Monday, November 30, 2009

Black Friday

On Thanksgiving afternoon I went to Lincoln to spend the night at Jodee, Cory, Carson, and Kamree's house. Jodee and I search every ad for the best buys, make lists, and then plot in what order to hit the stores. We search our purses for the best coupons to use at each store. This is the second year that we have gone Black Friday shopping together. I got up at 3:45 A.M. and Jodee and I left the house at 4:15 A.M. We arrived at Kohl's at 4:30 A.M. and the shopping commenced for the next 12 plus hours. After Kohl's, we went to Shopko, Target and then Walmart. When we left Walmart the sun was coming up and we felt great. Then it was on to the mall to hit Children's Place, Victoria's Secret, Younkers, Gymboree and Eddie Bauer. Then on to Gordman's before taking a break for lunch. During our lunch break, we sat down and started wrapping some of our purchases. After lunch and a break, we hit the stores again feeling refreshed. Nothing was going to stop us from going to the next mall to shop Old Navy, Gymboree (again), Bath & Body Works, make a return at Kohl's, Target (again) and I'm sure I am missing a store or two.

I would share some of our great finds with you, but our husbands and my oldest daughter read our blogs. We wouldn't want to spoil Christmas for them! Jodee and I got some great deals and crossed many people off our lists, but we have so much fun, not to mention all the laughs that we share while shopping.

Jodee's van at our lunch break.

My van after I have the morning purchases wrapped.

One of the best items that I purchased was two rolls of wrapping paper and a roll of tape. It felt great to head home on Saturday morning with almost all of my purchases wrapped. Plus, my children then could not try to sneak a peak at their presents.

I saw a clip on the news about how much the average person spent on Black Friday. I believe they said that it was around $375.00. Trust me when I say that Jodee and I did our part on Black Friday to stimulate the economy. I for one spent more on Black Friday than the national average.

Thanks for the fun Jodee!

Thanksgiving Day

On Thanksgiving Day we headed to my parents for dinner. My parents live close, only about 10 miles. My brother, his wife, and son were able to come home for Thanksgiving also. Then my aunt, uncle and cousin from Lincoln also joined us for dinner. I made the apple/snicker salad to take along and as usual the bowl came home empty. Cara always wishes that there would be some left to eat later, but the bowl usually comes home empty. We stayed until 3:00 in the afternoon and then I left for Lincoln to prepare for Black Friday and Keith and the kids left for his parents to spend the rest of the day.

Justin and Chase were checking out the new puppy in the kennel.

They had to get real close.

Chase, Cammy and Ashlin were making beaded necklaces.

Sitting around after dinner talking.

Also, on Saturday afternoon our kids went back to Grandpa and Grandma's to decorate Christmas cookies and string fruit loops for the Christmas tree. My Mom uses the strung fruit loops as the garland on her tree. She started having the grandkids string fruit loops and decorate cookies when my girls were little. They have so much fun and best of all the mess stays at Grandma's house.

Take care,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Tree

Ashlin's preschool class has a Thanksgiving Tree outside their room at school. Each student could pick a leaf and then have a parent write on the leaf what the student was thankful for. Each student signed his/her name on the leaf. The leaves were then hung on the tree branches with paper clips. Ashlin was thankful for a house to live in and food to eat.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leader Thanksgiving

Last Sunday was Thanksgiving on the Leader side of the family. Keith's parents hosted all of us for an awesome dinner. The daughters-in-law were all assigned to bring salads to help out Grandma Merina. I think I heard someone say that there were 28 people in the house. The weather wasn't too cold, so, the kids all got to burn off some energy at the park which is just across the street from Grandpa and Grandma's house.

Keith's brother Kenny and three nephews from California were home for the annual deer season. Nathen ended up shooting a nice size deer that morning. I think Jodee (from followtheleaders) has pictures of the deer to share on her blog. My husband was gracious enough to take the pictures for her.

It was a day of good food, good conversation and many laughs.

Erica bugging Eli while he plays a game.

Ashlin and Kamree talking to Uncle Kenny.

Jodee, Keith, Roger and David sitting around talking.

Grandma Merina setting up the dessert buffet.

Justin, Ashlin and Kamree waiting for their dessert.

Tomorrow we will go to dinner at my parents' house. Shortly after dinner, Keith and the kids will go to his parents to hang out with Kenny and the boys before they go back to California on Friday. I will be heading to Lincoln to prepare for a day of Black Friday shopping with Jodee.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Catholic Schools

Yesterday there was an article in our local newspaper titled, "Catholic schools stockpile trophies". Our children attend a catholic school so this article was interesting to my husband and me. The article talks about how a few weeks ago at the State Volleyball Championships how four of the six state champions crowned were catholic schools. Then it talks about how the State Football Championships are this weekend and there are five catholic school teams vying for a championship. The question is posed, "How do these catholic schools achieve this?". Is it the power of prayer, is the holy water, or what is it?

A priest from a neighboring community said he always hears the word "recruiting" when it comes to achievement in sports. This priest said that "recruiting" was part of his job. He has a job as a priest to recruit people to his church, to recruit people to the faith and Christianity and therefore to send their children to a catholic school. Keith and I both felt that this priest's comments were right on target.

Another school administrator at a catholic high school mentioned that he is not concerned with recruiting. He believes that most parents decide when their child is about 2 or 3 years old what school their child will attend. Keith and I agree with this because we decided when Cara was just a baby that she would attend a parochial school, not a public one.

Both of these gentlemen believe that Catholic schools are built around families. Students at Catholic schools do not get handed anything. They believe that these students are more accountable because their parents are paying for their education and these students work for everything, which crosses over into athletics. Sports are an extension of the family because it creates togetherness, unity, and cohesiveness.

In our community, we have two parochial high schools - a Catholic one and a Lutheran one. Both of these schools are achieving success in sports, but also other areas - drama, speech, academics, etc. My husband and I are proud to send our children to a Catholic school. We chose to make the financial commitment to send our children to a faith based school and will continue to do so.

I need to mention that our football team is playing for a State Championship this afternoon. Therefore at our household we say "GO KNIGHTS!!!".

Take care,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Bingo

Friday evening the girls and I headed to Family Fun Night at their school to play Book Bingo while Keith and Justin traveled to Bloomfield to his parents' home to visit with his brother and nephews from California. This event is held twice per school year, once in the fall and once in the spring and all of the kids love it! Book Bingo is always very well attended by students and parents. Both the students and parents may win tickets to get a free book by either getting Bingo or by answering a trivia question correctly. One ticket equals one free book. As you can see, we came home with quite a few books. We had lots of fun and we even had a cookie at the end of the evening.

Take care,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jeans Day

Since Cara and Erica attend a Catholic school, they are required to wear a uniform to school every day. But, three Fridays a month they get to wear jeans. One Friday a month is a Spirit Jeans Day. On this day every student may wear jeans and a shirt that shows their school spirit. Another Friday a month is a regular jeans day. On this day they may wear jeans and any shirt within reason to school. Finally the third Friday is classified as a Mission Jeans Day. On this day the students may wear jeans, but they have to pay a fee. In the grade school the minimum amount is $.25 and in the high school the minimum is $1.00, but you may pay more if you wish. The money collected on a Mission Jeans Day is then given to a worthy cause. For example, this month the money is going to a family in the school to help with medical bills where the mother is battling ovarian cancer. Other examples are: a family in the community had a house fire and lost almost everything, a family that had a teenager killed in a car accident, the Red Cross, Juvenile Diabetes, etc. I love the Mission Jeans Day the best out of all of them because of the help it can provide.

Last year I was the room parent for Cara's classroom, so as a reward for bringing money to help the cause I provided a snack on that Friday for the class. Yes, I spoiled the class and most times the snack went to the whole grade. Cara's class is small at only 33 students, but I had no idea what I had started.

This year I am again the room parent for Cara's classroom. When the first Mission Jeans Day of the year rolled around in September, Cara asks me at 8:00 P.M. on Thursday night what the 3rd grade snack is for the next day. I had not planned on providing the snack this year. Cara then told me that the students in her class had asked, " What is your Mom making for snack tomorrow? Is she making brownies, cookies, or bars?". Plus these kids know that whatever the snack is I make from scratch. Therefore, I started to make brownies for the class at 8:00 P.M. because I didn't want to disappoint them. I know I brought this on myself!

Therefore in honor of today's Mission Jeans Day, Cara took homemade peanut butter cookies for the class snack.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stock the Food Pantry

Cara, Erica and Ashlin attend Sacred Heart Elementary School which is a Catholic school. The school does many service projects throughout the year. Every year around Thanksgiving the school and church have a food drive for the local food pantry. Brown paper grocery sacks are handed out at each of the masses this Sunday and everyone brings their sack back next Sunday filled with food and paper products. This year one of the organizations in the high school is sponsoring the food drive and having a class food war to encourage more food. The class with the most items per student wins a pizza party. What kid would not take the pizza party over school lunch. Each day this week the girls have been taking two to three things in their backpacks to school, but today the girls each took a sack of non-perishable items.

In addition, Keith's office is also having a food drive so he needed non-perishable items also. Justin, Ashlin and I made a grocery run yesterday afternoon because the pantry at our house was running low with everyone raiding to win the contest.

This morning as we were getting the food ready for school Ashlin asked if she gets to bring the food back home on Friday after they count it all. Erica told her that the food is given to the poor. Then Erica turns and asks me, "Who are the poor?" My question is "How do you explain what poor is to your children that are 9, 6, and 4?" They have no concept what it is like to not have food in the cupboard, not have a home or bed to sleep in, or to have a parent without a job. At this time of year it is a great reminder to be thankful for all that you have!

Take care,


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Three Dancers

Cara waiting in line before going on stage.

The amount of junk food consumed in the back is amazing.

Erica waiting in line before going on stage to perform.

Erica hanging out in the lunchroom eating her stash of goodies.

Ashlin and Whitney eating their supper before their performance.

They say that as parents we try to relive our own childhoods whether it is through family vacations, sports, camping, activities, etc. Sometimes we push our children to do activities because we wanted to do that activity as a child and did not get the chance to. As a child, I was not a dancer. I loved music and dancing, but there were no dance classes for me. I wish there would have been though.

Maybe that is why my three girls are dancers. They each started taking dance classes when they were three years old. Currently, Ashlin is in her 2nd year of dance, Erica her 4th year, and Cara her 7th year.
They love to dance! Their play time many days consists of dressing up and dancing to old recital DVDs. They make up new dances to their favorite songs. But, in general they love to dance.

Each year at recital it is exciting to see all of the colorful costumes. Plus, you can see how much each dancer has improved since the previous year. I always feel so proud of them and their accomplishments. Dance has taught my girls to be confident on the stage and not afraid. To see their smiles when they are performing is priceless! Keith always asks after the recital how much it cost him. I reply that he doesn't want to know. Keith doesn't care about the cost, but he wants to know anyway how much he spent. The cost is high with three girls dancing. The cost of costumes, pictures, make-up, shoes, tights, classes and recital fees is all money well spent to see them up of that stage having the time of their lives.
Today I am sharing some behind the scene pictures from last June's dance recital.
Take care,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Burn Fat Burn!!!

I am tired of being the weight that I am. At 5'3", you are NOT supposed to weigh what I weigh. I will not say how much I weigh because I am ashamed to say it out loud. The only time I weigh this much is when I am pregnant and I am definitely NOT pregnant. My baby is 2 years old and it is time for this excess weight to come off. I am not comfortable at this weight and I have decided to lose 20 pounds. My mind and my goal are set!

Therefore, for the last 10 days, I have been going to the YMCA and burning off calories. Justin and I drop the girls off at school and then we head for the Y. Justin goes to the babysitting room and I either head upstairs to the weight machines or elliptical machine or I take a Zumba class. This is the one hour a day that I take for myself.

I love Zumba!!! It is an exercise class to Latin dance music. It combines dance moves with exercise. I attend the class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and the class lasts one hour. I cannot begin to count how many lunges, squats and ab crunches you do in that hour. But, my mantra through the whole class is BURN FAT BURN! When I feel like giving up and taking it easy in the class, I repeat that mantra. The instructor is awesome and pushes you to the limit. I leave that class with sweat dripping from my hair and my shirt soaked from sweat, but I feel like I have accomplished something.

I want to become slimmer, more toned, and healthier. I don't want a square box figure anymore. I want my hourglass figure back (at least I think I used to have one). I want to see a waist. Therefore, I am paying careful attention to everything that goes into my mouth. For breakfast I am eating oatmeal and that is definitely NOT my favorite. I have a snack after exercising and then a light lunch. For supper I eat what is prepared for the family, but NO second helpings and I am trying to watch my portion sizes. I am trying to make a greater effort to eat more fruits and vegetables and NO in between meal snacks. I have cut way back on the sweets, chips and pop.

Please let this work! I just keep saying BURN FAT BURN!!!

Take care,

Monday, November 16, 2009


My children are spoiled in general. But, they are especially spoiled when it comes to home baked goods. Very rarely do my children get cookies, cake, bars, etc. that have been purchased from the store. I am a baker. I learned to bake when I was in 4-H growing up and I love to bake items. I grew up not having baked items from the store because my grandmother baked, my mom baked and I baked. Keith claims that his mother is the world's best baker since she was a baker in the Bloomfield Public School system. I agree. My mother-in-law bakes fabulously.

I find it just as easy for me to make the baked item than to buy it from the store. So last Friday, Justin, Ashlin and I made M&M cookies. Cara and Erica were thrilled when they came home from school and found fresh baked cookies.

At one point, Justin had every pot and pan I own out of the cupboard.

He really thought he was baking too.

Ashlin helped by putting measured ingredients into the bowl.

She also got to lick the beaters. YUM! YUM!

We all had a surprise on Saturday when Grandma Leader showed up to ride along to Lincoln and she had brought along two containers of cookies for us. One container was full of chocolate chip cookies and the other container was sugar cookies. Needless to say that as of this morning, the chocolate chip cookies are gone and the other two kinds of cookies are dwindling fast. Soon it will be time to bake again!

Take care,


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Justin is at the stage where he thinks it is cool to try on pairs of shoes that do not belong to him. He tries on his sisters' tennis shoes, flip-flops, and sandals. Then he tries to walk around without falling. At least when he is finished trying on, he puts all the shoes back in their box in the laundry room.

He was so proud of himself for getting Ashlin's princess sandals on.

I was more impressed with the fact that he put them on the right feet!

Ashlin thought it was funny that Justin was trying to play dress-up.

I guess this what we get for raising a little boy with three older sisters! I am waiting for him to want to wear the dress-up clothes next. He already walks around carrying purses and wearing necklaces.

Take care,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day. The day that we are to be thankful for the brave men and women that protect this country. I don't know that much about the armed forces or war. To me, the armed forces protect this country and what we believe in. To me they stand together and represent and protect our freedom.

My father is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He was drafted and sent to Vietnam towards the beginning of the war. To this day, he does not talk about being in Vietnam or about the war. He comes from a family of 8 children with 7 of them being boys. Out of those 7 boys, 4 of them were sent to Vietnam to fight. God must have been looking out for them because they all came home safe.

So, today I say thank you to all veterans for the job that they have done protecting my freedom.

Thank you,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Cara decided to give the sport of volleyball a try this fall. Our YMCA offered a junior clinic for boys and girls ages 8-12 to learn the fundamentals and rules of the game. Over the course of four weeks, Cara learned how to serve, bump, set, and spike. She also learned where to stand on the court, the names of the positions, and other rules. After completing the clinic, we asked if she was willing to go to the next step and be part of a team and play games. Cara was willing to give it a try. She is half way into her next four weeks of practices and games. One day Cara told me that she wasn't very good. I told her that as long as she is trying her best then I will be proud of her.

Cara warming up before the game. She is just about to bump the ball.

Waiting for serve receive.

Each week of practices and games has Cara and her teammates getting better. At last Saturday's game, there were even a few good rallies for scores. I am proud of her for not giving up and showing good sportsmanship by completing this learning experience. Who knows maybe some day this experience will lead to a varsity letter in high school or a college scholarship! Keep up the good work Cara!!!

Take care,


Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday Sesame Street!!!

Today is the 40th Birthday for Sesame Street! Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster and many other characters have taught children everywhere their numbers, letters and good life skills (sharing, cooperation, etc.). Just the other day on a reading questionnaire for school one of the questions was "When did you first start to read?". My answer was that I learned to read from my grandmother, my mother, and from watching Sesame Street. This show is educational, but also fun to watch. Children do not even realize that they are learning because they are so busy singing and shouting out answers.

I grew up watching Sesame Street and likewise so have my children. My older girls are amazed that I can still sing the opening song and know all of the words. They asked one day how I knew that song. I proudly told them that I watched Sesame Street when I was little and that the song hasn't change at all. They could not believe that I watched Sesame Street way back then.

My children get the pleasure of attending Sesame Street Live when they are old enough to sit through a full performance. A flyer came in the mail last week promoting the next show that is coming to our area. The girls asked if we were going, but I don't think Justin is quite ready. Although, Justin has been carrying around the flyer for days. At 2 years old, he can name all of the characters.

In closing, I know that my children watch too much television. But, when it is a quality show like Sesame Street, I don't mind at all. Best wishes on 40 great years of teaching children, Sesame Street, and I hope that you are around for many, many more years.

Take care,

Indian Summer?

The weather this past weekend in Northeast Nebraska was beautiful. I'm not sure if temperatures in the lower 70's in November qualifies as an Indian summer, but that weather was awesome.

On Saturday afternoon the three girls went to a craft day at the local museum with friends and their little brother is just too little yet to go. So, that left Justin at home with Mom and Dad. Dad decided to mow and trim so Justin followed Dad around for awhile with his bubble mower. Then Justin and I had some time together. We walked around the block with Justin pushing his mower, then we had to swing in the backyard, and finally we had a snack on the deck.

Justin was so tired, but he refused to go inside and take his nap. I think he knows that his days of playing outside in the nice weather are numbered.

He probably would have fallen asleep on the chair he was so tired.

Shortly after I took these pictures he crawled on my lap for a cuddle.
Then we went inside for nap time.
Take care,

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Neighborhood Pantry

Have you ever been in the middle of making dinner or mixing up a batch of cookies and you realize that you are one item short? This happens at my house every once in a while. You would think that I would learn to review the recipe and see if I have all the ingredients before I start, but I don't. This is where the neighborhood pantry comes in handy. Who wants to make a mad dash to the grocery store when you are in the middle of cooking or baking? Who wants to have to load up their kids to make this mad dash? In my neighborhood, there is just this unwritten rule that if you are short something you call a neighbor and ask if they have what you are missing.

For example, just the other day my neighbor, Deb, was making roast for dinner. She needed to get the roast in the oven early and she was short one can of pop with sugar. Her five boys had drunk all of the sugar pop and all that was left was diet pop. Diet pop does not work in her roast recipe. So, Deb calls me and asks if I have any. I replied, "Sure, come on over. I have a can of Dr. Pepper". She makes the mad dash across two backyards to my house for the can of pop instead of making the mad dash to the grocery store.

A few weeks ago, I start to make brownies for Cara's third grade class at 8:00 P.M. (making brownies at that time of night is a whole post for another day) and I am short one egg. Instead of making the mad dash to the grocery store with 4 kids in tow, I send Cara two houses down the street to Nicole's for an egg.

Off and on in our neighborhood, you may see children carrying tupperware containers or measuring cups with ingredients in them home to their mothers. We may be missing an egg, a cup of sugar, a stick of margarine, mayo, or who knows what else. But, someone else in the neighborhood is sure to have that one item for you if you ask.

Remember it never hurts to ask a neighbor for that one missing ingredient before making the mad dash to the grocery store.

Take care,

Thursday, November 5, 2009


My husband is a concert fanatic, therefore, through marriage I am too. Why should I let him have all the fun, therefore, I also attend most concerts with him. We both grew up in the 80's so lately he has been really into attending concerts of bands from the 80's. Keith is a frequent visitor of Ticketmaster's website scouting out his next big concert coming to our area. You have to realize that we live in a city of only 23,000 people so not a lot of big name acts come to our city. But, Omaha is only a little over two hours away, so, that is where we travel to see a concert usually. Our local county fair does an awesome job also of bringing in big names and also one of the hotels in town has started a summer concert series that brings in big acts.

If Keith and I sat down and added up how much money we have spent this calendar year on concert tickets, it would be an outrageous amount. But as we both say, our entertainment part of the budget goes to concert tickets and everything associated with attending. We do not own a boat, we do not own a camper for camping, we do not golf, we do not belong to the country club, and we do not do many other entertaining things. In short, we love music concerts!!!

Let me give you a recap of the concerts that we have attended this year:

In January, we rocked out to AC/DC with our neighbors. That was an awesome concert. Our seats weren't the best, but we were in the building. Definitely worth every penny!

In February, Keith attended Motley Crue with his brother Cory (aka Chef Daddy from followtheleaders). They had awesome seats close to the stage and had a blast!

In March, we went to the Nickel Back concert with my brother and his wife. By the way, my husband LOVES Nickel Back. He has been classified as a groupie and borderline stalker by some people.

Then we took a few months off until June when we spent a weekend seeing Heart, Eddie Money, Big & Rich, and the Zac Brown Band. That was a fun weekend! Then two weeks later the county fair was going on and we went and saw Neil McCoy, Miranda Lambert and Charlie Daniels.

Then Labor Day weekend we went to another outdoor concert in town to see Kansas and Foreigner.

In October, Keith took our three girls to see Miley Cyrus. We cannot believe that we spent that much for those tickets. But the look on our daughters faces when they found out that they were going to get to go was PRICELESS.

Just the other day, Keith's tickets arrived in the mail for the KISS concert in December. He is going with two of his brothers. I will hang out with my sisters-in-laws for the night if we can find a sitter for all of the children.

We are always on the look out for the next concert. I'm pretty sure that the next tickets I will be buying will be Bon Jovi. We saw them about a year ago, but they were so good that we will definitely be going again. When I read this post over, I cannot believe that we spent all that money. But it is only money, and we had so much fun together enjoying them.

Take care,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)

The first Wednesday of every month during the school year I can be found at my local morning MOPS group. This group is for moms of preschoolers to gather and share experiences, enjoy conversation, savor breakfast, complete a craft and other things in a Christian based atmosphere.

I discovered MOPS through a friend. Julie and I both became stay-at-home moms a month apart following the births of our third children. We were both struggling in our new careers as stay-at-home moms. After working full time for years, the transition is not as easy as one might think. I can tell you that many days I would rather go to work than stay home and do domestic chores all day. I am telling you that it is NO vacation.

Anyway, MOPS came into my life when I needed those ladies the most. One month before I attended my first MOPS meeting I suffered a miscarriage that had left me in a dark and depressed place and I was searching and praying for a way out. That group of ladies gave me a place that once a month I could be Michelle again. From the moment you walk in the door at those meetings you get to be an adult for 2 hours. Childcare is provided for your children. I get to sit down and enjoy breakfast with fellow mothers. I complete a craft all by myself without little hands helping. I watch a video about moms sharing their joys and struggles as they go through life. And lastly, I meet with a small group of ladies to plan nights out, play dates and to share our own personal struggles and triumphs. You might think that you have problems until you attend a meeting and discover that someone else is experiencing those same troubles. I leave these meetings with a whole new outlook on life and believe for a little while that I am good mom again.

If you are a mother of preschoolers you might want to check your area for a MOPS group. MOPS is an international group of moms. This group is not for just for stay-at-home moms like me, but for all mothers.

Take care,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Questions Kids Ask

What comes out of a child's mouth is usually honest and to the point. Whether you want to hear it or have them tell someone else. What a child says can be embarrassing, funny, inquisitive, and many other things.

Ashlin, my 4-year old, attends preschool five mornings a week this school year. Her preschool is located in the same building as the catholic elementary school that her older sisters attend. Ashlin has a tendency to say funny things and ask many questions.

Well the other day I was running some errands with Ashlin and my 2-year old, Justin. Ashlin was asking me where we all had to go, how many stops, and if her and Justin could have candy if they were good. So, we are driving along when all of a sudden Ashlin changes the subject and says to me, "Mom, does God make the rainbows?". I replied that, "Yes, God makes the rainbows". There is a moment of silence from the back of the mini-van and then Ashlin says, "Mom, did you know that God made us?". I reply, "Yes, Ashlin, God made us too.". She then replies back, "Mom, God made all things.".

I can only assume from our conversation that Ashlin has been studying the story of creation at preschool and was testing her mother to see if I also knew about creation. Some days what my kids say and ask amazes me. I guess they really are listening to what goes on around them.

Take care,

Monday, November 2, 2009


Welcome to Tutus and Choo-Choos (a.k.a. The Leader Household)!!! My name is Michelle Leader and I am a stay-at-home mother to four children. I became a stay-at-home mom after giving birth to my third child. At that time I had 3 children and none of them were in school full-time, so, I became their new daycare lady. It has now been a fast 4 1/2 years of domestic chores and running for me. My four children are: Cara-9 years old, Erica-6 years old, Ashlin-4 years old and Justin-2 years old. The older that my children get, the more activities they are involved in, resulting in Mom doing more running.

I have been married to my husband, Keith, for 10 years and there is never a dull moment with him around. My husband is constantly cracking a joke and reminding me NOT to take life so seriously. Keith has worked for the power company for the last 17 years. My husband takes his job very seriously, but he also values his family and knows when to draw the line between job and family. Unfortunately, when the lights go out, our home phone is ringing for Keith to go to work.

I want to thank my sister-in-law, Jodee, from followtheleaders, for the gift of this blog. Jodee took the initiative to create this blog and gave me the push I needed to become a blogger. She patiently showed me how to blog. I thank you, Jodee, very much for this gift. I have wanted to scrapbook for years, but I have too many little hands right now that want to help. I have also tried to journal the day-to-day happenings in our busy household, but again I have failed. Hopefully with this gift, I will be successful in recording the happenings of this Leader household. Also hopefully, I will get better at this as time goes on, so, please bear with me for a while until I get the hang of this.

Before closing today, I need to share how Jodee came up with my blog title. My three girls are dancers. Cara, my 9-year old, is currently in her 7th year of dance, and her sisters have followed in her footsteps. Recently, Justin, my 2-year old, has discovered that he loves to play with trains. Thus the name tutus and choo-choos was created for our family.

Take care,