What’s Up Wednesday: May 2017

May has been a little crazy but we are ready for graduation.  We updated our June calendar last weekend and there’s a lot going on next month too, but it’s finally SUMMER so bring on the busy!  I’m linking up with Shay today for a May update.


Monday:  Tortellini and Caesar salad

Tuesday:  Pulled Pork sandwiches and garden salad (or green beans)

Wednesday:  Chicken with Fettuccine Alfredo, Caesar salad

Thursday:  Hamburgers, cooked carrots

Friday:  Tacos


I have been having all the thoughts and feelings about past school years as we near the end of this journey.  I see people posting their kid’s concerts, sports banquets, Field Days, teacher gift ideas, etc. and I think about all of the years we did those things.


I really liked the It Cosmetics CC Cream that I bought awhile back, and I was running out so I checked Sephora and Amazon to replace it.  The prices were pretty high, so I went right to the IC website.  Lower prices, free delivery, plus a free brow product AND three free samples.  Yes, please!

I have been using the makeup remover and the brow pencil/brush, but haven’t tried the moisturizer or primer.  And I went with the lighter CC cream because the other was a little too yellow for me.  Higher end products, but I think the CC cream is worth it.


Our anniversary was on the 26th, and the night before we were all laying around chatting and I said “Amy, if you were planning to sneak out tonight after we go to bed to get us doughnuts for breakfast for our anniversary, I would want chocolate with sprinkles.”  She’s so sweet.  I think she got a variety so that there would be extras!

We decided to head into Stillwater for dinner and some music.  We found a new place right on the main street – The Tilted Tiki – and had appetizers and drinks on the outdoor patio while listening to a musician.  Of course we had to ask if the patio is dog friendly and it is, so next time we can bring Scout!

From there we walked down to PD Pappys for more live music and a couple more beverages.  And some excellent people watching.  I. Mean.  In some cases there just were no words.  All in all a fun night.  And a funny side note, we went into separate rooms to get ready and both came out in a black t-shirt and jeans.  A sure sign we have become the same person.


The county is redoing our main road and it’s going to be a huge project.  They have been taking down trees and closed it to thru traffic yesterday.  I wish they could have waited one more week.  Not sure how long it’s going to take but it will be the entire summer for sure.


Lots and lots of yard work, but now it’s done and I can just focus on maintenance.  I also have to make a list of things I want to move/divide next spring before I forget.


Megan and I have college orientation in mid-June.  It’s two full days, and since it starts at 8:00 a.m. we will have to go down the day before.  I have a hotel reserved for the first night, and then we stay in a dorm the second night.  It’s funny how different this process has been for each of the three girls.  I’m excited for her to work out the final details and for me to have a night all by myself.


Mostly Tiny House Hunters and the Amazing Race.  *Spoiler Alert*  I can’t believe what happened to The Boys, but I’m kind of glad because it should make the finale really exciting.


My latest audio book – The Magnolia Story.  I have lots of thoughts about Chip and Joanna Gaines, which I won’t go into here, but I really enjoyed this book.  It made me feel better about some things, and it was especially fun because they narrated it themselves.  I still want to visit the Silos, and I still watch the show faithfully, but I just have a nagging feeling that they are getting a little too big, and there is more to all of this than meets the eye.  If you like them or Fixer Upper at all, I think you would like this book.


I have picked up a few new things for work.

This top is very soft and stretchy, and the ruffles are a fun touch without being too precious.  The pants are Wearever from J. Jill so super comfy.  And I am loving my new block heel sandals.  Height with comfort.

I found this shell at Nordstrom Rack, and the cardigan at J. Jill.  They are perfect for my blue trousers.  The shell has little pleats around the neck and the sweater has a pleat in the back that adds a little something extra.

This was another Rack find.  It looks sheer, but isn’t see-through.  And the gold accents dress it up a little.

I’m planning to wear this on Fridays with jeans.  Pleats at the collar and a slight bell sleeve.  And Swiss dots!

And this.  I wore it on Memorial Day and it will also make an appearance on July 4th (plus many other days throughout the summer).


Grad Party.  And then taking Monday off to recover from the Grad Party.


I have a meeting in Chicago and Megan and I have our two days in Ames, IA.  We have five more grad parties, plus Father’s Day and Ladies Weekend.  I may need naps.

Friday Favorites: Some actual favorites this week

Happy Friday!  I was given a new project last Friday, and it has really energized me this week.  I’ve been busy, but it’s been a good busy.  And now I’m ready for a long weekend!!  Today I’m linking up withe Andrea for the last Friday Favorites in May.

The sun was out Monday morning when I took Scout for his walk, after about six  or sixteen solid days of rain.  There was blue sky…

… and lots of flowers blooming.

The preserve had standing water and there were frogs croaking their “Good Morning’s”.  I love croaking frogs.

I have been seeing this kitchen gadget quite a bit lately.


A friend had a Pampered Chef party so I bought one.  I would say it worked a little better than a wooden spoon, and was easier on my wrist.  I basically used it like a mallet and pounded the living daylights out of the ground beef and Italian sausage.  So there was a fun factor as well.  I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I snapped these pics on my Wednesday morning walk.  I had noticed the new growth on the evergreens, and was struck by the differences among the various types of trees.

It just wouldn’t be a favorites post without food (or wine), and ground beef doesn’t count.  I enjoyed this little gem Tuesday night.

Chocolate cake + Andes mints = True Love.


If you don’t know who Jen Hatmaker is, you should look her up.  Or, I can just tell you.  According to The Wikipedia, Jen Hatmaker is an American Christian author, speaker, blogger, and television presenter. She has been featured in Christianity Today magazine and is the presenter of the HGTV series Your Big Family Renovation.  I have a couple of her books, and love how she relates scripture to our everyday life as women/moms/friends.  And she is snarky and funny and her Instagram posts always make me laugh.  She and her husband have been traveling in Italy this past week or so with a group of couple friends.  Side note:  Italy must be the hot destination these days.  Several bloggers I follow have been there or are going.  And the Obamas are there right now too.  Which is funny because I had a plan dream for Gary and I to go to Italy this summer too as a celebration of seeing all four of our kids graduate from high school.  I had it all mapped out, but alas, it was not meant to be.  But back to Jen, she posted about she and her friends buying tacky sweatshirts on every trip they take together and she typed an expression that I am going to use every chance I get.  She said, “We wear the sweatshirts proudly and we give zero damns.

And last, but certainly not least, today is our wedding anniversary!  Twenty two years of wedded bliss!  There have been plenty of tough times.  Really tough times.  But there have been really, really great times too.  Every time I travel alone, my first thought is that I wish I were sharing the experience with Gary.  Every time something exciting happens, he is the first person I want to tell.  When I’m crabby, irritable, irrational, moody, emotional and a little bit off my rocker, he loves me through it.  Together we have navigated the stormy seas of step-relationships, teenagers, illness, the loss of our parents, the loss of jobs, moving, and installing dry-wall.  We have also celebrated new babies, surviving middle school, graduations, new jobs, our expanding family, and puppies.  And coming home to each other at the end of each day.  This year we begin our life as empty nesters.  It will be the first time in our lives together that we are without children.  We have big plans for our future but also try to make the most of each day we have together knowing that our plans are not necessarily God’s plan.  Happy anniversary Gary, you are my true companion!


I’m excited for my What’s Up post next week because I have switched out my winter and summer clothes and I have some new favorites.  I even bought a pair of white jeans and I think I love them.  I haven’t worn them out of my bedroom yet so it’s too soon to commit, but they are promising.  And I finished another audio book and found a new lipstick I love, so there’s that too.  Riveting stuff for sure.

And on this Memorial Day weekend, remember the fallen soldiers, remember the missing in action, remember the prisoners of war, and support our wounded warriors.

Weekend Edition: You win some, you lose some


Well this was not one of my most productive weekends.  We have had at least three beautiful weekends and were making such good progress on the yard but that has come to an abrupt halt.  The weeds are taking over.  This happens every year so I feel we were a little bit ahead of the game, but now there is a LOT to do in very little time.  I have already started removing things from the to-do list.  Kind of like in the game of Yahtzee, when you get down to those final items – like Large Straight – and you end up just taking a zero.

I spent Friday evening working on Megan’s picture boards, and ignoring the disaster in my kitchen.

We picked up and vacuumed the rest of the house before calling it a night.  Then, Saturday morning, Gary took on the bathroom and I finished up another picture board, then finished up the kitchen (which he had started before I got up).  We did our typical morning errand runs – Target, nail trim for Scout, Party City for paper products for the party, and Menards for a coffee table for the back deck.  Then it was time to start Prom preparations.

Megan and Hunter got ready here so I made a few appetizers to sustain them.  Then we headed downtown Minneapolis to the Guthrie Theater for pictures.  Hunter’s date is a friend of theirs from St Peter’s days, so he picked the girls up and his mom rode with Gary and I.  Awkward.

Some of her friends who graduated last year came down to see her.

The weather was horrible, but made for a dramatic scene on the river.  Sorry for the glare from the windows, the lighting and wall color made pictures really difficult.

From there, Gary and I went back home and basically laid on the couch for the rest of the day and evening.  We had talked about going out to listen to some music, but we were both cold and didn’t want to go back out in that wind and rain.  I watched the rest of season eight of Hartland and he watched hockey.

It was STILL raining on Sunday, so Gary putzed around in the garage, I putzed around in the house, then went grocery shopping, then we made another trip to Target to print out the final pictures for the picture boards.  Those are now done!  Along with doing the laundry, I prepped and packaged snacks for all of us for the week, and when I was done, my refrigerator looked like this.

I had better not hear anyone say they can’t find anything to eat!

And you know I avoid politics, especially on my blog, but this meme was just too funny to pass up.

Have a great week!

Life Story Conversation: Middle School

With all of the grad party preparations going on I’m a little short on time so I’m just going to cover the middle school years (or junior high in my case) this month.

Here’s a funny thing.  I don’t remember junior high being that big of a deal for me.  I wasn’t traumatized, there wasn’t all that much drama,  I made a lot of new friends, all pretty positive.  Especially what I remember now.  But as a mom, I absolutely hated the middle school years with each of my kids.  Especially Amy and Megan.  Maybe it’s the hormones and changes in personality that were harder for me to deal with as a parent than experience as the child.  Anyway, I have mostly good memories of my junior high days and mostly bad memories of my kid’s middle school days.  Funny how life is like that!

Where I lived

  • Still at 2021 South Victoria Road.
  • Started spending my summers at Barb’s in Mora.


  • Terri, Becky, and Beth:  Still my best friends as I started middle school.
  • Jenny, Tara, Rochelle:  These were girls that Terri, Becky, and Beth were friends with that also became secondary friends of mine at school.  And by that I mean we hung out in the bathroom or choir room between classes, but not outside of school.  Except maybe at football or hockey games.
  • Kris:  A new friend and fellow horse lover in Mora.  She taught me pretty much everything I know about riding and showing horses.  She also got me involved in the Saddle Club and 4H for awhile.


  • Francis M. Grass Jr. High in West St. Paul.  Our colors were green and white.  Not sure why I find that important to mention.


  • Horseback riding:  Pretty much all I wanted to do, all the time.  I can still close my eyes and feel what it was like riding Jamie.  Her gait, her smell.  She could be a total pain in the ass, but I loved her more than anything else.
  • Softball: I dabbled in a rec league (but my dad took all of the pleasure out of that because I wasn’t very good and he thought I could do better) and played a year or two in school.
  • Choir:  I was in the all girl choir and still remember the blue skirts and white shirts.  Mr. Schwab was the choir director and everyone loved him.  We went on a trip one year but I have no memory of where we went.  I remember the choir room too, there were album cover murals that had been painted on the walls by former students.  And I remember having to sing in small groups and perform solos.  Worst. Days. Of. My. Life.


  • Mali and Jamie were still my pets at this time.


Things that pop into my mind when I think back on this time

  • There was a guy in my lunch hour, must have been 7th grade because I was in the newer lunchroom but he was a year older than me.  He used to do a weird Jell-o shot thing every day with his Jell-o.  People would gather around and cheer him on.  Near the end of the year he committed suicide.  It was probably my first exposure to the harsh realities of life.
  • One evening my friend Becky came over and we were riding our bikes and she got hit from behind by a car (I was riding in front of her).  It was my first ride in an ambulance.  See?  Good memories.
  • Grease and Saturday Night Fever:  Learning every word to every song in Grease, and learning to disco dance to Saturday Night Fever.  We danced a lot in the choir room – we seemed to hang out in there all the time.  That’s also where I was introduced to new radio stations that played disco music.  And KQRS.
  • My eighth grade English teacher:  I took an elective poetry class.  I can’t remember the teacher’s name (nothing new there!), but I remember she wore this huge charm bracelet and the charms were all of the landmarks in Great Britain.  She loved Shakespeare, and if I remember correctly, she took several trips to Stratford-Upon-Avon.  I hated memorizing and reciting poetry in front of the class (I hated to do anything in front of the class), but I enjoyed the poetry itself.
  • I also remember a speech class I took, where I had to do an informative speech.  I did mine on the anatomy of a horse.  I remember creating the viewfoil for the overhead projector and labeling the various body parts as I presented.  I loved using the colored markers on an overhead projector.  That’s probably where I developed my love of colored pens!
  • Football games.  The high school football field was actually at the junior high while I was there.  We used to meet as a huge group and walk around the track together during the games.  I don’t think I ever really watched a game in all of those years.  As we made our way around the track we would walk faster and faster as certain girls would try to get closer to other girls.  Then we would meet up with another group, stop and talk, and then it would start all over again.
  • Summers at Barb’s.  I think I felt more part of a family there than at home.  I felt useful – helping out on the farm, helping take care of the kids, cooking and cleaning.  I never seemed to do anything right at home, but felt appreciated at Barb’s.  And I loved all of the other people that came and went.  The guys that also lived there during the summer, Chuck’s friends and relatives, there were always people around.  And there was Jamie!
  • Confirmation:  It was during my confirmation years – 6th through 9th grade – that I met Dick and his family.  Church was a huge part of our lives, and I had Catechism class every Wednesday night.  I remember eating dinner at church, and then I had class and Dad and Mom had choir practice.  Dick’s mom was my 6th grade teacher and my class just about did her in.  There were maybe 12 of us, and the boys were absolutely horrible.  She was in tears most weeks.  I got along with everyone, and no one picked on me, but it was a really rough group.  We had some really good times too, but I dreaded going to that class each week.  Lots of memorization and I was never prepared.  And then, to top it off, reciting in front of the class.
  • Dodge Nature Center:  I remember participating in after-school classes at the nature center.  I did animal tracking, tapping trees and making maple syrup, tree identification, and orienteering.  I loved spending time there, and started imagining life as a forest ranger.

As I said, I enjoyed junior high – meeting new people, riding the school bus, participating in school activities – pretty much all of it.  I was a decent student, although pretty quiet.  I was definitely a follower among my friends, and spent much of the school year looking forward to summer when I would be on the farm.  If there were any turning points during this time, it was discovering my love of nature.  Not only being out in it, but studying it.  Little did I know how much my life was going to change in high school.

Friday Favorites: Will the rain ever end?

It has been a cold and rainy week, and I’m glad we have done as much yard work as we have because there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  And of course, all of this rain just makes the weeds grow that much faster too.  Boo!

So it’s pretty much been a week of working late and snuggling under a blanket in the evening watching hockey.  And not getting anything done for the party.  But hey, we still have two weeks, right?

Monday evening we celebrated the success of the DGT Gala at Nightingale in Minneapolis.  They have a really good happy hour if you’re looking.  We brainstormed some great ideas for changing things up next year, and I am happy to have turned over the committee chair responsibilities to Amanda and Sarah.  I will stay on the committee, but in a smaller role.

We have been battling with Scout and his blanket chewing.  We can’t put regular blankets in his kennel because he shreds them and swallows the pieces.  We found a company online, K9 Ballistics, who claim to have a chew proof product.

Um-humm.  They do offer a 90-day guarantee (this was after about 5 days), so they are sending a replacement.  You can kind of see the black strip in the picture – this has holes so you can zip-tie it to the kennel frame.  We hadn’t done that because several customers had commented that their dogs hadn’t chewed the pad but they had chewed the zip-ties.  We will try that this time around and see how it goes.

We also had our irrigation system serviced this week – I know, great timing!  They were going to come between 8 and 10, so Amy was going to turn on the water for them.  I figured out this feature on my phone to help her out.

I was pretty darn impressed with myself.  AND, I did that in a text message!

This weekend is Prom 2.0 so we will try to get some work done between that and the rain.  Gary also wants to go out Saturday night to see a band he used to follow in his “band days”.  Should be fun but I’m sure I will need a nap on Sunday.  But hey, it’s going to be cold and rainy so that should work out just fine!

Have a great weekend!