Archive for the ‘the ones for fun’ Category

cast your vote

for the little story that made this blog possible. Let’s be honest here, if it weren’t for Ava this wouldn’t be much of a blog. And you probably wouldn’t come visit all that often, so spread some voting love on the story of her beginning.

Ava’s FAVORITE story is one of the finalists in the 22-word kid story challenge. There were so many great stories, I can’t believe it made the top three. So fun!!

Go vote and help me win a few more gifts to add to Ava’s list!

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Phew I have so many little insignificant things to tell you that I don’t know where to start. The trouble with gorgeous weather of any kind is that it calls me outside and offline. And now that I’m online, I can’t think of how to get through all the past post ideas in my brain and proceed to the present.

So I’m going to take a cue from my friend, Lizz at And So Is My Heart and subject you to a brain dump.

This very same Lizz gave me my first bloggy award ever!

I blushed and grinned and felt all warm and happy in my heart. Her kind words were even greater than the award, especially since I am a big fan of her blog.

The best part of this award is that I get to pass it on. This is tough as I read a lot of great blogs. This one has to go to Mental Terresse, one of my favorite haunts. Her posts are like gems, rare and beautiful. Each facet is carefully crafted. When I see her in my Google Reader, I wait until I know that I won’t be interrupted so that I can savor her writing. I especially admire how she intertwines lessons from her life with beautiful works of art. And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t point all of you to this post. It’s one of my absolute favorites.

I’ve come back to this century! I have a cell phone and not just any cell phone, a wi-fi phone, which I think puts me smack dab in the middle of now.

The best part is that Shanel is talking to me again. It was a little touch and go there for awhile, but we are once again connected at the ear.

And after jiggling about some crumbling, antiquated wires in our basement, HungryMan fixed our landline too. However, he then decided that landlines are so last century, hence the paper wires, and that we didn’t really need three phones.

We said goodbye to Qwest and hello to wi-fi. And if you don’t count speaker wire, which I do, we have fully merged into the wireless generation. So don’t trying calling my home number, cause that number is now homeless.

Oh, so your menu planning tips were so helpful. Primarily for kicking me in the pants.

You will be happy to know or at least I think you will be, that thanks to all of you and your marvelous ideas I have meals planned and purchased through the middle of next week.

I especially like the idea of saving menu’s for future months and making many meals on the weekend and eating them throughout the week.

One of the best tips that I got was from my friend, Tiffany. She has made her own cookbook with binder and plastic sheet protectors. Instead of saving too many magazines with good recipes in them, she tears the recipes out and puts them in the binder. Brilliant. And instead of stashing online recipe print-outs who knows where, she puts those in the binder too. Again, brilliant.

So I went right home and tore up my beloved issues of Real Simple and Cottage Living. And I sorted through my stash of online print-outs. I now have a binder full of our family’s favorites. I couldn’t bring myself to tear up my Everyday Food collection. I was a pioneer member back in 2003 and have a whole color coordinated set. I have organized them by month, because I too love to make what’s in season. I have been indexing my favorite recipes to make finding them easier.

This post is just riveting, I know.

And while I’m at, I let you know that I’ve gone into organizing overdrive. This, in addition to my keen attention to the outdoor weather, has kept me far away from the keyboard.

The amount of upheaval in our home has caused Ava to suspect that leprechauns have reappeared. Of course the two-inch men are now being blamed for mischief caused by a forty-two-inch sprite. I’ve set out traps. It remains to be seen who will get caught, but I’m going to put money on the one with pigtails.

Early this summer, HungryMan rolled out some new grass on the base of our front lawn. It was green and lush and wonderful until the clouds rolled away. We had weeks of scorching sunshine. Which is great, if you love to go to the beach. But it’s not so great if you trying to transform your lawn from an eyesore to a lush meadow.

Where we once had grass, we now have shredded wheat.

Bring your shears and bit of brown sugar and you will nearly have the breakfast of champions.

On Saturday, HungryMan rolled up the scorched sod and sowed grass seed, while Ava performed search and rescue on the worm community. After establishing a relocation shelter for the displaced worm families, she gave me a tour of the facilities and introduced me to some of the residents.

“Mama, look. This is the daddy worm. He’s the biggest!”

“Worms are good for the earth, Mama. Did you know that? Did you know that? They’re good for the earth. It’s really true.”

Last week, Ava and I drove with our friends to see Sarah Palin and John McCain at a rally north of here. We the mamas thought it would a great opportunity for the girls to get a glimpse of the political process in our country and for them to see a potential president. As it turned out nearly every other person in the Twin Cities had the same Friday morning agenda.

Surprisingly from our stellar vantage point, we neither saw nor heard McCain or Palin. I was told by a very tall man with stilts for legs that the candidates were somewhere under the “N” in Palin. Ten point if you can find them.

Ava and her friend’s educational experience was reduced to a greater than/less than lesson conducted with diminishing pieces of a Cliff Bar.

While we weren’t able to hear the candidates’ speeches, we did get quite an earful from protesters.

Taking the above photograph proved to be the tactical error of the morning.

“Look! There goes a WAL-MART FAMILY,” a man yelled at me as soon as I snapped the photo. Others joined his taunt sending Ava and I marching to the beat of “Wal-Mart family! Wal-Mart family! Wal-Mart family!” Just as we were turning away from them, another one hollered, “Hey! Where’d ya get that backpack Wal-Mart family?!?”

Evidently they weren’t too familiar with my blog. Or maybe they were and knew that was an insult that would stick.

Last Wednesday morning, Ava and I were about to leave for preschool when she turned and dashed back to her room.

“Oh Mama, I forgot. I’m supposed to wear three necklaces today,” she said as I walked in on her throwing everything out of her accessory drawer.

“Why are you supposed to wear three necklaces?”

“Cause Sarah and I are going to wear three necklaces today.”

“Sarah and you are going to wear three necklaces today?”

“Yes, Mama. I already told you,” she said as she grabbed my hand to go out to the car.

On the way to preschool she gave me the long version of a short story. While riding home on the bus from the apple orchard, Ava and her friend had made a pact to wear three necklaces.

Of course, I wasn’t sure if this explanation was true or not as it came from the same child that had found a leprechaun in her bedroom that very morning. He was a very kind leprechaun, who liked to sit in Ava’s hand and tell her stories. She tried to put him in a jar, but somehow he ran away. “It’s really the truth. It wasn’t a dream at all!”

We walked into Ava’s classroom and Sarah came running up to us with three strands of beads bouncing about her neck.

Who knew coordinating outfits began at four?

Well my mind feels relieved; I hope yours has survived this too long post. Apparently Ava’s not the only one that prefers the long version. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

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Have you ever crunched your teeth on a unwanted pit while enjoying a piece of a cherry pie? Or worse, have you ever tried to remove a pit from a cherry with only a knife and your fingers.

Your fingers look bloodied without so much as a scratch and the cherry looks like it’s been massacred. It’s neither aesthetically pleasing nor appetizing.

Enter the cherry pitter.

Slide a cherry in. Squeeze the handles together and presto: one edible cherry, two clean hands and one disposable pit.

It’s so simple, my four-year-old can do it.

Again and again and again.

What doesn’t work for me is having my camera switched from automatic focus to manual focus.

Again, so simple a four-year-old can do it.

(Edited to add: I bought my cherry pitter at Crate & Barrel. It’s very simple and works great. The OXO one pictured has great reviews and is available through Amazon).

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So remember when I threw down my cell phone in shock and horror?

Well, I haven’t exactly replaced it. For the past few weeks, I’ve been pretending it’s 1996, except I live with Nate and not with Shanel.

And honestly, I don’t miss the phone much. Except the fact that my favorite Shanel is about to disown me. And you can’t really blame her. I was hard to get a hold of when I had a cell phone, and now it’s nearly impossible.

At some point yesterday, Qwest decided to push my backwards plunge seven decades further. Our land line now sound like a fog horn. It’s not just static, it’s seriously loud static. I can’t call you. You can’t call me. You can’t even leave me a voice mail.  Not that I would remember to check it.

HungryMan, who still lives in 2008 tried to call Qwest on his fancy cell phone, but they were “experiencing an unusually high phone volume” and unable to answer our call. Apparently we aren’t the only ones who have lost touch. He sent in a help desk ticket and we are hoping a technician comes soon.

So now I am completely phoneless. It’s circa 1930 over here if you don’t count the internet, which I don’t.

In case of an emergency I will be instant messaging 9-1-1 or running to my neighbor’s house like Little House on the Prairie, except that I don’t live on a prairie and the nearest house is about ten paces away.

I might as well put on my apron and bake a cherry pie. I’d invite you over for a slice, but I don’t know how to reach out.

P.S. If anyone sees Shanel, tell her that I think she’s the best and will call her as soon as I am able!

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Dear Minnesota,

We like eating ice cones,

not living in one.

We would most appreciate it if keep you this in mind this coming November.


Rachel and Co.

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Remember when little Rapunzel was locked in the bathroom tower?

Thankfully, the Great Knight was on hand to scale the ladder and rescue the frightened princess.

Today, the nefarious bathroom captured another young victim and there was no Great Knight or even a ladder to help the poor, distressed child.

So, I did what any good mama would do when a child is locked in her bathroom, I slipped a fruit strip under the door and dialed, “911.”

“911, emergency services, what is your emergency?”

“Um, there’s a little girl locked in my bathroom and she can’t turn the lock to get out.”


“The bathroom’s on the second floor and there is no way to get the door open from the outside. My daughter locked herself in there before and my husband had to climb a ladder up to the window to get her out.”

“This has happened before?”

“Yes. Um, yeah. I always tell children not to lock the door, because it is so hard to unlock. My cousin’s daughters are visiting and I must have forgotten to tell her.”

“So she’s locked in the bathroom?”

“Yes. I was wondering if maybe the fire department could bring their ladder here and get her out.”

“You need the fire rescuer to climb up to your bathroom to rescue the child?”


Surely, I’m not the only one that read stories about how firemen rescued cats out of trees. And if they can employ their ladders for cats in trees, it can’t be too far a stretch for them to aim that ladder at a window barring in a scared little girl.

Sure enough, the fire truck came and in just enough time for me to tuck away clutter, find my camera and hide our defective smoke detector. We are a safety first family.

Six fire fighters rushed up my stairs to assess the situation. They found one crying girl squarely locked in a bathroom and three other little girls coloring notes to slip under the door to her.

“Her name is Cate!” I yelled at them as they scampered back down the stairs to retrieve their ladder.

How many fire fighters does it take to climb a ladder?


Three to hold it and one to climb it.

Apparently they take safety a bit more seriously than HungryMan.

Which is probably why that lock is still on our door.

Safety aside, HungryMan and his fire fighter counterpart have the same through-the-window technique.

That’s if you don’t count the flip-flops.

“Hi Cate,” yelled the brave fire fighter. “I’m coming in this window and then I’m going to unlock the door for you.”

Hurray for the hero! She rescued a child and she didn’t even have to carry an ax or hose. Or face a cat with claws.

After little Cate was safe in her mama’s arms, Ava dispensed suckers to celebrate.

The same suckers that were thrown to her from a fire truck during a parade in front of our house.

Because everything in my home must have a poetic end.

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“Honey, why do you keep pointing at that brownie mix?”

“Cause, look.”

“You are seven years old! You do NOT need to worry about low-fat!!”


Moms of seven-year-olds or older or younger, how do we protect our girls from this?

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Thanks to her riveting tale of Caroline meets Shamu, Big Mama has been my source of daily laughter for nearly a year. It’s true. She reminds of the warmer world that I once called home, so when I heard that she was a throwing a party, a fiesta, well I had to come. Stylishly late of course. It’s the New Mexican way.

So what do moms actually wear every day? It’s a reveal-your-true-clothes fiesta.

Now this mama is trapped in Narnia’s endless winter. Yes, it snowed again today. It’s snowing right now in fact. Snow, as in the white, cold stuff that falls on Christmas.

My closet is therefore frozen in the winter season as well. Try buying new spring sweaters in April. Banana, J.Crew, and even Target have ceased to sell sweaters. It’s April. They’ve moved on. Come on Minnesota, you can too.

Each night, I think, “If I have to wear another sweater tomorrow, I’m going to cry.” And then each morning, I see the forecast, high of 38 degrees, and pull another wool one over my gloomy face. I guess the Ava doesn’t fall far from the tree.

So instead of showing you what I wear right now, I’m going to run downstairs and grab the things I’m dreaming of wearing soon. Wait here, I’ll be quick.

Phew, I’m back. I can just smell the sunshine in these clothes. Am I the only one who changes out their closet seasonally? Do you back up your sweaters when the snow melts and then back up your shorts when the snow flies?

After eight months of jeans paired with a kaleidescope of sweaters and scarves, generally hidden by a pea coat and propelled by Uggs, I need something with a little more movement. Something a bit more feminine.

So for the few months when we can actually feel the sun shine, I wear skirts.

Happy, breezy skirts. With tank-tops.

“Sun, please kiss my shoulders” tank tops. Oh, and flip-flops.

Clapping, flapping flip-flops. I love my flip-flops. I could write a post on my flip flops, not that you would want to read it, but I could. I would probably tell you that when Ava was a baby she would stop crying in her crib the moment the clip clip of my flip-flops or how my co-workers used to quack after I would pass their cubes on casual Fridays. Yes I wore my floppers to work. Then I would tell you the woes about how I left my flip-flops behind when we went to Europe. I brought sensible walking sandals that cut my feet right open. My beloved flips-flops may not have arch supports, but they have never given me blisters.

So that’s my uniform. It takes me to the library, church, playdates, the zoo, farmer’s market, and right down to the park. Check out those pink flip-flops. That’s beautiful park dirt, people.

And when my skirts are dirty, I wear these capris, my second skin capris.

I generally wear these capris for days on end until the stains outnumber the snaps and then I pull out their matching twin. That’s right I have two pairs. Shanel and I bought a matching set some summers back. Being the trendy gal that she is, she has moved on, and given me hers.

Actually that’s true about lots of my outfits. I am the beneficiary of many such Shanel has-beens, which like the flip-flops deserves it’s own post.

When Hungryman takes me on a summer date, I like to wear a dress like this.

Hello good friend, I’ve missed you. Can you come upstairs to stay?

Oh, and check it out. Here’s my newest addition to my closet.

A HUGE thank you to Amy at By His Grace for this funky, monogram necklace.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel warmer now. Maybe I can finally take my coat off. Hmm, well not yet.

Here’s hoping this is the only umbrella I’ll need soon.

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imagine that

This scrumptious quote came in one of my birthday cards this past week and I have to share it with you:

“I do not think the resemblance between the Christian and the merely imaginative experience is accidental. I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not the least.”

–C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

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miss the southwest:
















oh wait, maybe not the this.

I did get an e-mail yesterday Uncle Kim correcting my spelling of the scary black pig–it’s a Javalina not a Havalina. It’s good to know that a hunter can spell his prey.



And the number ONE reason why I miss the southwest:


Only five more months until flip-flops and sundresses!

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