We got about 1-2 inches of snow here yesterday and overnight. Around these parts, that means a trip to the grocery to get milk and bread because you will be what is considered "snowed in." Now, I'm originally from Ohio. We laugh at 1-2 inches because up north, it is just considered "flurries." But down here, schools were closed today and they just called them off for tomorrow too. It looks like Mike's Christmas vacay might be a bit extended, especially since they are expecting a wintry mix for Wednesday morning. The benefits of being a teacher!
It was bitterly cold outside, so Mike started a fire at 8:00 this morning and it is still burning. I got to busy in the kitchen and made these.
Homemade Peppermint Patties. If you like peppermint, or what something festive and different for your Christmas cookie collection this year, this could possibly be what you have been looking for.
Yes, that is peanut butter in the middle. These are Buckeye Bars from a recipe my mom gave me when I got married.
Between these two desserts and leftover gingerbread pudding cake I made this weekend, we might be eating sweets for dinner tonight.
1. ALL of my Christmas shopping is done. Besides a few itty bitty things for stockings, the gifts are bought, some of them wrapped even. I know, impressive right?
2. Because I've been living in a hole for the past several months; well, it could actually be because I don't live near a Target, I was unaware of all of the things Giada De Laurentiis had in her cooking line at Target. I. Want. Everything.
3. I like the fact that I was able to wrap Anna Claire's presents with her right next to me. She has no idea what they are for, or even that they are for her. Next year will be a different story and I'll have to be holed up in a room at 11:00 at night wrapping gifts. Let's just hope it's not because she didn't find the gifts interesting.
4. Our 4th anniversary is next week and I'm excited. Someone gave us a fabulous gift card so we will be able to indulge!
5. Orange juice...I can't get enough of it. Does that mean it's a boy or a girl?
6. I made these at the recommendation of my sister. They were yummy. They were wonderful. They are all gone. And you would never know they were from a box mix. I promise. There are so many variations you could do, German chocolate cake...Strawberry Cake with vanilla icing...Carrot cake with cream cheese icing...
7. I have totally lost the taste for my morning cup of a coffee. What I have found though is that Maxwell House makes a very good Vanilla Caramel (instant) latte.
8. With the exception of our honeymoon (we were married on the 22nd and were on our honeymoon for a week), this will be only the 2nd time in my entire life I have NOT spent Christmas Eve or Christmas morning with my family. It will be weird, but I am so excited to begin new traditions with our little (growing) family. I have a feeling though that if you popped into any our houses, whether in VA, TN or OH, you would find the same thing. Our favorite appetizers for dinner on Christmas Eve, singing Silent Night at church, new Christmas PJ's, the question..."can't we just open one present tonight?" and of course Monkey bread for breakfast on Christmas morning.
9. Thanks for celebrating with us about our pregnancy! We are absolutely thrilled and are so thankful there are others who are praying and rejoicing with us!
It's been a while I know, but I am hoping you, my faithful readers, family and friends will forgive me after I tell you why.
Actually, I'll let Anna Claire tell you why....
Anna Claire is going to be a big sister in June! I am almost in my 2nd trimester and other than nausea and sciatic nerve problems (any suggestions on pain relief?) in my back, I'm finally feeling a little more like myself.
Here are just a few more shots from the day. I promise she is excited. In fact when we ask her what she wants to have, a brother or a sister, she always answers brother. I'm leaning more towards girl because my cravings have been the exact same as they were with Anna Claire.
My mornings have been kind of rough and that is when I usually have time to sit and be on the computer, so I'm hoping now I'll be a bit more regular in posting. Thanks for reading!
Nancy Guthrie, in her new book, challenges us to partake in the Advent season. It is not uncommon for families to look back and reflect on this season and wish they would have focused more on Christ rather than the hustle and bustle of gifts and decorating. In her daily devotional, she invites readers to reflect on simple principles that help lead your heart and mind back to Jesus.
I think this is a great book for families with children ages 6-12. At the end of every daily reading, there are discussion starters that get you talking about the reading and hopefully will lead you and your family into a deeper conversation. I don’t feel that there was anything that stood out that made this book extra special, but if you are looking for a family devotional to use during the holiday season, one that will allow you to sit down as a family for a few minutes each night; to sit and rest and reflect on what the verses we read, the stories we tell and the hymns we sing during this time of year really mean, then this is a good choice. It would also make a good gift book.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
Prior to getting married, I debated every year on whether to send out Christmas cards. It seemed so difficult finding the perfect card that said what I wanted it to say, had the right colors and wasn't over sized to the point that I would have to pay double postage. And every year I would receive a handful of Christmas photo cards from friends and family and I always thought, "when I get married and have children, that is the kind of card I am going to send out."
Mike and I were married on December 22nd--wouldn't this have been a fun card to send out?
I started using Shutterfly several years ago to save all of the pictures we have taken of Anna Claire. Although we have an external hard drive, my OCD tendencies lead me to save the pictures in several places...you know...just in case. I've bought my Christmas cards through them the past 2 years and am in the process of putting together our 2010 card. In fact, my favorite card of all time is the one we sent out in 2008 to announce that Anna Claire was a girl. I don't have the picture saved anymore (boo-hoo), but Mike and I were holding a card that said, "It's a Girl!"
This weekend I had the privilege to help throw a bridal shower for this beautiful girl (the one on the left). Lauren and Arthur are getting married next month before Christmas. We wanted to make sure this was an extra special party for Lauren since not only is she planning a wedding, but she is also in school full time! Since setting up house for the first time can be a bit overwhelming so we thought a kitchen shower would be the best way to bless her!
It was all things kitchen! The centerpieces were Kitchen Aid mixers (collected from the many cooks in our church) with gorgeous red roses in the mixing bowl!
I put together a garland out of vintage aprons, dishcloths, napkins and potholders to serve as the backdrop for the gift and cake table.
For the bride-to-be, all of the guests brought their favorite recipe to share.
And the cake....there is little to say except WOW! We have a professional cake baker/decorator/maker :) who attends our church and she graciously made the cake to go along with our kitchen theme.
Everything was edible, including this part of the cake that resembles the utensil holder Lauren registered for.
We all had such a wonderful time celebrating Lauren and all that her future holds with her new hubby!
It always amazes me how God uses people from different places, different times with different stories to impact the world for His glory. From the Roman Empire to modern day theologians, this book gives us a glimpse into not only how He works, but WHO he works through—many times the most unlikely people.
It is through these daily readings that Robert Morgan (Then Sings My Soul) exposes us to individuals, that many of us have never heard of, who have significantly impacted the way we, as believers, live today. This would be a great gift book for those who love history and more importantly want to learn about our Christian heritage. Even though it is set up as a 365 daily read book, there are stories that you will want to revisit time and time again to be challenged and encouraged by. There is a topical index in the back to use as a help for pastors and teachers as well.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Chris Fabry continues, in Almost Heaven, to invite us into the lives of those who live Dogwood, West Virginia. In this beautiful and well written story, Billy Allman is a kind and gentle man who lives a very simple life. He suffers many tragedies, including the death of his parents, but through it all he rests in the comfort and peace of knowing there is a Someone else who is control of it all. As he begins to live his life on his own, his past begins to affect his future and Billy struggles with living his life the way he is used to. A dark secret is exposed that ultimately changes Billy. There is a beautiful side story told by an angel who has been sent to protect Billy throughout his life and through this, Chris Fabry gives us a glimpse into the protection the Lord provides to those He loves. Although he weaves in a character from June Bug, Almost Heaven stands on its own.
Chris Fabry is a master at fiction and I'm happy to add this to my collection of his books!
I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale House Publishers book review blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Since Mike was on fall break this past week, we decided to give it a go with introducing Anna Claire to car camping. We talked about where we would go--there are tons of state parks within a few hours from where we live. Mike had initially wanted to go to Fall Creek Falls, which is a considerable distance away. My suggestion intuition was to go to Montgomery Bell, which is only an hour away. My thinking was this, if Anna Claire ends up being miserable, then we can pack up the car and be home within an hour, no matter what time, day or night. Let's just say there is a TON to be said for intuition.
We loaded up the car with the tent, food, sleeping bags, chairs and of course, marshmallows. The day couldn't have been more beautiful on Thursday. I even thought to myself, I'm going to have these great pictures and a great story to share on my blog! We arrived at the park, picked out a site and proceeded to set up camp for the night. We met the families who were in the sites next to us and during the conversations, Mike and I jokingly said, "if you hear our car start up in the middle of the night, you'll know it didn't work out and we apologize in advance." We took a walk, Anna Claire played in the leaves, all was good and right with the world.
We ate some dinner and then met up with some friends of ours from church who happened to be there as well. We headed back to our site, made some s'mores and put Anna Claire down to bed around 8:30. So far so good.
12:22 am. She wakes up.
For the next 4 hours, she proceeds to talk. Thankfully she isn't crying, she just wants to talk. "Mommy?" "Daddy?" "ABC's?" "Pray?" "Mommy?" "Daddy?" "Pray?" "Outside?" and on and on and on. She would be quiet for 5-10 minutes, then back at it again. She asked me so many times to pray that towards the middle of the night I was pleading with the Lord to just let her sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
Mike turned over and said he was sure she was a super-hero baby and no longer needed sleep. I laughed because if I didn't do that, I would have cried.
Finally around 4:45 she fell asleep.
5:15 am. Screaming. Mike and I trying to figure out what is wrong. She isn't able to be consoled. "Get her into the car so she doesn't wake up the other campers." Screaming. "Mommy's here baby." I get her into the car, she finally settles down once I have her wrapped up against me. She then proceeds to begin talking again. Mike, in the mean time, is throwing everything we brought into the car with no rhyme or reason. It no longer looks like we went car camping, it now looks like we live out of our car.
We are out of the park by 5:30 am. She finally fell asleep as we were turning into our neighborhood at 6:15 am.
She slept until 11:00, ate some lunch, then went back to bed until 4:30 pm.
Despite it being the worse never EVER (Anna Claire has been sleeping through the night since she was 10 weeks old so even during her newborn stage, it was easier than this), we're not ready to give up on family camping. We'll give it another try in the next few months, probably once it begins to warm up a bit.
This sweet story is told by Todd Burpo, Colten's father. After a series of medical issues, including an emergency apendectomy, at 3 years old, Colten begins sharing stories of heaven. Stories that include events that happened before Colten was even born. Over the course of the following years, without pressure from his parents to share, Colten begins revealing more and more about his time in heaven; about meeting his great-grandfather (who passed away before he was born) and about meeting his sister (a baby his mother miscarried before Colten was born).
Descriptive details about heaven, the people who are there, the things that happen, even a glimpse into the constant battle against Satan, make this an interesting, enjoyable and thought-provoking book. I think it would be easy for someone to be skeptical about this book, but I found the story of Colten's experiences to bring hope and comfort to those of us who long for heaven, or even for those who just wonder, "what is it going to be like?" One thing I appreciated was that Todd Burpo is very careful to provide scripture as a point of reference for the stories Colten shares.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
She is sitting at the grown-up table now. Sniff-sniff. The highchair has been put away.
She was getting frustrated that I kept taking pictures.
On the same trip to get the booster seat, I decided to pick this up too. She has shown no interest whatsoever in potty training, but I thought this might peak her interest a bit.
Clearly Elmo likes it better than she does.
I found her teapot and teacups in it last night.
And now for a bathroom update..because I know you have been anxiously waiting...we were put into a holding pattern for a couple of weeks but we are back on track now. We decided to opt out of a free standing cabinet when we realized there was some space behind this wall. Mike cut into it and there is just enough room for us to have a built in. There will be a door on the bottom two shelves to hide those things that you don't want guests to see...like my ginormous stash of soap that I bought when I had several coupons. I wouldn't want anyone to think I hoard.