Saturday, March 31, 2012

Last and First Day...

Well, today is the last day of the challenge, and the first day of my Spring Break. I can't believe the challenge is already over. It was easy on some days and difficult on others. I really did enjoy this challenge. Some of my kids have asked if they can keep slicing. I have actually thought about continuing myself. I have several kids and family members that read my blog, so maybe I should keep going. I told my students I would blog while on vacation, so I guess I will keep going. :) 

I am currently waiting for my friend Holly to meet us here in Florida. She had a different flight here, so she hasn't arrived just yet. We will have a fun time I am sure! 

Thank you for challenging me to write this year. I will be back for next year's challenge, and I will work on the Tuesday challenge as well. 

Watching Johnny Quest on the plane. :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Leavin' on a jet-plane...

(Thanks Wendy for the blog title idea!)

Tonight we are in Chicago, because we fly out in the morning for Florida. I love going on vacation, especially to Florida. However, I am bummed this year too. Mike and my brother aren't going. :( We will have fun I know, but it won't be the same. We will be gone until Easter Sunday too. I am sure we will do all kinds of fun things while we are gone, so I will be sure to share. :)

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. 

Kenlee already chillin' in the hotel room in Chicago. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In trouble on Easter.

I'm not really in trouble, but I am disappointing someone important. You see, Easter is my cousin Katie's favorite holiday. She has loved it for as long as I can remember. We always celebrate Easter at my grandma's house (The Farm). This year, we will be traveling home from Florida on Easter Sunday. As you can imagine, Katie is disappointed.

I will say, that Easter is one of my favorite's too. Even though we are all adults now, we still find eggs and baskets around the farm. We have even shaken things up a bit and the "kids" have hidden goodies for the "adults". I won't lie, it is pretty funny watching our parents look for eggs and Easter baskets. Maybe we could use flashlights and look in the dark when we get home. :)

To share in her Easter joy, Katie sent me a hilarious card in the mail today. I can't put what the inside of the card says for a couple of reasons, but I am attaching a picture of the front of the card. I am also posting a picture of Katie from Easter last year. You can tell that Easter is her favorite just by looking at the photo. 

To Katie, my blog follower I apologize we are not going to be there to share in your Easter joy and time with family. We still love you. 

Katie gives Easter two thumbs-up!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


This will be a quick post. Mike and I were both tired after work tonight, so we decided that we would go  into town and get something to eat.  We chose Taco Bell.  It was yummy. I even had one of the new Doritos taco. It made me think about that commercial where the people drive over 900 miles for Doritos tacos. While it was good, I sure hope they weren't disappointed. I only drove 9 miles for mine. :) 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It happened....

So, everyone has been reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, but not me. Until now. I slowly started reading the book a week or two ago. I had a really hard time getting into it, but with some coaxing and encouragement I kept going. I am now finding myself having a difficult time putting it down! This book is NOT the type of book I would normally choose, but I thought I would give it a try. I can't believe how hooked I am! I am already wondering if I will need to take both the second and third book with me on vacation. What will I do when I have finished them? Oh boy!

The book! 

Another thing that I seemed to be hooked on, is the live feed on the bald eagle's nest in Iowa. I keep finding myself checking the website to see what is going on with those birds and their eaglets. If you would like to be sucked in too, follow the link below. 

Basically, tonight I haven't accomplished much but reading and watching eagles. Thank goodness I did all of my housework last night! :) 

Monday, March 26, 2012

So pretty...:)

Since I posted about my tulips a few weeks ago, I thought I would update. They are already open and blooming. They are so pretty! I am hoping that the freeze warning for tonight doesn't hurt them. Usually I don't have blooms until around my birthday, which is the first week of May. We also have several blooms on our pear trees. I am guessing we will be covering everything tonight. What happened to the 70-80 degree weather???

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Our Third Annual Haystack dinner last evening was a success! We raised right around $7,500!!!! That is our highest total so far! We couldn't be happier! We have known all along that we are surrounded by the most amazing people in the world, but last evening confirmed it. We couldn't have done the event without our friends and family. We are so thankful for everyone that helped, came to eat, donated, etc. We are looking forward to next year. :)

After a long weekend of fun, I am exhausted! Thank you again, everyone. 

Face painting. The kids LOVED it!!!

My nephew Arlo (in the blue) with Drew. Get your game-face! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today is a BIG day! :)

My husband Mike and I have been raising money for Riley Hospital for Children since 2008. We raise the money in honor of our daughter, Makenna Ray. Below is our story. If you are in the area, and  don't have plans come see us from 4:30-7:30 at New Salem Church of the Brethren in Milford. We would love to see you and gain your support. We have raised right under $60,000, so far!!! :)

Makenna's Story

Our first child, Makenna, was born on October 22, 2008.  Unknown to us, she was about to begin a six week struggle to keep her liver from failing.  Unfortunately, the battle would come to an end on December 3rd, 2008.  Although countless tests, examinations and consultations would lead to a probable diagnosis, only the autopsy results would confirm Makenna was born with Neonatal Hemochromatosis.  This is a rare disorder, which causes an excess accumulation of iron in the liver and eventual liver failure.  (
Makenna was a patient at Riley Hospital for Children ( for three of the six short weeks she spent with us.  The care the doctors, nurses, and support staff gave Makenna was beyond outstanding.  They were always willing to listen to a concerned parents desperate plea for answers and hope.  The staff at Riley Hospital for Children continually and tirelessly pursued the cause of Makenna’s liver failure.  During our entire stay at Riley, Makenna was at the top of the list to be cared for, right along with all the other children in every wing of the hospital.  This outstanding care and support was top notch.  Although our experience was extremely heartbreaking, Riley Hospital for Children also allowed our experience with Makenna to be extraordinary and fulfilling. 
We knew we had to help make a difference in the lives of liver disease patients because we were so inspired by Makenna’s strength and our experiences at Riley.  So, after Makenna left the comfort of our arms we decided to honor and remember her forever.  We spoke to Makenna’s doctor at Riley and she connected us with Riley Children’s Foundation (  A decision was made to establish the Makenna Van Laeken Liver Research Fund to advocate, educate, and eventually perform pediatric liver research at Riley.  The Makenna Van Laeken Liver Research Fund is established with Riley Children’s Foundation to benefit Riley Hospital for Children.  A goal of establishing it as an endowment has been set.  This will ensure its existence through the years.  The research fund must first reach $100,000 to be endowed and then it will be built upon year after year to benefit Riley and its patients. 
We are extremely excited to honor Makenna by assisting Riley Hospital for Children in making an extraordinary difference in the lives of children fighting liver disease and the families who care so deeply about the health of those children. 

Friday, March 23, 2012


So, outside my classroom window there are several trees. On those trees live several squirrels. I don't mind the squirrels unless I am trying to teach. It never fails, as soon as the kids see those squirrels outside in the grass or on the trees this is what I hear...SQUIRREL!!! Most of the time they run to the window to look. Sometimes it is funny, other times I simply can't believe it.

I  tried to catch a picture of a couple of the pesky squirrels in the rain. The following was the best I could do. Look closely and you can see them. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let's Go!

So...I am blogging about sports tonight. As the Sweet 16 games are starting, I am really disappointed that my Boilers aren't playing. We had such a close game in Round 2 (we lost by 3). Mike and I watch a lot of sports! We definitely love our Boilers, but we also root for Michigan State. Being a Big10 school, we are also prone to watching most of the games that include "our schools". Tonight is no exception as we flip back and forth from the Wisconsin and Michigan State games. We have high hopes for the Spartans! Go Green! 

I couldn't resist sharing these photos of my beloved Boilers. Boiler Up!!!

With my friend Holly (MDF) by The World's Largest Drum. Hail Purdue!

The Boilermaker wearing his football jersey for game day. 

We met Robbie Hummel! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Again today I wasn't sure what I would write about, but once I picked up my nephew and niece from the sitter I knew I had a topic. We played outside with Tanner, Uncle Mike, and the cats. It was fun as usual. We even went for a short walk. Their favorite thing to do today was look for bugs, lucky for us and the beetle we found there were plenty. There is never a dull-moment with these kiddos. Enjoy some fun photos. :) 
The beetle in the water before his rescue. 
Right after he was saved...

Carter realized the beetle had wings...he wanted him to fly away. 

Yes, that dark blob in the grass is an ant hill!!!

Getting a look, but not too close. 

Having a snack of strawberries after playing outside. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What to write...

Today during lunch I was telling my friend Jessica that I couldn't think of anything to write about for today. Then...I got home. :) I took Tan out for a walk around the yard, and enjoyed the sunshine. Mike made it home, and made dinner! He grilled potatoes. Mine had feta cheese, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, and olive oil. SO YUMMY! I am loving that we are able to use our grill, definitely a sign of summer at our house. 
Sign of summer. 

Yummy potatoes! 
 We then went on a walk with Tan down to the boat ramp, which was trash free. (Thanks to Mike) While we were eating dinner we kept hearing a turkey calling loudly. When we got to the end of our street, he quickly moved from  our neighbor's yard to the woods across the street. I was too slow to get a picture! So annoying! We laughed at our slow reaction time. Tanner didn't know what to think. He just perked his ears up and wondered what we were laughing about. 

When we got to the water, the ducks were there. I have noticed on our last few walks a pair of mallard ducks. They swim close to the rocks by the boat ramp. Last week, the female was quacking and carrying on. She clearly didn't want us anywhere near her. We have decided that they are preparing to nest, if they aren't already. We enjoyed watching them swim around this evening from the shore. Tanner enjoyed watching them from the water! Must not have been too cold for him. :) Have I mentioned I am loving this warm weather? 

Mallard ducks. 

Tan going for a quick dip. 

My two favorites. :)

Monday, March 19, 2012


The weather has been unusually warm lately, which I have enjoyed. Even though I really love the sunshine we have had some really puffy, white clouds too. I took these pictures the other day, on my drive home. Yes, I did pull over and stop to take the photos. I know the pictures don't do the actual sight justice, but I still appreciate them. :) Sounds like tomorrow should be really sunny with few clouds. 

I love how the sun is peeking through the clouds in this photo. 

These clouds look a bit threatening...