Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Club Summer Reading

I love reading books.  Fiction is the best, when you get lost in the story and forget about all the other things you could (or should) be doing.

I read this the other day and LAUGHED.  So funny - I'm guessing it was Suzanne (the grade 5 teacher) who recommended this one for book club, but it was a great summer read.  Read the summary here on Lois Lowry's site.

The other read for the summer was Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  I have read it before and wasn't sure I would again, since its spine is 1 3/4" thick.  Seriously - I just measured and lost my bookmark doing it.  But, I picked it up and read the first few pages and was hooked in.  I'm now on page 644 of 804...

I wrote about the first book we read, A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Towes, but don't think I mentioned Freakonomics.  I really enjoyed the mental ah-has from that one.  I think that was all we covered since I joined - they had read Jane Eyre before, and I picked up that one and thoroughly enjoyed it, too.  Great story and great storytelling.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Before Summer Ends

In no particular order, here are 10 things I'd like to do before September rolls around:

Get to Winnipeg for a visit.
Go camping.
Go check out our visitor's center & get some new ideas of places to check out and things to do - be tourists in our own city.
Go kayaking somewhere.
Go biking at White Butte Trails.
Lay on a beach somewhere.
Finish our summer book club reads.  (Anna Karenina is almost done (again!) and the other one is short, I hear.)
Make plans to get a new fence. (And then comes re-landscaping!)
Get a watch for running.
Go golfing with Sean again.

What is on your list?

Friday, July 23, 2010

A week in the life...

Monday - Went to my first Running Room Clinic.  Apparently that makes me a runner, now.  Thanks, Jess, Silas, Levi & Solomon for the inspiration.

Tuesday - Took Madeline for a run.  Let's just say that running will be my thing, not our thing.

Wednesday - Got a call from my doctor's office that my blood test results are back and the doctor wants to see me. (He said if they were fine, he wouldn't call.)  Last time I went to give blood, they said my iron was low enough to warrant a doctor's visit... 

Thursday - Napped in the middle of the afternoon.  Was it just laziness or the tiredness of anemia brought on by the doctor's office call?

Friday - Went for an hour long walk this morning; felt good on the muscles, bur I sure feel more like sleeping than working now.  Hoping when I get to the doctors in an hour he's got a miracle drug for me. (Eat more liver, maybe?)

Along with all of that, I had a couple of good work meetings, a dessert date with Sean, birthday party shopping & planning with M, and tonight we're taking her out for a birthday supper.  Tomorrow is her party - just a bunch of girls, pizza and a movie.  Pretty simple, but they're at the age where just hanging out is enough.

Oh, I should tell you a funny birthday party story.  Last week M went to a party for a friend; they spent some time playing in the park across the street, and the birthday girl (11 years old!) thought it would be funny to swing in the baby swing...  She got stuck.  So stuck that they had to call 911 - they sent a fire truck and ambulance, and they had to cut down the swing, then saw it off of her.  How's that for a memorable party??

Update:  The doc said my iron level is good, but my reserves are depleted, so he has me on iron twice a day for 3 months - he said I should have more energy than I know what to do with.  Yay - can't wait for that!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Off to the Races!

This seems familiar, somehow - sitting in a hotel room, on our computers while M sleeps in the next bed...  We`re in Yorkton this weekend for Sean`s racing.  Tonight was a test and tune; he got in 3 passes, and I took about a hundred pictures.  Here`s a few, or you can see about a dozen here on facebook.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I finally did some scrapbooking... it's been a while.  The photos aren't great because it's a rainy day and I didn't have much natural light to work with, and the flash kills them.  I even got the tripod out and put the layouts on the floor to try to make it look ok.  They're always better in person, and you are always welcome to drop by for tea and check out our books!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Being Grateful

**This is a re-post of what I just put on my Churchy Blog.**

We stopped at the library before our holidays last week, and one of the books I picked up was on living a thankful life.  It's written from a very open spiritual perspective, so I'm reading 'lightly' but there are some true principles and some good ideas in it to build practices of gratitude into your life.  I can't separate that in my mind from the one we must be thankful to, so these become spiritual practices more than simply being thankful.

  • When you're feeling down, you will feel better if you decide to dwell on what is good in your life and give thanks for those things. 
  • Develop 'triggers' in your life - decide that your first thought when your feet hit the floor will be "I am thankful for this day and all that it will bring," or decide that every time you close the house door behind you, you will think, "I am thankful for this home and for my family, and am glad I get to return here to them every day."
  • When someone helps us, like the server or cashier, say a genuine thank you - they will have a better day, and you can let that remind you that God made and cares for that person.  You can in that small way be a part of God's caring for them.
  • Start a gratitude journal and write in it every day what you are thankful for.  I started one and today will be day four that I write in it.  You can ask me how that's going in a couple of weeks!
What practices do you have that remind you to be thankful?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Home again...

I've got all our trip pictures on the computer & uploaded an album for you to check out if you wish.

We did of course play the license plate game, and found 46 of them.  Hawaii was missing, naturally, as well as Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermont.  We saw all the rest (even Alaska) and one or two from Mexico, too.  Canada was represented by all the provinces except the maritimes and the territories.

Now that we're back I feel like I need to get out running or biking or something; 5 days of sitting & driving & eating in restaurants needs to be reversed!  One thing I will miss is the Christian radio station - we had it on lots and it was so nice.  I think they have three of them.

Bottom line, if you're wanting to take a family vacation, I would recommend heading down to SD.  Lots to do & see.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Oh, and one last story from the drive down:  We passed a sign for Somebody or Other's Elk Ranch, and I started watching for elk, but Sean said, "I haven't seen the elk fence yet."  M sat up and almost gave herself whiplash looking out the window - "ELEPHANTS?"

Anyone else planning to watch the World Cup Final tomorrow??  Who are you hoping for?  I'll be rooting for Spain, I think - I have a chance for one more point in our pool if Netherlands comes in 2nd...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Day Four

  • Thunderhead Falls - a waterfall inside an old mine shaft.  The drive out there was very pretty and we drove around extra on the way back.
  • Walked around a park and a pond, enjoying the sun.
  • Tried to find golf stores - one was just a pro shop at a course and the other had moved (just like the other scrapbooking store.  Seriously.)
  • Sonic Drive In for an early lunch.  Pretty good - my first burger of the trip, and Mello Yellow.
  • Shopping - shoes for Sean, clothes for M, a top for me...
  • The Reptile Gardens - two great shows, the snake show and the crocodile show, and lots of other great stuff to see.  You`ll see pictures soon - it`s too frustrating to do it here.
  • Ruby Tuesdays for supper - not the favorite one, but we had fun juicy drinks, and the parmesan chicken pasta M and I split was really good.
  • Pirates Cove Mini Golf - So much fun!  This is a great spot & another highlight of our day.
Another great day.  Tomorrow will be a nice lazy day, still vacation, but just driving, so it`s not over yet. 

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Day Three

As we were driving down here, I told M and Sean to humor me when it comes to taking their pictures at places.  Tonight, we were getting back in the car after one stop and I was being silly and M was laughing, and she says, `Thanks for humoring me, Mom!`

This morning started with a stop at the ranger station / visitor center to make sure we had all the tourist info and weren`t missing out on anything, then made our way to a cave tour just outside of Keystone. We sat on a balcony in town for a bite of lunch (with yummy berry lemonade), then walked the main street; the highlight was stopping in at a little shop that made and sold salt water taffy.  Seeing it get transformed from a long sweet rope into what we know and love was very cool.  Plus, the air was heavenly in there!

Next we headed a short way down the road and did a gold mine tour.  Both tours were good - must do`s for being in the area, I think.

Man, it`s a good thing I`m writing this down each day - I`m already having a hard time remembering all we did!  Oh, yeah - once we got back to Rapid City, we parked and walked some streets downtown, taking our time getting to our ultimate destination - the scrapbooking store.  Yes, as soon as we made our plans to come down here, of course I googled `scrapbook stores rapid city sd`.  We found it, I shopped... I`d better start scrapbooking again.

From there we hit the mall.  We didn`t last long, but came away with a pair of capris for me, and a skirt and some dress shoes for M.  We thought we`d grab a coffee and get off our feet a bit when we realized it was already 5:15, so we went for supper instead.  The Olive Garden was a little less busy than last night when we left at the sight of so many people waiting outside the doors, but still a popular place.  (Our plan here, of course, is to not eat at any places we have at home.)

Having revived our energy, we made our way to Scheels.  Oh, my.  Scheels is a sports store with everything.  They have frisbee golf discs (did you know there are different discs for driving, mid range drives, and putting?  I thought that was only on Wii Resort!) and roller derby roller skates.  Plus ammo out on the shelves and virtual ranges for trying out different sports.  Sean ended up with a shirt while I made out like a bandit with a swanky North Face jacket and some dress sandals.

One more full day here.  We`re looking forward to what tomorrow brings!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Day Two

This post may be more for me than you, so I can remember all that we did on this trip, but if you`re reading, I hope you enjoy anyway!

We started the day with free brekky in our hotel, then hit Bear Country first off.  It`s a wildlife drive just out of town that is about 45 minutes of driving a winding road in and out of different enclosures, each with its own animal.  We saw Rocky Mountain elk, reindeer, Arctic wolves, Big Horn sheep, Rocky Mountain goats, mountain lions, tonnes of black bears, timber wolves, donkeys and buffalo.  The drive ended with Babyland, where they had baby versions of all of those and more.  The baby bears were so funny, wrestling and climbing trees and eating their lunch.  We ate some lunch there and then headed back out for more miles on the road.

We headed down past the funny town of Keystone to Mount Rushmore.  It was suitably impressive - I enjoyed the hike around the best, I think.  From there we drove out to the Jewel Cave only to find out that they were booked up for the day.  Quite disappointing - we won`t head all the way back out there, but will try another closer cave tomorrow.

We kept driving and went into Custer State Park and after an ice cream stop, drove the Needles Highway, which was very scenic and had some fantastic little tunnels through the rock to drive through.  We followed that to a wildlife drive and spend a huge chunk of time in a line up backed up because the buffalo were wandering in front of the cars slowing everyone down; plus everyone wanted their turn right beside the herd with their cameras...

From there we headed `home`to Rapid City - there was a brief heavy rain shower, and then a huge double rainbow filled the sky.  Amazing.  Once we got back, we had another 7:30 dinner; this time at the Outback, an Australian restaurant.  M and I split a meal of crab`s legs... sooo good.  A stop at Borders, which is a clone of Chapters, and our night was done.  Straight to bed for M, and we`re winding down pretty quickly.  I`ve got a billion photos from today, and we`re all agreed that it was a pretty wonderful day. 

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Vacation Day One

What a great day.  For our holiday this year we decided to go on a vacation rather than camping.  The difference?  A vacation is focused more on the sight-seeing and less on the roughing it, visiting the beach and cooking over the fire.  Oh, and we`re staying in a hotel.  :)

We left Regina at 6:30 am and headed south, crossing the boarder (first time needing passports to do that!) into North Dakota.  We stopped for lunch at a little diner in Williston where I had a $2.99 grilled cheese sandwich that came with home made potato chips.  Pretty cool.  We enjoyed seeing the scenery change, and when I get home I`ll post some pictures - I forgot the cord I need for my little Nikon that I used today until the battery ran out...

Into South Dakota, we stopped for ice cream at a little shop in the middle of nowhere (pics of that later, too!), and had to stop a couple of times for construction:

I switched to the Canon DSLR at this point and wondered why I didn`t have it out first thing.  Forgot how much I like shooting with that thing!  We arrived at Rapid City about 6:30 and checked in, then went to TGIFridays for supper - mmm ribs...  After that we drove around town finding the shops we scoped out online before we came, and now we`re back at the hotel listening to M sleeping.

I hope your day was peaceful and that you have much to be thankful for.  Good night!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Experiments in Pasta

We Sean made brunch on Saturday, but because I didn`t portion the bacon before I put it in the freezer, we had to cook up a whole package.  The plan for the rest of the bacon was to make & bbq burgers yesterday, and we did, and even had friends over to eat... and forgot to put out the bacon. (insert rolling eyes here).

Plan B for bacon leftovers - look online for recipe ideas.  I found one that ended up turning out pretty good, and suited us, so I thought I`d share it.  Sean`s not a big red sauce guy, so this one will be a keeper.

Pasta -  called for penne, but I had bowties and used that instead (yay for cleaning out the pantry!)
Bacon - called for one pound, but I just used up all I had.
Onion - I used half of one, and fried it up soft in becel.
Parmesan Cheese - I don`t remember what it called for, but I probably used about a ¼ cup - all I had left.
Oil - called for olive, I was out & used canola instead.

Once the onion was soft, I added the chopped bacon, then the drained pasta.  I added a little oil and tossed, then the parmesan.  Nice and tasty - with a side salad it was a perfect little meal with no shopping required!

We`re leaving on holidays tomorrow; I don`t know yet if that will mean more posting or less... Black Hills here we come!