Thursday, May 28, 2015

Last Day of School!

Holy Cow!
The boys are officially on summer vacation today. So, yesterday, I had to take those last day of school photos, becasue I love (and hate) to see how much they have grown through the school year!
((Side note: I am lucky to have this post done. As you can see, I was putting the pictures side-by-side and suddenly this darn Blogger program decided not to let me put them side-by-side anymore! I tried EVERYTHING, except tossing my computer out the window. It was close. I opend the window. It would have been so satisfying. But I just gave in, instead.))
Anyway...Sam is finished with seventh grade. He has grow so much and is starting to look like a young man.  (sniff sniff) Sam is off to his second Middle School experience. (In our school district we have a 6th-7th Middle School and a 8th-9th Middle School.) He is excited and ready to go! This year he was on lead council, which is a group of students that plan all the "extras" of the school year, such as can drives, socials and Christmas big gives. He loved doing it all! He also made a tight group of 4 other friends, who are now know as the Molestead 5. They created a lip-sync bit and performed it at the talent show. He's ready to "hang" this summer with his buddies!


Jack just finished third grade. He, too, has grown so much in so many ways. I love how he has his favorite baseball tees on in each photo! Jack had an amazing year made several new friends and absolutely loved his teacher! We owe so much to her for taking our shy, not sure, content to observe instead of participating little guy and making him fly this year!
(His last day is on the left and his first day is on the right)

I couldn't believe how much Sam had grown, until I saw these pictures of him and Jason! We had to measure him and he came in at 5'9". He loves to remind me that he is taller than me and is about to catch up with Jason! Jeepers!


( Here's where my Blogger decided to say no go to my side-by-side pictures)
Here you can see that Sam IS actually taller than me and Jack is at my shoulder. It's not like I am 4' tall!! I am 5'7" which people tell me is "tall" for a girl.


It was a bit of a new experience this year on the last day. I didn't pick up either of the boys from school and go get ice-cream. Instead, they both went with friends. Jack went with a group of boys for ice-cream, to a park and then over to one of the friends.

 Sam headed to a local store to get some food and then to park to hang out. I had the "talk" with how we have hundreds of eyes around town watching him, so make sure he was on his up and up behavior! He says, "I know." I just reminded him that happens when you know a lot of people in town!!

 So, what will we do this summer?
Jack has swim lessons (beginning next week...thank goodness the pool is heated), a cartooning class, a robotic lego class and an ISU engineering class!  Sam has two track camps, a Lacrosse camp and guitar lessons. Such different boys!! We are planning a trip to Colorado, but other than that, I think the boys will be hanging with their friends...and that is what summer is all about!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Teacher Gift

This weekend Jack and I got our craft on to create an end of the year gift for his amazing third grade teacher!

I picked up some Heidi Swapp Marquee letters. I have had my eye on them for some time and wanted to do something fun and different with them and finally got an idea. 

So I headed out to purchase the letters. You buy each letter individually. We were spelling the word "READ" and the store was out of the letter "A". I went ahead and purchased "R, E, D" and kept my fingers crossed that and "A" would show up!
 The package comes with the marque paper letter, a pattern, lights and a cord with a battery pack. Seems simple enough...let's do this!

First thing first, we had to paint each letter. The paper soaked up the paint pretty fast, so we had to do at least  coats on each letter.

While the paint dried, we traced and cut out different  Dr. Suess papers and several pages from Dr. Suess books, using the pattern of each letter. Jack then punched the holes in each letter. The paper fit very snug and so I was getting a bit frustrated. Jack just pushed the paper in and looked at me like, "Duh." Our hole punch was a bit smaller then needed, so Jack took scissors, pushed them down, twisted them and made the hole just right.

Jack then placed the light bulbs in each punched hole.

His favorite part was hooking up the wire and giving each letter a test run!

One we had all the letters done, we just needed to put them in order!

Ta Da!!!

Jack was so proud of himself and should be!
They turned out great!
Who wouldn't want a big marquee "READ" letters in their classroom!

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I have had a terrible time picking a book and staying with it lately. I started reading The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell. It has received amazing reviews, but it is one that needs careful reading and one I shouldn't be reading right before bed when I fall asleep and then can't remember what I read the night before. I will be reading this one this summer...on vacation or at the pool.,204,203,200_.jpg 

 The next book I have been slowly working on is What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I love her writing, but this book is a little slow then her other books I have read. I am going to stay with it, so I can find out what happens to the characters.,204,203,200_.jpg 

So, when Jack and I went to the library last week, I picked up the book Sold by Patricia McCormick. I have come across this book several times, but passed it up. Some of the chapters are a paragraph long and I think the longest chapter is a page and a half. I assumed it was written in poet type prose, but it actually reads like a short story. 
Wow. It's a short book, but packs a powerful punch. 
I read it in two days. 

From Amazon:
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.

He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at "Happiness House" full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.

An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family's debt-then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.

Lakshmi's life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother's words-Simply to endure is to triumph-and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision-will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?

Writing how these hopeful young girls are sold into prostitution was heartbreaking but also eye opening on how the business works, cons and survives.  Lakshmi wants nothing more to leave her home, work as a maid and bring money back to her mother so she can have a tin roof instead of a leaking thatch roof. So, when her gambling stepfather runs out of money to repay debts, he sells her, without her understanding, into prostitution in India. There are tender moments where Lakshmi befriends other girls in the house and a few boys form the city. Moments that she shares with these others will further open your eyes how these young people are true survivors of this ugly business. It is a young adult novel and the scenes are written discreetly, but the emotional pain is raw and difficult at times. I would recommend this book to older teens and adults.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


What could I have possibly have asked these boys to do that would require such muscles and strength?

Oh...I know. 
You sure do need big muscles to pull those tiny weeds from rain soaked dirt! Glad these muscle men were willing to help out!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Did you ever see the movie "Signs?" 

If you did, you will definitely remember this scene: 
The characters in the movie all decide to wear tin foil hats so the aliens can't read their minds.

Well, you can probably guess where this is going...
Jason and the boys watched the movie "Signs" on Saturday night and suddenly I got this picture sent to me!!
The boys loved this movie, but also thought is was sooo intense! There is very little blood in the movie, if any. This was the first movie the boys had seen that was scary due to the images in your mind and not what was on the screen.  
Jack said his heart was racing and he actual jumped at parts of the movie! That was why they wore their hats through the entire just never know!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Second Set...

So, today I am sharing with you the second half of our day that I documented for "A Day in the Life." Ali Edwards "founded" the idea of "A Day in the Life" and you can check out her amazing photos of her day on her blog by clicking here. Her pictures are amazing and inspiring. Darn her.

Anyway...enjoy our Tuesday afternoon and evening!

After my class, I spent an hour and a half picking out papers for three different projects that I am going to start.

The first is a baby book. Friends of ours had their first little boy and I am going to attempt my first baby album. I have always wanted to try to create one, but never had a new baby to give it to!!

This is the collection and items I am going to use for my Day in the Life album!

The third project is a secret at this time.
I had a coupon for 100 sheets of cardstock for half price. I took full advantage of the opportunity.

 Headed over to Sam's science fair. Sam's experiment was "Is there other daily things that are dirty then the toilet seat?" Right up my germ-a-fob's alley! Yes, Sam's cell phone was actually dirty then the toilet seat! He swabbed several different household items and even grew some cultures. It was gross. 

When we went to the Science Fair, Sam told me his throat was on fire and he was concerned that he had strep throat. Off to the doctors office after school to check. Sam was good...just a cold. TLC and rest was in order. Sam worked on homework while waiting for the results of his throat swab...which was checked by  cultures..hmmmm.

Jack hung out and gave us his best chipmunk tooth look. 

After  the doctor visit, I  ran Sam to guitar lessons.

While Sam was at guitar, I needed to feed Jack, so he had a healthy burger and fries from McDonald's!!

 Jack took this photo of his meal!!

After we picked up Sam, who was feeling much better (which I call relief) we headed home for 30 minutes. Boys brought the garbage can down from the top of the lane.

 Jack "helped" bring the garbage down, too.

Sam grabbed a quick dinner and off to Lacrosse. I know...busy, busy, busy!!

Jack and I went off on errands. He has a new shirt on due to the fact that he dropped a big glob of ketchup on his other shirt.

"Mom, my eye..." 
Yes, he is pretending that a q-tip is stabbed in his eye. Why are q-tips in the car? Because Sam would forget to clean his ears in the morning and so I put q-tips in the car, so if he forgot, he could clean them on the way to school. Believe me, if you saw the potato fields he can grow in his ears, you would have q-tips in your car, too!!

Jack soooo needs a new pair of shoes, so we looked at three different stores. He was in a "mood" and it wasn't for shoe buying!!
 We finally ditched the unsuccessful shoe trip and went to he library.

 Picked up Sam at 7:30 and headed home...finally!! 

Jack got ready for his day and off to bed to read. (Time is wrong on the photo and couldn't change it.)

 Sam asked me what was for dinner and I snapped at him and said, "Sometimes you need to help yourself." Oops. So, when I went downstairs, I mentioned how Sam's omelet looked yummy. He answered, "Yep. Sometimes you just need to help yourself." Sam...are you saying something to me without saying something to me? This is the look I got from him.

The poor kid was swamped with homework that night!!

Packed Jack's lunch for the following day. Signed his planner.

Ran upstairs to tuck Jack in. He insisted on one more photo for the day. 

Pushed Sam to bed at 9:30 because he needed the rest. 

Did some work in my scraproom.

Waiting for things to download.

Headed to bed to read. 

Lights off!

Jack woke me up Wednesday morning and wanted to take a picture. Can you tell my eyes can't even focus yet???

The three of us sending a selfie to Jason Wednesday morning to say good morning! He has been out of town. 

Love these guys!!

Now for the creative part...putting all of this in an album!
Wish me luck!!