Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tidings of JOY

From us to you…we wish you a Merry Christmas filled with the JOY of the Savior.christmas card layout 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

5 months–not possible!


Beautiful babe, you are five months today.  Impossible.  Really.  The time has flown and we are loving every moment with you.  That’s not literary license, that is the truth.  Even the tough ones (of which there are not many), we are truly thankful you were sent into our lives and our family.


You can now roll over both ways, giggle (which makes us giggle back at you), and you are babbling up a storm!  You still haven’t had regular food, but we have just begun to notice that you are taking particular interest when we are eating and drinking.  You like your hands and are very deft at grabbing things in your midline.  You even grab things in front of you when you are on your belly (with a little extra effort!).


You share your infectious smiles with everyone and your inquisitive eyes take in everything. It seems not much passes by you with out you processing what it was and how it fits into your world.  You stare at Mama when she is feeding you and study her face with intensity.

Thank you for loving us.  Thank you.

A “Mary” Christmas

Today was Anna’s last preschool Christmas pageant. (sniff, sniff…)  To say she was ecstatic when they chose her to be Mary would be an understatement.  She has been singing her songs to anyone that has ears and has been gently laying her dolls down in the manger to simulate her big moment.

We love that she has the opportunity to go to a Christian preschool were Christ really is the center of their days and of their lives.  We are insanely grateful for her teachers and Christ-like love that they lavish on the 3 to 5 year olds that are in their care.   Anna really loves preschool too.  (In fact, she just asked me 10 seconds ago when she would go back to preschool.  I informed her that she wouldn’t go back until after Christmas break and she made a very sad face.)


Mary and Joseph entering Bethlehem on the donkey.


Mary holding baby Jesus with care.  (She told me she was remembering to smile because at first “I was a little bit nervous because there was a lot of people Mama!”)


After the play and intermission, they changed out of their costumes and came back for an encore to present their songs they’d been working on.  The above is Anna praying for our snacks – too precious.

IMG_2124IMG_2127Anna had many adoring fans that came to watch her today ~ Marion and the boys, Grandmom and Ms. Dana all came to cheer her on while she performed.  She was delighted to have a fan section and waved sheepishly to us as she proceeded down the aisle.  We are so proud of her and the gorgeous heart on the inside of her little body – full of life, full of love, and full of the joy of the Lord.IMG_2125

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

outside and in

IMG_2030Christmastime is here…outside and in.  The little snowfall we had last week (followed by some 70 degree weather – wahoo!) was just enough to really get us in the spirit…and to just enough for Banana and Mommy to make a snowman!  It was just the right consistency, and baby sister was napping and it was too much to resist.

So trudging into our snow clothes we did go.IMG_2025

We made a snow man….IMG_2028caught snowflakes on our tongues….IMG_2022

and when we were good and (wet) cold, we had some hot cocoa.IMG_2031

Of course, when the tree is up and you want to sip hot chocolate, you need some cookies to go with it, right?  Who is this mama to argue when my kids want to bake with me…Hudson particularly has been set on making what he deems “christmas cookies” – to him, that means cut outs with icing and decorations.  Forget that I’ve tried to convince him that Christmas Cookies can be a multitude of different delights.  He is dead set.IMG_2061So that’s what we did  tonight while Daddy is at work until late…Wednesdays are our days that I intentionally plan something to entertain us all.  Anna and I mixed the dough early in the day and after our gourmet dinner of frozen pizza & salad, we got to the rolling, cutting, baking and decorating.   While watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, obviously. :-)


Homemade icing paint rocks.  If you don’t know about it,  ask me.  It’s the greatest thing ever for little cooks that love to decorate.



I do have to have a couple different kinds of cookies at Christmas…but am trying to make a tradition of a few particular ones. 

What cookies can you NOT pass up at Christmas?

Friday, November 30, 2012

got turkey?

If you carefully planned, thawed, seasoned, basted, roasted, carved and devoured a turkey on Thanksgiving, chances are, that you were lucky enough to keep most of the leftovers in your home – that is, after giving some of them away to your deserving guests! 

After it is picked clean, this mama takes the carcass and boils it down with salt, pepper, garlic and onion to make a nice solid stock.  This year the bones were so good that I got two big batches of it resulting in 16 cups of stock to use in soups for the winter (holla!).  But for me, what to do with that leftover turkey? 

I have issues with hunks of meat.  Really.  I think I could be a vegetarian if it weren’t for seafood and bacon. (Ahh, bacon…I am salivating.)  All that to say, I am not one to throw a slab of turkey on bread and eat it after thanksgiving.  I also don’t like my food to touch on my plate.  That’s another story for another time.IMAG0294

So I make recipes using small bits of the leftover meat.  I didn’t  feel like making soup (read: I waited way to late to start dinner) and I stumbled across this delightful little recipe.  It is adapted from Pinch of Yum.  I say adapted, because as those of you who know me, I can never really follow a recipe.  Ever.  I like to be creative in the kitchen.

Southwest Bean Casserole


  • some chopped up leftover turkey meat (I used 2 cups)
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1 red/green pepper, chopped 
  • 3-4 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • ⅔ cup turkey broth (or other broth)
  • 2 15 oz cans of your favorite beans, rinsed
  • 1-2 chopped seeded tomatoes OR 1 can of drained diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup (2 oz) shredded cheese (I used cheddar and slices of longhorn because that is what I had!)


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Coat pan with olive oil. Add onion, pepper, sautéing for 4 minutes and stirring occasionally. Add cumin, red pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly (I added a tablespoon or two of water to keep things from sticking in the pan.)  Add spinach and wilt.
  4. Stir in broth and black beans. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Mash beans to desired consistency. Mix in the turkey and heat through.
  5. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with tomato and cheese. Bake at 425F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. (It took my oven 20 minutes) Let cool for at least 10 minutes (otherwise it will be too runny).
  6. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, on tacos, on a salad, or just eat it plain!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Day ‘12


We woke to a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l morning on Thursday morning – a morning to be thankful for, surely!  We journeyed to a local park to help clean up leaves and IMAG0301trash as a way to give thanks to the community that we live in.  We went with our fr-amily and the 4 kids that were along ‘helped’ with the leaves.  It was such a sunny morning that halfway through we shed our coats and hats and basked in the warmth.


We returned home in time for Mama to put the turkey in the oven and then spent the afternoon enjoying one another.  Anna loved on Laura’s dog, Reiley, and Laura helped Hudson and Anna make place markers for the table.


IMG_1998The turkey was done and it was time to eat!  We each filled out a feather for our Thankful Turkey (see here) and sat down to “sup” together. 

As we finished up the main course, more friends arrived to enjoy dessert with us.


Our day after Thanksgiving tradition is to put our lights up on the outside of the house….and to begin putting up the tree.  The kids were ecstatic, and Hudson was ready to be Daddy’s big helper.  He helped to stretch the lights and check that they were working.  He handed them to Daddy as he climbed the ladder.IMG_2004IMG_2009

We have so much to be thankful for.  More than I can list.  More than I could fill a book with.  For my heart overflows with how He has blessed us, how He has provided for us in the good times, and in the challenges.  My prayer is that we do not just model for our children that thanks is only given on one day of the year, but in every moment, on every day as we journey through this life that God has given to us.  For it is a gift, and I am ever grateful – may I sing His praise and give thanks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hadleigh 4 months

IMG_1888(Hadleigh’s first Halloween)

Happy baby, happy girl.  That pretty much describes Hadleigh.  The dr. says you are growing right on schedule and doing very well – and you are a long string bean like your brother and sister…you are in the 97th% for your length and the 75th% for your weight.IMG_1781

I love that you still think I am the funniest person in the world – I am sure that will change too soon.  You can roll 3/4 of the way over and back, but don’t totally make it all the way.  We think you realize you may lose sight of the people in the room so you just flip back over.  You give smiles freely and have an adorable giggle.  You’ve gotten very good at grabbing your hanging toys on your Baby Einstein playmat and get frustrated when they don’t reach your mouth.


You’ve captured us all…..hook….line….and sinker….

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who needs hallmark?

Who needs a card store when you have a willing master artist in residence?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

party of five


I like that.  Party of five. Seems like a nice number. A full number. A number that I am so blessed that God has given to me.  And our party of five went on our first family trip this past weekend. 

IMG_1924IMG_1928It was time. Time for us to be together with no distraction. No schedule. No expectations.


Time for Daddy to be on sabbatical. To think. To prepare. To ready his heart for the upcoming season of ministry.


Time for Mommy to enjoy her family. To be washed in the blessing of who I’ve been entrusted. To laugh. To smile. To play.



Time to be outside. To hike. To gather leaves. To explore.


Time to reconnect. To recharge. To love.



And to the family that blessed us with the gift of their second home?  I pray that God may overflow their hearts and lives because they gave us an amazing time away…together…as a party of five.

the answer….

the answer you’ve been holding your breath for…

peapod-kids answer

did you guess correctly?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can you tell who is who?

All three of our peapods have been picked from our garden in Arizona or here!  SOOO….can you tell which pea is in which pod?

To play along….make your guess and leave a comment….the results will be posted soon!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the colors of fall

There is a hike not far from our home that we love to frequent…particularly in the fall.  Year round it provides a gorgeous view of the river and the beautiful surroundings that God has provided for us.  The hike is not to challenging for the kids and it has a grand payoff at the top.


For Daddy and Mommy, it is about being outside in the Creator’s garden with those that the Creator has graciously given us.



(her joyfulness and expressive face…gotta laugh most of the day!)


(his freckles, his eyes…they get me every time…)



(we’ve yet to see what this angel brings us in personality, but her calm and gentle demeanor thus far has captured our hearts.)


I am so grateful for the creativity of a God that is a master artist….from living in the rugged beauty of the Southwest to the resplendent seasonal changes of the Northeast, His gift to us in nature is truly awesome.


Stop, admire, and breathe in His goodness.