Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Sometimes, the best part of being a kid on Christmas break is just chilling in your room...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas morning....

Just a final glimpse of Christmas before the New Year!

First came the stockings....

Here's a big gift of pocket animals!

Dodger just kept sitting in the middle of it all watching and panting. Finally I realized that he was waiting for his gift!! We gave him a Special Christmas Treat and he went on his merry way!!

Here is the second round on Christmas Morning when my parents came over...

Someone has a new coat......

And someone else is excited to get Kaya!!

Now, on to round three when kid #3 and future daughter in law showed up!

Enjoying one of her new games while the grownups open gifts.

Remi decides it's safer on grandpa's lap.

Monday, December 29, 2008


It all began with a little trip down memory lane....

Oldest son made mention that a fond memory of his was getting Nerf guns on Christmas and having gun fights with his brothers. Dad would usually get one, too. They would spend quite a bit of time hiding, shooting, ducking and mostly laughing. (well...they also squealed like little girls...but, I probably shouldn't mention that!!)

Anyway...grandma heard about her oldest grandchild's memory lane moment and decided that this year she would get all the boys and their sister new nerf guns. Now, K has never had the experience the boys have had....but you will see that she is a quick learner.

First, all the other gifts were opened. All the "ooohhhs: and "aaahhhhs" were said. Thank you's were proclaimed. Pictures were snapped. Gift wrap, bows, ribbons, tissue and bags were picked up (for the most part). Then grandma announced, "Oh, we have one more gift to be opened!" She proceeded to hand the three boys and the one girl their own box. They really had NO clue as to what was about to unfold. However, I did! My camera was ready. Shall we look?

Seriously, can you see the funny in this picture. Look at oldest son's eyes as he looks toward a victim...I Then look at K's eyes as she looks at another brother. Oh yeah...they are sizing each other up, for sure!!

That tranquil moment was quickly dashed, as they tore into the packages to get their guns ready. No words were exchanged...there was no need. Everyone knew what must be done.

Even the newbie felt the intensity of the moment. She didn't have the nerf gun handling experience...but something deep within kicked into drive. She handled it like a pro. (notice the dog is lacking that drive...)

Fully assembled and ready to may notice what was once a full living room is now a lonely place as everyone seems to have scattered.

The battle has begun...

Cameras are aimed and clicking away...while kid #3 is seeking cover. (I even think I heard some girlie squeals that did not all belong to....the girl child!)

For someone new to this.....She held her own and then some.

All the older girls attempted to seek refuge in the worked for the most part.


Proudly Introducing....for their first ever public appearance....


Christmas Part One

This year our Christmas Celebration was divided into two parts. Part one was the Sunday before Christmas. All the kids gathered here along with my parents and we gave Kid #1 and Daughter in-law their gifts. This was followed by a feast. :) A feast is always a good follow up to a family gathering.

Anyway, there were presents galore and if I thought for a moment about all the gifts crammed in the room I could easily imagine that Christmas morning with everyone would have been mind boggling. I do think it's more fun to celebrate together on the 25th, but you have to do what works. Here are a few shots from that day....

This was the calm before the great unwrapping.

Miss K gets a birds eye view...

My parents....

Kid #1 and Daughter-in-law were quite excited to get this new dog proof trash can....

The dog....not so excited....

Surrounded by goodies...

Happy for some comfy pants....

Dodger just nestled himself against the tv and observed.

The feast included steamed shrimp, steamed pork buns, spring rolls, sushi, potstickers, egg drop soup and general tso's pork.


Audrey and Remi turned ONE!!! Happy Birthday!!!

Not my girl.....

You know over the years I have accumulated quite a few pictures of my kids. Tons of pictures as a matter of fact. Pictures of birthdays, sports events, goofy times, achievements, hanging with friends, vacations and....Christmas mornings. Ahhh, the early morning on December 25th are the best pictures. The boys have tons of memories of waiting in their room, while hubby and I turned on the tree lights, made coffee, and whatever else we needed to do. Their cue to come down the hall was hearing Bing singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...." I was always ready in the living room with the camera. So needless to say, I have lots of pictures of boys in pajamas with their hair sticking up and really big grins on their faces. Those pictures bring back such fond memories!!

As you know....the boys have grown and even though one was here with us early Christmas morning, he didn't wait in his room. Nope, he joined us in getting the coffee ready and turning on the lights and whatnot. So, it was just K waiting and waiting and waiting to be called out. Waiting for the moment we cued her down the hall to have her picture snapped in her pjs with her hair all in disarray.... Is that what I got?
Nope....not my girl.....

She came out fully dressed with tights and shoes on! Yep, that's MY girl!!

Homeschool Memoirs #19: Making A List

Assignment: This week I want to set our minds on setting some goals for next year, whether personal, for the whole family, or for school.

Well, naturally this is the time of the year when our thoughts turn to reflecting on our past year. The fast approaching New Year seems to promise to be a fresh start. A chance to do-over, to make things right, ....a clean slate. Now, we really know it isn't all that, but it's still fun to make some goals of things we would like to accomplish for the New Year. I like to think of goals that require me to develop some habits that I would like to develop. So, I worked on some ideas and here is my list.

In the year 2009, I would like to:

1. on getting to bed earlier!! (this is huge, as my sleeping habits have gotten really out of whack...but I know I will feel and function better if I could turn back my inner clock!)

2. more intentional in relationships. People are very important to me, but 2008 was more of a year of keeping to myself. I think I'm ready to get back to looking outward and will trust in Him as He leads the way.

3. ...develop healthier habits. Not necessarily a goal to lose this many pounds by this date....just more of an all around healthier living style. I am looking forward to this adventure....really, I am!!

4. spend more time in study. I want to study His word more deeply, instead of just a quick reading to check it off my list.

5. start a reading log, of sorts. Mainly, I want to jot down what I read and what I thought about it. I find that I can read a book and then a month later I can't remember it at all...unless I go get the book again and start reading it! So, I think a book log would be a fun way of looking back.

6. find time to finally get my scrapbooks all caught up. This is actually my summer goal!

7. continue working hard with K and really make learning fun for her. I want to encourage her and help her develop into the wonderful young lady that she is becoming.

The list could go on....but I think 7 is a good number. :) I plan to print my list and keep it in a visible spot. Then, maybe, I will revisit the list here in the future and give an update.

Hopefully, everyone working on this assignment has enjoyed making a list of goals! I know that I have!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Really, is there anything sexier.....

Than a man doing dishes?

Just asking!

Fall Reading Challenge Recap....

Well, the Fall Reading Challenge is over. I must say, I did thoroughly enjoy being a part of this challenge. (kind of sad to see it end....) Here's a little update on how I did with the challenge.

Did you finish reading all the books on your fall reading list? If not, why not?

Nope, I didn't. However, I did manage to read more then I have ever read since my BK (before kids) days. Let's take a look at my original list....the title in red have been read. (hehe...couldn't help myself!)

The Cat Who Dropped A Bombshell by Lillian Braun

The Longing by Beverly Lewis

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber

204 Rosewood Lane by Debbie Macomber

311 Pelican Court by Debbie Macomber

44 Cranberry Point by Debbie Macomber

50 Harbor Street by Debbie Macomber

6 Rainier Drive by Debbie Macomber

74 Seaside Avenue by Debbie Macomber

8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Can you Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella

A Sister’s Secret by Wanda Brunstetter

Dear to Me by Wanda Brunstetter

Allison’s Journey by Wanda Brunstetter

When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

The Life You Always Wanted by John Ortberg

Who Holds The Key to Your Heart by Lysa Terkeurst

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

So, you can see, I really didn't do that badly.

Did you stick to your original goals or did you change your list as you went along?

I actually added a few books to my list...which is maybe why I didn't manage to finish my list. I read....

Just Shy of Harmony

Home to Harmony

A Sister's Hope

The Secret's in the Sauce

A Sister's Test

The Tender Years

What was your favorite book that you read this fall? Least favorite? Why?

I think this question is probably next to impossible to answer for me. I really did enjoy most every book. I guess I probably enjoyed Debbie Macomber's Cedar Grove series the most. That might be because I have been reading them for the past month, so they are fresh in my brain. However, I did come to enjoy the characters and am looking forward to reading more from her. I think my least favorite books were written by Wanda Brunstetter. I just didn't get into them as much as I had hoped.

Did you learn something new because of the Fall Into Reading challenge?—something about reading, or yourself, or a topic you read about?

I learned that I really can fit reading into my life right now and I rediscovered just how much I love a good story. :)

What was your favorite thing about the Fall Into Reading challenge?

My favorite thing was actually having a reading plan of sorts. It helped keep me going to the library to check out books. I also liked checking in once in a while to see what others were reading.
If you want, you can check HERE to see how others did on their challenge.

Friday, December 26, 2008

An Early Christmas Present....

As you know, we had Christmas Part One last Sunday. You may not know we also got a little surprise gift. It seems that my kids, even my 9 year old, can keep secrets. Who knew? I think they were all worried that kid #4 would blab....but she hadn't said a word!! (I don't know if I should be proud....or a tad concerned!!hehe)

It seems they all got together on the sly to have their pictures taken for us. I don't know how they knew...but it was just a perfect gift idea for me. I had recently been bummed about never getting them altogether for some photo opportunities. My lack of any recent pictures of the boys and their significant others seriously dampened my mood! So, imagine my glee when a beautiful framed picture was unwrapped. :)

There were three shots. We have one framed in a 8 x 10 and the others are on my computer, now. Want to see?? I think they turned out fantastic!!!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bernard was here......

Back when the boys were little we started buying each of them a Christmas ornament for Christmas. The idea was to find something that illustrated their year and when they grew up and left the house, they would take a box of ornaments with them for their tree. We played it up and said Bernard, the elf, had dropped the ornaments off. One time the ornaments were wrapped and put in the tree and another time they were found in a box of clementines I brought home from the store. The kids never knew when or where Bernard would show up, but they always looked forward to his visit. Of course, no one ever saw Bernard and it wasn't long before they outgrew the fantasy of Bernard....but to this day, we still have Bernard visit. It's talked about weeks before and is considered a highlight. :)

Well, today, Bernard stopped by our house. We were all gathering to celebrate Christmas for kid #1 and daughter in law #1. They won't be with us on Christmas morning, so we took advantage of a quiet Sunday to throw Christmas Part One. There was all kinds of fun....and I will share some of that over the next few days.

Bernard was here.....

Thanks to a great daughter in law, Bernard now leaves an ornament for Mike and me. :)

Isn't it just perfect??

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs: Winter Treats!


This week I want to invite you to share one of your favorite winter treats. A treat you look forward to making when the snow falls and include the recipe for it so others can try it out.

Holiday baking is always fun in this house. I love when it is chilly outside and we are staying inside in a toasty kitchen baking for hours. The smells are heavenly and everything tastes so yummy when it is still warm. Who can resist chocolate chip cookies while the chips are still soft? Or peanut butter cup cookies? Or peanut blossoms, or.... Oh, you get the picture. We just love baking and then sampling everything. Waiting for it to cool enough to eat is probably the hardest part of baking!! :o)

Here are two recipes that I haven't tried yet, but plan to try. I have heard that they are really, really yummy by more then one person!! The best part...they offer something other then chocolate. (you case you are on chocolate overload!)

Cranberry Orange Cookies:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. Mix in 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries and if using, walnuts, until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.

3. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

4. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 tablespoons orange juice and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.

Click link for the next recipe: Cranberry Bliss Bars

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs #17: Chores

Oh, how often we either say it or hear it … “Too much to do, not enough time!”? I hear it and say it quite often. How do you manage all the tasks you have to complete in just 24hours? There are a lot of different methods on how to get chores and organizing done. Some have a strict schedule others just kinda wing it.

This week I would you to share how chores are done in your home. How you order your day with school and getting housework done. How do you decide which chores should be done by which child, of which age? I’m looking forward to hearing them!

Chores are pretty easy around here now. It's Mike, me, K and son #2 living here. Son #2 does his laundry when he needs it....if I haven't already thrown it in the washer. He also helps when he is asked to do something. Mike does just about all the outdoor stuff and washes the dishes most nights. That leaves K and me to do the rest.

Years ago I subscribed to Flylady and got our chaos under control. In other words, I decluttered the house and haven't looked back. I have one junk drawer and when it gets full, I clean it out. We regularly clean closets and go through cabinets....esp. if something is starting to look a little out of control. I don't follow her schedule anymore, but many of the basic philosophy is ingrained in my brain. :) I have been known to spur myself on with a timer set for 15 minutes!! It works!!hehe

We usually pick up a little before we work on school. I have a hard time concentrating on school work if the house is upside down! While K is working independently, I will make my bed, throw in a load of clothes or some other quick chore. Then when school is over, we work together to fix up the house. She is 9 and is capable of pretty much all the chores. I don't have her cooking or doing laundry, yet....although she has learned the basics of those chores already.

I am fortunate that she loves to clean and organize. Yep....she has been like this since she was around 3. In fact...I have a great post with pictures dedicated to my best cleaning weapon. Please check it out.....we'd love to read your comments. :) Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Assignment #113 - Finger Lickin’ Good (KFC)

Memory Verse: Matthew 14:19…Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.

Assignment: Although I am not able to produce miracles, it sometimes feels like I need to when it comes to meal time. There are times when money is tight, groceries are few and I have to feed my family. During the holiday season, you might have so much going on that you need to make a meal quickly with as few ingredients as possible. This week post your favorite recipes that require six (6) ingredients or less. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Oh, Yummy! This is going to be a fun assignment to read. :) Here is a favorite dish using fish. (I'm a poet!)

Lemon Parmesan Tilapia
2-1/2 lbs. Tilapia fillets
2-4 tsp. butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Lemon-Parmesan Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbl. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse the tilapia fillets in cold water and drain thoroughly.
Top with butter or margarine and lemon juice.
Broil about 4 inches from the source of heat for approximately 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Top each portion with 1-2 tbl. of Lemon-Parmesan Sauce; broil 2-3 minutes or until sauce puffs and turns golden brown.
Place fillets on serving plate. You can garnish with lemon slices and fresh parsley if you want.
Serves: 6

Monday, December 8, 2008


Just another day working on school.....

What? Is she napping during school?? Nah, she is just closing her eyes and visualizing her spelling words. It's something we do from time to time to help her get ready for her spelling test.

Oh, this one looks painful! It's one of the bigger words.

Maybe air writing will help?


She caught on that I was taking pictures!