Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Start of a New Year's End Tradition?

Alice's The Shadow of the Cross featured
Kelli over at There's No Place Like Home who is hosting some New Year's fun.
Post the first sentence of your first blog post of each month. You can also add a favorite picture from each month.
I copied/pasted my whole headings complete with hyperlinks >faster but not quite following the rules (blush). :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, why not?
Friday, May 2, 2008

Not Quite Murphy
We've had an interesting morning.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hail and High Water
Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fiendish Fireflies, Batman!
Well, actually they are whiteflies and they are killing my kale!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blue Spots
When Rachel & I painted my blue wall in the dining room just a few days before painting the foyer (right before Christmas - maybe you noticed?), Rachel decided that she wanted to paint her room also.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Springing into Fall
Here's those pictures I promised.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Connections to Knowing
Didja ever notice how you are known by what you do & who you are related to?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Partying with the Big Boys
Here's the invitation:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Caleb's First BSA Campout
Here's my fine young man in his new uniform - thanks to Cindy for sewing on the patches in the right places!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Engagement Story

because you know there just has to be one.

First a note:

I find it interesting that I've gotten more comments on becoming a MIL (mother-in-law) rather than my being MOG (mother-of the -groom), perhaps because one will be a new position for me while the other I've been, well, all his life, although the groom part will be new when that occasion eventually occurs.

There have been many questions which I will attempt to answer.

1. Yes, we've been having a wonderful visit with Stan's folks. They get to stay until Thursday a.m.
>>>> A cool factoid that I'm not sure even the newly-engaged realized: The proposal occurred on M & D Crawford's
58th wedding anniversary.

2. I was holding the camera. Andrew was taking out the trash. Normal conversation was ongoing as no one (else!) knew what was happening. My MIL picked up on it & provided the applause. :-)
3. Yes. The question was "Was it spontaneous or planned?"

4. I'm not privy to those recent discussions but my understanding is that they will wait until his braces are off & they can afford to support themselves. My vote is for a Bachelor's degree for him first. He is also considering the Air Force.
What happened:
Maryn brought her camera to the house wanting some Christmas photos of the 2 lovebirds. What she did not realize was that Jacob had been agonizing over how to properly propose in a way that was unstructured (surprising but not embarrassing her) yet memorable (perfect!) and had determined that doing the deed during a photo shoot just might work. Arrangements had been made with the Mama (ME!) to capture the moment so it could be enjoyed by all - but WHEN to do it? Maryn's desire for pictures provided the perfect opportunity.
Photo one: no ring on that finger yet and she's not been crying.
For what happened next see the Dec. 23 blog.

Once Maryn settled down some, we took more photos. Jacob teased her about keeping that ring visible. He asked her, "Have you been practicing that?"

Rachel had to get in on the action too so here's Jacob with two of his favorite girls.

See the ring?

I told you that he'd looked & looked for the perfect ring: not too big so she can wear it while she paints, white gold or platinum (have you priced that stuff? eek.) with diamond(s) that didn't stick up too high.
Oh, and uh, something he could afford.
He was concerned that she wouldn't like it because it is so small but I reminded him that he could have gotten her a big one with CZs - this one is real. See it perfectly positioned? :-)

Here's the close-up as Erin requested:
"We need some close ups of her ring. =) There are girl cousins who need to see it! I can't believe he is old enough to get married. sniff...sniff..."


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm getting a daughter-in-law for Christmas?

No! But they did get engaged tonight!

Yes, she boohooed.

Yes, they both were grinning all over the place.

They admired the ring.
Jacob sought the perfect one. When he saw this one, he knew it was what she had described so bought it, THEN was SO unsure if she would like it or not.
She said it was perfect!

They relished the moment.

Santa, Do you know the real meaning of Christmas?

I now have no, count'em: ZERO, children in the children's program at church.
No one in AWANA, Children's Church nor children's choir plus I am not teaching in any of those areas (although the arms of the library do encircle all the church ministries...) so WHY am I devoting a whole blog to our latest children's Christmas musical?
Two reasons.
1. Maryn drew & led the paint crusade creating the backdrops.
2. I really liked it!
The backdrops were constructed on thin sheets of Styrofoam. Panels had to be pieced to make them as long as desired and were painted on both sides to provide a scene change.

"God's Gift for Santa" written by Gene Hodges (our pastor's wife's dad) begins with school kids excited to be out of school, looking forward to gifts and the school program that night then distressed to discover that the guy enlisted to portray Santa is too sick to come SO one of the girls asks her father if he will be their Santa. His answer after a fun choir/dad duet? "Maybe!"
We learn that even the dad, who "doesn't believe like you do", understands that there is more to Christmas than just getting stuff.
During the scene change, the preschool choir sang several songs with hand motions. Don't 'cha just love the angel costumes? So CUTE!
The panels were hanging from wires which enabled them to be turned without falling over & squashing those little angels. That would'a been a sight, huh? My Andrew is back there doing some of that panel pivoting.
This scene is at the Christmas party where the dad shows up as Santa. His "daughter" tells him what she really wants for Christmas while singing "Santa, Do you know the real meaning of Christmas?"
As you can see, on the far left is the nativity scene. Those kids carried in a real, live, not to mention CUTE & well behaved baby. Wowzer! Great gospel message shown: Santa at the manger.
I thought the kids & their leaders did a great job. Oh, & Gary (Santa) too.
And Maryn with her painting posse, of course.

Do YOU know the real meaning of Christmas? Here it is in one verse: For God so loved the world (that's us) that He gave (1st Christmas present) His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whosoever (us again!) believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life (starting NOW!). John 3:16
He is the Greatest Gift ever given! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Out of the Pot & Into the Frying Pan - at Church

The couples Bible Study class (aka Sunday School) I attend decided that for the class Christmas party we'd have a fish fry. Several of the guys were thrilled to go "fishing for the Lord" complete with "fellowshipping with fellow fishermen saints" while "recognizing God's handiwork in His creation". It sounded like they had a great time.
Just as women congregate in the kitchen, when guys cook, it is a group project.
That white building is called the Potter's House & is located behind the church sanctuary. Remodeling as needed, it has been very useful over the years. At some point, it has housed every class except perhaps Senior adults. Currently, our young couples class meets there Sundays & MOPS every other Tuesday. Then there's all the special events such as our party.

Our class is co-led. Lewis Miller, above, in a plumb shirt & wearing a cap, is one of the teachers.
Wearing a blue jacket & standing by the window is the other half of the tag team, Randy Jones.

Several of the class ladies arrived early to decorate and arrange the food.

The party was for the whole family. That is much easier to say than to do. After the proverbial dust settled, Stan & Jacob were at work and Caleb & Rachel were in Orlando at a theme park so Andrew & I served as representatives. More than once I was asked, "where is the rest of your family?"
See Andrew? He's the tall handsome one on the left.

On the menu: fish (of course!), fries, cheese grits, baked beans, slaw - are you hungry yet?

The desert table was in the back. Yummy! Leave some room!

The tables filled up. Another had to be set up to accommodate all the attendees.
I fixed myself a plate then tucked in. Hot, fried fish. Ooooweeee. It'll make you pat your feet.
Good Christian food & fellowship?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Those pictures I promised

This was not made at Thanksgiving but at Mom's previous visit. I thought you'd like to see her holding Caleb's tarantula, Terry.

Rachel said, "Grandma's braver than I am!"

The boys said, "Grandma's a BEAST."
And, yes, that is a compliment. :-)

Yes, I did & I have photos to prove it. Check my current Facebook ID photo if you don't believe me.

No, that's not my mom - it's me - but Mom took the photo stating, "You usually take the pictures so don't get many with you in them." I thought that I actually looked reasonably slim in this photo so decided to share it with you.

I pulled out the Christmas decorations (make that, I asked Stan to do it so he grabbed the kids & THEY brought in the boxes, bins and the huge plastic trash can which holds most of the tree) after recovering a bit from our (Mom & I) venture to Wallyworld's Black Friday experience. I knew Mom didn't usually decorate at home so wanted her to have the opportunity. Discovered she doesn't decorate because she REALLY doesn't like to, so I stopped & didn't finish until after she headed home.
One of the other things she doesn't do at home is pluck tangerines from a tree in her yard so I let her grab a couple of mine even though they were not quite ripe enough. Hopefully they were sweet for her.

On the third photo, Mom FINALLY really smiled, looking like she was actually enjoying getting jostled around by her favorite Florida grandkids squeezed up in front of the Christmas tree assembled & decorated entirely (at this point) by Stan, Caleb & Rachel (good job you guys!). Yes, that is an armadillo.
But you may notice that Rachel decided to sleep for this shot so I included another in which she is awake.
She may want to thank me for inserting THIS one instead of the one in which she has crossed her eyes . On purpose.

Yes, she definitely is MY daughter. :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quick Funny

We had a great visit with my mom for Thanksgiving. Pictures will be coming but FIRST I wanted to share this car conversation with you:

*We had just driven past a sign "Avon sold here" with an arrow pointing to a roadside box containing books.

Mom: Do you know any Avon Ladies?

Me: I know a couple now. When we first moved here it seemed like everyone sold Mary Kay.

Mom: I once met an Avon Lady named Mary Kay.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Recipe Fun Friday: Smokey Mountain Cinnamon Rolls

This cinnamon roll recipe is made with your favorite quick bread recipe so you don't have to wait HOURS for the yeast to rise.

Just in case you don't have a favorite, here is mine:

4 C flour (I use one of whole wheat & 3 all purpose)
1 t salt
2 T baking powder
2/3 C oil
1 1/3 C milk

Combine dry ingredients. Make a hole in the middle & add wet. Stir circles from the center to the outside until you have a nice ball of dough.

*Note: this is a doubled recipe, so can easily be halved. :-)
**Note #2: If you don't want to use some whole wheat flour, you can use self-rising & leave out the salt & baking powder.
Begin by preheating your oven. I have dark pans so set mine just below 400 degrees.
Thank you, Rachel, for all the photos! These goodies were actually made by request in September on Caleb's birthday for him to share with his Sunday School class.
Stan's the teacher so seconded the motion. :-)

The recipe above is enough for me to make 3 cinnamon rolls. Divide the large doughball into 3 balls then pat out your dough.

Flip so both sides are floured.

I always use self-rising flour on my board. > I have a large cutting board with a "B" marked on one side so only breads & cookies are worked on that side.

Make sure both sides are well floured then roll it into a large rectangle, adding flour as needed. Here in FL, I have a time with my dough being sticky on very humid days!

This is a good size.

Spread Butter Flavored Crisco or room temp. marjarine nearly to the edges. Be careful because the dough can be tender, ripping easily. I think this depends on the humidity too!

Sprinkle Spread Spoon Shake sugar on the top. I remember watching my dad's mother make this as well as my dad. Dad sure piled on the sugar.

And the cinnamon, then mixed them together. I just make sure they go to the edges of the Crisco. Mom made 'em too but skimped on the innerds. I split the difference.
>My idea: I also like spreading brown sugar and finely chopped pecans or pecan meal for a filling instead of the white sugar/cinnamon. It tastes a lot like pecan pie. Yummy.

This is the place where people look at me funny when I try to describe how to make these rolls. Cousin Tony calls it the deer in the headlights look.
Roll up half the dough towards the middle

then roll the other side so they meet in the middle.

Fold the corners in.

Then fold the point over to close the end.

Then, of course, you do the other side!

Carefully move the rolls to your baking sheets - I have never greased mine - then cut slits about an inch or more apart.

Then, because you KNOW these are not BAD enough for us yet, dot the top with butter.

Then slip them into the oven.

Bake those puppies for approximately 20 minutes. Ummm, they smell so good they bring neighborhood kids from miles around - or get my kids out of bed, which is a comparable feat.

Move to a rack and let them cool long enough for the melted, gooey sugar mixture to start to solidify - just a few minutes, maybe five.

Cut sorta along the slits - mine are never exactly straight but it's never stopped folks from eating them so don't worry about it.

Check out my cool knife - a gift from my Auntie Elaine purchased during an Alaskan Cruise. You can find more ulu info here.

Here they are, ready to be devoured by Caleb's Sunday School Class. I guess they liked them. There were no leftovers.

It's a good thing that I bake 3 then send 2.

If you want to participate in Recipe Fun Friday, it's quite simple. Just head type out or post a link to a new recipe that you've tried this week and then head over to Nikki's blog to link up! Thanks again, Dayna!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Here's one for Alice

Not the truck, the church photo made outside San Antonio, TX
on our way back from Guadalupe River State Park in 2006.

Hope you like the topper, Alice!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Guadalupe River State Park

May 30, 2006

See that tiny group of people on the edge of the river below the massive cliffs? That's us! Well, technically not "us" because I'm the one taking the picture - but you know what I mean.

Examining their surroundings are Rachel (pink), Andrew (orange), Jacob (green) & Caleb (dark green).

The river is spread out and very shallow here. Sorta like standing in front of a fire, to get wet all over in this water you must do the rotisserie: roll over & over. At this level, you'd have to work to drown.

Jacob likes this photo. Can you guess why?
And, um, Andrew does not. Same reason. :-)

We went hiking at the park - original concept, that.
I thought this was an interesting looking tree (I'm sure Alice appreciates that!). You can see how it was damaged by the last flood plus there is still some debris approx. 8 ft up the tree.

Caleb & Andrew on the trail. I'm sure they found lizards to catch but not a horny toad. Stan's the only one of us to have ever seen a wild one & that was when he was a youngin'.

Stan & Rachel on the trail. Not far from here we came to a park nature facility which had hundreds if not thousands of granddaddy long-legs contentedly doing push-ups in hairy-looking mounds on the building's eves over our heads until boys with sticks stirred-up their party so they scattered, bouncing in all directions overhead. I had some great video that perished when the kids computer crashed. Sorry!

The kids found the old campsite "just around the corner" from this playground. How did they remember? They retraced their steps to how they got to the playground 9 years earlier. Top priority for 8 & 6 year old boys: getting to the swings & slide.

Our FL friends had trouble believing that our park photos were made in TX so I had to include a cactus shot.

And one with Mexican Hats.

That's the name of the flowers, not my daughter nor any of her apparel, although her hat does say "TEXAS".

We hiked to the top of cliffs then started making our way down. The going got rougher & rougher until Rachel & I decided to go back the way we had come. We were later quite glad because the guys managed to find some poison ivy and everyone but Jacob (not allergic the bum. Imagine!) itched all the drive home to FL.

While she & I followed the breadcrumbs back to the river, the guys used their brute strength to climb down the rocky, vegetation laden cliffs then floated down the river to the shallow area where we waited.

Thus ends the tale of the park and the trail over the rocks and the trees and the plants that make me sneeze, down the cliffs to the river, so cold it made me shiver, back up the hill to the van so we can go home again and remember with fond thoughts the trip that brought red dots.

Yeah, I'll keep my day job. :-)