Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Let the Games Begin

This Christmas there seemed to be a theme in the gift-giving. GAMES. This year I want to spend more time playing board games with my girls. They did get some games to add to their Nintendo DS and WEii collections, but they also got some new board games for us to play together.

Paige was excited to get Risk. Mind you she is the only one who knows how to play it. I'm sure she'll be the winner for quite awhile.



Leah got a couple of fun games that I know we'll enjoy as a family.

The You Gotta Be Kidding game a.k.a Would You Rather...? has some funny questions like..
Would you Rather eat 10 pounds of cheese OR
Would you Rather eat a bucket of peanut butter with nothing to drink?
There are gross questions too...
Would you Rather eat fried monkey brains OR
Would you Rather eat the raw guts from a huge snake?
There are some insightful questions such as...
Would you Rather go back in time one million years OR
Would you Rather go into the future one million years?
I'll be curious to hear how we answer these questions.
So do you have any recommendations for good family games?
I'd love to hear about them.


I ♥ Comments...

Blame it on the Turkey

We had a great Christmas with the grandparents in town this year. Buster enjoyed capturing some pretty candid shots of our parents as they were visiting us. They may not come back after this post. I'm sorry I couldn't resist. Who among us hasn't succumbed to this behavior after a big turkey dinner?? I know they will get me back some how ~ some way.







I ♥ Comments

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Little Town of Bethlehem



The words to the Christmas Carol O Little Town of Bethlehem were written by Phillips Brooks in 1868. He was an Episcopalian Minister in Philadelphia, PA. He was able to travel to Israel in 1865 and spent time in Bethlehem and rode on horseback out on the same fields where the Shepherd were believed to be the night the Angel visited them and told them...Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8-20)

He didn't pen the words to this Carol until a few years later for the children's choir at his church.

I love the feel he gives us for the town of Bethlehem and what it must have been like that night. The picture he paints of a town and it's residents basically going about their nocturnal routine....sleeping deeply in the still night and darkened streets oblivious to the miracle that just took place in their midst.

It makes me think of our lives and the towns in which we live. The routines, the comings and goings, activities, life as we know it just happening. Some realize the miracle that we know happened over 2000 years ago and sadly some do not.

The people of Bethlehem did not know what happened that night. It was just another night in Bethlehem. It took Shepherds who came into town and saw the baby with their own eyes and then spread the word.

I pray for the town I live in and hope you pray for yours as well. I love the last line of the last verse that says "O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord, Emmanuel."

Pray that the meek souls of your town will receive Him still, and let the dear Christ enter in. (verse 3)

Merry Christmas,


Christmas Control


For the past 20 years I have decorated our Christmas tree to my exact specifications. Yes, I had the picture in my head and to the best my budget would allow I'd decorate our Christmas tree.
This year my girls wanted to decorate the Christmas tree. Keith brought in all the decorations and the tree. He put it together (we use a fake tree) I did not attach one, NOT ONE, ornament this year. I relinquished total control of Christmas decorating to my 13 and 9 year old daughters. Here are some pictures of what they did. They proved to be totally capable. I thought the tree turned out very pretty. They decorated the dining room table and buffet with all kinds of things they found in the boxes.

I'm glad they did it. I'm enjoying it and they had a great time doing it. They wouldn't let me come into the foyer until they were done. I was confined to the kitchen (big change) until they were finished decorating. Then they brought Keith and I in for the big Reveal. I LOVED IT!
Thanks Paige and Leah, I love you.
Mom

We'll see if they are as eager to help when it comes time to put all this away. ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

S is for Shepherd

My friend Liza shared with me about a local writer/artist who lives in our community.

She has written two children's books. I read them both and they are precious. Wanted to let you know about them. One is an alphabet book entitled S is for Shepherd. Here is a sample of the first page.

The book is hardback and each page has a scripture verse that corresponds with the letter. Her artistic style is similar to European folk art. I purchased the S is for Shepherd for my niece and nephews for Christmas (sssshhhh don't tell them).

Tricia's newest book is about manners and incorporates counting too. It is Be Kind Be Sweet.





These books would make great baby shower gifts or gifts for preschooler/younger elementary aged children.
Here's Tricia's website if you want to see more:


Merry Christmas








Sunday, December 14, 2008

ROY G. BIV

My new blogging friend Vic at Cariboo Ponderer had a link to this personality quiz you can take to see what color of the rainbow you are. Well....I'm brown. Not very colorful huh. It says I'm a deep thinker. I'm not sure how deep of a thinker I am, but it was fun to do the quiz. Click on it and take it and see what color of the rainbow you are.

Your rainbow is shaded brown.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What is says about you: You are a deep thinking person. You appreciate the roughness of nature. You feel closer to people when you understand their imperfections.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Polish Pottery Give Away

Allison at Life in Germany is having a give away to celebrate 50 followers of her blog.
It is really a beautiful piece of Polish Pottery. Go check it out. I hope it ends up at my house. ♥

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Firstborn

I have seen this blog survey on different blogs and most recently at Betty's. I decided to answer the questions about my firstborn. Here goes:


1. Were you married at the time? Yes


2. What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant?

I was really nervous. I had a miscarriage before this pregnancy.


3. How old were you? 29

4. How did you first find out you were pregnant? I took a home pregnancy test.

5. Who did you tell first? My husband (over the phone- He was out of town)


6. Did you find out the sex? Yes, I couldn't wait.


7. What was your due date? November 2, 1995

8. Did you deliver late or early? Believe it or not I went labor on my

due date and had her on my due date.

9. Did you have morning sickness? Just a little, but not bad at all.

10. What did you crave? Pringles Potato Chips ( still do :) )

11. Who/what irritated you more? No one really irritated me that I can remember.
But I'm not a big water drinker so having to try and drink lots of water was irritating.

12. What was the sex of your first child? Female

13. How many pounds did you gain? I think around 35

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? A few times I went

to the hospital because I was having contractions or Braxton Hicks (sp).

We figured out it was because I was dehydrated and not drinking enough water. See #11



15. Where did you give birth? When I was 7 mons. along my husband was transferred from Utah to California. So I went back to Tampa and stayed with my parents while Buster found a house and moved our stuff to CA. So I ended up at Women's Hospital, Tampa, FL.

16. How many hours were you in labor? 13 hours



17. Who drove you to the hospital? Husband aka Buster



18. Who watched? My Mom. Buster wasn't up to it.

Oh, and since it was a teaching hospital I think about 14 student nurses and doctors. Who knows. I lost count.

19. Was it natural or C-section? After pushing for 2 hours with not much
success. I had a c-section.

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? YES. I arrived at the hospital already dilated to a 7. I was in a lot of pain. They did an epidural pretty quick and boy it changed my world for the better.

21. How much did your child weigh? 8 lbs 9 oz

22. What did you name him/her? Paige Victoria

23. How old is your firstborn today? 13

This is a picture taken at my grandparents house when Paige was about 7 weeks old. Please excuse the big glasses on the parents. Yikes.


Copy these questions and do a little reminicising about your firstborn child. I'd love to read it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Cookie Exchange

TracyP is hosting a Christmas Cookie Recipe exchange at her blog. I'm suppose to post a favorite Christmas cookie recipe. Well, I didn't have much time to make what I really wanted to so I'm not posting my absolute favorite Christmas cookie which is the peanut butter cookie with the Hershey Kiss on top. I had these ingredients on hand so I decided to make this recipe.



Peanut Butter Chip Triangles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar


1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter or margarine


1 2/3 cups (10 oz) Reese's Peanut Butter Chips, divided


1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)


1 egg slightly beaten


1 teaspoon vanilla extract







Heat oven to 350. Stir together flour and brown sugar in medium bowl; cut in cold butter until mixture is crumbly [see Leah working hard to "cut in" the butter]. Stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter chips; press mixture on bottom of 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.



Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I mean in a large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla; stir in remaining chips. Spread evenly over baked crust. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2 to 2 1/2 inch squares; cut squares diagonally to form triangles.




Enjoy and MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meme

A while back my friend Michele tagged me with a meme.

It's been in on my bloggy list of things to do. So finally here it is:

Ten Years ago I:
* Figured out I was pregnant with my second baby (Leah)
* Was in the process of moving from California to Alabama (funny how we always seem to move when I'm pregnant)
* Had a three year old running around.
* Was house-hunting in Alabama and found the perfect neighborhood!

Five things on today's "to-do" list:

1. Go to Moms In Touch
2. Meet with pool repair guy
3. Brunch/Prayer time with Community Prayer Leaders
4. Go to grocery store
5. Do Laundry

Five Snacks I enjoy:
1. Pringles
2. Salt and Vinegar Chips
3. Cashews
4. Reese's Cups
5. Chips and Dip

Five things I would do if I were a Millionaire:

1. Pay off our mortgage.
2. Pay off my parent's mortgage.
3. Give to my favorite charities and missionaries
4. Take a trip to Italy
5. Travel more as a family

Five places I've lived:

1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. Utah
4. California
5. Alabama
(6). Texas

Five jobs I've had:

1. Sunkist (all of these were Admin Asst. Jobs)
2. Worked for real estate attorney :( (boring)
3. Worked for real estate developer (loved this job)
4. Tampa General Hospital (fun, met lots of people)
5. University of Utah Hospital (worked with a great group of women)
(I went on Maternity leave and
have been on maternity leave for 13 years.) haha


I'm suppose to tag 5 others to answer these questions:
If you read this and want to be tagged.
Consider yourself "tagged".


Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Happy Pig


Introducing the "Happy Pig" award!


Cruising around the world (on my keyboard), getting ideas and reading about your lives has become a hobby of mine. I must say a very time-consuming hobby, but I love it.



I also love to cook (and bake sometimes). I wanted to give a shout out for these recipes, but wanted to include something fun for the original bloggers. So I scanned around and found this cute Happy as a Pig picture. I thought she would get the message out that these recipes are good ones to "Pig Out" on .

I'd like to award Allison and Julie the first "Happy Pig" Award.

Allison lives in Germany with her husband who is in the U.S. Military. I love her blog and I'm also lovin' this pumpkin bread. Her Pumpkin Bread recipe is so good and easy to make.


Next, we are off to Hungary to visit Julie to try her Rosemary Bread. This recipe is tucked away in a post she wrote and boy am I glad I found it. If you go to Macaroni Grill. This is the Rosemary Bread recipe. Our family tears through a loaf in no time. We are hooked!

Go check out their blogs and give these yummy recipes a try.

I'll keep cruising the world (via my keyboard) and searching out some good recipes. I'll let you know when I find more. If you want to send this Happy Pig award to someone who posted a recipe and you actually prepared, ate and loved it. Send the Happy Pig to them.
Have fun!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Proximity

My sweet blogging friend Betty at Wien's World sent this award to me. I'm thrilled because it is my first blog award. I discovered Betty's blog during her featured day at Blog Around The World. Betty lives in Paraguay and shares with us about her life in Paraguay, her two sweet daughters and loving husband. She also gives us the history of her Mennonite community and how it ended up in the middle of Paraguay. She is a special lady and I check in on every post to keep up with her. Thank you Betty.




This blog invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!
Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award." Then I am supposed to award this to 8 fellow bloggers.
I'm passing along the award to:
Michele - I have to credit Michele for inspiring me to start blogging. I was so impressed with her blog and the ability she has to share her heart. I decided to start one myself.
Tracy - Not only is a blogging friends, but an actual neighbor who lives in my neighborhood. Although I think the blogs do a better job of keeping us up on each others lives. Usually it's a wave out the SUV window.
Tracy P - I came upon Tracy P's blog early in my blogging life. She is the Northern version of me. I read her profile and laughed because it was so similar to mine. She is even married to a Georgia Boy just like I am.
She is a Godly woman and writes insightful post. TracyP's blog is a must-read.
HOPE - I came across this blog thru a link on another blog. You know how that goes. Anyway, I'm glad I did. She actually has several blogs and on one of her blogs she tells the story of how she led her father to the Lord. She is also very crafty and shares her crafts on another blog.
Lorie - Lorie at Encouragement from my Heart is such a blessing. She writes poetry. She will minister to you in such a sweet way. She definitely has the gift of encouragement.
Clarissa - That is Aunt Clarissa to me. She has just started her blog. She is a pastors wife living in Connecticut. I'm glad she is blogging. It gives me a chance to keep up with cousins and family that unfortunately I never get to see because of distance. Go see Aunt Clarissa and tell her I sent you. Did I mention she's also an artist, a seamstress, a wonderful cook, a gardener, etc. Anyway, you get the idea she's lots of fun.
Deb Deb writes a blog to encourage parents and families. She believes our children are the greatest mission field we have in life. She reviews books and gives great ideas for parents to use in bringing up our children in the Lord. Thanks for blogging Deb.
Givinya - If I want to travel around the globe and get a good laugh. I head down to Australia to visit Givinya de Elba. She has a way of writing that makes me smile and chuckle every time. She has two sweet kiddos that you have to read about and a wonderful husband.
My blogging friends (and family) I hope you enjoy receiving this award and it is up to you to pass it on. There are many other blogs I love and want to include and will. I think you all deserve it!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories


Around Thanksgiving I like to reflect on my family and all the blessings in my life.


I also see my girls growing up FAST! Especially when I look back on past Thanksgivings.
They don't arrive home from school anymore with construction paper vest decorated with Native American Indian designs or Pilgrim hats or their hand traced and made into a turkey.
All of those days and pictures live in my photo albums.


We had a little tradition going for a few years that my grandmother (the pie maker of the family) would trace Paige and Leah's and my nephews hands in pie dough and put it on top of the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.

2001 Pumpkin Pie

2002 Thanksgiving

Momma Bernice, Paige and Leah


2003 Pumpkin Pie




Well they barely fit on the pie in 2003.


So in 2004 we resorted to a larger pumpkin dessert that could contain their hand prints:


2004 Pumpkin Pie:





That was 4 years ago. They always loved doing this. We haven't done the hand prints in a few years, mainly because we spend Christmas with family instead of Thanksgiving now. Maybe this year we'll trace their hand prints again or make a turkey hand print for old time sake.


Happy Thanksgiving,

Love and Blessings,
Joy

Monday, November 24, 2008

Brace Yourself


On Wednesday morning Paige had her braces put on. She chose a colorful ensemble of brackets to get her thru this heavy metal time of life. After 5 days I finally got a little smile from her and took her picture.
To lessen the pain her orthodontists gives the kids a brand new IPod Nano the day they get their braces. That was the highlight of the experience. So she came home with a new IPod, I reminded her that Dr. Mardaga didn't exactly "give" her that IPod. Daddy and Mommy paid for that little sucker.
It was a rough few days for her as she got use to them. She also has an expander across the roof of her mouth. I have the privilege of turning it once a day for six weeks.
In 24-30 months we shall see the results of all this pain and suffering.



Monday, November 17, 2008

Emergency, Emergency


We live in a wooded area and get to enjoy a variety of birds that visit our yard.
Unfortunately, sometimes they fly into our windows. This past Saturday we were minding our own business doing stuff around the house and we heard it "Bam" (not Emeril) but a bird flew right into one of our back windows. Paige went outside to check and found this little guy on the ground. It was a red-head woodpecker. He could only hop....so sad.... He hopped over to a tree and tried to hop up. I was able to get this really close-up picture because obviously he could not fly.
Paige the Rescuer "flew" into action. She got online trying to find a place we could take this injured bird. She made many phone calls. She finally talked to someone who told her about a lady who (Thank the Lord) lived in our community and only about a mile from our house. This lady is a Bird Rehabilitator. She said one of his wings was broken. Not the main one but a smaller one that connects into the big wing. She takes in injured birds and bandages their wings and they live in her Aviary until they are ready to be released back into their world. If they never recover they continue to live out their life in her Aviary. I had no idea people like this existed. I'm glad they do. Paige had to sign her book (for State records) that she brought the bird. We'll call and get an update soon and see how our bird has fared. We'll keep you posted.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Occasional Error

OK. I'm apologizing to all my bloggy friends for the spelling error in my Rare Occasion Post.
I'm so embarrassed because it was in the title of all places.

I logged on to look at something on my blog this morning and scrolled down and it caught my eye. I completely missed it. I did a little test and realized that spell check only checks your content and not your titles. Yikes! The extra "s" was definitely not suppose to be there.

So, oops, sorry, and keep that in mind when your spellchecking.
Your title is on it's own.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Blurb from the Burbs - III



Phantom Load


During the month of October, I decided to try a little test with my power bill because I've been hearing a lot of about phantom load. This is the "forgotten" electrical power that is constantly in use in your home. You know the VCR that forever blinks 12:00, etc.

I decided to go thru our home and unplug electric devices that I do not use every day. I unplugged the digital clock in my guest bedroom, the blender in my kitchen that has a digital screen on it. I even unplugged my computer/printer/modem/speakers and one of my TV's every night for a month.

I looked over my latest power bill and found that in October 2007 we had consumed 2893 KWH. This month we used 2340 KWH. That is a difference of 553 KWH. I'm going to continue to do this and see if a trend develops. But I was pleased with the results so far.

Try it at your house and let me know if you see a reduction in the amount of KWH your family uses.

You can find prior year and prior month usage information right on your electric bill each month. Think of it as a digital scavenger hunt ~unplug the things that aren't being used and your bank account will be the winner!





See prior blurbs:



Blurb I

Blurb II



Monday, November 10, 2008

Rare Occasion





On Saturday night I got to dress up and go out with my husband to support a wonderful cause.

Mind you, my chances to dress up are rare. I mean rare. Not even a company Christmas party. (see Scrooge on my right) Just kidding. He has good reasons for not having one.... But, secretly, between you and me, I think it's so he doesn't have to buy me a new party outfit each year.

Anyway, back to the event.

It was a fundraising event for


This wonderful organization is a support system for families who have children with disabilities living in Houston and the surrounding areas. My sweet friend Charlotte chaired this event. She did a fabulous job putting this together. It was at a gorgeous home (mansion) in Houston. There was food, drinks, music, a valet and a silent auction.... ahhhh.

What a night ~
Just what a girl needed.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting Back to Basics

I have been blessed to be a part of a Precepts Bible Study this Fall. I went to www.precept.org and found this note from Kay Arthur this morning. I wanted to share it with you in light of this election.

Our country has changed—now, are we headed for revival or judgment? You could be part of God’s sovereign plan for the United States of America. Join Kay Arthur and thousands of believers across our nation who are taking up the spiritual battle by getting active. Active in repentance. Active in getting back to the Truth of God’s Word. Active in reaching out to a country that needs truth, love and redemption more than ever.
Kay Arthur

This is the time for Christians to truly be Christ-followers. Our commitment to God does not change with election cycles. Let's get back to the basics of prayer, Bible Study and sharing God's love with others.

Remember......

You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do His work and speak out for Him to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you - from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.

Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritiual family, Revere God. Respect the Government.

I Peter 2:9-12 (The Message)



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Halloween Ya'll and Leah is on the case!

It was a dark and stormy night....
Well, not really, actually it was about 80 degrees and the time hadn't changed yet so it was still daylight until 7:00. Lots of mosquitos, I mean Trick or Treaters roamed the streets of our neighborhood.


As you can see we had a sweet Southern Belle and a Spunky Little Detective Trick or Treating this year.


After Paige read Gone With The Wind this summer, she went online and found this costume. She wanted to be a southern belle for Halloween so I gave in and let her order it. She wore it to a costume party the week before and then on Halloween.
Leah found a detective costume in a magazine. I looked at it and decided I could make something that would resemble it. So I got out the scissors and dusted off my trusty sewing machine and came up with this. I thought it turned out really cute.



The evening was lots of fun. Paige ended up Trick or Treating with a group of friends from her school bus that live nearby. They had lots of fun going to three different neighborhoods. Leah and her neighborhood peeps had fun trick or treating in our own 'hood. Afterwards we all met up at our neighbors house to roast s'mores in their outdoor fireplace. This year Libby (our miniature Schnauzer) did not eat any of the Halloween Candy. Last year, she did.... and trust me it wasn't pretty. Now that was a Halloween to remember.


13

13
Paige is officially a teenager.
She had a fun “Political Party” to celebrate.

This is a sweet picture of her first birthday.

Paige, I am so proud of you and the young woman
You are becoming.
You bless me so much,
Love, Mom