Cailin turned 18 months old on the 20th of June. Her development has been amazing! I forgot how fun it is to watch a child’s curiosity when exploring their world!

At school (she is enrolled at Minnesota Renaissance School – a Montessori school) she had her first sprinkler day! She wasn’t too fond of the sprinkler but loved running around in her swim suit!

Miss Karla did a great job of encouraging the hesitant toddlers to check out the sprinklers! 

The students in the toddler room are encouraged to become as independent as possible in every aspect of their day. Lunch time is always a treat to observe! Cailin is getting better at using a spoon with her yogurt.

Mary Beth is so proud of Cailin’s progress and we know we owe a lot of the credit to MRS. Not only for teaching Cailin the skills but in also helping the parents reinforce those skills at home.

Sweet Tea

One of Perry’s favorite summer beverages is old fashioned Sweet Tea. Southern style. He came to love it when driving over-the-rad in the south-eastern states.

You can’t buy the stuff he adores in a mix. It can only be home made. And it is really quite simple!

  • Seep 6 tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water. I do it for 15 minutes to 1/2 hour to really pull out the flavor. I use regular old Lipton brand tea bags but do occasionally throw  in 1 tea bag of peach, lemon/honey or another flavor for a hint of added taste.
  • Stir in 1 cup of sugar and mix until dissolved. This is optional and a sugar substitute can be used instead. Sometimes more and sometimes less is acceptable.
  • Add a pinch of baking soda. This will cut the “bite” that tea can sometimes have.
  • Add 6 cups of cold water and ice cubes to the mixture you’ve created. I only use water and add ice cubes when I pour a glass. 
  • Put in the fridge and let it chill! 
  • Pour yourself a glass and enjoy!
See? Told you it was easy! And you’ll love it!

Can you believe it? 11 pounds so far! I’ve been working so hard at this … what an awesome pay off! THANK YOU Weight Watchers (and Sally my guardian angel who got me here).

I’m finding that it is easier than I once thought. As long as I have a ton of fruits and veggies, drink my water and move my body it all falls into place. Oh sure I get hungry. A LOT. Baby carrots are my friends. I’ve made some awesome salads and am starting to get use to chicken breasts. I am not a fan of chicken so its been a struggle. Give me a big old steak, beef ribs, thick juicy hamburger and I’m a happy girl. And it showed in my arms, thighs, the triple chins….

About a month ago I was started on meds to help with the general pain from the fibromyalsia. It has started to kick in so moving about has gotten much easier! Today I mowed the front lawn in under 45 minutes. Quite the feat for me! Walking with the kids at school to the park, not to mention taking Bones on his daily walks (and the training) not only are helping the weight loss but make me feel generally so darned good! Nothing like falling into bed exhausted for a darned good reason!

I am happy to say that David is now employed! He started this past week at the Super America in Ham Lake. So far he seems to enjoy it. I’m enjoying the fact he is finally making some money so he can start helping mom and dad a bit with little things like his phone payment….rent…food…

Perry finally got his truck. He found a ’97 Chevy Silverado Xtra Cab and was able to do a little wheeling and dealing. The down side – he traded in my beloved Suburban. I’m going to miss the old girl. But that loan has been paid off and they payment on the pick up is literally half what were paying on the ‘burb.

Perry claims this is his “midlife crisis.” Some midlife crisis considering he has a car seat in the back seat!

Its Friday afternoon and time to lounge in the freshly mowed front yard and watch Cailin tear around the place!

Carry each other’s burdens…..

Galatians 6:2 (NIV) says Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

I admit that I am not good at this. Over the last couple years with all the things going on in my life I have found myself floundering in my own needs and “burdens.” Yesterday I was given the opportunity to do just that. 

On her way home from job club Mary passed a couple young men on the side of the road with a sign that read, “Our dog is out of food.” With them was a black dog…she thought it might be a Lab. She was shaken to the core by this and asked if we could help. She picked me up and I rode with her to determine if this was a believable situation.  

I found two guys roughly in their early to mid 20s. Each had an overly stuffed duffle – Army surplus style. They were filthy and I could smell them from 100 feet away. Their story (and later confirmed by a very generous Police Officer) was that they hopped off the freight train and were going to hoof it into Minneapolis to catch another one. Apparently getting on is easier than getting off without being caught. They were not technically homeless – as they explained – because they had chosen to hit the road from the east coast and find jobs at farms … and panhandle which wasn’t going well (enter the Officer who decided NOT to arrest them for having a sign asking for money). 

With them was a 4 year old Staffie named Satan. He was gorgeous and very friendly. Allegedly a rescue dog. Poor guy was indeed thin but not emaciated. Yet. And they were out of dog food – for the 4th day. The photo below is NOT Satan but could be his twin.

Of course Satan had food allergies – specifically to corn, wheat and soy. A bag of Pedigree wouldn’t do. I ran into PetCo and found a decent food for him that was rather inexpensive. I presented them with the 5 pound bag and gave them strict instructions to feed him small amounts at a time since it had been a few days since he had eaten. I also suggested that they not go over the 2 cups as suggested on the bag….he wasn’t that underweight and they needed to make it last. I also commented on how I wouldn’t give them food…it was their choice to be out on the road but not the dog’s. That made me angry. They were directed to the food shelf and off we went.

I know some people may roll their eyes that I consider this “carrying someone’s burden.” But the fact of the matter is this beautiful dog is one of God’s creatures and HE indeed had a burden: no food and being drug across the country in freight trains! OK, I will admit the name “Satan” had me a bit hesitant. 

Both Mary and I felt better about what we did. Oh sure, they could have been a couple losers that lived down the street – but the dog needed food. That in itself was obvious.  


On the way to pick David up from work we were able to watch a “small” tornado as it crossed from Coon Rapids, into Andover and then going north.

This video was shot driving west on Hwy 20 going from Ham Lake towards Andover. On the way to get David the tornado was to our south. On the way home it was to our north. With David driving I was able to get some pretty neat shots!

After a pretty heavy rain fall we made it home safe and sound to find NO damage in our area. IF the reports are correct it sounds as if the tornado missed the house by a hair!

This week

That is the good news! I’ve been following the Weight Watcher’s Points Plus program and WOW! 7 pounds in 1 week! I know this will not be the norm. After all, I tend to be super motivated that first week and going over and beyond in following the plan. I have a lot of weight to lose and I know if I don’t do it the right way it will backfire. Focusing on good foods to eat is the key! And I am learning that I actually prefer fresh veggies over pretty much anything else.

Except Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream.

Wonderful week at work! I’m honored to work with a great group of kids. I primarily have the “latchkey” kids – those entering 1st grade and older. I also grab the kids going into kindergarten, too. Every day we take a little walk to the park. We even got to feed the ducks and geese at the river.

 Bones continues to be a Bone-Head. Puppies! But he keeps us constantly entertained and protects the house.

Cailin is an amazing little creature! Her most recent favorite activity is walking around kissing everything. And I do mean everything. Even the kitchen rug isn’t left out from her affection. Cracks us up. She is 18 months old on the 20th of this month.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to my dad! Love you dad. I’ll be calling…..

This is the new food “pyramid.” Thanks to Anna for telling me about it. She been a wealth of information in assisting me with my eating healthier goal. I started Weight Watchers (and a HUGE shout out to Sally S for this) and the PointsPlus system is amazing! Its so nice to wonder which yogurt to chose….all I have to do it get onto the Weight Watchers app on my phone and compare brands. 
Back to the “My Plate” deal. Doesn’t it make more sense when you can see it like this? I mean I can identify with a PLATE a little more than a pyramid. 
But my question is…why is it more expense to eat healthier than it is to eat quick and rotten? No wonder so many people (kids included) are over weight and generally unhealthy. 
Off to calculate points for the picnic we are going to! I’m bringing fruit to share…its all ZERO points!


Put a frownie face on this post. Let the picture tell the story:

I started Bones (our Basset puppy) in Obedience 1 class a couple months back with the intentions of having a well behaved dog, getting more active in the Greater Minneapolis/St. Paul Basset Hound Club (of which I am the web master and secretary) and getting more active myself. As my luck would have it I ended up with a back/hip injury that stopped that in an instant. You see…Bassets with short legs often need the person to bend over to reach them. Wasn’t happening. Now that the medical aspect has been “figured out” I’m pushing forward with the training more diligently. This afternoon we did some training. In fact, you can read all about it at Bad To The Bones: Training Revisited. 

We took some photos to help show our progress…and then the horrible reality hit me. I mean WHO IS THAT training my dog?!? Surly couldn’t be ME! OK, so it is. And OK, so I need to do a bit of training on myself.

I think the photos of Bone’s training progress will also help watch MY progress at my own training.

Little bits at a time

First – I am happy to say that the blog is now mobile browser friendly! Woo hoo! OK, maybe only exciting for us geeks…but still!

Over this last weekend we started re-landscaping the front of the house.

The before picture:

The after picture:

I think Perry did a great job!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Another family favorite newly discovered. Perry loved chicken cordon bleu but I have not had the patience to make it let alone attempt it. Paula Deen has a great recipe for an easy chicken cordon bleu.
  • tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup prediced ham
  • cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11×7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender. Add chicken and ham; cook until heated through. Add rice, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken broth, milk, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes.
  •  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.