Monday, December 28, 2009

From Busyness To Quietness....

For many of us, sadly, the spirit of Christmas is "hurry". And yet, eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now perhaps that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks, but of centuries - nearly twenty of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre - Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.
- Burton Hills

Oh what a busy month this has been...and here...the year of 2009 is winding to a close! I can hardly believe it! Can you? I have taken loads of pictures but don't have the time or the *capacity* on my blog to fit them all.

We all had a wonderful Christmas season. Our Christmas Eve service at church was beautiful and made me cry. (I can get quite emotional at times...). We had enjoyable gatherings with family and friends and enjoyed wonderful meals! :) The pics above and directly below this are the kids all dressed up for Christmas Eve service. :) My mom found them the cutest outfits!

The littles were full of excitement on Christmas morning....we opened presents together as the five of us...then got ready for my parents and my sister and Cory to all come out so we can have brunch together at our home.

I made French Bread Casserole (a tradition a few years running in our family. I made it once...and everyone was hooked!), my mom brought Breakfast Casserole and my sister brought the juice! :) It was all very yummy and we enjoyed being with each other that day as well as opening gifts! Madelyn and Xavier got dressed but Jaxson wanted to stay in his pajamas a while...and that was fine with me. :)

The kids were blessed with many things from all our loved ones...but one of the things I loved the most were the pajamas my sister sewed/made for each of my children!

Madelyn in her new nightgown....

And the boys in their new pjs *Jaxson's is Curious George...and X's is Kermit the Frog*......

Didn't she do a wonderful job? Oh how I wish I could sew more and with confidence. I get so frustrated by it and give it too quickly. Devon (my sister) bought me a gift card for JoAnn Fabrics and we went there together and picked out some fabric and things to make some skirts for me. I will go to her house one of these days and we will work on it together. :) I look forward to it!

The kids received Playdoh for Christmas and lots of it. They had a lot of fun playing with it on Christmas day! :) We had playdoh everywhere it seemed!

Now that all the busyness and hub-bub are finally passed....I have been working at cleaning. My house is always a disaster after Christmas. I can't quite figure out what goes wrong exactly...but it's like, all of a sudden, crazy mess everywhere! ;) So today I have been busy undecorating the tree and putting things away...doing laundry and dishes and just getting everything picked up. I look forward to this some candles and enjoy the quietness of the evening while the kids play quietly and Chris and I read or talk....and then read with the kids and then to tuck them into their cozy beds as they drift off to sleep! :)

Unfortunately, things around the house won't clean themselves the longer I sit here typing...the longer my brain keeps telling me to *go clean*! :o) So quickly, I would like to share the recipe of the delicious dish I have pictured above. I saw the recipe in the Duggar book: 20 and Counting....but I didn't read the whole thing. I just saw the ingredients and just started throwing it together! So I am not sure...theirs may be different a bit....but here's what I did:

In a 9x13 baking dish I layered 10 icecream sandwiches along the bottom. (12 come in a box...but I could only get 10 to fit in the dish.) Then I put about 8 oz of Cool Whip on top and spread it around. On top of that, I scattered crushed up Butterfinger bars. Then I put on another layer of 10 icecream sandwiches and another layer of Cool Whip. To finish it...I drizzled on caramel sauce and chocolate sauce and also scattered some more Butterfinger on top as well!

It is absolutely a treat! It is probably the complete opposite of "healthy eating" but my-oh-my it tasted fabulous! YUM!

I hope you all had a really enjoyable Christmas season! Thank you so much for stopping by ~ now off I go to continue cleaning this house that for some reason just refuses to clean itself! ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Jesus loves the little children.....

...all the children of the woooorld!"

The other evening, after supper was cleaned up and kids were in their pajamas....they brought our their guitar to play us some *tunes*! :) They sang to us and it was a really enjoyable time! I am so thankful for the warmth of our cozy home as the inches of snow lay just outside...I praise God for his provisions for us! <3

Although you can't tell in this picture....Madelyn is clapping along as Xavier *plays* and sings....

And although my daughter is wearing a hat really isn't *that* cold in our house! ;)

Earlier that evening, as I was making supper....Jaxson runs in with a stool and starts peeling potatoes.

He did a good job!

And my Christopher...relaxing after a long day at work...listening to our children sing and looking through a flyer! (He is one of the least materialistic people I know...but he really *enjoys* looking at sales flyers! ha!) mom, kids and I picked up my sister (who lives about an hour away from us) and all drove a couple hours to meet with some of my mom's side of the family for lunch. We went to the Country Cupboard. We ate...visited and also did some shopping in their shops!

I was quite excited to find the book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting, there and bought it! I am already 80 or so pages into it and am really enjoying it! (I know it is the Christmas season...and I shouldn't have bought for it's a bit embarrassing to share that with you all!)

I found an "Outdoorsmen Devotional" for Chris. I couldn't wait till Christmas so I gave it to him last night! ;) He seems to really enjoy it...but we'll see as he does more of the devotions in it daily!

Also....Just wanted to share that I am going to begin trying to knit my first-ever pair of socks!!! I'm nervous and excited!!! I figured if I can knit a baby sweater...then surely I can do socks...right? It's just that there are 5 needles for knitting it *seems* as though it will be quite frustrating....but I am going to give it a whirl and see!!! I will be sure to keep you updated! :)

I may not have time to post between now and Christmas. So I just want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas!!! I hope you have a wonderful time with friends and family ~ celebrating our Savior's birth!!! Warm and joyous wishes are sent from my home to yours!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Christmas began in the heart of God.....

...It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man."

Tis the season for My posts are not as frequent at this time as time has not permitted me to do so. Oh how we have kept busy lately....I am happy that deer season is over and we are now resuming to suppers at home, together as a family. During the deer season, as Chris' family's meat market is abuzz with hunters wanting their deer prepared to can and freeze, we all stay super busy. Chris and the guys help cut the deer and Chris's mom and I wrap all the meat! We are soo thankful for the work...but wow~it's exhausting! I posted HERE about it and pictures as well!

While we are busy there...the kids play, "help" and are always on the go! Their energy is amazing! I miss having that much energy! ;) I love the way Xavier's hat pushes his ears can kind of see it in the picture above. It always makes me smile! :)

Jaxson, my lil monkey, in the pic above wearing his "Satan is a poo-poo head" Tshirt that he loves! ;)
And sweet Madelyn...blossoming and really turning from little girl into a young lady. It's so bittersweet watching your children grow and change over the years. It all goes by so quickly!

So...when we weren't busy at the meat may wonder what has kept us busy?

Well...laundry and housework happened daily...

...and of course, schooling...reading....dancing and laughing......

Church activities.....

Christmas shopping.....

Watching a movie while friends and family visit! One evening, Chris's parents and our friend, Eric, came to visit and have supper with us. We had good conversation and fellowship!

Enjoying the soft glow of candles lit in the house while Christmas music plays in the background while doing our schooling and housework....

...and burning cookies......*oops!*

Packing things up to donate to Goodwill.....

And many, many other things that fill our days. As easy as it can be to rush through our days with things...I am consciously trying to remember to savor each moment through the day as much as I I explained HERE.

Before I go...I wanted to share my tree again....notice what happened?

....the strand of lights at the top of my tree burnt out! With Christmas only a week away...and the complete frustration it will be to undecorate, replace the strand of lights, and redecorate...I may just leave it that way. Is that horrible of me? Have you had this happen? What did you do....or what would you do?

I wish you each a very Merry Christmas. I pray that first and foremost in your minds is the perfect Reason for this celebration. He came for us!

There is no name so sweet on earth,
no name so sweet in heaven,
The name, before His wondrous birth,
to Christ the Savior given.
--George W. Bethune

Let's approach Christmas with an expectant hush,
rather than a last-minute rush.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For The Family's Sake.....

*I am reading a book called "For The Family's Sake ~ The Value of Home In Everyone's Life" By Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. I am over half way through it and am completely enjoying it! :)

*So many people today don't truly understand the value of home. Healthy relationships and good starts on our journey of life all should start at home. As a mother, it is my goal to make my home a place of comfort and peace...of happiness and love.

*Of course, my home has lots of busyness and things are abuzz most of the time....however, I want my children to always have the memories of this home being their haven full of love, wonderful days and rest. My children are energetic and always going. I don't presume to think they will ever be children who sit perfectly still, hands in their laps at all times. There would be no fun in that. They will be the people God made them to be...although that doesn't mean they will be without discipline. I want to create an atmosphere of enjoyment of activities and family.
We all enjoy a peaceful time in the afternoon of rest. The boys look at books, Madelyn reads and I read or knit and then by one, each of us drifts off for a little nap, a time of refreshment and quiet....together. :)

*I thrive on routine and Mrs. Macaulay addresses that in this book. She also writes about Charlotte Mason and Amy Carmichael and their influence on her thoughts and actions. I haven't studied much about the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling...but I have heard many people use it. I am quite interested, now, in reading up on it and seeing how it may be applied to our home educating methods! :)

***A snippet from the editorial review found at the link to amazon above:

With a desire to help you nurture your family's heart, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay presents a clear blueprint for constructing a home that survives the variety of situations that you face in modern life. With Jesus Christ as the foundation, using tools such as common sense, realism, and traditions, you can build a secure, loving environment where every member of your family can flourish.
This is not a paid review or anything of the sort...this is just a book I am reading that I wanted to share with my friends. It is a great book and I completely recommend it to each of you if you have the same desires for your home as I do. :) If you have read this book...I would love to hear what you thought of it. I look forward to reading every last word of it and soaking in the ideas laid out in it!

Also....I just wanted to thank you all for your kind words about the post about the accident I was in when I was 16. Each comment was warm, kind and thoughtful. I appreciated each one. :) Thank you!

I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend. We've all been busy cutting and wrapping deer meat at the meat market as well as schooling and housework here at home. **By the way~we are almost halfway through our school year!**

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you each stay warm, if you are dealing with this cold weather like we are here in PA, and also stay safe. We have had a lot of ice dangerous and scary. Enjoy your week!!! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

12 Years Ago Today....I Almost Died.

I was 16. I thought I was invincible. We do that, don't we? We think things happen to *other* people. December 9th, boyfriend at the time and I had just been at a friend's was night time. I actually think it may have been a school night so it wasn't late or anything...but since it gets dark out was dark by this time. Probably 9 or 10pm...the last thing I remember is pulling out of her driveway.

It's a long story to explain it all....but we were hit (it was the other driver's fault). I was *not* wearing a seatbelt (remember that whole "invincible" idea I had??....yeah..not so much, I found out the hard way!) I shattered my left elbow and also hit my head on the windshield. It knocked my out and I went into shock...and also had to be taken out of the car using the Jaws of Life...because I was pinned in by the dash. I am actually thankful I was unconscious for all this part...because it sounds horrible!!! My boyfriend at the time, was not seriously injured...thankfully!

My parents and sister were at home putting lights on the Christmas tree and they heard something go over the scanner. Knowing my boyfriend would be driving that way to bring me home...they called my friend and asked her to drive out and see what happened since it was only a couple miles from her home. (This was before everyone had a cell phone). She drove to the scene...saw it was us and went home and called and told my parents. I don't know other details about everything my parents were thinking or feeling as they drove to the scene...but I *do* know that my dad saw them put me in the ambulance and saw me moving around and was relieved and thought I was fine. But one of the EMT's told him I was just *in shock*. They rushed me to the local hospital...where I am told friends of mine gathered to pray for me....and then wanted to life-flight me to Presby Hospital in Pittsburgh....but because of weather issues...they ended up driving me down by ambulance (a 2 hr+ drive).

To make an extremely long story short...I was in the hospital for 2 weeks...I think....and in a coma for 1 week of that time. I shattered my left elbow which they repaired with a new surgery at the time (pictures of my elbow are even in a book about this procedure now since it was new and experimental!) and I have full function of my elbow (thanks to months of physical therapy....not fun! But I thank God *for* that valuable let me pick up and hold my children and wrap my arms around Chris and my kids in a warm embrace....I am so grateful for sooo much!). Also while in the hospital, my left lung collapsed and that had to be fixed.

Fortunately for me, I had no permanent brain damage. I *did* have memory trouble for quite a few years and to this *not* a fan of being in a large, loud and chaotic scene. (Although who truly would enjoy that anyway? hehe)

There is so so so much more to this story...but I have gone on long enough. What I basically wanted to express was the severity of the accident I was in and also how truly grateful to our Father...our Creator....our greatest Love and Friend. I struggled with depression and stuff for years afterwards. There were times I just felt like I didn't care about anything. My mom said she would look in my eyes and it was like *I* wasn't there. I am just sooo thankful that God brought me through this and ended up blessing me with an absolutely wonderful husband and children.

I am thankful for friends and family who prayed for me...even years after the accident when most people had forgotten about it. I am thankful for the doctors who saved my life *and* my arm. I just have an absolute abundance to be thankful for....and could go on and on and on. The list of things that could have happened is infinite. I could be paralyzed or have brain damage. It is *only* by the grace of God that I don't.

Although He saved me in a very noticeable way....He in fact has saved each one of us. He offers His perfect love to each one of us...He sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our horrible sins. It saves us from eternal death. But just *knowing* that is different than *accepting* that gift. When you accept that gift...your life will reflect the light of Jesus' love. I pray you know Him as I know Him. I will continue to seek Him *all* the days of my life. He is my greatest Love. I am so very far from perfect....but *do* live to please Him and He knows my He knows yours. What does He see when He looks there? Let Him see love....because He loves you! ;)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
~Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for sharing in this day with me. I can't believe it was 12 years ago! It was the day God saved my life. It was the day He told me He loves me.....I just didn't realize it for many, many years. I haven't always lived my life for Him.....but I *do* now...and I wish I had all of my life. But I can't go backwards...I can only move forward in this journey of life and I intend to follow the path that God lights for me. :) I hope *you* are on that path too...and if you aren' me (link on left sidebar). Let's talk. Let's pray. :)

Peace and joy to you, my friends. Thank you for stopping by. Stay warm in this blustery cold winter that is upon us! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not for the faint at heart.......

Oh such a busy weekend we have's deer season so that keeps us all so so busy!
Here is a pic of the guys cutting...*that's my hubby cutting behind the hanging deer*....looking at the meat doesn't bother me...but it *does* bother some people...thus the reason for the title of this post! ;)

Even my littles like to help! Here is a pic of X below....(don't worry...he isn't *really* cutting on the deer....he's just trying to *be* like all the guys)..... mother in law and I wrapped deer meat for over 7 hours. Oh goodness....standing on those cement floors is a killer on your knees and legs and back! We got alot done that is GREAT! We will be doing more this week. :) It's a lot of work...but it's worth it to help my family and helps earn a little extra money! :)

Yesterday was sooo nice though. Since all the busy-ness of the deer season started...Chris and I haven't had a ton of time together. He would work everyday and then go straight to the meat market and cut till late at night. Even if I am at the meat market with him...we don't *truly* have time together. So....yesterday (Sunday)...we went to sunday school and church and then came home and after lunch...we put the kids down for naps and Chris and I took a nap as well. It was so nice just to be next to him!

After naps...I worked on making supper (stuffed pork chops in cream of mushroom soup, mashed potatoes and corn) and also worked on matching socks. Oh how I loathe matching socks. There are so many bazillions of socks in my home that don't have matches...and gosh it is difficult to match different types of socks. Most are white...some have gray toes and heels, some have completely gray bottoms, some have a green line across the toe etc.!!! Does anyone else have this sock issue at their house? I need to buy everyone in this house ALL the same type of socks and throw away all the rest...LOL...that way every sock will match! ;)

While I matched socks...Chris played an I Spy board game with the kids. (Jaxson got it for his birthday). The kids (and Chris) were having a ball! ;) As I sat (still matching socks) I kept giggling as I heard the bell ding and one of the kids cheering that they found another thing! Needless to say Chris *wasn't* the one winning! ;)

Well...I better go....lots to I am sure you do as well!
Thanks for visiting!
I hope you are having a wonderful start to your December! :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Little Monkey's Special Day!

If you happened to read my post yesterday you would probably remember that yesterday was Jaxson's 4th birthday! :) Above is the monkey cake I made for him. Not the best cake I have ever made...but Jaxson liked it and that is what is important! :)

Birthday hugs for Jaxson from his sister and brother! :)

We had his birthday party at my inlaws' meat market. It is deer season and many of the men of our family are busy processing deer at the meat market. It is a busy, busy time of the year! So that the guys could still be part of the party...we had it down at the meat market and Jaxson was quite happy with that! :)

My mom made broccoli cheese soup and brought rolls for us all to eat for supper. My father in law also made some venison for everyone to enjoy. So everyone ate and visited....and then it was time for *cake*! :)
We sang (which my sister, unbeknownst to me, was videoing....and I was right beside her! Ack! I can not carry a embarrassing!)...and then Jaxson blew out his candles! :)

Then it was Jaxson's favorite! :)

Notice his true excitement at the Mr. Potato Head Tshirt that his Aunt and Uncle got him.....

hehehehehehe.....isn't his face just toooo funny in that photo above??? It cracks me up!!!

He got lots of other fun things as well....but one thing was this suet feeder that my parents got him...isn't that a great idea? Then we can hang it outside and watch the birds! :)

I think my baby had a wonderful 4th was such a nice time and we are just so so thankful for his life.

My baby went from this......*I am trying not to cry*......

To 4 very short years! I have enjoyed his life and look forward to watching him grow and change more over the years all while trying to love each moment as it happens...good & bad! :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and visit with me! I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead!!! :)