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Showing posts from 2009

We'll Be Home for Christmas

We hope. This weather is not looking too great right now. Our prayer is that it will decided to stay north, or go way south. That way at least one of the possible highways we could take home will be okay to take. We will see what happens.

Oh and just so you know...an "excited mark" means an exclamation point to a first grader.

The First Snow Day of the Year

It is wonderful, simply wonderful to get a phone call before you are even out of bed telling you that you really don't need to get out of bed.

And it is even more nice when there really is nothing that you should be doing that is school related since you are quite caught up on school work.

Today is going to be a day full of reading and relaxing inside my warm house.

Merry Christmas to Us

Last night after school we decided to make a quick dash to Sioux Falls before the snow came to finish our Christmas shopping, which included some nice Christmas gifts for ourselves.

We now have a fantastic multiple function printer that is really speedy and some new blinds for our bedroom

We also can say that we love the customer service at Lowes, while Best Buys stink.

Brother Time

Since Wilbert's brothers go to college so close to us, we sometimes are a home away from home for them. The past two weekends, at least one of the brothers has come up. It is always makes for a fun time with the brothers around. This time we went bowling. I would just like to take this opportunity to say that bowling is the only sport I have ever beaten any boys in. I scored 142, 115 and 152. Not quite high enough to say I am really good at it, but good enough to beat the boys.
There was also lots of wrestling - at least between the boys. Wilbert really gets picked on by his two "little" brothers.
We also did a puzzle once as well. That was quite fun and relaxing.
Hurray for family!

Wilbert's Most Successful Hunting Trip All Week

"Denise, I am going to tell you something and you might not like," says my husband to me while I was getting ready this morning.

"Okay," I replied with a great amount of hesitation.

"You might want to stay in the bathroom a while. There is a mouse in our kitchen."

And that is how our morning began. Wilbert tried for a while to get the mouse, but to no avail. It eventually ran into a cupboard that pretty much stands by itself, so Wilbert did his best to seal it off. We had no mouse traps in our house, since this is the first mouse we have ever had in the four years we have lived here. We had to go to school, so we would buy some mouse traps on our way home again.

Wilbert got home first since I had to get groceries. By the time I returned, the traps were set, but no mouse had been caught. So, we started to put groceries away and clean up the mouse poop and stuff. Wilbert moved our wheat flour canister and there he was!

After some chasing and almost sucking the m…

Four Stars

After a recommendation from Wilbert's brother, we watch the movie Australia this weekend. And what a fantastic movie it was. It was a great "date" movie, having thing for the both of us. A little love story, a little action, a little humor, great cinematography. A fantastic film and for the most part, pretty clean as well. Hurray for good films.

The story is pretty complex. As Wilbert's brother said, "It seems like it is going to end about three different times." Basically, a rich English woman heads to Australia to find her husband who is running his cattle station. She finds her husband is dead and the cattle station is failing, so she tries to get it back on her feet. World War II is on the brink of coming to Australia, which threatens to destroy everything she has found that she loves in Australia. There is a whole lot more to it than that, so if you haven't seen it, check it out.

Thanksgiving through the Eyes of a Four Year Old

I hope that people don't get sick of the quotes from other peoples kids on here. I just find them very funny. It is probably all that I will write about when we have kids of our own some day.

We got to the Buskers for lunch and their four year old son just thinks I am fantastic for some reason. We had Wilbert's brother with us and the four year old comes up the stairs. "Hi Mrs. Talen! Hi Mr. Talen! Hi brother!" he says with his cute little lisp.

His mom says, "You're right. That is Mr. Talen's brother."

"Oh. I thought you had a kid," this four year old replies to me. (This is the same kid that was pressuring us to have children earlier.)

During dinner, he ask Wilbert's brother in his cute lisp, "Why does your shirt have a dragon on it?"

His mother laughed a little and then asked, "Why does you have a shirt with Spiderman on it."

"Because I got it for my birthday," he answer matter-of-factly.

"Well, he got th…

The Washing Machine Saga

So, as I said earlier, our washing machine broke. We called our local appliance store and as Wilbert described the problems on the phone, it didn't sound good. They sent a repair man anyway and he confirmed our fears. It is not worth fixing.

Thankfully, when we were at the Buskers for Thanksgiving, they said they had an extra washing machine. When they moved into their new house, the previous owners left their washer and dryer and the Buskers already had one of their own. So they had been storing this extra one for a few years and really wanted to get rid of it.

So, we now have a new to us washing machine. The Buskers gave it to us for a very good deal, so even if it wouldn't last, we don't have too much money stuck into it yet. It is older then the one we had that broke, and it lived its life in a basement, so it is sort of ugly on the outside. But, it works and the price was right, so it will work.

Thanksgiving

Here is my attempt at an apple pie for Thanksgiving. It turned out pretty well I think, though the design on top is a little off center. I had to move it over so the crust would cover correctly. I will maybe post a picture later of the other dessert I made. It was a Pumpkin Chiffon Torte. And that was tasty, but a lot harder to make then it sounded. The first step was to dissolved two packages of unflavored gelatin into hot milk. I had to try three times before I finally got it. The gelatin kept gelling in gross little clumps.

But, all turned out well and we had a lovely Thanksgiving meal with the Buskers. Their children where as entertaining as ever.

Wilbert brother came up from college to spend the weekend with us. He brought tons of laundry since he could do it here for free. "Could" is the key word in that sentence since our washing machine clunked out last night while he was doing his first load. I had noticed once time before that it was leaking a bit, but I cleaned it …

A Week That I Like

Okay not that I want to complain, but I really like this week. Why? I have not and will not have to cook a single night this week. Please don't get me wrong. For the most part, I really do like cooking, especially when I have the time to do. But sometimes when the school weeks are busy, it is nice to have a break.

So how did this wonderful week of no cooking happen?

Monday: Leftovers from Sunday.
Tuesday: Wilbert got a gift certificate from a parent for a free large pizza from the Pizza Ranch.
Wednesday: Spaghetti Supper at church for the youth group.
Thursday: Leftover from Monday and Tuesday.
Friday: Fund Raising Supper at school.
Saturday: Mom and Dad are taking us out for Wilbert's birthday.

Next week though, it will be quite a bit different. Oh well, I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Why Does This Happen?

How is it possible that the Monday after the most relaxing and restful weekends since school started, I have zero energy? I don't think I ever really woke up today at all. Classes seemed to go okay, so I hope that was not just a dream.

The plan for my night now is working out and then going to bed very early.

Parents: Keep this in Mind

This story really happened back in September or October, but I just remembered it the other day and thought it was too good to pass up.

We were at a soccer game and the cheerleaders from school were having a brat supper as a fundraiser. We rarely pass up a meal at school, so we got ourselves some brats, chips and a drink and sat down to enjoy the game.

Eventually we noticed a little boy whose family goes to our church. I would guess he is in 2nd grade. He approach Wilbert and the conversation went something like this.

B(oy): Hey, you look familiar.

W(ilbert): I go to your church.

B: Oh. Hey, those are some nice looking chips (referring to the bag of Doritos Wilbert was eating).

W: Yeah, they are pretty good.

B: You wouldn't happen to have another bag, would you?

W: Nope. This is all I have.

B: Are you sure?

W: Yep.

B: Okay.

The boy left and Wilbert finished his chips. A little while later this same boy walks behind Wilbert and gives him a noogie. We are not quite sure what his parents would s…

A Pretty Good Souviner

There are several perks to volunteering to help with a concert of some of your favorite music artists.
1) You get to hear the concert for free. Granted, you are probably not sitting down in front of the stage the entire time, but still you can't help but hear the music.
2) You get a better then front row seat. I spent much of the concert on the side of stage helping Wilbert run their slide show. Yeah, they were about two feet from me.
3) You get the cool "Promoter" pass so that you can go back stage and back to where they hang out while they are not on stage.
4) You get to eat their left over food, which is really, really good.
5) At least for one night, you are on a first name basis with some people who are way more famous then you, but who love Jesus just as much as you.

We had a great Selah and Avalon concert at our school on Monday. At first, they were not quite sure about playing in our small gym in our small town, but we won them over thanks to friendly people and the wo…

No Pressure

Since I am a currently childless married woman who loves kids, I often babysit for my friends who do have children. I babysat the two fantastic kids of a fellow teacher last Saturday. Soon after arrived, Grant (who is four, not three any more) and I had this conversation.

G: Do you have a little boy named Grant?

M: No. You are the only little boy named Grant that I know.

G:Do you have a little girl?

M: No, I don't have any kids.

G: Why not? You should have some kids.

As if the pressure we sometimes get from adults isn't enough, now a four year is telling me we need to have a child. Patience people, patience.

Many People Might Like This Miracle

I teach the novel Peace Like a River to one of my classes. A fantastic novel, a must read really.

One of the main parts of this novel is miracles that a young boy witnesses. So I have my students do a little miracle project where they have to look at a miracle from the Bible in depth. They have to write a paper and create a visual presentation.

One of the students in my class had the miracle where Jesus healed the man with a crippled hand. This student decided to draw a picture for his visual aid. So, he took a piece of paper and foleded it in half. On one half he drew the man before his hand was healed. After deciding that the hand he drew was crippled looking, he flipped his paper over and drew the man after he was healed. The student then unfolded his paper and said, "Well, I guess Jesus not only healed this guys hand. He also miraculously lost 30 pounds."

I bet all of that guys friends were really jealous then.

Some Dreams Do Come True

I think that when we are younger, almost everyone has a dream of becoming famous. You want to in a band that makes it big, a professional athlete or an actor. But, most of those dreams fade away as we begin to understand how hard it is to do that and how much work it really takes.

But some people know what they want and they go after it. A guy that I graduated from high school with knew that he wanted to be a music artist. I sang in our schools version of show choir with him and was even his dance partner for a few numbers. He went down to Nashville right after high school, and now, ten years later, Tyler James' first full length album is coming out. You can check out his website and hear the whole album on-line for the next few weeks.

I like his style quite a bit and today at school, I played at least one song for all of my classes. Maybe I can help foster quite a Tyler James following here in Southwest Minnesota.

Should I Be Worried?

We got word this week. No seasonal flu shot clinic for the teaching staff. So much effort is going into the H1N1 vaccine that they are not making enough seasonal flu vaccine. So, no flu vaccine of any kind for us yet. Thankfully, our school has stayed rather healthy so far. I hope that it stays that way.

Tractors

It was nice to see tractors on the road this evening, hauling loads of grain to the elevator. We have now had just about 3 days of dry weather. The sun peeked its head out for a while yesterday afternoon and may an almost full day appearance today. The puddles are mostly dried up and I think the farmer are ready to take advantage of any chance they get.

Today was certainly a Monday. Not a bad day at school, but just a couple class periods at the end of the day that just made me a little grumpy.

It probably doesn't help that I am really, really looking forward to this weekend. Our church does a "Craft and Chat" weekend about every other month or so and I have always wanted to go. Every time they have had one I have either been unable to go, or I have had nothing to do. But, this time I saved my pictures to scrapbook for the weekend and I also have my supplies for our Christmas cards too. So I am going and I am so excited. It is held Friday from 1pm until really late and the…

A Perspective

I have already mentioned my "Word of the Day" screen saver that I have on my laptop that is hooked up to the projector in my room. I am learning that the words go in cycles a bit, so the same word will pop up in several classes during the day.

Today's popular word was "entitlement." A fantastic word to share with teenagers who often think they are entitled to a whole lot of stuff. In fact, we as humans often think we are entitled to a whole lot of stuff when really we are fallen people who deserve nothing but death. We so often miss how wonderful and blessed our life really is and we get caught up on the little things.

This video sort of puts that in perspective in a rather humorous way. I am by no means promoting this comedian, but if you take what he says to heart, it is so true. We live in an amazing world, created by an amazing God. We really should be happy with the blessing we have been given.

First Time

There is a first time for a lot of things.

Today I raked the leaves on my lawn for the first time as a home owner.

Yes, we have been living here for four years. You see, in the midwest there is this crazy thing called wind that blows almost all of the time. It blows hard. If you drop a paper, it is in Wisconsin in a matter of minutes. So for the last three years, our leave never stayed put on our lawn. They probably ended up in Lake Michigan.

But this fall, the leaves fell off most of our trees in one day and then it snowed. Wet leaves do not travel so well. And since today is going to be about the last nice day until July, we raked our leaves.

Dad, you would be proud.

I am Not That Old

I think that my student forget how young I actually am compared to their other teachers. They must assume that since I have been teaching "forever" that means that I am old since all of their previous teachers have been old too (not really, but I am assuming that is what they think).

Case in point. For some reason, one of my students asked the other day what my favorite song was. That is a rather impossible question for me, so he said to pick a favorite. I went with "Twist in My Story" by Secondhand Serenade, one of favorite artists as of late.

Some girls over heard this conversation and were in shock that I knew and liked Secondhand Serenade. I asked them if that was weird or bad that that I like Secondhand Seranade.

"No," one replied, "I just thought that you only listened to opera or classical music or something."
Students really have no clue that teachers have a life outside of school.

I Crack Myself Up

So for some reason I have been having a lot of fun at school the last few days. I don't really know what came over me. Maybe I am not feeling very stressed or after six years of teaching I am starting to have this gig figured out.

And lately I have been dropping hints like crazy in the majority of my classes about the fact that I like chocolate. It is my dream that some day I will come to school and find my desk showed in chocolate bars. (I told that to one class today and some of them asked when my birthday was. Alas, the curse of having a summer birthday strikes again!) So far, I have gotten one fun size Snickers and that was only because the student got it as a gift and she didn't like Snickers really.

Another thing that I have started lately is with a new screen saver I found on my laptop that is hooked up to my board. It give you a "Word of the Day" and tells you the meaning and usage. If that wasn't made specifically for English teachers, then I don't kno…

For My Sister in California

Just so you don't forget about what you are missing now that you are living in California.

Heroes

Today our chapel at school was about heroes. What does it mean to be a hero? How do you become a hero? Who really is a hero?

Chapel concluded with a look at Hebrews 11 and the heroes of faith listed there. Students then got a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote about their hero they would add to the list. Each student then gave their piece of paper to their living group teacher so that we can discuss it in our next living group.

Reading through my students' responses, I was struck by how each and every person listed a family member. All of them said a parent, grand parent or sibling. I must say I found this comforting and encourage. Family still means something to my students and they are able to see the faith that their parents and other family members have.

And I agree with them. Thanks Mom and Dad, grandparents and siblings for being heroes of faith for me.

Maybe I Need to Hold My Excitement in a Little More

At the teacher's convention, I went to a few sectionals on technology, which really got me fired up to use even more as I teach. Since I have my new interactive projection system, I feel like it is pretty easy for me to do. Also, doing stuff like blogging and other things on the computer help to feel a bit more confident in trying stuff. I know that some of the other teachers at the sectionals were feeling a bit overwhelmed.

One of the things that I had to have in order for my interactive projection system to work was a laptop. The only computer in my room is the one on my desk, which really is not all that helpful or useful since it is at the back of my room and the board is at the front. So finally last week my laptop came, so I was eager to use it. I had been using our old laptop, but since it is not hooked up to the schools network, I had to ferry everything with my flash drive and run a long cord back to my desk to get internet access. The laptop has wireless network and inter…

What Makes a Christian School Different

So teaching in a Christian school, I have quickly learned that my students know there is something different about their education. However, I think they have a hard time putting their finger on it. They forget sometimes that they are learning the same stuff as everyone else, but just with a different perspective, through different glasses to put it sort of like John Calvin.

In my senior English class, we just finished up Beowulf, a fairly standard text in a British Literature survey course, which is what most senior get in a literature class this year. We of course looked at the Biblical themes found in Beowulf and if Beowulf is a Christ figure and stuff like that. The kids handled it all well.

Then, one day, one of my students says with great amazement in her voice, "Mrs. Talen, my friends that go to the public school just finished reading Beowulf too." It is apparent that she cannot believe her public school friends read the same thing that she did.

"Yes," I reply,…

Teacher's Convention 2009

It was the annual teacher's convention this week and it was great. I alway find this time so refreshing. After the first month of school, it is nice to have a break and get a bit re energized for the rest of school year.
This year Ken Medema was the keynote speaker. Wilbert had been asked to lead worship for the convention this year, so we got to lead worship with Ken Medema. It was amazing! I was blown away by his gift of music and how many songs he must have filed away in his head. God is using him in amazing ways.
I think that I will write more about things that I learned and took away from the convention later. It made me excited for school on Monday.
Oh, and we turned the heat on. Fall came with a rainy vengeance this week.

Show Me You Are Alive

It is amazing how much of a difference the mix of different students in a class can make. And this year I have an odd one. I have two sections of each grade and in one grade the first class I have is great. They talk, share, discuss, laugh, ask questions...we have a great. The second class is the exact opposite.

Do you have any questions?

Silence.

Can you give me an example of this?

Silence.

I have hand somewhat quiet classes before, but one day this week proved to me this class was like no other.

We just finished reading a novel together and I had found some interesting videos clips to show that related to the novel and would hopefully enhance their reading. The first class of course thought these were fantastic and had all kinds of questions so I barely got both videos in. The second class had no questions, no thoughts, nothing. They were awake, I think, but I am not sure if their minds were all there. So, there were about five minutes left in the class period and being the well-organized…

Crickets

I don't know if it was the unusually hot weather last week or what, but we were a bit over run by crickets.

It seemed like every time I turned around there was another cricket hopping along on the floor. I am pretty sure we killed at least one every day.

I should really say Wilbert killed them. I am pretty brave when it comes to things like insects and snakes and spiders. But I don't like trying to kill crickets. When Wilbert asks me why, my only response is, "They jump."

Sounds so threatening, I know. But they could jump on me and crawl on my face or get in my clothes. When they jump they move fast and their path is unpredictable. And they can jump inside the tissue once you have caught them and I also don't like squishing their hard exoskeleton.

I will kill a spider any day. But please don't ask me to kill a cricket.

The Closest to Famous We Will Ever Get

Two semi touches with sort of fame this past week.

First, our school hosted a CTI team that led a chapel this week. We had them over for supper and, since we have just a few musical instruments kicking around, it led to a spontaneous praise and worship session. They put a little video of it on their blog. It is kind of neat to know that our living room now lives on YouTube.

Second, the most recent issue of Reader's Digest has a list of six internet sites that are interesting when you are in need of a little vacation at work. Number 3 is "The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks" which was started by a girl that I went to high school with. We were in book club together. I have mentioned this blog before, and now Reader's Digest has caught on to the trend as well.

Such is the life of the famous. But, I am not holding my breath for the paprazzi to show up at my door step.

Excuses to Make Dessert

By now you should know that I enjoy baking. If I have to bring some food to a gathering, I will always volunteer to bring dessert. I always figure that if there are left overs, I would rather bring a yummy dessert home than anything else. I also like the excuse to make a dessert. It seems little silly to make a whole dessert for just my husband and myself (not to mention that it is probably not the best for our health either).

So this past week, a group came into lead chapel and we had them over for a meal. So I tried a new dessert recipe "Chocolate Caramel Pecan Torte."


Let's just say it tasted just as good as it looked.

Nastiness

During my sister's wedding and while we were in California, we got to meet my new brother-in-law's niece and nephew. They are super cute kids and full of energy.

At the second reception in California, I spent a lot of time with the little nephew, who is three. Since I didn't really know anyone there other then my family, I thought I could be helpful and entertain him so his family could enjoy time with extended family and friends. So after a little bashfulness and a little game, he became my best bud for the evening.

At the second reception, the party favors were Van Houten Chocolate Covered Almonds. This is fitting because my sister married into the Van Houten family (not related to the people that create this product) and they live in an area where a lot of almonds are grown.

Once these favors where passed out, my conversation with the little nephew went like this:

N(ephew): What are those?

M(e): Chocolate covered almonds. Do you want to have some?

N: Are they all nasty insid…

Why It Is A Good Idea to Think Before You Speak

Teenagers are funny people sometimes. And each class of course has its own class clown. One class inparticular has a class clown that always likes to ask questions about Wilbert, or me, or Canada or really anything. He likes to talk, a lot, and often comes up with some really funny things. Friday was no exception.

As an English teacher, I often have to come up with example sentences and things to explain grammar concepts and other things. I often use my sisters' names since they are both fairly common names, but no one in school has them. So I told my class, as I was writing the sentence that included my sisters full name, that this was my sister that just got married that I visited in California.

Then the above mentioned class clown asks, "Did she marry Mr. Talen's brother?" I should point out he asked this after saying my sister's name (including her new last name) out loud.

I looked at him with a puzzled look, I think, and said, "No, her last name isn't …

A Quick Trip to California

My sister now lives in California. And what is the point of having some one you know live in a warm, beautiful and sunny state like California if you don't visit them. And since my sister had been there for about a week, we thought it was time.

Actually, it was time for the second reception for my sister and her new husband, so the whole family headed out to California for Labor Day weekend. It was a very quick trip, but we did get to see some sights like:
In-N-Out - very tasty.

The Calaveras Big Trees
They were very big trees.
Wilbert and I on the big stump.

We also did some fun family activites like:
folding napkins for the reception.
Playing some killer games of boccie ball. When ever we play team games with my family, it always the women verses the men. I won't tell you the final scores of the two games we played, but lets just say I don't the guys will want to have rematch in the near future ( or maybe they do. Bring it on!)

So, yes it was a very quick trip but very worth it a…

Here We Go Again

Well, summer is ending quickly. School starts tomorrow.

And I am looking forward to it. It is nice to be in a routine, have a schedule and see some different people. Summer is wonderful, but teaching is good too.

This is the first year that I have very few concerns going into the year. There are no classes I am dreading teaching, no really new responsibilities and I am not drastically changing my curriculum.

So, I go into this school year with a prayer on my heart that God's name will be glorified and praised and His spirit will be very evident in the halls of school this year.

My New Toy

So the whole "smart board" technology is really big right now. Really big. But, being the little private school we are, it was not really feasible.

Until now.

The company 3M is a big supporter of private schools and they donated six of their version of a Smart Board to our school on the condition we give two of them to our feeders schools. So my room now sports some snazzy technology and it has been working great as I have been testing it out in my room. I hope to use it a lot. And I am just pretty excited to have a projector now to show movies and stuff on too.

Hurray for technology that is free!

Summer is Coming to an End

Our teacher meetings start in about an hour. It is so hard to believe the summer is almost over. But we had a great end to our summer with the wedding of my sister! Congratulations guys! I unfortunately did not get a great picture of Joy and Chad, but here are a few highlights.

All of the bridesmaids and my beautiful sister.

The three sisters, all happily married.

Actually, we do have one more fun thing before I am going to say the summer is really over. In two weeks we head to California for a weekend for Joy and Chad's second reception. That should be a ton of fun.

Some More Good Stuff

I just love the fresh tomatoes and peppers from our garden. We had BLTs last night and tonight is tacos with all of the fixings.

Amazing Grace

For whatever reason, our summer movie watching has been limited this year. Usually we watch a lot of movies in the summer, but other things have been taking up our time this year I guess.

But we just recently watched Amazing Grace which came out a few years ago. It is the story of William Wilberforce, a man who fought his whole life to abolish Great Britain's slave trade. The story was very powerful and challenging and told very well. It was wonderful to see a man be so convicted of something through his faith that he saw it through until he was finished.

We highly recommend this film!

Fairlawn

As I have said before, Christian fiction is not something I like to read all that much. It is just too unrealistic for me.

Well, I have found another set of books that I really like in this genre. It is the Fairlawn Series by Angela Hunt.

I will admit that I didn't think I would like these books though. Someone said that Angela Hunt was a good author and she has written about a million books, so I thought I would give her a try. I read two and I just didn't like her at all. They both had main characters who were not Christian and then they meet this guy who is and their life is turned around and everything become hunky-dory once they know Christ. A nice story, but as a Christian women it seemed way to cheesy, unrealistic and formulaic.

But the Fairlawn Series features a Christian woman who is just trying to figure out how to live in a world that is far from perfect and filled with fallen sinful people. Of course there is a little love story woven in through it which I saw coming…

The Rabbit in Our Garden

At least that is what I think this potato looks like that I dug up in our garden yesterday. He was very tasty!

Cake Week

One of my traditions is making a cheesecake for my birthday. I love cheesecake, so every year I try a different kind. I would not say I am an awesome cheesecake baker yet, but it is fun to try and the results are always tasty. I am still learning how long I actually need to bake the cheesecake for. My tend to crack on the top as they cool. So, here a picture of a piece with the topping on it.

For my birthday this year, I asked Wilbert for a cake decorating kit. Even though I don't make a decorated cake for myself, I still wanted to be able to make and decorate a cake if I wanted too. So, he obliged and got me one. And I of course wanted to test it out right away, so I made a cake for Wilbert who was gone most of last week at choir directors convention.
It is fun to experiment with cakes.

Now the People Will Know We Were Here

Wilbert never misses a chance to remind me of his Canadian heritage. He spent one afternoon showing me videos on Youtube of the Canadian Heritage Commercials. One of those talks about the Inukshuk, which is a piling of stones that looks sort of like a human form. We see them every once and a while in the road in New Brunswick.

At our campsite Wilbert decided to make is own version of an Inukshuk.

Putting the finishing touches on.
Now the people will know we were here, too (if it is still standing).

Flowers up North

The beauty of creation was so evident up north on our vacation. Here are a few examples of wildflowers we saw. I don't know what kind they are, but they are beautiful and they were profuse.

A Weekend Up North

We decided to take off this weekend, just the two of us and head north. Our original plan was to camp at a state park and go and see some sights each day. However, we didn't realize the magnitude of the great weekend migration that happens every weekend apparently here. We stopped at four state parks and all were full. At the fourth we asked where else we could camp and the super nice employees called a nearby campground and found they had several open sites. It was near the town of Finland.

It was nice, small secluded campground. I think it has about 20 sites and we saw a total of five people the whole time were there.
Our camp site and tent.

Our plan still worked, even though we ended up a bit further north then we had wanted too. We saw many different things including:
The view from the swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park.
The Aerial Bridge in Duluth.
Wilbert skipping stones on Lake Superior.
The view of the coast from Silver Bay Cliff.
The waterfalls in Gooseberry Falls State Park…

Morning Glory

Another of my new favorite flowers is Morning Glory. I love the trailing vines and the fact that each flower lasts for a very short time. But there are so many of them on a vine, they seem to last much longer.They certainly make for a glorious morning.

Some Sign Problems

While we were in Walnut Grove, we took a picnic supper to eat because it said on the web-site there was a really nice county park near by called "Plum Creek Park." This park is divided into and upper and a lower section. The upper section is on Lake Laura and has camping and swimming while the lower section in on Plum Creek and has trails and picnic areas. So, the lower park was where we wanted to go.

We found the sign for the entrance to the upper park on the right hand side of the road and it had an arrow point left for the lower park. The only problem was there was no driveway on the left hand side of the road. It was someone's house. Umm...okay we thought and we continued to drive down the road. The we saw this sign...
What? The Upper park is down this road? I thought we passed the Upper park? Talk about confusing. We kept driving and then we were able to see both sides of the sign.
Now it makes a little more sense. Sort of. I guess. But only when you are looking at it …

On The Banks of Plum Creek

Ever since I was very young, I have loved Little House on the Prairie. My grandparents got me the books for my birthday. They gave me three every year for three years and I looked forward to getting my new books quite a bit.

And of course I loved the TV show. I always imagined that it had to be so cool to live during the pioneer days and wear dresses and live off the land and be in wide open spaces where there aren't so many people.

Well, we live only an hour away from Walnut Grove. Yes, the Walnut Grove. The little town that the TV show was set in (not that it was filmed here or anything, but it was the setting) and the little town that the Ingalls family actually lived near during the On the Banks of Plum Creek years.

So I said early this summer that we are going to go to Walnut Grove this year. And so we did. We first went to the actual location of the dugout that Ingalls family lived when they first moved.
Wilbert on the bank of Plum Creek with the site of the dugout on the oppos…

Snapdragons

My favorite flower of all time is peonies. I love the smell. I love the big white blooms. They are great cut flowers. They are wonderful.

But my new favorite annual to plant is snap dragon. This year I got a mixed color set, and none of them were blooming when I bought them, so I really didn't know what I was going to get. Here are some of the beautiful colors of flowers that have bloomed so far.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Everyone has something that they don't like about the place where they live. Either the bathroom is too small or the closets are too small or there are weird hallways or doors that lead no where.

The one thing that I really didn't like about our house was pretty specific - the kitchen flooring.

Seriously, who puts carpet in a kitchen and in the end likes it. I am pretty certain that the first week we moved in, I spilled something on it or dropped something on it. I really did not like the carpet at all.
Plus, it was sort of a dark gray, blue color and our kitchen was very dark all of the time. The walls are dark and the cupboards are really dark.

So, finally, three years later, we have a new kitchen floor. First, the had to pull out the old carpet. We found this lovely pattern underneath.Very pretty.
Then the installer put a new sub floor in. And guess what? He said our kitchen floor is a little uneven. Who would have guessed? (please note the sarcasim in that last line)
Ta-da! The …