Birthdays are a time for celebration and gathering with family and friends to toast another year older. However, few birthdays stand out from the rest. These birthdays are the big milestones like turning 50, 60, and even 90-years-old.

One very special birthday, in particular, is when someone reaches 97-years-old. This amazing moment is now part of my maternal grandma's legacy. That's right. Freda Murphy, my “Grandma Fifi” is officially 97-years-young on Sunday.

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This woman is one of the many strong women I have been blessed with in my life. You will never meet another bold, sassy, funny, smart, loud, independent, and loving woman like Freda Murphy. The pictures of her with my family showcase just that! She consistently advocates for others and for what she believes in no matter what the consequences are. She is always the champion of the underdog!

Christine Manika (TSM)
Christine Manika (TSM)

When it comes to her family, Freda does not let anyone or anything get in the way of providing the best that life has to offer. This especially includes her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. In fact, all the grandchildren have benefitted from my grandma in some way whether it was securing an educational future or a life beyond the classroom. Yep...Freda gifted me with the best high school education in the Chicago-land area. So when I say I wouldn't be the woman I am today without my grandma, I truly mean it.

I've been waiting a very long time to honor my grandma in a unique and remarkable way. My grandma has made a huge impact in my life, and this little article will hopefully share that message with the readers. Most importantly and above all, this message is for my grandma.

I do not usually talk about this publicly, but for the past few years, slowly my grandma has been losing her memory. She sometimes doesn't remember who I am. So in a way, this story is a way to tell her how much she means to me and how much she has impacted my life. We have truly been so blessed Grandma has been there for the big moments in our lives. She has two great-grandchildren, watched my twin sister Katie become a veterinarian, and now she is going to witness her third grandchild getting in March.

Christine Manika (TSM)
Christine Manika (TSM)

There will never be another Freda Murphy. Grandma, I love you so much! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for my family and me!

The Best Pizzas In South Dakota

Grab a slice and enjoy some of the best pizza in South Dakota

Pizza is one of those things in life that usually everyone can agree on.
Leave it to Best Things South Dakota to uncover South Dakota’s best and favorite local pizzas. From cheese and sausage to pineapple pizza, Best Things South Dakota identified the best traditional and creative pizzas throughout the Mount Rushmore state.

Unfortunately, one pizza establishment on the list, Sioux Falls’ Zaroty closed its doors in the summer of 2020. So, I took the liberty of including one more Sioux Falls pizza place people really like!

Gallery Credit: Christine Manika

Seven Mind-Blowing Wonders' of South Dakota

I think most of us have at least heard of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World." We might not be able to rattle them off as easily as McDonald's value menu items, but chances are you've heard of at least some of them, right?

There's the Great Wall of ChinaChichén Itzá, a Mayan City on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The ancient city of Petra, in Jordan. Machu Picchu in Peru. Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro. The Colosseum in Rome, and finally, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Every state in the nation is known for having a series of natural wonders and signature landmarks. So, I thought I would come up with my own list of the "Seven Wonders of South Dakota."

The following is what I consider to be the signature landmarks, monuments, and natural wonders that are synonymous with the great state of South Dakota. I tried to give both sides of the state a little love while comprising this list.

You might have a few additions...
Let's get started. The Seven Wonders of South Dakota:

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