Friday, January 29, 2010

My Friend Diana

A little over 18 months ago, I first wrote about my friend Diana. She was in and out of the hospital and a diagnosis was still trying to be determined. Her diagnosis ended up being Lung Cancer. She is one of the reasons I let my hair grow so long and then cut it all off and donated it for wigs last summer.

At the Mission Inn, celebrating my 21st birthday.

In the last six to eight months, her lung cancer metastasized to her brain. And in the last month, she'd begin having seizures, and less and less control, movement with her arms and legs, leaving her bed ridden.
Together as Camp Counselors, Spring 1995.
As my Maid of Honor.

Diana died on Thursday. Her battle with cancer is now over and she's no longer in pain.

I hadn't seen or talked with Diana in the last year. I kept up with how she was doing through the Caring Bridge website her sister updated monthly.

When my Gramma was dying of brain cancer eight years ago, it was very hard to see her deteriorate, just as it was very hard to see my friend Diana a year ago deteriorating from cancer - the slowed speech, the blank stares, the loss for words, the wig. It was much easier to hide behind the busyness of my children, of my family, than it was to call or go visit. And now she's gone...
Celebrating her Birthday, January 2009

Diana had some rough patches through her life, struggles, desires never fulfilled, and yet she is far better off than any of us! I can only imagine how full of joy, how happy she is to be with our very Lord!!
Diana Garcia
January 15, 1964 ~ January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Useful Website

Ever wondered if that dish in the back of the refrigerator is still good after a week? Or how long that bottle of ketchup is really good for???

Then check out this incredibly useful website a free sent to me this week! It's called Still Tasty. And you can either type in the food in question, or you can search for it. But it'll tell you how long the food is good for in the fridge, and how long it can freeze for.

Pretty helpful at any rate! And the especially cool thing...they have an app for the iPhone!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rainbow

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds,
and it will be the sign of the covenant
between me and the earth.
Genesis 9:13


***Picture taken from the ABC News Website gallery
of storm photos submitted by viewers from the recent storms.***

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Breakfast Sandwhiches

During the week, we are rushing about to get out the door by 7:35, therefore Steven makes breakfast during the week. But on Saturdays, I usually try to make a nice breakfast, usually consisting of pancakes, tater tot casserole, breakfast burritos, or breakfast sandwiches, or sometimes even a new breakfast recipe.

Yesterday, I made breakfast sandwiches. They are super easy and so yummy, and I've even made them for breakfast when we've been camping.

The ingredients: sliced cheese, eggs (use 1 egg per sandwich), sausage (any kind, I like to use the maple flavored), and Grands biscuits. Using this sausage and Grands will make 8 sandwiches.Bake the biscuits as directed on the can. When I plan to make these while camping, i bake the biscuits ahead of time and put into a ziplock bag. Once baked, slice in half and place half a slice of sliced cheese on one half. Scramble the eggs, adding salt and pepper to taste. In a separate skillet, cook the sausage. I usually lay it all out on my kitchen counter and assemble them all at ounce.After I assemble the sandwiches, I usually put them into the microwave to rewarm up and melt the cheese just a little bit. And then I serve to my family with love. Definitely an easy and yummy meal to make for breakfast, or even dinner!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Day of Sun!

Today, the first day in almost a week, we woke up to sun! Sun that stayed with us all day long! The skies were blue, there were some clouds scattered about, but the sun was out and shinning brightly, starting to dry out what a weeks worth of rain has left behind.

Early afternoon, I picked up a friend and we snapped a couple pictures from the local bluffs overlooking the Inland Empire. And then we proceeded out to the Super Walmart about 20 miles away. All the way in marvel of the snow capped mountains that were parallel to the freeway. The mountains were beautiful, the snow was low. Everything looked so crisp and clean.
The local news van finally made its way down from Big Bear this morning. There was snow atop of his van. And the newscaster I've been watching online was sitting inside the news van.Only in California will you see palm trees and snow capped mountains in the background. I took this for my friend Karen, in Maryland, who I knew would get a kick out of it. After five full days of straight rain, although I loved all the rain, it was nice to see the aftermath of what this weeks storms left for us. It most definitely was a beautiful, beautiful day the Lord blessed us with.

Betty Crocker Oven Liner


I hate to clean my oven. It's a chore. And it's not exactly an easy task to accomplish. So when I do take the time to clean my oven really well, I put foil on the bottom to protect the clean oven floor from any boil overs or any other spillage from whats being cooked.

Sometimes even the foil is a pain the rear to change. Because if you're like me, you forget you want to change it out until the oven is preheated and you've opened the oven to put your dish in there to bake. LOL.

I was excited to find this Betty Crocker Oven Liner at Bed, Bath, and Beyond a few days ago. It fits any oven (with some trimming) and can be easily wiped clean with soap and water when needed, and withholds to temperatures up to 500 degrees. I was sold! And so far, so good! Even looks prettier than foil!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's A Good Day for SOUP!

Winter has finally arrived in Southern California, and a wet winter at that! We're on day FIVE of straight rain and despite what most Californians are saying, I LOVE the rain! It's a change in what we're used to, yes, but we so desperately need the rain. We need the Sierras to be packed with snow to fill our aqueducts and reservoirs, etc.

But it's weather like this, that calls for a nice warm meal at the end of the day- a day of running kids to school, errands, and husbands coming home from work, or coming out of the cold office in our home. And what better a warm meal, than soup!!!

I'm thankful, my kids like soup, or should I say they don't refuse it when it's put in front of them at the dinner table. This last Monday, I made my Gramma's Dutch Country Bean Soup for dinner using the ham bone from Christmas that I froze. And boy was it yummy! It made a lot too! Enough that I was able to take a jar of the soup to my parents the next night for their dinner.

I have a couple of soups I've tried recently that are delicious and have been added to the "keep" pile of recipes. I thought I'd share a few here on my blog in case anyone else would like to try them out.

Gramma's Dutch Country Bean Soup
1 lb white beans
1 ham bone or ham hocks (in the meat case of your grocery store)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. sliced carrots
1 c. chopped celery
1 small can of tomato sauce
1/2 c. diced potatoes
2 tsp minced parsley
salt and pepper

Soak the beans in water overnight.

Cook the ham bone in a pot of water for four hours. I kept having to add water. Rinse the beans with fresh water and then add them to the ham bone and cook slowly for another 2 hours.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer until the veggies are tender.

Remove the ham bone and trim any meet off the bone, cut it up, and toss it into the soup. Serve and Enjoy!


********************************************

Black Bean and Chicken Salsa Soup
1 pound chicken (I used 4c. cut up cooked chicken breasts)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken broth (I used 3 cans)
1 cup frozen corn (I used one can)
1 jar prepared salsa (16 oz) ( I used my homemade stuff, didn't measure, just tossed it in)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/c cup diced onions
1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)
shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (all optional)

Toss everything into your crockpot (except the sour cream) and put on HIGH for 4-5 hours. Just prior to serving, stir in sour cream and mix it well.

I served the soup with shredded jack cheese on top. We also found ourselves crushing up some tortilla chips and tossing it in to the soup as well.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Finished Project

I'va had this project I've been wanting to work on for a long, long time. Well over a year, maybe two. It was the pictures hanging in our hallway.

The collages hadn't been updated since Hannah was born, which mean there were no pictures of Rachel even in the collages. With the exception of the few of Hannah as a baby, all the pictures were over ten years old, and even the ones of Hannah will be ten years old come April. It's a project I've been wanting to do for a long time, and just really didn't have the time or gumption to do it...until recent months when I had an idea of exactly what I wanted to do.One of the ideas I had to redo this wall was to do away with the collages all together, and fill the wall with 8x10's and 5x7s of the girls, of family, etc. And then I read somewhere that a mother took the self portraits that her children had done in Kindergarten and framed them and then hung them over their beds. What a great idea! But instead of over their beds or in their rooms, I went with wanting to hang them in the hall!!

So I began looking for frames large enough to house the portraits. They were expensive. And I needed two! But then came the Black Friday ads, and there in the Aaron Brothers ad were these frames, normally $22.00, on sale that day for only $9.99. I made sure Aaron Brothers was on my list of stops on Black Friday and I was in luck, they still had the frames! Not only were they on sale, but I also had a 20% off coupon!! Whooo Hooo! I was even happier when the girls' portraits with a little tweaking fit in them!

So about three weeks ago, I took down all the pictures in the hallway. Emptied out the collages and put unwanted frames and such into a yard sale pile. With the girls' pictures framed and leaning up agains the wall, I didn't know what else I wanted to do on the wall. Fill pictures around them? Leave them to hang all alone? I wasn't sure. So they've been sitting propped up against the hall wall for the last three weeks. And as I was talking to my Mom on the phone this afternoon, telling her I needed her to come over and give me some idea, it hit me! I knew exactly what to do with the wall and just as soon as I got off the phone, I went to town hanging my pictures.The handprints/footprints on each side of the girls' self portrait are from when they were born, done in the hospital. When Hannah was in Kindergarten, they did a handprint as their Christmas present. I've been told that Rachel will do her handprint at some point this year. And when she does, and it comes home, I'll move the current prints up a bit and make room for their Kindergarten hand prints to be hung beneath their baby prints! And now that I have that vision in my head, I can't wait til the day Rachel comes home and tells me they printed her hand in clay!

At any rate, I am so very happy with how my wall turned out and that it's finally done and is another project I can mark off on my "to do list".

Fox Performing Arts Center

This last weekend marked the Grand Opening one of the most revered landmarks in our city, The Fox Performing Arts Center. After a 32 million dollar renovation, the theater that hosted a preview of "Gone With the Wind" in 1939, is now open for business!

Friday night was the grand gala at $150 a ticket. Needless to say we didn't go. LOL. But I did drive through the city looking at the big white tents and all the hoopla going on.

What we did do, was take the free tours that were being offered on Saturday and Sunday. It was absolutely beautiful inside. The woodwork on the stairwell banisters, the beautiful ceilings, the new seats (with lots of leg room and room to move, I might add) was beautifully done.The Fox Performing Arts center has a five year lease with Nederlander Productions, the same company responsible for bringing a lot of theatrical productions to such places at The Pantages in Los Angeles. The company promises to bring three to five theatrical productions to the theater every year. The first one in the line up is Annie!We'd heard the news late last Fall that Annie was coming and we even researched tickets, but at the time, they were only offering package deals for all three of the upcoming broadway productions (Annie, Hairspray, and Jesus Christ Superstar!), so we decided against purchasing tickets. But on Saturday, after our tour and actually seeing that there really aren't going to be any bad seats in the house, plus the fact you can now purchase tickets for the individual shows, we bought tickets to see Annie!!!
Rachel's expression on her face demonstrates her 'Hard Knock Life" of having to wait around for Mom and Dad to buy tickets"


I'm so excited, this will be the first real theatrical production for the girls. I hope it'll be the first of many more family productions to come to the theater, and the first of many for our family to go and see. It's just over two weeks until we go, so it gives us plenty of time to watch the movie a hundred times and practice our songs!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Up in Flames

Upon driving into our cul de sac last Wednesday night coming home from Bible Study, we noticed something odd about our trash cans that were already out for pick up the next morning.

Our trash cans were pulled up on the sidewalk, and one of our green cans was missing. It's not uncommon to find our trashcans moved up on the curb as the kids will sometimes play basketball in the street, or people visiting the neighbors next door will pull the cans up on the curb so that they can park on the street. But as we looked around our street, our trash can was gone!

There was some debris in the street, but it was really dark out and we couldn't make out what it was. We kinda thought it was the palm frowns that we'd put in the green trash cans. But we soon gave up on trying to figure out the mystery and came inside.

As I was putting my purse away, taking my phone out to plug in and charge, I noticed that I not only missed a call from our neighbor, but a text message as well! My phone had been silenced as to not disrupt the Bible Study and I hadn't turned it back to normal so I missed both of her forms of communicating to me. Her text message said that someone had fired up our trashcan and she was calling the fire department!

That's what that debris in the street was! It was our trashcan! I grabbed our industrial strength flash light and went to take a look. And sure enough, there were the remains of our green trashcan that could not be accounted for.

After calling our neighbor back and talking to the other neighbor across the street, we learned that someone had tossed something into our trash and that it's not the first time it's happened according the firemen that were called to the scene. Apparently there are some hoodlums running amuck in the area and this wasn't the first trash can to go up in flames. I felt a little better knowing this action wasn't directed specifically at us. LOL.

The next morning, Steven went out to clean up the mess and to get it in the trashcans before the trash truck came. What a mess it was! I was surprised at how little of our trash can was left. The green trash can pictured here was sitting beside the green can that was set afire. That's a whole lot of plastic to burn up!So we're short a yard waste trash can now. I haven't called the city to get a new one. No need to really. It was an extra one that we weren't paying for, but came in handy for those one or two times a year we had a lot of yard waste, like the dead palm tree trimmings!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Afternoon's Weather...

Yeah, so the forecasters weren't far off on predicting 2:00 to be heavy rain with lightening! My mom and I were out running some errands and at 1:00 it started raining, and raining, and raining. Getting heavier. Windier. Darker. We were on the freeway coming home and the windshield wipers could not clear the windshield fast enough, they simply wouldn't go any faster.

Thankfully, everyone on the road was driving cautiously and slow. Californians don't know how to drive when it's dry, let alone when it's raining, and has been for two days with more on its way!!!

A friend called and told me there were flash flood warnings in the city my parents live in/where the girls school is. And boy, you should have seen the streets. Flooded. Inches and inches of water everywhere. Trash cans (it was trash day) carried off from their places of origin, down streets and into intersections.

Arriving to the back of the school where I pick Hannah up showed how hard the school had been hit with rain. The field was flooded and looked like one giant puddle. Thankfully, there was a bit of a lull to the storm and it was only slightly raining once the bell rang for schools dismissal. But this was how the sky looked. This is how dark it was.Pulling out of the neighborhood of the school, we noticed piles and piles of white stuff along the yards. It was hail! It had rained so hard that it hailed. And it was so cold that it was still scattered about in yards, on sidewalks, etc. Here are just a couple shots of the hail piles.Driving down my parents street the gutters were still a few feet wide with the rain water, and just as we had suspected, one of their trashcans was wiped away and down in front of the neighbors yard, caught partially on a parked car. It had to be retrieved before it drifted any further. I ended up just taking off my tennis shoes and hopping what water I could to get their trash can. LOL. I got plenty wet, but the trash can now safely sits in the backyard where it belongs. Heading home on side streets, we went past a local ball field and had to make a U-Turn into the parking lot so we could get this picture. The park was completely covered in water. Guess there'll be no ball playing there this week!The rain had stopped for the time being. We got home safely. Steven said it rained pretty hard and the wind blew pretty hard here at home this afternoon as well. We've learned of a couple of the neighbors trees being taken out with the wind. We're preparing for another storm to hit tonight or maybe tomorrow. We need the rain desperately, so despite the problems the rain may cause, it is welcomed.

Perfect Timing??

I know the weather can change and we all know that weather forecasters can be totally wrong at times. But check out this hour by hour weather for our zip code today...Do you see what it says for the 2:00 hour??? Does Mother Nature not know that my oldest gets out of school at 2:15???

I LOVE the rain, and I'm loving all the rain we've gotten thus far and are projected to get, but I'm hoping that that 100% chance of rain that's forecasted with lightening at 2:00 holds off for just a little bit. Perhaps even just long enough for school to get out and all the kids make it safely and dry to their cars, buses, and home.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Battening Down the Hatches

The weather forecast for Southern California for the next 6 days is rain = 70-80% percent chance everyday!

With percentages like that it's pretty certain we'll be getting some rain this week. And with that forecast, we spent some time late yesterday afternoon battening down the hatches in preparation for the impending rain.

We had some gusty winds last week and one of the things Steven needed to do in preparation of the rain was get up on the roof and secure our tarp up there. We have a little bit of a leak into the attic, but when the tarp is in place, it does its job and directs the water down the tile roofing. We also brought all the metal bikes and toys under the solid patio covering and out of rains way.

Rachel has rain boots, the girls have jackets they can wear, I think one umbrella needs replacing, but we're ready! And because we're ready, this week long rain storm probably will only end up being a day or two at the most. LOL.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

WHY? WHY? WHY?

Monday through Friday can be quite a struggle when it comes to getting the girls up and out of bed.

It doesn't matter if they've gone to bed on time (7:30, or some nights as early as 7:00) or they've stayed up until after 9:00 due to it being Bible Study night or another reason we're out late. But it never fails, I can't get them out of bed much before 6:50, let alone talking and in a good mood.

But this morning, because it's Saturday, because it's the first morning of a 3 day weekend, both the girls were up shortly after 6:30, bouncing around, talking up a storm, slamming doors, and settling in to watch television that they've been deprived of all week.

WHY???

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Thrift Store Finds!

This afternoon, after picking Rachel up from school, my Mom and I ventured to a nearby Salvation Army drop off location. I had a couple of bags that I wanted to donate and get out of the garage and today was the day to do just that.

At this particular location, there was also a Salvation Army thrift store. Mom and I decided to go on an in check it out. Starting with the dishes and glassware, Mom spotted these plates on the very bottom shelf of one of the aisles of glassware. They matched a set of eight plates I already had and have used for luncheons and church teas. There were 17 of these plates and they were very inexpensively priced at only $1.55 each, but as I was looking at them, something on the shelf caught my eye as well...

It was a Pampered Chef stoneware baking dish identical to the one my sister in law has. She's used it a few times in my presence and I love it. Just the other day I was on the Pampered Chef website looking at one to perhaps buy for myself, but at $38.00, I decided against it. So I was very excited to have found it sitting on the shelves within a thrift store, and marked for $2.49!!! No thought went into that and it quickly went into our cart. And then I went back to looking at the glass luncheon plates. I carefully looked them over and then decided that if I bought all they had, I'd have enough for any function I'd ever have or even perhaps use them for a function in the Women's Ministry of our new church. So into the cart those plates went.

The best part of it, was when I got to the register and everything rang up 50% off!! IT was 50% off Friday which meant I got the $38 Pampered Chef dish for $1.24 and the luncheon plates for .78 cents!!!! A MAJOR score indeed and I think it might just be a place to check back from time to time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Bunch of Tech Geeks

It's no secret, I belong to a family of a bunch of tech geeks. Here's a picture of evidence from Christmas Eve...We were trying to play Jingle Bells on our iPhones. I thought with all the geeks in the room, it warranted a picture. LOL.I've had my iPhone just over a month now and can I just say how much I LOVE it!! I've been able to instant message Steven (like a text message, only it's free), and I've been able to look things up, and today, while I was grocery shopping, I was able to double check the ingredients of a recipe on a website!! It was great!

Yep, I'm a tech geek, and I'm proud! LOL.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Back in to the Groove

It seems like we're so busy, busy, busy during the holidays, that sometimes we find ourselves out of normal routines we're so used to doing. And then once the holidays are done and behind us, it takes some time getting back into the groove of what is normal the other ten and a half months a year.

I've found that to be so true in a few areas of my life in recent weeks.

For starters, I usually get groceries every two weeks, the week we get paid. But at this point, I've not gotten major groceries since a few days before Christmas. I've made a few stops into the local grocery store to and from taking the girls to school, but no major groceries since the 21st of December! Payday is this Friday, so I'm trying to hold out on getting groceries until then, just so I can get back on schedule. The family even agreed to bean and cheese burritos or tacos every night until then! LOL.

I also need to get back in the habit of writing my menu down on the fridge notepad. This last week, with limited food in the house, I was flying by the seat of my pants, so to speak. Just kinda winging it night to night. If it's listed on the fridge, then I just feel better organized. LOL.

How about you?? Anyone else have any areas they are struggling to get back in to the groove with since the holidays???

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friday Night Happenings

We went to Disneyland last night with some of our church family who also have annual passes. The parks were crowded, but we had great fellowship while waiting in the long lines.

After we left the parks we migrated to the local Denny's just a few miles down the road. We've hit Denny's a time or two before when we have been a large group not wanting our time together to come to an end, aside from the fact that we're all hungry and it's cheaper to eat outside the parks.

It was close to 1:00 am and for the most part, we'd all finished eating. We were just sitting, talking, When all of a sudden a car passed the front of the restaurant, followed by a police car, and then another, and then an undercover car, and then another police car. There ended up being about ten police cars out in front of this Denny's. The street, which is a major street was blocked off in both directions. And here we are, inside Denny's, all windows, facing the action. All of a sudden the police officers, behind their patrol car doors had their guns drawn and pointing at the pulled over SUV. And then slowly, one by one, a total of six young men excited from the Suburban and placed into the back of separate police cars, all but two, who remained cuffed and sitting on the curb.And then we saw the police officers pull out the big guns, and I mean that literally. Three police officers approached the SUV with drawn shotguns!!! They cleared the vehicle and the guns were put away.

Once the suspects had been taken into custody, and the vehicle was cleared, we felt it was then safe enough to leave Denny's. The front door faced the street where all this action was taking place, so it really wasn't safe for us to walk out the front door. So we left, and walked the long way around the building to our cars. Here, Nathan takes the opportunity to pose for a 'thumbs up' picture with just some of the patrol cars behind him.It was an eventful outing to Denny's to say the least. Alarming when we saw the guns drawn and pointing in the direction of the car, even more alarming when we saw the shot guns. There really wasn't anywhere for us to go but stay where we were. I've tried researching what might have happened on the local news websites, but no such luck. It's definitely a memory we'll talk about the next time we're all at Disneyland together...or at Denny's!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dr Quinn Medicine Woman

One of the things I got for Christmas was the complete series of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. All the seasons, including the movies, all on 42 discs!

I loved that series when it was out on television, and I never missed an episode. Over the last few days, we've been having a Dr Quinn marathon, watching two or three episodes at a time. The girls are loving watching it. And it's been nice to watch one episode one right after another with no commercials!

I'd say it's a family show. A lot cleaner than most options on TV today. But as a mother now, watching it with her children, there are a few things that come up in the episode that makes you wonder if it'll slip right by your almost ten year old or not.

For instance, anyone who's familiar with the show knows there is a saloon in the town, and operating within the saloon are prostitutes. After watching a few episodes, Hannah noticed that one woman in particular was always in the saloon and she inquired about her always being there. I simply answered that she worked at the saloon. That answer wasn't enough for her. And she questioned exactly what the woman did do. Steven simply told her that woman got paid to be nice to the men who came into the saloon. LOL. And that was the end of that. She was happy with that answer. There's a few other things I can see coming up that might need explaining. But for now, I'm sure enjoying my Christmas present!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Parents 40th Wedding Anniversary

Today, our family celebrated my parents' 40th wedding anniversary!

What a true blessing it is to celebrate such an accomplishment in these days and times of people divorcing after 20, 30 years of marriage. My parents have always been a great example of a good and Godly marriage to both myself and to my brother, and for that, I am truly thankful.The celebration started off with my bringing a sheet cake to church to share with our church family. It was a yummy cake, chocolate with white frosting, beautiful red roses. I took a picture of it, however, my camera was on the fritz this afternoon and I ended up loosing some pictures I'd taken today. I'm rather sad about it.

Following the church service, our family of ten - my parents, my brother and sister in law and two girls, and our family of four, all went to The Mission Inn for their Sunday Brunch. It's a beautiful feast of everything imaginable. Breakfast foods, fine cuts of meat such as Prime Rib, Tri Tip, Ham. Fresh fruit. Pastries galore. A variety of salads. And a dessert table filled with everything you could possibly want in the form of sweets. Including a chocolate fountain, which the little girlies all loved and went back for more, several times!

We were seated on the patio and what a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy one another's company and all the good food. The Mission Inn was where we as a family celebrated my 21st birthday, as well as my brothers, so it was a nice place to celebrate such a special milestone as our parent's 40th anniversary!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ringing in the New Year


This New Years Eve found us invited out to the home of our friends.

It was really nice to 'go out' this year. December has been an extremely busy month for me at the girls' school, and with all the events we've been to, camping, etc, and I just didn't have it in me to have my house in order for having people over on NYE this year.

The festivities didn't begin until 7:00, but once it did, things were in full swing. Food in the kitchen, food outside, games going on at the dinning room table, at the kitchen nook table, and in the family room.

There was lots of laughter, lots of hooting and hollering, and lots of people coming in and out all night long.

As midnight approached, there were about 25 people left, and we counted down to the New Year and then toasted with sparkling apple cider. Our friend and Pastor then prayed for the new year that lay ahead and all that it might hold, And then our worship leader led us in a worship song. It was a great, great way to bring in 2010.