Olympic Fever


Now that the Super Bowl is over, we are moving on to the Olympics.  This past week, my co-teacher Rebecca, did a unit on China.  She talked about the Great Wall, panda bears, and ended the week with the Chinese New Year.   At first, we weren’t sure how much they would grasp on this subject, but she did a great job of touching on these subjects at their level (it’s a low level).  ha~

She had many books on the Great Wall and even a short video to show them and this was helpful and were great visuals to get them interested.  She found a fantastic activity to do with them as well.  We took the kids upstairs to where there is a walkway between two buildings and this is where they were to build their own “Great Wall” using brown paper lunch bags.



We loved how the wall had a natural curve in it, just like the real one.  We just had them set up their bags wherever they’d like but encouraged them to at least put them in a line.



We moved on from the Great Wall to the Chinese New Year.  Rebeccah is an art major and designed this very cool dragon for our parade.  We marched through the halls of the campus and wished everyone a Happy Chinese New Year.


Our leader pounded on the drum as we approached and I had the sunshine right along side of me to bring good cheer.

We always enjoys passing by the coffee shop because there is always grandma’s & grandpa’s enjoying their day and we surely bring them a smile.

We ended our parade in the OT room, and those patients enjoy the break from their hard work of therapy.  Having kids come through the room is always a warm welcome and of course, we cheer them on as we pass by.

Our “dragon” kids did such a great job of staying under the tarp and moving around like a dragon.  I couldn’t resist taking a peek!


So darn cute!

Okay, we visited China and now it’s time to move to South Korea for the Olympics.  Nate and I won our Fantasy Football league and just weren’t feeing the Super Bowl party this year, so instead we hosted an Olympics party.   Guests were given two rules…

1…they had to choose a country and make a dish that represents that country and 2…they had to come with a “fun fact” about their country.   We had England, Sweden, Canada, Germany, France, and Norway all represented.    I found decorations at Party City and got the house decorated before they arrived.  The corks and wines made up our “Olympic Village” and I was very happy that Greece was included in the flags, so Megan was with us as well.  The kit I bought did not have every country and Nate & I were sad that the Norwegian flag was not in it…nor was Canada.

Nate chose Norway as our country and was happy to get cooking.  He started days before because he wanted to make cured salmon.  This required him to pour salt and herbs over the salmon to draw out the juices from the fish.  We checked it daily and noticed what a beautiful red color the salmon was becoming.

And then he served it on such a pretty platter.  Truly a Norwegian delicacy that I’m sure his parents are proud of him for making.


Nate didn’t stop there with his Norwegian roots…he also made a wonderful apple cake known in Norway as “Eplekake” (ep-la-kaka).  This was amazingly good and I could’ve eaten the entire cake myself, but was told I had to share with my fellow Olympians.  I hope he makes this again very soon.


Look how pretty it is!

Next, it was time for our Olympians to arrive.  As they came walking in, each “athlete” had to walk around our kitchen island with the Olympic torch in hand as we hummed the Olympic fanfare for their country.  Oh my gosh…this was hilarious and I couldn’t get a good picture because I was laughing so hard and singing.  For some odd reason, our friends from England (Sheri & Kevin) went around the opposite way.  Hmm…maybe their wigs were on too tight.  Once everyone made their lap, they were awarded their “Participation” medal to wear for the evening.  Since we were the host country, we went last and happy that Kelly joined us too.

We also had one other competitor at our party…Jazzy earned a medal for keeping an eye on the food and giving out Olympic size kisses.  Yay Jazz!

We were so impressed with everyone’s food they prepared.  It was so interesting to see all of the combinations and try them all.  There wasn’t a bad dish at our table.  We loved it all.

We had Swedish meatballs for Sweden, bratwursts with sauerkraut and apples for Germany, brie cheese for France, Sausage rolls & cakes for England, and cheese pizza slices with a Canadian white sauce.  See the little flags?…we put their countries flag by their food.

It was an Olympic-sized table of goodness.

Once we finished eating, we had everyone fill out a ballot and write down their top three dishes.  Nate tallied up all the votes and we awarded the Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals to the winners.  Becky took Bronze with her Brie cheese with Eiffel Tower on top, the Smith’s took Silver for their delicious sausage rolls, and Laura stood on top with Gold for her Bratwurst & Apple dish.  She played the National Anthem on her phone when we announced her as the winner.  ha~

I had to make it official and have them stand on the podium (hearth) to get the shot.  Germany, England, and France.  Congratulations!

This was one of my favorite parties that we have thrown.  Nate and I had such fun organizing it as we did preparing for it and are considering doing this again in two years for the summer Olympics.    So start thinking of a country and a dish and do some research, if you’d like to join us!

I think it was a big hit and everyone was a good sport! (pun intended)


Truly an Olympic friendship between us all~   Love!


January Whites


When you think of January in Minnesota, the first color that comes to mind, is white.  As I sit and write today, we are in the middle of a blizzard and a complete white-out!  I didn’t have to go to work today because all schools in our district were closed, so I was very thankful that and I could stay home in my warm cozy house and watch a movie, rather than drive in this.



Even our dog was willing to “hold it” for as long as she could.


I started thinking about all of the winter activities that we have started at preschool, now that Christmas is over.  The color white seems to be all around our school with snowmen, snowflakes, snow covered trees, and of course, the real snow outside.

We needed to decorate around the bulletin board near the entrance.  One of the teachers made a cute winter board, so I thought it would look nice to add some trees.  We talked about triangles and the color white.  Put them together and you can make a winter wonderland of your own by gluing on the colorful trees and dipping your finger into white paint to make it snow.   Ta dah..here is the end result.   I think they look great and very seasonal.  The kids love walking past each day and pointing out which one is theirs.


You can’t go through winter without making a snowman.  It has been too cold this January for us to get outside and play, so we’ve had to make “indoor” snowman with our crafts until we can get the chance to make a real one outside.

I found some ideas on Pinterest and this one was definitely a favorite.  Squishy Snowman.  The kids glued a face onto the zip-lock bag,  then I squirted shaving cream into the bag.  They were told to squish the cream around and watch the snowman appear!  They were so delighted and my littlest one, actually let out a squeal.  It was so darn cute.  I made sure to add packing tape to the top of the bag, so that they couldn’t open it.

This is our newest, little student.  She actually should be in the Toddler room, but they were full, so we took her on.  She does pretty well in our rom and can hold her own when she needs to.  After doing this project, I told her to put it in her mailbox so she could take it home.  She began crying and refused to walk over, then told me she wanted to carry her snowman at school.   Well, I couldn’t say no to those tears.   She never let go until Dad showed up.  So adorable.

Our other snowman craft was our “melting snowman.”  I read them a book about a snowman who is always cold and wants to warm up.  Each time he warms up, he ends of melting and they have to rebuild him.  His name was Sneezy the Snowman.  They loved this story and were excited to make their own “Sneezy” and tell me why he melted.  This is such a great project because their is no right or wrong way to paint it.

Another fun activity we did indoors, was the classic game…Pin the Carrot on the Snowman.  This was just plain cute to watch.  They are too young to figure out how to cheat, but got mad if the nose wasn’t in the right spot, so immediately moved the carrot once I took the blindfold off.  One little guy got mad and threw himself onto the floor and cried.  We only played one round with him.   ha!

I needed to figure out another way to bring “snow” indoors.  I had a couple of ideas.  One was adding cotton balls to our sensory table and toy plows and trucks.  They could then pretend to “plow the snow” and put it into the dump trucks.  Easy and they loved it.    I also brought some powdered sugar and let them “sprinkle snow” onto their graham crackers at snack time.  This was a big hit and I will do this again for sure.

Sometimes our afternoons can get long when we don’t get outside, so I cut out “snowballs” from white paper and told them they are going to build their own snowman.  Each snowball had a letter of their name and their job was to put it back in order and “build their snowman” on paper.  They did really well with this and took their time to get it right.  I ended up putting these up on the wall out where the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s can see them and enjoy them.   I love how individual and unique each one was.


Last week, the weather finally cooperated and we got out two days in a row.  We hadn’t been out since before Christmas, so it’s been long, cold January already.  We haven’t had much snow, but the kids made the best of what we had.

When we return to school tomorrow, they will have big smiles knowing they will get to play in a foot of fresh, white snow!!  I can hear the excitement already.  I will have to bring my camera out once again.  🙂

Here’s to all that January white~




Winter Wedding


On Friday night, my niece Nikki got married to her fiancé Brian.   It was a gorgeous wedding at a beautiful venue in Stillwater called JX Event Center.  The building is very old and was originally a shoe factory built in 1905, called Connolly Shoes.  It has recently been renovated with it’s top floor housing the 14,000-square-foot event center and the basement has a speakeasy called The Velveteen.


The building has strong historical significance. More than a century ago, as Stillwater’s fabled lumber industry began to disappear and residents lost their jobs, 24 merchants decided to form the shoe company. They persuaded Thomas F. Connolly, manager of the shoe shop at the state prison, to take charge.  Production began in 1906 and continued through the Great Depression and World War II with some notable big sales. In 1942, for example, Connolly Shoe made 85,000 pairs of brown oxfords for the U.S. Army.  In 1967, the factory closed because of rising labor costs and declining demand for leather shoes, putting 185 employees out of work.  It’s been sitting dark since then.

It certainly isn’t dark anymore and was a perfect place to hold a wedding.  When we arrived, we were immediately taken in by the white chairs set up for the ceremony with the beautiful brick walls as a backdrop.


As we walked around while waiting for everyone to arrive, Terry and I noticed this neat bar behind us.  It was very unique in that the counter top had lights in it and down below as well.  They would change color every so often.  I happened to capture it when it turned Viking purple.   SKOL!


It was time for the ceremony and Mark and Peggy walked Nikki down the aisle with big huge smiles all around.  Brian looked so happy when he first saw his beautiful bride-to-be.  It was a simple service, just perfect for the two of them.

The ceremony was over and we were told to head to the bar so they could clear the chairs away.   We obliged and started to have some beverages, loosened up, and took family pictures before dinner.


A rare photo~

Peggy and Tim flew in from Arizona and Megan and Colin drove over from Winona to attend the wedding.  It was so nice to have them all here.

One of the new “trendy” things at weddings nowadays, is to have a photo booth set up for guests to go into and have some fun.  We took advantage of this and laughed the entire time, especially once we saw our pictures.  I’m pretty sure Nikki & Brian will see all of these at some point and have such good memories of their family and friends who attended their special day.


As always, I started wandering around looking to take some more pictures.  I wanted to get some of the decorated tables and all of the lovely flowers.  Nikki had told us at her shower, that she was doing her own flowers.  Well of course she did…and they looked spectacular and stunning on the tables.   This is the head table, loved how it was lined with greenery all the way across and the candles added so much as well.

Our tables had a pretty centerpiece as well and every napkin had a pheasant feather wrapped in it.  Completely Nikki’s touch.

Before sitting down for dinner, we had to find our names on their display to see which table were sitting at.  Even that looked pretty!

It was time for dinner and they were serving tacos.  How fun!  They had a large taco bar set up that we helped ourselves to.  It was loaded with beef, chicken, pork and all the fixings you’d want.  We built them big and really enjoyed the food.  It was a lot of fun and delicious too.

When we had our fill of tacos, the dessert came next.  Nikki and Brian chose individual Bundt cakes rather than a traditional wedding cake.  They were so cute and displayed wonderfully…and yes, tasted amazing!


After dinner, we had some more rest time before the dancing started.  Some people headed downstairs to explore the new “Speakeasy” that was in the basement and had an after dinner drink.  It’s a neat little place that Nate & I would like to go back to when we have more time.

At then end of the night, it was time for the bride and groom’s first official dance as a married couple.  They looked so darn cute out there and so in love.  Made me smile.

The last thing that really made me smile and tear up…was not the bride, but the bride’s mom and dad.  I have never seen Mark and Peggy so happy.  A night out for them that they will surely never forget.  It was the best~

Congratulations Nikki and Brian!!  Thanks for a fantastic evening.  I love this family!



Closing Out 2017


We had a tough time getting into the Christmas spirit this year due to the flu that seems to attack us every other year…and this was our year.  Megan came home from work and ran to the bathroom and we knew we were doomed again this Christmas.  Two days later, it was Kelly’s turn.  By Christmas Eve, we were able to go to church and we prayed very hard that this was the end of it and our prayers were answered.  Somehow, Nate and I dodged this bullet and made it through Christmas without getting it.  I’m not sure what is worse…getting the flu or that anticipation of knowing you’re next.  I felt icky for the next three days only because I put myself in that state of mind.  Moving on…

We missed out on traveling to Wisconsin to be with the Solberg’s and missed out with my side of the family as well, but we certainly enjoyed our family time together and made the best of the holiday.  After church, we came home and made one of our favorite pizza’s this time of year called “Holly & Snow.”  The ingredients are smoked kielbasa, spinach, feta cheese, mozzarella, and basil with an Alfredo sauce spread on the bottom.   It’s fairly simple, but lots of flavor.  And it’s so pretty!



Jazz was hoping for some of that smoked Kielbasa to fall onto the floor.

We opened gifts after dinner and that’s about when it started to feel like Christmas for us, since we hadn’t done any celebrating up to this point.  We laughed, told stories about how we found or purchased some of our gifts, and even tried on a couple we were excited about.


Megan won for best wrapped gift this year.  She found a poster of the New York skyline at an art festival in Winona.  She knew Kelly would love it, but wasn’t sure how to wrap it up so Kelly couldn’t figure it out.  She came up with a brilliantly disguised package. Megan made sure she put it under the tree, right in the front.   It drove Kelly crazy all of December!  She really loves it and is happy to have that mystery solved.


Since both girls are traveling out of the country in 2018, I got them each a gift that they could easily pack into their suitcase, and would have a daily reminder of me when they are so far away.  Pillowcases!  I want them to know I’m thinking of them even when we are far apart.  I think they will both sleep well at night now…or Kelly will go to sleep giggling.  (hehe)


Nate and I opted for gifts that make us better cooks.  We both love to cook and hang out in our kitchen.  I got him a waffle make and he got me new cookware.  A set of pans and lids.  Much needed, because we are still using pans that are twenty years old.  I’m excited to put them all to use!


One of Nate’s favorite “new” meals is Chicken & Waffles.  I found a recipe and made it for him one time for dinner.   I think he would eat it once a week, if I made it that often.  I always had to buy frozen waffles, but now we are excited to make fresh waffles in this recipe.  That is what inspired me to buy him the waffle iron.   We girls have already benefitted from this gift.  On Christmas morning, he made us waffles, bacon, and scrambled eggs for brunch.  They were fantastic!


We each got a new book in hopes that we do a better job of relaxing and reading more.  Neither of us finished too many books in 2017, so hopefully this will inspire us and get that spark going.  I also got a hummingbird feeder, so I’ll be sitting on the deck this summer, book in hand, and watching the hummingbirds fly around me.  Sounds wonderful to me!


Thanks to technology, we were able to call Nate’s parents and talk to them and we Skyped with my parents, as my sister Peggy set that up for us.  It was such fun to actually see them and have some laughs along with them on Christmas day.  They came to visit one last time in August and for a Christmas gift, I made them a book called, “Minnesota Memories.”  It highlighted their trip and I made sure to include all of the family and each of their siblings who visited as well.    I asked Peggy to take a picture of them holding it, so I could include it in my blog.   On the front cover is a picture of our whole family.  All six of us and Mom & Dad…a rare picture nowadays, as it isn’t always easy to get us all together in one place.  They seemed very excited to have this and Mom thanked me many times.  A very special keepsake that I know they will enjoy for years to come.


It’s almost New Years Eve and we’ll be saying goodbye to 2017 and welcoming our new year and hoping for good health throughout the year.  At school we celebrated a little early and tried to explain that when we return next Tuesday, it’ll be a new month and a new year.  Our Spanish teacher took them into the hallway and they had a New Years parade with streamers, while she played her harmonica.  In Spanish, it was called “Feliz  Año Nuevo”!



Back in the classroom, we made a New Years Eve ball that they could take home and practice counting down to New Years.  Counting down from 10 is not easy for a 3 year old.  We worked hard on this for 4 days.  I think they’ll do well on their own.  We also did lots of practice yelling…”Happy New Year!” while jumping up and down.  I know they’ll remember this part, once they get home and their parents will thank me.

I got out my phone and we “Googled” the new years eve ball.  We watched a short video so they could see it drop in Time Square.  I’m sure most, and hopefully all of these little ones are in bed at midnight, so I was assuming they’ve never seen it.


We also made party hats and I brought a couple from home that they enjoyed wearing around all day.  I just threw them out on the table and throughout the day, I’d see someone laying on the floor, playing with a toy and wearing a party hat.  Cracked me up.


Tonight, Nate and I are celebrating alone, which hasn’t happened in years.  Kelly has had a New Year’s Eve party for the past 6 years, so we assumed she would have people over.  Instead, she has decided to go to another party with her boyfriend rather than entertaining here.  So rather than meatball sliders for dinner, Nate has brought out the steaks, potatoes, salad and a bottle of red for us to dine on.   After we eat that, it’ll be a challenge to stay awake till midnight.   We may need to get the coffee pot going.


The girls both went to their friend’s parties and sent us a few pictures of them having a good time as well.  That’s the benefit of having cell phones.   We love hearing from them, even if they are partying.

While they were dancing and chatting it up, Nate and I found our New Years Eve show.   The New York Philharmonic Orchestra doing a tribute to Leonard Bernstein.  It was very entertaining and it was two hours long.  Perfect for us to recline on the couch, get the fireplace going, and enjoy some great music before we have to turn the channel and listen to rappers doing New Years Eve in Time Square.  (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

We enjoyed the night and brought in the New Year with style and the Orchestra.

Happy 2018 and may this year be good to you and your family~




Christmas Performances


At Ebenezer Ridges where I work, they celebrate many holiday traditions with the Grandparents and our kids are invited too, so that they can understand the meaning of Christmas all around the world.  The first celebration was St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th.   In the United States, one custom associated with Saint Nicholas Day is children leaving their shoes in the foyer on Saint Nicholas Eve in hope that Saint Nicholas will place some coins in their shoes, for them to awake to.   At nap time, we had the kids take off their shoes and put them in the hallway and while they slept, the grandparents filled their shoes with gold chocolate coins, an orange, and a candy cane.  They were so excited when they woke up and we peeked outside the door of our classroom to find these little treasures waiting for each one.   I must have been too excited as well, and forgot to take any pictures, so these are some traditional shoes that were used long ago.


Our next celebration was Santa Lucia Day.  This Scandinavian holiday also called the Feast of Saint Lucia, is a Christian feast day celebrated on 13 December, commemorating Saint Lucia, a 3rd-century martyr who according to legend brought “food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs” using a candle-lit wreath to “light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible”.    She is represented as a lady in a white dress (a symbol of a Christian’s white baptismal robe) and red sash (symbolizing the blood of her martyrdom) with a crown or wreath of candles on her head.    In our ceremony, we have three generations of Santa Lucia who sit on the altar during our service.  There was also a children’s choir from St. John’s Catholic Church who sang throughout the service.


Next up on our list of programs…was a Christmas sing-along with the Grandparents.  We gathered in the chapel and each class chose one song to stand up and sing and then we all sang carols together with the help of our activities director who has a wonderful voice and a guitar, which is very helpful.  It really got everyone on the holiday mood!



Our last big celebration was the Christmas Nativity Pageant.  This was really fun to see and be a part of.  Our kids sang three songs before the pageant then we got to sit up front and watch as the story of Christmas took place before us.

Mary, Joseph and the angel led the procession…


Then we had a few Shepherds and their sheep, some guards, and a pony that would sit in the stable.


Next came all the beautiful angels…there were many, but here are just a few.


Following the angels…was the Star of Bethlehem…and oh, was she a star!  Played her part very well.  Twirled down the isle, arms were out, and stood nice and tall on her step ladder so that she would be above everyone else around the manger.  It was so darn cute and everyone giggled a bit as she entered the manger.

Next came the three wiseman.  Two of the three used to be in my class and have moved up to the Older Pre room now, so I had special preferences for these guys.  They did a great job and looked so cute!

They all managed to gather near the altar and be apart of the manger scene.  It was very pretty to see this in a “live” performance.


For the grand finale, Mary walks in with the baby Jesus, played by Stella, who was born exactly 4 weeks ago to one of my families.  I have her bother Louie in my class and he was very excited that his sister gets to lay in the manger and play the part of Jesus.

We concluded the ceremony by singing Silent Night.  What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and having everyone involved.  Very well done.



Merry Christmas Everyone~



Tis The Crafty Season


Me and my boys~

I thought I’d start my Christmas blog a day or two before the holiday because we’ve been so busy at work/preschool this month and I haven’t had a moment to tell you all about the fun we’ve had.   Since we’re a Christian based center, we have been celebrating nearly every week in December and it has been wonderful.  We started practicing Christmas carols the day after Thanksgiving and haven’t stopped singing yet.  I even play Christmas CD’s in our room while we eat lunch, during free-play in the afternoon and especially when we’re making a Christmas craft.  It’s such a mood changer.

Speaking of crafts…we needed to get our room decorated for the season, so that meant getting on Pinterest and finding all those fun ideas.  My co-worker Rebecca did a wonderful baby Jesus in the manger to start off.  She talked about Bethlehem and how there was no room at the Inn, so they laid Jesus in the manger.  The kids loved reviewing this story over and over all month long, but when Rebecca first showed this craft to them back at the beginning of December, she asked…”Who knows what this is?”  One girl replied…”it’s a hot dog with mustard on it.”  We bursted out laughing and knew we had our work cut out for us to teach these 3 year olds about baby Jesus.  I am happy to report that by mid-December they all knew.


Some of our other fun projects were stockings that hung on our “hearth”.  I cut up wrapping paper with pinking shears to make a fun edge on them, then the kids glued these pieces onto their stockings.  They turned out bright, shiny, and super cute.  They enjoyed showing their parents at pick-up time where their stocking was hung.

Next we made christmas trees with jeweled ornaments.  A great fine-motor skill that this group of kids could do for hours.  They work so quietly and so hard on picking out just the right jewel they want each and every time.  I love it!

Of course, we needed a gift for their parents.  We chose to make an ornament with their handprint on it.  It’s always a special gift to give and the parents will love to put on their tree every year to remind them of how tiny their little hands were at one point.  I know I love looking at my girls’ handmade ornaments each Christmas.  We are hoping the parents will enjoy these as well.  We made a special “gift bag” to put these precious ornaments in as well.  Gingerbread houses all decorated up with their favorite colors.  It turned out beautiful and looked delicious!  ha~


So the room is decorated and looking festive.  One last thing that needed help, was our door.  Each classroom did something different and all were fantastic.  My favorite tho, had to be the Older Pre room with their “Grinch” theme.  Very cute.  We chose and ornament theme and Santa on the back of the door.  The kids loved all of our glittery ornaments and was tempting each and every day to touch that glitter.  Rebecca & I would notice little piles on the floor below.

We found many ways to use leftover wrapping paper.  I put medium size pieces into our sensory table and added scissors.  I told them to cut away!   This was such a simple activity that got them to practice their cutting skills, which for some, is not so easy.  They had such fun the entire month and were so proud of themselves by the end.  If you look close, you’ll see that when cutting, it’s important to have your tongue sticking out!  hehe  We made some great progress while keeping them busy.  A win-win for all.

My last craft to share was one of my favorites.  We made christmas lights to hang on the windows out by the Grandma & Grandpa’s windows in the main hallway.   I drew a simple outline of a christmas bulb on contact paper and the kids put cut-out squares of tissue paper on the sticky side of the paper.  They absolutely loved this no-mess tactile project, as did I.   I explained how they should put the tissue paper inside of my lines, but some wanted to “decorate” the entire thing.  This was okay, because after it was all filled in , I would cut out the bulb only and we’d still have our shape.  We taped them onto the windows and prayed for the sun to shine the next day to “light them up!”   It worked out beautifully and they look festive as you come into our building.

Here’s are end result…

It’s been a busy December in our classroom and so much fun.  We definitely have the holiday spirit for all who walk into our room.

Next month, we’ll start on snowflakes…happy crafting!


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.