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

MN Zoo Farm Babies!

I received a cute little gift pack (more revealed later once my kids have seen it) from the Minnesota Zoo last week. Let’s just say it’s a great start to my kids’ Easter baskets and the best man from our wedding would be jealous since it’s Peeps-themed. 🙂

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The MN Zoo also sent us some complimentary zoo passes, and since we already have a family membership (have for years; highly recommend!) I had the blessing of inviting two more families to go to the zoo this month to see the Farm Babies. Chicks, piglets, ducklings, lambs, calves, bunnies and (goat and human) kids…what could be cuter?

We’re heading there this weekend for Peeps Weekend, including aforementioned farm babies, crafts and a Peep-mobile (see here for a more detailed schedule)! There are lots more activities throughout the month of April, so be sure to stop by and check out all the fun now that it’s nice outside!

Markus’s Ninja Turtle 4th Birthday Party

Last summer Markus told me he wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party. He even went so far as to make decorations and ask me to save them for his party (a portrait of each Ninja Turtle), which I didn’t recall until I pulled out his decorations box.

I didn’t go overboard with decorations, just used some of what we had on hand and bought some balloons and a few streamers. I painted a Leonardo onto the side of a large box and Husband cut him out. That took time, but was free, since I already had all the paint I used. I love it when I can pull off a party on the cheap! Plus, Markus was tickled that I put up all the decorations in the order in which he ALWAYS says their names, as though they are one unit: Raphael-Donatello-Michelangelo-Leonardo. 🙂

Some obliging family members:

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M’s handmade decorations and one Anja made for him.

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Thanks to Pinterest for supplying most of my ideas!

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Toys make great centerpieces! Not the first time I’ve used that trick. In fact, the 4th of his 4 birthday parties. 🙂

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Of COURSE we served pizza, because it’s the Ninja Turtles’ favorite food.

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Markus, 4 years

My darling, sweet-hearted yet fierce little man, today you celebrate your 4th birthday! We want to share all the things about you at this age. You:

  • Are still the biggest, fastest, tallest, strongest boy anywhere….according to YOU. Your intensity is humorous now, but someday will be a great strength, we’re sure of it!
  • Like typical “kid foods” like pizza, burgers, mac and cheese (“with peas, Mama, not broccoli”), but when pressed (read: offered a dessert) you will eat a salad. But you don’t want anything to do with sauces or dressings. Nothing other than ketchup or honey, please and thank you.
  • Have become very verbal about your love. You have always been physically demonstrative, offering hugs and kisses freely, but in the past couple of months you have started saying “I love you” very often. It is such a day-brightener to be going about the business of laundry or butt-wiping or bed-making and have a munchkin run up, grab your leg, say “I love you,” and then run off. The fact that we receive such displays multiple times per day, rather than water down the meaning, only sweetens the deal. We love you, too, Buddy!
  • Have a couple of nicknames that still cling: Buddy (common for any boy your age, I’m sure), Boofy, Boofery-bock (don’t ask), Markus-pie (a bit feminine, but you don’t mind yet), Barkle-berry (again with the weirdness).
  • Have learned your letters by sight and are starting to put sounds to the letters. You have diligently taken up teaching yourself to write, and are getting quite good at a lot of letters. Considering how much of my time your sister’s schooling takes, it is wonderful to have a motivated self-starter as a second child.
  • Are VERY into ninjas, Ninja Turtles, Cars (as in the movie characters), Chuck & Friends, and really anything to do with battle and/or vehicles. You also adore biking and playing outside. You got a new pedal-bike for your birthday, and I have a feeling there will be a repeat of what happened with Uncle and me this summer: You and Anja will learn to ride two-wheelers concurrently. 🙂
  • Are seemingly fearless, but also very tender. You jump down 4 stairs at a time, giggle as you tumble, and attack men 8 times your size with gusto, but you also come running to Mama when your feelings are hurt or when you think I am having a hard time with something. I love your tough/tender little self.
  • Are a screamer. This is Daddy’s biggest pet peeve. Your shriek curdles blood, and it’s usually reserved for when you are fighting with Anja. Or if you aren’t getting enough attention.
  • Can talk a blue streak. We have been told since you were one year old how verbal you are, and that has not changed a bit. Probably our two most common reactions to you are your intensity and your verbosity. “He can TALK,” people say, and I follow that with, “All day long.” Since I am an internal processor, it can be very exhausting to listen to you all day long, but I will keep trying to hear you and also try to teach you when it is better to be silent or listen. ❤
  • Draw every day. You go through probably 5-10 pieces of paper per day. You’re not as interested in coloring books as you are in making your own creations. They are mostly pencil drawings, but sometimes you need tape and glue and scissors to make your vision a reality. I admire your ability to dive into your work, and I hope that your tendency toward perfectionism won’t hold you back! We love reading your homemade storybooks to you.
  • Saw your first movie in the theater right after Christmas. All four of us went to “Frozen” together. You liked it and were most upset when the snow monster disappeared and when the bad man’s sword broke. Boys!
  • Are learning all the time. You show great interest in building/mechanics, and you will happily sit and read books for hours. It’s so fun to hear the things you retain come out in your play or dinner conversation.
  • Have a great sense of humor. I couldn’t even contrive the hilarious things you say, and you have impeccable timing.
  • Love preschool. You have developed a little crush on a girl named Summer, and you immediately made friends and bonded with a lot of the kids in your class. You’re very outgoing!
  • Started Sunday School and ended nursery. These things make me realize how much you really are turning into a “big boy.” *sniff*

We are blessed to call you our boy, Markus, and we pray that God has big things in store for you!

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Christmas Tour 2013

A couple of times I’ve participated in The Christmas Tour of Homes. In 2008, it was still under BooMama’s jurisdiction. In 2009, it was Nester’s first year hosting the Tour, and I linked up again. Apparently since then I haven’t gotten my tour up in time (may have coincided with the birth of our second child and , so I’m linking to the years I missed as well as putting up a few photos from this year.


Like most people, I have my old-timey favorite items that I put up every year, but I try to mix it up so things don’t look the same every year.

Mom gave me the little sled this year. So cute!
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Jesse Tree!
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Casual centerpiece with some snowflakes we’d been cutting out that day.
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Balustrade by day.
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Balustrade by night.
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The tree.
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Cute little raccoon Markus gave Anja for Christmas this year
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And then she wanted one with the nativity scene, too. And her doll.
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The kids who live here.
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And the mantel downstairs.
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Love the God Jul sign made by my friend, the owner of Sola Hus, in Moorhead, MN!
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Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

Thankful Tree 2013

We did a slightly different take on our Thankful Tree this year: a paper version on the wall. I have too little counter space in my kitchen to give it up for a whole month during baking season! And this worked really well. Both kids were writing a lot of their own items to put on the tree, which was fun to see. Markus also added two very tiny but very detailed beehives. They are the white-and-gray things you see on the trunk.


Apparently Daddy had a busy month of evenings (we usually share our thanks around the dinner table), because his list was short. But I know in his heart he is very thankful for many things. 🙂

– Coco (her stuffed dog)
– Mama
– Books
– Markus
– Dad
– Markus
– Mom’s love (awww….)
– Flowers
– Art
– Daddy’s job
– Jaylee (her cousin)
– School

– When Anja is obedient
– Pizza
– A home
– Candy

– Mama
– Room (his room, I assume)
– Mama
– Love
– Ninja Turtle costume
– Caleb (a friend)
– Jaylee
– Watching “Peter and the Wolf”

– Our own home
– Markus’s mouth when he colors
– My musical experiences
– Humor
– Mr. Tim is still alive (a friend of ours had a near-death experience)
– Husband
– Books
– Coloring crayons
– Nutritious meals
– Our church
– Anja
– My girlfriends
– Classical music
– Brownies
– Markus
– Quesadillas

So there you have it! Just a few of the things for which we are thankful. God has richly blessed us.

Playing Catch-Up – March 2013

March brought more snow, a visit to Grandma’s (to give Daddy a weekend off), more swimming lessons, and two days at Grandma and Grandpa’s, one being Easter. We started our Spring “Family Fun” list with dying eggs, and inviting people to our church for Easter service (you kids came with to help).

We also tried to make the lack of spring more bearable by playing “beach” in the house many times.

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Playing Catch-Up – January 2013

January is birthday month for Markus and me, so we had parties (even a surprise dinner with friends put together by my hubby!). Auntie Manda came and cooked us a Hungarian meal, we went to the St. Paul Winter Carnival to see the snow and ice sculptures (boy, was that a cold night!) and apparently we had a tea party, too.

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