Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To be with you

The following lyrics are from Sara Groves new Christmas cd, O Holy Night. Although the song is referring to Christmas...I think any holiday where you congregate with family applies. We are heading to Grandma's in Pennsylvania today.

"To be with you
To be with you
I love this time of year
It always brings me here
To be with you
I fall in with my sisters
Just like when we were young
Grandma holds the baby
She rocks and softly hums
We gather round the table
We close our eyes and sing
'Praise God from whom all blessings flow'"

Maddie is excited to sleep with Grandma, make cookie dough and go shopping in her car.
Josiah is counting the days until the Boise Broncos play and he gets to watch the game!
Cole wants to read Dawn Traeder over vacation. Both boys are so excited to talk/play football with Cam & Cade!!
Isaac is getting very successful at potty training himself (mom's not sure he's really ready to do this). It may be an interesting visit at grandma's...
Mom & Dad are so thankful for time to be together with nothing to do but enjoy our family...both immediate and extended.

Pausing to give thanks....we must first learn to pause.

"Gratitude... goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy." ~Henri J. M. Nouwen

Monday, November 17, 2008

photocards deal

I had never heard of winkflash.com until reading in Real Simple magazine today that this website was at the bottom of their price comparison chart for being most economical at $8/20 (and that price includes the 4x8 or 5x7 sizes). Tonight (or this morning) I hurriedly placed an order through their website before Tom leaves tomorrow with the computer again. Unbelievably their prices are 40% off right now making them $4.60/20! I figure if I order the cards now they just *might* get mailed out by Christmas...but don't hold your breath or anything.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

sharing our day

Tom is teaching away this weekend, but the kids and I decided to try and surprise him and get the leaves raked while he is gone. I thought it was a good way for me to get exercise too (unfortunately I also purchased a bag of my all time favorite Christmas candy last night...Hershey's candy cane kisses...and can never stop with just one)!

Where's Si? While I had the camera out, he was watching the Notre Dame game (and calling Dad to give him updates)!

Friday, November 14, 2008

wonderful piece of info...

This deal is now over if you haven't already registered. Hope I didn't lead anyone astray when I updated (with faulty info) this post last night!

You can get a free photo book (20 page, 8 1/2 x 11) from snapfish.com by registering to be a part of Peter's clutter crew from the Oprah show. My friend, Mary Ellen, passed on this news to me...you can read her post here.

1. Go to oprah.com
2. Click on a link about oprah helping you clean your house (something like that) which is on the far left about halfway down the main page
3. Click next until you get to page 8 (of 22).
4. Click get your free photo book

If you already have a snapfish account this is literally as easy as signing your e-mail and password. Registration ends Friday at midnight but you have until Nov.22 to upload and finalize how you want your pictures to look in the book.

It's a $29.99 value.

Just do it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

best chili recipe ever

Ever the prepared chef, I called my friend Kate on Saturday night on the way to the store to get this recipe. We had eaten this at their house a while back...but it had lived on in my memory. Well oh joy that when I made it, it indeed tasted wonderful and the kids (and hubby) all really loved it. They serve their chili over cooked elbow macaroni and topped with a little shredded cheddar cheese. It is so good that way! This is a really easy, economical and delicious meal. And, knowing Kate gave it to me is special in and of itself. She is someone who takes whatever trials of life she faces and views them as opportunities to grow her faith and worship the Lord with her life and voice. Her beautiful daughter babysits our children.

A pound of ground beef
1 can Brooks chili hot beans ( I couldn't find Brooks, but used Bush's) and I crushed these a little to eliminate the "ew, beans" comments
1 can stewed tomatoes, chopped so there are no big chunks of tomatoes (use pampered chef chopper for this)
Up to 2 small cans tomato sauce
¼ tsp garlic powder, celery seed, ground mustard
½ tsp cumin, salt, sugar
1½ - 2 tsp chili powder
Bay leaf

Simmer till flavorful…..enjoy!

You will definitely want to double this recipe if you have a larger family. We didn't but wished we had.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the big hunt

Tom took our 2 oldest boys to MT (along with uncle Jeff who drove from PA to meet them here) where they all met up with Grandpa and a friend. Everyone limited out with deer and antelope and the boys thought hiking along behind dad and their uncle was just the coolest thing ever. They came home wanting to tell me all about the biology lessons they learned from watching the animals field dressed...I politely declined more information, I guess even moms have their limits. We are thrilled with a freezer full of meat that is low in fat content, easy on the budget....and the knowledge our suppers once lived a happy life on the range (the latter point is probably mine alone in case you were wondering). In all seriousness, the trip was a very meaningful time of male bonding between the generations. I am so grateful.
Unfortunately all I have to show are these two pictures...but Tom assures me that more are on uncle Jeff's camera.

Josiah with "Sam, the cowdog"... amazing to think that this little dog has been trained to guide an entire herd of cattle.
Cole guiding a horse on the ranch of a family friend, Bruce. We first met them when Tom's dad was their pastor in eastern MT. Bruce is pictured behind Cole, and Tom Sr.'s profile is at the far right.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

what I'm listening to

Christmas is coming...and yes it is time to organize/find all those great Christmas cd's...be sure to check out Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson. That cd along with Michael Card's are my personal Christmas favorites.

My dear friend Laura suprised me the other day by sending me a new cd of Andrew Peterson that I didn't even know existed. It is called Resurrection Letters Vol. 2 and I have been listening to it exclusively. It wasn't what I expected at first, but it is deeply narrative and I think that is what has always drawn me to his music. The older I grow, the more I am appreciating the gospel in the narrative sense and think sometimes we miss the forest for the trees by not stopping to see God's story in it all.

I also liked this review by CT and agree that it sounds like some of his earlier work at times but as a long time fan that is a good thing to me. I think Don't Give Up on Me is the best melody on the album. I can't quite figure out who it refers to either, but agree with the review writer that his artistry really shines here. We need more of the "don't give up on me, I won't give up on you" mentality in our world, particularly among families, churches, political parties, you name it. The Good Confession is definitely my favorite song. I close with a quote from the latter that I resonate with:

"All I know is that I was blind but now I see that though I kick and scream, Love is leading me. And every step of the way his grace is
making me;
with every breath I breathe, he is
saving me.
And I believe."

my dear girl

Tom rarely is able to take or pick up Maddie from preschool so a couple weeks back they were both excited when the chance arose. Tom and I had both been amused/disturbed by a song she had learned at school that she constantly sang around our house. This is how she sang it:

"Shake, shake, shake your baby,
shake, shake, shake your baby,
shake it on down to New Orleans."

We were sure something was lost in translation but for the life of us both couldn't figure out what. So we shared a few chuckles every time we heard her. On this morning Tom was able to take her to class he asked her teacher what the lyrics were to said song. She got a great laugh and then told us the lyric actually went "shake IT baby" a play on New Orleans jazz, I suppose. Another mom heard the entire exchange between Tom and the teacher before adding, "We sure were wondering, too, because our child has been singing "bake, bake, bake your baby!"

A better little mom there has not been since Maddie came into our world...someday her rhetoric will develop to match her mothering skills.

In the meantime, she has aspirations of one day becoming "a mom, a ballerina, a doctor, and a teacher." Although today (upon eating a beloved cheesy roll-up) she also declared she would also "like to work at taco bell."

look who's two

Loves his goggles...
and new toolbench from Nana & Gramps.

Licensed to drive...scary thought, eh?

trick or treat

a little nemo
a mountian climber ("get high on the rockies" bumper sticker on the back of his pack....of course, dad's idea!)
an enthusiastic davy crockett
and a lovely princess