A Thankful Holiday

Thanksgiving always comes and goes so quickly, but it’s one of my favorite holidays.  We had a couple of fun activities leading up to Thursday and that really got us in the mood to celebrate.

At school, we had the kids make place cards to take home for their own family Thanksgiving.  They used their fingers and a stamp pad to make colorful turkey feathers.  Then on the inside, we asked them what they are thankful for this year.  They really turned out cute and I hope the parents displayed them.

On Wednesday night, Nate, Megan, and I attended the 19th Annual Burnsville Winter Lighting Ceremony in the Heart of the City.  This was our first time going to see this and it was such a nice time in a quaint little setting.   We could stroll through the lights and enjoy free coffee, hot chocolate, fresh baked cookies, chicken sandwiches, and candy canes.  Of course, there was a special appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus as well.  The entertainment this year was the Sioux Trail Elementary Choir and the Burnsville High School Freestyle Singers.  This was the reason we went…Kelly is in the Freestyle choir.  They are a 16 person group that sing a capella.  They sang five Christmas songs, including O’Tannebaum, which they sang in German.  They did a wonderful job and it sounded beautiful.

When they flipped the switch to “light up Burnsville”, more than 200,000 mini lights, 230 streetlight snowflakes and a 30-foot-tall tree came to life.  It was spectacular to be right in the middle of that and see all these lights everywhere around you.  It was fun to take a few pictures amongst the lights.  Kelly’s boyfriend, Ryan came along to listen to her sing.

Thanksgiving day was a little different for us this year because we did not host the festivities.  We decided to take a break and have a quiet turkey day with just the four of us.   Well…we did have a great dinner, but it wasn’t turkey.


Our turkey remains frozen.

Megan isn’t a fan of turkey, so Nate decided to make a pork roast instead.  He started out by butterflying the roast, then putting on a layer of prosciutto, followed by a layer of chopped broccoli.  He rolled it all up, tied string around it, then browned it on all sides.  Once the juices were sealed inside, he put it in the oven and baked it nice and slow.  Not only did it taste incredible, it was so pretty to look at.

The girls helped make parts of the dinner as well.  Megan worked on the stuffing, while Kelly was in charge of the roasted butternut squash.  Nate was giving tips along the way and guiding them to success.  They both did a superb job and it was fun seeing them participate in the making of the meal.


Our house smelled so wonderful for hours and hours and we couldn’t wait till all the timers went off and it was time to sit down and enjoy this wonderful food that they all worked so hard on.  My job was to set the table and make it look pretty.  So I pulled out the traditional tablecloth, white plates, and nice glassware…the wine tastes better that way.   It was beautiful and felt very homey and warm at our table, just the way I like it.

Since we didn’t have the traditional turkey, we made sure to have the traditional pumpkin pie for dessert.  It was a simple frozen one, but we enjoyed it still the same with a dollop of Cool Whip on top.  Mmm…perfect ending.

It was a terrific Thanksgiving that was so enjoyable.  I hope you and your family had a special day as well.  Be thankful for family and friends.  They are important in our lives.



Music Man





These past two weeks, Kelly has been busy performing with the cast of Music Man at the Burnsville Mraz Center.   Kelly has the role of Zaneeta, the mayor’s daughter and a teenager in love with Tommy Djlas and secretly seeing him behind her dad’s back, played by Isaac Nelson.   Kelly’s most famous line is..”Ye Gods!” she says this after everything she says.  It’s very funny and got many laughs.



A little about this musical, if you’re not familiar with it….The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys’ band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive Iowa townsfolk, promising to train the members of the new band. Harold is no musician, however, and plans to skip town without giving any music lessons. Prim librarian and piano teacher Marian sees through him, but when Harold helps her younger brother overcome his lisp and social awkwardness, Marian begins to fall in love. Harold risks being caught to win her.

The show begins with all of the traveling salesmen on the train heading to River City, Iowa.  They sang their song and with their actions, they made it look like the train was actually moving.  It was pretty neat.



Kelly’s friend Daniel got the lead role as Harold Hill.  He did a fantastic job and is such a pleasure to watch and listen to.  We’ve been enjoying his performances since Junior High.


There was a lot of dancing in this musical and so many familiar songs.  One of my favorites is sung by the ladies group from River City called “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little”  It’s such a catchy tune and seems to always stick in my head.  These are the gossipy ladies who like to talk about everyone in town.



Harold stumbles across his old friend Marcellus Washburn, who has “gone legit” and now lives in town. Marcellus tells Harold that Marian Paroo, the librarian who gives piano lessons, is the only trained musician in town and she wants nothing to do with Harold Hill.  He needs to figure out a way to make her fall in love with him, so that he can get the money from the townspeople for his band instruments and uniforms.




I’ve seen this movie many times and I wondered how well they’d do with casting the barbershop quartet.  They have a big role in this musical and I couldn’t believe the talent of these four guys in the show.  They were so funny and amazing singers.  Three of them are in the Freestyle group that Kelly is a part of this year.  I am looking forward to hearing those concerts and these incredible singers.  In the original movie…the quartet was played by the Buffalo Bills.  A very famous group.



Kelly loved her role as Zaneeta and enjoyed the dancing even more.  She was front and center for most of the dances and it was so neat to see her light up when she’s on stage.  Always smiling and having a great time.



The library scene was one of Kelly’s favorites to perform and it was visually stunning.  They did most of it just sitting in their chair and moving their feet while Harold sang “Marian the Librarian.”  Harold walks into the library, but Marian ignores him yet again. He declares his unrequited love for her, leading the teenagers in the library in dance.  For a moment, Marian forgets her decorum and dances with Harold.


In the end, love wins out and Harold can’t leave River City because he has fallen in love with Marian the Librarian.


They had a wonderful surprise ending to this show.  Once we clapped and thought it was over, Daniel (Harold Hill) put a whistle in his mouth, blew it, and then the actual band came out and played 76 Trombones as he led the band on stage.  It was a spectacular way to end the show and the whole audience was clapping, smiling, and dancing along.  I loved it!



After the show, Kelly had so many friends come see her.  Such a great turnout for all of the shows and standing ovations for all.  Even a couple of my co-workers from Ebenezer went to a show and found Kelly afterwards.  So sweet of them.





Kelly has a couple weeks off now and then will start her auditions once again for the One-Act plays.  This spring, Burnsville will be performing Mary Poppins.  We are looking forward to that production as well.   It will also be her last show in High School.  Yes, tears will flow.  But for now….she’s flying high!


My Little Goblins


When you are a preschool teacher, you generally start planning themes a month ahead of time.  I’ve been thinking about Halloween since September, and have gotten through the month of October and had lots of fun with it.   Of course, I am already thinking of Thanksgiving, but I’ll share some of our highlights from the month.

We started out our month by doing an art project with our grandparents.  The kids and grandparents painted an orange paper plate, then later when it dried, added a face to make a jack-o-lantern.    They were hung outside in the hallway for everyone to see.  They looked festive and got everyone into the the Halloween mood.

I wanted to make our preschool room feel a little spooky, but not scary of course.  With Kelly’s help, we decorated one of my doors with toilet paper and made a mummy.   We went in on a Saturday, so that the kids would be totally surprised when they came to school Monday morning.  They loved it!  When I showed up for work, they couldn’t wait to show me the mummy and said, “Ms. Cathy, we have a mummy in our room!”  I was thrilled that it stayed up the entire month.

Our first Halloween outing, we took a bus ride over to a local Assisted Living complex.  The kids dressed up in their costumes and we are greeted by about 70 wonderful residents living here.  The kids did an art project with their grandparent, sang songs, and enjoyed a snack together.


Before we left, each of the children took a turn to tell their name and share what costume they were wearing.  It brought so many smiles to these people and what a joy it was to see this.  It was my favorite fieldtrip thus far.  We all agreed and are hoping to go back at Christmas time and share a morning again.

Next, it was time to have some fun in the classroom…halloween-style.  What better way than to have a “touch & feel” day with slimy food.  I cooked up some spaghetti noodles and added a little oil to make them feel slippery or “slimy” as the kids called it.  A lot of them also said, “oooh, yucky!” but couldn’t stop touching it.  ha~

Another item was a bowl full of jello.  I was surprised that not many of my kids had tasted jello before.  It seemed to be a staple in our house when my girls were little.  So I first let them taste it and then play in it.  What fun it was seeing their facial expressions when doing this, both eating it and playing in it.

Now, on to playing…

After a full month of fun activities and lots of orange…Halloween finally arrived.  The kids were very excited to parade around the campus in their costumes for the Grandparents and do some trick or treating.

Many employees were dressed up and we had lots of stops along the way.  Gals would pop out of their offices with bags of candy ready to hand out.  It was such fun and most wanted their pictures taken with the kids.

Some of the grandparents got into the Halloween spirit as well and did their best at dressing up.  It was cute to see.

Some just enjoyed passing out the candy to the little ones.

We teachers wanted to get into the fun as well.  Our Older Pre teachers, turned us all into condiments.  They made these out of cardboard and I thought it was such a creative idea.  We got many compliments.


Back at home, Kelly was getting ready for the Halloween party she was attending. She and a group of friends dressed up as the kids from the children’s book series…The Magic School Bus.   I love their creativity each year.  She always has a great time at these parties.  Making memories for sure.

Halloween was a little strange for Nate and I this year.  Kelly was at rehearsal till late most every night leading up to Halloween, so we just didn’t get into it this year.  We didn’t even carve pumpkins.  It didn’t really bother us, but I think taking a year off will make us want to get back to it next year.   I guess just like these little ones, we all need a break at some point to just sit down and relax.


Okay….I’m done relaxing…on to Thanksgiving!  ha~

‘Fall’ in our classroom



The leaves are starting to fall around here, not only outside but inside as well.  At school, we of course, are talking about fall and everything about it.  Apples, leaves, colors, scarecrows, and eventually we will will end with pumpkins and Halloween.  It’s such a fun season to celebrate, especially with young preschoolers.  My co-worker brought in these neat little plastic rakes that were just the right size for their little hands to hold and “rake” up all of the leaves and put them into the baskets.  It made our room so colorful and really got us in the autumn mood.   We also did a leaf match and Jane brought in some real leaves for touch & feel time.  Its nice to bring nature indoors.

One of the art projects was to do ‘edible art.’  The kids made trees using pretzel sticks and raisins were used for the leaves.  They could make branches by breaking their sticks and then placing raisins either on the tree and/or on the ground, if their leaves were falling already.   Jane made hers as a sample to look at and the kids had ideas of their own.

Then there were a few kids who’s trees never had a chance.  It was more fun to eat the ingredients than to create.  ha!

Next, we moved on to apples.  So many things you can do with apples.  We tasted them, painted them, talked about their colors, how & where they grow, and my favorite…tried to guess how many seeds were inside of an apple.  This was so much fun because even I took a guess, which they thought was funny.  For some reason, they thought they I would know.  ha!

We made an apple chart and before I cut it open, I asked each child, “How many seeds do you think are in this apple?”  I loved how some of them really thought hard and gave me some good guesses.  Then I got to Charlie.  His answer…”A bunch Ms. Cathy!”

I love having access to Pinterest and all of their great ideas.  I found this idea for my sensory table and the kids absolutely loved it!  It was called “apple pie”.  I put rolled oats, cinnamon sticks, plastic apples, measuring spoons, cups and pie tins in our bin.  They could pretend to make an apple pie.   Bonus:  our room smelled so good as you walked past.


Painting is an activity that this class loves to do.  I incorporated that by having them marble paint some apples and sponge paint apple trees.  So much red and green was happening this week.  They rolled marbles in red paint then back and forth in the box over their apples.  It looks easy but it’s really a difficult task for these kids to get that back and forth motion.

To make the apple trees, they sponge-painted the tree green, then dipped their fingertip into red paint to make their apples.  I told them they could decide where they wanted their apples.  Either on the tree, on the ground, or both.  Again…they made me laugh at their creativity…or lack of.    Our infant teacher walked into my room while we were painting these.  She saw the one on the right and said…”That tree looks like it was in the hurricane!”  We laughed out loud.   I hung these trees out in the hallway where the grandparents walk past.  One grandma told me she appreciates our artwork and loves seeing what the kids make.  Made me smile.


Another activity the kids liked was sorting apples by color.  This was easy for them and makes them feel good when they can accomplish a task by themselves.  By the end of the week, I was pretty tired of red, yellow, and green.   A lot of repetition was happening.

My final apple project was a simple science experiment: Will the apple Sink or Float?  I had three apples again…red, yellow, and green.  If you’ve ever bobbed for apples, then you already know the answer.  Well, these kids have never bobbed, so had no idea.  I started with the red apple and had them once again, guess before I dropped it into the bowl.  As I suspected, there was a mix of answers.  They got so excited when I put it in the water and it went under then popped back up!  I’m sure squeals could be heard all the way down the hall.   It was so funny.

Now here is the part I thought was hilarious…I passed the next apple around the table and told them to feel it and see how heavy it is.  Then told them I’m going to put this one in the water now.  What do you think will happen?  I pretty much got the same answers.  And the third time I even gave them clues like, “Remember what happened to the first two apples?”  and I still got kids that said, “I think it will sink”.  Hmm…okay, I think I can predict their future science scores later on in life.

They did a great job with this and we sure had some fun, so at the end of the experiment I let them put the apples into the water and play around a little.  Kids and water just go together.  You can’t keep them out of it.


Now all my kids know that apple starts with ‘A’ …and really, that’s all that matters in the end and we had a lot of fun learning that for an entire week.  I’m looking forward to moving on to the color orange and finding out that pumpkin starts with ‘P’.

Fall Festivites


Dressed for Homecoming game!

September sure has been a busy month for us and filled with fall memories already.  First off we had Kelly’s Homecoming.  This will be our last Burnsville homecoming after five years of enjoying taking the girls’ pictures and hearing the next morning, how fun their night was at the dance.    Kelly went with her friend Ryan this year.  They are both in theater and have become good friends who enjoy hanging out together.  When they are together…its talk, talk, talk.   We like Ryan because he’s an easy-going kid who can go with the flow.  He’s a lot of fun.


Before the pictures that evening, Kelly had her hair done at a local salon and her makeup done by a friend.  She put on her own red nails and in the end…looked absolutely beautiful.


She found her dress online and ordered it back in February.  She found the perfect shoes to accompany it.   She got so many compliments on her dress…even Monday when I went to work, my co-workers were talking about it.  🙂

The group she met up with for pictures, dinner and dance are mostly in her choir group and theater.  They were very nice kids and of course, not camera shy.   For picture taking, we were in Eagan at Blackhawk Park.  It was a pretty place, except for the green scummy water that happens at this time of the year.   We tried our best to keep that out of the pictures.  They had a nice bridge to stand on and take some photos, with the trees in the background.  I bet this will be gorgeous in a couple of weeks when the colors change.




Speaking of color…red seemed to be the color this season.  These kids were all so well dressed and made picture taking pretty easy.  My favorite was getting the “red photo”.  Loved how well they coordinated, without even trying.


Before leaving the park, we passed a park and had to take some fun pictures after all those posed ones.


After pictures, they headed out for an Italian dinner and then back to the High School for the dance.  Kelly and Ryan stayed till nearly the end and really enjoyed the night.  That’s it for High School Homecoming.   The next one, will be her college homecoming, wherever that may be.


Another fall activity that we participated in was the MOCA walk for Ovarian cancer.  This is a tradition every September and Megan drove home for the weekend so that she could join us and walk for Sue and Sheri’s mom.


It was a beautiful morning for our walk.  We love this day and I think it gives Sheri a nice way to remember her mum and we are thankful for Sue to be cancer free.  We walk, talk, laugh, and enjoy seeing the tons of people walking with us for this cause, especially the cute little kids that are always there.  We loved this girls tutu.


Each year, the people watching is always fun but this year, it was the pets!  We saw this dog and everyone wanted to pet this gentle giant.  He was so sweet and we loved his bandana.


Sue couldn’t make the walk this year because her boys had soccer games.  We’re hoping she’ll join us next year and have some fun with us.



Have you ever wanted to have three wishes?  Well, Kelly and I tried to make that happen by rubbing the magic lamp when we attended ‘Aladdin the Musical’ at the Orpheum Theater.


What a fun time we had watching this performance.  Such colorful costumes and the stage had amazing scenes changes throughout the entire show.  I wish we could’ve taken pictures, but you’re not allowed.

We did have some fun outside of the theater before the show and a little appetizers at Crave across the street.   Happy day for us both!  Can’t wait for our next shows in November…Finding Neverland and Waitress.


One last festivity was Nate and I celebrating our 23rd anniversary.  We had a nice dinner Saturday night on the deck and then went out for brunch on Sunday.  We found this really neat place in Farmington with a wonderful deck and yummy Bloody Mary’s.  They also had great food.


Romantic dinner for two.


After brunch, we headed to Sailer’s Greenhouses to get some fall mums.  It was a hot day, so being in the greenhouse, was like being in a sauna.  We shopped fast!


Once we picked our mums, Peggy & Mark were insisting we take some squash home.  Okay, we never argue about that.  Peggy said that they have never had this much squash and aren’t sure they can even pick it all.  An over-abundance this fall.  Yippee for us!  Nate and I are like kids in a candy store when choosing these.  Butternut is our favorite and we’ll make many meals all fall long with all of our squash (and we’ll probably go back for more).   Thank you Mark & Peg!


Going out here in and seeing all the flowers still blooming, makes me want to decorate our yard with all the autumn colors.  It’ll never be as good as the greenhouse, but we can always dream.


Hey, at least I’ll always have my Mumkin~


Happy Fall everyone and be sure to get out enjoy the season!

‘A’ is for Apple Orchard~


I know the saying for spring is “in like a lion and out like a lamb” or vice-versa, but never have we said “fall is on fire!”  It has been one steamy week here in Minnesota for our “first day of fall” this past Friday…according to the calendar.  We hit 95 degrees with a heat index of over 100 and it sure felt like it!  Summertime in Fall.

We had a fieldtrip to the Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard planned for Friday and headed out to Jordon, MN on a school bus.  This was such a fun trip and for all of my little ones…their first time on a school bus.  They were all so excited.  So many smiles, oohing & aahing, and even some squeals when we’d hit a bump in the road.   The entire ride made me laugh.


Once we got to the orchard, they immediately noticed the playground.  How could we not go their first?  While we waited for the wagon to get all hitched up to the tractor, we let them have a little fun on the equipment.


Next, it was time to head out to the orchard and pick some apples.  This is the largest apple orchard I have ever been to.  It was so pretty to walk amongst all these apple trees with some of the leaves just beginning to change.  We had some yellows, oranges, reds and still many green leaves all around us.  I loved it!


The wagon ride was very fun and the kids really enjoyed being pulled by the tractor.  Once we got out to the trees, we were free to pick two apples.  One we could eat, and one we could take home with us.  It was fun watching them run over to a tree and find an apple to pick.  Some of them needed help twisting that apple free, other’s grabbed hold and pulled the entire branch until that apple broke free.


As I said…we were told to pick one and take one back.  Well…most of my kids grabbed two and starting eating them both.  ha!    Oh well, there were so many apples on the ground, that we let them eat what they could, they just threw the cores “back into nature” as we told them.  hehe

We didn’t spend a lot of time in the orchard because it was so incredibly hot and the kids were getting hungry and we were feeling sunburnt as well.  The wagon took us back to the barn house where they had cute lunch set up for us inside,and it felt much cooler in the air conditioning.  Apple juice was the first thing everyone reached for to quench their thirst and rehydrate.  It tasted wonderful and so did some lunch.

We weren’t the only ones picking apples today.  Some of our Grandpa & Grandma’s from Ebenezer traveled along with us in another bus.  They rode on the wagons, helped pick apples, and ate lunch with us.   It was fun getting to know them a little and just having some nice conversations with them.  I think they really enjoyed this outing with us.

As we ended our trip, we had to take a walk through the pumpkins and a few of the kids wanted to try putting their heads into the apple tree cut-out.  It was quite hilarious and impossible for me to get all the heads peeking out at the same time.  Still was adorable.


What  fun time and our kids did a great job on their first bus ride and fieldtrip.  I’d take them out again anytime!    Happy Fall!!!


A Kaleidoscope Of Fun


Last weekend, Nate and I spent our Labor Day at one of our favorite places…the Arboretum in Chanhassen.  We love walking around the spectacular gardens, smelling the wonderful aromas of the roses and the fragrant herb gardens.  Each summer they highlight an artist and have a theme with exhibits throughout the arboretum.  This year’s theme was Kaleidoscopes.  It featured 15 interactive garden kaleidoscopes made by a metal artist from Door County, WI, named Robert Anderson.  Anderson said that his wife collects kaleidoscopes and he thought it would be neat to add them to gardens.  This was his inspiration.

Robert in Studio

The kaleidoscopes of varying heights allow everyone from children to adults to be able to enjoy them. Intricate prism designs create interactive, living sculptures. They are encased in bold, ingeniously designed sculptural metal frames and attached to container gardens planted by Arboretum staff. The kaleidoscope feature is activated by slowly turning the large bowl-shaped containers and thus, creating dramatic ever-changing flourishes of colors and shapes.

Every one of them was painted in such bright colors and were quite large in size.  At first, Nate and I were only looking through the kaleidoscopes and then we saw some children spinning the planters and then we had our “ah-ha” moment and said, “Oh, that’s what your suppose to do.”  We laughed and then gave it a try.  So much cooler than just peeking through and getting one color.   By spinning it, you get bursts of colors and those neat designs that kaleidoscopes give you.    Such a creative idea~

As we walked around looking for all the kaleidoscopes, we got to enjoy all the colors of summer that were still in bloom.  We were surprised at how many roses were still bursting from the rose garden.  As soon as we walked into that section, that wonderful smell hit us.  It just makes you feel summery and happy.

One thing we always notice out here are the unique types of planters and how they are filled to the brim and some even bursting over.  I get so inspired by these and vow to have my planters look like this someday.

Our favorite flower garden out here is always this flourishing one filled with sweet potato vines, coleus, black-eyed susans, and many other types of climbing vines and flowers.  We love to come here and sit on this bench and dream it’s our backyard…or imagine how can we turn our backyard into this, when we get home.

Amongst the flowers our here, there are some sculptures to see as well.  This was a new one that was right out front as we arrived.  I thought it was so neat and I actually read the little sign about it because I recognized the lampposts.  They are from The Lion, the Witch, and Wardrobe.   I loved that movie.   I usually leave the reading up to Nate and have him tell me what it is we’re looking at.  ha~     He was surprised when he saw me walk up to the sign.  I heard a “Whoa…what are you doing?”  then a laugh from both of us.   I took a picture of it so you all could read it as well.  You’re welcome.

As we walk along the paths each year, we always come across some funny looking plants or ones with silly names.  This year we saw this one and it made us giggle.  They truly looked like eye-balls staring up at us.  This would make a great Halloween planter.


Another strange plant we noticed, was this tomato plant.  It was called a Dark Chocolate Tomato.  Hmm…I would love to try this sometime.  I am going to have to ask Mark & Peggy if they grow these and if so…I’m all over it!


The rest of the time was spent looking at all the colorful scenery around us, feeling the gorgeous weather, taking pictures, and just enjoying our day together.


I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend~