Friday, November 28, 2008

The Hidden Jewel of Chicago -- The Eaglewood Resort and Spa, Itasca, Illinois

Hidden in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago is one of the most picturesque and
family-friendly resorts in the Midwest, Eaglewood Resort and Spa. For our family
of seven (eight actually, but one is living overseas) Eaglewood at Thanksgiving
helped make memories to last a lifetime. My husband Bob, along with our children
Rob, Brent, Andrew, Megan, and MacKenzie spent an incredible weekend together
finding something for everyone in our large clan of kids.

Let me tell you more about this one of a kind get-away right in the midst of
Chicago's bustling suburbs.

From the moment you drive around the winding road leading to the resort you're
immediately drawn into another world.

What Bob and I particularly enjoyed was the pamper-you-to-death experience we
enjoyed in the Eaglewood Spa. From the moment we walked in we were greeted by a
friendly and professional staff, who handed us terry cloth bath robes so thick
and soft that the "I never want to give this back" factor set in immediately.

Overstuffed chairs, soft-lit candles, and complimentary refreshments certainly put in the mood for the Spa treatments that were soon to come. By the time they were done, we had both deleted stress and worry from our vocabulary for the week. We sipped hot rasberry tea and relished the relaxation for just a few minutes more.

The Frank Lloyd Wright inspired architect throughout the buildings was amazing. We also enjoyed the high vaulted ceilings in the lobby, the cozy fireplace...

I snapped a picture of our family on the way to Thanksgiving Dinner

There are several different restaurants throughout the resort including Burnhams

The Thanksgiving Dinner in the glass-walled Prairie Restaurant (the stunning architecture obviously inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright) was the perfect holiday gift for me (particularly because it fell on my birthday as well). The wait staff was amazing in their ability to service a table of five kids and two adults from appetizers to dessert (we give them 5 stars). We enjoyed succulent turkey slices, mouth-watering mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, hot homemade rolls with Dijon butter, and crisp salads for the introductory courses. It wasn't hard to give thanks for this Thanksgiving meal which we topped off with one steak sandwhich (there's always one child who doesn't like turkey), a large cheese pizza (who cares -- we all like the stuff), and Hagen-Das chocolate Sundays. The homemade Thanksgiving dinner that mom could have made was enjoyed by all.

After such major over-nourishment it was time to enjoy some recreation to combat
the somnambulatory effects of the turkey (you know -- it makes you want to do is
to sleep until Monday). There were so many choices for family activities right at the resort, it was hard to choose what to do first. We decided on the professional, high-tech bowling alley, complete with snacks and free bowling shoes> It brought out the competitor in all of us. With bright colored monitors above keeping score and offering its own brand of special effects each time a child bowled a strike or spare, it was a Maximum Fun Zone for the entire family.

In the bowling area, there was also a game room and refreshments that no one wanted to leave.

Day Two

No one had to distrupt their work out schedule! Eaglewood has a beautiful exercise room with state of the art bikes, treadmills, weight machines, and more.

What a beautiful day for golfing, even though it was November 28! The magnificent Eaglewood Golf Course spans much of the 100 plus acres of Eaglewood. Immacuately manicured and a delightful challenge whether playing amateur or pro, the golf course is open even into the late weeks of November. It is the perfect opportunity to get in the last enjoyable strokes of golf before the winters of Illinois arrive.

The swimming pool offered a rare treat we hadn't encountered before. A giant
flat screen mounted on one wall offered "The Bee Movie" for kids to splash and
dog-paddle their way through. Come on in, the water's fine

Meanwhile, Dad and Mom took particularly joy in the piping hot hot-tub, dry sauna, and oh-so-relaxing steam room. Private wood-paneled lockers, soft downy towels, and immaculate dressing rooms added to the total experience.

The rooms at Eaglewood reflect the excellence we found in every other amenity.
We enjoyed a large suite complete with king bed, a tastefully modern fold-out
sofa for the smaller children, luxuriously soft down comforters and a box of
designer "to die for" chocolates with the name "Eaglewood" imprinted on the white chocolate. It almost seemed a shame to eat what looked like a work of art (but we did anyway). Our older kids had rooms with amenities for young adults and teenagers.

What else can we say about the spectacular views from the balcony of each room, the oversized work station desks in each room, and so much more? If you're looking for the ideal place to bring your family together for an experience you'll all treasure for holidays to come -- may we suggest the Eaglewood? It is indeed the Hidden Jewel of Chicago you need to discover. It's affordable especially because your family entertainment is right at the resort.

I have a great idea for a Special Holiday Gift

Eaglewood has a wonderful gift shop and also a golf pro shop. Stop by Eaglewood and buy a beautiful shirt. Wrap up your purchased gift shirt with a gift certificate for a weekend for two or 1/2 day at the spa for someone special. It's a personal gift your family member will long remember.

Christmas Events Coming up...

Our thanks to the management and staff at Eaglewood Resort and Spa who gave us a weekend away that we won't soon forget. Make your upcoming holiday plans now at the Eaglewood, where luxury is standard.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ELF-SERVE not Self-serve - What Mommy is thinking about in December…


What Mommy is thinking about in December…
...while everyone is rushing through the doors chasing bargains the day after Thanksgiving, mommy is thinking about how can she recover from a broken hip in time for Christmas Eve.

...while everyone else is taking three months to find the most popular toy, mommy is still trying to remember where she hid last year’s most popular toy.

...while everyone is taking pictures at the kids' church Christmas musical, mommy hopes they don’t take one of her because she’s wearing two different colors of shoes (the dog has hidden one of each).

...while everyone else is sporting those great red Santa hats, mommy remembers wearing one last year and causing a multiple car fender bender because she was mistaken for a stoplight.

...while everyone else is using the Advent calendar to count down to Christmas, mommy is counting down to December 26 (and the full body mud spa treatment she promised herself).

...while everyone else is wearing Christmas sweaters, mommy knows that they actually make you look like a mobile Christmas bulletin board.

...while everyone is trading fruit cakes, if mommy says yes to one more Christmas party where they are yodeling Jingle Bells, she's going to become a fruitcake.

...while everyone is opening presents Christmas Eve, mommy is wondering if anyone will notice that to hide the taste, she basted the burned turkey with green jello.

...while everyone else knows Santa is real, mommy knows he isn't, but if he was, he'd be in charge of cleaning up the wrapping paper.

Have a Merry Celebration of Christ’s Birth!

Want to read a great Christmas story to your children or grandchildren?

Check out Baby Saves Christmas by Cheryl Moeller and Melissa Moeller Briggs, Juvenile ficition that you won't want to put down!

(illustrated by Susan R. Smith)

Buy here today.

Mommy's Night Before Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
The children were sleeping,
Even my spouse.

I was searching for the stockings, I looked under a chair,
But under the cushion found rippled potato chips there.

The children had not wanted to go to their beds,
As visions of Easy Bake Ovens danced in their heads,
Exhausted I closed my eyes and soon fell asleep,
Till rudely awakened by the sounds of BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

The relatives made it here hurray after all,
Now it would truly be a complete Christmas ball,
The children were awakened, and with them hubby Steve,
by Grandpa Alexander and Grandma Eve.

As the hot cocoa that night so generously flowed,
I noticed something under the sink that seemed rather old,
It was the stockings I had sought for hidden inside a container.
Only they had been used last week as a handy spaghetti strainer.

Friday, November 21, 2008

All I want for Christmas is a Kangaroo

(Big Jackson One Room Schoolhouse, Big Jackson, MI was one of the schools where
Marvel Windquist taught.)

My Grandma Windquist was one of the last one room schoolhouse teachers in Michigan.
She retired in 1969.

Grandpa Windquist's farm was near the Big Jackson crossroads. At the crossroads there was just the one room schoolhouse and a church. Big Jackson is in Newaygo County, north of Big Rapids, MI.

Through the years, Grandma lovingly knitted and crocheted made us all baby blankets, afagans, mittens, and gloves.

One Thanksgiving she whispered to my mom she was knitting cardigan
sweaters for all 12 of the grandchildren for Christmas. Grandma was way before her
time, being cool with knitting.

I overheard the conversation and told my three sisters, we were all getting knitted kangaroos. Being the youngest sister, I felt very cool and important that I had the inside information.

I was shocked Christmas morning, when we received knitted cardigan
sweaters intead!

Moral: Don't listen in on other people's conversations.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We Have a Lot to be Grateful for Every Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, get rid of envy and it will bring great gain...

Envy is the great enemy of thankfulness. We cannot at the same time be jealous of what someone else has and be thankful for what we have. That's why it's so necessary to discipline ourselves to be focused on all the good that is our's, rather than all our unfilled wants.

As you look at your life this Thanksgiving, consider the things that are
truly your's. The warm memories of parents who loved you and raised you.

The sweet experiences of friendships that saw you through difficult
transitions in life. The years of growing deeper in love with your mate.
The decades of love, mercy and grace from our Savior and Lord.

Would you trade any of these for control of a bank, a seat at a cabinet
table, or a good year on the stock exchange? A recent survey done by a
Massachusetts life insurance company revealed that the average person
would rather spend Thanksgiving with his family than be give $1,000 in

It is a sign of the age that such a question would even be posed. This
Thanksgiving we are grateful. We are grateful for many things. One of
them is that when our daughter Melissa, was seven years old, she was
involved in a serious bicycle accident that left her unconscious. Bob
was with her when it happened and he thought for several minutes while
waiting for help to arrive that she might be dead.

The most wonderful words Bob has ever heard in his life occurred when
she opened her eyes, groggy and dazed, and simply said, "daddy."

We don't care that we're not wealthy.

We don't seem to mind that we drive older used cars.

We're not disturbed that our clothes don't come from Michigan Avenue
in Chicago.

Our daughter, Melissa, is alive. And every time she smiles at us with
her beautiful twenty-four year old grin, we realize we are the richest
people on earth. Not only that, but we have five other beautiful children
and each other as well.

We hope you realize that you have all you need, this very day, to make
you happy. If you're not happy, it's probably because the virus of envy
is at work in your soul. There's a simple antidote for that disease. It's
a Biblical Proverb the early pilgrims lived by, "But godliness with
contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6)." This Thanksgiving, take the cure.

by Cheryl and Bob Moeller

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Postcard from God Devotional

It was 10:00 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving. In just a few hours the doors to our inner-city church would open, and we would host our urban neighbors, many of whom were Native Americans, to a free Thanksgiving dinner.

We were making last-minute preparations when we heard a loud knock at the front door. Another interruption, we thought as we trudged toward the door. When we opened the door, we were greeted by two delivery men from Sears.

"Will you sign for this?" one of the men asked as he shoved a clipboard our way.

"Sure, what is it?"

"A freezer," he answered.

"We didn't order a freezer."

"Someone did," he said. With that, he and his burly partner pushed past us and wheeled a full-length deep freeze up the steep steps and into our church.

As we studied the invoice, we discovered a sister church, New Hope Church in Crystal, MN, had purchased the appliance for us. That's strange, we thought. They never told us it was coming.

Our minds returned to the Thanksgiving dinner. Within a few hours, the first flakes of snow started coming down. In Minnesota in late November, that can mean anything from a dusting to three-foot snow drifts. On this particular day, it meant the worst. By 4:00 p.m., the flakes had turned into a major-league blizzard. The timing couldn't have been worse. By that late hour, all the food for our dinner had been prepared—a dozen turkeys, nearly a hundred pounds of mashed potatoes, and scores of piping-hot pies.

But we had no one to eat any of it. All our food and effort was about to go to waste.

That's when we remembered the gift we had received only hours earlier. We wrapped the food and carried it upstairs to our new storage freezer. One week later we held the postponed dinner and served a hot Thanksgiving meal to a church packed with grateful neighbors and needy friends.

Looking back, we realize we received more than an appliance from a department store that day. We received a postcard from God.

What's a postcard from God? It's one of those providential, serendipitous events that appear in our lives, marriage and family—a reminder that God has not forgotten us. For us, it's like receiving a short note that reads, "Dear Cheryl and Bob, I was thinking of you today. Just thought I'd let you know. Love, Your heavenly Father."

The ways in which he sends these timely postcards are as unpredictable as they are amazing. The net effect seems always the same: to encourage and strengthen us, often when we need it the most.

Piles of unwanted junk mail are delivered daily. As catalogs, sales brochures, newspapers, and a host of other materials accumulate on our desks, our goal is to dispose of the piles as quickly as possible. In the same way, our lives, our marriages, our families, and schedules can become cluttered with carpools, shopping, taking care of kids, exercising, committee meetings, weekly deadlines, and urgent calls to make. Our goal can become simply to get through the day.

In the midst of sorting through such clutter, it's easy to overlook the simple notes our heavenly Father sends to remind us of his love. When we take the time to sort through "coincidences" of my life, we discover simple but much-needed messages reminding us, "I love you. I haven't forgotten you."

Signed, Your God.

By Cheryl and Bob Moeller

Cheryl's Free Cookbook Offer:

Need a unique recipe to add sparkle to your Thanksgiving feast? New punch recipe? Crunchy salad? Fabulous dessert? Cheryl's cookbook Aunt Sarah's Alaskan Cookbook will give your guests cause for a standing ovation. Here's a free copy from now until Thanksgiving Day:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Product Review - Hannah Mixes for You

We had the joy of reviewing Hannah Mixes for You Products.

Megan reviwed - Creamy Potato Cheddar Soup Mix
Warm, nourishing, fresh tasting, great blend, perfect cold day soup!
It makes a lot more soup than you think, because you need to add more
milk and water than it calls for. Let winter begin!

MacKenzie reviewed - Snickerdoodles
What do they put in this mix that makes you want more? There must be
a hidden,secret ingredient. Straight from the oven, you can't really
beat this treat.

Bob reviewed - Hot Chocolate Mix
I found myself hiding the glass jar that this mix came in. It was rich,
so you didn't need that much in a hot cup of water. I know what I'm getting
the clients on my Christmas list this year.

Cheryl reviewed - Double Chocolate Walnut Bread Mix
My older kids wanted brownies, so I tweaked this recipe by adding butter and
no milk and it make perfect brownies. It cooked in less time also. Quality
ingredients make quality products and that's what we found with Hannah Mixes
for you!

Below is an order form:

Hannah Mixes For You

Soups (Presented in cloth bag) $5.00 ea
 Creamy Potato Cheddar Soup Mix (5-6 servings)
Gentle blend of potatoes and creamy cheddar.

 Alphabet Soup in Minutes Soup Mix (4-5 servings)
A favorite with kids and parents alike.

 Italian Tomato & Pasta Soup Mix (4-5 servings)
Bold and flavorful!

 Home-style Chicken & Rice Soup Mix (10-12 servings)
A healthy classic.

Breads & Muffins (Presented in cloth bag) $6.00 ea
 Quick Pumpkin Bread Mix (1 loaf or 12 muffins)
A Year-Round Favorite.

 Double Chocolate Walnut Bread Mix (1 loaf/12 muffins)
Yummy Chocolate with a creamy texture!

 Fresh & Fruity Muffin Mix (yields 18 muffins)
Delicious for a breakfast treat or snack!

Cookies (Presented in glass jar) $7.00 ea
 Snickerdoodles Cookie Mix (makes 5 dozen)
A heavenly tasting treat! (Available only in bags)

 Trail Mix Cookie Mix (makes 4 dozen)
Wheat germ, raisin and coconut… yum!

 Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (makes 4 dozen)
A healthy and delicious choice that kids love!

 Oatmeal Raisin & Spice Cookie Mix (makes 4 dozen)
A wonderful blend of oats, raisins and spices!

Hot Chocolate Mix in a Decorative 8 oz. Jar (8 servings) $7.00 ea
Hannah Mixes Order Form

SOUPS $5.00 each Quantity Total
Creamy Potato Cheddar Soup Mix
Alphabet Soup in Minutes Soup Mix
Italian Tomato & Pasta Soup Mix
Homestyle Chicken & Rice Soup Mix

BREADS & MUFFINS $6.00 each
Quick Pumpkin Bread Mix
Double Chocolate Walnut Bread Mix
Fresh & Fruity Muffin Mix

Snickerdoodles Cookie Mix
Trail Mix Cookie Mix
Whole Grain Chippers Cookie Mix
Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookie Mix
Creamy Hot Chocolate Mix in Decorative Jar


Customer Information
City, State, Zip:
Phone Number:
THANK YOU for your order!! Please make checks payable to Hannah Anderson. Mixes will be delivered two weeks from date ordered. For delivery & other requests, please indicate here:

To place an order, email your information to or fax us at 773-774-5388.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Eight Ways to Enhance Any Language Arts Homeschool Curriculum at Christmas Time

(Illustration by Susan R. Smith)

1. Make up a story to tell your children over a period of days or weeks during the month of December. Swiss Family Robinson began as a series of stories that Johann David Wyss told his children bit by bit, each night at bedtime. As a parent, you can capture your children’s hearts and imagination with the retelling of the Christmas story and stories of your childhood Christmas memories.

2. The Long, Long Christmas Book Train. Around the ceiling in your homeschool room, put a large construction paper red or green train car each time your children finishes a book in December. Challenge your children to read enough books in December to make the caboose and engine meet or fill up a whole wall! When the Christmas train goal is met, throw a Christmas train themed party with another homeschool family.

3. Name that Christmas “Stuffie.” Give each of your children a $1 small stuffed animal or “stuffie” for your December homeschool mascot. Spend an hour thinking of names for your Christmas “stuffie.” Each child makes up their own list of 20 or 50 creative “Yuletide-themed” names, depending on the child’s age. Then, have them eliminate names and come up with their most favorite.

4. “Read to me by Skype.” Have an older homeschool student, cousin, aunt, or grandpa skype or telephone each day during December and read your younger child a Christmas theme story. If you have older children, have them call up a younger homeschooler each weekday in December and read to them.

5. Don’t get out of your regular Library habit. Your children could easily stay home during busy days and use the internet, but they also need to visit the library in person. Stay and read at tables. Do a Christmas craft, if offered. Gaze and gawk. Dawdle through the aisles.

6. Writing enhances reading. Reading also enhances writing. There are many opportunities for a child to write around the “Holy-Days.” The lost art of letter writing can be found again, when your kids write letters to each relative.

7. What you do; not just what you say. Even during the busy month of December, Mom and dad need to read each day to set the “reading is important” example.

8. Cereal Book Club. During December invite some homeschool friends over to your home for a Cereal (Serial) Book Club. Each child brings a box of their favorite healthy cereal to share and a copy of an assigned book in a certain series with the topic of winter or Christmas. Each child shares the book’s name, two amazing facts about it, and reads their two favorite pages of the book aloud. Encourage all the children to finish the other books in the “cerealies” (series).

By Cheryl Moeller

Cheryl is also the author, along with her daughter, Melissa of the book,
Baby Saves Christmas, juvenile fiction with homeschool characters.

Cheryl has also written a curriculum (that's only $3.00) for preschoolers called

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Indiana Wants Me

I'll be in Schererville, Indiana with my comedy on Tuesday Morning,
November 11. If you live in the area and would like to attend, please
contact me for more details.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Think Outside the Bulb...

I'll be in Orland Park (Wednesday) and Grayslake (Thursday) this week
making moms laugh. Let me know, if you are interested in attending
and I will send you details

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New E-book - Baby Saves Christmas by Cheryl and Melissa Moeller

Christmas juvenile fiction with
homeschool characters. Don't miss this
new fiction with curriculum!

What people are saying about Baby Saves Christmas:

"A wonderful book to share Jesus with our five children this Christmas. We hope you too, will take advantage of the Christmas season to share the message of the Baby with your babies.” - Rick and Laura Pierce, Executive Director of MarriageVine Ministries, Homeschool Mom of 5

“Great for your beginner readers. Sit back with your little ones and enjoy this quaint story together, and consider how the home-made Christmas presents are often the best.” - Kathy Davis, Homeschool Mom,

”Definitely a five-bark book! Here's a terrific reason to paws...ur...pause and take a fresh look at the magic of Christmas. You decked the halls but now YOU feel decked? Plop a child on your lap and a dog at your feet. This is a tail...ur... tale you'll treasure reading year after year.” - Jon and Diana Gauger, from dog-dominant Dupage County, Illinois

"This heartwarming, clever story about the real Christmas moves quickly from the first page to the last!” - Nick and Lisa Jungheim, Duncan, Oklahoma

“A delightful gift for children that strikes all the right notes, Baby Saves Christmas is a charming story of simple faith and the real meaning of the season.” - J. Louise Larson, editor, The Ennis Journal, author of The FabJob Guide to Become a Party Planner, Ennis, TX

“The remarkable story of a Christmas without pretense is told with wit, warmth, and wisdom.” - Sheilah, Homeschool Mom, Illinois

“I really loved this cute book.” - Micaiah, Homeschool Student, Illinois

“Makes the important point that Christmas has been taken over by materialism.” - Elyse Connors, Kalamazoo, MI

“An unforgettable sweet story of amazing power.” - Carolyn Oswald, Emmaus, Pennsylvania