Prayer Request

I should be painting my laundry room while little miss Jenna is asleep. But my heart is burdened with the news I just read. I shared with you awhile back, a blog called Mundane Faithfulness, written by a lovely woman named Kara Tippetts. Perhaps you read her blog, maybe you have read her book. She has been battling cancer, and last evening, she shared on her blog that her body is done fighting, and hospice has been called.

This family needs our prayers! I guess I am thinking, that could be you or me. She’s just a young wife and mother. But God knows her story, and she lives it out beautifully.

We are not promised tomorrow. But we have right now. So please remember them in this painful time. Hold them up in prayer! And hold your loved ones close. Love them, and thank God for each breath He has given you. He IS the Author and Finisher of our faith.

The Horsts

Meet some more of my nieces and a nephew. We took these down at a park in Maryland, when we were celebrating Thanksgiving together. The day got away from us, and we scrambled to take them before the sun set 🙂thanksgiving and sharon's kids 022_edited-1 I feel one area I need to improve in is getting my aperture set right, & my focus, so that I get the blurry background, but keep everyone in focus. A group of people is definitely more of a challenge! I’ll just keep practicing and looking for ways to improve 🙂thanksgiving and sharon's kids 030_edited-1thanksgiving and sharon's kids 049_edited-1Aren’t they sweet? Even though they weren’t too excited to leave their other cousins to take pictures, they still put up with it 😉       And some cards..sharon 1_edited-1 sharon 4 sharon2_edited-1 sharon3_edited-2

I hope your week is going well. Mine is not very exciting 🙂 Yesterday I discovered a whole folder of pictures that I thought were from fall 2013, and instead are from the summer of 2013, and I have to go back and fit them in my album and each of the children’s. Sigh. I spent the whole day painting in my laundry room, which I have been putting off. I painted the ceiling a long time ago, so it’s high time to get it done! I really don’t like painting 🙂 Then Kirsten started throwing up during the night last night. Devan did that last week. Dale felt sick on Sunday, and I didn’t feel right either, so I guess Tristan and Jenna are left to get it. Hoping they stay well!

It’s Christmas morning, and our house is loud and jolly. The children were bursting to open their gifts! Giving gifts is something that we keep pretty simple at our house. The past few years we have not spent much on gifts, simply because they have too much already. This year we did buy the older 3 a bit larger of a gift. Kirsten really wanted a camera, so she was tickled with that. I figured with her being 12, she should be responsible enough to take care of one 🙂 Devan got his LOOOng time wish of a bb gun. I have to say, it was so fun to see his face! And Tristan is loving his truck and cattle trailer to haul all his animals. Jenna got a play doh set that made her very happy. It’s worth cleaning up the mess, as much as she loves to play with play doh! She got little containers of play doh from her Sunday school teachers on Sunday, and she played and played some more with them. With this dreary weather, it was so nice for her to have that to play with!

While we try not to focus just on giving gifts, there is so much delight in seeing the happiness on your children’s faces as they tear into the gifts. And our sweet daughter blessed us so much today. She went around and handed out cards to everyone. That’s so her, she loves to make cards and notes! But I opened my card, and there was money in it.  Same in Dale’s. And $1 for her sister, and $2 for each brother. I said, ” Kirsten! That is too much!” I felt wrong taking it, but I also could tell she really wanted us to have it. So I said thank you, as my momma heart swelled and the tears came rolling down. You know those moments when you feel so proud of them? 🙂 Because this is something that we want our children to learn from Christmas. That giving is so much better than receiving! It humbled me and taught me a lesson that I need to be more willing to give. She doesn’t have a huge amount of money, and was still willing to share. I’m just so happy she has a giving heart!

It’s time for this lady to get ready for our family get together. I’m so grateful we are all well today! Devan threw up during the night on Tue. night, and I was hoping and praying we could go today.

Well, we are back home again after a lovely time with family. The children are in bed, and things are winding down. We sure missed my sis and her family this Christmas! Merry Christmas, you dear people in Haiti! 🙂

Mom had a wonderful meal! It was loud! Their was intense games of Dutch Blitz 🙂 Good times!!

A few pictures of our cookie exchange day. We did candy as well.cookie bake, christmas, etc 002 Working on the peanut butter cups. Tristan was the ever present helper. He had no one to play with, since Cody and Owen couldn’t be here, and Karen couldn’t make it because of sick ones. That was disappointing 😦cookie bake, christmas, etc 005

cookie bake, christmas, etc 008 Above are mocha truffles. It is very good these are not around much! Dangerous to your health 😉cookie bake, christmas, etc 009Peppermint patties. These were hard to coat. We weren’t sure why.cookie bake, christmas, etc 013Yum , yum! cookie bake, christmas, etc 015This was after school. Everyone wanted a taste 🙂

And I’ll share a favorite recipe of ours. We call them chocolate marshmallow cookies. They are also called Amish Hats, depending what cookbook you have.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Large marshmallows, halved

Combine flour, soda, salt, & cocoa. Cream shortening and sugar, beat in egg. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well. Add vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 min. Top each cookie with a marshmallow half, pressing gently onto cookie. Bake 2 min. more. Cool and glaze.

For the record, I adhere to the baking time pretty strictly. Some of your ovens may vary, but this worked good for me.

Glaze:

1/2 cup cocoa

1 1/2 cups 10x sugar

3 Tbsp. hot coffee

1/2 cup butter, melted

This recipe doesn’t have instructions for making the glaze, but I will tell you how my mom does it. She melts the butter on the stove, then adds in the cocoa till it’s dissolved. Remove from heat, and whisk in 10x sugar and coffee. The reason I gave her instructions is because I made them, and my glaze looked terrible 🙂 See below.cookie bake, christmas, etc 034_edited-1 cookie bake, christmas, etc 036 cookie bake, christmas, etc 037I almost didn’t include pictures of this lumpy icing, but this thing happens sometimes 🙂 Betty Crocker I am not! I was going to hand them out on cookie trays, but these will not be going to anyone else. I was disappointed as they do take a bit of time to make. The good part. They still taste good, despite their looks, and we will enjoy every last one!! 😉

Have a great weekend! A few more days left to enter the giveaway 🙂

A gift for you

I can’t believe that the end of the year is upon us! How does time go so fast?! I started this little blog in the spring, after much thought and prayer. I had been interested in photography for awhile, but didn’t know if I should pursue it. There was a voice telling me that I’m not good enough at it to take photos for other people, and then another voice saying that I need to step out of my comfort zone, and see what happens 🙂 Stepping out of our comfort zones is not usually what we call fun 🙂 But we grow when we do that. Anyways, I’m still learning a lot, and have so much room for improvement, but this is something I absolutely love! I usually get comments at family gatherings like, ” She’s got that camera out again.” 😉 And it’s true, because I love pictures!

I decided that I would like to give my readers a chance to win a gift from me, to show my appreciation for visiting my blog, and encouraging me. There’s been so many times you leave me a comment, and it just made my day 🙂

This is what I’m giving away…cookie bake, christmas, etc 061A $25 gift card from Darden. It can be used at any Darden connected restaurants in the U.S., including Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Yard House, or Red Lobster.

To enter to win, leave a comment telling me what your favorite Christmas tradition is. I will announce the winner on Monday, December 29th.

Happy Monday!

The Martin Family

I really enjoyed taking these photos of this beautiful family! We had a nice evening, a pickup ride back the lane, and I snapped away 🙂 Kirsten was my assistant 🙂Karla and Karolyn 039 Karla and Karolyn 064_edited-1Karla told me her boys don’t do the best for pictures, so I came thinking I might really have to work 🙂 They were great! It would have been nice if we could have taken some of Adrien’s  grins and put it on the little guy, but they did good 😉 Cowan just wasn’t too sure about this lady 🙂Karla and Karolyn 047 Karla and Karolyn 048_edited-1 Karla and Karolyn 053_edited-1Those blue eyes are just gorgeous!Karla and Karolyn 046_edited-1Karla and Karolyn 167_edited-1Karla and Karolyn 188Adrien was such a happy guy. Karla and Karolyn 204 Karla and Karolyn 205 Karla and Karolyn 207_edited-1 Karla and Karolyn 217_edited-1I love candid shots!Karla and Karolyn 100 Karla and Karolyn 159_edited-1A new baby will be joining their family this summer. What fun 🙂

Some cards..5_edited-2 christmas cardKarla asked me to do a collage. I had fun with that!12x12 newThanks for asking me to do your pictures, Karla and Karolyn!

Have a great weekend! Ours is full of Christmas programs, serving supper to the school children, friends coming over, and Christmas with hubby’s side of the family, but I’m looking forward to it! Nothing beats spending time with friends and family 🙂

Friends

This world just wouldn’t be right without good friends! I was privileged to take these photos of our friends! Meet Jason and Karolyn and their beautiful girls.k Karla and Karolyn 009_edited-1They are just lovely 🙂 And there is another baby due in February. I think I have that right? 🙂 Too many people having babies to keep track of 🙂 Can’t wait to see what they are having!Karla and Karolyn 128_edited-1 Karla and Karolyn 140_edited-1We took these at Karolyn’s sisters home. I took their pictures as well, and those pictures will be on the next post. Anyway, Karolyn and her sister Karla treated us to a very yummy snack after pictures and visiting together. I should have taken pictures of that 🙂 A great way to end the evening!!karo;yn 1One of the cards I had fun making. The more I learn how to do things with my editing, the more I love it. It’s so fun to play around with different designs, and I probably only know half of how to use it 🙂

Best friends make the good times better and the hard times easier.

Christmas in our hearts

I love this time of year! The decorations, the cookie baking, the candy making, the gift giving, the family gatherings, Christmas music, etc.

I don’t do much decorating, just a few simple things. I would have to say my favorite thing to do is to bring in the fresh greens.cookies, trip, misc 020_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 022_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 023_edited-1cookies, trip, misc 013_edited-1I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of my old hutch. I scored it at a sale. Love at first sight and all that 😉cookies, trip, misc 017_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 018_edited-1The buffet came from Dale’s Grandma Hurst. It was a bit beat up, so some black paint and new knobs perked it right up. cookies, trip, misc 038cookies, trip, misc 039_edited-1cookies, trip, misc 040cookies, trip, misc 041_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 019cookies, trip, misc 014_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 015Chair that came from my Grandma. After some paint over the ugly shade of green, I love it! cookies, trip, misc 016_edited-1 Can you believe my dear, sweet hubby had this gem of an oil can in the trash? I rescued her, and I quite like her on my table 🙂cookies, trip, misc 024_edited-1We’ve been baking cookies as well. I had my 2 girls willing to help. When we did these peanut butter cookies last week, it just went pretty smoothly. Tonight we did another batch, and I was saying, “Puh-lease Jenna, go and play!” Ever notice how sometimes you feel more willing to let them help than other times?? 🙂Untitled-1My children LOVE cookie dough!cookies, trip, misc 010 Nothing like a warm cookie 🙂cookies, trip, misc 042cookies, trip, misc 043cookies, trip, misc 044cookies, trip, misc 045Hubby’s favorite kind..

I hope that with all the busyness and yes, maybe some stress, at this time of year, that we take time to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas. There are so many things that can pull our attention away from focusing on Christ’s birth. And hopefully we can bless someone this Christmas that is in need of a blessing. I heard a song that said something like if only we had the Christmas spirit all year. Truly, I think we can. And it takes effort 🙂 Tonight I wasn’t focusing on the right things. It may have had something to do with the 3d spill on my newly washed floor. I so often would handle situations better, if my focus was where it should be!

I’ll leave you with the lyrics to a touching song that I love ~

The Christmas Shoes

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line

Trying to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood

Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously

Pacing ’round like little boys do

And in his hands he held a pair of shoes.

And his clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe,

And when it came his time to pay

I couldn’t believe what I heard him say.

Chorus:

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please

It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size

Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time

You see, she’s been sick for quite a while

And I know these shoes would make her smile

And I want her to look beautiful if mama meets Jesus tonight.

 Vs. 2 He counted pennies for what seemed like years

Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here.”

He searched his pockets frantically

Then he turned and he looked at me

He said Mama made Christmas good at our house

Though most years she just did without

Tell me sir, what am I going to do, somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes.

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out

And I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said

Mama’s gonna look so great.

Repeat Chorus

Bridge: I knew I caught a glimpse of heaven’s love

as he thanked me and ran out

I knew that God had sent that little boy

To remind me what Christmas is all about.

Repeat chorus

I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight.

– Leonard Ahlstrom & Eddie Carswell

 Have a wonderful weekend! Spread that Christmas joy 🙂

Prayer Request

This is a prayer request for the Brown family. Read all about their story here. This family has went through so much, I can’t even imagine their grief and tiredness! I hope that you could send a blessing to them this Christmas, whether it’s financial, or just a card. May God bless you!

If you have trouble viewing the link, just check out the blog Homespun Devotions, or cherylsmithministries for the info. I’m not sure why I was having trouble with adding a link, so hope you can find it .This computer stuff can try my patience 🙂

Things we did in the last month

misc. nov. 2014 008_edited-1Ate supper under balloons that Kirsten strung up for Jenna’s bdaymisc. nov. 2014 015 misc. nov. 2014 016Played with flashcards and an empty lego boxmisc. nov. 2014 035_edited-1 misc. nov. 2014 037_edited-1 misc. nov. 2014 038_edited-1Wrapped gifts to send to Haiti for my sis and her family. Do not ask me how the packages looked 😉 We hope they got opened before they looked at them too hard. My wrapping skills need work. Then add a 3 yr. old to the mix. You get the picture 🙂misc. nov. 2014 039_edited-1 misc. nov. 2014 041 misc. nov. 2014 043Observed, talked, and “helped” the guys doing the stone on our house. We hope they didn’t dread showing up at our place. I’m guessing they learned more about us than they wanted to 🙂 Whoever said boys don’t talk as much as girls?? 🙂misc. nov. 2014 044 misc. nov. 2014 046_edited-1Helped me by VOLUNTEERING to do the dishes. Any mother LOVES when that happens!misc. nov. 2014 048_edited-1 misc. nov. 2014 049_edited-1 misc. nov. 2014 051misc. nov. 2014 058_edited-1 A suncatcher project on a cold daymisc. nov. 2014 054misc. nov. 2014 055 misc. nov. 2014 056_edited-1 misc. nov. 2014 059 misc. nov. 2014 060_edited-1Enjoyed the snow. Or should I say I enjoyed looking at it. The mess, the gloves, the snow pants, etc., not my favorite thing. At least the children had fun 🙂

And in between all that, we laughed, we cried, we fought, we worked, we apologized, we complained, we were grateful, we were not grateful, we were kind, and not so kind. We spilled things, threw things, fell off things, fixed things, cleaned the house, washed, folded, cleaned the house, cooked, baked, cleaned the house. Did I say clean the house? 😉 And we probably did a host of other stuff.*

* I did not participate in all the above, just in case you get a very, very bad impression of me 🙂

That’s all for now, folks 🙂 Have a lovely day!!