The Gentle Art of Persuasion

786px-All's_well_that_inks_wellBuddy’s writing assignment last week was to write a persuasive letter.

Which he did.

In style.

I have given this same writing assignment to all of his siblings, but no one has ever turned in an assignment quite like this one.

I laughed out loud when I read it and thought you might enjoy it, too.

Here it goes…


Dearest Angel Girl,

As you are undoubtedly aware, the eponymous movie Cinderella has a showtime this weekend in the local Princess Theater. I have reason to believe that you are formulating plans to go and see said “flick” and I am writing this letter to try to persuade your persona to allow me to venture with you.

Now, we have gone to movies before and you’ve realized that I am a very fun person. It would be a grand time, two siblings, making a night out of it.

You might say that I am an annoying person, to which I offer no counter, but even so, said ability to perturb is occasionally a method of great enjoyment. It would not be fair to judge me on that alone.

Of course, if we went together, it would be a great time for sibling bonding. I might also be persuaded to buy part of your ticket. It could be of monetary gain for you to let me come with you.

All in all, I hope that I’ve managed to peruse your curiosity in order for you to allow me to venture along with you.

Your affable brother,



He got an A on the assignment.

And a ride to the movies.

Never underestimate the power of persuasion!

Photo credit to Chris Wightman

Crash’s Bash

He did it.

Or rather – we did it.

We got Pedro graduated!Pedro's graduationIsn’t he handsome?!

The ceremony was meaningful –  I didn’t trip or do anything to embarrass myself – and we had a nice group of family members to help us celebrate.

Somehow – after everything that went wrong in the weeks leading up to graduation- all the details fell into place perfectly!

We had a beautiful day for Pedro’s party.  The house was cleaned, the flowers planted, and all the food was ready.

And plentiful.

Ten gallons of Chex Mix was more than enough! 🙂

Crash's bashWe even had a new calf and baby kitties to show off.  Such cuteness!

There was a steady stream of people in and out the house.

Family, friends, neighbors.

Young and old.

cousinsPeople who meant so much to us, each one giving up a Sunday afternoon to celebrate our son.

Jan and I felt blessed.

And humbled.

And very tired.

But so thankful. We have much to celebrate!

Way to go Crash! We love you!


Unskilled Labor

Three of my kids were in Des Moines this week attending Teen Pact.

Which meant my house was really quiet, dishes were limited and whenever Jan needed help outside there was only one option – me. Poor guy, he had definitely reached the bottom of the barrel.

After all – I am definitely unskilled labor.

I can carry water to the pigs – 4 trips to Jan’s one.

I can feed the chickens and gather eggs.

And I’m getting pretty good at chasing the calves back in their pen – if I can catch them before they head down the road.

But this was a week to expand my horizons and increase my limited skill set!

I can now open and close gates for Jan while he feeds a bale to the cows.

I have learned how to walk the fence line and check the wires to figure out why the fence is shorting out and the calves are in my yard again.

I learned that screaming loudly and swinging a big stick will remove the cows from the hay bales – but that it is wisest to leave the bull just where he is until my husband comes home.

And – are you ready for this – I even drove the tractor!

Yep. I did.

White knuckled, without a bale, in low gear. But I drove it. Five times even.

And I parked it in the shed – by myself – and didn’t hit anything.

Although Jan still laughs when I let off the clutch too quickly and give myself whiplash. (Wait – that is called the clutch – right?)

I have even progressed to the point that I can switch gears without assistance.

Yep. I definitely expanded my horizons this week!

And – as exciting as it was – I’m quite ready for the kiddos to come home!

They can go back to the chores they do so well and I’ll head back to my house and garden.

Washing dishes never looked so good!

Of Rye Bread and Borscht

The Opening Ceremonies of any Olympic Games is traditionally a big deal here.

We study the foods of the country and design a meal to give us a flavor of the region.

But this year I will admit that Russia didn’t inspire me. It had been a busy week and I was ready to make a homemade pizza with pepperoni in the shape of the Olympic rings and call it a night. 🙂

But Buddy insisted.

He even researched. And when he uncovered a Zakuski – or Russian buffet – I decided we could pull this off.

It looked somewhat similar to the Swedish smorgasbord we enjoy with Jan’s family at Christmas. We started out with deviled eggs, sausage, cheese, and crackers that we pretended were rye. So far so good.

Then we had Bitokes (meatballs) in sour cream sauce with potato dumplings.


I even made Russian black bread. Which was actually brown. And didn’t contain any rye flour since I got sick on rye bread when I was pregnant with Matt 21 years ago and haven’t been able to look at it since.

Jan liked it. But then Jan likes everything. The kids weren’t as excited. They might have even spit it out. There’s still 5/6 of a loaf on the counter if you’d like to try it. Anybody?!

And then there was the Borscht. Honestly – could we have a Russian meal without this iconic food?

But I must confess –

DSC_0238It came from a bottle.  And the potato dumplings were actually Italian gnocchi.

I’m afraid some Russian grandmother just rolled over in her grave.

At least the faux potato dumplings tasted pretty good in the sour cream gravy.

While the Borscht could best be described as interesting. Think warm pickled beets.  Things got even worse when the bowl got around the table to Dagmar – our EMT. She took one look at the contents and exclaimed “Yuck! It looks like blood clots!”

And thus it became blood clot soup.

And we lost our appetite and gave the rest to the pigs – who were much less squeamish.

For dessert we had Russian Tea cakes – which probably aren’t even Russian. But they sure did taste good.

While this may not have been the tastiest Opening Ceremony meal we’ve ever shared – but it sure was the most memorable!

Black bread anyone?


Angel Girl turned 15 yesterday. (Not quite sure how that happened so fast!)

To celebrate she asked to hang out with her home school friends.

Why not a potluck picnic at the park?


We had lots of friends join us.

And lots of silliness.

And food. There’s always plenty of that!

(Glad to see that Buddy was eating so well – chips, Oreo cookies and a Popsicle?!)

Angel Girl got to do all her favorite things – hang with friends, take lots of cute pictures,
DSC_0210and chase adorable littles up and down the play equipment.

She was in her element!

1011766_489476501122456_822853665_nHappy birthday Angel Girl!