Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year ~ 2014!

happy new year photo: HAPPY NEW YEAR happy_new_years.gif 

"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 just love this verse and it is so true.  God wants so much for you and me to walk with him and see his way, instead of our own.  It is so hard to give everything over to the Lord.  I like to feel in control most of the time.  I'm SLOWLY trying to give it up to the Lord, but that devil is so good to whisper in my ear.  Satan knows my buttons and fear is one of them.  Fear of tomorrow, fear of where this government is going to take my family and I.  Fear of all of my insecurities.  Ugh!  I have to constantly tell myself that God has a plan for me.  I have to walk with him and talk with him in order to find out what plan he has for me.  He has always taken care of me, even when I'm scared to death.  Of course, I'm always in my comfy bed asking for forgiveness because I allowed the devil to put that fear right back in my thoughts.  God won't harm me, but mold me to be more like him.  I don't think it's a physical image, but spiritual, love and kindness.  No matter how bad it may seem, there is hope for the future.  God is hope because I KNOW he is on his way back for me and you.  I have faith and His Word that reassures me of His coming.  If there is one thing I could wish for you today on this New Year's Eve is . . .

for a better 



Sunday, December 29, 2013

We Wish You A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas holiday.  We had a wonderful time, enjoyed the parties and family gatherings.  God continues to bless us.  He is such an awesome God and incredible Savior!  Because of Christ's birth, I had a chance to be truly free.  You know, you really don't know happiness and eternal fulfillment until you have Christ in your life and how much you strive to be more Christ-like.  For the past few years, my New Year's Resolution has been to be more Christ-like.  I can look back in the years past and I can see some change.  I fail a lot and come short, but it's not easy being Christ-like.  I  hope to be the beacon of light that God would want me to be for Him.  Please keep me in your prayers.  I pray this year, God will make your year awe-some and filled with happiness.   

 photo DSC_0608_zps5eb511d1.jpg
Kids preparing Santa Cookies

 photo DSC_0609_zps554327ce.jpg  photo DSC_0610_zpscaf247e0.jpg
Colton prefers having a little cookie with his icing - Katie showing her masterpiece

 photo DSC_0615_zps54769a01.jpg
This has been the scene for a few days, especially during the rainy and very cold days - Lu wants to come in the house and warm up as well

We had a few days of nice, warm weather, but not many.  The kids have enjoyed being outside, playing with the neighbor girl.  They've had a good time.  I love the fact that my cat chases the little girl's dog out of my yard.  LOL!  We've had lots of movie days, due to cold or wet weather.  This past weekend, we pulled out the kids' new movies that they got for Christmas - "Monster's University" and "Dear Dumb Diary".  For all parents that have girls in the 3rd and 4th grade, I recommend "Dear Dumb Diary."  The main character, Jamie, is my daughter up one side and down the other.  She may not act like her entirely, but I can see that she will in the future.  So funny!  I believe my mother-in-law laughed from the beginning of the movie to the end.  Katie has read most of the "Dear Dumb Diary" books and loves them.  I've bought her one of the newest series. She loves funny series.  For Christmas, she asked me to get her "Stink and the Midnight Zombies" and "Magic Reindeer." She said that she is loving the Stink book.  

 photo DSC_0648_zpsecdf6da4.jpg
Colton received some very cool toys this Christmas - lots of Nerf guns, sword & shield, castle with knights and armor.  Very Cool! 

 photo DSC_0651_zps59306711.jpg
We had to make Colton wear his sunglasses during the Nerf battles between he and his sister.  Mom and dad got tired of telling them over and over "don't shoot in the face!"  Our next purchase is Colton some safety glasses.  

 photo DSC_0658_zps7b792722.jpg  photo DSC_0668_zpsdefa236a.jpg
Can't you just see the sweet revenge in her sweet little face? - My mom embroidered every one of my sisters a pillow or wall hanging.  She started YEARS ago.  I never thought I would ever see mine.  I got such a sweet surprise this Christmas.  My sister told me that she encouraged my mother to keep up the good work.  My mother will be 77 years old this February, so her hands are not as good as they once were.  Mom knows how much I love the color purple.  I love it so much that I've painted two rooms in my house purple (different shades of course).  Now, I need to decide if I'm going to hang it up in my bedroom or bathroom.  Hmmm.  Everyone will be able to see it more in my bathroom than the bedroom.  

Christmas Morning - HO! HO! HO! 

 photo DSC_0697_zpsbeb4ad25.jpg  photo DSC_0700_zps3d253385.jpg
Colton said that he wanted a large chocolate Santa for Christmas.  To his surprise, Santa Claus left him and Katie large hollow chocolate Santas in their stockings.  While we had sausage balls for breakfast, Colton just wanted his chocolate Santa and milk.  Who can argue with that on Christmas?  He ate half of it by lunch time.  He said it was so good!  LOL!  I was surprised that he didn't get sick.  

 photo DSC_0710_zpsd828476b.jpg 
Colton asked Santa Claus for a BIG Superman, just like his Batman.  Katie asked for a Lalaloopsy.  Santa gave her a beautiful collector's edition (not shown).  We gave her the new baby Lalaloopsy that she is holding.  The kids had a great Christmas and us parents had a very relaxing and enjoyable vacation.  


Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

 photo DSC_0592_edited-2_zpseae10f21.jpg 
Our family would like to wish yours a very
Merry Christmas!

 photo DSC_0595_edited-3_zps52ba58f6.jpg  photo DSC_0211_zps71645b92.jpg
We've enjoyed preparing and celebrating this time of year.  We visited Santa's Village last week.  The kids loved getting to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.  They could not wait to tell him what they would like Christmas morning.  They didn't ask for a whole lot just a couple of things.  I hope Santa doesn't disappoints, but I don't think he will.  Below are a few photos from our experience.  

 photo DSC_0212_zps14c2a256.jpg

 photo DSC_0258_zpsfbaed37d.jpg  photo DSC_0243_zps96997f82.jpg  photo DSC_0233_zpsdd5691f7.jpg  photo DSC_0232_zpsb89fcfa8.jpg  photo DSC_0229_zps801524f1.jpg
We witnessed a man making a nail for Santa's reindeer's shoes.

 photo DSC_0224_zps21d98cdc.jpg
Santa's reindeers were relaxing after a hard trip down South.

 photo DSC_0222_zpsc7c2861b.jpg  photo DSC_0216_zps005c6b2f.jpg

This momma has been busy baking truffles, cookies and other goodies.  The kids are having a hard time containing themselves they are so excited about Christmas being right around the corner.  I can't keep Colton out of the gifts under the tree.  Last night was our annual sleeping under the Christmas tree and watch Christmas movies until late.  I can tell Katie is getting older because when the television went off, she was ready to get in her own bed.  She told me that she didn't know what was wrong with her, she just likes sleeping in her own bed.  I assured her that it was okay, as long as they had a good time in the Living Room until then.  Colton jumped in bed with me and his dad until he fell asleep.  Colton said this morning that he wanted to do that again.  Not until next year! He wants to catch Santa if it is the last thing he does.  

We hope you have a safe and magical Christmas.  We love you! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

My family and I would like to wish you a very . . . 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

 photo DSC_0003_zpsc1ce0112.jpg
Colton's Turkey

 photo DSC_0008_zps272f9abc.jpg
Katie's Thanksgiving picture she made in art class.  
I think is so beautiful! She has developed a great talent for it. 

 photo DSC_0005_zpsd8da21e3.jpg
Colton's Hulk 
He created this Hulk all by himself.  For a 4 year old, I don't think it bad at all.  
I must add that he insisted on cutting it out himself.  Not bad. 

Another year has passed and it is time to look back and give my Heaven Father a special thanks.  

Psalm 100:1-5 says,  
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endure forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." 

There is so much sorrow and strife all over the world and at home.  Pain, fear, loss and death.  For today, I am thankful for God's mercy and strength.  God has blessed me that my cup runs over.  I don't know why he has allowed so many blesses to come my way, but I hope I am able to show gratitude and thanks to him.  I pray I will be the servant He would like for me to be that I might be obedient to him and humble to hear his calling.  I pray for continuous grace and protection for my life and my loved ones.  I pray that His will be done in my life that I might be a beacon for the Lord.  


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Exploring Thanksgiving Recipes

Doug and I were discussing Thanksgiving food items several days ago. He loves green bean casserole and I haven't made one for him in a few years. The only recipe I've ever had and made was the Campbell Soup recipe. You know the one with cream of mushroom soup and French's fried onions. I'll eat it, but I don't crave it. I guess you could say. It's like it is missing something, more flavor. Well, Mr. Doug asked me if I would make him a green bean casserole this year. I didn't realize how much he missed or loved it until he asked. I would do anything for my hunny. He does so much for me and I know he appreciates all that I do for him and the kids. Yes, I would love to make him one, but I asked if I could make a different version. He didn't seem to mind. I went on a big search for a couple of days to find the casserole that would contain the right flavor and ingredients that we like. A couple of recipes intrigued me, but I started with the one from "Taste of Home" magazine. The recipe is titled "Festive Green Bean Casserole" and that is what it is - colorful and (to us) the right flavor. If you are tired of the same ole bland green bean casserole, I urge you to give this casserole a try. Now, I didn't follow the recipe to the tee. It called for frozen green beans. In the past, I've had bad luck cooking recipes as written using thawed frozen vegetables. More than likely, they are always under cooked and crunchy. Doug hates crunchy unless it is suppose to be like chestnuts.  Of course, fresh green beans are best.  I recommend that they cook until tender before putting them in a casserole.  I'm one of those women that just grab a can.  In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with canned veggies.

I made this dish tonight. Doug, Katie and I all really like it and I will be making it for our Thanksgiving dinner. I hate that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product before we all dug into it. I won't take a picture, while it looks like a mess. LOL!

 photo DSC_1280_zps1e61a440.jpg 
Festive Green Bean Casserole

1 chopped sweet red pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (add a little extra, if needed)
1 can Family Size (28 oz.) French-style green beans 
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese 
French's fried onions

  • In a large skillet, saute red pepper and onion in butter until tender.  Add soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce; stir until smooth.  Stir in beans and water chestnuts.  
  • Transfer to an ungreased 1 1/2 qt. baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through.  At the last 5 minutes, sprinkle fried onions around the dish or as desired and continue baking.  
Serves: 6-8 
Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes

Nutritional Facts:  1 serving (1cup) equals 144 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 404 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein. 

Of course, you can adjust the recipe to meet your diet needs (fat free milk, low-sodium Worcestershire sauce, fat-free cream of celery soup, etc.) 

   photo the-help-movie-poster_zps08c82b9a.jpg

You may remember in my past posts, I love movies that have a lot of cooking.  I never had the opportunity to read "The Help", but did get to watch the movie.  I've seen it several times and just LOVE IT!  I do believe Minnie is my favorite character.  I think Octavia Spencer is a terrific actress and also an Alabamian.  She's a good Southern woman in my book.  {wink!}  All throughout this movie, Minnie's famous Chocolate Pie is shown and mentioned.  I'm telling ya, it does look delicious on the big screen.  All except for the scene, where Minnie gives one of her pies to Mrs. Hilly.  Yeah, you remember that one right?  LOL!!  Hilarious!!!  Oh, if you haven't seen this movie, you've got to go get it right now.  I can't believe I don't have the movie in my library by now.  Such a great movie and Minnie makes it funny with her special pie to Mrs. Hilly.  Just watch it, if you haven't.  

 photo minny_and_pie_zps0dd45a4a.jpg

Now that I've mentioned the movie, I've been wanting to try the famous Mrs. Minnie's Famous Chocolate Pie.  Guess what?  I found the recipe! I made the pie tonight and it is delicious.  It is so simple and inexpensive to make.  I even made the Whipping Cream to go on top.  

 photo DSC_1285_zpsb92791e5.jpg 
Does this pie look familiar?  Yes, this is the
Minnie's Chocolate Pie with Whipping Cream that I made today.

Minnie's Chocolate Pie with Whipping Cream 

makes one 9" pie 
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
3/4 cup evaporated milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pie crust 
Whipped cream (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  1. Roll out pie dough, lay in pie plate and crimp the edges.  Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.  Take a sheet of aluminum foil and carefully press into crust, now take 1 lb. of dry beans pour them into the foil and bake pie crust for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes before removing foil and beans.  (save the beans in a zip-loc after they cool for your next pie)
  2. In a mixing bowl combine sugar, cocoa, melted butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt. Whip until smooth.  Pour into pie crust.  Return to 350 degree oven and bake for 50 minutes or until pie is firm, but just barely has a jiggle to the middle.  
  3. Remove from oven, place on wire cooling wrack, allow to cool completely before serving with whipped topping.  If you have any leftovers store them in the refrigerator.  
Whipped Cream:  1 cup of whipping cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and a dash of vanilla whipped with a mixer until stiff peaks form.  

Our family has gotten so big that we've gone from bringing 3 or 4 different plates for dinner to 1 or 2 sides.  LOL!  Even then there is always so much food that no one can eat it all.  We always have the traditional Thanksgiving meal with deep fried turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, various casseroles, pies and other sweets galore.  I think we made the right two choices for our meal.  What will you be making on Thanksgiving day?  Share your recipe with me.  Thanks! 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Preparations 2013

I finished creating all types of treats for our little booger bears. This year, I made candy treat hands with bat rings for each student in both Katie and Colton's class.  I used Smarties for the fingers and individual bags of Skittles and M&Ms for the hand part.  I tied off the top with decorative ribbon.

 photo DSC_0812_edited-1_zpscb44cb16.jpg
It's been a few years since I've made Salt Dough Ghosts, but I thought Katie and Colton's teachers would like them as a Halloween gift.  CLICK HERE for the Salt Dough Ghost instructions.

 photo DSC_0813_edited-1_zps4a975bb8.jpg
Lastly, I wanted to try something new.  I found these on the grocery store shelves.
 photo pumpkinspicemallows_zpse403f4b7.jpg
Now, you may have already seen these Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Mallows before, but I had not.  I love the pumpkin spice flavor and a light bulb went off.  Why not make pumpkin rice krispy treats in the shape of pumpkins?  I got the ingredients and went home.  I used a Rolo for the stem and green icing for the leaves.  As I was looking at Kraft's website, I like the idea of putting a mini candy bar like 3 Musketeers inside the pumpkin.  Great idea!  However, I didn't have any mini candy bars to put in the center of each pumpkin.  I basically made these just like you would make regular rice krispy treats.  

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Treats 
3 Tbsp. Butter 
1 package Kraft Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Mallows
6 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispy Cereal
6 Individual Rolos
Green Icing 

On low heat, melt butter.  

Add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted. 

Add cereal and stir until coated completely.  

Keeping your hands wet at all times, form the cereal into a large ball and place on a flat surface.  Because your rice krispies are still warm, it might try to fall apart.  Keep your fingertips wet and mold back together.  Once it cools the ball will stay in it's form.  This recipe will make 6 large pumpkins.  Place a little icing on the bottom of the Rolo before placing it on top of the pumpkin, to make your stem.  With a leaf tip on the bag of green icing, decorate the top with leaves and curly stems.  Have fun with it!  

I could not believe my eyes, when Katie brought this home from school.  They've been well on their way with Multiplication Tables for a few weeks now.  Who would have thought Algebra?  I guess I was a little shocked when I showed it to Doug.  He very calmly said well she can do it.  That wasn't the point.  She's just 8 years old and just began memorizing her multiplication tables.  I looked at the sheet again and realized that yes, she can do it.  

 photo DSC_0811_edited-1_zps94045a36.jpg


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Congratulations Nathan and Natalie

My niece and her boyfriend of three years have finally gotten engaged.  She graduates college this Winter and then she can spend the rest of her time, planning her dream wedding.  They've set a date for this coming Spring and SHE HAS THE DRESS.  Things are ticking right along just like clock work.  We are so excited for them both.  Nathan is so good to her, treats her like a queen.  They are so in love and I don't think I'll have to say it too loud because I think you can see it in the pictures.  They wanted a few engagement photos.  What better time to do it than in the month of October?

 photo DSC_0751_blur_zpsd4c032a5.jpg

 photo DSC_0749_edited-sunflare_zps5718f8e7.jpg

 photo DSC_0765_bampw_vignette_zpsd440974e.jpg

 photo DSC_0767_edited-2_zps7c0f49ae.jpg

 photo DSC_0770_bampw_zps697b7da5.jpg
I simply made the background black and white

 photo DSC_0791_edited-1_zps32d85d1c.jpg

 photo DSC_0792_edited-2_zpsf49631eb.jpg
Actually, I was planning on cutting their bodies out of this picture and zoom in on the heart, but look at them.  They are so in love.  I couldn't cut them out because this is LOVE. 

 photo DSC_0780_zpscf706733.jpg
My instructor told me how the Autumn lighting is so different compared to Summer.  I believe it!  However, I have to say this photo brings a sense of passion.  

 photo ring_zpsba1c2682.jpg

 photo Faces_zps24439a66.jpg
They really liked how this picture brings out their blue eyes.  We think it's the red blanket and Natalie's shirt.  Regardless, it turned out perfect. 

Thank you so much guys for allowing me to pull you around for an hour, taking pictures.  It gives me a chance to get more experience, learn from mistakes and see the difference in lighting opportunities.  

We love you and wish you the very best future God has to offer!!!