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Guest blogger Tim here. With Theresa and Cole flying off to Poland for their adventure…Anna Mae, Truman, Grace and I decided to have our own little adventure on our way back from O’Hare airport.
First we stopped at an Oasis for a new found treat – icees – while watching the cars zoom by underneath us.
Then we decided that the closest we could get to Hel (Poland) between Chicago and Milwaukee was of course a stop at the Mars Cheese Castle to get some yummy cheese curds.
It was an out of this world experience especially since when we walked in it was 102 degrees and sunny, and when we walked out 10 minutes later it was raining and 80 degrees. Haven’t seen much rain lately, at least not on planet Earth.





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Looks like that will be the theme for the rest of the year. New schools, a full time job, my baby going to kindergarten; it’s all about change. Truly, the kids are a ton more resilient to all of it than I am. For them it’s just a bump in the road. A new wake up time or a yellow polo instead of blue hardly gives them pause.
For me however, it feels like much bigger. I’m still holding on to the details surrounding the moment Cole was born and wondering how is it that he’s already headed to middle school. I’ve been here picking up his laundry for eleven years, but it seems like parenting is still new – something I’m still learning how to do.
I listen to my sisters who have little babies. They crave rest and routine and I know my advice,
“Don’t close your eyes any longer than you have to. You will miss this part of your life so much. Hold onto every moment”
…does not penetrate through their sleep deprivation.
Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps they will be like my mom who cheered the passing of summer vacation each year, sitting in a lounge chair holding her orange juice as if it was a cocktail, toasting the bus as it arrived to take us back to school.
I choose to believe some of that was just for show. Perhaps I am re-writing history, but I’d like to think that her zest for “moving on” was a coping skill. She was willing to accept it and find the good in what’s coming. Not totally a bad example as I get used to all this change…

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morning bike ride


It was a very good start to the week… Done teaching until fall and looking forward to more mornings like this.

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when Reed was born I was so excited to have a “best friend cousin” for Grace

a boy? hmmmmm would they still be close?

it hasn’t been a problem — he calls her “my Grace” – and demands to see her

they are so silly – and –

I’m so glad I found my camera –

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Cole and I went on an adventure today… we were up with the sun and on the road to the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market.

It was a great day – we had fun – I love that he wanted to hang out with his mom – in fact…

Cole had watched me haggle enough that by the time he found the marbles he had it down  – instead of $3 a bag he got 2 bags for $5, but I was really impressed when he got the toy robot for a third of what it was marked.

We have lots of treasures and ideas … My favorite finds were the violins… Tim is hanging them up right now, so come visit tomorrow to see…

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A few years ago when we first bought the “mom car” I laid down the law about how we were going to keep it clean and tidy. I was delivering this important lecture to the children while driving to Culver’s restaurant. As we pulled into a parking spot I found the perfect illustration to make my point. The van next to us had sliding doors — the owners hit the open button as they approached revealing the messiest car I had ever seen. Since then whenever our van gets messy we all start referring to it as a “Culvers car”. While everyone in my family understands what that means, they do not, apparently, have any motivation to do anything about it. It’s at those times that I have to take matters into my own hands. 

Today was one of those times… 

8:20 a.m. –  home from the morning drop off and getting my camera ready for the before photos…

8:40 a.m. –all the booster seats are out and I’ve gathered my supplies – Wet rag, vacuum, and a garbage bag.

8:50 a.m. – Tim’s workbench is covered with all the stuff that I found inside the car that did not actually belong there. That will have to be sorted out before he gets home, but for now it’s out of my car! 

9:05 a.m.  – it’s vacuumed and I still have not let Grace out of her car seat – She’s found Anna’s lip gloss – I’ll have to plot to get rid of that later I guess… 

9:15 a.m. –  wiped down the seats, cup holders, and the bins on the back of the kid’s seats. 

9:25 a.m. – while putting the cleaning supplies away I found a plastic bin on the dryer – I know exactly what I can do with that… now we are off to get a car wash so the outside looks just as good! 

9:45 a.m. – the car has recovered from spring break and we will make it to story hour on time — I even found Culver’s custard coupons so we can stop for a treat!

Inspired by “Tackle it Tuesday” at 5 Minutes For Mom.

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The big kids stayed at Mama and Papa’s house last night, so Truman and Grace requested a play date. Maggie is Truman’s friend, but Grace just adores her, so we were so happy she could come over for the morning.

The kids had a blast digging in the sandbox and playing with the wheel barrel. After a long rainy vacation it was great to see them outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. I had fun taking photos in the back yard and decided they were good enough to frame.

It didn’t take long before we had a craft project in the works complete with confetti, glue, and glitter!


To make fun photo frames we used…

a frame with a mat





hot glue gun


I uploaded the photos to Walgreen and scheduled a 30 minute pick-up. Then I cut the kids loose to glue the confetti to the mats.  When they were happy with their work we brushed the mats with glue one more time and sprinkled glitter over a bowel (that kept clean-up to a minimum). I hot glued the magnets to the back of the frames (be sure to level the magnets so they hang straight) and then ran to Walgreen to pick up the photos. The kids had lunch and by the time I came back everything was dry enough to put together.

Maggie took hers home, and Truman and Grace’s photos have a place of honor in the kitchen.


This was an easy project and lots of fun. Please send photos if you give it a try – we would love to see yours!

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On a sunny August day, two summers ago, I was enjoying an end of Vacation Bible School picnic. The kids were running amuck and we moms were sharing our lunches. Melissa asked if we might all like a chocolate chip cookie – made by her neighbor. Jodi and I agreed and what started as a typical day in the life of a summertime mom became the beginning of a two-year quest. The cookies were so very good– Jodi and I made up our minds– we were going to figure out how to make them.

Our first step was to quiz Melissa on what she knew… how many eggs in the recipe? Does she use more brown sugar than white? What kind of flour does she use? Do you know what kind of pans? We soaked in the information the way our children were soaking in sunshine.

We’ve spent afternoons with the 3 year-olds baking cookies trying to get the recipe just right. I bought new pans that seemed to bring in a new variable, but not necessarily improve anything. We tried baking power instead of baking soda, dark brown sugar instead of light, and melted butter instead of room temperature all in an effort to crack the code on those amazing cookies.

Lately we’ve came up with something that we think is just as good, but as time goes on the actual taste and texture of the original cookies are becoming an iconic memory. At the same time our quest has become an endearing hobby, one that my husband and kids – official tasters – have come to enjoy.


My Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

8 ¾ ounces flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

14 tablespoon butter

3 ½ ounces sugar

5 ¼ brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl mix the flour and baking soda.  Heat 10 tablespoons of butter on the stove just until it melts and has a nutty scent, then pour it into the mixing bowl and add the last 4 tablespoons. Mix until it is all melted.  Add the sugars, salt, vanilla, and eggs and mix. Let the batter rest for a few minutes (about 9).

Stir in the flour just until it is all combined, then add the chocolate chips.

Scoop out tablespoon size clumps – 8 to 12 on a pan. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes – or until they are turning golden on the top.


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