Monday, May 31, 2010


My dad owns a custom harvesting business, and every summer he travels with his business associate, a.k.a. his brother, all over the Midwest cutting wheat. Since he is gone much of the summer, he misses out on several different celebrations including Father's Day, my brother Sawyer's birthday, Colter's birthday, and 4th of July. This year we got smart and combined a Memorial Day barbecue with all the parties Dad will miss when he's gone. We had a Memorial Day/Father's Day, Colter and Sawyer's birthday/4th of July party---an EVERYTHING party! In case you couldn't tell, we're totally into excess.

I was in charge of desserts, so I made an early birthday cake for Sawyer's and Colter's June birthdays. I should have put a times 5 by the three to show that Sawyer's going to be 15, but he's an old dude now, so he didn't mention the three. I made a yummy flag Jello poke cake for 4th of July.Even at a barbecue, my card fanatic family works in some pitch. They're so dedicated to pitch, they'll even play outside. John likes to play as my dad's partner because they usually win, but John's going to be out a partner for a few months. :( Colter had lots of people to play with! Look at all those BOYS!

The older boys took the little boys swimming in a frigid pool.Colter was too wimpy (or SMART) to stay in the icy water long, so he hung out on the ladder and whacked people with a pool noodle.

To end the evening, we shot off fireworks for 4th of July!

It was apparent that Daddy and my uncle Ron always miss the 4th of July as we were shooting off fireworks. Someone handed Ron a fairly powerful firework that should be set on the ground and lit, and then it shoots up into the air and explodes, just like a miniature version of what one would see at a fireworks display. Instead of setting the firework on the gound, Ron held it in his hand to light it and threw it down, and it landed on its side shooting flares along the ground! THANKFULLY, it was shooting away from all of us and no one exploded, so it was just hilarious instead of painful. My uncle is 50ish, and he doesn't know how to work firecrackers! We should have had an everything party long before now because he's been missing out.

We had a fun evening but I was oh, so ready to crawl into bed when we got home. Celebrating four events in one is exhausting!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Most Fun Ever!

STUFF. Where, oh where, does it all come from? It's amazing how much stuff accumulates over a couple of years. Outgrown or no longer wanted clothes, discarded decor, obsolete electronics, my husband's weird childhood belongings that his mom sneaks into our car when we visit (actually, this has slowed down a bit---keep the rest, Nell!) etc, whatever the stuff is, we attract it. Our house, like most in this gotta-have-it-all, we're-into-excess society, is a stuff magnet, so every few years I try to have a yard sale to purge our house of some of the STUFF. Over the past few days, I've been spring cleaning our home and going through things to find everything we don't need or want any longer. In the process, I've discovered that I really, really love spring cleaning.

Really. I love the emptying out cabinets and arranging everything neatly only for it to be all messy again in two days. I adore cleaning the house from top to bottom: washing the windows, balancing on the step stool to wipe down the dust-covered ceiling fans, and struggling with the blinds in an attempt to remove the layer of dust off each blind. Fun stuff! Really. Using a toothbrush to get the grime that accumulates where the sink meets the counter is the best thing ever! Oh, and the food particles and other mysterious items that find their way underneath the microwave and the stove are awesome! Good times, man. Good times. Really.

Okay, so not really. I'm full of crap. Oh, shoot. I'm not supposed to say that anymore because I don't want my toddler say "Oh, crap" at Sunday school (or anywhere else). I meant to say, "I'm full of...full of...hmmm.... I don't really want him to say any of the possible synonyms, so let's just say, I LIED. Surprise! I don't love spring cleaning or collecting yard sale stuff, but it will be so nice when it's all done! I'll be glad to get rid of the pile of stuff that has taken over our office, and I'll be grateful for any extra cash we might make. I'll also enjoy a sparkly-clean house for as long as it lasts!

Sorry for whining today. I'm tired and grumpy. And grimy.

Ironically, I'm participating in "Friendly Friday" today. Follow the link to visit other bloggers, that are probably more friendly than me!
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

POOL Time!

I think it's good that my boy's birthday is coming up soon, 'cuz it looks like we may have outgrown the wade pool.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hammock Hogs

I didn't get a turn on the hammock,
but that's all right.
Someday, I'll have my own hammock to lounge on
and trees big enough to hold it up.
I'll spend summer afternoons reading under the trees
and spend summer nights gazing up at the stars.
I would covet my mom's hammock,
but it's probably broken now.
After her grand kids spent Saturday afternoon
in an epic stay-on-the-hammock battle.
Silly grand kids, hammocks are for ME.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Boy's First Self-Inflicted Hair Cut

Well, it's happened. Despite my attempts to keep scissors out of reach of little hands, Colter administered his own hair cut. Admittedly, his hair was getting very shaggy and he had told me that his hair kept poking his eyes, but two-year-olds should not cut their own hair, even if they are almost three! One morning last week, I told Colter that we would make an appointment to get his hair cut that afternoon. He must have misunderstood me and thought I meant that he had an appointment to hide in the bathroom with a pair of nail scissors and cut his own hair. I'll be more clear next time.

My boy has gotten sneaky and has started shutting himself in rooms whenever he's doing something he's not supposed to. He will shut a door and sit in front of it so that I have to struggle to get him out of the way and open the door. He also looks for opportunities when I'm not paying 100% attention to get into mischief. When he cut his hair, I was on the phone with my friend Rachel and had spent the first ten minutes of our conversation following Colter around and keeping him out of things or offering distractions, when he slipped away for a minute. As I roamed the house trying to find him, I noticed the bathroom door was shut and knew something was up. Sure enough, he was sitting in front of the door, blocking my way, and cutting his hair with a pair of nail scissors! Ack. Thankfully, I caught him before too much damage was done. He mainly cut hair that needed to be cut off anyway, so it wasn't a big deal, but when I caught him and firmly said, "Colter, you should NOT cut your own hair," he cried and cried and cried. And cried. Poor boy! He obviously knew he had done something wrong, but we'll see if he remembers. I was really tempted to take a picture of his choppy hair, but I didn't want to encourage him and give the message that self-administered hair cuts were cute, even if it really was!

Don't you love the camo?

He can see! No more eye pokage. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review--The Jesus Series

I received a free DVD from Thomas Nelson publishing in exchange for writing a review for The review follows.

I watched The Jesus Series : Life and Miracles Read and Share Bible with my almost three-year-old son, and neither of us were very impressed. The half-hour DVD portrays Jesus’ ministry along the shores of Lake Galilee and the villages near Nazareth and shows the calling of the disciples, the feeding of 5,000, miracles, and the Lord’s Supper.

It’s always good to expose children to Bible stories and familiarize young children to Jesus’ life and ministry, so I do appreciate the DVD’s topic, but it could have been much better. I felt like important details were left out, and the first parts of the DVD, the calling of the disciples and when Jesus begin his public ministry by reading the Messianic prophecy at the Nazareth synagogue , were confusing and would have benefited by more voice-over explanation. Really, the DVD wasn’t very lively; it didn’t have much music, for example, and could have been more exciting to hold children’s interest better. This isn’t really a big deal, but I find it irritating Jesus is continually portrayed as Caucasian, when he probably wasn’t. The artists could have at least given him darker hair.

As this DVD wasn’t meant for me and is directed towards children, the real test is one my son thought of it. Although it did not keep his full attention, and he normally is very good about sitting through stories and 30 minute shows, he says he liked it and that he wants to watch it again sometime. Also, he asked several questions throughout the show, and anything that gets a kid talking about Jesus, is good!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Graduation Season

I know, I know, you feel like this...because you didn't hear from me yesterday. I'm truly sorry, but I've been horribly busy. I achieved my blog-30-days-in-a-row goal (32!), so it will be okay.

Yesterday was super busy. I got up early to drive an hour to this goofy kid's kindergarten graduation. Congratulations, sweet nephew of mine! Then I ran some errands, helped my mom with some lawn work, spent another hour in the car, made THREE batches of homemade ice cream, whipped up a batch of cookies, baked a strawberry pie, thoroughly cleaned my disaster house well enough to show to potential buyers, went grocery shopping, searched the town for a new outfit, returned overdue library books and paid my fine, painted my toenails, watched Up with John, and basically ran around like a crazy woman all day long. I confess, I used the T.V. as a babysitter. Don't tell anyone.

The cooking part of my day was for this goofy girl's graduation party! My little sister is all grown up and graduating from college! Congratulations, Courtney!!!

I ended up making all the ice cream for her party because ice cream makers are apparently easily broken. The ice cream making was going to be divided up between three people, but of three ice cream makers in the family, two of them were broken. That seems weird. Do ice cream makers break a lot? Anyway, I took the only working one and made three batches of SCRUMPTIOUS homemade JENELLEmade ice cream. My mom thought I volunteered because I am her most sweet and helpful daughter, but really I volunteered because I thought there would be leftovers for my robe and ice cream diet plan. Alas, because I am an ice cream genius and a superb chef (or possibly because of the heat and humidity) there was very little left for me to pig out on. The greedy graduation party guests gobbled it all up. SAD.

As far as I know, I don't have a graduation to attend tomorrow, but I'm too tired to remember.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hand Print Chicken

A Chicken Book and a Chicken Craft--Bawk, Bawk.

I LOVE books that make my boy laugh out loud. We recently discovered a book at the library called Big Chickens Fly the Coop by Leslie Helakoski, a sequel to a book we already have and love, Big Chickens. Every time we read these goofy stories, Colter cracks up. I LOVE IT! Due to the apparent monsoon season we appear to be imprisoned in, we've been looking for a lot of inside activities, and we decided to make this chicken to go with the books we've been reading A LOT lately--like 11 times everyday. We're bookworms at our house. Squirmy ones.
It's cute how this paper plate chicken uses Colter's hand prints to make the wings and the chickens comb, or hat, according to my two-year-old. It's also cute how my boy decided that his chicken should have orange wings instead of white ones. He's creative like that.

For this project, all you need is some scissors, glue, construction paper, a paper plate, googly eyes (or draw your own), and a some cute kid hands to trace! Colter and I just free-handed our chicken feet and stuff, but there are some templates and better directions if you need them at this site.

On an unrelated note, the pictures I posted yesterday were taken on a trip to Arches National Park in Utah last spring. Kel is a genius and guessed it right! Or she's been there. :) Everyone should visit Arches at least once; it's a surreal place. We went at the end of March, and it was a little chilly but still a great time to visit. Go in spring or fall, so you can enjoy the awesome wonders without suffocating!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Where In the World Wednesday---Guess Where!

For more Wordless Wednesday, go here, here, here, and just for kicks, here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Contents of My Purse AND a Winner!

Life has been....chaotic. I'm running, running, running and don't know where I'm going! In fact, I've been running around so much that I haven't had time for any real running (as alluded to on my previous post). I owe myself a multitude of work-out sessions, I'm way behind on several projects, my house is a disaster, and I swear I met myself on the road when I was out running errands. Weird. Despite the busyness, I managed to clean out my mess of a purse. Here's what was inside. If I were mugged, what would the thief think of me as they explored the contents of my purse? Obviously, the Hot Wheels car, the wipes, the bubbles, and the sunscreen all proof of mommyness. But a pack of yeast? Mysterious. Maybe a purse snatcher would think I was a Wal Mart-sticker-stealing, baker with a bubble fetish and dry lips (as indicated by the three tubes of lip balm) who never throws away a receipt.

Here's what I wanted in my purse. I feel so much lighter I might as well check the make-up exercise sessions off my list. Yay!

On another note, I have a winner for the book give-away. My assistant, the adorably mischievous, Colter, drew out a number for me, and he choose number four. Congratulations, Gina! I hope The Heart Mender is good reading material for your cruise!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Weight Loss Story

Once upon a time there was a woman who wanted to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks. She wanted to lose said 20 pounds while eating ice cream and lounging in her fuzzy pink robe, but the woman was told that her dreams were idiotic and that she needed to count calories, quit considering dessert the most important food group, and begin an exercise regime that involved sweat. The woman did not think diet and exercise sounded very awesome. She did not want to eat vegetables unless they were chocolate-covered, and she did not want to exercise unless she could do it while she was sleeping. The woman brainstormed some ideas on how to lose 20 pounds fast and came up with:

1. Liposuction
2. Wrap herself in saran wrap to sweat the weight off
3. Spend a few weeks shipwrecked with only water to drink
4. Develop a severe case of stomach flu with a touch of diarrhea
5. Swim across the Atlantic
6. Become a drug addict
7. Chop off her arms

The woman did not think those ideas were very ideal, so instead, she decided to lounge in her fuzzy, pink robe, eat ice cream, and pretend the unwanted 20 pounds disappeared overnight. She was an imaginative woman, so that worked just fine, and she lived happily ever after.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Keep Swimming!

It's 10:39, and I haven't written a post yet! Oops! In order to keep my daily blogging steak going, here's a quick, cute poem the pastor shared at church this morning.


Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl,
One was an optimistic soul;
But the other took the gloomy view,
"I shall drown," he cried, "and so will you."

So with a last despairing cry,
He closed his eyes and said, "Good-bye."
But the other frog, with a merry grin
Said, "I can't get out, but I won't give in!

I'll swim around till my strength is spent.
For having tried, I'll die content."
Bravely he swam until it would seem
His struggles began to churn the cream.

On the top of the butter at last he stopped
And out of the bowl he happily hopped.
What is the moral? It's easily found.
If you can't get out -- keep swimming around!

Author Unknown

AND a verse he used in the sermon that makes me happy.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he'll never leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Good night!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adventures at Our House

This week, I caught my boy...

emptying out the linen cabinets... eating a yellow crayon...
fast asleep in front of the door in his room, blocking the door so it was a real challenge to get into his room to put him in his bed without waking him up...
and piling all the stuff that he wanted to pack for a trip to Grandad and Grandma's in front of the front door.
This is just a glimpse of the crazy fun times at our house if the boy is unattended for over two seconds. Have a nice day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Dear God,

Thank you for the rain that You provide us. Thank you for the water for the plants and the water we have to drink. Thank you for cloudy days that teach us to appreciate the sunny days more. We really are so grateful for all the water You provide us, but Lord, when you get a chance, could you send the sunshine back for awhile? That would be awesome.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Accumulation of Dandelion Photos

Fluffy golden polka-dotsplague greens lawns everywhere.Come on. Are these puffy yellow miracles really your enemy?Do you really want to drown this in Round Up?Or this?Do you remember the dandelions of your youth? Your dandelion wishes?Dandelions aren't so bad. Especially when one uses Photoshop filters to make them look cool.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review and Give-Away!

I have a present for you! Well, maybe you. I have a present for YOU if you leave a comment and that random generator thingy happens to pick YOUR number.

I recently received two copies of an Andy Andrews novel, one for me and one to give away, in exchange for writing a review. The review follows; if this sounds like a book you’re interested in, leave a comment and next Tuesday, I’ll select a lucky winner!

Andy Andrews, author of New York Times bestsellers The Noticer and The Traveler’s Gift is known for his historical accuracy intertwined in his fiction, and I learned some interesting details about World War II while reading The Heart Mender. The plot centers on a German soldier who washes ashore along the Alabama coastline and the woman who finds him. Yes, I said ALABAMA. Apparently, I slept during this part of history class, but during WWII, “more than 1300 navy men, 201 Coast Guard personnel, and exactly 5,682 merchant marines lost their lives due to U-boat attacks in American waters [Andrews’s emphasis]! (20). Whoa! I had totally forgotten that significant detail in our country’s history if I ever knew it, so I found the setting of The Heart Mender very intriguing. Andrews has a unique narrative style in which he weaves his own experiences in with the characters which works well with his historical fiction.

The Heart Mender is a quick, interesting read, but it does have a fairly predictable storyline. Helen Mason, a bitter young widow whose soldier husband was killed by the Nazis, is resentful and alone when she finds an injured German U-boat officer, Josef Landermann, washed ashore along the northern gulf coast. Despite her hatred of Nazis, Helen must help the wounded Josef. Through Helen’s and Josef’s stories, The Heart Mender offers a message of forgiveness and the healing that follows.

Regardless of the predictable plot, I recommend this story as an excellent “treadmill read.” It won’t win any Pulitzers, but because of the fascinating historical details and great message, The Heart Mender is definitely worth reading.

Leave a comment if you'd like to win a copy of this book (hard-bound, $18.99 value)! Make sure to leave an email address if you don't have a blog, so I can contact you if you win. Contest ends May 18.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Poky Little Puppy Coloring Page Puzzle

We checked out The Poky Little Puppy from the library last week, and so far, John or I have read the story to Colter 36.5 times. Admittedly, I totally just made up that number, but my point is, he adores the poky puppy and the puppy's adventures. Because books are the bomb and some of our most favorite things, we like to incorporate the stories we read into our daily activities. Colter loves it when we read a book and then have some sort of story-related project.

After we read The Poky Little Puppy this morning, I found a coloring page on the Little Golden Books webpage and printed off three copies: one for Colter, one for me (sort of), and one for a coloring page puzzle. We started off our project by coloring together at the coffee table. In our pjs. At 11:00 in the morning. It made us happy.

Some people whine about how coloring pages stifle creativity, but I think that's nonsense as long as kids are exposed to blank pages sometimes, too. This looks like a pretty creative and colorful puppy to me even if it is on a coloring page.
While Colter was working on his puppy page, I colored part of one and then cut out some of the pieces. Ten seemed like a good number.
I then armed Colter with a glue stick and had him match the pieces to the third coloring sheet that we hadn't used yet. He matched up the pieces and glued them on.

He goes a little crazy with the glue sometimes. Ta da! A coloring page puzzle!

This site has a lot of cool poky little puppy ideas. We plan on making some strawberry shortcake tonight like the puppies have at the end of the story. YUM.