Friday, April 29, 2011

Save The Frogs Day

Today is the third annual Save The Frogs Day. What is this, you ask? It's a day set aside to educate people about frogs and to raise awareness on their plight. Apparently, twenty countries are taking part this year and are offering nearly 120 different events.

It's funny because I had a dream about frogs last night. It wasn't very good. I was stirring some soup Rick had cooking on the stove. Then I realized it was filled with little black frogs. Ick! Next thing I know, there were little black frogs all over the kitchen floor. Double ick! I'm not sure what brought on this dream. It was either reading about Save The Frogs Day last night or watching Moses recently. We also saw a frog exhibit at the Museum of the Rockies, so I guess it was bound to happen.

I took the picture above at the museum. Rick and the kids were calling this the Yoda Frog. It was funny how still they were. They almost looked like they were plastic, but every now and then they would blink slowly. I remember as a kid I'd collect big buckets of tadpoles and watch them turn into little frogs before they'd all scamper away. Fun memories.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beautiful Bengal

My daughter spotted this cat in our yard today. We're pretty sure it belongs to our neighbors down the road. They have several exotic cats and we've heard they recently added a new one to their family. I'm guessing this cat is theirs and I'm pretty sure it's a Bengal. The picture isn't that good, but you get the idea of how beautiful the markings are on these cats. He was heading up the hill in our backyard. I am not sure if they let this cat run around because this is the first time I've seen him. I don't know if I would -- I imagine they're expensive cats. He's beautiful though, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cattails ...

When I was little, I remember telling people that cattails were my favorite flower. I still love seeing them and they're all over Montana. I've been trying to get a really good photograph of them. They grow near water and there's usually just enough of a breeze to mess up my pictures. Figures. Maybe one of these days I'll get that perfect picture. Did you know ...

In British English, cattails are called bulrush or reedmace?

In American English, they're also known as punks or corndog grass?

In Australia, cattails are called cumbungi?

Cattails are also edible, especially the stem part that grows underground. It can be ground into flour. The base of the leaves can be cooked or eaten raw. The flower spike can be peeled, boiled, and eaten like corn-on-the-cob. When the flowers disintegrate, birds use the fluff to line their nests. Native Americans used it as tinder to start fires, to line moccasins, and for bedding, diapers, baby powder, and papoose boards. The flower can also be dipped in wax for a candle, using the stem as a wick. I didn't know they had so many uses. I just thought they looked neat and had a cool name.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this joyous holiday. For those of you who don't, I hope you have a great Sunday as well. It looks like we're going to have a beautiful day -- sunshine and in the 60s. I'm hoping to sit outside and do some reading. Hopefully, the boys will want to spend some time outside, too. Right now they're in chocolate heaven. Lucky kids. Oh, one more thing -- today is also Rick & my 30th anniversary of our very first date. Thirty years is a long time! Think I might have to have some chocolate to celebrate too, but mine will be sugar-free. I hope you have a great day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Frogs! Frogs! Frogs!

Okay, so this last one is a toad -- an ugly toad, too! These were some of the frogs and toads we saw at a special exhibit at the Museum of the Rockies last weekend. My favorites were the poison tree frogs, but my pictures didn't turn out that well. These are a few of the better ones.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Museum of the Rockies

During our trip to Billings last weekend, we stopped in Bozeman to see the Museum of the Rockies. It's on the campus of MSU. I had heard the museum featured the largest T-Rex skull ever found in the world. It's pictured below with my boys. The interesting thing about it is that it's the original skull and not a cast model like some of the other displays. I couldn't believe how big it was. I think I said something to the effect of, "If that's how big the head was, can you imagine how big the whole dinosaur would be?" It would be one humongous lizard! There were a lot of bones on display, but I didn't take too many pictures because most of them were behind glass. And besides, if you've seen one bone, you've seen them all. The T-Rex skull was impressive, though. The museum also had a special frog exhibit going on, which was where I took most of my pictures. I'll post those tomorrow or sometime soon. They were pretty cool -- though the toads were icky.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Congratulations, Nicole!

My daughter Nicole has been accepted into Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. After taking a year off school, I think she's really looking forward to going back. She'll be about 8 hours away from home this time, which is a lot closer than being all the way over in Florida. She's planning on majoring in English education and is seriously considering working towards a teaching degree. She'll be starting in August. We're all really happy for her.

Monday, April 18, 2011

On The Road Again ...

Here are some pictures of our weekend trip to Billings. These aren't of the city itself, but just ones I took while Rick was driving. I get bored and like taking pictures as we're moving. I'll describe the pictures from top to bottom. The first one is of the Missouri River in Three Forks, Montana. This is where the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin meet to form the Missouri River, which was made famous by Lewis & Clark. The next picture is of a hotel that's still standing in Headwaters State Park. We stopped there to eat lunch. The one after that was taken just outside of Seeley Lake. As you can see, we ran into a little weather. The picture after that is of some rolling hills, probably taken around the area of Opportunity, Montana. Odd name for a town. If you blink or don't turn your head the right way, you'll miss Opportunity all together. The next one is of the big cow at a gas station market. Gotta love Montana directions -- "Make a left at the cow." The picture below that is just of Interstate 90. I live where there are a lot of mountains, so sometimes I forget how flat a lot of Montana is. The last I took on the way home and I think this was I-90 as well. I think the little specks behind the cows are deer. There were a bunch of them. Thanks for looking and I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


We were in Billings this weekend so Nicole could register and attend an orientation for college. Billings is about 8 hours southeast of where we live. While Nicole was doing her thing, the rest of us went to ZooMontana for a few hours. It's a very small zoo and pretty much the only one in the state. We had fun to wandering around and seeing the animals. I hope you enjoy seeing a few of my pictures. BTW, click on the peacock feathers -- it's cool.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nicole!

It's so hard to believe that my second daughter, Nicole is 20 years old today. It seems like just yesterday I was lugging the little cutie on my back all around the Grand Canyon. I tell you, the years are going by faster and faster for me. We had a simple party for her tonight, complete with a Spiderman theme, as she's been telling me how much I need to watch the movie. Tomorrow we're taking her to Billings to register for college. I swear -- where does the time go? They grow up way too fast. Happy Birthday, Nicole!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Before & During ...

I won't call this Before & After because I'm not at my goal yet, but at least I'm moving again. For whatever reason, my weight-loss stalled during the entire month of March. I blame cheese. I was following the program, but I think I was eating too much at dinner. I started tracking my food a few days ago, which is something Rick's been telling me to do for months. As soon as I started keeping track of what I ate, I started losing again. Go figure.

These pictures aren't that good. In fact, they're a little scary, but they'll give you an idea. I have lost 53 pounds so far, but still want to lose another 21 pounds. I probably won't be able to lose them all by the time we leave for Disney World next month, but at least I'll be closer. Today I tried on 2 pairs of jeans that I hadn't worn in ELEVEN years. Not only could I get them up, but I got them buttoned AND zipped! They're still too tight to wear comfortably, but it's a start in the right direction.

It looks like my story and pictures (different than these) will be featured in the revised version of Fat To Skinny by Doug Varrieur. That's the book Rick bought last September and asked me to read. I think the revised version is coming out in 2012. I might be added to Doug's website, too. Look for me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy Fish Tank Craft

The boys made these simple 'fish tanks' last week. Nathan (above) and Neil (below) both love crafts, but I've found they prefer ones that are pretty easy. We were doing a themed Aquarium Week for school, so I came up with this idea. We had some stick-on foam fish shapes left over from another project, so I thought they'd be perfect. They put some blue construction paper into an empty CD case for the water. We trimmed it with pinking sheers to give it a rippling, water effect. Then the boys stuck the foam pieces wherever they wanted. It was so simple and they turned out really cute.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Funday

Rick, the boys, and I took a drive around the lake today. We hesistated at first because of the high cost of gas, but decided to go anyway. Flathead Lake is just 2 miles from our home, but we drove around the entire lake. It's 31 miles from the north to south shores, so it's a nice drive, especially when you go all the way around. We stopped at a picnic area for lunch and checked out a few campgrounds. It was kind of chilly, although the sun managed to come out a few times. I hope everyone had a great Sunday, also.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dream Chasers of the West

My daughter gave this book to me for my birthday in February. I just finished reading Dream Chasers of the West today and absolutely loved it. It's a true story about a woman named Clara Augusta Miller who ventures out alone to homestead Montana in 1913. Eventually, she finds herself married and settles just south of Glacier National Park. I live an hour from the park, so this story really held my interest because I'm becoming more familiar with the area.

What Clara did is absolutely amazing to me. Not only did she leave her home in Minnesota to homestead the Montana plains, but she dealt with brutal winters, relentless summers, prairie fires, financial hardships, as well as working extremely hard. Our lives are easy compared to what she put up with. What I found really interesting was that Clara was also a writer and storyteller. All throughout her life, she wrote stories and submitted them to publishers. They were always rejected. It wasn't until she was 81 years old that one of her stories was finally published. She received $8 for her story about homesteading in Montana. Yes, at EIGHTY-ONE years old! When I read she was published at that age, it literally brought tears to my eyes.

Even though she didn't write this book, her story is out now. And what an honor it must be to have a life filled with such local history! Since I'm so close to the park, I'm planning on taking a trip over to the east side this summer. I know we've driven by the areas Clara lived and worked in. I'd like to check out the remaining bunkhouse near Lake Lubec as well as see the store and home she lived in at East Glacier. I believe she is buried nearby too, so I'd love to see her gravesite. She died in 1965 -- the same year I was born. Anyway, if you liked Little House on the Prairie as a kid, you will definitely enjoy this book.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Schnaus Cabin Trip

I spent the weekend with three ladies that Rick works with. We were on the outskirts of Glacier National Park and had a view of the park from our cabin. The cabin was a lot nicer than any of us anticipated. We had a lot of fun playing games, doing crafts, eating, walking, snowshoeing, laughing, and just getting to know each other better. I honestly can't remember the last time I went somewhere without my family. It's been a long, long time. Anyway, it was a great weekend and I'm thankful to have been invited along. Thanks, Blaise, Keely, and Rae!