Category Archives: Saturday Snapshots

Morning Meanderings… Christmas, Weather, and A New Year Is Coming


Good morning!  We made it to Saturday!  My house is quiet, the boys are gone, Al is out working, and the day is all mine.  LOVE days like this.  No agenda.  Nada.  I thought for Saturday Snapshot today we would take a peek at Christmas, but first… look at this shot out my front window this morning…

Central Minnesota - 12/27/14

Central Minnesota – 12/27/14

Yup.  Central Minnesota has no snow.  Some are complaining.  I get that there is no tubing, skiing, snowmobiling…  but to me it means there is no super cold, super wet, slippery roads, driveways to plow, sidewalks to shovel….   I’m good with this. :)

Christmas as I mentioned yesterday was lovely.  We had a great day of food and games and movies.  We opened gifts and hung out together.

PicMonkey Collage

Good times!  Now this week is fairly quiet but I have a big trip coming up soon so need to prep for that.  (More details to come!)



For those of you participating in the First Book Of The Year (and I hope you all are!)  please send in your pic of you and the book by December 31s so I can prep the collage to go up on January 1st.  Details about first book are here.

Morning Meanderings… Much Ado About Nothing


Good morning!  Saturday and I am in St Cloud preparing for day two of our Board Meeting for Camp Benedict.  This has been awesome so far.  Already we have made great strides to what camp will look like in 2015 and I am excited about the teamwork that has gone into those decisions.

Today we will wrap up by early afternoon.  I am going to get ready, load my car, and then head down to the breakfast area to enjoy COFFEE and wait for the rest of the group to trickle down.  My picture for today’s Saturday Snapshot came from the Lounge as we wrapped up our meeting last night:


It was just a funny pic to see Santa sitting at the bar.  He wasn’t drinking anything, but it was still funny…. made we want to think of a caption for the pic :)  He was more than happy to oblige us for the picture.

Heading home this afternoon…. have a project I am working on for Christmas and I am excited to get started. :)


2014 in Review – The People, The Events, The Haircuts….


At the end of each year I like to take a look back and see what the past year has looked like as a whole.  As things happen throughout the year I tend to either forget about them, or forget they happened this year.  It is a fun “year in review” for me… and I thought this post would work wonderfully for Saturday Snapshot.

*Note all links lead to the original posts written on these events.


January 2014…


This was the first year I hosted the First Book Of The Year meme and it was sooo much fun!  50 people from around the world joined me by sending in a picture of then with the first book that they planned to read for the New Year.  It seriously brought tears to me eyes!  (I am hosting this one again if you would like to sign up)



My friend Amy and I also started off the New Year by running the Polar Dash 5K on January 1st in St Paul, Minneapolis.  Yes, it was cold but a great way to start out the New Year!  (There are some great shots on this post including a guy who ran the MARATHON version of this run in a speedo.)



Harper Collins blessed our Book Club with copies of the Labor Day book by Joyce Maynard as well as tickets to go see the movie and a gift card to purchase goodies to enjoy with the movie!



Going to the Pink Concert!



A few of us drove to see author Wendy Webb on the release day of her newest book, The Vanishing.



Spending time with Author Patrick Ness!  (Author of an excellent series, The Knife Of Never Letting Go.



February 2014…


Dog sledding for my friends birthday!



Bookies out for horduerves and then to the Labor Day Movie!



I asked my College son for the gift of levitation for my birthday.  I had found instructions of how to do it on Picmonkey and Justin came through!



Locking myself our of my car at the cabin… on the North Shore… on a Sunday.  Egads.



Detroit Lakes getaway with friends – Sara, Heidi, and Cindy



March 2014…


The Bookies trying coke and salted peanuts for our review of The Secret Life Of Bees.



The Get Lucky run – 5k!



The Glow Run with Laura and Amy!  I did not write a post up on this… it was a run at night and it was hard to get any pics :)


Spring Library sale!


April 2014…


April… and still snowing.



Cabin weekend of books and time with Sammy the dog.



May 2014…


Justin graduated from college in May!!!



Jon Hassler Library Dedication event.



Harper Collins party in New York during BEA and AWKWARD Twitter moment….



June 2014…


Nathan Jorgenson Author event.



Speaking at the Blogger Con in New York on Taking Your Writing to the next level.



More details on the Harper Collins party in New York.


BEA Author breakfasts:  Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segal, and Jeff Kinney (DIary Of A Wimpy Kid)



My five year Blogiversary!



Camp Benedict – a camp for those infected and affected by AIDS



July 2014…


The Bookies Queen event!



The GIGANTO rabbit in my yard all summer!



Author Julie Kramer event.



Tour of Saints 50 mile bike ride.



A New Normal.


August 2014…



Wisconsin MUCKFEST! 



More about the Muckfest.



Bookies going to an author event!



Author Christina Baker Kline Event!



Learning to extract honey right from the hive!



Wine and Words The Event!!!  212 awesome guest!



Wine and Words after the party!


September 2014…



Hair cut ;)



The Fall Book Sale – going to the next level :)


October 2014…



Wine and Words wins best new Friends event in Minnesota!



The big author event in St Paul Minnesota and I think I honestly forgot to recap it! Good grief!



Monster Dash with my friend Wendy (I dont think I posted this either…)

November 2014…


Harry Potter World in Florida with Justin!



My thoughts and review of the Gringotts Bank Ride at Universal Studios



Working in Florida with bees



Thanksgiving with the family!


December 2014…

Nothing going on at this time in December.  I have been working in the house and writing.


SO that’s the year so far.  It has been one of many different hair styles, events, friends, family.  It has been a year of change that is for sure.  I am excited to see what 2015 will hold.

PicMonkey Collage

PicMonkey Collage1

PicMonkey Collage2

Morning Meanderings… Library Happenings


Good morning!  Post Thanksgiving and 2 days.  I suppose some of you are still entertaining family or out-of-town yourself for the weekend.  I am at home, Justin left for the cities yesterday afternoon and all has been put away.  Life is back to normal.

Today for Saturday Snapshot I wanted to post what has been happening at our library lately.  Last Sunday we went in and decorated for the holidays:

PicMonkey Collage

On Wednesday I went in and changed out the window to Christmas or Winter reading:


Today I am going in to make the book tree for our open house.  The Open House is Monday.  This is an annual event where we invite in the public for refreshments and to see the decorations for the library.  We will have Friends Of The Library information set up, cookies and punch, as well as a drawing for Christmas turkeys.

It should be a good time. :)

Does your library have a Friends Group?  Are you a part of it?  It is a lot of fun and connects you to other book lovers.


Morning Meanderings… What I Have Been Doing While I Was Away


Good morning!  This post was planned for two Saturdays ago but where we were staying in Florida I had terrible internet and I could not get my pictures to load up.  Now that I am home they loaded up quickly and for this Saturday Snapshot I thought I would share what I did in Florida.

I was working with my friend Amanda and her husband Tim.  They own a bee business here in Brainerd, Buck’s Busy Bee’s.  The bees go to Florida every winter as the Minnesota winter months are too hard on them.  Amanda needs to go to check on them once a month and asked if I would like to come along and help and I said yes, it sounded like a nice break from the cold and I am fascinated by what the bees do.

This is a bee yard.  Each set of stacked boxes represents a hive.

This is a bee yard. Each set of stacked boxes represents a hive.


November turned out to be a longer trip than initially planned.  We initially were going to be a week, but weather in Minnesota prevented us from completing some things here that had been planned out so we had to do that in Florida instead.  Our trip was 16 days of working sun up to sun down – and many days later than that.

One of our main focuses was to split the hives.  Splitting the hives makes more hives and when you have a strong healthy hive it is easy to take a few splits off it.  To split a hive each new hive must have:


The cocoa colored area in the center of this frame is brood. Babies!


  1. A brood.  Brood are babies and what the worker bees work hard on to keep warm and protect.



2.  Honey.  The frame of honey goes up against the frame of brood so the worker bees can feed the babies.   Preferably you would like two frames of honey one on each side of the brood.



3.  Drawn out frames.  (You can see what a clean frame looks like at the bottom of each pic.  They are yellow and that is what the bee works off of).  A drawn out frame, as seen above can be dark like this one or could be light like the start of a honey frame.


4.  BEES.  You want lots and lots of bees to go with each hive to start their own.  The hives are actually moved  at night as that is when all bees are back in the hives and the forager bees are home.  These are the bees that go out and bring the pollen back to the hive.

5.  A QUEEN.  Each hive needs its own Queen.  I wanted to take a picture of a queen on a frame but to do that would have involved me to take my big work gloves off and well… it was a bit risky so instead I have this little video to show you the difference between the Queen and the other bees and how to find the Queen (yes I know I don’t have to capitalize “queen” but it seems like I should…LOL, she is royalty after all!)


What takes the longest in this process is that you must find the Queen before you start creating splits as she needs to remain in the bottom box as an existing hive.  The other splits will require a new Queen to be placed in each of their boxes/hives.

So how do you keep the Queen in the bottom box once she is found and you are not ready to move the rest of the hive yet?


This is a Queen Excluder


A Queen Excluder allows the regular worker bees to crawl through the tiny slats, but the Queen herself is too large to fit through.  That way, once find the Queen and ensure she is in the bottom box, you put the excluder over the top of that box and then add the rest of the boxes of that hive on top of that.

I enjoyed finding the Queen although it can be frustrating when you go through each frame three or four times and can not find her.  Sometimes I felt that I was “Queen blind”.  Finding her though brought out the gamer in me, like I had passed that level.  She is actually fun to look at and watch.  She moves a little slower than the worker bee, but amazingly she is the bee that keeps the whole hive working.  Without her the hive will die.


Beetle Trap Oil

Beetle Trap Oil

Another thing we did in Florida was we went through and put in each box a small tray of this Beetle Trap Oil which I liked to call Beetle Juice.  The Beetle Oil (juice!) attracts beetles that can get in the hive and kill the bees.  The beetles which are tiny and black fall into the oil and are killed.  Nasty business.

Anyone else remember this awful movie from 1988?

Anyone else remember this awful movie from 1988?


We moved bees at night – over night actually.  They were loaded on to a semi truck after dark as that is when the bees are in the hive.  I did not do, but Amanda and Tim would then haul the new hives 3 1/2 hours away to host home yards, which are people who had agreed to have bees on their property.


It was a lot of work.  We usually started our day between 5:30 and 6:00 am and ended around 6 – 8 pm.  I pretty much just worked, ate dinner, and slept.  My hands hurt from all the lifting of the hives and frames each day as well as the stings on my fingers (even through the work gloves).  My hands are still swollen and I can not get my rings on yet.


That’s pretty much the basics of where I have been and what I have been doing.  I am in still recovering now that I am home (arrived Thursday evening).  Today I am just hanging around the house doing a little reading, a little audio, just chilling out.  My body is exhausted.



Universal Studios: New Harry Potter World Additions and Re-Read Kick Off


Happy Kick-Off to the Re-Read Readathon for Harry Potter!  This Re-Read happened to coincide with my son and my annual Florida trip to Universal Studios… more importantly Harry Potter World.  If you are a Potter Head, such as myself, you are probably aware – or at least heard Muggle mumblings of additions being made to the park…. most specific – A Hogwart’s Express that you can actually ride from one park to another.  There was also mention of additional shops, Diagon Alley, and a Gringott’s Bank ride.  All of this…

definitely worth checking out.

Join me now… for my thoughts on the additions to the park and what you should know before you go.



For the whole “Look I have been accepted to Hogwart’s and am going to the school on a train!” experience, it is important (vital really) that you enter from the Universal Studios side of the park.  *Note – it is two parks adjoined together, you can pay for the Adventure Island park pass and be able to walk into Harry Potter World but for the full experience with the train ride and Diagon Alley you will need to buy the park pass for both parks…expensive – yes.  Worth it?  You bet.


Once you enter the King’s Cross Area you will have your ticket checked by a Train Conductor (I like to use the word Keeper) but my son says that is not correct… sheesh… like he is Magic born or something…)

While on your way to the train you get to experience some super cool effects.  Do not miss out on going through the wall to get to platform 9 3/4 (it is easy to miss – you have to watch your friends go through to see it.. if you see other people stopped and looking at a wall – you should too!)  I have a cool video of this on my Facebook page (Sheila McKinney DeChantal).  Here is a sort of picture of it:


Once you get to the train area (oh yeah it is awesome!), you will wait to be seated and you will go in a very authentic looking version of the Hogwarts train – even the fun little compartments to sit in with your Hogwart friends.

Justin at 9 3/4

Justin at 9 3/4



Then you are off – it is actually a smooth ride and you may not even think the train is actually moving – but it is because the doors open up and you are in the other park (Island Of Adventures) and you are at the entrance of Hogsmeade, the town near the Hogwarts School.  This is all the original Harry Potter World park so if you are new, be sure to check out all the amazing detail in the shops, listen for the show on the stage, and perhaps grab a bite to eat in Three Broomsticks, a beer in Hogshead (very cool and authentic) or – for the whole family… you must try the Butter Beer – either on ice or frozen:


If you are new to the Harry Potter Wold or a repeat offender such as Justin and I, you must go on The Forbidden Journey ride.  Walking through the Hogwarts building is a treat in itself with amazing detail, talking pictures, the whole works.  Even if you opt out of the ride, you are able to walk through this part and check it out.  However – do not opt out of the ride!  It is mainly simulated, you are in a seat and get the feeling of flying through the air.  There are no sudden drops and you are not really shook up as in some rides.  I personally LOVE IT.

But now… where is the new stuff?  Well, we were not sure either but we looked at the awesome sauce park map and discovered it was back in the other park…

Nicely played Universal, nicely played….  utilizing both parks so well.


Note – this is perfect.  YOU want to ride the train into Hogsmeade and go to Hogwarts BEFORE you go back to Diagon as the train experience is a bit different.  When you get off the train back in the Universal Park Diagon Alley is not obvious where it is.  Come off the train and go to the left… you will receive a few hints… for instance, the Knight Bus is there along with the Shrunken Head (be sure to check out the back of the bus, you can step into it.)



If you look across the road from the Knight Bus you will see a large brick wall and you can see an area to go in.  It looks as though it may be a way to bathrooms… there is nothing identifying it… but step in and around the corner…



AHHHHH AHHHHHHHH!  It is DIAGON ALLEY!  Sweet Mother!  It is a while new world hidden behind a wall!  Seriously, this finding… took almost the rest of our day!  There is so much to see!


PicMonkey Collage

Many of the shops you could walk into… of course they are selling everything from chocolate frogs to Quidditch gear.  Scarves, gloves, hats, t-shirts, gowns, Weasley sweaters, key chains, Christmas ornaments… you name it.. they probably have it.

The Leaky Cauldren is a restaurant but they told us it had a different menu than the Three Broomsticks which is found at Hogsmeade.  Florrish and Blotts had notebooks, diaries, pens, note pads… there was so much to see and do!  Justin even was chosen to be tried for a wand…

Yes, we got our geek on.

Yes, we got our geek on.


Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes was a cool shop of candy and gags, great looking building inside and out.


Kids… ok people, can purchase wands and in certain places in Diagon Alley you can stand on these cool areas that tell you what spell to use and how to swish your wand and things will move.  It was brilliant and the kids… err…. people, loved it.


Of course… the real highlight of the new Diagon Alley area is the Gringott’s Bank ride.  This ride will be discussed in a separate post so not to make an already long gushing post longer.  :)  Hopefully I will get that post up today.


My overall rating on a scale of 1 – 10, a 10+.  For all Potter fans this is a must do trip.  It was absolutely awesome to see all the people wearing Harry Potter gear, ties and gowns were everywhere.. this is truly a franchise that is not going anywhere soon and kudos plus to the amazing J K Rowling for creating such a phenomenon that captures the imaginations of children of all ages.



This is as I mentioned the kick off date the The Harry Potter Re-Read Readathon.  Check out the details… there are giveaways and house points and all sorts of fun for those who decide to join in. :)

Saturday Snapshot: My Summer Report by Sheila


Good morning.  Saturday is here and it looks like it is going to be a nice one.  Which is good as the two big projects from yesterday – the picking of the apples and the mowing of the lawn did not happen.  And I have since found out that we have a wedding to attend this afternoon….

Life – never dull.

I was looking at old posts and I saw that last year at the end of summer I posted pics for Saturday Snapshot of what I did with my summer.  I do not even recall doing that….lol.  I thought today for Saturday Snapshot I would do that again.  It has been an odd summer full of huge life changes both scary and exciting and I think a walk through what was fun will do me good:


DeChantal, Justin, Book JOurney

Our youngest son graduated from College.


Adriana Trigiani, Stephanie Evanovich, Dorthy Benton Frank, Book Expo 2014, Harper Collins

At The Book Expo in New York and had a chance to hang out with Dorthy Benton Frank, Adriana Trigiani, and Stephanie Evanovich. Bliss!!!


Bookies Book Club, Sheila DeChantal

A few of the Bookies Book Club dress up for our annual Queen Event


Bucks Busy Bees, SHeila DeChantak, Book JOurney

Helping out in the bee hives.



Summer reading!


ST Joseph, Minnesota, Tour Of Saints, Sheila DeChantal, Amy Price

Tour Of Saints 50 mile bike ride in ST Joseph Minnesota


Gooseberry Falls, Sheila DeChantal

Gooseberry Falls, Cabin trip with my cousin Cheryl


Muckfest, Wisconscin, Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Wisconsin Mud Run for MS – Me, Amy, Jody, Jenny


AMy Price, Sheila DeChantal, Bookjourney, Muckfest

Ready for the Muckfest in Wisconsin!


Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

The giant rabbit in my yard.


Barbara Claypole White, Randy Susan Meyers, Lorna Landvik, Catherine McKenzie, and Benjamin Percy, Wine and Words, Brainerd Minnesota, Sheila DeChantal

Hanging with Wine and Words authors – Barbara Claypole White, Randy Susan Meyers, Lorna Landvik, Catherine McKenzie, and Benjamin Percy


Wine and Words Brainerd Minnesota

Part of the 210 in attendance at Wine and Words 2014


ST Paul Classic, 2014, Amy Price, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

St Paul Classic Bike Ride – Amy and I


Bucks Busy Bees, Book JOurney, SHeila DeChantal

Learning to extract honey


Those are the highlights… bike rides and mud runs, playing with the bees, author events, sunny days… friends. :)  Stop over at Saturday Snapshot to see what others are taking pictures of this week :)

Morning Meanderings… STORMS


Good morning.  EARLY morning here…. 4:12 am to be exact.  I am helping my friends today at the Little Falls Craft Fair.  Should be a crazy time – it is one of the biggest if nt the biggest craft fair in Minnesota.  I was there all day yesterday helping set up – from 8 am – 9:30 last night.  Yes… I am tired, but I love this stuff.  I have never been part of working the fair before and they expect that 100,000 people will come through between today and tomorrow.  We are meeting up at 5 am to go and get ready.


A couple of days ago I mentioned e were having some extreme rain here.  I don’t know why but I just thought that is was a windy rainy storm.  When all was said and done I had a few branches in the yard but that was about it.  However, when I drove through town I seen it was a different story.

Roads were closed due to trees down.  Up town on one of the main streets the light pole was down.  Heading out-of-town, a billboard was tipped over and so on…  Turns out – it was 70 mile per hour straight line winds and Brainerd was a direct hit.

Today’s pictures are not my own, but pictures that my friends took around the area of the damage.  For today’s Saturday Snapshot I thought I would show you that storm of September 4th:










To my knowledge no one was hurt.  After the storm, the sun came out and the clean up began.  The local schools did not have electricity or running toilets for about 6 hours.  Local companies hauled in outdoor portable toilets.  I heard yesterday that local restaurants and fast food places are not selling coffee at this time as the water due tot he storm has been tested to have bacteria in.  We are in a “you must boil water before you drink it” for the next week warning, but we are on well water so we are ok.


Anyhoo – got to go.  Check out the other Saturday Snapshots here. :)


Saturday Snapshot – Authors and Books and Wine – Oh My!!!!


Happy Saturday!  My hubby and I are heading for our cabin this morning which will be the last “hurrah” of Summer for us and then I will officially consider accepting Fall.  :)  Maybe…

Last Friday was our second annual Wine and Words event hosted by Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library.  Earlier this week I posted a few pictures about it but thought for today I would give you more of a feel for this event and connect it to Saturday Snapshot.

Before we get started a little background of the event:  I invite normally 4 authors to speak about their latest book, writing and their connections to libraries.  This year we had 5 authors plus our emcee, Lorna Landvik.  A local liquor store provides free wine tasting during our social hour, which really seems to be a social hour and a half as people start to trickle in around 5:00 and social hour starts at 5:30.  We have a silent auction, this year of 114 baskets.  AT 6:30 we start dinner and at 7:15 we start our presentation of authors with a goal time of ending by 8:15 – 8:30 pm.

This year we had 210 people in attendance.



Just a portion of what our silent auction looked like as we sat up the 114 baskets.



These cute little ducks are available during the social hour. They are $5 each and as you can see they each are reading a book. We call out numbers for these ducks (they have #’s on the bottom) and give away a Kindle Fire and a few fun gift certificates.


We had an amazing group of women greet our guests at the front lobby with name tags and a wine glass to use and to keep.

We had an amazing group of women greet our guests at the front lobby with name tags and a wine glass to use and to keep.


Our Wine Glasses with our logo on them.

Our Wine Glasses with our logo on them.


A few of our authors having fun in our photo area - L:  Catherine McKenzie, Barbara Claypole White, Lorna Landvik, and Randy Susan Meyers

A few of our authors having fun in our photo area – L: Catherine McKenzie, Barbara Claypole White, Lorna Landvik, and Randy Susan Meyers


More people getting into the act with the photo props

More people getting into the act with the photo props


My son and I

My son and I


A shot of the guests

A shot of the guests



A shot of our book sales table after the event.

A shot of our book sales table after the event.


After the event - a few of us met in the bar to relax and the authors joined us.  Mixed in this group are Catherine McKenzie, Benjamin Percy, Barbara Claypole White, and Lorna Landvik.

After the event – a few of us met in the bar to relax and the authors joined us. Mixed in this group are Catherine McKenzie, Benjamin Percy, Barbara Claypole White, and Lorna Landvik.


Sitting to the right are authors Nicole Lea Helget and Lorna Landvik.

Sitting to the right are authors Nicole Lea Helget and Lorna Landvik.


Authors after the event!

Authors after the event!

This years event should have cleared us a little over $7,000.  I still have a little figuring to do with the credit card payout, on-line sales, and we receive a 20% kick back from our local book store for the books we sold.

Stop by Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy and see what people are taking pictures of!

Morning Meanderings…. Book Lovers In The Mud!


Last weekend I went with fellow Bookie and awesome friend Amy to the Muckfest in Wisconsin.  This is an annual mud run to raise money for MS… my 3rd time doing this one, her second.  We brought with us two rookies…. Jennifer and Jody who did MARVELOUS!

For this weeks Saturday Snapshot I thought I would bring you some of our pictures from that muddy event.

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey Muckfest

I did post this picture earlier this week – this is the picture we took at the check in. Look how clean we are!



Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

Amy (left) and Jody (right)


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

After our jump (left) and the clean up area (right)


Sheila DeChantal

The end! Final pic of the Muckfest


Check out other Saturday Snapshots from West Metro Mommy Reads.  You never know what people are taking pictures of :)


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