Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

During this most wonderful time of the year, our family reflects on 2010 by wishing you a very Merry...

C -- Children: Benjamin is now seven years old, and Hannah is five and a half. They are the lights of our lives, and we enjoy life with them so much. Benjamin loves anything that involves a ball (he’s quite the left-handed athlete!), especially when Dad is playing with him, and Hannah still loves her dance class so much. They both also go to gymnastics every week, which is a great outlet for their enormous amounts of energy!

H -- Homeschool: We love our homeschooling life and enjoy the flexibility that it affords us. We started our year in mid-summer so that we could take more breaks throughout the school year, and that has worked out well. Benjamin is in second grade this year, and Hannah’s school work includes some kindergarten work and some first grade work. I am so blessed to be able to spend my days teaching them (I’m learning quite a lot myself!). I could not be happier.

R -- Rangers: We took a family vacation to Arlington in May and were able to take in a couple of Texas Rangers baseball games. We had a blast while we were there and included a tour of the new Cowboy Stadium—quite a sight! We enjoyed cheering the Rangers on throughout the season—all the way to the World Series!!!

I -- Insanity: Just kidding! That was Mark’s choice of words for “I”! We love our life in Perryton and continue to be blest by serving the FUMC here. We do try hard to not live an insanely busy life, but like everyone else, we do have our moments of craziness!

S -- Sadness: Though we have had a very blessed year, it was touched with sadness when Mark’s dad passed away in March. After a long battle with PSP (progressive supranuclear palsy), it was a bittersweet time to release Ken to heaven. We rejoice in his healed body, but we still miss his presence here with us.

T -- Tenth Anniversary: Mark and I celebrated our tenth anniversary with a trip to New York City. We took in almost all of the touristy attractions and really loved our time there. For me, the best part was seeing “Mary Poppins” on Broadway (LOVED IT!!!); the worst part was Mark suggesting we try out the NYC subway during rush hour!

M -- Mark: Mark is enjoying his ministry here in Perryton as he is in the midst of his twentieth year as a pastor. When he’s not playing with the kids or hanging out with me, Mark continues to enjoy golf as his hobby and best source of therapy.

A -- And, last but not least (this is really testing my acrostic skills!!):

S -- Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM): I have friends who struggle with staying at home, but I absolutely love it! Homeschooling the kids, running our home, and having time to lead Bible studies and be involved at church are just a few of the perks I enjoy in this role. God has blessed me with a small circle of moms here in Perryton who also fulfill the SAHM role, and we enjoy getting together regularly and encouraging each other in our roles as wives, mom, and homeschool moms.

We know this Christmas finds you all in various seasons of life. Wherever you are, we pray God’s peace, comfort and joy for you and your family as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pumpkin Roll Disaster

Last week, Mark and I hosted a luncheon for our church staff and their spouses.  Last year I cooked the entire meal, but this year, Mark suggested we have the meal catered.  I said that was great, but that I wanted to do the desserts--I felt like I needed to contribute somehow!

I decided to do pumpkin rolls for our dessert.  For the record, I have made pumpkin rolls before--successfully--so it's not like I was going out on a limb trying something new.  But for whatever reason (I did use a different recipe this time, so I don't know if that is to blame or what), this is what the rolls turned out to look like:

No amount of powdered sugar sprinkled on top was going to fix those cracks!  Needless to say, I was rather stressed.  This was the only contribution I was making to the meal, and it was now a disaster!!  The thought of ditching THREE pumpkin rolls to make another dessert was just too wasteful.  At the advice of my clear-thinking husband, I stopped pacing the kitchen, covered them with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator until I could decide what I was going to do.

What do you do when you have a disaster in the kitchen???  Call Mom, of course!!  So I did and told her what had happened.  She suggested I make a trifle out of the enormously cracked pumpkin rolls.  What a great idea!  So I made a double batch of the filling recipe, toasted some chopped pecans, and created this:

If you are like me and think the cream cheese filling is the best part anyway, this trifle was heaven on earth--a little bit of pumpkin roll and a BUNCH of cream cheese filling!!!

Diaster averted!  Yeah, Mom!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Cooking and Spending

After an early morning trip to the grocery store, this is what the top of my kitchen cabinet looks like:

That's quite a pile of ingredients, isn't it?  I guess it's obvious where I'll be spending much of my time over the next few days!

In addition to making two batches of candy and three pumpkin rolls for the church staff luncheon we are hosting tomorrow, there's ingredients in that pile to make Christmas jelly and pretzel candy that will be gifts to the kids' Sunday school teachers, as well as all the good stuff that I needed to make my most favorite hot chocolate recipe!  There is also the makings for meals that I'll be delivering to two different families over the next couple of days--one family that just had a new baby and one that will be having their new baby next week.

A friend remarked to me today how one's grocery bill can go sky high during the holidays.  Honestly, though, ours hasn't really been affected.  Why?  Because of what I wrote about in this post: using coupons, combining them with sales, and stockpiling.  Since I am in the habit of doing these things, I already had the meat and vegetables on hand to prepare the meals for the two families I referred to (plus my own family; if I'm cooking for someone else, I double it to feed my family so that I can save time and effort!); and the dessert is being made from ingredients that were all on sale this week at the store.  So I bought a few more ingredients to add a fruit salad to the menu, and it was done.  That, plus everything else I needed to feed my family for the next week and a half, and I was well under my budget.  I even had enough left over to stockpile some other items that were at rock-bottom prices this week.

If you aren't in the habit of couponing or shopping sales and stockpiling, maybe that can be something you consider as a New Year's resolution.  The New Year is just around the corner, you know?!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where to Start

There have been so many things floating around in my head over the past couple of months, yet none of them have ended up here!!  My sweet friend often refers to herself as a frustrated perfectionist--you know, a person that thinks if it can't be done perfectly, don't even start.  I suffer from this syndrome from time to time.  It especially seems to affect me in blogging.  I think if I can't write a beautifully fluent, inspiring post, then I'm not going to write at all.

I need to get over that, don't I?  I've come to terms in many areas of my life with the fact that I can never do "it" (whatever "it" is at the time) perfectly.  So I just do the best I can and move on.  I've gotten pretty good at it most of the time.  This needs to carry over into my blogging!!!

So, know that I'm working towards that end and plan to get on here soon to post...something. 

I just have to decide which of the many things that are floating through my head to start with!