Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thank You Thursday

There are so many things to be thankful for this Thursday, where do I start?!

1. Thank you Gail & Dan.  Not only do you open up your hearts & your home, you make us feel as though we are at home.  I can't think of a better way to spend time with our family than living it up at the Phillips compound.

2. Thank you Geoff.  You work hard year round so that we can take these trips in the summer.

3. Thank you Kevin for treating us to The Hangover Part II today.  Just hanging out with you is enough of a treat, but we're never going to turn down a good laugh, even if it is sooooo wrong!

4. Thank you Grandma Phillips for taking the girls out for a special day, just you and them.  You warm their hears with memories that will last them a lifetime!

5. Thank goodness for Coca-Cola.  My stomach is suffering from altitude corruption.  Even at $6.99 a 12 pack, you are worth your weight in gold.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dipped in Chocolate

Leave it to vacation to seize the opportunity to dip our world in chocolate.  After an afternoon voyage to the local Safe Way we collected enough goodies deemed worthy of dipping in chocolate.

Our collection ranges from the obvious to the questionable.  Some of our results were surprising.  The entire experiment, entertaining.

With six samplers on hand the rules were simple. Each specimen variety had to be dipped six times, one for each taste tester. Each tester had the right to pass, and the specimen did not need to be finished in order for the vote to be cast. Each sampler gets one vote; each star represents one vote.

Meet the Samplers....

Geoff: 34 year-old male. Father of the lovelies. Not a fan of salty & sweet combos. Skeptical of the bacon & cherry tomatoes.

Brooke: 33 year-old female. Mother of the lovelies. Ringleader and curious about the bacon.

Kevin: 32 year-old male. Uncle of the lovelies and willing to try anything.

Heidi: 31 year-old female. Aunt of the lovelies. Envisioned a beautiful spread of chocolate-covered creations and made it happen. Not a fan of fruit & chocolate. Curious about the cherry tomatoes.

Abby: 6 year-old female. Not a fan of chocolate, but ready for the chocolate party. Pretty much a fan of it all.

Lauren: 5 year-old female. Loves chocolate. Loves parties. Added a balloon for affect. So disgusted by the chocolate-covered cherry tomato that she locked herself in the bathroom and rinsed her mouth with mouth wash.  It was her final sample.

The results in no particular order....

Bacon: ★★★★★☆

Bing Cherries (fresh from the tree):


Nilla Wafers:

Double Stuff Oreos:

Double Stuff Mint Oreos:

Kettle Corn:


Pirate Booty:

Potato Chips:
Graham Crackers:


Honey Combs:
Powdered Donut Holes:


Cherry Tomatoes:

 {Chocolate-Covered Cherries & Powdered Donut Holes}

{Chocolate-Covered Bacon}

{Heidi & the Samplers' Paradise}

{The Twins Fan & the Twinkie}

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. Mountain living is not for me.  Love the view, but not what it does to my head.

2. Something has changed in Abby.  All of the sudden, just in the last two days, she's matured.  I noticed it yesterday at the water park.  Then today when she was talking to the dog.  My little babe is not such a little babe anymore.

3. The only outdoor water park I've ever been to where you can see snow while you swim....

{Slide Waters Water Park on Lake Chelan, Washington}

4. Homemade clam chowder tonight.  Bliss.

5. How do I know the Twins haven't been winning?  Because I haven't gotten a $1 off text from Caribou.  Good thing I'm not in MN to collect my discounted drink.  C'mon, Twins!

6. Abby & I cannot help ourselves.  Harmonizing "The Lazy Song".  Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-eah.

7. I have a love-hate relationship with avocados.... I love them, but hate the way I feel when I eat them.

8. I find clowns creepy. Circuses, too, for that matter.  So it isn't a stretch to say I was a bit leery about going to the circus Friday night.  Long story short, we had a blast.  Best circus, hands down.

9. Lauren's really into buns lately.  Shaky ones.  Particularly hers.

10. I'm pretty sure whomever invented the Keurig is a genius.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flashback Friday

Today we make our third annual invasion of Washington to see Grandma Phillips & company.  So it is only fitting that we flash back to our first trip to the Pacific Northwest....

June & July 2009

Look out, Grandma.... Here we come!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thank You Thursday

1. Thank you, Steph, for having the kids and the mamas over for supper & a playdate last night.  We always love getting together with our Owatonna friends, but a big girls night out is in order before summer's end!

2. Thank you, Mom & Dad, for letting us come home and invade your house.  I know you appreciate all of the cookies & suppers & decluttering I do, but I appreciate you guys so much more.  Wait, you're just letting me stay because I bring the kids, that's it right?!  Hahaha.  {I'm only half kidding about that one.}

3. I'm thankful for where I grew up.  Humble, small town roots, a close, fun-loving, connected family in the Cities.  The best of both worlds in middle America.  And I'm thankful for the people with whom I grew up who show me what growing up to be a good person means.  There's a reason I love Minnesota!

4. I'm thankful for little things. Like listening to KS95 & watching KARE11 news.  Again, there's a reason I love Minnesota!

5. I'm thankful for the cool temp. today, 12° below average....  A heat-hater's dream.  Yet another reason why I love summer in Minnesota!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. The girls' first time at the races.  We had a blast watching their Uncle Jason zip around the track.  Had it not been for a faulty fuel cap he certainly would have come out with one of the top slots.

As you can tell, I've been having fun playing with the functions on Mom's camera.

2.  Abby decided she wanted to go on an adventure last night to look for deer.  She must have remembered that Papa told her the deer move in the evening.  She told me she wanted to get some exercise.  I think she wanted to exercise her independence.

3. One of my favorite things about the internet is being able to see what my family & friends are up to without waiting for the annual Christmas letter!  My cousin, Luke, is an editor for North American Hunter magazine and now has a blog to boot:  He's a great hunter & gifted writer!  I'm proud of you, little cousin.  {He hates it when I call him that!}

4. I've finally taken on the task of cleaning out the closet at Mom & Dad's.  It's much easier to get rid of other people's stuff than my own.

5. Who gets the most excited about the arrival of The Land of Nod catalog.... My dad!  I like to browse, Mom likes to shop.  Dad likes to page through for ideas.  Believe it or not, his creations are always better than the pieces that inspire them.

6. If I could inject Lauren with something to keep her just as she is, I might consider it.  She is so cute, so innocent, so funny, and sooooo snugly!

7. Abby could hardly contain herself while we were at the Pizza Ranch last night.  Dad was talking to an older gentleman he used to work with, and Abby got wide-eyed and tight-fisted with excitement and said to me, "He lost a tooth!"  She has no idea that at a certain age that just isn't a good thing.

8. 900° for 3½ minutes.  That's how long America's oldest pizzeria, Lombardi's, cooks their pizza.

9. I'm that mom.  As evident by Abby's first year in school, the girls need a good back pack; they take a lot of abuse.  Determined not to be forced into purchasing one of those ugly princess, Bieber, or other miscellaneous unsightly bags, I ordered the girls Duluth Pack back packs.  They got to pick their own color, and the bags were both specially made for the Abby & Lauren making them an extra special treat.  They've both finally arrived.  I'm hoping these will hold true to their reputation and put this back pack saga to rest!  And hold up for a good ten plus years or better.  Time will tell.

10. Soap Box Alert: It drives me crazy when people don't cut on the dotted lines.  What the heck do you think they're for?  Fun?!  Seriously, if you're going to bother to cut it out, the least you could do is follow the designated path.  I admire a trailblazer, but appreciate scissor educate more.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Let Me Translate, Part Três

By now I thought the girls would be settled into their native tongue well enough to not make such gaffes.  They continue to amaze me with the liberties their minds take with language.  Clearly it is a language that is still lost on Lauren.

Allow me again to translate:

Keep Cup: A disposable cup you can keep when you leave the store

♫♪♫♪Lyrical Fopas♫♪♫♪
"I know that's a go. (Something, something, something, something) Bombay!": I Love Rock 'n Roll
"Baby tonight, DJs gottin' soft & I forget.": DJs Got Us Falling in Love Again


Flostic Flakes: Frosted Flakes
Pinch Crab: Lobster
Barella: Umbrella
Untrace: Erase
Mushrooms: Marshmallows
Emily: Italy
Naser Spray: Nasal Spray
"Poop in the ass": "Pain in the ass."
Souler Sniff 'em: Solar System
Funflower Seeds: Sunflower Seeds
Hair Pen: Bobby Pin
Whisker: Whiskey
One Fish Green Fish Red Fish Blue Fish: by Dr. Seuss
Slawberries: Strawberries
Purr-a-raid: Parade {The Royal Wedding}
Poster: Postage Stamp
Report: Perfume
GPS: Nintendo DS
Nolish: Nail Polish
Book Smart: Book Mark
Dawn-a-Mint: Donovan (a boy at school)
Tackle: Tickle
Shellfish: Selfish
Envertube: Innertube
Goal Hole: The Cup in Mini Golf
Cooked Hair: Pulled Pork
Erection: Direction
Cribhouse: Corncrib
Cat Medicine: Allergy Medicine
Word Shirt: Word Search

This addition's ultimate language mangler, attributed to both lovelies....
Ass Pack: Ice Pack

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

When Lauren discovered all of her Scooby gang was present and accounted for in Minnesota except Velma, there was only one way to solve the mystery.... draw one herself!

Inspired by Amanda's graduation and a cute little graduation card, Lauren came up with this drawing today.  

It's even blue!  Hats off to you, Lauren, you clever little girl.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flashback Friday

Ten years ago I married my best friend.  Geoff, without you I truly wouldn't be the person I am today.  The adventures I've been on, the places I've seen, the people I've met....

It hasn't always been happy, but without being in some of the less-desirable places we wouldn't be as sure of ourselves and what suits us.  All-in-all it's been quite an adventure these last ten years.

We were such kids.  It's amazing how far we've come.

June 16, 2001

 I look forward to seeing where the next ten years takes us.
I love you, Geoff!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thank You Thursday

1. Thank you, Brenda, for being such a good sport with the girls.  Abby loved being your assistant, and Lauren loved riding in the chair.  I'm so grateful the girls have started their dental visits on the right foot.  {And with a clean bill of oral health!}

2. Thank you, Papa, for getting the girls bikes to ride in Minnesota, for getting them ride-ready, and for getting Abby going.

3. Thank you, Grandma, for breakfast this morning at Perkins, and for spending time with us.  Just hanging out with you is a real treat!

4. Thank you, Grandpa, for all of the little treasures you left behind for us to discover. Lots of good finds in his shop today, but my favorite might be the Sears catalog, circa 1983.  Nothing tops a velvety gold sleeper sofa!

5. Thank you, Mom & Dad, for taking me out for supper to celebrate our ten year anniversary.  Time sure does fly.  It would have been nice if Geoff could have joined us, but it was a yummy night at Plaza none-the-less.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

10 Tips on How to be a Good Kid

My New Year's resolution this year was to clean out the clutter, and that included extensive attention to the mass collection at Mom & Dad's.  First up, my desk.  I was able to eliminate a lot the mess, and stumbled on some great keepsakes, too.

One of the little treasures was a Dear Abby article my mom clipped from the newspaper and saved for me dated Sunday, October 16, 1983; I was in kindergarten.  What better time than now to ask my lovelies, one exiting, one entering kindergarten, how to be a good kid:

Lauren says....
1. That you be nice to people.
2. If they're crying then you say, 'Please can you stop crying.'  That's being a nice friend.
3. Be very nice to bears. {Giggle}
4. Give a present to your teacher.
5. That you clean up your toys & hug your mom.

Abby says....
6. Do what your mom tells you to do & clean up.
7. Be a good citizen.
8. Treat others how you want to be treated.
9. Good kids help their moms.
10. Offer your mom something.

In case you're curious, I'm including the three lists from the article.  Great advice from the mouth of kids....

From a 16-year-old girl in Dallas:
1. Show appreciation.  Most parents give more than they can afford.
2. Take responsibly for your own actions.  If you want to be treated like an adult, act like one.
3. Remember, parents are human; they get tired, have their bad days and make mistakes, too, so forgive them like they forgive you.
4. Don't lie and sneak around, then expect your parents to trust you.
5. Do your homework and chores without having to be reminded.
6. If you have a change in plans or know you're going to be late, call and let your parents know.
7. Say "Please," "Thank you" and "Excuse me" at home, and you will do so automatically everywhere else.
8. Be willing to work for what you want.
9. Take pride in the way you look.
10. Let your parents know that you love and appreciate them.  Tomorrow may be too late.

From an 8-year-old boy in Florida:
1. Help with chores.
2. Say, "Yes, ma'am" and "Yes, sir."
3. Do what your parents say.
4. If you hurt someone, or hurt their feelings, say you are sorry.
5. Be nice to guests.
6. Don't say bad words.
7. Use good manners everywhere.
8. Be nice to your brother or sister if you have one.
9. Say your prayers every night.
10. Love everybody, especially your parents.

A Collection from Other Lists Submitted:
1. Don't swear, drink or smoke.
2. Don't ask your parents if they had lovers before they were married.  It's none of your business, and you probably won't get a straight answer anyways.
3. Don't complain when you're served spaghetti three times in a row.  It beats going to bed hungry.
4. Always be totally honest in what you say or do, even if it means getting busted.
5. When you're wrong, admit it, and take the consequences.
6. Pick up after yourself.  Your mother is not your maid.
7. If you parents' marriage breaks up, don't act like they've ruined your life.  They may have improved it.
8. Take good care of the body your parents (and God) gave you.
9. Do your best in school.  Your future depends on it.
10. Include your parents in your prayers.  You are always in theirs.

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. Hair cut. Check!

2. I'm not sure if Abby left the dentist office excited or disappointed.  She has two teeth now that are making their way into her mouth, but no baby teeth departures to speak of.  I think she was hoping he would pull them out today.  I'm just happy she's sporting a mouth full of healthy teeth!  Tomorrow it's Lauren's turn to take the chair.

3. Going through Grandpa's stuff.... a lot of hidden treasures wrapped in years of dust.  Truly, my heart smiles.

4. The girls have discovered The Whoopee Cushion.  "It sounds like a fart."  Giggles.

5. Hy-Vee's bakery buns.  There really is nothing like them.

6. Looks like we have a date for Cousin Night on Friday.  Love those!

7. I took the girls through the barn today at Grandpa & Grandma's.  They couldn't quite grasp the connection between not having animals in there and not killing them off.  I just let the issue die.

8. Seems like Bingo is one of those sports that gets people of all types and generations excited.  Maybe I wasn't too far off in my conception of a Bingo clothing line.  Perhaps I'll start small with the Live Strong inspired bracelets: What Would Shiny Dobber Do?

9. TPAW, Vanilla.... Maybe Bill O'Reilly was onto something when he called Governor Pawlenty vanilla.  If this presidential thing doesn't work out he could always go into a career as a serial rapper.

10. I have been spending WAY too much time with my dad already.  The stale jokes in no. 7 & 9 could have come right from his playbook.  Yikes, the summer has only begun.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Don't Blink

Another member of the family has now joined the ranks of OHS alumni.  And while it is always bitter sweet to see the hockey arena drown in a sea of our school colors, today I looked at my two girls and smiled at the adventures that will lead them to their commencement day.

If I remember one thing from this day, it will be the words that spilled out of my Aunt Karen as she put on her best smile and held back her tears.... "Don't blink."

{Welcome to the Club}

{Amanda Peterson}

{The Little Girls & the Grad}

{The Sister Jump}

{The Peterson Family}

{Amanda & Lauren}
{Future Graduate}

{Congratulations, Amanda!}

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flashback Friday

Ahhh, yes.  The day Jack arrived at Grandma & Papa's and Lauren discovered she wasn't the baby around here anymore.  So many great memories in these pics.... the old TV Guide, Abby & Grandma's golf balls, Abby's hats, Lauren's need to get into that car seat, and finally a healthy Baby Jack!

July 14, 2007


Thank You Thursdayish

Wow!  Big day yesterday.  First road trip in my new ride. All 723 miles & a handful of bathroom breaks in under 12 hours!  As soon as we pulled into the driveway and gave the anxious grandma our hugs & kisses, everyone pooled together to get The Beast unloaded, then it was off to pick up Great Grandma and head to town for supper.... There really is no place like home!  I'm so at home I fell asleep snuggled up to Lauren on the couch last night.  So here it is, Thank You Thursdayish....

1. Thank you to the god of travel.  Another safe and time-effective trip under my belt.

2. Thank you girls for suffering through George W. Bush's audio book, Decision Points.  They were less than thrilled when I said the words, "Okay, now it's time for George."

3. Thank you Acadia for fitting all six of us in you on our way to town last night.  It's so nice not to have to take two cars!

4. Thank you, Mom, for supper.  And to my parents and Grandma for the company.

5. Thank you Minnesota weather.  How I've missed sleeping with the windows open and breathing in the fresh air! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mural, Mural on the Wall

Abby's class worked hard this winter, painting a mural with the sixth graders that is now proudly on display in downtown Fairborn.  This afternoon we went down to check it out in person....

Great job, kids!

Kudos to Miss Duling & Mr. Ferguson for their hard work and dedication to this project.  You helped teach your students to take pride in their community.  They made their community proud!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. I wasn't fond of high gas prices before, but then I filled up The Beast.  Gulp!

2. Yesterday Lauren & I stopped by Abby's school to take in the few remaining minutes of their Field Day.  In typical Miss Duling fashion, she invited Lauren to join in the fun....

{Just One of the Kindergartners}

{Abby Tosses the Frisbee}

{Lauren Tosses the Frisbee}

3. I'm not joking when I say these might be the most clever cupcakes I've ever stumbled upon....

4. I love kid humor. Yesterday I told Lauren Mr. Sun kissed her face.  She giggled about that one for a good two minutes.

5. Confession Alert: The only time I'm truly at peace is when the girls are sleeping.  I could watch them for hours.

6. Whomever chooses the music on FOX and Friends to accompany the teaser as it leads into a commercial break.... Thanks for the laugh.  Your clever picks are always rousing.

7. Abby's grown an inch this school year. That inch holds a lot of knowledge & new experiences!

{Off to School for the Last Time as a Kindergartner}

{Next Stop: First Grade!}

8. I knew vinegar had great uses outside of the kitchen, but I didn't know that it can extend the life of your manicure by swiping it on your fingernails before painting them. For 44 other clever uses visit:

9. I truly hate caulking.

10. A day and a half and it's "Adios, Ohio!" for the summer.  Surprisingly, it's hard to get too excited when there's still plenty of work to be done between now and then.  Now, off to work....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sun Day Slip 'n Slide

Sunday we celebrated Father's Day.  Since the four of us will not be together on the calendar's offical date, we opted to hand-pick our own.  His girls gathered around the family room, Geoff opened up a few priceless goodies.... UMD championship memorabilia!  Then with Geoff off breakfast duty, we took our morning appetites to the Waffle House.

After that it was fun in the sun.  Geoff set up the Slip 'n Slide and the girls spent all day splashing in the yard.

[Remember to pause the play list in the right column to hear video.]

{The Hi-Tootsie Line Up.... My Girls!}

{Slip Slidin' Sisters}

{Knee Board}

{Belly Fly}

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Start Your Summer On the Right Foot

In my quest for the perfect end of the year teacher thank you gift, I decided starting them off on the right foot for summer was the way to go.

Abby's teacher accessorises with eye-catching flip flops, so we fancied up a simple pair, and the natural match was a pretty beach towel!  I personalized each set.... Abby's teacher getting her favorite Swedish Fish & a crafty basket, Lauren's playful & fun-loving teacher getting a squirt gun.

I'm sure they're both ready for summer regardless of the token of thanks, but this will be their extra incentive for playful fun!

{+a Clipboard for Abby's Awesome Principal=a Table of Fun}

Happy Summer Teachers....
See you on the flip side!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flashback Friday

Today's the day.... Lauren's last day of preschool.  Yikes!  Where did this school year go?

It's hard to believe just a few short years ago my well-behaved school girl spent more time decorating her face than she did any other medium.

November 11, 2007


{Blog Archive}

{About Me}

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Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.