Monday, December 29, 2008


Every Christmas eve, we have the tradition of reenacting the story of Jesus' birth. We all pick a part, and dress up to represent the characters. This year we had a lot of people, because the missionaries were there, as well as Nancy's family of 5, and Josh, Ruth and Brant. This year was a little more special though, because Ruth sang a few Christmas songs with guitar accompaniment by Josh and Richard.  I have a video of it, but before I can post it, I'll have to figure out how to get it off the camera and onto the blog. 

Big surprise

We had a great Christmas! There were presents galore, and lots of yummy food. My favorite present was the new wedding ring Joe got me. I was so excited, I couldn't hold in my scream. Somehow Joe missed it, but I'm hoping it was captured on video for his future enjoyment. 
This gorgeous ring was designed and made by my sister's brother-in-law Steven "Todd" Thompson. He has his own jewelry store in Idaho. The first time I saw this ring, was when I was in LA visiting my mother, and Wendy was there too. See, she has the exact same ring. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. Wendy didn't seem to mind if I got the same ring, so I started bugging Joe about it. He was very opposed to me getting a new ring, because "you can only have 1 wedding ring". Somehow he changed his mind, and I almost fell off the couch from surprise on Christmas morning. Thanks Wendy, Steven, and of course Joe for this beautiful ring!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

So far today has been a nice relaxing day. It started by waking up to happy screaming children running down the hall. Joe's sister Nancy, and her family are here for the holidays as well, so my kids get to play with their cousins. We had a great pancake breakfast. 

Since then, I have spent the majority of my time on hair. First I did Winter's hair up, and then Ginger's.  They both got fancy hair-do's I found on a blog I read.  Since the curling iron was hot, I decided to curl my own hair too. I have this new curling sculpting gel, that works amazingly well. Usually my curls fall out just about as soon as I get them in there. It has now been a few hours, and the curls are still bouncy! Sterling's hair just got a quick spike. 

I also trimmed Nancy's hair in the back. I have never really cut hair into a style like she has, so I was a little nervous. She seemed to be happy with it, so that's a relief. Richard needed a trim too, so I did that as well. I really enjoy cutting hair, especially when I don't have to clean up afterwards.

The rest of the day will be nice and relaxing too, as the only thing I have planned so far is eating lucnch, dinner, and doing the nativity play tonight after dinner. Joe's family has the tradition to act out the story of Jesus' birth on Christmas eve. We dress up and everything! It's a lot of fun, and keep the true purpose of Christmas in the front of our minds the day before the big celebration.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Injuries on the rise

I'm not sure what's going on with me these last few weeks, but I have been prone to injury.  It all started when I stubbed my toe on some hardwood flooring that is waiting to be laid. It was bleeding pretty badly, and hurt for a long time. Oh, btw, Joe was laughing at me when it happened, because that wood had been laying there for a few weeks. Only then, he was punished by the karma Gods a few days later, when he too stubbed his toe really hard.

The next injury I incurred was just a few days ago when I was doing a mad-dash cleaning session in the kitchen. I was picking up stuff to go in the trash, when out of the corner of my eye saw a can top. I had already kind of turned away from it, and blindly reached backward to grab it. The serrated edge cut straight through my sensitive pinky skin, all the way to the bone (or so it seemed). 2 advils, 4 band-aids, and 24 hours later it was just barely starting to feel better. Here it is 4 days later

The final (hopefully) injury occurred just a few minutes ago while I was out feeding our new pig. Oh yes, I totally forgot to blog about our cute little potbellied pig named "Biggie Smalls". 
Joe found Biggie on Craigslist. Some people had him as a house pet, so he is potty trained. But of course we are not the types to have pets in the house, let alone pigs, so his new home is with Justin (dog), and the goats. They seem to get along quite nicely. Anyways, I was out there to feed them, and I tried to shoo away the goats so Biggie could eat. Well, I made the mistake to bend over, so that when one of the goats jerked his head up when I scared him, his big horn hit me hard in the forehead. At first I thought it was just a bump, but after touching it, and discovering blood on my hand, it appeared to have split open my head. I cleaned the blood off, and made the executive decision to patch it with a band-aid, instead of going to get stitches. So here I sit, typing with one hand while holding ice to my forehead, hoping my executive decision was a good one.
While I was out taking pictures of Biggie, I noticed my chickens' water was frozen over. I cracked the ice, which they seemed to appreciate, because they all started drinking immediately.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Are U ready?

Are you ready for Christmas? I finished wrapping my last presents on Friday, so I can relax until Christmas. I have been amazed to talk to some of my friends, and find out they have only just begun shopping. My husband also likes to shop at the last minute, although he has surprised me a few times by getting his shopping done more than 24 hours in advance.

Today our church had a special Christmas program, which was practically the same program as the creche. I hadn't touched my harp all week, so I got up early to practice through my solo, and duet. The only thing I was sad about, was that my sister-in-law Ruthie sang Oh Holy Night in the Plano ward, but we couldn't attend since I had to play in my own ward. Maybe I can get her to give me a private performance??

With last night's CVS shopping trip (got home at 1.30am), and having to get up early for church, I have been in quite a funk today. I crashed as soon as I got home from church at 2pm. When I woke up at 6pm, the whole house was dark, the kids were asleep, and I was so confused! I didn't know whether it was night or morning, and it wasn't until after I talked to my husband on the phone, that I realized it was still Sunday. (Joe had to go on a last minute business trip, during his VACATION) Of course, after such a late nap, there was no way the kids would go to bed at their usual 7.30pm bedtime, so I let them stay up. Overall they played nicely together, and here's some of the sights I was privied to

Winter's handmade/taped on glasses

Sterling the rocking Santa
Ginger playing with a nativity scene
All together cuteness


CVS is known for its good deals, but around Thanksgiving and Christmas they are through the roof. Yesterday I was able to go to CVS for their pre-Christmas sale, which started at midnight (at the 24-hour CVS)

So here's $215.62 worth of Stuff (thanks Winter for arranging it!)
Now here's what I "paid" for it
I started with $19.00 ECB (Extra Care Bucks)
I paid for $2.90 with a gift card
I ended with $32.98 ECB 
$13.98 ECB didn't print, so I will go back to the store to get that money
$3.99 MIR (mail in rebate) 
So in essence they paid ME $29.05 to take all this stuff home.
Now anyone who asks me if it's really worth it to do all this coupon clipping, researching, and shopping can see that it IS worth it!

I was looking through my receipts and was amazed by this little tidbit of information
And this doesn't even include all the savings I have earned at Walgreens, Kroger, Albertsons, or Walmart (or last night's $215 trip). So every time I start wondering if I should keep investing $3 a week for a newspaper, 6 hours for shopping, and a few hours to clip and plan, I just need to come back to this post.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ice day

Monday night we had a lot of freezing rain/hail, which just stuck to the ground in a thick layer of ice. Whenever this happens, our city is not equipped to take care of that problem. So they just shut down. The kids' school was cancelled. Texas has ice days, instead of snow days. The only thing that sucks about that is that they can't go out and play in the snow
At one point Winter and Sterling did venture out into the backyard, and headed for the trampoline. They were so excited, because it also had a sheet of ice on it. They started jumping on it, and shattering the ice, and then proceeded to put that ice in cups and eat it! They are crazy, but I figured, eating snow never hurt anyone, so ice should be okay too.
This morning they delayed school by 2 hours again, which was just fine with me. I don't mind getting up at 8.15am versus 6.15am any day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another party

Today we had another party, this time for our Foster Adoption Agency. We had to get up at the crack of dawn, because the party started at 9am, and we had a 1.5 hour drive ahead of us. Our agency is located in Hurst, which is in between Fort Worth and Dallas. They are hopefully opening up another office in Richardson, which is only 45 minutes from our house. The reason we chose our agency, is that their training was at a convenient time, and a convenient location. Don't get me wrong, I think they are great, but sometimes I wonder if we wouldn't be getting more calls for placements if they were in Collin County. My caseworker told me today that most of their kids come from Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton County. Only Collin would work for us.....

Being there with a lot of foster parents was bitter sweet. Bitter, because they all had foster kids, and we don't. Sweet because I saw proof that little babies and toddlers do go in the system: there is hope for us. The combination of our location (boonie land), and a new law that says you need a court order signed by a judge before you can remove a child from their home, make it so we have only gotten 1 call in the whole 3.5 months we have been verified. The hardest thing is not to give up, keep up hope, and trust we are doing the right thing by being there, available.

The kids were spoiled rotten with all sorts of yummy foods, a visit from Santa, and even a bunch of presents. Winter got a bike!! and a tamagotchi (electronic pet), and a jewelry bling set. Sterling walked away with 2 bionicles. And Ginger is the proud owner of a new baby doll with her own carrier. Thanks Santa!! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Insensitive Expert

Every time I kill and slaughter a chicken, I feel like I've become more of a farm women. One of our roosters had the privilege of being slaugthered by a first timer -uncle Josh.  Joe was still working, so we were on our own. I usually rely heavily on Joe's expertise and insensitiveness, but I had to have courage today. The only thing I have yet to ever do is cut the throat, and pull the insides out. 

I gave Josh the honors of cutting the neck. The only thing was, that the knife was pretty dull. Joe still does the job somehow, but for a first-timer it's tricky. After cutting the neck, and letting some blood drain out, we put the rooster down to let it have after-death spasms. Well, the rooster just got on its legs, and walked away. So much for killing it. We hunted it down in the bushes, and decided the knife was not the right tool. 

The shovel was our next choice. I held the neck out, and Josh placed the shovel on the neck. Then he made a quick little jump, and off was the body. Skinning, de-gutting, and washing it was surprisingly non-gross. I guess I'm just becoming insensitive. The kids usually attend these slaughter sessions too, and don't seem to be bothered by it much anymore.  At least if the grocery stores close, we'll still have meat to eat

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Egg woes

In an effort to coax my chickens into producing more eggs, I spent a few hours working on their coop. First I shoveled a truck load of poop out of there. Ginger was such a good helper, although I cringed every time I saw her use her cute little hand to brush the poop onto the dustpan. I tried to tell her not to touch it, but alas, she's 3 years old. (she did get a bath as soon as she came inside)

The Backyardchickens Forum is a very helpful website with anything you might want to/need to know about chickens. One of my chickens lays egg with very thin shells, apparently because she doesn't get enough calcium. Chickens are supposed to have access to o
yster shells, or even their own egg shells to eat, for their calcium. So that went on the shopping list. 

The 3 chickens that actually lay (out of 18 hens), lay in a corner on the ground, so I decided they needed some new nesting boxes. I guess the ones I have right now are just not right. On the forum there was a thread with pictures of people's nesting boxes. Some had very inventive ideas, while other had mansion nesting boxes. I wish I had the time or inclination to make my chickens nesting mansions, but at the same time it would suck if I spent all that time, and then have them laying on the floor somewhere. 

So I ventured into Joe's shop (can be scary), to see if he had any appropriate sized containers. I found 2 trash cans that he had gotten from a job site, and thought those were just perfect. Joe built a little front for them, so the nesting material wouldn't fall out.  Then I also found one of those cardboard boxes you get from Costco when you buy groceries. This particular one even has a lip in the front to keep the bedding in the box. -- one of my hens actually laid an egg in this box today!!
I also switched from straw to wood chips as nesting material, because the hens don't seem to really like the straw. Joe tried really hard to convince me NOT to buy wood chips. He would just go out with his chainsaw and chop some stuff up, he said. But the wood chips from the store are so universal, and perfect! I was not convinced that I wanted to wait until he had time to hack on a piece of wood, and it went on the list too.

Finally, chickens like to have a "nest egg" in their boxes, so they know that's the place to lay. Previously I have just left one egg in that corner where they lay, but the problem with that is, that they can easily break. So, the forum enlightened me on a solution for that as well. Some people suggested buying wooded eggs at a craft store, or even ceramic ones. But the idea that stood out to me was using the plastic Easter eggs. I filled some eggs with rocks, glued them shut with super glue, and painted them a nice light brown color. Hopefully my hens are easily deceived.

Christmas related opinions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper is so much nicer.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real, but this year I gave in, and bought a fake one and love it
3. When do you put up the tree? Beginning of December
4. When do you take the tree down? Beginning of January
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but diluted with a little bit of milk
6. Favorite gift received as a child? We didn't get gifts for Christmas
7. Hardest person to buy for? My in-laws
8. Easiest person to buy for? Myself ;)
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. Joe's grandparents gave us a nice ceramic one a few years back
10. Do you mail Christmas cards or email? Both. Emails are cop-outs though
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Gift card to Walmart
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Home alone
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually around a point in October when I realize Christmas is "only" 2 months away
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? yes
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Spiral sliced ham, and pogacha
16. Lights on the tree? of course! White ones
17. Favorite Christmas song? Trans-syberian Orchestra (I can't remember the name of the one I love)
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Stay at home, with family
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? No, but I know dasher, prancer and Rudolf
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. After 8 years of marriage we still don't have a good one though. I guess I need to hit the stores the day after Christmas
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Opening them on the 24th seems wrong... after all, it's not even Christmas yet
22. Do you have any special traditions? We re-inact the story of Jesus' birth, with costumes and all.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? My high electric bill
23. What theme or color are you using? Theme? what theme?
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Ham, and my mom's artichokes
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A baby to adopt
If that's not in the line-up: a gift that's not on my wishlist, but that's something I have always wanted. My mother-in-law wins the award for finding these kind of gifts for me. I think she has managed to do it twice: A teapot for my nice china, and a special Dutch griddle for Gourmetten. I LOVE the surprise!

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Regimen

I started a new workout regimen today. Exercise is pretty much gone from my life, so I decided the least I could do was run to my mailbox and back. That sounds even more pathetic than it really is, because our driveway is like 300 yards long. And the way back is up hill! I know, it's really sad. But I figured something is better than nothing. So, today I made the trek twice, once to put the mail out, and once to pick it up. Watch out marathoners, here I come!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Santa's visit

Saturday morning we had a Christmas party for a group called FSA. FSA stands for Families Supporting Adoption, and is linked with our adoption agency, LDS Family Services.  It was a get-together with other families that are trying to adopt, or have adopted in the past. It's always interesting to me to talk to other people, especially those that have had success stories. One thing I notice a lot, is that many of them have adopted their kids in a non-standard way. Most found their babies through other agencies, or maybe even through family and friends that knew of a birthmother. 

The kids had a lot of fun running around, and there were several kids there they knew from our old Plano ward.  There was also a karaoke machine, and all 3 of my kids were glued to that thing. It wasn't a surprise that Winter would love it, but even Sterling was belting into the microphone. 
Then, to top it all off, Santa paid a quick visit. Ginger wouldn't get on his lap, but still wanted to get the little goody bag. After he left Winter came up to me and wispered: "that wasn't the real Santa". She then explained she knew, because of his boots. See, he was wearing tennis shoes with some little covers over them. I would have thought she could tell he wasn't the real deal, because his beard looked like they shot a dog and draped it's fur over the guys face, but I guess the tennis shoes were more convincing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Santa Store

Leonard Elementary has a Santa store at their library. This is a great place for kids to buy presents for their loved ones. They have all sorts of trash and trinkets, ranging from $0.05 to $15.00. We thought it would be a good experience for the kids to have their own spending money and a list of people to buy for. 

I have to tell you it was almost crazy enough to send me into a mental institution. The kids kept asking me "can I buy this?"... no that's too expensive.... "can I buy this?" ... no, you can't buy anything for yourself. They figured it out though, and
 each of them walked out of there with presents for 5 people, within their budget. 

The first thing Sterling said in the car was: "we have to use tape". This is funny, because my kids are absolutely obsessed with tape. They go through it like candy. Whenever they are at their grandparents house, they easily use 1 roll per day (more if we would let them). They are so obsessed with it, that I have considered wrapping up some tape, and giving it to them in their stockings.

Here is one of Sterling's creations with tape
Ginger had fun hitting her daddy over the head with wrapping paper. 
After all the presents were wrapped, we gathered for a quick family photo shoot by the tree. It is very disconcerting when I can't find any family photos that are less than a year old (the last one I took got eaten by the last computer crash)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008



Monday, December 1, 2008

Tis the season

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I am in the clear to start celebrating Christmas. The first major change I make during the Christmas season, is that the only kind of music I play in the car is Christmas music. This helps the kids learn the words to all the songs, and it just makes me happy to listen to.

Yesterday I also set up our Christmas tree. Last year we cheated, and didn't have a tree at all for several reasons. We had just moved into our house, and were in the middle of gutting it, and I just wasn't in the mood to decorate. I have to say that Christmas is not the same without a tree! Now that I have mine set up, I just LOVE it! I also put it in the corner that used to house the spare wood flooring that still needs to be installed. As you can imagine, my whole living room look a LOT better now. (I was going to post a picture, but I can't find my tripod)

So far I am really liking my fake tree. I didn't have to mess with light for an hour, they were already in there. Also, no more messing with watering it, and picking up needles all the time. I am very pleased with the quality of the tree, considering what I paid for it. It is very full, and has varying needles, to make it look more real. Now I should be set for a tree for at least the next 5 years

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