Sunday, April 29, 2007


It is a beautiful, sunny day and I am seeing signs of summer all around. It makes me smile. I LOVE to be warm and it seems like warm weather has been a long time coming!! But it is here now and I hope to stay!

Quick update on backs, surgeries etc.. Aaron had his second surgery and is doing much much better this time around. In fact, we took him back to school yesterday where he is hoping to take one of his finals this week and touch base with his other professors to make a plan for completing his other courses soon. So many thanks for all your prayers and concern for him. In the meantime, Steve's dad ended up in the hospital for most of last week as well and ended up having a defibrillator put in. (All while Steve was still in San Diego....) But he is home now and doing well. Yes, I think things are looking up!!

As soon as it starts to head into warmer weather we start thinking 'shearing'. Yep...Llamas need to be sheared so they can handle the heat of our Iowa summers. If we had the time, it would be nice to clean them all up so we could save the wool. (Which we have done in some years past.) But now it is just a matter of getting the wool off the animals to make them comfortable. The animals don't like it at first, but once they settle down, MOST of them do quite well.

This is Squire. He was one of the first llamas to be sheared
this year. I know that it HAS to feel good to have all that wool off of you once the heat sets in!

This is Sebastian. He is Kirstin's first llama that she owned. His dark wool is especially important to get off. His large midsection suggests he had a bit too much grain this past winter!! On real hot days we put out sprinklers for them and hose them down on occasion.

Another way that they cool themselves off is to roll in a dirt pit. It's not long after you set a llama into a pasture that they start making a dirt pit. This one is in our paddock, not too far from the barn. It holds one large adult llama which can create quite the dust storm when they are rolling around in it!! Never tried it myself. Can't say I've even been tempted!

Another sign of summer is Steve standing at his grill. Love that about this time of year....Easy meal time.

Of course, Sumo is never far from the grill, licking his lips and hoping for a hand-out!!

Getting the hammock out is another ritual. I love the time spent sitting in the hammock. A group of Ryan's friends stopped by yesterday and piled on! (Yes, it was dangerously low to the ground!!)

But who cares????

Ryan's best friend got married yesterday. A beautiful day for a wedding. I have to say, it was strange seeing Ryan up front in a tux. It won't be long and he will be the groom. I feel as tho we are being slowly drawn into the next season of life. Empty nest; children getting married; grandchildren. How can this possibly be happening??? I feel far too young.....

But I am very excited. I think it will be another fun 'season'!!

Jello. Yes, summer means jello. So, for our Sunday night group I made our favorite jello 'salad'. (Yes, around these parts anything with jello and fruit is called a salad.....). I know, I know that jello is gross and made up of gross things. But it still tastes good once in a while.
So here is my recipe for anyone who wants it! And feel free to treat it as a dessert if you'd like!

Yummy Strawberry Jello

1 pkg (3 oz) strawberry jello
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (or 5 oz. frozen)

1 pkg (3 oz) strawberry jello
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (or 5 oz. frozen)
2 cups cool whip (whipped cream)

1. Dissolve 1st pkg. of jello in 3/4 cup water
2. Add ice cubes
3. Stir 3 minutes, until gelatin is slightly thick, remove ice.
4. Stir in fruit. Pour in mold or 8X8 glass dish
5. Place in refrigerator
6. Repeat steps 1-3 with 2nd pkg of jello
7. Stir in fruit and whipped cream.
8. Pour in mold on top of other jello
9. Refrigerate at least one hour.

(A double recipe fits a 9X13 glass pan)

I also made a pan of Caramel Rice Krispie Treats. (Been craving them for some reason). But as if they are not sweet enough already, I dipped them in chocolate. I don't know why I do these things. But they are yummy and I have high hopes the kids will finish them off tonight so that I won't!!

Time to start my walking routine!! (First thing tomorrow!)

Until next time.....

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Well, much has happened since my last post. The biggest news being that Aaron had to have his second back surgery on Thursday (less than 2 weeks after the first one!) Somehow he had re-herniated his disk and the pain was worse than before. Poor kid! He came home Friday afternoon feeling much better. Praying that this one does the trick and he can spend the summer healing and be back to school next fall ready to go!

As he recovers, I am spending some time reclaiming my house after it was much neglected during tax season. Closets; cupboards; storage rooms are being emptied, cleaned and organized. Feels good.

Steve and Kirstin are out in San Diego (poor things) sea kayaking; shopping; eating at fun restaurants.. When he has time, Steve is taking in some of the conference that he is out there 'attending'......

To keep us company last night, Ryan and Mallory re-scheduled a trip to Ames and showed up with grocery bags full of dinner fixings!! After making us dinner, we all played a game of Phase 10 and then Aaron was ready for bed. (One doesn't get much sleep in the hospital, and he was wiped!).

I did work on my Noro scarf some while up in the hospital. I hope to finish it up today. I guess I am going to have to figure out how to 'block' as I think this scarf will really need it.

I spent a little time trying to read some blogs last night. A big congratulations to Kristin on the birth of her little girl, Laila Ferne!! We've all been anxiously awaiting her arrival!!

Sheri posted a picture of the front of her refrigerator and then, basically accused me of only putting pictures of her family on my refrigerator before they visit!! (Can you even imagine????) So, here is a picture of the front of my fridge (that has not been changed in several months!!). I LOVE having my fridge front covered with faces smiling at me.

What does YOUR fridge front look like??

Before Kirstin left for San Diego, she asked me to look after bear. I have been taking pictures everyday and sending them to her phone of all the fun bear is having while she's gone (at the hospital with Aaron; making dinner with Ryan and Mallory etc..). I have now put Nikko in charge of watching over bear. I know Kirstin will be thrilled to see bear AND Nikko on my blog.....

Off to check on the patient.....

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Yes, you read correctly, I actually finished a project!! It has been a long time coming! I finished knitting and felted the Vintage Bubble bag that I have been working on for quite some time. I used Paton's gray wool merino with the Noro yarn that I received from my ITEIII partner. This is one of my favorite bags to knit! I want to find a fun fabric to line it with and add a snap. Not sure yet where this purse is headed...I have few ideas!

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and concern for Aaron. He's had a bit of a set-back with increased pain again and difficulty walking. I am going to take him to school tomorrow and see how the day goes trying to get to classes. I'll hang around for the day (knitting, of course) and will either leave him there for the night or bring him back home. Still hoping he can get some of his courses completed before the end of the semester.

Ryan and Mallory have set a date....December 29th!! A Christmas wedding! Lots of fun planning and shopping to do before then!

I'm also working on planning Kirstin's open house for her graduation. The one thing I know that we will have for sure is punch. This is the yummiest punch recipe ever.

Frozen Punch

1 - 48oz can pineapple juice

2 quarts water

2 pkgs lemonaid Kool-aid

2 cups sugar

Mix all together in an empty ice cream bucket. Freeze for 5 hours. Stir. Put back in freezer and freeze completely.

To serve: Take out 4-5 hours ahead. To each batch, add 1 liter of Sprite.

(Just don't let Ryan know you are serving this or he will show up and drink it all!!!!!!)

We had the Sunday night high school group here tonight. I made the spaghetti recipe that my friend Sheri at the Loopy Ewe posted on her website. It was a huge hit. (And boy, did the house smell GREAT all day while it simmered away...)

Sumo is LOVING this weather. He and Nikko go out first thing in the morning and stay outside all day. I love it because it seriously decreases the dog hair in the house. Definitely a win-win!!

Not much else new to report. I hope to cast on some socks tomorrow and will keep you posted on any progress!!

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, April 08, 2007


And what a wonderful Easter it has been. So much to be thankful for. We are blessed beyond measure....

First of all, thank you to all for the prayers and well wishes for Aaron. His surgery Friday went extremely well. In fact, they sent him home Friday night!! (Which still has us amazed!!) His pain has already gotten better. The surgical pain is there and he still has a lot of healing to do, but definitely headed in the right direction!!

Ryan and Mallory put on an Easter egg hunt for all of us on Saturday. I didn't do so well.. but mostly because I was so cold!! (And that was even wearing my winter parker and fingerless gloves!!). With much assistance, I did manage to find 8 of the 9 eggs they hid for me.

I offered Sumo some of the eggs I had found.. but he preferred his rawhide. Go figure. (Next year we will have to put some milkbones in the eggs!!)

But, the most EXCITING egg hunt came later in the day. Ryan had hid eggs all over town for Mallory, with each egg holding some chocolate and a clue to where the next egg was hiding. The final egg was in his pocket and held... A RING!!! And on one knee, he asked her to be his, and she said YES!! We could not be more thrilled!! Since before our children were born we have been praying for their spouses. Mallory is above and beyond those prayers and hopes.

Ryan had also arranged for Mallory's family to be at our house when they came in to announce it. With a quick hug, we sent Mallory into the living room to 'call her mom'. Instead, of course, there was her mom and dad and sister to get the news in person.

Yes, we are blessed.

Praying you all had a Blessed Easter!!

Until Next Time......

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Well, this has been an interesting week. It started out Monday morning with an email that told me I had won a set of stitch markers from Shelly. I was very excited. I really never win anything!! And the fun thing is by the time I receive them, tax season will be over and I'll be back to some more concentrated knitting time!!

Not long after that, however, I got a call from Aaron that his back pain was worse and that he could no longer make it to classes. I left work and drove to pick him up. We got him some relief for the pain (i.e. stronger drugs) and scheduled surgery for tomorrow (Friday). We praying for quick relief from the pain and the ability to finish his semester at school. He has strong grades so far, so we are hopeful!!

I've got my knitting bag packed to take to the hospital. Still working on my scarf and Vintage Bubble bag. Itching to cast on some more socks. And now, my friend Sheri has posted her new Loopy Ewe challenge... knitting fingerless gloves for Luba's girls and baby hats for children at a Chinese orphanage. (Meg is adopting a baby from China and taking all the hats with fun is that???) I am SOO excited about the response already that Sheri has received and know that Luba is going to be so encouraged by the knit items!!

Well, short post for today.. will update Sunday.

Until Next Time...