Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Blogging is tough when you only do it every 3 months.  So much has happened and yet . . . .

I am drafting this post while flying from LA to Minneapolis.  There is a child screaming on the plane.  I KNOW the parents are probably not pleased with this predicament but I am going BAT POO CRAZY right now. 

And I am never prepared with headphones and music to drown out this issue. 

So I guess that makes me an idiot.

Moving along.  


Boyd and I took a quick trip to Los Angeles to visit Boyd’s sis, Kami.  We gave Kami and James (boyfriend extraordinaire) approximately a 20 minutes heads up that WE WERE COMING TO TOWN!! Hooray!! :)  They were gracious hosts and were our personal tour guides:  Ramen in Little Toyko, best burgers ever at Father’s Office, Bayside sandwiches, a day at Topanga Beach, hair cuts at Kami’s posh Beverly Hills salon, a day at Manhattan Beach, fish tacos, a little shopping and brunch at a fabulous restaurant near their apartment, not to mention the great company and laughs. 

Boyd even got to surf.  He is easy to spot:  The handsome lobster on a board flailing his arms about.

So great to see Kami!
Always love the beach
Vacation is something I am always pining for but it is a lot of work to figure out our pets. 
Pepper (bird) and Gill (fish) - - at my parents.
Kona - at Boyd’s parents.
Mel, Lou, Betsy and Lucy - checked in on by one of Boyd’s students.

I hope they are behaving - Gill can be quite the troublemaker.

Summer has been flying by.  Sister1 and boys are already heading back to CO for the school year.  It has been fun seeing them periodically.

Sister2 is having Baby Girl #2 in September.  Ellie will hopefully be a gracious big sister.

Brother1 and Erin just had another baby girl as well  . . . ON MY BIRTHDAY! :)  Miss Campbell is beloved by all - especially Caters ad Coop.

Our nephew Jake from Oklahoma was able to spend some time in SD with us.  He now knows more kids in the area than I do.   I would like to give a shout out to the Hamlin kids and parents - thank you for making this a fun place for Jake.  He seems to really enjoy hanging out in South Dakota - hooray!

Boyd and Jake at Family Reunion in Minnesota!
AND Brother2 turned 17.  17!!  And has a girlfriend. And is the fastest texter in the Midwest.  When did Turd Boy (dad's endearment for him) grow up?!
Dave & Busters during one of his visits when we lived in MN.

And now he is WAY taller and SOMETIMES funnier than me.

Other than family happenings:  Boyd finished the barn roof.  Lucky Day had their summer sale and now in the process of planning the fall sale AND Matilda Jane’s spring season wrapped up with fall season only a short week away. 

Other Misc Tidbits:

I turned 9 and got my ears pierced. 
Boyd is not the best surfer.
Starbucks has a killer mango black tea lemonade
“Spy” with Melissa McCarthy will make you laugh
We planted 40+ trees.  It will only take 15 years to appreciate this effort.
“Girl on a Train” is a fabulous read.
"Casual Vacancy" is a great book as well.  I keep thinking about it.
Pepper loves Pepperoni (how fun is that?)

Alas, the country life is treating us well.  I miss the city from time to time with its visual delights, restaurant choices and kind strangers but . . . we are content.  I am thankful for this.  5 years ago, I would never have expected us settled into rural SD life.

School is just around the corner but until then, we will keep enjoying morning coffee on the porch, a little lake recreation time and dreaming of a finished barn.

*Notice I did not say a finished home . . . I am a realist, after all*

In the meantime: embrace the warmth while it lasts, breathe in the fresh air and give each other a high five.  You deserve it.
Cooper loves baseball season

Sweet Oli catching minnows with his BARE HANDS

This Handsome Devil went camping.  Without Me.

Some major strategy happening.
Boyd and his favorite girls.
- - -

P.S.  Before I was able to post this - our dog Mel had to be put down.  He was a true friend during his 14.5 years on earth.  Boyd said to me after we buried him:  “He made God’s love tangible.  No matter how stupid I could be, Mel always loved me.  No matter what.”

Mel made friends quickly in our White Bear Lake neighborhood.  I remember having a garage sale and a guy stopped by and said: "Is this Mel's house?"

Umm . . . yes.  I guess this is Mel's house.

He went to work with Boyd every day in Minnesota. He would sit in the truck and wait ever so patiently for lunch break when he got to lick the yogurt cup.  Later, when Lou (beagle) came along, Mel provided a warm soft bed for him to sleep on top of all day.

When we first brought him home as a puppy, he was so scared.  Boyd had to leave for a business trip and I remember having to sleep on the couch so that my arm could reach him on the floor because he would cry unless he could feel my hand touching him.

But most importantly, he was a companion, friend and confidant and will be missed.  Appreciate your pets.  Take care of them.  Let them show you what loyalty and love can look like.

Truly Man's Best Friend

Family picture! :)  Ignore Boyd's long hair.
The kiddos were always so good to him.

Mel's first home - White Bear Lake

ALWAYS love a Bronco ride.

Mel was happiest with kiddos around.

This is the view Mel's grave overlooks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My untimely quarterly post

Since I am now setting slacker goals - I am A-OK with the fact that my last post was 3+ months ago. ;)

I somehow got roped into subbing for my mom while she was on a cruise (elementary music and computer).  I told her that I would sub for her if she promised I wouldn’t have to SING.  The first instruction she gives me when I show up is:

 “Well - first you will sing the Star Spangled Banner acappella with the kids”.  Ummmm . . . wait a minute . . . .

She also taught me how to work the CD player in the room - apparently you have to move a mug over the top of the CD at just..... the....... right........ spot so that the CD will play. *sigh*

During computer class I had one of the kids pouting (Keep in mind that they get to play computer games while I am subbing). 

Pouting Child: “Can I just sit here? I don’t want to play anything.”

Me:  “Get the website up on your computer and then you can just sit and stare at the game while you don’t play it.

He totally played the game the entire time. *sucker*

And what is with kids just putting their arms in the air as though they are asking a question?  Is that a restful position?!  It is pretty much a 50/50 shot that they have a question.

Common Phrases I found myself saying out loud that week:

Stop touching each other. stop touching each other. Stop touching each other.
Keep your arms in your shirt arm holes.
no you may not jumprope.
do not hide under the risers.
Why are you missing a shoe?
Do not touch the piano.  Do not touch the piano.  Do not touch the piano.

And then a constant stream of comments to me:

*They aren’t lining up in the right order! (WHAT IS WITH KIDS NEEDING THE SAME ORDER EVERY DAY?!)
He hit me.
She stepped on my foot
He said something mean.

And I respond with:  “Tell your teacher.”:)

I recently signed up to sell Usborne Books.  (1) because I need another odd random job in my life; (2)  I obviously am addicted to self-employment tax crap; and (3) I LOVE BOOKS AND THESE ARE AMAZING. 

So . . on a serious note.  If you want suggestions on books your kid will like - please email me and I will send you suggestions.  Or check out my website at:

In other news -the Matilda Jane Spring Collection is so cute it might make you throw up.

Since my parents were gone on vacation - Brother2 stayed with us.  This means he now has the “find your friends” app installed on his phone - much to his disappointment. :)  I have also been making notes for him on “proper dating techniques”.  He no doubt appreciates mom and dad more so my job is done.

The Lucky Day Spring Sale was a smashing success. Again.  I have no idea why I get so nervous.  My vendors ROCK and the shoppers are the sweetest.  We were located at the Watertown Mall for this Sale and the space worked out perfectly.

packed with awesomeness!

The really cute stuff is never mine. :)

Friend Stacey and Sister2 are my check-out Wizards

We recently adopted Pepper the Parrot.  We are now . . . wait for it . .  parronts.  I know.  pathetic.  Pepper is the BEST.  He chats and whistles and meows and now makes Mel’s pathetic bark.  He says phrases like: “Drink your water, Pepper; Gotta Go; Come Here, Good Boy, See ya later". 

And now tonight he said a bunch of gibberish and I said: "What?"
And Pepper replied with: "You heard me - answer me."

I have no idea where he learned his manners.

He loves almonds, noodles, cereal, crackers and anything we happen to be eating.  I need to try fruit and veggies but that means I actually need to go and BUY healthy food.

Pepper also loves watching television with us.  The other night he was sitting on my shoulder and the following conversation ensued:

Me:  Pepper, can I pet you?
Pepper dips his head so I can pet his head.
Boyd: Pepper, can I pet you?
Pepper gives him an icy stare that translates into "Hell no."

Me:  Pepper, please let Boyd pet you.  It's okay.
Pepper gives a "parrot sigh" and bows his head relunctantly.

Gads, I love this bird.

Currently, he is chewing on an old tennis shoe I put in his cage  - Happy as a clam.

  Sweetest bird ever.  I feel like Snow White and even sing to him. :)

Speaking of health food and tennis shoes, I cannot for the life of me find the will to get in shape.  I see all these vacationers on Facebook and I think . . . Gosh, that SEEMS like a good idea but I am starving so I’m going to go bake a cake.

I wish I was kidding.

Boyd somehow got “thyroiditis” this past month.  I was FREAKING OUT for quite awhile waiting for test results, etc.  He was having terrible headaches continually and taking long naps when he got home from school.  I began calling his doctor’s office.  After Boyd got back from his appointment, I asked jokingly, “So, did the doc mention you have a psycho wife?”

And Boyd said:  “He alluded to something like that.”

Fair enough.

Caters making Boyd a "get well card" 

Summer is just around the corner.  CANNOT. WAIT.

OPEN WATER!!  No more ice!!

Me, Ellie and Baby Chicks.  Guess who was more excited. :)

Boyd and the girls.  He loves coaching 7th grade.  But seriously . .. HOORAY FOR THE END OF BB SEASON!

Easter always consists of competition - how else do you celebrate the Risen Lord?

WE GOT A HOT TUB!!  In-laws decided to get rid of theirs!! WHOO HOO!!
Expect next blog post to be sometime in July. :)



Monday, January 19, 2015

POST Holiday

I pretty much crashed and burned on my “overachiever status” from November’s post.  And I completely failed on my New Year’s Resolution to blog more.

Currently, I am looking out the window at what appears to be a spring day but alas it is mid-January!  I even heard birds chirping this morning!! It took me awhile to figure out what the noise was.
Totally loving this mild winter!  (knocking on wood now . . . )

The holidays have come and gone.  Boyd had his first ever “Christmas Break” as a teacher so we took advantage and headed to Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Northern Minnesota never fails to take my breath away.

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast.  We typically do this on vacation.  In our limited experiences, we find that B&Bs offer such great local flavor to a trip.  Plus, typically the hosts that run B&Bs are fascinating and easy-going. . . AND not to mention have crazy awesome breakfasts, the best advice for what to do, where to go, great stories, etc etc etc.

So yes, apparently I am recommending that you stay overnight at a stranger's house.
Embrace the adventure! :)

Coffee AND snowshoes. ;)
We ended up in the Twin Cities (where we stayed at another B&B) so that Boyd could snowboard with some buddies. I shopped after Christmas sales (booyah!), stopped in to say hi to the best neighbor/friend ever, and then ended at the Mall of America Waterpark.  Such a lovely time.  Did I mention that Boyd turned 40 over Christmas break?! 40!!!

Jordan and Boyd terrorizing the waterpark
Boyd, Ben and Kevin.  Good friends are awesome.
This little peanut worked HARD at waterslides AND pizza.

Boyd and I celebrated 14 years of marriage.  I won’t get all gooey on you all . . . but seriously . . . . marriage can be really awesome.   

Gross . . . . . enough about that.

Brother2's JV team is currently undefeated and so much fun to watch.  The season started off a little rocky but he seems to really be enjoying the game again which is a big RELIEF.
I have failed at getting pics of Brother2 actually PLAYING BB.

Love basketball and yet . . . . Is it over yet?!  I love when our crowd has such great school spirit but then there are times that its quite lacking in good sportsmanship and I find myself a little embarrassed.  Crazily enough the refs are TERRIBLE whenever we are losing . . . . and even the children start taunting them.  *sigh*

EMBRACE the adversity!  Work thru it!  Build character!  YOU CAN DO IT!!

(P.S.  Boyd got roped into reffing an elementary girls game awhile back. . . he came home, plopped down on the couch and said it was the most unnerving experience of his life.)



I subbed for 2nd grade awhile back for 6 days.
6 days?!
I was bombarded with random questions and comments:

Guess how old my parents are?
Do you know my parents names?  Guess!
How many days til Christmas?
Guess which book is mine?
My shoe is falling apart.
I don't know how to tie double knots.
So-and-so from Mrs. ___'s class was running in the hall!
Watch my shoes make marks on the floor! (stop that!)
Is that your computer?

And what is with sharpening pencils? All day long they sharpen pencils.
Adorable and yet . . . . .

When I sub for high school they mostly ignore me. :)


Speaking of teenagers - Brother2 changed my phone identity at some point so whenever I have an email the heading says:

From: TripAdvisor (or whoever)
To:  Poop

Nice.  I haven't changed it yet because ALTHOUGH annoying it still makes me laugh every time.



I have set a date for the Spring Lucky Day Sale - March 28th!  So mark your calendars.

And Matilda Jane starts up again on February 1st.  Again - mark your calendars. :)

I have been working like crazy in the basement on sale stuff.  Hoping the barn will be ready by the time the summer sale comes around . . . so much to do . . . . so little time and money to accomplish it with.

Take care - enjoy this mild winter weather! Go outside!

Annual Turkey Bowl!!!

A certain 40-year-old needs to find a lower gear.
Beating the winter blues - Open Gym with cousins!
Of course staying overnight means car racing in the house
Board sled riding is our weird little tradition.
Kona ADORES winter.
Boyd working on the barn roof!  SOMEDAY IT WILL BE DONE!

It was COLD over the holidays!!  Kiddos are so hardy - and Boyd :)
Embrace the weather! Embrace where you live!
Embrace your loved ones! 

Monday, November 24, 2014


I would like to point out that this is my 2nd post for November.
Someone is reaching for the stars.
*insert cheering


The holiday Lucky Day Sale went great!  I am afraid we have officially outgrown the Goss though.  Growing pains are tough but its a good problem to have.

The sweetest owls and fantastic furniture!

fun retro kitchen stuff galore

I always love the colors of the holiday sale!

Umm . . yeah . . . the first couple of hours were insane!!

And we filled up the sidewalk outside!

As always - - I can never thank you all enough for shopping our sale!
And the vendors are beyond talented!!

The Hamlin football team won the state championship.   HOORAY!!!
Boyd is a VERY LOUD athletic supporter (*hehe*).  I warned Cate that Boyd cheered loud so she might not want to sit with him . . . she looked at me and said: "That's okay. I like it!"
She's got spunk.  And loves the Touchdown Cheer. :)

After the game she insisted we track down the cheerleaders because she NEEDED to talk to them.  Brother2 could learn something from this kid.

A few of my favorite people.

Brother2 got in!!!

He is officially taller and weighs more than me.  Thank you, Jesus!
For those of you judging my 'non-Charger apparel" - in my defense, I originally had a Charger shirt on but then mom pointed out that we were supposed to wear BLUE (not gray and yellow).  So I changed.  And all day long I kept quoting Arrested Development in my head and snickering to myself:

I tried my first ever vendor fair.  My "neighbor" was a raspberry farm and their 6 year old daughter was along for the day.

What is your name?
Do you like My Pretty Ponies?
I lost 2 teeth.
I am in 1st grade.
My Pony's name is Rainbow.
Your hair is pretty.
I want a pony for Christmas.
What do you want?
And on.
And on.
and on.


Boyd has started coaching 7th grade girls basketball.
Coaching gives me the shakes.
But not the good shakes . . .

I realized that I have not done any book reports lately.  I have no idea if anyone likes book recommendations but since its my favorite hobby - I am proceeding.  Feel free to skip ahead.

1.  Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West:  This is my 2nd time reading this book.  I do this when I run out of new books to read and feel like I should not spend money.  Its annoying.  BUT this book is fantastic.  Its about a high school boys basketball team in rural Montana.  Parts of it are cheesy but overall you fall in love with the characters.  Plus, Gordon is one of my favorite authors.  (Until the Streetcars Come Back is one of my ALL-TIME FAVES by him)

2.  Pride and Prejudice.  Again - another reread by me lately.  But oh my . . . love this story.  I enjoyed it more the 2nd time than the first.  Which makes me think I should probably try Wuthering Heights again since I hated it the first time.  Love Lizzy and Mr. Darcy.

3.  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: ADORED this book.  The main character is socially challenged and goes about systematically finding a wife.  If you like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory - you will love Don Tillman.   Hysterical read.

4.  Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler:  I'm not sure how to describe this book . . . beautiful?  Sad?  Inspiring?  This story alternates between present day and the 1930s where Isabella tells her friend/hairdresser about her past.  Romance.  Racism.  Friendships. Family Relationships.  It has it all.  Wonderfully well-written.  5 thumbs up!

5.   The Wanderer's Necklace by Henry Rider Haggard:  This book reads like an old fashioned adventure tale.  Prepare for epic battles, crazy plot twists and to fall in love with Olaf, the inspiring hero.  I thought the ending was a bit abupt and would have liked more closure but 98% of the book I thoroughly enjoyed.

Currently I am reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  So far so good.

P.S.  If you are an avid reader, please shoot me book recommendations! 

Look at this cute little peanut!
And she is wearing Matilda Jane.
Surprise. Surprise.
I have no shame. ;)

Miss Ellie

Have a great Thanksgiving!!