Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Photos - Your Opinion Please

Back in November (at least I think it was November) we had our family pictures taken by a friend of mine from high school. She just started her own photography business and I think she does a great job. 

My only problem is choosing!

Yep, it's months later and I still haven't ordered my pictures.

I did buy a Groupon in December for a 16x20 gallery wrapped canvas. I was thinking the other day that I wish I had someone here to help me pick which one to have put on the canvas. Then I remembered all of you and hope you will help.

Below are my 3 choices. Which one do you think would look the best on my wall?


Footprints Photography by Valerie

My girls headbands were made by my friend Michelle. She did a great job with them! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Reminder of the Past and God's Faithfulness

In my attempt to organize and get rid of all the things in this house that I don't need........Yesterday I spent my morning shredding old papers. As I shred I always love finding old bills, mortgage documents, and who knows what else. Just little reminders of things that have happened in my life.

I came across a paper that was denying payment from the Insurance company when Baby Girl Vis, Baby Girl Vis, and Baby Boy Vis were born. No names even on these papers, that is exactly how they were listed. Don't worry, they paid, it was just they hadn't added them to our insurance policy yet.

It was hard to believe that it was so long ago.

As I continued to shred, I then found a bill from Midwest Fertility Clinic.

A reminder of a less happy time in my life.

Going back to that bill reminded me of all that we went through to get from that point to the point of 2 Baby Girls and 1 Baby Boy being born.

I am thankful for this little reminder. As we go through trials in our life it is easy to put them in the past and forget about the difficult times that God has carried us through.

So many floods of emotions came to mind as I saw these papers. Remembering a time when I wasn't sure if we would ever have children. All the shots, all the Dr. visits, all the hoping, all the tears, all the prayers. Then all the joy as we found out I was pregnant. Then even more joy as we found out there were 3!!!! The preparations, the bed rest, the anticipation. The birth of 3 healthy babies.

Seems so long ago yet so many memories fresh in my mind. It's been over 8 years!!

Those papers were a blessing to me as I was reminded of the faithfulness of our great God and how He is right there by our side in the difficult times and in the times of rejoicing.

Praise God from Whom All Blessing Flow!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting Back On Track.....1000 Gifts

On July 19, 2009 I started my list of 1000 gifts.

What is sad to me is that it is 2 1/2 years later and I only have 577 gifts written down.

Somewhere along the way I stopped. Usually it happens to me in the laziness of summer. But this year I never started up again.

Every once in a while I come across my Thankful journal and think, "I really need to start recording the things that I am grateful for."

It really helped me as I went through the day to be looking around at everything in a different light. As the new year started, this was one of my goals. To be more thankful. To continue to journal the things that I am thankful for and to remember to be thankful for the things that I normally would complain about.

Often when new people find my blog, a common comment from them is that they love my list of 1000 gifts. This has really encouraged me to start this up again.

I must confess though that sometimes recording it on my blog became a little stressful for me. I felt like I had to have pretty pictures to go along with my list. Sometimes I had them, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I had them but just didn't have the time to put them on my computer to document with my list. I don't want pictures to keep me from being grateful. So, this time around you may find pictures or you may find a list but I need to remember that this list is for me to find joy and not a list for you to find joy. If you enjoy reading it........ I am glad. If you find joy in it...... I am grateful for that as well, but the point of it is for myself. That I may find joy in the little blessings that God gives to me each day.

I do also hope it also encourages you to find joy in each and everything throughout your day.

564 ~ 577

Finding confetti throughout our house that was brought back from our trip to Iowa.

Catching up with friends while our boys play together.

Sweet Onion Salsa from Aldi.


My girls showing sisterly love to each other.

A good book that brings tears.

Meeting new people.


Staying in my pjs all morning.

Pizza cutters.

Paper plates.

Norwex cleaning cloths.

Friends who brave a snow storm and come over to hang out.

The joy on Isaac's face when he came home from spending a night at the Bull's game with his dad.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm A Winner and A Little Game (The 2 are not related)

Yesterday I received an email that I thought was spam and made it into my inbox. Thankfully I clicked on it before deleting it! It was an email telling me that I had won a $50 gift card to Ruche. I had entered a giveaway on a blog a while back and I guess I won! I am very excited because there is a lot of cool stuff. Problem is that there is so much that I love that I'm not sure what to get. It is going to take me hours to figure out how to spend my Free money! If you have any suggestions please feel free to share. I'm thinking I'll stay away from clothes since only about 1/10th of what I try on actually looks half-way decent and do I want to keep. There are a lot of cute shoes and accessories. I was maybe thinking a cute apron to wear while I make all my Pinterest recipes.

Now onto the game which has nothing to do with me being a winner.

If you don't know much about me, you might not know that I am Dutch (of course my husband would argue this saying that I am not 100%). I also grew up in a large Dutch community. Some of you may think this is odd and didn't even know that such a thing exists but it does. So the way I grew up was very normal to me and I thought we were the norm. Until I got older and met other people that weren't Dutch. I then learned that we have some peculiarities.

So..........the other night I was having Bible study with my Church Small Group Ladies. In our group we have 2 Dutch girls (I am one), we have one girl married to a Dutch Boy, we have a girl from Texas, a girl from Kentucky, and Tuesday night we welcomed 2 new girls into our Bible Study. Kentucky girl was not there that night so she missed out on the fun game we played.

After our study we were talking and asking the new girls a few questions about themselves and the conversation turned to Dutch people and we said how we make fun of the Dutch sometimes just because there are 2 of us that are Dutch and 1 married to someone Dutch and so we just like to laugh about some of the things we do.

One of the new girls says, "I used to work with someone that is Dutch and she used to make fun of herself too."

Me and other Dutch girl say at the same time, "What is her name?"

Can't remember if it was Married to Dutch Boy or Texas that says, "This is what they do."

Yep, this is what we do......we play Dutch Bingo. It's kind of like that celebrity game that all actors lead back to Kevin Bacon or something like that. I'm not good at that game, I'm good at Dutch Bingo.

This is how you Dutch person is talking to another person and they find out someone they know is Dutch and they figure out how they are related or know someone who is related to them. It's kind of hard to explain but you get the concept.

Here is how it went down the other night:

New Girl says the last name of the Dutch girl she knows and it happens to be the same last name of the other Dutch girl in our small group and my grandma's maiden name. Crazy, huh?

We then realized that there are 2 people with that same name so we had to figure out which one she knew. So she told us the girls mom's name. After figuring that out, we explained how we both went to school and church with her when we were young and she also lives a few miles from me.

Of course, in this game there is much excitement and laughter when you realize that you both know this same person and what a small world it is.

And that my friends is Dutch Bingo!

Sometimes it's not that easy but for some reason we always find it fun to play!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One More Gone

We were at Pizza Hut for lunch on Saturday when I noticed that Joshua's tooth was ready to come out. I barely touched it and it came out. The next one is loose as well and should be coming out soon!

He was playing Wii as I tried to snap this picture, that is why his eyes are focused on something else.

And Yes, the tooth fairy remembered. She is getting better!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Something I feel that I must share and Some Goals for 2012

I just feel like I really need to share that the other day I went to Old Navy.

Yep, that is very interesting I know but it gets better.

I was returning some pants that I had bought for Brad but he didn't really like them so I had to find something in it's place. I searched the whole store trying to find something for someone else in my family but found nothing. I then found this rack with clearance pj's for ME!

They were super cheap!!! And you know how me and cheap get along.

Well, I got them home and tried them on. I have to tell you people, these are the most comfortable pj's I have EVER, EVER owned. To add to that they are the most comfortable articles of clothing that I have EVER owned!

I could live in them!

I could become the housewife that is always wearing comfy clothes and you never see her dressed up. Of course, I would still wear makeup and do my hair. I'm not out to scare y'all! (Yep, I used y'all....been hanging out with my Texas friend Kristin a lot lately)

I really would like to go back to Old Navy and buy every last pair!

Yesterday I did not get out of them until after the kids got home from school and today I changed because I had to go to Walgreens. Ever since I took them off I've been thinking about what time it's acceptable to put my pj's back on. Really, they are that awesome!

OK, we've dwelt on that long enough....let's move on. (That is my lame attempt at a transition to a new subject.)

It's halfway through January and I realized I had not yet posted anything about it being a New Year. The first week of January Brad and I sat down and wrote down our goals for the year. I am not going to share them because frankly they are boring. Important but really quite boring and I'm sure you don't want to hear about them.


I have some much more exciting goals for 2012 that I would like to share with you.

1.) Chalkboard paint. This is going to be the year of the chalkboard paint! I've wanted it somewhere in my house for years now but this year it is actually going to happen. I already have all the places I want it planned out. And to answer your question.....yes, I will post pictures when it finally happens.

2.) Organize!!!! I am generally pretty organized but every year I like to reorganize. I start but never quite make it all the way through. This year it's going to happen! My goal is to even get the dreaded cabinet in my living room that I shove all kinds of pictures and random little things that I want to keep forever! So far I have the boys room done and most of my office. I spent time today shredding a ton of stuff. I got a couple boxes ready for the thrift store and have a pile of things to sell.

3.) Pinterest. I need to start making more of the things that I pin instead of just continuing to pin. Yep, you can look forward to pictures of that as well.

4.) Read. As I went through my bookshelf today I was going to get rid of some of the books that I have never read. I decided, why not read them first. Brilliant, right? or at least I will be after I read all the books. My goal is going to be to start reading all the books on my bookshelf that I haven't read as well as reread some of the really good ones. If people would just quit writing books for a while it would be really helpful so that I could get through the ones I have instead of being tempted to buy new ones.

5.) Decorate. I want to finally get this house decorated. Of course goal #1 and #3 will help with this.

And lastly, if you are wanting to know who one the Norwex cloth you can go to that post, it has been updated with the winner. The winner has been contacted.

I am now off to take a shower because if you take a shower then you have to change your clothes and that makes it perfectly acceptable to put your pj's back on even though it is only 6:40.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Weekend Trip to Iowa

In one of my Christmas break posts I told you that we said goodbye to some friends that were moving to Iowa. Well, it just so worked out that all of their stuff would not fit into the two big trucks that they had rented. Brad has a friend with a large trailer that we could borrow and the rest of their things got loaded into that trailer and then got moved to our driveway.

This past weekend we headed to Iowa to bring our friends Chris and Eva their trailer of things. Thankfully some good friends of their family let us borrow their vehicle so that we could fit our whole family in and then we took a couple of their kids and headed out.

I always love to think about how God orchestrates these things because this was the only weekend we had open to go visit them until April. If it wasn't for the trailer we wouldn't have gone until then. So thankful for that trailer full of stuff!

Whenever I think about moving, I will just take a look at this picture and then I will stay right where I am at.

Thanks to some nice warm weather and lots of room to roam, there was a lot of football playing.

Since the girls don't play football, they played dress up.

There was 4 wheeler riding. Yep, without helmets. So far, no injuries.

I told Eva to leave me something to do, since they only moved there a week ago I wanted to help out. Since she knows that if she asked me to clean something I would probably turn around and walk out the door, she gave me the fun job of organizing her pantry. Yep, that's right, organizing is fun for me! I really wish I had the before picture because all this stuff (plus more) was literally just piled in here. I had the brilliant idea (yes, I'm tooting my own horn again) to put this bookshelf in here for more shelf space. Now it looks beautiful! It better still look like this next time I go there!!!! If not, I guess I'll just have to reorganize!

On Sunday morning we headed to church. Chris was our former pastor and they moved to Iowa because he took a position at a church as their lead pastor. It was great to hear him bring the word, we sure do miss him at our church.

This is me and Eva. I miss her a lot but am glad she is only 4 hours away. Four hours is long but it could be worse!

This is both of our families.

Before we left we did confetti eggs. Basically these are eggs filled with confetti and you crack them over the heads of others. They were a lot of fun! Well, for everyone else they were, I had fun watching. Thankfully I was the photographer so I didn't get confetti in my hair.

It was a quick trip but it was filled with lots of fun and it was great to see our friends!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Norwex - A Giveaway!!! UPDATED

UPDATED: Winner (using is Comment #8 by Seriously, So Blessed.

A couple months ago my sister invited me to her Norwex party. Other than her talking about it a few times before I had never really heard of Norwex. They have a whole line of cleaning supplies/products as well as personal care products.

I have to admit when my sister told me about them I was a little skeptical. They are microfiber cloths that you use without cleaning supplies and it removes up to 99.9% of the bacteria from surfaces.

When I went to my sister's party I ordered the Enviro cloth, the window cloth and the Dryer Balls.

Dryer balls allow me to not have to use Fabric softener, meaning I not only save money from not having to buy fabric softener but I don't have the chemicals in my clothes that it leaves behind.

The Enviro cloth is a multipurpose, antibac, microfiber cloth that removes dust, dirt and grease from all washable surfaces while preventing the transfer of germs to your hands and cross-contamination between surfaces. Available in four different colors so that you can color-code for different purposes or rooms. You can use it dry for dusting, or damp for cleaning walls, tiles, bathtubs, counters, metal surfaces, car interiors, etc.

The Window cloth allows you to clean windows, mirrors, jewelry, and shiny surfaces with water alone.

I love that I can take the Enviro cloth through my house and use it on many different surfaces and not have to worry about switching cleaners or getting a different cloth. I also want to say that I hate cleaning bathrooms and would always leave that project for last. Now that I use the Enviro cloth my bathroom actually gets cleaned first! I won't say that I LOVE cleaning my bathroom (that would just be crazy talk) but I no longer hate it.

I absolutely love the Window cloth. Streak free ladies. Need I say more!

I will be hosting a Norwex party on Friday, January 20 and Stacy Bruinsma my Norwex consultant has so graciously donated an Enviro cloth to one of my lucky readers!

To win all you have to do is head over to Stacy's Norwex website take a look at the products. Come back here and leave a comment telling me what is on your Norwex wishlist.

For additional entries you may:

1.) Share this on Facebook and leave a comment saying you did this.

2.) Become a follower on my blog and leave a comment saying that you are. If you are already a follower you may also leave a comment saying that you are.

A couple more things.......

If you are not signed into blogger your comment will show up "Anonymous". Please add your name to your comment and a way that I can get a hold of you if you are the winner.

If you are interested in coming to my party on the 20th or would like to place an order you may email that to me at

One last thing, I am only opening this giveaway to local readers or to the few of you who read my blog faithfully and have ties to this area. You know who you are.

I will be closing the giveaway on Friday, January 13 at midnight and will be choosing a winner by using on Saturday. I will contact and post the winner.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Break Continued.....

Go can admit it. After the all so exciting "Part 1" you just couldn't wait for "Part 2". Well, your wait is over! 

On Monday, (the day after Christmas Monday) I spent the morning cooking food and then we headed over to my Dad's house to celebrate with my family. I tried to take some pictures of the kids opening presents but it is really hard to get a good photograph when there is one kid opening a present surrounded by 6 other kids waiting to see what it is. But I did get pictures of the crafts that the kids made. 

Yes, I planned a craft! I know it's surprising! More to me than to anyone else. I mentioned it to the kids and then there was no turning back. So thanks to Pinterest and Martha Stewart the kids all made a nice little button ornament.

I also was able to snap a picture of the Peanut Butter Chocolate cake that I made. Which was delicious if I must toot my own horn.

The rest of the week was spent hanging around the house, visiting friends at their houses, Brad helped some friends move out of their house, and we said goodbye (or as I told her, it was a "see you later") to those same friends.

We spent New Years Eve with some friends of ours and their family. It turned into a much later night than we anticipated but I guess that means we were having too much fun to end the night. The kids were also able to stay up and ring in the the new year for the first time ever! 

It did take me a couple days to recover, which basically just means I'm getting old.

On New Years Day we got together with Brad's family to open presents. Everyone but his parents who are currently in Florida. Thanks to Skype they were able to spend some time with us.

At this gathering I got a few of the kids opening presents and I didn't get any of the food. Go figure.

Monday was the last day that we were able to all just be home and be lazy since Brad had to go back to work on Tuesday. I took the opportunity to get the sleep that I so desperately needed from ringing in the new year. The kids enjoyed playing with all their new toys.

The girls and I made some weaved potholders, an activity that I enjoyed as a kid.

Earlier in the week I had taken Alex and Amanda to get their haircut, they each got about 4 inches cut off. On Monday I took Joshua. I had been growing his hair out for the longest time and just giving it a little trim here and there. I took him in and asked the lady to give it a little bit more of a style. She translated this into cut it all off. I guess we will start over. 

Also on Monday, Isaac brought his blanket to me (the one that he has had for the 6 1/2 years of his life) and told me that he didn't need it anymore and I could throw it away. I was very sad. He willingly posed for one last picture of him holding it, but in doing so he made me promise to not post it. So in keeping my promise I am not showing you, I am just telling you about it which was not promised at all.

To end our Monday, we went and saw the Muppet's as a family. Very cute movie. Our whole family laughed through it and loved it.

And there, my friends, is what we did on our Christmas Break.

We are now back to reality!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Break

I thought I'd try to put all our Christmas break happenings into a nutshell and then I realized that there was a lot to tell and quite a few pictures and so it would be hard enough to fit it into one post, let alone a nutshell.

The kids started their Christmas break the Thursday before Christmas and Brad had to work through Friday. We settled into our laziness and sleeping late very quickly.  I told Brad that I think the past 2 weeks was the most relaxing 2 weeks I have had since the kids were born. They are finally at an age that they sleep in and they are also pretty independent. This is also the first year that 3 of them are in school full time, so it was our first real Christmas break.  We all enjoyed it and I am very sad that they are going back tomorrow. If only we could live our life like the past 2 weeks but then there is the whole "we have to pay the bills" thing, so Brad has to work and also the whole "kids need to be educated" thing as well.

On Saturday we attended our church's Christmas Eve service, we then headed to my sister's house and enjoyed some pizza with their family. After that we headed home to open presents.

On Christmas Day, Joshua woke up sick. The girls had colds and coughs as well. Since our church had posted an at home service on their website, we chose to stay home and worship as a family that day.

Thankfully by noon Joshua was feeling better and we were able to still have a big dinner together of Beef Brisket, baked potatoes, carrots, and rolls.

This year presents consisted of a lot of American Girl Doll stuff, lots of drawing and art things, Lego's, Bears helmets & jerseys, sports items, movies, and Wii games. I think that about covers the majority of it with a few odds and ends thrown in.

Brad is always asking the kids to scratch his back, so the kids got him a back scratcher or as they like to call it a "scratch backer". Not sure if you can see it in this picture or not.

As I told you before Brad was getting a good gift this year. He got a Kindle Fire. He is loving it and it's even inspiring him to read more. He also got a gift certificate for a massage.

So, that is part of our Christmas break. I'm sure you are on pins and needles to hear the rest. It's coming, I promise!