Starfish Project Giveaway

Hi all! It’s been awhile! Starfish Project offered my readers a chance to win this giveaway, and after reading about their story, it’s a giveaway I want to get behind.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. I have seen many new organizations popping up in the last few years that bring awareness to this issue. That is good news. More and more people are being stirred to do something. Starfish Project works specifically with women in Asia, offering couseling, health care, shelter, and job training and opportunities.

Today I am able to offer a chance to win an $80 gift card toward Starfish Project’s gorgeous jewelry line (click “Shop” on their website to see more).

All you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and you’re entered! Winners will be drawn and announced February 1st. Easy peasy.

Bring Your Best to Mothering

“I looked on childrearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully interesting and challenging as any honourable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it.”
– Rose Kennedy

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I haven’t always felt like Rose Kennedy. Early on I assumed it was my role, my duty, as a strong woman, to pursue a career. But by the time I got engaged, my heart had changed a lot. But God wasn’t finished yet…

When we became pregnant for the first time, it was both of our heart’s desires to have me home with our child full-time. Financially, that wasn’t possible. So I spoke to my boss, and they were willing to employ me half-time, working two 10-hr days each week. We found a daycare that would take Anja 1 1/2 days per week, and Husband kept her home with him one morning each week and worked four full days and one half-day. It was a wonderful arrangement that we kept until Anja was just over two. At that time my photography business had experienced a very successful first full year, my income was matching that of my half-time job, and so I quit three months shy of Markus’s birth.

So even though I was home with my kids, I was also working a LOT of hours in mid-spring through late fall, shooting on weekends, editing every night after we put the kids to bed. I got a lot of time with the littles, but virtually NO time with my husband. That took its toll on our marriage.

Fast forward three years, and Husband received several promotions and raises. Because I’m too stubborn (stupid?) to pare down my own schedule, God began to take away, bit by bit, some of my photography obligations. I no longer worked in the commercial sector, and I no longer felt I had to accept every engaged couple if they weren’t a good fit.

God also gave me a husband who has vastly different “down time” needs from me, and that has helped me keep more of a balance in my life. I would work non-stop until I burnt out and only then evaluate what was truly something I should be doing. See a need–fill it! was my modus operandi.

Today I am a full-time mom, home educator, and very part-time photographer. I still help out at our co-op, at church, and have many outside-the-home duties, but I am feeling more comfortable each day with saying “no” to things that will take time away from my family or be detrimental to my marriage. I definitely find mothering fulfilling, interesting, and certainly challenging, but I still struggle with the feeling that I’m not “doing my part” financially for our family. I have been wrestling with that bit for a couple years now, and I think it will just take continued prayer and trust that God really does want me here, that He really does have a plan for me even if I’m not raking in the dough, and that plan just might include spending more time with Him, more time with my kids, and more time NOT running frantically from activity to duty to event.

Every mom wants to do their best (or should want to, anyway!). We each have different scenarios…some work full-time, some work part-time, some stay home…and God has different things in store for each and every one of us. But let’s do our best to mother, in His grace, and see the joy and challenge and honor in it.

Thankful Tree 2015

We just taped the last leaves on our Thankful Tree last night. While I keep a gratitude journal year-round, it is so fun to incorporate the whole family in this yearly tradition! Here is what we are thankful for as of November 2015:


  • “That I’m not sick”
  • Our parenting Sunday School class
  • Heat
  • My phone
  • Markus
  • That Anja likes to read so much
  • My wife
  • That it’s been warm this fall
  • Going to the raptor show with the family
  • The pleasant weather
  • Reading with the kids


  • Blob maps
  • Nice neighbors
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Anja’s dance studio and watching her dance
  • Jesus’ death for my sins
  • Sunday School discussion
  • Reading to the kids in the playhouse
  • Valley Natural Foods
  • The kids’ love for music
  • God’s creativity in designing nature
  • Cat videos
  • Catching up with a friend
  • The kids’ creativity
  • L. M. Montgomery
  • Markus’s cheeks
  • Smoothies
  • The sound of chirping birds in the back yard…blue jays and robins!
  • Time spent with friends
  • Time at the zoo with Husband
  • Rabbit ears (as in an antenna so I can watch the Vikings)
  • Seriphos
  • The Vikings
  • Cough drops
  • Cute kittens
  • Traditions
  • MPR
  • Gorgeous weather for November
  • Amazon Prime…shop from home!


  • Dad and Markus
  • Operation Christmas Child
  • Duplos
  • Doodle Dolls
  • Nature
  • American Girl Mystery Books
  • Jesus
  • Going to a fun craft show and picking out cute mice
  • “The Sound of Music”
  • MOM!
  • Snow
  • Vibrant leaves, beautiful day, good weather
  • “Homeward Bound”
  • Pizza Ranch
  • Teddy Roosevelt, because he saved nature (LOL!)
  • Setting up Christmas decorations
  • Food
  • Pretty mornings because they’re one of the beautifulest things in nature I’ve ever seen
  • Birds and other animals
  • Family and friends
  • Jesus’ love, mercy, and grace
  • Watching movies
  • Books
  • Fun times with Grandpa and Grandma
  • Dad’s work


  • Thanksgiving
  • Pizza
  • Bike riding
  • Beautiful fall
  • Mazes
  • Special time with Daddy
  • Our house
  • T.V.
  • Snakes
  • Church and Jesus
  • Townhouse crackers and soup
  • Babies
  • Winter
  • Watching videos
  • Grandpa and Grandma
  • Thanksgiving (again)
  • Birthday
  • Small Group
  • Reading in the playhouse
  • Brownies
  • Good Times Park
  • The Zoo
  • Christmas
  • A home
  • Coloring in Avengers
  • My family
  • Cat videos
  • Duplo Avengers
  • The book “A Bear’s Year”
  • Lego sets
  • Christmas (again)


MN State Fair Food 2015

It’s been a couple years since I’ve posted about Fair food. We’ve had several that have become perennial favorites and several that were one-time tries. Here’s our list from this year!

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  • French Meadow Bakery scone. We’ve always gotten the strawberries and cream or peaches and cream, and this year we tried the new cinnamon currant with cream cheese frosting. It was fine, but next year we’ll go back to our prior favorites. It’s hit or miss to get a warm scone unless you arrive early. This year ours was cold. 😦IMG_7549
  • Blue Barn’s Berry French Toast. A win! We really wanted to make it in time to get the Meatloaf Hash, but we were minutes late. The French Toast was perfect except for the Pop Rocks that were already soggy by the time we got to eating it. Points for concept, though.IMG_7539


  • Moe & Joe’s chocolate, marshmallow, banana sandwich. This is the 4th year, I think, for this one. Markus wolfed down a large portion, and even though I wasn’t in the mood for one I had several bites as well. This will stay on our list.IMG_7630
  • Fresh-squeezed Lemonade. South of the Food Building, and there’s a coupon. All the other powdered ones around the Fair can’t compete.
  • Honey Lemonade. In the Horticulture Building near all the live bees, this is another one we keep coming back for.
  • Tiny Tim’s Mini-donuts. We always hit the stand on Carnes out in front of the Grandstand. Hot, fresh, sugary deliciousness.
  • Handmade salted nut roll. A first for these, and we got chocolate-dipped peanut (they also offer cashew and pecan). IMG_7639
  • Dairy Building Salted Caramel Puffcorn Malt. Disappointment. Stale puffcorn with a pre-poured malt, so it was basically all melted. This has happened 3 years in a row now with the pre-poured ice cream, so we’re thinking the Dairy Building might be done for our family.IMG_7623
  • Sara’s Tipsy Pies, salted caramel. The pastry was outstanding, the filling left a bit to be desired. There was salt on top and apple inside, but very little taste and no caramel that we could find.IMG_7652
  • Pizza Shoppe Dessert Nachos. These could’ve been better if we’d been smarter about our toppings. I had chosen bacon, caramel, whipped cream, chocolate chips and pistachios to accompany the cannoli chips and ricotta cream. The gal talked me into adding fruit, which didn’t go well with the other items. We ended up throwing half of it away. Kind of wish I’d gotten a basic cannoli from Mancini’s. Hindsight.IMG_7605
  • Nitro Freeze ice cream. They used to have a shop near our old house which closed not long after we moved here. Super-smooth, super-cold ice cream. What’s not to like? In the Food Building.IMG_7603
  • 1919 Root Beer. Always accompanies our cheese curds and goes great with them. NW corner of The Garden.
  • Rainbow Ice in the Grandstand. Meh. Had a coupon.
  • Slushies near Baldwin Park. Better than the Rainbow Ice by far, and the kids had fun choosing their flavors to mix, just not my cup of…slushie. 🙂IMG_7641


  • Lulu’s Mac and Cheese Cupcake. If you like mac, like my kids do, you’ll enjoy this.IMG_7541
  • Cheese Curds. There are lots of stands. We always get the ones on Dan Patch Ave just north of FAN Central. They’re awesome. And can’t be done without the 1919 Root Beer mentioned above.IMG_7638
  • Frontier Bar Cowboy Bites. These were delicious, spicy little turds of corn, jalapeno, bacon and cream cheese. Plus dipping sauce! Didn’t get a pic because it was right before we left the Fair.
  • Wild Rice Specialties burger. Amazeballs. Every year we’re surprised again at how delicious they are. The kids love it, we love it, and I’d get 5 to go if I thought they’d hold up well for travel.IMG_7604
  • Sausages by Cynthia Wild Rice Sausage. Also very good. First time we’d tried them this year, and Husband especially liked it. Again, end of the day and didn’t get a pic. On Judson across from the Go Carts.
  • Roasted corn on the cob. Yearly favorite, especially when we get a nice, black one. Someone’s wonky front teeth couldn’t handle it this year, haha! Corner of Dan Patch near the Grandstand.IMG_7637
  • MN Wine Country Glazed Pork Wings. I tried one bite so I could say I had. They were okay, but not fresh. Could’ve been better. I think they were on Cosgrove near the Space Tower?IMG_7622
  • San Felipe North Woods BBQ Taco. 3 years running a favorite. Husband would barely share.IMG_7551
  • Vegie Fries. I could take them or leave them, but Husband loves them and sometimes gets seconds. Easy way to work some veggies into your day, lol.IMG_7554
  • Last but not least, the Pronto Pup. I have one or two bites, and the rest of the family devours them. Several throughout the day.IMG_7573

At this point you’re probably thinking we’re the biggest pigs…however, keep in mind all these foods fed four hungry people from breakfast through 8:30 p.m. I’ve had worse ways to spend a day, but I did get a tummy ache that night. Too much rich food, methinks.

Each family member’s favorites this year:


  1. North Woods BBQ Taco
  2. Vegie Fries
  3. Corn on the Cob
  4. Honey Lemonade
  5. Cowboy Bites


  1. Wild Rice Burger
  2. Berry French Toast
  3. Cheese Curds
  4. North Woods BBQ Taco
  5. Moe & Joe’s Banana Sandwich


  1. Wild Rice Burger
  2. Berry French Toast
  3. Mac and Cheese Cupcake
  4. 1919 Root Beer
  5. Cheese Curds


  1. Mac and Cheese Cupcake
  2. Moe & Joe’s Banana Sandwich
  3. Slushie
  4. Cheese Curds
  5. Pronto Pup

Please share your favorites! We add to our list every year!

Markus, 5 1/2

Markus, at 5 ½, you:

  • Are headstrong, always up to the challenge.
  • Have a tender heart. This seems like a strange dichotomy, but it’s true. I caught you wiping away tears after your sister’s performance at her dance recital. Moments like that just melt my own heart.
  • Create, create, create. Whether it’s Lego ships of your own design, cities of blocks complete with yarn ziplines, paper armies of Octonauts and vegimals, teams of basketball players comprised of tiny Lincoln Logs with masking tape numbers, you are one creative dude, always thinking up the next thing with which to play. It’s messy, but I love your whirlwind.
  • Are eating less pickily. You now maintain that you “don’t hate tomatoes,” yet very few seem to make it across your lips. However, other than tomatoes, you’ll chow down almost anything. You still spurn salad dressing, and since we frequently eat salads, you usually have a pile of dry veggies on your plate.
  • Are still a little guy. Now mostly in 4T and 5T shirts and shorts, but those legs can’t handle most 5T pants yet. Grow, buddy! But also? Stay small. 🙂
  • Ask me to cuddle you when I tuck you in almost nightly. Aww… But then you talk my ear of or want to show me all the somethings, and I usually end up leaving so you can settle down.
  • Have taken to being shirtless quite often. Ever since a little friend took his shirt off at the park one day, it is like you realized “I’m a guy! I can be shirtless!” and use that as an opportunity to show off your soft white belly on many occasions.
  • Are also often barefoot.
  • Climb everything and jump off it with abandon. You still harbor a fear of heights to rival mine, but it doesn’t stop you from climbing and jumping. But when you get hurt there’s long bouts of crying. You don’t have the pain tolerance that Sis does.
  • Memorized a lot of Bible verses this spring. I don’t think I even knew half of them, but they marked a lot of them off your chart that you memorized just by hearing at Sunday School. You have an amazing memory; use it wisely, Son.
  • Communicate at a level higher than your age. Daddy was flabbergasted the other night when I told him you’re just entering Kindergarten. I’ve had other folks tell me the same: You are a big talker, your brain works “big” for your age, you think at a level that seems old, etc. Again, we’re hoping and praying God will use that for His glory!
  • Still have a 5-yr-old sense of humor. Farts, butts, other *ahem* body parts and bodily functions are all your favorite subjects for “jokes.” You are definitely a BOY.
  • Could talk the ear off corn. It’s hard to have a moment’s peace around our house. Someone (okay, YOU) needs to be seen/heard/felt at least once every 3 minutes or you seem to think you’ve died. Quiet time really means Mom trying to keep Markus in his room time.
  • Have some favorites:
    Book – Anything about blue whales or race cars
    TV Show – Octonauts
    Stuffed animal – Audralina and Cubby
    Food – Macaroni and cheese
    Drink – Water
    Activity – Ride my bike
    Game – Playing tag
    Sport – Basketball
    Animal – Blue whales
  • Know how to whistle. It’s a source of pride for you, especially because your sister can’t yet.
  • Like playing sports in the back yard, but you refuse to participate in any organized sports yet. That may change this summer.
  • Enjoy playing with Legos, blocks, stuffed animals, rocks (collected from all over and brought in my house…yaaaaay!) monster trucks, and occasionally cars.
  • Love to be read to (Anja is a dear and reads to you almost as often as I do!) and work slowly through your own phonics readers. We’ll start phonics in earnest this year, but for now I’m enjoying all the little notes we get in your own spelling, such as “Markusiz room iz of limis.”
  • Are obsessed with Shaquille O’Neal. You like that he’s big and tall and plays basketball and that someone made a very funny video of him.

We love you, Little Man. You’re pretty cool.

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Fairy Garden 2015

The kids have been saving their allowance and gift money for awhile. Each purchased a new fairy (Markus’s is hiding inside the house) and they pooled their money to buy a fairy house today for their fairy garden. This is our third (and largest) fairy garden…it’s just so much fun! Other than the fairies, the house, and the fountains (which they bought last year), we shopped around our yard and house for all the other items.

The gazing ball is made of a marble, an acorn top, and a drinking straw. We had already planted the flowers (kids’ choices) earlier in the season. I dug moss out of our grass on the north side of the house (it needed to go away anyway!). The birch tree out front gave us a bridge. Anja already had the blue stones that make up the river, and we took all the other rocks from our landscaping and the kids’ collections. Tiny animals we already owned, and some of the “trees” and “bushes” were just weeds I dug out of our yard. I couldn’t see paying $6 per tiny plant when I knew they’d be happy with weeds. 🙂

They are currently out there telling each other stories about their fairies. Adorable.

Have you ever made a fairy garden? Did you go all out or shop your yard?

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Crave West End Breakfast

We had the opportunity to try breakfast at CRAVE West End last weekend.* They just started offering it this month, and let me tell you, we weren’t disappointed!

Currently Markus and I are doing a gluten-free trial, and I asked at the host desk for a gluten-free breakfast menu. They said they didn’t have one, but I had been told that they would have options for me, so I asked my server. He was SO helpful and even went back to talk to the chefs to see which options on the breakfast menu could be made gluten-free (which was quite a few of them). This happened at another restaurant that day, too, so my one hopefully helpful tip to restaurants: Make sure your hosts/hostesses know that even if you don’t have a specific gluten-free menu available, your chefs are able and willing to meet those needs. Otherwise you’ll lose customers simply because of miscommunication! 🙂

Anja got the S’mores waffles. Um, ice cream and marshmallow for breakfast? Kid heaven! I got the Eggs Benedict without the English muffin. The eggs were perfectly poached, and the hash browns are cheesy and amazing. Markus got the Mashed Potato omelet, which he loved. I was surprised how much of it he ate (but we all took bites to try it). Husband got the Steak and Eggs. He was shocked by the amount of steak he got and the tenderness of it, especially for the price. A success!

Other points: The location is clean, the bathrooms are clean (I’m sometimes surprised at how awful upscale restaurants let their bathrooms get…not the case here), and there are lots of other shops to peruse at West End. You could definitely make a Ladies’ Morning Out of it or do brunch with friends. We will definitely be back, and I see they have a special Mother’s Day brunch coming up, too, so make your reservations now! More “official” info below the pictures.


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Kaskaid Hospitality Announces Breakfast At Twin Cities Restaurants

CRAVE West End, UNION Rooftop and Salsa A La Salsa Uptown Feature New Offering


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., (April 1, 2015) – Kaskaid Hospitality is launching a new breakfast and brunch program at select restaurants in the Twin Cities. The breakfast and brunch offerings will be available at CRAVE West End, UNION Rooftopand Salsa A La Salsa Uptown starting in spring 2015.

The CRAVE West End breakfast and brunch will launch on Saturday, April 11 with dining available on Saturdays and Sundays between 8am-2pm. CRAVE’s team of five executive chefs created the all-new menu offerings. Signature items include Crab & Shrimp Cake Benedict, Braised Short Rib Hash, and the CRAVE Stack of buttermilk pancakes layered with brandied peaches and apples, and S’mores Waffles. Prior to the CRAVE West End breakfast and brunch program launch, all CRAVE locations in Minnesota will offer an Easter Brunch Buffet on Easter Sunday, April 5 from 9am-3pm.

UNION Rooftop has offered brunch on Sundays from 11am-2pm for just over a year, and recently began offering breakfast starting at 8am. UNION breakfast and brunch menu highlights include bottomless mimosas available on Sundays until 2pm, Portobello Benedict, Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast and UNION’s signature hash browns.

Brunch is now available at the Salsa A La Salsa Uptown location. Breakfast is served Saturdays and Sundays between10am-3pm. Authentic Mexican menu offerings include Chilaquiles, Southwestern Omelet, tortilla casserole, Huevos con Chorizo with home made chorizo, and the Bloody Maria which is a Mexican take on the Bloody Mary.

“We are thrilled to introduce breakfast and brunch to CRAVE West End, UNION Rooftop and Salsa A La Salsa Uptown. Saturday and Sunday mornings are in high demand for great breakfast and brunch options in the Twin Cities, and our restaurants are well-equipped to enter the weekend morning scene,” said Kam Talebi, CEO of Kaskaid Hospitality. “Our teams of chefs have created exceptional breakfast and brunch dishes that we’re really excited to share.”

The breakfast and brunch menus for CRAVE West End, UNION Rooftop and Salsa A La Salsa Uptown are available online through each restaurant’s website. For more information on the CRAVE Easter Brunch,

*We received a gift card to pay for our meal at CRAVE, but all opinions are my own.


A couple weeks ago, I was offered a chance to let my kids purchase a YOXO toy.

YOXO® (yock-so) is the sustainable, recyclable, made-in-the-USA, invent-everything-you-can-imagine toy company that’s now available at your local Target and specialty toy retailers. YOXO creative construction kits use interchangeable chipboard connectors in Y, O, and X shapes to construct infinite creations, including the YOXO Heroes.

Possibly the most uncommon element of YOXO is the fact they are manufactured in the USA, something less than four percent of toys sold in the United States can claim. This fact, along with the sustainable manufacturing process, use of recycled materials, and recyclability of the connectors themselves makes YOXO undeniably eco-awesome.

YOXO is the start of a creative revolution and maker movement that is powered by brains, not batteries. Those seeking to support the revolution can find YOXO at 389 Target stores, 27 Barnes & Noble locations, select specialty toy retailers across the country and online at

We were planning to buy the Original YOXO, but he was sold out at the Target we visited, so we settled on Doon.

Last week my kids could no longer stand waiting for me to help them, so they dumped out the box and went to work themselves.

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As you can see, they had a lot of fun. Some of the pieces fit tightly enough that they needed my help getting them all the way together. Anja lifted weights. The extra eye stickers have been used on their stuffed animals at times…haha! And Markus couldn’t even wait for me to finish taking the pictures before he started his car sound effects.

The thing I love about YOXO products is that even if they tire of Doon, all his parts can be used with other scrap cardboard, tubes, etc., to build new creations. Stay tuned! 🙂

*We received a gift card to purchase YOXO product, but the opinions expressed above are my own.

Markus, 5 years

Oh, little buddy, I think this is the most overdue milestone post I’ve had. You’ve been 5 for almost 3 months now, so I’ll try to remember back to when you just turned….

Markus, at five years old, you:

  • Are a force. Your intensity is one of the first things people see in you, that and the fact that you…
  • Never stop talking. For Christmas you received a book trying to teach you that others might have something important to say as well, but now you have started to realize that when I want to read it to you I’m trying to send you a “message,” so you don’t want to hear it anymore. You have a loud, low voice.
  • Like macaroni and cheese, fruit, sweets. You eat salad readily but it cannot have a single drop of dressing on or near it. You hate tomatoes.
  • Are still very fickle in your interests. One week it’s Transformers, one week it’s Ninjago Legos, one week it’s blocks, one week it’s cars, one week it’s Lincoln Logs. Whatever you’re currently into, you’re VERY into, and all your other toys can just go take a hike.
  • Are finally sleeping in a big boy bed. You got one for your birthday, and you fell out of it a few times, but now you just snuggle in and go to sleep better than you ever have.
  • Like to fight with Daddy (or any other man or boy who will fight you).
  • Love to hug and kiss. I usually get five kisses when I put you to bed. And I love that you always want to be touching whoever you’re nearest to. Other kids…well, they don’t always like it as much as Mom.
  • Listen to stories well, despite your inability to sit still and not interrupt. The Sunday School teachers and leaders at my moms’ group often tell me that you have many answers for their questions. I’m glad you’re paying attention, even if it doesn’t look like it. 🙂
  • Make awesome sound effects. I’m pretty sure it’s a boy thing. I’ve never seen Anja do any of those, and you can without practice.
  • Have a very active imagination. I love that you made an army of men out of TP tubes. You’re fine with almost anything as a toy, as long as you can project your wishes onto it. We’ve found you bore quickly of toys that have limited purpose.
  • Are gluten-free. We tried an elimination for both you and Sis in 2014 and still aren’t sure about gluten, so we’re giving you another trial.
  • Are starting to read. I saved Anja’s kindergarten phonics books, and you’ve been reading through all of those and sound out other words when you see them. You also write us notes and refuse to let us spell anything for you. “Don’t tell me, Mama.”
  • Have a large vocabulary for your age. Most of the time you know what you’re saying, but it’s awfully cute when you misuse a big word.
  • Love your big sister. You guys don’t always get along, but you can play together for hours. You’re starting to exert a little more of your ideas into your co-play, which isn’t always received well, but I’m glad you’re not letting her run over you.
  • Speak with sub-context, using a different voice for your parenthetical statements. “This is an island where the overlord (which is a pink ball) is, and he told…”
  • Are motivated by material things. You don’t get much satisfaction from cleaning your room or helping Mama, but if you are promised a treat or a toy pulled out of storage, you’ll be much more enthusiastic. I don’t like bribery, but sometimes….
  • Have a couple good friends and are quick to make new ones. You love your old small group buddies and are quickly getting to know your new small group friends. At co-op you seem to gravitate toward kids Anja’s age, and she gravitates toward kids your age. Funny.
  • Have an amazing memory. You still run circles around your sister with your CC memory work, which is frustrating for her. But we would love to see God use this gift He’s given you as a means to something great.
  • Love to draw. But your coloring sheet requests (when we print them from the internet) are so specific that you’re impossible to please. “Mama, I want a Ninjago skeleton army up on a ledge with no bodies touching each other.” I tell you almost daily that you have to pick from what ol’ Google has to offer, but you are not satisfied with that.
  • Have the best giggle. You love to wrestle, so when I have the energy to, I get you pinned and then tickle you just to hear your laugh. You make US laugh a lot, too, with your witty comebacks and funny personality.
  • Are in size 4T for most things. You have a couple 5T shirts that you swim in…hopefully they’ll fit next year.

Markus, you are a marvelous little creation. We are blessed to parent you and see what God has in store!

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Thankful Tree 2014

We had our usual Thankful Tree up this year, but it was a little bigger than before. The kids were great at initiating and writing down their own leaves. We did a paper version on the wall. It took a while for me to cut it out, so I’m re-purposing it as a place to hang our Christmas cards during December. Here’s what we had to be thankful for in 2014:


  • Anja
  • Heat
  • Space
  • That my migraine pill worked
  • Beef stew
  • Supper
  • Heidi’s teaching (the kids)
  • Warm house
  • Markus
  • Heidi
  • A car


  • Anja’s storytelling
  • Caring friends post-miscarriage
  • Snuggles with Markus
  • God’s financial provision
  • An evening with a good friend
  • Markus’s enthusiasm for Alaska
  • Halloween candy
  • The library (twice!)
  • Husband’s diligent work on the toilet handle
  • Jan Karon
  • Time playing basketball at the gym
  • Family nights
  • Worshiping with my 3rd/4th grade small group
  • Glitter snow
  • Free mittens
  • Laughter
  • Sunshine on a long day
  • Considerate friends
  • Homeschool
  • Hot soup on a cold day
  • Markus doing T25


  • Markus!
  • MOMS group
  • TV
  • Mom!
  • Snow
  • Light and darkness
  • Dad
  • The fun time I had with Malia and Nolan
  • Supper
  • Grandma and Grandpa
  • Swimming
  • Grandma and Grandpa’s arrival
  • That we got to set up the tent
  • Jungle Book
  • Happy times
  • Jesus
  • Fun, new Kindle game
  • Day and night
  • Jesus. Without him the whole world wouldn’t be here.
  • Mama
  • Christmas
  • Warmer weather


  • The Avengers
  • Candy in my Halloween bag
  • Beautiful trees outside
  • That the snow has dried up
  • Pot pie
  • Earth, because otherwise our house would be floating in space
  • Snowmen
  • Snow
  • The number 6
  • Being taken care of when I’m sick
  • Our house
  • Eating this food
  • Jelly and peanut butter
  • School
  • Fun with friends on Halloween
  • Ninja Turtles
  • Swimming
  • My new shirt
  • Building a house with blocks