Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The year in review

With the new year right around the corner, I'm doing something that I've done on my blog the last few years. I would love to have you join me!
Post the first sentence of your first blog post of every month, and then add your favorite picture from each month. It's fun to look back!

"We have a New Years Eve tradition"We received record amounts of snow here in January. Andy was in South Korea and got very little, but he sent us this picture to show that he was having fun in the snow too.

"February is the month that we seem to hear a lot about love."
The trees always look beautiful with snow covering their branches.

"I have a count meter on this blog"Andy came home for a short visit after spending a year in South Korea. Here he is visiting a first grade class that had sent him cards while he was gone.

"The recipe I have for you today is..."
I was out for a walk in the evening and the setting sun made this old fence almost glow.

"I was in our local sub shop"My sister Cheri and I went to Tulip Time in Holland Michigan and stopped to see this authentic, working Windmill.

"Thanks to everyone who entered my anniversary giveaway."In June we got a new kitten named Oliver. Isn't he cute?


"Today is supposed to be Slow Cooking Thursday"

I spent the day with my sister, Terri, who was camping on Lake Michigan. What a beautiful spot!

"You may remember that we got a kitten a few months ago"
This has to be my picture for August - Andy and Bob greeting each other in a parking lot in Colorado.

"Saturday we had another great day." This was taken when we were in Colorado visiting Andy. What a wonderful trip!

"I recently saw this cute video"
This is a picture of our street, with the beautiful colors!

"We are pretty happy at our house"
Falling leaves was the story of November. These all fell in a 24 hour period!

"Every year my sisters-in-law have a wreath making party"

This picture was taken around the corner from my house, after our first big snowfall of the year.
That's it for this year. It was fun looking back and I'll see you next year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Works for me Wednesday

The tip I have for today is one that I have shared before, but since the new year is coming, I thought it was a good time to share again.
This time of year there are a lot of the small purse size monthly calenders available for free. For at least 10 years I've taken advantage of that, and I use them to write down my meal plans. I plan meals for 2 weeks at a time, and try to do my grocery shopping accordingly.
Having meals planned saves me a lot of trouble when I come home from work, because I don't have to think about what I can make with what we have in the house.
The calenders are so handy to look back at, both for ideas when my brain isn't coming up with something and to see what we may have been doing a few months or even a year ago, since I also write in it when we are going out or with friends... I keep a few years of these tucked away for reference.
For more tips, visit Kristen at We are THAT Family.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I can't believe it's been almost a week since I posted something. I thought I would share a few pictures of what we've been up to here.

Of course, we are really enjoying having Andy around. This picture gives an idea of his goofy side. I had bought these giant stockings at the dollar store and told the kids they needed to fill them for Bob and I. Andy found them, and filled them with himself!

We spent an evening at Bob's sisters home. These little guys thought they wanted a bite of what we were having.

While at their house, we tried out their Wii fit. We all laughed at and with each other as we played.

Oliver got this cube for Christmas, and he's really enjoying it!

On Christmas Day, we had my whole family over for the day.

These two are my sister Terri and Cheri's daughters. They can't wait to open the presents!

On Saturday, we had Bob's family party. It was a room full of people - 26 to be exact!

This is the youngest of Bob's family, his nephews son. Isn't he a cutie?

I'll have a few more pictures to show you later, but thought this was enough for now!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome Home Andy!

Andy flew in on Monday evening. He will be home for 2 weeks! The weather was good during the day, but things started getting icy when we were waiting for his plane.

As we watched for his plane to come in, they were out salting the runways.
~~~Happy Mom, welcoming Andy home!

Here he is, greeting my Dad who hasn't seen him for almost a year.

My sister Cheri's daughters, Halle and Arianna were happy to see him again.
Terri's daughter Shaelyn greeting him.
It's so good to see these two together again.

Laura, Andy, Heather

It's been a long time since we've had all three of our kids in the car with us. Laura's husband Aaron was at work so she rode along. There was a lot of laughter in the back seat on the way home.
I'm going to take a little blog break now, and enjoy my family.
Merry Christmas to all of you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Story

I found this short video telling the Christmas story. I think you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Look what I won!

I got such a nice thing delivered to me today. I won this Jesus Storybook Bible from Sarah, known in the blog world as Short Stop.
You know I don't have young kids to read this to, but I think it will be perfect someday for grandkids, and any other little ones that come to visit!
Sarah said this was a wonderful book, and after seeing it I agree! It even comes with the stories on an audio CD.
Here's a taste of what it looks like...

Here is the story of Daniel in the Lions Den. Look at the drawings. Do you see the head popping out of the hole in the top of the den? All through the book, the writing and pictures just draw you in.

Here's Goliath. They turn the book sideways to let the kids see how big he is. As I paged through it, I noticed the author was very inventive in the layout of different stories.
I've decided that I'm going to enjoy reading it too!
Thanks Sarah - what a wonderful book!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

I've shared this recipe before, but it's such a good one for party's that I thought I would share it again. It's one I got from my Mom so it's been around for a few years. It's easy and good!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
2-3 lbs frozen meatballs
2 jars LaChoy sweet and sour sauce
2 jars chili sauce
4 ounces grape jelly
Mix jelly and both sauces together in a 4 quart crock pot. Stir in meat balls. (They can be put in frozen) Put in crock pot on low 5-6 hours.
For more crock pot recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some special ornaments

I thought I would share some of the handmade ornaments we have hanging on our Christmas tree.
These are ornaments Bob and I made. He carved the Santa's and I made the angels.

These are ornaments we've had for a while. The bells were on our wedding cake. The little ball below it is something my sister-in-law was making the first time I met Bob's family. She had been given kits to make for a bazaar. We laughed at them because we thought they were so ugly. She surprised me with a gift of one that Christmas and it's hung on our tree every year since (usually toward the back!) The tree in the middle says Merry Christmas on the front, but I wanted to show you what Andy wrote on it when he was 7 years old in 1996. The red beaded ball is one Heather made a few years ago and the bell was made by Laura when she was 8.
It's fun to see these and bring back the memories!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas at our house

Welcome to our home!

Come in and I'll show you some of the things we have out for Christmas.

This is a photo holder, that I use to hold cards. Isn't it fun getting nice mail?

Here's our dining room, with a few Christmas things on the shelves. I put small ornaments on the branches I have in the floor vase.

This cute, round little Santa is one of Bob's carvings.

I've been collecting these stained glass angels for several years.

Laura made this nativity set when she was 15. It has sheep and even a few chickens!
I love snowmen, and here are a few of them. The one in the middle on the bottom is a candy bowl.

Here's our Christmas tree. Tomorrow I'll show you a few of our favorite ornaments.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And the winner is...

Thanks to all of you who entered to win one of Bob's Santa ornaments.  I wish we could send one to each of you, but that's just not possible.
I used the random number generator and the winner was...
Number 5 is  Kayren of Everything's Coming Up Daisies!
Kayren, if you e-mail me your address, we'll get that Santa on his way to your house.

Giveaway (Sticky post)

Don't forget to sign up for the hand carved Santa giveaway.  You can sign up until Sunday evening, right here.
Scroll down for newer posts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coming Home!

This is such a heartwarming video.  I think you will be wiping away some tears after watching this one!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

My family has always liked burritos, and when I saw this recipe in the Taste of Home magazine, I knew it would be a hit.

Beef and Bean Burritos
2 pound beef roast
1 cup chopped onion
3 bacon strips, diced
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed
Place roast in a 5-qt. slow cooker; top with onion and bacon. Combine the tomato sauce, pepper and salt; pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 4-1/2 to 5 hours or until tender.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the refried beans, salsa and chilies. Cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Remove meat from slow cooker; shred with two forks.
Layer the bean mixture, meat and cheese off-center on each tortilla. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. Enjoy!
For more slow cooker recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas cookie exchange

My friend Sarah from Short Stop is hosting a Christmas Cookie Exchange today.  Sarah is an excellent cook and baker, and if you've never visited her blog, you're in for a treat!  She's been posting several of her favorite Christmas Cookie recipes and today she is asking us to share one of our favorite Christmas treats.
The recipe I'm sharing has been a standard in our house for quite a few years.  It's easy to make and so tasty!  Hope you enjoy it too!

Christmas Mix
3 cups cheerios
2 cups corn chex
3 cups rice chex
2 cups pretzels
1/2 pound M & M's
1 pound white chocolate

Stir together dry ingredients. Melt white chocolate and pour over cereal mix. Stir together and pour out onto waxed paper. Let cool and break apart.
Now head over to Sarah's and see what goodies other people have shared!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Giveaway!

I posted last week about the figurines and ornaments Bob carves.  He sold lots of them at the craft fair and is now selling them online as well.
I love giveaways and Bob agreed to donate one of the ornaments he made to the cause!  So, if you are interested in winning this hand carved Santa ornament for your tree, just leave me a comment.  Make sure you tell me a way to reach you if you are chosen.  I'll leave this open until Sunday night at 9, when I'll use the random number integrater to choose a winner.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We had a very unusual November this year.  It was warmer than usual and we only had one day where we had a dusting of snow.  This past Thursday night we got our first real snowstorm and it came with a vengeance!  The interesting thing is that while it snowed all over West Michigan, our little town and one just to the North of us got most of the snow.  The surrounding area's got between 2 and 6 inches of snow.  We got 11 1/2 inches in less than 11 hours!
It was quite a drive in to work the next morning, as I was following a few tracks in the road and praying that I didn't meet anyone.  I made it though - on time and in one piece!

This picture was taken on the patio at work. This poor little tree was being covered by all that snow!

This is a picture of a neighbors farm.  It reminded me of an old Currier and Ives painting.
Although I'm not a fan of driving in the snow, it truly is beautiful!