Monday, June 29, 2009


What do these flowers have in common? They're all perennials and I planted them at our house! (although these photos were taken at the market)


English Daisy

Coral Bells



Sunday, June 28, 2009


The kids were invited to a birthday party yesterday for Simone....she invited Luke to her party last year, the first party (outside of family) he'd been invited to. Needless to say, they were pretty excited! However, the weather didn't cooperate, so things were postponed a day. We went to Osage to Straight Lake (which isn't very straight and which feeds the Straight River that is a property marker for us...and also isn't very straight) this afternoon. The kids had a blast! Luke made sure he drank lots of milk before we went so Simone could see how stroooonnngg! he was, haha! Mark Mag surprised us (we surprised him?) by showing up, too....although it wasn't for the birthday party!
Yeah, the kids fell asleep pretty fast tonight....

Happy birthday, Simone!

Friday, June 26, 2009

What's Going On Around Here

Today is the arrival of the first of many Carter's around these parts....or at least the Carter's that aren't USUALLY around these parts! Dwight is supposed to be arriving from Guatemala with his business partner Juan and Juan's son, Jose Guillermo (I love hearing Luke pronounce his name!). Paul and Lori are arriving soon, too. I believe it is Tuesday when Carla and her girls will be at the farm....and David & Rita and their girls arrive sometime on Thursday. Paul and Lori's kids will all be here on either the 2nd or the for about 48 hours, we'll have all the Carter family except for Clinton (Mark & Beth's oldest) and Al (Carla's husband). It'll be a fun and busy time, especially since we're having a shower for Erin, Andrew's soon-to-be bride, on the 3rd!

If that isn't enough, my parents will be arriving on July 6 (although a good portion of the Carter's will be gone by then...some just temporarily). We'll be in the parade on July 4 (look for some more surprises this year, for all you locals!).

Our u-pick berries will be ready some time about July 4...just not exactly sure when we'll start yet....but we've been having lots of berries for the market, and they are YUMMY! We've also got LOTS of fresh spinach....and the timer just went off for the canner -- I canned 10 pints tonight and will probably do the same again tomorrow night when I get home from working all day at the market.

The market is going great. We are having a wonderful year, praise God! This is almost the best year since I've been here, this my seventh summer. I really enjoy working at the market, talking to the "regulars," meeting new people, seeing all the pins popping up on our Minnesota and USA maps as people pin where they're from.

Poor Tony has been so busy...between planting, weeding, and picking the crops, he's had to deal with cows getting out of the pasture, the farm dog almost dying (we think it may have been an infected tick bite, but we're not sure....a few shots of antibiotics got him almost back to normal, much to some people's, Mama, I'm not talking about you, why would you think I am?), cutting hay, and baling it in between the frequent rains we've been getting, AND repairing a blown out burner on my flat top stove so I can do canning as produce becomes abundant.

The kids are enjoying their summer. They come with me to the market on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and play with Katie, a teen from church who watches over them. She is GREAT with them and they love it! On Saturdays, Bridget is the baby sitter of choice, keeping a bit of variety in their lives. The love both Bridget days and Katie days. Tomorrow (Saturday), they'll be going to a friend's birthday party and are looking forward to it. I told them they should both pick out something to give Simone, one of their favorite things. Luke picked out one of his swords. Susanna, after being told she couldn't give Simone a plain piece of paper, reluctantly picked out one of her horses...with two broken legs. "This is my favowite, Mama. I will give THIS to Simone!" "Susanna, you are not giving a horse with broken legs to Simone!" "Okay, Mama, then I'll just put it in the garbage." "What? I thought it was your favorite!" "But Mama, the legs are bwoken, so I don't like it any more." Sigh.

Tonight was cute, too, as she said her bedtime prayers: "Dea God, thank you for my wondewful Daddy who is weally stwong and takes good cawe of me. And for my Mama who cooks good and takes cawe of me when my Daddy isn't hewe, and for my big bwotha Luke who is weally weally mean to me sometimes but still takes good cawe of me even when he's mean."

At least she's honest....even if she is mean to him more than he is mean to her!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

He Knows What's Important!

Today we celebrated Father's Day with a weiner roast and picnic at home after was yummy and fun! Tony seemed to enjoy it -- and especially playing ball with Luke afterwards.

Tonight, as we were having our Sunday snacks, Luke looked and me and said, "Mama, you married a good man!" I grinned and told him, "yep, I did! Why do you think so?" "Because he fixes stuff." Okay!

Then he turned to Tony and said, "Daddy, you married a good wife!" Tony quickly replied, "I know!" "Why am I a good wife, Luke?" I asked him. "Cuz you cook stuff!" After a couple questions, he then informed us that if he falls in love with someone and she can't cook, "of course I can't marry her!"

The way to a man's (boy's) heart......

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Autism Speaks

Recently, my friend Annette (check out her blog at posted information on a radio commercial in Ohio on autism. This is a subject Annette is very familiar with as one of her children has autism. There are so many times I read her blog and get tears in my eyes, saying a prayer for her and her family. I have a few other friends here in Minnesota who have children with autism...from a very high functioning where you may not even realize it to some with severely autistic children. I'm not even able to fathom what these families go thru...but they continue to get my prayer support.

Following is the post Annette put on her blog (used with her permission). For my thousands of readers in Ohio (okay, the six or so of you), if you've not done so yet, please call. I don't know if other states have anything like this, but I'm thrilled to see and read about how different parts of autism (diagnosis, treatment, support, etc.) are finally being recognized and addressed. Please, keep these special people and their families and caretakers in your prayers.

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37)

Recently, I have been hearing a radio ad sponsored by Autism Speaks asking for Insurance Reform in the State of Ohio. In the state of Ohio, autism is not covered by insurance. This means when we go to the doctor, if it is in regards to her autism, we pay the cost. Recently it hasn’t been too much out of our pocket, but I think back to when Natalie was ages 4, 5, and 6. We gave her 2,000 hours of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Paying tutors and therapists for this intervention wasn’t covered by insurance. (Paying a therapist at $25.00 an hour for 2,000 hours is $50,000.00.)

Let’s look at the benefits of ABA. Because we had early intervention for Natalie, she now speaks and is able to express herself. At age four, she was not able to say a single word nor could she understand any of our words. Thanks to the therapists and a lot of hard work, Natalie is now high functioning on the autism spectrum. I am sure that if you interview enough families, you will come up lower functioning individuals whose families couldn’t afford to pay for intervention. It is a shame that there isn’t help out there for families like this. The ad calls this “discrimination against children with autism.”If you live in Ohio, you can help get autism covered by insurance by reading the following and making a phone call. It can make a big difference for a lot of families stricken with a child with autism.The following is a script of the radio ad:

~~I just don’t understand how they get away with it. Why does the law let health insurance companies discriminate against children with autism? Families are going broke paying for medical services their children desperately need. Cancer is covered. Diabetes is covered. But not autism – even though autism has become more common than most childhood ailments combined. Speaker of the House Armond Budish has led the effort to end the terrible discrimination against people with autism. The Speaker hopes to leave a legacy of care for all of those who suffer with autism.

Please call Speaker Budish today and express your support as he defends his autism insurance reform provision in the budget negotiations with the Senate. Call Speaker Budish at (800) 282-0253… that’s (800) 282-0253. This message was paid for by Autism Speaks. It’s time for the Ohio Legislature to listen.~ Autism Speaks: taken from Autism Votes at:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bad Jokes, Good Friends, and Wild Scissors

Today was a day I'd been looking forward to for awhile. My good friend Tammy was coming up for a visit along with her aunt and mother. I met Tammy through her cousin Dan while I still lived in California, and we related on so many different things. We'd not seen each other for probably close to ten years, although we've kept in sporadic contact, always picking up where things were left off.

Tammy is an author and wrote a series of books called The Shadowcreek Chronicles -- a fantastic series of historically acurate events during the Civil War. She worked for the San Diego Chargers when she authored them...and those guys enjoyed her novels. So did I, and Tony's young nieces, and anyone who has read's hard to find them in book stores, but do a google search and see if you can locate them won't be sorry!

Tammy currently works for the Washington Redskins, and she kindly sent some football things shortly after Luke's first Christmas when he'd look at her Christmas card and say "poop ball!"

Anyway, the first words out of Luke's mouth this morning were "Today Mama's friends are coming to visit, Susanna! Aren't you so excited???" His next words were "I'll tell you a joke. Why did the goat go into the house? To read some books! Isn't that funny, Susanna? Goats can't read, so it's a joke!" "Yes, Luke, it is vewy funny!" "Okay, here's another one. Why did the goat go into the house? To eat some palichinta! Isn't that so funny?" "Yes, Luke, it's vewy funny." "okay, here's another joke! Why did the goat cross the road? To go into the house!"

Susanna's favorite joke that she loves to tell just about anyone is "Why did the bee get married? So he could have his honey!"

Anyway, after a whirlwind of finishing touches on the house (vacuuming the floor, cleaning the bathroom, coming out to find the kids had cut two pieces of paper into about a million tiny pieces all over my freshly vacuumed carpet....which stayed because I didn't have time to deal with it), a business call, a quick shower, getting things ready for our lunch, the kids constantly looking out the door to see if Miss Tammy was here yet (from 8:30 to 11:30!), they finally arrived! We chatted for a bit then sat down to a Carter's feast:

Our fresh spinach with our sliced strawberries and some (non-Carter) raspberries tosse with finely sliced green onions and medium-sized shrimp (yum!)

Our cucumbers and tomatoes tossed with some of my freshly cut herbs and balsamic vinegar and Watkins grapeseed oil

Pesto with grilled chicken

Fresh asparagus

Home made rosemary herbed bread

Our rhubarb crunch for dessert.

We then were off for a quick tour of the farm (as Tony walked towards us to meet the ladies, Luke informed Tammy, "That's my Mama's husband.") then a trip to our market and a walking tour of down-town Park Rapids. As we were approaching town, I heard my boy in a shy, slightly stuttering voice tell Miss Tammy, "I-I-I-I-I....I Love You!" And he shadowed her for the rest of their time together, fighting with Susanna if she dared get between him and his beloved Miss Tammy (until I reminded them Miss Tammy has TWO sides).

Shortly after Tammy and her mom and aunt left, the kids decided they had to make her a card. My mistake was in leaving to check emails quickly. I came down to more of a mess...and something I didn't realize quite yet.

After supper, Tony went to sit on the couch and picked up a hand-crocheted pillow from my aunt. "Is this supposed to be like this?" "What's wrong?" "It's CUT!" I turned to see a pair of guilty eyes looking at me along with the explanation "I didn't think you would notice that I cut it." What? NOT NOTICE?? How could that go unnoticed....for long? My wonderful husband quickly sewed it up (he's so handy with a needle and thread!), and scissors were completely taken away from Susanna until after Papa and Grandma go back to Ohio...and they aren't even here yet!

You might think that's the end of the story, but isn't. Tony took the kids down to the farm while I made a couple of quick Watkins business calls, and when they came home he told Luke, "Go show Mama." Show me what? Luke hemmed and hawed until he finally showed me the knee in his pants...a jagged opening. "What happened?" Just a smile. "WHAT happened???" "Um...." and more smiles. "LUKE MICHEAL CARTER, WHAT HAPPENED?" I'm not sure how many times it took, but he finally told me he cut his pants. "WHY???? Why would you CUT your pants???" "Well, Mama, I didn't think you would notice!"

At least they were an old pair....

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Crown with Jewels

Tonight, Luke & Susanna were fighting over the same night shirt to wear to bed (actually my nightgown); after some words on my part about Luke wearing it last night and taking turns, he generously decided to let Susanna wear it tonight...well, I think he did. I sent them downstairs when they were still arguing over who got to wear it...and she was wearing it a bed time (while he was wearing a pink sparkly t-shirt of mine instead....but we won't go into that any further).

I mentioned to Luke during story time that the Bible tells us we will get a big crown in heaven, and every time we do something kind for someone else, God will reward us with a sparkly jewel in our crown. He thought about that for a few moments, and after bed time prayers, asked Tony and me if we needed help getting up. Are we that old???? Is the scout from the movie yesterday who needed to help an elderly person to be awarded his last badge setting an example for him???? Or, "Hey, Luke! Are you trying to get a jewel in your crown?" Big grin. He tried. Tried some more. Tugged even harder. Finally got Tony to his feet. Tony then fell to the floor, trapped Luke between his legs, and set Luke hollering to Susi, "Come help me! You need some gems in your crown!" She just looked at him and went to bed. Oh well.

And lately at bedtime, she just gives Tony and me dozens and dozens of kisses until she "runs out of kisses in my heart." Then, her heart fills up while she's sleeping and she's full of kisses again in the morning.

Ah! Gotta love 'em!


Yesterday was my birthday, and since I spent it working all day at the market then cooking supper for the family when I got home, we celebrated today after church. (although Beth did show up at the market singing and honking the horn, complete with a cute birthday card, great gift, and a red velvet cake, thanks, Beth!)

We went to the German restaurant in town for was packed! And delicious! Afterwards, we walked across the street to the local theater and watched a matinee of UP. It was the first time our kids went to the movies, and I think they liked it, even if parts of the movie didn't thrill them.

The movie itself was a great one with an awesome story. A couple "scary" scenes with barking dogs and a mean man had the kids burying their heads into our shoulders, but they couldn't stop from watching, and both recapped different parts of the movie for me at bedtime.

If you get a chance, go see it. While it is animated (Pixar), it is really more at an adult level...only in story lines with things that are usually way over the kids' heads (or at least more at a middle school and up level).

And for now...I gotta get some sleep!

Friday, June 12, 2009

So What Is He Now???

At supper tonight, Luke asked Tony:

Daddy, did you wear that ring before you were married and when you were still human?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three photos...same pose...

....can't decide which is my favorite. What do you think?

Just can't decide which is my favorite....(pic, not kid)

My Cute Kids

It was great...we got to the photo studio, and they sat the kids down then told them to sit with their backs to each other. Luke & Susanna immediately looked at each other, grinned, and threw their arms around each other's shoulders. We never could get them to sit back to back....

Handsome Boy

Which One Is Cuter?

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Morning Mumblings

I'm beginning to see a pattern here. Luke does not like Mondays. Today his first words were "Monday. Monday. Monday." And let me was more like his first mumblings. This is a kid who usually wakes up and asks me what day it is. But for some reason, he always knows when it's Monday.

Today was also a wet and dreary day. We've needed the rain and it was very welcome...except by the kids. Grumbling on the way out the door today, Luke asked why it had to rain. "Because water is like food to the plants," I replied. "No, it isn't!" he corrected. "Furniture is!" Huh??? Then I realized...fertilizer!

We ended up, the kids and I, going to Bemidji today to get their pictures taken at Walmart. It's been almost a year and a half since we had formal photos done, and I've been trying to get them taken at least every six months as they're so rapidly growing up. We had a blast, and the kids loved posing, especially Susanna, scrunching up her little nose, making the photographers laugh, just having a good time.

I've been waiting about an hour now, trying to download the photo files from the disk they gave me (with copyright permission given) and THEY WON'T DOWNLOAD! Guess you'll have to wait for another time to see my cuties....I'm going to sleep!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Different Kind of Sunday

Today was a different kind of Sunday. We usually get up, head to church for first service and Sunday School, then back home for an early dinner, naps all around, and a lazy evening playing a game and having snacks. The past few weeks, though, have been pretty exhausting for all of us -- Tony has been up more than half the time by 3:00 a.m. or earlier, watering and covering crops, trying to minimize damage from the cold weather that just won't go away (where's global warming when you need it???). We had frost, FROST!, two nights ago and broke a record low. 32 in June. In Minnesota (yeah, Karen, you might dip that low...but it's winter there, not the verge of summer!). The past couple nights I've home home from working at the market and took a nap before getting up to wrap things up for the night and head for bed. And we're not even into the really busy part of summer! Hmmm....maybe we're just getting old.....

Anyway, when our alarm went off today, my poor hubby mumbled something about just being completely exhausted and suggested staying home and having a slow-paced family day. After he assured me that he wasn't going to spend the day at the farm (other than an hour or so on necessary chores), we agreed we'd have a Bible story at home for the kids and just take it easy. The weather was like it has been...cold and overcast. We burrowed under the covers and continued sleeping for a couple more hours. At one point, I checked on the kids who had headed downstairs around 8:00. They were sitting on the couch, arms around each other, heads on each other's shoulders, watching a Sesame Street DVD. I headed back to bed.

When we finally got up around 9:30, I popped in a pan of cinnamon rolls that I'd saved out for us, cut up some fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, and peaches) while Tony pitted some cherries, thawed and micro-ed some Becker bacon (yum!), toasted up some multi-grain English muffins, and cooked up some eggs over easy. The kids helped make some hot chocolate. We then crashed a bit longer, before Tony read the story of King Solomon asking God for wisdom.

Today after church, we were having an all-church picnic at Itasca Park -- we didn't go, much to the kids' disappointment. We'll go on a warmer day. However, we did decide to go to family bowl tonight....and the kids had a blast! We did, too, laughing at Susanna spinning on the lanes on her tush (break-dancer in the making?), amazed when Luke won the first game of bowling, beating ALL of us, WITHOUT having bumpers up! Tony came in a very close second (okay, ten points behind), while Susanna and I were a bit more behind that. I did save face during the second game, with a huge lead over everyone else...Tony saved face by beating Luke that game, and Susanna was again last but very happy to have gotten a few strikes and spares.

I took my camera, prepared to get some fun pictures to post. My battery was dead. Sigh.

Oh well. We did catch up on some much needed rest, although it would be great to have another repeat of today tomorrow!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Banjo pickin', Guitar strummin', Ukulele playin' men

He watched 'em. He studied 'em real close.

Then he joined in. Yeah, he's a Carter man.

(These were taken after Susanna's birthday party)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Morning Mumblings

This has been a busy summer for the kids, and, well, it isn't even summer yet. They're past the stage of taking regular naps (although Sunday afternoons are mandatory rest times for EVERYONE in this house!), so by the time supper rolls around (which is usually around 6:30 and even sometimes 7:00 by the time we get home from the market and fix or reheat something), their eyes usually are barely staying open. It doesn't help that they usually pop out of bed before 7:00, often somewhere around 6:30. WHY?????

Well, this morning it was well after 7:00 when I heard anything coming from their room. When I did, this is what I heard. "Must.....wake.....up....... Must.....wake......up........ Must......wake......up........ Must.......wake............up......." And a sleepy reply, "Oh, Luke, just go back to sleep." "Can't. It's morning time and you need to wake up in the morning time." "Oh. Okay." "Hey, let's have devotions." "Okay. Here's a Laura book." (Little House) "No, Susanna, we cannot read a Laura book for devotions because they don't talk about God and devotions are about God." "Okay."

Right now, Susanna is singing yet another made up song. "Oh yes, we sin. Oh yes, we sin. We must obey. Those that don't should go away. Indeed you want to, indeed you want to." Honestly, I'm not making this up! I'm typing as she sings....cracks me up! But....I LOVE that their hearts first turn to our Creator in the morning. That they want to praise Him and spend time with Him when they first wake up.

And talking about praises -- God has been so good to us, and it is so very humbling. We had several nights of patchy frost last week (which means my dear hubby was up often from 3:00 on covering and watering plants). Thankfully, there was very little damage....a few strawberry blossoms from our oldest field, a couple leaves here and there. And yesterday was a very horrible, very brief (maybe 10 minutes) storm with strong winds and hail and severe lightning. We had a pine tree knocked over by the house....thankfully away from the house. And, in yet another praise, no hail at our farm...even though there was hail throughout the storm. Farming is something where the entire year's crops can be destroyed or severely damaged in minutes from a storm -- hail, heavy winds, and more. I am sooo thankful God's hand of protection has been over us and pray that He will continue to protect and bless us.

And Susanna's song of praise has now turned to ice cream. My cue to go get breakfast for us all (no, not ice cream!).