Monday, March 30, 2009

Heading South for Spring Break

Thursday we all piled into the car and headed to Davenport for our Spring Break vacation. Mike was only too happy to escape the impending snow Minneapolis was forcasted to receive.

As always, it was tons of fun for Maddie and Jake to get to goof around with their Murphy cousins. When we arrived, Grandma got a hug from both kids...

but then they beelined over to Ginger to give her some attention....

We did get our Whitey's ice cream - actually we had it for lunch on Friday. We also had Harris Pizza for dinner that night; this is a favorite of Mike's.

Friday night Mike was none-too-happy to hear that Davenport was forcasting 3-7 inches of snow for Saturday night. He was in denial all day that they would receive it (honestly, I didn't think they'd get it either). Then about 4:30pm....

Not happy. (He was even more distressed to find out later that Minnesota actually didn't get any snow.) The roads actually weren't great, but they could have been worse getting to Illinois. However, we were very happy to go. Mike's cousin, Colleen, was hosting a big party for their son. It was so fun to connect with that whole side of the family; we usually get to see them about once a year. When the snow fall was all said and done - they did not receive the anticipated amount. There was maybe an inch left on the ground. You can imagine our excitement at 6am on Sunday when we heard someone snow blowing the sidewalk out front. And as nice as that neighbor was to help out, he wasn't alone. We were shocked to see at least two others out snow blowing their driveways before we left at 10am. Given another hour, we were pretty sure it would have melted on its own.

I always intend to take tons of pictures when we are down there, and in all the playing and running around, I forget. Hopefully it'll be good weather next time we are down there and we can get a little photo shoot in of all the grandkids. This one is a little outdated....

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Jake is hijacking today's blog. He has been inspired by Lego-A-Day and created his own scene. Everything after this has been done by him: pictures, wording, typing....

aaah Anakin I think you soldint jump
sr I can... aaah ya your right.

***Translation: "Aaaah, Anakin, I think you shouldn't jump."
"Sure I can...ah, yeah, you're right."****

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fun Find

Awhile back in blogland I had posted that I had purchased a fun puzzle that we were going to do to keep boredom at bay. Well, it didn't happen until last week that we finally pulled it out and the kids and I started working on it.

Because of the spelling of my name, I never had the pens and pencils and other paraphernalia that other kids owned that had their names spelled on it. This may not be such a big deal to kids now, but back in my day everyone seemed to have these things. So, when I went to England in 9th grade and into a little tourist store and saw pens with my name on them...well, I dropped a chunk of change. I did the same thing in every little tourist shop I passed. Sucker, I know, but that was one of the most fun days ever at that point!

Ever since then I've been a bit weak when it comes to finding something with my name spelled correctly on it. So one day, we passed a puzzle and it said "Kerry's Vintage Inn" and like a 6 year old I pointed it out to Mike in a high pitched squeal. He said, "So buy it." But, being the mature adult I am, I walked away. After two steps I turned around and grabbed it and tossed it into the cart.

750 pieces, a couple card tables and bundle of hours later we now have this on display:

Upon inspecting the box, Jake realized this was an actual photograph and thought we should try visiting the place. Maybe someday we'll make it to Ireland to see it. I bet they have lots of pens too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lego my Lego

I think Jake's all-time favorite toy lately is his Lego box. He's received some really neat sets for his birthday and Christmas and put those together. Then all the pieces separated and were piled in with all the other pieces. I don't know if he still has the instructions to make the original models, but he certainly comes up with some beauties on his own.

This is just an example of the myriad of small or large spaceships we have laying around. What I love though is that he can tell you what EVERY SINGLE PIECE does on that particular ship. There isn't anything that doesn't have a purpose. He can tell you which ships fly fastest, how many guns they have and who is in charge of shooting them. He will even give you a flying demonstration of how fast one ship is compared to another. This is done by holding them and racing around the family room and kitchen. Then he picks up the other and it is dramatically different in speed...and noise.

But lately we've eaten a lot of Cheerios and they've been giving away a toy in the box that is a Lego car. His first two cars were the blue and green ones. But, he really wanted the police car. Luckily that came in the next box and this kid was excited! That same night my parents came home from meeting some friends and gave him a gift from them...the ORANGE race car!!! So, thank you to Pat & Patrick Murphy! I think these have all been played with on a daily basis since the collection began.

We also spent quite a bit of time this weekend looking at this Lego-a-Day website. This guy posts a different little Lego set-up each day for the past year. Our favorites were days #273, #212, #185, and #111. Yes, we really did look through them all. Jake mostly loved when the guy used Star Wars or Indiana Jones characters. There was great excitement when one character was used and Jake happened to be holding onto the same character. Nothing was cooler at that moment.

His latest challenge from me (to relieve pure boredom the other day) was to build me the letter "K". He says he finished, but it "just isn't working right..." Which makes me wonder - how many guns does he have attached to this thing?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Pat's Day

We can't possibly be a family named "Murphy" and not wish everyone a

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Maddie is officially decked out for the day. I found this a couple months ago and couldn't resist getting it for her. Some of my jewelry loving madness has genetically gone to her; she loves shirts that have some type of sparkle.

Jake's class all created Leprechaun traps. Mike, Jake and I worked on his a couple weeks ago. Jake drew a plan for us and Mike did his best to help make that actual plan. We used a shoebox, eyelet things, string and tape and were on our way....

He also used some wooden biscuits to wrap up in tinfoil because Leprechauns love shiny things - these pieces were the bait!

Jake and Mike were all over using any tools they could and even managed to go into the garage and use a drill for the shiny biscuits. Then they came back in to use a screwdriver. Note Jake's safety glasses:

I'm not sure they'll catch any leprechauns. When Maddie did this in first grade those pesky leprechauns made a mess of the first grade rooms! Chairs were toppled over and papers were lying all over the place - even a ceiling tile had been moved! Good luck to Jake's class this year!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Two Years in the Making

Well, work is finally finished on the quilts I started two years ago. But, as my grandpa used to say, "I didn't want to rush anything."

I actually pieced them together that long ago. After a few months of sitting in the corner at our house, I moved them over to my parent's house so that I could actually quilt all the layers together. Then they sat there. Then my parents moved and I decided I better retrieve them and bring them back here. mom's quilting machine would be here, so it would be THAT much easier to get them done.

I finally got one on the machine around November. What should have taken about 4 hours to finish took about 2 months. I got the other one done about mid-February and they both sat for a couple weeks waiting to have the binding attached. Between the two of these, that took a little over a week.

These quilts are for our bedroom chairs. Mike played along and picked out which quilt he "wanted" knowing he'll never use it. But, I couldn't only make one; what if there was the rare occasion he was cold? He may have made his choice with an accompanying eye roll.

Technical info: These quilts use the "Log Cabin Block". This is one of my all-time favorite quilt blocks. They are half dark (sorrow)/half light (happiness) to represent those emotions in a home. Traditionally the middle square is either yellow to represent a candle to guide family members home or red to represent the hearth of the home. (Fun Note: There are some with black centers that is rumored to have been hung in homes that were safe havens for escaped slaves during the Civil War.) It is built from the center out, "log by log" to represent how a cabin is built. It also uses up tons of scraps, which I loved. You can arrange them in MANY different patterns and the quilts don't look the same. Plus, they are straight lines and simple to sew.

Anyway, the only other project that has exceeded this time frame is my cross-stitched piano which took about 3 years to complete. It was only rushed at the last minute before moving from North Carolina because Mike found this incredible framer who did great work and was CHEAP.

But, never fear. I'm working on a new record. I've been cross-stitching a new Christmas picture. Well, it will be new to us when/if it gets finished. So far it has sat for two Christmases in the corner...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Goodbye, Old Friend

My parents drink a lot of coffee. Let me rephrase that: they drink A. LOT. OF. COFFEE.

Actually, since they've lived here Mike and I have teased them quite a bit. I bet on average they drink three pots per day. Now, this is tame compared to some people, I realize. AND they actually make their coffee so it isn't like they are funding Caribou. But still, it's far more coffee than Mike and I have made in our 12 years of living together.

My mom likes her coffee with cream and sugar. Except not sugar, she prefers "Sweet-10". When Mike and I got married, on the rare occasion that we made coffee, this was how I drank mine too; it's basically all I knew and I didn't drink coffee enough to really want to investigate further flavorings. So, we bought a bottle of "Sweet-10".

A month or so after my parents moved in with us, they ran out of their "Sweet-10". Mike said that wasn't a problem because we've had one around the house for the past 10 years. They thought he was joking. Then he pulled out the bottle and they realized that it was an actual glass bottle; it doesn't even come in this anymore - and hasn't for years. Mike said that there was no way my parents could go through this much "Sweet-10" - even with all the coffee they drank. Mike's been pretty sure up to this point it was a magic bottle that just never emptied.

This morning my mom announced that she'd done the impossible: she had finished off our bottle of "Sweet-10". I'm almost sad to see it go. It's been with us longer than my oldest child.

So, it will go to recycling heaven on Friday. Mike's already planned on replacing it with "Equal".

Friday, March 6, 2009

Loving Technology

It's no secret that I'm beyond-cold 90% of the time. We have a fireplace in our room, and we had started turning it on around 10pm each night to warm up our room. That was if we remembered. Which maybe happened 10% of the time.

So, Mike did some research and bought us a wireless thermostat. He had been thinking he was going to install it in the basement to help keep the temperature there more regulated. But, he decided to test it out in our room first.

This thing rocks!!! We can set it to turn on/off at a certain time. Or we can set it to to turn on/off for certain temps. We may even be able to mix the two settings, but don't quote me on that. Right now it turns on at 10:30pm and turns off at midnight or when it reaches a certain temp in the room, and then turns on again at 6am and off at 7:30am; about the same time I wake up.

Some will argue that it's way too warm to sleep in there - Mike may be on of those people. And, I agree with others that it is fun to sleep in the spring or fall with the windows cracked and letting in some chilly, fresh air. The problem isn't all over cold, but that once my feet get cold, I can't sleep at all, and it takes forever to heat them up again. This fixes that problem and I no longer have to sleep with two pair of socks on! It also helps Mike in that he doesn't feel like jumping out of bed in the middle of the night when my freezing feet hit his legs...and that's WITH my two pair of socks on!

Now we just have to figure out where to install it. Right now it's sitting here....

It's sitting on our nightstand. Where all thermostats should be.

We didn't want to put any holes in the wall until we knew it worked like we wanted it to.

I also wonder, with all the wireless gizmos we have in the would almost be interesting to find a way to see how all these little waves are zooming around. Do you think you could dodge them all?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Catch Up

It hasn't been all about the piano lately - just mostly. I guess I should catch you up on a night out a few weeks ago. Madison and Mike's night out.

They attended Shakopee's Father/Daughter dance. This is the third year they've attended. It's fun to see them get dressed up and have a special night. Maddie gets excited because she gets to put on a little make-up (little...last year I put some eyeshadow on and she looked in the mirror with half-shut eyes and said, "you can't even see it!" I told her that was the point - less is more.)

So they headed off to the dance and had a good time. They met up with a few neighbors there and got to dance a lot. Afterward they shared a special treat and headed home.

Jake and I have a special date night too. This year we decided we were going to play it really low key. We made ourselves a feast of Jake's choosing: Spiderman Mac&Cheese, popcorn, hot chocolate and a bag of M&M's for each of us for dessert. We got to eat this in the basement while we watched "Madagascar 2". In our pajamas. No pictures...we were too busy relaxing.

Last weekend was Mike's turn to cook dinner. We've had a few friends ask us each weekend what the menu was. Mike's menu consisted of grilled steaks, asparagus, and twice baked potatoes. He shoveled a path to the grill and was out in the cold. Jake went out to "help" him. The exciting part was that Mike got to test out his new grill tools Jake had given him for Christmas and they received two thumbs up!

Mike said we should probably try to not get too extravagent with the meals since the idea was to actually save money. This sounded kind of funny coming from the guy who chose steaks. I told Mike I thought Jake's scrambled eggs and sausage may have counter-acted his expenditure.

And apparently it is still about the piano. We had a guy scheduled to come out and look at the cabinet because of a mark in it and I completely forgot about it. He arrived promptly at 9am and I'm still sitting here in my pajamas of flannels, sweatshirt and slippers. Nothing like a little embarrassment to smack you in the face early in the morning.