Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday....photos by me

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What book has had the greatest impact on your life?


Ever since I was a child, since the second I could read, I've had my nose in a book.  My daughter is right behind me and I love it!  I feel like being a good reader is one of the keys to success in life.  So, when I saw this incredible campaign on http://www.blogher.com/,   I had to share.  Please check it out!

Here is an excerpt from blogher:

BlogHer and BookRenter, a company that rents textbooks to college students, have joined forces because we know that books makes a difference.

From May 3-28, together we are working to make a difference in children's lives by generating new books for children who need them most -- via the nonprofit organization First Book.
Want to help? For every answer we receive in the comments to the following question, one book will be donated:
What book has had the greatest impact on your life?
That's right: All you need to do is leave a comment, and BookRenter will donate a book to a child in need -- up to 1,000 books.
Want to help even more? You can blog about our campaign, then add the specific URL of your post to Mr. Linky and we'll add another book to the tally.

Now, as for my book....wow.  It's ridicuously hard to just pick ONE!  At each phase of my life I fell in love with so many books.  I find that the books that I cannot part with and are on my bookshelf today are possibly the ones that had the most impact.  Here are a few that pop into my mind:

~Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
I remember reading the last paragraph out loud to my mom and she went to get my dad so I could read it to him.  Now that I am a parent I totally understand this.  I could read and read well and something about these words spoke to my mom.  Here is the last paragraph.  I can't tell you how many times I've read this paragraph.  When I see this book anywhere I immediately go to the last page and read this.  (and it will always bring a tear to my eye!)
"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

~The Girls of Canby Hall Series by Emily Chase (Scholastic Publishing 1984-1989) 
I could read two in a weekend and would beg my mom to take me to the mall to go to B. Dalton to buy the next in the series.

~Night by Elie Wiesel
This book is based on Elie Wiesel's experience as a young Orthodox Jew sent to a German concentration camp.  This book disturbed me and changed me in so many ways.  To think that human beings can hate on this level, all seen through a child's eyes is amazing.  Also, that someone can literally survive a living Hell and not have hate in his heart and serve the world

~The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The story is about a year in the life of a young black girl in Lorain, Ohio named Pecola. It takes place against the backdrop of America's Midwest as well as in the years following The Great Depression.  Another book that changed my life and made me look at race in a new light.

~Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I read this book in Mrs. McKesson's 8th grade English class and was just lost in the tale of 19th Century England.  As a girl living in a small town in the Mid-West, this other world of the book enveloped me and spoke to me and my spirit of adventure and to travel.

~Simple Abundance by Sara Ban Breathnach
"A daybook of comfort and joy" with a daily reading that I followed for one year.  It taught me how to be more in the moment and find happiness in the mundane tasks of life.  I looked forward to reading each day's passage.

~Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
One woman's search for everything across Italy....this book spoke to me on so many levels.  I've been Elizabeth in stops and starts throughout my whole life.  I do not hold out hope that a movie will ever be as good as a book, but we do have Julia Roberts playing Elizabeth Gilbert this summer in the movie debut!

~The Hours by Michael Cunningham
An homage to Virginia Woolfe, this story intertwines her life with two other women.  Fantastic!  I will admit I saw (and own the movie) first and then read the book and it did not disappoint.  A great book to movie translation.  I have attempted to read Virgina Woolfe's "To the Lighthouse" several times but it didn't take. 

Now, I will also include with my love for Judy Blume in all her glory.  Pretty much any book by Judy was devoured by me in my youth.  AND, do I really, really go there and mention the "Twilight" series?  Okay, KIDDING.

Happy reading!  It's the best escape ever!  Please post a comment and let me know your favorites! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let 'em Eat Cake....

1.  investigate
2.  navigate
3.  enter mouth

The "walk away" Shot...

Why do I just adore the "walk away" pictures?  I mean if this isn't the cutest thing ever than I don't know what is!  Little man Evan in the middle with sissy and Daddy's hand.......well it just melts my heart!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

We took a short day trip to Rockford, IL to see the Anderson Japanese Gardens.  DELIGHTFUL!


The gardens are a serene oasis of calm and beauty. It just doesn't seem possible that this is located in Rockford!  It was the perfect get-a-way for Mother's Day.  We also got some great landscaping inspiration.  And Mom's got free admission! 

I took a TON of pictures so I'll spare you and just post a few goodies.  If you get the opportunity to visit the gardens you will not be disappointed!  Oh, and we got ice cream too!  Bengt cooked dinner and poured my morning coffee.  I also secured myself a fabulous necklace.  If you want a good Mother's Day gift you just need to buy it for yourself! 


I slept in late, took a nap and had a glass of wine.....both kids napped (the red head doesn't nap unless she's near exhaustion).......I'd say a pretty good weekend!  We went to dinner on Saturday without kids and even had time to stop at a bar and have a beer.  (you gotta love the church "parents night out" babysitting)  I felt like an adult!  : )  Couldn't love my family more or be more proud to call myself MOM.

First of the Season....

Who doesn't LOVE Spring?  I love walking out into the yard each day and seeing what bloomed.....literally....overnight.  Lauren yelled for me a few mornings ago and was so excited to show me the iris that bloomed.  "Mom, look what happened!"

My Little Bean Snapper....

Lauren enjoyed snapping beans almost as much as she likes peeling carrots.  And that just works for me.  She was laughing about the long stem attached to one of the beans.  I highly recommend getting yourself a little kitchen helper....or a maid.....or a cook....or a nanny......hahhhahahah.  Yeah, all those fall under my title...MOM.  (of the stay-at-home variety!)

For the love of Tupperware....

Last time it was Friday Night Dance Party and Popcorn Night I forgot to take a pic of the lovely popped kernels.  Well, it's getting to be a tradition around here, so there was another opportunity for a pic.  I know, I know....who cares about a picture of my popcorn?  Well, since you asked.  Just look at that vintage tupperware.....to die for.  LOVE it.  My mom "passed this on" to me.....like it's some sort of family heirloom.  Hilarious!  But in all honesty, it just makes me happy to use this.  

 Here's another shot so you can see the goodness of the "sporks"......perfect for tossing the popcorn with the butter.  And wait....there will be more Tupperware shots of the other beauties my mom gave me!  : )

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Garden shots Part 2

The actual plants and seeds went into the garden beds today.  Five kinds of lettuce, carrots, beets, beans and radishes went into the garden itself.  I added more herbs to the herb garden section and we are experimenting with the whole vine family of plants (watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchinis, squash and mini pumpkins and gourds) in a section that is questionable for sun worshipping.  We added blueberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes, much to Lauren's delight. 
So it's a crazy train of veggies and berries and herbs at the Anderson house!  I can't wait to see what the Fall Harvest brings!

Life is like a game of Chutes and Ladders....

Sometimes you're UP and sometimes you're down!  Lauren had back to back plays of all the way to the TOP and then all the way to the BOTTOM!  Ah, such is life!  Nothing like a children's board game to put a little perspective on life as we know it....

A trip to Menard's

This is why I always carry my camera!  You just never know what you are gonna find at Menard's! : ) 

Friday Night ....Popcorn and a Movie...

 I forgot to take a pic of the finished product! 

Garage Sale SCORE for Evan!

After we dropped Lauren off at school for "Family Celebration Day" on Thursday we checked out a garage sale.  Glad this BIG purple truck was $1.00 because I don't this we were leaving WITHOUT it!  What is it with boys and trucks, lawn mowers and loud noises?  Wow.  This is all new territory for me.  But my sister warned me!  : )

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Family Celebration Day

Lauren had an event at preschool on Thursday.  I have no idea how I'm going to make to "Kindergarten graduation" or any other celebratory landmarks on the way to highschool or college graduation because I can't make it through the introduction that Miss Linda does before the kids even come on stage.  BEFORE I even see Lauren in her little dress and pony tails singing songs I'm fighting back tears! 

 It's just all too much for me.  I mean really, wasn't it just a few weeks ago I was bringing her home from the hospital to try this whole "motherhood" thing on for size?  Um, yeah, no.  It was almost 5...F I V E....years ago.  Are you kidding me?  Yep....about five years ago I gave up my own life (in a sense) and decided to live it with my heart outside my body.  Loving these little creatures has been the best thing I've ever done in my whole life.  The most important thing I've ever done.  After their births, nothing....and I mean nothing....was ever the same.  And it never will be.  Even on my worst day (and I've had my share) having these two amazing little beings in my life has given me more significance than I've ever felt before. 

Seeing her little handprint on this handcrafted "pot" (which is really a solo cup decorated with scraps of fabric) caused me to fight back the tears harder so the other mom's and parents wouldn't see how ridiculous I was being! But I'm sure they were fighting their own tears!










My Baby is Growing up Fast!

This is what mornings look like around here.  My baby advanced to a "big boy" overnight.  He can climb in and out of this chair.  The chair we bought for Lauren that never really worked for her.  When people told me "boys are more physically adept" I just never believed them.  Well, it's true.  The things Evan does, the things he tries to do........Lauren didn't even think of them!  She was happy to sit with a big pile of books.  Evan is all boy and wants to be outside as much as humanly possible!  It is incredible to experience the girl vs. boy thing. 

Follow up to Edy's Fruit Bars....

Lauren is her mother's daughter through and through!  (Scary?  A bit)  She organizes things like nobody's business.  Cool?  Yes.  But when she wants to re-fold and organize store shelves it gets a little freaky.  The above photo shows her "organizing" the fruit bars by color after taking them all out of the boxes.  And as a stay-at-home mother, I say..........."do what'cha got do Lauren."

Mom's Eye View....

My friend Martine writes a blog about dogs and often does "Wordless Wednesdays" which I love.  I'm gonna call this "Speechless Saturday!"  Enjoy the weather!  Get outside!