Ariel and Alice


Once upon a time there were two young sisters. One was called Ariel, and the other was called Alice. Both were invited to a Very Important Date on Saturday evening.

Ariel was a beautiful, healthy little mermaid, swimming around and combing her curly locks of hair with a Dinglehopper. She had quite a lively imagination and quite an appetite for candy!

Dear little Alice also had quite a lively imagination. She was known for her lovely, long blond hair and for daydreaming about talking white rabbits with pocket watches. But sadly, Alice was not as healthy as her sister. And despite getting a seasonal flu shot on Monday, Alice came down with a terrible fever on Friday afternoon. Fortunately, Nurse chased down a tiny bottle of Tamiflu medicine, labeled “Drink Me.” So Alice tasted it. It tasted nice, so she drank it up. You’ll never guess what happened next, so I shall have to tell you. The flu bug began to shrink!

Then Nurse chased down lots of little pink and purple tablets labeled “Eat me.” Alice ate them. They tasted good. And then what do you think happened to her? No, you’ll never guess, so I shall tell you. Her fever shrank! But then it grew back to an abnormal size. So Nurse kept giving Alice more and more tablets to eat. Pretty soon, Alice was feeling rather curious.

By Saturday morning, Alice was still feeling curious but slightly less sick. She got dressed and watched Pirate carve up her giant pumpkin with two missing front teeth. Ariel also watched Pirate carve up her pumpkin with one lonely tooth. Afterwards, Pirate, Ariel and Alice all posed for pictures and then took a long afternoon nap. Meanwhile, Nurse cried and cried and wrote regretfully to her friends hosting the Very Important Date.

Dearest Friends,

Oh, dear! Oh, dear!

We shall be too late!

For your Very Important Date.

We’re all trapped here

In the Pool of Tears.

The key won’t unlock any door;

We’re missing you ever more.

We all have cried and cried,

See you on the other side! 


Alice, Ariel, Nurse and Pirate


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Pumpkin Patch Fun

You might have noticed the snow in the background of one of Linnea’s toothless portraits. It didn’t snow here in our part of the state, but last Friday it did snow in Rochester. We made a day trip there Saturday to visit some dear friends of ours who recently relocated to that area. And we all enjoyed visiting Tweite’s Pumpkin Patch together. The girls picked out these enormous pumpkins!

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Exploring this kid-sized town was great fun!

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And the corn maze was fun, even if it was very mucky from the snowy slush. Linnea is our maze expert, and she helped us find our way out!

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Peeking through the window…

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Our little friend J- joined us. He’s pretty proud of his jeans and boots; and he totally stole our hearts with his dimples and that hat. He is such a sweet little farmer boy!

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This giant double-slide looked like a lot of fun, and it would have been if the girls hadn’t kept bumping into each other and their dad!

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Overall, it was a fun trip. Now we just have to find time to carve those big ole’ pumpkins!

A Dragon Tea Party

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Yesterday we finally had a Dragon Tea Party, which Laurel has been requesting for several months now. We sipped cinnamon plum tea while we nibbled heart-shaped cucumber sandwiches and cheese sandwiches. We ate fiery rings of dragon’s breath (dried cinammon apples) as well as dragon teeth (shortbread cookies) and pink M&Ms leftover from Laurel’s birthday.

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With so much help from Laurel and Linnea, the party required very little no actual planning on my part, and it covered both lunch and storytime. We might have to do a second one with actual, living, breathing guests, but this time around, we were content to have only stuffed dragons present.

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Once we were as stuffed as our guests, we read three dragon books:

  1. No Dragons for Tea by Jean Pendzowil
  2. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  3. and, only because Linnea insisted, Peek-A-Boo Bard by Julie Aigner-Clark

And, after all the dragons awoke from their naps, I let the girls watch Pete’s Dragon. Just because. I loved that movie when I was little.

Oh, and by the way, if you read about our Teddy Bear Stay-Cation this summer, I should mention that we have two more additions to our list of teddy bear books. They are:

  1. Where’s My Teddy by Jez Alborough
  2. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (Laurel’s new favorite)

Happy reading!

Exclusive Interview with almost-7-year-old Linnea


Linnea will be turning 7 before we know it! Here’s an exclusive interview with her.

What verses are you reciting? Last week I was doing Psalm 90:2; and this week I am doing Isaiah 44:24b.

What are your favorite books? Alice in Wonderland, the Betsy-Tacy series,  A Light Kindled, The Story of Priscilla Mullins, and The Courage of Sarah Noble are my favorites right now.

What is your favorite Bible story? My favorite Bible story, I think, is where God sends manna down from heaven.

What is your favorite movie? One of my favorite movies is Pocahontas. I also like Mary Poppins.

What is your favorite food? raspberries and Pizza Hut breadsticks and pizza

What is your favorite part of mealtime? the prayer

What is your favorite animal? horse

What is your favorite thing to say? love and Jesus

What are your hobbies? scrapbooking, reading, playing outside, playing with my sister or with my neighbor

What do you do in your spare time? read, play with fairies, doodle, and sometimes play with Lincoln Logs

What songs do you sing while playing piano? “Yankee Doodle” and “All Around the Mulberry Bush”

What other songs do you sing? “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “This Little Light of Mine” and Taylor Swift’s “You Belong to Me”

How high can you count? at least to 130, maybe more

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Florida

Besides being tickled, what makes you laugh? when people stick out their tongues and make funny faces

What are your favorite colors? hot pink and purple

What is your favorite game? Go to the Dump (a math game)

What are your favorite subjects in school? math and science

What is your favorite extra-curricular activity? My favorite is piano, and I also love dance.

What is your favorite new thing in 1st grade? art class with Mrs. Henriksen

Who are your best friends? Lila, Evie, Will, John, Sam, Anders, Sarah, Chloe, Lilly, Vanessa and Ashley

What do you like the most about homeschooling? spending time with my mom

What do you like the least about homeschooling? handwriting

If you could live anywhere besides Minnesota, where would you live? I think I would live in Florida. (She’s never been there, yet.)

What characters do you like to dress up as? Tinkerbell, Alice in Wonderland, Laura Ingalls, mermaids and ballerinas

3 Quick Weekend Highlights

Here’s a quick roundup of our weekend:

A Moment of Bloggy Fame

Friday my good friend Jonda and I went to Mudd Lake Furniture in nearby Watertown for dinner and a special social gathering with blogging superstar MckMama. It was fun to meet Jennifer Mckinney in person and talk about homeschooling, potty training, blogging and the like. I also met a really nice fellow homeschooler, Christy, who is quite an inspiring person as well. She is mother to seven children (two are hers and five are children of her husband’s late first wife.) MckMama even posted two pictures of my friend Jonda and one picture of me on this blog post of hers. Can you find me? I guess we are famous now! Unfortunately, I managed to pick up a MckCold that evening, which put a damper on the rest of our weekend plans. Sigh. At least Linnea seems to be on the mend…

A Premature Snowfall

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Saturday morning Laurel woke us all up by exclaiming loudly: “It snowed! It snowed!” Sure enough, we had a thin blanket of white stuff covering the entire yard. By mid-day, it was windy and still only about 25 degrees, but eventually it warmed up enough (to an impressive 38 degrees, I think) to melt away the snow. The girls were sure to play in snow while it was here, of course! Since I wasn’t feeling well, Michael dressed them in their snowgear

A Jack-O-Lantern Smile

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Sunday evening during supper Linnea surprised us all when her top front tooth literally fell out onto her tongue. She is stumbling over words with “s” in them, and it is certainly adorable! We keep teasing that she looks like a Jack-O-Lantern when she smiles. My bet is the other front tooth will be gone before the end of the month!

Something Lovely

My scripture memory verse for the last two weeks has been Philippians 4:8.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (NIV)

For me, ballet is such a lovely and pure thing to think about, and now I officially have a ballerina in training! Linnea began Ballet One at the Performing Arts Center here in town on Monday. I know I am biased, but doesn’t she look so lovely and pure in her black leotard and pink tights?  She could not have been more overjoyed with those ballet shoes!



The bun makes it so official, doesn’t it? Linnea’s ballet class overflows with the pitter-pat of little ballerina feet, so much so they had to add a helper for the class! Three of her friends from our homeschool group are also in the class, as are two other acquaintences and many, many soon-to-be familiar faces. Ms. Leslie is the instructor. I picked the PAC because it is a no frills, very passionate group of dancers. Many of the instructors, including Laurel’s, are choreographers who also teach college-level ballet at colleges and universities in our area. I was thrilled to find a studio of this caliber so close to home, and I expect my girls and I will treasure it for years to come!

Ballet is a central part of our fine arts/music curriculum for 1st grade. Linnea and I will be studying the music and story of Tchaikovsky throughout the year. Of course “Nutcracker music” is Laurel’s absolute favorite, so she will enjoy it with us. I am looking forward to Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, but the ultimate highlight will be going to see the Nutcracker Fantasy at the State Theatre in December!

Back to School

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It’s back to school for our family this week! Our first day went as well as we could expect. We actually chose to start on Labor Day because the girls couldn’t stand to wait another day. They really look forward to school!

Much of what we are studying this year centers on U.S. history, a few presidents and a little about each of the 50 states. One of  today’s highlights was learning about the Pledge of Allegiance, why it was written and what it means. Linnea drew and colored this picture of the flag.

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Laurel did her own version of the flag below.

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One little-known perk of homeschooling is that students can wear hats to class! This was especially convenient for the first day because during our lesson about the Pledge we discussed removing your hat to show respect for the flag. It’s helpful to actually have a hat on when you learn that.

This year both girls have desks, and they are arranged side by side beneath one of our bulletin boards. Personally, I’m pretty thrilled about the bulletin boards. They are like giant scrapbook pages. Well, almost.  Another perk is that everyone gets a handy-dandy organizer tote (black with white polka-dot accents) to keep scissors, pencils, crayons, rulers, and the like right at your fingertips. Very useful and cute, too! 

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This one is my favorite picture from the first day of school.

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Countdown to 1st Grade & Preschool

Another homeschool year kicks off in just two weeks, so we are counting down the days until 1st grade begins for Linnea and preschool begins for Laurel.

We are using My Father’s World again for American history, geography, Bible, science, some art and music. RightStart Math, First Language Lessons, A Reason for Handwriting, and Spelling Workout round out the course of study. I am feeling more organized this year because (1) we have a dedicated space for homeschooling since we finished our basement last spring and (2) I have put together a homeschool planner, as suggested by I am most excited about studying American history with Linnea because it was one of my favorite subjects as a high schooler.

Linnea would tell you she is most excited about art class on Fridays with Mrs. Henriksen, piano on Tuesdays with Mrs. Peterson and ballet on Mondays at the PAC. Laurel would say she is most thrilled about dance at the PAC on Thursdays and storytime at the library with Mrs. Golden one Friday a month.

One project I’m personally very jazzed about for the upcoming school year is creating a homeschool yearbook. The photographer/scrapbooker in me LOVES this sort of thing! I got the idea online; here’s the link

Also, I stumbled across this lively homeschool version of the song “I will survive.” I encourage other homeschooling moms to check it out if you need a laugh or a pep talk as you prepare for the school year!

New Friends: Linnea and Lila

About six months ago we learned that Linnea’s close friend Sam would be moving far, far away to Montana. She was devastated. A week or so later, our good friends Bob and Kate received their adoption referral for two girls who are now ages 1 and 6. Linnea was elated that God was giving her a new friend, a very special little girl from Ethiopia who is exactly her age.

Kate gave us a picture of Lila Selam (and baby sister Ella Furtuna). We looked at it often as we prayed for the girls. Months passed, and Bob and Kate weathered many heartbreaking delays in the adoption process. Finally, just after Thanksgiving, they headed off to Ethiopia to get their girls!

This weekend Linnea and Lila finally had their first official playdate: sledding and later warming up with hot chocolate and more playing at the Hutchinsons’ home. The sledding conditions weren’t great since a little warm spell on Friday left everything coated in glaze ice. It was nearly impossible to get back up the hill, and the dads had quite a hard time dragging the kids to the top. Even so, the girls had a lot of fun together. Communication issues didn’t seem to be a barrier for their play time. Lila, who speaks a little English, kept saying, “I love you, Linnea.” What a sweet beginning to their friendship!

Linnea and Lila
Linnea and Lila