Sunday, December 30, 2007

Randomness!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post about my blog appearance! I really appreciate it!

So...i have just a few random pics to share that I have taken with my new camera that Chris got me for Christmas! :)

Here's a pic of the "girls":

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X enjoying some cereal the other morning:

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And a few other presents I got for Christmas. If you didn't see the other pics I posted...you can see them HERE. I was soo spoiled this year!

A lamp my aunt got me...i just love it!
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And a pic she got me. Isn't it beautiful? I am not sure where I am going to hang it yet though!

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So...i just wanted to share that bit of randomness with you LOL. Since tomorrow is the last day of 2007...I will post my hopes and prayers for 2008 then. So until tomorrow.....i hope you all have a wonderful evening! Blessings!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Apple Butter.....

So, I made the apple butter for mine and chris's grandparents for Christmas.....wellllll....it burnt. :( I followed the recipe to a "T"...but it still ruined :( . I was quite bummed. I was looking forward to making the jars all cute etc. oh well :(. So instead, i gave them each a few cookies I had made and pics of the kids and an ornament that M decorated. I am going to have to try the apple butter again sometime though....I really want to learn to make it right :). I would love to hear how any of you had made apple butter? Do you have a recipe? I would love to hear any tips or recipes you guys have on it!!! Thanks so much! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What a blessed Christmas we had!!!

oh gosh....Christmas this year was soo wonderful! We celebrated with family and friends and just had a great time! :) Christmas Eve was spent with my dad's side of the family! The meal was delicious. (I took baked corn.) Then we went to our Christmas Eve Service at church....which was beautiful. Unfortunately, i didn't get to hear the message though in its entirety cuz J was quite chatty so i took him to the nursery for the last half of the service!

Christmas morning was magical. The kids had such a blast opening their presents and Chris and I really enjoyed watching them! Although...i was the one up before everyone else LOL. I wanted the tree to be on and everything just right for when the kids came downstairs. I love to see their faces when they walk in and see the tree!

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After we opened gifts as a family, my parents and sister and her boyfriend and his parents, and my aunt and cousin all came over for brunch! I made the french toast casserole and my mom brought egg casserole. It was all so yummy and I think everyone enjoyed it! :) Then we opened more gifts. I must admit...i was sooo spoiled this year! I got a new canon powershot digital camera! It is REALLY super great! I love it! I got many other things (including a lot of Mary Engelbreit stuff!) but here are some pics of a few of my fave things i got this year!


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(I turned this the right way...I am not sure why it is showing up sideways! ARGH!)

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I really feel that people really put thought into what they got me this year...and that means a LOT to me! Isn't the chicken mat tooo funny? LOL I love it! And I am in spatterware heaven! I had only a few things before...and my mom found sooo much stuff to add to my set! And the mixer....oh how i have wanted a standing mixer...and my sweet hubby got me one! (as well as my camera). And the new purse was from my Aunt! Isn't it awesome? It's huge and roomy and fits everything i need in it and keeps it so organized! i love it! It even is big enough to carry my daily planner in!!! woot!

I know Christmas is definitely not all about the gifts. I just felt so blessed this year and wanted to share some of it all with you. Now comes clean up. LOL I did the initial clean up yesterday....Chris burned all the wrapping paper etc. and I cleaned up generally...but there is still more to do today and we need to find places to put things! LOL
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and i can't wait to hear all about it!

And last but not least...a pic of me and my sweet Christopher on Christmas day! <3
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

M's Christmas Program!!!

The Kindergarten did a GREAT job with their program this year! It was soo cute and each child did a wonderful job with their lines and with singing! They recognized Jesus' birth and everything! It was a wonderful program! The ONLY bad thing was that i was video-ing the whole time...so the only pic i took at the program itself was of the boys being silly......

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But...the GOOD thing is that I did take pics once we got to Madelyn's classroom for cookies and punch afterwards. Here is a pic of my little star. I am so proud of her...she did a GREAT job!

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I just can't believe my daughter was in her first ever school Christmas Program. Where has the time gone?

The Joy of Giving!

I think part of the fun of giving is the wrapping and time you put into things! (at least for me)
I am a huge fan of big bows! LOL I like the look of ribbon and when you top it off with a big bow...it just makes me smile! Although, I would really like to learn the technique for making those elegant beautiful bows that some people make! Maybe for next year?
Anyway...here is a gift for my one nephew! It's pretty simple...but i just think the bow just dresses it up!
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In THIS post I talked about how I like to do theme gifts and put them into baskets! Here is a theme gift I did for my soon to be sister in law: (although....they look much better in real life)

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And I don't know about you....but gifts for my grandparents are so hard to buy. They don't need anything...ya know? So I try to make gifts, like frames with the kids pics in them etc. This year...i made them each a bag of stuff. An ornament decorated by M, a school pic of M, I will put in a jar of apple butter that I am going to make in the upcoming days, as well as a pic of all three kids together! I think that is a gift each of the grandparents will enjoy...don't you?

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I would love to hear what kind of things you give to your grandparents! I love looking at new ideas and thoughts on things! I hope you are having a wonderful week before Christmas! Blessings!

Wonderful Christmas Plans!

To me, my Christmas celebrations start today! Today is M's FIRST ever school program! I am so excited. Camera and camcorder batteries are charged and ready to go! They will be singing lots of Christmas songs with punch and cookies to follow the program! They are even singing songs about Christ! (Not just the politically correct Christmas songs) I am sooo thrilled! I will be sure to post pics later today or tomorrow!

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Then Sunday evening, we are having our Christmas celebration with Chris's immediate family. Monday will be Christmas Eve and that evening we celebrate with my dad's side of the family and then go to our church service! I love our Christmas Eve church service! :) THEN.....

Christmas DAY! Oh how fun it will be! We will get up and open up "santa" gifts etc...and then I will be making brunch. ALOT of people will be joining us for brunch and i can't WAIT! My parents, my sister and her guy, my aunt and cousin (who we don't usually get to spend christmas with) and my sister's future inlaws (who we LOVE). It will be such a WONDERFUL time and I love visiting with great family and friends and enjoying great food...all in celebration of the birth of our Savior! I am actually giddy about it!

Although, i must admit....i feel sort of flustered too. I have all my gifts wrapped and ready to go.....and I am basically all ready for christmas...but i think all the anticipation of it and stress of doing the things i need to do in the next couple of days keeps me all flustered! LOL Is that weird?

Christmas night we will be spending with Chris's dad's side of the family. We have a big meal (that tastes wonderful!). I am looking forward to it....although, we will probably be so pooped by then that we will be dragging ourselves there! LOL


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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lists and Planners!

Are you a list maker? I AM! I make a grocery list (catergorized in the order i will be picking the things up at the store) and I always write down appointments and my "to do" list down in a planner book I have. I would be lost if i didn't write everything down! It helps me stay organized!
Another wonderful thing about making lists is that you can check off things as you accomplish them! That is such a wonderful feeling for me...when I can see how much i have gotten accomplished for the day! :)

I LOVE my planner. It goes just about everywhere with me. It's just a basic 8.5x11 type planner with a black cover. I just like it simple. I like to have it so I have enough room to write in it too! (since i write my chores etc in it). I took a couple pics..but my batteries went dead on me..so I will have to charge them before I will actually be able to load up any pics! I love that my planner can fit right in my M.E. Bag...which if you haven't seen it before..you can see HERE! It looks small in the pic but it is actually 12x12...i like bigger bags! :)

AND...i have to add...today, while I was out with some friends (we had such an awesome day...) we went to Borders and I got THIS book! I thought it looked sooo good and i really want to read it! I will let you know what I think when i am done! :) It's called "90 Minutes in Heaven" By Don Piper. I look forward to reading it! :)

Sorry no pics with this post.....my batteries need charged! I hope you had a fantastic Tuesday and wish you all a super happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Winter Wonderland!!!

Here is a view of part of my backyard! Look how thick the snow is!!!


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It is crazy! I was out shoveling cuz M still had school today... she had a 2 hr delay...but the school didn't cancel. I don't know why not though..the roads weren't that great at all and M's bus even got stuck...so my sweet neighbor offered to take M to school since she was taking her son anyway (and she has 4 wheel drive!). Thankfully...M is safe at school now...but i pray it quits snowing so i know she can get home safely on the bus!

French Bread Casserole with Praline Topping

I had seen this recipe made on Paula Deen once last year and it looked soo fabulous...so I tried it and had everyone over for it and it was a HUGE hit! So...now...it is a Christmas expectation to have this french bread casserole every year! LOL I thought I would share the recipe in case anyone else wanted to try it! It is really delicious! I will be making this for christmas morning!

FRENCH BREAD CASSEROLE

1 loaf french bread
8 lg eggs
2 c. half and half
1 c. milk
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
dash of salt

Slice bread into 20 slices (1 in. each). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 x 13 dish in 2 rows, overlapping slices. In a lg. bowl, combine eggs, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk till blended. Pour mixture over bread slices, making sure all are covered equally by the mixture. Spoon mixture in between slices. Cover with foil and refridgerate overnight.

The next day....preheat the oven to 350. Spread the praline topping (recipe below) evenly over bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve with syrup!


PRALINE TOPPING

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans
2 Tbs. lt. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and blend well!

One chicken less.....

Welp....one of our chickens died. I am so sad! Yesterday, when chris went to check on them...one of them was sick and the other chickens were picking on her. So chris seperated her from the rest of the chickens and hoped if she was just left alone that she would get better. No such luck :( . Chris went out to check on her today...and she had died. I know it's "just a chicken"...but it still makes me incredibly sad. Poor thing!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A wonderful evening!

Last night, the kids and I had a wonderful evening together while chris was at the meat market cutting deer. (Sounds gross, i know..but his dad is a meat cutter..and it is deer season..LOL)
There wasn't too much fighting or anything last night..it was great! After having taco salad for supper....i read to them about the birth of Jesus and they listened and enjoyed it! (except J...he was off running around...little squirt LOL) Then we played a game of chutes and ladders that Chris and Heather had gotten them for christmas! M won! She was quite happy! LOL Then the kids played for a while and I did my devotions. It was wonderful spending most of the evening without the TV on! Then I got each of the kids a scoop of icecream out of the freezer and we watched some TV together! Chris came home soon after that while I bathed M and he put the boys to bed. Then he put M to bed as well. It was such a great evening with my kids. Sometimes they bicker and just don't want to get along with each other..and those nights feel sooo unpleasant..but last night was such a blessing and I hope we have many more nights like it!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

EGG-citing NEWS!!!

OK, i know i am using the whole "egg-citing" term way too much lately..but it totally fits..don't you think? Anyway...So..we went from getting 10-15 eggs a day down to ONE cuz of the shorter days and cold weather etc....WELL...if you remember how i said we were putting a light in the coop so the chickens lay more during the day....you will know we were waiting to see if that helped. EUREKA! It worked! Isn't that soo fantastic?? Now we are getting about 4 or so a day..but hey...i will take it! That's better than ONE or NONE! LOL

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Now..we didn't get all these in one day..but over a couple days we did...isn't that GREAT?? I am soo thrilled!!! I seriously love owning chickens!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Cookies!

I did some baking today! Not a TON but enough to make me officially pooped out of baking for a while! LOL And i have a HORRIBLE habit of eating icing or dough as i make things and OMG....i am sooo not even going to eat lunch today...my stomach is full of sugar! LOL

Here are meltaway cookies that i made for the first time ever. They are OK..but not one of my faves:

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Then I got out my cookie cutters (i LOVE cookie cutters!) and got ready to make some sugar cookies! I got the recipe i used from Monica's Blog!

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Here are a few of them....i made like 3 dozen or so!
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And i made a stocking cookie for each of the kids with their initial on it! :)


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So that is my baking for the day! LOL Now, after i get off the computer, i have housework calling to me! I hope you are all having a wonderful Monday!!! xoxo

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

The blessing of good friends....

We have become really great friends with our pastor's daughter and her fiance. Heather and I have the same taste in a LOT of stuff, we all share the same values and morals and all enjoy hanging out and laughing together! It is fantastic!! We feel soo blessed to have such great friends! This is them at our house last night. I made supper (stuffed chicken breasts, mashed potatoes and baked corn with Almond Pound Cake for dessert) and then we exchanged some gifts.

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Please excuse the look of the walls...LOL Our house is a work in progress. The dining room is done..but the living room isn't...so...that is why the walls look kinda scary! LOL

Here is what Heather gave me for Christmas:

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She made it for me..isn't it so pretty? i love it!

And here is part of the gift i gave her. I did this cross stitch for her but also filled a basket with some things for her as well :)

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We had a great evening last night and i just had to share! :) I thank God for friends I know in person...as well as the many people i have met online. I am truly blessed! Have a wonderful evening!!!! xoxo


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10 Years Ago Today....

I was a passenger in an almost fatal car accident. It was on Dec. 9th, 1997. I was 16. I don't have any memory of the accident...but was told about it and have seen pics of the car afterwards etc. I was in a coma for over a week, i shattered my left elbow (which is now rebuilt with 2 metal plates and 17 screws) and my left lung collapsed at one point...yada yada. It was a huge experience for me and it has taught me ALOT! I feel sooo blessed that God brought me out of that alive. They know i hit my head on the windshield and could have had brain damage...but didn't except for a few things like having trouble in large crowds trying to make out certain sounds etc. Anyway....it never ceases to amaze me how God can bring good from all things that are tragic. At the time, through physical therapy, not being myself, dealing with an unusable arm, etc.....the outlook looked bleak for me. And now....10 years down the road...I can look back and see all the blessings God has brought from this accident as well as giving me wisdom about many things as well. I thank God each night for another day he has given me and feel so loved and comforted knowing my purpose on this Earth has not yet been totally fulfilled and He has kept me here. Thank you for sharing in my memories with me and I pray God has blessed your life as much as He has mine. xoxo

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Preparation

Wow....only 18 days left till Christmas! This whole year has seemed to fly by to me! WOW! Does it seem that way to anyone else?

I made my toffee the other day. The directions say to let it boil till it reaches 300 degrees. So i did just that...then removed it totally from the heat and poured it over the nuts and chocolate morsels in the pan (as instructed on the recipe). But it still tasted a bit burnt....It isn't horrible..but it isn't really "good" either. I haven't thrown the toffee away yet...cuz i have a hard time discarding something that i took time and ingredients to make! LOL But I take this as a learning lesson and know that next time....not to let it get to 300 degrees...even if the directions say to! LOL

I have had some comments that some of you have planned on (or already done) the chocolate covered pretzel rods that I did! If you have...please leave me a comment here and let me know, i would LOVE to come see pics and hear how it went for you! :)

It is snowing like crazy here. We have SOOOO much snow. I am not a major fan of it though! Here is a pic out of my bedroom window of our backyard....LOL...sorry about the screen..but it is what it is!
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The only good thing about the snow is that it makes me feel cozy in my home...and i DO love that feeling! I have been working on many cross stitch projects lately...but don't want to post them in case the people I am giving them to happen to see my blog! LOL But i will try and remember to post them after Christmas!


I also have been working on wrapping my Christmas gifts! I have only done a few...many more to go...but I AM working on it! LOL that is a PLUS! Here is a pic of the start of my sister's gift...there is more to add to it though :)

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I would also like to do some baking...but wouldn't ya know..i ran out of eggs (argh..my chickens...whole other post...LOL), brown sugar, and am running low on sugar. Those are some necessities when making cookies etc...and grocery day isn't till this coming Wednesday! So...no cookies for us! LOL

Anyway...that's what's been up with me lately and getting ready for Christmas! :) I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday!!! xoxo


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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A not so EGG-citing update.....

Well. So we have been lighting the coop some extra hours after sunset for the chickens cuz egg production had slowed to ONE egg a day. I had mentioned it at the bottom of THIS post. Well....nothing real exciting to report....still only getting ONE egg a day. Ugh. I keep thinking maybe they just need more time? I dunno. But we'll keep waiting and hoping to kick production up a bit. I was so used to getting 10 or more a day! I mean, geesh..we have 23 chickens! You'd think we would get more than ONE! I wish chickens understood the phrase "you need to earn your keep". Oh well. I still love having them and they are still "the girls". Maybe they just aren't too fond of all this snow we are getting. I can totally relate with them on that! LOL

OH...and...I have a recipe for "melt in your mouth toffee" that i think i may try to make this afternoon. I have never made toffee before..but the recipe seems simple enough and so I think I am going to try it out! I will be sure to let you know how it goes!


I hope you are all having a GREAT Wednesday!!! xoxo

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

My bloggy friend from A Bun's Life asked how I made the chocolate covered pretzels that i talked about in THIS post. I figured others would wonder as well...so I thought i would post it! :)
It is reallly easy!

Just don't be dumb like me...i wasn't thinking and used semi sweet morsels! (duh me) But you take chocolate...whether it be some hershey bars or what not....and melt it in a pan....be careful you don't burn it though. Once you see the chocolate melting...remove from heat and stir...then put back on the heat for a few seconds and stir...then remove....etc etc till it is all melted. You don't want burnt chocolate..ewww! (since i used the semi sweet morsels...i put some peanut butter in to melt with it too..just to give it an extra kick since i didn't use the right chocolate!)

Once melted...I just took my pretzel rods and turned them in the melted chocolate and then layed them on a piece of wax paper. Then i took sprinkles and sprinkled them on top of them. Then I let them cool for a while till they harden. You can also put them in the refridgerator too! They are a big hit!!!
Let me know how it works for you!!! :)

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OHHH...and yes, i know, i changed my blog again..but i FINALLY Found a chicken background that i just ADORE! Doesn't it look similar to my salt and pepper shakers i showed you in THIS post? So...i hope you understand..i just HAD to change it....for the love of chickens! LOL
Have a great night everyone!!!! ;) xoxo

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

oh....the yumminess of apple butter!

So I was browsing blogs and came across this blog with a great apple butter recipe for the slow cooker! I think I am going to try it and put it in small jars covered in fabric on the top and raffia and give them as gifts for christmas this year!!!! Isn't that a great idea?? I am so excited! I just had to share in case anyone else wanted to do it as well! I will be sure to take pics when i am done :) . OH..and if you haven't checked out my last post...go take a peek! It has pics from J's bday party! ;) Have a great rest of your Sunday! :)

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J's 2nd Bday Party!

Despite our colds and the icky weather, we had J's 2nd birthday party last night (although his birthday isn't actually till tomorrow). I think he had a GREAT time! I did a cat in the hat theme!


The HAT cake...(i did the best i could LOL)
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The table all set up...
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Blowing out the candles:

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And opening up his gifts:

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I think he had a lot of fun and he was sooo pooped by the end of the night! He was ready to go to bed before anyone had even left! LOL I can't believe my baby is 2! Sooo bittersweet!

OH.....and update on the chickens....
still only ONE egg a day ARGH.....still hoping the light trick will work and kick in soon!!! I will let you know! ;) Have a great Sunday!

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