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 šŸ™‚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 šŸ™‚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 šŸ˜‰Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā  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 šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚ 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.Ā  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? šŸ™‚ 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! šŸ™‚

Mom had a wonderful meal! It was loud! Their was intense games of Dutch Blitz šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ˜¦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 šŸ˜‰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 šŸ™‚

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 šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚ 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!! šŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend! A few more days left to enter the giveaway šŸ™‚

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 šŸ™‚ Stepping out of our comfort zones is not usually what we call fun šŸ™‚ 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.” šŸ˜‰ 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 šŸ™‚

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 šŸ™‚ Kirsten was my assistant šŸ™‚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 šŸ™‚ They were great! It would have been nice if we could have taken some of Adrien’sĀ  grins and put it on the little guy, but they did good šŸ˜‰ Cowan just wasn’t too sure about this lady šŸ™‚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 šŸ™‚

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 šŸ™‚

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 šŸ™‚ And there is another baby due in February. I think I have that right? šŸ™‚ Too many people having babies to keep track of šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚

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