Saturday, November 28, 2009

Waking Up to The Sound of Rain

It's early Saturday morning and we literally woke up to the sound of rain this morning. The sound of the pouring down rain on the patio cover was so strong it woke me up.

It's absolutely pouring and there really hasn't been a let up in the last twenty minutes. It's accompanied by the occasional strike of lightening and roar of thunder, it's AWESOME!

We really needed a good washing off of everything. We've been without rain for so long, it was a great way to wake up!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the Change of Seasons

We had a great Thanksgiving! My sister in law did a beautiful job on setting her table and all the food she prepared was awesome. I only wish we had some leftovers to enjoy today. Hmmm. Wonder if they want company this evening for dinner? LOL. We played games, did SingStar on the Wii, and ate, and ate some more, and laughed and didn't leave until 11:15pm!! It was a great day indeed! Thanks Gracie and Robbie for a great Thanksgiving! :)
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I am a Black Friday shopper. Years past, my Mom and I have gone out together around 7-7:30 and hit the Mall, Target, and JC Pennys, and where ever else we have energy for. But this year, she wasn't up for going out. It's been a busy and stressful few weeks for her and she just didn't have it in her to fight the crowds. And after what I encountered, I'm glad she wasn't with me.

I got up and out of the house earlier than I ever have before. I left the house at 4:25am and made it to Target for it's five am opening. When I arrived to the Target of my choice, the line started at the front door, wrapped down the front, down the side of the building, along the entire length of the back of the store, and a few store lengths more.

I made it in the store, and after several grid-locked situations and a few anxiety producing claustrophobic situations, I managed to get the things I came for, and a few extras and made my way to a line for the cash registers. A line that ended up being an hour and a half long just to pay for my items!!! Yeah, Target was pretty much a nightmare this morning. And this afternoon, my feet and legs are killing me from all the standing still.

I hit a couple other stores in that same area. And had the intentions of heading to the local mall, but after the Target fiasco, I just didn't have it in me to go and fight for a place to park, the crowds, etc. And as far as I knew, there really wasn't anything in the ads that jumped out at me that I knew wouldn't be on sale in the coming weeks. So I headed home and made it home earlier than I ever have on a Black Friday morning, it was 9:00.

And after sitting a spell, eating breakfast, and catching up on Facebook, the changing of the seasons commenced here at our home. The Christmas tree was taken down from the attic, things were rearranged, and I went to town on taking the Fall stuff down and changing it out for Christmas.

Every year I take pictures of my decorations and how I place things, etc, for a couple of reasons, the first one is for when I participate in Boomama's Christmas Tour of Homes, whereas I share pictures of how our home is decorated for the Christmas season on my blog and then people from all over the United States and even other countries visit your blog on the tour, and secondly, because I sometimes can't remember how I had things decorated the year before. LOL.

This year, as I decorate, I'm moving things a little bit here and there, putting different things out or in different spots of the family and living room. Things are looking pretty festive around here. The girls are so excited to get to decorating the tree. It looks like it's done and ready for me to get my ribbons and things on before I let the girls go at it with the ornaments. I think it was record time this year as far as putting up the tree. The unfolding and fluffing of the branches took less than four hours!!

Pictures to come.....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's hard to believe that it's Thanksgiving. This month has flown by, and while I've fallen short on keeping up on my 'thankful posts', it's not for a lack of things to be thankful for. Because I have so many things to be thankful for.

This Thanksgiving morning finds me lounging about, enjoying my family.

There is no turkey in the oven. No stuffing in the crockpot, no dining room table set with the fine china. This Thanksgiving we are going to my brother and sister-in-laws house for the days festivities.

Where ever you find yourself spending this day, have a blessed day, and remember all that you have to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thankful for My Annual Pass

For some you reading this post, you may think it's terribly silly that I am thankful for my Disneyland Annual Pass. But if know me, you truly know me, you know how much usage I get out of my annual pass and how much I really do enjoy it.

Steven and I have been annual passholders for 13 1/2 years. And on average, I go about 20-30 times a year. There was that year or two I hit 36 times, LOL, but that just shows how much I enjoy my pass.

Going to Disneyland can put me in a good mood if I'm in a blah mood, helps with the Mommy frustrations when we're off track, is a fun place to go and walk and people watch, and it's a place where all the stresses and anxieties of the world, or my life, can be left at the gates and forgotten about just for a while...and for all of that, I'm thankful I have an annual pass and can go 320 days of the year!

I've Officially Kicked Off ...

...my most enjoyable time of the year at Disneyland. The Christmas season!The Christmas season officially kicked off at the Disneyland Resort last week, but I officially kicked it off today with a special treat of Peppermint Stick ice cream! In my opinion, my Disneyland Christmas season isn't complete unless I've enjoyed some sitting on a curb or bench, soaking in all the Christmas decor and music!



Notice I didn't use the word 'favorite' time of the year. It's been pointed out recently that for someone who doesn't have "favorites", I sure use the word a lot!! :)

Thankful for God's Protection

I think a lot of times we as Christians sometimes take God's protection for granted, or don't really think too much of it.

I do a lot of driving back and forth to the school, here and there, and there are plenty of opportunities for accidents to occur. There are many times I pray for God to have his hedge of protection about our car, the long trips, etc.

And every night when we say bedtime prayers with the girls, we pray for God's protection through the night and about this house.

God is constantly watching over us, protecting us, keeping us safe and for that I am thankful!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thankful for Modern Conveniences

So if you've been following Leah's blog and her lists of things she's thankful for, you'll know that I stole this idea from her. I too am thankful for modern conveniences.

We had family with us all of Sunday afternoon and into the evening. And I didn't want to tackle the dishes while they were here, I wanted to visit with them. The dishwasher did most of the work, really. And for that I'm thankful.

Mondays are usually my catch up and clean up day from the weekend. Usually, I'm working in the classroom in the morning, but I had all day yesterday to tackle the laundry and I'm happy to report that as of bedtime last night, all three hampers were empty, and all the clean laundry was folded! And as of an hour ago, it's all put away too!!! Thank goodness for my washer and dryer! I can't imagine scrubbing laundry by hand and then hanging it out to dry.

The next few nights as I don't really need to prepare "real dinners", I'll be thankful for that modern convenience of the microwave and how it'll cook dinner in the form of, taquitos, chicken nuggets, and maybe even quesadillas. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Beginnings

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11


Who would have thought that in the course of the last seven days we would have been faced with a life changing situation.

Last Monday night, our assistant pastor and his wife paid us a visit late in the evening and shared with us that they were leaving our church. There have been some issues that have been coming to a head and after going through the proper channels of addressing our church board and having no resolution, the Lord has lead them to leave the church. Three of our four elders were following.

After much talking and hearing the other side from our Senior Pastor, after much praying, and many tears, it is with great sadness that we have decided to leave the church that has been our home for 5 1/2 years.

A church where we have made many wonderful and caring friends. Friends who became more like family than friends, we had an awesome church family. We leave behind a church where many,many hours have been poured into ministries, a church where Rachel has grown up in.

We leave a place that was our home church as a result of how the leadership in the church was treated. For the lack of integrity and for sin. We can no longer sit under the teaching knowing the things we know and that resolution and restoration are not a priority.

So, yesterday morning was a time of new beginnings...

We had a Bible Study in the backyard of our assistant pastor with eight other families who've left the church, including the families of the elders. We had worship, a message, and a good time of fellowship. The children (although ours weren't there) had a time of learning on their own level in a place set aside for them.

It was a beautiful morning. And as we sat there outside, basking in the crispness of the morning, seeing the beautiful streams of sunlight through the trees, sitting in the very midst of what the Lord had created, it was a time of new beginnings.

While I am very sad, and still emotional at times that all this has happened, I'm excited about what the Lord will do in this Bible Study that will meet on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday evenings. I'm excited and willing to see how the Lord will use me and cause me to grow. I'm excited for the friendships that were already close to become stronger in the Lord...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Peace and Quiet and Beautiful Days

Our girls went with my visiting sister in law yesterday to spend the weekend at Gramie's with their cousins. And today, I'm thankful for the quietness of the day.

The house is extremely quiet when the girls are gone. No sound of them squabbling, no sound of them whinning. No sound of the television. Complete and udder peace and quiet. And after the week we've had, I'm thankful.

Today was an absolutely beautiful Fall day. The weather wasn't hot, the skies were bright blue and clear. And there was a crispness in the morning air. It was a perfect day weather wise and on this Sunday, the Lord's day, it was much appreciated.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thankful Things

10. My entire family is local, my parents are only four miles away, my brother only ten. Steven's family is however mostly all out of state. His parents live locally, but his sister and her family live in Oregon, and his twin brother lives just outside of Atlanta. This week his sister and her husband and kids are visiting. So this week, I'm thankful for the out of state family that is visiting.

We spent Saturday with them up at my mother in laws house. It was a good day of visiting and the cousins playing together nonstop all day long. On Tuesday, we spent the entire day together at Disneyland. It was a wonderful day - great weather, not crowded, we got on a lot of rides, and had a really, really great day. 11. As this week marked Veteran's Day, I am truly thankful for our freedom. We have so many freedoms that we take for granted. So many freedoms that may no longer be free in the coming days and years to come. Thank You to all the military men and women who serve this great country to preserve our freedom.

12. I went absolutely no where on Thursday and I was thankful for the day at home, With the girls off track, I had no where I had to be and no errands that needed to be done. We spent the entire day home, taking it easy and it was NICE!

13. It took a lot of convincing over five years ago, but I am thankful for Tivo! LOL. When we have busy evenings or are away, I'm thankful I don't miss out on our favorite shows and who got the boot on Survivor or who wasn't The Biggest Loser. Dumb thing to be thankful for, but I'm being honest. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Recipe: Chicken Stroganoff


I'm always on the lookout for a new recipe, a recipe that gets thumbs up from the family, or at least from Steven. LOL. I tried a new recipe Sunday night and it's a keeper!!

Chicken Stroganoff

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cubed
2 TBSP butter or margarine
1 packet of dry Italian seasonings (found in the dressing aisle with the packets of Ranch, etc)

Toss the ingredients into a crockpot, on low for 4-6 hours. An hour before it's finished toss in an 8ox block of cream cheese and one can of cream of chicken soup. Stir. And let warm through for half an hour to an hour.

Serve over noodles or rice.


**Next time I think I'll add some onion and garlic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Passing of Friends' Parents

I've become Facebook Friends with a lot of my childhood friends. Friends I grew up with, friends I went to elementary, jr high, and even high school with. And in the last six months, quite a few of those friends have lost one of their parents.

The father of my best friend growing up died last month of lung cancer. While we grew apart in high school and went separate ways following graduation, I reconnected with her about a year ago through Facebook. Her Dad was always so nice and welcoming when I spent time at their house, which was a lot through the elementary school years.

The father of another friend whom I've known since I was Rachel's age died 6 months ago due to complications of Diabetes. The mother of a friend lost her battle to breast cancer about 5 years ago. And in the last day, another elementary school friend shared of his mother's passing. All the losses are so sad.

It seems weird when I hear of the passing of a parent of a person my age. I know death can come at any time, but these parents who have passed have all been relatively young. Sure makes you thankful for the healthy parents you do have!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Accident on the Freeway

Have you ever seen an accident that was so horrific it brought you to tears instantly??

On the way to church yesterday morning, the girls and I saw the most horrific accident on the opposite side of the freeway.

You could see the flashing lights quite a ways away, but the flashing lights didn't prepare you for what you'd see once you got closer...

It was a sedan, four door car, that must have flipped and rolled and managed to wrap itself around a palm tree on the shoulder of the freeway.

There were three firetrucks, an ambulance, and multiple highway patrol cars. The accident had just happened ten minutes earlier (I discovered that later in the day after checking the local newspaper website), and the freeway was just starting to back up.

When ever the girls and I are in the car and we pass by an accident, I just start praying for the person, the family, the emergency response team, etc. But this one was so bad, I broke into tears while I was praying out loud. It was BAD.

The freeway was still stopped two hours later on my way home from church. To avoid some of the traffic, I got off and made my way on side streets to one of the side streets across the freeway. By then the ambulance was gone, and the car was no longer hugging the palm tree, but was sitting folded in half on the shoulder/slow lane of the freeway.

After researching the local newspaper today, I learned that there was a 26 year old male that was killed as a result of the accident. I knew there wasn't a chance of anyone walking away from that accident, it'd be by the very grace of God if anyone had survived...

More Things I'm Thankful For

7. The internet - Being thankful for the internet may seem like a very strange thing to be thankful for, but chances are, if you're reading this blog, you're probably a blogger too, or slightly addicted to the internet like I am, and you can understand! LOL.

I have met so many wonderful people on the internet in the last ten years. People I've had many great conversations through email and blog posts. Some online friends I've even met in person. My friend Karen is one friend I met online over ten years ago and first met in person in 2001, and have spent several times with her since then, in addition to that, she's actually stayed with us once.

The people and friends you make via the internet is the biggest thing I'm thankful for. But the internet is also a huge source of information. When Rachel was born with her cleft lip and palate, it was the internet that I turned to for information. I found a blog that a Mama was keeping for her daughter's journey and it helped give us an idea as to what was to come, and it inspired me to start a blog of my own, which has since turned into three blogs. LOL.

We've used the internet for 'how to' videos on YouTube, for looking up up new recipes, ideas for the weekly menu, and for keeping in touch with people. When I began my blog for Rachel, it was for family and friends to stay up to date with her progress, her surgeries, etc. But I have a blog for each of the girls now and the family that reads our blogs keep up with the girls, what they are up to, etc. And vice versa, my sister in law has blog and it's fun to keep up with what they do as well. It also makes it feel like you know your nieces and nephews better, especially when you don't see them buy every few years, by keeping up on their blogs!!! :)

8. The Freedom to Go to Church - We are fortunate that in this country, we still have the freedom to go publicly to church. Believe it or not, there are many countries who don't have that freedom. And for now, we still have the freedom to worship as we desire. And I'm so thankful for that.

9. Today marks the first day of our school break and I'm so thankful! The girls will be off for three weeks and will return the weekend after Thanksgiving. I know many people just at our school who weren't looking forward to the break, but I sure was/am!!! We are usually up and out the door every day by 7:35am and it's so nice to still be sitting here this morning, writing this post, still in my jammies, hair not combed, and no make up!!! The girls are already settled into watching a movie and the first day of vacation has officially began!!! I'm thankful for the break of not running to the school three times a day, for no homework!!!! and no packing of lunches!!! Whooo Hooo!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Family From Oregon

Steven's sister and her husband and their two kids drove down from Oregon yesterday and are currently staying with Steven's mom. Today we drove up to his mom's house and spent the entire day hanging out, visiting, and conducting light saber battles.

When it was discovered that we would have two girls and no boy, Steven had a goal of getting our girls to love Star Wars, and boy do they! We have 4-5 light sabers in this house, Jedi cloaks, Darth Vadar masks, and Princess Leia honey buns. The girls love Star Wars. But really, they were no match when it came to cousin Ryan's knowledge and love for Star Wars. He can make light saber noises with his mouth! And very good ones at that!!! We're going to Disneyland on Tuesday and we're all very hopeful that Ryan will be chosen for the Jedi Training Academy and ultimately fight against Darth Vadar or Darth Maul. Uncle Steven led the kids in training today in preparation for Tuesday. A battle commenced following the session. LOL The four kids had sooo much fun playing together all day long, in and out, to the front yard to the back. They got along great and are looking forward to spending more time together. It'll be fun on Tuesday to be their official Tour Guides at Disneyland!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Husband

Today's thing that I am thankful for requires a post all of it's own, for today, I am thankful for my husband.

My husband is not only the sole provider for our family, but he is also a man of integrity. He is loyal. And he stands up for what is right - Biblically, as well as politically. Which can both be hard in these times we are living in.

My husband is a hands on Dad and helps with our children, always has been, right on down to the changing of diapers and getting up with me in the night. Because of his job, he's able to come to school functions and award ceremonies and that means a lot to the girls.

My husband loves me unconditionally. He takes care of me and our girls. And I couldn't ask for a better husband, and for that I'm so very thankful.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reliable Cars and Friends

Isn't that a great title for today's post? LOL.

4. Being thankful for reliable cars may seem a bit silly, but with all the running I do as a Stay at Home Mom, I need my car to be up and running. Four of the five days a week, I make three trips to the school alone. That doesn't include all the other errands and running that I do. There have been times when my van has been down and out and in the shop and thankfully we have a second car to get us around. I do like my mini van better, but it's still a great car and very reliable.

5. Friends - Growing up, I didn't have a lot of friends. And at times, it was very hard. But I think it's for the very reasons of not having many friends growing up, that I know now that you don't need a lot of close, best friends. You only need a few friends that you can totally rely on, confide in, and get Biblical and sound advice and encouragement from.

Since we changed churches over 5 years ago, the Lord has blessed me with quite a few girlfriends. And I truly cherish each one.

Then there are the friends who you don't talk to regularly, or see regularly, but whenever you do, it's like picking up right where you left off. Yesterday, I met five of those friends for lunch. It was great!! And we need to do it more often. It's nice to meet up with friends who are in different stages of motherhood who can encourage, advise, and laugh with.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November - The Thankful Month - Part II

I was thinking about this current project of making a list on my sidebar of the things I am thankful for this month and I got to thinking that rather than just list them, I would like to write more in depth as to why I listed that particular thing in which I am thankful for. There may be some days I group a few together, but rather than just write my list, I want to to write in more detail of my gratitude.

So here goes:

1. My Husband's Job - In these difficult and hard economic times, where so many people have lost their job, are out of a job, are struggling financially, I am thankful for my husbands job.

My husband is a web designer. He programs and does all the technological stuff behind websites. He works for a company that was once based in Los Angeles, but about 7 years ago, they shut that office down, laid everyone except two people off, and moved to the location of the parent company in Phoenix. He was one of the two that survived many levels of lay offs, and has worked from home ever since. I'm thankful that he works from home. I know a lot of women who question my liking him being home all the time, but I love it. He is available and flexible to attend parent/teacher conferences, student of the month assemblies, the girls' performances, Rachel's major medical appointments, and the list goes on. I absolutely LOVE having him work from home and I would be heart broken if the day ever comes that he has to actually commute farther than our bedroom down the hall to the office.

His job is the sole provider of income for our family. And despite a small pay cut last March, which has since been given back, we've for the most party been just fine through this 'economic crisis'. We've made a few adjustments here and there, mostly requiring us to be better steward of our money, but I've not had to find a job and go back to work. His job pays the mortgage, all the bills and provides for our every need and a lot of our wants!

2. Our Health - It seems like so many people these days have health issues of some sort. We have been very blessed with good health. Yes, we've had a daughter born with a birth defect, but she is healthy, and her defects aren't anything that surgery hasn't already and will fix in the years to come. I am very thankful we are healthy. As are the immediate members of both our sides of family.

3. Our Health Insurance - We've seen our share of medical/hospital bills through the years. We've seen our explanation of benefits and the amount of what the bills should have been, had we not have insurance. I'm so thankful we have good health insurance.

Besides being thankful for coverage, I'm extremely thankful that as of right now, we still have the freedom to choose our doctors and medical facilities. Just this morning, I say my GYN Nurse Practitioner for my yearly appointment. I've been going to her for almost 20 years. I've established a rapport with her and she knows a lot of my history, as well as saw me through my pregnancy with Hannah. I'm thankful my insurance allows me to choose to go to her. My pediatrician is another doctor I would hate to loose. I've been with him nine years and I trust him, he's a good doctor and my kids love him and aren't afraid to go to the doctor.

We don't know what lies ahead of us as a nation and whether or not we'll be forced into a Universal Health Plan. So it's for this very reason, I am so very thankful for our current freedom to choose.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Look What the UPS Man Delivered...

...it's my Pioneer Woman Cookbook!!!!

For the last couple of years, I've been following The Pioneer Woman and using a lot of her recipes and cooking techniques she shares on her website.

Over the course of the last year, she put together a cookbook and it was released last week!

And the UPS man delivered mine over the weekend! I can wait to sit and thumb through it and start cooking some of her YUMMY recipes!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November - The Thankful Month

http://southbreezefarm.blogspot.com/2009/10/2009-giving-thanks-challenge.html
Often these days, it seems like Thanksgiving is skipped right over in a sense. It’s as though as soon as the Halloween decorations come down, retail stores move on to promoting the next big holiday, Christmas. This year, I noticed more and more Christmas decorations and products on the shelves a way lot earlier than Halloween.

Thanksgiving is more than the big Thanksgiving feast, football games, the parades, and the Black Friday shopping ads. It’s a day to celebrate thankfulness. And rather than just be thankful on Thanksgiving, I’m going to list things throughout the month for what I’m thankful for. Watch for my growing list in my sidebar.

The idea came from Leah, over at South Breeze Farm. If you would care to join in on “The Thankful Month”, visit her blog for the creative link and be sure to add your name to the list, so others can stop by and see what you’re thankful for.