Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas in pictures (and memories)

Here is a new Christmas memory. There are a lot of firsts in this post. This is my first Christmas getting to see my sweet friend, Leslie. She and her family are missionaries in Russia and are here for a furlough. I'm so thankful for her wisdom, kindness, and friendship!

This is not a first. In fact, according to my "Nanny", this birthday cake is at least 30 years old. We can't have Christmas without singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and letting the kids blow out the candles...again and again. Just like me, my siblings, and cousins used to do when we were their age.

Here's my sweet boy. He loves his "D-oh". He runs to him and gives him hugs all the time. Dad has had a rough couple of months with back surgery, which led to blood clots. Now we're just praying for the wound to heal and Dad can get back to normal.

My babes. Holding hands and smiling in their cute little Christmas outfits in front of the tree at church. I love those kiddos!

We went to Callaway Gardens this year to see the lights. This is the first time we've gone with just our little family. We had a great time, though. We took this at a great little restaurant right near the gardens called The Cricket. We ate their last year with my parents and thought it would be fun to go there again...and it was!

A first with this little generation. A Christmas drama of baby Jesus being born. The kids did a great job performing as I narrated the story!

What is Christmas without the Christmas story? It's a blessing to hear my grandfather, "Papa", tell the Christmas story from Luke each year. Now he tells it with his great-grandchildren in his lap.

Another first here. This is my little nephew, Tristan. Check out that hair. It's incredible! That's his Daddy, my brother-in-law, Carl. It's Tristan's first Christmas. Next year Carl is supposed to be overseas serving with the Army. My brother, Adam, is also supposed to be overseas, too. Please keep them in your prayers in 2011.

And yet another first. All of the cousins together. We decided to do family pictures this year on the grounds of a museum in Macon. I'm so glad we did it. We have some great shots of each family, my parents, and all the kiddos.
I have tons of Christmas pictures. I thought these captured some of my favorite moments. But there are many more. Merry (late) Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
God bless!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Christmas time!

Christmas is probably one of my favorite times of the year. I love pretty much everything about it. The family gatherings, the music, the food, the gifts...I could go on, but you get the picture. We had our first family gathering of the season on Wednesday night and it was fun, as usual. We did a little "play" with the kids about the birth of baby Jesus. Then my grandfather, with the great grandchildren gathering around him, told the Christmas story from Luke. Of course, my little Isaac had to push the button on the Dora sit 'n spin right in the middle of the story and the "D-D-D0ra" song started ringing out. That's my boy. So after we silenced Dora, we refocused and continued with the story. Tonight me and the hubby and kids decided to spontaneously drive around and look at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music. It was great. We needed to have a little outing and some time together. It was also the perfect activity to guide the kids right into sleepy time when we got back. See, we didn't sleep well last night. Sophie kept getting up for one reason or another, and she would come to Joe and I, who are also sleeping in the same room as they are, and say, "I just can't sleep" she has some kind of sleeping disorder or something. We all know she usually has no trouble sleeping. But we made it through the night...barely...and Mommy got a much needed nap today so I could maintain my sanity. Thank you hubby. Tomorrow night is the annual Christmas Eve party with my Dad's side of the family. It's always filled with fun and laughter. I am looking forward to it. In fact, the rest of the weekend will be filled with fun times with family and friends. Quality of my favorite things about the holidays. And now I leave you with a little Celtic Noel that I played in church last Sunday. I'm thankful that it went well and pray that it was a blessing. Blessing to you this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thoughts on a Monday...

Mondays. Sometimes they're good. Sometimes they're not. Just like any other day, I guess. It's Tuesday, but I thought I'd just have a little post-Monday therapy by writing about my day yesterday. Yesterday was weird. I had tried to pump myself up the night before by making out my to-do list for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before we go out of town. Making out my list of to-do's helps me focus. It's encouraging to me to mark things off my list. The only problem was...I was tired yesterday. Not just tired...I was physically and mentally (I'm sure, knowing me, there was some emotional, too) exhausted. We have had several busy months around here. My Dad had back surgery several months ago, so we were traveling to Macon a lot for a few months there. I enjoyed going, but you know how it is...packing up kids, hubby, going away for the weekend and coming back to laundry, cleaning, homeschooling. I'm so glad we were able to go...but I started getting a little tired. The past couple of weeks we've been home, but it's been a flurry of Christmas gatherings, music concerts at church (I play the flute), a wedding last weekend that I played in, and playing in church at three services Sunday. I'm also trying to be crafty this year and make several gifts for family. And, of course, in the midst of all of that, I'm trying to take care of my family, do all of my bargain shopping, changing diapers, trying to take care of laundry mountain (as I like to call it), wrap gifts, get those Christmas cards out, and the list goes on. So all started catching up to me. Physical meltdown. Trudging through the day. Not much heart in what I was doing...just trying to make it to nap time and bed time. Hot, long bath time. By myself time. I made it. And then I wrote in my journal. I think journal writing has always helped me to be introspective. It has also pointed me to the Lord. Last night, at the end of that long day, I was able to write about my fears, my insecurities, my tiredness...and take it to Him. I was able to pray for these things, pray for my friends and family, and my perspective started to change. Today is a new day. I have a renewal from the Lord that is so much better than even a good night's rest. Yes, I'm still tired...but I'm hopeful. Today I'm going to mark some more things off that list. I'm going to change those diapers, do those dishes, and pick up those dvds that my son just strewed (is that a word?) all over the floor. For the hundredth time. But I'm going to try and remember that what I'm doing is unto the Lord. For I know he can renew my strength. I'm just gonna cling to that today...and keep on movin'! God bless!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The story of Christmas

I saw this on another blog and just had to post it on mine. I loved it! Hope you enjoy it. God bless you this Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Favorite things

I've noticed that a few people have mentioned their "favorite things" lately on their blogs, so I thought I'd join in. I love those cheesy little "get to know me" things...where you answer all those questions or tell things about yourself using the ABC's, etc. I'm not exactly going to do that. Here goes...

* A favorite I saw the link to this on another gal's blog, and I decided to check it out. I love "pioneer" stuff...novels mostly...but it definitely caught my eye. This is the blog of Ree Drummond, mother of four, homeschooling mom, living out on a ranch in the middle of a small town in the midwest, and calls her hubby "Marlboro Man". She has a blog-novella called "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels"...the story of how she met and dated Marlboro Man. The second I started reading it, I was addicted. In a few days, I had read all 40-something blogposts. (I know...I think that was a little over the top...but it was She's got a cookbook, she's crafty, and funny. I really wish I could be a friend of hers, I think she would be a hoot. But probably about 1,000 other people do, too. At least. She recently had some people over to her "lodge" to do cookie decorating. I might just have to put that on my bucket list. To be chosen to go to Pioneer Woman's lodge and decorate cookies. The chances are very slim. I'll be sure to blog about it if it ever happens : )

* Favorite accessory...scarves. I've always been a scarf lover. I wore scarves in college a lot, and have continued over the years. I started out with the short little see-through type scarves around the neck. Cute with a button up shirt and blazer (at least I think so). Now the style are the longer, chunkier scarves. I like those, too. I LOVE the scarf my sister bought me in Paris. I feel very cool in it. It's a pretty green, too. Mom bought me a scarf from the Scottish Highlands when they went last summer. They're special treasures. Plus, it's awesome if you don't have a lot of cute necklaces.

* Favorite sinus/cold medicine....Alkaseltzer Plus the pill form. If you have sinus congestion, go get this. I LOVE this. Joe and I both love it. I had a bad sinus issue last week. Couldn't even get a squeak of breath in my nose. I told Joe it felt like I was breathing through a brick wall. Misery. I took extra strength Benadryl, NyQuil....nothing helped. Until I went and took some of my Alkaseltzer. Viola. In a few days of taking it...I can breathe. I'm feelin' great! Thank you Alkaseltzer!

* Favorite thing to do in my spare As you can tell from all of my book review posts, I love to read. My latest read...and I think I finished this one in about 3 days...
The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz
This story is about the life of Lael (Lay-elle) Click, a girl born in the wilds of 1770's "Kentucke". Her father is a famous frontiersman, but has a past that includes being captured for 6 years by Shawnee Indians. Lael is a girl who is a lot like her father. She has a connection with the land, the Shawnee, and feels her best when she outdoors, barefoot. The story covers her life from the time she is 14 to 21...and a lot happens to her and her family over the course of these years.
At first I thought this book was a little slow, and it took me a little while to get into it. But once I was drawn into Lael's story, it was hard for me to put it down. Would she marry Simon, the love of her youth, or Captain Jack, the Shawnee leader who was really a white man who was captured by the Shawnee as a boy? Both were interesting characters. I also loved the character of the Scottish Dr. Justus...a Christian man who not only healed the physical body but the heart. Great book!
I'm probably going to ruin my eyes with all this reading. But, as I've told people before, reading a book for me is like watching a really good movie. It's hard to stop in the middle. I've got to pace myself a little better : ).

I'd love to hear some of your favorites. ; )
God bless you this Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A new guilty pleasure...

I looked for pictures, but couldn't find any. It's called Private Selection (Kroger) amaretto.....cherry cream. Yes. It's awesome. It's all the flavors I love, all mixed into creamy deliciousness. I love amaretto flavor. I also LOVE cherries. I have since I was a kid. I've even been known...not recently, take a few spoonfuls of cherries from the jar along with some of the juice. And chocolate. Oh, I love thee. Even when "dieting" I still snag a bite of chocolate here and there just to curb the craving. This ice cream has all three....amaretto, cherry, chocolate. *cheering* One more time now....amaretto...cherry...chocolate. To top it off, while I was looking for a pic of it online, it appeared on the live strong website. This is a site that gives info. about foods that are good for you. I think that this ice cream is on a list on there for not being too crazy bad for you. A girl can hope! I haven't been eating it every day...and I get one my kids' little bowls when I get some so I won't get too much. But I will say that I haven't been eating/exercising my best lately. I'm not really on track too well over the holidays. But...come January...I'm going to do better! I'm going to get this weight off. But until then it's....amaretto....cherry....chocolate! : )

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas singing and farewell cupcakes

Tonight is the first time my baby girl sang in front of the whole church. I thought this was so cute! The little boy on the right in the video is the one that Sophie loves to play Cinderella with. He's always Prince Charming!

And the cupcakes. Oh, yes, the cupcakes. I finally made them today. Our children's minister, Kim Campbell, is leaving us today to move on to minister at her home church in Florida. She will be greatly missed! She's been there since before Sophie and Isaac were born and has done so much to help teach and take care of them. I'm trying not to think about it too much. A cry right now with all this congestion would not be good. But I made the cupcakes and I even decorated them, complete with some "K"'s to represent Kim. Ok...they're not Martha Stewart quality...but I think I did use some Martha-esqe color scheme. Right? I also didn't have time to make my own icing...which I prefer...but I did take the time to color that white icing from the that gives me a few points...right? : )

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No cupcakes today...

I was all excited about my cupcakes. I had a vision. Today I was able to make a dash over to the local grocery store to pick up what I needed. I even found these cute cupcake papers at the store (I got the black and white ones in the middle)...and I had a 50 cent off coupon for them...which actually doubled and made it $1 off! I was pumped. I bought devil's food cake mix, white icing (both of which were also on sale at the store...woohoo!) that I was going to dye blue, and more white icing that would possibly become a snowflake. It was meant to be...or so I thought.

After my successful...and trip, I got home and little Sophie girl was running a fever. She had been running one last night. I thought she was doing better this morning. Well, the fever got worse. And even with a little Motrin, it was still there. As my Mommy alert began raising closer to code red, I decided not to wait it out and just gave our pediatrician's office a call. The nurse called me back and said, "go ahead and bring her on now." I knew without an appointment it might be a long one. But, we needed to do it. So we went. And a few hours later, we don't know why she's sick. But she's still running fever. So we're going back tomorrow. And today...there were no cupcakes. We got home at 6pm...and the party was at 6:30. I know God has a purpose in everything, so maybe those cupcakes are meant for another day. When it comes, I'm sure there will be pictures! ; )
God bless!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


There's just something about cupcakes. I've become very interested in them lately. Maybe it's the new discovery that our cable company has given us The Food Network as a part of our limited channel choices. The addiction...I mean addition...of this new channel has brought me a little more tv bliss in a season where there's not that much to watch on tv. I have a few tv favs...CSI Miami, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser...ok...maybe more than a few. But now that I've got access to something new, I can't get enough. And one of my favorite shows is Cupcake Wars. I love seeing what these folks can do with just a little cupcake. The flavors, the decorations, the presentation. The cool icing swirl they can do with a nice piping bag and tip. It sparks a little creative interest in me. Cupcakes aren't as overwhelming to me as a cake. Smaller, easier to work with, not quite as time consuming (maybe?). I don't have that natural ability to throw ingredients together and come up with something spectacular. I'm pretty recipe dependant. I'm also a firm believer in not trying to reinvent the wheel...if someone's already thought of it, then just go find it and get an idea from them! So what got me thinking about cupcakes? Well, tomorrow night we're having our Sunday School class Christmas party. I'm excited. I've been asked to make cupcakes. Hmmm...what to do, what to do.
On the Williams-Sonoma website, I got this pic. It's cute. It looks classy. Doesn't look extremely hard, but that icing looks awfully smooth and fondanty. Do we have fondant in Eastman...if we do, I don't think it's in white and green...not sure if I want to deal with that. The chocolate sprinkles...I'm sure I could find those.
Next thought. Our class is made up of mostly very trendy, classy 20-somethings. I think they're awesome. It's fun hanging out with them and seeing what's "new". Most days I don't even wear make-up, so I definitely don't feel like I'm up on the fashion scene. So in the spirit of cool and maybe trendy, I was thinking something kind of like this. (Plus it looks easier!) I'm thinking chocolate cupcakes, a sky-blue icing, and some white snowflakes piped on top, or even some cool white crystally sprinkles...or even some of those chocolate sprinkles? We'll see what the local Walmart has. And we'll see how much time I have (presently I have a feverish 3 yr old and a runny nosed 1 yr old). I wish there was some way I could incorporate Nutella in there. Mmmm. It may not be the best time to experiment. If it comes out...there will be pictures. : )

Monday, December 6, 2010

More reading!

In between church activities, homeschooling, laundry and all of that other stuff...I'm reading. I love reading. My imagination is fueled and active when I read a good book. For me, it's like watching a movie in my mind. It's often hard for me to put one down...I want to finish the movie! Recently I've discovered an author that I've really enjoyed. Our little church library has gotten two of her books (and I just now realized that they're part of a series! Uh oh! I think I must read them! lol). Her name is Cathy Marie Hake. The books I've read are:

Letter Perfect. It was the first one I read, and I loved it! It was funny, set in the west, and of course, a romance. But a sweet romance. I just loved the way the main character was clumsy and didn't really "fit the mold". There was also a little mystery to it that added some interest to the story.

The other book...Fancy Pants. Again, it was funny, entertaining, and I think I read it in about 2 days...2 days of staying up late and sitting around with this book within reach! It's the story of Sydney from England who was arranged to be married, but soon found that the man she was arranged to marry was not for her. She wrote a relative, who thought she was a boy, and agreed to have "him" join him out west. In order to escape, Sydney dressed like a boy and headed out...without thinking of how she was going
to keep up the charade. She was soon nicknamed "Fancy Pants".

Happy Reading! God bless!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New reviews!

I was able to get some new books recently from Bethany House Publishers to review. I was excited because this time I was getting contemporary fiction...a change from my usual historical fiction. So I hope these reviews are fun and helpful for you!
I'll start with Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce.
This is the story of Amy, a young woman struggling through life, trying to make a living, publish her writing, and find love. She's teaching writing at the local college, living with the eccentric Zoe, and then meets Eli, who ends up becoming a third roommate. Amy wants to be loved, appreciated, and valued, but has been very discouraged by the events in her life. Eli seems to be the one person who accepts and believes in her.
My thoughts on this story...well, honestly, it was my least favorite book of the three. I'm a pretty conservative reader, and the several references to underclothes, the shape of people's bodies, etc. was a little uncomfortable for me. Beyond that, I was most concerned about the way Amy, and other characters, defined their faith. Amy would describe her faith in the Lord...but I never felt that her faith was clearly defined. The same went for her friends. Her friends made choices that were contrary to the Lord's teaching, yet they were described as having faith in Him. And that all seemed ok, according to the book. Kind of like a just-do-what-you-can kind of faith, and it'll all be ok. One thing I did like about the book was that there was some humor and the references to popular culture were very easy to relate to. Overall, I don't think I would recommend this one for the church library. It was interesting, at times entertaining, kind of sad and depressing quite often, and a little confusing if you don't have a good understanding of doctrine/faith in the Lord.
Next story...Hattaras Girl by Alice J. Wisler
This is the story of Jacki, quite secure as a writer for a magazine, and living in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She's constantly being set up with guys, but never seems to find Mr. Right. Her lifelong dream--to own and operate a local Bed and Breakfast that she used to visit as a child. On a writing assignment, she meets Davis Erikson, who is handsome, wealthy, successful, and a little secretive. He's also connected with the Bed and Breakfast.
One thing I immediately noticed, and that I liked, about this book is that the story is told completely in first person...from Jacki's mind, her perspective. It was great to see everything from her thoughts. They were real thoughts that you and I would have, but not something we would necessarily say out loud. It made the book interesting. Even her selfish and irritated thoughts were revealed, and it made Jacki even more real in my mind. I laughed out loud several times...I loved the humor in the book. I also enjoyed the references to popular culture, which included shows I watch on tv even now! The story was not as predictable, had a few little twists and turns, and there was even a love story. Overall an enjoyable book and one I would recommend! It even had three recipes at the end of the book...including a lemon cookie recipe that I'm seriously thinking of making soon! : )
Last, but not least, A Rush of Wings by Kristen Heitzmann
This is the story of Noelle St. Claire...frightened and confused, escaping from a darkness that she can't quite figure out. She flees from New York and a life of privilege, to Colorado, where she knows no one. She wants to feel safe and protected. She makes her way to the Spencer ranch, and manages to rent a place to stay. There she meets Rick, the man who owns the ranch, trains horses, and loves the Lord. Noelle sees the ranch as her haven, a place where she can finally learn who she really is...but all the while there's a darkness that keeps creeping in and she is afraid to confront it.
Ok...this is my favorite! I must begin by saying that I have read this book before, but I had forgotten a lot of what happened. Kristen Heitzmann is also one of my favorite authors. Her books are often suspenseful (this one included), but clearly define what faith in God is. This book has a great use of imagery and language. I felt like I was right there on the ranch with the characters. There are also a lot of twists and turns in the story, so it's hard to put down. In fact, I read most of the book in one day! There is romance, but it was described in a way that wasn't uncomfortable. Overall, I would definitely recommend it!
Happy reading!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday fun

The holidays...I love them! It's one of my favorite times of the year. I love the way it feels outside (well, I would prefer it a little cooler), times with family, Christmas music, decorations and lights around town and in our neighborhood, baking...ok, I could go on and on.

It's special, it's fun, it's great. Last week our holidays were slightly different than they've been in the past. As I wrote in my last post, I cooked my first turkey and we ate it with some family on Wednesday night. That was fun. Then we went out to eat for Thanksgiving for both meals. The food was good, but just not the same as my uncle's homemade mac and cheese, or my Granny's homemade dressing (that is AMAZING!), or that cranberry sauce that comes in the can (my personal favorite). We didn't get to see some of our family members that we usually see. My dad is still recovering from back surgery, so we had to take it easy. He wasn't able to stay for a long time at the restaurant. But some things were the same. When we got back to my parent's house, we played outside and took pictures together. Joe shot hoops, I ran around with Sophie and Isaac as they played with outdoor toys. More pictures.

I love posing with my girl : ).

Isaac was enjoying hitting the football with the baseball bat. He LOVES the outdoors, so he was happy as could be!

So that was our Thanksgiving. The day after, I did some Black Friday shopping. Yes, I got up at 6am. The lines weren't bad at all. I did go the night before to Toys R Us at 10pm...waited an hour and said forget it! And then, for supper...Mom found some of Granny's dressing in the freezer and we had that with my turkey and the canned cranberry sauce. My Thanksgiving was complete! : )

Today (Saturday) was filled with football, sleeping in, and putting up the Christmas decorations! I enjoyed it so much because this was the first year that Sophie was old enough to help me. What a great memory! So I had to grab the camera. I wish I could've captured her voice as she kept saying, "Mom, this is so fun!" or "Mom, it looks so cute!". I was in bliss. This is what I've always dreamed of...sharing memories with my children as we bond as a family. We worked on the house and the tree while Isaac was asleep. When he woke up.....

he had a big grin on his face when he saw the tree!! He lifted those little arms, touched it gently, and said, "tree!" Of course, I'm loving this. I was a little worried that he would try to destroy the tree and pull everything off. We're a few hours into it and so far, so good. Hopefully we'll hold out through the holidays with no major incidents!

And here are my most precious treasures. I love my little ones. I am thankful and blessed for these guys. They may sometimes make me shake my head and sigh in frustration, but I can't imagine life without them! God has been so good to us! Blessings to you this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My first solo turkey!

There she is! My first solo turkey. I have cooked a turkey once with my friend Catherine in Thailand, but I've never actually cooked one on my own! I knew this year that we would be going out for Thanksgiving because of my Dad's back surgery...Mom has had a lot on her plate already and we all knew that having a big gathering at her house this year would be too much. Going out was something we've done before, so we had no problem with the plan to do that. But...I saw these turkeys on sale at Kroger. I just couldn't resist. I got a small one (well, it's a little over 9 lbs) and only paid around $8 for it! Monday I started thawing it, and last night I looked online for some advice. I saw that one lady recommended lifting the skin on the turkey breast and putting butter and spices inside. So, I did that. I had some minced onion, some butter, and a little sage on the inside. On the outside I sprinkled garlic salt, regular salt, and some pepper and then brushed some olive oil on it. The lady suggested sealing the turkey by putting it in the oven at 475 degrees for 20 min. I did that with foil on the top. Then I knocked the temp down to 250 degrees. I cooked it on that temp for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours with foil on. Then I knocked the temp up to 300 degrees for the last 30 min and took off the foil. This is my result! It was a nice, juicy, and tasty! With the turkey all cooked, we decided to make it a spontaneous pre-Thanksgiving family meal! I added some shoepeg corn, carrots/peas, stovetop stuffing, and croissants. Joe made a fruit smoothies for dessert. We had Joe's brother and sister over to eat with us. What a fun night! Tomorrow is officially Thanksgiving, but for me, I feel like it started today!
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crafting night

After a trip to Hobby Lobby yesterday, I was inspired. I had seen a cute blog entry (from "a bit behind") about making a cute wreath. I glanced at how it was done and decided that I wanted to do this myself. To my blessing, Hobby Lobby was having a great sale on all the things I wanted to get to do a little crafting! Yay! So I bought some felt squares (they were 4/$1) and some grapevine wreaths, which were 50% off! I had a glue gun already, so that was all I needed for this cute little thing. So I started by cutting the felt into thin strips.

Then I rolled each strip up and hot glued it on the end. I had pics of the process, but my little camera didn't focus on it too well, so it was blurry. Maybe one day I'll get a cool camera. But anyway, here are the rolled up "rosettes" from one square of felt. It took 4 squares to do the amount of rosettes I wanted. This pic shows a square at the top.

And here is my finished product! I thought it turned out cute! Sophie said they kind of look like marshmallows : ). They kind of do, but when you look at it up close, I think they look like rosettes. If you used a different type of fabric, like fleece, you might get less of the marshmallow look. I was on a budget, so felt worked for me!

My other project was some cute hair clips. Rosettes are in, apparently, and I LOVE them...on anything! Shirts, hair clips, wreaths, you name it. I think they're so feminine. I never was a great hairbow maker, either, but these, I can do!

I put ribbon on them, too. The bottom one has Hello Kitty ribbon. I thought my niece might like it. The brownish clip below has a cute striped ribbon on it.

Crafting therapy in a few hours. My kind of night! God bless!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Misty Eyes

Every so often I'll read something that makes my eyes a little misty. Ok, sometimes it even causes and all-out tear fest. But today was a misty day. I just got The Jesus Storybook Bible for the kids off of Amazon. I thought it would also be a great book to do for our Bible time we have during homeschool. I had heard lots of great things about it and knew some people who had one, so I was interested in getting one, too. Little did I know how wonderful this book was until I really started reading it. We've only read three days worth of stuff, but when I read today about Adam and Eve and their sin against God, I saw it in a new light. This book points every story back to Jesus and connects it to him. Let me just quote some of what we read today:

"But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them. He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey--out of the garden, out of their home. Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been....The End. But not in this Story. God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan--a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes. You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children--with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always and long for him--lost children yearning for their home. Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: 'It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!' And he would. One day, God himself would come." Sally Lloyd-Jones

Misty eyes...again. He came back for us! And He will come again! Thank you, God!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A little bit of Disney magic : )

Disney movies have always been enjoyable to me as a kid. I watched pretty much all of them growing up, but we have been more selective with Sophie as she is very young and we don't want anything to be scary for her. Seriously, the sea witch on Little Mermaid, the witchy women on Sleeping Beauty and Snow white, and sometimes even the Beast on Beauty and the Beast can be scary for a three year old. So we've mainly stuck to Cinderella and Peter Pan. We currently can't find the Peter Pan dvd, but Cinderella is still going strong. So when Mom asked if she could take Sophie and I to see Disney on Ice...I was so excited. Sophie didn't really understand what it was, so she didn't seem very interested. The look on her face when we walked into the Coliseum was priceless! Her little mouth opened and she couldn't take her eyes off of the ice. The whole time she sat in my lap in a Disney trance! : ) I totally enjoyed it myself, too! I felt like I was a little kid, watching the best parts of the classic Disney movies. The feature story was Cinderella, too! Perfect for Sophie. She was so excited to see the best parts of the movie she loves, along with songs from the movie we have sung as a family.
Our seats were also great! We were in some seats on the floor and not far from the ice, so we were able to see the skater's faces clearly. I love to be able to see the faces of those who are performing rather than a moving blur. I would definitely recommend splurging on a little more for a seat so that you can see. It makes a big difference. For the kids that were sitting right there on the front row next to the ice, some of them got to "try on" the glass slipper. I thought that was very cute. I must give a BIG thanks to Mom (and Dad) for providing us with this special experience! It's so much fun to see Sophie reach an age that she's able to enjoy things like this. The next fun thing I hope to take her to is our annual Christmas tradition (for me, Mom, my sister, and now my sister's little girl)--the Nutcracker Ballet!
Here she is...Cinderella with all the other princesses in the big finale. What a great show!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A homemade cookbook idea...

No, the kids aren't resting yet...I can hear Isaac in his room chattering. No, all the groceries aren't put away yet from our mega shopping trip to Kroger this morning. The cold things are, though...they're the most important right?! But I thought it was the perfect time to blog : ).

So I got three more novels in the mail from Bethany house to read and review the other day. I'll tell more about that later, but one thing I loved about the first book I read is that it had recipes in the back! Throughout the story, the main character talks about these delicious sounding lemon cookies that she enjoyed as a child and later makes as an adult. They really do sound mouth-watering! I was so excited when I got to the end of the book and turned the next page and saw...the recipe! Yay! Now I can make those delicious lemon cookies!

The recipe in the book thing got me know those cookbooks that you can slide recipe cards of your own into slots for basically the whole cookbook? I have two of those, and I love being able to put in a new recipe. Well, I thought it would be fun to have one of those just for recipes that you find in books. I've read several books that have recipes in them. Usually I jot them down on scrap paper and forget about them. But for a book buff like myself, I think this would be a fun idea. You could include the name of the book on the recipe so you won't forget where the recipe came from. You could do something like this for a book club, a gift to someone who loves fun books (and include the book in the gift), or just for your own personal cookbook collection.

I have a ton of those recipe cards. I think I may just start a section in my homemade cookbook just for "book" recipes. By the way, the name of this recent book is Hattaras Girl. If you get a chance to read it, I would recommend it. I'll be reviewing it soon, so I'll give a more detailed description of the book then!

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Two new recipes

I wanted to pass on two new recipes that I have gotten from my Mom and another friend. I've actually made the chicken casserole, and it's yum-o! And easy! So if you're like me, and need a good, easy something for supper, this is great.

Easy Chicken Casserole
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used Healthy Request)
1 can cream of chicken soup (again, HR)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
shredded cheese (I used some mozzarella and low fat cheddar)
12 oz sour cream (I only had 8 oz of reduced fat and it was good)
1 roll of Ritz crackers (I used reduced fat)
1/2 stick butter, if desired

Preheat oven to 350. Boil your chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces (I just used kitchen scissors and cut up my chicken as I put it in the pot). While your chicken is cooking, mix soups and sour cream together. After chicken is done, strain it, and put it in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then put the soup layer on next. The next layer is cheese. You can put your choice of amount or type of cheese. The last layer is Ritz crackers. Because I used reduced fat, they can be a little dry. I melted the 1/2 stick of butter and mixed it in with my crushed crackers and sprinkled them on top. If you don't add the butter, you will need to put foil on top of the casserole when you put it in the oven. If you do, then I don't think the foil will be necessary. Put the dish in the oven for about 30 min. After it's nice and bubbly, take it out and serve! It's great! : )

The next recipe I haven't actually tried yet...but Mom tells me it's delicious and has that Thai flair. I'm a big fan of Thai food! So if you like something different, easy, and good...this may be for you!

Coconut Lime Chicken Soup
Rotisserie Deli Chicken
1 15 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups water
1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)
3 med. carrots (1 1/2 cups chopped)--Mom said she bought the kind that was already chopped/sliced
1 TBS soy sauce
2 tsp. Thai seasoning blend (Mom used Thai stir fry seasoning and said it worked)
1/2 tsp salt
cilatro/lime wedges--optional

Take your chicken off the bone and put that along with your other ingredients into a soup pot. Boil and when your carrots are tender, it's ready! You can boil the carrots first if you don't want it to take as long. Enjoy! Let me know if you try it! : )


Monday, November 1, 2010

More homeschool adventures

Here are Bethany and Sophie cleaning out our little pumpkin. It was so funny because Sophie didn't want anything to do with sticking her hand in there and scooping out the seeds. She said, "It's yucky!" Bethany loved it! She looked at me and said, "This is fun!" I thought it was fun, too! Ever since my kindergarted teacher did this with our class, I've looked forward to the day I can do it with my own kids!
Here's the finished product! Doesn't he look happy!? I thought it turned out great! I love our little pumpkin! We cooked the seeds on the stove, too. I looked online to see the best way to do it. I must confess, I couldn't bring myself to taste them. My friend tried them and was like, "um...they're ok." I just couldn't do it! : ).

Here is my beauty right next to the Indian Mound in Macon, GA. Our homeschool group took a field trip there. We learned about pottery and different tools that the indians used throughout history. It was interesting. After we went through the museum, we watched a short film about pottery making. Then were were able to go outside to the picnic tables, get a pretty good sized piece of clay, and make our own piece of pottery!

Here we are, forming our masterpieces! : )

My girl and I inside the indian mound. We had a great time together!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Word Up! : )

Today was the big day! We had our church fall festival tonight and Sophie was Word Girl and Isaac was Captain Huggyface. If you're not familiar with Word's a clip I thought was perfect : )

Honestly, I am entertained by this fun little cartoon! are my two little ones dressed up! I'm the most proud of the cape...I sewed it yesterday! We had to make a few modifications. Sophie wasn't able to have a Word Girl we did a Word Girl headband. Couldn't find a solid blue shirt for the Captain, so we did stripes. But overall, it came together...and it was a lot of fun!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Does this not inspire?! If you've never watched Chariots of Fire, I would definitely recommend it. If you don't feel up for the movie (it is a little long...and there are a few slow parts), just look up Eric Liddle and his life. He took a stand for Christ. But it's the quote that you hear in the background of this clip that has been on my mind this past week or so. I couldn't quite remember it word for word until I watched this tonight, but I remembered the jist of it. The quote came to mind when I was reading something a friend of mine wrote about not just exercising to meet a goal, but to exercise and find pleasure from it. I've been trying to start running, as I've mentioned before, but I have not found a lot of pleasure in the actual running. It's been tough, it's been slow, and it's taken a long time to see progress. It's also been discouraging...I still can't even run a mile! Ugh! Reading what my friend wrote, though, helped me see it in a new perspective. I still may not be able to run a mile, but I can find pleasure in what I can do now, and strive to do more. Now to the quote. Liddle (well, the actor playing Liddle) says something like, "He (God) made me fast. And when I run, I can feel His pleasure." So that's what I've been inspired to do this past week or so. I'm not fast, but I'm trying to run and not just feel pleasure in myself, but feel His pleasure. Glorifying and praising Him that I can run at all, that He has put this desire in me to try to run, to exercise, and lose weight. I want to experience His pleasure in my efforts. Wow...I'm inspired!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Favorite Children's Author: Lois Ehlert

I've mentioned Lois Ehlert before, and I couldn't wait to mention these two books we checked out from the library a few weeks ago. Lois Ehlert's books are not only easy to read with kids but they're also educational. At the end of these two books, she includes facts about some of the things we see. In Market Day, her story is told through folk art. There are images of different types of people going to market, buying their goods, and traveling home. At the end of the book, Ehlert tells us where these different pieces of folk art were made and little facts about the pieces. I love that special touch! I think if you aren't able to see folk art and show your children live pieces of this type of art, this is a great way to expose them to it!

I think Feathers for Lunch was my favorite of the two books. The story was so cute and if I remember correctly, was told in rhyme. The text was short, so very appropriate for small children. Ehlert features several different types of birds in the story, and again, at the end, she shows the illustration of each type of bird and tells us what each bird is. This would be a fun way to expose your child to bird watching or talk about birds in your area of the US or world. I loved it!

What are some of your children's book favs? I'd love to know. I'm always looking for more fun books to read! We have story time during our school day and I love to read different types of books to the girls. Happy reading and God bless!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our homeschool group trip to the mountains

What can I say?! The pictures say it all! We had a wonderful trip to Ellijay and Dahlonega. Our homeschool group organized a trip to this area so that we could see some neat things, get some apples from one of the best places in Georgia, learn some new things, and have fun! We went to Hill Crest Orchards in Ellijay, where we were able to go on a wagon ride, drink some apple cider, went to a petting zoo, saw a pig race, learned about cows, and got some apples! Then we went to Burt's pumpkin patch a short way down the road and got a little pumpkin. I thought the pumpkin patch was great...and so did the kids! We spent the night in a nice family oriented place called Forrest Hills resort and ate dinner on the square in Dahlonega. The next morning we got up and went to the Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega. We took a tour of the mine, which I thought was great, and then we were able to have a large bucket of dirt and gems and the kids were able to pan for gems. My kids were a little young and needed help, but the older kids loved it. After our time at the gold mine, we headed back to Macon. Overall this was an excellent trip! I think fall is finally sinking in! I hope it stays a while!

Here are all of the kids on our trip!