Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Greatest Story Ever Told

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to their own town to register.

 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:1-20

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday

Christmas traditions.  We all have them. 
They make us feel warm and cozy and happy and make this time of the
year wonderful and special.

Some of ours include:

I LOVE eggnog and usually have my first glass sometime during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The first ornament on our tree every year is an antique silver ball that belonged to Chris's father, Cyril.

We always have a Nativity displayed to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

We display our son Tim's 40+ nutcracker collection. They are in all shapes, sizes and costumes and he usually gets a new one under the tree.

We spend Christmas Eve with my parents, sisters and nephew eating too much and exchanging presents.

My parents give everyone a bag of new socks every year.  It's fun and silly and we all look forward to receiving them.

Christmas morning is spent with the boys and their significant other and our grandson. Next year we will have a new addition - Little Princess Ellie!

Chris makes Eggs Benedict for breakfast Christmas morning! Yummy!

We always open our stockings first.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday (on Wednesday)

Here are a few things I'm thankful for - in no particular order.
Some are silly; some are fun; some I can't live without.

GOD and His abundant blessings
My amazing, handsome, supportive husband Chris
My three sons - Chris II, Timothy and David - and their different personalities
My grandson, Christopher Paul III
My soon-to-be-here granddaughter, Eleanor Lynn
My parents
My three sisters
My wonderful, warm, cozy home
My extended family and friends
My fun little blog with my kind blogger friends
Second chances
My dogs - Roxy, Calli and Lilly
Chips and Salsa
Seasons - especially Spring and Fall
My karate training and the wonderful teachers I have
Books, Libraries and my Nook
The mountains
Peet's French Roast and CoffeeMate Vanilla Latte Creamer
My crazy African Gray Parrot - Rascal
Hillside Church
Heat and Air Conditioning
Running water and flushing toiliets
My health and a successful recent knee surgery
Freedom in America
My Bible
Learning new things and going on new adventures
My sewing machine
A room to create
Sunshine and Rain
Light and Electricity, Washer and Dryer, Dishwasher and Stove
My job
Time to myself

We are always rushing from one place to another, especially this time of the year. Take the time to love your husband, wife or significant other. Hug your kids, your pets and your friends. Laugh until you cry, eat too much and take a nap.
And each and every day take time to thank GOD for everything. 
What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday Chris!

Today is the 50th birthday of my amazing husband Chris!  Wow!
A very proud age indeed!

Tonight we are having a family dinner where I will be preparing his favorite meal of Roast Chicken with carmelized onions, carrots and fennel, roasted potatoes with thyme and garlic, homemade crusty bread and lemon meringue pie and berry pie.  Yummo!

Have an awesome day my love! You're the best husband, father, Papa, lover, friend, Sensei that a girl could ask for!

I can't wait to see where your love of adventure takes us in the next 50 years!

at "Pump It Up!" - 2011

Okinawa - 2010
Shurei Castle - Okinawa - 2010

Dunsmuir 2010

May 2011

Florida - 2009

With our Lil' Man - 2011

Oakland A's Game - 2010

Tour of the Unknown Coast Ride - May 2010

Point Olema - June 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!

My grandson, Christopher is celebrating his 3rd birthday!  Oh my where have the years gone.  It seems like yesterday that we received the 4am phone call that it was time to head to the hospital. Anyway....on his 1st birthday my husband Chris and I "volunteered" to make his birthday cake.  The theme was "Curious George" and we did a great job if I say so myself! I had taken several cake decorating classes before and have decorated many cakes, but this would be the first cake where I had used fondant.
It was yummy chocolate marble cake and everyone loved it.

For his 2nd birthday the theme was "Construction Zone" and of course we "volunteered" again to make this cake.  My husband and our son, Chris II (yes there are three Chris's) are both in the tower crane business.  For this cake we used lots of frosting and candy rocks and  made it look like the construction equipment was digging away at the cake. 

We even made the "Blue Room" porta-potty!  It was also a big hit and again we were pretty proud of our efforts.

So this year we when we were told the theme of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" we said "Okay.  No problem."  Except we had NO IDEA what we were getting ourselves into until we watched the "Clubhouse" with Lil Man.  We looked at each other and thought "Really? Could we pull this cake off?" 

Well we did.  It turned out awesome! It took us 6 HOURS!  HAHA!  But it was all worth it when we heard Christopher say "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! I like it!"

The door to the Clubhouse

The back of the cake

The gate

The blue tube is Mickey's tail made into a slide.
We used copper tubing and wrapped it in fondant.

Our Lil Man with his cake!

Blowing out the candle!

It was a great party at "Pump It Up!" where there were big pumped-up obstacle courses and slides and everyone had an awesome time!

I wonder what challenging theme will his parents decide we should do next year!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thoughts For Thursday

Do something everyday that makes you happy....Praise GOD, kiss the ones you love, sew a little, craft a little, scrapbook a little, exercise a little, read a book, have a cup of tea or coffee, paint your toes. 
Just do one little thing!

Be Kind....Be Silly....Be Honest....Be Loving....Be Happy!

Happy Thursday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Easy Chili Chicken Stew

The days are getting longer and cooler and it's time to bring out my recipes for soups and stews.  This is a very simple, tasty stew that is an all-time favorite in our house.  I never have leftovers!  And it can be made as mild or spicy as you like!  I don't remember where I got the original recipe, but I've had it for about 20 years now and it's always a crowd pleaser!  Enjoy!

Easy Chili Chicken Stew
6 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium-size green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup picante sauce (hot, medium or mild - whatever your family likes)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Avocado wedges
Chopped green onions
Tortilla chips

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Cook chicken, onion, chopped green pepper and garlic in hot oil in a Dutch oven until chicken is lightly browned and vegetables are tender.

Add tomatoes, pinto beans, picante sauce, chili powder, cumin and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Ladle stew into individual serving bowls; top each serving with shredded cheese and remaining ingredients.  Serve with tortilla chips.
Makes:  2 quarts.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday


I will wake up and THANK GOD for a new day,
a new chance.

I will KISS and HUG my husband and tell him I love him.

I will TALK TO my three sons and let them
know that I love them.

I will PRAY for wisdom to be the best I can be.

I will ask God for STRENGTH to make it through the rough spots of the day.

I will not let discouragement rob me of the gifts of

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday

It’s raining and cold today. 

I would like to be at home cuddled with my love, in front of a fire,
with a glass of wine and a movie. 

What do you like to do on rainy days?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charmed, I'm Sure

I recently decided that I wasn't going to participate in any more swaps. They can be time-consuming and stressful trying to make sure the package you send is perfect and awesome and won't get tossed out or donated and what you receive can also be a disappointment after you've worked so hard on yours. I haven't been disappointed yet, so I'm going to stop while I'm ahead! I would rather create something for someone that I care about and know they will love.

But because I was tortured, forced, had my arm twisted behind my back, invited and encouraged by my good blogger friends, Karen and Amy, I thought this swap would be fun and I jumped on the bandwagon.  And NO sewing involved at all!  How easy peasy will it be?!

Along with 56 other women from around the country and internationally, I will be swapping 5" fabric squares cut from 2 yards of Christmas fabric (56 squares from 1yard each of 2 different fabrics).  In return I will receive 112 - 5" charm squares of different Christmas prints!  I love Christmas fabric so I am really looking forward to all that yummy goodness coming my way.  Charm squares are a fun way to incorporate lots of different fabrics into your designs very inexpensively.  I made my recent Halloweenie table runner with 5" charm squares.  I already have a few projects spinning around in my head for some fun Christmas stuff - mug rugs, table runner, maybe even new stockings for the family and grands....who knows!  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 16, 2011

50 Years of Love

Today is my parents 50th wedding anniversary!  Fifty years! My goodness that's a long time to be married to someone!  In August we had a mini family reunion and celebrated their special day in Dunsmuir, California.  Dunsmuir is near Mt. Shasta and is one of their favorite places to visit and camp.  We go there at least once a season - sometimes twice.
The party was wonderfully awesome.  My aunts, uncles and cousins were all there along with my immediate family.  We had a speghetti feed on Friday night and a wonderful BBQ on Saturday with ribs, chicken and sausage and all the fixin's both nights.  We played games, had relay races and fires and ate Smores, ice cream, Twinkies and Ho-Ho's.  It was a wonderful way to spend their special day and they had a marvelous time.

My parents have lived in four houses, owned 14 cars (I think I counted correctly), a Ford Model A, a VW camper bus, two motorhomes and a travel trailer. They've traveled all over the United States and parts of Canada.  My dad was in the Navy for 6 years then worked locally as an electrician for the rest of his career and is now retired.  My mother has been a nurse since 1961 and has worked at the same hospital for 45 years.  They also own an antique store "Red Geranium Antiques" and have collected furniture, Fiesta ware, Depression glass and antiques my whole life. 

I am the oldest of three girls and my sisters are Lori and Debra.  We had a great life growing up and got to see a whole lot of places and do a whole lot of things.  My parents always supported all of our activities and were always there for us 100%.  In fact - they still are.  They attended every school function, band function, Girl Scout and Camp Fire Girl function, Job's Daughter's function and made countless Halloween costumes, Christmas cookies and always taught us to be creative.  We went to Disneyland, Great America, the ocean, the mountains and the desert.  They watched me and my sisters and my three sons graduate from Antioch High School - the same school where they graduated - and my nephew Tyler is only has a few years to go.  They have 1 great-grandson, Christopher III and another great-grandchild due in March.

My parents have had their own set of adventures including camping, antiquing, fly fishing, and collecting rocks - from tiny ones to ones that you almost need a wheelbarrow to lug back to the truck! 

They've ridden bikes, hiked to Vernal Falls in Yosemite - twice - water skiied and rowed their pontoon boats on various rivers and lakes.

My sisters and I have learned so much from our parents - Love, Respect, Tenderness, Happiness, Kindness and how to be good parents.  We were fortunate to grow up with both sets of our grandparents and always had our aunts, uncles and cousins around for big dinners, BBQs, camping trips, fishing trips, holidays and "just because" times.  We had a great life growing up and even though I didn't follow all most of the rules when I was a teenager and was never almost always on time for my curfew, I wouldn't change a thing. 

Acting silly and playing games at their party!

My Family

Mom and Dad in the front.  Back row: sister Lori, my nephew Tyler, Sister Debra, Me, my husband Chris

I love you Mom and Dad very, very much. 
I wish you many more years of happiness, love, fun and outlandish adventures! 
You are the best parents a girl could ask for!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Will Never Forget

Do you remember where you were on that September day in 2001?  I do.  I had the day off and I was in bed. Chris called me and said to turn on the TV; that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  At that time, we did not know that America had been attacked. 
I turned on the TV and within seconds I witnessed, along with the rest of the world, the second plane crashing into the second tower.  And then planes at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania
 I didn't know what to think, what to say or how to act.  I became glued to the television. 
I prayed and I cried. 

I wanted to hug my sons and never let them go.  I wanted to protect them from this devastating, senseless tragedy.  My oldest son, Christopher, had graduated from high school that previous June and talked about enlisting in the Marine Corp to go and fight for our country.  I was proud that we wanted to serve the United States of America, but scared.  In the end, he didn't enlist, but I know that he would have made an awesome Marine.

America as we knew it was changed forever that day, but we all came together, fought, and made it through because we are Americans.  We are survivors.  We are strong.

As we remember the people who lost their lives and the fallen heros who rushed to their rescue, let us also remember the families they left behind and let us pray for them
today and everyday.

"Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident." - Psalm 27:3

GOD is always in control. Let us never forget those who lost their lives on 9/11/01.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Laboring on Labor Day

Whew! What a weekend! Started off our weekend knowing we would be hitting the hardware stores to check out the best deals on a washer and dryer.  Our dryer burnt out this past week - and by burnt out I mean totally glowing, red hot! Pretty scary!  We started out with lunch to give us sustanance for the long job ahead and then headed to Lowe's. Chris wanted to purchase a brand new set because we have the "Whittle Luck" which means that if we only purchased the dryer by itself, the washer would break down within a week.  So a brand new set was in our future. 
Lowe's was having a sale and we looked at and fondled and opened every door and lid on front loading and top loading washers. Did we want a front loading washer?  Well unless you purchase the storage drawer, they are pretty low to the ground and because we were buying a set, the drawers would run about $500 thanks.  Did we want the extra steamer, the dry-cleaning cycle, the less wrinkle cycle, and so on.  I just want to get my clothes clean and dry.  Nothing fancy schmancy.
Next - Home Depot. They were also having a sale and we saw a Maytag Bravos set that we really liked and the price was right.  Except they didn't have them in stock and it would take TWO weeks for them to get here! Back over to Lowe's and the same (original) set that we looked at but a few hundred dollars more expensive. Talked to the sales guy and told them the Home Depot price and guess what!? We got the Depot price! Yay! and it was available for delivery today and they would take our old stuff. 
Now, we aren't able to put our vehicle in our garage because after living in the same house for 18 years we have accumulated a lot of junk/stuff loveable items we can't live without and we needed to make a path for the delivery people to be able to get the old set out and the new one in.  This little project took almost the entire weekend! We would get a little moved and tossed and moved some more and it started to look so good and was loooonnnnng overdue so we kept going.  And it looks wonderful. There are a few bags/boxes for donation and lots of bags/boxes for trash. Still a ways to go though, but that's for another weekend.  AND I did all this with a possible meniscus injury on my knee and waddled around with a cane! LOL!

My beauties were delivered today and are all hooked up and we're on our third load of laundry. The washer is a High Efficiency Low Water Washer - which means we need special detergent - but we will get a $100 rebate.  Yay! The machine is very quiet and I think we are going to really like them!

 No agitator. The machine fills up with water based on the weight of the clothes....I think...
 the first load....can't cover the center thingie....
 High Efficiency Tide!
And we have lift-off!

While we were waiting for our 1st load of laundry to finish, Chris made us a super, wonderfully, yummy late lunch early dinner. Fried Chicken, Mashed Taters and Gravy, Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Baby Carrots (thanks for the recipe Karen) and bread.  Delish!  Total comfort food!

Last night he made a Smoked Brisket, Cowboy Beans and Potato Salad and our kids came over for dinner.  Yes I have a great husband and I ate very well this weekend!
It has been a great, productive weekend, but I'm tired and my knee hurts.  Time to relax and watch a bit of TV before bed.  Chris thinks this blog post was "goofy" (because I had to take pictures of everything) but I think it was kinda fun.  Talk about goofy....see him in the shiny dryer knob?  Takes one to know one I guess!