Saturday, December 31, 2011


This puzzle was a real challenge. I must give credit where credit is due. Dad helped straighten out the border (I had pieces in the wrong place and couldn't figure out where I went wrong). Zachary & Elyse both put in a couple pieces. Otherwise, it was all mine. I was determined to finish it. It wasn't an easy puzzle. But, I finally succeeded. Thanks L &L's family for a good challenge.

I will start puzzle #5 soon - maybe tomorrow!

Tonight is family movie night. We will be watching "Dolphin Tale." I will let you know if it is any good. BTW, last night we watched "Herbie Fully Loaded." Don't bother, it wasn't very good. Just in case you need suggestions of movies not to see.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Too much celebration for a little girl. Pink eye, congestion and coughing have kept a little one from sleeping through the night.

All that makes for one tired Momma:

Get well, Bristol!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Caleb - you were a HUGE help in putting a puzzle together. Just thought you would like to see the one we started together all finished. Thanks for all your help, Buddy!

Then I did another one, just for fun!

A third one all done. Sorry about it being sideways - I can't fix it. It shows up on my computer as turned the correct way - just the blogger won't let me change it.

Thanks Luke, Lacey, Grace, Caleb, Ava & Jaden for a GREAT present.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Presents bought - check
Tree bought - check
Tree decorated - check
Windows lit with candles - check
Presents wrapped - check
Presents under the tree - check

We are done and ready for company! Hurry up and get here!

Friday, December 16, 2011

ADVENT DAY 16!!!!!

Our activity for today was to drive to Chicago and see the decorations, etc. We decided to go cheap, so I bought $2 subs from Subway yesterday. I took some snacks from the house, bananas and popcorn that Zachary won at youth group.

Our first stop was Macy's. On the outside walls, they had these huge horns:

We walked all around the outside of the building to read each window design. Usually, it is a well-read story, but this time it was for "Make a Wish Foundation." Each window had a Christmas ornament from some famous designer (a real let down, I tell you). But, we read each one anyway.

We had an hour to kill before Christkindlmarket opened up on Daley Plaza. So, we decided to check out the INSIDE of Macy's store.

We rode the elevator to the 8th floor and checked out the tree from the top.

The star:

Two cute kids we saw on the way:

The 'rents:

Looking down:

Looking up:

Looking down while on the escalator:

At the bottom was a fountain - I love fountains! Some day, I will have one in my backyard (after we win the lottery).

Elyse and her magic (I hate my picture taken).

Another shot looking down while on the escalator:

Macy's had "Santa Land." We walked up to it and the lady said it would take 40 minutes to reach Santa AFTER you got to the door. The line outside the door was about two blocks long. There was NO WAY we were waiting in line to see Santa. So, we just skipped it.

Finally, Christkindlmarket. Aren't we cute?

Our $2 subs:

$2 subs:

The wall inside the library where we ate lunch:

The other side of the room:

Looking down the elevator shaft in the parking garage:

We had to walk about two blocks underground in the parking garage to get to our car. My legs were killing me. Dad, Zachary & Elyse walked to the car and came back to pick me up. Here is a picture of how far they had to walk. After watching too many detective shows, I was sure someone was going to pick me off while I was waiting for them to come back to get me.

It was a GREAT day for me! I love going to Chicago during the Christmas holidays. We didn't take the train in order to save money. Next year, you will have to join us on our annual trek through downtown.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches...

We tried to get our Christmas tree yesterday (Monday) after school. School went extra long which ran us into basketball practice. After basketball practice, Dad had to tutor. So much for getting the tree.

Tuesday, we decided that we would start school, take a break and go get a tree. Finding many of the shops closed, we finally found two open places. The first one wanted over $100 a tree - not for us. A little bit down the street was much more reasonable. We liked two different trees. But, the cheaper one got taken home.

Dad & Zachary getting the tree straight in the tree stand.

Removing the netting:

A wreath made by Darcy from PCS found its new home in the dining room (where there was already a nail hole in the wall).

Elyse hung my handmade wreath on the front door. If any of you want one like this - I have one finished and the parts to make a third one (but you would have to make it, not me).

Lunch break!

Dad found two strands of lights that weren't working. He replaced MANY bulbs to get them working. While he did that, we went downstairs to finish school. The kids weren't too happy about that.

Phone interruption:

Our finished tree! Why the walls look yellow, I'll never know.

Elyse thought the lights looked cool in this picture.

Our nativity scene is up:

Stocking were hung by the railing with care...

From the outside:

All the empty boxes are downstairs waiting for someone to organize them in the closet. We have plenty of needles to pick up, put water in the tree stand and put on my homemade tree skirt that Claudia made me. Such a treasure!

Hope you enjoy our hard days work!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Zachary, Elyse and I drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to see the play "A Christmas Carol," put on by CYT (Christian Youth Theater). It was a special homeschool performance during the day. After our 40 minute drive (which google said would take 55 minutes), we had to figure out something to do to waste time. It took awhile to find a parking place (actually, the same spot we parked in to see "Robin Hood"). We spent about 30 minutes waiting inside the building for the doors to open. While waiting, I decided we needed a group picture. With my arm outstretched, I took about eight pictures - all of them wrong. I either cut Zachary's face in half, or it was blurry. Then the lady across from us (having watched the whole eight pictures being taken) said, "Would you like me to take your picture?" DUH! She got a pretty good one:

After lunch, we headed to Gurnee for Zachary's basketball game. We got there a little early too (but not early enough to have driven home). Zachary was to play one game and he wanted to stay to watch three other games. It was a long night of basketball for him. After his game, Elyse & I headed to Zion, Illinois, another 20-30 minute drive to see my friend, Jane Shutske. She has chemo every three weeks at the Cancer Center of America. Jane's daughter, Christie, and Christie's two daughters, Nizaria and Xenniyah, were there too. Elyse LOVED the girls.

In order to get into the hospital, we had to have name tags. We entertained Nizaria by sticking our name tags on her face. She loved it! That's Christie in the background holding Xenniyah.

Outside the hospital, all the trees were decorated with a zillion lights. It was amazing.

These trees were my favorite:

All that took from 10:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. It was a long day and night. But, oh, so much fun.

On Saturday, our church held its annual Christmas Dinner for adults only. The kids stayed home and had pizza, popcorn and a movie night. We asked Zachary to take our picture before we left. He took about 10 of them and only one was good enough to put on here. I had asked him to take a picture sort of close up. The first few pictures we either weren't ready, or he got our whole body in the picture. The next one, he got only our noses. Silly kid! He finally got what I wanted and I picked out the best of the bunch.

Yes, Dad wore his "Grinch" tie.

The dinner was amazing. We had a salad, stuffed chicken, red potatoes, vegetable and three desserts to choose from. We had several people play music for us or sing. Then we had a few songs to sing. One of them was "The Grinch." When they announced that one, they made Dad stand up and model his tie.

We sang the "Twelve Days of Christmas." On each day, those that had a birthday in that month had to stand up and sing. Dad stood up for day one (January), I stood up for day two (February). It was definitely an exercise program. After about three times standing up and sitting down, I quit - my knees were killing me. I guess I am getting old - things don't work like they used to...

One of the activities was pastor handing out silly gifts to certain people. Because we have such a large family, he gave us a table game "Keys to the Kingdom." The games says, "Where players help each other to win!" Don't know if it is fun or not - we'll give it a try when you all get here for Christmas.

Dad & I signed up for the clean-up committee. I knew my feet would get sore, so I brought my slippers and an apron. We were at the church until 10:00. Another long night for us!

Our Saturday Advent activity was to make 36+ poppy seed breads to pass out at church tomorrow. It will include pastoral staff, SS people, Youth Group leaders, Growth Group friends and friends from church.


Greasing the pans:


Pouring the batter:

Ready for the oven:

The finished product:

We make 12 of them at a time. The reason only 10 are in the above picture is because two bombed. Too bad - we'll have them for lunch!

Zachary did help with the baking - he was our photographer, so he didn't get a picture of himself. Did you know that it takes five hours to make 36+ loaves of bread? We did and do!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Z's GAME!!!!!

Tonight we played Lake Forest Country Day School. Their coach was very critical and demeaning of his team. We felt bad for the boys. Every time their boys made a mistake, he called time and said, "Whose fault is that?" What a jerk!

Our boys did GREAT! At the end of the first quarter, we had 22 points. Nick made 16 of them. He was really on fire.

Instructions from the Coach:

Zachary throwing the ball in:

An action shot - Zachary is #44:

Another action shot:

Yes, we won - 44-20. The boys did an amazing job! We were proud of them.

Elyse was the photographer. I always forget to take the camera out of my purse. Dad has missed and probably will miss most of Zachary's games. His tutoring hours are during game time. Sad for both Dad & Zachary.

Maybe I will remember the camera the next time and get some close ups! Don't hold your breath.