Friday, December 29, 2006

An Innocent Bystander...

It really wasn't his idea, but he went along with it anyway.
He figured that if it made his aunts happy, he would be glad to wear the green jersey with the number 4 on it. What's the big deal?
His Mommy and Daddy were both quite diplomatic and didn't comment or complain as we put it on him. They let him wear it home and then to his other Grampa's house. That's when things got a bit sticky. It seems that the Minnesota relatives don't like the color... or something. Well, I dunno.... What's the big deal?
His Uncle Mark says he has good taste as it concerns his wardrobe. He says maybe we'll get a little holiday miracle and the Packers will make the playoffs. In short, he says, the Giants have to lose and the Packers have to win. (and that's the big deal!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What's for lunch?

Diane's White Chile
(This would taste good anytime, but was especially delicious on a recent winter day for my family. I doubled the recipe.)
1 T Olive Oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed.
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups reduced-salt chicken broth
1 small (4 oz) can mild green chilies, chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 can (15 oz) cannelloni or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 green onions (white part and 3 inches of green part) chopped
2 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onions; cook 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in broth, green chilies and spices. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in beans and simmer 5 minutes more.
  • Serve chili immediately, topped with green onions and cheese.
  • Add a green salad and warm cornbread for a complete meal.
  • Recipe from Diane Powell - friend and educator.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas...

Lighted Christmas trees, so straight and tall;
With surprises beneath them for one and all.
Bright eyes and smiles and loved ones around
Christmas traditions and memories abound.

Look to the manger, the baby so small;
Emmanuel, "God with us", for one and for all.
Bright hope of heaven, the angels still herald,
New Christmas miracles and joy to the world!

Merry Christmas and may God bless us... every one.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mimi...

When are you gonna act your age?

Hope you always stay so cute! Love, MM xoxoxoxoxoxxo

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Aunt Anne saves the day...

...or "Making that all-important first impression!"

I was thrilled to be invited this year to the teachers' festive yuletide celebration. A relatively new tradition, it has been going on for about four years. Mostly attended by my younger colleagues, the party consists lots of laughter, teacher talk, good food and the usual libations; all of which precede the "Ugly Ornament Contest". (This contest becomes the topic of many teacher conversations throughout the year and, now, I know why. But that is a topic for yet another blog.) In my desire to make that all-important first impression, I knew I needed to bring the best dish to share. "Aunt Anne's Buffalo chicken Dip" went over so well, I think I might be "in" again next year. We had a blast, laughed out loud and made many new friends. Thank you, Aunt Anne!

Aunt Anne's Buffalo Chicken Dip
4 boneless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1 12-oz bottle hot sauce
2 8-oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
1 8 oz bottle Blue Cheese dressing
1 8-oz bottle Ranch dressing
1 8-oz package Monterrey Jack cheese- shredded
½ cup copped celery

Mix shredded chicken with hot sauce and spread in bottom of 13X9 pan. Over medium heat melt cream cheese and dressings until smooth. Pour over chicken mixture. Top with Monterrey Jack cheese and celery. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until bubbly. Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with Frito scoops.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Winter mornings...

We had a week of picture-perfect winter mornings that would have been suitable for a Lange calendar! The brilliant moon, though now waning, lighted the still-dark sky and bounced its beams off piles of snow from our recent 12-inch dump. Snow brings thoughts of Christmas and the carols played in my mind as I drove to school each morning. Morning after morning I delighted to see the moon up above; a polished pearl brightening the blue gray sky, while ribbons of sunlight began forming across the landscape. The whiteness of the winter added to my mood and the snow had its usual "youth-a-nizing" effect on me. What a gift from God.
Two melting days later, dense fog and gray outlines are all I can make out. Its just plain wet. Moon and sun are hiding. And just like any jolt of reality or major change in life, it is hard to take. But I have already decided to hum Christmas carols as I drive to school this morning, and thank God for ALL his wonderful GIFTS.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"So much, so much, so much..."

" much
... so much to be thankful for."
The words of this chorus and its catchy melody are still playing in my head since learning it at Caledonia Church on Sunday. We do, indeed, have so much to be thankful for and it was a fun way to be reminded of that fact by learning this little tune. It was good to be with God's people and to worship in His house. It was good to be ministered to through song and the preaching of the Word. It was good to see the love of God radiate in the kind eyes and smiling faces of ordinary people. It was good.

Friday, November 17, 2006

As easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7......

First you don't look at the directions...

Then you count all the pieces....

Then you wonder why they designed it that way...
... you look for your tools, but can't find them... end up using Mom's kitchen tools.... peek at the directions eventually...
... and you only break one piece in the process...

(Like Father, like Daughter!)

... and VOILA! Owen love his new play area!
(Thanks to Karen and Karina!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Happy Birthday, Karen...

May fond memories come to mind
as you celebrate your day.
May sweet cards from loved ones
have kind things to say.
You have been blessed so far
to keep the years at bay.
Keep living, loving, laughing
and showing us the way.

With all my love to my little sister.
Happy Birthday
(Hope you have a finger-licking good time!)

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's a girl...

Julie and Todd have welcomed Sadie to their little farm.
A sweet little thoroughbred filly, she is certainly going to keep Julie busy with all the training and teaching it takes to break in a yearling. So happy for you, Jewels, to have a "pony of your own" again! She reminds me of Nick...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dear Rachel...

Dear Rachel,
You are our little lamb and you have always been our friend, too. Even as the youngest, you have brought great joy to your family. Your life has been an example. You have been my hero and my inspiration. (Look where you have encouraged me to go!) You have shared your Daddy's great faith, and you have put it to work in your life. You are such a gifted teacher and, now, the best Mother a little boy could want! We love you and continue to pray for all the best in your life.
Here you are! Keep smiling. Keep teaching. Keep "looking unto Jesus"....

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two Mary Elizabeths...

Our own version of the "Odd Couple"...
EMMY and MIMI...

Who would have thought that this match would last?

Who could have predicted they would still be together?
What in the world does this mean?

"The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy" ~Sam Levenson

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Woo Hoo Girl...

She sure puts the "woo" back in my Woo Hoo.


That girl. That's who!

Who else?

In a very short few days she introduced me to her home on Harbour Island; got me to walk four miles along Tampa's Bayshore Blvd; got me to eat healthy smoothies for breakfast, wraps for lunch and Caprisi salad for supper; introduced me to Sushi; entertained me in her company's box at the Forum for NHL Hockey with the Tampa Bay Lightning; and took me to the beach at Fort DeSoto. We still took time to sprawl on the couch for quality tube time, had our coffee at Starbucks, a cool drink by the pool and still got nine hours of sleep at night! Who else could pull that off?

Her little corner of the world is beautiful and busy. The way she likes it. Living in a one-bedroom apartment on Dock View Way, she is within walking distance of Tampa's downtown including: the Florida Aquarium, the Convention Center, the Forum where the Lightning play hockey, the Port of Tampa where the cruise ships dock, the IMAX, historic (and fun) Ybor City, and virtually hundreds of shops, delis, pubs, clubs, theaters, sidewalk cafes and coffee shops. I met so many freinds and acquaintances I couldn't count them all. (If she were to live there a few more years, she could run for mayor!)

She puts the "woo" in my Woo Hoo; and in the lives of countless other friends, I am sure!

At the beach...

Tampa at night...

Dune buggy ride...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Geometry connections...

A2 + B2 = C2

Dear Miss Harvey,

I have found myself thinking about you many times throughout the years since my high school days. Those were a long time ago! You were my geometry teacher back then and you even saw fit to give me the Geometry Award that year. It was one of many difficult years in my life, but that Award was a bright spot! I don’t know if I thanked you… but, Thanks now.

One Homecoming we needed some leaves and branches for decorating or for on our float and you brought us to your home to get some. We got to see your beautiful woods and land. It was an unusual gesture to have a teacher be so kind and generous. Another time you gently scolded me about my behavior. I wasn’t used to such a quiet voice while being corrected. It made me think. It sunk in….. You were one teacher in a million. I believe you cared. Thank you.

I graduated in 1967 and left Evansville High School and Evansville forever. (Since my parents, and then my mother, lived there for several years, I did go back to visit!) I went on to the University and graduated with a teaching degree. I married and had a family. I was privileged to be able to stay home with my young children while helping my husband to run his business. Teaching was always in my heart, however. Later I worked for 12 years in an office while we put our kids through college – all four of them – and daughters, too! Soon after the youngest graduated I went back to school to update my teaching credentials and got certified in Special Education.

This is my second year teaching at Kettle Moraine High School. As hard as it is, I love it. I get to work with so many young people with so many needs and I can give them the love, discipline and encouragement that they crave. I have learned to use that quiet voice that always takes them by surprise. I hope I am following in your footsteps.

The reason I decided to write you is because I am co-teaching a geometry class this year. I love it. I am helping today’s ninth and tenth graders navigate that “dreaded” course! Because I support the students with special needs, as well, I am giving them access to the regular math curriculum. This is satisfying work. I understand that, though you are retired from teaching, you are still working with youth that have many and varied needs. The world is a better place because of you. Thank you. Your geometry student.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Our "baby boy" is four months old...

Snowflakes are flying this afternoon and it is a biting cold that blows in my face as I dash to the parking lot. For me, it is way too soon for thoughts of winter; for thoughts of coats and hats and gloves and boots. I'm not quite ready to face it all so as I drive home from work, I fade back into my favorite contemmplation - baby Owen.
Four months ago - when it was HOT and summertime - Owee made his way into the world. It is a miracle at which we still marvel and a joy beyond description. Since that day we just can't seem to get enough of him. When we can't see him we have to settle for looking at all of his pictures over and over again. (It's a good thing pictures don't wear out just by looking at them!) He's enough to make a grown man sing... and here is Owen's Grampa doing just that!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Life on a Mountain Top...

or... Many reasons to marry your best friend...
You trust him!
You like t0 be with him!
You know what he likes!
You have so much fun together!
You both love to do crazy things, and he is as crazy as you!
You can travel to fun places together!
You LOVE him! And he LOVES you!
You want to take care of him! And he takes good care of you..................
Happy First Anniversary Todd and Jewels!

Here he is... "keeping the excitement in the marriage!"
Have fun, Todd. We love you!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Good times...

Lori Jo's birthday became another wonderful excuse to get together in North Prairie. From Thursday until Sunday we made up for all the weeks and months we were apart! We saw the sights in Milwaukee, met up with friends and relatives, enjoyed lunch downtown, a steak dinner at home, Mexican food and Margaritas for Lori's party, a cozy late night campfire, birthday cake with candles, and going out for breakfast! Owen found many welcoming arms to hold him and was hugged and squeezed (until he ___ed)! A special treat was travelling altogether in one vehicle - a borrowed van - and, like everything else, it got nicknamed by Lori Jo. I hope we can borrow "Therapist Van" next time we get together in Wisconsin...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Thirty looks good on you girl....

Happy Birthday, Lori Jo! You have given new meaning
to our lives for 30 years.

"Little Wise One"; "Little General"; "Lo-Jo"; "Little Wise-acre"; "BOBO" ;"No Kissing in here!"; "It isn't funny"; "The President"; "I Want a Big Mac!"; "I'll just drink it out of the bottle"; "Rub-a-dub Doggie"; "Little Beau"; "Gimme a Mick-Ultra"; "I just wanted to say ONE more thing";
"What did we name you? - Barb!"; "The Mayor"; "Just a few close friends - 47 of them"; "The Organizer"; "The Delagator"; "List-maker" and
"Ha-Ha, I beat you!".......

Thanks for all the good times!
All our LOVE,

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Twin girls!!!

The only news that could be better than "Karina's having a girl" is the news that "Karina is having TWIN girls!" We are thrilled for her and for Jason, who has been hoping for his little girl... Now there will be TWO!
Into a house full of boys toys, and into the den called "Man Land", there will be an invasion... I can see it now. A flurry of pink and giggles and laughter; the silly and flirtatious competition for Daddy's affection and Mommy's attention. Much to the wonderment of the little boys, two sisters will turn their world upside down! Two little button noses, two pairs of twinkling eyes and two little smiles will melt their hearts. May God bless this little family, protect this nurturing Mommy and bring these little ones to a safe and healthy delivery.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Owen therapy... exactly what we need to chase those blues away.
This little guy puts a smile on a tired face. He reaches out and touches the soft spot in his Grandpa's heart. He snuggles under that strong chin, grabs hold of this hard-working man's shirt and promptly falls asleep.
Is that a tear you see, or does Grandpa have something in his eye?

Saturday, September 09, 2006


has been defined as "...leisure time away from work, devoted to rest or pleasure". Everyone needs this; from the sleep-starved new Mommy who would LOVE a 45-minute nap to the guy putting in 20 hours of overtime who thinks longingly of his unused easy chair. I know that some people actually do take vacations for days and even weeks at a time.

Though some people never get the chance to do it; they simply don't know how to stop working long enough to take the time for rest, relaxation and enjoyment! Then there are those folks that take time off from their work; but only to do different kinds of work!

I am married to just such a guy. To him a holiday usually means a chance to replace another window or door and get caught up on yardwork, wood cutting and vehicle repairs. A once-a-year trip to the cabin usually turns into fixing boats and motors or performing other repairs. One year, since the motor wouldn't work, he ended up rowing the complete width of the lake. Now THAT is a chore! Please don't get me wrong! I am not complaining. His work ethic was one of the reasons I picked him in the first place. But I think that it is time for him to learn the meaning of the word "vacation" and discover leisure, rest and recreation. Heck, he doesn't even own an easy chair. Well, I am beginning to think it's now or never!
Being that I am almost as bad about staying late at school and bringing work home on weekends, I will need to be innovative and creative about re-discovering leisure. It might mean starting slowly; trying some small things; setting some work boundaries; and then planning for some "mini-vacations". When we start to change our thinking about work and put it in perspective there might be time for: an hour bike ride in the Kettle Moraine; a couple of hours at the zoo; a hike in the woods; a half-hour swaying in the porch swing; an afternoon at the art museum; a casual drive along the lake; or even a 45 minute excursion to the Lapham peak tower for taking in the panorama. How about it? Does anyone else need a vacation?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Baby Boy Update... or "5 Little Boys"

"Little Boy Loved" with his Mommy.
"Little Boy Sleepy" in Mommy's arms.

" Little Boy Cuddly" with Great Aunt Dianne:

"Little Boy Spoiled"? Never...

" Little Boy Growing Up" before our very eyes!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The heirloom baby crib...

He always knew that he wanted to make the little bed that our grandchildren would sleep in. It is something that he thought about for a long time. I encouraged him to go ahead and do it soon after we found out that we were to become grandparents!

Knowing that it had to be special, he planned to include the art of rosemaling as well as careful woodworking. Here he is at work on the rosemaling that will enhance the ends of the beautiful new crib.

Maple is the wood that he chose; carefully cutting, shaping, sanding and gluing it together. He spent many evenings in his wood shop, hoping that it would be perfect... hoping that it would please his family.
Putting on the final touches and fitting it with the hardware, the baby crib was lovingly completed just in time for some VERY special company! It turned out prettier than any of us could have imagined. Owen and his Mommy loved it.

Thank you, Grandpa Phil.

Love, Owee

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The friend that I prayed for...

Soon after moving here 30 years ago I began praying for a friend. Living in the country as I was; a young mom with a busy husband, I knew I needed companionship ...and fun. My answer burst on the scene at Christmas time when all the neighbors were gathered for a cookie exchange. Late, breathless, effusing apologies and carrying her still-warm chocolate chip cookies on the sheet right out of the oven, Florence made her typical "grand entrance". Elegant, radiant and (I found out later) brilliant, she walked into my life and single-handedly became the answer to my prayer. Her first words to me were, "I just got saved, and I want to tell everyone about it!" It is a zeal that she carries to this day.
God, in his wisdom, gave us each other to weather life's storms together. Raising kids, losing parents, watching our husbands struggle in their businesses and paying off the debt. Raising our teenagers, playing "church", seeking God's face and digging into his Word. Desiring God's will, seeing our big brothers lose their battles with cancer, giving our daughters in marriage and watching their relationships dissolve in bitter tears... She cries on my shoulder and I cry on hers... God smiles.
Florence rescues turtles from the highway and chipmunks from the very jaws of predatory cats. She bakes bread and brews a wonderful cup of tea. She sets an elegant table, with real cloth napkins, and actually uses her finest imported china. She speaks articulately, asks probing questions and then ...she listens. She encourages me. She builds me up. She spurs me on to do good deeds. She makes me think. And, without fail, Florence makes me laugh! Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The untale of the Sloth,,, or look who's goofing off.

Looking pleased and flanked by Rippling Stream and Babbling Brook in this undated photo, I was unaware of the vast changes about to occur. [Of course, RS and BB have different hair color now, but that isn't the change we are talking about.] The thought of morphing into a slug never occurred to me! But alas, it appears to be coming true. Slothful ways are setting in.
RS has been up since before dawn, has done her devotions, taken a jog in the rain with her hubby, cleaned her house, done her laundry, opened all her windows for the fresh air, prepared food for her household and gone to work. (All that after a busy day yesterday of caring for her grandchild and dear elderly mother.)
In another corner of the world, BB ran a mile on the treadmill in preparation for a 5K run, rode her bicycle for 8 miles, stretched with Yoga and Pilates, showered, took the car for an oil change and, after doing her devotions, wrote a smashing sermon for Sunday. Before the day is over she will spend four hours at the nursing home encouraging the elderly, will provide communion to the homebound and cap off her day with a rousing game of Ultimate Frisbee until dark. (No wonder she has "abs"!)
On the other hand... I promised myself I would be out of my pajamas and write something on my blog before noon. Well, I didn't make it... for three out of four days.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The many faces of Mary Beth...

Happy Birthday Mary Beth!
Whatever you do to celebrate your day,
may you do it with all your heart!
Do it for you!

Do it like you mean it...

Have fun along the way...
And enjoy every minute...

We love you with all our hearts.
Just keep on smiling... and may God Bless you and Keep you.