Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Banners

Friends. I don't have too many close friends, as I once so naively believed, but the ones I do have are amazing! I'm so thankful for these Godly women and the time they invest in our friendships! We had so much fun today crafting and playing games.

The gals sewed felt Valentine banners
Rochelle & Megs made a great team
Holly got creative with fabric & felt
Anne's was LONG and had amazing details!
Molly was last to arrive and first one done!
My tiny birdie banner
The guys played Runebound
The girls were creative with their own games
And Elam was a joy!
Bexar also loved being included.
I felt so very blessed to share this day with them!

I'm delighted to join Ann Voskamp and many others in giving thanks to the Giver of all things.
{1} every breath
{2} furry friends that always love
{3} a reminder of what love really is
{4} the holy Scriptures: our daily mana
{5} encouraging friends
{6} professors willing to teach "outside the box"
{7} ability to sweat
{8} the telephone: a connection to those loved, only separated by distance
{9} fiery sunsets midst gray, drizzly winters
{10} crafting time with girl friends
{11} coffee & gab session with Tammie
{12} the twang on the other end of the line, the voice of my sweet Liessa
{13} wounded hearts opening in trust
{14} bubbly tubbies
{15} Nicole, our sweet and diligent foster care licensor
{16} Little girl giggles
{17} Craft & game day with friends

Linking to 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

God's provision to HeartCry Missionary Society

God's Extraordinary Provision for HeartCry - Paul Washer from HeartCry Missionary Society on Vimeo.

What an encouraging testimony of God's provision for His saints. His love and faithfulness are everlasting. To Him be glory, honor and praise! My faith is strengthened and I hope yours is too.

If you have a minute, please explore HeartCry Missionary Society. Paul is an excellent preacher and God has used him to renew my mind and correct, guide, and encourage me in my walk. His sermons are great for listening to while folding laundry, washing dishes, painting, or any other household chore.

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." Philippians 4: 19-20

Monday, January 24, 2011

Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp will impact the way you approach life and how you live every moment.

See my side bar for a link to the book on Amazon.

{I'll write a full review when I'm done with the book.}

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 Family Theme

The Year of the DO

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." James 1:22-24, Holy Bible

Inspired by Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience to choose a theme for our family for 2011, Mountain Man and I agreed on "The Year of the Do." We talk so much about goals, but we're tired of talking. We just want to do it - to live it, to act it, to become it. Isn't that what true belief is? Beth Moore says, belief is a present active participle, and she's right. It's time to put our beliefs into action; we've been glancing in the mirror for far too long!

This application is two-fold for us. We want to do everything for His glory- not for our boasting. This includes goals in several areas of our lives including Scripture memorization, fellowship, hospitality, giving to others, physical fitness, education, and adoption/foster care. We're excited to see what God has in store for us in 2011.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Apple Sauce

Winter Banana apples
I was SO excited when Holly called and asked if I was the one that wanted to make apple sauce with her the next time she made it. Of course it was me - and any canned items (i.e. jams, jellies, preserves). Her family has a farm in the Tri-Cities area of Washington and last time they went they picked a bunch of winter banana apples. The winter banana apples aren't so great for munching on raw, but perfect for making homemade apple sauce!

This was my first experience with making homemade apple sauce, and Holly was an excellent teacher!
Here was our recipe:

1. Pick apples (Go to the effort to find an orchard near you - you won't regret it.)
2. Wash apples. (We were blessed to have a great quality control manager!)
Quality Control
Aren't they beauties?
 3. Fill up a huge pot with canning jars and water and heat until jars are sterilized. 

4. Halve each apple, and slice each half into quarters. (There's no need to be a perfectionist about this, but believe me, I tried!

5. Add about 1/2" - 1" of water and cook on medium heat.
They picked A LOT of apples!
6. Once they cook down, pour into food mill and crank away. This removes all of the skin, seeds, stems, etc and only allows the delicious sauce to escape.

Holly demonstrating how the food mill works

Making apple sauce
7. Add some vanilla, cinnamon & butter and grab a spoon!

Seriously, it was delicious.
Quality control said so!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Living Sacrifice

My expectations of my own performance in all things are high. Expectations vary because we're all different, but I've realized that my expectations in my pursuit of a higher education may not be realistic for me at this point in my life. Since I transferred into the University of Washington as a Junior at the beginning of January, I've had difficulty balancing my duties at home and my duty to school. I want to be the best I can be, and I want that to reflect in my grades. I'm enjoying studying because I'm finally interested in these topics! I love managerial economics! At the same time, my home life is suffering. My house is a disaster - dishes are piled up in the kitchen, a mountain of clothes lies in our bedroom, the toilet is disgusting, homemade meals are sporadic, Bexar needs exercise and Mountain Man needs some attention! Slowly, I'm figuring out a system that works for me, but none of those is the real problem.

The problem is my heart. I'm so focused on me and achieving good grades that I've shut everyone else out. I don't have time for anyone - not Bex, not Mountain Man, and not even God. Wow. That's difficult to type. The absence of my communication with God - reading, praying, clinging to His words, thanking Him - is evident in my selfish actions.

What woke me up? God, of course! Oh, His grace is truly amazing! How can He be so faithful when I am not? I don't deserve His love, His grace, His mercy, His redemption.

It's Him in me.

It's a slow, continual, necessary death. Mine. Dying to myself so that Christ may live in me. Death begets life. There are no words, Father, for my thankfulness.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is i your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Granite Hills Inn

Tuesday, December 21st, 11:30am
Phone rings
Mountain Man: "Why don't we look into going to Leavenworth and spending the night on Thursday."
I don't think I heard anything else.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2:38pm
My Email
"We are booked for a romantic stay at the lovely Granite Hills Inn in Leavenworth for this Thursday evening, December 23rd. We will be staying in the cozy Willow suite."

Thursday, December 23rd, about 5:30pm
Granite Hills Inn
Cozy welcome
Front door welcome
Coffee/Tea bar (with hot homemade cc cookies)
Festive living area
Kitchen (and Paula's salon through the far door)
The three bedrooms are upstairs and Bill & Paula, the owners and fabulous hosts, have a room over the garage.

That evening, we night-skied at Ski Hill and then headed to town for a lovely dinner at Pav's, highly recommended by Bill & Paula.

Coming straight from the trails, I felt a little under-dressed, but quickly forgot about it. Their recommendation did not disappoint! We shared Osso Buco and then had a delicious crepe dessert.

Banana, Hazelnut & Nutella crepe
We were so full, but I convinced MM to take a stroll around town with me. I love Leavenworth!

Sledders in downtown Leavenworth
Nutcracker shop
Pretzel shop
Toy shop
When we got back to Granite Hills, I wanted to get some photos of the B&B.

As I was photographing some ornaments, I heard a scratching noise. What was that?
Sumo playing with ribbon
It was SUMO, the cat! He was playing with the ribbon of a gift underneath the tree. He was so cute! So we meowed and he agreed to a photo shoot.

Once he was tired of that, he wrapped himself up in my purse. I think he was trying to crawl in so I could take him home!
Playing with Sumo
Then we played. I reached out and put my finger on top of his paw, then he put his paw over my hand...and said that I was his. Maybe we weren't playing, but pledging. I have a feeling Bexar may have something to say about this...and it starts with a W and ends with an OOF!

I retired to the bedroom and quickly heard the answer to my thoughts...Mountain Man was sawing some BIG logs! What's a girl to do? I ran a hot tubby in their extra-large tub, added some bath salts, and snuggled up to my iPhone!

After a cozy night in the Willow Suite, with the toasty fire, comfy mattress and with lots of pillows - just like I like it - we sauntered downstairs for breakfast. Who wouldn't get out of bed knowing that this was waiting for them?
Breakfast (It was better than it sounds, if that's possible!)
Breakfast was the bomb! (I was too busy eating to take any pictures!) Their homemade apricot, strawberry, black raspberry jellies and blackberry wine was the star of breakfast! We enjoyed chatting with Bill & Pauala and some other guests, originally from Israel, who were also headed out to do some Nordic skiing. It was a great start to a great day!

It was also the beginning of a memorial day for Bill and Paula, our incredible hosts. They were picking up their nephew, who was coming to live with them indefinitely. They were very excited and we were excited for them.
Bill & Paula, Hosts/Owners
Bill & Paula grew up in the Leavenworth area and Bill helped his parents run a B&B while he was growing up. They are both extremely knowledgable about the area and its history. Bill has a green thumb and  Paula has a salon (in the B&B). I was sad to not have the time to take advantage of her services (massage, mani, pedi)! They were wonderful hosts - personable and friendly, yet not intrusive. They answered all of our questions, and opened not only their home but their lives. Surprisingly enough, Bill & Paula had attended the introductory class at Antioch Adoptions (different location than we did) a while back. Isn't it a small world? They decided to take a different route, serving others with a bed and breakfast, and they indeed offer service with a smile! The love of Christ shines through them as they serve others with kindness and love. We had a wonderful stay at Granite Hills Inn and I would love to return one day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nordic Skiing

We had big plans for Thanksgiving - plans to freeze our booties off and go snow camping, as we did last year. Well, we wound up sleeping through the alarm, and Mountain Man didn't think we had time to drive out, backpack in to find a spot, and set up before dark. SO...we stayed home and did some projects around the house. We still wanted to get out in the snow, so he formed a plan and surprised me by suggesting we get up early to shop! I'm not really a shopper, and secretly, I thought he was nuts to want to get up early only to stand in long lines outside in the cold rain! However, I went along with the plan. We hit Starbucks, Home Depot, and then REI (the intended destination)! We waited in line for only 30 minutes at REI and wound up both getting $20 gift cards that they were handing out to the first 150 people. We bee-lined for the cross-country skis, hunted our bargain, snagged it, bagged it, and hauled it home! (This is how Mountain Man shops - as a hunter gathering his food!) Had we been Nordic skiing before? Did we know that we would enjoy it? No, no, no. But Mountain Man knew that we would.

We hit the snow that morning on our favorite forest road. We had no clue what we were doing, but we had fun!
Fischer Classic Nordic Skis
Mountain Man loving every minute!
Bex unsure of what to make of this!
Bexar ran beside us, barking and frolicking in the snow. His herding instincts kicked in and he tried to herd us, which always makes us giggle! What a fun new sport!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


We love to play games and recently we got a couple of new games. Be-Rhymed is a new favorite and the good news - I only payed $4 for it at Half Price Books! I highly recommend the game - they answers are all rhyming words (well mostly) and all of the clues are conveyed in three ways: speaking, acting, or drawing. We've really had fun with it!

Mindy's "Snail Mail"

Mindy & I are great teammates at this game. This is one game that we can actually win; maybe that's why we enjoy it so much! {Smiles}

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life on the Ranch (part 2)

Day 7 (12.8)

Photographed the ranch
I didn't feel great, so I relaxed in the trailer and watched a couple of movies.

Day 8 (12.9)
More relaxing.

My step sister and her kids showed up later in the afternoon. Mountain Man, Brannon & Noah walked down to the creek and played on the rope swing while I chatted with Kim & Tay. That evening, we went to the house in town where there were more beds, but before leaving, we were blessed by another beautiful sunset. I experienced a horrible evening of sickness that night; and retired to bed early (around 7:30).

Day 9 (12.10)
Me feeding a calf
Tay loving on Sassy
The calves become obsessed with licking our shoes
What's next?
If you won't come on your own, I'll make you.
Morrisons sans Dad Morrison
The Morrisons left that afternoon and we took the small trailer into the shop. Dad ended up staying in town with us and we watched a movie together.

Day 10 (12.11)
Homeward bound, but not before another bite of Juan-in-a-Million's delicious enchiladas and refried beans, which were just like I remembered them! We enjoyed our time with Dad, Kathymom, family & friends, but we were also glad to return home. The sun and warmer temperatures were wonderful and I can't spend enough time with my family and friends. I love them. Thank you to Codie, Jennifer & Brian, and Kim and the kids for taking the time to come hang out. I'm so sorry I missed Wendy (and the new little Elizabeth) and BA (and sweet Ivan). I hope to get together with them soon!

Home Sweet Home!