Counting to 1,000 (869-904)

“I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.”

-Psalm 7:17

Giving thanks as my One Thousand Gifts list grows ever so close to the goal. Here are items 869 through 904:

869. giggles and silliness with “chin men” faces

870. a building to borrow for homeschool classes

871. a tiny butterfly hiding in the bright orange mums

872. teamwork within the church

873. two full days devoted to school preparations

874. the thoughtful, fun daddy who takes them on a day trip to St. Paul

875. his strong hands strumming the red guitar he built himself

876. road-tripping to Northfield with a dear friend

877. relaxing hours spent chatting and catching up with girlfriends at Goodbye Blue Monday

878. a steaming mug of Mexican hot chocolate

879. the princess picture she created for her little sister

880. ice cubes to numb a fat lip

881. frisbee fun in the backyard

882. reflections in the bird bath

883. bumblebees hiding in the hostas

884. the growing little maple tree she inadvertently planted

885. an end-of-summer teddy bear tea party

886. dear friends for my daughters

887. bear brownies

888. raindrops sparkling like jewels on the windshield

889. a bookshelf full of new books

890. bulletin boards

891. new school supplies

892. a freshly re-organized school room

893. fun geography ideas shared on Pinterest

894. the smell of hot dogs and burgers sizzling on the grill while the cicadas sing the song of summer’s end

895. hands ready to minister to a newly single parent

896. a full roster for my “Girls of Character” study

897. how gently she holds the egg that didn’t hatch

898. Jamie Grace pounding out “Hold Me” on her guitar

899. their kind, encouraging words

900. the broken dryer and piles of dirty laundry

901. the smart husband who knows how to take the dryer apart, fix it and put it back together again

902. the beautiful hummingbird that perches long at the feeder

903. the 108-minutes-and-31-seconds phone conversation with my big brother

904. my nephew’s 4 years and the sound of his sweet little voice on the other end of the phone

You’re invited! Check out other bloggers’ posts in the One Thousand Gifts community by clicking the graphic below. Or click here  to check out all previous posts in my “Counting to 1,000” series.

Counting to 1,000 (44-64)

Note: I recently read the book One Thousand Gifts, and now I’m making my own list of one thousand gifts. As they accumulate, I’ll post them on Mondays and keep the running list on this tab, titled All is Grace.

44. books scattered near and far — because we are reading

45. warm clothes on a very cold morning

46. friends to share life’s run and jump and race moments

47. the aroma of pot roast in the slow-cooker

48. candles made ready when the electricity unexpectedly goes off

49. the joy of electricity’s quick return on a dark, sub-zero night

50. mother-daughter snuggles in the rocking chair

51. penguin books that teach us how patient love is

52. words of Scripture set to music

53. little girls who notice the details

54. Legos and K’Nex scattered across the carpet — because we are creating

55. clothes just out of the dryer

56. ponytails and hair bows

57. a trip to the ice cream shop in February

58. a tiny glimpse of grass beneath a melting snow bank

59. a marionette puppet, complete with a hat, made by 8-year-old hands

60. teddy bear love

61. red-hot cinnamon lollipops

62. peaceful sleep

63. mailboxes full of love

64. friends sharing a Valentine picnic

Teddy Bear Stay-cation: Day 5

A Teddy Bear Tea Party was the highlight of Day 5, our final day.


We invited five little friends, and their favorite stuffed animals, to join us. Course 1 included assorted bear sandwiches, baby bear cheese bites, carrots and cucumbers. Course 2 consisted of berry and white chocolate scones, clotted cream and fresh berries. And chocolate teddy grahams and gummy bears rounded out Course 3. We also served cinnamon plum tea and lemonade. Lemonade was certainly the favorite with this crowd, but most of them tried the tea. I’ve never hosted a tea for seven kids, ranging in age from not quite 2 to 8, but I was amazed that nobody spilled anything! They were all quite polite! After the tea, we read the book Jenny’s Bear, our favorite story about teddy bears.


Teddy Bear Stay-cation: Day 4

For the fourth day of our stay-cation, the girls and their bears camped out in the guest room in our recently finished basement. This was a special treat because they don’t usually sleep in the same room, plus they were able to test their new sleeping bags.


Of course, no bedtime routine is ever complete without a story. We read several teddy bear books throughout our stay-cation. Here are our favorites:


The stay-cation wraps up tomorrow with Day 5!

Teddy Bear Stay-cation: Day 3



Day 3 took us to Stillwater, one of our favorite Minnesota cities, to explore Teddy Bear Park with our very dear friends, the H family. This was no ordinary park for the 7-years-old and under crowd. Greeting us near the entrance was this huge granite teddy bear.


This smaller granite bear resided in the ampitheatre. Isn’t he cute? If only he were fuzzier…


Linnea tests the zip line.


Our little climbers requested this shot. It was hard to tell where the faux rock wall ended and the real rock bluff began. Pretty amazing!


I can’t resist another picture with Fuzzy Wuzzy.


Time to speed away from Teddy Bear Park…


And enjoy a scoop of ice cream while watching the lift bridge over the St. Croix River.

Check back tomorrow for Day 4!

Teddy Bear Stay-cation: Day 2


On Day 2 of our stay-cation, we ventured to one of our favorite parks to hear the Teddy Bear Band live in concert.  It’s BYOB, of course. Bring your own bear. So Sassy and Brownie came along for the fun. Good thing they have thick fur — this July was the coldest on record in Minnesota.




Laurel does her Elvis impression.


This is Panda, who lead our girls and dozens of other small, bear-toting kids in a dancing train around the park. Laurel loved this but was disappointed that she did not actually ever get to hug Panda. Maybe next year.


For a minute, the Hokey Pokey really was what it’s all about.


Bear! Bear! Bear in the air!


What goes up, oh you know, must come down.

Stay tuned for Day 3 of our Teddy Bear Stay-cation!

Teddy Bear Stay-cation: Day 1

Last month the girls and I embarked on a week-long “Teddy Bear Stay-cation” in lieu of traveling elsewhere for an actual vacation. So today I am kicking off a 5-day blog series showcasing our local bear-related adventures.

Day 1 featured a trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop to stuff, groom, dress and name two brand new teddy bears — Sassy and Brownie.


Sassy gets filled with stuffing, and it’s a noisy job.


Sassy gets her first hug.


Linnea runs the pedal on the stuffing machine; Brownie is filled to just the right level of fluffiness.


Brownie gets her first hug.


Brownie needs a quick “bath” with the brushes to remove extra fur.


Sassy also gets groomed.


Fashionably dressed, Sassy is a ballerina bear, and Brownie is a bride bear.

Day 1 down. Come back tomorrow to read all about Day 2 of our Teddy Bear Stay-cation!

Never ask an August sky

“Never have I asked an August sky, ‘Where has last July gone?’ “

That’s one of my favorite lines in the song “Many A New Day” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma

Here’s where July went for our family:

  • 4 more sailing trips
  • 2 trips to the  beach
  • 1 trip to the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus
  • 1 teddy bear tea party
  • 1 trip to the Arboretum
  • 1 evening playing in the sprinkler
  • 1 trip to Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater, Minn.
  • 1 Tiny Party that was BIG fun
  • 2 birthday parties
  • 1 trip to Lowry Nature Center
  • 1 church picnic
  • 1 Teddy Bear Band Concert in the park
  • 1 trip to Sonic Drive-In
  • 1 trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • 1 visit to see newly hatched Bantam chicks
  • 1 beautiful wedding & fun reception
  • 3 trips to various playgrounds at nearby parks
  • 1 trip to the community center pool
  • 1 paddle boat excursion at Centennial Lakes
  • countless picnics

Perhaps you notice a re-occurring theme? Teddy bears! I’m putting together a more detailed post complete with pictures of our Teddy Bear Stay-cation. (That’s like a vacation, only you don’t leave town.) Stay tuned for that post later this week!