Sunday, November 30, 2008

2008 Christmas Meme

Saw this over at Annie's and thought it looked fun. Feel free to participate and please let me know if you do so that I can read your responses!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both....I do tend to use bags more

2. Real tree or artificial? Real, real, just isn't a tree (to me) if it isn't real!

3. When do you put up the tree? The week after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down? First week of January

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes I do

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Cabbage Patch had it's own little birth certificate and her name was Sonya. She even had red hair!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No but I'd love to have the Willow Creek nativity set, just in case anyone wants to buy it for me :-)

8. Hardest person to buy for? My in-laws...both of them.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Caroline....she likes a variety of things so it's easy to pick something for her.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Now I can't share that! The person who gave it to me will be devastated! LOL!

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Snail mail....really, who emails Christmas cards???

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story, Elf, It's A Wonderful Life

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? It really varies...this year, I haven't even started. Usually though, I shop all year long. I like to have it done well before Christmas.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Ham, party mix, homemade candy (peanut butter fudge)

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? We try and alternate. It used to be only clear but since the kids really enjoy colored lights, we've done those for the past few years. This year however, it's clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? "Mary Did You Know", sung by Michael English.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Spend Christmas Eve with in-laws who live just around the corner. We spend Christmas with my family in Virginia so we travel but only an hour and a half.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph (is that all of them?)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Presents with the in-laws on Christmas Eve....presents with our small family on Christmas morning...presents with my family in VA on Christmas evening.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? rude people, hearing the same old Christmas songs over and over and over, people spending more money than they need to in order to impress others. The joy of the season far outweighs the annoying things though!

23. What I love most about Christmas? Spending time with family, having a tree up, celebrating the birth of Christ, and lots of good food!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Where Do The Photos Keep Going?

Caroline has become obsessed with our digital camera. At first, I thought it was kind of neat that she liked to take pictures and was always asking to do so. That was before she discovered that our camera could also act as a camcorder of sorts. You can record short videos with it and Caroline has come to love this feature. I have no idea how she even figured this out. She just sort of started doing it. At first, the videos were cute and silly. They would last for twenty seconds and be over. Lately however, the videos have grown in length and are starting to really break me down!

It started happening a few months ago. I would take nice pictures and sit the camera down with the intention of downloading them later on. Caroline would ask me if she could make a video of herself and her Webkinz. No harm in that, right? I would go back later to download the photos I had taken earlier and a funny thing would happen.....not all of my photos would be there. After I had forty breakdowns, I figured out that Caroline had deleted some of the photos so that her video would fit on the camera. WHAT? How did she figure that out?????

On Thursday, I made sure to take several pictures of our Thanksgiving spread. I wanted to compare the table pictures each year to see how they varied. I took a few pictures of the food, a few of the kids, and put the camera on the table with the intention of downloading the photos Thanksgiving night. So when I settled down on the couch later that night and started to download the pictures, a funny thing happened. I didn't figure it out took me about a minute. Some of my photos were missing. That's when I noticed the video file. It didn't hit me right away because the kids had asked to record a Thanksgiving message to send to one of their friends online and I had allowed it. However, when I played the video, it was sixteen seconds of nonsense. That's when the top of my head started to get hot :-) I knew right away what had happened to my photos. They were gone....never to be recovered. Come to find out, the kids had in fact recorded a video message to their friends up north. But it wasn't on the camera. Caroline had deleted it and about ten of my pictures so that she could shoot sixteen seconds of nonsense.

Ahhhhhhhh, I took a deep breath and later got over it, but not before letting her have it. Needless to say, she is barred from ever using our digital camera again. The only way she'll ever take another picture is if she has her own camera, which I currently refuse to purchase. I'm simply dumbfounded that a 9 year old could possibly think to delete photos so that she could squeeze a video onto the camera. I assume she was just messing around and figured that one out. Looks like I'll have to tie her hands and feet up whenever I'm not around. Maybe that way she'll stay out of trouble.....but I doubt it :-)


Friday, November 28, 2008

Walmart Employee Trampled To Death

So I was all geared up to get up at 4 a.m. this morning and go shopping. It would have been only my second time going shopping on Black Friday. The one time I did it before, I went alone and wasn't really even going for sale items. I wanted to people watch more than anything. That was several years back and that experience was enough to put the idea out of my head for a few years. It was probably the most horrific experience of my life to date. People were pushy and rude and could have cared less about the person next to them. It wasn't the people watching experience that I had hoped for.

Last night we were talking about getting up and going and had planned to do so. However, I think mom and I both decided that it just wasn't worth getting up so early for. It was either that or the fact that we ate way too much yesterday :-) We got up this morning and decided that we'd just wait until midday to go out. I'm glad we did, especially after reading about a Walmart employee in NY who was trampled to death by shoppers this morning.

I just can't figure out what people are thinking. I know the economy is bad and people want to get the best deals that they possibly can. But because of some of those shoppers, one family in NY will spend Christmas without their loved one. That makes me really sad. What is the world coming to? Is this really the image we want to portray to other nations? I can't speak for everyone but I will say that the only way I will ever get out on Black Friday is if I'm going for fun, simply to watch people. However, I'm not really sure I want to watch people who behave the way they do over something as frivolous as material things.

Happy Birthday to Our Baby, Our Furry Baby

Our baby's birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year. Sadie turned 11 and did what she normally does all day long:

She didn't get a birthday cupcake or a party hat but we did manage to save her some turkey. As you can see, she was perfectly happy with that!

Bathroom Project: Take 2

Well, we are finally piecing our bathroom back together. You remember our bathroom. The one we called plumbers to come and fix this summer. The bathroom that they made a bigger mess of than even the original leak caused. The same bathroom that they worked on for three days and still didn't fix. The same plumbers who left to go get a part and never came back. Uh yeah. Those guys. That bathroom.

In the end, Jeff ended up fixing the leak himself. Then we started trying to put things back together but decided to go as slowly as we needed to. We put up new sheet rock and got it all ready to paint (which I still need to do). About a month ago, we put down ceramic tile, which we had never done before. So now it's ready to be painted and as usual, I'm having that "what color do I want to paint it dilemma." The new toilet is sitting patiently in the garage to be installed. I'm looking for a new sink, maybe even one of those cool vessel sinks to jazz it up a bit. But before any of those things can be installed, little old me has to decide on paint and get that done. I'm going shabby chic in there so of course I want to paint the walls pink. Trouble is, it has to be the perfect light shade of pink and I can't choose one from a swatch. However, I'm going to have to decide soon because we've made a rule that the girls can have no one over to stay all night until we get it done. They have waited patiently so my plan is to bust it out next week and get the painting all done. I seriously never thought it would take me so long to get this done.

I go through stages like this though. I'll paint everything I can get my hands on, and then I get sick of it and quit for months. No more excuses though. Not even the new book I bought a few days ago is going to deter me from the task at hand. It's time to resurrect the throne room that is our bathroom :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Franklin Springs Family Media

Last Christmas, my family bought me several films from Franklin Springs Family Media. I'm just now taking time to watch them and I have to tell you, I love them! My favorite so far is the Eden String Quartet: A Bountiful Blessing. From the back of the box:

Their road to becoming accomplished musicians has been anything but ordinary. Join the Miller sisters - Megan, Krista, Leah, and Therese - on the fascinating journey from their family’s cattle ranch to their distinction as an outstanding stringed quartet. The beneficiaries of a multi-generational vision for God-honoring family, the Millers encourage, entertain, and inspire an appreciation of hymns and classical music - and for the building of families that honor the Lord.

The music is beautiful and seeing this family together is a true blessing. I wish I had home theater seating so that I might invite family and friends over to watch it with me. Since I don't, I hope that I will be able to share this wonderful DVD with each family or friend that comes into our home. If you haven't heard of Franklin Springs Family Media, look them up and check them out. There are many wonderful films waiting to bless you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour: White Christmas Pie by Wanda Brunstetter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

White Christmas Pie

Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)


Wanda E. Brunstetter


Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband's family in Pennsylvania, WANDA E. BRUNSTETTER combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

This year Wanda also publishedA Sister's Hope


Step into Amish country for this bittersweet holiday romance. Here you'll meet Will Henderson, a young man tortured by his past, and Karen Yoder, a young woman looking for answers. Add a desperate father searching for his son, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class romance that will inspire and enthrall.

Abandoned by his father, Will Henderson was raised by an Amish couple. Now he's about to marry Karen Yoder but is having second thoughts. Can Will overcome the bitterness of his past in order to secure his future? Karen cannot break through the barrier her fiance has suddenly constructed around his heart. When she seeks the advice of an old boyfriend, Will begins to see green. Has he already lost his chance for happiness?

When an accident threatens Will's life, the strength of blood ties is tested. Will a recipe for White Christmas pie contain the ingredients for a happily-ever-after?

If you would like to read the first chapter of White Christmas Pie, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:

Friday, November 14, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour: One Holy Night by J. M. Hochstetler

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Holy Night

Sheaf House (April 1, 2008)


J. M. Hochstetler


J. M. Hochstetler writes stories that always involve some element of the past and of finding home. Born in central Indiana, the daughter of Mennonite farmers, she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Germanic languages. She was an editor with Abingdon Press for twelve years and has published three novels.

One Holy Night, a contemporary miracle story for all seasons, released in April 2008. Daughter of Liberty (2004) and Native Son (2005), books 1 and 2 of the American Patriot Series are set during the American Revolution. Book 3, Wind of the Spirit, is scheduled for release in March 2009. Hochstetler is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and Historical Novels Society.


In 1967 the military build-up in Viet Nam is undergoing a dramatic surge. The resulting explosion of anti-war sentiment tears the country apart, slicing through generations and shattering families. In the quiet bedroom community of Shepherdsville, Minnesota, the war comes home to Frank and Maggie McRae, whose only son, Mike, is serving as a grunt in Viet Nam.

Frank despises all Asians because of what he witnessed as a young soldier fighting the Japanese in the south Pacific during WWII. The news that his son has fallen in love with and married Thi Nhuong, a young Vietnamese woman, shocks him. To Frank all Asians are enemies of his country, his family, and himself. A Buddhist, Thi Nhuong represents everything he despises. So he cuts Mike out of his life despite the pleas of his wife, Maggie; daughter, Julie; and Julie s husband, Dan, the pastor of a growing congregation.

Maggie is fighting her own battle--against cancer. Convinced that God is going to heal her, Frank plays the part of a model Christian. Her death on Thanksgiving Day devastates him. Worse, as they arrive home from the gravesite, the family receives news of Mike s death in battle. Embittered, Frank stops attending church and cuts off family and friends.

By the time a very pregnant Thi Nhuong arrives on his doorstep on a stormy Christmas Eve, Frank is so filled with hate that he slams the door in her face, shutting her out in the bitter cold. Finally, overcome by guilt, he tries to go after her, but driving wind and snow force him back inside. With the storm rising to blizzard strength, he confronts the wrenching truth that what hate has driven him to do is as evil as what the Japanese did all those years earlier, and that he needs forgiveness as desperately as they did ...

Frank doesn't know that what God has in mind this night is a miracle. As on that holy night so many years ago, a baby will be born and laid in a manger--a baby who will bring forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Holy Night, go HERE.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Clorox Anywhere

As one with sensitive allergies, I am constantly looking for ways to reduce allergens in our home. We love pets and have plenty of those types of things to worry about. Recently I was given the opportunity to try Clorox Anywhere. I am always a little skeptical of these types of products. Will they really do what they claim to do? I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Clorox Anywhere is an anti-allergen fabric spray that is dye and fragrance free. It neutralizes up to 90% of pet dander and dust mite matter. It is safe to use around children, pets, and is also environmentally friendly. It is also safe to use on most fabrics, but it it's always a good idea to test a small area first.

In my use of the product, I found it to be very effective. It did seem to reduce pet dander, which was one of my desires. I continue to use it as needed and look forward to seeing the long term benefits from using it. If you'd like more information about this product, check out the website at

As always, thanks to Mom Central for the opportunity to try this amazing product!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun, Food, and More Fun

This weekend we set aside an entire day to spend with our friends. The hubby's went caving for about 8 hours while the rest of us hung out at our house. We had lots of fun watching the kids play. We watched a chick flick. We cooked up a pretty mean pasta buffet. We enjoyed good wine. We enjoyed good conversation.

Kristopher was outnumbered by all of the girls in the house. At one point, he decided he'd lay down and take a rest.

His rest was interrupted by tickles from his mommy.

The girls decided it would be fun to sit on top of the dresser inside the closet and play. Go figure! Kayla and Caroline tried really hard to get Madalyn to smile for me :-) Round one: It didn't work! Madalyn was having no part of it.

"Can you please stop that Sonna" (that's how she says my name)

So I took another one. Her expression tells you just what she was thinking about me! Round two: She was still not having any part of it.

Don't even take my picture!

But I really wanted a good picture of the three of them so I tried again. I think Maddie tried to burn holes in me with her eyes in this one! Round three: Still she wasn't having it.

This is getting really annoying

She finally decided to give in but I'm sure it was just because she wanted to get rid of me!

"Here you go Sonna, now leave us alone!"

L to R: Kayla (age 11), Maddie (almost 3), Caroline (almost 10)

We had a really good time and by the time the guys got back and we ate all that pasta, we were all ready for a good night's sleep! It was a blessing that the time change occurred this same night because we all needed that extra hour!

Thanks to the P's for coming up and hanging out with us all day. We had a great time!