Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Living Life

Living Life ... that's what I've been doing, but I haven't been recording it as much as I would like. Maybe that will be a new year's resolution, to spend more time on my blog!

As I go through the days of my life, I tend to think I will remember everything important that happens, and that I might even remember the not so important things. Now as I sit here trying to sum up the year, I find that I have forgotten a LOT! That's why I need to make this blog a priority, so that I can remember the important, and not so important, things in my life!

Thinking back over 2010, there was, of course, good and bad. I lost two special cousins this year. They were both named Richard. The first Richard, Richard Johnson, passed away in March. Richard had been in a wheelchair for probably 25 years or more. I always saw him with a smile on his face and he didn't seem to let his paralysis defeat him! He did however contract an illness from a blood transfusion and that was what ultimately killed him. It was a very sad time, but I believe Richard is in heaven now and I look forward to seeing him walk and run some day!

The second Richard, Rick Reynolds, left us very unexpectantly this summer. I saw Rick in July at our family reunion. It had been several years since I had seen him, so I'm very thankful for that last opportunity. Rick was in a car accident in August and hit a tree. He was killed on impact. He was such a talented and fun-loving man. He is missed by so many!

One thing I remember about 2010, was that it was an extremely hot summer! Hotter than any I've experienced here in Virginia! It was so hot that most days we didn't even want to go to the pool because the water wasn't even cool enough to be refreshing! Now, here in December, it's so cold that we could probably ice skate on the pool if it had water in it! :)

I didn't lose the weight I wanted to lose in 2010...probably gained about 5 lbs instead. :( Hopefully 2011 will be a better year to get focused and lose weight. I did, however, walk/jog in a 5K in October! It was mostly walk, but I DID IT and I FINISHED! Beth walked it with me and I so appreciated her company!

In June we went to the annual homeschool conference. We went as a family this year and thoroughly enjoyed our time away. We stayed near Neal's sister, Janet, so we were able to spend time with her as well. It was a fun weekend!

We had a great trip to Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky in June/July. My brother, Darrell, celebrated his 50th birthday on June 25th. We were able to go celebrate with him, so that was a special treat! We also were able to spend time with my brother, Robert and his family, and my aunt Alberta. At the end of the trip we went through Kentucky to go to my family reunion. It was so nice to see aunts, uncles and cousins that I hadn't seen in a long time! After the reunion, we went about an hour and a half away to spend the night with my mom's sister. That was a sweet visit, too!

August brought our annual camping trip with friends. Although it rained, we still had a great time! We had great hopes of camping once more this year, but it did not happen.

In September, Neal's cousin Ruthie and her mom, Mary Beth came for a week. We had such a nice visit. We went on a couple of walks together, went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, went to the D-Day Memorial, and to Colonial Williamsburg. I loved spending time with Ruthie and Mary Beth...I wish they lived closer!

September also brought Myrtle Beach! Mom, Beth, Ben and I went to the beach for a few days. It rained every day, but we still had fun! Well, I take that back, it didn't rain on the day we left. :P We were blessed with a beautiful sunrise that morning and Ben and I took a quick morning walk on the beach before we had to leave. Ben and I also went for a walk on the beach at night. That was fun!

October brought the women's conference from church. It was a good time of relaxation and refreshment in the Word.

November brought a round of birthdays: Neal, Ben, Mom and Beth. Ben became a teenager! I can't believe both of my children are teenagers now. Beth turned 16! Wow! It's hard to believe that my kids are getting that old!

Now December is upon us and it's been busy, busy, busy! The kids had their Christmas cantata at church, we had a 90th birthday party for Neal's grandpa, Beth started working, Neal and I had a fun date night while the kids went to the youth Christmas party, and Mom and I went to Colonial Williamsburg for two days. Now to enjoy the rest of the month and celebrate in our Savior's birth!

God bless each of you as you celebrate Christ's birth this holiday season!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday for July 25, 2010

If you'd like to see our menu for this week, please check out my food blog: Teresa's Table.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday for July 19, 2010

I used to make menus weekly, but for about the past year I've failed to do so. I started back last week, and thought it would be fun to start blogging my menus. I love the blog "I'm an Organizing Junkie" and on Mondays, she hosts Menu Plan Monday.

Here is what we are planning on having this week:

Sunday (we had this yesterday): Ranch Turkey Bacon Wraps

Monday: Spaghetti Pie and sauteed summer squash with onions, mushrooms and garlic

Tuesday: Oriental Salad with Chicken

Wednesday: Taco Soup and Cornbread

Thursday: Baked Tilapia (I just use Grill Mates Salmon seasoning), Greek Salad and Cowboy Caviar

Friday: Homemade Pizza and salad

Saturday: Pork Ribs (cooked in crockpot and add barbecue sauce), sauteed squash and oven-baked red potatoes

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

We had a great time today with Neal celebrating Father's Day!

Beth made Neal scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, feta cheese, chives and dill. That's one of his favorite breakfasts. We went to church and afterward we went to Arby's for lunch. We had a buy one combo meal for Dad and get one free coupon. :) So we enjoyed roast beef sandwiches and then Jamocha Shakes for dessert.

After lunch, we went driving around a part of our town we'd never been before (well, Neal had been when he was a kid, but probably not for 30 years or more). We ended up going down a one lane gravel road. I was driving and those kind of roads always scare me a bit. I'm always afraid I'll meet someone and have to back up and then drive off the road. Crazy! We didn't meet anyone and saw some beautiful scenery!

Then we went to a car show that was in town at our old church. It was fun seeing the cars and also running into old friends. The car show was more fun than I anticipated. They did something called a burnout where they throw water on the pavement near the rear wheels and then the car stays in place for several seconds spinning its' wheels. Then it takes off really fast. Several of the cars blew smoke and were extremely loud. I know it may sound crazy, but it was so much fun watching those cars! The picture above is of a 2008 Corvette. Most of the cars were old (at least much older than 2008). My favorite car there was a beautiful red Studebaker. It ended up winning Best Car in Show.

After the car show we came home and rested a bit and then Beth and I made one of Neal's favorite meals: Spicy Curry Chicken and Cous Cous. Beth actually made most of it, I just helped by getting out spices. While she cooked, I made a blueberry sauce to put over the cheesecake (pie) I made this morning. The pie was so easy and so good. Here's the recipe:

2 packages of low fat cream cheese
1 8 oz container of lite cool whip
1/2 cup Splenda (or sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

Cream together the cream cheese, cool whip, and lemon juice until smooth, then add your sweetener and vanilla and mix well. Spoon into regular size graham cracker crust and refrigerate. I made a blueberry sauce to put over it...about 3 or 4 cups of frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup of honey, 1 Tbsp lemon juice and just enough water to make the sauce. Cook for a while until berries soften and let cool. It was really good!

I think Neal had a nice day and it was fun to wait on him for a change! :) He's such a wonderful husband to me and father to our children!

"Thank you, Lord, for bringing Neal into my life 20 years ago!"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Heather's Wedding

Saturday was Heather's wedding. Heather is the daughter of my best friend, Tammy and her husband, Peyton. She is a beautiful young lady that I have had the pleasure of watching grow up. I was at the hospital when Heather was born and I heard her first cry. I made the baby shower cake for her mom, and I made her 1st birthday cake, 16th birthday cake and a few in between. I also had the privilege of making her wedding cake. I admit to being a bit fearful, okay, a lot fearful, of making her wedding cake, but it turned out great! I have some wonderful, cake-decorating friends who gave me tips and advice and it all came together!

The wedding was beautiful, although it was very hot! (in the 90's with no air-conditioning in the reception hall). The wedding was outside and it was gorgeous! Here are a few pictures from the wedding:

Tammy and I have been best friends for 28 years!

This is Heather walking down the aisle with her daddy, Peyton.

This was a funny moment when Drew's best man wiped the sweat from his face.

This is a picture that Beth took of the cake. I was very happy with how it turned out!

Cherry Blossoms (the cake was French Vanilla with Buttercream frosting)

Sky Watch Friday (only it's Monday now) :)

I know it's no longer Friday, but I was very busy on Friday and over the weekend. So, here is my Sky Watch "Friday" picture. This was taken at a wedding in Virginia on Saturday. The sky was so pretty, but it was over 90 degrees out there! was a scorcher! However, the bride looked nice and cool as she walked down the aisle!

I cannot take credit for this next picture (wish I could since it's better than mine!). My daughter Beth took this and I thought it was so pretty I wanted to share it on here, as well!

If you would like to see more beautiful picture, click here: Sky Watch Friday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sky Watch Friday!

It has been a very long time since I've participated in a Sky Watch Friday; however, on Wednesday night I saw a beautiful sunset and it made me want to take a picture! :) These were taken as we were leaving the church Wednesday night. I happened to have my camera with me, so my husband pulled into the parking lot across from the church and I snapped a few pictures. Unfortunately, there were unavoidable power lines in my way, but I still thought they turned out pretty. Hope you enjoy them! To see more beautiful sky shots, hop on over to Sky Watch Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Endings and New Beginnings

Some Endings:

The 2009/2010 school year at the Dogwood Academy is coming to a close! Tomorrow is the last day of school! WooHoo!!! The pool opens on Saturday and we have at least 2 1/2 months to enjoy the summer vacation!

The school year went well this year. We stayed on track better than any other year so far! It was a very encouraging year as a teacher, and I believe the kids felt good about it, too. It was a very difficult year for Beth...her first year of high school; however, she did an outstanding job and I'm very proud of her hard work!

Ben finished 6th grade and is now moving on to "middle school." I can't believe my youngest child is going to be a teenager this year! Time sure does fly by! Ben finished Awana last night. Awana is a program at our church for ages preschool-6th grade. Ben received the Timothy Award last night, which is the highest award a 6th grader can receive for completing all of the Bible memory books. I'm so proud of him!

Some New Beginnings:

My best friend's daughter, Heather, is getting married next weekend (June 5th). She asked me to make her wedding cake and she picked out a beautiful cherry blossom cake. I haven't made a wedding cake in about 13 years, so I hope I can do a good job. I practiced a bit and here is my practice cake:

The real cake will be 4 tiers and the icing will be much smoother! I was really practicing on the "tree" part of the design. I'm so glad I practiced because it taught me a lot of things not to do! For example, I will use a smaller tip for the border, and I will use a bigger cake pan for the 2nd cake. I'll be using 6", 10", 12" and 14" cake pans.

New Beginning #2: Chickens!

This is our chicken coop! It was a tree house that belonged to Neal's sister (she's 24 now) and we had it taken down and placed on blocks in our yard. This was before we did anything to it. (by the way, do you see my "Amish Man" in the pic?!!)

This is what it looks like right now. We still have to put another coat of paint on it and paint the trim an Eggplant color.

The chicks arrived on Thursday, May 20th in this box! 21 chicks were inside (we ordered six for some friends and we kept 15)

This is their new home for a couple of weeks.

The chicks started drinking the water right away.

Two of the cutest chicks! We bought 5 Delaware chicks, 5 Welsummer's, and 5 Blue Andallusion's.

Our dog, Suzi, is very protective of the chicks. She growls anytime the cat gets near them!

This picture was taken yesterday. One of the Blue Andallusion's flew up on top of the water dish. We had to put some chicken wire over the crate so they wouldn't fly out!

Also, taken yesterday...this is one of the Delaware chicks. You can see the wings growing and the feather's coming in!

Last weekend, both of Neal's sisters came in for a visit. We had a big dinner on Saturday night, talked and played games. It was great spending time with Neal's family!

We played Pit!

The color is off on some of these pictures, but this is Neal and his mom, Betty.

Neal and his grandfather, Randolph.

Some of us sitting outside on a nice, cool evening!

A couple of weeks ago, Neal and I went out with some friends for supper. On the way we stopped by this pretty field and took some pictures. This is down the road from our house, and that is red clover growing in the field!

We had our end of year homeschool banquet last week. This is Ben receiving his certificate. Each year we choose something in particular we want to honor our children for. This year Ben's certificate was for "New Endeavors -- Construction and Child Care." He's been helping his daddy with the chicken coop and he's been helping me with childcare and he'll be working with kids this summer at church.

Beth received her award for "New Horizons -- Guitar, Dissections, Counseling and College Courses". She started learning the guitar this year, she did four dissections (worm, frog, fish and crayfish) in Biology, she'll be working as a camp counselor this summer, and she is taking three Bible classes (I'm taking them too, at a local Bible institute) for college credit.

This was Beth's photography project at the end of year banquet. She is very good with a camera and would like to start doing more with her photography. Right now she is taking pictures of some of our friends for practice, and they are getting very nice pictures out of the deal!

Well, that's the latest for us here in Virginia! More later...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Around the House

Lots going on this spring around our house!

We're winding up our school year. Only three weeks left after this week! Woo Hoo! We're all excited for summer break! This has been one of our best school years yet. I'm really looking forward to next year though and trying some new things with the kids. Beth is going to be getting into reading classics more next year, and she's very excited about that. We're also going to be doing an Astronomy unit study as a family. It will last about a year and we will learn a lot about God's creation in the sky...sun, moon and stars!

I'm preparing to make a wedding cake for my best friend's daughter, Heather. She's getting married June 5th and I get the privilege of making her a cherry blossom wedding cake. It has been almost 14 years since I've made a wedding cake, so I'm quite nervous. I made several of Heather's birthday cakes throughout her life, so it will be fun to make a cake for such an exciting milestone!

We're getting chickens! We're in the process of fixing up the chicken coop (I'll have to post pictures later) and they are supposed to ship the chicks out on my birthday, May 19th. We're getting 15 chicks -- 5 Welsummers, 5 Delawares and 5 Blue Andalusians. It will take several months, but I'm looking forward to our first eggs!

Bread baking is still a constant in our house. I've been grinding my own wheat and baking my own bread for three years now. It has been such a positive addition to our family's menu. I make sandwich rolls and blueberry muffins every week. Additionally, I make a loaf of bread here and there and other types of muffins. Sandwich roll and blueberry muffins are a staple in our house though. :)

Beth and I are winding up our first semester in the Bible Institute we're attending. We started in January and are really enjoying it. In total, it includes 6 semesters of Old Testament, New Testament and Theology. At the end of the three years, we will receive a diploma and will have 18 college credits that will transfer to our local university. If Beth decides to go there, she will have most, if not all, of her Bible classes that she needs. I'm learning so much and have truly enjoyed this new adventure!

We're planning a trip to Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky this summer. My brother, Darrell, will be turning 50, and we will be there to help celebrate! We'll also be able to visit my other brother Robert, and his family, my aunt Alberta, and hopefully some friends. Then we'll go to Kentucky for a family reunion. I'm looking forward to seeing cousins I haven't seen in years!

Ben is playing soccer this spring. He is having lots of fun and learning a lot. So far they've won both of their games.

The garden is producing already! We've eaten fresh spinach, asparagus and strawberries. There is nothing like grilled asparagus! We eat it like french fries. It's sooo good!

Cinco de Mayo is today! To celebrate, in our non-Mexican home, we will be eating chicken enchiladas tonight with guacamole, chips and salsa. Yum!

Well, that's some of what's going on around here. I'm hoping to be a bit more faithful to my blog now. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Memories of 2009

Our family in February

Neal in deep thought at our campsite. :o)

Playing cards with Mom in Myrtle Beach.

On our way to Walton's Mountain!

The "real" Walton's (Hamner) home

Me with Beth and Ben in front of the Walton's Museum

Robert Wayne sampling some of the "recipe"

Having lunch in the library of the museum.

Ben in the Lifeguard's chair

Beth playing Lifeguard

Mom and I on our annual trip to Williamsburg, Virginia

Ben and Suzi in the 15 inches of snow we got in December!

Beth dressed to play in the snow!

Fun at Layman Farms with our homeschool group

Our dear friends, the Gordons, welcomed Isabella Jane into their family!

Learning to play Skip-Bo with my cousin, Alvin.

Beth found some really tall corn in Kentucky!

Visiting with family in Kentucky

Ben on his way to camp for the very first time!

Saying goodbye to a dear friend as she moved to New Zealand! We miss you, Becky!

Tragedy in the loss of Heidi and David

Playing corn hole with my brother, Darrell.

Kids enjoying Myrtle Beach! (October 2009...not September)

Beth took a picture of me taking a picture. :o) This was at the Dixie Stampede.

Camping in the backyard in our new tent.

Ben "rock climbing" at Blackwater Creek.

Beth and her new friend.

Oh, my...Beth dressed up as the old hag in Snow White.

Memories of 2009!
Jeremiah 29:11

"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."