Archive for September, 2010

mountain man

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I didn’t advertise this last week, but Mike was away on his hunting adventures for the past week and a half. His friends own some land way out west in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. Now when I say “land” I mean just that. There are no buildings, plumbing, electricity or even roads on or anywhere near this land. In fact, the closest sign of civilization including any stores is over an hour away. I’m sure you can also sum up that there are absolutely no cell signals out there either. This fact scares the daylights out of me, but it’s what Mike and his buddies thrive on. I did get to talk to Mike a couple of times throughout the week. Mike was also able to send sporadic text messages, but they were usually cut off halfway through his message.

This is what the guys saw. Mountains and mountains and more mountains.

When the men went out for the day all they had to survive on is what could fit in their pack. Mike was the clever one with his front pack as well.

The hunting goal for the week was to get some elk. All the guys had bow licenses, and Mike was the only one with a rifle license. The periodic reports I was getting from Mike didn’t look like the guys would be bringing anything home with them. However, on the last day I got word that Mike was able to shoot a cow during the last hours of their last day of hunting. Lucky! Even though Mike is sharing the meat with Matt and Chris, there will still be enough meat to last us through the winter. I’ve never had elk meat, so I’m interested to taste it. According to several sources, it’s some of the best meat you could ever taste. I’ll be the judge of that. It’s a good thing Mike got it when he did because our buffalo supplies are running quite low. I’ve actually had to start buying ground meat at the grocery store again.

Here is Mike waiting. And waiting. I guess much of hunting is just a waiting game.

And for the next picture if you don’t want to see the animal Mike shot, then do not proceed.
Mike is so proud. His very first elk.

ummm…your head is missing [picture dump]

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Fall is starting to creep up around here even if we’re still getting 80 degree days. All the pumpkin farms are now open, so Julie and I thought it would be fun to go for a little field trip with the “babies”. We’ve been passing the larger than life sign pointing the way to Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm since our first days in Kenosha, so I was glad to finally get the opportunity to check it out. I had heard about their pumpkin people displays and have always been curious to see them. Unfortunately, the displays weren’t all completed for our visit, so many of the characters were headless. I think Violet is a bit young to get creeped out by it, but I wondered a few times if it would have lasting effects on Chloe. We still had fun walking around and letting the little babes roam free.

Here are some of the exhibits that did actually have heads.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Strawberry Shortcake?

Winnie the Pooh and headless Tigger.

McDonald’s characters. Kinda weird.

Sponge Bob and Patrick.

Popeye, et al.

The Sesame Street gang.



Humpty Dumpty. One of my favorites.

Maybe I’m demented, but this was my favorite. Can you guess the theme?

And just for fun (once again, this may just put Chloe into therapy as an adult).

I was actually quite impressed with all the time, materials, and patience that goes into this project. And then the organizer in me keeps thinking: where and how do they store all that stuff once the season is over?

After we got to see all the displays I wanted to make sure to get some nice pictures of my little ViVi. Fall pictures are my favorite.

As you can see Violet was not thrilled to be taking pictures in the beginning. I’m sure she is thinking, “Why am I being forced to sit on top of these orange monsters?”

Once Vi was able to walk around, then I could coax a smile from her.

It was way too bright by the corn field, but I couldn’t pass up a picture by it.

Best friends. At least for that day. Today Julie got to watch Violet while I went to the doctor, and Chloe was not too keen on sharing her mommy.

It was a fun day, but I think I may have to take all the girls back once all the displays are complete. I think Annie and Mimi would really like them.

rainy apples

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The Johnsons were feeling sorry for the girls and me since Mike was away this weekend, so they invited us along on their Honeycrisp apple picking tour. I tasted a Honeycrisp apple a few years ago and knew right then and there that those were my absolute favorite apples. However, with a $3+/lb price tag I rarely give in and buy them when I see them taunting me at the grocery story. Once in a while I will grab a couple, just for me though.

The orchard was set to open at 9:00 a.m. this Saturday for the Honeycrisp opener, and Julie warned me that they get picked fast usually within a couple of hours. We dashed over there as quickly as we could arriving just a few minutes after 9:00, but we were met with a 30-minute line into the orchard. I didn’t feed the girls prior to leaving because we knew we’d be hitting the homemade doughnut stand just down the street right after our picking adventures. The big girls could handle their grumbling tummies, but Violet was not happy and made EVERYONE well aware of her displeasure the entire time we waited in line. When we finally got into the gates and parked it looked like there were still plenty of apples for us to pick. The forecast said there would be rain later in the afternoon, but it had only been sprinkling on and off up to that point. We weren’t worried.

Everyone had a bag in hand, and we were off to the races. I lagged a little behind because I had to get out the stroller for Violet, etc. By the time Violet and I reached our party, the rain gods turned on the spigot full blast. The group made a run for it back to the cars, and all the kids piled into my vehicle to watch a movie. Thankfully the kids had already picked a few apples, so we each had a snack to tide us over until a bit later. This satisfied Violet, too. Seth decided to not let the rain stop him, and he managed to fill most of his large bag and about 1/2 of my large bag. When the rain let up a lot, then we headed back out to finish the task at hand. The girls and I managed to get enough apples to fill up my large bag for a 1/2 bushel total.

Waiting out the rain in the car.

Picking away.

The girls and I all geared up for the rain.

After picking was complete we headed over to another orchard that makes the most awesome (and greasy) doughnuts and apple cider.

The apple guts discarded after getting all the lovely juices.

Thankfully, there was this little playground and some animals to pet in order to entertain the kids while we had to wait another very long time for the doughnuts.

Finally, the wait is over, and boy was it worth it. There was a line a mile long, and they also make them to order. We were all like little piggies after having to wait until about 10:30 to eat our breakfast.

Even though we got soaked and my car filled up with grass and mud, I’m so glad we did this. I now have a 1/2 bushel off apples with which to contend. Julie educated me on the storage of apples, and I was pleased to learned if properly handled and stored that the apples will last up to 6 months. Yahoo!

pursey hawley

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I’ve been seeing so many handmade handbags lately on my many favorite, craft blogs which have made me so envious. After I saw this tutorial I knew I had to make one for myself. I already knew what fabric to use since I had an odd amount of fabric leftover from my den project.

The handbag in the tutorial is a bit bigger than I prefer to use, so I modified the design. Since I didn’t want a flat purse I also used a concept I learned while making my Vera Bradley knock-offs a few years ago to add dimension. I went a little overboard with the idea, but I think it still managed to work. As a final touch I made one of these flowers. It manages hold all my junk and even has a few divider pockets inside.

look who’s walking!

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Violet took her time getting to this point, but she is finally gaining the confidence to voluntarily walk on her own. She is definitely proud of herself. So are her big sisters who have been “training” her for weeks. Annie and Mimi have been relentless with her, and Violet only retreated to her professional crawling skills. Now that the girls are in school and not bugging her constantly about it Vi finally decided it was time and made sure to let everyone know it was completely her own choice. Do we have a headstrong, little lady in our future?


In other news, Violet enjoys a nice ride.

In other, other news, I think sometimes Sadie wishes to be the baby in the family. She got busted lounging in the exersaucer yesterday, and a few weeks ago I caught her sleeping in Violet’s crib. For shame!

Who ya gonna call?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010


We’ve seen this around town several times, and I’ve finally gotten a chance to snap it. Not sure if the owner is serious or not. Either way, someone’s got way too much time on his hands.

called to serve

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

The primary children of our ward were so lucky this past Saturday. They were treated with one of the most fun activities I’ve seen yet. The theme was about becoming a missionary for the church. Prior to the event each child was “called” to a mission and received an actual letter (from the primary leaders) calling them to their particular missions. Annie was called to “serve” in the Philippines and Mimi to Mexico. They were both excited about their missions and anticipated the primary activity with much eagerness.

When the children arrived they were greeted by this sign.

Each child received their very own missionary name tag in their assigned language. The girls were ecstatic about these and even wore them to church on Sunday. I love how they made the airline sign to make the kids feel like they are really traveling to their assigned missions.

The primary leaders outdid themselves with lots of activities for the kids, such as learning how to tie neckties from real, full-time missionaries.

Writing letters to the missionaries who are currently serving from our ward.

And a relay race where each child had to take a piece of clothing to wash, dry, iron, and hang up. I loved the “washers” and “dryers”. Mission-Aire, ha!

After the kids had a chance to do all activities they then split up to go to their missions. They each found where they’d be going on a map.

Mimi didn’t have much to say about her mission (does she ever have much to say other than to screech some loud and obnoxious nonsensical grunt?!?), but Annie told us many times how the filipinos eat dogs. They each got to try authentic foods from their regions and learned things from people who actually served missions in those areas.

The girls were in complete awe of the whole day and talked about how excited to one day serve a mission. I hope they understand now what it’s somewhat like to go on a full-time mission and what those full-time missionaries in our ward are really about. Maybe this activity will inspire them to go on a mission one day.

Violet didn’t get to participate in any of the recreation, but she still had a great time. Poor thing is really going to have hair issues when she’s older.


Friday, September 10th, 2010

What wife can say that her husband will do a spa quality pedicure on her feet? I can! Yep, last night I was the lucky recipient of a very nice and multi-stepped pedicure. Mike actually takes pride in his work and even went shopping with me some time ago to pick out the highest quality base and top coats for my special toenails. The top coat even has diamond dust in it to ensure optimal nail strength. Mike also purchased a multi-sided nail file that takes several steps to buff to a silky texture. The process Mike takes to get from start to finish (all the way to top coat) is being coined as his patented DURAFINISH.

When it came time to pick out a nail color I chose my usual, conservative soft pink. Mike scoffed at the idea that he would put in so much work only to slap on boring pink. He demanded that I pick something more bold and outspoken. I told him to choose but not to go too wild. Normally, I wouldn’t worry because the options in my nail polish library would just be other versions of my favorite pink, but over the years we’ve acquired some wild colors for the girls’ nails including blue, yellow, fluorescent pink, green, and many other outrageous hues. However, Mike didn’t get too crazy and chose a spunky but not seizure-inducing purple. Jenni should at least approve;)

labor day busy-ness

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This time last year we were celebrating Labor Day at home with a 2-week-old niblet which meant we missed out on the MN State Fair and the Lafayette Club’s annual Labor Day picnic. There was no way anything was going to keep us from doing those things this year even if Mike had driven to MN for the past 2 weekends to drop off and pick up the girls from their visit with the MN relatives.

It turns out that some old friends, the Huffs, would also be in town visiting the Bakkes. Mike went to dental school with both of them, and we’ve managed to stay in touch with their families all these years. Can you believe it’s been over 7 years since Mike graduated from dental school? We went over to the Bakke’s gorgeous 5-acre home and hung out for the afternoon. The kids figured out pretty quickly that the many kiddie vehicles went down the big hill quite nicely. So much of the time was spent doing that. The girls were in heaven.


Some of the other time was riding the 4-wheeler. Mike is already trying to talk me into letting him get one. My is answer is one, big, fat NO!

Even Violet got a turn.

Because we didn’t have enough to do that day we also went over to Jake and Steph’s house for dinner that night. The girls love seeing their cousins. After Mimi and Annie’s week in Minnesota the girls are very close with their cousins now.

The next morning we got up bright and early to head off to the Minnesota State Fair. It was crazy busy, but we managed to do what we set out to do and see and still have tons o’ fun.

Our first goal was to visit with the butterflies. After having to let Russell the Monarch go into the wild the girls wanted another opportunity to befriend some flutterbys.

We couldn’t miss out on the animal barns. This is Mike’s favorite part of the day, so we have to spend a good chunk of it here looking at horses, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, and, of course, chickens.

There is always fun (and free) things to do with the animals including spinning for prizes, practicing milking cows, and getting tattoos.

The girls also got to meet Smokey the Bear. This seemed extra special since they’ve been wearing one of his pins on their jackets which they got from Door County.

Little Vi was such a trooper and didn’t demand getting out of her stroller one single time. Eventually she was overwhelmed by all the activity and pooped out.

It was a fun day at the fair, but we had to get home in time for the annual Labor Day picnic put on by the Lafayette Club (Jake’s work). This is the second time we’ve gotten to attend. You may remember the last time we went the girls got to ride a pony and do all kinds of other fun stuff. No ponies this year but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of entertaining things to see and do. There were jugglers, fancy ladies on stilts, carnival-like games, bouncy houses, prizes, great food, live music and a finale of fireworks.

But let’s not forget to mention the WAX HANDS. Apparently, there’s a family history of wax hands in the Hawley family, and Sara of Shoebox Castle tells a great story about it here and here. The gist of the story is that Sara and a college roommate decided to make a wax cast of Sara’s hand and caused Sara much pain in the process. However, her roommate was able to make a plaster sculpture of Sara’s hand from the wax mold, and Sara had that hand for many years causing great havoc along the way. Sara’s hand went through a lot of adventure over the years but eventually suffered enough damage requiring a permanent resting spot in some landfill.

Jake remembered Sara’s wax hand quite well and took it upon himself to procure a wax hand booth at the Labor Day picnic. What’s even cooler about the wax hand specialist is that he is the sidekick on Jake, Mike, and Dave’s favorite radio show, Garage Logic. It’s a local Twin Cities show, so Mike has to listen to the day-old podcasts on his iPod. The sidekick, wax hand specialist is Rookie, and he is the one who does all the silly voices and funny stuff on the show. The wax hand idea was one of his “million dollar ideas” that the guys on the show are always trying to come up with. Rookie took his idea seriously and now does his wax hands as a side business. It definitely was a hit at the picnic even forcing Jake to cut off the line at a certain point so that Rookie and his family wouldn’t have to be working until the middle of the night. Even I got in on the action and got myself a wax hand. I did get the chance to tell Rookie that my husband is a big fan of the show, but I know Mike would have loved to be able to chat with him.

I almost forgot to post a picture of my wax hand. You may think my hand is just making the A-OK sign, but there’s actually a game involved with that particular sign. It would take too long to explain, so just know there’s a meaning behind it. I also get to punch you for looking at my hand.

So as you can see we were quite busy in Minnesota this past weekend. We definitely had fun, but I’m taking a break from any trips for at least a couple of months.

strippy dresses in action

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

I said I’d take pictures of the girls’ dresses, but we got busy with the new school year starting. However, I received a special request from a certain grandma to present pictures as soon as possible, so I jumped on the ball this morning and shot some quick pictures.

This is my favorite picture, but the sun was directly behind them which made the camera quite mad.

Here’s a better view of the dresses from top to bottom.

I’m happy to report that the girls absolutely love these dresses (they never seemed much interested in the other dresses I’ve made). It really was an easy dress to sew up, and I’d like to make more of them with different color schemes/patterns. We’ll see if I can find another group of cute fabrics and find the time.