Tuesday, April 30, 2013


      We took advantage of the warm temperatures today to go out and see what's left of the snow.
In the front, there is absolutely none.  Do you remember that three foot tall pile a couple weeks ago?

In the back by the creek, there is just a bit left.
The creek is running quite swiftly.  Normally it's pretty stagnant due to a huge beaver dam.

The guys took advantage of the opportunity to get their boat in the water for the first time this year.  They loaded it up with fresh batteries, and off they went.

I had my eye on the garden while we out there.  
At present it looks like a mud hole, but that will change.

About a month from now, okay six weeks, we can plant all of our plants outside.  Yeah!
Yes, I have been dreaming of seeing all of them doing well and our grocery bill being wonderfully reduced!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea and Flowers

 First, tea!  Emily made personal strawberry pies for each person using her new miniature pie plates she got for her birthday.  They were so good!

After we enjoyed our treats, (gorged ourselves--though not me of course), we went for a walk to enjoy the amazing nearly 70 temperature and see the beautiful spring flowers that are finally brave enough to emerge in the U.P.  This trip Helena manned the camera for the first time.  She took some really great pictures as you'll see and also filled up the memory card!!

Emily and Kristin enjoying a chat with friends after our walk.  I made the executive decision to crop myself out of both photos.  Helena strategically took the pictures as I made either a ridiculous face or the wind gave me a "unique" hairdo.  For those of you who know me, this is not hard to do with my hair!

Our friends we enjoyed walking with
appear to be talking to no one because this time I cropped out Emily and Kristin too.   Helena managed to catch them in a rather unflattering pose as well.  Such talent!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Consonant Digraphs...

Ch, Sh are the first two...
Ch as in chick

This is James trying to negotiate a bottle of glue for the first time.  It was hilarious!  As he would squeeze the bottle, the air would blow away the paper he was trying to put glue on.  He thought this was so funny, it took about five minutes to get the job done amid all his laughing.

Okay, now he wised up to hold the item being glued in one hand and glue in the other.  New problems arose from this method, however.  Now the "googly eyes" were glued to his fingers!  This of course was very funny too and then he was so sticky he couldn't let go of them.

He's attempting to let go of the eye and put it on the chick.

After all that, he finally managed to complete his ch, ch, chick.

Ch..chick and Sh..sheep

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were the wildlife sighting for today.  They were quite happy with the puddles in our back yard.  This was, of course, after the morning snowfall had melted:)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Signs of Life In Our Indoor Garden!

Obviously this one came already living, but you'll notice our 3 in 1 citrus tree is also blooming!
There is no way any kind of citrus could live in the U.P., so this will live indoors year round.
I suppose if it behaves, we could occasionally give it a few hours on the patio during the summer months.

Here is the amazing part of our "garden,"  we actually have several plants sprouting already!  This is a tomato (that little tiny bit of green) poking its stem up.

By the way, I know I promised to post clips from the last concert, but until we have some high speed internet available, that won't be happening.  After a three hour wait, an eight minute clip still hadn't uploaded and we can't leave it on all night so...patience is a virtue!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy 16 Matthew!

Matthew's request was a triple layer, double chocolate cake with raspberry filling.  The decorations (raspberries) make it look a little prickly, but it was absolutely delicious.  I think about two weeks on the treadmill will work it off.   In case you were wondering, the girls did level those layers this time:)  That's why you don't see any floral picks with the candles :D

Our traditional birthday meal is pizza and pickles.  (homemade bread and butter made by Emily)
If you look carefully outside you might be able to see that it is indeed snowing!  Aagh!

How many people does it take to light the birthday candles?  Well, three if you use the "Happy Birthday" candles.  Actually three wasn't enough.  By the time they were all lit, one of the "y's" had burned out completely, and there was wax all over the cake.

The other tradition for those who are old enough is a dessert of cake and coffee!

To give you an idea of how rich this cake is, all twelve of us had a slice 
and there is still that much left over.  Yeah! Cake leftovers for tomorrow!

James is dizzy with excitement during the gift opening!  
Okay, truth be told, he was pouting because he didn't like the pizza.

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Signs of Spring!

Do you see all the grass in the background?  That has just appeared in the last two days!  If you have been watching, you saw the snowbanks higher than Matthew just over a month ago, and now it's down to only about 2 1/2 to 3 feet.

Also, just to lift our spirits, these crocuses appeared last week and are now blooming.  
I just so enjoy the colors of spring!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gardening and Goggles

When you live in the U.P., gardening is impossible without starting your plants indoors.  Sometimes even our last frost date of June 15 is too early for planting outside.  So...this afternoon we got started on our indoor garden.  The girls, a friend, and I got busy doing our planting.

This is the end of about 200 pots.  We were so happy to be done!  
Now we can sit back and wait for the little plants to emerge...and dream about spring!

James is so excited about his new goggles.  He is assuring daddy and I that he will blow bubbles when we go swimming next time since he will be wearing his new goggles.  The best part about them, at least to him, is that they are orange!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Signs of Spring

Spring always brings many new activities.  Emily has been busy with her student recital while the rest of us have been getting ready for orchestra concerts.  Her "piano" cookies turned out so cute I thought we should share a picture.

We also had the return of the robins in our back yard this week.  
They were back this morning despite a new dusting of snow.  

We managed to snap this picture right before it flew away.  It was funny how it found the one spot without snow and even managed to find a worm!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Emily!

Emily chose a gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake for her 21st birthday.  If you're wondering how it's possible to make a cheesecake dairy-free, you just substitute the cream cheese with soft goat cheese.  It's not a good idea to eat a lot of it because you could sensitize yourself to that too, but it's so great to be able to have it for a treat.

We had a great time arranging the candles in the shape of the numbers 21.  Just in case you think you might want to try it, be prepared for the initial candles you light to be burned down about half way by the time you finish, and also be prepared for a lot of heat!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cute Hairdo and Cowboy James

This is such an easy hairdo for little girls with hair that won't stay in a barrette 
or pony tail without falling out.  We like to do this on Sunday's when we'd prefer Helena not look like she just got out of bed at church.

James "borrowed" Christopher's new hat for a quick picture.
Yes, it's a little big.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Things You Might Need If...

 Do you actually use your appliances?  Well, we do, and we use them a lot!  One of the ones we use the most is our big mixer.  Since these apparently aren't made to be used on a daily basis, we are having a severe noise problem.  Sooo...you might need hearing protection like Emily...

and Kristin.

Emily and Kristin made a fantastic gluten-free, dairy-free cake recently.  
These are the layers ready to be assembled.  Question is, do you really need to level those layers?
Well, could be it's important.

Otherwise you might need some floral picks to keep those layers from taking a tumble!
It was a bit lopsided, but still delicious!