Monday, December 19, 2011

ITs Christmas Time

So as our family tries to get more missions focused, I am frequently reminded that we are terrible neighbors.   We don't know hardly any of them, don't really talk to any of them, and those who we do know we aren't on very good terms with due to their children being bullies.....   all that to say I have been prompted to be more Christlike to our neighbors this Christmas.

So feeling the need to invest in them, I decided to give Christmas baskets this year.   On a limited budget with 7 neighbors surrounding us I did what every thrifty woman does......heads to her mother in laws basement for great things to decorate said baskets with.   Then I proceeded to scour Pinterest for inexpensive gift ideas I could make.   So thought I had come across the perfect cute gift to make - I soon found out I am not as talented as said blogger and my jars of cookie mix looked retarded.  So, I changed gears and made them my own way and they turned out far better.   So this is my version of the cowboy cookie jar gift.

I cannot take claim to the recipe inside the jar so here is the site I used for the ingredients inside the jar.

As far as the outside - here's the lowdown.

Items you will need:
12 1/2 inch stripes of ribbon
6 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch squares of fabric cut in half for bandanas  (roughly)
Labels that say Cowboy Cookies and Labels with instructions for baking ( I will post so you can print)

1:  Fill the jar using the above recipe.
2:  Hot glue on 12 1/2 inches of red ribbon about an inch from the bottom of the jar.
3:  Glue or Double side tape the label on.
4:  Glue or Double side tape the instructions on the top.
5:  Roll the bandana material at the top 1/2 inch, two times, put the bandana on so that it is to the left side of the front and then glue on both ends in the back. 

Add caption

Friday, December 16, 2011

All Aboard

The final leg of our vacation was an adventure planned just for Andrew buddy.   We debarked from our floating home of 7 days and headed for a suprise destination.   Arriving 20 minutes later with a very excited young man after he noticed our new location.....the Amtrak station of Miami.

We did have a two hour wait - but Andrew could hardly control his excitement as we joined the line to board the train.   "All aboard to Orlando, FL aboard the Silver Star line."  announced the ticket man.   "Wow, the Silver Star line.  Dad did you hear that?  It has 2 lounge cars, a dining car, a sleeping car, and a bunch of passenger cars." Andrew said.   His excitement was contagious and we were already to get on with our final leg of our trip.  

We settled into our sleeping car and I was so grateful we didn't have to get into another car where Tanner had to be strapped in somewhere.     About an hour into our trip the porter came and told us the dining car was ready to serve lunch and off we went to enjoy our first of two meals about our train.

Tanner and I napped after lunch - the two big kids relaxed - watched some movies and the scenery flying by outside their top bunk window.  Eric studied for a Microsoft test he was scheduled to take upon our return to Minnesota.    All in all, it was another fun Skillestad adventure!

Pirate Adventure

Our Christmas cruise with my family was quite an adventure.   The Blatzheims and Skillestads - took a break from the Carnival Liberty and boarded the Black Pearl.   The kids had such a great time interacting with the pirates and I'm sure it is something they will remember for the rest of their lives......well all except for Tanner probably.
Captain Andrew
Courtney & Lydia learning the dagger

My Mermaid

So Courtney Mae has a major infatuation with mermaids this year.   She begged and begged for us to buy her a tail so she could swim like one.   After much searching around the internet I decided that was not going to happen.   Who spends $100 on something she will hardly ever be able to wear?   Not me!   So I did the next best thing and ordered her a fin for $30 and purchased some fabric for $2 and did the best I could to create one myself.   Even though the stiching is less than beautiful - it fit her perfect and she looked so cute!

Thanksgiving/Christmas Dinner

This year I hosted Thanksgiving/Christmas for our family since many of my immediate family will be gone over Christmas this year. I spent a long time on Pinterest trying to find just the right table decorations - but to no avail. So I did the next best thing and spent many hours waltzing around Joann's looking for something not to insanely expensive. I found for 60% off this snowflake fabric, some wooden snowflakes I painted white and glittered, and pulled out some old ribbon and blue Christmas balls to finish it off. Not as amazing as I had pictured it in my head - but was still beautiful. The dinner was wonderful and we all had a special day together - I guess that is the real purpose anyway.


Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm 1!

So as you may have guessed -- the theme for Tanner's 1st Birthday was a monkey theme.   I will be the first to admit I went a little overboard.   Ideas just kept popping into my head and I couldn't control myself.   Thank you to my dear sweet sister who helped me with the fondant for the cake.   Just the way you wanted to spend your Saturday morning Kater - rolling, and rerolling and rerolling and rerolling fondant :)    Despite our agony....I think it turned out pretty good.    Just thought I would post a few of the fun ideas I did for decorating.

Yellow napkins folded like bananas.

Tanner's first cake!

Oreos with chocolate coated centers
and candy bananas

Vines made of brown rolled paper with plush monkeys
from the dollar store hanging from them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Their Smiles

One's smile shows pure joy
Usually basking in excitement
Contageous for sure
But rarely captured on film

One's smile shows pure beauty
Face glowing in perfect posing
Easy to capture its charm

One's smile shows pure love
You give one and one is returned
Not just on the lips
But the eyes give one too

I love my One's smiles

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So....again sorry for the long intermission.   Who knew having a baby was so exhausting and mentally draining.   Awwww I did, that's why I said no more children...he...he....     Good thing he's so stinkin cute!   Will post new photos soon.   Anyway, on to todays post.   So after a bad back to school night for Ms Courtney we decided rather suddenly and late for that matter - to homeschool her.   Now if you have ever been in our home during homework time - I'm sure you are saying to yourself   "They are going to rip each others hair out and  hate each other."   Yes, that thought crossed my mind.   However, I have been feeling prompted by the Lord that I need to strengthen my relationship with her and create a safer (emotionally) and more loving environment for her.   We don't have the best relationship.  I will be the first to admit that, but I don't want it to be that way.  Its not the way God intended us to be with each other, so through daily prayer and reliance on Him, I think this is going to be an amazing year for both of us.   A year we will forever remember as the start of a close and bonded relationship that we never had before.   I try not to blame the Autism for my lack of emotional closeness with the kids, but it is what it is.   I can no longer use that as an excuse when God has commanded us to let him have all our junk and to live and love as Christ did.   All this to say, yes, I recognize that the early road of this journey will undeniably challenging in many ways.  Our communication and reponses to one another will have to be changed - but this first two weeks have gone really really well. (Except one day - She didn't just wake up on the wrong side of the bed - she woke up on the wrong side of the moon)   She is excited to spend quality time with me - and I am excited to see her learning in an environment she is comfortable and doens't have anxiety.    Only time will tell how successful of a teacher I shall be, but I am already leaps and bounds ahead of what kind of a mother I was.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011


So there is one (aside from the actual child) good thing about pregnancy - the long stretch without my monthly friend.   Not that anyone wants to read  that I suppose, but goes towards the rest of this post.   Our family has recently be reintroduced to PMS.   Uggg....I am not usually such an emotional mess - but PMS usually includes at least one good night of crying myself to sleep.

This time around I am struggling with fear again.   Tanner hasn't been having much eye contact with me and it finally got to me last night.   However, our sermon this morning was quite pertinent to my current state of mind - so - wait on the Lord and spend more time in his Word is what I must do.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life Changes

OK - so going 3 months without an entry is pretty pathetic.   Though I will put the blame entirly on Tanner - that kid just can't figure out how to sleep through the night more than once a week.  The brain fog just hasn't lifted yet.   Anyway, I have some news to share.


You heard right - it has been a long time coming but I just couldn't quite get myself to let go of the job I have been doing for almost 17 years no matter how much I disliked it.   That's almost half my life!   I am excited to not have to worry about work and to just spend quality time with the kids for awhile and who knows what God has in store for me in the future.

We have the freedom now to follow where God would have us go without me feeling I am leaving Dad in a bad position.   He has given this his blessing and too recognizes that God likely has new things for me to pursue.   It has been a truly great ride (minus paying bills for the last 5 years).   I have seen God do some amazing things - and seen the kind of faith in my father that I wish for myself.   I will miss some aspects of working with my family - but I know this is the right road for me and am excitedly skipping along it.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Fear, my head knows you don't belong here
As I wonder and watch for the unclear

Clouding my judgement and swirling up worry
My thoughts build and swell making me weary

Some days I win and you lose
Some days I give in and panic ensues
Will he or won't he, it shouldn't matter
But thoughts of repeating, another dream to shatter

That he is here at all does so amaze me
And I cherish this child and his every gaze at me
God created him in my womb and gave him breath in my room
So who am I to let this fear remain and consume

Lord take my album of memories and pain
Fill me, lead me, and may my strength in you remain
You know my weaknesses, worries and fears
But if I listen real close you are wispering "He is mine" in my ear


So I haven't posted in ages.....Amanda....I appologize for thinking you were lazy after Asher was born and you didn't post anything for like 6 months...he...he...he...

I'm not sure so much that I don't have time.  I just think my brain is so mushy and disheveled I can't get anything written down in a cohesive manner.   

Here are some recent family photos.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Here's what I think about....

So last night.....after Tanner got up to eat at 3:30am.... I laid in bed for the next 2 hours thinking about all the things I needed to accomplish to make Courtney's Girl Scout talk nice.    I was trying to figure out what to do for snack.  I needed to incorporate saying "please pass the...." for an activity.  So for the next 2 hours I couldn't sleep while my mind created the perfect breakfast cookies.    I then spent 4 hours of my afternoon making these creations only to recieve an email saying that Girl Scouts was cancelled.   No sleep, no nap, and no free time for eggs, toast and bacon.    I am way to obsessive compulsive.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Just asking for prayers reguarding the next steps in treatment for Andrew.   We've pretty much put all his previous treatments (except the diet) on hold because I feel like we need to get some fresh perspective.  There are a couple of options for us to embark on and I really would like to have God's leading.   He knows far better than I what is causing Andrew's current regression and how to fix it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Letters to God

We finished watching a movie tonight that we started on Sunday evening with the kids.  It was called Letters To God and is based on a true story.    By the time the movie was over both the kids were crying and asking us all kinds of questions.  Both about the little boy in the movie and about death and heaven.   

It really struck a cord with them and their walk with God and they both ran upstairs to write their own letter to God.   What they wrote was so touching and beautiful to us as parents.

Courtney's Letter #1:
Dear God, Tell Tyler I hope he is OK.  I love you very much.  I'm not going to be afraid to die, I will be happy because I love you.

Courtney's Letter #2:
Dear God, Thank you for giving me life.  I love every person on earth, especially mom, dad, and my baby brother and big brother.  I love you very much.  I hope you will forgive every sin I've made.  I love the people in heaven and Jesus name we pray Amen.

Andrew's Letter:
Dear God, I love you very much.  You are the best person.  I miss Tanner when he is away.  I love you God.  Love Andrew

I am so encouraged by their faith - by the lessons they are learning and the steps they are taking to make their relationship with God personal and real.   We will continue to urge them to write their letters to God - for it is really just a prayer and form of worship that they understand.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Wow, 2010 was a crazy year around the Skillestad house.   I feel a bit like I got run over by something, but I recognize God's hand in our lives this year as well.

Most of it is still a bit surreal.   I had been dead set against having any more children for a LONG time.  So even though I was pregnant for 8 months, sometimes I look at Tanner and have to remind myself he is ours.   His birth was also so tramatic and crazy that I look back at it like it was part of a TV show I saw.   I guess that has something to do with birthing chemicals in my brain - so I won't look back with sheer terror.   He is growing so quickly and is such a little blessing to our family.  Courtney is an amazing big sister and he loves to be held by her!   Andrew mainly loves to say "Hi Tanner" and rub his head - but I know he will be a great big brother to him.

We had a family of 6 move in for a couple months - not much to say except "yes" we are still friends with them and "yes" we are glad they are happily settled in their new home :)

The death of my grandma right before Christmas also doesn't seem real sometimes.   Even though I was able to go to Florida to say goodbye before she passed, it was so unexpected and having had a baby only 6 weeks before I think I was still in a bit of a fog.  I will miss her very much, but I know I will see her when I enter Heaven someday.  My only wish was to have her see Tanner before she left us and a kind nurse broke the rules and let me bring him into the ICU for just a few minutes.  He make a big squack and she opened her eyes real big and looked at us intently.  Because she was intubated she couldn't talk and was too weak to move much - but I know she saw him even if she didn't recongnize us or know who he was.  She spent alot of time praying for that little boy in his early life and I wanted so much for her to meet her 15th Great-Grandchild.   Goodbye Grandma Fran - you will be missed - we love you.

Otherwise 2010 didn't have much else going on.  Andrew is continuing to improve in the behavior department and we feel so blessed to have not had to deal with the abusive little boy that usually shows up after the start of school. 

Well - time to get some sleep.  A rare commodity for myself since I got pregnant.....but I know it will come.  God Bless All and have a Blessed 2011!