Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Decorations and Ornaments . . . .

Well I have gone back and forth on doing this post or not. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Christmas decorations/ornaments and any stories that may go along with them. I decided to go ahead and do it, that way I would be able to go back years from now and have pictures and stories to look at.
The first thing that I will share is my nativity set. If I remember correctly, I got this when Tyler was a baby.

A few weeks ago, Kaelyn was looking at the ornaments on our tree and found the one that I got when Tyler had his first Christmas. She continued to look and then ask me, "Mom, where is my babies first Christmas ornament?" I had to tell her that I didn't get one for her because that was a time in our life that we couldn't financially afford to get one, some weeks we didn't know how we were even going to be able to afford diapers let alone a babies first Christmas ornament. So that night I went on line to see if I could find one from the year she was born, no luck. Then a few days later I was doing some shopping with my sister and found a place in the mall that had ornaments that you could personalize. To my delight, there was the perfect ornament for Kaelyn, so I purchased it and had her name put on it and also the year she was born. When the lady that was working there asked me the year I wanted put on there she had to laugh and say that so far that had been the furthest year she had to go back for any ornament. Here are the ornaments for both Tyler and Kaelyn's first Christmas.

Tyler's ornament

Kaelyn's ornament

Most everything else that I have sitting up on the counters and entertainment center and then hanging on our Christmas tree is snowmen. I just love my snowmen.

Chuck gave me this cute candle set for
Christmas in 2007.

Another gift from my husband.
I got this one last Christmas.
And this one too.

I got this one about 4 years ago. It is hard to
see in this picture, but the bottom is filled with
little white things to make it look like snow.

My mother-in-law gave this to me about seven
or eight years ago.

My mom gave this one to me a few days ago.

I got this one from the Hallmark
Store a few weeks ago.

While this one is not a snowman, I still
consider this one of my favorites. It is a
Boyd's Bear ornament.

Thanks for stopping by to see some of my favorite Christmas decorations.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mary Did You Know . . . ?

Today has been a very productive day for me. I have a clean house and clean laundry. But that is not what this post is going to be about. As I have gone about cleaning and keeping the washing machine and dryer going, I have had a song stuck in my head. Do you ever have that happen? Where you keep singing the song (or at least a few lines) over and over. This wasn't just any old song. It was a song that really got me to thinking on the lyrics. I'm sure that we have all heard it and possibly have it mean the same thing to us. I know you are wondering what it is, so I won't keep you in suspense any longer. The song is Mary Did You Know?

Mary did you know that your baby boy
would someday walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy
would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered
will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy
will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy
will calm a storm in His hand?
Did you know that your baby boy
has walked where angels trod?
When you've kissed your little baby
then you've kissed the face of God.
Mary, did you know....?
Mary, did you know....?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear
the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
the praises of the Lamb.
Mary did you know that your baby boy
is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
was heaven's perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great "I AM".

You know I have to wonder what was going through Mary's head when she had this precious child and as she took care of him during his infant and toddler years. What were her thoughts, I wonder if God gave her a sense of peace while raising Jesus or if she worried about him the way we do our own children.

Last year I came across this by Max Lucado
Twenty-Five Questions For Mary
What was it like watching him pray?
How did he respond when he saw other kids giggling during the service at the synagogue?
When he saw a rainbow, did he ever mention a flood?
Did you ever feel awkward teaching him he created the world?
When he saw a lamb being led to the slaughter, did he act differently?
Did you ever see him with a distant look on his face as if he were listening to someone you couldn't hear?
How did he act at funerals?
Did the thought ever occur to you that the God to whom you were praying was asleep under your own roof?
Did you ever try to count the stars with him . . . and succeed?
Did he ever come home with a black eye?
How did he act when he got his first haircut?
Did he have any friends by the name of Judas?
Did he do well in school?
Did you ever scold him?
Did he ever have to ask a question about Scripture?
What do you think he thought when he saw a prostitute offering to the highest bidder the body he made?
Did he ever get angry when someone was dishonest with him?
Did you ever catch him pensively looking at the flesh on his own arm while holding a clod of dirt?
Did he ever wake up afraid?
Who was his best friend?
When someone referred to Satan, how did he act?
Did you ever accidentally call him Father?
What did he and his cousin John talk about as kids?
Did his other brothers and sisters understand what was happening?
Did you ever think, That's God eating my soup?

Twenty Five Questions for Mary were taken from the book God Came Near.

I know this was a rather long post, but it was something that was on my heart today and I needed to share it. As we celebrate this Christmas season, lets not forget the true reason for celebrating.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An All Nighter....

Friday night was the annual lock in with the youth of our Church. This is an event that I do look forward to each year (no I'm not crazy, I love our youth and like to hang out with them) and am honored that I get to be a part of it. This year we started our lock in with a progressive dinner, our first stop was at Alan and Maria's for a salad.

Some of the guys fixing their salads.

Our next stop was Mr. Paul and Mrs. Judy's house for our main meal, lasagna. Mrs. Judy is such a sweet lady, she wasn't feeling the best in the world, she could hardly talk, but still wanted to have the youth over to their place for dinner. Mrs. Judy is a true prayer warrior and I just love her dearly.

The gang with Mr. Paul and Mrs. Judy

We then left their house and headed to a little ice cream shop for dessert. What I am about to write sounds unsanitary, wait a minute, more like is unsanitary. We ordered what they call the "pig trough" this is a big bowl that looks like a pig and they put 24 flavors of ice cream in it with all kinds of toppings and everyone eats out of the same dish. I know what you are thinking, GROSS, yes I thought the same thing, but only for a moment, I then offered up a silent prayer that none of the partakers of this ice cream treat would get sick and I dug right on in with them. Wasn't bad at all, and so far no one from my family is sick.

Getting ready to dig into the "pig trough"

Enjoying the ice cream.

Next we were off to Ms. Laura's house for a quick game of Bunco! Let me just say that it got pretty loud in there, for most of the gang, this was their first time to play and they got the hang of it pretty quick. There were prizes given away, and everyone wanted to win. And no I did not win a prize.

Playing Bunco

Then it was off to the "big city" to play laser tag and do some serious bowling.I don't have any pictures of us bowling, I left the camera in the car. We bowled until almost 2:00a.m. then we went back to the Church and had a ping pong tournament.

Then at 5:00 we had our breakfast crew come in and cook us breakfast, consisting of pancakes, sausage and bacon. Our breakfast crew was Mrs. Betty and then three of our college students Amanda, James, and Kody. They did a great job and made the sacrifice of getting up early on a Saturday morning to come and cook breakfast. Thank you.

Mrs. Betty, James and Amanda


After breakfast it was time to start cleaning up and getting everything put back in its place. When this was done it was time to head home for some much needed sleep. I was leaving the Church at 6:00 a.m., had just spent 12 fun filled hours with some of my favorite people, but I was in need of some sleep. I finally laid my head on my pillow at 6:45 and slept until almost 5:00 that afternoon, 10 hours of wonderful sleep.

I have to say that this was by far one of the best lock ins we have had. While all of our youth couldn't make it, family plans and such, those that were there had a great time and were so much fun to be around. Will I do it again next year, probably so.

A special thank you to Mrs. Robbin for getting everything planned out for us.  8o)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm A Winner!

I recently entered a giveaway hosted by The Design Girl. So I was looking at her blog earlier to see what she was giving away for the 10th day of Christmas (go here to see what she is giving away now), and just below the giveaway was a list of some of the past giveaway winners. I was so excited to see my name for the $25 certificate to Polka Dot Plum. I can't wait to purchase some of the digital scrap booking kits. I have never tried to do any of the digital scrap booking and I am looking forward to trying my hand at something new. I will try and post some of the pages that I put together and let you know what I think of digital scrap booking.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Merry Little Christmas Giveaway

Are any of you into the digital scrap booking? Well if you are, you are going to love the giveaway that is going on over at The Design Girl Blog. She is giving away a $25 certificate to Polka Dot Plum. I looked at the kits that PDP has for sale, and let me just tell you that there are some pretty kits over there. The Design Girl has one that I absolutely love it is A Very Girly Christmas. Here is a little sneak peak so that you will want to go visit there right away.

You have until December 15 to enter this giveaway!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mama's Holiday Wish List Giveaway

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year? Clothes, Perfume, Scrap booking Supplies, Craft Supplies and a clean house ; )

2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received? Christmas Ornaments that my kids have made for me.

3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle? I would love to make a quilt.

4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child? I had alot of "best" gifts, can't really say which one was the best.

5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year? For my son anything Lego's or Star Wars related. For my daughter a digital camera.

6. What is your favorite holiday food? My mom's sweet potato casserole and my sisters pumpkin roll.

7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays? I have something in mind, just can't say. Wouldn't want the recipients to be reading about what they are getting.

8. What is your favorite holiday movie? Elf

9. Favorite holiday song? Hark the Herald Angels Sing

10. Favorite holiday pastime? My husband and I take our kids to a drive thru  Live Nativity every year that a local Church puts on.

Dec. 14, 2009- I didn't win. : (

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Notebook

So in my last post I mentioned my Christmas notebook, and as I said, I am going to tell you about it right here.

This is my Christmas Notebook

Hopefully this will help me keep up with everything I have going on during the Christmas season. Here is how I use it:

In the very front of the notebook I have a pencil holder that zips to hold all my receipts for gifts that I have purchased. No more lost receipts. : )

Receipt holder

Then after that I have seven tab dividers. Each one with its own title. The first one is labeled calendar, this helps to keep up with your schedule, (parties, dinners, appointments, or even shopping trips).
The next one is family gifts. Behind this tab I have a sheet of paper for each family member I am buying for. I always seem to forget what I have purchased for members of my family. So as I make the purchases, I can write it down on their page. It also works well with writing down what I plan to purchase or make for each person on my list.
The third tab is labeled other gifts. This is great for my children's teachers and non family members that I want to get a gift for.
The next one would be Christmas cards. Here I have listed who I am going to send a card to and also jot down who we received  a card from.
The fifth tab is labeled decorating ideas. From putting magazine pictures and articles to other blogs that I read. If I can't decorate like that this year, then I will have ideas for future Christmases.
The next one would be for holiday food. This section is great for Christmas dinner planning and also for any parties you will need to take food to.
Finally the last one is for Thank You notes. Here you can keep track of who you need to send a personal thank you note to.

I would love to say that I came up with this idea on my own, but it is not so. I have to give credit to Karen Ehman  for this great organizational guide. To find out more about setting up your Christmas Notebook or just to see where I got the idea be sure to check out her site. Thanks Karen for a great idea.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turkey, pies, and shopping.

Okay, so I think I have almost recovered from all the Thanksgiving festivities. We spent Thanksgiving day at Chuck's mom and dads house. Had some really good food  (have you ever tasted a pumpkin cheesecake? My mother-in-law had one at her house and let me just say it was superb) and visited with Chuck's parents, his brother's family and his aunt and uncle.

Kaelyn at Grandma's house


My nephew Aidan

My nephew Sean

About a week ago I had this conversation with Kaelyn:
Kaelyn: Mom, are you going shopping on "Black Friday"? (This came after seeing a commercial on TV)
Me: I hadn't planned on going.
Kaelyn: Have you ever been shopping on black Friday?
Me: Yes, but it has been years ago.
Kaelyn: Oh, what's it like shopping on black Friday?
Me: Very crowded, you have to get up early to get to the stores to get a good deal.
Kaelyn: Could we go?
Me: WHAT??
Kaelyn: Could we go? Will you take me shopping on black Friday?
Me: Do you really want to do that? You know you will have to get up really early to be there when the stores open.
Kaelyn: (With a big smile on her face) YES!!!!!

So it was decided that we would go shopping on "Black Friday". On Thanksgiving morning my sweet husband went to the store to get us a newspaper so that Kaelyn and I could look over the sales sheets and have a game plan. When we got back to our house Thanksgiving night, Kaelyn and I had another conversation that went something like this:

Kaelyn: What time are we leaving in the morning?
Me: (Wanting her to have some input in this shopping trip) Well the stores open at 4:00 a.m., what do you think?
Kaelyn: I think we should get up at 2:00 get ready and leave the house at 3:00 and be at the store at 4:00.
Me: Are you sure you want to do this?
Kaelyn: Yes Mom. So are we going to leave at 3:00 in the morning.
Me: Sure, why not.

So we I was up at 2:00, got Kaelyn up at 2:30 finished getting ready, got my sales sheets and Christmas notebook (will explain in a future post) and my money (cash only for us, once it's gone it's gone, no credit cards in this family) and we were out the door at 3:00. Right on schedule. Kaelyn talked for the entire drive to the store, which only took us 45 minutes. We were in the parking lot of Kohl's at 3:45, there was already a line of people outside the door. We bundled up in our jackets and stood out in the cold waiting for the 4:00 opening of the store. Oh my gosh, what was I thinking of, agreeing to take my 10 year old daughter out so early in the morning on the busiest shopping day of the year. When the doors opened, everyone started walking into the store, then it happened. Kaelyn saw a woman grab her daughter by the arm and say over here, this door isn't as crowded and slung her daughter in the door. Kaelyn couldn't believe her eyes, she asked me if I saw it and I told her no, I was to busy watching another woman take off running like a wild woman into the store. She was the only one running, everyone else around me was walking. So we got into the store and found the items that were on our list, we checked out and were in the car heading to another store at 4:12. By 4:21 we were over at the mall hitting the stores that opened there at 4:00. We left the mall at 5:45 and went to the Cracker Barrel to eat some breakfast, arrived there just before they opened at 6:00. After breakfast we shopped for a little while longer then we were heading home at 10:00. Kaelyn was so tired, she went to sleep when we got home and slept until 4:30 p.m. (I took a little nap too, didn't sleep as long as she did though) and then she was back in the bed at about 9:00.

Will I go shopping again on the day after Thanksgiving? Yes, I loved having that experience with my daughter. She said she would do it again to.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


When you hear the word Thanksgiving, what is the first thing you think of? Could it be eating a feast with your family and friends, or maybe it is along the lines of there aren't many weeks left until Christmas, I have to look at those sales sheets today and make my plan on which store to go to first in the wee hours tomorrow. So many of us could tell a different story of what we think of when we hear thanksgiving. I'll have to admit that the above statements are ones that I do think of when thinking about thanksgiving. However, there is something that I don't want to forget when it comes to this holiday. It is truly about giving thanks. Who do we give thanks to, ultimately it should be first and foremost to our heavenly Father. He has given us so much to be thankful for, whether you have much or nothing at all (materially), there are things to be thankful for. I encourage you to take the time to write down the things you are thankful for, and you will see that the list will be of great length. Don't get me wrong here, it's not about the length of the thankful list, it's about seeing what all you are thankful for. Go ahead and try it, you will be surprised.

I was reminded of God's gratefulness to us this morning while reading in the book of Psalm. Let me share with one of the passages that I read.

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing,
Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has 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 to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting.
And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalm 100:1-5

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rebuilding in New Orleans

On November 2, 2009, we headed out to Louisiana to partner with Operation Noah Rebuild to help get homes repaired and or rebuilt after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We had four different teams that went to different homes and each team had a different task for the week. The home we went to had already had some work done on it from teams that had been there prior to us arriving. Our team put hardy board siding on the house, no I did not hang hardy board, but I did learn how to use a caulking gun and was able to caulk the areas of the outside of the house before painting could begin.

There were a couple of times that Chuck and I were able to leave the work site and walk through the neighborhood that we were in and talk to the people that were sitting out on their porches. These people are hurting, not only from the losses that they incurred during hurricane Katrina, but also spiritually. After listening to these folks tell us there story, you realized that they just want someone to listen to them. Before we left the homes we asked if the would let us pray for them, they said yes. So before leaving we were able to pray with them. You know just to see the looks on their faces after we prayed, they seemed surprised that someone would pray for them. We were able to "plant seeds" there and hopefully one day those seeds can be harvested. 

Chuck taking his turn at the saw.

Our team, Chuck, myself, Todd, Mrs. Judy (homeowner), David and Jamie.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hot Chocolate.....

Do you feel what I feel? Yes it is cold outside today, and I'm loving it. I am sitting here with a cup of hot chocolate looking outside and thanking God for the cool weather He has blessed us with today. Earlier in the week I went and bought the ingredients that I would need to make a batch of homemade hot chocolate mix. Let me just say that this is some good stuff. My friend Kathy first introduced me to this homemade mix last year and I am so thankful that she shared her recipe with me. I have enjoyed it so, that I have decided to share it with you.

Hot Chocolate Mix

2 lbs. Nestle's Quick
1 lb. Coffee Mate
8 qt. box Carnation Dry Milk
1 T salt
1 lb. confectioners sugar

Mix in large container. Stir 1/4 c. chocolate mix into 1 coffee cup of boiling water.

This recipe makes a really big batch of mix. You will want to make sure that you have a large enough container to store it in, or several containers if you don't have a large one. This also makes a great gift in a jar for someone.

Now for the best part, add whip cream to the top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

As I sit here this morning thinking about all the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, I feel a sense of  sadness and thankfulness all in one. Sadness for those who sacrificed their lives for this country and the people in it, and for the families they left behind. Thankfulness for all our past, present and future soliders, sailors, airmen etc.

I'm sure that we can all say that we know at least one person who has served our country through the military. Whether it be in our immediate or extended family, a friend, co-worker or even our church family.  I encourage you to join in with me for a moment of silence today as we remember each member or former member of our armed forces. Please lift up these men and women and their families in your prayers, and be sure to thank them when you talk to them.

One person in my family who served in the armed forces was my dad, John Clark. He was in the Navy and  served during the Vietnam War on the USS Stribling. Thank you dad for serving our country, I love you.

My dad, John Clark

The USS Stribling. This is the ship that my dad was on.

I have several other family members and people from our church that have served our country. While I do not have pictures or know exactly what branch of the military all of them were in or where they served, I do know there names and have listed them below.

Chad Vann- my cousin. Served in the Air Force-retired this year after 20 years of service.
Joseph Blitch - my uncle
Jan Blitch- my cousin Navy
Stuart Vaughn - married to my cousin Kimberly
Dan Vaughn - family friend
Rosie Powers - friend served in the Marines
Ricky Lord- friend served and gave his life in the Marines. August 20, 1979 - August 18, 2004

So remember to keep our men and women who are currently serving in your prayers and thank God for the ones who have already served.

Monday, November 2, 2009

On the Road Again

We were up early this morning, 3:00a.m. to be exact. Then out of the house a little after 4:00a.m. and at the Church at 4:30a.m. We loaded up vans and said a prayer then we were officially on the road at 5:00a.m. Our destination you ask, New Orleans, LA. Our mission, to be a part of Operation Noah Rebuild which is through the North American Mission Board to help rebuild homes that were lost during hurricane Katrina, and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people we come in contact with while here.

When my husband first started talking about this mission trip back during the summer I so wanted to come with them and be a part of what they were going to be doing. Then it was decided the dates that the folks from our Church along with a few others from a sister Church would be coming out to do the work that they were called to do. The problem is my kids had school for that week and I still had my sisters boys to keep and knew that I would not be able to make this trip with them. So lets go back a few weeks to Kaelyn's birthday party, somehow we got on the topic of the mission trip and I was asked by my mom and sister if I was going. I told them no, they asked why and I explained why. They both told me right then and there that if I wanted to go they would work things out with keeping my kids and making sure Crystal's boys were taken care of too. I then explained that it was to late to turn in my name and money because the due date for this had come and gone. Well the next day is Sunday and we are at Church, during the offering hymn, Chuck leans over and says to me, someone backed out of going on the mission trip so there is a spot available if you want to go. Imagine my surprise and willingness to go. Of course mom agreed to keep Tyler and Kaelyn for me while I am gone. My Aunt Betty is also helping take care of them and is house sitting for us while we are gone. All I can say is that it was meant for me to be here this week in New Orleans and that I have a wonderful family.

I will do a post about the trip along with pictures when I return home. Right now I am on a very sweet ladies computer here where we are staying at. She is one of the cooks with Disaster Relief program. She told me whenever I needed to use a computer that I was more than welcome to use hers. I don't want to take advantage of it, so this will be my last post until I return home on Saturday. Please keep our Mission Team in your prayers this week, there are 17 of us total.

Isaiah 6:8

Friday, October 30, 2009

Family Game Night

A few years ago we used to do "family game nights". Then as our kids got a little bit older and had homework, different activities we just seemed to not have the game nights as often. Then we just didn't have any game nights for several months. Well I am happy to say that we have started playing games again at our house. Yesterday I bought a new card game, Pictureka! So we had a game night last night.

We enjoyed playing this game, and the great thing about it is you don't have to play the same game over and over. There are 4 different games that you can play with this card game.

Some of the other games that our family has enjoyed playing over the years are:

This is one of my all time favorites.

When my sister comes over and
and we play a game, this is the
one we usually play.

Can you believe that I got this
Yahtzee Free for All game last
Christmas at Target for just $8.00.

YES, I am smarter than a 5th grader.
There are some pretty tough questions
in this game.

A family favorite.

You know, game night is a good way to spend time with the family without breaking the bank. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that spending money to do something fun with your family is wrong or bad, but sometimes it is nice to just stay home and play games. However it is that you choose to spend time with your family, enjoy it.