Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Miranda as "The Little Mermaid"

Nicole & Shawn as "Sonny & Cher"

Koda as "a black cat"

and Dum Dums & Smarties as our old family standby!

Monday, October 30, 2006

weekend pics

Randy called me early yesterday morning on his way to church to tell me to quick go outside and see the gorgeous sunrise!

My handy handsome husband!

All yard sale and thrift store finds!

The center piece for a luncheon I hosted yesterday after church.

So what's with all the pics you ask... well, I am learning to use our digital camera and I am having soooo much fun and... well, I just had to share my favorites with you! Can you tell how excited I am about my new passion! Be sure to clic the pic to enlarge!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

the old pump

I have always wanted an old pump to install as a fountain in our back yard here in Phoenix, Arizona.
Well, a couple years ago my Dad bought me a pump!
Randy and I were sooo excited to finally have a water feature... but even more excited that it was an old water pump from Wisconsin!
As you can see, even though I live in the desert, I was determined that my back yard would reflect the farm back home!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Starr Pass resort

Randy and I stayed at this gorgeous resort outside of Tucson this past weekend. Randy did the music for a Leadership Catalyst conference being held at the Starr Pass Resort and I drove to the resort Saturday night after a wedding.
Randy and I could never afford such luxury so we feel especially blessed to have experienced it with our dear friends who also worked at the conference!
We witnessed a glorious sunrise out on the patio Sunday morning.
How wonderful that God created such beauty in the colors of the desert.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I would like a basement.
I keep telling my husband that I would be so happy if I had a basement. Is that wrong?!
Well, when you live in Phx. AZ it is, cuz it just ain't gonna happen.

But do you know how wonderful my life would be with a basement?
We would be able to get both cars in our garage.
We would be able to cool off from these long, hot summers.
We would have a place to go when... you know... oh ya, in Phx. there are no weather conditions that require a basement. Ever!

But I have great memories growing up with a basement.

Each year around this time, it was moving day. I would move my playhouse from the old wooden corn crib summer home to the basement for the winter months. It was a big deal. I loved moving day... a time to redecorate and reorganize my playhouse.
We also spent many nights in the basement waiting out a tornado... while my Dad would be in the barn or upstairs watching the devastation unfold... later telling us the big oak tree was down... the calf barn roof was peeled off... or the neighbors barn was gone.
I also spent many hours playing ping pong with my brothers. We were a fiercely competitive family! So it got rather physical!
Then... well... then there were those nights... heck, EVERY night... that I was asked to go down to the basement and get a half dozen potatoes... Schwan's ice cream... canning jars of corn or green beans... maybe an onion.
I'd spend hours every day in the basement... but come night fall, all I could imagine was someone grabbing my ankles as I made my way down the open stairway. I would scream a closed-mouth kinda scream... as I ran down those basement stairs... grabbing whatever and tearing back up those stairs, three steps at a time! My heart would be racing as I set the item down on the kitchen counter, having survived yet another trip to the basement. You see... the basement was not a pretty site... very dark, damp and musty smelling... unlike the basement in my parents home. Their basement was THE place! My kids loved to play ping pong, pretend and drink pop! And ever since they can remember, my kids have slept in the old bunk beds in their basement. My Mom still puts the same Pound Puppy sheets on those bunks! It's about making memories...
Hey, just had a thought... the memories they have of those times in the basements were a big deal because WE didn't have one... it was new, exciting and different. So I'm OK with not having a basement, when I hear my kids telling the stories... reminiscing... sharing the memories.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the farm

The farm... my roots... my home.
Where my story began...

When we were planning a family gathering for my parents 45th Anniversary 11 years ago, we were delighted when my Dad's oldest sister Anna wrote to us her fondest memories of her brother John. I want to hightlight what she so eloquently wrote about the farm... the farm that her baby brother would someday own.

Anna wrote " All during my four years at Whitehall High School, I was one of the first passengers to board Abner Thompson's "homemade" school bus in the morning, and of course, among the last to alight in the p.m. As we traveled up, down, in, out, and around the country roads, I'd frequently pass the time gazing, often wistfully at some of the farm houses I considered ever so much more elegant than our own. I remember still, Linda, the one I thought most beautiful and desirable and would think, "how wonderful it must be to live on such land and in such a fine house!" Of course, such thoughts were shared only with my inner-self. Knowing this, Linda, you can appreciate my pardonable pride when, years later, I learned that my baby-brother, John, had recently purchased the farm over which I'd spent countless hours in fantasy!!!"

Don't you just love that story!
Aunt Anna is 83 years old now... and I'm calculating that those four years on that school bus were from 1938-1942.
The farm was built in 1927. My Mom & Dad and 5 kids under the age of 7 moved onto that farm Feb. of 1959. I was 2 years old. The sixth sibling was born in 1969. My brother Ron and his family bought the farm from my Dad in 1988. My parents built a home on the farm in 1981. My Dad retired from milking the cows the day he turned 62, in 1988... but continues to actively work on the farm at 80 years young! His work ethic and strength of character is revered by everyone who knows him. In fact in 1986, our farm was chosen to have Secretary of Agriculture Lyng tour our 350 acre farm! What an honor! We were so proud of Dad and our brother Ron!

Click the pic to see Randy and Tyler on top of the 80 ft. Harvestor!

So my kids have grown up going to the farm in WI every summer. And like MY childhood, they enjoyed playing in the corn cribs, the hay loft, the woods, the creek, the granary and the basements in the farmhouse and my parents home. Yes, the basement being their favorite memory. They love basements! I love basements! I wish I had a... give it up Linda... you don't and never will. BUT... I am seeing a blog post about basements in the near future.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

baskets and bowls

I LOVE picnic baskets! I LOVE collecting wicker and metal picnic baskets and seeing them stacked here and there. They make me so happy!
I also like when my collections do double duty... they decorate my home and they serve a purpose. Picnic baskets make great storage. And I am so about lots of storage!

I store my month-at-a-glance calendars from each year in one of the baskets. When little ones come over, I bring out the basket full of toddler toys. Special cards that I have saved over the years go in a basket... linens in one... and years of memorabilia in another.
I usually pay a dollar for most of the wickers and maybe five dollars for each of the metal baskets. This red one is my favorite!

I LOVE bowls too!
I have got to tell you my favorite bowl story. Like I have tons of bowl stories...
Anyway, several years ago I was yard saling with a friend in the historical district in downtown Phx. We decided to stop at one more sale. Most sales around here shut down by noon and it was 1 pm. But it was my kind of sale... everything was still in boxes. Knowing that most people don't take the time to dig through boxes... I went at it! Oh and picture this, the yard sale and all the boxes were surrounding a slimy, green swimming pool.
This one box was filled with 1970's blue & white Corning bakeware. Well I dug deeper... more Corningware... I dug even deeper... and struck gold!!!!! There at the very bottom of this dirty old box, wrapped in layers of old newspaper were... two old McCoy bowls! I could hardly breathe... so I very gingerly asked what they wanted for the two bowls and they said... 50 cents each!!! AND I ABOUT FELL IN THE POOL!

Friday, October 13, 2006

PYREX cookware

Did you know that back in the 50's PYREX put out a whole line of cookware... along with tea pots and various size perculator coffee pots?
I just love them! They are so sparkle pretty and functional... but very breakable. So to find a coffee pot with all the glass guts intact is very rare. So I was thrilled AND willing to pay $12.00 at a thrift store in Apache Junction several years ago to get my very own! You see I have a photo of a Larson family gathering in the 50's with the same size PYREX perculator sitting on our kitchen table. My Mom said the paper thin glass basket and stem that holds the grounds eventually broke and back then you didn't just order a replacement... you threw it out.

The day after I brought home my PYREX perculator Randy and I pulled up 2 stools and sat staring in front of the stove as the coffee pot did it's thing. I'm telling you, it was fascinating to be able to see the whole volcanic process as the pot perculated! The kids thought we should maybe get a life... but it was truly entertaining!

Oh and the double-boiler has a cute story... the two parts were bought many years a part... having no idea that they went together. I was so close to not buying one of the parts cuz it didn't have a lid... but that's because the part I already had with a lid went inside the other!! I was so surprised and delighted to have them reunited and functional once again!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

scrapbooking... then and now

I have been scrapbooking since 5th grade. I made elaborate scrapbooks all through my Jr. and Sr. High years because well, I really thought I would be famous one day and it was important that my life be well documented. I have always kept diaries and journals too... you know, for that book... about me...
When my brother was here this past weekend, I had him look through all my scrapbooks. I was kinda weird back then when it came to memorabilia. Let's see... I scrapbooked all the candy wrappers I was eating at special occasions. I would journal about eating this Caramello bar while watching the movie "Love Story" in 7th grade... a Bit-O-Honey during a tour of the Alma Power Plant in 8th grade. Oh and the candy had 10 cents printed on the wrappers! No way! I am not that old!
I saved the wad of gum that I was chewing while asking Harmon Killabrew and Jim Perry for autographs at a Twins game.
I even saved the tissue that I cried on when I made cheerleading!
I scrapbooked clippings from our local newspaper of BBall and football games I cheered... the ticket stub from the time my girlfriend and I drove to LaCrosse in a snow storm to see The Exorist... all my report cards and 4-H County Fair ribbons... my class ring receipt... ribbons from a Prom corsage... a sugar packet from a Homecoming date... foliage off a tree from a 4-H trip to Washington D.C.
So it was easy for me to resume scrapbooking a couple years ago, as I had saved every imaginable object throughout the years, knowing I would someday scrap it. And now I AM!

Check out Miranda's amazing work! Click those words and it'll take you to my daughter Miranda's latest scrap pages on her blog. I am so proud of her work... she is my inspiration... my motivation. She can scrap through a stack of photos in the time it takes me to sit down and just get started! I labor over every photo, every layout, every word. I need to lighten up and just get those creative juices flowing and... scrap it!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Me & Randy

the Grand Canyon!

Randy and I took my brother Gary and his wife Kathy to the Grand Canyon on Saturday and had the BEST time!
Gary and Kathy are from WI and this was their first trip to Arizona.
We left early Sat. morning... the weather at the Canyon was a perfect 64 degrees... Randy, Kathy and I hiked a mile down into the Canyon and then headed back up.... Gary went another mile and we all got out around the same time! Gary is in great shape and the rest of us just aren't BUT we would love to go all the way down to the Colorado River next time! And by golly, WE WILL!

We then drove back through Flagstaff and down into Oak Creek Canyon through Sedona and back to Phx.

It's always good to see our state through the eyes of friends and family and be reminded of how beautiful and breathtaking the great state of Arizona really is!

pretty in pink

The 25th birthday "Pretty in Pink" party for my daughter-in-law Nicole was sooooo FUN!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Nicole's 25!

Shawn's precious wife Nicole turns 25 years old today! She is truly a gift to our son and to our family. Nicole is the sister that Miranda always wished she had... and Miranda is the sister that Nicole never had. They love to break out and sing the "Sister, Sister" song from "White Christmas"... or was it "Holiday Inn"... Oh well... they make me laugh!
And Shawn and Nicole are just so cute together, so funny and so much fun to spend time with. Love them to pieces!

I would have posted a pic of Nicole & Shawn... but I will wait till her birthday party this weekend. It's a "Pretty in Pink" party that her Mom is hosting and we are all to wear pink! How fun is that!!
So that leads me to my "deal of the day"! Went to Kohls and got Randy a pink shirt for the party... retailed at $35.00 and on clearance for only $3.60... oh, but wait... because I used my Kohl's charge I got another 20% off all my items... so basically I got the shirt for NOTHING! So if Randy never wears it again... who cares!