Friday, February 29, 2008


Because my boys are creative, and would find ANY excuse not to fold and put away their laundry, they have devised a new way of transporting their clean underwear from the laundry room to their room. You see, all you have to do is put on every stitch of clean underwear OVER your jeans (that's 15 pairs for Ben and 6 for Luke)and then just walk back to your room and then put them away. Of course you need to run around the house and giggle a while BEFORE you put them away.....Have a good weekend! Jill

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My friend, Hammie

We have a visitor at our house...his name is Hammie. He's a cute, little hamster. We've really had a good time with this little guy- he has so much personality. Now we've had gerbils before, but this guy is VERY different. For instance, he sleeps in the top of his cage and if we lift up the lid, he'll lift his head up and with one eye still closed, he will check us out, squinting to see who it is and what exactly we want. He LOVES his plastic ball to run around the house in....he can really move fast--we've been so impressed. Neither of our gerbils could get the hang of making the ball go. If you open the bottom of his cage, he will climb out into your hand...we get a kick out of the fact that his body is so long and he's so furry. A joy to have around....until next Monday, when his Mommy and Daddy come back from a 10 day cruise... poor things... Jill

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ugly Sweaters

For years I was a part of our church's MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group. This year I came back to be a "mentor" for one of the groups. My group met here last night (without kids)for a nice little dinner full of conversation and laughs! I had a little contest with these ladies. I asked them to wear their ugliest sweater. Many of the ladies went to Goodwill to find their beautiful sweater. One, the winner, actually found hers in the back of her closet. WOW! It was a braided leather vest that she wore in 7th grade!! How funny!! Anyway, here's a picture of us with our ugly sweaters. The winner is next to me in the back row.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A good weekend

Just a normal weekend around here...full of drinking hot chocolate...

Dogs sitting on heads...

and putting babies to bed...

I would call that a good weekend, wouldn't you??? Jill

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Big News...

He was just as excited about eating this as he was getting his license...

And now for the results....

Because you all have waited so patiently, here are the results of the "grape to raisin project" (See Feb. 12th post.) Here's the latest picture...

Grapes 1 & 2 On a ledge in a southern exposed window

Grapes 3 & 4 On a ledge in a southern exposed window enclosed in a container with water

Grapes 5 & 6 In a dark, cool linen closet

Grapes 7 & 8 In the refrigerator

Wow! We've learned quite a lot from this experiment! I thought the grapes in the window, exposed to dry heat would turn to raisins faster than those exposed to no heat or light. Very interesting. OK, we're done with our Science lessons for the day, class.

On Monday, Andrew had a day off of school, so we happened to wander over to Panera bread for lunch. No sooner had we pulled into the parking lot, he started going crazy with all sorts of comments like, "oh, that's awesome," or "wow". I had no clue what I might see if I looked, but here's what he saw in the parking lot.

For those of you who DON"T have teenagers, I'll explain. This is a van from a store that sells video games and they have had a scene from HALO (a popular game) painted on the side.....OOOO, AHHHHHH. See, that IS "awesome", hey??

We have our last 7th grade basketball game tomorrow. We're in a tournament and we're playing for "winner of the consolation game". In other words, "Winner of the loser's bracket." Good thing it's not the championship game because our high scoring player (size 15 feet, 6 foot tall) just broke his ankle. Bummer! Oh Well, we'll have fun anyway!!! Have a great weekend!!! Jill

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fried Chicken with a side of doggie lovin'

When my parents were up last weekend, I thought it would be fun for my Mom to teach me how to make my favorite childhood meal, which I haven't had for over 20 years. She taught me how to make fried chicken, mashed potatoes with milk gravy and green beans! Wow, I didn't realize how much grease was used to make this meal...but it was GOOD! I guess if I have this once every 20 years my cholesterol level will be OK. Here's a photo of the finished product... WARNING- don't drool all over your keyboard!!

and here's a picture of Gramma Sue laying in the sun with the doggies. When my parents come up they not only get some grandbaby love they get doggie lovin' too. Jill

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Works for Me...Wednesday

Andrew had a birthday on Monday and he requested this dessert for his birthday. Its really yummy and best of's EASY.

Pam's Fruit Trifle
16 oz. Cool Whip
Can of cherry pie filling
3 0z. box banana cream pudding
Angel food cake (I bought it pre-made from our bakery at the grocery store)

Make the banana cream pudding. Tear the angel food cake into bite sized pieces. Now layer all of the ingredients in a pretty glass bowl in this order. Ingredients are in order like they are presented in the bowl so start at the bottom of the list first.

1/2 of the Cool Whip (top)
Cherry pie filling
Banana Cream pudding
Angel food cake
1/2 of the Cool Whip (bottom)

Here's what it looks like when it's finished...

And here's the birthday boy with his requested meal: spaghetti, garlic bread and fruit salad. (Check out the new BOTTOM braces that he had put on ...on his birthday.)

Next time you're at the store, pick up the ingredients and give it a try! Jill

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Surprise

Last weekend my parents were here from out of state to celebrate ALL of our families birthdays. On Sunday, my husband surprised me, one more time. He had arranged to "take me away" on an over night trip to Southwestern Wisconsin to stay overnight in a very nice resort near House on the Rock. My parents, of course, stayed with the kids...isn't that awesome??!!

Well, because we had an ice/snow storm coming in Sunday night, we didn't stay over night, but we had a great day trip to The House on the Rock. I had gone there when I was a child but didn't remember how dark and depressing the house was... the house was going through several phases of remodeling right now and we were smack dab in the middle of the 1st phase of remodeling.

We made the best of it, considering John left his coat in the car and it was about 40 degrees in the house. It was a very quick tour that still took nearly 45 minutes. We managed to talk and laugh and then laugh some more. Especially after seeing this lovely paperweight collection disguised as a coffee table ...

Then there was the "infinity room". This room is a platform that jets off the side of the house over the forest below. I took a picture of their "picture". This is what the infinity room looks like from outside.

Did I tell you that my husband thought it was funny to walk out to the end and then jump up and down to make the room shake??? That was enough to send me running back into the soon as my legs would work again. Did I mention that I am NOT very fond of being high in the air with nothing under me to support me??? What a joker, hey???

We couldn't believe all of the wildlife we saw on the trip, so I had to stop and take a's a deer and 2 is actually IN the tree. How cool!

We finished up our trip by eating at "The Machine Shed". We just ordered some soup for dinner so we could order this for dessert...YUM. Apple dumpling with cinnamon ice cream!

Thanks to my Mom and Dad for stepping into our life for a few days and running kids around so we could go on this fun day trip!! and thanks to my hubby for planning it!! Jill

Monday, February 18, 2008


Oh my...I can't believe it. My oldest son turns 16 years old today. Later this week he will try for his driver's license. I feel like he's much older than 16. What a great young man. So mature and responsible for his age. Never sassy. Always dependable...always has a way to make people smile. I'm so proud of him!!

Here are some facts about about Andrew....

He's our main computer support techie.

When he has cake, he likes the cake, NOT the frosting. (What's wrong with him?)

He LOVES playing tennis.

He likes to go to bed early and get up early. (Not your typical teenager)

He loves to be around people.

He turns 16 at 5:57 pm....he weighs a lot more than the 8 pounds 4 oz that he weighed 16 years ago.

He's an excellent student.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Bella's Boo Boo

I'm not sure if this Doggie Daycare thing is a good thing or bad thing.
Bella goes to the daycare once a week during the winter so she can play, exercise and socialize with other people AND dogs. It also gives me a break from having to get her out and exercise her which can be a real chore when you have 2 feet of snow on the ground.
Anyway, I received a call from the daycare the other afternoon saying that Bella had gotten injured while playing and my need to have a few stitches. I quickly picked her up and rushed her to the vet. Can you believe it....she needed 3 staples to put her skin back together!! Here's a picture of the poor pup...

Don't worry about her or feel sorry for her. Our kids have pampered her and talked baby talk to her...and to tell you the truth; SHE HAD NO CLUE THAT SHE WAS EVEN INJURED!! :)

Oh, and by the way, we saw "The Lion King" last night....WOW, what a production!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Birthday Celebration!!

Turning 40 is something to celebrate, right?? Well, my birthday was a great celebration. It started first thing in the morning, waking up to these in my kitchen...

My morning was filled with lots of birthday wish phone calls that made me smile.

I served lunch at school and was serenaded by about 90 kindergarten-2nd graders!! How fun is that??

MY kids gave me some of the funniest cards ever!

We went out for dinner at a great rib/steakhouse.

Luke especially loved the restaurant because every dinner plate was served with a slice of watermelon...his favorite. He promptly asked each and every one of us to give up our watermelon...and we did...

We came home and this was on the table for me.... Tiramisu cake...mmmm

My big surprise was that hubby got tickets for our whole family to go to this....

Yesterday, I stretched out my birthday one day longer by going out for lunch with a friend and then coming home to find a UPS package that contained a "blue little box" from a certain jewelry store (Tiffany & Co.) Thanks, Wen!! Yikes!!

Do you think I can stretch this birthday thing out just one more day???? Jill

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


by guest Blogger, Husband John....

Well, this is my first time Blogging but under the cicumstances of this monumental day, I had to take a shot at it.

This week Jill has been talking to the kids about how old she thought forty was when her parents reached that milestone. (Of course I only heard stories about my parents before they were forty) Anyway, it doesn't seem that old to us anymore. Given my two plus years of experience of being labeled "over the hill", I will offer my the following observations as the wise old sage of the family at the end of this update.

During the month of February, Ben has been conducting a science experiment on the aging process of the white seedless grape under different environments. A special thanks to our corporate sponsor Oil of Olay for providing the funding for this experiment.

We have selected 2 pairs of grapes (2 were selected to protect the project from any mishaps like Bella eating one and thus ruining weeks of effort). The four environments are: (a) Refrigerator on Napkin (b) Southern Exposed Window Ledge on napkin (c) Southern Exposed Window Ledge in enclosed plastic container with water (d) Linen Closet on Napkin. Results to date are as follows:

So, as part of our Birthday Blog Contest, you may decide which numbered pair (1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8) lines up with which environment. Submit your guess on Blog response or E-mail. Answers will be provided at the end of the week.

Well I was thinking, Ben's grape experiment kind of describes aging (sort of...much more slowly of course...well maybe not if you use Oil of Olay) Jill and I have been a couple now for about 22 of her forty years and I have noticed some changes. So here I go into dangerous territory...

In the Bible the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4 that we have Treasures in Jars of Clay...(verse 16) "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

Paul is right, on the outside there has been some wasting away, but what excites me is that I can look back over our twenty plus years together and tell you that my beloved wife is being renewed day by day in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. That's exciting to me! So bring on the forties and I am glad my wife has finally joined me in the next decade of life.

By the way, I still think she's Hot too. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008


Basketball fee at school $50

New Basketball Shoes $70

Overhearing the opposing coach say "Watch #12, he can really shoot from the outside"


Friday, February 8, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

So many times people look at my kids and say that they look like me....and I would have to disagree. Case in point...

Aside from the fact that they're VERY handsome, they are alike in so many ways. They both have a quiet, sensitive side, they both LOVE sports, they both have a "hitch hiker's thumb", and let's not forget the kind of dry sense of humor where they come up with these hilarious one liner's! When we travel to my hubby's side of the family, Gramma Ellie keeps track of our kid's height on the wall, and guess who is running right in John's growth pattern...uh huh, Luke. They're both very precious to me. We're still working on the "cheering for Iowa" part, though. :)

...and yes, my husband is "man" enough to sleep on a flowered move along and have a GREAT weekend. Jill

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Holy Cow, people! I listened to the news this morning and our county has been hit the hardest by yesterdays snowstorm....a whopping 20 inches of snow in a 24 hour period!! Obviously, school was canceled yesterday, even John worked from home. It honestly felt like a Saturday to me. We were up bright and early this morning, welcoming a day back to school, when Andrew noticed that our schools were on a 2 hour delay....bummer, and he was already showered and eating breakfast (It was 5:50 am). It looks as though our driveway is already plowed out so it's going to be a great day!!!
Here are some pictures taken yesterday, before sunset, of our winter wonderland...
Our Patio area (John shoveled a path for the doggies)

The front yard...

and in all of the boredom yesterday, someone got a makeover....didn't Anna do a great job??? Jill

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This and That

Since I blog so much about Ben's 7th grade team, I thought I would let you know that we have another basketball player living at our house. It's this guy, Luke.

He has games on Saturday's and practice once during the week. We watched him play this past weekend. Their team won!! Yea! I can't believe that they have 3rd graders running up and down the court actually playing a REAL game...with "plays" and everything!! It's amazing!

This past weekend was a pretty relaxing one... there was a little of this...

John keeps working on this...check out the serious face...

and there's always plenty of favorite!!! Jill

Monday, February 4, 2008

Gummy Bear Bounce

What is going on?? What are these boys up to??
I was wondering that myself on Friday night. Well, Out of sheer boredom, I mean, CREATIVITY, they made up a new game. It's called gummy bear bounce. Here's the scoop.
You throw the gummy bear up so it hits as many walls( ceiling too) as possible and then try to catch it in your mouth. Hmmmm. Very interesting.

But sometimes the bear takes a wrong turn and drops straight into "pups" mouth. That's what happened this time.

Sometimes, "pup" gets smart and jumps up with the boy and gets the gummy bear instead. Also, once this weekend, "pup" jumped up and bit Ben's chin INSTEAD of the gummy bear. I thought he might need a stitch, but he's OK.

One boy got it just right....( Please, by all means, click on the picture, it's a beauty of a shot)

My boys, I have to give them credit...they ARE creatively competitive. Jill

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008

You see, I have these friends...

Don't worry about me being lonely during the day...I have quite a following....IN EVERY ROOM!! Have a great weekend! Jill