Saturday, December 31, 2011

family Christmas with the blomgren's

We celebrated Christmas with the Blomgren's this evening. It is so nice to be together with everyone. There is a lovely new snow on the ground and we just finished watching Kyle and Adam perform yoyo tricks. This morning, my friend Brian had his funeral. The class of 1990 went to the Hickory for lunch. Kari is a Mom again which it was great to reconnect with her. Meridee, Charles, Cory, Jeanna, Tami, Matt, Markus, Kari and myself dined together and recounted stories of our friend. Last day of the year and 365 blogposts in 2011. An accomplishment that was joyful. Counting my blessings at the close of the year and anticipating another joyful year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

winter wonderland

This morning dawned late and had a frosty white lovliness. We went to Kyle and Kim's for Ryan's pancakes and slid a little bit on the roads. We left Anders at the farm and brought Liana back with us to help keep Kathryn entertained while we clean for the big event tomorrow and also prepare a salad for Brian's funeral. Osten is currently playing the ancient clock radio...the one I received when I was in 6th grade. Still works. Now onto cleaning and finding a clothes pin as Kathryn is learning to acquire some patience.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On the prairie

This morning was my first run on the prairie since August. The cold, biting wind was refreshing but did me in. My last two runs were a 5k and a 4 miler in the big woods of Wisconsin and today I was only able to eek out a 2 miler. After my run, I picked up Anders from cousin Ryan's and we headed back to Mom & Dad's for a day of shopping in Mt. Lake, visiting with Jenna, coffee at the new coffee shop, a phone call from classmate Natalie Olson and coordinating flowers for Brian's funeral on Saturday, dinner at Pizza Hut that was cooked by our handsome nephews Kyle & Adam and then to Kyle & Kim's for dessert. I think we will sleep well tonight!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brian Schlomann

Upon arrival home in Mt. Lake, Mom announced my classmate Brian Schlomann was found by his wife last night, he had apparently died of a heart attack. 39 years old. Young daughter. Too sad. I guess I will be attending a funeral while here at home. When Mom told me, I recalled thinking of my friend Brian earlier this week. While preparing for our trip and doing laundry on Wednesday evening, I was remembering our 20 year reunion last summer and Brian's invitation to come over to play horseshoes. At the time didn't think of going, but now I really wished I would have spent a little more time with him. May he rest in peace. A link to his funeral information: is at the Sturm Funeral Home site.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry Christmas!

Ivan's first Christmas at B&B with Mommy Molly and big cousin Anders

Kathryn with Wiggles and cool hat 2008

Anders, Kathryn, Brad and Karen Christmas 2008

Osten's first Christmas admiring big sister Kathryn 2010

Osten and Great Grandma Grace on his first Christmas 2010

Santa's leavings for all the kiddos

Saturday, December 24, 2011

happy christmas eve

Siri, Kathryn and Joe Christmas Eve 2008

Dehlia Christmas Eve 2010

Henry Christmas Eve 2010

Osten first Christmas Eve 2010

Anders Christmas Eve 2010

sick Ivan Christmas Eve 2010

Lovely Mother and son--Sara and Isaiah Christmas Eve 2008

Friday, December 23, 2011

happy birthday to my wonderful husband

Brad's grandpa Clarence, myself, Brad and Grandma Grace
This photo was taken shortly after Brad and I were engaged.  We went to the homefarm in near Honeyford, ND and I got to meet my future Grandparents.  Wonderful memories. 

safe and sound

Yesterday we had a travel day that started shortly after 4am in St. Croix and ended at approximately 10pm in Grantsburg.  Total amount of time ended up being 20 hours from wake up to arriving at Grandma Betty and Grandpa Buds.

We ate lunch in Miami at Nate's Hotdogs, a snack in Chicago at Dunkin' Donuts.  Not well planned as it didn't agree with Anders midway on the flight between Chicago and Minneapolis.  He is feeling much better today and even ate a donut for a snack. 

It's great to be home and see a dusting of white just in time for Christmas.  I went for a 3 mile run today which was quite exhilarating.  Anders, Kathryn and Osten are enjoying company of cousins and we are getting along famously.  It was so welcome to jump into a chilly bed last night. 

Over and out for now...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

how to dress?

Very early tomorrow morning, Brad, Anders, Kathryn, Osten and I will pick up Haley and her roommate to drive us to the airport. It is going to be interesting as Anders has a pair of long pajama pants and a hoodie, i have one pair of long legged dress pants, Kathryn has some leggings, Osten has a pair of jeans that he swims in and Brad only has shorts. We might be a tad bit cold when we arrive in Minneapolis tomorrow evening. It should be fun as Haley and Iasbella from Kindergarten are going to be on our flight. Also Thankfully, Betty will have jackets and warm clothes for us to change into when we arrive in the frozen north. So exciting.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Boy vs. Tree

When Brad and Osten came to pick me up this afternoon, I noticed Osten had a majorly scratched face. He had been trying to climb a tree at Stonehouse and lost his balance. Subsequently, he received the look of a boy in a tussle. Probably not the last time this will happen in his lifetime.

Monday, December 19, 2011


We are experiencing tropical winter. The winds are picking up and there is a chill in the air. We are sleeping very well and enjoying every minute. Now we know why people decide to call this their home.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Episcopal church in Frederiksted, VI

Catholic Church in Frederiksted, VI

cool shot from the side at Catholic church in Frederiksted, VI
Last Sunday while Anders and Kathryn were in Sunday school, Brad, Osten and I explored the churches in Frederiksted.  Besides being visually stunning, we were impressed with the fact that everywhere we look, there is such historical significance. 

The history here is so rich and long.  Begs for study. 


One thing about St. Croix I wish I could change is the presence of gongolos--the St. Croix term for millepede.  This was found in the cupboard the other day...

Friday, December 16, 2011

making day

Today in Kindergarten, we had a making day. We invited Brad in to make bread and then make Kalaloo, a Carribean "stone soup". At the end of each day, we talk about what the highlight of our day was. Several people cited Brad coming to our classroom, others our Christmas program and then Charlie said her favorite part of the day was making things. That is EXAcTLy what should be happening in Kindergarten. Hands, hearts and minds ON.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

cool Kindergarten craft

I would love to take the credit for this, but this was a Jean/Haley inspiration...sea urchins from our beach walk, bases water-colored and decorated by the kids, noses, arms and hats made of craft foam and scarves made with remnant fabric in our classroom/

I hand delivered several to Moms who work at school or pick their children up so I see them daily.  THEY LOVED THEM and one Mom teared up.  If I find extra time, Blomgrens and Olsons, these will be made for our Christmas celebration.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whim Christmas party

Brad and I attended a Christmas party at the Whim museum this evening. The grounds were decorated just beautifully and we dined on pate, pork, tarts, salads and rum punch. Bully Peterson and his scratch band entertained us. It was a fun evening out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

all the kings horses

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, all the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn't put Humpty together again.

Thank goodness our tale has a much better ending.
Last night, I was putting a few finishing touches on my grading and getting ready to head to bed when I heard a "thunk" from our bedroom followed by a high pitched scream.  Osten had fallen from our very tall bed.  So tall, that a step stool is required to enter and exit.

With hearts racing, Brad was awoken and I rushed to the scene.  I immediately thought--lost teeth, brain injury--we need ice stat.  Brad wasn't convinced that ice would be the solution.

There was some blood, a fat bottom and top lip and lots of tears, but no apparent concussion or broken teeth. Osten slept like a champ and seems just fine today.

Horrible sound of a baby hitting tile floor, and I am so thankful that our sweet little boy seems to be fine.  We love him so.

Osten's big fat lips :(

Monday, December 12, 2011

December birthday beach party

We have no prior experience, but Anders just attended a 10th birthday beach party for his buddy Nathan. It was rained out about 1/2 way through, but they were actually at Cane Bay enjoying a fun day at the beach before it was called off. Such a different world.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

boat parade

Last night our family went to the Christiansted boardwalk to watch the boat parade...Anders saw some buddies from school and played football. Kathryn started rolling down the knoll and ended up playing with some friends as well. It was pretty cool to see large boats dressed up for Christmas. We missed the fireworks, but it was a fun evening filled with lots of spectators.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas cookie baking day

Recipe for orange almond biscotti that I will be making later today...from

3 cups all purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

3 large eggs

3/4 cup chopped blanched almonds (about 3 1/2 ounces)

1/2 cup orange zest
3 tablespoons almond extract (substitution)

1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with waxed paper. Lightly flour waxed paper. Sift flour and baking powder into medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fluffy. Mix in nuts and orange zest. Add flour mixture and almond extract; beat until well blended.

Spoon dough out onto 1 prepared baking sheet, pressing to form 12-inch-long rectangle, about 5 inches wide (dough will be very soft). Place in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

Cut chilled dough lengthwise into 3 strips. Shape each strip on lightly floured surface into 12-inch-long, 1 1/2-inch-wide and 1-inch-high log. Transfer logs to remaining 2 prepared sheets, 1 log on 1 sheet and 2 logs on second sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Brush logs with egg yolk. Bake until golden and firm to touch (dough will spread), about 30 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Using serrated knife, cut logs into 3/4-inch-wide diagonal slices. Stand biscotti slices upright on 2 heavy large baking sheets. Bake until biscotti are pale golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container.)

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I will also be making my ginger snaps and some sugar cut outs.  I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR and am having a hard time conceptualizing that we are here because of our tropical location.
Kathryn and I are going to story hour this morning, off to buy postage stamps (our cards finally arrived) and also to pick up a few groceries.  This evening, we are heading to the boat parade.  Our family has been invited to ride on a catamaran for the parade, but with active Osten, I think at least he and I will be spectators. 
Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 9, 2011

night rainbow

Tonight our friends Gretchen, Charlie and Caren watched Anders, Kathryn and Osten while Brad and I went out for my 40th birthday dinner at The Beachside Cafe near Sandcastles on the Beach in Frederiksted. It was fun to go out just the 2 of us.

As we were dining, I was facing the beautiful Caribbean and spied an arch in the sky...turns out it was an extremely rare night rainbow. They occur when the moon is full and it is raining. Absolutely beautiful.

After a scrumptious dinner of local lobster, we went for a short stroll on the beach. The water was so rejuvenating. In two weeks, we will be home for Christmas. We are so eager to be home with family and friends soon.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas concert

Anders is a 4th grader and tonight was his very 1st school Christmas program. "beat of the drum" was the 4th grade selection and they did quite nicely. Osten and Kathryn tolerated the program well, but it was a late night getting home for the Olson 5. The kids couldn't believe that they have school tomorrow...we are usually arriving at home when the sun is still up so 9pm was late for us to get home. that time of our lives is just beginning.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Osten's physical abilities are far outweighing his sensibility. Today, I was stripping down a bed to do wash the sheets and I found Osten climbing the cabinets in the bathroom. We soon will run out of places to stash dangerous chemicals/objects and the like.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Buck Island photos

ready for adventure on the high seas

our craft

on the sea and loving it

a view of the Buck Island shoreline

glow of great snorkle and excellent beach experience
Some photos from our Buck Island Adventure...still looking for friends who would like to give us a lift on their boat ;)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Good Hope Christmas party

Last night I attended the Good Hope School Christmas party at a restaurant called Reminisce.  I sat near Anders' teacher and her friend and Mrs. Layton and her husband.  It was great visiting with long time residents of the island and learn more about the British Virgin Islands and their experiences with diving and sailing.  After dinner, the music started and a bunch of teachers got up and danced and it was lots of fun. 

After a few hours, I was ready to come home.  Brad and the kids were fast asleep and I was shortly thereafter.  Santa came during the middle of the night and left Anders some Rebel Civil War soldiers. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

caribbean Christmas

Our stocking advent calendar surrounding our lovely festive tree

Our traditions have followed us here to Grange Gardens in Bugby Hole, St. Croix, USVI.  So far, the kids have received:  Anders 3 Union Civil War soldiers, Kathryn a small doll, Osten a 1972 Ford Bronco matchbox car.  Anders is eagerly awaiting opening his stocking tomorrow morning and is hoping for Rebel Civil War soldiers...we will see what he gets.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent BBQ

A new experience for the Olson family. We attended an advent BBQ at Trinty Lutheran in Frederiksted this evening. We watched the sunset into the Caribbean and then drove up to the church. We dined on Jonny Cakes, pumpkin fritters, potato stuffing, ribs, corn on the cob, potato salad, Cole slaw, noodle salad and BBQ chicken. We drank sorrel, tamarind & carambola and for dessert had tarts with pineapple and coconut. The kids had a blast playing hide and seek with their friends. It was a really fun evening and a really cool cultural experience.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

reflections on the past



2009--Osten on the way
Photos from the past...these photos were taken over the past 3 years on December 1...fond memories and missing family today.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

40 oz

the big 40 is here and so far so good.  Starting off the morning with a "Happy Birthday" from my wonderful husband followed by being greeted this morning by Kathryn with her bleery eyed mussed hair sunshine smile--"Happy Birthday Momma".   Osten chortling and Anders smiling all the way to school.  Upon arriving at Good Hope, I was welcomed by 12 amazing Kinders and superstar Miss Haley with lovely cards and songs.  Yummy lunch courtesy of the Ramsdell family.  It was a super day.  I have also received an outpouring of lovely birthday greetings from the midwest--funny and sweet.  Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and know that we are missing you all. 

a favorite photo of my lovely niece Liana and I at Mom and Dad's anniversary celebration

Happy Birthday Jenna Louise Baboon

24 years ago, I lifted my voice to heaven and said "Thank you, God!"  He had delivered a beautiful blond blue eyed 16th birthday gift to the Blomgren family.  Jenna Louise.  Happy Birthday lovely lady.

Jenna meeting Osten John and cousin Anders close at hand

Monday, November 28, 2011


This morning while Osten's dresser was pulling his Robeez on, she noticed he was trying to sing a familiar song...Zumba song from a Zumba video I frequently use while working out. It was so cute because he was so incredibly close. We also were reading several books this evening and he kept grabbing them, opening, and "reading" them to me. He is using a lot of different sounds, but not many words...I think he is going to be quite a talker once we can figure out his language.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oliver Fred Olson

Today, we welcomed a new member into our family. Osten couldn't contain his squeals when we met Oliver (from Oliver & Company) Fred (Frederiksted) Olson a lovely male cat that closely resembles Brad's favorite pet ever, Kitty. Anders is taking excellent care of our new addition. Today I also purchased a small table top tree and led lights so we can have a small Christmas tree. I also purchased a star ornament and we fashioned it into a star for the top of the tree. Osten again could barely contain his glee when it was assembled. He has so much emotion at the stage of life...wish I could bottle it! One it's back to school and reality after a nice Thanksgiving weekend as a family. I am so thankful for the gifts I have been given.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

BUCK Island

Today our family went on a glass bottom boat to Buck Island.  The boat had a captain and a first mate that could have been twins with our friend, Garth back in River Falls.  Both Brad and Kathryn made that comment independent from one another.  Anyway, there were several tourists from Denmark, a newlywed couple from Boston and another island family on the charter.  We snorkled for a while and then went to the beach. 

When Anders and I were out, we saw a Lemon Shark.  Anders kept motioning for me to look over and I didn't see anything.  Then our guide, Adam (Garth's twin) pointed out the shark and there it was...kind of crazy.  There were tons of great coral and sealife on the reef.  What an experience!  We saw a Hobie cat on the beach so are toying with buying one so we can make the trip again.  It was incredible. 

jump up

Last night we attended JUMP UP--which is the kickoff to the Christmas season here on St. Croix.  The  stores are open for business in downtown Christiansted and local food vendors are out selling their Roti, Johnny Cakes, Gyros, Tamarind, Sorrel and Ginger Beer.  We did a little shopping--buying new hats for Kathryn and Karen and Pokemon cards for Anders.  Karen also picked out a St. Croix hook bracelet ;). 

We saw Moko Jumbies and steel drum bands.  It was fun and something that we have now experienced.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

school photos 2011-2012

Row 1:  Jace, Zach, Dominique
Row 2: Karrington, Nash, Kani, Hayden, Brionna, Nathan, Mrs. Mault
Row 3: Jimmy, Arial, Anders, Emily, Justin, Naiama, Hunter

Row 1: Kathryn, Shenell, Isabella
Row 2: Miss Haley, Kaiden, Kai, Sean, Carolyn, Mrs. Olson
Row 3: Maddox, Giselle, Joshua, Charlie, Bethany

Giving Thanks

Studying the first Thanksgiving to present to Kindergarten has increased my knowledge and piqued my curiosity about early American history. The Virgin Islands, known at that time as the West Indies, has a rich history to be explored. That is next on my list to study. Today we are thrilled to have Dad home! We picked him up at the airport yesterday at about 4 pm. He prepared his famous eggs and bacon and we sat down to watch movies. We usually have popcorn, but we have discovered that you need to refridgerate popcorn as it get a moldy. Live and learn I guess. We are currently planning our weekend activities. Friends from church have invited us for Thanksgiving this evening and we will be attending JUMP UP in Christiansted tomorrow. On Saturday, we would like to take a glass bottom boat to Buck Island and do some snorkeling. We will keep an eye on the forecast as there has been some heavy surf lately, and we don't want to take any risks. Happy Thanksgiving and our love to all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

terrific 2s

Happy 2nd birthday to lovely, irreplaceable, sassy and sensational Dehlia Grace Quintana

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sea life

Living near the ocean has distinct benefits. Just gaze into the distance and see a passing freighter. Snokeling, going to the beach. We are blessed and I am humbled and thankful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving in Kindergarten

We are going to celebrate Thanksgiving in our classroom tomorrow. We are going to attempt making butter, cornbread and drinking apple juice. I'm putting Haley in charge of crafts. Today when I went to make sure the oven was working, I set off the alarm...heart stopper for a minute. We have been having a lot of rain here on island and a very kind soul cut back the major jungle that had been making visibility onto the highway difficult. Thank you kind stranger.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

tech crafting

As you can see by my previous post, I have been busy tech crafting this weekend.  It is that time of year to reflect upon the year past, create a Christmas greeting card and compose "the letter".  I'm also hard at work finding just the right shots for family calendars.  They are so fun to create and view throughout the year.

The sun is shining in St. Croix and the temperature is a sweet 80 degrees and we JUST had a little cloud burst. So far, the skies are looking good for a return of Brad on Wednesday :)

We did go to church this morning and Anders and Katie participated in the sermon.  Pastor Love does a great job with all ages.  I am thankful for her talents and passion.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Photo Card

Joy Love Family Christmas
Shutterfly has elegant Christmas party invitations for your holiday party.
View the entire collection of cards.

Happy 18, Stuart Martin Blomgren

Uncle Stuie is 18 today.  I will never forget getting the call announcing his birth.  I kept it on my answering machine and have replayed many times since then.  Priceless.

Stuart on July 9, 2011--celebrating Grandma & Grandpa's 50th anniversary at Voss Park

Friday, November 18, 2011


Every morning Osten likes to climb in the shower...he really enjoys the warm water and getting clean. This morning was a typical day with him begging for a shower. We got cleaned up and dried off. Shortly after getting dry, he squatted "in the position". I ran to get a diaper and came back to a little pile of poop and pee on the bathroom floor. In retrospect, I should have positioned him on the toilet..that would have been something if our soon to be 18 month old went potty on the toilet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The boys

While Brad is out of town, I have been having kids in bed with me. Tonight is Anders and Osten. We watched an episode of Biggest Loser and now to sleep. Love these moments.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

hey there pilgrim

Today our class discussed what we are thankful for. Big ideas were generated including, air, good dreams, the earth, God and Jesus, clean air, Good Hope, family, the ocean, fire fighters, ice-cream. We then decorated ourselves as pilgrims and made speech bubbles of what we are thankful for. One of the highlights of my year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On a jet plane

This morning, Brad left for a conference in California. It's his first time off island since we moved. Miss him much, and looking forward to his return.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy 92

Happy 92nd Birthday
Grace Nadine Spearman Swanson!  
Te quiro mucho.

celebrating Great Grandma's 91st birthday on November 14, 2010 at the Golden Valley, MN Red Lobster--Anders, Grace, Betty, Brad and Osten--4 generations

a plethora of love

My mailbox was brimming has been brimming with love in the past week.  Kicked off with Anders receiving a letter and photo from his friend Alex back in Wisconsin--very sweet.  Next we received a letter and school photos of the handsome trio of Thomas, Evan and Trenton Blomgren.  We then received another letter from Anders' friend Austin.  Next was a letter to our family from the Odegards complete with a card and a preserved maple leaf from Wisconsin.  We have been studying symmetry in nature in our Kindergarten class, so it was a perfect tie.  Lastly we have been receiving Butterfield papers that always brighten our days. 

It's wonderful to receive love from our loved ones.  We need to get busy and send some love back in return.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spain 2009

Bed and Breakfast in Girona Spain--the coolest city and apartment that we visited on our trip
It's hard to believe that we were in Spain over 2 years ago.  It was an incredible experience--we are living an incredible experience now as well. 

Girona was the most beautiful city on our trip.  Barcelona was lovely, metropolitan and upscale, but our apartment there paled in comparison.  We are saving our pennies for another trip--this time with the whole family and are aiming for 2019.  Perhaps another part of Europe will be our focus, but it's fun to plan and dream...


WOW!  I love numbers and it just happened that the week ending 11/11/11 was our 11th week of school.  Cool. 

It just so happens, we were invited to a birthday party for a young man with that birthday and that being his golden birthday.  Jack Patrick Ramsdell turned 11 and his Mom Roxy told me he was born between 11&12 on 11/11/2000.  It didn't take them long to realize when his golden birthday would be and since that day they have been planning a BIG party.  We were very priviledged to  be invited and had a wonderful time.  Anders and Katie didn't eat a thing as they were running around with friends, but good times were had by all. 

waltzing mathilda

Anders was inspired to waltz as he and his class attended a classical music presentation at Island Center.  The classical pianist asked for volunteers before approximately 200 students and Anders volunteered.  Great memory and very brave 10 year old boy.

Here is a link to the story on the St. Croix Source

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

class aquarium

Our class has been studying colors and in our reading series, we read a story about tropical fish--very appropriate for our location.  As a project, Kindergarten made a water color background, cut out coral and used crayon for the sand to create a class aquarium.  I took the photo before our lovely fish were added.  It's pretty cool and the kids think it's pretty groovy too.

swimming in Lindstrom

Last night, Osten, Brad and I drove to Lindstrom, Minnesota to see the River Falls Wildcats face Spring Lake Park and the Wildcats of Chisag...