Last Minute Easter Tip for Blended Families

It’s your first Easter together as a blended family and you’ve decided to use the baskets your kids already have.

Except your idea of an Easter basket is different than his/her’s. It’s a little late to run to the store and pick up new ones. So instead of using the old ones for candy use them to do the egg hunt. Grab like-sized bowls and fill for each child. No like-sized bowls in the house?

No problem. Lunch bags will work, decorate them or have the kids do it. The candy that doesn’t fit in the bags can go into a big family bowl. 

This way, no one feels mistreated. Next year buy new baskets all the same to help your family feel blended, or continue with your new make-your-own-basket tradition.

Image: Grant Cochrane /

posted by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

The Wedding

My Family without our Sara
This is our original family, the three boys with Ed and I. Josh is getting married, he’s the youngest. Standing next to him is Andy and Ben (he’s married to Sara) is next to Andy.

Ed and I relieved that everything went so well.

Getting ready to cut the cake.
They had a table full of sweet things as well.  That’s Bri with Josh. 

Here’s the whole wedding party and there’s our Sara in green with her hand raised. 

It’s going to be SOOOOO good to have two women in the family.

The Shower is over

I helped my daughter-in-law, Sara host a shower for my daughter-in-law- to-be, Bianna this weekend. Since I only have sons this was a huge pleasure!

We picked a theme which we had to eliminate because we couldn’t find games to go with the movie, The Princess Bride. We’d already picked up several princess items and decided we’d just continue with pink and princess!

Thankfully, Sara volunteered to host the shower at her house because parking at mine means pulling into the side yard!

We tried to get Ben and Josh, the groom-to-be to help, they said, “No.”

A last minute call to Ed for balloons to mark the house. He didn’t hesitate to go for them. We’re not sure of his knot tying skills though since by the end of the shower they were gone. Or did some one take them?

Even the water bottles were treated to an upgrade.

Except for some last minute cookies just in case there wasn’t enough food everything was gluten free!
Sara made almond cheese cake and I twisted the Martha Stewart Boston Cream Cupcke and made them raspberry cream cupcakes using Mixes from the Heartland’s raspberry pound cake. Yummy!
I also made their strawberry dip. Oh my so good!

They recieved a lot of nice gifts from family and friends. The quilt I made for them. Sara made the banner behind them with her cricket. It says Bride to Be!

Welcome to our family Brianna almost Lesire!

Getting ready

This weekend is the shower for my soon to be daughter-in-law, Brianna. My other daughter-in-law, Sara and I are enjoying every second of preparing for this event.

I can’t tell you the things we have done, but next week I’ll post a few photos. Pink and silver are involved, some chocolate, and sparkles…that’s all I can say, check back next week!

The Art of Practice

“You play the way you practice.”
Pop Warner (1871-1954)
   American football coach (Born Glenn Scobey Warner)  
painted by Andrew Brandmeyer
My son won second place in the art show this weekend. I’m proud of what he can do with paint, but there is so much more about him that makes me feel that way.
Andy has taught me that sticking to something you love and practicing it over and over again will bring you results. Big results. When he was small it was soccer and hours of practice in the backyard, then gymnastics–my house is still recovering, followed by guitar. He put several bands together and wrote music that made it on to cds that were sold in the bookstore. Then he found his true love, art. 

Soon he’ll be teaching a class this summer at the university. I wish I could take it. I asked him at the art show what made a certain piece art versus something anyone could do. He took the time to explain the different aspects and what to look for, color theory, marks made by the brushes, the amount of paint used are just a few of the things that make something worth the money. Then he said, “Then it comes down to if you like it enough to buy it.” 
I tend to give up and try something new, not Andy. Once he decides to do something he throws himself into the learning process and he doesn’t come up for air until he’s mastered it.
I’m learning to follow his example and last year I did nothing but learn about writing and it helped. My writing has improved, though not my spelling! 
I love that I learn from my kids. What have you learned from your’s if you have some?
* more about the painting. It’s mixed media, painted on hinged hollow core doors and it’s about 4 x 6 foot!


Easter has so many levels of meaning depending on your age and faith. 
For me it’s all about the resurrection of Christ.

If you’re 3, it’s about the dress, shoes, hat and eggs!

My great niece was very excited to tell us about her ruffled socks and pink dress. She loved her hat too.

The day was perfect for being outside to look for those hidden eggs.

Except for the wind!

A great whoosh came along and swiped the hat off of her head! 

Not to worry, her mom was able to catch it before it got to far away, but the hat was abandoned in order to search out the eggs. It was getting in her way. 

Later that day we experienced looking for eggs hidden by a 3-year-old. She would make one and only one person hide their eyes while she hid one egg. Then yell, “Ready!” 

As soon as eyes were uncovered she would LEAD the person to the egg and point to it. “There it is!”  

So much like the Easter message, if you want to believe you just follow Christ and He’ll say, “Here I am.”

We’re Growing!

We aren’t getting taller but our family is expanding. I love it! When my boys were small I never envisioned the day there would be other women in their lives. Silly me! Everyone came home New Year’s Eve for my husband, Ed’s birthday. He was surprised when he came through the door and saw so many friends and family. I’m so glad his sister had us take a family photo. I would have forgotten!

Later that night we went to Mr. and Mrs. Delightful’s house for dinner, board games and Wii. That was so much fun! I’d never played before and guess what? I still throw the ball backwards in bowling!

Mr. and Mrs. Delightful a.k.a Sara and Ben
We played Catch Phrase women against men. Guess who won? Yep, people who use words more than grunts will always win in word games. Sorry fellows.
Josh and Brianna

Traditions or Predictions?

This is Andy. Cute isn’t he? He made this ornament in 2nd grade, I think. I thought I would remember everything my kids did and said that were adorable but doesn’t work that way!

Andy has always been creative, making things with paper, drawing, guitar–his hair.

I’m so proud of him. He has just received his first Masters in Art and graduated with a 4.0. Yes, I said first. He’s going for his second and will be done next year. Then he plans on teaching art on the University level. Right now he has some of his work for sale on ETSY I really want the painting of the man, he sort of looks like my hubs.

All  my sons as they were growing up,  received a special ornament on St. Nicks. The hope was they would take these with them and adorn their own trees someday, that the ornaments would bring them treasured memories.

We still have Andy’s ornaments since he hasn’t found his permanent home yet. As I hung this one on the tree he called home to tell us about his grades.

For Andy every year I tried to find something to represent the talent I saw in him that year. Now I have a new memory to go with this one. Maybe he’ll let me keep it.

Ten Minutes that Almost Changed My Life

At 2 p.m. the phone rang.
“Hey, just wanted to let you know I’ll be a little late tonight.” said hubs.
“Okay, why?” I asked.
“I had an accident. Don’t freak. I’m fine. I knocked over a telephone pole. The truck and trailer are going to need some work. The ambulance came even though I told them I didn’t need them.” said Hubs.
My heart is in my throat. “I’m so glad you are okay. Was anyone else hurt?”
“No. I moved over so another car could pass and the wheel of the truck was to heavy for wet shoulder and it caved in as I started to drive off. The trailer hit the same spot and fishtailed across the road and knocked down the pole. Anyway I’m waiting for the sheriff so I’ll be late.”

I hang up glad he’s at least going to be coming home.

2:05 the phone rings again.
My mom is on the phone crying. Now my mom doesn’t cry. She’s lost 3 sons and a son-in-law she’s the strongest woman I know. If she’s crying the world is about to end.
It takes her a moment to get it out. “I didn’t want to call you.” gasp “I had to though. You have to know.”
Okay, forget the telephone accident I’m really upset now.
“What? What do I have to know?”
“Josh called me.” Josh is my youngest son he’s 22.
“Josh? Why?”
“He didn’t want me to tell you. I told him I had to and he hung up on me.”
This is not good. Josh would never do that to his grandmother.
“What did he say?”
“He said he’s in jail and he needs $2500 to get out. He was arrested for drunk driving.”
Now I’m really upset. Josh is working upstate. This can’t be right. He wouldn’t do this sort of thing, drinking driving and calling his grandmother for money something in the world must have happened to cause this insanity. Besides I had texted him and he replied less than two hours earlier.
“Mom, it’s okay. I’ll call him and see what’s going on. You did the right thing.”
“He’s going to hate me for telling you but I could just take the money to this place and have them send it to him without telling you.”

I call Josh, he doesn’t answer his phone. I leave him a nice mom message. I love you, you need to tell dad and I what is going on so we can help.That wasn’t satisfactory for me so I texted him. “Where are you?”
Less than a second later one came back. “Working.”
I texted him, “Call me now.”
He called and said, “What grandparent died?” (you have to know our history, this is not a crazy question)
“None of them, but one of them called and said you called asking for bail money because you are in jail.”
“What!!!!!” Silence. “I’m at work. I didn’t call. Hang up I’m calling Grandma right now.”

Turns out there are some really evil people out there messing with older people. Make me very angry that they would put my mom through this. Josh is a good kid and if he were in trouble the last person he would call would be his grandmother. 

So those ten minutes were unpleasant but tonight as I write this I’m thankful the story ended with only truck and trailer damage and a traumatized mom.

MSN does a report on scams puled on Grandmparents

Time for a breather!

NANO is over. I finished. I’m not happy with the end result but I did walk away with a better work ethic. AS in I will write everyday!

This weekend we met some friends downtown St. Louis. It was unseasonably warm, just the way I like the weather! We went to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner. They brought me the wrong kind of noodles, three months ago I would not have known the difference and I would have been sick. Now I  am wiser and asked them please to give me the gluten free pasta. This has been a hard learning process for me. I am not one to send things back to the kitchen but there wasn’t a choice here.

Later we drove to Kiener Plaza. I wish this shot had turned out a bit better. I took it with my phone because I forgot the camera. This is the court house and in the background you can see the arch. 

Tomorrow is December 1, I am not quite ready okay, I am not ready for Christmas. After a solid month of hard writing my house is a disaster! So I must clean it before thinking about putting out the tree. I also have to figure out how to feed 30 people on Christmas. I wonder how they would feel about gluten free food?