Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Anniversary Gran and Papa

Today is my parent's 40th wedding anniversary and so today, my blog is dedicated to them. Here is a little background...My parents married December 31, 1968. I was 3 years old. Here is a picture of the three of us (in the day).

Even though my dad is actually my step dad, you would never know. He has always treated me like his very own. I love him for that. I consider myself to be one of the luckiest kids in the world to have such great parents. My dad was paralyzed in 1973, Friday the 13th of July. We have occasionally mentioned that he had his accident (a plane crash) on Friday the 13th, but when you ask him, he smiles and says that was the luckiest day of his life... because he didn't die. He has been paralyzed now for 35 years, and I don't think I have ever heard him complain about his disability. He always looks at the glass as half full, not half empty. He is one of the most positive, loving, caring people I know and I'm so proud to call him "My Dad!"

This is my first day of school, 1972.

He and my mom had only been married 4 years when he had his plane crash and she has stood by him through it all. She waits on him and takes care of his every need. She has shown me what it is really like to love someone, "til death do us part." I can only hope that I am as good of a wife as she has been and continues to be to this day.

Happy Anniversary to you both!!

I love you,

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Quick Summary of the Holiday

It's been so long since I've posted that I almost don't remember how to! Nah!! It's coming back to me, slowly!! First, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We had a pretty calm Christmas which is always good. We had ice on our roads on Tuesday the 23rd and that drastically reduced the amount of "last minute" shopping I could do. There was only one thing I needed to pick up, but Wal-Mart had it and all was good!

We had Joe's family for Christmas on the 20th. We always enjoy having them cause there are lots of kids and everyone is loud and playing and visiting and it is all good. Jake is getting older and likes to play with his big brothers. Of course, his brothers have kids Jake's age, so they kinda know what he likes! Football for one.

Here is a picture of them playing a new game that their Mamaw Mary (Joe's Mom) gave Jake.

David, Jake, Brandon

And here is Ashlynn, our neice's daughter.

We had big plans to eat at Ryan's for supper on Christmas Eve and then come back to Gran and Papa's to open gifts, but after calling to make sure they were open, found out that we didn't have time to get there before they closed!! BUMMER! So we opted for Mexican food at El Parian instead. I think we might have started a new tradition. The food is always good there and ITS FAST...just what the kids (and secretly, the adults) wanted!!

We opened our presents when we got back and I think everyone was pretty satisfied with their loot.

Jake got a lot of "Georgia Football" stuff for we don't have one single connection to Georgia, I don't even think we know one soul from Georgia, but that is the team he calls "MY TEAM"

Here is Anna, opening her "Happy Heart" perfume!

I was extra excited...Joe gave me a housekeeping service twice a month!!! I am loving that man!! He knows me pretty well. I got some china from my mom and dad.

It is Woodlands from Spode and I love it.

Papa watching Jake opening presents

Gran opening presents

They had already given me 4 plates last year for Christmas and they gave me 4 for Christmas this year. I got candles, perfume, a griddle, $100 gift certificate to the scrapbook store (YEA!!) and a bunch more stuff.

The kids still love to make reindeer food for Rudolf and the gang...caught a picture of them in the middle of it all.

Anna and Jake got up at 5 or 5:30 Christmas morning!! I think I had just laid my head down on that soft, cool pillow when I heard footsteps on the stairs!!! I couldn't believe it. Of course, Joe and I pulled ourselves out of bed, made a pot of coffee, and took part in the festivities! After we oohhed and aahhed over everything we headed back to bed to finish out what we had started. I believe we got up around 9. Then we really enjoyed looking at things with MUCH clearer eyes!

This was Jake's loot.

And here is Anna's.

Mom and I had decided weeks ago that we weren't going to fix a big dinnner on Christmas day, it was our day off from cooking, no washing dishes, no hot, dirty kitchen, no stress, NOTHING....then we decided that THAT was exactly what we liked about Christmas...we love being in the kitchen and getting all fussy over getting it all we had a wonderful Christmas dinner complete with Turkey and Dressing, Greenbean Casserole, Hashbrown Casserole, Cranberry Relish, and on and on!!! By the way, I found a recipe for a Cracker Barrel's Hashbrown Casserole on the internet sometime ago and it is pretty good I have to say. Here is the recipe if you are is so easy (Even you could make it B.C.!)

Hashbrown Casserole
2 lbs frozen, shredded hashbrowns
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces Colby cheese, grated
I have made this twice and have decided it needs about 3/4 cup of milk also

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 casserole dish with Pam. Combine soup, margarine, salt, pepper, onion, and cheese. Gently mix in potatoes ( I thaw these out in the microwave a little first) and milk. Pour into prepared dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Not much else going on here. Joe has been on call since the 24th and FINALLY got off call today! He has had a couple of really sick people in the hospital over the holidays.

Well, Anna has some girls coming for a sleepover tonight...I think they are going to see Marley and Me. Jake has basketball practice tonight, so we're getting back to normal. If only I could find a way to get this tree undecorated and upstairs while I read a few blogs on the computer...oh well....

Bye for now!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snowman Craft

Not a whole lot going on here today..and I'm not complaining! Gave me time to wrap gifts and do a little crafty thing. Found this pattern while surfing the net and thought it would be fun. Took me 10 minutes TOPS to complete.

It is a Hershey Bar for Jake's teacher, wrapped like a snowman. If you'd like the pattern, you can click here. Hope you have a jolly day!

Bye for now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Guess What!?!?

It is FREEZING!! 30 degrees to be exact. We had a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain yesterday and last night, so no school today!! The kids were pretty excited!

Jake was suppose to have his second day of standardized testing, so he was more excited than Anna!! Anna is starting semester tests tomorrow, so she is just glad for a little extra time to study. Jake and I played Life-Spongebob Square Pants Edition. He won! I never was too good at that game.

Hope everyone has a great Tuesday! Stay warm and be careful if you are having the type of weather that we are having!

Bye for now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Favorite Things

I think I've said it once or twice before, but I love the season of Christmas. I got an e-mail from my cousin, George, the other day. It was the type that you are suppose to answer the questions and send it back to the person and, of course, on to 10 of your closest friends!! Well, being the dutiful person I am, I gladly replied, but it made me think of all the traditions of Christmas that just seem to happen that we don't intend on becoming "Tradition". Like the first question, Artificial or Real Tree? For me, its pretty much always been artificial. We had a live tree a couple of houses ago and I just never enjoyed the sticky, watery mess, but I did enjoy the smell. Now we have an artificial tree (pre-lit, of course) and I spray a Christmas smell throughout the house. Works for me!!

Anyway, I really stopped to think about these questions and it made me think about my answers, as well as why I do the things I do around Christmas. I owe every little thing that I do to my mom. She is a big kid at heart!! When I was growing up she would always let me open one present a night leading up to Christmas. I loved that. Last night we were at her house and she let Jake open one of his presents. (Anna was at a friend's house) He could not have been more excited! She enjoys watching others open presents more than she enjoys opening her own presents.
She cooks for DAYS and loves EVERY minute of it! She loves that my kids love to cook with her and how they love to run out our back door and into hers as they smell wonderful food...made especially for them. Christmas is warm and fuzzy here and I love warm and fuzzy!!
But, back to my favorite Christmas song is Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) by Amy Grant. I love the words to this song. To me it exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas. My favorite "Christmas-time" thing to eat is anything my mom cooks!! I also love my mother-in-law's Christmas Punch. I have started making it for my family when Joe is on call and we don't go to his mom's house. Here is the recipe...

Here is another of my is a wooden Santa ornament. I'm not sure where or when I got it, but I love his little face. So cute!

Another one of my absolute favorites about Christmas is going to the mailbox and finding Christmas cards!! We have moved a few times in the last 10 years and Christmas is sometimes the only occasion that we hear from old friends. I love getting the cards and seeing the kids of these families. When I go to the mailbox I TRY to stop myself from opening the cards until the kids get home from school, then they divide them up and we open them together. We smile and giggle remembering the times we shared with these families.

I will be mailing our 75 or so cards today. I hope they make someone smile when they arrive in their mailbox.
Something else that is a favorite of mine and DEFINITELY put a smile on my face today was this little package from UPS!!

If you've never had one of this little cookies, you don't know what your missing. They are
Minnie Beasley's Almond Lace Cookies. I stumbled across them one year at Holiday House in Little Rock. They will be tied with a sparkly bow and sent to some pretty awesome teachers!! I plan on going shopping with my parents tomorrow...if the snow and ice will hold off. Its crunch time with only 10 days left til the big day. Anna and Jake get out of school Friday, so I don't have much time. Jake has been asking a lot of questions about Santa this year. Every day he questions me..."Santa isn't real, is he Mom?" "He's a fake, I just know it!" He couldn't be really alive, he would be OOOLLLLDDD!!" This will probably be the last Christmas that we put milk and cookies out by the fireplace...that is another one of my warm and fuzzy favorites!!!

Bye for now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So I promised you pictures of the house without the reflection and here they are:



Did you notice how the moon played right into the "Night" picture? Jake said it makes our house look haunted!! I think he's right!!

Bye for now!

We took pictures for our Christmas cards last weekend. Out of 81 pictures, this one was my favorite, so its a keeper.

It has been SUPER busy around my house lately!! Why do these days in December seem to go by faster than the days in June and July? Anyway, lets just say, I'm still trying to catch my breath!

We had Jake's School Christmas Program on the 4th. The program was really short, only 7 songs total. He was bummed because there was another student wearing the same shirt as him! You can actually seem the other boy behind Jake and to the right! Everyone was told to wear red or green and I think danged near every one of the kids chose RED!!

We are still in the process of decorating. I haven't gotten to the lights in the front yard and who knows, I may least this year! Here is our front door. There is alot of reflection this time of day, so I'll take one later today.

The kids and I went Christmas shopping in Russellville last Sunday afternoon. We got ALOT done...especially for Anna's 15 girl friends!!! At least I can cross that off the list!

This is my favorite treat after Christmas shopping...Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks!!

It's da bomb (as my 12 year old daughter would say). And I have to admit, its pretty darn good!! My secret....Always order this at 130 degrees so I don't have to wait 15 minutes to drink it!!!

We had Joe's nurses and their families over for a Christmas dinner last night. It was a lot of fun. They are both great and make all the difference in the world in his attitude at work, and therefore at home!!! I fixed a Dried Beef Cheese ball, Chips and Salsa, Candy, and Strawberry Cheese Ball rolled in Oreo crumbs for appetizers. Our main course was steak, with twice baked potatoes, greenbean bundles, Crunchy Romaine Salad and bread. For dessert, it was Arkansas Pie, Chocolate Chip Pound Cake and Cheesecake. Thanks to Nicki for the cheesecake!! It was fun for us to all get together.

So, needless to say, I have been decorating. We have 2 trees this year. Here are some of our pics from around the house.

Well, I'm glad it is Friday and I can sleep late tomorrow!! Jake will get me up at 7 am I'm sure, but at least we don't have to drive to school with the sun in our eyes!!Yeah!!!! We are planning on going shopping tomorrow in Fort Smith, I think. Jake has basketball tryouts Sunday afternoon.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Bye for now!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Daily December 1

I started my Daily December album today. It is an album that will follow my family through the days leading up to Christmas. It is an idea that a lot of scrapbookers are doing "together" each day. I have enjoyed looking at how others have documented their families lives using this journal. Here is my Daily December 1.

This is the front cover. I used an acrylic cover for better protection of the pages.

Added a couple of jingle bells

A little journaling. I want to capture everything about this season, our traditions, feelings, favorite foods and songs, Santa letters, etc.

December 1...getting the tree up!

Bye for now!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back from Thanksgiving

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days try to attack me at once....

It snowed here and on all day and night. The ground was still too warm though, so it didn't stick. I saw cars coming down from the mountain that had LOTS of snow!

We went to Tulsa the weekend before Thanksgiving. We shopped until we dropped, literally! Joe didn't want to see another mall! Anna was in heaven. We got a little head start on Christmas shopping, but mainly just wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, for a couple of days.

Even though we don't have any little "kids", we HAD to go into Pottery Barn Kids...cute, cute stuff! To make the trip even better, the gas prices were great! We filled up, just to fill up! Love that!!

We went to the Tulsa Rose Garden to look around and all of these squirrels started to swarm us. Apparently they are the most well-fed critters around! A nice lady gave us a few pecans to hand out and the squirrels would just come up to us and take the nut out of our hand.

Here is Anna feeding one of the cuties!!

This bronze statue reminded me of Anna....reading. She has read all of the "Twilight" books and finally got to see the movie Friday.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! We went to Joe's mother's house for lunch, then Anna and I came home while Jake and Joe went to deer camp. Here is the result..

Jake was so proud. This was his first deer, a doe. He said,"Since it didn't have antlers, I just had to hold it up by the ears!"

Here he is with David and Brandon.

Joe and Jake...

I've got a fairly busy week ahead...Anna has her normal cheerleading and tumbling stuff going on. Jake has his Christmas program on Thursday night, Jake has basketball registration on Friday, and Anna cheers at a basketball game on Saturday. Joe is on call Friday through Sunday.

We got our Christmas tree up last night, so tonight it's decoration time!! Maybe we can make some hot chocolate and play some Christmas music...I love that! We're having deer steaks for supper, yum, yum. Better get moving...want to start my 25 days of Christmas album today! I'll post pictures as I go.

Bye for now!