Monday, January 15, 2018

Adoption Update

I finally had a day off with a clean house.  So lucky for you... that means a blog post.  We are getting so close that we can finally say we see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We are currently just waiting for a finalization date from our lawyer!  Curly and Z-Man are so excited.  They are constantly asking how much longer until they are adopted.  Whether it has to do with jumping on a trampoline, getting a pool, traveling out of state, or being able to change their name- they CAN NOT WAIT!

I would say we are at a good spot where things are now normal.  We are dealing with "normal" behaviors, they know our house guidelines, they know what their family contributions are (chores- but we learned that by calling them family contributions they responded so much better because they wanted to be a part of a family), we know what to expect when schedules are not kept, what they really did not know before they came here, and what their favorite foods are.  We know what their needs are and how to meet them.  There was always a need behind the behavior that was not being met- whether they didn't feel safe, were hungry and afraid their wasn't food, or scared.  It has gotten so much better around here we when understand one another!  We definitely still have our challenges and always will- just like all of you. 

Things are starting to slow down now from the holiday rush.  They both enjoy school for the most part and are learning how to be a friend.  That is something I never really thought about having to teach a child.  But when they are constantly thinking they have to fight for themselves for everything- it did become a challenge for them to realize not everyone is out to hurt them.  Curly loves math the most and is a social butterfly.  The only time she gets in trouble in school is for talking when she's not supposed to be.  I remember Mrs. McCarty (8th grade) teacher telling me I would talk to the wall if there was no one else in the room.  Z-Man's least favorite subject is math, but he LOVES science and history.  Jake is a history buff and it's so neat to watch him teach Z about different things that he enjoys. 

Here's a few pictures that I can show that doesn't reveal their identity just yet.

Jake was honored to be on a farm tour this fall and teaching a group about no-till farming and using cover crops.  He also gave a presentation to a group of men on area watershed district members.  I was so proud of him.  I get queasy at the mention of talking in front of a group of people.

The kids had fun growing Big Max pumpkins this fall.  Then they got to break them open and get a lesson from Dad on harvesting seeds.  Curly wasn't too sure about digging in the gooey mess, but got brave and loved it!  She really needs encouraged to try anything "new", so we were super proud of her!
Family picture time.  The bond these 2 have, warms my heart.

He came grocery shopping with me and spread some Christmas cheer!

We went shopping so the kids could spend some of their money they got for Christmas and both of them decided all on their own that they were going to donate some of it.  I teared up a little.  It's things like this that are the joys of parenting.

We started a tradition the first Christmas they were with us to camp out in the living room under the Christmas lights on Christmas Eve.  This was their 2nd year here.  And I LOVE that they LOVE to read! 

Dad was the one behind the bow and arrows for Christmas gifts.  They really enjoyed shooting into a hay hale for practice. 

 We finally got some snow overnight!  It wasn't good snowball snow, but we tried!

Wishing each of you faithful readers a very happy new year.  Blessings in 2018!
Jake & Krystal, Z-Man & Curly

Friday, December 8, 2017

Practicing Spelling Words While Keeping Your Sanity

Spelling words are always a challenge with Z-Man.  And I don't feel like I'm a very good teacher.  So I have found ways to make it fun while also still learning. has been a great resource for me.  You can make your own word search, word scrambles, and spelling tests with your child's spelling words.  

Continue learning for the holiday season with this fun Winter Word Find worksheet. For more spelling fun, go to!

And they even supply you with the answers!

They also have math worksheets you can create, as well as mazes, sudoku, matching lists, and crossword puzzles.  Go check it out!  Worksheet Generator

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Creative Learning

I have a post brought to you by today. They reached out to me to publish an article with an activity that they had given me. I have been contacted before by others, but had always ignored their e-mails as I feel like I am such an amateur in the blogging world. Ha! This offer felt different to me. It's right where we are at in life. School. Math. Making learning fun! I will take all the help I can get! Curly and Z-Man really enjoyed this game. I made separate ones for Z-Man and we practiced multiplication with him. Math is something that is challenging for him, so I look forward to checking out more ideas on


Play Popsicle Math

First Grade Math Activities: Play Popsicle Math

What You Need:

  • 23 popsicle sticks
  • kitchen timer
  • crayons or markers
  • construction paper
  • child safety scissors
  • 2 Ziploc bags

What You Do:

Label Sticks. Have your child hold each stick vertically and label it with one number, going from 1-20. Use the remaining three sticks to write a plus, minus, and equals sign (+, -, =) using crayons or markers.
Build an equation. Start with addition. Help your child make problems by using the popsicle sticks and having her hold up the answers. ( Ex. 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 1+3=4, etc.) Later, using the same popsicle sticks she already labeled, you can have your child practice making subtraction facts and holding up the answers.
If you like, add a challenge. Set a kitchen timer, for example, and see if your child can answer each problem correctly in three seconds or less. Or have your child write a list of problems and keep a “scorecard” of correct equations which you can mark with a happy face or star.
Moving forward, you can also extend the activity by having your child make flashcards using construction paper, child safety scissors, and crayons or markers. She should write one number per card, and make separate cards for plus, minus, and equals signs. Then, she can make addition and subtraction problems using the cards and holding up the answers the same way she did with the popsicle sticks. When you’re done, you can save both the popsicle sticks and the flashcards in ziploc bags—they’re a great game to pull out over snacks, in the car, or even when you’re sitting in the dentist office.
Math is all around us; and with your help, it will be safely inside your kid’s head for the long haul, too.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Summer & School

It has been a busy summer and we are really excited that school has started!  This is just a very edited version of our summer.
We got to go on a train ride at the zoo, courtesy of Grandpa & Grandma.

We had a birthday for Z-Man.  He got enough money to buy his very own drone.  It was good practice to count out the correct amount of money.

The kids wanted to donate some money to the Children's Miracle Network.

Flying the drone in their p.j.'s

We went to the fair and they got to ride on some nausea inducing rides.  Parents must give an arm & a leg in order for their children to voluntarily get sick.

Grandpa & Uncle giving them some sympathy and helping with their summer school worksheets.  Psst... Z-Man & Curly are wrapped around their fingers.

Lots of hay bale hopping

We got to be the first ones through the door at the Grand Opening for the new Hobby Lobby.  My husband fears he is going to have to start eating pb&j now because that's all he's going to be able to afford.

Leaving  for their first day of school

One is super excited about school, one is not.

And this one is over the moon excited!!

We had another birthday for Curly.  She wanted Frozen theme.

We went to a real PRCA Rodeo.  They really enjoyed it.  Z-Man liked the bucking broncos and Curly liked the clowns the best.

I just finished a few custom orders for customers.

Things continue to progress (ever so slowly!) and we are hoping by the end of the school year to have everything done and finalized for adoption.  We are looking forward to a trip to Iowa and having family coming to visit us soon!  We are excited for another school year around here! (Well... everything except math, according to Z-Man.)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Meet Z & Curly Interviews

I asked the kids a list of questions and am writing the exact response they gave me.  This will give you a good idea of their personality.  I think it fits them to a T.

What is something I always say to you?
I love you.

What makes me happy?
When I do the right thing.

What makes me sad?
When I don't follow directions.

Who makes you laugh?
You, sometimes.  Dad, mostly.

How old am I?

How tall am I?
7 foot

What is my favorite thing to do?
A lot of stuff.  Play with me.

What is your favorite food?
Potted meat sandwiches with mayo. (Huh?  This was totally new to me... is that like, SPAM?)

Where would you most like to go on vacation?
Mt. Rushmore

What is your favorite school activity?
Recess and lunch

What is your favorite sport?

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be?
Bananas (????)

Who is your best friend?

What do you want to be when you grow up?
That, I'll have to come back to.............. A scientist

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
This is a tough one!  Superman powers!  No, Aqua Man powers!  Wait!  I would pick speedy fast like the Flash.  No!  Aqua Man.  My final pick is breathing under water.

What is the best thing you like about yourself?
That I do wrestling (he's had 1 day of wrestling camp so far.  That was the night I asked these questions)

If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
To have everything I wanted, everything didn't cost anything, and I could catch my own leprechaun so I could have 3 more wishes.

What is something that scares you?
The dark.

Who is someone you look up to?
You guys.

What does Heaven look like?
It's a beautiful place with big mansions, streets made out of gold, and very beautiful.  That's all I can think of right now.

What is one quality you look for in a friend?
Someone that lets me pick the games (I told you this would let you get to know their personality...)

What is the worst food in the world?
It's a tie between tomatoes and avocados!

If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?
Aqua Man or Super Man

What are 3 things you learned today?
Math, Reading, and wrestling moves

What is something I always say to you?
That you love me.

What makes me happy?
Me following directions, or just me in general.

What makes me sad?
When I don't do the right things.  It's just the opposite of the last one.  Wait, what really does make you sad?

Who makes you laugh?
This is one of the funniest things I've ever heard.  "I farted, it tickled.  My butt cheeks giggled!" It's the funniest thing!  (giggle, giggle, giggle- it took awhile before I could ask the next question)

How old am I?
I already know!  30!

How tall am I?
8 inches or more.

What is my favorite thing to do?
Playing with somebody

What is your favorite food?
Tomatoes and Avocados!  Exactly what Z doesn't like!  Or guacamole.

Where would you most like to go on vacation?
That's a very hard question.  Because I want to go to a lot of places!  To my cousins in Iowa and that place with Kelsey, Kaley, and Kinsey.  Where was that again? (Minnesota)  Yeah, there.  Except I hope they have snow next time.  And then back to Illinois to my friend Nora's.

What is your favorite school activity?
Umm... Recess.  Duh!

What is your favorite sport?
Racing.  Like, running.  I've been practicing that a lot lately.

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be?
Tomatoes (????)

Who is your best friend?
Too many!  Should I just blurt out one?  Can it be a grown-up?  There's too many grown-ups and kids that are my friend.  I can't pick!  And that's mean to pick just one.  They're all my friends.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A scientist and be in the same lab as Z.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Why would you say that?  That's silly.  Too many.  I don't know.  Maybe be able to eat as much candy as I wanted and not get sick.

What is the best thing you like about yourself?
Just a second.  I will get that answer down. (She disappears for awhile and comes back with a whale she made out of a blue cup that has Jonah attached to it like the whale is swallowing Jonah.)  That I'm good at making things.

If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
That everything was made out of candy, that candy was good for you, and that their was 1 million jars of candy.

What is something that scares you?
Spiders and snakes.  Both of them.  And dark places.

Who is someone you look up to?
You and Dad, but mostly you.

What does Heaven look like?
Very, very, very, very, very beautiful!  Too beautiful.

What is one quality you look for in a friend?
Someone who is nice.

What is the worst food in the world?
Kiwi and BBQ stuff.

If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?
God and Jesus.  One of them because they are the most important.

What are 3 things you learned today?
Mathematics, well... getting in trouble can be a very worse thing to do, and that my brother CAN be fun.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How's it going?

So, how's it going?  That's a question we have gotten frequently in the past almost 2 months.  I can't believe it's been almost 2 months already!  Here's the real deal.  It's hard.  It's one of the hardest things we have ever done.  We are gaining.  We are praying. We are crying.  We are praying.  We are smiling.  We are praying.  Do you see the theme here?  We have relied on God for our strength.  And that is why we are able to continue.
We are so thankful for each of your prayers- they have been felt.  Thank you to those of you who sent us kind words of encouragement, clothes, food, and other forms of support.  They have been such a blessing to us.
Here's a day in our life- to give you an idea.
6:00 Jacob & I get up, read & pray, get dressed
6:15 Curly gets up- she has a harder time getting going in the morning- so we get her up a little earlier
6:30 Z-Man gets up
They both have a visual chart that I made that shows what tasks they are supposed to do in what order.  They are not very familiar with structure and it's hard for them to focus on what they are supposed to be doing to get ready for school.
6:45- we are supposed to be eating breakfast.  I admit... my father would not be proud of how many times we have had cold cereal.  He always claimed cereal wasn't truly food- but I think it will do for now.  I am trying to get organized and have eggs more often since we have chickens now, but haven't quite found the time to accomplish that.  I am learning how some things are just going to have to slide for now... like eggs for breakfast.  Sorry, Dad!
7:15- we should be finished with breakfast, but Curly likes to be reminded when to take a bite every. single. time.  So this doesn't always happen.  They brush their teeth, get their back pack ready, oops! realized Z-Man had homework that he didn't remember last night, quick do that, wait!  your outfit does not match... go change into something so you don't look like you are not well taken care.  I'm thinking of letting this one slide sooner or later too.  They are clothed, right?
Jake also leaves at this time.
7:40- We leave for school.  I take them to school, otherwise they would have to get on the bus at 6:45 am.  I don't want to have to get up any earlier.  It is on my way to work, but it also means that I get to work an hour early.
8:00- I get to work and relax in the quiet, dark bank.  This has probably become one of my favorite times of the day.
9:00-3:00- I am actually working at the bank.
3:20- the kids are involved in an after school program that is called Kansas Reading Roadmap for extra learning.  They are adjusting to a new school and friends and this has been really good for them!
3:30- I get home and start on laundry, supper, cleaning, or in my Creative Touch office.
5:30- Jake usually gets home.
5:45- The kiddos get home and we eat supper.
6:30- We spend time reading or playing games with them.
7:30- We start getting ready for bed- showers, brush teeth, pajamas, story time
8:00-8:15- Kids are in bed and lights are off.  Who am I kidding?  Sometimes I am also in bed with the lights off...  The first 2 weeks Jake was also in bed by this time.  He has adjusted well... I have not.
If I am not in bed we try to spend time together whether its cleaning up or just chatting.
Things we have learned:

*We really don't know much about parenting.
*I need at least 9 hours of sleep.
*We like quiet time.
*I didn't know there were so many cute things for a 6 yr. old girl to wear!
*It is very important to compliment other parents and tell them they are doing an awesome job.  Most days I haven't felt like I was a very good mom.  So encouragement is something I'm trying to do to other moms.
*Z-Man is a typical 8 year old boy.  Seriously.  I grew up with 7 boys and I don't remember it being this... challenging.  He definitely  is more challenging because of the trauma he endured, but most of the things I was concerned about- other boy moms have told me it was normal.
*Our patience level gets maxed out too frequently.  We are working on that.
*Apparently I never feed Z-Man.  He is ALWAYS starving!
*I can't imagine being a single parent.  Seriously.  I don't know how they do it.
*We both NEED coffee.
*It is super tough working full time and taking care of everything and everybody at home.  I didn't think it would be that bad, but I'm seeing more and more things get dropped because I don't have time to do them.  Then I get mom guilt when I'm doing something that needs done and the kids just want me to spend time with them.
*I am not a good multitasker
*We are the best cooks ever!  (Good thing they are not picky!)
*I am not good at remembering the camera.
*Prayer means so much more.  We can't get through the day without it.
*How important it is to take care of ourselves.  Focusing solely on the kids does not make us good parents.
*Simplicity.  In order to become better parents, we have had to let go of some non-essentials in life.  I have learned that I love simple.  Simple meals, simple schedules, simple decorating= simple cleaning, etc.  We have learned how to say no and not let it bother us.
*Kid's are so forgiving.  Thankfully!
*Routines are essential.  Consistency is key.
*I can't go anywhere without my Simplified Planner.  It keeps me focused on daily life and tasks at hand.  I put everything in there, from birthdays to appointments to LAUNDRY MUST GET DONE TODAY OR ELSE! to meal planning or prep work that needs done.
*Parenting is humbling.
*Parenting is rewarding.

I'm sure there is more.  But if you lasted this long through this post, kudos to you.
New Foster Parents

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


So many changes... only by His grace are we able.
We have been working towards our foster care license since June.  There are so many rules and regulations, some make sense, some not so much.  It has not been easy, but we pray it will be rewarding.
On Monday, I got a phone call at work asking if we could take a placement.  I asked if we could even do that yet because we didn't have a license.  She said you should have gotten it in the mail today!  Sure enough, we had and we did take the placement of a sibling set of 2.  We won't be able to post pictures or anything online- so if I find my sanity and update this blog more often, I will refer to them as Z-Man and Curly.  Brother and Sister.  Please pray for them.  And us.  It brings tears to my eyes the amount of pain they have endured in their short years of life.
We got enrolled in school yesterday.  I am experiencing some firsts myself.

These bedrooms are now well inhabited :)

Text me if you have questions! 620.437.6577. I would be glad to answer if I can.