Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bugs, Bugs. .Go AWAY!

Had a great Christmas. .
with good company. .
good health. .
and good cheer. .
But now. .
these blessedly soft and snuggly bargain blankets from Kohls last week. .
are coming in super handy for those of us around here that are hunkered down under them. .
either wishin' we felt better. .
or hopin' we won't be the next to fall!
And these. .
A colorful assortment of nutrient packed morsels in a jar. .
are being taken to the table and passed around at every meal. .
The clinic was full of sicknesses of all sorts and kinds this week. .
and so is my home!!
Tis the season, alright. .
The season of bugs. .
of a nongardening nature!!
Can't wait to share some great shots of our holiday season. .
When things were jovial and light hearted!
But for now. .
I'm hoping that I don't regret MY beverage of choice for the evening!
If I don't come back for a few days. .
Blessings to you and yours for a wonderful 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours!

Thought that I would post our Christmas pictures. .
with the letter that I finally got written last week!
Howdy from southern Kansas! Hope this writing is finding all our friends and family doing well and ready for Christmas.  I seriously considered not writing a letter this year. .but as busy as our crew has been. .and as poor a facebooker as I am. .I just didn’t feel like that was fair! Join me for a quick recap of 2012!

Tristan-Sweet 16; sophomore.  Had foot surgery in April to correct a bone problem; healed well and is now without restrictions. Was glad to play football this year. Played on the school golf team last spring because he could handle that with a walking boot; LOVED it and was nicknamed Shamrock because of his “beginner’s luck” (though, I’m sure my Grandma Mildred would have called it genetic talent and would have been sooo proud!) Had a real job for part of the summer working with a carpenter friend. .earning REAL money! Helped both our farming families with wheat harvest. Spent 3 days as a camp counselor at 4-H camp. .determined he wasn’t ready for kids ANY TIME SOON! Debuted as a drag racer in Great Bend after he turned 16 in the street rod division. Bought a used bright blue pickup on ebay with his dad’s instruction and help. .it’s loud. .and it’s cool. .and he loves it! Tried out for forensics (basketball in a walking boot isn’t good) and LOVED it! Had leading male role in their one act play that performed at the State competition. Has a leading male role in this year’s one act, which has already performed at the high school variety show.  Active in youth group and 4-H. Probably the most social child we have!
Grant-14 ½; freshman. Got his farm driving permit this summer. Works with his dad in the mechanic shop and loves it; Some day will have to re-name his shop to include Grant! Participated in track last spring and high school football. This month finally passed his mom in height. Drummer in the band, and performed with a bucket band drum line last spring. Has been working with his dad on restoring a 1955 Cheverolet step side pickup. They recently painted it silver and will have it back together and ready to drive within the month (God willing). Went to Denver with his brother and youth group in November to volunteer at Operation Christmas Child packaging warehouse and served food in a soup kitchen. Active in youth group and 4-H; got to give his 4-H talk at the Regional level-much to his dismay! His personality is a lot like his dad. .he’d rather fade into the background than to have people looking at him. A photo he took of his dad’s racing truck was chosen to be published in the Kansas State 4-H foundation calendar for 2013. Worked with Jeremy’s family during harvest 2012 running a combine. Loves to have grease under his nails and talks cars with anyone who will listen.
Devin-10; 4th grade. Loves his go cart. Good speller and enjoys school. Getting to be pretty good pals with his little sister, but isn’t beyond picking on her until she squalls. Loves waterskiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding and wake surfing; is a complete natural and loves our summer vacations at the lake. Won Reserve Champion at the county fair for his Walnut Mocha Brownies and made a LOT of money selling them at the 4-H premium auction. Enjoys being in front of people singing or speaking. Got to perform his 4-H talk at the Regional level too. Enjoyed  3 days at 4-H camp (even though his brother was a counselor) and a week at church camp this past summer. Active in 4-H and Wednesday night church activities. Takes care of our small flock of chickens. .he complained about it. .until Granny paid him for a dozen eggs. .no problems now and he does a good job! He is the proud new wearer of a mouthful of braces. .but it doesn’t slow his constant talking at ALL. A generous and thoughtful young man!
Camille-5; preschool. Has been waiting 4 years to ride that GREAT, BIG BUS. .and figured out. .it wasn’t as exciting as she thought it would be. Loves school, and is constantly writing the letters and asking people how to spell ‘stuff.’ Has written ‘stuff’ on woodwork and Tupperware lids. .though getting better at refraining from that. Still loves to be the diva. .she loves jewels and sparkles. .and asked Santa for some "girl spray" for Christmas. RSV as a baby and 5 days in the hospital at 3 months old caused her tooth enamel to be weak. She has cheerfully endured 2 fillings, a root canal and a crown. .and STILL loves her dentist-thankfully they are just baby teeth! She loves to jump on the trampoline, doing tricks and cheers. Her ultimate dream career is cheerleading. She celebrated her 5th birthday with a tea party, which was the highlight of her year. She wishes she could be in 4-H but loves that she gets to ride the bus to church on Wednesday night for church group. She is quite tall, but refuses to quit growing. .even though she knows she won’t fit neatly on her mom’s lap much longer! She’s a fish. .just like her other 3 siblings! Sassy, but sweet!
Jeremy-hoping to spend some time this March in Las Vegas with his bride as they celebrate their FORTIETH birthdays!! Owner/Operator of his own auto repair shop. .has had to learn how to use computers as diagnostic aids in his job, and finally had to get the technology to run credit cards for his clients. Stands firm that his job is harder than mine. .because he has to fix his mistakes. .and I can just bury mine! (In my defense, I have never had to bury a mistake!) Continues a love of drag racing and goes every chance he has. Excited for the opportunity to “trade-up” his enclosed car trailer for a model that hold T-W-O race vehicles. .since it is now a family racing operation! Needs to have a parental lock on Ebay! Teaching the men’s Sunday School class at our church. Helped Grant restore his antique truck and is nearly ready to start restoring a 1929 Model A for his wife. .and maintains that since the boys had to pay for part of their vehicles this year. .so does she! Has decided that Grand Lake Oklahoma will be the family vacation spot for the rest of his life. Good thing we all like it!
Melanie-is constantly reminded by her better half that she is now “old” and “half her life is over!” Still working part time for the Oklahoma State Department of Health and for the same medical clinic she has been in for the last 13 years. Misses her dad a lot after his sudden death in March resulting from an accident. Moved from teaching junior high youth group to helping lead high school  youth group. Also active in her church and bible studies. Still busy as a community leader in the 4-H club and attended the kids 4-H camp several years in a row as the “camp nurse.”  The drought and high temperatures have put a damper on her passion for gardening, though her greenhouse is currently producing tomatoes and cucumbers. .She still loves spinning up a cyclone of flour and good food in her kitchen. .and does so often. Enjoys maintaining her blog sharing photos, stories, and an occasional project.
It never ceases to amaze me, as I reflect over the year gone by. .how many changes occur in the course of one. Time seems to slip by faster and faster. But as the uncertainty of the future continues to grow. .one thing grows more clear. .Our need for a Savior. .and thanks be to God that He sent one to us. .hence the whole reason for this glorious season! 

Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

I hope that you will seek Him for your power to tirelessly run through 2013. Wishing you and your family abundant blessings in this Christmas season and the New Year that follows! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One More Week. . .

I. .
I always have. .
and I hope I always will. .
This year feels different. .
I'm slower, a little less excited, and a little more reflective. .
I find myself straying from "the plan". .
you know, if you've been around this blog very long. .
that there is ALWAYS a plan. HA!
I finally mustered up the time and the energy for my favorite Christmas activity. .
I cooked for TWO solid days this past weekend. .
Cookies, candies, snack mixes, seasoned nut mixes. .
Cami and Devin helped some. .
And Tristan cut caramels like a trooper. .
I finally made toffee that is pretty. .
after HOW many years. .
(my new secret?
I didn't use chocolate chips. .
I used melting chocolate and put it on when the toffee had cooled). .
and look!! Gorgeous!
And yummy!
With most of the cookies in the freezer waiting for holiday gatherings and surprise last minute give aways. .
and the majority of the candies already repackaged and given away. .
That leaves us with a few nibbles here and there of our favorites!
Which, dear friend Sue. .
is what keeps us from getting fat :-)
I've had a little project in the back of my mind for several months now. .
And I even found a little time to work on it over the weekend too. .
With a little help, of course!
I hope to be able to show you the finished project soon. .
Mostly, because it surpassed my expectations!
And, because I think some of you would enjoy doing it yourself!
The BIG deal of the weekend, however. .
was this. .
Grant and his dad, after 1 1/2 years of working on it. .
Had finally gotten a motor installed. .
and the body work done on Grant's pickup. .
And the paint went on!
It is now a joke between Grant and I, that I think the paint looks like primer. .
but he LOVES the way it turned out. .
And he was right, in the sunlight. .
it glistens a lovely shade of sparkly silver. .
They think in a few more weekends of putting down carpet, placing windows, putting the hardware back in, and installing the gauges. .
it will be ready for it's maiden voyage to school. .
The boys will then have to argue about who is driving. .
and who has to buy the fuel!
We had a little rain shower the other night. .
and a really heavy fog yesterday morning that froze on the trees. .
We are hoping for some more moisture soon. .
I thought it would be nice to share one of the cookie recipes from the weekend. .
I've made these a time or two before, but not for a few years. .
They have been Cami's favorite treat this season. .
And are just enough different than your average cookie,
that they make a welcome gift for someone special!
One week left until we mark that special day commemorating the birth of Jesus. .
I can hardly wait. .

Festive Chocolate Mint Cookies

1 ½ sticks butter
1 ½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 ½ cup flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
50-70 Andes mint candies
assorted sprinkles

Melt butter, sugar, and water.  Add chips until almost melted.  Let cool 10 minutes.  Beat eggs into mixture 1 at a time.  Add dry ingredients.  Chill dough for at least one hour. Roll heaping teaspoons or small cookie scoop into ball.  Bake at 350 on ungreased pan for 12-13 minutes.  Place a mint on each cookie; swirl candy as it melts with a knife and add sprinkles.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Lump. .or Two??

As if Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't enough celebrations to put into one month. .
we also have to add TWO birthday celebrations!! Miss Thing turned 5 last week. .
And it has been a lot of fun!!
She just LOOKS bigger now!!
She has been talking about having a tea party to celebrate since right after she turned 4. .
We were able to make that happen. .
so that is what most of this post shows. .
Homemade (from scratch) strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting. .
complete with sprinkles and cherries!
We all enjoyed chowing down on those delectables!!
The large ones even have the middle cored out and spreadable strawberry fruit under the icing. .
Pink strawberry shake malted milk balls. .some unusual little gummy strawberry puff candy, real strawberries. .and the hit of the party. .
Cotton Candy from the dollar store!!
The little gravy boat and old creamer are mine from years gone by. .
Fancy little tea sandwiches served on my grandmothers glass platter.
Meat and cheese fingers and squares. .
strawberry cream cheese on triangles, and little jelly roll ups.
We also cut star shapes, and topped them with strawberry cream cheese and a berry half. .
little wheat cracker squares with marshmallow fluff and a dab of raspberry jam. .
And of course "tea". .
from some sweet little antique tea cups and saucers!!
The tea was a strawberry punch with fizzy soda added. .
The dainty little princesses were just precious to watch as they sipped and nibbled!
And the party girl herself. .
enjoyed every minute of it!
Devin offered and was beside-himself excited to help serve the guests.
And he did a most excellent job. .
even the princesses thought so!!
I found the top cake stand at a little antique store after Thanksgiving.
they had it displayed just like this. .
stacked on a cake plate that looked JUST like the one I had at home. .
I LOVE how it looks. .
and have set it up and used the combination THREE times since purchasing it less than a month ago. .
It looks great topped with quick breads too!
The pitcher was my splurge of the antiquing day. .
My  mother INSISTED that I take it home from the shop. .
Not knowing what I would do with it AFTER the tea party. .
it actually made a nice little container for a small Christmas tree in my antique Hoosier cabinet. .
Is the picture of excitement???
Interestingly, I didn't ask the girls to wear Christmas colors. .
I just told their moms to have them wear dress up clothes. .
It was funny that they all matched!!
After the tea party snacks. .
they got some little gifts to open themselves. .
little purses with lots of bling, nail polish, and lipgloss. .
And little hair pieces. .
Though I think the little package of tic-tacs was the best find of the day! They thought those little clear boxes with the tiny little candies were positively NOVEL!
After tea and some indoor play. .
Devin and our friend Aubrey took the girls out on "an adventure." Cami was done with her dress by then. .and Mylee decided she was done with HER dress. .and borrowed Cami's. .
Who would have thought. .
That four little girls. .
would have been so exhausting!!
But they all had a great time. .
so it was worth every bit!!
And, after a little family get together over the weekend, before the really cold weather hit. .
We are finished up with birthday parties until next year!
So. .
let the full-on Christmas preparation begin!!
Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

10 Years Ago. .

This little critter. .
was the 3rd arrival of our little male clan!!
AND. .
the end of the line for adding children to our world. .
we thought!!
He spent a whole week partying it up!
Opening some gifts at Grandma's over Thanksgiving. .
A local family birthday party over the weekend. .
And a friend's party after school last Thursday. .
I may be a mean mom. .
but Devin had to pay ME for a large part of his new ipod. .
the remaing portion; his birthday gift from his mom and dad. .
Thank goodness for lots of grandmas and aunts to send him money for his special day!
He has been LOVING that. .
and promptly learned how to text his brothers from his ipod while they were in Denver. .
He is also fond of playing race car games anywhere in the house he wants to relax!
On the way home from mom's; we stopped at the little local grocery store that makes it's own REAL German sausage. .and we L-O-A-D-E-D UP on it. .and then decided to fix our own version of a "cream can" dinner in our huge Dutch oven. .We had German sausage, cabbage, carrots, red potatos, corn on the cob, and onions that simmered in the pot. .and everyone gobbled it up. .seconds and all!!
If you'd like to know how to fix it yourself. .
let me know and I'll gladly share!
Grandma Pat fixed a super cool baseball themed cake. .
(who's birthday was it?? You can't tell by the photo!)
which was ALSO gobbled up by this bunch of little turkeys!!
We were excited that our second cousins, Hazel and Drake could join us (along with their folks)!
The weather couldn't have been any nicer for the end of November. .
or for a bunch of boys to play outside!!
While we are enjoying the gorgeous days in the high 60's and 70's. .
you can see how brown our world is. .
and the fact that there is not even vegetation as far as you can see in our back yard is still quite disturbing to us!
Devin ordered his mom's homemade pizzas for supper. .
and hot dogs for lunch. .
which they grilled themselves in our fire pit. .
By this time. .
they had run off 5000 calories on the trampoline, the zip line, playing flashlight tag in the dark, building a fort in the tree row, and playing hide and seek. .
that they looked exhausted as they cooked their own lunch. .
but they insisted. .
and enjoyed the experience!!
I know that the next 10 years will be gone. .
in what will no doubt feel like 10 MINUTES. .
But for now. .
I'll remind myself to enjoy the crazy jokes. .the new braces. .and the silliness!!
May God bless you and keep you. .
Little Boy!!
Coming soon. .
The adventures of turning FIVE. .
Starring. .
Miss Thing!
Come back soon!!