Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Click to see pictures from: 2004 |2005 |2006 |2007 |2008 |2009 |2010 |2011 |2012 |Any year.

2015 Wisconsin Christmas

31st December 2015

I had intended to post some pics and videos from our Christmas up in Wisconsin before the end of the year so that I could have at least one post in 2015 on toonesalive — but I forgot! So I’m retroactively posting and re-dating this for 2015. Enjoy!

We hit the tailend of a snowstorm on our way up. There wasn’t much snow, but we did end up an unplowed portion of Hwy 53 between Eau Claire and Shell Lake with an inch or so of new snow. We were driving along at 50mph (getting passed by people going even faster) and hit a deeper patch of snow on the righthand side of the car. This turned the car sideways, which I immediately countersteered (in the direction of the slide) to correct. Unfortunately, the tires grabbed and we slid the other way towards the median. I counter-steered again and this time it straightened out. Fortunately, this second part happened at a highway crossover so there was extra room in the middle otherwise we would have ended up off the road in the middle. This was an exciting end to an 18 hour overnight drive.

It snowed again very lightly a few times while we were up there, but it was mostly dry and about average temps. I got some long mountain bike rides and a few fat bike rides in to take me up over 30,000 miles for the year and complete the Rapha Festive 500. One of the fat bike rides was quite the adventure ending well after dark in light snow, which is fun to watch in a helmet mounted light (looks like a blizzard).

Posted in Adventure, Travel | No Comments »

2014 Christmas in Wisconsin videos

31st December 2014

I was just looking back at this blog and realized we hadn’t made a single post in 2014. Well, here we go with just a few hours to go left in 2014. Here’s a link to some of the videos of fun we’ve had so far this year up in Wisconsin.

Posted in Adventure | No Comments »

Sledding fun

1st January 2013

There’s nothing like having a good sledding hill right out the back door. I went with the kids to do some sledding down the hill to the old high school football field and got some good videos — including this first one — a “sledcam” view of me crashing into a ditch and then Josiah crashing into me a few seconds later.

Yesterday, I had a chance to bike back to Shell Lake from the cabin. Along the way I rode over a couple frozen lakes and down the sledding hill at the cabin with the kids. Here’s a bikecam video of me riding over a lake and then bike sledding with the kids:

Here are some more videos from the sledding action this afternoon:

Posted in Adventure, Travel | No Comments »

Analise and Josiah’s first ski race

27th December 2012

We made the 18 hour drive up from Birmingham yesterday, and the kids were so excited to be in the snow that they were skiing and sledding around the house while Kristine and I got caught up on a bit of sleep. Then today we went up to Spooner for a kids 1K ski race – their first ski race. I got lots of pics and videos from the day — here are some of the best…

Posted in Adventure, Travel | No Comments »

Catching up December 2012

11th December 2012

It has been a while since we posted here … it’s been busy in the Toone Times … Josiah is in first grade now and has been taking karate for the past few months. This past Thursday he passed his belt testing, and tonight was the belt ceremony. I got videos of both events below (the belt testing is split up into two parts) –

Also, Analise was in the Lakeside Christmas performance, see the video of her choir singing below –

Posted in Adventure, Parenting | No Comments »

As Mother’s Day draws near…

8th May 2012

Let’s face it… if you’re a mother like I am, then you are anticipating Mother’s Day this weekend. And without a doubt, we deserve to be recognized and appreciated. But with 7 Mother’s Days behind me, I realized a few things this week that I’ve learned, and I share them now in the hopes that you won’t be disappointed with this special day.

First off, if your husband is anything like most men,realize that your husband can’t read your mind.  Unless you’ve dropped some blatant reminders, he may not even realize that Mother’s Day is this weekend. So don’t just sit back and *hope* he has an amazing day planned.  He needs your help.  Figure out what would make you the happiest – within reason for him & the family budget – and gently tell him.  Of course I’d love a weekend away, flowers & chocolate, a manicure/pedicure, a massage, and a maid to clean the house top to bottom, but that’s unrealistic. (Even any one of those seems too extravagant & expensive to me, right now!) But personally, starting the day with a few extra minutes of sleep & not having to worry about feeding anyone all day would be a blessing to me. Help a husband out and let him know.  Or if you have something in mind that you’d like… send him a link! He surely wants to bless you for all you do, but if he’s like most of the men I know, he’s swamped with a busy life of his own.  He’ll love you even more for not letting him forget 🙂

Second, settle your heart before God that He is well pleased with your service to your family.  Sure the affirmation and praise of our family feels good. I promise I long to hear it as much as you do! But it is fleeting.  And ultimately, our hearts will be most satisfied when we are at rest in the service we are giving to Him.  He is glorified in every sacrificial moment we give as moms!  He sees every sock you match, every dish you wash, every gentle word you speak to your children, every diaper you change.  And He is most pleased when we make the hard choice to do these things joyfully. Even if they’re not all joyful actions (and believe me, not all mine are!), He alone knows the depths of our hearts and He alone can give you joy as a mother that will last beyond the chocolate & flowers. When you find quiet confidence in this, you will have gained the most priceless and lasting Mother’s Day gift possible.

Lastly, it may be one special day on a calendar, but we can celebrate our calling as moms every day.  Last year, my Mother’s Day was spent at a bike race (the 3rd in 3 days). I tweeted this (thanks Timehop!):

“Yay! A portapotty!” What my kids expect on day 3 of a bike race wknd. Such troopers! How else would I want to spend Mother’s Day? #luckymom

And I remember thinking, I could have a bad attitude that this day isn’t about me. But the choice was mine, and so I chose to celebrate it as God gave it to me. It’s a good thing my heart was settled and at rest, because we ended the day in the emergency room after a bike crash, and believe me… Mother’s Day was forgotten by all. So I know that I’ll be rejoicing with any Mother’s Day that’s not spent at the hospital!

But moms… I am praying for you!  YOU are amazing. Let God be your rest & your reward this weekend as you celebrate serving Him through the gifts He’s given you.

Posted in Parenting | No Comments »

Redeemed… a reminder

19th April 2012

“We are Easter people, living in a Good Friday world.” (Barbara Johnson)

Redeemed… is there a better message for the month of Easter?  I think not.  And each day that we get further away from Easter, we need to be reminded, as above, that we are Easter people, living in a Good Friday world.  I was lucky enough to receive a tangible reminder of this message from Dayspring, a beautiful makeup bag and wallet from their “Redeemed” collection.  What a sweet gift that arrived just in time for my birthday!

This makeup bag is made of oilcloth, and besides being gorgeous, it will be so functional.  I’m sure I’ll use the wallet daily, and the sweet message on the other side says “truly treasured”. Thanks, Dayspring, for the perfectly timed gifts for this Easter season and all year!  Anything in their Redeemed collection would make an amazing gift, and there are so many things to choose from. Head on over to Dayspring and see for yourself… the banner below will take you to a bunch of other reviews and some giveaways with GREAT odds of winning something for yourself! (I’m sending you over there with a dose of my good luck!! Go on!!)




Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Choose rightly

29th March 2012

A thought that struck me this morning…
Some things we think are important, and some things are actually important.

Christ is important.
Family is important.
Friends are important.

Do not miss opportunities to choose rightly.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Blog resurrection… What’s Cooking!

17th March 2012

My poor blog didn’t even remember me when I tried to log-in… that’s a bad sign isn’t it?

Well, I’m going to try to resurrect things here.  A few sweet friends have inspired me, and there are so many sweet/funny/delicious/memorable things I could be sharing… as much for our looking-back pleasure as for others to enjoy.  So here goes…

I’ll start with notable recipes, because there have a been a few lately.

  • This Rueben Braid was AMAZING.  My apologies to everyone who’s heard me rave about it in person, on Twitter or on Facebook.  But I cannot believe how easy it was, how impressive it looked, and how everyone in the family ate it.  Surely I’ll be making it often. (notes: I filled mine with turkey & swiss and a little Thousand Island dressing. Don’t skimp on the cheese.  Roll it out directly on your parchment or heavily flour your mat.  Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time transferring it. And it won’t rise much, but it will rise in the oven.)
  • I made these sweet Chocolate Strawberry Donuts for Valentine’s Day.  Delicious. This morning I used the same recipe with a French Vanilla Cake mix & mini chips (this morning’s treat) with a chocolate glaze… so yummy.  When you need a chocolate donut, though, this recipe cannot be beat. I think the coffee makes the flavor stand out more. YUM.  If you don’t have a donut pan and you like breakfast treats, it’s so worth having. And I was over-the-moon excited to find a cute heart-shaped donut pan at Target for $5.  WOOHOO!
  • Thin Mints… you might have seen on Facebook that January/February was super busy with Girl Scout cookies.  My sweet little Brownie sold 203 boxes initially (which “won” her a fleece roll-up blanket thingy – wooho! and yes, a tiny bit of sarcasm there…), and in the continued orders/booth sales, she boosted her total to 324 boxes.  Whew!  That is ALOT of boxes of cookies to deliver, to say nothing of the money-tracking for Mom. Oddly enough, I didn’t end up with quite as many boxes for myself as I did last year. And I’m down to only 2 boxes of Thin Mints already. Sadness.  But this week, I used two boxes in recipes that were really worthy of those precious cookies.  I made these melt-in-your-mouth Thin Mint Truffles as a little Spring Break treat for the teachers.  I made them last year for a MOPS mom who had just had a baby, and she loved them so much, she could hardly wait for Girl Scout cookie season to arrive so she could make them (note… I think, as a last resort, you could probably use Keebler Grasshopper cookies. But that wouldn’t be quite as special).  I also made these Thin Mint Ice Cream Cups (from the same awesome blog!) for our weekly Life Group. They were, of course, well-received.
  • I just wondered about the delicious Girl Scout Samoas cookies and how they’d work in a truffle… Lo and behold, the same amazing blogger made them here.  I’ll have to try them soon!

That’s enough for now… I promise I’ll be back with more little news and recipes soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Coffee house adventure

8th March 2012

We haven’t posted here in a while so I’m not sure who still reads this blog – but Analise, Josiah, and I had a great adventure this past Sunday while Kristine was running her half-marathon in Florida. We walked through the woods to Lakeside where Analise was helping host a Sunday evening coffee house with the rest of the GA’s. These are the pics that me and Josiah took (mostly Josiah – he was quite the photographer)

Posted in Adventure, Parenting | No Comments »