Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vacation / Long Weekend Coming to An End

It's the last day of November 2008. Where did all of November go??

Just as quickly as the month passed us by, so has the last week. It's time for Steven to go back to work tomorrow after being on vacation for the last ten days. He only had to take off four days, but because of the two weekends, one being a four day weekend, he's had a nice long vacation.

On Tuesday, Hannah goes back to school after being off track since November 10th. Back to the routine of getting up and out the door every morning by 7:30 and back into the routine of homework, reading, and in bed early. On the bright side, it's only for three weeks and then it's Christmas vacation. LOL.

We had a good four-day weekend. I've already shared about our Thanksgiving and our Black Friday. Thursday night, Steven set up the "Home Movie Theater" and it came down this morning. A few years ago, we mounted a king size flat sheet onto two pieces of molding where the sheet can easily be rolled up for storage. We hang it over our entertainment center and use that as our 'movie screen' and project movies onto it with a projector. We've not had "Home Movie Theater" in well over a year because Steven took our screen to the church fellowship office for the movie nights they were having and it was easier on Steven leaving it there to use over and over. But Thursday night, Steven went and got our 'screen' and we've been watching movies all weekend. On Friday morning, while I was out Black Friday shopping, he and the girls started a Star Wars Marathon, starting at the very first one and by the end of Saturday, having made their way all the way through number six, Return of the Jedi. Needless to say, we've had our fill of Star Wars for a while. But it was fun to watch one right after another.

Our Home Movie Theater, with the lights on.
The amazing Home Movie Theater...It's awesome!
Saturday we went and helped set up for a boutique our church was having and then went back to tear down. I found a Christmas present that I just can't wait for the receiver to open! I can't talk about the gift or the details because the person whom it's for reads my blogs. But I can't express how excited I am about this gift and how I know she's going to love it! Yipeee for church boutiques! Are there any gifts you have that you can't wait to give??

In between going back and forth to church, I worked on decorating our home for Christmas. It's such a big job and for some reason this year, it's taking me forever. Course it didn't help that our family room was extremely dark, we put a dark flat sheet up over the sliding door so as to not interfere with the viewing of the Star Wars Marathon. And I kept sitting and watching here and there. I got some decorating done, but not all of it.

Saturday evening, we went to our friends house for an informal dinner and to check out a birthday present, Rockband for the Wii. Um, yeah, if there were any doubts before last night about whether or not I had any desire to get that game, those doubts are gone now. I don't want it, and I would prefer not to have my family get it. LOL. The drums alone are enough to drive you nuts. But the boys had a lot of fun playing it, over and over and over again. Today, was church. And then following church, I've been working on decorating some more. The tree is completely done. The girls put the ornaments on this afternoon. Last year was the first year I let them put all the ornaments on themselves and they love it! I had to move a few up, out of harms way, and they had to be told to fill in a few holes, but other than that, they had fun and now our tree is decorated and shinning beautifully with wrapped presents beneath. Pictures to come later. The rest of the house is slowly, but surely getting there. I'll have it completely done tomorrow.

But for now, it's time to end this last post of the month and go enjoy a cup of peppermint hot chocolate and enjoy the brightness of the family room from our shinning tree!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After Thanksgiving

Well, the big day has come and gone and here in our house, we're moving on to the next major holiday, Christmas! Steven is working on putting up our Christmas tree as I write this post. It's hard to believe it's that time of the year again.

We have a few different places to be this evening, so the tree and the rest of the house will be transformed into Christmas over the course of the next day or two. All my Fall decorations were down within half an hour after our guests left last night and are now sitting on the dinning room table waiting to be packed away for next year.

Our Thanksgiving was a nice one. I unfortunately was suffering from a migraine all day long, but I endured and worked through it and the day went on and our meal turned out great! The company corn I made is definitely a KEEPER recipe! It was so yummy and it even looked pretty. The new brining recipe I used this year was also a keeper. Alton Brown's recipe was definitely a lot better than the jarred stuff I bought last year at Williams and Sonoma. Leftovers were sent home with my parents, as well as with my Uncle, and yet, our refrigerator is still overflowing today. The leftover turkey made for yummy sandwiches for lunch with a little bit of cranberry sauce and mayo on a fresh roll. Tomorrow night we'll have turkey enchiladas.

This morning, my mom and I got up and did some Black Friday shopping. Years past, we've gotten out earlier than we did today, but neither one of us were up to getting out early and frankly, there were not any things in the sales ads that jumped off the pages that would warrant us getting out an earlier. So we left around 7:30 and went to the mall, and to Target. That's it. We managed to get some Christmas shopping down as well as finding some non Christmas present deals. I found the cutest matching plaid flannel jammies for the girls that will make a cute Christmas picture in front of the Christmas tree. I can't wait to have a mini photo shoot with them.

This evening we have a going away party for a friend from church who is being deployed with the National Guard to Kosovo for the next nine months. We'll be making an appearance at that and then going to see my brother's band play on the main stage at the local outdoor mall. It's a big opportunity for them and it'll be fun to see them on such a big stage. It'll be fun to see friends and family as well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful

The dressing is made and in the crockpot, the turkey is in the oven, and now we just wait for the next few hours until crunch time. When the feast everyone has been awaiting will come together and on the table, all still hot, I hope. LOL.

The free moment gives me some time to sit and write. After reading what Ashleigh so beautifully shared on her blog, I thought I'd 'borrow' it to share.

"How does one choose to tell the things for which she is most thankful?

Do I say I'm thankful for my life? For my salvation? For my family? For a comfortable existence? For the food we eat, the home we live in?

Because to start to make my "This year I'm thankful for..." list can at times seem so trite. So... forced.

I don't deserve a single one of these things. Not one. Not my life, not salvation. Not a wonderful loving husband and precious, healthy little ones. Certainly not being born in a wealthy nation where a real, true, life-and-death need is virtually unheard of in my life.

So to say thank you seems so trivial. Not enough. Like a drop of water on the parched ground of the Sahara.

Unless, of course, the words continue.

Thank You, my Heavenly Father.

You, who sees fit to give us more than we deserve. Who pours out blessings on our lives, more than we could imagine. You hold each of us in your loving hands, caring and loving on such a personal, intimate level... its simply unfathomable. You have, in Your sovereignty, placed each of us in a certain spot on this earth. Some have less... much, much less. And some have plenty. You give us the ability to pour out Your love on the ones who have less, and to show Your love to the ones who have so much that they can't see You through their "plenty."

Thank You, my Heavenly Father.

You give strength when we are weak. You show us Yourself more fully when we are so low we can't see anything but You. You are complete, and You in us makes us whole. You protect, You encourage, You guide, You comfort. You turn our mourning into dancing. Where a heart has been hurting, you give balm. You calm troubled spirits and give hope.

Thank You, my Heavenly Father.

You give us joyful, happy days. Time... moments... to fill with Your praise. The laughter of a little one, an unexpected blessing, a sunny sky or a welcome rain. Hearts restored, hope renewed. You give us rest.

Thank You, my Heavenly Father.

You give us a lifetime, Lord. Days to walk with You. You give us salvation, You promise Your omnipresence, You fill our hearts with gladness in the happy days and draw us nearer during the hardships. You are all in all.

You are God.

And for that, above all else, we are thankful."
" Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful to him, and bless his name.

Psalm 100:4

I'm Ready, Are You?

It's early Thanksgiving morning and I'm ready for the house to smell of all the good and yummy things of Thanksgiving!!

I got a lot of things done yesterday. Planning ahead and being organized always helps make the actual big cooking day go more smoothly.

I have the traditional pre-feast appetizer made. I got the recipe from Steven's mom many, many years ago. She shaped hers in the shape of a turkey on Thanksgiving, I found this easy leaf mold and use that. It's still festive. It's a simple appetizer but yet loved by everyone, it's one of Steven's favorite and Hannah is excited about it as well. Cheese and mayonnaise, with a dash of salt and pepper, mixed and chilled overnight, and then served with Fritos. The original recipe called for some cooking Sherry, but I omitted that years ago.The table is also ready. The great thing about setting a holiday table is that you can set it days in advance if need be. We however, needed silverware and plates for a few days so the table was set yesterday! Depending on the size crowd we have, we'll just leave all the food on my kitchen counter and serve buffet style, but years like this one where we all fit around the same table, we'll put all the food on the table and just pass it around. And last but not least, since it's the main attraction for the meal...the turkey is now sitting in a nice Brine bath. Last year was my first year of brining and roasting a turkey and it turned out awesome! Last years Brine had too much rosemary for our liking, so this year, I searched for a different brining recipe and found one that not only sounded good, but was also given rave reviews by some friends, Alton Brown's brining recipe. I've made a few other Alton Brown recipes, so I'm sure we won't be disappointed by this one.The way I have it figured, for an 18 lb turkey, it'll need to be in the oven by 9:30 for it's 2:00 presentation time. So I have a few hours left until that, but between then and now I have some dressing to make, a corn dish to prepare, and oh, those Cinnabon Grands rolls to make for enjoying during the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Camping Out for Black Friday!

Thanksgiving is two days away.

Black Friday is three days away.

But would you believe when we went to Best Buy this afternoon, around 4:00, there are already people camping out for the store opening on Black Friday!?!?!? Tent, complete with bedding and blankets inside. Just to make sure I was right in what I was thinking, I asked them if they were camping out for Black Friday, they said yes! Steven had said a few days ago when the ad first became available online that there really wasn't anything THAT spectacular on the Best Buy Black Friday ad. Obviously these guys must think there's something worth camping out for three days for, let alone missing Thanksgiving dinner!!

Company Corn

I don't remember where I found this recipe. I was going to try it last year, but made something else. My husband says there's nothing special about having corn on Thanksgiving, so I'm hoping this recipe dresses up 'just corn' and hopefully makes it into a special side dish! I'll let you know after Thanksgiving if it's a keeper or not.2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen corn, cooked according to package directions
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup butter, cubed
2 Tblsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried savory
1/2 tsp. white pepper
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice

Cook corn according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onions and celery in butter until tender.

Stir in the parsley, salt, savory and white pepper.

Drain corn. Add to onion mixture in skillet. Stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is just two days away! Major preparations will soon commence! Our Thanksgiving menu is rather traditional, I think...

Turkey
Dressing (afterall, it's not called stuffing if you don't stuff the bird!)
Mashed potatoes
Yams
Green Beans
Company Corn
Cranberry Mousse (click for recipe)
Rolls

And for dessert....

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Crisp w/vanilla ice cream


Anything different on your Thanksgiving menu??

Monday, November 24, 2008

'Tis the Season

It's hard to believe that this week is Thanksgiving. We have our turkey and today is the BIG grocery shopping trip. I'll do what I can do to prepare the house (clean the bathrooms, sweep the entry way, set the table etc) this afternoon as well. Our Thanksgiving will be small and intimate just like last year. It'll be my parents and my Uncle Bart. We invited Steven's Dad to join us, but he didn't exactly commit to coming.

Tomorrow, we're supposed to be going to Sea World. However, we need to wait and see what the weather is like, it's supposed to rain. Steven is on vacation this week and we still have one day left on the tickets we bought when we went in June. So if it's not raining we'll be visiting Shamu and his friends for the day, hoping the crowds are light.

Wednesday will be major preparation day in anticipation of our feast on Thursday!

By the way the malls and stores are decorated, you'd think it was already Christmas. We were in and out of a couple of malls over the weekend, and everywhere you go the windows are festively decorated, Christmas music is playing in the background, and all the stores are advertising 'Holiday Sale'. The Christmas season will officially begin when the first store opens on Black Friday morning.

We put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I love how our home looks when it's all decorated for Christmas. But it's a lot of work, work I'm not necessarily looking forward to. I wrapped more presents yesterday and have a few things left to get, but otherwise, I'm done. Steven's already started his Christmas stocking shopping for me, I helped him this past weekend. LOL. He says it's the earliest he's ever started.

Next week, it's back to the normal routine of back to school and homework.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Overnight Get Away

We're home from our 'overnight getaway' to Hollywood. We left mid day Friday and made our way to the Los Angeles/Hollywood area. We grabbed a late lunch at P.F. Changs and then made our way to our hotel for the 3:00 check in. After having two different friends tell us we should try Priceline.com, and that's what we did for this adventure. You give the general location of where you would like to stay and then it finds a place for you. Priceline chose The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza for us for $120, which is awesome because these rooms normally start off at $305!!! It was a VERY swanky hotel, not a place we'd normally choose to stay, but like our friends said, with Priceline, you stay places you wouldn't normally choose. Which broaden your horizons. LOL. We had a king size room on the 9th floor that overlooked The Avenue of The Stars. Across the street was a 'big to do' agency firm for a lot of celebrities. You should have seen all the nice cars coming and going from that place! We took a look around our room, left our stuff and headed to The Grove.
Picture taken from atop the parking structure at The Grove.

At The Grove, we had a nice dinner at The Wood Ranch, a place we discovered last year and have since found one a little closer to home. We also did some Christmas shopping. Shhhh.After doing some shopping, we got some cheesecake to go and went back to enjoy our room. We had our own balcony and we both sat out there for a while, me on our laptop, and Steven on his iphone. Romantic, huh?? LOL. It was exactly what we both wanted to be doing and we were enjoying our view as well. This morning, having slept in past 8:00 (Yippee for dark rooms and no kids to wake you!), we enjoyed our room until close to check out. Because it was so close to lunchtime, we skipped breakfast foods and got a burger. Then we made our way over to Hollywood. Our Wicked matinee was 2:00, we arrived a lot sooner than that and walked Hollywood Blvd for a a few blocks looking at the stars on the sidewalk and the strange people we passed by. Our seats were AWESOME! They were the first row on the balcony and we had two end of the aisle seats. No one in front of you, no one next to me, you could see everything perfectly, and I think I prefer those seats to the seats we've had at prior Broadway productions in the 2nd row. WIcked was amazing and if the tickets didn't cost so much, I'd go back in a heartbeat to see it again. Makes me really wish we'd seen it a lot sooner than now so it'd give us another opportunity to see it again before it leaves next month. With two princesses in the house, it was nice being the only one around to get the attention from the Prince. LOL. It was a great overnight getaway and I hope we can do another, a lot sooner than 2 1/2 years. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Ornaments

Every Christmas, I try to make some sort of an ornament or have the girls make an ornament to hang on the tree. Doing so not only gives me a new ornament on the tree every year, but it also gives me an ornament to put into the girls' Christmas shoeboxes, which already has quite the collection of homemade ornaments for their own Christmas trees someday.

Growing up, my Mom hosted an ornament party the first Monday night of every December. I remember some years my Dad would take me and my brother out, where, I can't remember, but what I remember was coming home and looking through the ornaments my Mom had received. Some of the ornaments were breathtaking.

When Hannah was a baby, I participated in an ornament party with friends, and I did it for a few years, but over time, the night of the party always fell on a day I couldn't make it, and it had gotten away from ornaments, and more and more people were doing Christmas 'crafts'. So I opted out of that group.

Early in October, I was asked by one of the ladies at the church to become part of her yearly Christmas ornament exchange. Not only was I excited about the possibility of getting some new homemade ornaments, but also excited about the other women whom she's invited to have be a part of the exchange as well. I think judging on who's she's invited, we're going to have some great ornaments this year!

I finished my ornaments the end of last week. Yea Me! They are done and in a basket and ready to go, and the party isn't even until December 7th. I spotted these in a catalog a few years ago and have been wanting to make them, but just haven't. Once I was invited to the ornament exchange, I knew that these were the ornaments I wanted to make! I love the traditional red and green colors of Christmas and this ornament uses just those colors. I can't wait to see what others have made!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Weekend

Ahhh, the weekend is practically upon us. And what a great weekend it's forecasted to be!

I just got home from taking the girls up to Steven's mom's house for the weekend, she will bring them home on Sunday. Steven officially starts vacation as of 5:00 and will be off tomorrow, as well as all of next week, returning to work on his birthday, December 1.

Saturday afternoon is the day we will see Wicked in Hollywood. But before then, we have all of Friday and Saturday morning to explore Los Angeles/Hollywood, because we are spending Friday night in a hotel! While we've had many nights and weekends where the girls have been away, this is the first time Steven and I will be spending the night away since we celebrated our 10 year anniversary over 2 1/2 years ago! I'm really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In the Event of a Fire

In the past couple of years, we've seen some pretty devastating fires here in Southern California. The fires always happen in October or November, in what has now been deemed "Fire Season". The time of year where we are plagued with the Santa Ana winds, where everything is extremely dry, with very low humidity.

When our state is in the midst of a 'fire storm', the news generally runs continuous coverage of the fight against the fires. Showing the destruction the flames have left behind. Interviews with people who've been evacuated. Interviews with people who've watched their homes, their belongings go up in flames. Some people are given enough warning to grab things before being evacuated, others, aren't so lucky.

We live in an area where our neighborhood isn't up against the dry hills, so the threat of an out of control wildfire is minimal. However, with all these fires, we have seen how quickly fires can move from one house to another and as a result of seeing such devastation, I've complied a list of things to grab in the event we had enough time:

* the computers (mine has over 30,000 pictures on it)
* external hard drive
* the safe with all our important papers, marriage and birth certificates
* Bibles (mine has a lot of notes in it from over the years)
* box of pictures, photo albums (these are pre-digital camera days)
* family pictures off the walls
* home video tapes
* prescription medications
* clothes for every one
* address book
* cell phones and cell phone chargers
* jewelry

Obviously there's a lot of stuff on that list. But if you have a list and you know ahead of time what it is you would grab, you can just grab one thing after another.

Anyone else ever thought about the things you would want to grab in the event of needing to be evacuated for a fire??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tidbit

I'm not one for having favorites.

I don't have a favorite color. Favorite Food. Favorite television show. I'm not one for picking out my 'favorite part' of a movie, like my girls have been taught to do by their Gramie.

But I do have a favorite Disney character, and that's the main mouse himself, Mickey Mouse.

And today is Mickey Mouse's 80th Birthday!

"Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney's most famous character, made his debut, November 18, 1928, in the first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie. And since that debut, Mickey Mouse has become an international personality who's success laid the financial foundation upon Walt Disney built his creative organization." It all began with a mouse!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Get Out The Record Books

Get out the record books!

I have gone absolutely NO WHERE today.

I didn't leave the house to go anywhere...not even the mailbox!

I can't tell you the last time I was home ALL DAY. It was nice for a change.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Disneyland with Karen

I arrived to the park shortly after 11:00 on Friday. Just since my visit on Monday, more and more Christmas decorations were up, including the Christmas tree! Christmas music was playing and everything looked so festive. This is my favorite time of year at Disneyland. I met up with Karen, only to discover she'd already been awarded a Dream Fastpass! Now, whether or not it's fair to say she "won" it, or simply got it because she was a stalker, I don't know, but she had one none the less. I had read somewhere online that if your entire party wasn't together at the time of a Dream Squad prize give out, you could obtain one at City Hall. So that's what we did, we went to City Hall where I got my very own Dream Fastpass! That thing was awesome! We walked on practically all the major rides for the remainder of the day. And even tried to stalk out a Dream Squad member on Saturday morning in hopes of obtaining another one. LOL. No Such luck.We had lunch at a place that is tradition for us, The Hungry Bear Restaurant. While the food really isn't all that great, the atmosphere and relaxing pace of sitting at a table at waterside and watching the canoes and Mark Twain pass by makes the spot a must visit place every visit. We sat for well over an hour talking and just enjoying being at Disneyland.For the next two days, we hit just about every ride at least once, some more than once, and even some more than twice! It was awesome to just get in line and not have to worry about which of my children didn't meet the height requirements, didn't like the ride, or refused to ride the ride. I didn't have to think about where I left my stroller, and getting it after getting off a ride. For two days, it was total grown up fun.Unfortunately, due to evening winds kicking up, the fireworks for the evening were cancelled. We had planned on staking out one of the best viewing spots and watching them, but went about riding more rides and taking in the magic of all the glistening Christmas lights. We stayed in the park almost until it's midnight closing before heading to Karen's hotel. Once to Karen's hotel we each got ready for bed and talked and giggled like our own girls would do if they were at a sleepover. It was great to be able to spend the night away in the hotel with Karen and enjoy her visit. Saturday morning we were up and out the door early. The park opened at 8:00 and we wanted to take advantage getting on some rides before the Saturday crowds arrived. We hit every single ride in Fantasyland, literally walking on just about every one of them. It took all of maybe 30 minutes to hit six of the rides. There simply weren't many people yet in the park, and we were loving it!After attempting to stalk every Dream Squad member that passed our way in hopes of obtaining another Dream Fastpass, we decided to see about riding with the captain of the Mark Twain. Hannah and I did this a few years ago, when Steven was in London and it's something she still mentions from time to time. We were the only ones even waiting to board the Mark Twain so it wasn't difficult in having our request be granted. We had a great time talking to the Cast Member and at the end of our journey, he told me I was welcomed to come back and visit him again. So the next time we're at the park on a Saturday or Sunday, I'll take both the girls up to help 'steer' the Mark Twain with Paul. It was such a beautiful morning. Beautiful blue skies, a warm wind, not a lot of people in the park. And it was nice to walk the pathways and walkways with not a lot of people scurrying about to get to their next ride. Around 11:00, I took Karen over to the Disney Outlet about three miles from Disneyland where she could look for souvenirs and goodies to take home to her three kids. She scored big time on shirts for everyone and after tallying what she would have spent based on the price tags and what she did spend and saved with my discount card, she saved $100!

Heading back to Disneyland to do some more shopping, the beautiful skies we'd had earlier in the day, were now grey and filled with smoke and ash and we learned of nearby fires in Anaheim Hills. The gusty winds were blowing the smoke right in our direction. The skies were so dark, it looked like rain.After receiving a call from my mom, I learned that both freeway routes I could possibly take to get home were closed due to the nearby fires in Anaheim Hills, Brea, and Yorba Linda. I was trapped at Disneyland (ah shucks!). If the freeways didn't open up, or the windy conditions worsened, at least I had a place to stay and could make my way home on Sunday morning if need be.

The rest of Saturday, we spent on rides and people watching. At dusk, we sat just outside the Disneyland Railroad station that overlooks the main entrance of Disneyland and down Main Street. The Christmas lights had just come on and everything looked so pretty, despite the horrible looking skies and devastation that was taking places miles away. At one point in our evening, I spotted some cute Disney mugs that had been abandoned on a bench. There was no one around, nothing else left, just two holiday mugs. I convinced Karen to get them for us so that each of us would have ourselves a new mug. Afterall, if we didn't get them, someone else would, or a Cast Member would come along and they'd simply be put in the trash. After much convincing, Karen succumbed to the peer pressure and we are both now the proud owners of Holiday Disney mugs!! Every time we drink from those mugs, we'll chuckle as to how it came to be that we got them.It was shortly after 9:00 that Steven informed me the freeways had been reopened and I'd be able to make it home. So Karen and I did one more ride together and then we said our goodbyes and I headed down Main Street to the exit to head for home, and she went to Space Mountain to use our Fastpasses.

It was a great two days of Disney fun. I'm so glad I was able to go and spend the time with Karen and spend the night with her and was able to go kid less thanks to my Mom who watched the girls on Friday while Steven worked and the the remainder of the time the girls and Daddy had the house to themselves. It looks like it might be a few years before Karen comes back, so it was fun to have this visit together!

California Fires

I am back from a very busy, very full, and very wonderful two days with my friend at Disneyland. I'll have stories and pictures on all that later.

But yesterday afternoon, I wasn't quite sure if I'd be able to come home last night. Both of my possible freeway routes home were closed due to fires. It was rather weird thinking I was 'trapped' at Disneyland.

These two pictures were taken around 3:30 in the afternoon when the effects of the nearby fires were at it's highest. Despite the severity and sad situation of the fires, the sky made for interesting pictures.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Disneyland

I'm going to Disneyland again today, spending the night in a hotel with a friend, and then going back to Disneyland tomorrow.

Yes, I just went 3 days ago, but today is a new day and a new trip.

A lot of people always ask if I get tired of going to Disneyland so much and so often.

And the answer is "no".

Every time we go to Disneyland, it's a new and different experience. More and more of our friends are becoming pass holders which expands our circle of people to go with. Whether it be just me and the girls, or the girls and I meet up with my Uncle, or we go with friends from church, with my Mom, or with out of state family when they visit, each time is different. We do some of the same things as the time before, but a lot of times we do different things, see different shows.

The next two days for me will be a different experience...I am going totally kid FREE! It's going to be so much fun. I'm looking forward to it!

And next Wednesday, when we go with my parents and meet with my Uncle, it'll be a different experience then too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas is Coming...

I wrapped Christmas presents today.

And I almost have my ornaments done for a Christmas ornament exchange on December 7th.

Need to work on things now, because once Thanksgiving comes and goes, Christmas will officially be here!

Anyone else been working on Christmas things?

Praying Parents

About a month ago, one of the men in our church approached us about starting up a monthly meeting where parents could come together and pray for our children in public school.

In this day and age in which we live, there's a lot of things going on in our public schools that parents aren't always aware of. Meeting will not only keep parents informed, but it'll also give us a chance to pray for specific needs, problems, etc, that are within our schools.

Last night, four sets of parents from our church came together to plan and talk about making those monthly meetings happen. Our first official meeting will be after the holidays, in January, and it'll include a time of sharing, a devotion, and prayer.

I am looking forward to it and getting to know some of the other families that attend our church and the same school as us better.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Friend Karen

If you've been following my blog for a while, you've heard me mention my friend Karen. We met online in 1999 on a message board for women who were expecting April 2000 babies. From the message board, a group of us started an email loop and unfortunately, over the years, the email loop has dwindled, but there are still four of us who email on a regular basis.

But back to Karen. She is from back East, originally Maryland, and then a little over a year ago, her family moved to Pennsylvania. And over the course of the last nine years since meeting online, we've seen each other in person five times thus far. The first time we met was in August 2001, when she and her daughter, and a few of our other email loop friends met up for a couple of days at Disneyland. Karen is as big of Disney freak as I am and has continued to come every 12-18 months to California, most of the time bringing one of her children with her as a special "Mommy and Me Trip". There was once Karen came without kids, and actually stayed with us, and then there was last November when the entire family came to California for a Disneyland vacation.

Karen is coming again this weekend! And this time, she's bringing no one with her! Her flight arrives Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles and she'll be staying at a hotel near Disneyland. I will meet up with her sometime Friday and spend the night with her, and then spend Saturday together as well. It'll be two days of Disney fun, with no kids! We can do whatever we want. Go on whatever we want. We can sit on a bench and people watch. It's going to be a great couple of days and I can't wait to see my friend and spend some time with her!
With our April 2000 babies, November 2007.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On This Day...

We Remember. We're grateful. We're Appreciative.

In our family, My grandfather served in WWII, my Dad in the Air National Guard, My Uncle Bart who served 20 years and is retired from the Marines, and my Father in Law who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

To all those who've served, or is currently serving, in any branch of our U.S. Military, Thank You.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Funny Moment

The funny moment we shared at the couple's dinner was a moment we shared together before we were even married. Before we were engaged. Before we were even dating. We were 'just friends', but it's still a memory we made together and it's one we'll always remember.

It was the Christmas season 1994 and we'd been doing more and more things together (we actually started not long after that). One afternoon, we decided to get a Christmas tree for Steven's condo. We went to the Home Depot near his place and picked out a tree. We put it atop his Honda Accord and went to work at securing it to the roof of his car. We roped the tree over and over, tossing the rope to one another on the other side of the car through the windows. Finally, the tree was secure and we were ready to go to his condo and get to work decorating.

But upon getting into the car, we had discovered we'd tied all four doors of his car shut!! LOL. We had to untie the tree and start all over again, remembering to leave at least the two front doors available for us to get in.

This is a memory we used to reminisce about when we used to buy a real tree. But five years ago, we purchased an artificial tree, so we don't reminisce about that first Christmas tree we bought together very often. It was fun to remember it at the party. It always gives us a good laugh.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Couple's Dinner

Our church hosted a couple's dinner last night. The evening was the first event of a new monthly ministry that will focus on married couples and creating events where couples can spend time together and with other couples in fellowship.

Dinner was catered by Dave's Famous BBQ and proved just as good being catered as it is when you visit their restaurant. During dinner, to prompt conversation amongst the other couples at your table, you had to share a funny or silly moment you'd had as a couple. Then the table would decide who's would be written on an index card and then submitted. Believe it or not, the story we shared was voted the funniest at our table and was submitted along with funny moments from the other seven tables. Two of our Pastors read the entires amongst themselves and then came up with a 1st place winner and a grand prize winner. Our story was the grand prize winner!! LOL. Which won us a gift certificate.

The array of homemade desserts were single handedly made by a woman in our church who has two small children, younger than Rachel! She did an amazing job. Following dinner, we were entertained by a comedian, who had some really funny stuff. After the comedian, there was another game, married couple bingo. That was really creative and a lot of fun. It got people up and seeking out other couples who could sign the square they matched.

The evening ended with a short devotion on the subject of marriage, of course. The pastor who spoke was someone who used to be heavily involved our high school ministry when I was in high school. it was really nice to see him and his wife and his message was awesome!

One of the really neat things about the whole evening was that childcare was provided by the collage and career ministry. They arranged for childcare to be held at a house, not too far from the church. A bounce house was provided as was dinner. Hannah and Rachel had such a great time. It was a true blessing to see the servants of collage and career ministry.

It was a fun and enjoyable evening. It would have been nicer to have gotten to choose where we sat, whereas we could have sat with friends, but we were assigned tables so that we'd be forced to talk and get to know people we didn't know. LOL. The next couples outing will be at the end of the month when we meet and go looking at Christmas lights as a group.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Daylight Savings Time

It's just about been a week since we set our clocks back.

This time change is a hard one to get used to. Darker earlier in the evenings, which when you really think about, it symbolizes the holidays are upon us.

And it's lighter earlier in the morning. For the last week, I think Rachel has been up everyday before 6:00 am a good majority of the week. The bright side of that is that we've been up and ready for school, with beds made, breakfast eaten, and ready to leave early. The downside, we're officially off track now and now the girls will be up early and we won't have to be anywhere. LOL.

Any other households having a time of adjusting to the "Falling Back" of the clock?

Online Games

There are a couple of online games that I like to play, but gave them up recent months because I found myself playing "Poppit" and "Tetris" in my sleep, therefore I stopped playing them all together. LOL.

A couple days ago, an online friend, invited me to play a game-like scrabble online. And for the past couple of days we've had this game of Scrabble going on between us. It's a fun and addicting game! And I'm waiting for Liz to make her next word, so I can win this game and move on to a clean slat! LOL.

Check it out for yourself here, Lexulous.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pastor to the Presidents

Revered Billy Graham's ministry as the Pastor to Presidents is coming to an end according to this News Article. Billy Graham has counseled every President beginning with Dwight Eisenhower, in 1953, but is not in line to mentor new President elect, Obama.

When I mentioned this article to Steven, he said Brian McLaren, has been serving as an advisor to Obama through the presidential campaign and will most likely take over the spot in which Billy Graham had served for the last 55 years.

For those of you who don't know, Brian McLaren, is one of prominent voices in the Emerging Church movement.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Apple Crisp

I found this recipe on Leah's blog, South Breeze Farm, and tried it this past weekend and it was the best Apple Crisp recipe I've ever made. My Mom said the recipe sounds just like my Gramma's recipe. At any rate, this one has been tested and approved and put on the menu for Thanksgiving Day!

6 c. apples-peeled, cored and sliced (I used 5 c. Granny Smith and 1 c. Gala Apples)
2 Tbsp. flour
½ c. sugar
2 c. oatmeal
1 ½ c. flour
1 ½ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, cold

Coat apples with flour and sugar; place in greased glass 9x13 pan.

Combine dry ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly and sprinkle over apples.

Bake at 325° for 40-45 minutes, or until topping is nicely browned and apples are bubbling around the edges.


*** Next time I make this, I'm going to add some cinnamon to the apples, and maybe even some nutmeg to the dry ingredients.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Want to Plan a Trip to Kentucky!

Huh? What in the world is in Kentucky? you might be asking.

The Creation Museum is in Kentucky. I didn't even know it existed until I was watching a show on television last night about the Duggar Family's visit to the museum.

I'm sure you've heard of the Duggar Family. Mom is Michelle, Dad is Jim Bob. They have 17 children, yes you read that right, 17 children all biologically theirs, and are expecting Baby #18. If you haven't heard of them, check out their website.

Any ways, the museum looks awesome! The Duggar Family was given a tour by the founder and creator of the museum, Ken Hamm, who I remember hearing speak many, many years ago at a Creation Convention at our previous church. I guess if ever we pass through Kentucky, there is at least one major attraction to add to our agenda to see!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Times in Which We Live

I have been a Christian all my life.

I grew up in a Christian home and for years have heard the message that Jesus will be returning soon.

I remember growing up and thinking I didn't want the Lord to come back until I was married. I just wanted to experience what it's like to be married and be loved by a husband. And then it was not wanting the Lord to come back until after I've experienced the joys and happiness of being a mother.

And now...

Although I've heard having grandchildren is great. I can whole heartedly and honestly say I hope the Lord comes back before my girls are old enough to have children and make me a Gramma.

The moral decline, the lack of values, the diminishing of faith in todays society, saddens me and only makes me long for the Lord to return...and soon.

Today, we are voting not only for a new President, whereas, it'll be history for our nation if a black man becomes President of the United States. But here in California we're also voting on how to define marriage (Prop 8). We've already voted on how marriage should be defined in 2000. We voted and passed Prop 22. And today, we must vote again. We are also voting on whether or not a parent deserves to be informed before their daughter has an abortion (Prop 4). Voting on whether or not a parent should be allowed to know what's happening to their child!

As I drove to Hannah's school to pick her up, a lady was standing on the corner of a busy intersection with her "Yes on 8" sign, just as many from our church have down in the last two days. Seeing this lady brought tears to my eyes. Why must we vote on such Propositions?

“But realize this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” ~2 Timothy 3:1-5

We must vote on such things because we are living in end times. And things are only going to get worse.

And therefore I say, "come quickly Lord Jesus".

Today is the Day

Today is the day. The day we as a country will elect a new president. The day we as Californians will decide if marriage will remain defined the way Christ had designed it.

No matter who is elected as our next president. No matter what the outcome. God is ultimately in control!


Praying for peace and safety for everyone on this day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Something to Ponder...

A Prayer From Our President

I came across a blog that shared a prayer from President George Washington. And as I did some research, I discovered there were a bunch of prayers from previous presidents. It's amazing to look back and see the faith the presidents from long ago had.

I think the following prayer is appropriate considering what this week holds for us as a nation.A Prayer for the Nation

Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thomas Jefferson--Washington D.C., March 4, 1801

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vote Your Values!

Some things are more important than high gas prices or a faltering economy.

They are: Life. Family. Marriage. Faith.

On Tuesday, Christians will have the opportunity to vote. Vote your values!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November - The Thankful Month

November is sometimes referred to as 'The Thankful Month' because of the big holiday at the end of the month, Thanksgiving. While we as Christians should remember to give thanks all year long, it's fun to participate in the creative challenges and things that November brings in blogland.

Last year, on my old blog, I participated in the month long challenge that Leah, at South Breeze Farm, had created.

Today is the start of November and it's the start of this years challenge. Daily I will add to my thankful list on my sidebar. You can play along too, if you have a blog, it's simple, just visit Leah's post about the challenge and get started!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

A Saturday Morning Funny

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