Thursday, March 31, 2011

Next stop that first night in Boston Hard Rock Cafe

   Gunnar and friends.
Again the same.  We got a bit lost getting here, the bus had two GPS and a few kids had the internet on their cells and we still drove around a bit.  It was fine when we got there and we got our food faster then we would have, had all three buses arrived at the same time.  Boy everyone looks exhausted.  Sleeping on a bus is not easy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our first stop after 30 hours in the bus - House of the Seven Gables

    The house that inspired the novel.
   Beginning of the tour and the tour guide.
   Gunnar and friends.
  The house is right on the water in Salem and it was winding.   We also had time to walk a bit around town.  I would skip this next time, the tour was short and the price was 12.50 a person.  It was also a bit cheesy.  Beautiful views of the water from the master bedroom.  It was nice to walk and get off the bus for awhile.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back from Boston

I will post photos later.  Thanks

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stress is killing me.

I've been sick for awhile now(digestive, stomach issues, unexplained weight loss) and so I finally made the referral appointment here.  I'm sure they will do tests that are not pleasant and I'm not excited.  I hope to get to the bottom of why I can hardly eat anything without getting sick(explained weight loss maybe?)  I miss really tasty food.  I have no idea how I'm going to eat on my trip to Boston.  

Anyone with good stress management tips let me know, I know my emotions also play apart in how well I feel during the day.  If I stress out I'm really ill a few days later.  YUCK!!!!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Zeke in the Jazz Band

He is behind the piano.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

JT the poet


Two by two
I put them together
When they start to take shape
They look more like a jeep
Then a heap
I build, I build, I build
And destroy
Then back in the box
With the rest of the toys

He came up with this all on his own, he has been reading The Light in the Attic, and so he wrote one for the local competition.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Him Danno Giveaway

We are giving away a gently read ARC copy of this book, Madame Tussaud, here is my review.  Winners announced 4/6/2011

Giveaway entries:
1 - Follow the blog and comment with your email address so we can contact you if you win.
Extra entries:  Link this giveaway on your blog for 2 additional entries.  Be sure to tell us this in the comment you leave.

Thank you and good luck.  Click on the link under my blog list.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gunnar in Mr Austin

 Gunnar and Jay in the Athletic Wear Competition.  They played Dance Revolution on Wii and dressed the part.
   Opening dance number, they were 14 guys and it was an interesting interpretation of many dance numbers.
Gunnar is in a white robe with a black hat thing on.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Boston Here We Come

Gunnar and I leave for the HS choir trip to Boston today.  24 hours on a bus with many, many teenagers.  Several buses at that.  I think it will be a fun time or I wouldn't have volunteered to go.  I have no idea how much sleep I will get, if any.  We are seeing the Blue Man Group, going on a harbor dinner cruise, hopefully eating some sea food(fresh), hopefully seeing Kristi and going on many tours.  Boston here we come ready or not.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do you ever want to hide from your kids?

I do, in the nicer weather I go out in the garage and sit in the car to take a break. I now have to find other places. Sometimes my room, but that is the first place they look. Sometimes the bathroom with the door closed, but the light off. Is it just me? Maybe five put my mental capacity over the top. Sometimes I just can't deal with the noise.

Did I tell you I lock them outside in the nice weather, the door slams and slams otherwise. Now not during meals or bad weather, just on nice days that they need to be soaking up the Vit. D. Does this make me weird?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Books 28, 29, 31, and 31

This was interesting, not bad.  Bible devotionals mixed with a story like Idol.
         I loved this story, its the 7th in a series and yet I had no problem following.

Not quite ready for publication, yet it was.  The story was interesting, but the typos and errors took away from that.

   A sweet book that would make a good gift if you enjoyed those sorts of things.  Do not send this to Heather.

Each of these books were sent to me free.  The author and publisher only wanted me to read and review them on my blog.  Thanks to all of them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cenny's play photos

The music teacher took this on as a project and it was quite cute.  Cenny played a student so she had no costume.  YEAH for me the costume maker.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Article about Gunnar's DECA win!!!

Gunnar's win in the paper.  I hope you enjoy the article.  I only posted the first bit.  The school is going to cover about 60% of the cost.  YEAH!!! Anyone have some money they don't need?  We know where its needed.

Two Austin DECA students are going to nationals

Posted: Mar 18, 2011, 8:06 am
By Heather Rule
The Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

AHS DECA state participants 

Including the first-place team finish for Jay Ettinger and Gunnar Peters, Austin had nine teams or individuals make it to the finals in different events at the state DECA conference.

Jenna Baker, Lauren Jensen, Olivia Grev, Rachel Needham for Creative Marketing Chapter Project (4th place); Mark Thorson and Scott Snyder for Buying and Merchandising (fifth place); Marni Surdy for Employment Interview (fifth place) and for Apparel and Accessories (sixth place); Nate Schwab, Alex Mueller, Sean Coffey, Grev for Marketing Plan (fifth place); Mueller, Coffey, Schwab for Financial Literacy Chapter Project (sixth place); Surdy, Thorson, Ettinger, Snyder for Community Service Chapter Project (seventh place); Michael Lindahl for Principles of Busniess and Admin. (10th place).
Two Austin High School seniors involved in DECA will be packing their bags and heading to Orlando, Fla., to take their business skills to a national level.

Jay Ettinger and Gunnar Peters beat out 60 teams to take first place in the Travel/Tourism Marketing Team Decision-Making Event at the state leadership conference March 6-8 in Minneapolis. They were among 19 AHS students who competed at the state event, which attracted 2,500 students from across the state.

Ettinger's and Peters' first-place performance means they will represent their program, school and city at the International Career Development Conference on April 30-May 3.

"We're very excited to be going to nationals," said second-year DECA member Ettinger. "It's a great opportunity."

Ettinger and Peters were given 30 minutes to come up with a business plan on the spot. Learn abour their challenge in Friday's print edition.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cenny in a play at school

These two were in the school play about Lewis and Clark. It was a musical and quite funny. They sung and about Lewis and Clark and then the kid playing Clark would yell out, "Clark and Lewis" the whole gym burst into laughter. She had a small part, but did a great job. WAY TO GO CENNY!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crazy sub stories

I was in 8th grade and I felt like I had walked into the Twilight Zone!!!! One kid scratched himself so he asked for a bandaid, I gave him one. Another kid asked and I said why? He then proceeded to bite himself and draw blood(mental problems anyone?) Another kid kept walking around and would not settle he disrupted the class and I asked him several times to sit, a threat to walk to the office finally did it. One girl whistled, grunted and tapped until after many redirections I just sent her to the office. One girl I had to move to another desk for talking to her friend, just got up and moved herself. I told her to move back and she told me she didn't want to. She moved back, it was either that or move to the office. I hate to teach with threats, but it was out of control. I even kept one kid five minutes over his lunch because of his many disruptions. I wonder how the kids learn in this environment, I assume with the teacher it is better, but how much?
I had to remove a child for screaming and crying because I wanted her to take a test before leaving to use the bathroom, I grabbed the gym teacher in the hall to help. She lost it and yet the notes said to not let anyone out until after the test and it was right after lunch when they are suppose to use the bathroom. Its a zoo having every kid need to use the bathroom. One kid, while taking the test, kept poking his arms with a pen and complaining that he was turning purple(very loudly.)
I took the next days off as mental heath days(I just called in and said I was unavailable.) These are the days I wonder WHY?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Books 24, 25, 26, and 27

Cute, this was a Goodreads win that came in three days. Fun and silly. Here is the link to my review.
Good story, the next one better be soon, this one leaves you hanging.
How true is that statement? Fun book that takes a look a siblings as adults.
Great book, loved it. Here is a link.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pre-school Fun

At preschool last week we were playing with clothes pins. I don't know whose idea it was to stick them in my hair, but it caught on fast. A cute chorus of giggles broke out and then everyone got in on the fun.(this is not me, but you get the picture) My head was covered with clothes pins, the other teacher took a photo to show the teacher I was subbing for. After we ran out, the kids decided to help remove them. After a few were yanked out with hanks of my hair, I sprang up and told everyone I would removed them myself. Now if they could have guaranteed me they would only pull out the gray hair I would have allowed it, but they couldn't so I removed them.
I have to tell you that most of the little girls in the class had the most beautiful hair and the way their moms had it parted and braided was amazing.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zeke places 8th (his math masters team that is)

Zeke and Forrest
All of the Ellis kids.
Ellis had 4 teams and Zeke's team came in 6th out of around 30 teams in Southeastern MN. Way to go Zeke!!!! They celebrated with ice cream. Zeke sung a solo at his choir concert the night before. Yeah!! Zeke!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gunnar the poetry master

Poetry sucks

I hate it
It annoys me
It makes no sense
I've never written it
I never want to
So in case you forgot
Poetry sucks
Well except for that 200 bucks

There is a contest in the school district and this is what he came up with. The prize is $200.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Atlanta trip - CNN Center

The CNN Center, Anderson Cooper works out of NY, so sad I wanted to see him. We did see three other anchors and one even waved at our tour. The center was interesting, but security was everywhere.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This is absolutely delicious and I think we may serve it at graduation. That is the link.
-8 ounces cream cheese , softened
-1/2 cup sugar
-8 ounces whipped topping
-1 can pineapple , 20 oz. crushed (well drained)
-2 cups crushed pretzels
-1/2 cup butter or margarine , melted
-1/2 cup sugar
Servings: 16 (Original Servings: 16)
Enter desired servings: Change Servings
Container: bowl
Cook Time: 5 minutes

  • Combine the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixing bowl and beat until the sugar is well mixed into the cream cheese.
  • Add the whipped topping and pineapple. Beat just until they are mixed in evenly. Store in the refrigerator.
  • Combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter, and sugar. Stir together until thoroughly mixed..
  • Spread the pretzel mixture out on a small cookie sheet that has sides. Place in an oven preheated to 425°F and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and allow pretzels to cool.
  • Add the crushed pretzel mixture to the cream cheese mixture just before serving. Note: Mix up only the amount that you feel will be eaten because the pretzels will become soggy after a few hours of being mixed in the cream cheese mixture.

  • Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Gunnar wins 1st Place at DECA State Competition

    Gunnar spent the last few days at the Hyatt in Minneapolis competing in DECA state. He was in two competitions, one was public speaking where he placed 13. The other was a team competition, Jay and Gunnar, it was for Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making. After two rounds they topped the pack and were declared the winners. Notice the 1st Place trophy in his arms, he actually has two, Jay left early for bball practice. Way to go Gunnar!!
    Anyone have an idea how to raise $3000 quick so they can compete in the Nationals in Miami? Anyone?

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011


    I'm a bit overwhelmed and over-scheduled and over-stressed. Life is busy and every night there is something going on, I need a break. The problem is that on the horizon there is only more and more and more happening. I do not see a break until the middle of June. @@##@%@%@%@% this is me screaming not swearing. Life is going in fast forward, we have a grad party to plan, graduation items to take care of, concerts coming on a constant basis with kids needing this and that to wear, braces being put-on and money going out the door at a record pace.
    Last week the kids under HS age had Monday off. Thank heaven, the rest of the week seemed to drag on and on with so many things going on. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I worked in preschool(lots of fun, but exhausting), then Wed night meetings, Thursday night choir concert, Friday I taught at the HS for ESL and then Friday night a trip to the temple. Sat a trip to the dump for deconstruction items and then errands and cleaning. Sunday is Stake Conference and then another crazy week starts again. @##^$%#@%^#%@ Me screaming again.
    Someday people assure me I will remember these busy days fondly, you want to bet? Now if I can just keep from pulling my hair out and mortally wounding anyone who gets in my way.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    I wrote this for the RS newsletter this month

    Choose the Right Road

    Have you ever gotten lost? Well I have and David and I have seen parts of Atlanta I would rather have missed. Our trip was one wrong turn after another and since I was the navigator, it really was my mistake. It seems amazing to me that I was never Ok with just turning around and getting back on the right road. Instead I always found a new way to our destination, which many times got us lost again. Eventually we made it and were able to reap the benefits of our travels, but it cost us precious time we could have enjoyed at the museums and places we stopped.

    In life, like a map, we follow the designated route to our destination and sometimes get sidetracked and lost along the way. How many times have you imagined your goals only to find yourself on the wrong road or lost? I have seen myself decide on a target and start going in the right direction only to find something interesting, catching my attention along the way. If I detour to that new distraction I figure I can find my way back to the right road, but do I? Or do I find another thing just off the new road, that’s more interesting then the last, getting me completely turned around and lost.

    Life is a series of choices and roads for that matter. Which do I take? If I find myself lost what do I do? These are questions we need to ask ourselves as we navigate our way through life. Where do you want to end up? If we don’t know, then how can we choose the right path? Decide on your goals and find the road leading that way. Make the choice to stay on the correct road because it will get you where you want to go, any detour will only cost you time. Time you may not have. To quote a great song, ‘Choose the Right when a choice is placed before you…. Let God in heaven be your goal.’ Don’t make my mistake. Turn around and get back on the correct road, which is the safest and fastest route to your destination.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Great Article

    Link to original

    I agree with what BYU did and I am proud to be an alumni.

    Brandon Davies: Is BYU's Premarital Sex Controversy Good For College Sports?

    Click here to find out more!

    Brandon Davies has been suspended for the rest of the season for violating Brigham Young University's honor code

    Ethan Miller / Getty Images

    These days, bad behavior among college athletes is a fact of campus life. Beat up a freshman in a barroom one night and you can be back on the court three days later. Just this week, a Sports Illustrated and CBS News investigation found that more than 200 players on the rosters of 25 major college football teams have run afoul of the law. Nearly a quarter of scholarship athletes on the University of Pittsburgh squad have criminal records.

    College athletics is a multibillion-dollar enterprise, and the pressure to win at any cost — including turning a blind eye to player misbehavior — can be overwhelming. That's why the news this week that Brigham Young University (BYU) would force starting center Brandon Davies to miss the rest of the season for violating the school's honor code was so surprising.

    The team looked like a title contender. BYU is ranked third in the country, and Davies, who averages 11.1 points and 6.2 rebounds, is a key player; in their first game without him, the Cougars were trounced by the University of New Mexico, 82-64.

    But the most surprising fact of the story is that Davies got booted for behavior that wasn't criminal. What he did takes place, to put it mildly, every day in colleges across the country: Davies had sex with his girlfriend.

    BYU is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which frowns on premarital relations. Davis, like 98% of BYU students, is a Mormon. Upon entering the school, students vow to abide by its honor code, which prohibits premarital sex as well as indulging in alcohol or coffee. "The honor code is an essential part of your recruitment to BYU," says Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young, who played at BYU from 1981 to '83. "It's not like you find out later — 'Oh, you didn't tell me! I didn't know that!' But there's a spirit on campus that is just, 'O.K., fine, now let's now go have a good time.'"

    The judgment on Davies doesn't come without costs to the school. If BYU fails to advance in the upcoming NCAA tournament without its star center, the rest of the team — young men who worked hard, obeyed the rules and did nothing wrong — miss out on a life experience they may never recapture.

    But you have to admire an institution that sticks by its principles. "The expression of love between a man and a woman is sacred, valued at the highest level," says Shawn Bradley, the 7-ft. 6-in. former NBA player who spent a year at BYU and spent two years on a mission in Australia before entering the 1993 draft. Indeed, many BYU alums say they support the school's decision. "Sorry, I'm choking up a bit here," says Philadelphia sportscaster Vai Sikahema, a former NFL return specialist who played for BYU in the mid-1980s. "It's just hard for me to express just how immensely proud I am of my university."

    He should be. When it comes to athletes and sex, the easy call is to let the jocks slip. On any campus, athletes are visible, and popular, especially when a team is winning. And though it's probably easier for a student to squelch his or her desires at a place where all 30,000 undergrads are also trying to stay chaste, suppression is still a challenge. "It was difficult for me," says Bradley, a devout Mormon. "We all have those urges. You're dealing with hormones, which are out in full force. But you have to stay focused, and put yourself in the right places to protect yourself."

    The willingness of BYU to police poor conduct is sharply at odds with other college programs. At Seton Hall University last season, for example, a basketball player who caused an accident while driving under the influence, causing an injury to the other driver, was suspended for only eight games. This year, a top player from Robert Morris University got a four-game penalty after a drunk-driving incident. In February, two players from Marshall University were charged with battery over a bar fight; they played in a game the next evening. Schools often let athletes off easy for on-field transgressions too. Two seasons ago, a University of Florida football player intentionally gouged an opponent's eyes. He was suspended for a half.

    BYU has every incentive to just slap Davies on the wrist for his transgression. A successful run at the Final Four could generate millions of dollars in television revenues and alumni donations for the school, and the added exposure and prestige can increase applications.

    BYU boosters, however, believe the Davies incident could be a selling point on its own, by broadcasting the school's principled stand on honesty and taking responsibility. Davies himself has apologized to his teammates and took his punishment without complaining. And despite the stiff penalty it levied, BYU also teaches forgiveness. "It's really a pretty compassionate place," says Young, a great-great-great grandson of Brigham Young himself. "I guarantee you there's a huge outreach to make sure that he's O.K. If I could talk to him, I'd put my arm around him and say, 'Hang in there, get back on the court when you can, and make it right.'"

    Davies may learn a great deal from this experience. "This could be a seminal moment in this young man's life," says Sikahema. "Better that it happens at 20, rather than 50, with four kids. He'll probably be a better man, and that's ultimately what BYU is about, building leaders, building men. If that means missing out a chance at the Final Four, well, that's what happens."

    Would any other school pay that price? More than likely, too few would pass the Brandon Davies test.

    Gregory is a staff writer at TIME. Keeping Score, his sports column for, appears every Friday. Follow him on Twitter at @seanmgregory