Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Goodbye Papa

On December 26th Papa Wayne was led home to Heaven by the Holy Spirit, to the healing hands of Almighty God and the loving embrace of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Papa Wayne remained here on earth long enough to celebrate 25 years of marriage with his loving wife, my Mother-in-law Marlene.

The Family is so thankful he was also here for Christmas! 

Our hearts now carry a heavy sadness for our loss, yet we rejoice at Papa's and Heaven's gain! 

The memory of Papa will remain in our hearts until we are reunited with him in Heaven!

We love you Papa Wayne!


Monday, December 26, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things About Christmas

1. Gingerbread cookies as far as the eye can see!

I only ate two...every two hours!

2. Snack food for dinner!

Since we don't have a real meal for Christmas, we just eat snack food, the calories don't really count! I'm sure each of us lost at least 5 pounds over Christmas!

3. Santa hats and silly hats.

My Dad

I don't know what it is about Christmas,

but no one cares if you take their picture while they're wearing silly hats.

I love it!

4. Getting photos of the girls with some of their cousins.

Miss Sofi Bug, Miss Emma Bean, and my very handsome nephews

And taking photos of my Grandma with some of her great grandchildren.

5. And last but for sure not least, laughing, smiling faces!

My Sister

Miss Sofi Bug and my Mom
Hope each of you enjoyed many of your favorite things for Christmas too!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Truth About Santa

Miss Sofi Bug has a very analytical mind. 

She wants to figure everything out and she wants everything to make sense.

Hence, Miss Sofi Bug figured out the truth about Santa early the Fall she was only 8 years old. Ugh!

I had been reading a book to her and Miss Emma Bean that caused the girls to ask if certain mythological characters, like the Loch Ness monster, were real. I explained that they were not real. 

Miss Sofi Bug quickly began to process through every single thing the Husband and I had ever told her about fairies, the tail we told her she'd had removed as an infant, etc. (she totally knew we were joking about the tail! I think. I'm pretty sure!) She asked us what was real and what wasn't, Santa included.

I didn't want to push Miss Sofi Bug to believe in Santa when I could clearly see she knew the truth and at that point would not tolerate anything less than full disclosure. Sigh.

I think it had a little to do with figuring it out at a young age and a little to do with her need to have everything in life make sense that caused her to be pretty upset that the Husband and I had "lied" to her.

Miss Sofi Bug's struggle with the "lie" caused me to wonder why we tell our children there is a Santa. So I did some research.

The tradition of Santa Claus is a tradition carried on in remembrance of Saint Nicholas, who, as a devout Christian gave away all of his inheritance to help the needy, the sick and the suffering. 

I quickly realized the tradition of Santa is not bad, it was how we, as parents, presented the message of Santa that was not so great.

The message that Santa will only bring toys for good little girls and boys is wrong.

The truth is Saint Nicholas gave freely to others and wanted others to believe in that same spirit of giving!

The truth about Saint Nicholas very much reflects the real importance of Christmas.

God sent His Son to earth. A gift for us. All He asks in return is that we believe in the name of Jesus as the only one who saves us from sin.

John 3:15 That whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him (Jesus) might be saved.
18 He that believes on Him (Jesus) is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

I told Miss Sofi Bug that I had done a poor job of representing Santa and what he stands for. I told her that her Dad and I would do better. We would keep the tradition of Santa alive as a reminder to freely give to others and we would keep the tradition of Santa as a small earthy reminder of what God gives to us.

Miss Sofi Bug felt a little better, but she was tense right before Thanksgiving that year knowing Christmas was coming and she still was not sure how to cope with the truth she now knew.

As Thanksgiving drew near the Family stopped at the apple orchard to purchase some apples.

As we got out of the car, Miss Emma Bean's eyes lit up. She saw Santa walking toward us. He wasn't in his red suit. He had no sack of toys. He was just a man who looked like Santa. He had a long white beard, a belly full of jelly and a jolly face.

Miss Emma Bean was beside herself with excitement asking me if it was indeed Santa coming toward us.

Miss Sofi Bug gave me a knowing smirk that frankly said, "Yeah, whatever! I know better!!"

We walked past the Santa look alike, Emma all a twitter.

He stopped in his tracks.

He looked at the girls.

He pulled two small toys out of his pocket and handed one to each of the girls!

He wished us all a Merry Christmas and walked away.

I cannot properly explain to you the look that was on Miss Sofi Bug's face that moment. She was shocked! She was delighted! She did not know what to make of what had just happened. She once again asked us if Santa was real. Was that the real Santa?

"Yes!" I said. "Santa is real. He lives in the hearts of all who are willing to freely give to others!"

We met up with Santa when we went to get our Christmas tree that year.

The very same Santa who helped restore my girl's belief. Not so much in the belief that Santa will come down the chimney and leave gifts for her under the tree, but that Saint Nicholas loved the Lord and gave to the needy and that Santa can still have a place in our Christmas celebrations. 

We have run into Santa many times over the last few years and I am ever grateful for those little toys he gave the girls!

No, Christmas is not all about Santa, but Santa is all about showing the giving heart of Jesus!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Happy Anniversary to my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law!

Today marks twenty-five years of wedded bliss, laughter, maybe a few squabbles (two at the most!), encouragement, friendship, everyday life and love. Congratulations!

Blessings to you both as you celebrate this special anniversary!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I remember when the girls were little and everywhere we went I would hold their hands.

It was so automatic that I didn't even have to tell them to hold my hand. I would just reach out to them, they would take hold, and away we would go.

I miss the constant hand holding now that they are more grown up. 

Sometimes when I'm walking with the girls, I will still stretch out my hand to them and they, I am so grateful, will still take hold and away we will go.

Yesterday, while I was walking through a parking lot with Miss Emma Bean was one of those times. She was walking and chatting with me, so I reached out my hand, and I will tell you it is a little nerve wracking now because each time I reach out to hold one of the girl's hands, I wonder if this will be the time when one of the them will say they are too old or too cool (YIKES!) to hold their Mom's hand, but she didn't. Miss Emma Bean took hold and then asked me if I remember how I would always hold her hand when she was little.

Oh how I remember! I remember how itty bitty my girls' hands used to be. I remember their pudgy little fingers held safe and secure by my fingers. I remember that they were occasionally sticky! I remember well how sweet it was to hold their little hands! sniff

Then Miss Emma Bean asked me why I used to make them hold on to just my finger.

I laughed! She remembered correctly.

I didn't actually reach out my whole hand when they were little. I only reached out my pointer finger. They would grab it and I would then be able to wrap the rest of my fingers around their little hands to hold them securely.

I explained to her that, when she and her sister were little, if they tried to let go of my hand in a store or in a parking lot because they decided they wanted to run off after something that caught their attention, I would still have a secure hold on them and they couldn't run off into trouble or danger. I held their hands that way to keep them safe! That and their tiny little hands struggled to hold my big hand when they were that little. Holding one finger was much easier for them. 

I told her, "I loved holding your hands that way. But now you are more grown up and know not to run off in parking lots and you are very responsible in stores. Now we can just hold hands the regular way."

Miss Emma Bean smiled at me and said, "I think I want to hold your finger."

She held my hand that way all through the parking lot. I have never been so happy to have had to park the car far away from the door!

That was a gift that brought pure joy to this Mama! 



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Scoop on Newspaper Wrapping

This year I decided to try something different and wrap our Christmas gifts with newspaper.

I wrapped one and wasn't sure if I liked the look or not. The package looked fine but I didn't think it was fabulous.

Since I couldn't decide whether or not to go for it and wrap everything in newspaper, I went for a consensus and asked the Family for their opinions.

They liked it! In fact the girls said it was "super cute!" 

Figuring I couldn't get much better than that, I went for it! I added some tissue paper flower bows though, to make the packages a little more fabulous!

I realized very quickly that choosing to use newspaper was not as simple a plan as I thought it would be. It takes a bit more thought than just grabbing a roll of wrapping paper!

It's probably NOT a good choice to use a section of newspaper that is covered in scandal!! 

Oh dear!

Political articles are probably best to avoid as well!

It's Christmas! We can resume talks about politics after the new year!!

And sports?

While I've heard lots of good things about Tim Tebow, we are not big sports fans. Please don't hold it against us! We just don't really care who wins the Superbowl. We do like to watch the commercials though!

I'm just saying it took some consideration to choose the sections of newspaper I used for wrapping!

I liked the funny section!

Especially the funny's that were Christmasy!

I also liked the sections that had gingerbread houses, Christmas cookie recipes and fun Christmas adds!!

All in all I like newspaper as wrapping paper...news printed fingers aside! Oh yeah my fingers were covered! I'll have to bring hand wipes for the recipients of our gifts!!

Feeling pretty good about my fabulously wrapped gifts, I asked the family what they thought again. They really liked one gift wrapped in the newspaper, they'd really like several! Right?

Miss Emma Bean gave me a quirky look and said, "Your not going to wrap all the gifts like that, are you?"

I should have left well enough alone!

I will also be wrapping some gifts in regular old Christmas wrap.

Ho ho ho! The Stinker!


P.S. I used Google to find out how to make the tissue paper flowers. There are many sites that give the directions.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Reason for the Season

My Father-in-law, aka Papa Wayne, is a gem! We love him very much!

He is funny!

We love his sense of humor!!

He is kind and generous!

He is a wonderful Grandpa!

Grandpa comes with more grandchildren than shown in photo!
He is a handsome guy who snagged himself a lovely woman, my Mother-in-law, and they are quickly approaching their 25th anniversary! Happy almost anniversary!!

My Father-in-law also has Multiple Myeloma. Cancer.

I have been reluctant to blog about my Father-in-law's failing health because it's difficult to talk about and our family is sad.

We don't know how many more Christmases he will get to celebrate with his family here on earth or if he will get to celebrate this one.

I decided to share with you because I know my family is not the only one dealing with this kind of heartache.

The prospect of loss at this time of year can seem to overshadow Christmas joy. While it is true that get togethers may be a little more somber and hearts may be heavy, these times are exactly what Christmas is about! This is what Christmas joy is meant for!

Luke 2:10-11 Then an angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!

The expectation of losing a loved one here on earth brings great sorrow. Knowing that a loved one is saved by God's only begotten Son, the Savior for all who believe, is Christmas joy!

In our last days, our last hours, we have nothing to fear when Jesus is our Savior! Luke 23:43, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise!"


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not the best laid plans

First thing this morning I got my housecleaning done, thinking that it would be nice to spend the afternoon wrapping Christmas gifts!

I decided it might be fun to try using newspaper to wrap our presents this year. It seems like a crafty thing to do! It's kind of homey and fun. It's very environmentally friendly! I have lots of it!

Too bad I didn't check to see if I had lots of ribbon!

I had enough ribbon for one package. I guess I won't be wrapping presents today.

Oh well. This way I can ask the Husband what he thinks of newspaper as Christmas wrap. I'm not sure I'm sold on the idea. And I do have plenty of Christmas wrap from last year that we wouldn't want to have go to waste!

With plans for wrapping gifts on hold, I decided to bake some bread.

A friend gave me some peach jam that will pair ever so nicely with English Muffin bread!

As I began to pull out the ingredients for making bread, I realized I didn't have enough milk to make bread, have milk with dinner tonight, and breakfast tomorrow. Since I plan to go grocery shopping tomorrow I didn't want to make an extra trip today just to get milk for baking bread. Plans for making bread...on hold!

It was fine! I would just whip up some of the Jello pudding fudge I've been planning to make! I knew I had everything to make that!

Jello instant pudding...check!

1 stick of butter...check!


3 cups of powdered sugar...check!

I package (8 squares) Baker's semi-sweet chocolate...Check! 


2 squares!? NOOOO! Only 2 squares of chocolate left in the box!



Christmas cards...check!

Filling out Christmas cards this afternoon it is! Snort! 


Tuesday, December 6, 2011




and more snow!

Who doesn't love a beautiful blanket of snow?

Yes...um...at least you wear it well!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Craft Party! We're making wreaths!

I went in search of some simple Christmas ornament crafts last week because I had planned to have a little crafting party.

I found this fun fabric wreath on the Disney Family Fun website and thought it would be perfect for the party; cute, simple and I already had most of the supplies!

What I didn't expect was that so many of my friends would also think it was a great craft and like I said, it was a little crafting party. I had only invited 4 friends, but several others wanted to learn to make the wreath as well.

So I decided we'd have a BIG Blog Crafting Party! Yippee!

This way everyone can participate. I don't have to find a time that works for everyone's busy Christmas time schedules because you can join the party whenever you want! And I don't have to cut out any more fabric!

I cut out a lot of fabric!

I spent hours cutting fabric!

I cut enough fabric to make 13 wreaths! 

It was worth it though! My hand will recover eventually!

The instructions I found for the wreath call for using felted sweaters.

Felting sweaters is very easy. Wash wool sweaters in hot water and dry on high heat. Ta Da! Sweater felted! And now too small for any adult to ever wear again! So, if by some freak accident one of your sweaters was washed and dried and shrunk to the size of a toddler by some one, don't fret! Use it for crafts!! After you've finished crying, because it was your favorite sweater, and who doesn't know that you should never dry a wool sweater in the dryer on high heat if you ever want to wear it again!?


I did use some felted wool sweaters and I also cut up and used this little green dress that Miss Emma bean wore when she was three that I haven't been able to part with.

 My little cutie pies!

I also used fabric from an old green and white gingham sheet that had blown it's elastic.

And I cut up and used an old green, wool blazer and several different shades of green felt.

You can use just about any fabric you want, just be sure to cut fabrics that may fray with a pinking shears!

For our BIG Blog Crafting Party you'll need fabric pieces cut into 1 1/2 inch squares, a needle with a large eye, embroidery floss, and some ribbon.

Now that we have our supplies...

I've got the fire crackling in the fireplace,

there's hot chocolate,

and snacks!

Let's get this party started!

Cut a piece of embroidery floss 18 inches long.

Miss Sofi Bug posed for this photo. I have no idea why she was holding the scissors that way! Weird!
Thread needle and knot the end of your floss. String fabric squares onto the embroidery floss.

You can choose to create a pattern or add squares at random. I tend to be random!

Continue to add fabric squares until you have filled your floss with 9 inches of fabric. 

Pull the floss and squares together to form a circle, drawing the needle and floss through a few of the first squares added to the floss and tie off the floss.

Finally sew a little bow or even some little jingle bells onto your wreath and string a ribbon through the wreaths center then tie off the ends! Hang your wreath and admire!!

Thanks for joining the BIG Blog Craft Party!

I'd love to see your finished wreaths! Just click on the contact button and send a photo via email!

We'll have to blog craft party together more often!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Pot Pie Bliss

When I was a little girl my Mom would occasionally make Swanson's chicken pot pies for dinner.

They were so good! At least as a child I thought they were good. It's been a long time since I've had one.

But Oh, chicken pot pie...mmm comfort food! All flaky crust and creamy sauce and tender chicken goodness! Oh yeah!

We would eat them off of TV trays while watching TV!

I'm joking! We didn't have TV trays. I'm not even old enough to remember TV trays.

Well, I remember my grandparents had TV trays.

Okay, so I am old enough to remember TV trays, but I'm not old enough for the cashier at the thrift store to ask me if I qualify for the store's 55 and older discount!! It happened yesterday. I'm still a little aghast! I'm only 41!!!

And moving on...

When I watched the hosts of The Chew making pot pies with leftovers from thanksgiving dinner, all of the warm, fuzzy feelings of eating those Swanson's pot pies came rushing back and I decided I had to try to make turkey pot pie with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

It was a very tasty turkey!

The poor Family! I didn't allowed them to eat any of the leftovers until I had made the pot pie. We didn't get a very large turkey for Thanksgiving.There were only six of us for dinner, and I didn't want too much turkey leftover. So, as not to run out of turkey before I made the pot pie, the Family had to wait. I think they felt a little tortured. It was worth the wait though!

I got the recipe from The Chew website. I used it for reference, but I didn't follow it completely. You can get the recipe by clicking here...The Chew's Turkey Pot Pie.

This is how I made my turkey pot pie.

Just like for apple pie, I used the Pillsbury ready made crust for my turkey pot pie. Easy and delicious!

I pressed one crust into the bottom of my pie plate and baked it at 375˚ for 15 minutes. I completely forgot to place a piece of parchment on the crust and fill the crust with rice or beans while it baked to prevent it from rising or bubbling. It turned out just fine, however, try to remember to do that when you bake your bottom crust!

While the crust was baking, I chopped one small onion and two large carrots.

I tossed them in a hot pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to saute. I then read The Chew recipe and realized that their recipe also added celery. I quickly chopped up two celery ribs and added them to the pot! I tossed in about a teaspoon of dried Thyme and a little dried Rosemary and sauteed the vegetables for about 10 minutes then I also tossed in some frozen peas to warm through.

Next time I will skip the celery. It tasted fine but I think I would prefer my pot pie without it.

Place the sauteed vegetables in a dish.

Using the same pot, I heated two jars of ready made gravy. You can make your own gravy! But when some one has already gone to the trouble to make it, and it's so good, and it was on sale for a really good price, why!?

Add some warm chicken stock to thin out the gravy and add salt and pepper to taste. The Chew recipe calls for adding heavy cream to the gravy. I intended to. I forgot! I wasn't really following the recipe that closely. I guess you could say I was kinda winging it! Pun intended! Ha ha!! 

Anyway, it was still good!

Add vegetable mixture and leftover turkey, cut into bite sized pieces, to gravy.

Pour the filling into baked pie crust. I had a little more filling than would fit in the crust.

Oh my goodness! It looked so good. It smelled so good!

Place your remaining, unbaked crust over filling. Crimp edges. Make a couple of slices in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake the pot pie on a parchment lined baking sheet, in case it bubbles over, at 375˚ for 30 to 40 minutes. The crust should be golden and the filling should be bubbling.

Your crust will be nice and golden, if you remember the egg wash that is. I forgot that too! I couldn't figure out why my crust wasn't browning up very well. I kinda missed a gaggle of steps in this recipe. Sorry! I think that's the last pun I've got in me. Maybe.

However, it too didn't matter. The turkey pot pie was delicious even without a perfectly golden crust!

If you do want a perfectly golden crust, brush the top of your pot pie with a mixture of 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of milk prior to baking. Your pie will be golden and lovely!

Mmmmm turkey pot pie! Just as wonderful as I remember those Swanson's pot pies were! 

And clearly this recipe is very forgiving! You don't have to make it perfectly for it to taste really good! I'd say pretty much any turkey can make it! Nope! One more pun!!

We ate the last of the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with this dish. So good! 

I think next time I make pot pie I will skip the bottom crust and use mashed potatoes instead.

The Family gave this dish three enthusiastic thumbs up and one it's okay. The okay came from the child who doesn't like the cooked celery and carrots. Pfft! Whatever!