Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

I realized that I have never posted anything yet about our Christmas! Oh boy, am I ever behind. It is about to get a whole lot quieter on this blog, as we are getting ready to make our annual pilgrimage to sunny Florida. This involves packing for five people....for two months. No small feat for sure! What to bring, what to bring....

Anyway, our Christmas festivities actually started on Friday, as we went out for a family drive to look at Christmas lights. Hubs took us to what we call the "Christmas House". This is a couple's house, that they TOTALLY decorate, inside and out, with Christmas decorations and lights.

Here are the girls next to their life size Santa.

Here is my middle the middle of their house.

This ice cube snowman would look awesome in my snowman collection!

Here is their Christmas village. Very impressive!

The leg lamp from "A Christmas Story".

On Saturday, we went to our church's "Carols and Candles" Christmas Eve service. Then, we had our family over for a party afterwards.

Unfortunately, I guess we didn't take any pictures of that. But, here is a picture right before the girls came out on Christmas morning.

There aren't any pictures of the girls opening presents on Christmas morning, because now that they are older, they don't want pictures of what they look like first thing in the morning on the internet. Can't say I blame them. As you can see, there aren't any of ME on here either. Ha!

In the afternoon, we went to my sister and brother-in-law's house for dinner, and more present opening!

Santa brought me a brand new Crock Pot, so if you have any recipes that you love to make in the Crock Pot, please feel free to share them with me!

New pajamas! I am easy to please :)

We bought my parents a new vacuum, but little did we know, they had already bought one for themselves BEFORE Christmas! They thought it was pretty funny.

Now that I finally downloaded all the pictures, I can show you a picture of Chocolate Dream Delight. YUM!

We ended the evening with the kids playing their new "Just Dance 3" game on the Wii.

And a great time was had by all....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chocolate Dream Delight

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be bringing Chocolate Dream Delight to our family Christmas party.

I was then asked what it was. Oh my, is it G-O-O-D! It truly is a family favorite!

I'm not exactly sure where I originally got the recipe, but I have been making it for years. For any of you that would like to make it, here is the recipe:

Chocolate Dream Delight

Mix together:

1 1/4 cups flour (I use GF Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix)
1 stick of softened butter
3/4 chopped nuts

Press in a 9x13 pan (I spray first with Pam), and bake at 375 for 15-20 mins. Crust should be golden brown. Cool

In separate bowl, mix together:

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat, and then add 1/2 container of large cool whip. Mix. Spread on cooled crust.

In separate bowl, combine and mix together:

2 small (or 1 large) packages of instant chocolate pudding
3 cups milk

Spread pudding mixture on top of cream cheese mixture.

Place remaining 1/2 container of cool whip on top of pudding mixture.

Top with either crushed nuts or mini chocolate chips.

Refrigerate overnight. Serve the next day.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Hodgepodge

1. Are you cooking Christmas dinner? How many will be round your table this year? What are we having?

In our family, one person never does ALL the cooking. We each have certain things that we bring. I will be making the Christmas ham, chocolate dream delight, and bringing pop.

This year, we are having Christmas dinner at my sister's house instead of ours. There will be fourteen people seated around the table....err...around the house. There isn't a big enough table for all of us in ANY of our homes!

We are having ham, potatoes, corn, salad, angel eggs (the same thing as deviled eggs, but we call them that instead :), pickles and olives, rolls, my chocolate dream delight dessert and whatever desserts everyone else brings! No shortage of food at our gatherings for sure! We always make too much, but that makes for tasty leftovers, so it's all OK.

2. What is one must-have Christmas cookie in your house?


Now, I have to be honest here and say that I have never made these. My Mom always makes them, and then brings them to my house. So see? There is need for me to make them! I told her that this year, she should try to make them with crunchy peanut butter. I think they would be even better that way!

3. Santa likes a glass of milk with his cookies. Do you? What kind of milk is on tap at your house-skim? almond? soy? full fat (Gasp!)

I don't really like to drink milk plain, so no. We drink 2% milk in this house.

4. Time magazine recently named their 'Person of the Year' for 2011. This is the person the editors believe had the greatest impact, for better or worse, in the past year. This year they chose 'The Protester'. Your thoughts? Who would you name Person of the Year for 2011?

I usually like to see an actual person named, not just a general one.

I agree with Barbara Walters.

Steve Jobs: Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating Person of the Year for 2011 - ABC News

5. December 21st is National Flashlight Day... when was the last time you needed a flashlight and did you know right where to find one?

Well, the girls like to play "Flashlight Tag" so they use them then, but other than that, we used one during our last big storm when the power went out. No, we can never find a working one when we REALLY need it! Nor can we ever find the candles. We are not the most organized around these parts. Sigh.

6. Candy canes...yum or yuck?

I like them, but it's not like I just have to have them.

7. What Christmas carol lyric means the most to you?

I love the part that says:

Then rang the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

It reminds me that I serve a LIVING God. He is not dead, nor does he sleep. Amen!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The next step in my medical "journey" is to have a sleep study done at the hospital on Thursday night. I have to arrive at 7:30 p.m. I told the lady on the phone that I sure hope I am not going to be required to go to sleep at 7:30! I am a huge night owl, and it is nothing for me to go to bed at 12 or 1, sometimes even 2 in the morning. She said that I will be allowed to watch TV until 10, and then lights out is at 11.

Sounds sort of like camp. Ha!

Other than being a little weirded out about being "watched" while I sleep, I am not concerned about this test. NO needles will be involved. Yay!

Happy Sleeping....

A Good Enough Christmas

As you all know, I have been having some health problems lately. With my recent surgery, things have been a little....rough.

I am a very "Type A" person. Everything needs to be just so.

However, I have realized that this year, things are NOT going to be just so. And for once, I am OK with that.

Normally, I would spend hours and hours Christmas shopping, searching for just the right present, for just the right price. Not this year. I have had to relinquish much of that control to Hubs.

You know what? He has done an excellent job at it!

He and I went out on Sunday, and we spent about 2 hours finishing up our Christmas shopping. I had to realize that I may not get back out again, and so good enough was going to have to do. What was it going to matter if I couldn't find just the right present? It's the thought that counts, right?

I had to realize that if I bought something for someone, and they didn't like it, well, then they could just return it! It does not help if I agonize over each and every present choice.

Gift cards are an excellent choice when you just don't know what to buy, and you don't have the time to look for that "perfect" gift. Why not just let THEM pick out what they want? It's good enough.

For my youngest daughter's Christmas program practice, I was asked to bring 2 dozen cookies. I could not stand long enough to make them. So, I allowed my oldest daughter to take over. In the past, I would have fretted over whether or not they were perfect. This year? They were good enough.

I have started to realize that I stress WAY too much over things. My new motto is now this:

My house is good enough.

Not having everything homemade is good enough.

The presents that were bought are good enough.

So, this Christmas, if you haven't sent out your Christmas cards, made homemade cookies for all of your family and friends, or bought just the right presents.....

It's good enough.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What It's Like to Have A Heart Catheterization

So, yesterday was "D" day. Or rather, "H" day, since we are talking about my heart after all. It was time for my heart catheterization.

The night before the the procedure, I could not sleep. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not sleep. I had researched what they would do in detail, so I could be as prepared as possible. I may have researched a bit too much.

I got up bright and early, as I was not allowed anything to eat or drink after 7:00 a.m. My heart cath was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. It was going to be a long day...

I arrived at the heart center, and they checked me in. The heart center that is closest to us is one of the best, which made me feel like I was in good hands.

A nurse asked me a ton of questions about my health history, and I changed into a gown and those cute little socks they give you. I had shaved the "area" before hand, but I wasn't exactly sure how much was necessary, so she had to shave a bit more. They took my blood pressure, my temperature, and listened to my heart.

Remember how I mentioned that I hate needles? I told the nurse, who was incredibly kind, how terrified I am of needles. I asked her where the least painful place to have an IV was. I told her I had only ever had them done on the top of my hand, which I thought was probably the most painful place ever. Plus, it ruined the veins on my right hand. I have delicate hands, and they didn't appreciate a needle being shoved in them.
I asked her if the vein on the top of my arm would work, as it seemed to be a less painful place. She said sure, that she could......try.

Try? That is NOT a word that a needle phobe like myself wants to hear. However, since I have always wondered if, in fact, it would be a less painful place, I told her to go ahead.

She proceeded to "try". It didn't hurt as bad as a remember it hurting in the past. However, she couldn't get it to work. So, she moved the needle around and around in there, and it still didn't take. By this time, I was starting to tear up. I was squeezing Hubs' hand very hard.

She mentioned that she was going to have to try in another spot. She gave me a break, and Hubs said he was going to go to the bathroom. I heard water running, and then he was in there for a while. I asked him if he was OK, and he said he felt like he was going to pass out.

He started walking out toward me, and he was completely white. I told him to sit down, and got the nurse. He was as white as a sheet! He hadn't had hardly anything to eat all day, and he had been watching the nurse as she was trying to start the IV and digging around in my arm. I was beginning to fall apart a little by that time, and I guess it was all just too much. So, we had another patient on our hands. Ha! They quickly laid him down on the floor, and gave him some crackers to eat. Scary!

They had a different nurse come in and try to start another IV on me. This time, she did one on the inside of my elbow. It took, but it really hurt, and was burning. She mentioned that it was fine, and that it was probably just the alcohol. They gave me a warm blanket to put over it, and I did my best to try to forget about it. But the pain continued on.

My pastor came in to pray with Hubs and I before the surgery. What a blessing it is to have a pastor like him! He had driven an hour just to see me and be able to pray with me. He truly cares about people, and did his best to make me laugh, and forget about what I was going through.

About a half an hour later, my arm had shooting pains in it, and it was very hard to bend. It felt like someone had pumped the blood pressure cuff all the way up and then left it there. I told Hubs that something was very wrong. I felt my arm, that had been covered in a blanket, and it felt as hard as a rock. It was also around the size of Hubs', throbbing, and very painful. Yeah....not good.

They then went and got THE BEST nurse in the place, that could start an IV on anyone, and she proceeded to put a good one in my wrist. It hardly hurt, and when it was done, it didn't hurt at all. The other arm had to have the bad IV taken out, which wasn't very fun. Apparently, the needle had gone completely through the vein, and the fluid was just building up inside the tissue, instead of moving along in the vein like it was supposed to.

By this time, I was beside myself. The lack of sleep, the stress, the worrying, the pain, it all just got to be too much. I started crying, and I couldn't make myself stop. They had orginally told me when I asked for sedatives when I first got there, that they wouldn't give me any anything until I was back in the cath lab, but then they changed their minds. It was like something came over me, and I was not myself. I guess we all have our breaking point, and I definitely reached mine.

They were running behind, so since I wasn't an emergency case, my time came and went. It was around 4:00 p.m. by the time they took me back. Hubs wasn't allowed to go back in the cath lab with me, but by that time, some of the sedatives had kicked in.The nurse said they had slipped me a "mickey" and I was beginning to feel much better about the whole thing. Hooray for good drugs!

Everyone that I came in contact with at the heart center was very kind and caring. They did their best to make me feel comfortable, and even when they had to hurt me, they were nice about it. It definitely does make things better when people are nice. Kindness counts!

Back in the cath lab, they told me everything they were going to do, and they asked me exactly how much I wanted to participate. They mentioned that some people like to watch the screen as they go into their heart, and be told what they are seeing. I told them I wanted to be HEAVILY sedated, and didn't even want to know anything at all!

It was very cold in the cath lab, but just like in my regular room at the hospital, they put warm blankets on top of me, and then I was quite comfortable. I had to lay on a table similar to what they would use in an operating room. They had these plastic things that my arms could lay in that had heated towels in them. I wasn't strapped down at all, and never felt panicky in the least. They covered me completely from head to toe with a drape that felt just like a heavy blanket. They told me not to move my arms at all, and if my nose got itchy, then I was just to tell them, and they would itch it for me!

They covered my bikini area with a towel, so I wasn't exposed at all. It was all very professional. The people were so nice, and were laughing and joking with me. I told them about my experience prior to getting in to see them, and the one lady told me that she would do her best to make this procedure go as smoothly as possible. I felt like I was being cared for by dear friends, instead of total strangers.

They attached sticky pads and electrodes all over me, so they could monitor my heart and breathing at all times.

They told me they were going to give me four shots in my groin, and that they would feel like a bee sting. And, while they were painful, it was bearable. They gave me enough medicine so that I basically slept through most of it. I did wake up a couple times in pain, as they were taking things in and out, and pressing heavily on my artery, so I wouldn't bleed to death. But, they talked me though it, and told me to take some deep breaths, and it was over before I knew it. I had read that I would feel a "warm" feeling spreading though my body when they put the dye in, and I did. It didn't hurt at all, and just felt warm. I never felt any pain in my heart during the procedure. They told me that I may feel some palpitations, but I don't remember feeling any. Like I said, I don't really remember very much of it, which is just the way I wanted it!

After I came back to my room, I was still in and out of it. They had a nurse take out the "sheaths" in my groin, and that was pretty painful, but over quickly. She then began pressing on my artery, right above where they had cut, and she did that for the next half hour. While I slept through it, I was awakened every once in a while because I could feel her pressing. Hard. I kept asking her how much longer she was going to do that! For anyone who has ever had a baby, and they have "pressed" on your stomach so that your uterus would go back to it's normal size, it's kind of like that. Not pleasant, but very necessary.

I had to lay flat, with my head slightly elevated for the next 5 hours. I had a sand bag pillow on my groin, and they came in constantly to check on me. During this time after the surgery, they worry about the artery bleeding out. They took my blood pressure every 5 mins. at the beginning, and then every 15 mins. after that. They kept checking on the area, and repositioning the sand bag every so often.

I mainly slept through this time, so for me, the time went rather fast. I was allowed to eat, but since I couldn't lift my head, Hubs had to feed me. Now, that's love. He took such great care of me, and just knowing he was there with me was a tremendous comfort. He really is my rock.

They told Hubs after the surgery that my heart looked just fine. They mentioned that my arteries are a little small, which made it harder for them to get in. Maybe that's why I felt more? Not sure.

They were checking for pulmonary hypertension, and for any defects in the valves. Praise the Lord, everything is in working order. I do indeed have a heart, and now I have the pictures to prove it!

I was allowed to leave after I walked some laps around the area, and they took out my IV.

We didn't get home until after midnight. I was told that I can't do any kind of exercise, walk up/down stairs, drive, or lift anything heavier than 5 lbs. for the next 4-5 days.

Today, my groin is pretty sore, and it hurts to walk around. I'm also still pretty groggy, but, that is to be expected. I was told that if I started bleeding from the area, or developed a large swollen "knot," that I was to immediately call 911. I was also supposed to alert my doctor if my leg showed any signs of the blood not circulating properly, like if my toes or leg turned cold, white, or blue.

I am supposed to just rest and take it easy for the next few days, and I assure you, that is exactly what I plan on doing!

I hope that if you ever find yourself in the same situation that I was, and have to have a heart cath done, that by reading this, you will feel better about having it done. While it was not a walk in the park, it was bearable, and they made sure that although I wasn't "asleep", I really was quite out of it.

Thanks for all the prayers! I really appreciate it ♥

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Faith-Filled Hodgepodge

1. Do you put Christmas decorations in every room of your house? If not every room, what rooms do you decorate?

No. I don't decorate the bathrooms or the bedrooms. I decorate the family room, living room, dining room, and kitchen.

2. If you could visit one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) which one would you choose and why?

Maybe Sweden? I have heard that out of these countries, they have the best chocolate :)

3. What does the word faith mean to you?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

4. You can go back to your childhood for one day...what day and age would you choose?

I can't really pinpoint an exact day or age, but back in elementary school, I remember that we used to have a whole lot of fun just by simply playing. My sister and I would play school, and I would be the teacher, and she would be the student. We would play house, and pretend like we were camping in the wilderness in our very long closet. As I mentioned before, my brother and I would play Legos and Lincoln Logs. We would play marbles and ride bikes. We would climb trees with the neighbor kids, and build entire cities out of paper. And, we absolutely loved playing "Oregon Trail" on their computer. So, any day that I didn't have to go to school, and could just play with my brother, sister, and friends would be just fine!

5. When did you last have 'punch'? If it's not too much trouble share your favorite punch recipe.

At a wedding I went to this summer. One of my favorite ways to have punch is pretty easy to make. You just mix white grape juice with Sprite or 7up. Simple and very elegant looking.

6. Do you fill stockings at your house? Are stockings opened before or after the bigger gifts?

We sure do! They are always opened up before the gifts under the tree.

7. What takes your breath away?

A picture of a newborn baby. I just had a new niece born today, and my sister in law posted her picture on Facebook. It's amazing to think that one minute, she was inside of her mother's womb, and the next minute, she's out in the world, breathing air. Such a little miracle!

8. Insert your own random thought here

My medical saga continues. Now, they think my problems may not be asthma at all, but something to do with my heart. So, I have to go in Thursday for a heart catheterization. I am trying not to freak out too much, but as I am NOT a fan of needles in any way, this is making me quite nervous. I'm trusting God that He will take care of me though. He promised never to leave us, nor forsake us, and I am holding on to that promise! Please keep me in your prayers, and pray that this trypanophobic (person who is afraid of needles) will be so heavily sedated (they don't put you to sleep, just sedate you), that I won't even know my own name, and that I can just sleep through the whole thing!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Birth Plan

I remember what it was like the first time I gave birth. I was 23 years old, and I had my daughter in the hospital. My very special friend, who is a nurse, was by my side, and my wonderful husband was there to coach me along. My entire family was also there waiting for our newborn daughter to arrive.

I was in a comfortable bed, with clean sheets, and I had nurses who tended to my every need. I had all the ice chips a girl could want, and a bathroom with running water.

There was a television to distract me, and a CD player to play my favorite soft music.

I am a person that likes to have everything "just so". I made out a birth plan ahead of time, to ensure that everything would be done just the way I wanted it.

I made sure to bring all the comforts of home with me to the hospital, including my own pillow.

When I think about my first delivery compared to Mary, the mother of Jesus, I cannot imagine being in her shoes.

As I try to picture what it would be like to be nine months pregnant, and riding on a donkey, it is just inconceivable to me. Riding in the car during contractions was bad enough.

Then, to be told that there was no place to go to give birth, and I would have to give birth to my baby in a stable? I'm sure I would have complained, and whined, and probably even cried about the injustice of it all. I would have been mad at Hubs, because surely, SURELY, he could find a place! I mean....I'm about to give BIRTH! A stable just won't do!

We aren't told whether or not Mary felt this way. I'd like to think that since she was human, that may have been the case. The Bible never says she was perfect. Just that she was blessed among women. I'm sure she didn't always have the right attitude about things, and having to give birth in a stable may just have been one of them. After all, it is a known fact that pregnant women can be a bit....unreasonable at times.

Not that I would know anything about that though.

Just don't ask Hubs. He may remember things differently. But, this is MY blog, and I don't remember it that way ;)

Not much is said in the Bible about Jesus' birth. But, I am sure that a stable was NOT the ideal place to give birth to a baby.

I'm sure if Mary had her choice, she would have chosen a place a little more....appropriate. At least a place that would have had a bed for her to lie down in. I'm sure that her birth plan wouldn't have included giving birth next to farm animals or laying her newborn son in a dirty manger.

And yet, on that night so long ago, Jesus Christ was born. Emmanuel. God with us. Messiah.

He didn't come as a king, but as a tiny, helpless infant. He was born to ordinary parents, who were chosen by God to raise the Savior of the world.

This Christmas, as we remember His birth, we remember that He came into the world for a purpose. To save us from our sins, and give us the gift of salvation.

He came, not just for for the rich, or the educated, or the popular ones, but for ALL people. He came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.

I can't think of a greater gift that anyone could offer me than the gift of salvation. A new iPad 2 pales in comparison.

The gift of eternal life.

This gift is still available today. Wise men STILL seek Him. But, it is a gift, and you must be willing to accept it.

Will YOU accept His wonderful gift?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Be Our Guest Hodgepodge

1. Will you be hosting any house guests between now and the end of December? Does that thought make you happy or crazy? Do you do anything special for your guests to make them feel at home? How long should a house guest stay?

The only "house guests" I will be hosting, will be for our annual Christmas Eve party, and they won't be spending the night.

Although, we will be celebrating my middle daughter's 13th birthday party in Dec., even though her birthday isn't until the middle of Jan. (more on that later), and there will probably be some girls spending the night for that.

I have never had any spend the night type of guests in December, and I guess that makes me a little bit happy. December is a rather crazy time around here, and not just because of Christmas!

When we have guests spend the night, I always make sure that they have everything they need, and fix them special food. We always make sure that they know how much we appreciate them being with us, and try to make them feel as welcome as possible.

I think how long guests should stay is really determined by how much you enjoy having them around ;) I would never tell anyone that they had to leave within a certain time though!

2. Walter Elias Disney was born this week (December 5) back in 1905 ...what's your all time favorite Disney movie? Here's a list in case you're struggling...and yes, you have to pick one.

Oh my word! I have to pick just ONE?! I guess I would say "Beauty and the Beast". I especially love the song "Be Our Guest" where all the dishes start singing and dancing, and then they serve Belle dinner. Why can't my dishes serve ME dinner?? Not sure I would think the "gray" stuff was delicious though. I tend to be a rather picky eater.

3. What was the last thing you purchased that you realized was a mistake after the fact?

In theory, this sounds like such a great product! However, when I got it home, I just couldn't get it to work. Your hair has to be SUPER thick in order for the "bump it" not to show.

4. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

It varies from year to year. This year, maybe 25%.

5. Amaryllis-snowdrop-poinsettia...your favorite winter blossom?

Poinsettias! At our church, you can purchase a poinsettia plant in honor or in memory of someone. Then, they are lined up around the altar, for the whole church to enjoy. They make the church look so beautiful, especially at our Christmas Eve candlelight service.

6. What is one thing on your personal Christmas wish list? I think we all want peace on earth so let's make this answer an actual item.

There really aren't very many things on my Christmas wish list. I am a very easy to please kind of person. Let's see....I did ask for a new crock pot, some pj's, a nice cozy soft blanket, some new snowmen for my collection, oh yeah...and peace on earth. Ha!

7. If you could only use one word today what would it be?

Indecision. We have so many decisions that need to be made around here that my head is swimming!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Here is our newest family picture. It only took 60 tries to get it right :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Ornaments

I promised a post all about some of my favorite Christmas ornaments. So, without further delay, here they are!

First up, is an ornament that I have had ever since I was a little girl. It has my name on it, and it is even spelled correctly! With a name like "Amiee", everyone wants to spell it "Amy", or "Aimee".

Please excuse the marked up desk that shows in some of the pictures. It appears that these marks need to be magically erased. Ha!

Next up, is our "First Christmas Together" ornament we received for our very first Christmas as a married couple. This was purchased for us by my beloved Gram and Grandpa.

As a newly married couple, we did not have any ornaments for our tree. So, for Christmas, my grandparents bought us a box of special and unique ornaments. This was in that box.

This ornament isn't special to me because of what it looks like, but because of WHO made it. This was made by my Gram. She used to make ceramics back when she could see well, before diabetes stole her vision from her. As I have mentioned before, she is now in Heaven with Jesus. This ornament is the only thing I have left of the ceramics that she made me. It even has her signature etched on the back. Priceless!

I have an ornament for each of my three girls that they received on their first Christmas.

This is my oldest's ornament. This reminds me of my very first Christmas as a Mother, and all the joy and wonder that having a child brought to Christmas.

This is my middle daughter's. Even though it doesn't say anything about "Baby's First Christmas", it has a sweet little picture of her dressed like an angel in it. This is one of my favorite pictures I have of her as a baby.

This is my youngest's. I bought this ornament for her, when I first found out she was a girl. It is special in it's own way, because on the back, it has her her name, birth date, how much she weighed, and how long she was on it. Plus, I collect Precious Moments, so I just HAD to have it :)

This one of Barbie with her little sister on the sled, was bought for my oldest daughter by her Uncle George. He bought it for her because he knew how much she loved Barbie, and that just a month after Christmas, she was going to become a big sister for the very first time.

Finally, my ornament from the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life". I bought this ornament as a reminder to me that no matter what happens in our lives, it truly is, because of God, a *Wonderful* life!

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

Jeremiah 29:11

I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded of this. Life can be cold and hard at times, and hard to understand. It helps to be reminded that even though I can't see the "big picture" of my life, God can!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree

Our tree is finally up!

In case you were wondering, we have an artificial tree. No "real" trees here.

Growing up, my Dad was allergic to real trees, so we always had an artificial one. I guess it has just kind of stuck with me. Seems safer than having a real tree too, in my opinion. And neater. No needles all over the floor!

I have had the same tree for quite a few years now. It is one of those "pre-lit" trees. Except for now, it no longer pre-lights, or even lights at all. That part of the tree only lasted a few years. I am still required to wind the lights around it anyway, so it kind of defeats the purpose of having a pre-lit tree. I now know this is a very common problem with these trees.

That would have been nice to know before hand.

For all of you considering buying have been warned.

Last year, as we were in a rush to put the tree away, Hubs decided to just plop the tree, with all the lights still on it, back into the box. So, this year? It was loads of fun trying to get the lights OFF the tree, so I could untangle them, and put them on again.

I always get a bit weepy and sentimental looking over all the Christmas ornaments. I have some favorite ones, which I will feature in another post.

I love looking at trees that are super fancy and all color coordinated. You know, the ones that look like they were pulled right out of a magazine, with all of their glitz and glamour.

Our tree is not like that. There are no fancy bows or rows of matching ornaments.

Yet, I prefer my tree to those other trees. On our tree, every ornament has a story to tell. I can tell you how each and every one of them came to be on our tree.

The ones that were made by my girls are so very precious to me. The ones that have pictures of their adorable little faces on them? Even better.

Some we got as presents on our very first Christmas as a married couple. Others were given to our children as gifts. Several we have picked up, here and there, just because we liked them, or they reminded us of something, or someone, special.

Each one of them is unique in their own way.

I wouldn't trade my tree for anything.

Well....the tree itself can be replaced. It is starting to look its age.

And this time? It won't be a pre-lit tree that is purchased...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Truth Pandemic

What do you know about HIV and AIDS?

Today is World AIDS Day. Take a few minutes to watch this short video, and see if YOU know the truth.

Want even more info about HIV and AIDS? Go to

The truth is contagious.

Spread it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let It Snow Hodgepodge

1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)

Yes, we do send (or give out) Christmas cards, usually with either a picture of our family, or a picture of the girls. We send out around fifty. We display the cards we receive on our banister.

2. When do kids become adults?

I think they become adults when they are 18, or when they have graduated from High School. It can be a rather fine line.

3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?

I don't really have much of a 'beauty regimen', so it stays the same regardless of the seasons. I guess I do moisturize a bit more in the winter, but that's about it.

4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?

I can't think of anything that I like to eat that other people would turn their noses up at. I do like squash and mushrooms, and those are both things that certain people in our family find repulsive, so I will go with those.

5. Gloves or mittens?

Definitely gloves! I haven't worn mittens since I was a little girl. I found this video, and apparently, owning these particular gloves can change your life. I don't own a smart phone yet (stupid cell phone contract) but Hubs does, so maybe I should get him a pair for Christmas?

FYI....this is EXACTLY how it looks outside my door right now! Brrr!

6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?

Probably standing in line for the Toy Story ride at Disney World. We had to wait so long, that children were literally napping while we waited! Was it worth it? I don't think so.

7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to in the month of December?

My oldest daughter is in the play "The Homecoming" at our local theatre. This is the story "The Walton's" is based on. She is playing the part of Shirley, who is one of the Spencer children. The shows are next weekend, and we are all very excited to see the weeks of hard work pay off.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

So, here is an update about my medical tests. The pulmonologist does not think that I have emphysema, so THAT is good news! However, I do have some sort of restrictive airway disease, and he is not willing to "label" me yet, but he thinks that I may have chronic asthma. He put me on some new meds, and I have to see him again soon. Thanks for all of your prayers. I appreciate it!

In other news, our town is currently experiencing blizzard-like conditions. We are expected to get from 6-10 inches of snow tonight. We had something called "thunder snow" and it was pretty weird. It was thundering and lighting, WHILE it was snowing!

Power is out in the town next to us, but ours is still on. Of course, I got smart this time, and filled up the tub and several large containers with water, just in case. Since we have a well, if we lose power.....we lose water! No water = toilet that won't flush. With five people living in the house, that is NOT fun.

The kids around here are all excited about a possible snow day tomorrow. That is one of the disadvantages of doing school at home. You don't have to "go" anywhere, so school can continue as usual. Ha!

That's OK, we have "snow days" when the sun is shining instead :)

We need to find all of the winter gear, as the girls are looking forward to going sledding tomorrow.

Now....where did we put those boots....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Imagine

When I was younger, I didn't have any Legos, but my brother did. He also had Lincoln Logs, and we would spend hours building things together.

Since I have all girls, Legos haven't been a real big part of our family. Unlike families that have boys, that word has never appeared on any Christmas list my girls have written.

Barbies: Check

Baby Dolls: Check

Kitchen: Check

American Girl Doll: Check

Legos: Ummm.....No

However, my youngest daughter has now taken a liking to them. Living in a small town, we don't have a Lego store. Sure, you can buy them at Wally World, but it isn't quite as fun.

So, while we were in Chicago, we decided to visit a real Lego store.

Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! THIS is what greeted us at the entrance of the store.

Impressive, eh? This is made entirely out guessed it....Legos! I can't even imagine how many hours it took them to put this together.

The Chicago skyline was in one window, and this Lego man was in the other. To be honest, this one rather surprised me. I was kind of shocked that in this day and age, they would actually make a Lego man smoking a pipe. They are not allowed to post cigarette ads on billboards anymore, or have commercials on television, or even advertise for them in a magazine. So, isn't it rather odd that a store that sells toys for children, would in a round about way, be advertising smoking? What do you think?

This gigantic dragon could be seen throughout the store. His head was at the back of the store, but his body appeared to be "coming through" the ceiling every so often all around the store.

Here is a close up of his mouth

This black cat with a white patch resembles my mother-in-law's cat, Cozy.

My oldest daughter said this reminded her of Hubs and I. Awww

The best part of being at the Lego store? Playing with the all the Legos!

Here is our favorite cowboy, Woody, from Toy Story. I think they should have put Jessie next to him. That would have been cute!

This is Hubs, my oldest daughter, and my brother-in-law standing next to him. He was very tall!

Being at the Lego store made me remember just how much fun Legos can be. Hmmm....maybe I will put them on my Christmas list this year.

You never know, Santa just may decide to put some in my stocking.

I have been a very good girl this year....