Monday, December 20, 2010

5th Grade Raffle for a Cause

There was quite a stir of excitement last week at school. The reason for the excitement was that Mrs. Jessen's 5th Grade class was sponsoring a raffle and bake sale. Raffle tickets could be purchased before school each morning. The cost for a ticket was 1 for $.25 or 5 for $1.00. This was a class learning experience, but also an Advent project for the class. The class goal was to raise $20 and raffle off 5 baskets of goodies. They wanted the cost of a ticket to be cheap that way every student could participate. What an excitement this raffle caused at school!!!

The class goal of having 5 baskets of goodies turned into 31 baskets of prizes. You could buy a chance to win jewelry, movie nights, kitchen goodies, stuffed animals, books, etc. The list of good baskets was endless. Ashlin, Erica and I each purchased tickets on more than one morning. One boy in Cara's class brought in a $10 bill one day and bought tickets. Another little girl in preschool brought a whole baggy of change to buy tickets.

On Friday morning the class had a bake sale where you could purchase a goody for $.25. Ashlin took a quarter and bought a cookie to go with her lunch for the day. Then at the end of the day on Friday the winners were announced. The photo below is of the basket that Mrs. Leader (a.k.a. me) won.

This is basket #7 filled with Kitchen Items including: a kitchen towel, cookie cutter, two cookie stamps, a cookie mix, a jar of apricot jam and a jar of apple butter.

The final total of money raised for the raffle and bake sale came to over $600. This money will be split with half of the money going to a needy family in our parish and then other half going to Haiti to buy sewing machines. This project over exceeded everyone's expectations and I have a feeling will be repeated in the future because of the huge success.

Take care,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cookies for the Soup Kitchen

There is a lady in our church parish that every year bakes dozens of cookies for the Soup Kitchen at Christmas time. She bakes the cookies and then the 2nd Grade and the 6th Grade have the job of frosting all of the cookies. This morning was the day for the 2nd and 6th graders to complete this service project. This project requires organization because they frosted 900 cookies in about 40 minutes. A group of mothers lay out the cookies, paper towels, plastic gloves, frosting and sprinkles. We are responsible for making the frosting and getting all of the supplies needed to complete the project. When you first see all 900 cookies laid out, the task seems rather daunting, but once started the project goes quickly.

One table all ready for the students to have a seat and begin frosting.

Erica frosting her first cookie. All of the students had a great time.

A long table of completed cookies reading for the Soup Kitchen to pick up and serve.

This was my second year to help with this project and Erica's teacher said that I am on this project for life. I'm not sure I want to be on for life, but the project isn't so bad because it is completed quickly.

Take care,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giving In

Justin and I have a morning routine and very rarely we go away from our routine. We take the girls to school and then we head to the YMCA. Justin goes to the playroom and I workout for one hour. Then we head home and I get ready for work while Justin watches cartoons and if there is time do a little housework. Last week Justin was on my case to go to the gym and ride his bike and scooter. There is a church in town that has a large gym that they open up to the public on Wednesday mornings from 9-10:30 for moms to bring their preschoolers and they can play. It just so happens that this church is right across the street from the YMCA so we drive past it every day and he sees it. Last week Justin was asking me numerous times a day if the gym was open and if we could go and play.

Wednesday morning finally arrived and we took the girls to school, ran a few errands and then headed to the gym with his bike and scooter loaded in the van. When we arrived we were the only ones there, but he hopped on his scooter and went for a ride. He was laughing and having a good time. Only a few other moms showed up which was fine because Justin has a hard time sharing his toys at the gym.After an hour of playing, we headed home so that I could eat my lunch before heading off to work. Sometimes it is okay to give in to their little wishes and go away from our normal routine. Change isn't always bad!

Take care,


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bragging On Your Kids

Today I want to brag about our third child Ashlin! She has been doing a fabulous job in her speech therapy sessions at school! Her teacher is Mrs. Johnson and Ashlin goes to her classroom every Monday and Thursday morning for 20 minutes for help with her speech.

Last year when Ashlin was in preschool she didn't hardly talk at all the first semester of school. Then her teacher noticed during the second semester that Ashlin had some problems pronouncing certain letter sounds properly. Ashlin was tested by Mrs. Johnson and it was determined that she needed some help. Therefore, Ashlin went for a few weeks last year and she has been going twice a week this school year.

Her speech has improved greatly. This school year Ashlin has worked on the letter sounds of "f", hard "g" and now last week she got to move on to "k". Each sound has to be focused on as it sounds at the beginning of a word, the middle of a word, and the end of the word. We are soooo proud of Ashlin's progress. Some letter sounds she really has to focus and try real hard to get it pronounced correctly. But, Mrs. Johnson has told me that she is making great progress.

Take care,


Monday, December 6, 2010

Plan B

This last weekend Plan A was to go to Minneapolis and take Keith's parents along for the fun. Keith and his Dad were going to attend the Vikings game on Sunday and Keith's Mom and I were going to shop at the Mall of America. But, we didn't count on Minneapolis getting hit with 5-9 inches of snow and the temperatures to plummet below zero with the wind chill. It was a good thing that over Thanksgiving weekend I had given my sister the football tickets just in case the weather got bad and we couldn't go to Minnesota. I hope that my sister and her husband enjoyed the game yesterday. Therefore, on to Plan B for Keith and I. There was no way that we were going to give up our sitter for the day, so, we headed to Sioux City shopping for the day. We left the house at 8:00 and returned home at 6:15. Keith and I shopped all day with the kids' Christmas lists in hand. Keith always likes to shop one day with me so that he knows at least a few gifts under the tree. We even purchased a few things for ourselves during the shopping adventure. I would share more, but I know that a few of my children visit this blog to find out information.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weather Report

Okay, old man winter can pack up and go away now! On Monday we received 3 inches of snow with 40-50 mph winds. I'm not sure how they ever measured the 3 inches of snow because the wind was blowing it sideways. The roads around town were ice and snow packed. You should have heard me complaining and yelling at the cars in front of me on the way home from school that day. We almost got stuck on the ice going up a hill because the traffic in front of me was not moving.

Justin does not like the cold. He refuses to walk in the snow in his tennis shoes. Then last night he wanted to go outside with Keith to snowblow the drift in front of the garage and freaked out about the noise that the snowblower makes. This is after we get him dressed in his coat, hat, gloves and Ashlin's snow boots. He could barely move and then is outside for 30 seconds and comes back inside. All the effort was wasted!!! Note to self to go buy this little boy some snow boots of his own. His sister's Hello Kitty snow boots just look goofy on him.

This weather has definitely put the students at school in rare form also. They have been so loud at lunch the last few days that the teachers can barely stand it. On Monday, they were ALL so excited to go outside for lunch recess when the snow had just started to fall. Then on Tuesday, the windchill was too low for them to go outside and some of them were looking to forward to going outside in the snow to play. I wish they could have gone outside because they need the fresh air and they also need to be loud and blow off some steam. I do have to say that recess duty on Monday was not fun for me though. It was freezing outside!

How many days until Spring and warm temps again?

Take care,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fall Volleyball

This fall Cara chose to play YMCA volleyball again. She didn't participate in the volleyball clinic for a month, but she did join a team and play games for 4 weeks. She was on the yellow team this year made up of 3rd and 4th graders. This year she was even on a team with a few other girls from her school. Cara's skills have improved quite a bit since last year. She just has to stick with it and keep trying.

Cara and McKinzie waiting for their chance to play in the rotation.

Waiting for the ball to be served.
Take care,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving/Black Friday

Thursday morning we packed up and headed to Lincoln for Thanksgiving dinner at Cory & Jodee's house. They were kind enough to cook the turkey and let us spend the night so that Jodee and I could spend Black Friday shopping. This was our third annual Black Friday shop-a-thon. Cory made a delicious ham and turkey with all of the sides. I contributed a jello-poke cake for the dinner. After eating way too much, Jodee and I settled down with two newspapers and all of the ads. After browsing numerous times through the ads, we made our list of items that we wanted, what time each store opened and had the early deals, and then planned in what order to hit the stores running. We decided that our first stop would be Kohl's. The alarm clocks were set for 2:45 a.m. and we left the house at 3:00 a.m.

Jodee and I do not care how bad or good we look on Black Friday. The whole purpose is to score the deal. I get up when the alarm goes off, quickly put on my sweatpants and Nebraska sweatshirt, comb my hair and brush my teeth. That is it!!! Onward to the first store we go with our master shopping list and our charge cards. Oh, I almost forgot that we are both also loaded with extra coupons for the adventure. This year we had so many coupons between the two of us, that we passed them out to other people in line by us waiting to check out. Talk about being giving in the Christmas season.

Jodee scored huge deals at Kohl's (complete with doorbuster prices plus rebates plus extra coupon savings). Simply put, Jodee was making money while she was shopping at Kohl's. Then we proceeded onward to Target, Walmart, The Children's Place, Gymboree, Bath & Body Works, Younkers, Scheels, Hallmark and Old Navy. Finally at noon, we both needed a break and needed to catch our third or fourth winds. I was exhausted at this point. I couldn't even think straight plus I was developing a headache from lack of sleep and food.

In previous years, we have taken Jodee's mini-van out for our shopping adventure, but this year we took Jodee's car. She definitely picked the wrong time of the year to trade off the van and get a car. As you can see our purchases were falling out of the car.

I will classify it as another successful Black Friday shopping experience. We both have tons of patience while waiting in the long lines, plus we laugh at others around us. Now I just have to figure out how to get it all wrapped and also sort through it all and decide what is left on our list. I must accomplish this soon because this weekend is round 2 of the Christmas shopping at the Mall of America.

Take care,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

YMCA Fitness for the Cure!

A few Saturdays ago, I participated in the YMCA Fitness For the Cure! This event was put on by the YMCA and organized by the Zumba instructors. Fitness For The Cure was fitness for the fight against breast cancer. Cali, one of the Zumba instructors, lost her mother last spring to breast cancer so she was really instrumental in getting this off the ground here. Breast cancer is also near and dear to our family because Keith's sister, Lorrie, lost her fight with breast cancer five years ago last July. When I heard about this event at the YMCA I was totally on board for it. For a $10 donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, you could participate in the event and also get a t-shirt. The event last for 1 1/2 hours on a Saturday morning and you could win numerous prizes while exercising.

The lady with the pink pants on is Kristi. She is one of the instructors that keeps me motivated every Tuesday and Thursday during class. Somehow she knows when I start to sluff off in class and makes just the right comment to get me going again. Did I mention that she also has 9 children and is that thin?

Participants signing in for the event. There was all kinds of information about breast cancer and also about Zumba.

I loved this pink tree of hope for the cause.

Kristi leading another song/dance. There were about 100 participants in the event and next year they hope to make it even larger. Keith even thought about participating because of the cause, but he had to run kids instead. Maybe next year he will be able to join the event with me.

Take care,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

1st Anniversary - Late

Last Tuesday, November 2nd, was my one-year anniversary of blogging. I want to thank everyone that welcomed me to blogland and has followed the activities of our family. When I started blogging it was supposed to be a journal of our every day lives and what happens in this household of six. I am not good at keeping a journal. I have tried to journal more than once and every time I fail. I have told myself that I will not fail at blogging. This blog has inspired me to write about the daily activities of our family and has also inspired me to take more photos of all of us. When I started this adventure, I wondered what I would blog about every day and somehow I have come up with ideas and activities.

Lately I have been lacking on posts and have not been the best follower of anyone's blogs. I am sorry for falling behind, but last week was really hectic here. Keith stayed out of town on Monday and Tuesday night. Wednesday night everything was going good until about 9:00 when the phone rang. Keith got called back to work and ended up working all night and not getting home until Thursday afternoon at about 1:00. On Thursday and Friday, I had to work all day at school. The week just flew by and I failed to have time to post or even read other blogs. I barely found time to check my school e-mail.

Thanks again for everyone following this blog for the last year and here's to many more posts!!!

Take care,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

What a great Halloween yesterday turned out to be! The temperature was not too cold (mid 50's) and the small rain shower happened before it was time to go trick-or-treating. The kids couldn't wait to put on their costumes and go get candy. We never put out our pumpkins until the day of Halloween because usually they get stolen or smashed. Therefore, yesterday afternoon I put them all on the front steps.

Justin did not want his picture taken and Cara couldn't decide if she was going to go trick-or-treating or not. But in the end she ended up going. So before they left the house we snapped a photo of the angel, lion, flower child and princess.

This photo is over at one of the neighbor's homes. Cara and Erica walked around getting candy with these boys. The two boys on both sides of Cara are in her class and the Iowa Hawkeye football player is in Erica's class. Ashlin refused to be in the photo and Justin didn't want to look at the camera.

I walked Ashlin and Justin around the neighborhood and they brought home a haul of candy. Justin's bucket was almost full. He was really getting into trick-or-treating this year. Justin had a few classic comments to some of the neighbors though such as "I don't want that piece of candy because I already have one of those". He made that comment to a neighbor down the street when she tried to put some M&M's in his bucket. He had received M&M's at the previous house and he thought he couldn't get any more of that kind of candy. Then he told the neighbors across the street, " I don't like that kind of candy!" and wouldn't let them put a certain piece in his bucket. Life is never dull with a 3 year old around. He says what is on his mind.

Take care,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shoot Me! 36 of 52

It is Thursday and I am participating in Carin's Shoot Me challenge. Today is your chance to post a photo of yourself alone or with someone. Too often, I am not in any photos because I am the one taking the photo.

This is my school directory photo taken during school picture day! This photo is on the school's website and on my school ID badge that I wear every day at work. I cannot believe that gave me copies of this photo. Now what do I do with the photos that they gave me?

Take care,


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gymnastics Parents' Night

Erica decided to not take dance this year. We didn't fight with her about it because it was her choice. But, the rule at our house is that you must be involved in a physical activity. As a result, Erica decided to give gymnastics a try. This really surprised us because she cannot do a cartwheel, but she wanted to give it a try. Her first eight weeks of classes are over and tonight she starts her next session of gymnastics. She really enjoys the class and has a lot of fun. I'm not sure if gymnastics is for her, but she is trying her hardest and that is all that we ask her to do.

The instructor told the class to hold this bridge while reciting the alphabet. If they fell, they had to start the alphabet over.
Erica walking the balance beam. Her good friend, Charley, is in the blue in front of her. I was impressed with her balance.

Justin watching Erica climb the rope. It was very hard for Ashlin and Justin to watch Erica while sitting on the side. They wanted to run and play on the mats and equipment.

Take care,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Decorated Pumpkins

There was a pumpkin decorating contest at school two weeks ago and all three of the girls took pumpkins to participate. These are some of the photos of the end result.

Ashlin with her ghost pumpkin.

Cara's jeweled spider web with three spiders.

Erica's jack-o-lantern decorated with jewels.

This was another ghost pumpkin. Unfortunately, this pumpkin had to get tossed because the bottom went out. I had to throw another one out this afternoon because it was moldy. Hopefully, I will have a few more photos for Halloween.

Take care,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Hunting

On Saturday, I was invited to a pumpkin painting/carving party at the home of one of the preschool students. Kadee's family runs a produce farm business. They grow pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, sweet corn, etc. The whole (extended) family works with the produce. Kadee invited the afternoon preschool class to pick as many pumpkins as they wished.

This is one of the pumpkin fields. There were other fields of pumpkins also. We rode on a flatbed to get to the field. Justin thought it was so much fun. The dirt is sandy therefore, perfect for growing produce.

Ashlin with the pumpkin she picked.

Justin deciding which pumpkin he wants to take home.

Erica, Ashlin, Justin and Tyler painting their pumpkins. You could either paint or carve. My kids chose to paint. Kadee's mom also had snacks for the kids, goodie bags to take home and a ghost pinata filled with candy. The weather on Saturday was forecasted to be cloudy and cold with a 70% chance of rain, but the weather man was wrong. The weather was sunny and warm and we didn't get a drop of rain (we could really use the rain though).

Take care,

P.S. Did you hear me scream last Friday??? Cara scored well on her Social Studies test. She missed two questions. We are very proud of her for doing her best!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shoot Me! 35 of 52

It is Thursday and I am participating in Carin's Shoot Me challenge. Today is your chance to post a photo of yourself alone or with someone. Too often, I am not in any photos because I am the one taking the photo.

Forever In Blue Jeans

Sitting at the computer a few weeks ago after work catching up on e-mails. Cara took this photo because I was so EXCITED about the grade she received on her Science test. Cara and I studied for 2-3 weeks for this test. I had heard from other parents how hard this test was going to be and we studied hard. We used flashcards, computer games, old worksheets, etc to study for the test. The test was on plants, seeds, the parts of a flower, etc. I wish I could have taken the test. Cara scored a 103% on the test. She missed two questions, but there were a few bonus questions that she got right therefore her grade was over a 100%. When she told me her grade at school, I let out a scream and gave her a BIG hug right in the school commons area. Other students standing around stared at us, but I didn't care because I was so excited!!!.

Take care,


P.S. Today Cara has a Social Studies test over the New England states. I wish I could take the test for her. I was drilling information into her head last night and this morning. I hope she does well. If you hear a faint scream, it is me because she scored well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shoot Me! 34 of 52

It is Thursday and I am participating in Carin's Shoot Me challenge. Today is your chance to post a photo of yourself alone or with someone. Too often, I am not in any photos because I am the one taking the photo.

Forever In Blue Jeans

Keith and I sitting at our table ready for dinner to be served last weekend at Spirit.

Take care,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spirit 2010: Part II

Every year Keith and I attend this event we leave the house with a budget amount in mind. In the past we have sometimes stuck to that dollar amount and other years failed. This year we spent more than anticipated, but we agreed that we bought items that we would use and are practical.

These banners were hung throughout the gym. The silent auction runs from 5:00 to 7:30. Different portions of the silent auction are shut down in phases so that you have a chance to bid on all sorts of items. The silent auction has hundreds of items to bid on. At 7:30 the guests are seated at their assigned tables for the meal. The meal consists of prime rib or chicken, baked potato, dinner salad, vegetable, dinner roll, and dessert. The event is also open bar all evening.

This year we were pleased to have the State of Nebraska's Governor and his wife in attendance at the event. The Governor and his wife donated lunch for 8 people at the governor's mansion. This item on the oral auction sold for $1600. Sorry this is not a very good photo, but our table was not very close to the stage for a good photo.

This is another photo of the VIP table that evening. The photos from that night do not do the event justice because of the dim lighting in the gym during the event. The gym is pretty much lit by lots of candles and lanterns.

On the silent auction you can purchase Norfolk Catholic sports items. We purchased this photo above. It is a photo of this year's volleyball team. The photo came with a certificate for little girls' volleyball camp next summer and a t-shirt from the team. Cara will be attending volleyball camp again. I ended up giving the photo to a senior volleyball player and she gave Cara a poster of this photo in exchange. We also purchased a certificate for little girls' cheer camp on the silent auction. Ashlin can't wait to go to cheer camp.

There are items on the silent auction for the home, such as this Peggy Karr glass plate. I did not get this item.

Each class donates a basket of items to the silent auction. This Christmas themed basket was donated by the 1st Grade Class. Many times the class baskets will go for $300 a piece on the auction. Cara's 4th Grade Class had a picnic basket theme, Erica's 2nd Grade Class had a BBQ theme, and Ashlin's Kindergarten Class had a Little Learner's theme.

This cross garden statue was in the religious/holiday theme category. I loved this item, but I couldn't figure out where to put it outside. Therefore, I didn't bid on it, but I sure loved it!

This painting titled "The Pope's Steps" was truly amazing. I loved it also, but I can't bid on everything that I want.

This table centerpiece I was given at the end of the night for all of my hard work during the weekend at the event.

This candle and holder was the item I got out of the $25 women's grab bag. The women's grab bag items range in value from $25 to $100. But, you only pay $25 for the bag. Also, you could purchase a 1 in 100 chance to win a Traeger Grill, you could purchase a $25 raffle ticket for the chance to win $1000, $2000, or $3000 in cash, and a $10 chance at a split the pot game valued at $1000. We didn't win any of the money.

But, we did go home with some other great items in addition to the two camps that I spoke about earlier. We were the high bidders on two tickets to see the Minnesota Vikings on December 5th (Keith is still deciding who to take along). We also purchased the camper rental again like last year (this was the one item that our kids told us to get again before we left the house for the evening). We are splitting the purchase of garden fresh produce for next summer with our neighbors, Scott and Nicole (all of us can't wait for this and we are plotting to make homemade salsa and freeze sweet corn).

And then our final LARGE purchase of the evening was $50 a week in groceries for a year. This item was donated by Affiliated Foods and must be used at one of their stores. Keith and I are very excited about this purchase because our groceries are pre-paid plus we paid less than face value for these groceries.

It was such an enjoyable evening!!!

Take care,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Spirit 2010: Part I

Saturday was the annual fundraiser for the catholic school that our children attend. This year was our 3rd year to attend, but it was the 20th year for the annual fundraiser. In this one night over $100,000 is raised for our catholic school. Around the first part of September, invitations arrive in the mail. The theme this year was Spirit of the West.

The gym at the school is transformed into a night of entertainment for all. There are curtains hung on every wall in the gym so that the walls and bleachers are not visible. Then against the walls tables are placed displaying the oral and silent auction items. Then the room is filled with tables for the guests and in the center is the VIP table which is auctioned off each year and these guests get extra attention by waiters/waitresses, appetizers, champagne, etc. This is how a table looked Thursday night.
This event is planned for a whole year. The transforming of the gym begins on Wednesday night when carpet is laid on the gym floor. Then on Thursday at noon the decorating begins. A company comes in and starts setting up tables, chairs, hangs curtains, drapes risers, sets up a stage, etc. Then parish volunteers start setting tables, setting up auction items, etc. The setting up process continues until Saturday afternoon. Guests for the evening start arriving at 5:00 p.m. for an evening of fun. This pergola was where the VIP guests sat. This photo is from Thursday evening also. The pergola was an item on the oral auction.

A few months ago I was asked by one of the event organizers if I could be a volunteer for the event. One of the chairwomen had a nephew getting married on Saturday and they needed a person to take her place for the weekend. Jodene is responsible for all the computer work. She assigns bid numbers to guests, inputs RSVPs, prints reports for the kitchen on what guest is eating what, assigns table numbers, inputs all of the silent and oral auction items, etc. The list is endless. I was Jodene's replacement for the weekend. Thursday afternoon I helped put items together. Friday I sat at a computer 90% of the day and evening typing and Saturday morning I completed last minute items. I will help again next year, but I already said that I want a different job. This photo is one of the centerpieces for the guest tables. You could purchase a table centerpiece for $25 that evening. The lit candle was placed in the lantern for the evening.

These mugs held a black dinner napkin and a red bandanna. Each guest took home the red bandanna and the mug as a gift.

Tomorrow I will share more photos and details of the event.

Take care,