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Monday, August 31, 2009

BearCountry S'mores

First you brown your marshmallow on all sides.

When they look like this,
sandwich a marshmallow between two Fudge Stripe Cookies*
Enjoy the gooey goodness!

*I know this isn't the traditional way to make S'mores, but this is the way I grew up eating S'mores and I much prefer the ease (and price tag) of bringing a single package of Fudge Stripes camping.

**Optional step for adults: Soak your marshmallows in Bailey's Irish Cream before roasting them. We learned this trick from our friend Mrs. Hanson and our S'mores have never been the same!

*** Chocolate chip cookies also work in place of graham crackers and Hershey's chocolate.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Big Questions

You never know when or where your kids are going to throw out those big questions. The ones about the birds and the bees. The ones about dying. The ones about Heaven.

Tonight Sam asked them all.

I was driving around Lake Minnetonka at the time, lost after a birthday party at a friend's new house in Wayzata.

It's a night I won't ever forget.

My answers weren't eloquent, but he didn't notice.

He listened intently and then asked his next question....


I had to stop and ask for directions from a stranger at the gas station in the middle of my talk with Sam, but he didn't skip a beat.

"When are you going to have another baby Mama?" (for the record he wants two siblings)
"How are babies made?"
"Where do babies come out?"

I know our conversation tonight was only the first of many more to come. I pray that the seeds of faith that were planted in his little heart will grow as his understanding of these big concepts do. Our life this side of Heaven is curvy and unpredictable.

Sometimes we could all use some help navigating our way through.


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You Don't Say Saturday







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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Alphabitty Moments - the Cover

I was looking forward to the cover design week until I sat down to write this post. No matter what I do I can't get the image to upload without being fuzzy. I'm not exactly going out with a bang with this design. *sigh* Life goes on....the cover looks fine in Booksmart and that's what matters. I have been dreaming of seeing this book in my Blurb.com bookstore all summer. I am not going to let this little glitch rain on my parade.



A close up of the colors I chose for the cover of Julia's book. I opted to keep it very simple so that it will be easy for me to switch up the colors each time I add a book to the series. My pages inside might be as varied as they come, but I want the cover designs to flow from book to book. I figure the books are filled with pictures of the kids, no need to pick one picture for the cover. I'm excited to see what YOU did for your covers and how different they all will be!

Because I am SO excited to finally have figured it out, I'm posting the new and (mostly) improved page from last week. See? I learned how to keep backgrounds transparent in Photoshop 7!

Time to link up ladies! And then get ready for round 2 starting next Thursday! We'll be back for another round of Alphabitty Moments and it wouldn't be week 1 without a prize - something alphabet related of course. Get your thinking caps on and starting thinking of a little thing your children do that you don't want to forget that starts with the letter A.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Best Day of the Year

As I was tweeting that today is our 3rd favorite day of the year I started to wonder what other people's top three days of the year are.

First for us is Christmas - singing carols with family and attending late night church to worship Christ....

Second is the last day of the camping season. Yes, we love our jobs, but after 6 months of being pulled away from dinner and working in the office, we are thankful for the day that the last camper pulls out for the year.

The third day is also related to our park job....We close the gate every night and the timing of that depends on a number of factors. Tonight marks the night we can close it at the earliest possible time again. It's been almost 5 months since we could do that.


What are YOUR top three days of the year and why?



****I haven't forgotten about Alphabitty Moments this week - I finally gave up at midnight to get the cover to upload without being so blurry. I'll work on it again during naps.****






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Wordless Wednesday - JUMP!

Not too bad for the first jump huh? Miss A's siblings are great jumpers too!
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Monday, August 24, 2009

It's 6:30pm. Do you know where your kids are?

Mine are in bed. Sound asleep.

We are deep in the trenches of cutting out naps and it's rough going. Usually a skipped nap, an early morning, or a middle of the night waking is enough to throw them off, but lately, we've been hit with a triple whammy.

They're exhausted. I'm exhausted.

We'll get through it.

Today my coping mechanism of choice was to take them to the beach. I know this probably doesn't work for many people due to the ramifications of having to bring extremely overtired children home from the beach and all that that process entails, but for us, it works like a charm - especially when friends join us.

Bea, Sam, and Julia wore themselves out tonight while the adults and Caden sat and chatted in the grass.

The 30 second drive home was over before we kneew it and once I manage to get the kids into their PJ's they were asleep before I can figure out where I set my cell phone down. I logged onto my computer to read my emails, check in with twitter, and send out a tweet myself. It was going to say something like this: "It's 6:30pm and BOTH my kids are ASLEEP....blah blah blah....

I haven't had time to blog very much in the past few weeks and I'm sad that some of our family memories won't be recorded like they usually are. Don't get me wrong, I like twitter. I like the challenge of getting my point across in a mere 140 characters. But unless I plan to print out my tweets, I need to take a minute every once in a while and write about life in Bear Country.

I find it ironic that I'm gone for days on end and I come back to find new readers. (Welcome!) I'm usually not such a slacker. I hope you'll stick around long enough to give me a chance to show you some of the pictures I've been taking recently. There are 1,000 of them. (Hence the reason I don't have time to blog.) Between wedding albums (Hi Carrie B!) photo shoots, park stuff, and well....LIFE. I'm finding it harder and harder to find time to blog.

For the first time ever the kids will be in school at the same time so in mid-September I will have two whole hours to myself one day a week. My plan is to walk the trails in my old neighborhood and blog my heart out in a coffee shop. ME time - guilt free!!!!! Can you tell I'm excited? :)

So when a new post drought hits next go on over to the Forest Forum (left side bar) and see what's everyone is talking about there. Feel free to start a topic of your own too! Don't forget to comment under the meet and great thread in order to be entered in the cookbook drawing!

I have apples that need to be peeled before the spoil and a sneak peak to post from Friday's photo shoot.....Happy Monday Everyone!
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Bert & Ernie The Apple

I found this apple under our apple tree this morning. Last year someone suggested that it might be a Cameo, but if anyone else knows for sure what kind of apples are a big as softballs and are quite tart no matter how late in the season they are picked, please let me know! (They never get more than 1/4 red)

I purchased an apple picker yesterday and am excited to be able to pick the apples that are high up on the tree. Already we've collected 5 large sand buckets worth of apples! I guess it's no secret what you'll be eating for dessert when you come to my house for the next year!
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Alphabitty Moments - the letter Z

We did it ladies! We made it all the way through the alphabet! When I started Alphabitty Moments back in February I had no idea how attached I would become to this very special memory book. Sure, come Wednesday night as I often scrambled to find the perfect word to go with the letter of the week, I might have questioned what in the world I was thinking, but I knew it was worth it and I'm more than ready to get started all over again!

Thank you to those who have participated over the past year - one week or every week, you have inspired me to keep looking for the little things - to savor them, to photograph them, and to take the time to record them here on my blog.

Don't forget that next week we'll be posting our cover designs for those who eventually will be turning their pages into an album. There was some discussion in my Forest Forum about using the Alphabitty Moments button for a book cover option so leave me a comment if you want me to email that to you. You are welcome to edit it however you see fit to make it work with your book - if that's the route you decide to take.

And now on to the final letter.....I feel like we should have a drum roll, but since it is almost 1am, I doubt PapaBear would appreciate it as much as I would.

This time around Z is for.....

The kids were able to enjoy more of the county fair this year thanks to a certain aunt of theirs. (THANK YOU!!!!!!) Some day they won't be excited to putter around in a circle or enjoy the simple pleasure of a giant slide so while they are little we'll make the most of the little kid rides that zoom around in circles just fast enough to make my stomack churn.

My goal was to insert the 4 images as circles like this next picture but I couldn't figure out how to crop the image correctly in photoshop. The background is transparent, but it imports into Booksmart with white around the edges. Any thoughts on how to crop to circles? If I don't figure it out before I print the book I'll have to come up with a different design. The squares over circles just aren't going to cut it.



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Wordless Wednesday - Got Milk*



* Julia's mustache is actually melted ice cream.
The kids and I still continue to drink only almond milk (unsweetened vanilla with a dash of sweetened vanilla), but we do have an occasional ice cream treat. I couldn't pass up the chance to have her picture taken with Amy (top row in the middle) at National Night Out a few weeks ago. She is the PapaBear's second cousin.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Heart Faces - Bubbles


Mr. G's mom was so smart to bring a bottle of bubbles to their session a while back. He was so relaxed and focused on blowing bubbles that he didn't notice me. I was able to take a series of images -My entry this week was originally posted here. For more bubble pictures click on the button below....



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Blog Hop - Homemade Relish

If you're like my husband and worked in a pickle factory during summer vacations in high school, you don't eat store bought relish. He's seen what goes in there and well....let's just say those cukes are not the cream of the crop.



So I made up my own version of relish and blogged about it in my favorite things post. (see the link for a photo)



chopped tomatoes

chopped onion

chopped cilantro

Italian seasoning

Drizzle a little Italian dressing over the top and stir



The amounts of the veggies are completely up to you - I prefer more onion than tomato in mine.



This easy concoction is very tasty on brats. I haven't tried it on hotdogs or hamburgers yet, but I'm sure that's just as good.



Do you have a recipe that you'd like to share? Link up and maybe you'll find the perfect thing to serve at your next gathering!




MckLinky Blog Hop




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Monday, August 17, 2009

Globes, Gross, & Girly Gifts

Thankfully the only thing those three things have in common is the fact that they all start with the letter G.

Tonight we made a trip into the 'burbs to pick up a bargain from Craigslist. I got it in my head that a globe would be a great birthday gift for Sam who loves looking at maps & asking where certain animals live. A search last night yielded a couple of possibilities. I threw out an offer for one that is pretty fancy, but the price was right. She accepted my offer (see tweet from today) so the kids piled in the van and away we went.

I hid it under a towel in the back of the van so the birthday surprise wouldn't be ruined and we drove off in search of a park I used to frequent when I was a kid. Shoots and Ladders is well known in the Cities and was pretty busy for 7pm, not that I blamed anyone - it was beautiful out. The plan was to let the kids play until they couldn't climb through another tunnel or up another ladder and then let them zone out with a DVD on the way home. (A rare treat as the DVD player only comes long when we are going to be in the car at least an hour) It's nice to keep them from falling asleep and ruining bedtime/naptime.

So I found a spot that had a decent view of most of the park and sent the kids on their way.

They didn't climb up a single ladder.

I got up and helped them map out their route with my finger drawing a path in the air. They chose to wander around aimlessly instead. Finally I told them they needed to start playing on something or we were going home. Julia chose to play in the sand. Nice. We have sand at home. We didn't need to go out of our way to stop at a really cool park to play in the sand. I encouraged them one more time to find something to climb on or we were leaving.

I returned to my spot on the rubbery surface and watched Julia go straight back into the sand. Sigh....the little voice in my head said to get my butt up off the ground and go in the tunnels with the kids. So that's what I did. The kids were more daring. We had fun. We explored. I tried not to look down when we were way up at the top. We got our butts wet when the kids who were over in the water features came through the dry part of the park.

I had to call it quits when wet boy swim trunks dripped water in my hair. Twice.

It was worth it.

On the way home Julia starting asking for her birthday present.
"What do you want for your birthday Julia?" I asked.
"A little puppy like Sammy has," she replied.
"Anything else? I prompted.
"Toys"

Of course.

Anyone have a Tomboy gift idea for an 3 year old's birthday coming up in October?

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

A bump in the road

Except today I'd call it a boulder in the road.

Trying to get past it is like trying to remove gum from the bottom of your shoe. The more you pull at it the stickier you gets.

I hate being sticky.

I hate that we are experiencing so much defiance from our almost 5 year old.
He said that if I made him do "insert generic request here" he would trip me.

Nice.

He's out of control and I'm sick of being pummeled by boulders at every turn.

We tell him we love him no matter what but his behavior is not OK. There are consequences. Tonight he has to spend some alone time in his room.

He says he doesn't know why he gets so out of control.

I said I forgive him. We pray together then we exchanged forehead kisses - our favorites.

I feel responsible for the negative change in him.

I pray for smoother roads.





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Saturday, August 15, 2009

You Don't Say Saturday

Welcome to You Don't Say Saturday!
The premise of this carnival is simple. Post a quote, verse, poem, or lyric (siting the author of course) and if you happen to have a photograph (or two) that fit the theme of your post, all the better!




















Little girls dance their way into your heart,
whirling on the tips of angel wings, scattering gold
dust and kisses in our paths.

- author unknown



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Friday, August 14, 2009

Catching Up - by the numbers

2.5 - the # of inches of rain we received Thursday night and into Friday
3.5 - the # of inches of rain we received Friday night
2 - the # of times we went to the fair this year
10 - the # of rides my kids went on
1 - the # of goats that tried to eat Julia's hair
6 - the # of days Julia's hair has been in braids
1 - the # of alligators my kids held at the fair
5 - the # of dollars I spent to have this photo taken

2.5 - the # of corn dogs I ate
1.5 the # of bags of cotton candy our family shared
1 - the # of rides it took for me to get nauseous at the fair (the kiddy boat ride)
0 - the # of rides I went on after that
8 - the # of people I knew that we ran into at the fair (including the midwife who delivered Julia)
50+ - the # of days since we had any long periods of rain
12 - the # of CD's my book on 'tape' is
3 - the # of days of VBS we had this week
4 - the # of days we have to work at the Park Day Camp on the same days as VBS
1 - the # of fires I (with help) put out last week
2 - the # of times I had to knock on campers doors to tell them about storm warnings
6 - the # of times my glasses fogged up because it's so humid today
341 - the # of pages my current blog book is
90 - the high temp for today
5 - the # of minutes before we leave for the beach

Have a great weekend everyone!


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Catching Up - by the numbers

2.5 - the # of inches of rain we received Thursday night and into Friday
3.5 - the # of inches of rain we received Friday night
2 - the # of times we went to the fair this year
10 - the # of rides my kids went on
1 - the # of goats that tried to eat Julia's hair
6 - the # of days Julia's hair has been in braids
1 - the # of alligators my kids held at the fair
5 - the # of dollars I spent to have this photo taken

2.5 - the # of corn dogs I ate
1.5 the # of bags of cotton candy our family shared
1 - the # of rides it took for me to get nauseous at the fair (the kiddy boat ride)
0 - the # of rides I went on after that
8 - the # of people I knew that we ran into at the fair (including the midwife who delivered Julia)
50+ - the # of days since we had any long periods of rain
12 - the # of CD's my book on 'tape' is
3 - the # of days of VBS we had this week
4 - the # of days we have to work at the Park Day Camp on the same days as VBS
1 - the # of fires I (with help) put out last week
2 - the # of times I had to knock on campers doors to tell them about storm warnings
6 - the # of times my glasses fogged up because it's so humid today
341 - the # of pages my current blog book is
90 - the high temp for today
5 - the # of minutes before we leave for the beach

Have a great weekend everyone!


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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alphabitty Moments - the letter Y

Welcome to week 25 of Alphabitty Moments! I didn't realize how hard the letter Y was going to be until I sat down at 11:30 last night to make my pages. I couldn't get past the word yellow and so I slept on it and did some Googling this morning. Usually I can scan through my photographs and a 'little thing' that I want to remember will jump out at me, but these last letters of the alphabet are challenging. We're SO close to being able to publish our books and that has motivated me to keep going. After next week's letter Z layout we will post our cover designs and then start back at the beginning of the alphabet the following week.

For my Y pages I chose the word YUMMY. Birthdays for my kids (especially Sam) are all about the cake. "What do you want for your birthday Sam?" CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!! is always his answer even though what I was really inquiring about is what gift he would like.



Julia's page includes some of my favorite pictures of her from her first birthday cake.



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Have a good morning!

It's back to school season and whether your kids start before or after Labor Day new routines are on every mom's mind these days. T...