Shoveling Snow

We had a little snow fall on Friday, enough that we still had a bit of snow to shovel after lunch (usually it all melts).  I was on my way out to shovel when Landon said, "Mom, you don't have to do it. I will shovel the snow for you."  Landon worked diligently on his own for a while and then Lance helped him finish up when he got him.  What a little worker!

Landon using his Gator to dump snow!

I love that Landon wants to be so helpful!  One of his favorite phrases lately "I'll do that for you mom!"  Music to this mama's ears!  



The decorations are still up, the trees are up, the lights are on, the Christmas music is playing, there are still cookies, candies, the gingerbread house, and other treats on the counter.  I am savoring all these last moments of the season.  I am in no hurry to erase the feeling of Christmas from our home.

We had a truly joyous and relaxing Christmas.  Here is a little glimpse of our Christmas this year!

Our pastor called last week to ask if Morgan would be willing to read Luke 2:1-20 for the candlelight Christmas Eve service. I missed the service because Landon and Mauryn were sick, but Lance said she did a wonderful job.  

On Christmas Eve, the kids get to open the gifts under their tree (any gifts not from us).  Mauryn had been so sickly all day, it was nice to see her doing one of her favorite things that night - climbing!
My boys in their new Broncos stocking caps - just in time for the Broncos game Christmas Eve.  Thanks Grandpa Cheney!
Landon had been asking for a drum set for months.  Of course his Grandma and Grandpa Schoeb couldn't refuse his request.  I am not sure who likes the drum set more Landon or his dad!  It is bringing back those high school band memories for Lance :o)
The kids patiently waiting to come downstairs the check out their stockings and Santa gift.
I love this picture of Landon.  He just went flying into his Bronco bean bag chair.  He was so excited about it!
Mauryn just hanging out!
Landon had a Denver Broncos themed Christmas. The bean bag chair, new jersey, uniform complete with helmet and shoulder pads, and some Bronco lights!

Morgan was completely surprised when she opened her ONLY gift.  She couldn't imagine why she had only one present, until she opened her ipod nano.  I don't know that the ipod has been set down very much over the last few days.  
We finished Christmas Day by celebrating Jesus' birth with his birthday cake -complete with singing and candles.  It was a day for celebrating, a day for enjoying time together as a family, a day for remembering the greatest gift ever given Jesus.  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!



One of our favorite holiday treats is the traditional Norwegian food, lefse. Growing up, I remember my mom making lefse every Christmas Eve. We all would take turns helping in some way to make the lefse, but mostly we all wanted to eat it. Since moving away from my family, I have had to make lefse on my own for Christmas or Thanksgiving. The first year we lived here, Morgan and I made it. She is a great at flipping the lefse. Her grandma taught her how to turn lefse at about the age of 4. It has been her job ever since. This year, Lance decided to help out by rolling the lefse. He is great at it because he is such a perfectionist - always working towards the thinnest and most round lefse he can create. Here is how lefse is made:
Potatoes are the main ingredient - you start by peeling and slicing them
Then you boil the potatoes

Next use a potato ricer to rice the potatoes - twice to make sure there are no lumps
Mix 3 cups of riced potatoes with 1/4 cup shortening, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp of sugar - form into a ball and then place covered in the refrigerator overnight. I used 8 large Costco baking potatoes and I was able to make 8 balls. When you are ready to make the lefse, you take one large ball out of the refrigerator. You mix it with 1 1/4 cups of flour. Then you break off small balls to roll out into individual lefse.

Lance rolling the lefse on the lefse board (a round wooden board with a flour sack cover). You want to roll the lefse as thin as possible.

Once the lefse is rolled out you place it on a lefse griddle to cook

The lefse cooks on each side until light brown spots appear. To turn the lefse, you use a special lefse turner. Morgan is using her special lefse turner that her grandma gave her a few years ago. When the lefse comes off the griddle, it is placed between two towels to cool.

Then the lefse is ready to eat- YUMMY! In our house, we all eat lefse with butter and sugar. I have one brother who likes it with brown sugar and some family members who only eat it with butter. No matter how you eat it, we all love it and look forward to having it each year.

The final product ready to be eaten :P



It has been a busy week - it all seems like a blur. Here is what has been going on:

* We have been busy making some art projects. We made snowflakes out of glue and sprinkled them with glitter. We didn't make our glue lines thick enough so when we took them off the wax paper they broke - a lesson learned for next year. The kids made Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer out of their hands (antlers) and feet (his face) and of course we used the glitter for his red nose. We are still finding glitter everywhere! The kids also made paper chains to countdown the days until Jesus' birthday. Today we are making Jesus' birthday cake so we can have it for dessert tomorrow.

* Our local Christian bookstore had a pirate party to promote the new Veggie Tales movie coming out in January. We stopped in for a little bit so the kids could play games and do the crafts. Landon's favorite was the pirate eye patch - Aye their Matey's!

* On Tuesday we hosted our small group Christmas party. It was so nice to relax, enjoy our friendships, and laugh - ALOT!

* I baked some roll out sugar cookies and the kids had a great time decorating them. I am not sure which had more frosting, the cookies or Landon's belly :P

* A church down the street from our house has a living nativity each year. The kids look forward to going each year to see and pet the animals -the camel is their favorite. Mauryn didn't even mind when he was trying to eat her mittens. It was a beautiful night for enjoying some hot chocolate and the story of our Savior's birth.

* It is snowing!! We are going to have a white Christmas. I am so excited. It just seems more like Christmas with snow on the ground. While we have just a dusting, enough to cover the grass, the mountains have been getting lots of snow - 30 inches over a 3 day period. On Saturday we loaded up the kids to go skiing, well Lance and the two older ones skied while Mauryn and I held down the fort in the lodge. It was a beautiful day and not too crowded, considering Thursday when they opened the mountain there were 4000 people there to ski. The kids both did great skiing. Morgan does an excellent job and has advanced to some harder runs. Landon is still learning, but can get down the bunny slope on his own and Lance's back and legs are thankful! Landon just needs to work on getting back up after he falls. I am sure he will have that down before the end of the ski season. Lance's knee held up great. He was a little worried how it would go since his surgery last March but it felt good. He did have a little swelling and soreness afterwards but a small price to pay for him to do something he loves and instill that love in his children.
* We made lefse yesterday - YUMMY! I am working on a post about the process of lefse making and hopefully I will have it finished by tomorrow.
* We have two sickies in our house. Mauryn and Landon both have pnemonia and ear infections - just in time for Christmas. Thankfully we are just staying home and laying low. I am glad we hadn't planned a trip to MN or it would have been a bust with sick kiddos. Boy did this stuff come on fast! They both had coughs and Mauryn's got progressively worse as the day went on yesterday. That poor little thing was poked and proded so much last night. We went to quick care and they wouldn't even see her because her heart rate was 220 - much too fast. So they sent us to the ER. She ended up with nasal swab, EKG, chest xray, and just not much fun. Her heart rate came down and they sent us home last night with a return to our pediatrician today. Mauryn got two shots this morning and will start her oral antibiotics tonight. Landon is just on oral meds and he is thrilled to not be getting a shot. Mauryn goes back to the dr on Wednesday. I am thankful for a pediatrician who would check out my other kids even when they didn't seem sick (Landon)! I am thankful she listens and cares about my kids. I am thankful Mauryn can be treated at home! Keep my babies in your prayers for a quick recovery.


11 years ago today....

on a frigid and snowy Minnesota night, my husband and I were married!

Can it really be eleven years?? Oh how young we were - you were in vet school, I was in my second year of teaching. We had so much to learn about each other and life back then. It has been a journey with many twists and turns we never would have expected but through it all we come out stronger. Thanks for eleven great years and I look forward to many more years on our journey together. I love you!

This is my favorite picture from our wedding day. My friend Rochelle took it as Lance and I left our wedding reception. There is just something sweet about it.


Pinatas+Gingerbread Houses+Candle Making=Fun Day

On Tuesday we met with another homeschool family to work on some Christmas activities. We both belong to the same on line coop and our last unit of the semester was Christmas. The first thing we did was to decorate gingerbread houses made from those great kits at Costco. The kids were so focused on the decorating, especially the older ones. While the gingerbread houses were being decorated, we had wax melting on the stove top to make candles. I had never made candles before and was excited to go through the process. It really wasn't very hard.
Morgan and I are looking forward to making candles again. It was really fun!
Our final activity of the day was to break open a pinata. Our intentions were to have the pinata outside, but it rained so we had to improvise and do it inside. It worked out pretty well. It was so fun to watch the excitement and pure joy of the kids. I was impressed with how fair they were in taking turns and making sure everyone had even amounts of candy and toys from the pinata.
The kids worked and played together wonderfully. It was nice for me to be able to spend time with a friend, to visit, to share ideas/thoughts on homeschooling, parenting, and life. It was a much needed day for all of us to get out and do some fun Christmas things as we wind down to Christmas break.


It's a good thing

the Christmas program is over and Christmas picture photo shoot is over.

Landon took a header off a decorative bridge into a bed of rocks. The goose egg bump has gone down but he still has a little battle scar. I don't know how many times in 3 1/2 years this boy has hit his head and had some type of injury. It's a good thing he likes to wear his ski helmet. I might start making him wear it all the time.


Random Christmas Stuff

* A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about Advent and the different things we were going to be doing in our homes to celebrate the birth of Jesus. She told me that she had ordered a set called What God Wants for Christmas. It was made by the creators of the Resurrection Eggs used to tell the Easter story. I was at our local Christian book store on Friday night and I found it. My kids have been LOVING it! There are seven boxes that look like wrapped gifts. In boxes 1-6 are characters from the nativity. The first box is the angel Gabriel, the second box is Mary, etc.. For each box there is a poem to read and there are scripture verses you can look up. The seventh box contains a mirror because what God wants for Christmas is YOU! I am so thankful I came across this activity for my kids. This is an activity that both Morgan and Landon can enjoy together. Morgan can read from her bible while Landon plays with the characters and just listens to the poems. My friend ordered her box from Family Life , but I also saw it on line at Christian Book Distributors.
* Renee had mentioned this CD in her Christmas post. I picked it up on Friday and we love it! Landon is really enjoying the Veggie Tales right now so he was excited about this CD. It is really fun! The kids' favorite songs right now are The Friendly Beasts and Was He A Boy Like Me

* Morgan had her Christmas program today. I only made it in for a bit second service, we had lots of sick people or people who forgot to show up for nursery. It was a bit crazy this morning, and the frazzled feeling started when we all OVERSLEPT! Lance and I are both morning people so we never set our alarm for Sunday morning, there is just no need. Well, today would have been a good day since Lance woke up at 8:05 am! We were all sound asleep. We got ready, had breakfast, and made it to church by 9:05 am so I could get the nursery open and Morgan could get to practice. Anyway, someone with a speaking part didn't show up, so Morgan was asked last minute to take on this speaking role for the program. She did a great job! I am glad she was willing to help out and not nervous about speaking in front of a group (that skill she does not get from her mom!)
* Our Christmas cards were supposed to arrive on Thursday and have now been delayed until Tuesday! UGH! I don't know that I have ever been this late getting my cards out but there is nothing I can do about it. I have been debating about writing a Christmas letter. This will be the first year in many that I haven't. I have not come up with a creative idea for the letter and I sort of feel like most of what would go in my Christmas letter is on my blog so it would be repetitive. I was thinking about just putting a label on the back of our cards with my blog address for our friends who don't know about it. I don't know what to do!
* I have been enjoying all the cards and letters we have received so far this year. I post all the pictures from our friends and family on our kitchen cupboards and leave them up until spring. It is so fun to have the pictures up and see how blessed we are to have all these people in our lives. It is also a great reminder to pray for all of our friends and family when we are looking at them each day.
* Landon is not a good secret keeper- he basically told me my Christmas gift. I sort of had it figured out anyway by the way the packages were wrapped but I was playing along until Landon gave it up - really by accident. On Thursday our neighbors had their beautiful baby boy. When we were at the hospital visiting and taking pictures, Morgan said something about the camera. Landon said "Morgan, you are not supposed to talk about the camera in front of mom!" That was clue #1. Then on Friday we were driving through the parking lot of a local grocery store and there is a little strip mall there. As we were driving Landon points out the window and says "Hey mom that is where we got your Christmas present." The store was Idaho Camera. So that was Clue #2. I am getting a new digital camera - YEAH!! There are a few other little packages so I said to Landon - what are in those other packages (remember I am a horrible snoop -but I do love surprises) - Landon said "Mom, I can't tell you that!"
* The last of my shopping is done - I just had to finish the stocking stuffers. All the gifts are wrapped and under the trees. So far, Mauryn has left the trees alone. I think next year it will be more of an issue. She has really left the gifts alone too, except for climbing on the bigger boxes and sitting on them.
* On Tuesday we are getting together with another family who participates in our online co op to do some Christmas activities. We are going to make candles, decorate gingerbread houses, and the kids are going to break open a star shaped pinata. It should be fun. Then we are officially on Christmas Break! YES, I can't wait!


kid stuff

This year we have received a LARGE quantity of catalogs, maybe not more than other years but this year I have paid more attention to how many went in the garbage or recycling bin. I decided to do something useful with the catalogs and made Landon his own alphabet book. I wanted a book that would have pictures of things that were meaningful to him. Landon's interest in school is well quite minimal. He takes interest in projects I do with Morgan (some days) and reading books but other than that it is hit or miss. I was looking for something to help motivate him to learn his letters. I asked Landon to help me choose pictures (with LOTS and LOTS of guidance) for his special book. Once we found the pictures and attached them to card stock, my wonderful neighbor took them to her school and laminated them. Landon LOVES it! He carries that book with him around the house and I am amazed at how many letters he has picked up in a short period of time. Whew - now my stress level can decrease a bit with him. (I put way too much pressure on myself when it comes to homeschooling my kids)

We woke up to snow falling yesterday morning! What a wonderful surprise. It was a beautiful snowfall and the kids were thrilled. They bundled up and went outside to play in the snow. They really wanted to make a snowman but it just wasn't good snowman making snow. I had to laugh at them when they went outside - instead of wearing a hat Landon just sported his all time favorite ski helmet and Morgan was wearing her spring jacket over her fleece because she couldn't find (or rather didn't look) for her coat.

Morgan had her first gymnastics meet almost two weeks ago. I can't believe I didn't post about it (bad mommy!). For her first meet, it went really well. I am so proud of her! After the meet they receive a certificate where the judges write down a positive comment for each event and then they marked down anything that caused a deduction. As we went over Morgan's sheet it was great to see she has all the skills and most of her deductions were for little things like bent arms and legs - things she can keep refining in practice. What really stirred my heart that day was watching her coaches and how positive they were. You sometimes hear stories of coaches making mean comments or yelling at the gymnasts if they make mistakes. After each event the coaches were encouraging, giving hugs and high 5's - so much positive reinforcement and building of self esteem. Morgan's participation in gymnastics is about her following her passion for the sport. This is the first time in her 8 years where she has truly been "into" something. I am encouraged that her coaches are working on building self esteem, good work habits, and other lifelong skills. They understand that they are teaching these girls more than gymnastics.
This is a picture of Morgan at warm ups. We didn't get any good pictures because my camera is far too slow -AARGH~! Maybe by her next meet in January I will have a new camera. (Lance if you are reading this hint hint - anniversary and Christmas are coming up :P)

An update from my
post the other day: The baby went home to be with our Lord yesterday. She passed away in the loving arms of her parents. After meeting with the doctors the family chose not to continue life saving measures as the baby was unable to breath on her own and her organs were failing. Thank you to everyone who was praying for them. Please keep this family in your prayers through this very difficult time.