12.29.2009

Snowshoeing

Ella got some snowshoes for Christmas last year and is finally getting a chance to really get out and use them. With all the snow we received last week, it was perfect snowshoeing weather.

These are some pictures I took. Thank goodness for telephoto lenses!!









12.28.2009

Blogging Fun in 2010

I know it's not the new year yet, but I've been working on a few new things for the new year. Can't just stick with the same old stuff can we?

If you'll check out my sidebar there are a couple additions. First off since we bought a new treadmill Zan thinks I'm supposed to use it. My goal for 2010 is to run 300 miles. You can track my progress ~or lack of~ on my little ticker.

Second new thing is I'm planning on taking a picture a day and posting them on a separate blog. I've titled it Little Bug Photos. You can click on the picture and it will take you to that blog.

I hope you will enjoy these new additions that I've planned as much as I will.

I have some great photos of Ella and Zan snowshoeing around in the snow that I will be putting up really soon. She had such a great time playing in the snow!! I'll get them up by tomorrow, so check back!!

12.25.2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Our traditional photo in front of the tree...



I hope everyone is having a great Christmas. We are having a very nice, relaxing day today. The kids are playing with their toys and I am eating all the yummy leftovers.

We are very fortunate to have children that sleep in on Christmas and don't wake us up to get their presents. We got up between 8:30 and 9:00 this morning to open presents. Ella and Sam both liked what they got. I spent the better morning putting Ella's things together and helping her get her toys organized. The day is really flying by fast.











I have officially been out to shovel 4 times in the past couple days. We have very nice neighbors who snow-blowed our driveway this morning. I don't know if I would have been able to shovel it this morning. It is the heaviest snow!!! I went out just a short while ago to get a few inches that fell this morning and it felt like it was over a foot of snow it was so heavy. Not only that but the snow banks are so high that you have to throw the snow 6 or so feet in the air. I won't even go into shoveling out the mailbox (if you can find it).

Here's what it looks like from our front door. This is the most snow we've seen around here this early in the season in a long time. Thankfully the snow is heavy so it won't blow around. We get a lot of drifting where we are.



Enjoy your Christmas!!!

12.23.2009

Booster Seats

Minnesota passed a new law this summer that required children 8 and under to be seated in a booster seat.

This week The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety came out with new ratings for booster seats. They state that only one in four seats gets a good, or best bet rating. You can see the article here.

Now Ella is still in her convertible seat. It's actually the same seat the Sam has too. She will be outgrowing it in the near future so we'll need to get her a booster seat. I already have the seat picked out and it's on their good list.

The reason I wanted to comment on all this booster seat stuff is because there's something that I feel was important that just wasn't mentioned in the article. The 5-point harness. Ella is still in her convertible so she has her 5-point harness. She "technically" could have been in a booster seat about a year and a half ago, but I didn't think that was necessary. There are numerous studies done that show a 5-point harness is so much safer for children than a booster with seat belt.

Years ago they didn't have the 5-point harness available to the older children like they do today, but nowadays they are making seats that will accommodate much older children in the 5-point harness. The seat I will be getting Ella next is the Britax Frontier which has the 5-point harness and then converts to a booster seat. So she will probably still be in her 5-point harness for a few more years to come.

I just feel that there are too many parents out there so eager to have their children in a booster seat for whatever reason (it's easier) that they aren't always considering the safety of the seat.

It was just interesting to me that they are saying these booster seats just aren't safe enough when they don't even mention the fact that a lot of these children still belong in a 5-point harness belt. That would be the much safer option for these children. I mean if they're trying to get parents to buy a safe seat why wouldn't you mention this much safer option?

12.22.2009

Coming Up Soon...

Sometimes there are just the powers that be that keep me from writing. Lately those have been cookie baking, shopping, shoveling snow, cleaning and painting. Don't forget your daily laundry and cooking too. Needless to say the writing just hasn't been coming. Not that I haven't thought about it, but just haven't taken the time.

I will be getting something up later today or tomorrow. Last night Ella had her school sing-a-long and it was interesting. More details to come.....stay tuned.....

12.16.2009

Wordless Wednesday



12.15.2009

Extra Layer Required

Long underwear is usually reserved for those days where you're outside skiing or snowshoeing, but here, today, I am wearing my long underwear top. (I think there were far too many comma's in that sentence, but I like it.)

It is so incredibly cold outside today! Thank goodness for the sunshine. We had such a nice November that I was hoping for an extended fall and a shorter winter. Not going to be the case I guess. The first day of winter arrives this weekend sometime, so the days will start getting longer once again. Then about a month from that it's technically the coldest days of the year, so the days should start getting warmer again, right?

I do this every year. I look for signs of spring starting in December. Don't get me wrong, I really like the snow. It's just the bitter cold that I don't like. Really don't like.

Sam and I just got back from a trip (outside in the freezing cold) to the grocery store. We had to pick up the last few things needed to make the Christmas cookies. I really should get started on that.

Gifts are all bought, they just need to be found (I hide them a little too well and in too many different places sometimes.) and wrapped. And if you're on my Christmas card list you should be getting your card in the mail in the next day or so. Tis the season!

12.11.2009

Christmas Decorations

Someone requested photos of our Christmas decorations. See how accommodating I am?

Here is a picture of our tree...



The stockings on the fireplace...



The family room. We have mostly finished with this room. We're going to add more seating on the side of the table towards where I'm standing so we have better seating to watch our t.v. The t.v. in the corner will be moved to the basement. You get the idea...



I might get some pictures of the house at night with the lights, but only if I'm brave enough to go out in the freezing cold. Maybe in the next few days, we'll see.

I've been painting almost every day for two weeks now and am almost done. I was working on the upstairs hallway yesterday and will be finishing it up today. So all we'll have left is the front foyer (which is two stories tall) and we need a very tall ladder for that.

Sam likes to come upstairs when I'm painting. His excuse is that he needs a hug, which works on me. He also likes to find the tools that I have laying around and "work". He'll grab a screwdriver and head to the nearest screw and "work". Yesterday I gave him the drill and he loved it; even if it was very heavy for him.



Then we tried on his hat to see how it fit him from last fall (it was too big).



12.10.2009

Snow Day

Yesterday was Ella's first snow day. I was hoping that she wouldn't have school so I wouldn't have to go out in the freezing, windy, snowy day. There were quite a few schools in the area that did have school so I wasn't sure, but I did get to go back to bed and stay inside. At least until I went outside in the afternoon to shovel.

I took the day off from painting to try and get some things organized around here. My yarn has been stuffed in plastic bags then stuffed in the closet in here. I've been looking for some way to organize it all at a reasonable price. On Tuesday Sam and I went to Target and found the perfect little storage system for only $16.99!! It's perfect and fits great in the closet.

Before...




After....



Much better, no? I'm very excited to have it all ready for me when I need it.

Ella did have school today and since it's below zero with way below zero wind chills we bundled up in snow boots and snow pants. She has new pants and boots that keep her nice and warm. She had fun playing in the snow pile at the bus stop.

When the bus came to pick her up the bus driver told me that he can pick her up in front of our house since he goes around the block and doubles back. I think this might have changed recently as some road construction has been finished. She gets dropped off at the house but we've had to walk to the end of the street (only 2-3 houses down) to get on the bus. This will be very nice. The great thing is we can see the bus pull into the street and go around so we won't have to wait outside very long at all.

12.06.2009

Monster Jam!!!

Zan got tickets through work for the Monster Jam in town. So we took the kids (way past their bedtime) and headed down to the dome. Neither of us had been to one of these "shows" before but we had a really good time. The kids had a great time too. Sam was a little shaken with how loud it was at first. They had ear plugs in but some of the sudden loud noises made him jump.

Ella had a great time, but when asked if she wanted to go again she said no. I think it was getting a little late for them. There was a little too much down time that they didn't like and got bored, but overall a very entertaining "show". We got back to the car around 10:30; slowly squeezed our way out of downtown and made it home before 11:30.

Here's the new Advance Auto Parts truck Grinder. It's a cool truck!





The famous Grave Digger.





Here are some other random shots too.







11.30.2009

Post #30

So I made it to the end of NaBloPoMo and I thought I should have something great for my last day of the month. Thought, but don't have. I'm glad I didn't promise anything to you because then you'd be really disappointed.

I've been very busy lately. Ella and I got the Christmas tree decorated yesterday. I started painting the walls downstairs. The paint color is perfect. Exactly what I wanted! Between that and just getting everything else done, there wasn't time for me to come up with the great post.

I am a bit surprised that I actually made it through the 30 days. It's a lot harder that you would think. Yes, I can go on and on about this and that, but actually coming up with some things that are more interesting is very hard. I really liked being able to write my posts over Thanksgiving and have them automatically post while I was gone. It seemed like a break even though it really wasn't.

I tried to do some shopping today on Cyber Monday, but I haven't found any great deals on anything that I need. I do have a little more time left. I might go searching a little more before bed.

If you don't hear from me for a couple days my mind is taking a break from all this thinking...

11.29.2009

Thanksgiving

We were up at Brainerd this Thanksgiving and had a good time. It was pretty chilly out. Well I guess pretty warm compared to normal, but windy, thus making it chilly. I'm glad I didn't have to go outside much!

The kids had fun swimming in the pool and playing with their cousin. It's very nice to be home though.

Got my paint for the downstairs so I can start painting this week. I can't wait to finish; it always looks nice when you're done.

Here are some photos of the kids from up at Brainerd. Nothing fabulous, just them being them. Sam likes the new train whistle we picked up for him when we went shopping in Nisswa on Friday morning.







11.28.2009

Deck The Halls

Thanksgiving is over and it's time for Christmas!! The weather was beautiful here, at least for November 28th in Minnesota. I think it got to the lower 40's today and sunny! We went to chop down our Christmas tree. Many other people had the same idea and it was pretty busy. They even got to see and talk to Santa. Sam did, Ella didn't but daddy helped them out and Ella realized that Santa wasn't so bad after all.

We got the tree down and home. It is now sitting in our family room with lights ready to be decorated. We didn't get it decorated tonight, but we'll do that tomorrow. The kids just love the tree and get so excited when they first see it. Ella doesn't get quite as excited as she used to, but Sam really gets into it.

The lights are on outside and the stockings are hung by the fireplace. I've had more fun decorating this year than any other year. It's starting to look really nice around here.

We went to Home Depot to pick up our paint for the walls. We also got a new programmable thermostat that I just installed (while Zan was doing yoga). I figure the money we save from the new thermostat will pay for the Christmas lights outside, right?

Well here are some photos from the tree chopping and a little video of Sam saying "Christmas tree". It's so cute when he says it. He tries so hard to get it out and is usually so excited.




















video

11.27.2009

Friday Shopping

Since it's "black Friday" I thought I would post about shopping. I'm not one to get up early and go shopping. To me the hassle of getting up and fighting with other people just isn't worth it. I'd much rather shop online or when the stores are less busy. Some of the deals they have are very tempting, but I'm not that desperate for such deals.

Since moving into our new house I've done most of my shopping online. I've been very please with everything that has been purchased. I've found good deals, free shipping and that all makes shopping that much more pleasant.

I will say that I'm mostly all done with the Christmas shopping and have been for some time. I'm one of "those" people that likes to be done early. There are always things that pop up as you get closer to Christmas and not having too much to worry about is nice.

I received a catalog in the mail a short while ago and I thought it looked like the best stuff ever. It's called Nova Natural and if I had little babies I think I would buy everything. They have great wraps, clothes and wooden toys. You should really check them out.

Happy shopping!!

11.26.2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! I hope you're all enjoying a great meal with friends and family! This is also my 200th post!! Wow two things on one day, scary! I will say that I've really enjoyed blogging and meeting great blog friends. I hope to continue to write and improve into next year and my next 100 posts. Thank you to all who read and support me here!

We have so much to be thankful for this year. 2009 has been a very busy and exciting year for us as a family. We sold our house, built a house, and finally moved into it a couple months ago. Things got a little crazy for a while, but in the end everything worked out as planned and we feel very fortunate.

We are thankful for our very supportive families and great friends. We are thankful that we have all stayed healthy. We are very thankful.

So on this Thanksgiving I hope you are thankful too! I am thankful for all of you! (I rhymed!)

11.25.2009

Wordless Wednesday - Thanksgiving 2008










11.24.2009

35 Silly Questions

I stole this questionnaire from Jen over at The Tale Of Two Coins. She has a great blog, you should check it out. Thanks for the idea Jen!

1. What color is your favorite hoodie? Grey University of MN sweatshirt.

2. Do you plan outfits? Some days. If I'm going out I do. Otherwise for everyday I just grab something out of the closet.

3. What’s the closest thing to you that's red? The handle of the hammer on my desk.

4. Did you meet anybody new today? Nope

5. What are you craving right now? Anything sweet, peanut butter cups in the pantry!!

6. Do you floss? Every night.

7. What comes to mind when I say cabbage? Coleslaw. Which isn't my favorite.

8. Are you emotional? Sometimes

9. Would you dance to the taco song? Don't know the taco song and only dance when I'm alone or with the kids.

10. Have you ever counted to 1,000? Not that I recall.

11. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it? Lick it. Sensitive teeth.

12. Do you like your hair? Most days. I usually just grow it out then cut it off to donate.

13. Have you ever met a celebrity? Does Buzz Aldrin count? I have his autographed book.

14. What are you listening to right now? Zan working out downstairs, otherwise nothing. I really need a T.V. in the office!!!

15. Are your parents strict? Pretty normal strictness wise.

16. Would you go sky diving? No!

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush? Sure!

18. Is there anything sparkly in the room you’re in? Bag of tacks? Can you tell I've been hanging things up around the house?

19. Have you ever been in a castle? No

20. Do you know your neighbors? I know a few neighbors. We just moved in, so I'm still meeting.

21. Have you made a prank phone call? No

22. Do you own a gun? No

23. Can you count backwards from 74? Probably

24. Brown or white eggs? White

25. Ever been on a train? No

26. What year did you graduate? 1993

27. Is your hair curly? Stick straight!

28. Last time you cried? Recently. I get teary eyed reading blogs of people who are going through very hard times.

29. Ever walked into a wall? Yeah, all the time.

30. Do you like your life right now? Yes, life is good now.

31. How often do you talk on the phone? About once a day, sometimes less.

32. What is your favorite animal? That's a tough one. Bunnies are good. The kids love to see the bunnies, they get so excited.

33. What was the most recent thing you bought? A pair of shoes on clearance at Target.

34. Can you hula hoop? It's been a while, but I'm sure I still can.

35. Have you ever crawled through a window? Yeah, probably a few times.

I hope you enjoyed all the questions and answers!!

11.23.2009

Early Morning Blogging

Early for me anyways. Sam has been getting up earlier so I haven't been able to do any blogging in the morning. I don't like putting it off until later in the day, so this is nice.

On the way to the bus stop this morning we saw that there was a hawk sitting on the edge of our roof. There were crows flying around that weren't too happy with it for some reason. I thought they were going to wake up Sam, but I guess not.

Ella only has one day of school this week. They are making gingerbread houses today, so more fun that learning I guess. Then we can start getting ready for Thanksgiving. Num!!

Yesterday was Zan's birthday. I probably should have mentioned that over the t.v., but the t.v. was more fun. We didn't do anything special. Had a good day though. I made him snacks for the football game and gave him a beer. What more could he ask for? I even bought him some Vikings cupcakes.

I was going to bring Sam to get his hair cut today, but I think I'm going to give it one more shot. I'm the only one who goes to get my hair cut around here. I cut everyone else's hair. Sam's is just tricky because his hair is so fine and he doesn't like to sit still. I have a few tricks left up my sleeve that will hopefully work. Otherwise I think I'll need to borrow a Flobee from my brother. :)

11.22.2009

The Splurge

As you know we went to Best Buy yesterday evening and closed the place down. I think we were the last ones out of the store. Apparently they don't announce over the loud speaker that the store will be closing. I just assumed they were open late. That is until we walked out into the parking lot and there were seriously two cars in it. Including ours!!

Oops, oh well. The cost of business I guess. We went to look and things and of course ended up buying. This isn't like us, well Zan anyways. It is like me. We ended up buying a few different things but this is the main attraction...



A 52 inch t.v. to go over our fireplace. Woo hoo!! When we were building the house we had them wire for a television in that spot, so we were planning on buying one in the very near future. Plus it is football season and the Vikings are doing great, so why not enjoy it while we can.

Unfortunately it wasn't in stock and we have to wait two/three weeks for it to come in. The silver lining to that cloud is I will have time to paint before it goes up. We are going with paint color number 3 in case you're wondering. The dark one (number 1, on the left) turned purple in artificial light. I mean really purple! I guess this is the reason you sample them out to see how they look in different light.

11.21.2009

Squeaking It In

I wonder if you get home after midnight and then do your posting if it counts on that day or the previous day? Well I'm usually in long before midnight but it is late tonight.

We went out to run a couple errands after dinner which ended up a couple long errands. We ended up at Best Buy splurging. (I won't go into details...yet.) The kids were really good. We sat in one of their movie rooms watching Transformers. The kids got a kick out of the "robots". It always seems to take so long there, but we just got home and plopped the kids into bed. I'm sure they're already asleep.





These are old pictures, but you get the idea! :)