Saturday, December 29, 2012


We had a lovely little Christmas. It has been so busy with all the events this month so it is nice to start winding down. Here are a few of my favorite pictures:

We were given this poinsettia at the church service by the gentleman who buses the kids to and from church (I am still learning names of those at our church so please excuse me) - what a lovely gift! I love poinsettias and I love in this picture how you can see the gingerbread house in the back ground. I don't think I planned it to turn out this way so this was a nice surprise when I downloaded it to the computer.

Savannah's smiley gingerbread man. She is so proud of her decorating skills. He was the most special cookie of them all and wasn't eaten until the others were gone.

I love the reaction onSavannah's face. This was a robe and pajamas from Daddy and I and I think it turned out to be her favorite gift cause she hasn't taken them off since Christmas morning.

A snowman Savannah made at school in her art class from a sock and dried beans. How did Savannah know I LOVE snowmen?

Another great shot. This one is the Easy Bake Oven. She has already baked the cookies and today we are going to do the cupcakes. Watch out Cupcake Wars, here we come!

I think Jake enjoyed what was in this package. I don't think he'll ever get bored of Monster energy drinks.

Charlie opening "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - I love his expression and I can still hear his silly laugh.

Another wow factor - Barbie Clothes! Can't go without something Barbie, right?
Of course with me holding the camera there wasn't any shots of myself, but I didn't do it on purpose this time as I have in years past. I am working on this. My dad was a big "no picture" person so after I am gone I don't want my kids to go through what I did trying hard to find photos with me in them.
It was good to hear from Charlie's mom, Sue, my sister Monica, my brother and his wife, John and Kathy, my brother Matt, and Michael who is now living with Matt in Eagle Mtn. Hearing from him about how well he is doing during his divorce is such a blessing. It is a hard thing to go through. I pray he will be able to spend more time with Ryan soon, I know what it is like being away from your child like he has and am so thankful that I got my boys back as soon as I did when they were away. 
My mom wasn't available on Christmas day without cell phone service but I did get to talk to her when she got back home. She spent time with my brother Marty and his family and sounds like she had a party of a time!
I miss them all but talking to them felt like I was there with them even for a moment. Christmas surprises are so fun and I love this time of year. The only thing that was missing was family get togethers. In the future I want to plan to spend some time during Christmas in Utah and spend it there with my family. 
For New Year's we are not doing anything special. Just staying home and making a nice dinner. I think we will have bacon wrapped scallops, after all it has been so long since we had these. I think it has been as long as 2 or more years. Seems like it was when we were living in Utah when we had them last. Oh and by the way, I am not mentioning mine and Charlie's New Years goals until after this dinner I might add.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Busy but fun weekend!

It has been a busy week and didn't help that I started out with the stomach bug that Charlie brought home with him from Boston. It was relentless and I had to miss two and half days of work without pay so I praise God for being blessed with an employer who is kind and generous to their employees giving bonus checks this time of year.
Sickness aside, we were still able to enjoy the end of our week with Christmas activities. I got well in time by Thursday afternoon - another praise I might add...and was able to enjoy Savannah's Christmas concert at school that day, watching the girls dance at the Girl Scout Sock Hop and my work Christmas party on Friday night, on Saturday a trip to the Century Ridge assisted living center with the girl scouts for Bingo and cookies, then another night of Christmas movies and songs with gingerbread house decorating. I think my family will be Christmas movie'd out before long since that is all I want to watch.
The funnest part was watching the kids at our church put on a play called the Fumbly Bumbly Angels. It was a cute story about angels who did not think they had an important job but then were asked to tell everyone the good news about Jesus' birth. The kids are so fun to watch this time of year. Christmas would not be Christmas without them.
I was hoping the rain this weekend would turn to snow - guess I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. I can't believe it is only a week away!
Here is Savannah ringing the bell chimes for the song, "Chime In (It's a Season of Bells)"
Troop 4109 and their goodies to share with the folks during Bingo at the assisted living center. 
Jake and Savannah carefully decorating the gingerbread house 
Go tell it on the Mountain! 
Savannah as the 1st King presenting gifts. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Life is good. I am very blessed. We had a most wonderful Thanksgiving with my mom and my brother and his wife. It was short but the time we had I am so grateful for. It was awesome to have everyone together.

I know my mom still has a lot of grieving and changes to go through so I am happy that we are able to lift up her spirits when she feels down. I am anticipating that next year she will be staying with us for a good spell and so we will have lots of new memories in the new year to come.

Thank you mom for coming, I know it was a long hard trip for you guys but I also want you to know that it means the world to us that you would make such a great effort to be with us!

As you know me I usually post pictures but I will admit that I have been lazy and my camera needs charged so I shall post them on my Shutterfly soon.

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

So Excited!!

So my mom announced that she and my brother and sister in law are coming for Thanksgiving! As you know Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I am feeling so blessed with this opportunity! I know it will be a hard trip for them, after all it is 1,500 miles one way and on a bus no less. I want them to know that I am feeling so loved because of their coming. I really hope they know how grateful I am to have this opportunity!

I went to the local Sav-Half greeting card store the other day and found this magnet and, well it spoke to my heart so I just had to get it! I have also been challenging myself to start the day with one thankful thought and praise to God for my blessings each morning before I get out of bed as well. I am so blessed!

Sisters...they are so wonderful!

If some of you are aware, I am no longer using Facebook for very many personal reasons. So not being able to brag or boast about my family that lives 1500 miles away from me, I shall use Blogger to do it here.

 Can I just say I am so very blessed to have sisters!  This year for my birthday two of my three sisters send me most special gifts...I got a hand-made apron from my talented and sweet sister, Monica. I can't believe how sweet she is! She is such an inspiration to me and she takes after my grandma so much with all her crafts and baking! I am so proud to be her sister.

Then Jennifer, the sister I had the privilege of being most closest to in age and whom I shared rooms with when I was growing up, sent me an awesome Betty Crocker cookbook. She put so much thought into it reading reviews and thought of me when she saw it that she just knew I would like it. How did she know I always wanted one? In fact I am going to use it tomorrow for our our Sunday dinner - you will have to read about my posts on my recipe blog about it.

Thank you to the most wonderful sisters a girl could ever have! How did they know that an apron and a cookbook would go together hand in hand?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

30 (plus 10)

So I'm 30 plus 10 (you'll know why I call it this when you read on...) and counting, right? Well since my birthday was coming up and it was the biggest one yet I knew wanted to do something that would be memorable so I thought what better to do than to go somewhere I've never been? So that is what we did.

Thursday I got off work and got Savanah out of school early so we could leave early. When we were busy getting things ready Charlie pretends to have something under his hat, takes it and walks away with me left behind in the kitchen opening a pretty little jewelry box that held some beautiful earrings and a silly card with Maxine about my big milestone birthday and how easily I forget things. It made me laugh and will be a keeper - too bad it is true about the forgetting things. Even as I am typing this I am having a hard time remembering the details. It was a nice gift and brings me smiles whenever I put the earrings on.

We headed down to Wisconsin Dells - about a 3 hour drive from our house. We had all our bags packed and the dogs and cats were all set up with a sitter so things were good. We got in to our resort around 5 pm and didn't make it into our room until probably an hour later. I guess we were excited to find that the resort had an on-site racquetball court so we dabbled and played a little. Then we took our time checking out the facility. Later on we went swimming and in the hot tub and then played some tennis. It was great in that no one else was there.

Next morning we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I could just live in that place - I so love the food and the store. I think I should write them and tell them they need to have one here in Green Bay. Of course coffee and breakfast was delicious but what was more cool was that they had a large fire burning in the fireplace. We were so warm and cozy. Afterward I got Jenny a gift for watching the dogs for us and of course was tempted to buy more, but I held out.

We went back to our room and decided to bake my birthday cake. While it was cooling we headed to the activity center where Savannah and I checked out a couple of the bikes they had available at the resort and took a little bike ride. We all played in the arcade and with the basketball and tennis ball courts along with more racquetball. There was a little boy that would come by us to watch Charlie play and it was cute how he asked me if that was my dad.

Jake joined us in the afternoon and from there we had a relaxing time roaming the resort grounds, looking at the scenery and feeding the ducks. We even spotted a seagull diving for a fish and flying away with it. If only I could have gotten that on video. Savannah of course found and named her favorite duck. She called her Feathers, naturally, since the duck had a fluffy head. We don't know why she had the feathers poking out, none of the others had. It made it easy to spot her however when we went out to feed them again later that day, she couldn't see Feathers and became quite concerned. Luckily Feathers did come back.

We walked to the waterfall and pond and just over the hill we caught "Ma" and "Pa" ducks waddling behind us. I called them "Ma" and "Pa" cause the female duck would follow the male duck and they remained walking and swimming around in pairs. It was so cute. I didn't know they paired off like that. I got a bunch of shots with my camera and even a family photo that turned out better than expected. It was a perfect day.

Afterwards we went to a place called Wizard Quest where you play a live game finding hints and clues in different worlds to try and free the wizards from being trapped. At first we weren't sure (well Savannah and I weren't sure) about it, but I could tell that Charlie and Jake loved the idea. After we started playing and finding clues hidden in the worlds it really got fun. Savannah helped us figure out how to find the Earth wizard who was trapped in a tree. We had searched for her so long it was really exciting when we heard the key unlock.

We had planned to also go to Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, but they were having a special that night on spooking out the museum and so the boys went without us girls but they allowed us back in the next day so we could see the museum in the light without the spook alley part. We got done with everything later than planned so our dinner consisted of late night Taco Bell, but that was okay considering we were planning on spending a lot of money on dinner the next night.

Saturday was gray and misty but we stayed in for the morning and watched a couple of rented movies and made breakfast. After we cleaned up we headed back out to Ripley's. We spent a while there seeing all the oddities and played a few jokes on each other. There wasn't anyone else around but us so it was a lot of fun.

We heard there was another live game like Wizard Quest so we went and found that it was more of a kid oriented game. It was similar in that there were different areas (which were technically different floors) of the gardens but that you would have to collect things with a magic wand instead. It was kind of cumbersome at first since there were so many kids there and it was a bit confusing and not as fun as the first game we had played. Once Savannah got the hang of it she really liked it, that and Daddy helped her out a lot. There was a lot of slides and climbing on ropes to get to the other levels so it was really a good place to let your kid hang out at all day and they would never get bored.

After playing there for about 2 hours we headed to dinner. Charlie had been to a place called House of Embers prior to when we met and he lived here in Wisconsin. The restaurant was still there and he remembered their food being very good and that it was considered a 5 star restaurant. So he really wanted to take me as part of my birthday experience. When we got there we were seated by the fire place and ordered whatever we wanted. We had appetizers, salad, dinner, and Crème Brûlée for dessert. It was fun but I will have to say that we will only do that on special occasions.

After dinner we went to the Magic Show where we were seated on the third row - very close to the stage. I think it was the second act where Savannah raised her hand to volunteer to be on stage. Her job was making sure the locks were in place for the magician and his wife, the assistant, as they did the wooden box switch out trick. You know, this is the one where the magician trades places with her while the box is locked up and she is tied in a bag with a knot the other volunteer tied. And of course they somehow came out wearing different outfits when the switch was made. It was amazing how they could have done this, so much so that I asked Savannah if she noticed anything while she was on the stage. I didn't bring my camera in for this one but should have so I could get Boo's picture up there. I am not sure they would have let me take pictures as I didn't know anyone else taking them. We left there puzzled on how they did the other illusions and what could possibly have taken place. We had a few answers but there were some that we'll never figure out - like the doves in a cage disappearing and the assistant appearing in their place. Or how the helicopter was put on the stage in the short time they flashed a flag in front of the area...I guess not knowing is the part of the amusement.

We went back to our room and everyone sang happy birthday to me and we had cake. The kids and I went for a late night swim at the pool and eventually we passed out.

Sunday morning we packed up to check out and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Jake had really wanted to go since he hadn't been there for so long so we didn't have a problem with that of course. After we ate we headed home in the rain. I don't think it stopped raining the whole way home. The trees were pretty in fall colors though so that was something nice to look at.

Here are some of my favorite photos:

Friday's sunrise view from our balcony. I love how the fall colors pick up the sunlight as if they are anxious for the day to start.

Savannah's new best friends. They followed her all the way around the pond.

I should call this one "Duck whisperer" -  I love how she is kneeling down and talking to them.

Two cute duck butts!

Feathers, Savannah's pet duck.

At Ripley's. Hey there is someone out there taller than Jake!

Playing Magi Quest (we didn't get picutres of Wizard Quest - boo hoo)

Daddy helping Savannah find all the things she needs to play the game.

Getting an autograph from magician and his wife for the poster she won for helping out on stage.

My 30 "plus ten"cake. Funny thing and true story - the store didn't have a 4 so instead of just buying single candles, Charlie bought a "30" and 10 ugly black and white striped and polka dotted ones to make a plus sign indicating the "and" along with 10 candles. I think these were to represent the over the hill with the traditional black color? 
So there you have it. 30 plus ten. A very memorable birthday. I will forever call this birthday my 30 plus ten birthday - sounds much better than 40, doesn't it? (Good thing I have a camera or I may have forgotten it already...Maxine knows her stuff!)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Door County - Annual Fall Trip

We made our annual trip to Door County last Sunday. It started out cloudy and foggy that morning but after church the afternoon bloomed with sunlight and blue skies The fall leaves were so beautiful with the trees are standing tall and towering above the green fields. I liked the purple and red leaves in contrast with the bright yellow and orange. There were still a few green in there as well. So beautiful! Especially with view of the blue water in the distance from the bay of Lake Michigan. We stopped and ate lunch at the Rusty Tractor Cafe, which is also the tradition we started when my mom and my step dad, Randy, had come out for their first visit two years ago. It is a little place that we stumbled upon and now it has sentimental memories ever since.
Even though they took the antique shop out and moved things around, Randy was still there with us in spirit - we had a Bauermeister orange soda and reminisced about how he ate that super sized ice cream cone afterward. On the way home we had to stop in for some Door county wine tasting at the Door County Peninsula Winery where we also tasted samples of Fat Louie's oil and vinegars. We came home with a bottle of garlic oil - it was so good in the store we had to buy some.

View of trees from Highway 57 - I should have zoomed in on this one...

Beautiful velvet hollyhocks in front of the cafe

At the Rusty Tractor. This older gentleman was enjoying his coffee at the ice cream bar on a milk can - sorta reminded me of the movie Grumpy Old Men

Wall of antiques - missed the store they had there. We're not sure why they got rid of it.

Drinking one for "Grandy"

Ma and Pa

Charlie liked this one

View of the trees from the cafe

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Way to go!

Jacob has passed his GED this week with only one try. Next he is planning to go to NWTC for his auto mechanics degree!

Savannah won a ROARS award at school and got her picture taken and posted on the school wall. Her school has the motto "ROARS" which stands for Respectful, Organized, Attentive, Responsible, and Safe.

Time for some celebration! With all that we have going on in the next couple of weeks we plan to take them both out somewhere special where they will not forget!

Way to go!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Sentiments

Savannah started 3rd grade and is loving it! She has already finished reading her first chapter book of the year. I admit I was a little skeptical she would be interested in reading at all this year after last year's frustrations. She is also doing well with her math better than I anticipated as I thought she would have forgotten a lot during summer but I was wrong. I can tell how much she has grown over the summer instead. I can't believe my little girl is learning multiplication and division now. What happened to the Sesame Street days of counting with Elmo?
Here are some other things that happened this month of September...

Savannah and I made a cake and she decorated it. Someday she will decorate wedding cakes!
We had to say goodbye to Grandy - September 17th he left this dreadful cancer and is now in heaven awaiting our arrival. He went peacefully and I pray for my mom to grieve as she needs to but more importantly that she will heal and find peace in her heart as her wounds heal. I am so relieved that he is not suffering any longer. Here he is with Charlie from our trip to Door county two years ago when he and Mom visited us shortly after we moved. I will never forget that memory! And as you can see Grandy loved his ice cream!
I became an assistant leader for Troop 4109 and we visited Fox 11  news team. Here is Savannah and her fellow troop member about to report the news.

The girls learned about water patterns and here is Savannah using the green screen to forecast the weather.

Jake is gleaming - he bought a new car!!!

While we were waiting on the paper work he would look out the window and kept saying, "Who's car is that?" And then a big grin came over his face - it was fun to see him so happy. I am so proud of him for working so hard these last couple of years and getting his life on track.

Oh...Charlie also got a new (used) car...and much needed if I do say so myself.
We weren't growing in the large church that is here in town and didn't seem to find where we could be used so after two 1/2 years and much prayer we were led to a smaller congregation in Little Chute about a month ago. Charlie became part of the Praise & Worship Team and is aslo helping them with some of the tasks to get the new building ready for the move. Savannah is attending Sunday school and is full of many questions about baptism as she is growing every day in her relationship with the Lord. I have attended Women's Bible study and am learning to get to know the ladies better as is Charlie with the Men's Bible study.
Later today Jake will probably want to take the family on a Sunday drive in his new car up to Door county and I hope to get some pictures of us with all the beautiful fall colors. October brings on many more memories - including celebrating my 40th birthday. For the past year I have dreaded the idea but now that it is coming up I decided rather than hate it I would enjoy it. I want it to be a memorable birthday so I chose to spend it at the Dells, somewhere I've never been. Can't wait to see what October brings!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Utah trip

We have been home now for almost two weeks from our Utah trip. I can say that it was nice and long and relaxing even though we did so much running around. It was nice to have a break in the everyday hubbub.
We got in Saturday afternoon, a little earlier than we thought. Drove the whole 21 1/2 hours (mostly Charlie I might add) and were anxious to get settled into our room when we got to Midway. But because we were so early our room wasn't quite ready. Being that we had extra time we stopped in at our favorite Mexican joint, Beto's, for a famous breakfast burrito with the most awesome Verde sauce. It was good and hit the spot but then we were really exhausted by that time. While we waited Savannah went swimming and got some of her needed energy out from the drive. She must not have slept on the road as much as I thought though cause she took a pretty good nap too when we finally got into our room.
Mom and Randy and John and Kathy came up to see us that night and we had a nice dinner together. I felt so badly though, it was hard to see that Randy couldn't enjoy his food much...and he was so weak. Things have really taken a toll on him. Of course you know a person with cancer isn't doing well but until you see them and how they have changed in appearance it doesn't seem to hit as hard.
Next day we went to our old church, which is actually a new church now. Since we moved they moved and also have a new name. It was great to see them and it felt just like old times. We went to Mom's for a BBQ afterward where my family was and it almost felt as if there were a reunion - my aunt Beverly and Robin even came! It was nice that everyone who could got together and we had a nice visit.
We decided to hike timp cave - after all the time we lived there and never did it, so we thought now we have no excuse, we are on vacation, right? So we did. Charlie and I are definitely not in hiker shape but we did it. My sister, Tina, and my nephew, Dominic, smoked us up that steep mountainside but they are much more active than we are so it was expected. The tour was great in that we were the only ones and had the caves to ourselves. We were able to see two bats (which they said was a very rare occasion) and also on the way down we spotted a couple of wood peckers. These wood peckers were much bigger than the ones I have seen at home in Green Bay, so it was amazing and I didn't get my camera out fast enough.
We also went on the Heber Creeper train - another Utah known historical site that we never tried. It was a creeper for sure, but they had snacks and entertainment while we crept along. We were a little disappointed that they didn't have any commentary or history on the train itself, or of the area near by where we were riding. I thought for sure while we rode they would. Most places you visit like this I thought it was safe to assume are sort of a museum style, but I was wrong.
We also visited friends and people from where I used to work and hung out with mom a lot - which she really needed. We also enjoyed eating at many places we haven't been in a long time. I was beginning to think that I missed the food out there, almost more than my family. (just kidding) I think there was really only one day that we didn't do a lot, and I will keep that in mind for next time we go out so we can plan some more down time and less running around in the aggravating traffic.
Here are a few pictures from the trip:
Bridal Veil Falls found nestled in the canyon

Doe that was feeding near our resort at night, she didn't run away when we were taking this picture either and she was very tame

Daddy & Savannah on the trail at Timp cave

Stalagmites and Stalactites in the cave. It is amazing to think about how old these must be!

View of the valley from the cave

Savannah holding up the train

Our view from the deck of our resort. If you look closely you will notice a hen house and boy were there were hens. And roosters. I am not sure why they have them, but they did wake us up every morning right on time at 6:30 - lets put it this way....we didn't get to sleep in as much as we would have liked. The morning after our first night there Savannah told us, "I tried to sleep in but those chickens kept 'balking and balking'. It was so cute!

Our room

Deer that was feeding on the tree from the picture above of our view from the room, he was as comfortable being in someones yard as if it was no big deal. I get the feeling the deer around here were used to people and didn't scare easily.

Savannah and Grandy. She was so adamant about getting him something from the gift shop. It was hard to explain to her that just her being around him is what helped him to feel better. She finally picked out a balloon and a sugar free candy bar.