Current projects

Who, me? Have more than one project going at a time? ;) At least for now, they are all different types of project!

This year’s birthday yarn: a lovely dark blue with hints of dark green.

I am really getting my money’s worth out of this yarn; I have pulled out and started over several times. ;) I think this is pattern #4 or 5. . .it is the Sweetheart Shawl from the Lion brand website.

Embroidery and paper piecing: a spring themed table runner.

This is my second Wild Olive stitching club project (note to self: take a picture of the first one). I left out the faces this time, wanting  it to be cute instead of cutesy. I enjoyed embroidering the motifs; I’m doing the paper piecing because I want the project done. It’s not hard, I just don’t enjoy it as much. This is actually supposed to be a lap quilt but my plan is to make a table runner instead. I’m also signed up for her newest stitching club, 50 States, though I’m trying to finish this one before starting that one. I can catch up this winter when the days are short and the mercury and snow are falling.

No picture/no details for my sewing project, just one word: boxers. 8-)


I think I have written before about my book group. If not, in short it’s a small group of home school mommies working through the reading lists in Susan Wise Bauer’s Well-Educated Mind and meeting online weekly to chat about that week’s assignment. This month, we’re reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This is one of my favorite books, so I’m glad to have an excuse to reread it. Discussing it with friends only makes it better! It definitely is an eye-opening look at life in America in the mid 1800s, as it was meant to be for her readers. . .although we have noted that the author was not immune to the attitudes of her time.

Anyhow, I particularly liked the following quote, in which the “he” refers to Uncle Tom himself. Though I cannot imagine the deprivations of a man being treated as property, I still found it an apt reminder that happiness is not at all dependent on life’s perfection. Rather, happiness generaly co-exists with our personal miseries.

Though parted from all his soul held dear, and though often yearning for what lay beyond, still was he never positively and consciously miserable; for, so well is the harp of human feeling strung, that nothing but a crash that breaks every string can wholly mar its harmony; and, on looking back to seasons which in review appear to us as those of deprivation and trial, we can remember that each hour, as it glided, brought its diversions and alleviations, so that, though not happy wholly, we were not, either, wholly miserable.

A 6 year (and 4 month) detour

How long does it take to get from Iowa to Minnesota? For our family, the answer is over six years. Which is ironic when you consider we now live about two hours north of where we lived for eight years. 8-)

But. . .of course it was more complicated than that. When we moved to Iowa, I was twenty six years old with two very small boys and a baby on the way. When we moved to Iowa, I went from living an hour and a half from my parents to eight hours. When we moved to Iowa, I didn’t want to live there very long and resisted putting down roots. I eventually grew some roots in Iowa in spite of myself, but (long story short) they were yanked loose and we landed in Wyoming.

When we moved to Wyoming, I was thirty four years old with six kids aged almost eleven and under. When we moved to Iowa, I went from living one day’s drive from my parents to three days. When we moved to Wyoming, I was determined to make the best of it and make our forever home there. You can stop laughing now!! I’ve already spent plenty of time blogging about the reasons that didn’t work out as I had hoped, so I won’t go there now.

Anyhow, Minnesota. The state I have visited every year of my married life and never once thought “I’d like to live there.” Snow in the winter, mosquitoes in the summer. Liberal politics. Jello salads; or worse, salads with noodles. <gag> The Twin Cities. . .I am not a city girl, and some metro areas make me more panicky than others.

BUT here we are. And here (Lord willing) we’ll stay. I’m forty one years old now, with three teenagers and three little boys who aren’t so little any more. I wish we were closer to my parents than ten hours, but I can get there in a day. In the meanwhile I have friends minutes away rather than hours away. Losing all things familiar for several years–trees, green grass, farmland and white farm houses and big red barns, four seasons, trees, Midwestern friendliness, rain, local strawberries, trees, dressing up to go out–has changed my perspective. Regaining surroundings that are familiar even though the location is new is restoring my sense of balance and making it easier for me to deal with the stresses of every day life (three teenagers, anyone?). Happily we live in a more conservative corner of the state. I don’t have to deal with metro traffic, but the Cities are close enough for a day trip. And about that macaroni salad. . .well, I knew there had to be some hidden benefit to being gluten sensitive! ;)

Slightly obsessed

. . .with strawberries! But after six years of living where “U pick farms” are nonexistent, can you blame me???

Rachel and I picked 28# with Mom while we were in Indiana.

It was berry season in Minnesota by the time Mom was here, so she and I picked another 32#.

And then a neighbor offered to let us pick strawberries because she was done. Unfortunately her husband mowed right before we came, but the kids helped me glean about a quart of strawberries.

And then on the 4th of July, the kids and I went back to the berry farm and picked another 21.5#.

And now strawberry season is over until next year. :( I still have some berries in my fridge, plus a lot in my freezer and in jars of jam. Meanwhile Larry is already make plans for blueberry season. . .

Happy 4th of July!

A random selection of photos from past Independence Day celebrations. . .





I was surprised at how few pictures I found, but either there are years I did not take any or they are not on the computer (or Picasa has them so jumbled I can’t find them). The first two are with Nana, my dad’s aunt, at the annual family celebration; had hoped to attend that this year, but we had to go to Indiana last month instead. The first picture is one of my favorites and I set it as my wallpaper every July. :D The third picture is at our home in Iowa, taken after the local parade my kids still remember affectionately as “the candy parade.” The final picture was taken while at Symphony on the Prairie with my parents.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!


That’s what we’ve been doing. Mom & Dad brought Rachel back last Thursday and stayed through the weekend; Larry’s parents and aunt came over to help us celebrate Nathan’s 12th birthday on Sunday.


And now everyone has gone home and life is slowly getting back to normal (except Caleb is still at camp). And believe it or not, I enjoy ironing…and napkins are so easy to iron and look so pretty freshly pressed!