21 Entertaining Things Said (or Done) in 2010

I just reviewed my Facebook status collection for 2010 and compiled this list of entertaining things said (or done) by my children in 2010. Hope it makes you chuckle, too!

1. Laurel, age 4, laments that it is just “too deep to play outside.” Never mind that the windchill is 4 degrees.

2. Laurel got up from her afternoon nap sniffling and said, “Mommy, my nose is all stuck up.”

3. Setting the table at dinner time, Laurel carefully covers each fork with a napkin. Then she announces, “Ssssh! The forks are sleeping.”

4. Laurel at the Arboretum: “Stop, Mommy, I think I have a piece of nature in my shoe.”

5. Here’s a new, summery way to mop the kitchen floor: Shut only the screen door while your 7-year-old waters the flowers on the patio. She’s never been a wild child, but give her a garden hose with a spray nozzle and WATCH OUT!

6. Linnea, age 7, was folding laundry and saw me set up the ironing board. Looking utterly shocked, she said: “Mommy, there are CLOTHES you have to iron?” I guess she thought we only had an ironing board to accommodate her fuse bead craft projects!

7. While we were babysitting 5-month-old John at our house yesterday evening, Laurel asked, “Do we have to give him back?”

8. Shortly after I put gel in my hair this morning, Laurel comes in and exclaims: “Mommy! You smell good. You smell like Benadryl!” Yep, that was so the fragrance I was going for today.

9. Laurel’s table manners must have drowned in the pool this afternoon. At supper after swimming lessons, she kept wiping the jelly on her fingers on her clothes, in her hair, and seemingly everywhere else but her napkin. Ick! “Don’t wipe it on your dress!” Michael yelled. Big sister Linnea chimes in, on Laurel’s behalf, “It’s actually a skirt, Daddy.”

10. I tried to be discreet when I tossed the decapitated potty-training baby doll into the trash can. But as the garbage man drove off this morning, Laurel came running inside, sobbing uncontrollably. “The broken baby doll is going to get all burned up at the dump!” Thank you, Toy Story 3. Sigh.

11. Laurel, while eating goldfish crackers for an afternoon snack, says: “Mommy! I need some water to drink so my fishes can go swimming!” So the chocolate shake and the iced tea I had already given her didn’t do the trick?

12. Michael just came home with half a dozen ears of fresh sweet corn, and now the girls are begging to help him “shuffle” it.

13. After quiet time yesterday afternoon I found Laurel in her bed, obviously just waking up, and I asked how her nap was. She replied: “I didn’t take a nap. I was too busy resting.”

14. Praying at lunchtime, Laurel says: “…And thank You, God, for creating the animals so that we can have animal crackers to eat…”

15. Laurel read her first sentence today: “See me eat.” She was so proud of herself she sprung off the couch and bolted into the next room to tell Linnea the exciting news.

16. How clever is Laurel? At the drug store this morning, she stops in the candy aisle and says very seriously, “Oh! We HAVE to get some raspberry chocolate candy for Sassy.” Sassy is her teddy bear.

17. Our breakfast conversation this morning — Laurel: “I just don’t like cannonballs.” Me: “Huh? What do you mean? Jawbreakers?” Laurel: “No, you know, cannonballs — people who eat other people. Why DO they do that?”

18. This morning as Michael was scrambling eggs and pulling the tortillas out of the refrigerator, Linnea asks, “Daddy, are you fixing a breakfast pinata?”

19. While I was helping Linnea fix her hair this morning, she sniffed and said, “Mommy, you smell good. Like jellybeans!” I guess that’s an improvement over Laurel’s thinking I smelled like Benadryl a few months ago…

20. Thinking about Advent at the dinner table this evening, Linnea says, “So, tomorrow is…” And Laurel quickly chimes in, “the last day of not getting any presents!”

21. In the middle of a Costco shopping trip this afternoon, Linnea wonders, “Mommy, what is ‘scratch?'” After I reply with a bewildered, “Huh?” she clarifies, “You know, scratch. You always say that you make pies and things from scratch. What is it?”

Fairy Tea: Take 2


When my oldest daughter turned 6, I threw a fairy tea party for her. Evidently, she has fond memories of it because she wanted another fairy tea for her 8th birthday earlier this month.

This year’s menu was much simplier! We served mini-pizzas from Pizza Hut, baby goldfish crackers, fairy-sized carrot sticks, raspberries and blackberries, ginger peach tea, lemonade, chocolate cake, and raspberry floats.

Here are the photo highlights:

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Exclusive Interview with almost 8-year-old Linnea

Linnea will be turning 8 before we know it, so here’s an exclusive interview with her.

What verses are you reciting? John 3:16, John 4:14, Psalm 147:5, and 1 Corinthians 15:3

What else have you recently learned to recite? The Goops by Gillette Burgess

What are your favorite books? The Boxcar Children books, Betsy Tacy books, and my new children’s dictionary

What is your favorite Bible story? Moses and the burning bush

What is your favorite movie? Alladin

What is your favorite food? raspberries and Pizza Hut breadsticks

What is your favorite part of mealtime? prayer

 What is your favorite animal? horse

What is your favorite thing to say? “This tastes so refreshing!”

What are your hobbies? scrapbooking, photography, making paper gifts, reading

What do you do in your spare time? play piano, ride scooter, ride bike, swing, and do funny shows for my sister

What songs do you sing? “Away in a Manger” and “The American Bugle Call”

How high can you count? To about 1,000 probably

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’d go to Florida to pick up sea shells. Even though I have already been there, I still want to go again because it was really fun!

Besides being tickled, what makes you laugh? Laurel’s funny faces, knock-knock jokes, funny stories, and — in the Boxcar Children books – Benny’s peanut butter, banana and mayonnaise sandwiches!

What are your favorite colors? blue, purple and hot pink

What is your favorite game? Twister

What are your favorite subjects in school? spelling, language lessons and math

What are your favorite extra-curricular activities? art and Awana

What is your favorite new thing in 2nd grade? language lessons and my puzzle book

Who are your best friends? Laurel, Lila, Grace, Evie, Vanessa, Chloe, Anders, Annika, Noah, Jacob, Isaac, Naomi, Ada, Samantha and Kelsey

What do you like the most about homeschooling? snack time

What do you like the least about homeschooling? handwriting

If you could live anywhere besides Minnesota, where would you live? Florida

What characters do you like to dress up as? fairies and bunnies

Not Back-to-School: Part 3

It’s week 3 of the Not Back-to-School blog hop, and that means the spotlight moves to the students. Please allow me to introduce my little stars!

Star Student: Laurel, age 4+

Laurel is our sensitive yet spunky almost 5-year-old star student. If she couldn’t be a little girl, she’d be a mermaid no doubt. She loves everything about water (as I mentioned in this earlier post) and has made great strides in swimming lessons this summer, gaining a lot of independence and confidence. She also learned to ride a bike with training wheels and a three-wheel scooter this summer, and she can pump her legs on the swings well enough that the Swing Pusher (that’s me) is out of a job. When she isn’t playing dress-up or plinking around on the piano, Laurel is usually saying something funny and quotable. She just can’t wait for school to start and is joyfully looking forward to reading lessons and an ant farm project with live (gasp!) ants. For her birthday in October, she is asking to have a baby-doll themed party because she really wants a baby doll that drinks real water and wets. (More of that water obsession again.)

Star Student: Linnea, age 7

Linnea is our sweet and studious 7-year-old star student. If she couldn’t be a little girl, she’d be a fairy for sure. She loves exploring God’s creation, and she’s an avid collector of rocks, shells (as I mentioned in this post), sticks, acorns, seeds and anything that she can sneak into her pockets. When she isn’t outside on her scooter, playing with the neighbors or practicing piano, Linnea is most often found curled up with her nose in one of the Boxcar Children books. I think she’s read more than a dozen of them this summer, and a few twice! This summer she has mastered swimming in deep water with confidence, which we discovered at our friends’ pool when she repeatedly jumped off the diving board into eight feet of water and swam to the opposite end multiple times without any adult in the pool. In fact, my husband and I weren’t even watching the first three times she did it. (Don’t worry, another adult was watching from the edge of the pool.)

I am one very blessed mama to have such star students to teach. There’s no one else I’d rather spend my day with! 

Thanks for reading about my little stars! Happy blog hopping!

Presentation Day

Last week our homeschool group held its 2nd annual Presentation Day — a wonderful event that allows the students in our group to display some of their hard work and also perform before a live audience. It’s a fantastic way to wrap up the school year, and it’s also good medicine for us moms! When we are all wiped out at the end of the school year, there’s nothing more encouraging and inspiring than seeing the kids put on an incredible program — piano, violin, guitar, skits, poetry, ballet, singing, live science experiments, and even some magic tricks. It’s also really a treat to check out all the amazing projects other homeschoolers have been working on in art, science, history, etc.

Linnea has been studying U.S. history all year — from the Leif Erickson to Thomas Edison, and from Delaware to Hawaii. So she put together a pretty nifty U.S. history display, which included her tri-corn hat, her paper patchwork quilt, her drawing of the Statue of Liberty, her drawing of George Washington, her replica of the Oregon Trail, her replica of Jamestown 1607, and her 93-page U.S. history scrapbook that she labored over diligently all year.   

the Oregon Trail replica

She also had several pieces of artwork on display from her Friday art class with Mrs. Henriksen. The one pictured above is one of my favorites.

During the special program, Linnea played “Pink Polka Dots” on piano, and then she recited the poem “Bed in Summer” by Robert Lewis Stevenson.

Laurel recited “To the First Robin” by Louisa May Alcott. Then, accompanied on guitar by their dad, the girls sang “Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue.”

They did a fantastic job! I’m so proud of them and all their hard work this year. We all have learned so much and made so many great memories together! I’m enjoying summer, but I’m also looking forward to start fresh again in the fall.

Lovely and Pure

“Praise His name with dancing.” -Psalm 149:3

Doesn’t she look as delicate and lovely as a flower?

Here she “sits tall like a dancer” to show off the flowers on the back of her costume.

Linnea’s Ballet 1 class danced to Jack Johnson’s “We Are Going to Be Friends,” from the Curious George movie soundtrack.

Laurel’s Creative Movement class performed skips, twirls and leaps, which were all choreographed by God, as her instructor put it.

She was completely overjoyed with wearing her costume and dancing on the big stage. We weren’t permitted to take pictures during the performance, but here’s a shot from the dress rehearsal.

Aren’t they precious?

L is for Lilac

After what felt like a month of rain, the sun reappeared last Friday, and we had a picture-perfect, blue-sky, 70-degree day. Once we finished storytime at the library and grabbed a quick lunch with my hubby, the girls and I enjoyed the afternoon soaking up the sun at one of our favorite destinations: the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

The lilacs were still in bloom, though a little rough around the edges because of the incessant rains.

Fortunately, the rain didn’t affect their lovely aroma one bit.

Our official flower sniffer was in her element, busy as a bee. She’s a true fan of lilacs. They were one of the first flowers she ever sniffed. When she was not quite 18 months old, Linnea spent an afternoon outside with her great aunt, sniffing lilacs and other flowers. The experience made such an impression that Linnea has called her Aunt Lilac ever since. And she doesn’t seem to mind.

What a day for a stroll through the lilacs!

Since Aunt Lilac is now lilac-less in Portland, these blooms are for her! We love you and miss you, Aunt Lilac!

A Salute to Young Moms

I love being a mom. My first Mother’s Day with two daughters was in 2006.

mother-daughters trio 2006

Linnea was 3 years old, and Laurel was 7 months old. Aren’t they precious? As much as I miss rocking that chubby baby, I don’t miss all those sleepless nights for one single minute.

No, not at all. And now that they are 7 and 4 years old, we seem to be blooming better as a mother-daughters trio.

mother-daughters trio 2010

Probably this is because we are all getting more sleep! Plus it’s nice to leave home without bringing along the entourage of infant carriers, strollers, diapers, bibs, blankets, Cheerios and pacifiers.

Some of my dearest friends are still in this early motherhood stage, though, and since Mother’s Day is fast approaching, I want to tip my hat at them. It’s a tough stage, no doubt, and these moms need lots of encouragement in between all the diaper changes and feedings in their schedules.

As part of saluting these moms, I want to share the lyrics of two beautiful songs by Sara Groves, who is a young mother and a very talented, award-winning musician. She also calls the Frozen Tundra home. Both songs are from the perspective of a mother writing to her young child, and both are from Sara’s album called Station Wagon, which would make an awesome Mother’s Day gift for any young mother out there!

This first one I love just because it relates back to the popular saying about giving your children roots and wings. That was one of my mother’s favorite sayings, so I suppose that makes it all the more meaningful for me as well. 

Small Piece of You

I just want a small piece of you
a token to put in my pocket
and I will own that one thing
and it would make me happy
I just want a small piece of you
something to put in a locket
and I will look at it daily
and that will make me happy

I guess it’s human nature to want to hold you very still
I guess it’s in a mother to inject a little guilt
Go on son and see the world; I hope you see it all
But please please please don’t forget to call

Free to fly free to go free to not look back
That’s how free I want you though it scares me half to death
Free to wander miles and miles and free to come back home
That’s how free I want you though it chills me to the bone

…Go on son and spread your wings; I hope that you take flight
But please please please don’t forget to write

I know you’re just a baby sleeping in your bed
And you probably have other thoughts drifting through your head
I know this conversation’s a little premature
It’s just that I’ve heard eighteen years goes by like a blur

…I know that it’s not fair for me to hold you down now is it
But please please please don’t forget to visit

Free to fly free to go free to come back home…

The second song I find especially fitting for stay-at-home and homeschool moms.

I Can’t Wait

When you reach the proper age
I will teach you to read and you can turn the pages
How to dress and tie your shoes
Your one plus ones, and your two times twos
And you’ll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that i have lost along the way
And I can’t wait

As you grow, I’ll show you things
How to ride your bike and kick your legs out on the swings
To fold your hands and bow your head
How to say your prayers before you go to bed
And you’ll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that I have lost along the way
And I can’t wait

How do you sleep so peacefully?
How do you trust unflinchingly?
How do you love so faithfully?
How do you dance so joyfully?
Oh you’ll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important (essential) things
And all that I have lost along the way
And I can’t
No I can’t
Come teach me
Of love and dreams
And all the most essential things
And all that I have lost along the way
‘Cause I can’t wait

God bless you, young moms!


Our Flower Girls


“See the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come.”  -Song of Solomon 2:11-12


 When Michael and I got married nearly 14 years ago, we had dozens of tulips but we didn’t have a single flower girl in the ceremony. We just didn’t know any young girls of the proper age to assign that role, except one whose family wasn’t able to attend the event. So I felt a little sad not having a flower girl in my wedding, but it was just as well. God’s desire was to bless us far beyond getting someone else’s a little girl all dressed up to toss out a few petals and fidget for the rest of a 45-minute ceremony.

Yes, God’s blessed us far beyond our wildest imaginations. Today we have two flower girls, and cumulatively they have blessed us with 11 years worth of all things flowery, dressy and girly — and I have a feeling there are still many more years of that to come.

Since they were wee little ones, hardly able to walk, our daughters have been our flower girls, pondering many a petal and sniffing each bloom thoughtfully. 

Linnea always has been the chief flower sniffer among us.  

Linnea at 18 months

 When she was small, Linnea demanded to sniff any real or fake flower within a 5-mile radius.  

Linnea at age 4

 She gladly helped me plant Impatiens in the backyard, and she sniffed them plenty, too. 

Linnea at age 7

Just a few weeks ago, she confirmed that this lily smelled quite lovely indeed. 

Now Laurel, on the other hand, always has been the chief caretaker of the flowers.  

Laurel at 19 months

 She’s always eager to relieve the Impatiens of their endless thirst.  

Laurel at 19 months

 And she’s always quick on the draw with a watering can. 

Laurel at 2.5

 Even the petunias wave in delight when Laurel comes share her sprinkles. 

Laurel at 3

 I’m sure my daughters’ flower sniffing and watering obsessions have nothing to do with the fact that both their names are also the names of flowers (Linnea is the national flower of Sweden, and the Mountain Laurel is the state flower of Pennsylvania and Connecticut.) 

I’m sure it has more to do with the fact that God created in them a need to behold and connect with something beautiful, a need for Him. Flowers are His creation, His handiwork. And right now God’s handiwork is blooming all over the countryside, beautifully showing us just a glimpse of our Creator’s indescribable glory.  

“See the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come.”  -Song of Solomon 2:11-12

In Oregon earlier this month, the girls found flowers on a little nature walk we took in Lake Oswego.

finding flowers

Our stroll took us along part of this avenue of blooming crab apple trees. 

an avenue of blooming crab apple trees

Also, if you read this earlier post, you may recall the magnolia tree I mentioned was almost done blooming in the courtyard when we visited Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland. The blooms looked like this: 


 And beneath the tree, the girls scrambled to collect fistfuls of fallen blooms. 

flower seekers

 Surely by now you can imagine why we just had to take our flower girls to the tulip festival in Oregon.  

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

With tulips in nearly every color of the rainbow, the festival was truly a tulip-lover’s paradise, a botanical feast for the eyes. 

red tulips
red and white tulips
hot pink tulips
glowing orange and yellow tulips
purple tulips

It wasn’t easy, but somehow our flower girls victoriously overcame the temptation to pick the tulips. We did buy a lovely bouquet of tulips for my aunt, which helped us not feel so empty-handed. I kept longing to bring some of the tulips home with us, but instead I brought home another treasure: this picture of our flower girls admiring the tulips. 

our flower girls

I love that they are equipped with rubber boots and raincoats beneath a bright blue, sunshiny sky. The path was muddy and bumpy, and they splashed through dozens of puddles along the way. But the beauty around them made it all worthwhile. 

I also love that this picture offers so much perspective on life. If I focus too much on my own two boots and the muddy trial I’m walking through, I get bogged down and discouraged. But if I look upward, I see the rain is over and gone. I see the Son shining down on me, lighting my path. 

And if I look out beyond my path, I see fields of precious people, flowers quickly fading. They are here today, but many will be gone tomorrow. Some are ripe for harvest. Some have already turned toward the Light. Others will turn to Him eventually. And still others will never turn toward the Light of the World, Jesus. That’s a godly perspective of which I need to be constantly reminded. When I see those around me as flowers quickly fading — here today and gone tomorrow — I treat them differently. I am more loving, more patient, more heart-broken, and more passionate about sharing my faith in Christ Jesus. 

So, because I love this picture and because I love our precious flower girls, and yes, because I love tulips — in case I left any doubt about that — the tulip festival leaves big shoes to fill on our next nature walk! 

Laurel at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
Linnea at The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

 Wouldn’t you agree? 

Top 10 of the Florida Keys #9

Number Nine: Tranquility

Tranquility is thousands of little twinkle lights wrapped around the palm trees.

Tranquility is a bright little beach house away from home.

Tranquility is relaxing on the back porch with someone you love.

Tranquility is having time to paint your toe nails orange.

Tranquility is a cozy spot under the covers, sharing secrets.


Tranquility is not hearing your 7-year-old call from the bathroom,

“Mommy! There’s a dead lizard in here!”

Tranquility is not hearing your husband say, “It’s not dead! Where did it go?”

Tranquility is not hearing your daughters race downstairs shrieking, “It went into our bedroom!”

Tranquility is not hearing your husband calmly but seriously calling, “Honey, you better come up here.”

Tranquility is not seeing your husband, down on all fours, sheepishly looking up and quietly admitting, “I can’t find it. It’s just too fast!”

The Florida chameleon is tiny and fast but not exactly a threatening creature. It’s fun to spy one on the sidewalk or in the garden or even on the porch. But the thought of one creeping around in your bedroom while you sleep? Clearly that’s not a tranquil thought for most.

At bedtime, Laurel was especially worried about the chameleon sleeping in her room or crawling into her bed. Michael and I couldn’t offer her complete assurance that the lizard was gone. All we could do was pray that Laurel and Linnea would sleep well and not be disturbed by any lizards. So that’s just what we did.

“Do not be anxious about anything (even lizards in your bedroom), but in everything (even lizard emergencies), by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. (No lizards in our beds, please God). And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (of where exactly said lizard might still be hiding), will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

By the way, we never saw that little chameleon inside again, thank God!

Click here to find out more about Tranquility Bay Beachfront Resort in Marathon, FL. We highly recommend it, lizards and all.

Florida Keys Top 10 Series

Number 10: Sunsets

Number 9: Tranquility

Number 8: Seascapes

Number 7: Swimming

Number 6: Sand Castles

Number 5: Key West

Number 4: Seashells

Number 3: Sailing

Number 2: Dolphins

Number 1: Sea Turtles