not being able to read.  A full bookshelf is one of the most pleasant sights in the world.  I hope to never get see the end of the stack by my bed.  I have few memories stronger from my childhood than lazy afternoon sunshine falling on the page of a book.    

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Jeff's Skillet Lasagna

Ok so this one-skillet meal is actually over 30 years old. In the fall of 1979, I was a freshman in college and I went to a bookstore in a mall in Irvine, California that was close to the university where I was attending and I came across this little paperback cookbook that was called something like "The Campus Survival Cookbook" and it had all these really simple, easy recipes that a beginning cook could do with minimal prep. I found this one that I REALLY liked called, "Miracle Skillet Lasagna" that I have toyed with and modified over the years to become:

Jeff's Skillet Lasagna

1 lb Ground Beef
8 - 16 ounces of Low fat Small Curd Cottage Cheese
1 Package of Wide Egg Noodles or Dumpling Egg Noodles
1 Large can of Spaghetti Sauce
8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Powder or Garlic Salt
Parsley Flakes
Basil flakes
1 Large Skillet

In the large skillet brown the ground beef and then drain. Spoon a layer of cottage cheese over the meat and then sprinkle Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, some oregano, basil, pepper, and garlic powder over the cottage cheese.

Then spread noodles evenly over the cottage cheese layer and pour about half to two-thirds of the spaghetti sauce over the noodles along with about a cup of water. Make sure the sauce/ liquid mixture covers the noodles. Season the sauce with more oregano, basil, garlic powder or garlic salt, and pepper and put skillet back on burner and bring sauce to a boil. When sauce mixture is bubbling nicely, gently stir the lasagna mixture and turn down heat to simmer.

Let lasagna simmer for about 30 to 35 minutes, gently stirring mixture occasionally, and letting the lasagna cook down and thicken. When cooked, turn off burner and sprinkle the grated Mozzarella cheese over the skillet lasagna and let melt.

Can put entire skillet on a hot pad on the dinner table and serve from it. Add some garlic bread or toast and a tossed salad and viola! Quick Italian Skillet Lasagna.

Cook's Note: I don't have exact measurements for some of the ingredients because over the years I have changed and modified it and I go mainly by look and taste. Substitutions are definitely allowed so use Ricotta cheese instead of Cottage cheese and you can make your own tomato sauce instead of canned. This is a VERY adaptable dish so have fun with it.

weekEnd review

Suddenly cooler weekend weather was just Cruel for the 1st weekend in May.  It's been in the 40's, windy and rainy since Friday - still everything keeps getting greener and greener and the crabapple trees are just dying to bloom.  All they need are one sunny, warmish day and they'll burst into beautiful springtime bliss!

The other, less pleasant, way we know spring is here is that the dog STINKS.  I mean - really, really stinks.  Ugh.  And her allergies are in full scratch, scratch, roll, roll, roll.  Poor puppy.

Kathryn celebrated spring in her own gotta-get-my-car-fixed way.  We got her bike down and the poor girl showed up with serious allergy eyes.  Everyone has been out digging around in the garage for treasures - Kathryn found the old kitchen table and chairs and dragged it back to her place so she and her roommate can enjoy their weekly coffee time in style.  

Nate & Alex both chose their own two days to be home sick last week.  The first day Nate stayed home, he pretty much slept all day and I FORGOT he was home until he came upstairs and scared me almost to death!  (Bad Mom.)  I thought it was probably a couple cases of Spring Fever until I got it myself on Friday.  We're calling it the car-sick-like-illness until we come up with something better.  It involves serious tiredness, faint dizziness and fairly serious nauseousness - let's just leave it at that.  Jamie named it today.

Jamie's advanced art class presented an art show at the high school this week and then moved it to West Acres Mall this weekend.  We had lunch at the food court after church today and perused the high school art work.  I'm so proud of her work.  I can't wait to see what she'll learn and how she'll grow as an artist in the next several years.  (Northwestern College, St Paul)

Jeff started a new work schedule this week.  He can submit schedule changes once a month and he has to turn his requests in almost a month in advance.  He switched to days with their new scheduling system this month, hoping to attend all the kids' last concerts of the year.  So now he works Mon, Tues, Fri and Sat.  He will be submitting new requests tomorrow for the very end of May and most of June.  By the time he switches again we'll be right on top of Jamie's graduation.

In the middle of last month I was selected to take part in some special advanced training for Mary Kay consultants in our unit.  It was really an honor to be selected - and both fun and challenging to take part in these special classes!  One of the assignments was to read Mary Kay's autobiography, Miracles Happen.  I am so impressed with how her principles have really stayed with the company.  Nobody thought you could build a business based on the Golden Rule - a "go-give" attitude.  So cool that I'm seeing it lived out more than 40 years later in the women who are teaching me.  

This week's new favorites:

Our first week using E-Mealz was a success - it is just so wonderful to know what we're having for supper on any given day and even have the shopping done.  (my poor family & I have been suffering from lack of planning on my part for too, too long!)  As I suspected, seven new recipes per week is going to be several more than we really need to plan with leftovers and our own favorites to work in.  From last week I still have London Broil with Company Potatoes & Peas, Hash (with the leftovers), and Pepperoni Loaf to make.  For this week we've chosen White Chicken 'n Bacon Chili, Shrimp Creole and Jeff's Skillet Lasagna, which is always delicious!

Glad we've got some meals planned for this week as we have doctor, ortho & other appointments every day this week.  I have Mary Kay events & appointments most days (yay!), including a trip up to Grand Forks Wednesday.  Alex has an orchestra concert Thursday night.  Nate & Jamie each have an AP Exam and Alex is finishing his prep for Youth Symphony auditions next week.

Happy May!  Love you,