Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Foto Finish the Beach

Have a great weekend, everyone. Thanks for the reading suggestions for the beach. My POPrs Giveaway is open through tomorrow, and everyone's a winner! The countdown begins today with a Friday Foto Finish Fiesta!

In honor of Candid Carrie, here are some favorite beach shots!

College Girl & Soccer Boy

College Boy & The Wild One, way back when

Uncle Lynn & Soccer Boy

One more thing. All of you nice bloggy buddies who recommended a beach read for my upcoming vacation, be sure to send your contact info...including a phone . I want to get your prizes out to you ASAP! And don't forget to let me know what you think of POPrs when you've tried 'em!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pancakes-With a Secret Ingredient

I got this recipe from Katie, my new neighbor. She's a young Mom, with two little kids. Her son, Joey, is the cutest little boy ever. He helps her make these pancakes every Saturday.

The recipe is from Joey's Grandma. And come to find out that Grandma and Uncle Lynn's mom were close friends! Small world. Katie is interested in getting her kids to eat well, and these pancakes have a little something extra in them. Soccer Boy gives them two thumbs up!

Joey's Grandma's Pancakes

1 1/2 cup oatmeal (quick)
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Let the batter sit 5-10 minutes before making pancakes.

To make your own buttermilk:

use 1 Tbsp. vinegar for every 1 cup of milk.
Stir well and let sit 5 minutes.

And since blueberries are at their peak now, put some fresh blueberries in the batter too!

For perfect pancakes, flip them when they are full of bubbles on the top. And only flip once.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Brett Favre-It ain't over 'til it's over...

It appears that this...

is how
Green Bay Packer fans will remember Brett Favre.

And that this

is his new uniform. No purple. No black and blue. Just shades. And that grin. Smokin'!

Good for Packer fans. Good for Brett. And really, really good for Deanna!

We love ya, man!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Only His Hairdresser Knows For Sure!

As many of you know, I'm a Cheesehead. Yeah, from the Frozen Tundra. Home of the first team EVER to win a Super Bowl. That would be the Green Bay Packers. And we love Brett Favre. Most of us. Many of us. Some of us? Well, there was a time when we ALL did.

So when there's breaking Brett Favre news, we're on it. And I'm here to tell you about it.

As soon as Brett Favre figures it out. And Heaven only knows when that'll be!

But one thing we do know...he has a sense of humor. He is reportedly making a TV ad for Sears, in which he agonizes over which widescreen TV to purchase. And the salesman says something about him having difficulty making a decision and he says "Yeah. Don't you hate that?"

Pretty funny! But here is one image I just don't want to see...

...Brett Favre in a Minnesota Vikings' uniform. And the Vikings play the Packers at Lambeau Field this year. Isn't it ironic?

Monday, July 27, 2009


This Giveaway is Closed. Thanks for playing!
I have a small problem, and I need YOUR help to solve it! You see, I'm off to the beach in two weeks and need a couple of really good books. So I came up with this great idea...

We'll have another Great New Popr's Giveaway!

For EVERYONE who suggests a really good beach read, I'll send you, as thanks, a 10-pack of magic-popping, color-changing crystals.

This stuff is so cool, and GOOD for you, too! The POPrs crystals are red, and when stirred into yogurt (or applesauce) it turns the food blue. And then start to pop. POPrs make eating fun. And tickly. And nutritious, all at once!

As many of you already know, Uncle Lynn makes this stuff. This is a new product, with limited marketplace release. And I'd just love to give you some. But to win, you need to recommend a good beach read. In the comments section of this post, the rest of the week through Saturday, August 1.

And if you would be so kind, after you've tried your POPrs, please let us know what you think of the color-changing variety. Be creative. Come up with new ways to use them. Let your kids in on the fun. Then let us know what you think.

And HELP ME FIND A GREAT BEACH BOOK! But please, no James Patterson. I used to like him, and still would read an Alex Cross book, but his other books have gotten too predictable.

And maybe before the trip, I can suggest a book or two to you. Do we have a deal? The contest will run from now through next Saturday, August 1, at 11:59 EST. Winners will be announced Monday, August 3.

But wait...I can announce the winners all this week...


Wait 'til Uncle Lynn hears about this one! I'll just have to remind him who he always tells the kids the boss is...Yikes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

All Dogs Go To Heaven...2

I am participating in Weekly Winners, brought to you by Lotus over at Sarcastic Mom.

These photos were shot with the film version of the Canon Rebel. Back when I could grow delphiniums! They are my favorites, and one of the most persnickety perennials.

Meet Trouble. Or Trouble Elizabeth, as he was known when he misbehaved. He was our first Springer Spaniel. He was liver and white, and the cutest little "speckled pup" you ever did see. He was the best $50 we ever spent. He came from a litter of 14 puppies. It took forever to choose him, but I'm sure we found the very best of the bunch.

Uncle Lynn would take Trouble out to run in the morning in the winter, and then let him into the boys' rooms to jump on their beds and wake them up. He was very bouncy and had a very cold nose, just what little boys needed to urge them out of the sack!

One morning, I was in bed with coffee and heard the most terrible screaming. I ran downstairs, and it was Trouble. He'd jumped off the foot of the bed and his leg got stuck between the mattress and footboard. He'd broken his leg! Trouble became our second dog who received top-notch medical care at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. So much for being a $50 dog!

We were about to take a trip to Florida, and Trouble had to come along, so he could have physical therapy 3 times a day. But that didn't stop him from swimming after a pelican in the Intercoastal Waterway. We all ran after him, yelling for him to come back. And when the pelican finally flew off, Trouble turned around. I don't know how many boats narrowly missed hitting his little brown head, bobbing in the water! We were terrified there was going to be an accident, right in front of the kids! But he lived to have many more adventures.

Trouble loved to go out on the boat. Here's a shot of him, with his ears blowing in the wind. Hey, spotters are supposed to watch the kids when they are tubing!

Trouble sat down on a step like people sit. He'd back up to the step and sit down, with his little doggy butt on the step and his front legs on the sidewalk, like this...

Trouble was a bird and bunny chasing machine. He couldn't help it. That was his job. He was wired to chase birds and bunnies like a fish is wired to swim. It's what he did. All the time. He couldn't help it. The door would open, and out he'd squeeze. There were days when I had to chase him two or three times! I was afraid to turn the corner, afraid he'd been hit by a car.

So we had an invisible fence installed. I doubted it would keep Trouble home. I was sure he'd make the decision one day that it would be worth it, and run. But he never did. Turns out Springers are softies. You cannot imagine the sense of relief when finally, at about 10 years of age, we could sit on the deck and have Trouble just wandering safely in the yard. Don't know how we got along without it for so many years. I know it saved his life. He could even watch a deer walk down the street, and not follow it. He would stand at the end of the yard, and hold a quivering point until the deer was out of sight!

Trouble was a dog of many nicknames. One of the last was Captain Underpants. He was dubbed this because he, shall we say "dripped" a little bit in the last year-and-a-half of his life. So I found a denim wrap at the pet store, and he wore it without complaint. He was still healthy and alert and interested and happy. He just dripped. And we could not teach our kids that pets are disposable when it gets a little inconvenient. Soccer Boy had just read the Captain Underpants book series, and the name stuck.

We learned a lot from Trubbie. That dogs are people too. That dogs can be great friends, and won't ever laugh at you or tell your secrets. And that when you get a puppy, you get a friend for life. And you owe him your best. And when he died last October, we planted an Autumn Blaze maple tree in his honor in the front yard. Bet there won't be a dry eye when the leaves change.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas in July!

I'm participating in Cate's Six Word Saturday. Stop and see her when you can.

Time to celebrate

Christmas in July!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Public Enemies

We're back from our short stay in the beautiful North Woods of Wisconsin. We had a great dinner at the Little Bohemia Lodge, the sight of the infamous gunfight between John Dillinger and his gang and the FBI.

We drove past the Lodge on the main highway on the way to the cabin, so when we hopped in the car to go to dinner, I teased Uncle Lynn for hooking up the GPS. Men and their gadgets!

We followed the directions until it had us turn left AWAY from where we thought the Lodge was.

"Let's just follow it" Lynn said, so we wove through the woods, between small lakes and tall trees for miles. One of us commented that it would make more sense to have a hide-out back in the woods than on Highway 51, so we kept following the Garmin. Finally, we looked up the address to the Lodge, and found ourselves at the end of what seemed to be a long driveway. By then, I was willing to follow its directions and go down the road to my dinner! But Lynn said it must be someone's house, so we went back through the woods to the highway and found the Lodge.

When we had ordered a drink in the bar.

Lynn told the bartender that we took the "long way " to find the Lodge. "Let me guess," he said. "You have a GPS!" Turns out that the previous owner worked from a home office, and had his home address as the mailing address for the Lodge. Despite numerous phone appeals, the GPS folks have not made this change. Imagine the traffic in the woods during the making of the film Public Ememies this summer! All those women trying to get a glimpse of Johnny Depp!

The gangsters were having dinner in the private dining room at the end of the main Lodge. The original windows have been preserved, complete with bullet holes.

There are also bullet holes in the wall, directly across from those windows.

The food was great, and not expensive. We had a little adventure finding the place. If you want to learn more about the Little Bohemia Lodge and it's history, go to It's very interesting. And when you see the film Public Enemies, which now I HAVE to see, you will have some background. And if you go there, forget the fancy GPS. It's right on highway 51! (must not have been so well traveled in the 1920's)

Candid Carrie, who's also from Wisconsin, brought you this travelogue as part of her Friday Foto Finish Fiesta.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This...

I don't know what kind of music you prefer. I'm not even sure what I like best. Guess the most honest answer to that question would be oldies. Maybe I'm trying to relive my youth, maybe not. But a close second would be country. As the (country) song goes: " 'cause they're songs about life."

A while back, I was shopping at Sam's Club. I was busily shuffling the goodies from the cart to the back of the SUV, and looked up to see a young Mom. She was parked next to me, and had her hands full with three little kids, two of whom were screaming. The third was reaching for something and about tipped out of the cart. She looked at me and said, in her most desperate voice "I wish I was YOUR age!"

When the shock of that comment wore off (how could she tell I hadn't just left MY 3 screaming kids at a sitter's?) I just smiled back and said something lame, and went home and spent the next 30 minutes looking in the mirror. Not really, though I was a little hurt!

I wish I had said something to that hassled Mom to help put everything in perspective. Something that a Mom of MY AGE, in her wisdom, would have learned to help someone of HER age. Something like Trace Adkins would have, had he been at Sam's that day. Something like this...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: The Cornflake Monster

When we left off, we were talking about family vacations. I was telling you about ours, at the beach in North Carolina. I told you stories, but saved this one for last.

One night after dinner, when the kids were a lot younger and the first time we were at the beach,
Uncle Moker took Uncle Lynn aside and told him he was going to tell the kids a story, and to just "play along." Lynn was supposed to operate the lights, and turn them off when he got the signal. So Uncle Lynn agreed, and launched into an elaborate story about the trolls that lived under the bridges over the dune, which lead to the beach.

Mr. Pops had a rapt audience. He explained how children should not dawdle when crossing the dunes, and to be sure to hold hands and to NEVER go across the bridges alone in the dark. Lynn was giving Uncle Moker enough time to get ready, and when the story was long enough, and scary enough, the signal came, the lights went down and THIS...

jumped out of the dark!

The little ones were crying and holding their mamas. Even the big ones weren't acting all that big. It took quite a while for them to settle down.

Even the oldest of the cousins still asks for a reappearance of Cornflake Monster.
Soccer Boy missed it, since he hadn't come into the world yet. Should have had a repeat performance years ago. Don't think the Cornflake Monster would have the same effect on a 13-year-old. He's waaaaaaay too cool now!

Until it gets dark.

Well, this is the first year in a very long time that we aren't having Beach Week. My two oldest boys have full-time jobs now and have not earned vacation time. College Boy is working 60 or more hours a week, so he won't have to work during the school year. And the girls have their obligations, too.

Maybe they'll sneak a week in, maybe not. Summer is fading fast. The kids have mostly grown up. Soon there will be careers, weddings, and families of their own. No matter how many more beach weeks we have together, or whether there are no more, one thing is certain...

...I wouldn't have missed it for the world! This memory brought to you by Angie and her Wordful Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Family Summer Vacation

The POPrs Cousins in Duck, NC-1999

The summer after my Mom died, I received a phone call that changed my life. It was from my oldest brother, Moker. He invited my family to vacation with his, in North Carolina, at the Outer Banks. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and it's a short hop to the beach. We don't, and it isn't. But...

This brother is 7 years older than I am. When I was 9, he was driving. Every Saturday morning, he had to take me to my swimming lessons at the YMCA, in the neighboring town. I used to charge his friends a nickel to talk to him on the phone. I'd hang up if they didn't promise to pay the next time they were over. I was a PEST.

When he went off to college, I was only 11. I guess you could say we weren't tight. So when he called so many years later and extended the invitation for the beach vacation, I felt like Sally Field when she won the Oscar, and she got up on stage and said "You like me! You really like me!" We went.

And have been going ever since.

Soccer Boy in his Speedo (sorry)

We have stories. Memories. The time we went to the restaurant and realized, in the middle of dinner, that we were one child short (he was downstairs back at the beach house, asleep). The time I was pregnant with Soccer Boy and refused to get back in the car after a rest stop in Milwaukee, 90 minutes from home, with 16 hours more to drive. The time we went crabbing and Uncle Moker got bit when he was showing the kids the "right way" to take a crab out of the net. He shook his hand violently, and the crab hung on. Blood flew all over. The kids may have learned a few new words that day!

Reading on the beach. Getting sun poisoning, and an itch so bad it just could not be soothed. Having ice cream on the Boardwalk on a hot summer night. Then going home to walk the beach with flashlights and look for ghost crabs. Boogie boarding. Eating crab. Eating more crab. Buying T-shirts to wear 'til they wore out and we went back the following summer to restock. Sitting on the beach with a bucket of Rocks (Rolling Rock, from Latrobe, PA, for the uninitiated).

Floating in an inner tube and watching dolphins, then realizing I was too far from shore and unable to get back in alone. Being towed back to shore by a cute young college boy in a yellow kayak. The walk I had on the beach with my oldest just last summer, when he confided in me that maybe getting married in the fall might not be a good idea.

And Cornflake Monster. But you have to wait until tomorrow to hear about that!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Loony Tunes?

No, not Looney. Loony.

Uncle Lynn and I woke up and looked around the other day. The two oldest boys had just moved out, and are now sharing an apartment. College Boy is in Chicago for a few days. And we just dropped the youngest off at camp. We were alone! With dogs, but otherwise, alone.

So we found a cabin in the North Wisconsin Woods that welcomes dogs, and we are off. Hope the weather is good. We are going to the Loon capital of the world. Mercer, WI.

Have you ever heard the cry of a loon? Sooooooooo wonderful. These are what we'll be looking for...

And this... NOT what we want to find!

Though it would be kinda cool.

Will let you know how the time away goes! Will Rowdy be a good houseguest? Will he swim after loons? Can he sit still in a canoe? Can I sleep in a cabin with Snore Boy all night? Will we get out of there...


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Still the One...

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary!

Five months and five days after we met, at a bar called "Houligans" in Eau Claire, WI. Five months and five days, you say? It's not even a family record! But it was quick. I kept waiting for someone to ask me what I was doing. Certainly, I reasoned, if it was a bad idea, SOMEONE would say SOMETHING. But no one did. And we got married.

My family loved Uncle Lynn from the beginning. My mom's four sisters tried to think of who it was that he reminded them of. Finally, one summed it up by saying, "he's like an old shoe. It's like we've known him forever." Heads nodded. He was in.

Maybe because he did the hard work. He got up at 4 in the morning to go fishing with Uncle Lewie. Lewie was the crusty old guy who usually took threatened to take the niece's boyfriends hunting. That way, he explained, if the family didn't like the guy, there could always be a "hunting accident."

But hunting season was a long way off. So fishing it was. I guess Lewie though Lynn could always fall on a slippery rock and hit his head...But no, my favorite uncle and my future husband became buddies, though Lynn never really got into early morning fishing.

I've known brides who are all about the wedding...the dress...the cake...the flowers..the food...the rehearsal dinner...and obsess about it for months. We weren't like that.

I dress-shopped once, and hated it. I went to a shop where they brought you three dresses and if you didn't like any, they would bring three more. After seeing 6 and not liking any, I said it was going to be in the next three. Why? Because one of them will be better than the other two, and I didn't want to shop all day! That may be how I got a long-sleeved, high-necked dress for a wedding in July! But I would have married Lynn in a pillow case in the backyard, so it didn't matter.

On our wedding day, the groom, his family and most of mine went to my Aunt's house. They played tennis and swam. They had a big party. My two brothers and I went sailing, since Lynn and I couldn't see each other until the ceremony. The wedding was at 7 p.m. At 5:30, I was buying shampoo. It was hot. Lynn almost fainted. And it sprinkled a little, for good luck!

Happy Anniversay, Honey. I'd like to dedicate this next song to you! Music, please.

We've been together since way back when
Sometimes I never want to see you again.
But I want you to know, after all these years
You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear.

You're still the one I want to talk to in bed
Still the one that turns my head
We're still havin' fun and you're still the one.

You're still the one that makes me laugh
Still the one that's my better half
We're still having fun and you're still the one.

You're still the one that makes me strong
Still the one I want to take along
We're still havin' fun and you're still the one. Yes you are.

Changin' our love is going gold
Even though we grow old, it grows new

You're still the one that I love to touch
Still the one and I can't get enough
We're still havin' fun and you're still the one

You're still the one who can scratch my itch
Still the one and I wouldn't switch
We're still havin' fun and you're still the one.

You're still the one that makes me shout
Still the one that I dream about.
We're still havin' fun and you're still the one.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Have a GREAT Weekend, and

Don't Let This...

Happen to You!

I'm taking part in Cate's Six-Word Saturday...stop by, if you can!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fx4: We Have a Winner AND a Loser!

See these kiddos? They're enjoying the yummy taste of POPrs on their yogurt. You know, POPrs, created by Uncle Lynn. That fun and good-for-you seasoning that makes your food "sing"!

I had my first POPrs Giveaway this week, and guess what? We have a WINNER!

CONGRATS to Blue Violet, who resides over at A Nut in a Nutshell. She wins a 10-pack of Poprs magic color changing pop'n crystals. These magical crystals, when stirred into yogurt or applesauce, begin to "sing." Fun AND good for you...can't be that!
Hey there, Blue...please send your contact info to We'll make sure Uncle Lynn gets your POPrs Prize in the mail to ya!

The crystals are red, and when stirred into into yogurt, applesauce, or even your morning oatmeal, as Blue Violet suggested, they turn it BLUE! You can feel them pop in your mouth! They are sooooooooo cool. Kids...both young and old...just love them!

Do you remember the photos of my UGLY PATIO the other day? Well, I don't know if you looked close enough at my pictures from that post, but there's a petunia poppin' (get it?) up through the bricks!
I was just wondering...why does this petunia survive, with no attention at all, when the ones I deliberately planted, fertilized, watered and hung on a hook by the mailbox are all dead?

These sad little flowers, plus my glad winner, are brought to you today by Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Let's Throw a Block Party: Part 2

Stock cars do it.

Thoroughbred horses do it.

Politicians do it.

Little kids with their legs tied together do it.

Even minnows do it...

All you need to stage your own minnow races at your own local block party are two long sections of rain gutters. These can be purchased, but it's easy to find old ones that have been discarded. You can call the local gutter installer and ask him to save the next old ones he tears off. Or, you may just see them on the curb on garbage day.

Once you have the old gutters, seal the ends so they hold water. The hard part is done! You also need contestants. These--the minnows--are easily purchased at a bait shop.

Prop the "racetrack" up on sawhorses, fill it with water and let the fun begin. The neighborhood kids take turns scooping out a minnow from the bucket and placing it in the track, held back by their cupped hand. At the shout of "GO" the minnows are released and they race down the length of the gutter. It's a simple game, but lots of fun. And not just for the kids!

And don't forget the "old-fashioned" form of block party entertainment. Here's a shot of Uncle Lynn and Shark Boy...looks like they MIGHT be in the lead of this wheelbarrow race?

And, of course, there's that old classic, bobbing for donuts on a string. The POPrs Family always loves this game...

Don't forget the other classic yard games, such as tug o'wars and sack races. Your kids will be impressed with how much fun you are! (Especially if you tie your end of the rope around a tree, real sneaky like!)

You can also fill a kiddie pool with sand and let the little ones dig for pennys. Five dollars buys a lot of digging in the sand. We even rented a cotton candy maker for our last neighborhood block party, and a popcorn machine.

Get out in the street and have fun!