Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farewell June (And You Too, Google Reader)


The sun is rich
And gladly pays
In golden hours,
Silver days,

And long green weeks
That never end
School's out. The time
Is ours to spend.

There's Little League,
Hopscotch, the creek,
And, after supper,

That live-long light
Is like a dream,
And freckles come
Like flies to cream.

~ John Updike

Anyone else struggling with the fact that summer is 1/3 over?

How about the fact that school resumes in two more months?


Never mind, we'll focus on the memories already made and the fun yet to come.

Instead, let's all bid adieu to our beloved (and already nearly forgotten) Google Reader who comes to its demise tomorrow.

In case you've forgotten, importing all the blogs you read over to Bloglovin' is super-de-duper easy.

Oh, and don't forget, I'm over there too! Be sure and click over on my sidebar and follow me in Bloglovin'.

It will make Gianna smile. A Lot.

And me too.

Let's bring on July!

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Great Staycation: Day 2

A good night's sleep and we were ready for another day of fun.

And then we woke up to rain.

The final decision was to venture forward and make the best of it, rain or no rain. I was so happy we did because it ended up clearing out and another beautiful day was on tap.

Ready to go, we're off to the zoo!

We headed the opposite direction as the day before, to Wahpeton, ND/Breckenridge, MN.

We decided not to picnic lunch that day and opted for dining in some place. Little did we know that finding a place to eat in either of these towns was like finding a needle in a haystack. Eventually, we found a Dairy Queen, right at noontime lunch hour rush. We rolled with it and survived. 

And discovered Smore's Frozen Hot Chocolate, my new favorite DQ treat! Yummy!

Our destination for the day was Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton.

There were some really neat animals there considering that it is just a small size zoo in a small town. 

The zoo is really well kept and there were visitors there, but not crowds like Como Zoo, another favorite place of ours. Again, with the great weather, it was nice to take our time without overheating and a lot of the animals were out and active.

My favorite of the day:

Afterward, we headed across the parking lot to an indoor (Air Conditioned) restored carousel. This was the little girls' first time on a carousel and they seemed to enjoy it. 

I Some of us get a little sick on things such as merry-go-rounds and carousels, so I they usually take all the photos.

Jonah told me later that it was embarrassing riding a carousel and I told him no one would know he rode it and there was no one else there at the time. I failed to mention that really everyone would know because he'd be featured on my blog.

Hey, does that smile look like he's embarrassed??

Another really good day for the memory books. Another really good day to treasure within my motherly heart.

Best yet, our two days of fun for a family of six cost us $200.58! 
That includes a tank of gas in our van. How sweet is that?

This just may prove that a staycation is best on a budget and with little ones. Everyone ended up happy and content and we all got a good night sleep in our own beds.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Great Staycation: Day 1

In an effort to conserve cash and also my own sanity, we decided that trekking out for a couple days and returning home each evening was a great idea.

The Great Staycation was then the topic of numerous conversations. While we hope to do an overnight vacation later in the summer, right now this seemed like the ideal way to go.

When you live in such an area as ours, sometimes it's hard to come up with family-friendly options that aren't a 2-3 hour drive away.

Enter Kelley Farm. When you have a history nerd buff husband who digs this sort of thing and you want to share it with your kids, you go. You see, Reed worked at this historic farm in the summer of 1996, so he kind of knows the place. While we had been here many years ago, it had been way too long and all the kids hadn't been there yet. How did that happen?!

We ventured out and arrived right around (strategically planned) lunch time. With cooler bag in hand, we found this perfect little shady spot with benches. It also happened to make for a good photo or two as well.

As you can imagine, the farm has animals. Chickens, sheep, cattle, oxen, horses, pigs and cats to be exact. With weather as ideal as it was, it was the perfect place to spend a couple of hours exploring.

Can you guess who was in his glory? He wants to have a farm when he grows up, you know.

One day.

With many opportunities to try out the activities of the 1860's and roam around, it worked out for all the ages of our kids.

One of my favorite photos from the day, unedited. If this is what farm life looked like (in 2013, WITH electricity, thank you very much), I'd say sign us up!


And if this was farm life, this boy would SO be into it. He's got that farmer look down.

The rest of our afternoon included events of which I forgot to photograph for you all. We went to Two Scoops ice cream shop, stopped at a bakery to pick up a box of Reed's family favorite (we call them lady fingers), played at a playground/park and hit up Pizza Hut for supper. Phew.

After that, we made one more stop before heading back home. About an hour away from our house is a summer fun place with a water slide, bumper boats, mini golf and go karts. Due to our volunteer work we do for the diocesan marriage courses, each June they invite all of the families of those who volunteer for a FREE evening out to enjoy all of the attractions at this place.

We try not to miss this event as it is a great outing that we may not normally do as a family due to cost. We also get to visit with the other people we volunteer with and their families. 

Again, with the weather cooperating so well, we were happy to attend even after a long day away from home. 

Even the tiniest tot was still in good enough spirits to enjoy the evening, despite being just a wee bit little to go on any of the rides.

At days end we concluded it had been a good day to make memories. A week later, our kids are still talking about it and reminiscing of the fun we had.

All of that on a budget, no less.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

House Unseen: Help A Sister Out

Did you know that 6 months from today is Christmas? 

How would you like to be a part of a very early Christmas gift/baby gift/help-a-blogger-out gift?

I thought so.

You've probably heard of Dwija via Cari. At least, that's how we met.

Well, life has recently handed Dwija a whole lotta lemons and as always, she's still servin' up lemonade.

Cari, seeing the need to help out organized

She's thoughtful like that.

If you feel inspired to help and donate, Dwija will reap the rewards of a more functional laundry room. Which the girl desperately needs with a houseful of laundry and sweet kids to tend to.

You can go here (the Donate button is under 'Thanks Everyone') to donate through Paypal or contact Cari ( You may donate through next Sunday.

Even if you cannot help financially, I know Dwija, baby and family appreciate your prayers, so send lots of those her way as well. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hello, Electricity! How I Missed Thee

39 Hours without electricity can teach you a lot.

Like how ill prepared I am for natural disaster.

How often I wash the girls' hands and face with the quick turn of the faucet.

Laundry and dishes seem to stack up faster.

The house becomes a wasteland of desperate dirtiness.

My kids are more resilient to coping without it than I thought.

There are still plenty of other things to be done without electricity, especially when there are branches/sticks to pick up and a garden out of which to clear debris.

Or how grumpy I get when there isn't the convenience of electricity flowing throughout my home.

A reminder that I am human and quite clearly was not designed to live in a different time era. My unwashed hair that was doin' its own thing was a testament to this truth.

Lastly, I take the power and workers that keep it coming to my house every day, for granted.

Stay tuned for photos from our Great Staycation last week, 
aka The Fun Before the Storm.

**By the way, if you live under a rock like I did for a few days, Kim Kardashian had her baby girl last week. We can all rest easy now, can't we? Dare we hope we don't see any more about that woman? That was the longest pregnancy EVER. Of course now she and the Kanye will just monetize on their baby 'North'. Oh joy. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up: Father's Day

It's just too heard to chose a few photos from such a great weekend, so I'm just going to plaster them all here in one post and be done.

It was a good one. You know, one of those that you wish you could just do over, but make it last way longer? I think it was the summer sun, the family time and just good old honoring dad kind of stuff that  made it extra wonderful.

Just Me And My Dad

Saturday morning we met up with my parents at their new favorite restaurant, a nice local establishment, with excellent food. 

Nothing like starting the weekend celebrating dad with some food, right?

No clue why Gianna is into bringing her pillow and random stuffed animals when we head out the door lately. Hence, they get captured in memorable photos like this one:

After Mass on Sunday morning, the kids had plans of making breakfast. They got some help from me, but we tried our best to keep daddy out of the kitchen. They even cooked for two extra mouths since we had grandpa and grandma over for breakfast too.

My Cooks

Card from the Kids

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this simple print off that I had Lily and Jonah fill out for their dad. A nice personal gift to add to our store bought ones, but also memorable keepsake too of their thoughts on dad.

Our Mr. Incredible

When the temperature decided to hit well into the 80's, we decided water was in order. The lake is still a bit too cold, so we pulled out the kiddie pool for the little girls. The big kids decided to join in and asked to have their floaties inflated, just because they were new and all. Clearly, the pool is not big enough for the floaties, but we like to pretend.

Pool Kids

Notice Gianna in the last photo and this one? She held that expression almost the entire time, she had such a blast! She'll be easy to please this summer with the kiddie pool.

Poolside Freezies with Dad

For fun, we also pulled out the slip and slide for the big kids. They just couldn't resist taking the girls on it. Gianna knew better and wouldn't trust them, but Margaret, well, she's still gullible. She did seem to like it though.

Warming up with Dad

There's always time for a smooch with mom too.

Is this summer?! I could do this relaxin' thing All.summer.long.

After a picnic supper on the porch, we topped off the day with root beer floats. Minus the whipping cream and cherries, since I  someone forgot to buy them. Ah, well, we enjoyed them just the same.

By day's (and weekend) end, we could all agree that it was a very good day indeed.

Now, a couple days of work and then we are planning a couple days of Staycation. Fun things as a family, close to home and return to our own beds each night. Right now that seems manageable and maybe something more later in the summer.

How was your Father's Day weekend?

 I hope you had a great time honoring those special dad's in your life!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

WIWS: Newbie Edition

Who isn't inspired by the beauty of everyone's WIWS posts?

Every week I think about it about 20 minutes too late and when I'm back in my grubby clothes 
post-church. *sigh*

But today, TODAY, I remembered before we walked out the door to Mass.

And then I realized that I'm clearly not meant to model. Or coordinate beautiful church attire.

So, I'm all like, I can do this....

Still trying...

Let's try this pose...

This one will have to do, we've gotta get going to church...

Skirt: Walmart (last year); Shirt: Sonoma from Kohl's; 

Earrings: Kohl's (again, SO several years ago last year); Scarf: Old Navy 

And while I was getting the girls out the door and loaded in the van, someone else decided to play fashionista. 

Work it, Daddy!!

When all else fails, show off the guns...

Oh well, it was his day, so I let him have some fun. Photographer: Jonah

Stop over at Fine Linen And Purple and check out all the other WIWS beauties in their finery.

ps...after this go around with WIWS, don't be surprised if you don't ever see me do this again. I just don't rock it like the other ladies do.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ten on Ten: June

 Hopping back in (because I finally remembered) with Rebekah at A Bit of Sunshine.

One photo an hour for ten hours on the tenth of the month.

Here We Go...

"Don't Bug Me", pretty much sums up any given morning, but especially a Monday morning. 

Big Sister, Middle Sister, time to read sisters. A great way to start the day.

A quick run to Target helped us procure the final Father's Day gift, the kids' choice for daddy. (The shirt, not the Butterfingers. Those would be mine, but perhaps I'll share.)

Time to catch up on some cleaning. This place doesn't clean itself ya know.

More multitasking...reading blogs, running Swagbucks tv and working on my 'real' (aka PAID)  job stuff.

Pre-nap reading with the girls. One or two books most definitely always means a huge stack, right?

One of my favorite times of day. They are just so sweet when they are napping that I almost want to crawl in next to her.

The sun finally came out today. The heavens rejoiced and mamas everywhere in MN regained their sanity. This mama finally got the chance to get photos with the blooming phlox and the tiniest toddler.

"What's that called again? The S-U-N??!!"

When the sixteen month old is absolutely ravenous, it's true what they say: a watched pot never boils.
Never fast enough to get that pasta cooked it seems when it's close to feeding time at the zoo.

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