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Finally the last day of July and the last day of my photo-a-day in July project. I found it interesting that some days I was concentrating on getting the technical aspects of the shot correct while other days it was just capturing the moment. Most days I used my best camera, a Canon EOS D60 (very nice), but other days it was my little point and shoot that stays in my purse or even just the phone camera.

The last day of July we were still at the cabin. Anna and I made an early morning bicycle trip into Dorset for breakfast. It was only 5 miles but it was enough to work up an appetite.

July 31:

Mother-daughter time.

Breakfast was a one of our favorite restaurants, La Pasta. Anna loves their hot chocolate.

Chocolaty goodness makes this girl happy.


Later in the day we took the boat out and explored the far side of the lake. Ellie wanted a swim so we stopped and let her jump in.

Daddy fishes for his girl.

My always in-style teen….

Yes, that is braided weeds in her hair. I’m sure it will be the latest fashion rage once this post hits the web.

Monday we spent the day exploring the shops in a neighboring town since it was raining on and off. The highlight was walking around with bags of candy for each of us. The boys tried their hand at fishing in the evening, while the girls went out for treats.


Our last day was Tuesday and once again Anna and I were up early for a bicycle ride. We headed into Dorset and stopped for a rest and played a few games.

Anna beat me a checkers and most of the games of tic-tac-toe.

We kept going and made it all the way to Park Rapids (a total of 11 miles from the cabin). Needed another rest before heading back that included cinni-minis from the Burger King at the end of the trail. So proud of Anna for completing 22 miles!


Catching up on the last weekend of the photo a day project for July. I love this photograph since it captures exactly what I think of when I think of my husband, Jeff.

July 30:

We were headed to the cabin for the weekend and stopped along the way to visit his sister, Gayna, and family who were staying at their place on Leech Lake. It was a beautiful afternoon so we spend most of it at the beach, staying cool in the water, going down the water slide, kayaking and playing on the water tramp.


Hanging out on Leech Lake with the cousins. Took turns going down the water slide. You went faster if you sat on a cushion. Ellie went so fast that she’d skip like a rock 3 times at the end! Anna gave Ellie her 1st kayak ride. Everyone had to have a try at the “moonwalk” attached to the water tramp. No one made it too far before falling in. I think Ellie had the best idea with her crawling technique.


We stayed around for dinner and games before heading to our cabin.


After our swim we went backto Jim & Gayna’s spot at the resort where they grilled a wonderful summertime dinner. The boys played a little football and got the fire going. We took turns playing rounds of bean-bag toss. Although when it was Ellie’s turn the other’s were generous to let her creep up cutting the distance in half. Even Reece was interested in the game, or maybe he was just interested in spending time with his buddy, Ellie. For the next few days all we heard was “when are we getting a dog?”
It was an enjoyable afternoon and evening with family that will be remembered for a long time.


For Ellie, it was a day to sleep in. I found her in my bed all cozy and curled up looking like my little angel.

July 29:

Sleeping angel.

I was meeting up with some old friends that use to be part of what we called the “publications committee”. Back in the day when I was the MSPE President we worked with Jim on putting out the magazine called “Engineering Contacts”. We’d get together and discuss issues in our area affecting the engineering community. The gathering was at a local Perkins, so of course my girls wanted to tag along for the food. We were a bit early and the restaurant wasn’t too far from my old neighborhood where Anna spent her first 3.5 years. She wanted to see it again. We took a little walk to the park we use to frequent. It was by a school on the other side of the creek. It was fun re-living the memories with Anna.

July 28:

By the creek.


Even at 13 she had to try out the toddler swing she use to sit in when she was, well, a toddler.

And finally at Perkins, part of the old committee: Dennis, me, Don and Jim (seated):

It was good to see these guys again. They were all like second fathers to me.

After a restless night for Ellie due to a stuffy nose and a malfunctioning storm siren that went off at 2 in the morning for an hour, Ellie woke up with a full blown cold. So we stayed home.  Her husky voice made us laugh all day. Ellie was entertained by a whole circle of friends for most of the morning.

July 27:

Ellie’s friends.

She was feeling lots better by the time Daddy got home, so we headed downtown for $1 burger night. Yum!

Another fun morning with the Funky Minds bunch. This time we added everyone’s pets. It was Pet Show day with a guest veterinarian, Dr. Hersey. There were cats and dogs and rabbits and guinea pigs and hamsters and a toad and even a few pet rocks. After all the kids introduced their pets, Dr. Hersey told the children about what happens when they bring their animal in for a check up. Then she showed them how they would care for a wound and let them practice bandaging each other. Ellie’s pet was a toad. Ellie and her neighbor friend, Alex, had caught a very tiny toad over the weekend in the yard and Ellie had been caring for it. She named him Stripe because there was one stripe along its back. Amazingly all the creatures got along beautifully.

July 26:


Ellie’s pet toad, Stripe.


More photos from the Funky Minds Pet Show:

After this it was time to free Stripe. Ellie determined that the best habitat would be near the river. She found a good new home for Stripe that had lots of bugs to eat, water nearby to drink and shrubs for shelter.


The highlight of the day was just that, highlights. Anna had been asking for highlights in her hair, so we bought a kit and spent the morning playing beauty parlor.

I took the girls out for DQ treats in the afternoon. Anna tried a peanut butter sundae which she thought was good. Ellie had her usual red/white/blue starkiss.

July 25:


Attended church with the entire family (that doesn’t seem to happen much lately) in the morning. After the service we have a fellowship time downstairs. I have a love/hate relationship with this. I love spending time visiting with people and catching up on each others lives. I love the treats that Dianna serves each week (today was rice crispy bars with chocolate and an oreo ice cream cake). I hate the treats that Dianna provides because they are so good and I am tempted to have more than one (now that’s my fault, not Dianna’s).

It was also the first Sunday, Mark’s wife from Guatemala was here. Mark and Maria married in June 2010. It has taken this long to work through the immigration papers to bring her and her daughter to Minnesota.  I am so happy that they can finally be together.

In the afternoon our friends, Brian, Orialla and their kids, Danny and Andrea came over for lunch and a visit. We actually had all 4 of our kids home for lunch with us too. It made for a crowded but fun table.

Ellie got a bit creative finally making use of some of the paper hearts she punched out last week.

July 24:

Love rocks.

Anna let her little sister, Ellie, help with baking a chocolate cake. Not sure if Ellie really wanted to help or just wanted access to the batter afterwards.

July 23:

Baking rewards.

We’ve discovered a great place to shop for clothes for Anna called “The Hanger”. It’s a small consignment shop in Victoria. They do have some kids, women’s and men’s clothes as well, but mostly teen stuff. This past weekend they held their annual bag sale. Everything you could stuff into one of their bags was only $20. We came home with a total of 15 items. Ellie got a red velvet dress and a t-shirt. I got a tank top and a long sleeve top, while Anna got the other 11 items (a pair of jeans, jacket, shirts, sweaters).

July 22:

Bargain shopper.