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Most of the day was quiet since only Ellie and I were home. Jeff had to work, the boys were with their mom (although they’d join up with us later) and Anna was with her dad. Ellie and I spent the day cleaning, watching Batman movies on Netflix and making the Thanksgiving Turkey centerpiece that we’d later take over to grandma and grandpa’s house. Note the beautiful long eyelashes on her “girl” turkey.

Grandma planned the meal for the evening so Jeff could join us at the end when he got off work. Ellie was happy to see her cousins (Matt and Blake) and there was no way that she was not going to sit at the kids table with Matt. That is new this year and just another sign that she’s growing up.

Austin, Ellie and Matt at the kids table.

Brandon & Blake present grandma’s Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving 20-questions: (from

Do you cook all or part of the meal?

This year our Thanksgiving meal was spent at my inlaws house across town.  Other years we go to my family in North Dakota. I brought the pumpkin pies to the feast.

 How much do you spend buying groceries for the meal?

 Not much since it was only pie.

Do you eat at home or go to someone else’s?

See above.

Describe your perfect bite?

 Turkey, mashed potatoes and just a touch of gravy.

White meat or dark?


Stuffing with giblets or without?

Doesn’t matter since I’m not a big stuffing fan. I will eat a bite or two but that’s it.

 Anything you won’t eat at the Thanksgiving meal?

 Creamy green bean dish that my sister in law brings (sorry Mary–I do love you)

Carve Mr. Gobble at the table of serve on a platter?

 Not picky, but now that I think about it I rarely see it on a platter. At my inlaws they carve the bird in the kitchen most likely because there is never any room on the table. At my mom’s house she has never made a turkey that doesn’t fall off the bone so that’s her excuse.

Favorite pie?

 Pumpkin for Thanksgiving is a must.

Formal table or Chinet?

Doesn’t matter as long as I get to use real and not plastic silverware.

 Your menu?

Traditional: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cheesy potatoes, cranberries, rolls, green beans, relish plate, pumpkin and apple pie.

 Favorite leftover?

Pumpkin pie (especially for breakfast the next morning).

 Extended family, friends, both or just immediate family for dinner?

Extened family usually either at my inlaws or my moms.

 After dinner, do you go to the latest movie or football on TV?

Since we ate our turkey for the evening meal it was late. I dressed Ellie in her pajamas and drove home. She fell asleep about half way there and didn’t even wake up when I tucked her in.

 Do you watch the Macy’s parade?

Not usually and not this year. 

Christmas decorations up before or after?

AFTER (one holiday at a time PLEASE).

 Black Friday shopping or sleep in?

I don’t like crowds and like to do my shopping in the middle of the week during the daytime specifically to avoid the crowds. However, I did go out this year, but only to Kohls and Target in the next town over. I did not get up early just to go shopping. I got up at my usual time (which is early 5:30 or 6 am) and left the house by 6:30. It was going to be one of the few blocks of time without my youngest around this long weekend so I took advantage of it. The stores were busy but not crowded and there was no line at the checkout at Kohls and only one person in front of me at Target. Back home with a few bags of Chrismas presents by 8:30. It did feel good to get some of the shopping done early.

Any special Thanksgiving tradition?

Just being with family.

Favorite thing about Thanksgiving?

Being with family.

Favorite Thanksgiving memory?

My youngest brother Dan is the focus of my favorite memory. He was always such a smart kid that it was hard to pull one over on him. When he was still a little kid our Mom made a special dish for the Thanksgiving feast, “gizzard pudding”. This was after he saw what she pulled out of the turkey and told him that she used the gizzards to help flavor the stuffing and other parts of the meal. He was disgusted. Of course we were all “in” on it and each took a big helping of gizzard pudding and raved at its terrific taste. Dan almost lost it before we all started giggling since we were obviously enjoying this awful disgusting mess. Then we let him in on Mom’s gizzard pudding recipe: mix slightly melting chocolate chips into vanilla pudding just enough to make it look disgusting. It has since been tried on many of my Mom’s grandchildren too. They love it when someone else gets to try Grammie’s gizzard pudding. 


Wishing all of you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving Day. I’ve been getting ready for the upcoming Christmas season as well by creating another set of papers for you that would be perfect to use with your December layouts:

Download has EXPIRED

Both Anna and I had the opportunity to perform alongside the Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders in their annual Holiday Show at the Mall of America recently. Here we are sitting on the edge of the stage before the show.

Anna was especially excited to be performing at the MOA (this is BIG time for around here). My husband called earlier to let me know that his parents were planning on coming so I wasn’t surprised to see my Mother-in-law, Penny, before the show got underway, but I was surprised to see that Jeff’s cousin, Miriam and family also came out to the show. I lost sight of them in the crowd once the show got started. As I danced the first of two songs I didn’t see my family, but as I was waiting the the wings for the second dance I looked up and there they all were on the next floor up all waving frantically at me. I waved my pompoms back and had all the other ladies waiting with me do the same. They got a kick out of that. I was grateful that I was done dancing before Anna’s team performed. I can’t tell you all the emotions that swell up inside of me when I see that girl of mine perform. I’ll just say that I’m so very proud of her.  My Father-in-law, Earl treated us to dinner afterwards. 

So here we are:

The MVC Ateam (alumni team) peforming “Good Time” and “Nothin’ But a Good Time” (one country and one rock, but both a good time…):

And the MVC All Star Purple Group peforming to “Run It Back”:

I love being able to perform with such awesome ladies both young and old. 

Once an MVC

Always an MVC.

At the beginning of the month Anna attended a weekend at the Concordia Language Village in norhtern Minnesota. It was her third year at the Spanish immersion camp. At the final banquet for the weekend the staff gives out awards to campers. Anna recieved the coveted “disco globa” /super espanol award for outstanding Spanish speaking throughout the weekend.

In addition to the sparkly award, she came home with sparkly blue eyes too.

A love of knock knock jokes has fueled Ellie’s funny bone lately. She will try out all sorts of responses and if the joke falls flat she says “nah” and tries again. She has also been asking people to share their favorite knock knocks with her. I think she’s developed rather good timing in her joke telling. So for your entertainment, a few knock knock jokes from my 5 year old:

The photo of the week–Ellie trying a lemon:

My husband, Jeff’s birthday is only three days after mine. He was able to get out of work early and the kids were still in school–so that meant: DATE day! Another beautiful and rather warm day for Novemenber in Minnesota. We walked around Lake of the Isles near downtown Minneapolis. It was one of the places we went when we first were dating. Here are some of the sites:

Jeff also took advantage of the nice day by driving us to lunch with the top down on the convertable:

Nearby in the Uptown area we found this wonderful little Italian restaurant for lunch:

The restuarant also served as the backdrop to my Project 52 photo of the week:

The whole family celebrated with a birthday dinner of Chinese take-out:

Ellie and I both gave him “hearts” we created for his birthday present:

Here is a better view of my layout using a template from Listgirl Designs ( ) and the papers I made from the “TARYN” kit freebie (see previous post):


Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes last week. My day started out with these yummy cinnamon rolls dripping with icing and a tall glass of juice:


Ellie couldn’t wait to give me the gift she made. The day before my birthday she insisted that we stop at Beadville because she wanted to make me something special for my birthday. I introduced Ellie to the store owner who instructed Ellie to pick out the beads she liked and place them on on necklace tray. Amazingly Ellie knew without being told to create an symmetrical pattern with the beads. Once she had the beads picked out she worked for a little over an hour carefully stringing them. The owner then put on a clasp for Ellie and let her pick out an organza bag for the necklace. She did fantastic work (especially for a 5 year old) and I’ve recieved many complements already.


The day was warm and sunny, not at all typical for a Minnesota November day. After our usual Saturday morning of swimming and dance lessons, Jeff, Ellie and I did some hiking:



The family had a nice dinner together. Jeff gave me a picture of one of my favorite verses, Hebrews 11:1

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

The cake was a little too small to share with everyone, so I shared my truffles.


And for those of you who have been praying for Taryn–she is doing wonderfully! Thank you for all the prayers, I know God heard you.  The vent came off earlier this week and her usual spunkiness is returning. Theyhope to move her out of ICU in the next few days.


Yes, today is my birthday and for the first time ever I have a FREEBIE! I’ve been playing with making my own papers the past few weeks and was happy with the results.  A set of texture papers for your personal use:

TARYN part 1:


TARYN part 2:


Here is a layout I made using my own papers from this kit:


I named this paper kit in honor of a 14-year old girl named TARYN. Taryn is an “adopted granddaughter” of my Mom. Mom loves being a grandma and will love on any child that need a grandma’s touch. A week ago Taryn and some friends were involved in a tragic car accident that claimed the life of one of those friends. Taryn herself was airlifted to the Twin Cities for surgery. She is stable at this point. I’ve only met Taryn a few times, but the way my Mom talks about ALL her grandchildren I feel like I know her and her family. So as you are downloading this freebie, if you would send up a prayer God for her continued healing and peace for all those involved. Thanks.


It was Halloween not quite a week ago and yet it seems that it’s been awhile and we’ve moved on already. I was highly productive and scrapped all the highlights of the holiday already (which is more than I can say for Halloween 2008 or even 2007). 

The Halloween recap in layouts: