Monday, August 30, 2010

Some wildlife and a campout

A few weeks ago, we noticed that we share our address with some nightly visitors. They appear when the sun is completely down and sit on top of our porch lights to feast upon incredible amounts of bugs. It started with just one. It was a thin tree frog, but now it is big and fat. It now invites friends. There has been up to five froggies sitting on that light. Please ignore how intensely dirty the light fixture is...the frogs don't seem to mind though. Do you think we could get a wild life refuge tax break?

We also had our annual family backyard camp-out. The tent was set up, cushions were brought out, fire was lit and s'mores were made. This year as the kiddos fell asleep, I read them the chapter book, "The Ugly Princess and the Wise Fool." It is a really cute story about a princess who learns about true beauty and the importance of true wisdom. The kids joined me in the tent. Ashley joined me in the tent. But, somehow Erik never seemed to make it out to the tent..hummm.

Girls night out

Em and I loved it!

(and we want to see it again!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Minnesota Get Together

Today is the first day of the Minnesota State Fair. It is a fun tradition and we love going. The weather was perfect and the crowds were not too bad today (although it took FOREVER to find parking-next year we are doing the park and ride deal).

Today we got to eat and eat and eat. I really like this picture because LOTS of our favorite Fair foods are represented. Erik is holding a pork chop on a stick, Andrew is holding a bucket of Fresh French fries (our third helping of fries for the day), Dad is holding a bucket of Sweet Martha's Chocolate Chip cookies, Mom has another pork chop, Em has a snow cone and Ry is sipping fresh squeezed lemonade (our third huge cup). We also had cheese curds, ice cream cones and corn dogs. Part of our family fair tradition is the Giant Slide. It has been part of the fair probably since the beginning of Minnesota State Fairs. You get to sit on a piece of burlap and ride the waves of the slide. Good times.

The fairgrounds are huge. We walked to the end of machinery hill exploring along the way, but opted to take the skyride back to the center of the fair.
It was Andrew's first time on the skyride. He loved it. It is relaxing and you get a great view of the fair and all the people attending.

It wouldn't be a Fair without contests. I think this is mom's fourth or fifth year entering things in the fair.
This year, she won two first place ribbons. One for her jelly roll and one for her sweet bread coffee cake (which actually won the sweepstakes award as well-which means she won the best of the first place awards in the sweet bread category). Nice job Mom!

We checked out the animals at the Fair too. My favorite was the horse barn. I loved being able to walk right up to the horses. They are quite amazing.
We also went to the Birthing Center. That is where, if your lucky, you get to witness live births of different animals. No one was being born while we were there, but Ry watched the video of a pig giving birth. He says it was freaky. We also got to see new piglets, bunnies, lambs, turkeys and duckies. As we were walking around today, we stopped and watched a magic show-which was very educational about farms and how many things are made with products from farms. The new thing we tried this year was the water raft ride. Erik and Andrew got soaked by the first big wave, but by the end we were all pretty wet. I'd recommend it-it's a fun ride, and not too expensive.

We had a great time at the fair. But, now my feet are so happy to be home and not walking around!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ambulance ride

A few months ago, we were able to take Andrew off his seizure medicine because had lasted 2 years without having a seizure. We were hoping that he had outgrown them. Unfortunately, Saturday he had another seizure. This time he was at home with Erik. Erik called 911 and they took another ride in the ambulance. Luckily, Erik was able to witness it this time (the other two were at friend's houses).

We are now playing the waiting/hoping-it-doesn't-happen-again game.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


In case you don't remember....awhile back Erik and Emily started a father daughter pet sitting business. They advertised on Craig's list and had a really good response. Em has watched quite a few pets. They have since taken their ad off Craig's list...taking a break (although if anyone wants a pet-sitter, she is still your girl). But, then they got a fun call. It was from the owner of the first dog she ever watched. The family needed a pet-sitter and Em jumped at the chance. Kevin is back. He is a really cute, good-natured beagle. (Honestly..aren't all Beagles good natured?) We really enjoy having him he stay with us and again he already seems right at home. Plus, we get a bonus. Kevin brought his feline brother. Introducing.....
Joe "Meow-er"
For all you out-of-towners he is named after the Minnesota Twins baseball player Joe Mauer. He is only a few months old. Joe gets to hang in the boys' room this weekend. He already is loving all the attention these kiddos have to offerand all of Marlin's (our cat) kittie toys.

Human to animal ratio in our home this weekend 5:5.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New School and Rides

We no longer have all elementary school students. This year Ryan starts middle school. Today was the middle school rally day. We got to go to the school and pick up his schedule, drop off emergency forms, find his locker, buy the school planner, buy the gym uniform, reserve a yearbook, have his school picture taken and buy a cool school sweatshirt (to celebrate). We really don't know what to expect this year or how this whole middle school thing works. We do really think it is going to be a great year. He is in house 61...really not completely sure what that means...but it is good information to know. Now we just get to look forward to school starting in a few weeks.
After rally day at school we met up with our visiting cousins at MOA. Andrew is now tall enough to ride the rides alone. So, we hit almost all the rides. Today I am going to highlight two of them. Andrew went on the Pepsi roller coaster for the first time today. It is now his second favorite ride (Danny Phantom is still #1). It is a fun ride because it wraps around the entire park. We get a great tour of all the rides. Plus it has some hills and turns that are fun to go ride.We also rode the new Brain Surge ride. The boys (minus Andrew) loved it. Em and me not so much. You are buckled in and then your chair rotates while the whole thing spins in a circle. The kicker is that you get to control how much your chair rotates. Ry was in charge of the spin. I ended up riding upside down for most of the ride. That equals headache.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cousin photo 2010

Each summer when the Nico and Leo are here visiting from their side of the ocean (currently Switzerland), we make a point to take a cousins picture. This is not an easy thing to do. But, it is worth it.

This is one of the pictures from 2008. Look at tiny Fiona. Here we are last summer in 2009. Fiona is not so tiny any more. Actually they have all grown.
This year, we thought it might be easier/cheaper/more convenient to the picture at my parent's house ourselves. We get to have Adele in the shot this year.
Our 7 kiddos. Cheaper. Yes. Convenient. Yes. Easier. NO. We tried tonight. Really with no success. How do you take a picture of 7 kids? That's 14 hands, 14 eyes, and 7 smiles. All moving at the same time in different directions. To catch that split second that they are all willing, sitting, smiling and hands down all at the same time is next to impossible. Louise has some great ideas...props (huge lollipops) and a fun "name that animal game." We are going to have to work on the lighting too. Here's hoping! We are NOT giving up.

Fun in the Sun

You might have guessed that we were back in the water today. Seriously all day...there were diving contests, floating around and a lot of jumping going on in the water. This time we brought our neighbor Erin with us. She lives a few houses away from us. She is a great friend that has been hangin' with us for years.
Erin brought her new pet baby rabbit named Rodeo. (Erin won this lovely pet while at a Rodeo in Oklahoma..lucky girl) This is the calmest most cuddly baby bunny I have ever seen. Of course everyone enjoyed meeting baby Rodeo.
Here you can see some of the fun action!
They probably jumped off that dock 100 times today. They preformed single, double and triple jumps.
There are fish in the lake. There are many fish in the lake. They think it is funny to sneak up on a swimmer, nibble and watch the funny human jump out of the way. Sometimes the fish will even get a scream. These fish also enjoy bits of bread for a treat. These fish are fun to catch with a net. "We" have mostly caught Sunnies with our net.

Here are Erin and Emily with two of the fish they caught today. Yes, these fish are still alive. They were quickly thrown back into the lake after their photo shoot. These guys will sleep well tonight : )
(sorry, I cannot get this picture to delete...enjoy it again)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday morning love affair

Here are some fun facts that lead me to my new love:

First: We now go to church from 2:30-5:30 every Sunday because they are remodeling our regular church building. So, I now have extra time on Sunday mornings.

Second: Today we have no milk in the house. This is a problem, because usually we have cereal and milk for breakfast.

Third: Andrew is a pancake gourmet. He loves pancakes. His favorite thing to make a grandma's house is Fluffies-a pancake recipe that involves separating eggs and beating the whites...too many steps for me.

Last: I love my Pioneer Woman cookbook. I want to try to make every recipe in it. So this morning I turned to the "in the morning section" and found my new love. It's name is Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes.

We made them this morning. Poor Erik slept through them (you snooze you lose around here). Believe me he missed out. These bad boys are worth getting out of bed for : )

Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes

From The Pioneer Woman Cooks

7 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat; you want it to slowly get nice and hot.

Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in the bottom of a medium bowl. Dump the sour cream in on top and stir it together very gently; it’s okay to leave the texture a bit uneven. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir them into the sour cream mixture, once again, being careful not to overmix.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter in your skillet or griddle and pour the batter in, a scant 1/4 cup at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until bubbles appear all over the surface, flipping them carefully and cooking for about a minute on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve in a stack, topped with a pat of butter and a cascade of maple syrup.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Let the fun begin

As I have mentioned, my parents recently moved to Apple Valley. Their house backs on Lac Lavon. This lake is on the top ten cleanest lakes in the twin cities. It is crazy clear and gets crazy deep fast (so the younger kiddos wear life jackets...just in case). We have been enjoying the lake. The lake gets to be 28 feet deep at my parents' part of the lake. I was told that this spot was once a quarry that finally filled in with water. I guess there are still large land moving machines at the bottom...thus the scuba divers practicing their diving here (something to look at). The kids have been jumping off the dock and the trampoline all week. It has been great fun.

Our other favorite things to do in this lake are snorkling and floating around (by the way Nico and Leo are here for a few weeks from Switzerland, they are in the video).

Now, I think we should try out the overnight option...because it is hard to get these guys to come in each evening. Maybe they should just stay....

Get away

We decided to go to the cabin for a quick get away.

A few years ago, my dad brought all the old Disney VHS tapes to the cabin. Andrew really has not seen a lot of the old Disney movies..and it has been years since Em and Ry had taken the time to watch them. We decided to watch one of my favorites...Right as the Beast dies (almost) Andrew turns to me upset and says.."Mom, why do you like these movies?" For all he knew, Beast was dead. I assured him and told him to keep watching. Emily thought human beast was ugly...I have to say that was my first reaction too. I guess we missed the "beauty from within" lesson.

The kids actually have spent quite a bit of time at the cabin this summer and FYI the hammock is the BEST place to read a good book. This trip we went prepared to enjoy.

Before we left, we stopped by Half-Priced bookstore and browsed the clearance section. Emily picked the first few books in the Series of Unfortunate Events series (we haven't read these and we have not seen the movie either) and Ryan choose four simple Goosebumps (he was in the mood for something easy and scary). Andrew picked out Diary of a Worm and The Best Father's Day Gift.

We also were able to buy the second Harry Potter book on tape to listen to in the car. That reader is so much fun to listen to! It made the drive go so fast.

Andrew, Emily and I did go on a kayak trip around the lake.
We went up stream and then down another channel. I love the sound of paddles in the water. Mom-I think it goes up there with the sound of kids jumping off the dock into water.

Andrew and I also had kayak races...I will let you guess who won every time ( was the same person who won Uno, Checkers, Memory and a crazy version of Upwards).