Saturday, December 30, 2006

What a Way to End the Year...

With a trip to the emergency room! Yep, I spent the morning/afternoon in the ER. I am fine, but it turns out I have something called pleurisy. Basically it's an inflammation of the lining of the lungs, which causes pain when you breathe. I had been having weird, sharp pains in my chest, but I just thought it was nothing. : / This morning the pain actually awakened me from my sleep and just would not go away. I eventually called Rande at work and he said to definitely go the ER and have it checked out. Our dear friends the Maldies took me and after a bunch of tests, it was determined I had pleurisy. There isn't much you can do but take Aleve or Advil and eventually the pain will go away. The doctor thinks I developed it because I had two colds in the weeks before Christmas, which can cause this type of inflammation.

So...all I can say is...I am thankful it isn't anything more serious AND I have had enough of emergency rooms! I didn't say anything about it here on my blog, but I made another little trip to the ER a few months back. It turned out I had a (sorry for the details!) ruptured cyst on my ovary. I was in the most excruciating pain of my life and was (of course!) home alone so I had to call 911. NOT a fun thing to do when you are the wife of a firefighter. Anyway...through all the tests they did, it revealed some other things which are ongoing. I can't remember a time when I have been as sick or seen by so many different doctors as I have in the last 4 months. It has definitely given me compassion for those who suffer all the time with illnesses. I am very thankful though...nothing I am going through is very serious or life-threatening.

So that's my story for today. : ) Talk to y'all next year...Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas 2006

As some of you know, this was our daughter Ashleigh's first Christmas away from home. She and her wonderful husband, John (and our grandbaby) are in Colorado spending the holidays with John's family (go here to see pics). John hasn't been home for Christmas in eight years, so while we miss them, we know it's exactly where they need to be.

My hubby is a firefighter, which means sometimes he has to work on Christmas day. But this year he was off from work. So...because we didn't want to be home, just the three of us, missing Ash and her little family...we decided to do something REALLY crazy on Christmas day. We went to Disneyland!! : )

We broke from tradition (gasp!) and opened gifts after coming home from Christmas Eve service at church. It did feel a little strange at first, but somehow we made it through (LOL!).

Christmas morning we got up early and headed off to "the happiest place on earth". Our sis-in-law and her family met us there, which made eight of us in our group. We heard it might be crowded...and indeed it was! In fact, the park maxed out their attendance and had to turn people away. Despite the crowds, people were polite and I can't remember encountering a single rude person. The park was decorated so beautifully...lights everywhere, Christmas carols playing and one of the tallest Christmas trees I have ever seen. We went on a ton of rides, watched a couple of parades, saw a spectacular firework show and laughed A LOT...but most of all, we enjoyed being together as a family. We talked to Ashleigh throughout the day and shed a few tears because we missed each other (thanks John and Carol, for being so understanding!). It was a good day though...different, but good. I am really glad we went.

So that was our Christmas! I spent yesterday recovering...we were at Disneyland from 8am until it closed at midnight. Crazy, I know. : )

Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6


It matters not, that we don't know the exact date of Christ's birth...was matters most is that He was born. He was born to be the Savior of the world and then given so that all who believe in Him could have everlasting life. Truly...the Greatest Gift of all.

Wishing you and your family a blessed and joyous Christmas Day!

Chocolate Dipped Cookies...

I don't remember where I got the recipe for these cookies, but I have been making them for years. They are super easy and super yummy! They make nice Christmas gifts too...just put them in a wide-mouth canning jar, top with pretty fabric and a rafia bow.

Chocolate Dipped Cookies (for lack of a better name!)

1 box Ritz Crackers
1 jar of creamy peanut butter
1 jar of marshmallow fluff
2 packages of Candy Quick--chocolate flavor (or use any quick drying chocolate dip)

Melt Candy Quick according to package directions (I use the stove-top method, using a double boiler). Prepare the cookie filling by spreading one cracker with peanut butter and one with fluff. Put crackers together and dip in melted chocolate then place on wax paper until chocolate hardens. So easy!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Walking In A Winter Wonderland...

I asked Ashleigh if I could post some of the pictures she has sent while they have been in Colorado. They are spending Christmas with John's folks in Leadville. The elevation is 10,500ft. Yep, it's WAY up there in the Rocky Mountains. John and Ash got married in Leadville, at the little church where John's dad is the pastor. John's parents are the best and I am so thankful our daughter married into such a wonderful Christian family.
John, Ashleigh and Troy pulling the freshly cut Christmas tree. They actually hiked up to find just the "perfect" tree...then John and his dad cut it down.

Troy and his daddy...enjoying the snow. : )


Troy helping his Grandma Baker and Mommy decorate the tree.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Window Update...

I know it's kind of hard to see...but I took this picture last night of our little Christmas tree (the one we decided to use instead of our big one) in front of one of the new windows. It looked so pretty with the lights off and the tree aglow! Zach and I sat there for the longest time...just staring at the window. : ) Rande didn't get to see the windows until this morning when he got home from work.

Today the workers installed the rest of the windows, but it didn't quite go as well as yesterday. One of the workers accidentally broke one. I guess it was leaning against something and he tripped and it fell to the ground. The contractor was here before we even knew there was a broken window, because they were afraid we would be very angry in light of all that happened with the old contractor. We weren't upset at all...are you kidding?! This is easy to fix and doesn't cost us a dime! Sure we have a piece of plywood up until tomorrow, but please...this is nothing!! LOL

We found out today the workers are going to start back up right after Christmas...so the work continues! Yeah!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Window Day!

I am happy, happy, HAPPY!! Today is "Window Day"...which actually means...after almost 2 years, our new windows are finally being installed.

It doesn't matter one bit that the temperature is only in the 30's and all that cold air is coming into my house as I write this. I will just bundle up even more because....my windows are finally being installed!! : )

I posted a few weeks ago about our nightmare (uh, I mean remodel) which has lasted nearly two years. In a nutshell, our contractor used the money we had already paid him (obviously not on our house) and left us with an unfinished home.

The windows though, have their own little "story". The contractor measured for new windows throughout the house and then we wrote him a check so he could order them. Seems normal enough, right? Well...when he confessed a few weeks later that he had used all of our money, it included the money for the windows. : ( He never ordered them. After months of waiting on our contractor to make good on his promise to repay us, we decided to order the windows ourselves and pay someone else to put them in. The company where we were ordering the windows from still had all the measurements, ect... in their computer system, so we went down and wrote another check (essentially paying for the windows a second time) and ordered the windows.

Three weeks later, the windows were delivered. Everything looked good, until I went to open one and realized it opened backwards. At first I thought I had it upside down, but I soon realized no, it truly opened backwards. My heart started to sink. I looked through all the windows. Every single one opened the wrong way.

We called the window company and they confirmed that this was the way the contractor put the order in. But the worst was yet to come.

Rande called the contractor to come out and look at the windows and after inspecting them further, he realized he had measured wrong, which meant...none of the windows were the right size. In plain terms...the windows were not going to work. At all. And because they are custom fit windows, we couldn't return them. Needless to say, we were stuck. : (

Fast forward a year later (this past summer). We had someone (who actually knew what they were doing) come out and measure properly. We hired a new contractor and ordered the windows again. Yep...for the THIRD time. Crazy, isn't it? But there has been a blessing in all of this mess. The company we ordered the windows from and the window manufacture, graciously gave us a much better deal this time around and we are very thankful for that.

So that's our window story and you can see why I am so HAPPY today! : )

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Brrrrr...It's Cold Outside

This was our evening sky tonight (from our backyard). You can't see it, but there is a mountain behind those storm clouds and I am sure when we wake up in the morning that mountain will be covered in beautiful white snow. There is a big storm coming our way tonight and we are supposed to get snow in our little desert town. Woo-hoo! I LOVE snow! : )

Thanks Guys!

In our family we have another tradition. This one started on Rande's side of the family. Each Thanksgiving and Christmas since the women cook, the men and boys do the dishes. Nice, huh? : ) Yes it is!! The funny thing is...the men often help with the cooking, but still have to do the dishes. There is no way the ladies would allow for anything else. This is one tradition that you can be sure is set in stone. : )

Before a man marries into the family, the other men pull him aside and warn him of the tradition which was started long ago by Rande's Grandpa Sperou...lest he change his mind about marrying his intended and joining our family.









But at least that man has a choice. There are those who are simply born into the family and have no choice. And yes indeed-y, we start them young! : )















So this past Thursday we celebrated Christmas with John, Ash and Troy before they left for Colorado. It's Troy's first Christmas, so here he is in the kitchen, "helping" Grandpa do the dishes. (John and Zach did their part, then left to deliver a food basket.)




Thanks guys, for being good sports. And thanks to Grandpa Sperou for starting this very excellent tradition!







Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Frienship and Gifts...

This morning I went to breakfast with an old friend. We went to a new little place in town and the food was really good. Most of all though, I was thankful for an opportunity to spend time with my friend. Our friendship has had some rough spots in the past few years and our families have gone in totally different directions. It was good to catch up and even though we didn't talk a lot about serious things, my prayer is that the Lord would use today as a stepping stone towards restoring the friendship. It will never be what it once was...and that's ok. In the past it was always wrought with stress. I left today feeling hopeful that maybe we can move forward in some way. What a wonderful gift that would be at Christmas time!
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I was able to go to breakfast this morning because my family is not home today. So...I just lit my Yankee candles, made some Starbucks coffee (added Pumpkin Spice creamer and just a little bit of whip cream) and now I am ready for a marathon gift wrapping session. It's so much easier when no one is around. : )

Have a great evening!

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Fiddler...

Here is Zach...in costume, just before yesterday's performance of "A Christmas Carol". Ashleigh and John went to the Saturday night performance, and Rande and I went to yesterday's matinee. It was very impressive to see the performance after only seeing rehearsals. It's amazing how it all comes together. Everyone has worked so hard and it's definitely paid off.

I let Zach sleep in this morning. After the Friday night opening performance, a Saturday morning cantata practice at church...then a Saturday night play performance...THEN church yesterday morning, the afternoon play performance...BACK to church for choir practice and then church last night...whew! He was so exhausted last night, that he didn't feel good. So yeah, I let him sleep this morning. : )

Commenting Woes...

I have heard of this happening to others, but it's never happen to me...until today. We have been crazy busy and I have missed reading everyone's blogs. So I made my beloved spinach salad for lunch and thought I would sit a spell, eat my lunch AND catch up with everyone. I was able to make a few comments on people's blogs, but then Blogger wouldn't let me post any more comments. : ( Ugh! So I'll try again later.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Uh-oh

Once again, this is Ashleigh, trying to work on my mama's blog. I tried to switch her to the Beta this morning, and, unlike when I switched mine, something went wrong. Now all comments are appearing as anonymous and without icons (with the two exceptions of Mom's and Happy Mama's). I've done about everything I can think of, but to no avail. Does anyone have any suggestions... or has anyone else had this problem??

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Easy Cheeseburger Pie


Wow! I am feeling rather "post-y" today. : )

Anyway...I just wanted to share a quick and easy recipe that my family loves. I am not big on using a lot of pre-packaged ingredients, but when life is busy and I don't have a lot of time to make a meal, I would rather do something quick and easy at home instead of getting fast-food. We had this tonight for dinner, served with coleslaw and green beans. It was delicious!


Bisquick Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick (or you can use Light Bisquick)
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 9" pie plate. Cook beef and onion until beef is brown; drain. Spread in pie plate; sprinkle with salt and cheese. Stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate. Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.

Jesus Is The Reason...

If you have a moment, I would encourage you to read this post of Sarah's at In The Midst of It. I honestly wanted to cry after reading it. I appreciate the heart and honesty of her post and if you struggle with keeping your focus on the Lord during the busyness of the Christmas season...this is THE post to read.

"A Christmas Carol"

Tomorrow night is the opening night for our little town's version of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol". Zach is involved in a community orchestra, which is accompanying the play and it's the first time the orchestra has done anything like this. The musicians and cast have been spending hours this week practicing and rehearsing. It's been quite the experience watching (and listening) to it all coming together.

What is amazing to me though, is seeing Zach up on stage. Not only is he behind the curtain playing in the orchestra, but he is also part of the cast as a fiddler (imagine that!). He has a few small speaking parts and plays a few songs. This is the boy who would reluctantly agree to put on a "show" with his sister, only to get scared at the last minute and run out of the room. Once during a children's Easter production at church, he was so scared being up in front of people, he started crying and had to be taken down from the platform.

You can see why it amazes his Dad and I. We would never have thought Zach would be doing something like this. This is really BIG for him!! And we are really proud of him for sticking with the commitment he has made. When this started months ago, he thought he was only playing with the orchestra. It hasn't always been easy (it's been a HUGE time commitment), but he has kept up with his church commitments, teaching fiddle lessons and school. It's been a neat thing to watch the Lord work through Zach, teaching him life lessons...important lessons...like commitment, time management, doing things even when it's hard and dealing with difficult people.

So tomorrow night (and for the next three weekends) he'll be "the fiddler" and I will be the nervous mom, praying for him to do his best. I trust that he will. : )

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The Work Begins...

Can I say a loud "Woo-hoo"?!

The work on our remodel has officially begun! Or should I say the remodeling of our remodel has begun. The workers are here re-installing two sets of french doors and tomorrow work begins on our unfinished dining room.

Ahhh...the sound of a drill. It's music to my ears! : )

Monday, December 4, 2006

Christmas Traditions...

Does your family have any special Christmas traditions? Is there something you do that if you didn't do it, your Christmas celebration just wouldn't be the same?

In our family we have two special traditions. The first one is that every Christmas Eve we have Squash Soup (3 types of squash, Velveeta cheese, half-n-half...very low fat!), french bread and salad for dinner. I have even made it at the fire station when Rande has worked on Christmas Eve. I am not sure Zach will continue the tradition with his family though, because we found out a few years ago he doesn't even like the squash soup! After all these years we never noticed he ate mostly bread and salad. Poor guy. But it doesn't stop us from having it every year. : )

The other tradition we have is each December we go to Knott's Berry Farm. Knott's graciously allows firefighters and their families in for free or a reduced rate (depending on how many guests you have). They started this tradition in the early 90's and we have taken advantage of it every year. We enjoy the rides (and the Christmas Craft Fair) during the day and end our time in the park by going to the Bird Cage Theatre to see "A Christmas Carol". Then we head over to Mrs. Knott's Chicken restaurant and wait in the long line (1-1 1/2 hrs.). It's SO worth it!! The chicken, the boysenberry pie...it's all so good! After we eat all that comfort food, we make the long trek home. Oh, but we have to stop at Starbucks first. : )

I've posted some pictures of our trip this past Friday to Knott's. It was Troy's first time, so I am warning you...Proud Grammie Pictures Ahead!


Troy and his daddy on the merry-go-round


Zach and Troy


Grandpa Dule and Troy pretending to be NASCAR drivers


Grammie and her Little Man waiting in line at the Chicken restaurant

**I didn't post a picture of Troy and his mommy because all of them had a lot of people in the background.**

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

For Ash...


Because my sweet daughter was afraid I wouldn't put out her beloved "Hand-Print-Reindeer" decoration she made when she was in kindergarten...here is proof that it is indeed hanging in it's usual spot. : )

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Special Friends...

On Sunday afternoon we were blessed with a visit from our dear friends from Virginia. Actually, it was only two of them (there are 8 total!) but we'll take any number of them! : ) They stayed until Monday afternoon and all I have to say is...Their visit was WAY too short! This is a picture of me, Katie and Ashleigh, as they were leaving yesterday. I have known Katie since she was in her mama's tummy. Her mama (Grace Abounds) and I were pregnant at the same time...she with Katie and me with Zach. Katie has grown into a sweet, beautiful young lady and she has the most beautiful singing voice! I am so glad they stopped by our house and maybe next time the whole gang will come! (hint, hint) : )

Names...

I wanted to make a discreet post, but how do you do that on a public blog?! LOL So I am going to just come out and say it.

I will no longer be using pseudonyms for my family's names. Both my kids have blogs and they use their real names. Some people who know us leave comments using our real names (which is fine) and so it just seems a whole lot easier to call everyone by their real name. : ) So here we are: Rande (my Fireman), Mishel (me...yep, that's really me! LOL), Zach (Fiddleboy), Ashleigh (Little Mama), John (her Marine), and Troy (Little Man). That's us! : )

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Randomness...

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and that it was a blessed time for you and your family. Our family will remember Thanksgiving 2006 as "the year we were sick". My poor Fireman caught the stomach bug and while I was recovering, his was just beginning. Our plans were to go to the fire station for Thanksgiving dinner because my hubby was supposed to work that day and the fireman usually cook quite the feast when they have to work. Well...by early Thursday morning we knew my Fireman was not going to work that day. Thankfully Fiddleboy, Little Mama and her family were able to go to my sister-in-law's for dinner.
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Today was the first day I had been out of the house since Monday. I got up early and headed to our local farmer's market. I love going to the farmer's market! It's amazing the quality of produce you can get and at such a great price.

When I got home I decided I would make some bread. A few years ago my family gave me a Zojirushi bread machine and to be honest, I haven't used it much. : ( The few times I used it, my bread came out looking, well...less-than-perfect. After years of making my own bread and "perfecting" my recipe, the results were disappointing. I had heard it just takes some tweaking, but I never made the time to "tweak".

So today I tried it again. I milled my wheat berries, added all the ingredients just as the recipe said, closed the door on the bread machine and went about my day. I had to run Fiddleboy over to orchestra practice and then I did some other errands. When I came home and walked in the door...oh! the aroma!!...it smelled delicious. I cautiously opened the bread machine door to inspect the results and...ugh! The bread had fallen and looked so sad! I was sad!! I took it out of the bread pan to cool and thought to myself, "Yep, croutons." I didn't want croutons though...I wanted a loaf of bread. O'well. I'll try again! : )
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I received a call today from dear friends of ours. They live in Virginia, but two of the family members are in Phoenix for Thanksgiving. Because Phoenix is not too terribly far from us, they are coming to visit tomorrow and staying until Monday. We are very excited!
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I have been wanting to write a post about our remodeling nightmare because it's a huge part of our life, but every time I think about it, I change my mind. So I thought I'd write about it here in this "randomness" post. : )

In April 2005, we signed a contract with a licensed contractor to do a major remodel of our home. We had lived here for 14 years and almost everything (except some painting we had done) was exactly the same as when we bought it 14 years ago. We weren't going to do any major knocking-down-walls type of stuff, but we were doing new flooring throughout, new windows, doors, patio, gutting one room to make it a dining area and taking the "popcorn" off the ceiling...that kind of thing. You know, more like "updating".

Well to make a sad story short, our contractor finagled a large sum of money out of us by starting 3 different phases of the remodel at once (start up costs), plus we gave him the money to order our windows and then he promptly turned around and used our money to finish other jobs (obviously without our knowledge). After just three weeks on the job at our house, our contractor came to us and told us he had no more money left. Our money was gone and our house was a wreck.

It's 1 -1/2 years later and we just now settled a complaint we filed against our contractor with the state licensing board. He did not have to pay us back all of the money, but he did pay us some and for that we are thankful. We would have had to take him to court to get everything back and we just didn't want to do that (he is a professing Christian--that's why my hubby hired him).

Our house has been in an unfinished, "looks like we are moving" state this whole time. Our flooring has been in storage and I honestly could not tell you exactly what it looks like...I don't remember! We have not been able to move forward because of the ongoing investigation from the state board.

And uh, I wish I could tell you I have handled the whole thing with grace and maturity...but that would be a lie. : / In the beginning I didn't handle it well at all. I was stunned and shocked. It's been pretty stressful at times, on our entire family. I have had to learn the hard way, that it's just a house. The Lord has dealt with me in regard to my pride, because my home has not been the way I wanted it. If I had it my way, no one would come over with it like this. But He has had other plans...sometimes even allowing others to use our home while we've been away.

We have hired a new contractor (and he comes with EXCELLENT references!!) and work will begin next week. Our family has decided the best Christmas present we can give each other is to allow the work to start on our home and get it finished. Most people don't want work done on their homes during the holidays, so our contractor has plenty of time to devote to ours...and we've decided we will put up our tree, but not all the other decorations. We just want to have our home back.

So that's the story. I'll keep you posted.

Have a blessed weekend! : )

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

"Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves; we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100
image by art.com

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Fiddleboy!

Yesterday we celebrated Fiddleboy's 16th birthday. Well, actually Little Mama, the Little Man and Fiddleboy celebrated his birthday. I was sick with the stomach flu again. I was so sad to be sick on my baby's birthday (he may be 16, but he's still my baby!). Little Mama came by the house, picked up Fiddleboy and they went on an all day shopping trip. They ate dinner at Ruby's Diner, where the waiters and waitresses sang "Happy Birthday". In the evening when they got home, I made my way to the family room to at least watch Fiddleboy open presents. I didn't get too close though, because this bug we are passing around in our family is obviously VERY contagious. : /

Here are a few pictures from the Irish/Scottish festival we went to on Saturday and of Fiddleboy's actual birthday:

Fiddleboy eating "Haggis" which is a Scottish delicacy. It's (if you have a weak stomach, don't read this) chopped sheep innards seasoned with spices and stuffed inside a sheep stomach. Doesn't that sound just delicious?? Uh...no. But Fiddleboy said it was very tasty. I wouldn't know. He ate this while watching an exhibit of Border Collies herding sheep. Yuck!!

Fiddleboy, Mom and Dad...with our swords. We had just finished watching a wonderful group of fiddlers called "CelticSpring". They are a homeschooling family with six children...all of them except the youngest play the fiddle and do Irish step dancing. They were incredible!



Fiddleboy and his cousin Kyle...jousting with their new swords.


With his new fiddle...Happy 16th Birthday Fiddleboy!! We love you!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Just a Note

Hi everyone... this is Little Mama, hacking Mom's blog again. :) Actually, she wasn't going to be able to get on the computer today, so she asked me to stop in and give you all the link to my post about Little Man in the hospital, along with pictures.

It has been such a comfort to us to have so many lifting us up in prayer. Thank you so much to each of you!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Little Man Is Home...

Little Man was released from the hospital this morning. He is still vomiting, but not anything like he was. All his levels are good and Little Mama has to take him back tomorrow morning. There are still a few tests pending (cultures) and hopefully they will come back fine and this was truly just a stomach virus.

Just wanted to give y'all a quick update. Thank you for your prayers!! : )

Friday, November 17, 2006

Update On Little Man...

Well...this afternoon Little Mama took her Little Man back to the doctor's. This was the fourth time this week. He was definitely showing signs of dehydration. He would hardly nurse, wouldn't take the Pedialyte or water and after talking to me several times throughout the day, her in-laws and her hubby...they decided to take him in. I am SO thankful they did because he was very dehydrated and he immediately was put on an I.V. They have admitted him for the night and they are doing various tests to try to determine what type of virus it is. The doctor still believes it's the stomach flu. It's hard that our Little Man is in the hospital, but honestly it is a relief to everyone. He just wasn't getting better and it was starting to scare us.

And poor Little Mama...she is just exhausted. She had the stomach flu earlier in the week and now she has a terrible cold. Her Marine is such a good husband and daddy and he has been a huge help when he gets home from work and during the night.

Thank you for your continued prayers. This has been a long week (actually it's been 2 weeks since it all started) for Little Mama and her little family. The Lord has been good though and given strength to get through each day. We are thankful.
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On a lighter note...my guys are home! My Fireman is back from his class and Fiddleboy got back this evening from attending College Days at Pacific Baptist College. I am glad to have someone else to talk to besides the dog. : ) Actually I missed them both terribly. It was very strange to not have them here...the house was too quiet. My sweet husband sent me cards throughout the week...what a nice surprise to receive notes from him in the mail each day. What a guy!! : ) And Fiddleboy placed first in the instrumental competition at PBC. He played an arrangement of Amazing Grace on his fiddle.

Tomorrow we are celebrating Fiddleboy's 16th birthday by attending (Lord willing...if all is ok with Little Man) a Celtic festival. Fiddleboy loves his Scottish heritage, so this seemed a perfect way to celebrate. Little Mama and her family were supposed to go, but obviously they can't now. We weren't even sure if we were going to go, but she wants us to. It won't be the same without them though. : ( We are taking Fiddleboy's cousin with us and wouldn't be surprised if two boys came home with kilts. : ) If so, I will be sure to post pictures.

Thank you again for your prayers on behalf of our Little Man. Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Please Pray...

for our Little Man (my grandson). He has not been well for the past 12 days. He has been vomiting almost daily (no fever). Little Mama has taken him in twice to the doctors and they say it's just the stomach flu. But for 12 days?! She is trying very hard to be patient with the advice from the doctor, but it is really starting to concern all of us. She just found a few specks of blood in his diaper (from urine--sorry to be so graphic) so she is calling the doctor again. I am wondering if he has a UTI? I just don't know...I haven't heard of anything like this. Have any of you?

I'll keep you posted...thank you for your prayers! : )


**Update: Little Mama took Little Man to the doctor's and was told it is a stomach virus. There is no blockage and the doctor didn't think it was blood in the baby's diaper, but just dark urine. He's not dehydrated, which is good. But he's lost 2lbs. since this all started. Poor baby! So...it's another sleepless night for Little Mama and her Little Man. : ( Thank you for praying.**

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Morning Ramblings...

It's a beautiful morning here in the desert...cold and very "fallish". : ) My favorite!

We had a great day at church yesterday. Bro. Paul Mershon preached the morning and evening services. He is an evangelist from central Calfifornia and he usually comes every couple of years for revival services. Our church loves Bro. Mershon, so it was a special blessing to have him here for the day. In the early service he preached on spiritual lethargy in the church...it was an excellent (and convicting) message!

We have a lot of sickness going around at church right now, so I filled in a couple of spots in the nursery yesterday. I am the nursery coordinator and I am so blessed to have a great group of ladies who help run the nursery and make the littlest ones at church feel loved. (**waves to Caren, Robin, Jenny, Gabby and Little Mama**)

My Fireman left yesterday for a work related class in Fresno. He'll be gone for a week. : ( I already miss him so much!

Little Mama and the Little Man spent the night here last night because her Marine had duty (a 24hr. shift). I got to put Little Man to sleep and ended up falling asleep myself, with him cuddled in my arms. I awoke sometime during the night to give him back to his mama (he was hungry and needed to nurse) and also to find Little Mama's dog up on my bed. : / Anyway, I loved cuddling...not with the dog, but with my precious grandbaby. : )

I have a lot planned this week to do around the house. We are going to be starting up our remodel again (I'll post more about that later...LONG story!) so I have to get things packed away in Rubbermaid containers and moved out into the garage. Since Little Mama is here today, she's going to help get her old bathroom packed up. Fiddleboy will help us in between doing school and teaching violin.

Well I am off to make my kids' favorite "cold morning" breakfast...old fashioned oatmeal with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla in it. Yummy! Have a wonderful Monday!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Honoring Those Who Have Served...

My father served in the Air Force, my husband was in the Marine Corps, and my son-in-law is currently serving in the Marines. Over the years our family has had the privilege to know many military men (and women) because we live near a Marine base. A year ago our pastor's son was killed in Iraq while serving in the Army.

So Veteran's Day is no small matter to our family.

Our flag is proudly flying today...and with that we will talk about those who have served our country and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their life. We are thankful for their service and for the freedom we enjoy here in the United States because of it. We will give thanks too, for those who are currently serving and for the sacrifices they and their families make every day. We will pray and ask the Lord to give grace and comfort to those who have lost loved ones while serving their country.

If you know a veteran, tell them thank you. If you have a flag, fly it proudly. If you have children, take a moment to explain what this day is all about. Most importantly, take time to thank the Lord for those who have served.

Have a blessed weekend!! : )


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

It's Election Day...


Don't forget to get out there and vote!! : )

Monday, November 6, 2006

Baby Shower Pics...

Here are a few pictures I tried to post earlier from the baby shower on Saturday. Blogger was being very temperamental. : /

Nicole and her mom...feeling the baby kick.

Little girls...all grown up!

Nicole helping Little Man to stand...notice him checkin' out his mama's plate of food. : )

Precious moments...Grammie and her Little Man.

Baby Shower Blessings...

I mentioned in an earlier post that Little Mama and I were attending a baby shower on Saturday. Well, we went and had a wonderful time! The shower was for a friend of Little Mama's that she has known since she was 7 years old (Nicole was 9). Nicole's family was very instrumental during the early years of our homeschooling and we would get the girls together often. I have sweet memories of them playing with their dolls for hours. They were such good little mommies! They would talk endlessly of when they would one day be real mommies...making detailed plans for where they would live, their husband's names and long lists of baby names.

So it blessed me to no end to see the two of them now...all grown up, married and real mommies. Both of them are godly young women and they married godly young men...and their hearts desire is to raise godly children. I am so thankful Nicole's mom and I encouraged our daughters to play "mommy" when they were little girls. They were taught that it is a blessed thing to be a mommy....that it is a noble task...that it is the best (and hardest) job in the world. It's obvious in both their lives that they believed it.

We celebrated the upcoming arrival of Baby Neuhauser on Saturday, but in my heart I also celebrated the Lord's goodness and faithfulness to answer the prayer of this mother's heart for her daughter.


"I have no greater joy than to hear
that my children walk in truth."
3 John 4

Feelin' Better...

Well, I guess it wasn't something I ate. : / I passed on my little stomach virus to various members of my family. I feel bad...most especially because I passed it on to the Little Man. It's hit him worse because he's just a baby. I am just praying Little Mama doesn't get it. We all know how hard it is to be sick yourself and have to take care of a baby.

I am feeling much better today, thankfully. : )

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Feelin' Yucky

I stayed home from church this morning because am not feeling good today. I was up literally all night. I think it must have been something I ate yesterday, because I don't have a fever...I just feel like I've been hit by a truck.

I hate missing church. I tried to watch the service on t.v., but for whatever reason, the station is not airing it. Anyway, it just feels wrong to be in bed on Sunday morning. I know I am sick, but still! : )

So I am going to get some rest today and hope tomorrow I'll be feelin' better. Have a blessed Sunday!

Friday, November 3, 2006

On The Road Again...

Today Fiddleboy and I made the 5 hour round trip drive to his fiddle lesson. Yep...that's 2 1/2 hours one way. Am I crazy? Some would say yes. : ) And believe me, sometimes I think I truly am!! LOL

Thankfully, we only make the trip twice a month. We make a day of it and do other errands because we drive through a city with all the major stores (which our little town doesn't have.) Oh...and we stop at Starbucks. We have to stop at Starbucks!! : )

Honestly though, I don't mind the drive. I enjoy the time with my son, without a lot of distractions. He takes schoolwork with him, but we have time for good discussions too. I know when Fiddleboy is grown and gone, I will look back on these days with fond memories. It's all part of being a mom.

Tomorrow I'll be on the road again. But this time with Little Mama (and my precious grandbaby). We are going to a baby shower of one of her childhood friends....and it's a 5 hour drive round trip. But that's ok, because we will talk and laugh the entire drive...AND probably stop at Starbucks. : ) And even though she is grown and gone, I will hold the memories of these times near to my heart because I know she will not always live this close. It's all part of being a mom...and I love every minute of it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Pardon the Mess...

Hi everyone, this is Little Mama, just popping in to say we're under construction here. :) Things look a little out of whack at the moment, but this is all I have time to do tonight before we head off to church. Thanks for your patience!

--Mom's Favorite Blog Hacker :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Walking Buddy...

For the past couple of weeks I have been walking in the mornings. The weather is cool and crisp...perfect in my opinion! : )

I enjoy walking, but much prefer a partner. Well...I found the perfect one! It's our 10 month old Border collie, Brodie. Together we make our way through the neighborhood and into the open desert. I love watching the wildlife (jackrabbits, cottontails, chipmunks and quail)...and Brodie loves chasing the wildlife (and cars, which is *not* a good thing)! LOL Today I figured out how far we actually walk and I was shocked to find out it's 3-4 miles! I would never have guessed it was that far.

So tomorrow morning, Lord willing, my buddy Brodie and I will once again, be out trekking through the desert. : )

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday Dinner Recipes...


Every Sunday after church, Little Mama and her family join us for dinner. I love this special time! After a busy morning, we are all ready to kick off our shoes and relax a bit...before heading out again for evening service.

I try to plan a nice meal, which can be a challenge because we are at church from 8am until after noon. Which makes me so grateful for my trusty crock-pot (I have two of them)! It's so nice to be able to just put everything in the pot and turn it on...with little preparation. When we get home, the house always smells SO good! I usually put out something for the guys to snack on (chips and salsa) while Little Mama and I finish meal preparations.

Yesterday's meal was one of our family favorites. Whenever I make it they always remind me just how much they LOVE this meal. So I thought I'd share the recipes with you! : ) Both of them came from the Taste of Home magazine.

Italian Beef sandwiches

1 jar (11 oz.) pepperoncinis

1 boneless beef chuck roast (3-1/2 to 4 lbs.)

1-3/4 tsp. dried basil

1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1-1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 large onion, sliced or quartered (I use onion powder because my son-in-law doesn't care for onions)

1/4 cup water

10-12 hard sandwich rolls

Cut roast into large chunks; place in crockpot. In a small bowl, combine basil, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper (and onion powder if using it); mix together, then sprinkle over the beef. Pour juice from the pepperoncini's over the beef and herb mixture. Remove and discard stems from remaining pepperoncini's; place peppers over the beef. Add onions (if using instead of onion powder) and water. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or until meat is tender. Shred beef with two forks. Using Slotted spoon, serve beef and peppers on rolls with Muenster cheese.

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Cheddar Waldorf Salad

2 large Red Delicious apples, cubed

2 large Golden Delicious apples, cubed (or I just use 4 large Fuji apples)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tbsp. sugar (or Splenda)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I always use more)

In a large bowl, combine the apples and pecans. Combine mayo and sugar; add to apple mixture and mix well. Add cranberries and cheddar cheese; mix gently. Serves 6-8

I will serve either Tater Tots or sweet potato fries with this meal and Little Mama usually makes a yummy dessert for us to enjoy (which many times we don't eat until after evening services because we are stuffed from lunch! LOL)

If any of you have easy Sunday dinner recipes you want to share...please do!! : )

(Image by allposters.com)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Something to Share...

This morning I finished going through the notes and scriptures from the women's retreat last weekend. I just wanted to share this little tidbit Jan Christianson shared with us.

Ways To Forfeit Peace
  1. Resent Gods ways
  2. Worry as much as possible
  3. Pray only for the things you think you can handle yourself
  4. Refuse to accept what God gives
  5. Look for peace elsewhere
  6. Try to rule your own life
  7. Doubt God's Word
  8. Carry your cares and concerns yourself

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." Psalm 29:11

Have a wonderful weekend! : )

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thank You and An Update...

Thank you to all of you that have emailed or called to see if My Fireman is ok. He is not fighting the fire as of right now. His department does have a crew out there and he would be on the next crew to go. He called me this morning to tell me that he knew the one firefighter that is still alive. This young man was in the fire academy last year where My Fireman is an instructor.

I know the Lord uses these difficult times to draw others to Him. Last night my husband was able to pray with three of his colleagues...something that would not usually happen. Please continue to pray for the families of the firefighters that were killed and the one who is clinging to life. Thank you!! : )

Thursday, October 26, 2006

An Interesting Day...So Far

On Thursdays, Fiddleboy and I go to chapel services at our church's Christian school. This morning as we were leaving, the phone rang and it was the school principal informing me the chapel service was cancelled because the church had been robbed and vandalized last night. While I was shocked and saddened by this, the terrible thing is it was the second time in two nights. Yes...the church was broken into Tuesday night as well. On Tuesday night the thieves/thief found the safe, but couldn't get into it. Last night they came back with tools and just ripped the whole thing out. : ( The church was awaiting the installation of an alarm system, but obviously because of what happened last night, it's getting installed immediately.

Then...an hour later, My Fireman called me with very sad news. Apparently 3 firemen were killed this morning fighting a large fire (about 30 min. from us) and 2 have been very seriously injured. You can read about it here on FOXnews. My Fireman and three others, were on their way to teach at a fire academy today, when they heard the whole thing taking place on their radios (they work in the same county where the fire is burning). Needless to say, the guys are just torn up about it. The firemen that were killed work for a department in central California, but the fire service is a like a big family and when something happens like this, they all feel it. If you think about it, please pray for the families of the firemen that were killed and injured...and for those firefighters still on the fire line. Thank you! (**Update--the firefighters killed in the tradgedy now totals 4 and they are actually from a fire department closer to where the fire is burning.)

"Hear my cry, O God;
attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
For Thou hast been a shelter for me,
and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever:
I will trust in the covert of they wings."
Psalm 61:1-4

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ironwood Women's Retreat

The retreat this past weekend was wonderful. What a blessing to spend time with my sisters-in-Christ...to hear biblical teaching AND have fun! Many of us are busy serving at church on Sunday and Wednesday and often we don't take the time to really sit down and talk about what's going on in our lives. Retreat is a good time to catch up and get to know each other better. : )

Jan Christianson was an excellent speaker. She was bubbly, fun and yet serious when it came to presenting the truths of God's Word. The theme was "Walking In Light". There were 4 sessions: "Who Am I in This Dark World?", "Delivered from Darkness", "Glimmers of Hope" and "Testing for Amperage". After the morning session on Friday, we were able to attend workshops of our choice. I chose one on "Practical Hospitality" and then my favorite, "Denying Self Through the Power of God". Oh...it was so good!! Convicting, but good. : )

I think my favorite part of the retreat was when our group of ladies (16 of us) participated in what Ironwood calls "Jed's Quest". Our group was given two "problem" scenerios and we had to solve them together. The first one was that we had to line up, in alphabetical order by our middle names, without speaking or using any kind of sign language. What a challenge! Especially because we didn't know each others middle names!! It took a few minutes to develop a communication system (using our fingers to count out each letter of the alphabet), but we did it. The second one was an even bigger challenge and took much longer to complete. (And it's a little harder to describe...LOL!) Basically, there were three telephone polls laid out (sort of in a "U" shape) like balance beams and our group of 16 had to stand on them. Then...without falling off...we had to maneuver people from one pole to another. That meant one lady trying to climb over another lady, while the other was crouching down...all while trying to stay balanced. At first everyone was very serious, as we tried to figure out how we were going to accomplish this seemingly impossible challenge. But once the first person made it "over", then everyone worked together to complete the challenge (and as you can imagine, it made for some pretty hilarious pictures). We were given 8 "passes" if someone stepped off, but I think we only used three of them.

Once we were finished, the facilitator gathered everyone around and she asked us discussion questions relating to why the challenge worked, what we could have done differently, ect... The whole time, she's pointing out biblical principles (putting others before ourselves, helping those who are weak, bearing with one another) that we can apply to our relationships as sisters-in-Christ and when we are serving the Lord together.

So another retreat is over...and now I'm asking the Lord to help me apply the things I learned. This week during my devotions, I am going back over the notes I took and re-reading the scriptures. I am finding even more "nuggets" of truth found in God's Word.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path."
Psalm 119:105
Have a blessed Tuesday! : )

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Off Again...

I am off to attend the Women's Retreat with the ladies of our church. We are going to Ironwood Christian Camp and the speaker is Jan Christiansen. I have no idea who she is, but I am excited to hear her speak. : )

Have a wonderfully blessed weekend!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Biology and Homeschooling...

Fiddleboy is doing biology this year and one of the experiments is to study the reproduction of organisms. He had to gather cultures from a water source, so My Fireman took him to a nature preserve near our home to gather the specimens. We like to take pictures of fun stuff like this, because at the end of Fiddleboy's high school years, I will present him with a scrapbook/yearbook (I did the same for Little Mama).

Anyway...after they got home, I remembered the pictures we had of Little Mama when she did the same experiment six years ago. (The curriculum we use is "Exploring God's Creation With Biology" by Apologia Science). I just knew I had to post those pictures for y'all to see. : ) Little Mama is going to *love* me for this, I know. But hey, what are moms for right?! LOL


Little Mama~ September 2000

Fiddleboy~ October 2006

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2000

2006

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2000


2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Remembering Tim...

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
Psalm 116:15



Spc. Timothy D. Watkins


Killed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on Oct. 15, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near their M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during combat operations.

One year ago today, the Lord called Tim to his heavenly home. He was only 24 years old. Today as we remember him, we remember a young man who loved the Lord, his family and his country. The Lord definitely used Tim while he was in Iraq (and at other duty stations). There have been numerous testimonies since his death of Tim sharing the Lord with others and inviting them to church services.

We knew Tim because he was our pastor's son. Our pastor (Rob Watkins~Calvary Baptist Church) and his family have been an tremendous testimony of God's sufficient grace during this past year. While there are no easy answers as to why this happened, the Watkins family has dealt with their grief by keeping their eyes on the Lord and trusting Him. They have continued to serve the Lord in the ministry here at Calvary, as well as ministering to others who have lost loved ones.

If you are interested in reading more about Tim, there is a wonderful tribute here.

Please remember to pray for our those serving in our armed forces and their families.

Vacation Pictures~Part 3

More pictures from Alabama...


The Little Man and his Great-Aunt Pat (my mom's sister).

The Little Man trying out some new foods. He also got his first tooth while on our trip...and started crawling! : )
My mom's front yard. It's hard to see in this picture, but there is a creek and a bridge to the left. Alabama is so beautiful!

As you probably know by now, we are a family that loves traditions. Well...here is another one! Little Mama and Fiddleboy always go for a bike ride when they visit Grammie. This one almost didn't happen, but Little Mama would not allow it. : )


My mom is so tiny! Here is Fiddleboy picking her up. She's smiling, but she actually hates when he does this. : )


Four generations...Great-Grammie, Grammie (me), Little Mama and Little Man.

Vacation Pictures~Part 2

We made the drive from Tennessee to Alabama and my mom saw her great-grandbaby for the first time.



Great-Grammie and her Little Man. : )



Pickin' and singin' at the Evans home. What a fun night!!

Fiddleboy competing in the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddler's Convention fiddle contest. Little Mama's Marine is accompanying him. He played "Fire On The Mountian". We were all so proud of him and thankful the Lord gave him the courage to get up on the stage and compete.

I had to take a picture of the crowd at Fiddler's. There were so many people!! The contest is held at Athens State University, which was once a women's college and was used as a hospital during the Civil War.


Little Mama and the Little Man...taking a rest during Fiddler's.