"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

December 30, 2007

We had company in shifts

Our family left on Friday and three hours later, our friends from TX arrived to spend a fun weekend with us.

Then on Sunday our friends from TX left and three hours later our relatives came back to spend one more night.

It was funny how it all worked out that way.

We got a kick out of our 'hotel' with the revolving door and the three hour break in between guests. : )

Now, everyone has officially left.... Even the dog we were watching for the 10 days has just left.

And I am officially wiped out.

But oh, was it fun!!!!!!!

It was one memorable Christmas week and we loved it all.

December 28, 2007


We have just said good bye to our family this morning as they are headed to another part of the state to see some of their relatives. They will be back on Sunday night to stay one more night.

The kids and I have done a little cleaning and remade the beds for the next round of company (friends from TX) that will arrive in an hour!

We had a blast with our family.
Here is my hubby leading us in Christmas carols on Christmas morning.

The guys of the family called it "an air soft gun Christmas."
We set up a war zone in the backyard and they played capture the flag but it was capture the shoe

and it included lots of shooting. ~That's about all I know since my sister-in-law and I stayed in the house. But the dads were out there, high up in the tree house as referees. I bet they can't remember the last time they sat in a tree house together. ; )

We also played lots of family football . Even Joy got in there and played and had a touch down or two. You go, Girly! ; ) There was lots of video gaming and eating and more eating...

We took lots of video footage of the fun since cousin Philip and Nathan are both the owners of Flip Videos now. (boy, are those things fun!)

My dad said that he and my mom sent me something that I have always wanted and that I would be the first in the family to own.
That had me stumped since my kiddos have all the fun gadgets WAY before I even know what they are. (the Flip being one of those for sure)

Anyway, what they sent me was this:

It's a Mexican taco shop for a Christmas village

and it lights up!

Isn't it too funny?! I absolutely LOVE it!!!!

I have a THING for Mexican food and this is the absolute perfect gift for me! It makes me laugh and think of growing up in San Diego and eating at all my favorite little taco shops. We used to say that the ones that looked the worst always had the best food. So, the dumpier looking the better. I'm going to keep it in the kitchen all year round and smile at it. And try not to think of the roll tacos I'm missing by living in Fl. ha ha

Guess what? Good news for my gang! The Wii* is in! And when I told them we were going to pick it up, one of them thought I said "wheat." ; ) Too funny!


December 27, 2007

We actually did it again!

Amazingly enough, we actually left a good man behind again!!!
Oh. My. Goodness.
There must be something about having our two families getting together and going for pizza that makes for a crazy combination. ; )
And if you are one of our kiddos and you enter a restroom at about that time, then you are likely to be left behind!!! Ahhhh!

We all headed out the door of our house and got into two minivans and didn't realize one of the cousins wasn't with us until we were at the restaurant and it was time to order!!!
It's a really good thing that we are WAY past the toddler years. ha ha

So, we've been faithfully counting heads ever since! : ) Goodness gracious.


December 23, 2007

Christmas fun has begun

This is the first time in ten years that we won't be spending our Christmas Eve with the V Family who is very near and dear to us.

Back when we were in youth ministry (and their girls were in our group) they 'adopted' us since our family members are all so far away.
Each year we join them and all their relatives for the best Peurto Rican food ever!
I still can't pronounce these yummy things we eat every year but they take two days to prepare! They are made with plantains and olives and they are so yummy!

The V Family understands what a big deal it is for us to be having family members who are flying out for Christmas. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law and their two boys arriving tonight!
We are glad their boys have changed their minds about "never coming to Florida again." ; )

It's going to be a big, loud, fun week around here.

I hope you are having a precious time remembering the One who gave us the best gift of all!

Merry Christmas!


December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We have all kinds of fun company coming this week....
~Family from CA and friends from TX.

So, I'm off to bake and clean and bake and clean some more...

Have a blessed holiday!


His Faithfulness

My 'driving verse' is:
"The angel of the Lord surrounds those who fear Him and he protects them."
And we saw that protection in a big way, this weekend....

We were all in the car and on our way to a graduation party when a truck hit us from behind because it was hit from behind by an SUV!
We didn't suffer any injuries but let me tell you, it was quite a moment when my hubby and I realized that two of our kids, in the back row, were 20 inches from the impact....
And when that dawned on me and I had to turn around in my seat and I didn't know what I would see.... Well, it was just totally frightening!

But they were fine! Glory to God!
We've all had some headaches and backaches, but that is it.
We are so thankful that we were not injured or at fault. Praise the Lord. And, although our van doesn't look so great, it still runs perfectly and that is a big blessing during this busy season.

December 17, 2007

Christmas tour of homes

Welcome to our home!
Before we added on to our house, we didn't really have a good spot for our tree but now it has a spot in the alcove with a window. One of the decorations we have out every year is a nativity set was my hubby's grandmother's. (and thankfully, baby Jesus survived our decorating day) I love this set more than any set I've ever seen because of how Mary has her arms raised worshipping her Lord which is something I love to do too. (and thank goodness for superglue or she wouldn't still be doing that) : ) These mugs are not part of the decor ... but it seems like they are to my family, who has had to look at them for so long.
They were only fifty cents a piece (even the large latte ones) at Wal*Mart. Woohoo!!! I'm filling them up with goodies for our Royal Rangers and Missionettes leaders who are such a blessing to our kiddos every Wednesday night.

Here is a recipe that is a family tradition and perfect for putting into mugs like this or tins. I've given this as gifts many times. Warning! -They are so good, you may not want to share them at all. : ) You will love them because the cooking process alone, will make your house smell heavenly.

Spiced Walnuts

Combine: 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. of All Spice or Mace.

Add: 3 T. of water and let stand for 10 minutes. Then heat to a rolling boil. Add three cups of walnut halves and remove from heat. Stir to coat the nuts and then separate them on wax paper. Easy and oh, so YUMMY!

The kids and I had a great time making these cute reindeer cookies last night for our JBQ Christmas party. They are sugar cookies cut out with bell cookie cutters and turned upside down!

Next year we hope to have Gingerbread Mansions complete with explosive demo to show you, if I can keep my hands off the Raid. ; )

Thanks for stopping by!
Merry Christmas and God bless!


December 13, 2007


Once a year, I drive out to this farm store and buy a bucket of wheat.
I just love to grind my own flour and make breads and pancakes etc...

Speaking of which, there must be some motherly endorphins released when pulling homemade bread out of the oven. It makes you feel like a nominee for mother of the year or something . I really think I should go and make some right now in fact, because I am not feeling even close to a nominee today. ; )

Anyway, this store isn't open on Saturdays and so for the past 6 or so years, I've had to bring the whole gang with me for this long drive and our kiddos aren't ever too happy about it. Just mentioning it makes them groan.

But not on Tuesday...

When I told them that we were going to go and buy wheat,

nobody groaned and

nobody even spoke.

They just stared at me.

~Right here I have to mention that what they have asked for
for Christmas is a Wii...

Bless their dear hearts, very single one of them thought I'd said

"Let's go buy a Wii!" : )

December 11, 2007

Happy birthday

Happy 13th Birthday to Nathan, who makes our lives so much fun! : )


December 7, 2007

A December blessing! part 2

We had the BEST time!!!

We decided to give MGM*Studios a try this time
since we are Star*Wars geeks and Narnia freaks!
We were able to see all the attractions and go on all the rides we wanted to with very little waiting. (20 min. max -amazing!) All the shows we saw were excellent!
The Osbourne Christmas Lights Spectacular is totally spectacular. (5 million Christmas lights)
The kids loved the falling snow. (bubbles) It was great fun to stand around in the street looking up at the buildings and singing Christmas songs with strangers. I wish they all knew the peace that comes from the display over in the corner...
We were glad that Jesus is still welcome at D*sney. yahoo!

Here is our birthday guy! My wonderful hubby is 41 today!

We celebrated his special day at the Sci*Fi Cafe with milkshakes. (oh, were they ever yummy!) The cafe was a drive-in theater and we all sat in '55 Chevy's with the dash board as the table. They played clips of old sci fi movies which were goofy. Like Attack of the 56 Foot Woman. And Attack of the Killer Gila Monster or something like that...pretty corny!
My hubby and I went and had 'some church' when we saw the Harlem*Gospel Choir sing. Woohoo! We did this while "Uncle Carlos" took the kiddos on Tower*of*Terror over and over again, which our stomachs weren't up for after those milkshakes. ; )

Even though we'd saved up for the pricey meals this day would require, my hubby decided at the last minute that it just wasn't a good use of money. (couldn't argue with that) If we hadn't done the birthday milkshake celebration, then we would have gotten out of there for $11.00, which is the price of parking.

Here's how we did Disney 'econo-style'

-Of course it helps to live in the same state because then you don't need a hotel room...

We brought our lunch (yummy Cuban sandwiches which he made us) and ate it in the car. Which doesn't sound too fun but it was just fine. We were out of the park and at our car in only 10 minutes! (even with the tram ride) Then we ate and headed back in for the next show. It was WAY easier than we thought it would be. (and we saved at least $100.00 since there are 7 of us) We also brought into the park our bottled waters, nuts and protein bars for snacks. At dinnertime we munched on our snacks and realized that we would have missed an awesome show if we would've gone to dinner. The park didn't stay open late on a week night, so it closed at 8:00. After that we headed over to the first set of golden arches we found in Orlando and had something off the dollar menu for our dinner. : )

Going 'ecno-style' was a fun challenge that proved to be worthwhile. We were glad we splurged on the crazy birthday memory though.

Our MANY thanks to the A Family who made all these fun memories possible! : )


December 5, 2007

A December blessing!

Last year, some sweet friends of ours from church blessed us with free tickets to D*sney for Christmas!

We were overwhelmed and thrilled!!!

It was our kiddos first time. We went on the day after Christmas and we made so many fun memories.

Well, that dear family has blessed us again........ with more tickets!!!

And so, we are off to make more memories.... On my hubby's birthday! (and we are bringing Carlos, our favorite bachelor and my hubby's best friend because it wouldn't be his birthday without him!)


December 4, 2007

December decorating

My hubby calls me the Christmas Queen.
Sometimes that is a compliment for all that I do to make this season special...
At other times, we both know it is code word for 'Christmas decoration control freak.' Does anybody else rearrange the ornaments your kids put up when they are in bed? I know, I'm weird.

After our photo shoot the other day, we had a little decorating party after school.

Unfortunately, it wasn't too cozy a moment to tuck into our memories. Which is really a bummer because I won a free c.d. and agreed to post about a family event we did while listening to it. ; )

Somehow some candy canes were packed away with the ornaments that had been stored in the attic last year. This meant that when I opened that box, I found a roach fest in progress, which caused me to do a lot of shrieking and squealing.
And that led to much teasing from one of my boys who thought I was way too wimpy.
Then I had one kiddo zooming the antique baby Jesus from my husband's grandmother around the room and another one tossing glass balls we received at our wedding ....
Maybe it was the eggnog? (ha ha)
So, the Christmas Queen (the side of me that is the decoration control freak) had a few things to say...

But before all that happened, we were happily listening to this:

And it was beautiful. All of the kids commented on the music. I especially liked "Christmas Angels."

We are really big Michael W. Smith fans. Nathan and my hubby were in the audience when "Above All" was recorded live at a church in the area. It is a fond memory of theirs and they love to talk about it whenever they hear the song.

~Next year, I think the Christmas Queen is going to hide the antiques and let the kids do all the decorating! -Without me even rearranging them. Imagine that?!
I think they will be really suprised and happy. : )

And we will definitely be playing more of this great c.d. throughout the season!


December 2, 2007

Olive plants and eggnog

I wanted a new festive picture for my sidebar so it took a little eggnog bribery to get the 'olive plants around our table' in Christmas colored shirts.

They are cute, aren't they? And speaking of eggnog, we are eggnog connoisseurs. ; )

We gave Promised*Land Eggnog a try because Nathan heard about it in his Sunday school class and I couldn't pass up one that had Isaiah 9:6 on it!

It was mighty edifying and tasty. : )

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulder and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

~Becky -who would love to hear which brand is your favorite...