Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well, Christmas is winding down at our house. The trees and decorations are down and (almost) all packed up and put away. I have left out some of my snowmen because they are cute and I still like to look at them (kind of like our kids, but I won't be packing them in boxes and putting them under our basement steps. Probably not anyway, there are days...)

I didn't do alot of baking for Christmas (ok, I did no baking whatsoever for Christmas) but I did make the most awesome home-made granola bars recently, which are all but gone (why do people say "all but" when they mean "almost"? Don't know. I just looked it up and they both mean the same thing. Just thought I'd share.)

Anyway, here is the recipe that I used to make home-made granola bars. It was originally given to me by my friend Jenni at church (thanks again Jenni!), and I modified it some. The original recipe was from and was called "easy granola bars" but I like to call mine "themostawesomestgranolabarsever"!

Measure out: 3 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup miniature chocolate chips. I know, I know...they aren't Ghiradelli. Don't worry, I am not cheating on Ghiradelli. He is still my first love, he just doesn't make a mini chocolate chip. At least not that I've ever seen. So I had to settle with Hersheys as my stand-in chocolate boyfriend.

Add 2 cups any combination of nuts, seeds, or whatever else you like. I used cashews, sunflower seeds, soy nuts, and some chopped almonds (I always buy them raw and toast them myself because they have so much more flavor than canned ones.)

Add 1/2 cup dried fruit, like raisins or craisins or whatever you find amazin's (hahaha! I crack myself up!)

Make sure that you photograph the raisins with your husband's beloved red-handled measuring cups in the background. I totally didn't even pose those. That's just how cool we are around here...things just lay around naturally in awesome photographical poses all the time.

Mix everything together and pour in 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 2 tbsp. melted butter. Hint: run hot water over the can of milk to soften it before pouring.

Mix everything together with your hands in a large bowl. Make your husband stop whatever he is doing and photograph your hands in an oooey gooey mess...

grease a 9x13 pan with butter

pour the mixture into the pan and spread around

With a piece of wax paper, press everything down really snug so the bars don't fall apart later. Call your husband over, again stopping whatever he is currently doing to photograph you. Oh, and try to make your hand look thinner while doing this. But it won't work.

Bake bars at 350 for about 20-25 minutes (I do them for 25 min. so they just start to brown around the edges. They are still moist and chewy). While they are still warm, cut them into whatever size bars you want. You can even cut them crooked style like I did if you want to.

Let them cool completely and then hide a stash of them for yourself because if you don't, baby they'll be gone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More Christmas decorations, and something I never thought I'd say to my husband

This lovely Christmas tree candle holder thingy I got from Target last year...I almost put it back on the shelf a couple different times during my shopping trip because especially during Christmas I have a really hard time spending money on myself. But I just loved it and if I remember correctly, Vince was with me and made me buy it! Serious, it's true. Just ask him if you don't believe me.

This angel is very, very special to me. My grandma bought two of these at a craft fair, one for me and the other for my sister when we were kids, and every year we put them on her tree. It is made of foam balls, toothpicks, stick pins, and angel hair and is falling apart. It is probably worth about 25 cents....but to me it is priceless.

And this is Mr. Snowman! I found him at a craft show, and fell head over heals in love with him!! Isn't he just the cutest thing ever?!~

And now for the thing that I never thought I'd say to my husband...
"Honey, your Avon order came today."

I saw mommy kissing santa claus...

...underneath the mistletoe last night !

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays

I love Christmas decorations!

I don't necessarily love the process of decorating, at least not at first. Once all the boxes have been dug out of the attic and have been spewn all over my living room I begin to feel overwhelmed. However, one by one as things are unpacked and put on display in our home, my anxiety lifts and I remember how much I love the things I have collected over the years....some new, some old. Some given as gifts, some bought at garage sales. I've been photographing them like crazy this year, and thought I'd share some of my favorite things.

I adore this Willow Tree nativity, especially because it is a gift from my Vince

and so was this snowman cookie jar, which is also a chip and dip holder, which is also a salt and pepper shaker, which is also a car. Ok, maybe not that last part...but it is incredibly cute and versitile and is from one of my favorite restaurants, Cracker Barrel!

This cute little santa jar thingy is from Goodwill. Hello.

and this adorable handmade wooden angel was a garage sale find. Be jealous.

I can't remember where I got this chunky people nativity, but I absolutely love it! And if it was a gift from you, forgive me for not remembering. But I'm pretty sure I bought it somewhere.

And this beautiful thing is my absolute favorite handmade christmas ornament, and has been since the day I received it. It is one of many, many hand stitched ornaments that my stepmom Kathy made for me as a graduation gift. I can't even tell you how much I love it.
I will post more pictures in the days to come as we finish up the last of our decorating, not a moment too soon...I don't even have my village up yet! AAAK!
Lord, help me remember each and every day why we are doing this. Why we are decorating our home and buying gifts and listening to Christmas music and getting together with family. It's all because of You...because You loved us enough to come near to us, to live among us and be our Savior so that one day our home will be with You...forever. Oh, and please tell my grandmothers and my aunt that I miss them this year.

Monday, December 07, 2009

All I Can Say

Church yesterday morning was so awesome! As Vince and I were driving in for worship practice at 7am, the power went out in most of the entire town. We still don't know what happened, but there is probably a fried squirrel somewhere in the power grid, or something like that. Anyway, we waited around for a while. Then, not knowing if the power would come on in time or not, we decided to do an acoustic worship! We had two guitarists and a drummer, and no microphones...just us. Our pastor and several other people gathered all the candles in the building and we had our own candlelight service. It was amazing. I stood there, waiting and watching as everyone pulled this all together - no grumbling, no worries - just a confidence that we would worship and carry on no matter what the circumstances, and a confidence that God would show up.

And He showed up.

He used the opportunity to remind us that He wants us to be a light in a very dark world. People should look at us - those of us who bear Christ's name - and see something different. They should see hope in a world that reeks of hopelessness. They should see joy in a world that tries to manufacture it, but falls pitifully short. They should see peace, amidst the circumstances of our lives that taunt us and threaten to tear us apart.

It's so easy to feel like giving up. Even with Jesus, the human side of me wants to focus on my circumstances and forgets to keep my eyes on Him. But when I don't forget...when I don't give up...I realize and remember that He is there.

And I won't be tired for long.

* If you want to listen to this song, scroll down to the bottom of my blog and click on the music player. I promise, it will be worth it. This is one of my most favorite songs ever.

All I Can Say - David Crowder Band

Lord I'm tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I'm so alone
Lord the dark
Is creeping in
It's creeping up
To swallow me
I think I'll stop
And rest here a while

This is all that I can say right now
And this is all that I can give
This is all that I can say right now
ANd This is all that I can give
That's my everything

Oh didn't You see me crying?
And didn't You hear me call Your name?
Wasn't it You I gave my heart to?
I wish You'd remember
Where you sat it down

And this is all, this is all that I can say right now
I know it's not much
But this is all that I can give
That's my everything

I didn't notice You were standing here
I didn't know that
That was You holding me
I didn't notice You were crying too
I didn't know that
That was You washing my feet

And this is all, this is all that I can say right now
I know it's not much
This is all that I can give
Yea, that's my everything

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

This is what happens when I just sit down to write without a plan

Have you had the new taco Doritos? We got some last night to make Vinny's favorite "taco pie" for his birthday dinner...and may I just say that those chips are awesome! They actually taste like an entire taco - I swear (but 99% of the time I don't) you can even taste the lettuce in them. I am not kidding. Dip them in sour cream and you will never again feel the need to eat at Taco Bell, ever. You will also never wear a size 10 again, but some things are just worth it.

I'm not sure where this is going, so I'll just keep rambling and see what comes spewing out. I'm good at that, especially in real life - which is more risky because I don't have a backspace or delete button on myself yet. There have been many moments where that would have come in handy tho, such as the time I...

1) Said the f-word to my pastor. Wait! Let me 'splain! I didn't actually say it to him, rather I was talking to him about a situation that I observed between two people in my life where that word was used, and I did not censor myself. But it was ok. We are blessed with an awesome, realistic and understanding pastor who wasn't at all phased by my telling him like it was. I think people try to sugar coat life in the eyes of their pastors, and if it were me I would hate that. I'd just be dying for people to be real.

2) Called myself a "retard" in front of my boss. This in and of itself isn't horrific, except when you work for an agency that provides services to people with developmental disabilities, as I do. Then it is not cool, and the r-word is just as bad, if not worse than the f-word.

3) Talked about someone who I thought had left, but was apparantly in the other room and I am quite sure heard the whole conversation. (This was years ago, and that person I'm pretty sure doesn't read my blog, so it prolly wasn't you.) Ok, I'm about 99% sure that they heard me, but I couldn't confirm that because that would require me asking "did you hear what I was talking about just now?" and if they actually didn't, well then I'd have to tell them what I said, which is exactly what I was wanting to "delete" in the first place.

And let's not for get the time I...

4) Had a complete meltdown in front of the post office when I was pregnant (read: temporarily mentally unstable) and frustrated that the post office in our very small town not only forced me to have (and pay for) a post office box because we lived too close to the post office and they refused to deliver our mail (lame), but they also locked their doors at 4:30pm which, because of my work schedule made it completely impossible to get my mail until Saturdays. (Breath). Not realizing that anyone could hear me, I verbally vomited all over the place "HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET MY MAIL !!!!" (among other things, which I'm sure included some of the 1% verbage I have previously referred to). Turns out a very nice man did in fact hear me, and about half an hour later showed up at my house to give me the number of the person in charge at the post office, who he was certain could help me solve my dilema. Isn't that sweet?

It was one of the most embarassing moments of my life.

This is what happens when you live in a very small town. Not only is someone always around to hear you, they also know who you are and where you live. And they are really, really nice like that.

So, there ya go. I told ya I was going to be real.

It's time, people

it's time...

Just so you know, I will be watching ELF like 14 times between now and Christmas! Let the season begin!!!