Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Music, Music

In the past month, my two younger children have been "extra" musical. :)

Meggan's piano teacher had a fun event for her studio students in late February. She spent the month of February having them work on duets with another student, then scheduled a performance at a chocolate shop in Ames. Parents came to listen and enjoyed snacking on some fine chocolates. Meggan and her duet partner did a great job!  It was such a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Right before we left for spring break, Ryan had solo contest. He played a clarinet solo he had worked on for weeks and received a I+ rating from his judge! (That's the best rating, for those who don't know.)
Way to go, Ryan!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Break 2011--Houston

We all went south for spring break.
Three of us went to Houston, while the remaining three + the dog stayed with the grandparents in northern Missouri. Everyone had a great week! The spring-like weather helped so much!

Byron, Brandon and I went to Houston to visit Byron's relatives.

They were so hospitable and made a lot of effort to pamper us. I considered staying for a very long time.
(I couldn't help but want to stay! My clean laundry was left folded on my bed at Aunt Norma's house--what more could a girl want in life!)
These dear people were our hosts:

We had a great time seeing the sights of Houston, dining on delicious food with good company.
Three Carson men:

We enjoyed 80 degree weather, sunshine, blooming flowers, and green grass.  We loved getting a chance to be outside in t-shirts!

We visited the Houston Museum of Art and saw a huge exhibit of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

We went to NASA's Johnson Space Center and saw spaceships and "behind the scenes" work.
We're pretty sure that there was some stuff they didn't show us at NASA, since the stuff we saw didn't look very "high tech". This computer is really old. Rather surprising, since its NASA:
 I was also surprised to see that they use sewing machines at the space center:

We went to Rodeo Houston, which lasts 20 days and is the largest in the world. They raise tons of money for scholarships, youth programs, and charities every year.
I thought it was funny to see Brandon and Aunt Norma texting at the same time:

We saw lots of fun things like the calf scramble, where a bunch of calves and kids are turned loose in the arena. The kids are supposed to catch a calf, which is pretty difficult. Even if they do manage to catch a calf, it's about impossible to keep ahold of it.
There was never a dull moment and we loved every minute of it--bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing, bronc riding, etc.

Zac Brown Band was the entertainment after the rodeo. (We had to choose which night to go--Alan Jackson and Brad Paisley were playing the other 2 nights!)
He and the band were amazing and sang all of our favorite ZBB songs.
This picture shows that there were ALOT of people there:

Then after the show, we left ... at the same time as all those other people... and waited in this ridiculously huge maze of people to get on the bus back to the parking lots:

It was well worth it though. We had a wonderful time!

Ellyn, Ryan and Meggan stayed in Missouri with the grandparents and also had some nice weather. They enjoyed sewing, crafting, fishing, a cousin ballgame, a cousin sleepover (three girls and a lab slept sideways in the same bed).

Since we've been home, it has not felt like spring. We are looking forward to warm and sunny days in the near future!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Please Respect the Birds

We had a wonderful spring break last week. I will be writing about it soon.

Today I read this and it made me smile. And it made me think of spring...longingly. And I must say that I have no memory of ever reading this before. : )

Deuteronomy 22: 6-7

"If you come across a bird's nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life."

(FYI: I have instructed my children to leave the young birds and eggs alone, as well as the mother bird.)

Friday, March 11, 2011


Today is warm and sunny. The air smells like dirt. But it never feels like spring until I set out this picture:
Ryan -- age 8

Monday, March 7, 2011

Family Journal

Last week I was sorting through a pile of papers and pictures to scrapbook. It was a deep pile. :(

At the bottom of the pile, I found this little treasure:

In an attempt to get my older two kids to write more, during the summer of 2001, I started this journal. They were seven and nine. My younger two kids were 12 months old and 20 months old, so they weren't involved.

The first page entry was written by me:
 "Dear family, when you find this journal, write an entry and pass it on to another family member. You may put it in hidden place to be discovered by the next family member, like in their laundry basket or under their covers."
Each family member only made about 3 entries, but reading the words written so long ago was like discovering treasure. I laughed when I saw Brandon's first entry. He obviously wasn't that interested in the written word and probably wished he could put the journal in a hidden place to NEVER be discovered again. He's like his dad and likes to write numbers:

Ellyn loved writing, so it was fun for her. I love her creative spelling.

The journal got hidden in Byron's suitcase when he went on a business trip, so one of his entries was written from another city.

This journal didn't get used much, but I am so glad to have found it again. It captures a moment in time that would have easily been forgotten.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Night Entertainment

The after-supper entertainment for our family tonight:  trying to explain how you can be your own grandpa.

Yes, you read that correctly. We had a conversation-- it went on for quite some time as various family members tried to explain, about how a man could be his own grandpa. 

Can you figure it out? Read the song lyrics by clicking here.

If you understand it, could you please explain it to my youngest child? She is having trouble understanding it.


I laughed for an hour and wished 138 times that I had a recording of our conversation.

Good times!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks

So what's your favorite cookbook?

The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook was the cookbook my mom reached for for all her cooking needs while I was growing up. She got it when she got married in 1965.

When I got married in 1986, she gave me my own copy as a gift.

The red-checked cookbook taught an 18-year-old bride how to hard boil eggs, where different cuts of beef are located on the butchered steer, substitutions for common ingredients, measurement equivalents, and how to make my favorite homemade waffles.
The first edition was published in 1930, so the cookbook celebrated 80 years last year in 2010. I celebrated by buying the new edition. (As well as a couple of extra copies to use as wedding gifts this year.)

My 25th wedding anniversary is in June and I thought it would be fun to have one of the cookbooks from the year I was married and new one to commemorate 25 years in the kitchen. I also love the link to my neck of the woods in central Iowa--Des Moines is the headquarters for Meredith Corporation, which is the publisher for this cookbook.

Since getting interested in the history of the cookbook, I made sure my mom knew that I would want her copy someday. I was excited to have recently found my grandmother's copy, which has a gold cover commemorating the sale of 10,000,000 cookbooks.

To be honest, the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook is probably not my very favorite cookbook, but it is an essential in my kitchen. My favorites are church cookbooks, with everyone's best recipes.
I would hate to be without this favorite, as well:
Pioneer Woman Cooks book signing
Mall of America, MN
Nov. 2009