December 31, 2010

A New Year... set of goals, new hopes and dreams.  I wrote a list of goals at beginning of 2010.  Let's see how I did shall we?  I'll type my comments in italics.  Here we go (as I cover my eyes with one hand while looking at the list in fear!).

- pray for 5 people each day (That one was pretty easy.)
-complete each Bible study that comes in the e-mail (2 each week) --they're not don't
worry that I'm committing to too much ; )  (Sadly, that did not happen much longer than January...blech!)

- read through the New Testament  (We got about 1/3 of the way. *sigh*)
- love on the kids more and tell them that I love them more  (I think I'm doing better at being an encourager and random hugging!)

- encourage more, hug more  (I think I'm doing better here, too.)

- lose 10 pounds this year --  I know...that's what everyone says...but I really need to do it!  (Well that one didn't happen, but I didn't gain much so I guess I broke even? I plan to lose that 10 pounds this year!)
- get up each morning when Nathan does -- that's early, folks, but hey, it's good to have a goal!  (I do that one about 95% of the time!  Yahoo!)
- spend no more than an hour total on the computer (that means, FB, e-mail, looking up recipes, reading blogs, etc.)   ( didn't happen!  Due to a certain blog I started!  (a-hem)  But it's been worth it and I'm working my goals for that.)
- drink 8 glasses of water a day    (Easy one, right? Well...hmm...does chai count? LOL!  Maybe I'll start wtih a goal of 4 glasses.  Baby steps!)
-scrapbook at least once a month   (I may not have scrapbooked once a month, but I did go to a stamping club once a month!  That was something crafty!  This year I really do need to get my little guys' baby book done...he'll be five in February!)

Hmm...well I see I need to revisit some of my goals.  I don't think there's a need to re-write them. I think I was well on track with them the first time around.  Here's to a new year and "new" (refreshed?) goals!  Like I always say..."It's good to have a goal!"  *wink* help all of us stay on track I'm going to remind you of some systems that I have been using this year and some that I've implemented late in the game.  I'm going to revisit them as well this new year.

Have you bought your new 2011 Motivated Mom's planner yet?  It's super inexpensive and well worth the small amount of money (we're talking less than two lattes!).  You have a variety of options for ordering...8 1/2 x 11...w/ Scripture Reading...1/2 size...1/2 size w/ Scripture Reading...Page per Day...1/2 size Page per Day...Page per Day w/ Scripture...1/2 size Page per Day w/ Scripture!  Lot's of options!!   (I have the 8 1/2 x 11 pictured here.)

 Go HERE to order your 2011 Motivated Mom's planner for only $8

Also...Amy's Tell Your Time program is super inexpensive (oh, let's say less than three lattes *wink*) and very much worth it!!  Read her printout and make a few charts to see where you spend your time, what your goals are, what's important to you, and plot away at how and when you will spend your time in those worthwhile areas.  I would say it's easy to read the printouts, chart, and get started on rearranging your time for those important things in less than 2 hours!  (Psst...I have a testimonial on there...if I'm willing to slap my name on it then you know it's something I believe in!)

Go HERE to order Tell Your Time!
Enter code CLEANSLATE 
On sale for a limited time for only $7.  
(Until January 7th)

Regular price is $12 (or those three lattes).  
So buy now and buy a latte to drink while reading it!  *wink*

December 28, 2010

Christmas Tour

Did you know there are 361 days until Christmas!  That thought either makes you giddy or makes you groan.  I love planning for Christmas.  I bought a few things for next Christmas already when my mom and I went craft/birthday gift/grocery shopping yesterday.  I thought I'd post pictures of the house for my sake and yours.  I was rather fond of my decor placements this year (most of them, anyway) and I will most likely forget what decorations went where so this will help me remember!  (I have collected so many things over the years, tweaked, refurbished, etc..) I also thought ya'll would like some inspiration for next know, in case you're in the mood to do some decor shopping for next year!  *wink*

View from the road.
The side porch.  See the sled?  That was mine when I was a child.  There's a larger one on the front porch that was my brothers.
This sled wreath will welcome you in!
Come on in!

I made this stacking/collapsible snowman years ago.

This little tree in the living room is decorated with tiny quilt square ornaments.

I love these skater/snowman guys -- I've had them for 8 years now!

Decor above the couch.

My little school desk all spruced (ha!) up for Christmas.
Welcome to the kitchen!

This room has a theme.  Gingerbread and yummy treats!


My hubby installed power cords to the tops of my cupboards!

I like to decorate the kitchen with "kitcheny" things!  Can you see the cookie cutters?

This tree is decorated with little cutting boards, rolling pins and gingerbread men.

Jars of gumdrops and peppermint sticks!  Yum!

Somehow the dining room became the "Nativity Room"...there are about 4 sets.

A dear sweet older friend gave this set to me years ago.  So special!


I switched the Advent Garland to the dining room windows. (They were a little bare.)
The office hutch gets a little snow village. 
  See the little church in the middle?  I bought that our first Christmas 16 years ago!  I've been adding to it, but it's difficult.  These are a certain brand that was sold in JoAnn's fabrics years ago.  I think it's Dickens somethingerother.  It's not Dept. 56, but something else.  I've found a few on eBay.  I saw some at a garage sale this summer but she wanted too much for them (in my opinion).  If you want to know I can go down in the basement and look in the storage tote, but right now I'm feeling a bit lazy. *smile*

The main Christmas tree lives in the office.

We take this picture every year!
This is a tree in the kiddos' play room.

The bathroom gets a little sprucing up, too!

Thanks for touring our home!  I'm going back to Christmas break so I'll write more again in the new year!

December 27, 2010

Chicken Carbonara

This last week was such a whirlwind!  I hope ya'll had a nice Christmas!  We had a crazy week!  The week before we had plumbing (a-hem) issues and had to have our septic tank pumped.  Then last week Sunday night our furnace bit the dust so it was replaced on Thursday.  Eek!  So glad for financing. We plan to get it paid off in the next year or two (can you say "tax returns"?).  We kept warm with the propane fireplace and heater in the play room and also a few space heaters during the day.  At night we had a few space heaters that the company had loaned us (they were very safe and up on dressers) to keep us warm.  We did manage to finish our Christmas shopping and enjoy our time with family and friends.

So I know I had planned on taking the week off, but I just had to share with you a recipe!

I had planned on fixing our usual Christmas dinner (I wrote about it HERE), but then decided to switch it up a bit.  We had a family pow-wow to see what everyone wanted.  My goal was to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the day.  So we came up with and Italian meal.  Hubby grilled chicken Christmas Eve day in preparation.  My mom is on a gluten-free diet so she had corn noodles and grilled chicken with pasta sauce.  The semi-picky eaters had bow tie pasta with sauce and meatballs (I used canned sauce and frozen meatballs).  Then I whipped up some Chicken Carbonara!  Hubby loves that dish from the Olive Garden so I searched for a copy cat recipe.  One of the blog readers shared a link to Olive Garden's website where they actually share the recipe there!  Can you believe that?!  I tweaked it a bit (imagine that?!) and it was a hit! You can also make this shrimp carbonara as well (just marinate and saute the shrimp instead of chicken).

Here it is from my house to yours!

Chicken Carbonara

Marinated Chicken or Shrimp
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1-2 lbs chicken strips or large shrimp, peeled and devained

1/2 cup butter
1-1 1/4 tsp. chopped garlic  (I used the jar kind)
2 Tbsp. bacon bits (I used the jar kind)
4 1/2 tsp flour (all purpose)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (I used the kind in a can)
2 cups heavy cream (I used whipping cream)
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt


2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1  cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup crushed butter crackers
1  tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp melted butter
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Chicken (or Shrimp)
Marinated chicken strips (I cut them in small strips so the little ones could eat them easily and so more of it went around) (or Shrimp) from step 1
1 cups roasted red peppers, cut into small strips
1/8-1/4 cup bacon bits (again...jar)

Cooked Pasta
1 - 14 oz boxes of any long pasta on package (spaghetti, linguine, etc.) cooked using instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Marinated Chicken (or Shrimp)
  • WHISK extra virgin olive oil together with hot water, seasoning and chopped garlic.
  • ADD the chicken strips (or shrimp).
  • COVER and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  • MELT butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and bacon bits.
  • SAUTÉ for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • ADD flour, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, milk, pepper and salt.
  • USE a wire whisk to whip all ingredients together.
  • BRING to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer.
  • COMBINE Parmesan, mozzarella, crushed crackers, chopped garlic, melted butter and chopped parsley in a mixing bowl.
  • STIR until well blended. Set aside.
Chicken (or Shrimp)
(I grilled the chicken, but next time I'm making it this way with the red peppers and bacon bits)
  • PREHEAT large skillet. Add chicken (or shrimp) to pan. Add red peppers and bacon bits.
  • COOK for 3 more minutes or until cooked on both sides and internal temperatures reach 165ºF for chicken and 155ºF for shrimp.
  • ADD sauce (from above) Stir until well blended.
  • PLACE hot, precooked pasta on a lager serving platter (I used a 9x13 baking dish and it was FULL!). Top with chicken (or shrimp) and sauce.
  • EVENLY distribute topping over top of chicken (or shrimp).
  • PLACE in broiler until top is golden brown.
  • SERVE immediately and enjoy.
This was soooo delicious!  I hope you give this a try!

I'll be back some time this week to share our Christmas decor photos since it plum slipped my mind!  Go figure!  Hugs to all!

December 18, 2010

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

Hubby and the kiddos are on Christmas break now and I thought I would be, too.  Christmas Blessings to all!  See you again in the New Year.  (I'll still be on Facebook...I'd miss ya'll too much!)

- - -

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."  Luke 2:11

December 16, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 51

We're on week 51 of Queen of the Castle.  We're a week ahead, but that's just fine, we'll start over at week one in January and work until we get to where we started HERE.

This week's chapter is "Eating Our Way Through the Holiday: Christmas Foods".  If you're anything like Lynn, the author, or myself, you are drooling over cookbooks and magazines that have to do with Christmas foods right about now.  I have been for a while, but I love food so it goes without saying! 

Lynn shares her family's traditional Christmas meals.  I have already done so HERE, but I'm thinking of changing things up a bit.  I'm thinking of making it a bit easier on myself so I can better enjoy the day with my family.   After reading Lynn's suggestions I'm thinking of the following:

Whip up Old House Baked Eggs (recipe HERE)  the night before and pop them in the oven in the morning.
Make these Cinnamon Rolls (recipe HERE) and bake them in the morning.  Cut up some cantaloupe, and serve with strawberries, grapes, and orange wedges.  Serve along with chunk cheese and crackers.  Bake some bacon (how I do it HERE) the night before and zap it in the microwave to warm it up.  And maybe...just maybe make ahead some Sausage Gravy and Biscuits (recipes HERE).  My revised plan is to (perhaps) nibble on some fruit and cheese while we do stockings and read from Luke, then have our big breakfast/brunch?, unwrap gifts and then...

In lieu of a large lunch/dinner (that we usually have) we'd have some sort of soup, stew or chili in the crock pot.  But...I really want something different.  I serve chili, chicken (or turkey) and rice soup a lot, so I'd like for it to be something different. has to be gluten free for my mom.  I like for her to eat what we eat on our special holidays so she doesn't feel like she's missing out (I know...she'll miss out on the rolls, but she can eat everything else for breakfast/brunch and she doesn't like rolls anyway.).  So...I need your help ladies!  Have any ideas for me?

I haven't forgotten about the book review here...Lynn shares a story about a goose being cooked for Christmas dinner as well as a few recipes.  I'll end with the verse she shares...

- - -

"In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'" Luke 2:8-11

December 15, 2010

Advent Conspiracy Promo Video

Sour Cream Pie Crust

This pie crust recipe is heavenly!  The crust is so moist and flaky that I think it has replaced my old pie crust recipe.  I found it in a magazine and couldn't find the recipe when I went back to look for it, so I did a Google search and I found something similar at Better Homes and Gardens.  You are going to love it!

You can mix this by hand. Or you can blitz it real quick in a food processor.  I love my Cuisinart Food Processor.

Sour Cream Pie Crust

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 3/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut up
2/3 cups ice cold water
2 T. sour cream
1 tsp. vinegar

In a very large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Cut in butter leaving pea sized chunks.

In a 2 cup glass measuring cup whisk water, sour cream, and vinegar; pour, all at once into flour mixture, and quickly distribute then Stop!!  (that's what it says...Stop!)

Make sure dough is slightly crumbly.  Divide dough mixture into 3 equal portions (about 12-13 oz. each).  Refrigerate for 2 hours. (You can keep it in the fridge over night if you like.)  DO NOT OVERMIX.  You're going to finish the dough by hand.  The finished dough should break, not stretch.

Gently knead the dough in a bag to bring dough together.  Form into discs.  (This makes three single pie crusts.)

Use at once or wrap and store in the fridge for a few days or freeze for up to 1 month.  Thaw overnight in the fridge if you froze it.

December 14, 2010

How to Roast Your Turkey

The family watched "How to Train Your Dragon" this past weekend so I thought it was an appropriate title. Do ya'll ever do something silly (like name a turkey roasting post after a movie?) and you just laugh and laugh at yourself?  Me?  Guilty. A. Lot. 

So the day before Thanksgiving I found a recipe online for some things to put in your bird's belly to make it heavenly.  Well since it was the day before T-Day and we had already done our shopping I had to use what I had. Which meant improvising.  A. Lot.  Yep, this recipe looks nothing like the original.  Hubby was impressed.  Did I mention that it's hard to impress him with a good turkey?  Yep.  It is.

This is the recipe that I came up with Thanksgiving MORNING!!  Eeeekk!

Clean the bird, pluck pin feathers, yada yada...all the boring stuff.
(Oh, don't forget to take out the bag with's really gross if you don't and it makes really good gravy so I hear.)

Chunk up (by chunk I mean chunk...nothing precise.  Not diced, not cubed...those are too small.  Not quartered either...those are too big.  Somewhere just right. (Did I remind you of a favorite bedtime story? Hmm..) ... where was I?  Anywho...chunk up an onion, a carrot, an apple.  Yes, an apple.  Really!  Throw those in a big bowl and sprinkle on some rosemary ("some" meaning about a teaspoon (I used the store bought...not fresh at all.  If you use fresh (fresh meaning home grown and dried -- I realize it's winter) use a lot 1/2) then drizzle about 1/4 cup-ish lemon juice (I used the bottled kind.  Hey, I was working with what I had, remember?)   Place those in the cavity of Mr. (or Mrs.) Birdy.

For the outside of the bird melt some butter, 1/2 stick-ish? sprinkle on 1/4 tsp. sage, 1/8 tsp. thyme, and 1/4 tsp. rosemary ( shelf kind).  Rub that on the outside of the bird.  Roast however the package tells you.  They are pretty close when they say however many minutes for however many pounds.  Make sure you baste a few times at least.  I also roast mine breast side down.  Very juicy white meat that way.  I know it's not too pretty to look at but taste buds always trump our vision at our house so we do it that way. *wink*

Well that's about it.  I know...I'm either really early for next Thanksgiving or kinda late in sharing this advice with you, but I have been known to roast a Turkey for Christmas and I thought if anyone else was as odd eccentric like me they would want to know what I discovered.

Gobble Gobble!

December 13, 2010

O Christmas Tree -- Part Two

I found the memory card for the camera!  
Here's my favorite picture!!

December 12, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Last week Saturday the guys went to acquire a tree while the gals made cookies.  They hiked the tree farm, rode the tree train, drank some hot cocoa, and then bought one that was grown in Michigan and trucked down to our tree farm.  They had fun and this is a splurge we plan for each year, so it's all good.  I shared pics of our cookie making and decorating adventures last week so I'll share our tree decorating adventures today.

(I am so bummed!  I just put the camera card in and the only pictures on it are from a violin/piano recital the next day.  I think it's time for a new memory card.  And I had a really nice picture of all the kiddos on the stairs by the tree.  Oh well....I'll retake that one soon! Our oldest has been snapping a few pics over the last few days so I'll share them with you.)

December 11, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I usually make the bang-on-the-counter kind of cinnamon rolls.  Kendra at Preschoolers and Peace shared this from scratch recipe with me.  I made it for Thanksgiving morning.  How good was it?  Well let's just say my family won't let me make the bang-against-the-counter kind of rolls again.  Yes, they're that good!

Cinnamon Rolls
1 T. dry yeast
1 C. warm milk
1/3 C. white sugar
1/2 C. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 C. flour
Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Knead into a ball. Let rise until double in size. When ready, roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Spread with filling.

1/4 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
3 T. cinnamon

Spread butter on dough evenly. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over dough evenly. Roll dough up. Slice roll into 1 inch slices. Place on a greased pan. Let rise again until doubled. bake 10 min. at 400 degrees.

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 oz. cream cheese
2 T. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Beat until fluffy. When rolls are hot, spread lots of icing on them.

If baking in the morning make the dough, let rise, then make the rolls.  Instead of letting them rise again, just wrap them up and put in the fridge.  The next morning put them in the oven while it's preheating.  When the oven is preheated start the timer.   Makes a 9x13 pan...about 16-18 scrumptious rolls!   

These are soooo delicious!   The best!  

December 10, 2010

Just Ask: Income

Today I'll answer the next question that was asked of me in the "Just Ask" post. "What do you do to make it on one income?"

There are two parts to solving this riddle for your family:  spend less money and/or make more money.  

Let's start with spending less.  To be totally honest it's hard most of the time.  But we've made the decision that our family is more important than lots of the material things that the average American family expects.  So we drive older cars (and have no car payments), we don't have cable TV, I cut all the boys' hair, etc..  In general terms we strive to owe no one anything as much as possible.  

Specifically, I make a lot of use of coupons.  I plan our menu for the week based on what's on sale and what we have coupons for - preferably both at the same time!  We buy clothes the same way: Goodwill, or Kohl's when they have sales and I have a percent off coupon.  

On the other side of the equation, my husband strives to make money whenever and however he can
He works full time as a teacher, part time as a pastor (teaching, writing curriculum, etc.), one day a week at an outdoor power equipment store, and any other spare time (usually in the summer) doing carpentry work.  He often says he'll do just about anything (legal!) if the pay is reasonable.  

For us, it's far more about saving money/spending less than it is making more - we're not exactly bringing in a huge income.  But we make it work.  My husband says the biggest single thing is not owing lots of people for lots of things: it's amazing what not having a car payment (for example) can do to your monthly budget.  That means, of course, that our cars need worked on more often.  That brings us to another point:  do for yourself.  

It's amazing what you can learn on the internet.  We've not had a "professional" out to fix anything at our house in a long time.  **Edit (12/16): Of course today we just had a septic company come clean out the septic tank.  (Go figure!)**  Sure, there will always be some things you can't figure out, but you can save yourself a lot of money with a determination to call in the experts only when you really need them.  My husband does almost all the work on our cars, plumbing, electrical, framing, landscaping, etc...  I and the girls sew a lot, repairing clothes others might throw out.  By cooking from scratch, we not only eat better and healthier, but it's also a lot cheaper than buying a whole refrigerator full of frozen/preserved foods.  

I also strive to earn a bit of income from this blog.  People clicking on links and making purchases at Amazon, BigOven (recipe program), Motivated Moms (a cleaning/organization schedule for your home), and Tell Your Time (a life organization system) all help out a little bit at a time.  I have items for sale on Old House Mercantile.  I also have some exciting things planned for Old House Mercantile and Old House Kitchen in new year, too! 

Above all these ideas is our commitment to keep God and family first (in that order), with the "stuff" of life much further down the list.  I'm not sure that I can scientifically explain it, but somehow God honors that decision.  He's never let us down.  We strive to make wise decisions and trust the details to Him. 

*Tomorrow*  A cinnamon roll recipe that will knock your socks off!

December 8, 2010

Please Vote!!

Please vote for our entry in Shutterfly's Holiday Photo Contest!  
Go HERE to vote!

Contest closes Dec. 21. 

You can only vote for an entry once and if you 
sign up for a free Shutterfly account 
(so that you can vote for us!) 
you get 25 free 4x6 pictures as a gift!

Queen of the Castle: Week 50

We're on week 50 of Queen of the Castle.  We're a week ahead, but that's just fine, we'll start over at week one in January and work until we get to where we started HERE.

This week's chapter is titled "Slow Down".  Lynn, the author, suggests "slowing down this Christmas.  Slow it down by praying over which Christmas activities we should participate in."  No matter how much we try to prepare things get crazy and busy and crazy-busy!  I'm in the middle of crazy-busy right now!

Here are some suggestions from Lynn to "Slow it Down!"

*Spend a few minutes outside, bundled up against the cold.

*Make Christmas music as a family.  If anyone plays an instrument (even badly), bring it out.  Sing some carols.

*Work on a holiday jigsaw puzzle.

*Pull out holiday videos or photos from years past and reminisce.

*If you happen to be awake between 1 and 3 a.m. on December 13-15, check out the meteors in the night sky.  Look south to see the Geminid shower of fifty to eighty meteors per hour. (I read that the 14th is peak for this.)

*Stare into the fire and spend some silent, thankful moments thinking about all God has done for you.

- - -

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  
Isaiah 41:10

Just Ask: The Homestead, etc.

Today I'll answer the next set of questions that was asked of me in the "Just Ask" post"Is that house yours? When did you start cooking?"
 (O.K.,so she asked more than one...)

Yep!  It's ours!  We bought it a few years ago with my mom.  She was weary of living alone (Dad passed away over 6 years ago and it was hard for her to live alone after 44 years of marriage. This year would have been their 50th anniversary.)  and we enjoyed her company.  Hubby was switching jobs and we were moving so we figured it would be more cost effective and time effective to live in the same home. This house was quite the find.  The previous owners moved and the company the husband worked for was relocating him so a relocation company bought it from the family.  It's a large home; a 4 bedroom, two bath with over 3,000 square feet of living space.  Apparently no one was in the market for such a home because it sat for a while.  We made an offer (with doubts they would accept it--the offer was quite a bit lower than the asking price) and they accepted!  What a blessing!  There's plenty of room for all of us!  We have about 3 acres with a garden, goats, chickens, and a cherry tree. It's a pre-Civil War Greek Revival farmhouse.  We don't know the exact year it was built because the county courthouse burned in the early 1900's, but with the help of a few historians and some of our own homework we've determined the approximate age.  We can't believe it's over 150 years old!  We hope to leave this homestead to our children some day!

Now on to the next question "When did I start cooking?" ... I remember making Doritoes with American cheese slices melted in the oven when I was little.  I thought I was big stuff! Ha!  I cooked a few meals when I was a teen.  Nothing fancy, though, unless you count fish sticks and Kraft mac-n-cheese fancy.  Our first week of marriage was interesting since Hubby decided he'd cook.  I tired of stir-fry and decided to put on my big girl apron and get to it.  I called his mom and grandmas a lot!  

This commenter also asked how old I was when we started having children.  Here's our story...We were high school sweethearts.  He graduated in 1991 and I in 1992.  We married the summer of 1994, right before his Senior year of college at University of Michigan and my Junior year at Eastern Michigan University.  We were young and I'm sure people wondered if we'd make it, but we didn't worry about what they thought.   We grew so close those first few years.  Our grades were better and we saved a lot more money living in our apartment and eating meals at home than living in the dorms and eating school food!  He graduated with a degree in History and worked full time at a power equipment dealership (lawn mowers and chain saws) while I finished my Elementary Ed. classes.  We moved to Maryland in 1996 for him to attend Capital Bible study to be a pastor.  The second week or so that we were there I was very sick.   We were puzzled, but not for long.  We were expecting our first baby!   I was student teaching through the University of Maryland and then graduated from EMU in December.  Noah was born April of '97 (I was 22).  Rebekah came along in December of '98.  We moved back to northern Indiana to be closer to family in Michigan the summer of '99.  (He transferred to Grace Seminary.)  Hannah came along August '00, Isaac in April '02, Lydia in March '04, Elijah in February '06, and Abigail in May '08 (just a few weeks after we moved into this house!).

There you have it!  Part of the story of us!

**I'll answer the rest of the questions soon!**

December 7, 2010

Spiced Hang-Ups

Since we were on the topic of gingerbread men yesterday I thought I'd share with you my recipe for Spiced Hang Ups today over at Raising Homemakers.  Go check it out HERE.

* Tomorrow will be Part 2 of my answers to the "Just Ask" post. *

December 6, 2010

Gingerbread Man Felt Garland

Well I was going to write a post about this but Factory Direct Craft has a post with instructions and pictures!  
Go HERE to read more!

Factory Direct Craft

December 5, 2010

Cookie Fun!

I've mentioned before that when it comes to cut out cookies I like to take the stress out of it and make them with a mix.  My girls make them now, actually, with some help from good 'ol Betty Crocker!  

Every year the "men" (my hubby and the boys) enture out to cut the tree and the "women" (my mom, our friend Autum (we joke that she's our adopted daughter), the girls, and I) make cut out cookies, decorate some and leave a few for the younger men to decorate while Daddy is getting the tree settled. 

We usually make pizza,  have chips and soda, and watch a taped version of "Winnie the Pooh and Christmas, Too".  (I taped it years ago when Noah (now 13) was just a baby.  It's kind of become a tradition to watch it every year on this special day.We'll have to break down and by a dvd copy some time, soon!) are some pictures that we snapped during the course of the day.


Hubby snapped this pretty picture so I thought I'd share it with you!

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