In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Friday, October 30, 2009

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Well I hope so anyways because we are all finally healthy. (Smiling big)

This little lady loves apples. On the rare occasion that we go to that fast food place that starts with an M, she orders apples instead of fries. And she usually eats half of my salad. She loves all the healthy foods that we eat. I know…she’s kinda strange. Don’t let that fool you though because she loves candy with a capital L. She will even ask to have it for breakfast. Little man? Not so much. He does like apples but he loves his fries with a capital L and doesn’t care much for salad or candy. I know…he’s kinda strange too.

She is crazy about apples.

nevaeh cropped

It’s  a good thing we all love apples because recently, we went to help my parents with the apple harvesting. And we came home with lots of juicy red apples. Thankfully, it was one of our sunny days so it was a perfect day to spend outside. They had a very good crop of apples on their tree’s this year.

We picked lots and lots of apples.


We picked until the tree’s were bare except for the few we left for the birds.

Little man was excited to go up on the loader on Grandpa’s tractor.


And of course little lady had to have a turn too.


We filled pail after pail…


…and made lots of trips on Grandpa’s golf cart, to haul the trailer full of apples, up to the garage.


We took breaks from the work to pretend that we were the drivers…and of course to eat some apples.


Once we picked all the apples, we sorted through all the apples…


… some for apple pies and apple sauce…and of course for sharing…


…the best apples…CIMG0062 were kept for eating just as they are.

My job was sorting and it really was hard because many of the apples were perfect huge crisp apples. Perfect for eating. In my sorting I came across the cutest little baby apples so we kept a bucket of them for the little people to eat. In my sorting I found these twin baby apples that shared the same stem. So cute!CIMG0058-1

The apples that are bruised or damaged in any way, get washed and then cut up and then go into this apple press that my dad built a couple of years ago. It makes pure apple juice.

fall pictures & daycare 029

Once all the apples were put through the press we hauled the 5 gallons pails of juice into the house. We poured the juice through cheese cloth to strain it and then it goes into containers that we freeze.

Of course, then it’s clean up time. Makes for a long day but there is nothing like hard work in the fresh air of autumn. I like that the little people got to take part in all of this and be such helpers. After such a long day of working and playing the fresh air, I thought they would fall asleep on the drive home. Instead they talked and talked about all the fun they had helping.

We came home with lots of red juicy apples for eating and freezing for pies, crisps and sauce and we have lots of fresh apple juice in our freezer.

And of course I had to take some pictures of my happy apple eaters with our apples and pumpkins we got from Grandpa and Grandma.

jordan and nevaeh cropped #2



My husband made an apple pie already…yes, I have a husband that bakes and cooks and I must say he does it wonderfully. I love the example that this sets for the little people. Actually he spoils me rotten but that’s a whole nother post for another day.  Anyways, the pie tasted wonderful made with these apples. Now that the pie is gone, I was wondering what we could make next. I wanted to make something different, that we haven’t already made.

I didn’t have to wonder long, because Jan from Jan’s Sushi Bar posted a wonderful sounding recipe for Apple Upside Down Cake. If you have never been there you must go visit. If you like to cook or bake and like honest funny people, you will love her like I do.  This isn’t a cooking blog per say because she does write about daily life stuff too. She has a heart of gold and a lot of wisdom that you don’t learn in a book. She posts the best recipes and I seriously think she needs to either write a cookbook or have a cooking show along with her husband, Beloved. They both crack me up with their antic’s so between their good humor and mad cooking/baking skills I think they should take it on the road!

We were going to make them right away but need to go to the store first. So, this weekend, my little man, whom pretends to be “Emeril” when we cook and little lady, whom pretends to be “Rachel Ray” when we cook together, are going to make Jan’s cake.

They pretend to be Emeril and Rachel even when their pretending at their play kitchen or pretending to make food out of play dough. They love watching the cooking channel with us. When we watch shows in which a husband and wife are cooking together, they get excited and say “Their just like you guys cooking in the kitchen!”

I bet you can  guess who their favorites are? You’ll never guess who I am when we cook?  I’m  Emeril’s  and Rachel’s mom of course!

Do you have any favorite apple recipe’s that you would like to share?





Thursday, October 29, 2009

Help! I’m talking and I can’t shut up!

Recently, I had what I call a duct tape moment.

We were watching some show on TV in which a couple had gotten married and they had won a big honeymoon package. Not thinking, I said out loud and sarcastically, “How stinkin lucky are they! When I got married instead of getting a honeymoon, I won 2 babies.” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I wanted to slap myself because in horror I realized that little man and little lady were playing nearby. And they don’t miss anything. Anything.

“Someone, please duct tape my mouth.”

Little man looked at me and I smiled at him, while praying that he had neither  heard nor understood the meaning behind my words.  I let out a big sigh of relief as he jumped up and said “You were the big winner of us!”And they both came running into my arms as they screamed “You are so lucky that you won us!” Of course I reassured them that I was indeed the big lucky winner and that they were much better then going to that place on TV. 

Everything turned out fine. I recovered my words without them knowing but still it got me to thinking about the power of my words. The power they have to build up or to tear down…to heal or to hurt…to give or to take away from. I think what comes or doesn’t come out of a persons mouth say’s a lot about them.

What do my words say about me?

If I am willing to be brutally honest with myself and you,  then I would admit that there are times, I really need to do a better job of keeping my mouth shut. Seriously. There are times, I stop and listen and hear in horror that the voice behind those words is mine. 

Do you ever have those moments when you hear yourself talking but you just can’t shut up? It’s those times I want to scream,“Help me Lord, I’m talking and I can’t shut up!”

Having diarrhea of the mouth is embarrassing…especially in hind sight…and especially when you have a young audience…any audience for that matter…that can mistake the meaning behind your words…that will go on to repeat those words or worse yet, remind you for years to come that you said “that”.  Ugh.

I have gotten better over the years at keeping my thoughts to myself…to think before I speak….at least with the real obvious things. This does not mean that I don’t on occasion, let my thoughts form into words that come out of my lips. Actually this is probably a lie because I’m sure I do this far more than I realize.  Hence the example I shared at the beginning of this post. Ugh.

Do you ever catch yourself sharing thoughts that you should probably keep to yourself?

I have mastered the art of self control in not swearing or saying “naughty” words out loud, especially when little ears are around to hear or inappropriate times. In fact for the most part, this former potty mouthed, talk like a drunken sailor(no offense to any sailors)has been reformed over time, for the most part. Mostly, due to becoming a mother and not wanting my children to repeat what I’m saying but mostly because I grew up and realized  that talking with my potty mouth was not pretty. This does not mean that an occasional “naughty” word or two don’t escape these lips. And I will not lie, I swear in my head…some day’s more than other’s. Ugh.

Do you have a potty mouth?

I cringe when I think of the times I have spoken and yet my actions speak otherwise. Hypocrisy.  Nothing bothers me more then when I fail to walk the talk or live what I’m teaching. Ugh.

I tend to be a positive person by nature but that doesn’t mean that negative crap doesn’t ever come out my mouth. If I have went too many nights without enough sleep. If I watch too much of the news or tv in general. If I spend too much time with negativity, it wants to come home with me.  If I am not careful it tries to move in. Ugh.

Do you ever struggle with speaking negatively?

I think of the times that I have spoken out of ignorance or spoken out of anger or hurt…or out of not knowing the whole truth or information…or was insensitive in my words and how I wish that I could take my words back. But the thing is, there is no taking my words back once I say them. I can say I am sorry and ask for forgiveness but there is no deleting or wiping away the affects that my words caused. Ugh.

I know all too well the wounds caused by words. I know how words have hurt and cut me like a knife deep into my heart. I have forgiven the speaker of the words but years later, I still remember them. This is what drives me to care so much about what words come out of my mouth.

Have you ever been hurt or wounded by the words of someone?

Whether I realize it at the time or not, the little ears of my little people are almost always listening…even if I’m not talking directly to them…or in the same room as them. They hear me. They repeat me. They, for the most part, are mini-me’s…mimicking my words and actions in their play and their daily life.

They are forming beliefs about themselves and the world, by the things I speak…and of course the actions that go with those words. Much of the time, it is positive…I hear them talking and acting in such ways that are positive. But not always…sometimes I hear them or see them do something that is less then pretty and I know they learned it from me. Cringe. These are the moments that keep me humble as a parent.

When my now grown children were growing up I remember telling them “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” And every day before they left for school, I would say,“Watch your words. They have the power to bring someone down or bring someone up.”

Have you taught the children in your life anything about their words?

A few simple words that come out of our mouths have the power to make or break someone’s day. They have the power to uplift and give strength to someone that is weak. They have power to remind someone of their value and worth. Our words can tell someone they are not alone. And yet, our words can do just the opposite…if were careless with our words. Either way, our words make a difference.

Sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Sometimes things are better left said to someone more appropriate. Sometimes words need to be chosen more carefully. Sometimes there are things that should never be spoken. Sometimes silence speaks louder then my words. Sometimes there are things that need to be said and I need the courage to say them. Sometimes I just need to stop, shut my mouth and listen with both ears.

Someone, please get me the duct tape!


Do you ever have duct tape moments?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I am humbled

I must say thank you to all of you that commented on yesterdays post. I don’t feel so alone anymore in my fears and concerns. Thank you for reminding me of why I love this blogging community so much.

This parenting gig gets a little over whelming sometimes. Every once in awhile I forget what I know. I forget the roads that I have walked and all that I have learned. I start to doubt myself and question. I get down on myself. Even though I know I have done a lot of good things in my parenting, I have done a good share of screwing up too. And when I come to some cross road in parenting, I begin to doubt myself and instantly my mind is taken to the screw up moments. That is what I was starting to do and then bam…I read this post by my youngest daughter at Unexpected Surprises. Wow.

It humbles me beyond words. Thank you my dear sweet daughter.

Then this morning, I read this post “By the Book” by my good wise friend Boogie at View from the Fairway. His words of wisdom were what my soul needed to read this morning. Thank you Boogie!

I am constantly humbled on this parenting journey. The good, the bad and the ugly of this parenting gig can kick my ass some days. But, most of the time, I have the time of my life. It is the most wonderful kickass gig I’ve ever done…and will probably ever get to do…well besides being a grandma!

Thank you again, for the wonderful encouragement and support! XXOO

Monday, October 26, 2009

Times have changed

Now that little man is 4 years old, we have started attending a kindergarten readiness class through early childhood education with him and he has started going to a pre-K class all by himself one day a week. Which will turn into 2 days a week after Christmas. He absolutely loves it. I am not sure if he likes school or riding the bus more.

It’s been a long time since I went to any kind of classes like this since my youngest is 20 and now in college. None of my children went to preschool because I didn’t really see the necessity of it since I did daycare and ran it like a preschool already. I did attend a kindergarten readiness class through early childhood classes with each of them, which we did enjoy but honestly that was more so I could actually get out of my house and talk to other adults, once a week. I made a lot of friends through this avenue and quite honestly they saved my sanity. Plus It was a place to learn parenting skills.

We started the parent child class in September. Honestly, I was a little worried because it’s been a long time since I’ve been around other parents and knew there would be a big age difference. Plus, little man had shown NO interest whatsoever in anything to do with school. We had tried to make him write his name, cut, paste…ect…the only thing he ever showed interest in and would attempt to do was painting. He refused to try any of it. I didn’t make an issue of it.

I wasn’t too worried because I had experienced this with one of my sons and various daycare children. I knew eventually he would do these things. My son did eventually learn how to write his name just fine and graduated from high school and is in his 2nd year of college.

When my kids attended this kindergarten readiness class they did things to get ready for kindergarten. like sharing, playing, music, walking in a line, some basic art things, following instructions, learning how to separate from parents…ect. All pretty basic.

Times have changed. I feel so out of it. First of all, I am like 20 years older then most of these parents. Second of all, what they expect these kids to know has definitely changed. They have to know so much more now. Just to go to kindergarten! How did I not know this? It feels like I am from the stone age or something. Thirdly, are a lot of children undisciplined and out of control or is it just me? Do parents no longer expect their children to listen, respect and have manners?

Thankfully, little man has now taken an interest in learning these things and we are working on these skills at home now. Slow but sure he is learning. Who would have known that I would be working on how to correctly hold a scissors or a pencil again? Who would have known that I would be teaching my husband how to help him with this? Such fun times. I’m not sure who frustrates me more at this point.

I’m not too concerned or panicked about this because I do believe he will eventually be able to do these things. Since this is all new for my husband, he is a little more concerned. Okay, a lot more concerned. My husbands daughter moved far away when she was very young so he never got a chance to do these things with her. He doesn’t understand the patience and practice it takes for most kids to do these skills. He also doesn’t understand that while some kids will have interest in these things, some will not.This is a whole new learning experience for him. Since I have been sick over the past few weeks, he has been attending the classes with little man. Which I think is a good thing.The first few times he came home from class he was pretty worked up about it all but I think he’s starting to calm down a bit.

My husband and I have been talking about how times have changed from when we were kids to when my now grown kids were young to the present.

My focus in raising young children has been disciplining and teaching manners, things of character development, morals, to be kind and giving, basic communication skills, reading to them and giving them a love of books and  importantly the importance of playing, using their imagination and being a kid.

I am worry about the lost art of the imagination and the ability to play without parents, a tv, computer or video game or some other device entertaining them. I’m not against these things but I worry about how much these things have replaced actually playing…with an imagination and actually interacting with other children in play.

I worry a little about pushing children before they are ready. I worry about letting children be children and all that they learn from playing. I worry that in our urgency to teach children so that they will be more advanced, we have left out some important valuable components.  I worry that in trying to teach children all these skills some of the important things, like listening and respecting have been left to the way side…and in the end hurts them more than helps them.

I also wonder about the seemingly lost value of discipline and teaching sharing, caring, listening, and respect…that is suppose to be taught by us parents. How even though most of these kids in little mans class could write their names, and cut with a scissors but could not sit down in a circle for 5 minutes and listen to the teacher. How disrespectful many of them are to not just the teachers but to their parents.  How many don’t know how to play or to share. How is it that their parents seen the importance of teaching them writing and cutting skills but not the importance of disciplining them? Or is it something they expect the teachers to teach them?

I know there is an importance to  learning how to write and to read. I know that knowing the colors and shapes and how to count and say the abc’s is of value too. I really do. I have no problem teaching those things to my little people. It’s just that I wonder where this is suppose to take us?

Does learning these things earlier mean the children of today will know more when they graduate? Does this mean that they will go from point A to point B much more advanced then those in the past?   What about the absence of discipline and moral teaching? Or the absence of knowing how to play without a computer, video game or some special device? Will the absence of these things affect them on their journey from point A to point B? And what affect will this have on our world?


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

Here in Minnesota our short summer led to a fall that has been cold, cloudy and rainy. We have already had snow one too many times this fall. The first time it snowed I was woken up at the butt crack of dawn by little man and little lady, saying “Merry Christmas”. He apparently thought that since it snowed, it must be Christmas and he was damn excited about it. Excited enough to wake up his little sister and convince her it was in deed Christmas. They wanted to know when we were putting up our tree. Once I brought them down to reality, that it was NOT Christmas, that there was not going to be any presents underneath a tree, they wanted to go dig out their boots, snow pants and coats and go sledding. Hello? It’s 6:30 AM.  I can be such a bummer sometimes.

Anyways, all of this lovely Minnesota weather has meant that the usual beautiful changing colors have either been absent or came and went very quickly. All of this moisture and lack of sun is not good for the farmers needing to harvest their crops either. Not to mention the moods of people missing the sun.

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the beauty of the changing colors and the freshness that is usually in the air. I love raking leaves with the kids and jumping in the colorful leaves. This year, I couldn’t rake nor jump in the leaves and this year the leaves are mostly brown.

I love having camp fires and enjoying the coolness of the night. I love sipping on hot chocolate (and yes it tastes mighty good with a little peppermint schnapps added to it ) or hot apple cider. With all this rain and wind we haven’t gotten to enjoy very many fires but fall isn’t completely over so there still is hope.

I love wearing jeans, t-shirts and sweatshirts and flannel shirts. I love that when I’m having one of my menopausal moments I can step outside and instantly cool off.

I love orange pumpkins and cutting them out into jack-a-lanterns. I love red juicy apples and all the things we can make with them.

I love that with fall comes football…both college and professional. It used to be Friday night football games too  when my sons were playing in high school. Oh how I looked forward to standing out in the cool night watching my favorite sport.

Last Sunday after watching our Minnesota Vikings almost lose after having a big lead we headed outside to enjoy being outside even though it was cloudy and grey, at least it wasn’t raining. We threw the football around with little man and then convinced little lady to play with us.

A future football player?


What do I do with this?”


You have to tackle me.” “I bet you can’t catch me!”


Do you wanna bet?”

CIMG0107 CIMG0108

I might be a girl girl.  And I might have on a dress.


But, don’t let that fool you because I’m much tougher then I look.


And I can run. Fast. And you will be lucky to catch me.

CIMG0133 CIMG0146

Look at my sister go! She scored again! (I think she gets this from me!)

CIMG0142 CIMG0141

I love football. I love to run with the football. But, even more, I like it when you cheer for me.

CIMG00891 CIMG00851


…even when my sister tackles me…




…and takes the ball from me and runs with it!

CIMG0145 CIMG0136

Such fun.

CIMG0116 CIMG00901

Maybe a football player in our future? The most important thing is teaching them to be active and to have fun being active. Not to say that I would be disappointed ‘cause that would be kinda fun and you can bet that I will be there cheering on the sidelines, gray hair and all!


We ended the fun with a few hugs and kisses…

CIMG0019 CIMG0020 CIMG0074-1

How can we not have fun with these 2?

CIMG0017 Life may change us, but we start and end with family.

I may not have planned to be here but I sure am glad that I am.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Best Friends Wedding


It’s been over 3 weeks since I last posted or visited anyone around this wonderful  blog land. Can I just say how much I’ve missed all of you! And how glad I am to be back!

First it was because my children and grandson flew home for my brothers wedding and I was busy having fun with them.  In spite of my physical aches and pains, I had a blast with my kids. Some might say, “too much fun” but I say there is no such thing as too much fun.

To those of you that have young children or children not quite grown up yet, I must say, you have so much to look forward to. It’s not that I didn’t have a blast with them when they were growing up because I  did. But, there is something about sharing in laughter and the joy of life with your grown children. We even got to take a family picture, although my son-in-law and granddaughter from Florida and my step daughter and grandson from Nevada are missing (and were missed by all of us).


And I even got a picture with my five kids…oh how they have grown up!PA030022

Then came the weekend and all the wedding festivities. In spite of our nasty cold wet weather, we all had a blast. The wedding ceremony had to be moved inside because of the weather but for the most part, the rain held off for most of their wedding day. It was a beautiful fall wedding in the middle of a place I call “heaven”. It’s actually my sister and her husband’s place and it’s right in the middle of a wooded area, surrounded by nature. It’s gorgeous, no matter what time of year we go there, so I call it “ a little piece of heaven”.  The falls colors were amazing.

My sister and her husband missed their calling in life as wedding planners because they did the most amazing job of planning, decorating and putting it all together.

HPIM1554  HPIM1555

It was a risk in having the wedding at this time of year but thankfully they were prepared for whatever came in the way of weather. Thankfully they have large buildings for such things as this and thankfully there were a lot of us to help put it all together in the end. Their daughters are amazing too. The youngest one decorated the cake. The eldest one did my hair for the wedding and also took the guest book photo’s. This was all beside helping their parents with everything else.

jim and judie and girls

Both the bride and groom were beautiful and never stopped smiling. The pictures don’t do justice for the beauty of this most wonderful day.

The theme of their wedding “Falling in love” was perfect.

fall in love

jason and patty wedding

rings HPIM1552




I was honored to walk my best friend down the isle and to be his best woman. I even survived giving the best woman speech at the reception. I totally forgot that I had to do this until about 5 minutes before hand and as the matron of honor gave her planned and written out speech, I started to panic. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was going to say so I just spoke from my heart.


My brother, married them and he did a wonderful job. They wrote their own vows and it was beautiful and from their hearts.


Every family or group of people that came to the wedding had their picture taken in front of this old buggy seat, for a special photo guest book, that my sister made for them.


This is my whole family, except we are missing about 14 or 15 people!

whole family

Yes, it was on the cool side, even for Minnesota at this time of year and those that flew in from much warmer parts of the country might have called it freezing and had on winter coats but I think everyone started warming up, once the party and dancing began! And boy did we dance….

PA030061 dancing with Aidyn at wedding

congo line dance line HPIM1606 HPIM1602 toni and aidyn dancing

My little people love to dance…just like me…

 HPIM1611  PA030054


PA030059 PA030055

PA030063 PA030060

HPIM1607 HPIM1610

…we danced the night away! And we might have gotten a little silly and crazy in our celebrating…

HPIM1634 PA030087 PA030088 HPIM1597

They even got my mom to do a shot…

doing shots

…So that she would yodel. And she did!

mom yodeling

Lots and lots of love,laughter and smiles  shared with family that have become friends and friends that have become family. We made memories.

Between Grandma and granddaughter…

jennessa and mom

….between Grandpa and granddaughters…


And the newly wed…


Uncle and niece…


And cousins…

Jennessa and Kristen at wedding



Auntie and niece…PA030036

….and sisters that finally got to be together…



…and more sisters…

leah and kaitlyn dancing

…and husbands and wives…

jim and kay

mom kissing dad

…and uncle and nephew…


….Grandma and grandson…

joe and mom 

….and sisters and mom….


…and a mom and her sons…(this was one of my most special moments because rarely will my eldest son pose for a picture and he not only sat for a picture with me, he actually smiled!)


…and of course with my 3 little honeys…


Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures with just  my husband because he was one of the bartenders (in a separate building)  and I spent most of the night on the dance floor….and other then the few times he came in and danced a song with me, I didn’t get to see him a whole lot. I am still hoping someone got a picture of us!

We had the time of our lives. We made new memories and one’s we will be talking about for years to come.  In spite of the weather, it really was a most perfect wedding day. It was perfect because all these 2 people wanted was to be married.

It didn’t matter that things didn’t go perfectly as planned. What mattered the most is that 2 people that finally found each other, got married and a whole lot of people that love them, showed up anyways…in spite of the cold and rain.  It’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage. Now that the wedding is over and real life has began, I have never seen my brother and his wife happier. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why we celebrated! All because two people fell in love.

another of patty and jason

After 5 nights of minimal sleep and too much fun, I was exhausted…and I thought I was just getting a cold. I thought I was just tired from too much of everything. I wish. Instead I got sick with something…fever, head cold, sore throat, cough, sick to my stomach, body aches, chills and super tired. Even though I am still having a few symptoms, after over 2 weeks, I am finally back to the land of the living.  And I’m not the only one that got sick…sadly, many that attended the wedding got sick also….at least one person tested positive for the swine flu 2 days after the wedding and I was told that my symptoms matched those. Whatever I had, I’m thankful that it’s over.

Now that I am back to the land of the living, I hope to catch up with you in the near future. I will be stopping by real soon!