Our YouTube Channel

I failed on my plan to update y’all back in September. I thought when winter got here that I would have time to edit and upload photos and write about all the fun things we’ve been up to. Well, we spent most of winter down in Florida, so life did not slow down for a second! One thing I have managed to do is create a YouTube channel. Yay!


The link above will take you to our channel. Fair warning: the videos are not that exciting, this is just another way for us to keep up with our memories without having to do much more than record and click upload. 🙂


Back At It

It’s been a few months since I last posted about our lives. 8 months to be exact (!!!)  and I feel it’s about time I updated everyone on the busy year we’ve had so far. So much has happened:

  1. the girls completed the spring semester of ballet and had their first recital. it was awesome!,
  2. we celebrated Jake’s 2nd b-day and Emily’s 6th b-day,
  3. Jeff and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary,
  4. we took a 2 week road-trip home to Florida to say good-bye to Jeff’s sweet Uncle Mike :(,
  5. we had our first house guests,
  6. we purchased 2 turkeys, 3 guineas, and 18 chickens,
  7. completed our first year of homeschooling (we will be starting our second year in a week!),
  8. saw Michael Buble in concert….best date EVER!,
  9. celebrated Jeff’s 36th birthday and my 26th birthday,
  10. I lost 35 pounds,
  11. we welcomed our best friends to Idaho! yes, they took the crazy leap to move 3,000 miles from home, too! not because of us…they were our inspiration, really. :),
  12. we joined a homeschooling co-op and met some very awesome people,
  13. I joined a book club and met even more awesome people :),
  14. adopted a dog, and
  15. took a road trip to Seattle.

This isn’t even a complete list of our year. As I go through pictures to update y’all, I’ll remember more. We’ve been so blessed and are so thankful for the path we have been given in life.  I am excited to see what God has in store for us and am learning to trust Him completely.  Always easier said than done, unfortunately.

November will mark one year since our big move across country. wow!

I am so excited to write about our year! I would love to get to the point where I am posting about our lives everyday.  I need to do this for myself as much as I need to for our families, maybe more. These kid are growing so fast and I’m quickly forgetting the funny and crazy things they do and say each day.

Wish me luck!

*click on the pictures for a larger view

Tiny Dancers & Some Other Stuff

Tomorrow our girls start ballet! They are so excited about this. Tonight they tried on their new leotards, tights, tutus, and shoes. I am excited for them too!  They will finally have something fun to do, outside of this house. And they will make new friends! They love making new friends. I love this age, when kids are so accepting of each other. Gosh….at what point do kids start thinking “ugh…she is totally not good enough to be my friend.”? I think that’s sad.  BUT our girls are not like that, they love everyone they meet. Beautiful hearts.

Ella told Emmy, “We have to stand like ballerinas.” Cute!

This is the best picture I got of the girls tonight dressed in their ballet outfits. It was only after they were in their pajamas that I realized my good camera was sitting behind me. Figures!  Don’t they look adorable? I will have much better pictures of them tomorrow.

We are still arranging things around here. Our garage is a war zone….ok…the whole house looks like a war zone! I was completely over the kids getting into their clothes and finding them thrown all over their bedroom floor, so we moved their dresser and all of their clothing into one of our closets in our bedroom. Jeff and I did not like the idea of his office being in our bedroom anymore, so he took over the 3rd bedroom. Emmy and Ella have a bunk bed now and they share a room with Jakey. So far this arrangement seems to be working the best.

We drove to Coeur d’Alene today to get the rest of the girl’s ballet stuff. On the car ride home, Jakey reached out to hold Emmy’s hand and pulled at her sleeve until she gave it up. He was so giddy that she was holding his hand and anytime she took her hand away he screamed. I love that they love each other so much. 🙂

Here are a few photos of the kids from our road trip today.

Ella was rubbing his hand saying, “He has cute little hands.” She loves her baby brother.

A few minutes later he was screaming. This picture made me laugh so hard! Ella-the trouble maker (ok, not really..she was only rubbing his hand), Jake-really mad, and Emma-oblivious to it all!

Jake L~O~V~E~S his sister. Emma’s mouth was stained purple from a huge gum ball she was trying to bite into. 🙂

Our man-cub is growing up so fast. 😦

I heard this song the other night right after I got mad at Jake for flooding the counter, again. Then I got mad at Jeff because he was on baby duty while I was cooking. It was a bad 5 minutes. This song came on and I cried. Then apologized. And felt like a failure for getting upset over something so dumb. Anyway, here is the song…..the video does not do it justice. Ok, I’ll admit…I laughed my butt off watching the vidoe…gotta love the 80’s. Wouldn’t you love to see Jeff’s beard that long. ha ha ! Here you go….

Cloth diapering is going really well. So much better than I expected. I wish that I would’ve started this when Emma was a baby. I never would’ve thought it would be so easy and convenient. I really expected the messy diapers to be a challenge. We have a diaper sprayer attached to the toilet, you just hold the dirty diaper over the toilet and spray it off. It sounds gross….and when it’s a really messy one it can be a nightmare. Fortunately, we’ve only had one really bad diaper. I almost threw it away….it put me in a meltdown kind of mood. It was bad. Not paying attention to what you are doing + a really messy diaper = dirty water spraying everywhere. Nuff said!  Jeff came to the rescue and saved it from the bin.  We haven’t had any trouble with staining or bad smells after they are washed. I would definitely recommend this route for anyone trying to save money. I hope potty training the boy is this easy! 🙂

This is  the latest from this week. I’m sure I am leaving stuff out. When I’ve had some sleep I’ll think of more to share. 🙂

Last Adventure of 2010

We purchased property this past Monday. Our plans to build our dream home is one step closer to being a reality. After a week of cloudy snowy skies, we had a beautiful two days of sunshine. Well, not knowing when this would occur again because as soon as we get used to the sun more snow shows up, we decided to head up to our newly purchased property.

Here are a few pictures of us and our drive to the property.
*you can click on the individual pictures to get a bigger view of things*

Emily & Jake



Yes. This sign is for real.

Here are a few pictures of our little adventure a.k.a. Jeffrey thinking he could drive through 3 feet of snow in our Jeep Liberty. 🙂

The forbidden path. This road takes us up to our property. We’ve been up there before….but not through this much snow.

You can see the dirt that had been kicked up by his tires. It was at this point that we were officially stuck.

Jeff talking to Larry the snowplower/new-neighbor guy/rescuer. I’d like to think that Jeff was saying something like, “Yea, my wife said to turn around. She was right, again.” 😉  (thank you Larry and friends)

Larry’s friend hooking up a strap so we could be pulled out.

Emily was very nervous about being stuck. The other two kids were asleep.

Pulling us out

I imagine this was the “Listen to your wife and turn around sign”

He actually said, “I think we could’ve made it the whole way up.”
Uh-huh, right.

Never a dull moment around here folks. 😉 I hope your year was as exciting as ours and that 2011 bring you much to be thankful for.

Happy 2011! Love, The Hogans.

I love days like this

Days where things get done. My house is clean(er) than it’s been in a while. We don’t keep a filthy house, but dishes pile up, toys (and snacks) get strewn everywhere, my laundry pile looks like something from a horror movie….you get the idea. Today I conquered all of it. Well, the downstairs at least. I do love that we live in a smaller house, it makes cleaning it so much quicker. Maintaining it is another story. We have 3 kids, so, naturally, nothing stays clean for long.

Jeff assembled the girl’s beds last night. We decided to give Emily her own room. Her closet is my craft storage, so she’ll still have to share her brother and sister’s closet, but at least she has her own space now. This arrangement also gives me a place to put Emily’s desk and computer. She won’t have internet, but she will at least be able to do her school work and play games without having to worry about her brother or sister bugging her. Emily really likes alone time and has wanted her own room for a while, so this seems like a good thing.

I ordered bedding for them today. This and this. They are from Wal-Mart, not my first go-to store for stuff like this, but they had better prices than Target and I really liked the design on these comforters. I considered getting a Tiana bedding set for Elizabeth and a Barbie bedding set for Emily, but they wouldn’t be able to use them forever. The pink set will be for Emily and the green for Elizabeth. I can’t wait to fix up their rooms!

Everyone is feeling a bit better today. Runny noses and coughing, but not cranky. Thank God. Most colds kick my butt and I end up losing my voice by the end of it, but this one has been very nice to me. Maybe it’s all this fresh air that makes all the difference.

I’m trying to get into typing as if I’m talking to my husband or close friend instead of just being informative. I think I’m getting there, but it’s tough…… I don’t want to sound boring, but I want it to make sense. And I wish I had new pictures to post. I can’t get my computer to sign on to our server, so I don’t want to take any photos off of my camera card until I can save them. I am not saving them to my laptop because we’ve been down the road of terror where you have everything saved to a laptop and then your kid jumps on your bed, which causes your laptop to fall to the hardwood floor, which causes it to become fried because you left it plugged in and it hit pretty hard. Yea….lesson learned. Luckily, our computer guy was able to get everything back that time. But it was a scary waiting to hear whether he could or not. So, maybe tomorrow I’ll have something. 🙂

Ginger-man house & a lovely day

Today was a quiet & relaxing day. We hung around the house and danced with daddy, had a few tickle fights, watched Nancy Drew &  Night at the Museum 2, discussed house-building ideas, napped (well, me and Jake did), danced some more, watched the snow fall, played, and generally had a very nice day together. The girls also decorated a ginger-man house today (this is what Emily calls it).  Emily had begged us for DAYS to buy a ginger-man house. So, yesterday we did. We saved it for today as something for them to do.  Here are some pictures of their masterpiece and other photos from today.


The girls used bubble-gum, mini m&ms, skittles, green leafy gummies, peppermint swirls, rainbow sprinkles, dots, and sugar cake decoration things (obviously I don’t know the name for these). Emily is the kosher police around here. Throughout the project she kept asking me things like, “Mom, are you sure these are kosher?, “Mom, can we eat these? Are they kosher?”, “Mom, are you sure you know what you’re talking about?”. Most gummies are not kosher, so she was hung up on the dots and green leaf gummies. She still wouldn’t eat the green leafy things.  Jeff let them eat the santa, which was fine because we weren’t going to use him anyway. Instead, we used 5 ginger-people to represent our family. Emily designated the one behind the left deer as “daddy, because he looks like he has a beard”. (insert cute little-girl-giggling here) 😮


The ginger-men look like they’re in a stick-up. Or dancing.

I made the rainbow walkway.

Emily’s mouth was full of candy.

It’s no fun unless you eat some of the decorations.

Completed house. They got along so well today. I love days like these. 🙂

Jake doing what he does best….causing trouble. He loves to climb on the couch and play with the faucet.

Dancing with Daddy.

Me and my bubby snuggling during Nancy Drew. This is a very rare, almost non-existent sort of thing for him. He does not like to snuggle. He sat with me for almost 20 minutes and my heart could’ve burst I was so happy!

He left once the camera came out. I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Um….8 hours later. I found the girls sucking up sprinkles with the straw. And Emmy bit the heads off of the deer. Poor house really never stood a chance against those two. 🙂

**correction……i hate when my 5 year old is right. the skittles are not kosher. i forgot. oh well…..we survived 😉

1 month anniversary

Today marks 1 month since we became Idahoans. I am amazed at how fast this past month went by.  Here are some of the things I thought we would've accomplished by now:

  • have all the boxes unpacked…well, at least the ones that we need unpacked;
  • the girl’s bed purchased and assembled;
  • a schedule-like when to get up, nap times, bed time. (I’m terrible at sticking to a schedule, but a basic guideline sorta helps);
  • internet hooked up (For now, I use my phone connected to my laptop for internet….nice, unless you need your phone to call someone AND use the internet at the same time);
  • connecting with a mom’s group or homeschool group (actually attempted this, but things don’t seem as organized as they did back home);
  • connecting with a new church for service and Awana; and
  • more nature walks

The list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. There is a lot to do and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Here is a look into how our first month in Idaho has been.

The sun is down by 4pm here. That is so weird to us. 7pm we can do, 4pm throws our internal clocks WAY off. When the sun sets I think ‘ok, bedtime for the kids’. Then I look at the clock and see it’s only 4! I have done this every day for the past month. At some point you’d think I’d catch on.

About a week or two ago, our girls tried to run away back to Florida. They loaded up their sleds with snow and started walking towards the street. They were serious….and mad when we said they couldn’t actually go. The snow was for their grandparents. A present. 🙂 They miss everyone, but not in a sad broken-hearted kind of way.

We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving and Chanukah here. It was weird not having all of our family and friends around. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. My husband cooked the turkey, but first stuffed it with stuffing and garlic cloves. Then he shoved garlic into the breast of the turkey. It was the best turkey I’ve ever had. Chanukah was chaotic, but we all enjoyed learning about this holiday and spending even more time together. We’ve also been sledding and had a few snowball fights. Walking through the snow is not as easy as it looks. Major. cardio. workout.

We met with the ballet teacher a couple of times. The girls are very excited to start in January. The ballet studio also offers classes for adults. I’m thinking about joining one. We’ll see. I can’t wait to get our girls in there though.

We are still homeschooling. Every time I tell Emma that she has to do a worksheet she says, “But Mom, you know school work is sooooo boring”. We don’t do worksheets that often. Maybe twice a month, if at all. But she still hates that part. We are working on addition and reading. Counting and writing. I love homeschooling my kids. When I see that they are “getting it”, I feel so excited for them. They love learning and the look on their faces when they learn something new is priceless. I feel this pride in my heart, like when they first learned to walk or talk. I’m so proud of them.

I have driven twice in the past month. Once to a store a block away from my house and then, two weeks later, to another store a half a mile away from my house. Not driving made me crazy the first two weeks we were here. I am used to taking the kids out for Awana, church, homeschool group, random drives around town, or shopping. I haven’t driven as much because I’m nervous about ice or snow on the roads. I mean, this town is awesome at keeping the roads clear and safe, but I’m just too nervous thinking that I’ll find that one lonely patch of black ice. I think my fear also comes from not being familiar with this town yet. After my husband and I were married, I moved in with him. He lived in a town that I didn’t know existed until we met a month before our marriage. It took me a year to get around without getting lost. In our small town here in Idaho, I doubt I could get lost…but the fear is still there.

Here’s a great example of my awesome sense of direction. A couple of months ago I was taking my son to his doctor’s appointment at the neurosurgeon. This is a place we had been to at least 3 or 4 times in the past year. My husband, of course, drove all of those time, but you’d still think I could get there without him in the car, right? Nope. I got lost and then called my husband at least 5 times bawling my eyes out that I had no idea where I was. The worst part? I had a GPS telling me how to get there! I got lost using a GPS. :/ Who gets lost using a GPS?! God help me if I ever get lost in my backyard and my husband’s not around.

I did manage to donate 50% of the kid’s toys and 2/3 of my daughters’ clothing this month. I also stored about 25% of my son’s clothing. Some of it was too big and the rest I saved in hopes of having one more boy. 🙂 So now they have more closet and drawer space. All three of them share a room, so freeing up space was very necessary. I did get rid of some of my clothing as well, but since I don’t have that much to begin with and I hate clothes shopping, I didn’t get rid of that much. I also donated some extra dishes and miscellaneous things we had but didn’t need.

By the end of this year I’d like to have all the boxes unpacked…well, not all the boxes, just the ones that we need stuff out of. There are about 20 boxes that we are saving for when we get the house organized or until we move into our new house. Most of the breakables will stay in boxes because we have nowhere to put them for now. I would like to get my family on a schedule and have playdates set up. The playdate idea seems like a stretch because of the holiday season…. most people are crazy busy this time of year. But we’ll make an attempt at finding new friends. I mean they play with kids now, but sometimes it’s nice when you get to see the same friends over and over.

I’d like to get back into crafting and finding time to focus on what I like to do. I don’t know if it’s like this for every mom, but when I first became pregnant and then with the more kids we had, I felt like I lost my identity. I put aside what I loved to do and gave that time to my kids and husband. All of my ideas became half-finished projects and any spending money I had, I put towards stuff for the kids. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint. I love shopping for my kids and giving myself to my family as much as I can, but I’m starting to forget who I am and what I enjoy, as an individual…seperate from a role. I’m not sad about this, but I know that I need to start carving out time for me or we are all going to suffer. I would say this is a goal for my husband as well. He doesn’t do as much as he used to either….as far as hobbies. He is a great husband, father, and provider. But he needs more ‘me’ time as well.

A couple of weeks ago, we drove up to the property that we will be purchasing for our future home site. This was the first time I had been to the property. My husband has been there a few times before. It is gorgeous. You have to drive up a mountain and the views are spectacular. The town is really small, but there are so many natural things to do. Like fishing, hunting, hiking, swimming, camping, canoeing, boating, and more. This is not a town for people who love the big city. You would feel completely cut-off. We love it just for that reason. Everyone is laid back and the natural beauty of this place is still there. No trash all over or tall buildings blocking your view of the gorgeous mountains and lake. We cannot wait to build our house and enjoy country/mountain living.

Of course, this next month (or by the end of the year) we need to do boring stuff too…like updating our drivers licenses & tags and canceling some of our memberships in FL. We HAVE to get internet hooked up. We also have to make a budget and stick to it and work on plans for our house.

I’m sure I’ve left out a few things from this past month. It’s been hectic adjusting to a new place. But so far we haven’t regretted it. I hope that’s a good sign. 🙂 Gosh, we have so much work cut out for us. And two weeks left before the new year. Pray that we don’t go crazy!

What have you been up to this past month? Don’t worry…you don’t have to write a novel like I did. 😉 Any suggestions on keeping a budget or ideas for fun country activities?

Girl’s night out

I took my daughters to see a ballet recital last night at our local theatre. The recital was amazing! This was the first ballet recital any of us had ever been to. The dancers were beautiful. The choreography was awesome.

Here is a link to some of the pictures. I did not take these pictures. I forgot to bring my Canon with me, so the only pictures I took were on my phone. Terrible quality. I could’ve kicked myself for forgetting my camera!

It was a lovely night out with my girls.

Are there any shows you’ve been to lately…or been in? I would love to see pictures. I have always loved theatre. Maybe someday that will be me on stage. Or my kids. So inspiring!

Straw and bead necklaces

Yesterday, I saw this craft in the archives of Meg Duerksen’s blog. If you’ve never read her blog, then you are missing out.

To make their necklaces they used straws (cut into 1 inch pieces), beads, and twine. I taped the ends of their pieces of twine so that it wouldn’t fray when they were stringing the straws and beads.


My girls really liked this craft. They sat quietly and worked on their necklaces. Unusual for these two. Normally by the end of a craft they are fighting about everything. I was proud of them.

Emily with her necklace.

Ella with her necklace.

Sweet girls. 🙂

What new things have you crafted lately?

Cloth Diapering

We use cloth diapers now!

Why are we so happy about this?

Because it’ll save us money!

We spend a little over $70 a month in diapers for our son. We could be putting that much money to better use. Like saving for our dream home.

*edited-i removed the semi-naked pictures of my son. i just felt uncomfortable with them being in a public place….not knowing who exactly was looking at them.