Wednesday, April 5, 2017


According to google, toive means wish in Finnish. I purposely chose toive because some of my wishes just came true today {drum roll please} I received my DNA results!!!

Shockers were I'm 100% European and almost 30% Irish! For some reason my Native American didn't pop up in this test but some very obscure eastern and northern european countries did. I found this super interesting and disappointing at the same time. Knowing what you are doesn't always help figuring out who you are. BUT now I have better excuses to backpack through Europe someday... Now I just need to put more effort in researching my family tree 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Schedule Daze

In May I quit my job and decided to go wherever the wind (aka my family) blew me. So far my time has been split between Michigan and Illinois. My parents are in the middle of moving so the majority of my time in Michigan has been spent packing. My extended family has been busy with camp activities and somehow I got sucked into volunteering. If I'm being completely honest, it doesn't take much coaxing. I was born for camp life! In between all the 5 hour trips from MI to IL, I've been able to do some pretty fun things. Here are some of my recommendations...

If you haven't gone to downtown Chicago, fix that right now. The city is bustling with plays, musicals, shops, museums, parks, and attractions. If you want to see my suggestions check out my ChiTown post. 

Best Pizza Place: Aurelio's
This has been a wonderful restaurant to my family for years. You can even find my baby picture on the wall in the original restaurant! If you go, get the Super 6 with green olives and their antipasto salad. {They have good gluten free pizza too}

Take the country roads
It was very peaceful to just drive around and look at the cornfields or take pictures on an old railroad. Of course, I also had the windows down and country music blasting. The clouds were nice and fluffy, the grass was green, and the birds and bugs were singing. 

Some nice person bought my coffee one morning as a pay it forward. I mowed the lawn for my Nana for free. We (Nana, mom and I) set up food for a church potluck. I scanned photos for my aunt onto her computer and helped her upload some onto Facebook. All of these things were simple and didn't take much time or effort but the brightened someone's day. I've never made a point to volunteer on vacation but this trip has changed my tune. 

Kishwaukee River
If you are ever near the Rockford area, I recommend you float down the Kishwaukee River. All you need are some tubes, friends, and a cooler filled with snacks and drinks. It is a great way to unplug and soak up some sun. I recommend that you wear old bathing suits and good water shoes/crocks/chacos. 

Michigan is known as the pure state for a reason. Michiganders celebrate all four seasons by enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. Between hike/bike trails, ski slopes, apple picking, boating/floating/swiming in rivers/lakes, people love to be outside and they take care to preserve their favorite environments. I will say that this summer I mostly spent my time in or close to Detroit. Yes the city has some struggles but those left are doing a pretty good job trying to make it great again. Not giving up hope for them yet...

Ford Museum
First thing on my list because it is the coolest museum that I have ever had the pleasure visiting. I have never seen everything in a day but here are some of my favorite parts: riding in a Model T and touring the little Greenfield Village (so many random famous houses and the tour guides do a great job), helping build the Model T (they get visitors to help assemble one every day but it gets finished pretty early), walking through the Dymaxion House, sitting in the Rosa Parks bus, making a paper airplane and testing it out, and walking through the car collection (including a snack and finishing with the presidential cars).

Local pub/bar
Most local places are known for their house specials. They also have great hard ciders and other seasonal drinks that are fun to try or mix and match. My favorite place is Rochester Mills Beer Company. Their shop is set up in an historic knitting factory with a sit down restaurant feel on one side and pool tables and bar vibes on the other side. They also beautifully showcase their brewery behind a glass wall so the patrons can see their brewing process throughout the day.

Eastern Market(Spring/Summer)
One of the largest markets in the states with indoor and outdoor spaces with anything under the sun to buy or eat.

Local Cider Mills (Summer/Fall)
Best fresh apple cider you will ever have and the flavors naturally change throughout the season. Some let you pick your own apples and some press the apples right in front of you. My favorite is Yates Cider Mills built in 1863 and still powered by the spring next to it. The best day to visit is Apple Fritter Friday but go early because the donuts are best served hot and they sell out fast!

Torch Lake
Rumor is that Torch Lake is the third most beautiful lake in the world. As a spring fed lake, the water stays crystal clear and pretty shades of blue all year long. If you want to enjoy the UP {upper peninsula} feels, make a pit stop here!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tongue Twisters

As a teacher, I have learned to go with the flow when teaching new concepts. Some days Abbie & Sophie learn the material fast, fast, fast; other days there might be tears, time-outs, and long bouts of repetition. Unexpectedly, today was a slower learning day with giggles and smiles rather than tears and time-outs. 
In English, we started to learn about synonyms and antonyms. Abbie and Sophie had no problem remembering synonym = same/similar meaning words or antonym = opposite meaning words; BUT, they couldn't pronounce synonym/antonym to save their lives! Oh my goodness, it was sooooo funny I had to film part of Abbie in the process of learning and share it with y'all.

I think Abbie learns better when she can read it so I wrote it down phonetically on the white board. She  finally got it down as long as she said the words separately. Sophie (major audio learner), on the other hand, got it down in a matter of seconds so I wasn't able to film her.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Serving and Saving

This weekend Jeremiah's Hope joined together with International Faith Initiatives to host a 3 day medical training conference. This gave me a chance to brush up on my CPR skills and put faces to some of the heros in Ukraine. Some of these men have been on the front lines (as in fighting to maintain the Donetsk Airport) and some are about to volunteer for the first time; but, all believe in the power of Jesus Christ and are willing to lay down their lives for him.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crane Vs. Crane

It was freezing and I didn't want to get out of my warm little domichka so Anna Kate volunteered to document the arrival of the long awaited container. Wow... words can't express the trouble/waiting/worrying this little[BIG] container gave the Kellys but man was every moment worth it. This HUGE thing was filled to the brim with clean matresses, baby supplies, medical equipment for wounded/amputee soldiers and clothes for families in the war zones.

As I said on Facebook, "Our 'job' for the next couple of days... Sorting this huge crate is a big job but also such a ginormous blessing for the people here!!!!!! So glad it finally made it from Abilene, Tx to our baby village out in the woods!!!!! If crates could talk, this one would share quite a story." So thankful that Andrei & Misha (orphans that stay with us on the weekends until the Morrows move in January), all the older shelter kids, 2 of the refugee dads, Uncle Ray, Zander, Lindsay, Anna Kate, Andrew and I were able to get the stuff unloaded and sorted in record time with minimal scrapes and bruises that night!!!! It was cold and snowy at some parts, but everyone kept pushing through and working with good attitudes. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Training Thankful Hearts

Since we are behind in school (rushing, rushing, rushing) I usually feel like I'm a chicken with my head chopped off. Thanksgiving snuck up on me but also came just at the right time. It is easy to rush through the day instead of pausing and thanking God for all of our blessings. Here are some pics of the crafts we did and the joy we found in living in the moment.

 Thankful Pumpkins- each side of the pumpkin has a thankful thought

It took us 10x longer than expected to make these Pilgrim women to make these because of all the contagious giggling!

On Thanksgiving Day, friends and family gather around and have a traditional meal with turkey and all the fixings. We went around the room and listened to everyone say what they were thankful for. It was hard to keep dry eyes as Ukrainian refugee families shared how thankful for being safe, clean, and fed when so many of their friends and family members back home went without. God is moving and working in ways that go beyond anything I could have imagined! On a side note, Jenny went above and beyond being sweet by making me gluten free green beans and pumpkin pie (my 2 favorite thanksgiving foods). Hard not to be thankful when surrounded by wonderful friends and good food!!!!

After lunch had settled in our tummies, Natalie, Nathan and I decided to brave the weather and take pictures in the snow! Anna Kate chickened out and got cold but not before we could take this precious picture.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What's All That White Stuff???

Yesterday plain boring   Today breathtaking

First Snow Day of the winter so that means we go out and take pics, right?!?!?

*Snow before Thanksgiving??? Oh boy is this going to be a long winter....


           *btw snow on trees tastes disgusting.. yuck