Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Grandpa took Jeff and the kiddos sledding today. Judging by the pictures, I'm not sure who had more fun, the big boys or the little kids!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Looking for craft ideas, freebies & gift ideas

I have started a blog to keep track of links to sites that contain crafts, gift ideas, games, printables, freebies and tutorials I want to use or try. If you see a good idea feel free to send me a note or leave a comment so I can check it out and add it to my new blog! Please visit and check back frequently for new ideas found from bloggers everywhere!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A visit to Santa Claus

We went to the local Mall to visit Santa Claus on Friday. The kiddos were great and spoke clearly to santa and even sat on his lap. I didn't know how they would react and if they would hide and be shy or not. Ryan wants a new video game (wii music) and Allie has asked Santa for Polly pockets dolls.

By the way, I was having trouble with my camera, so the photo of Allie & Santa didn't turn out as well as it could have! For some reason the camera wouldn't fully turn on and open the lens cover. I didn't realize the problem until after Allie has finished talking to Santa.

Personal Message From Santa!

I discovered a really neat place to send a personal message from Santa. You fill out the info (name, age, eye color, hair color, toy requested, etc) and Santa sends a video messge. Really cool. My kiddos LOVED it! You can even upload a photo of the child that santa finds in his Naughty and Nice book!

Ryan's Message from Santa:

Allison's Message From Santa:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Birthday plans

I can't believe Ryan turns 6 in just a few hours! Six years ago tonight I was unaware that I would be a mother in just a few short hours, since Ryan wasn't supposed to be born until December 19th. Six years ago this evening, Jeff and I had gone to the OB/GYN for an exam, stayed out for dinner and then went home and enjoyed our evening. The next morning on my way to school my water broke and I was in labor! Ryan arrived at around 3:30 in the afternoon on December 3.

We will celebrate his birthday at school in the afternoon on Thursday with cupcakes and juice boxes and then we will have dinner at the Country Club with family in the evening. On Sunday we will have about 14 other children join us for a basketball themed party. Above are a few of the items we have completed to prepare for the party time this week!

A visit to the Dentist

Ryan went to the dentist for his first fillings today. He was very nervous but was super brave! I was soooo proud of him. We have an excellent dentist who took LOTS of time and explained everything prior to working on him. If you live in my area, I highly recommend Dr. Sherwood ~ She & her assistants are WONDERFUL and I even learned a few things about the whole filling process just by sitting and listening to them explain things to Ryan as they worked!

Above are some pictures of Ryan that I snapped just before the yucky numbing with the needle part of the procedure. He was chilling with his laughing gas on. The Dentist gave him the shades to keep the bright light out of his eyes as she worked on his teeth ~ super cool!

'Tis the Season

We put up our Tree on Monday night and then attended Ryan's Christmas concert on Tuesday evening. Above are photos from Ryan's Christmas program. Ryan did a great job and was an excellent singer! The class performed two songs and then changed into angel outfits to be part of the older students Christmas pagent and sing one final song.

Today I wrapped all the Christmas packages and plan to start doing my holiday baking soon. We will, however, take a short break from the Christmas spirit to celebrate Ryan's Birthday on Thursday! I was busy this evening making the cupcakes for him to take to school and the family cake for us to eat after our dinner out tomorrow. On Sunday afternoon Ryan is having a basketball themed party with his friends.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A wedding

For the past month Allie has been getting married. At our house she enjoys dressing up her daddy and making him the groom. In fact, a couple of weeks ago at Hobby Lobby she had to purchase a $3.00 bow tie so he could officially be her groom. As part of her wedding gear at our house she wears a crown of stars with tulle on the back and a white dress that had belonged to my flower girl when Jeff & I got married. She also has play rings, ear rings and necklaces to wear as well as a rag tag bunch of flowers she has to carry. We play the wedding march on CD and Ryan usually serves as the wedding coordinator by making snacks (usually crackers topped with canned cheese). During these weddings, Allie has asked me many times where my wedding dress is. Unfortunately, in a cleaning spurt last year, I threw my wedding dress away, because it was stained and ruined and I never figured I would have a use for it again.

WELL, Allie is at Grandma's this week and apparently at Grandma's house you get fun things to play with including Grandma's wedding dress and veil!

Sight Word FUN!

Ryan has been working very hard at learning his Kindergarten sight words. On Thursday he started reading some little sight word reader books we have from Scholastic. On Friday he and Allison left to visit Grandma & Grandpa and Ryan took his pack of 50 sight word readers. While in the car with Grandpa & Grandma Ryan read his books. Upon arrival at Grandpa & Grandma's house Ryan continued his reading. Yesterday mom called me and told me that Ryan read most of his books! So, I have been on a search for some new sight word readers. During my search I stumbled upon this site: I was delighted to find that I could print sight word books from my computer! With some sturdy cardstock paper and my color printer I have printed MANY new books for Ryan to start reading.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A busy Cheerleader and ball boy

Last week Ryan started his duties as official Ball Boy for the 2009 basketball season at the college. He and a couple of other friends get to help the team by handing out balls and collecting balls before each game and at half time. They also help by wiping the floors when there is any sweat left on them (not my idea of a fun job, but when you are a elementary school boy, I guess you think it is cool). The college had three home games in a row last week Thursday thru Saturday night, so Ryan spent a lot of time in the gym. Allie and I went to the games on Friday and Saturday night. Saturday evening Allie wore her cheerleading outfit that matches that we purchased to match the college girls and she stood on the sidelines and cheered with them. I really didn't expect Allison to cheer for the entire game, but she had a great time and the girls were wonderful to her. The cheer coach made sure that not only her uniform matched, but her pom poms and hair ribbon did too! She is already looking forward to our next home game this week :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A song we love

I discovered this song by accident when making an animoto video recently. By the way check out if you haven't already. I have used this site for a couple of years to make some super cool videos with my photos! Anyway, this is a song that everyone in the family has fallen in love with. Ryan walks around singing the words and wants to listen to it alot! It has a great message. Take a moment and go to youtube for a listen.

And, in case you wanna sing along too,
Here are the lyrics for the song from

By Nichole Nordeman

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good Deeds Jar

They say the best teachers are the ones who take the ideas of others and use them. I did just that this past month at our own home. We had tried a bean jar a couple of years ago, but are kiddos were just too young at the time to grasp the concept. After reading a post by I was inspired to try the jar again. We started three weeks ago and explained the rules to the kids on a Sunday afternoon. They began very quickly accumulating pebbles.

After a particularly rough day one afternoon they lost MANY pebbles and basically started over about a week into the program. BUT, they rebounded well and today we all enjoyed the rewards of their hard work! Together Ryan and Allison decided that the family would spend the afternoon bowling. Grandpa & Grandma were visiting and got to enjoy the outing with us then treated us all to ice cream afterwards, so our reward was extra sweet!

My goals for the children when starting our pebble jar was to teach them respect and responsibility for others. I also wanted to teach them to treat each other with more kindness. When we first started the project the kids had to be gently prompted to open a door for a stranger or help someone. About two weeks into our project I noticed Ryan was holding the door open at church for people without being asked and was patiently waiting his turn while other older members of church went in ahead of him!

We emptied out our bean jar after the outing and I asked the kids what they want to do next time they fill the jar. Ryan responded with "I think I'll let Allie select our next outing, bowling was kind of my thing." I thought that was an awesome response from him! The next few minutes they discussed a plan for their next outing and I think, based on their discussion, we will be visiting the local Children's museum or Chuck E. Cheese. After hearing Ryan make the comment about letting Allie select the next outing and then listening to them decide a plan together, I think I have also accomplished the goal of having them learn to be nice and work together!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We went downtown for their Spooktacular event last night. The kids had a good time trick or treating at the different businesses and ended the evening with a parade and trip to the firestation for hot chocolate and rice crispie treats.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More pages

Here are the last few pages from Ryan's Soccer book.

Ryan's Soccer Book

Soccer season is almost over, which is a good thing since the past couple of Saturday morning games have been pretty chilly! Tonight I got to work and finished Ryan Soccer book! Below are a few of the pages.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Backing up

No, this post is not contain valuable driving tips. Instead this post contains a lesson I learned about the value of backing up your precious videos and photos. I recently had a computer go to computer heaven and am thankful I had such an extensive back up system in place to make sure I had all my memories available after the crash!

So, here is how I make sure to keep things sorted and organized:

1.) When I download my pictures from my video camera or still camera, I place them on my external hard drive in a file within the my pictures folder. In that Folder entitled my pictures, I have a folder called Leiker family personal photos. In the personal photos folder I have each year listed 2001, 2002, 2003, etc. You might ask why I have so many folders within folders, I really am not sure why I do, except to say that I like folders and feel that "filing" them within each other makes it more organized and easier to find.

So, for example, today I placed my photos from our fire station fieldtrip into a folder called October 14, 2009 which is inside a folder called 2009 which is inside a folder labeled Leiker Family Personal photos which is in the my photos folder on my external hard drive. Please note, I never store my photos on my computer. I have found that the investment of an external hard drive is an excellent one because it can be transported and secured so easily when not in use.

2.) Once a month (usually at the end of each month) I take a few minutes to burn two copies of my video files for that month and two copies of my still photos for that month onto DVD. I give one copy to my parents for safe keeping and keep one copy in a CD storage binder in a closet on our main floor in our house.

3.) Every few weeks (o.k., actually it's usually just when I remember and sometimes that is only every few months) I take a few moments to upload my most recent photos to an online back up system. I have tried Sugar Sync, ShutterFly Share and Drop shots. I have settled on Drop Shots for now. The cost is around $5.00 a month for me to keep my photos and the load time seems to be the fastest.

4.) Every few months I also back up all my personal videos, photos and digital scrapbooking files to a second external hard drive and store it in a safe hidden place.

This is the system that I have created to keep my personal memories safe. I feel that by backing up my photos and storing them in various locations in various ways, I will be protected in the event of fire, flood, theft or computer crash.

My children's first steps, photos of loved ones who are no longer with us on this Earth and yes, even my bad hair styles from previous years are so very important and can't be replaced! So I feel it is worth the few extra minutes each month to keep things organized stored safely.

How do you back up your memories?

Counting Bears

Over the past few months I have purchased many school items for the kids to help them learn while they are at home. One of the items I bought was a set of counting bears, because Ryanhad begged for them and because his preschool teacher had mentioned that he enjoyed playing with them so much in her class. The counting bears get a lot of use, but I bet you will never guess what they get used for!

Are you ready?

They are used for.......Football! Ryan divides these up into different colored teams and plays games with them on our livingroom floor. While I was taking these pictures, there was a "player" injured and the trainers and coaches were circled around him to fix him up (note the orange injured bear tipped upside down).

Fire Station visit

Allison and her preschool class got to go visit the fire station today. We were very happy the rain finally stopped long enough today to allow us to take the short walk down the street to see the big fire trucks and visit the fire station.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Student of the Month

Ryan came home today with a Student of the Month Certificate for September! He apparently was selected as the student of the month in his music class. He really has suprised us becuase he enjoys music class a lot. We are suprised, because he was the preschool boy who cried during each concert! He really likes his music teacher and looks forward to class twice a week! In the photos above, Allison is helping him show off his certificate after their baths this evening.

Fire Dog

The Fire Dept. came to visit Allison's preschool today. They did a really neat presentation and even brought their fire safety mascot and their real fire dog. Allison liked the real dog best!