Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

We’re ringing in 2010 with my family and it’s fun to all be together.

We celebrated our Christmas this morning and my sister

introduced us to a fun song.

I had to share it with you and put a few pictures from the week to the music.

The song is “Christmas with a Capital C” by Go Fish.



Happy Thursday after CHRISTmas. . . .and Happy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Closin' In

Well, were closin' in on 2009.

I'm on a blogging break this week but wanted to share a quote from my new Inspirational Quotes calendar. . .

What we need is not new light, but new sight;

not new paths, but new strength to walk in the old ones;

not new duties but new wisdom from on High to

fulfill those that are plain before us.


Sight, strength and wisdom. . . may I seek these knowing He is ready to give generously this upcoming year.

Remembering the birth of Jesus with our traditional "Happy Birthday Jesus" cakes and song.

Happy New Year Everyone!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas Memories & Snapshots

  • The pretty snow falling and the boys making snowmen
  • Egg bread casserole and cinnamon rolls for breakfast
  • Mr. H being a good sport .  . . his present never arrived in the mail.  BUT he gets to go pick out a LEGO from Wal-Mart today.  Yeah!!


  • A mid-day nap for a tired mamma
  • how sincerely excited the boys were to give their gifts chosen for others
  • editing and trying to restore a wedding picture of Grandma's folks to display in an upcoming family wedding next summer
  • the continual blazing fire Mr. E kept stoking throughout the day
  • Grandpa's gift he picked up in Hershey, PA. . . candy bars!


  • Grandma keeping that kitchen sink cleared from dirty dishes
  • Little A continually trying to sneak the chocolates
  • Lucy the cat sleeping on daddy's lap throughout the afternoon
  • The kids watching Home Alone and hearing their laughter
  • Dodging NERF bullets and eventually sending the "dartmen" downstairs
  • Grandma and Z-man playing the "Marbles" game.


  • Reading the first story from A Treasury of Christmas Miracles by Karen Kingsbury, after dinner.
  • New recipes I tried. . . Crock pot rosemary pork roast with cherry sauce, cauliflower in a cream and cheese sauce along with other favorites:  Mom's famous sweet potatoes, and Jan Boates delicious Spinach Salad.
  • The encouragement I received. . . everyone gave the dinner a thumbs up, "delicious!".  Isn't that music to a cooks' ears?
  • CHEERS!  Grandpa's toast and the boys favorite part. . . clinging the glasses.  Only one crystal glass chipped this year-- Daddy it's OK, accidents happen.

I have yet to mail a Christmas card and I have a feeling that today will not be the day I start.

It's always wonderful to have left-overs to rely on for feeding the crew.

Other than a few loads of laundry, I'm takin' it easy today.

Maybe I'll play with my new camera lens!!

Happy Saturday, day after Christmas,



Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

A day. . .  filled with excitement, good food, and fellowship with family.

A day. . .  with snow and snowmen.

A day. . . for anticipated giving and receiving of gifts.

A day. . .  for watching movies including “Home Alone”.

A day. . .  which requires a good night sleep for Mom.

All this celebration because today we honor Jesus’ birthday and from His birth forward. . .

Always. . .  Immanuel, God is with us!

Always. . . believers have hope in heaven.

Always. . .  we can communicate through prayer with the God of this vast universe.

Always. . . we see the sovereign hand of God, accomplishing his purposes foretold long ago.

Always. . .  every day, I know I need a Savior.

Always. . . .I HAVE a Savior.  He is Christ the Lord!


I so enjoyed the praise and worship time during our Christmas Eve service.

I currently have this favorite praise song and was soooo excited to sing it along with everyone at church last night.

Here are the lyrics:

Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin

He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing
Love so amazing
Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all
His body the bread
His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn
Love so amazing
Love so amazing, yeah
Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all
All our hope is in You
All our hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world
Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

And if you have a moment, listen to the actual song sung by Chris Tomlin.

Happy Friday. . . Happy Celebrating Jesus, our Messiah!



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

David and Juanita Sneak Peek

It was a great Tuesday!

It included a few of my favorite things. . . baking, cooking, entertaining, family, photo taking, photo editing.

I loved it!

Oh. . .except for the morning part of the day.

(Lest you think even a wonderful day is without exasperating moments around here.)

Like the part when we all went downstairs to clean the boys’ bedrooms and bathrooms.

It’s supposed to be a beautiful example of teamwork.

You know. . .we all hum Christmas carols and encourage one another while folding clothes, vacuuming and cleaning the toilet!

If only it were so.

Instead this exercise continually brings out the worst in me. . .

WHY don’t you pee IN the toilet???

This bedroom is not clean!

Every morning of your life you are expected to make your bed. Why is this so hard to remember??

LOOK at all this toothpaste in the sink!!

Now why don’t I remember to calmly enter into this weekly routine?

The training of children is so repetitive and my patience can easily run thin.

2Tim 4:2. . . “correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.”

Enough about that. . .  onto the LOVE IT part of my day.

I knew we had family visiting nearby including a cousin and his fiancé who had recently become engaged.

They were planning to stop by our home sometime today.

I was “hit” with the thought last night. . . I wonder if they would be willing to stand out in the cold and be my models as I practice engagements photos? 

I was thrilled to learn they were “game” and would actually appreciate photos of the two of them.

Whoo Hoo!  My wheels started spinnin’!

We braved the cold. . . or they did, I should say.

I haven’t edited all of the photos but here’s a peek at a few thus far. . .  dj15




The blanket my husband suggested turned out to be a winner.


And then our unanimous favorite. . .

Ahhhh. . . .young love.


It was fun.

I appreciated all of my helpers (you know who you are), their suggestions and keen eye to detail.

Now it’s time for bed. . . .my bum is numb from sitting but my face is smiling from creating pretty pictures to document a special time in the life of two people embarking upon a future of love together. . .forever.

Happy Tuesday before CHRISTmas,


Monday, December 21, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook

simple-woman-daybook-large For December 21

Outside my window..... the snow is falling, the skies are grey.

I am thinking......about getting a new lens for my camera.

I am thankful for.....a weekend of rest.

I am skirt, brown top

I am hearing......Christmas carols playing on the radio.

I am creating.....Christmas cards

I am shopping today with my list in hand for the upcoming traditional Christmas holiday recipes.

I am magazines with all those fun dessert recipes to try.

I am praying.....for safe travels & blessed family time over the next two weeks.

I am remembering.....childhood vacation this time of year.  The excitement of traveling from California to Illinois, visiting grandparents and looking forward to the pretty snow.

I am cut the boys’ hair this week.

On my mind.....the “work” which comes with Christmas as a parent.

From the learning rooms....a little catching up to do but we’re taking it easy the next few weeks.

Noticing that....I’m missing the bright sunshine.

Pondering these words.....”To redeem means to buy back or recover.  God sent Jesus to buy back that which was God’s in the first place.  Rather than give us up for lost, God paid a heavy price-the lifeblood of his only Son- to recue us and restore us to a relationship with him.”

Excerpt from Christ in the Carols by Christopher & Melodie Lane

From the kitchen......I made the meringue cookie recipe last night which my mom used to make each holiday.

Around the house.....the kids are playing foosball, practicing piano, and waiting for mom to begin orchestrating the plans for the day ahead.

One of my favorite things.....Christmas music!

A few plans for the rest of the week....we’ll be home for the Christmas holiday and my husband will have some time off work.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....

A sign made by a neighbor which I hung by the back door this holiday.


Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook.  If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Happy Monday before Christmas,



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Tour of Homes

When you have a few minutes to yourself. . .

and would like to browse Christmas decorations. . .

Go HERE!  It’s so fun to look at how others decorate their homes for Christmas.


Here are a few holiday “splash of red” pictures and crèche scenes around our home:

xmascollage2  xmascollage1

Too much clutter to show the wide angle view!

After a week of the kids battling colds and mom recovering from minor (though tiring) outpatient

surgery yesterday, things around here are a bit discombobulated.

I have begun the fun of sending Christmas cards today.

And it sure is a thrill to receive mail this time of year. . .to look at the family pictures and read all about the year from special family and friends.

Onward we go in this merry Christmastime.

Happy Saturday before Christmas,



Friday, December 18, 2009

Did you know?

We enjoy referring to the following devotional every now and then.


I’ll give you a sample from today since I found it interesting. . .

What does the X in “Xmas” stand for"?

Around Christmastime, you have probably noticed signs that say “Xmas” instead of Christmas.  Maybe you thought that in our hustle-bustle world, people write the word that way to make it shorter and faster to read and write.  Or maybe you thought that people were trying to leave Christ out of Christmas completely.  But neither of those reasons is truly why the X is used.  Actually, Christians themselves first started using the X long ago in Greece.  The Greek letter for the beginning of Christ’s name is chi, and the way to write chi is with an X.  The X is just an old way of using Christ’s initial.

So What?

The letter X is the symbol for Christ, who is the symbol of all beginnings.

The Bible says:

Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God.  He has always been alive and is himself God.  He created everything there is – nothing exists that he didn’t make.  John 1:1-3, TLB

This devotional is full of interesting and sometime silly facts.

Each “Did You Know?” story is followed by a brief lesson and Bible verse. 

Now you know!J

Happy Friday. . . One week ‘til Xmas! (YIKES!)


Thursday, December 17, 2009

H Family Sneak Peek

Another special family photo shoot in the barely 20 degree weather of the northern Midwest.

Their eldest child was home from Mexico. . . a family photo was a must.


Shivering and smiling. . .they did a great job!


Beautiful people. . . inside and out.


Our kids are battling fevers and colds. . . I’m feeling well and appreciated some unexpected fun

this afternoon.

Now back to American History, spelling and holiday baking.

Happy Thursday,


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Unexpected blessings


However many blessings

we expect from God,

His infinite liberality

will always exceed

all our wishes and our thoughts.  John Calvin

After a Monday filled with challenges and discouragement,

Tuesday was a day of unexpected blessings.

God ordained moments which put a smile on my face.

1st was an unexpected visit from my husband at a basketball game the

boys were playing in.  It always warms my heart to unexpectedly see my

loved one during the day.

2nd was the comment made by my five year old while running errands in

the car. . .“Mom!  Did you notice the sky?  It’s beautiful!!”  It indeed was a

beautiful sunset and it was encouraging to have a little one point out the

beauty before us but often missed during our rushed moments.

3rd was crossing paths with a mom of 12 who I had never met before.  Our

conversation was so refreshing and just what I needed to hear at the time.

  • our children are each so unique and require different methods of education,
  • we aren’t raising robots but individuals,
  • as we enter these teen years. . .know they will want their own way, they will try to be breaking free, and this is normal.  Let the freedoms and independence come slowly, individually. . .there is no method or rule book which applies to all.  Walk with them down this path to independence and know they will often not agree with your guidelines but will appreciate them in the future.

May you take extra notice at the blessings God sends your way.

Happy Wednesday,


Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook


For December 14

Outside my window.....the snow covered trees are pretty.

I am thinking.....the resort industry in our area will appreciate the recent snow accumulations we’ve received.

I am thankful for.....our neighbor who just used his snow blower to clear our driveway.

I am wearing.....a new white, comfy, soft fleece vest, black top, black pants.

I am hearing.....the kids outside playing in the snow.

I am felt napkin rings.

I am bed early tonight. . .guaranteed.

I am reading. . . the December issue of Martha Stewart Living.

I am praying.....for safe travels for my parents on the snow covered roads today.

I am remembering.....our day of mishaps yesterday. It began with Mr. E. leaving for church without his cell phone or one son who needed to be there to get ready for the kids Christmas program.  Thank you, Mrs. H. for coming to our rescue.

I am hoping.....mishap #2 does not repeat itself. . . Little A walks onto the stage at church to greet the musicians before the service begins.  Who’s supposed to be watching that kid anyway??

On my mind....Some sneezing and sniffling has begun today and I sure hope that’s the extent of it.

From the learning rooms....the twins are switching to Teaching Textbooks math beginning in January.

Noticing that....I’m extra tired today after a very busy, fun-filled weekend.

Pondering these words....”The Lord your God has arrived to live among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will rejoice over you with great gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will exult over you by singing a happy song.”  Zephaniah 3:17

From the kitchen....chili tonight

Around the house.....we had a great clean-up “party” last night and all is fairly clean and uncluttered.

One of my favorite things.....peaceful, God-given direction, during stressful, anxious, moments.

A few plans for the rest of the week....a basketball game, gift making, baking and outpatient surgery.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....

Remember Nora?

Here are her seven siblings. 

Yes, her sister was super-excited to learn there would be another girl joining the crew.mf30 

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook. If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Happy Monday,



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sugar and Spice Pecans

This is a favorite holiday treat around here.

But beware. . . these pecans are addicting.

You can easily eat one after another. . . .and before you know it. . . GONE!



1 lb. pecan halves

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 C sugar

1 egg white

1 T water

Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. 

Stir in sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Add pecans and stir well until pecans are completely coated.

Spread nuts on a large baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 45 minutes,

stirring every 15 minutes. 

Remove from oven when “dry” and toasty.

Store in airtight container.


Everyone had their share and I quickly placed them in gift jars so they wouldn’t disappear.

They make a special holiday gift.

Happy Thursday in December,



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It’s Cookie Time!

It’s that time of the year. . . cookies!

This past weekend we made the traditional cut-out sugar cookies.

The kids love the “hands on” experience.


I have a recipe which is tasty and does NOT have to be refrigerated.

(I’m impatient and don’t want to wait!)

 Sugar Cookies

1 C butter

1 C sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking powder

3 C flour

Cream butter and sugar with mixer.  Add egg and vanilla.  Beat til smooth.  Add baking powder and flour, 1 C at a time.  Mixing after each addition.  Blend last cup of lour by hand.  Divide dough into 2 balls.  On flour surface roll each ball into 12” circle.

Preheat oven to 400.

Dip cutters in flour.  Cut out cookie shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 9-11 minutes.

DO NOT chill the dough.

Icing:  1/4 C milk, 1/2tsp vanilla, 1 1/2-2C powdered sugar.


They didn’t last long!

Happy holiday cookie making,


What to do about Santa?

When our eldest child was younger yet old enough to recognize Santa we wondered how to deal with the whole Santa issue during Christmastime.

We decided upon the simple truth and turned to books such as this. . .


and this. . .


St. Nicholas was a real person who was kind, generous and loved the Lord.

He was wealthy and gave his money away anonymously to those in need.

So on December 6, St. Nicholas’s birthday, we’ve joined in a tradition started by a friend of mine. . .

We put together a simple bag of gifts, stnickpredominately sweet treats J, and drive to a friend’s home.  The kids sneak to the door, ring the bell, and run to hide.  They then watch for the door to open and the surprise gift to be found.  The kids think it is great fun.  The moms collaborate and make sure to be home at the designated time.

This year we’ve also asked the kids to pray about who they should give $10 of their money to and bless. . . anonymously. 

We celebrate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas day, sing happy birthday to Jesus and enjoy a special happy birthday Jesus cake.   Each child receives three gifts just as the wise men brought three gifts to Jesus.

These traditions seem to explain the Santa Claus part of our culture, instill a spirit of giving, and celebrate Jesus. . . the reason for our CHRISTmas celebrations.

Happy Tuesday in December,


Monday, December 7, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook


For December 7

Outside my window.....grey skies and a nippy 28 degrees

I am thinking.....I should turn up the heat in the house. . . or grab a sweater. . .or start vacuuming.  I’m chilly!

I am thankful for.....our continued health this month.

I am black sweats, black shirt and brown vest.

I am hearing.....whistling, arguing, whining, laughing, jingling bells, singing, (all within the last 30 seconds)

I am creating.....tasty holiday treats.
I am order a new laptop computer today.

I am reading.....the December issue of Cooking Light magazine.

I am praying.....for a family member’s Dr. apt. today and a family member’s surgery today.

I am remembering.....a wonderfully quiet 1 1/2 hours I had to myself, home alone, over the weekend. 

I am begin addressing Christmas cards this week.

On my mind....I need to smile at my kids more often.

From the learning rooms....Paul Revere, fractions, percentages, Harriet Tubman, Mt. Rushmore

Noticing that....I need to get my hair cut this week. 
Pondering these words. . . “Lord, remind me each day that these precious children are so different from each other and from me!  You created them so uniquely.  Show me, as their mother, how to love each of them just the way they need to be loved individually.  Help me love them according to their own personality and needs and not just the way that comes easiest to me.  Give me discernment as I learn their needs, and creativity as I learn to love them accordingly.”  Sandra Stanley, from Prayers for a Mother’s Heart by Ruth Bell Graham

From the kitchen....wild rice chicken soup for dinner.

Around the house.....boxes of Christmas decorations to be put back upon the shelves downstairs.

One of my favorite things.....watching a child nicely help his sibling with his math work.

A few plans for the rest of the week....piano lessons, Christmas program practice, a doctor apt for my upcoming minor, outpatient surgery, my parents coming to town

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.... a favorite Christmastime creche decoration in the family room

Thank you for stopping and reading my daybook! If you'd like to visit others who are participating or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Happy Monday!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Miracles

We are thoroughly enjoying this little book of true stories, (miracles!) during our table time.

It’s a wonderful family devotional or gift idea for the holiday.

You can look at it HERE on the Barnes & Noble website.

christmasmiracles Here’s a synopsis:

Now inspirational author Karen Kingsbury has collected more than a dozen real-life stories about people whose lives were changed by something mysterious and undeniably wonderful during this special time of the year. Among them are:

  • That Silent Night...When his airplane looks certain to crash, a young man believes he'll never spend Christmas with his new bride...until a voice comes over the plane's radio.
  • A Helping Hand...At a highway truck stop, a mother and two children in desperate trouble ask God for a sign that He still cares.
  • Christmas Angels...When a tiny boy gets lost in the frigid Oregon winter, two unusual strangers may be his only chance.
  • Heavenly Hindrances...In Beatrice, Nebraska, the pastor, the organist, and the entire choir of the West Side Baptist Church are inexplicably prevented from getting to church one December night. Now find out why...

In each of these moving stories, Karen Kingsbury brings us undeniable proof of God's presence in our lives. And with an uplifting voice, she gives us a joyous reminder about the true meaning of Christmas: The greatest miracle of all is opening up our hearts to love.

Happy Holiday Reading,


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Welcome Nora!

A new little miracle arrived early Wednesday morning.


Nora Pearl is #8 for this blessed family.


She has one very excited sister and six rambunctious brothers waiting to love on her!


I was happy to capture Nora’s first photos as well as a possible picture for the family Christmas card.


This mother of eight is an organized planner!

She designed her Christmas card around the colors of the rainbow.


Each child has a different color.

Not only for the Christmas card but for home organizational purposes as well.


And little Nora’s color is purple.

Momma came to the hospital prepared with purple ribbon, blanket and pants.


Nora, I think purple looks beautiful on you.


I left the hospital with a sense of awe and wonder.


New life. . .what an awesome miracle.

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3

Happy Thursday,



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The D Family Christmas Photo

I was happy to have the opportunity to take photos of a beautiful family over the weekend. 


Look at the landscape the Lord provided!

I’m a fan of the classic black and white.


They were good sports in the chilly 32 degree weather!

I appreciated my assistants.

My “coat boys” and. . .


my mother-in-law who was in town and contributed her photography expertise. Thank You!


I learn more and more. . .what to do. . .what not to do

with every experience.

I love it!


Thanks to my D family models! J



It’s December 1st.

Christmastime is officially here!

Cue the holiday music and grab a Christmas cookie with a cup of tea.

Could the Christmas cookie fairy come visit my house?

I love to eat them. . .but I’m too busy to make them.

It’s probably better that way, huh? ;)

Happy Tuesday,