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Over and out


Today's the day. 

We're off to deer camp in the Starkey wilderness and I'm saying goodbye to television, the internet, cell phone reception, and any hope of my family keeping high standards of proper hygiene with only the water we bring in with us for use.

But I'm saying hello to this...
Lots and LOTS of this! (Reading Jane Eyre for the first time in 2009.)
And this...
Camp nestled in the beautiful Oregon wilderness.
As well as yummy baked goods,
hikes with the family,
watching the cousins play together and entertain themselves for hours and hours outdoors,
and listening to campfire stories!

These are my fave pics from our last trip two years ago:
cousins Mark, Lizzy, and Debbie Grandle with Kendall and Cooper - excited about SNOW!
Hunting with Aunt Cara (or more like "attempting" to hunt with Aunt Cara, because with 5 children in tow it's never likely to be either quiet or successful)
 I loved our last trip and am so looking forward to a relaxing and laid-back week away from the hustle bustle of life. (Thanks in large part to the big ol' generator that keeps the trailer nice and toasty and without which I would not even consider going to camp because, did you see the snow??)

So adios, friends! Be back in a week! 

Don't forget the entertainment!


We leave tomorrow for a week long family vacation/hunting trip into the Eastern Oregon wilderness, and for the past 24 hours we've already been in full-on pack mode. 

(When you are traveling hours away from civilization, running water, and electricity, it is important to not forget things like food & water, warm clothing, and the all-important bug spray. It pays to be thorough.)

Last night I worked on one particular area of importance: my reading selection. When we made this trip two years ago I read 6 books in a week, and I plan to at least reach that number again this year, if not exceed it... so I need good material to work with. 

It's not a matter to be taken lightly. 

After much thought, back cover reading, browsing, some word-of-mouth recommendations, and a couple of very spontaneous kindle purchases that we're going to keep on the down-low (*ahem*), I've narrowed it down to 10 titles. 

(You never know what reading mood you're going to be in for so it's best to have variety.)

7 paper books (collected mostly from yard sales this past summer) and 3 new additions to my kindle.
Can you believe that Russell rolled his eyes when he saw this stack? Doesn't he know that good books are a serious matter? Actually he does now because I told him so. 

I think I've pretty much covered my bases. Spiritual teaching, Christian romance, suspense, drama, biography, NY Times bestsellers, criminal comedy, a period piece, it's all here. And I've got my bug spray, so I'm good to go!

Looking forward to diving in soon... wish me luck :) 

What I Wore Wednesday


This post is brought to you by sheer will and determination. 

Backing up your old computer and switching everything to your new computer and then reorganizing every.single.picture folder. into a new photo program is not for the faint of heart. 

Or the computer amateur. (Like myself.)

Trust me, you don't want to be like me. Or you'll end up deleting your nicely cropped and edited outfit pictures, never to be found again, and have to start all over using the outtakes found in your recycle bin, after wasting MUCH time looking for the lost pics, to no avail. 

As in hours.

I am quite the stubborn one however, and while these may not be the best shots, they are here and not in the abyss of lost photos, so haHA! Computer!

Last Wednesday
Old Navy tunic, Shade tee, thrifted Old Navy jeans and necklace, Target sandals
thrifted top and sandals, Calvin Klein capri's, Premier Designs bracelet
BCBG tunic, Walmart tank and leggings, Payless sandals, gifted jewelry
thrifted tunic, jeans, & belt, Target sandals, gifted jewelry (from Hawaii!)
Thrifted blouse & capri's, Famous Footwear wedges, Hawaiian jewelry
(told you last week I'd repeat this one soon!)
Shade tunic & tee, Old Navy jeans, Walmart flats and bracelet
Linking to 
pleated poppy

from our middle child...


A subtle reminder found on the ottoman yesterday evening that someone was ready for movie night in the Halverson home as soon as the grownups were ready.

Someone who was Quite. Excited. 

We took the hint. It was a good night :)

Brought to you by Windows 7!


We had a GREAT weekend. 

Friday afternoon I visited my parents to welcome them home from Hawaii, and scored in the "gifts from afar" department. A little birdie had mentioned to my mother that I was wanting burnt orange jewelry, and Mum not only found some awesome earrings and a bracelet, but a very cool necklace too. I have the best Mum!

(Watch for this Wednesday's "What I Wore" post to check 'em out because I've already worn them. Twice.)

(Also, the little birdie may have been me. Just hinting of course.)

Friday night I attended our Women's Fall bible study kickoff night and heard a great word from the guest speaker, enjoyed awesome praise and worship, ate a delicious cheesecake dessert, and only slightly embarrassed myself when I realized while worshiping with raised arms that I'd forgotten to put on deodorant that morning.

(Solution: lower arms to half-mast, carry on.)

My adorable friend Nicole drawing names for door prizes. I had to take a picture of her because she was looking extra cute and I'm jealous of her awesome bangs!
Saturday was a nice sleep-in, laze through breakfast, and then "let's get to work, people!" kind of day. I had the kids doing all sorts of chores while I cleaned my windows, did laundry, touch-up painted my living and dining room, and consequently evicted Blake to the outdoors where his father was working for not only touching the wet wall with his hand, but also his FOOT, which of course then walked all over my wood floor leaving little paint footprints. 

(You may think I never watch that child. But seriously, he was FIVE feet from me! He is a rascal.)

Around 4 pm we stopped working so we could get ready for our nephew's 13th birthday party that night, and about the same time my brother Jamin showed up. I don't talk a whole lot about my little bro on this blog, but it's not because he's not a major part of our lives. We just don't see him quite as much as the rest of the fam because he lives the busy social life of a bachelor. (But we're constantly trying to remedy that last part  ;)

Jamin stopped by to visit, have a very late lunch, catch us up on his latest going-ons, and then nonchalantly send Kendall out to his car to bring in a box from the backseat. A box containing a surprise belated birthday gift for Russ and I.

In the form of a BRAND NEW COMPUTER.

Jamin's sly grin at my shocked-to-pieces reaction. 
(Yes I have the best brother in the whole. wide. world.)  

We've been needing a new computer for a long time. So long in fact, that Jamin, a very tech savvy guy, started shopping for us months ago and would text us anytime there was a good deal going on. I would then try to convince Russell to get it, Russ would say our 7+ year old computer was just fine, and then I would wail and lament that nothing but a giant computer crash stealing all my pictures would be able to convince him. (Which didn't happen luckily, but it could have! It could have, babe!)

Basically, Jamin felt sorry for us. 

Well not anymore because, Oh ho ho, I now have Windows 7! And a dvd drive that works! And a computer that can keep up with video clips without freezing the picture so I can only hear the sound. Or freezing altogether and not working again until I shut the whole thing down and start over. It's quite magnificent. 

We love you, Jamin. Mountain man beard and all ;) You are the most generous, giving, faithful, and kind guy, and we are BLESSED to have you in our family. 

(Not too mention handsome to boot. And oh look! There's my new Hawaiian necklace! Thanks again, Mum!)

After playing with my new toy until Russ was sitting in the car with the kids honking the horn (it was hard to tear myself away but I did it), we set off for the b-day party, a special family and friends gathering for our nephew Sam's 13th. During the party there was a time of sharing wisdom and special encouraging words for him, kind of like a Christian Bar Mitzvah, and then all the men prayed over him before doing the dessert and presents. It was a really special and fun time.

telling our favorite "Sam" stories

the birthday boy
To wrap up the fun weekend, we went out to Claim Jumpers yesterday afternoon to celebrate Mum's birthday that we missed because she was in Hawaii. And you won't believe it but I didn't even order dessert! I was trying to avoid sugar but it ended up being kind of pointless after stopping at our friends open house on the way home and eating a piece and a half of caramel cake. Oh well, at least that was free.

This wasn't, but it was worth every penny! Yuuum. 

Happy birthday oh wonderful purchasers of the perfect color orange accessories!
And to top it all off, The Amazing Race premiered last night! I can tell It's going to be another excellent season.

So like I said, it was a GREAT weekend. Hope yours was as well.

Fall TV (and a birthday wish)


The Office (one of my favorite shows) returned to TV last night and right off the bat I cracked up because it showed the Dunder Mifflin employees spending the summer planking... something we spent part of our summer doing too. 

Even Blake got in on the action
I never posted these pictures here, but boy were they (ours and many others) all over Facebook! The small fad phase has come and gone already and it made me laugh to see it mentioned in the show.

Other shows I love: Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Big Bang Theory, and American Idol. And possibly the X Factor, which I haven't actually watched yet but will because I'm a Simon fan and am prepared to love it from the get-go.

Shows you will not find me watching: Dramas. Family dramas, medical dramas, crime dramas, sci-fi dramas... I've tried them all and I don't know why but I always get bored of them. And if they involve crimes that I even slightly fear in real life it's a no-go right from the start. 

Among the many things my best friend Jana and I share, is similar TV interests, so we spent a good hour or so last week pouring over the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV guide to "scout" out possible new shows. We tried out two that evening, gave them both thumbs down reviews, and since then I've checked out several more, and am relieved to say that only one made the cut to be on trial viewership. Frankly, I just don't have the time to add any more!

(As it is I already have to watch Wednesday's Survivor episode online because I missed it. What did we do even do before the internet??)

(Oh that's right... VCR's. Well I don't miss 'em.)

And now that I've dragged out discussing my TV watching preferences, something I'm sure you're all very interested in, lets change subjects. I wanted to say happy belated birthday to my amazing mother. She is one of my bestest friends and is quite possibly the fittest Grandma I know.

Carol "legs" Wilson

So fit, that next year she is leaving for 3 months to hike the upper half of the Pacific Crest Trail - one of the three longest hiking trails in North America. (It goes from Mexico to Canada and takes about 6 months to hike from start to finish. Our family decided we couldn't let her go for that long though so Mum has vowed to do it in sections until she's completed it.)

Mum's birthday was yesterday but I didn't get to see her because my parents were out of town. 



I don't think we could have topped that so it's possibly a good thing we couldn't see her. I get to see her today though and am excited to see what small present from the Islands she may have bought me I mean, I'm excited to give her our small present NOT from the Islands!

Welcome home Mum! I'm glad you had such a wonderful birthday, you deserved it! 

The car that smelled


After Two trips to the mechanic and one trip to the auto detailer, the dead mouse in my new car has been located and disposed of! Woohoo! I know you didn't know anything about this (because I haven't mentioned it before), but you guys, the new vehicle stuh-unk. We knew it had been sitting for a while before we purchased it and that the vents needed to be cleaned out, and we were willing to take that on. However, we didn't know it would be this tricky and take this long. 

Our mechanic was actually taking care of quite a few little things we wanted worked on, most of them engine related, and he was quite dismayed to find out after calling to update me on the car's progress that I could care less about any of that, all I cared about was THE SMELL, MAN! 

He and my husband actually didn't think it was that bad... but my bionic smelling nose that I gained during pregnancy and that has never fully gone away could tell that something was still there and I wouldn't let it go. Not after visit one to the mechanics, where it was certainly improved, not after getting even better after being detailed, and not before going back to the mechanic to take apart the console between the front seats that housed the vent to the 2nd row to investigate further.

WELL. I'm glad I didn't let it go, since we now have a dead rodent body to prove it. Aha!

I can finally fully enjoy my new Pilot, without having at least one window partially rolled down at all times.

It's the small things in life, isn't it?

On a 100% completely unrelated note - I would like to show you this picture. 

I don't really know what is going on here, except for the fact that at the young age of three years old, Blake seems to know that you must wave like the queen when dressed up in white gloves. 


(My children make me laugh.)

Happy Thursday friends, have an odor free day! 

What I Wore Wednesday


Well, I guess fall is officially here because, you guys, I broke out the riding boots. 

Dang it. 

I'll miss you summer!
Last Wednesday
(hanging out with my friend Joni, giving ourselves spa foot treatments. Moms need days like this to balance out all the days of running back and forth to school/the store/sports venues/school again, doing 5 loads of laundry, and then finding that the dog peed on your GREAT GRANDMA'S QUILT.)
Old Navy tee, Costco yoga capris, Adidas sandals.
(I'm laughing at myself that I added big hoops and a bracelet to this outfit. Classy.)

(Cute outfit, no? I threw it together really quickly to pick up my kids from school because I was looking awfully sad in my 2nd day sweats outfit, and then took it off again when I got home. And then was sad that I'd wasted a good outfit on nothin'! Pretend you haven't already seen it when I wear it again in the VERY NEAR future.)
Shade tunic and 3/4 sleeve tee, Old Navy jeans, Walmart flats, sunnies, & bracelet
("Vision Saturday" meeting at our church)
Old Navy dress & earrings, Walmart boots, thrifted belt, yard sale cardy (Old Navy)
(friends birthday party - and my hubby came home from hunting - yaaay!)
Shade tee, thrifted jeans (Gap), Old Navy necklace & flats, gifted bracelet
(prayer group)
Target blouse & sweater, thrifted jeans (Old Navy) and flats, Van Heusen necklace
(bible study, Kendall's volleyball game)
Thrifted dress & bracelet, Walmart leggings, Payless sandals, OLD belt.
As you can see, the boots made a very brief appearance. I'm sure their time is coming though... I do live in Oregon after all.

I'm linking to
pleated poppy

Blue earrings and George Washington


Last Sunday our church had a special event called the C.I. Fair. (C.I. standing for "common interest groups".)

Tables were set up all around the perimeter of the building showcasing all the different outreach, connect, and grow groups available to join in and be a part of in our church body. 

After our church service I was helping man the Scrap Around the Clock table when Cooper approached me with his hands behind his back. Blushingly he brought out a pair of earrings - blue beaded earrings that had been on display as an example at the "Beadelicious!" beading group table and that he had asked to buy for his Mom.

"I bought these for you, Mom."

I was so touched. 

(And concerned. Cooper came to church with no money in his pocket. How did he pay for said earrings?)

Turns out he found one of his Grandmas and asked for the money to buy them. 

Grandmas are the best aren't they?

So I'm rocking my blue bead earrings today and Cooper is pleased. as. punch.

In other news, his drawing ventures continue, and this is his latest...
"George Washington on blue lines"
Not too Shabby, eh?

He's home!


Nothing shows my true love for my husband like getting this close to him in a picture before he has showered after hiking and sweating in the woods for 8 days straight. 

I even kissed him a time or ten too. 

The kids and dog didn't seem to mind at all, God bless them.

After Russ said goodbye to his hunting buddy Tyson (seen here goofing off for a pic)
(And then running out of arms reach when Russ realized what he was doing... boys!)

we had a lovely family evening together. 

Which made it easier to break the news to Russ that we don't think Miley will ever be much of a companion for him as a hunting dog...

Based on the relationship she made with her new best friend while he was gone. ;)

Barn Wedding


First: a phone update... we found it! "We" being my mother and I, although Mum was actually the one to spot it in the grass on the side of the road 100 yards from my house. We started at the END of the road (a mile away) and worked our way back towards the house so by the time we were that close we had about abandoned all hope. But there it was laying there, still turned on and working, with nary a scratch on the screen! (Yay otterbox case, you lived up to your name!)

Oh, were we jumping and hooting and hollering with excitement! I'm sure the neighbors were quite bewildered. So, thank you Jesus, and thank you Mum for giving up your morning to scour the countryside with me yesterday. You are my hero!

Now for the wedding. Last weekend Russ's cousin Kyle got married to his long time sweetheart and we attended their barn wedding which turned out to be the cutest thing you've ever seen.

The couple and their families spent 9 months restoring the old barn on the family property and it looked amazing

We sat on hay bales topped with floral print fabric during the ceremony - it was charming.
On the inside, where the reception was held, they built out decks on each end, added two washrooms, and had it decorated in a rustic and DARLING theme. I sadly did not take enough picture proof of this!

The cute couple...

Playing "corn in the hole".
The wedding was catered by The Markum Inn, a locally famous steak joint, and we were treated to BBQ chicken and ribs, which I was way too busy eating my two helpings of to take any pictures of, but I did snap the dessert spread.

And finally, before we left I had to take a picture of Russ with his Kraxberger cousins - he doesn't get to see them often but he really loves them.
Believe it or not, they all posed themselves. Well done, guys!
It was a great way to spend our Saturday afternoon and evening.

Awkward, Awesome, and plain old Awful


- Taking your puppy with you to your friends house and having your dog barf on their living room floor. Not only awkward, but mighty unpleasant.
- Running out of toilet paper and not realizing it until company is over. Nothing like a "Please help yourself to the kleenex on the bathroom counter" to make you feel like the perfect host.
- Having people show up at your front door while still in your pajamas. This happened not once, but twice already just this morning. I'm on a roll!
- The wild goose chase I'm always led on when I mistakenly believe Blake when he tells me he knows where something is. Yesterday the whiteout that he ran giant lines of across my kitchen floor and up the wall disappeared (it's always an adventure around here.) Upon interrogation he fessed up to doing it and then said he put it in the freezer. We opened the door. "Where in the freezer?" He pointed to the shrink wrapped frozen pizza, "inside there". Oh okay, very helpful, bud.

- My friend Joni, who invited me over for the morning yesterday and announced excitedly when I arrived, "we're doing pedicures today!". Everybody needs a friend like that.
- The callus and heel treatment she gave me. My feet are now so soft and lovely!
- How well our three-year-olds played together. Awesome actually doesn't quite cut it, it was amazing!
- Blake's way of describing when in the past something happened (in this case he was blaming Miley for his underwear mysteriously appearing on the living room floor and telling me when the dog did it)... "she did it Fursday yesternight"
- This picture:
Mr. Ham.
- Hershey cookies and cream drops. (Just what I needed - another candy addiction!)
- The return of Survivor! Yeah, Fall TV!!

Plain old Awful:
- The movie I watched on Netflix yesterday afternoon with my friend Annie while we assembled brochure mailers for an upcoming Scrap event. Classic drama about a poor boy/rich deaf girl who fall in love against the odds, her controlling mother that stops at nothing to keep them apart, how they discover her schemes and find each other again, and then just when all is about to end triumphantly, BAM, he gets cancer and dies. Whaaaaa? Who writes these movies?!
- Losing my cell phone yesterday. My very expensive and non-insured cell phone. Not being able to find it ANY.WHERE. Realizing that I may have driven off with it on the roof of the car. Scouring the roadsides in the dark and coming up empty handed. So, so, soooo awful.

I'm praying for it to show up today. Wouldn't that be awesome