About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Someday soon I will hopefully get around to updating ya'll on my life lately...it's been busy, that's for sure. I have tons of pictures from the Fargo Air Show, moving, and the State Fair. Unfortunately they're still on my camera.

School started on Thursday. Bleh. Kill me now. If you don't, Tax will.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why I Love...

The Christmas Club Savings Account.

My bank has a Christmas Club savings account.

"What is a Christmas Club savings account?" you ask.

Why, I will be happy to tell you.

A Christmas Club savings account is a special savings account with a higher interest rate than a regular savings account. It is used solely to save "Christmas money" and the money I deposit can only be withdrawn in November. In fact, I don't even choose when to withdraw it; my bank automatically transfers the amount into my checking account. Or maybe they send me a check for the amount. I can never remember which one.

And the best part is I have automatic withdrawals come from my checking account to the Christmas Club account every week. I have my account set up to automatically transfer $10 to my Christmas Club account on Mondays. I never miss $10 a week, and by the end of the year I'll have $520 saved for Christmas, without even trying! Darren and I also make additional deposits whenever we have some extra money. We already have quite a balance in the Christmas Club account, and even if we don't use it all for gifts it's nice to have a little extra money that time of year.

What I like most about the Christmas Club account is that I cannot withdraw the money. If I just tried to set some aside for Christmas in my regular savings account I would probably spend it on other things. That's what happens when I keep everything in one place. I need it all separated. We actually have two checking accounts and four savings accounts. It keeps me organized.

You might wonder what one would do with six different bank accounts. Well, it is a long a complicated story. But here's the short of it:
  • Checking account #1: Our regular checking account.
  • Checking account #2: Darren's checking account from before we got married, which we have never closed.
  • Savings account #1: Darren's savings account from before we got married, which we have never closed.
  • Savings account #2: Our regular savings account.
  • Savings account #3: Our "Emergency Fund" savings account, where we keep enough money to live on for three months without jobs.
  • Savings account #4: Our Christmas Club Savings Account.

See, if our "emergency funds" and our Christmas funds and our regular savings were all mixed together it would be SO MUCH more work to figure out what money was for what purpose. So really I'm saving myself time by having four different savings accounts.


So the moral of the post is that it's impossible to keep your money straight without seventeen accounts.

Wait, no it's not.

It's that if you don't already have a Christmas Club account, you should get one. If your bank doesn't offer that, you should switch to mine.

For real.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh My.

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This is the disastrous state of my dining room last Thursday, before we hauled it all down to our place in the cities. It looks better now but will soon be filled with piles of boxes. I can't believe how much work it is to move.

I'm not sure it will all fit in the next load. Darren seems to believe it will. I guess we'll see who is right.

And, in other exciting news, my aunt and uncle are installing a dishwasher for us! I'm so happy, you have no idea. It definitely made my month.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why I Love...


I have loved Google since before it was a billion dollar company.


I first met Google in computer class at my elementary school, back when it was privately held by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. (Yes, I looked those names up. On Google, of course.) Since I first discovered the meaning of "search engine" I have been entirely devoted to Google, and Google alone. Who cares about Yahoo! or MSN when you have Google?

My love affair continued through high school and into college. I never realized how different I was from other internet users until my freshman year. Whenever I had a question like "Where is Crete?" or "When are the Winter Olympics?" or "What are the hours for the mall?" I would Google my question until I found an answer.

Sometimes my roommates would ask me questions such as these and, not knowing the answer, I would tell them to "Google it." Apparently I began using the phrase "Google it" so much they thought I was crazy. Eventually they would laugh at me every time I said the word "Google."

My Google obsession was not known only by my roommates, but my family as well. My sister also makes fun of me for my Google addiction.

Did you know the word "Google" appears in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary? It was added in the year 2001. I fervently hope it appears in the print dictionary as well, but since I don't own one, I can't say for certain.

I suppose you think the point of this blog is to share with you my unparalleled love of Google. Not so. It is, in fact, to tell you a story and share with you the most wondrous Google discovery of my life thus far. A discovery so mind-boggling your life will never be the same.

Last night my husband and I went up town with his parents so the guys could have a little batting practice before the state softball tournament this weekend. I didn't bring my phone, which, I should mention, is the T1 with Google from T-Mobile. Yes, I have Google on my phone. Yes, it's amazing. Moving on.

On the way there Darren had to call a friend to get a hunting trip organized. (Not exactly accurate, but it would take too long to explain and is most definitely NOT the point of this story.) The short of it was he didn't have their phone number on him (since his new phone went through the washing machine and his old one didn't have their number). He kept on trying to remember their number, which I knew was a hopeless cause. I took his phone from him and said, "Let me try something."

You see, a couple months ago I discovered you could text something to Google and they would text you back the answer. Having the internet right on my phone, I hardly ever had to use this. I just "Googled it." But my husband did not have the internet on his phone, so it was Google to the rescue!

I opened a new text message and typed the man's name followed by our city and state and texted it to 466453 (which is GOOGLE on your touch-tone phone). Literally two seconds later Google texted him back with their name, address, and phone number.

I do believe my husband doubted the power of Google, but not I. I had every faith that Google would be able to find the answer to our dilemma. And, the best part is, this works on every phone. You don't need to have the internet. You just have to be able to text. There are no additional fees, you simply use one of your monthly allotted text messages. Well, you actually use two.

This works for people and businesses. I've never tried it for just random information...now that would be interesting.

So, my friends, take this phenomenal information and use it to enhance your life. I have shared a great secret with you because I know you are worthy of such power. May your lives be richly blessed with the ability to Google anytime, anywhere.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

She Can Always Make Me Laugh

Last night I found an old letter my sister had written to me. We were both in college and planning on coming home for the weekend. She was a freshman and didn't have a car yet, so I had picked her up earlier in the day and left her in my dorm room while I went to my last class. We were planning on leaving immediately afterwards.

When I got back to school on Monday I found this note hidden in my desk.

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It says:

Dearest Sister,

I'm all alone in your room without much to do. I can't find the CD's and the cord doesn't go into my computer. I already shut yours off (bad decision!) so now I'm becoming in touch with my creative side, by drawing you signs and such. Also, I ate some mac & cheesy & hot dog. Thanks for that! And I really wish you had some chocolate, I'm craving it hardcore. I'm sure you do somewhere, but where? I can see some Junior Mints, I've been eying (?) them up for some time now, but I'm pretty sure they're Christine's. It's taken all my willpower not to devour them just this second. I scared one of your rommies real bad, she thought she was in the wrong room! Ohh if you coulda seen the look on her face, it was priceless. I'm contemplating on cracking open your "Intermediate Accounting" book, that's how bored I am. I forgot all my homework in the car of course, so I'm stranded in this strange Finding Nemo empire without a sense of direction. Oh Lord, help me! I mean wait, can I say that on Northwestern premises? If not, pray for my forgiveness. Too bad your bed is full of CRAP, or I'd get a little shut eye. Hopefully Darren is excited, he let me know how much he's missed me this past week! Those darn boys, can't swat them off fast enough! Alright, anywho, I'm running out of room, oh how I wish I could keep writing. Ahh! For some reason that sentence made me feel like I belong on Pride and Prejudice. Seriously, I must crack open my Bible and see where it takes me. Hope all is well!



She can always make me laugh.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

family fish fry fun

Last night we had a little family get-together at my aunt Sue and uncle Tim's. We fried fish my other aunt Kay and (brand new!) uncle Todd caught in Alaska a while back. It was yummy.
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Here's Todd cutting some walleye. I think it's walleye. Not that I'd ever be able to tell, but I know we had walleye and halibut and the halibut was cubed, so I'm thinking it's walleye.
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My brother, Trent, and my great-aunt chatting it up while waiting for the food. My great-aunt is hilarious. We go to her place every year for Christmas and she always has lots of great games for us to play. Someday I will write a post about the family dynamics during the infamous "dice game."
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Lex, Mom, Trent, and me. I'm not sure where Darren went for this picture...
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Mmm...the fish is almost ready. Smells like grease. Tastes like...grease. We had halibut my aunt had caught and it was so delicious. My sister kept saying it looked like chicken nuggets. Except with fish.
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Those were some yummy fish nuggets. They were better than fish sticks. I love fish sticks. Mostly they're delicious but sometimes they creep me out. I mean, what kind of fish comes in tightly-compressed sticks? You know how sometimes you think some food is just so disturbing, but so delicious? Like Mac 'N Cheese? And hot dogs? And bologna? And Cheeze Whiz? Oh, my. Cheeze Whiz. I could eat a can of Cheeze Whiz right now.
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Everyone enjoyed their fish nuggets, as disturbing as it may seem.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Top Five Most Disgusting Things of All Time

1. Hair in the sink drain. You know how it is: the water is draining very slowly, you realize the drain must be clogged but are dreading cleaning it out. You pull up on the plug and YUCK! Out comes a big wad of slimy balled-up hair, complete with soap flecks and dirt chunks. Yum.

2. Food in the sink drain. Similar to hair, but nasty in its own special way. Plus it's stinky. How I envy those with a garbage disposal. I bet they've never scraped dried food chunks out of the drain stopper.

3. The word "gut." Don't ask me why, I just hate that word. Every time I hear it I can feel my face involuntarily make a slightly disgusted expression.

4. Getting puked on. Go here to read about my unfortunate incident with vomit. Nothing like the have digested contents of someone's stomach to make you lose yours.

5. Slicing skin. I can handle movies with gunshots, amputations, and guts (eww...) all over the place, but the second I see a scalpel thinly slice someone open, I'm gone. It's even worse when I cut my own finger with a knife. Or a piece of paper. I can't stand that the skin just flaps around and the two piece are no longer attached to each other. Ugh, cringe just thinking about it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why I Love...


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I'm having an affair with my pearls. Shhhh...no one tell my husband.

I love pearls so much. They're so versatile. I can wear them with anything.

Anything, I tell you. I wear them with jeans and I wear them with dresses. I was going to wear them for my wedding but they didn't go well with my halter straps. However, I did buy a new necklace for the wedding with a swirly-diamond thing and it had drop pearls. But, moving on.

I got this wonderful pearl necklace from my husband for my 21st birthday. It's Mikimoto which is, according to the saleswoman, the Wedgewood of pearls.

If you don't know what Wedgewood is...Mikimoto is the Tiger Woods of pearls. And for heaven's sake go here and educate yourself!

It's a crime to not know Wedgewood. But that's another post for another time. My goodness, am I ever distracted today.

Pearls. Focus.

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The cute clasp on my pearl necklace. And I should have removed it from the box so you couldn't see the snaps holding it down. But oh well.

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My pearl and diamond earrings. I bought these for myself on Valentine's Day in 2006. Yes, it's a little sad. But if no one was going to buy me flowers or chocolate I was going to buy myself some jewelry, dang it. And I never regretted it. I love these earrings.

That's the extent of my real pearls. I do have several fake ones as well, including this amazing ring.

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I love how huge and eye-catching it is. Besides the ring I have three or four sets of fake pearl earrings, ranging in size from the head of a pin to the nail on my pinkie finger. I love those huge ones.

Did you ever watch Pepper Dennis? It was only on TV for about four episodes in fall 2005 before it was cut. Well, Pepper Dennis had big pearl earrings. I went out and bought some right after that episode. I think it's safe to say Pepper Dennis inspired my love for pearls.

I've never been one for a lot of diamonds. I have my engagement ring and wedding bands, of course, and a pair of swirly diamond-and-some-kind-of-black-stone-earrings Darren gave me for Christmas, but other than that, nada.

Correction: I did own a diamond bracelet my mother gave me for Christmas and a pair of diamond earrings she gave me on a different Christmas, but they were stolen.

And even though they caught the woman and she was in jail for a while, I somehow never received my jewelry nor did I ever receive restitution, despite a trial, mounds of paperwork, and months of waiting. So much for the Roseville PD. Someday I will write a post about my room being ransacked and my things being stolen and my frequent calls to the police department. But not today. Today I am writing about pearls.

Did I mention I love pearls? No? I love pearls.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Most Eventful Old Testament Class Ever

I go to a Christian college and am required to take Bible classes.

They're a nice break from Auditing, let me tell you.

Sophomore year I had Old Testament with around 100 freshmen. I had transferred in so I was a year behind on all my Bible classes. It was okay with me; I had three freshmen roommates who later became three great friends. We all had Old Testament together.

The first day of Old Testament I arrived at a different time than the rest of my roommates, and the carousel was already half full.

Side note: I had my Old Testament class in a room (one of two) called a "carousel." This room seated about 100-150 students and was actually a huge revolving circular room. Between 10:30 and 11:00 am, every weekday, the room would spin 180 degrees to face a much larger room--Maranatha Hall--where the entire student body attended mandatory chapel. The carousel was set up kind of like a movie theater, with a wide screen/white board in front and a large flat area for the professor. The rest was "stadium seating," I guess you could say. None of this matters...that's why it's a side note.

The carousel was set up in three sections. The two side sections, near the walls, had three seats to a row, and the very large middle section probably had between 10 and 12 seats. Now I am not a people person and I do not like to be trapped in a large row with people on both sides. Plus the center area was already filling up quickly. I sat in a row of three near the wall. My roommates actually ending up sitting clear across the room in another row of three, which probably worked out well at the time because had I been sitting with them, I probably still would not understand Malachi and Obadiah to this day.

Not to say that I remember the themes to Malachi and Obadiah. But I did know them at some point.

Anyway, there I sat, by myself, until a brunette freshman named Natalie came to sit next to me. She was on the volleyball team and had an increasing tendency to fall asleep in class. I always gave her a poke; I didn't want her to miss learning about the books of prophecy, after all. Next to Natalie sat a blonde girl. I can't remember her name but I think it was something like Alli?? Maybe?? She was funny and NEVER took notes. I have no idea how she passed that class. All four of our exams were based solely on in-class lectures, so she either had a great memory or excellent multiple-choice luck. And the one thing I remember about her: she always had coffee. Blech.

Behind us sat a girl who was always talking and a rather large boy whose name I don't even know. I think another girl sat with them, but it is mostly the boy I remember. He had reddish-hair and a rather scraggly-looking beard. He wore glasses and hardly ever spoke. He had big tennis shoes on his big feet and wore shorts more often than not. And the reason I remember him so clearly, when I hardly remember the two girls, is not because he was anything to look at, nor because of his astonishing intelligence. It is because he threw up on me.

It was just another day in Old Testament. A Wednesday, if I recall correctly. Class was just wrapping up. I had already put my huge binder of notes in my backpack and was leaning down to put my Bible in when I heard it. The unmistakable sound of someone blowing chunks. Nasty.

And then I felt it. It was on me. Even more nasty. Apparently the boy behind Natalie, Alli, and I hadn't been feeling well. Why in heaven's name he didn't put his head down and throw up on the floor, I'll never know. Talk about your projectile vomiting. Alli got the worst of it, as she sat right in front of him, Natalie next to her, and me farthest away. So really, it could have been much worse.

We all kind of sat there in shock for a couple seconds. I just never really pictured being in that situation. What should I do? If you have ever been unfortunate enough to have someone throw up on you when you are least expecting it, you will understand. I remember turning around to look at the boy and he had his head down towards the ground. And honestly, I felt worse for him than I did for myself. I mean, it's one thing to be puked on. That's nasty. It's another thing entirely to be the one puking on other people. That's embarrassing beyond all measure.

The three of us went to the bathroom to try and clean up a little. Natalie and Alli had vomit in their hair, poor girls. I wasn't that unfortunate. It was just on my sweatshirt and jeans. We all skipped chapel--with good reason--and went to our dorms to clean up. I couldn't even handle just changing clothes. I took a shower, threw my jeans and sweatshirt in the washer immediately, and made myself presentable again. It was so disgusting. I can handle baby spit-up, and even toddler puke, but when a college student pukes on you...well, adult puke is nasty.

Old Testament was never the same after that. Every time I would look at that boy I would think "he's the boy who threw up on me in Old Testament." Poor guy; I don't know how he ever showed his face in class again. He still goes to college there. I still see him every so often. I wonder if he recognizes me. I'll never forget him, that's for certain. He is, and will always be, the boy who threw up on me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

something smells fishy

A couple weeks ago the hubby decided to pickle some fish. He tasted it somewhere and was so in love with it he wanted to make his own. So I bought some pickling spice and a gallon of vinegar and off we went.

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He cut up the fish and it sat in a vinegar/sugar mix for six days. On my counter. In front of the sink where I spend at least an hour of my day. In a nasty grimy jar.

It was lovely.

After six days of...fermenting...he mixed it with the pickling spice and there it sat for another five days. At least this time it wasn't so grotesque.

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All of this to say, last night he made me try a piece. I had been avoiding it like the plague, afraid to mention it lest he should remember I still hadn't tried it. Well, last night, as I was grating cheese over the Fiesta Meatloaf I made, he shoved a piece in my mouth.


Good thing I had a piece of cheese to eat immediately afterwards, or I probably would have tossed my cookies.

It wasn't so much the taste of it as it was the fact that I was eating raw fish. I've never been a fan of undercooked meat. I always get my burgers and steaks well done. I can't stand seeing ANY pink. Ew. So eating raw fish was like...was like...a criminal activity. It went against all my principles, everything I believe it.

And my husband, being the outdoors-y man he is, informed me if I were ever lost in the woods, starving and alone, I could just eat raw fish. "You don't have to cook it," he said.

First off, I never, ever, plan on being lost in the woods, starving and alone. And if I ever were, I likely wouldn't be able to catch a fish anyway. And even if I did catch a fish, I probably wouldn't be able to eat it without throwing up.

So now that we have that clear, let me reiterate: I don't eat raw meat. Of any sort.

Thank you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

District Champs!

We had a softball tournament all last weekend in Fergus Falls. I brought my camera and tried to get some good action shots. Unfortunately I either kept missing them or my camera kept focusing on the fence. I did get a couple decent ones out of the 269 that I took. No, I'm not kidding.

Also, please be advised that blogger makes my pictures look horrible. I'm not sure why. Maybe I have the width-to-height ratio wrong, but they always look very strange. Kind of like there are a bunch of little pixels that are all kinds of messed up. Just floating around with no purpose at all. The way digital pictures used to be seven years ago.

So, please be advised that blogger makes my pictures look as though I took them with a 1.7 mega-pixel camera from 2002.

This is, in fact, not true.

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This was Darren's favorite picture. I actually took this one at their regular game Thursday night before the tournament. It's so gray-looking because of the fence. You'll just have to bear with me until I can afford Photoshop.

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Darren at bat Thursday night.

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Darren's dad, Pat, batting Thursday night. I like this picture because you can see the ball. You have no idea how hard it is to get the ball in the picture. Only happens about once every 50 pictures.

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My last picture on Thursday night. Darren was getting tired of me snapping away at him so I had to stop. Then, of course, he wanted to look at all the pictures later and mentioned how few good ones I had.


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Ground ball to third.

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One of my favorites, a double-play at third and first.

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At bat.

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Out at third!

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I've been informed that my husband has good form.

Like I know anything about that.

I'm too much of a girl.

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My father-in-law, Pat, running to second. Darren plays on his team.

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During one of our breaks. I thought I was going to get in trouble for this picture, too.

He sort of has that look about him...

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We camped at Maplewood State Park during the tournament. Pat was supposed to be starting the fire for s'mores. I think he really just wanted to play with the lighter fluid.

What's not to love about lighter fluid?

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My in-laws. They're a hoot. :)

Hoot. Do people say that anymore? Maybe I should have said they're hilarious. Or awesome. Or wild and crazy.

They're wonderful, at any rate.

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Me and the hubby. No, I'm not sure why my hands are on his head, but I'm tempted to say it was because he was misbehaving.

I could bore you with more photos of the next day's games, but I'll only force you to see one more softball picture.

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They took first in the District.

Great job guys!