Friday, December 23, 2011

What to do with school work...

Though I don't claim to have all the answers and I'm sure there are others out there that have a better system than what I do...I promised a 'request and dedication' blog, so here it is...this ones for you Betsy T. :)

When the kids come home from school we go through their backpack to see what homework they have and what papers have come home.  Worksheets and other random papers get put in one pile (my throw away stack), homework that needs to be done in another and excellent test papers, art projects, other memorable papers get put in another stack.  The throw away stack is put in the...drum roll please...trash.

Memorable papers/tests are put on this magnet board which is on the wall to the side of my fridge (I have issues with things on my fridge, it looks cluttered right in the middle of my kitchen and yes, I'm just weird like that) -- thank you honey for making me 2 magnet boards for my wall!

Some special notes, report cards, etc. go straight into these boxes I purchased (at Walmart for about $4/each) some memorable things from the magnet board get put into these boxes...some, like the above adorable reindeer will meet it's demise after awhile and head to the trash.  At the end of the school year I sort the boxes again and toss some of the things that I changed my mind on and don't need to be kept, the rest goes in a folder and gets put in our filing cabinet.

If the kids want to keep anything (really, Alayna is the only one that cares) that doesn't fit on the kid magnet board (because they brought home A LOT of projects) or things that should meet their demise, but she's just not ready to part with it...then she can bring it upstairs and put it on her own magnet board.  She's a pretty organized little girl and every so often she cleans off her magnet board all on her own.

I hope that helps!  It might sound like a lot, but honestly, it's about 5 minutes a day because the key is having the kid bins and the magnet board in close vicinity to where you go through their backpacks.  I go through them in the kitchen, my magnet boards are in the kitchen and the kid bins are right off the kitchen in my laundry room.  It's a quick sort, and all is put away!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

For those of you we don't get a letter/picture sent to...we still want to wish you a 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Finally friends

Though the pictures isn't great due to lighting and reflections, it says so much.  These 2 have never really been good friends (their siblings all play together and have cousins that are friends), but it just hasn't happened with these 2...until this year!!  They played together all day on Saturday playing house, animals, and who knows what else, but they were busy and having a great time only took 4 years! :)

Do you see they have their arms together?  Cuteness!!

Christmas #2

We enjoyed another Christmas with family this past weekend.  We were so thankful to be able to drive there and back with great weather/great roads.  I don't think there has EVER been a time that we have driven to and from my moms for BOTH Thanksgiving and Christmas without having bad was a wonderful bonus!  The kids had a great time with their cousins, grandma and grandpa as well as their aunts and uncles.  The played inside, outside and all over...making memories and having fun.

They opened stockings on Saturday morning.  Yes, I know it wasn't on Christmas, but our kids have never believed in Santa and so it wouldn't matter if they opened stockings in June, it would still be exciting and it wouldn't matter a bit. :)

Alayna got a 'make your own bracelet' kit, a pink gun (which she's thrilled about), some adorable clothes that she wore yesterday, went through the wash last night and she's wearing again today, her ornament from grandpa (this year she picked the 'Tangled' ornament) and lots of other fun things!

One of my gifts to my mom, she can't thread a needle without my assistance and so I had to get her the needles that you just hook the thread through...yep, she thought it was pretty funny too! :)

Josiah LOVES chess (I have no idea how to play though) and this past summer he saved up his mowing money to buy his aunt's old DS.  He hasn't gotten/bought any of his own games and so he was thrilled to get a chess game for his DS.  He also got some clothes, a bb gun target, a Star Wars ornament and other fun things.

And who could forget the entertainer??  He loves his mini-pillow pet, his lego sets, his Cars ornament, his new clothes that he wanted to wear today (even though he's sick with the flu), and all the other fun things he was given.

The kids had a great time and so did the parents.  Now to keep everyone healthy, on the way home I heard from my brothers family and my sisters family and out of our total of 10 kids...6 had the stomach far only Seth has it from our family and hopefully it stays that way!!

Though the gifts were a blessing and the kids as well as the parents are so thankful for them, we are very thankful that we have great families to spend quality time with during Christmas as well as all throughout the year!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Look out Hollywood...

Here he comes!  Josiah had his 4th grade music concert last night.  It was really fun to hear their songs.  Josiah had quite a few lines in the program, and he was a bit nervous, but he did GREAT!
Here are some pictures from the program.

When the concert was finished Josiah came and found us.  He had a red spot on his forehead about the size of a .50 piece.  I asked him what happened and he told us that when it was time to bow at the end, he bowed and the guy in front of him didn't, so he played "whack a head" with that kid.  I seriously could NOT stop laughing...I'm even laughing as I type this.  He was such a good sport about it and was laughing too which made it even funnier!!!  Though the play/concert was really good...the highlight for me was the good laugh after it was complete!  (and of course going out for pizza after)  :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


For the past week we have put the boys to bed in separate beds, only to check on them before we go to bed and find them cuddled together.  It's pretty precious.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas 2011 - in St. Cloud

For those of you that know us or have been reading my blog for more than a year, you know that Christmas is celebrated throughout the month of December.  We have family celebrations nearly every weekend in December.  It's a lot of fun to have quality time with each family and the cousins love having friends (cousins) to play with!  We still have no snow this year and so the kids had a lot of fun playing inside and outside (without having to bundle up).  We also went roller skating which was a lot of fun (I don't have pics of that because me + a camera + roller blades = disaster!)  

 Seth with a horse and rider...of course...still a deep love for horses
  Seth got a new game to play as well
 Josiah with his snow if only there was snow (I'm NOT complaining though!!)
 Alayna with her twin dolls...the boy doll is actually for Seth and his doll 'Chris' has received LOTS of love...for such an energetic, crazy little boy, he sure does have a love for babies and he's been wanting a boy doll, so this was perfect!  Alayna loves having 'Elizabeth' as well.  They enjoy playing house so often that this is a perfect addition to their fun times together!
 Josiah also got a football and gloves which he LOVES
 All the girls being crafty with some of their new gifts
Seth playing Trouble with grandpa...very sweet!

Though the kids (and adults) enjoy giving and receiving lots of fun gifts during this month, we never want to lose sight of the greatest gift we were given and why we celebrate...Jesus Christ came into this world as a precious baby to save those who love Him from their sin!  That's something we are thankful for and celebrate more than just the month of December...that's something to celebrate every day!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do you trust me?

That's a loaded question. I asked this question of my kids tonight before reading from the Bible. I first asked them to go get their favorite toy. Josiah returned with his Nerf football which is more important in the morning than his own hat and mittens though the bus stop is freezing these days. Alayna returned with her unicorn pillow-pet that she sleeps with each night clutched tightly in a hug on her lap looking cute as a button. Seth brought back his spiderman fourwheeler and spiderman riding on top imagining it flying and reving the engine as loudly as his voice could make it. Can you picture them all sitting on the bed half listening to me and half wrapped up in their toy?

I opened up to Genesis 22:1-13. "Do you trust me?" I said before reading. one by one they all answered, "Yes, daddy." Then we read the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac stopping along the way to see if they understood how hard it may have been, what they must have been feeling, and how they obeyed anyway. Josiah knew and remembered this story from another time. Alayna was visibly disturbed as we read. Seth imagined having a fire in the backyard and jumping over it when we got to the part about Isaac being the burnt offering. Not exactly the point but he heard something in the story. Finally, in the end, God substitutes the ram for Isaac. "Do you trust me?" I said again.

"Take your toy and put it in that trash can over there." Decision time.

Josiah with a smirk on his face got up and put the football in as if to say, "I know you are tricking us dad so I will play your game." Seth and Alayna held tight. "Seth, do mommy and daddy love you and want what is best for you?" He nods yes.

"Do you trust us?"
"Yes but I love my spiderman more."
"Oh no, Seth, Josiah trusts us and put his football in, do you think you can trust us too."

He decided to put it in pretty much due to pressure but it got there which I considered a huge victory for a 4-year-old. Alayna held tight and refused. "Alright, time for bed." As Alayna goes by she reluctantly puts the unicorn in. This is when it all falls apart. Alayna goes weeping to her bed. Seth collapses on his bed wailing face deep in a now wet pillow case. Josiah cuddles up with Seth and also starts crying out of empathy for his little brother who was so sad and didn't understand.

15 feet away the treasure of the whole world sat in a small blue trash can. As Michelle counseled Alayna, I decided that my plan to let the toys sit until morning as my perfectly trusting children went perfectly contently to bed had been demolished in front of my eyes.

I decided to attempt to recover the lesson by getting Josiah's football out and in full view of the weeping untrusting others give back to the one who had trusted without answers. Super-spiritual dad to the rescue? Oh no, FAIL. Alayna decided she would trust, in the hopes that she would get her unicorn back immediately. More weeping. Is there any hope in this lesson?

The next thing I know Josiah disappears and returns with streams of tears and spiderman perched atop the fourwheeler. He presented it to Seth like it was a trophy set on top of his open hand. "Where is your football Josiah?" Amidst the emotion, he squeeks out the words, "It's in the trash can, I don't want Seth to be sad anymore." There is the hope. He who has gives what he has so that he who does not have, can now have what he does not deserve.

Josiah did what God does for all of us. God full of grace and compassion gave his Son to people who don't deserve it. What response would be appropriate after a gift like that? Seth quickly got up and returned with the unicorn and the football. Seth loved the one who gave him what he did not deserve and loved others who did not deserve it. There was A LOT of emotion last night during family time, yet there was a lesson that was learned for all of us. Do we REALLY trust Him?

I went into it thinking I was the teacher who needed to impart to my children. God had a better plan.

As you reflect on the gift of Jesus given in the form of a baby to live the life you could not live to die the death you should have died, what is your response? Is it to love God and love others? If not, could it be that way tomorrow? Why not?

Can you see yourself in the initial response of my children? At one time or another I am probably like all three of them. Are you like Josiah thinking that this God thing is a game and if you play it the right way you get what you want? Are you like Seth and doing the right things because of the pressure of those around you? Are you like Alayna holding so tightly to what you love that you can't follow God? There is hope for all of us. Let's celebrate that this Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2 Plays = Lots of fun!

A couple weekends ago we loaded up and went to St. Cloud to visit family and to see the play "Pilgrim" -- a play based on the book "Pilgrims Progress". We've read the book "Dangerous Journey" many times to our kids and it's created great conversation each time. It's a kids version of "Pilgrims Progress". Before going to the play, we spend the week prior reading the book again. It's a pretty long book and normally we take a couple weeks to read through it. This time, Josiah and Alayna were soooo into to (and if I'm honest, so was their mom) that we read it in 3 days. Yep, it was an hour or so of reading the book each night! We read it all though and the kids were excited to go see the play.

Alayna and her cousin Hailey enjoying a cookie during intermission

Grandma and Seth cuddling during intermission

It was a lot of fun and though the play was nearly 3 hours long...they sat through it and enjoyed it! We drove back home that Saturday and on Sunday we had tickets to see "Cinderella" at the high school where Dan works. Unfortunately this negligent parent didn't take any pictures of that fun. Trust me though, it was a pretty good time and Alayna enjoyed going to a play as a family that was really just for her! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I promise we don't feed our kids Miracle Grow!!

I've noticed for a number of weeks that Josiah's shoes were looking pretty tattered but I figured if he's not complaining he can wear them a bit longer (we don't buy new shoes to start the school year, we buy them when they are needed, so he's had these for a bit). Then amidst the tatteredness (I'm sure it's in the dictionary) they were looking as though his toes were pushing the front a bit. Again, I figured he's not saying anything so I let it go. Last Saturday when I was shopping with my mom I found shoes I liked and had a coupon so I figured I get him the next size up. I got them home and we put them on and they barely fit, his toes were at the end. Perplexed, we took him to the store on Sunday to have his foot measured and see what was going on. Ummm...he was wearing shoes that were nearly 2 sizes too small! Can you imagine wearing shoes 2 sizes too small???? Josiah, maybe next time you could let me know that your toes are curled up in your shoe! One more reason why they aren't knocking on my door with my Mother of the Year award!

Then today I brought Seth to the shoe store to have his feet measured because he's been wearing crocs all summer and still mostly this fall. The day is coming when it's just going to be too cold to wear those shoes. A few times he's worn his tennis shoes, but they were a bugger to get on. After having his foot measured I found out why...again, they were nearly 2 sizes too small!! What is wrong with me?!?!? Thankfully my little man hasn't worn his tennis shoes every day like his older brother, but seriously, I think I need to have my kids' feet measured more often. When my kids are older and have curled toes and they blame me....I won't be able to deny it! :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


The other night before bed the kids wanted to listen to/sing a song together first. Oftentimes when we do this Dan will turn on one of their favorite worship songs on his phone and we'll all sing together. That night he couldn't get the song to work and so after trying for a bit we told them we'd have to try again another night because it was past time for bed. After they were all tucked in bed Dan and I came downstairs to work on a project together, about 10 minutes later we heard a little voice say, "Dad, I know your phone doesn't work, but your mouth does!" Meaning, even without the phone we could still sing songs together (which we do, but just didn't that night). Silly little were right!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Celebrating Seth...and Halloween???

On Seth's birthday I was out of town (does that make me the world's worst mom???)  Anyway, a couple weeks ago Seth and I were at Walmart and we didn't have much time, but he saw the rides and asked if he could go on them.  I told him "not today, but maybe on your birthday we can come and ride some of the rides"..."ok!".  Two weeks later (last Thursday) I mentioned to Seth that his birthday was only a couple days away and his first response, "then I can go on the rides at Walmart!!!"  Ummm, yes, yes you can.  Soooo, needless to say that is what they did on Sunday.  Josiah wanted to give Seth some of the money he earned this summer to go on rides and to pick out a present.  He gave him 1/2 of all the money he had...they really do have a sweet relationship.  (Sorry for the fuzzy pics, I think Dan's camera on his phone must have been on a lower quality setting...oops!)  

When I got home on Sunday he opened his present from Grandma & Grandpa Hacker....
 And his present from my sister and her family.

Last night, (on Halloween) we went out to eat to Space Aliens (per his request) 
and used my Savecoin coupon

Then we came home.  Halloween is that holiday that we don't know how to 'celebrate/not celebrate'.  In years past we've gone to fall festivals, we've ignored the holiday and had family fun, we've had a pizza picnic and watched a movie while handing out candy to kiddos that come by...but this year Dan and I talked about it a couple weeks ago and decided we'd use trick or treating as a time to continue building relationships with our neighbors.  After deciding that, we then came across some articles saying the same thing.  Though we don't like what Halloween stands for, we do appreciate the opportunity to easily walk up to our neighbors door and be able to chat with them (without it being abnormal) and to be able to meet some of our neighbors that aren't outside their houses much.  So, we went up and down our street meeting and seeing our neighbors.  I don't know that it's something we'll do every year...who knows...Halloween is something that I wish didn't exist, but it does and so we tried to make is purposeful.  What do you do???

We didn't buy costumes, the kids just raided our dress up bin and this is what they each picked.  Josiah tried to talk Alayna into being something 'girlie', but she REALLY wanted to be batman. :)

When we got home, Seth opened his presents from us 
(in between the door bell ringing with trick or treaters)

Happy Birthday Seth!!

Seth turned 4 on Sunday (Oct. 30th).  4???  How is that possible??  Though strangers think you should be much older (some have even guessed that you were 6, 7, or even 8 due to your size), your mom can't believe when I look at the pictures below that 4 years have already passed.  You were the sweetest, easiest baby...the most challenging toddler who humbled me multiple times a day...and now you are a friendly, always smiling, energetic, curious, hugging, sweet, loving little boy.  Little boy??  How did we move out of the toddler phase to 'little boy'?  Seth, though by the grace of God your dad and I have taught you many things in your 4 years of life, the reality is, God used you to teach us many things as well.  I am forever thankful that God surprised us with you!  I love you "Setharoo", "Super Seth"...and whether you like it or not, you are forever my "Baby Seth".  

A look's good to remember that at one time, you really were small. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quality Grandpa Time...

This is the face of a boy spending quality time with his grandpa in a deer stand. Even after explaining that bow hunting equals a long time in a deer stand sitting quiet...he was still beyond excited to enjoy the day in a deer stand with his grandpa Holder. I love that face!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


In case you don't know this about me, organization makes me happy...I mean REALLY happy!  Sooo, I started looking at the site Pinterest (if you haven't checked it out yet, it's a very cool site that can suck you in for long periods of time...set a time limit on how long you will spend on it otherwise time passes too quickly!).  Anyway, I saw a cookie sheet/pan organization idea that was used in a cupboard.  Genius!  I don't know about you, but I have kept mine in the stove drawer.  When I go to bake cookies, I'm certain the entire neighborhood knows about it because it's SO loud when I pull them out because I have so many flat pans in there and getting the one I want is a challenge.  Anyway, I saw the idea and my handy man hubby liked the idea as well and so we incorporated it into our "black hole" cupboard.  Do you have a giant cupboard over your fridge?  If so, you know what I mean when I say "black hole" -- things get hidden in there and sometimes never see the light of day again.  Until now...when I was able to reorganize and create a system that I love and can't wait to use!  $20 well spent -- thanks honey!!

I've also been trying to create a system that gets the family involved in picking what we will have for supper and a while back I came across a very cute magnet board idea. but in all honesty I already have 2 magnet boards that my handy hubby made me and I didn't need anything super cutesy...just practical.  So, a blank calendar template (found online), paper, laminating sheets (in my basement), magnet tape (in my cupboard), and an overhead marker helped me create my latest attempt at meal planning.  I love it!