Friday, December 30, 2011

Leader Christmas

On Christmas Day after playing with some of our new toys and enjoying biscuits and gravy for breakfast, it was time to get ready to head to Grandpa and Grandma Leader's house.  Late afternoon we got on the road for the next phase of the Christmas celebration.
Grandma decided that we would have a simple supper meal of soup, taverns and various other goodies.  There were four kinds of soup to choose from and so many goodies.
After eating and cleaning up, we all headed for the basement to start the unwrapping of gifts.  The younger cousins all draw names and exchange gifts.  You have to wait for your name to be drawn to guess who has your name before you can open.
The adults do a men's and women's gift exchange involving a game.  Grandpa and Grandma gave each grandchild an ornament, Relay for Life t-shirt, and books.
Grandma made each adult a fleece blanket for Christmas to keep us warm on those cold Nebraska days.
Ashlin received an initial "A" necklace in the exchange.  This item was on her Christmas list.
Uncle David picked out this Nebraska volleyball t-shirt for Cara.  He knows how much she loves volleyball.
Erica received items that were "blingy".  She received a hot pink purse, glittered "E" journal and hot pink headband in the exchange.
Justin received a John Deere tool belt with tools and this hat.  The hat needs to be reshaped, but Justin wore it the rest of the night.  These tools will get lots of use.  He loves using his tools to help Dad.

Needless to say the flu bug was not done at our house.  On the way home, Erica got sick and shortly after getting home Justin also got sick.  It was a long night for all with the washing machine running two loads over night.  The next day Dad didn't feel well either.  Then on Wednesday night the flu bug hit me.  Hopefully we are all done with that nasty business for the year.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day

When Christmas morning dawned at our house, we weren't really sure what to expect.  The stomach flu bug had hit our house off-and-on for a few days so we didn't know how anyone would be feeling.  Cara had been sick on Thursday and Friday with it.  Then right when it was time to leave for Mass on Christmas Eve, Ashlin said that she didn't feel well.  The flu hit her while Cara, Erica, Justin and I were at Mass.  But, everyone was feeling okay that morning.

The oldest two were up shortly after 7 a.m. While the younger two woke up around 8 a.m.  The kids have never been really early risers on Christmas morning.  This is great because with all of the excitement and activities we all need our sleep to get us through the day.
This monster truck pulling a boat was waiting for Justin by his pile of loot.  He loves that he now has a truck with a hitch for pulling a boat just like his dad's real truck.
Justin opening the gift that he wanted most of all - a Leapster Explorer.  He has been talking about this toy for months.  Good thing that Santa was listening.
Ashlin didn't make a list out for Santa this year.  She said that she would be happy with whatever Santa brought her.  Although later on she did admit that she really wanted a make-up kit.  She was so happy when there was one by her stocking
Cara holding up a new package of socks.  All three of the girls received new socks.  Cara got lots of new clothes.  Santa must have known that there wasn't much in her closet that fit anymore.
This package may have been the highlight of the present opening.  The three girls have all wanted a DS for the last 2-3 years and Santa has not delivered one.  This year there were 3 gifts marked "All Girls" on them.  The one Erica opened contained a DS and it got a great reaction from all the girls.  The one Ashlin opened contained a DS game and the one Cara opened contained a Wii remote charger.

More about Christmas in the next post.

Take care,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dance Camp

A week ago, the three girls all attended Dance Camp at school.  The weather outside was dreadful with snow coming down in big flakes and we ended up getting about 4-5 inches of the white stuff, but dance camp was still held.  They reported to the gym at 1:30 to learn a dance and have fun.
During halftime of the boys varsity game, all of the dancers got to perform the dance they learned.  It was an afternoon game which worked out perfect because of the weather.
The girls had so much fun hanging out with the high school girls and learning a dance.  Considering none of them are in dance this year, it gave them a chance to see if they still liked dancing.
The girls participating in dance camp ranged from preschool through 6th grade.
There were so many girls dancing that I couldn't get a photo of the whole group.

The boys ended up winning the game.  Justin enjoyed watching the game while waiting for the girls to perform.  He clapped and naturally made a trip to the concession stand for a snack.

Take care,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Holly!

Happy Birthday yesterday to our niece, Holly!  We celebrated her birthday last weekend when she came home from Louisiana. 
 Her cake was on fire from all of the candles.
Her angel food birthday cake tasted delicious.

Take care,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mercy Meals

Last Saturday morning Cara and Erica had a short 4-H meeting and then the club went to package Mercy Meals for their community service project.  They packaged the meals for one hour. 
Upon arrival at the Mercy Meal warehouse everyone must put on aprons, hair nets and then wash their hands.  Here the group is listening to instructions about packaging the food.
Assembly lines are then set up to package the meals.  Everyone has a job in the assembly line.
Allison is sealing a package shut for the shipment.  The packages that the kids put together would either be sent to Kenya or Haiti.
Casey is waiting for her turn to put a label on a finished package of food.
Cara and Charli were packaging the filled bags in boxes.  Each box contains 50 bags of food.  Each bag contains: rice, soy, dried vegetables, chicken base.  Each bag feeds 3 people and costs about $0.70 to make.
Erica worked behind the scene assembling boxes and putting labels on the boxes.

The following is from a letter handed out to the volunteers:
Mercy Meals of Nebraska is a non-profit organization that allows volunteers to package nourishing food that will be delivered to children in need throughout the world.  Orphanages, refugee camps, feeding centers, disaster relief centers and local food pantries have been recent recipients of the food.

Through this program, we hope to instill in our children a sense of self-empowerment, civic duty, world awareness, kindness toward their fellow man and appreciation for the blessings in their daily lives.  We want then to know that they can make a difference in other people's lives by being informed, by making good choices in their lives, by giving their time and by donating their talents.

This was a great service project for these kids to complete, especially at this time of the year.  The project is easy and fun to complete.  My kids have done Mercy Meals before and each time they have a good time while helping less fortunate people.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Decorating Christmas Cookies

Grandma Leader and Cousin Holly have a tradition of decorating Christmas cookies.  This year with Holly coming home early the cookies were ready to be decorated early.  Also Grandma Leader has started a cookie exchange annual program on the Guenther side.  This next Saturday will be the 3rd annual event.
Shortly after the dinner dishes were done, the cookies and decorating supplies came out.  Cara, Erica, Ashlin, Holly and Aunt Sharlene started work on the ice cream buckets of cookies to be frosted.
Ashlin working intently on her cookie.
Erica and Holly taking a break for a photo opportunity.  My girls were inseparable from Holly the whole day.  They have missed seeing her and bugged her constantly.
Cara creating another masterpiece.
Justin was kind enough to hand out finished cookies to other guests and even enjoyed eating quite a few himself.  Thank you to Grandma Leader for sending quite a few home with us to enjoy this week.
Justin playing Lego's with Michael.  Justin kept asking for someone to play with him.  He sat on the Winnie the Pooh step stool and saved the Dora stool for a friend.  Michael played Lego's until Justin crashed the airplane that he had created.
Zac also got the opportunity to sit down and join in the building fun.  Grandma Leader made a good investment when she purchased the Lego's and the table from Eli.  This corner of the laundry room got a lot of use that day.  It was a great day to spend with family. 

Take care,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday Conner!

Our nephew Conner turned 8 years old yesterday.  His birthday happened to coincide with the family dinner that Keith's parents hosted yesterday because our niece Holly was home from Louisiana.  Conner had a birthday party on Saturday, but we celebrated yesterday also with cake again.

We couldn't make it to his birthday party on Saturday, so he got to open our present yesterday.  We gave him a Cars2 DVD and a Nebraska hooded sweatshirt.
Aunt Sharlene made jigglers to celebrate Conner and Holly's birthdays for lunch.  Grandma Merina made a most delicious dinner of ham, swiss steak, au gratin potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, salads and butterfinger dessert.  Later in the afternoon we had our choice of two birthday cakes.
Take care,