Thursday, January 31, 2013

What do you do on a cold winter day?

In our house, we find big projects to tackle.  As I write this, our temperature is a mild -18*F.   During our last cold snap, I had the chance to pick up on a great sale at the store, and made good use of a day that wasn't good for other projects.  It helped keep a few entertained and busy for about 2 hours.  When peppers are just .39 a piece in the frozen parts of the country, it helps the budget to buy as many as you can and store them up for days when you really want them!  We ended up with a case of them, and that turned out to be 20 bags of chopped up peppers for all sorts of soups, salads, and surprises.  They are waiting in the freezer for just the right recipe.  Hopefully there will be enough there to last until the garden can produce some, but I doubt it.  That is still 6 months away!  The kids chose to save a bunch of the seeds, we may have pepper plants coming out of the ground in some odd places this year ;)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I can't help but to share a picture that is special to me.  We all have those things, a specific fragrance, a sound, a taste, or a small knick knack or toy...  those things that bring back special memories from the past.  In my case, there are many such things, but one is set apart from the rest.

I told my husband a few years ago that I some day wanted to get a picture.  One like my Grandma and Grandpa had on the wall of their kitchen.  I often wonder if they ever realized how that small piece of decor could impact their family for many years to come.  Seeing that picture reminds me of the family gatherings, the meals with all the aunts and uncles and cousins, the great big pot lucks, the softball games, and the togetherness that happened in that kitchen.  The picture hung next to the kitchen door, and under that picture was a small wood shelf that held several pair of Grandma's old glasses and a dried loaf of bread.  Last summer, my kids found a box of pictures and frames at an auction.  Low and behold, there it was.  It isn't in great condition, but it is good enough for me.

"Grace" as the print is properly named, was colored by Rhoda Nyberg, the daughter of Eric Enstrom, natives of Minnesota.  Mr. Enstrom was the original photographer in 1918, but the piece of work really took off after the print gained color.  There are thousands of copies and reprints of this classic picture.   Learning of the death of Ms. Nyberg last year, the picture brought a new, more involved interest in this piece history for me.   Local artists always catch my attention, even if they are from previous generations.

As soon as I pulled it out of the box and showed my husband, he told me that was the same picture his grandparents had on their wall.  I can't help but to wonder as I look around me, "what will my kids see and remember me by in my house?".  "What memories am I making for my family" and "how many other people have special memories when they see this stoic older man humbly praying, hanging on walls around them?".  I can't help but to fondly remember the times I had with my grandparents, and the special moments that come back swiftly each time I gaze at that picture and let my mind wander.  It now hangs in my dining room, just to the left of the doorway.  I am still waiting for the perfect wood shelf to hang beneath it so that I can place my grandmother's glasses on there, just as she did.  The memories will continue.  Hopefully for a few more generations.

The pondering of people

Recently, as we sat along the side of the road, working on our van, there was a bit of time to "people watch".  It was storming, wet, cold and dark.  We didn't mind, the van issue was caused by wet, slushy roads, we knew what to do and had the basics to get it done.  We were in a metro area, and knew roughly where we were, but not exactly which town we were in and couldn't see a gas station.  Those things weren't a problem, but did make it a little more interesting wondering if we would be miserable before the fix could be completed. 

We hear so much about the cynical nature of people lately.  "No one stops to help anyone anymore" or "they always just drive on by".   Being in a metro area, we surely expected to sit and just watch people drive by.  We quickly realized that we were in an area that is mostly immigrants and it was a very busy corner.  It took maybe 10 minutes for the first car to stop.  The young man was smiling and eager to help, even though his English was difficult to understand.  He offered to give us a jump.  I had to politely inform him we were fine, but he was glad to offer.  He went on his way and it was a short time later when the second one stopped.  It was a couple of young ladies in their silk head coverings and sandals.  They offered help as well.  I assured them we were good, they were free to go.  They insisted they could help.  I just couldn't imagine how in 6 inches of wet fluffy snow that they could help, but they were eager to reach out to us.  I sent them on their way, showed them we had the tools and a flashlight, and they smiled and obliged.  It wasn't long before another stopped and again offered help.  It was pretty amazing that we were there for about an hour and had 4 people stop.   

I can't help but to wonder what sparked this train of good will.  Was it their background?  Did someone help them and they wanted to return the kindness?  Did they feel bad for us because of the cold weather?  Was it just human nature and empathy?    Or was it just because humanity isn't as bad as most people like to think?  I don't care.  I know that total strangers were willing to help.  I admit, I did laugh a bit when I asked hubby if the ones who offered really could have helped since they all offered a jump while we were sitting there with our lights on quite strongly, but their skills weren't the point.  It was their heart.  And they all shared a little piece of it with us.  What a refreshing thing to see!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Random pictures from the camera ghost

And the winner is.......

Jenny from  !  After a week long absence due to family needs, I can finally get back here to announce that she was the lucky winner of the Lilla Rose flexi clip!  Congrats, Jenny!  Your clip is on the way!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lilla Rose Giveaway UPDATE!

Many of the new styles that were released today on this sale have sold out in record time.  That is just confirmation that they are well received!  The company has heard our requests and you will NOT miss out.  They are allowing us to back order any of the items that are currently sold out on this sale.  You have to order today to get the special pricing though, so hurry if you want one! 

Remember, all orders placed today are eligible for the giveaway! 

Have you ever had one of those days?

Where the dog is demanding attention....
The littlest one in the house just isn't settling in well and finding trouble at every turn...
The weather is just disagreeable for the big plans you'd like to make...
The messes around you won't clean themselves...
The ones in the house who needed a nap didn't take one...
The bedtime seemed to disappear in all of the busy-ness of the day...
And you just want to snuggle up by a warm fire with a good book and disappear???

Nah, me neither ;)  BUT, if I did.... I might be found with a nice warm cup of coffee about you?

Look for more posts today with the Lilla Rose specials going on!  They are one day only, so this is big news.  The discounts may not seem like much, but they add up fast.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lilla Rose special!

As you may have noticed from the various page options at the top of the blog, I have a couple of great businesses that I truly love!  I am thrilled to share this one day special with all of my friends.  Should you choose to order on the 18th TOMORROW, not today!), comment here or send me an email and let me know you saw the special on this blog.  After the day is complete, I will hold a drawing for one lucky customer to receive another clip, FREE!  This will be a single item from my personal inventory and is only available through Stacy Erickson, Independent Consultant.  If you already have a consultant, please contact them and see if they have any personal specials running at this time.  Being a newbie to giveaways, we will handle this one the old fashioned way and draw out of a hat.  Now, you are wondering where to shop, right?  Find me at

Even better?!  There is another clip on sale at the same time!

Thank you,
The Mom

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Funky art found on my adventures....

After visiting the sod houses in southern Minnesota, my friends and I continued on to their destination in Missouri.  I had a day to myself while they were occupied with family obligations.  It was raining that day and some wicked weather moved through the little town of Stanberry.  I got to enjoy a restaurant that focused on local foods, studied some maps at their amazing little library, and then found the welding shop on my way to the farm.  Apparently, the welder is also a bit of an artist.  None of the works are for sale I am told, but purely for the enjoyment of those who can appreciate alternative art.  I didn't dare get out of the van for fear of ruining my camera in the rain, but the pictures turned out well enough for me.  This is definitely whimsical!

The Mom

Living in the cold north, there are some things to be thankful for....

I am thankful that we don't have to use one of these anymore!  This particular outhouse was a soddy replica of the buildings that were common in the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It is found in Southern Minnesota, near Sanborn.  We visited this lovely little place last summer, and I often think about how privileged we are to live in a house with indoor plumbing when the Minnesota winter is so very cold in January.  Yes, I know that chamber pots were used, but at some point, there was a need to go to the outhouse to dump that pot.

If you'd like to learn more about this place so that you can see all the great work they have done, you can visit their website at  I will add more pictures of our adventure there in future posts!

The Mom

Those random pictures are sometimes amazing...

Especially when taken by a little one who has been sneaking around with your camera!

Every so often, I will upload my photos only to find a few dozen extras on the SD card.  I have learned that those are not to be a bother meant to annoy me, but to inspire.  To give me perspective.  To view life from someone else' eyes.  In my case, that "someone" is a 3 year old.  I can't count the number of pictures I have of my desk or of random fingers.  I love the ones from under the table that only show legs.  The ones that tell of someone's misadventures are something I love to find.  Hard to tell mom you didn't do it when your little brother took a picture of you in action, huh? 

And then, every once in a while, there is a gem that just amazes me.  The perspective, the details, the angle.  They all just make me wonder how those little hands who don't really know what they are doing, can capture something of beauty or just a special moment in time.  This one is my newest favorite. Someone had just rolled back the rug to sweep when Jr. Photographer got the shutter bug itch.  The card just draws my attention each time I look at this!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do you notice the little things?

Today, as I was going about my day, I took note of things around me.  Things that others may not have noticed.  It wasn't my own choosing, it was something I have been inspired to do by some blogging friends.

I noticed how much a dollar tip can make a server smile big.  Yep, a dollar.  Those dollars all add up one at a time.  Sure, they love more, but there are those who appreciate the kindness.  Especially in a "light service" situation.

Fortune cookies.  I know, they are just printed paper.  Nothing magical or monumental about their creation or existence.  Think about this though.  When you read a fortune cookie, what happens?  Their little whimsical bits of "wisdom" make you laugh, may you smile, or even make you twist up your face and say "huh?  really?!?! what is THAT supposed to mean?!".  A silly little something can make some big entertainment.

A kind word.  It doesn't even have to be to someone you know.  It could be a simple greeting as you pass someone in the grocery store or hold the door for someone as you go in our out of a business.  Even if you are in a great mood, that little "nice boots!" comment can make someone smile...and both of you feel the reward.  The break in the monotony of life can really perk things up.

A simple little flower, picture, or even a candy dish can make a whole room feel warm and welcome rather than cold and sterile.  Life puts me in a lot of meetings and appointments at various places, and rather than fidget with electronics or read a book only to be interrupted at the best parts, I study my surroundings and take them all in.  Those rooms with just that little personal touch make that wait so much more enjoyable.

I could go on and on...but I will save some for another day.  What little things did YOU notice today?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Do you ever wonder what happens to this blog behind the scenes?

I can tell you. From the outside perspective. As a blogger, you are busy with life and think "Oh! I have GOT to share this!" And then, when you get time so that you stop and sit down to write? And forget what was so exciting. You sit there, you hem and haw. You check facebook. You browse through your overly full inbox and think that it should be cleaned out, but you generally don't feel like it. So then you hop over to Pinterest and get sucked in for a bit. You decide that all is lost, you might as well get up to do something TRULY productive again, and go on your merry way. It only takes a few moments before you are busy and the memory is back and you are itching to write it all down. Somehow, along the way to the keyboard, the phone rings, a child talks to you, or the cat meows and it is all over and you are back to square one. This may even happen several times over!

You get past that and you sit down the next time, and wonder if you really had such a great idea after all. Was it earth shattering? nope. Was it new? Fresh? Appealing to anyone besides your kids or cat? What about the dog, did he care? Oh, husband didn't care...hmmm... Then the questions start coming to mind: Has someone else written something like this? Who will care to read it? What if this is boring to them? And the list could go on and on.

Then, there are the questions of pictures: Hmm, that one shows the mess on my counter. If it is posted, what WILL people think? Ok, not that one. What about this one? Argh! If I just edit that out, it would be a great picture! Yeah, but then that wouldn't be *real*. What is the point of a post if it isn't real and from the heart?!?! Why do I blog again? Oh yeah, because there is a lot to say and I want to share ideas with someone besides my poor husband who would rather not hear about project attempt number 327 and how the pieces just didn't fit together like I planned.

Now that you know the running commentary in my head? Welcome to my blog with a fresh purpose for 2013. Grab a cup of coffee while we chat. I know, you aren't truly chatting with me, but what is the point of writing if it isn't *to* someone? It makes it more personal. And that is what this blog is all about. Each and every blog has something unique to them. I am a mom, a wife, a homeschool teacher, a home business owner, a friend, a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, neighbor and so much more. Each of my roles in life will color what I share. The randomness, the reviews, the ramblings... what? you don't ramble? That is ok, I tend to do enough of that for all of us!

And speaking of pictures? Why is it that the cutest ones always seem to have half naked little kids in them? PLEASE tell me, I would love to know.

The Mom

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A little bit of focus after the hectic holidays.

I find myself looking at blogs and ideas several times a week. My family takes part in my attempts to constantly try new things an dabble in this art or that craft. As the new year has already started, I have already added a few more things to my "to do" list. I am slowly starting to cross off some of the old ones. One of the big projects that I have found for myself this past year is reviewing items for a homeschool magazine. That experience has been strangely gratifying on several levels. I get new things to play with, I get to critique each item, and I get to keep it! New to my every changing list? I will be both writing and reviewing for an awesome up and coming homeschool site, Homeschool Mosaics and Mosaic Reviews! As I grow the blog and venture out with more writing on a personal level, I hope you will join me! The Mom...